2020 March❮❮prevnext❯❯

The Guest House

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice.
meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.

Be grateful for whatever comes.
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

Rumi, translated by Coleman Barks
Found this via a Poetry Unbound podcast on another fine poem, Joy Harjo’s “Praise the Rain”

March 2, 2020

My dad died fairly young, and I'm always interested when someone who knew my dad notes something I do that's an echo of him: I remember, back in the Cleveland days, Beau's mom Judy mentioning that my stance, paging through some sheetmusic in the band room filing cabinet, really brought him to her mind...

More recently, I remember my mom commenting on a little thing I am prone to do when starting on a new beverage - take the first sip, then do a little approving nod - that that was something my dad would do.

I wonder if too, it's a small way for my inner child self to communicate with the world, or maybe to my rational self... it doesn't usually have spoken language, so gesture is its idiom, and it just wants to say, "this is good".
You will continue to suffer if you have an emotional reaction to everything that is said to you. True power is sitting back and observing everything with logic. If words control you that means everyone else can control you. Breathe and allow things to pass.
Not Warren Buffett, or Bruce Lee
So the attribution is uncertain, but it's not bad advice. But I'd go further: you should see if you can get to a place of logic even in response to your own emotions... that's an important milestone on the path to equanimity.
Bought a case for my iPad mini that has a slot for the Apple Pencil, a mix of trying to always have the Pencil at hand so I use it more, and then just not misplacing. Guess the case is the best bet until the make an iPad Mini Pro and the pencil sticks and charges to the side...
Anyway, really do dig the Apple Notes app. The "infinite scroll" where you can just keep adding to the bottom when scrawling notes is fun, and I like the way it think in terms of lines and strokes and not pixels.

Photos of the Month February 2020


Open Photo Gallery

No is a future tense, No-no-no-no is a present tense, and Noooooo is a past tense for dog owners.

I know I mentioned this a few weeks ago, but: Can I just heartily recommend the Poetry Unbound podcast - twice weekly, poet Pádraig Ó Tuama reads a poem, discusses it, then reads it again. So often I find emotion welling up - I'm not sure if I'm more prone to that as part of re-evaluating the relationship with my inner self, or if the podcast is just that good... but it's like 2x10 minutes or so a week that is so well spent...
A little dark humor, Twitter imagines the CDC responding to pop music...
First election in a while where I'm keeping my selection to myself. Yes it's one of the two. No I'm not saying which one. Yes your candidate is great and I hope they win.

Voting is weirding me out. It's so weird how one vote just doesn't make a difference, it's just a necessary component of a sociographic trend. It's almost like quantum physics. Alone, a single vote has a value so small it's impossible to meter, so the value of votes is an emergent properties that rises up from groups.

New Music Playlist February 2020

Pretty good month for music! One 5 star even...
Concrete Pony
Dark and cool but kind of weird similarity to Rock Me Now in terms of the piano chords...
Michael at the work Slack #music channel said he was addicted to this...
Get Up (DJ Premier Edit)
Vernon Burch
70s funk Deee-lite sampled from...
got it from the "who sampled" page for Groove is in the Heart, some of the beat and the slide whistle...

Happy Valentine's Day
Great 2000s funk, lot of neat influences well used.
Played over the credits to the Netflix series "Big Mouth"
Take Me to the River
Al Green
Classic soul
Saw the Talking Heads concert film Stop Making Sense... they cover this song but this is the original.
Hungry Eyes (Remix Edit)
Paris Encore
80s cheese redone as 90s club cheese...
I recorded a few songs with local indie band "Sound Down Cellar", they have a song by the same title as this one...
Mi T-Shirt De La Nasa
Mexican Institute of Sound
Spanish pop!
Matthew G. was talking about this song at a superbowl party we were at, I think I was wearing a NASA hoodie.

WTF (feat. Amber Van Day)
Are they sampling "bitter/sweet"?
Came up when I was googline "nightwave" music

She's Not There
The Zombies
Classic rock.
This was caught in my band buddy Sophie's ear for no good reason.

So sorrowful sounding.
A season finale of Super Store had this shown with Mateo in ICE custody.

All My People Say
Atomica Music
Totally studio, but great and pop-y bubblegum...
From a Kay diamond commercial.
Grandmother's Song
Steve Martin
Novelty goofiness.
Band buddy Matt Morin mentioned he played this song as a novelty number..

Good song but I think it's like begging for college a cappella groups to cover it. Not in a good way.
Superstore mentioned this as a song the young'uns would like

Birthday Cake
Very sex. Also I like the middle eastern minor key.
Played in the movie "Hustlers"
The Weight
The Band
Classic rock again.
Richard in JP Honk suggested we play this song.

Number One
Tove Styrke
Lot of nice influences, like both the Nikki Minaj sound and the old girl band "hey" shouts.
Played in the movie "Brittany Runs a Marathon"
Round Here Buzz
Eric Church
Country. Do like the line about driving that preacher's daughter crazy.
Mentioned in the book "In Defense of Elitism: Why I'm Better Than You and You are Better Than Someone Who Didn't Buy This Book"

Du mouvement social
La fanfare invisible
Protest song - super great energy! Love this a lot.
At an anti-alt-right counter rally, something like this came up.

Stand Up (feat. Shawnna)
Raucous hiphop.
People at the daily stand up meeting said this song got caught in their head, for obvious reasons...
Enola Gay
Orchestral Manoeuvres In the Dark
Anti-war New Wave
School of Honk has started playing this song.
Always (Original Mix)
Tin Tin Out
Club remix, very 90s.
On a trip to the British Isles with my family, I bought a CD "Dance Heat 95"- I think the rips of some of the songs got corrupted, so I got this one to replace the old one.

The fear is greater than the danger.
Japanese Proverb cited on Neon Genesis Evangelion, "Anzuru yori umu ga yasushi" - literally "Giving birth to a baby is easier than worrying about it"

March 5, 2020

I think I've been doing well this year at staying on task at work and in life in general, quelling the instinct to veer away from a difficult task, squirting a cloud of angst behind me to cover my exit.

The other week I reposted this comic panel where I tried to illustrate a quote I find encouraging:

I was trying to think of a more compact and iconic way of capturing that - like something that could be a desktop wallpaper or phone lockscreen or even tattoo. Then I thought, maybe it could be by symbol Alien Bill in his most iconic running pose:

People ask "why is he running?" and I generally don't have a great answer. But maybe it could be - he's running to confront the problem. The movement is to the right, the direction of forward progress for people who write left-to-right. I hardly ever draw him the other direction, and when I got my little tattoo of him, I made sure he was heading the same way I was.
Another soothing tattoo idea that has stuck with me since I read it in a tweet:
[having stressful day]
*glances at my wrist tattoo that says "sometimes it do be like that tho"*
ME: Ya sometimes it do [sighs with relief]
and while I'm on the subject, why not repost the probably inspiration:

They don't think it be like it is, but it do.
Oscar Gamble

RIP Rosalind P. Walter the original Rosie the Riveter...

March 6, 2020

Googol:1 Gear Ratio, made by putting 100 10:1 gears in series. You could set the slow end in concrete, it just doesn't matter - or put in terms of energy not time, it would take more energy than the entire known universe has.

This reminds me of making homeopathic stuff, where you dilute 1:10 until only delusions remain.

Speaking of "a billion seconds", I have to make a better UI for timetoy.net ... you can figure out when you're a billion seconds old. But the UI for that is a little wonky, and the "date math" part is even tougher.
Scientists were close to a coronavirus vaccine years ago. Then the money dried up.. Coronavirus represents a huge failure of both public health and private investment. Serious question: which one is more likely to be able to do the right thing? Unclear threats over the horizon are tough to generate either sustained public interest in or private capital for such uncertain payout.

Random other thought: while "Coronavirus" is too generic to be a good name, at least we're not naming it something stupid and racist like "Placename Flu"

(UPDATE: on FB Chris H reminds me "COVID-19" is getting some traction in terms of a name.)
Y'all shame 'Vanilla' sex all the time on here but it's amazing when both people enjoy it. It's not my fault you gotta have your leg in a bear trap and get punched in the face to cum. Relax.


pre-trib atomic power

A Hidden Brain podcast on "The Cowboy Philosopher" Riley Shepard referenced a song "Atomic Power". There are two songs with similar names, similar brothers-named groups playing similar bluegrass styles, similar mixes of American patriotism about atomic weapons and apocalyptic thinking, similar amounts of present-day Google juice and increasing order of terribleness, about 6 years apart:
Oh this world is at a tremble with its strength and mighty power
There sending up to heaven to get the brimstone fire
Take warning my dear brother, be careful how you plan
You're working with the power of God's own holy hand

Atomic power, atomic power
Was given by the mighty hand of God
Atomic power, atomic power
It was given by the mighty hand of God

You remember two great cities in a distant foreign land
When scorched from the face of earth the power of Japan
Be careful my dear brother, don't take away the joy
But use it for the good of man and never to destroy


Hiroshima, Nagasaki paid a big price for their sins
When scorched from the face of earth their battles could not win
But on that day of judgment when comes a greater power
We will not know the minute and we'll not know the hour


So it's kind of all over the place, presuming divine intervention for the atomic bombs the USA dropped, and sort of gloating about Hiroshima and Nagasaki but then admonishing folks to use this power for good and not to destroy? But the final reference to the apocalypse as laid out in the book of Revelation was tangential and relative... unlike this next song:
Do you fear this man's invention that they call atomic power?
Are we all in great confusion, do we know the time or hour
When a terrible explosion may ring down upon our land
Leaving horrible destruction blotting out the works of man

Are you ready for that great atomic power?
Will you rise and meet your Savior in the end?
Will you shout or will you cry when the fire rains from on high?
Are you ready for that great atomic power?

There is one way to escape and be prepared to meet the Lord
Give your heart and soul to Jesus, He will be your shield and sword
He will surely stand beside and you'll never taste of death
For your soul will fly to safety and eternal peace and rest


There's an army who can conquer all the enemy's great bands
It's a regiment of Christians guided by the Savior's hand
When the mushroom of destruction falls and all its fury great
God will surely save His children from this awful, awful fate


So, pretty direct assumption of atomic weapons being THE instrument of the End Times as put out in the Bible. Both songs predate civilian use of nuclear energy, so the "Atomic Power" of the titles seems like it would be referring to the military type. However, the USSR got the atomic bomb in between the recording of these two songs, which may explain some of the shift of tone.

Of course the latter song leans pretty heavily into my least favorite form of Christian apocalypse thinking - "Pre-Trib", the idea that God must (totes obvs, right?) love his believers so much that the drawing up of them to heaven is BEFORE the excrement truly hits the air conditioning, vs a more straight-forward reading of the texts that has believers enduring some bad stuff. (The "post-trib" and "mid-trib" views).

I resent "pre-trib" thinking strongly, with it's "get out of apocalypse free!" card, in part because if that's what you believe you're that much less likely to be a good steward of the planet! I mean why bother? It must feel frickin' awesome to try to be an instrument of bringing forth God's plan, because it's not your ass on the line, or your families, and everyone who suffers - must be a sinner.

The whole assumption that Revelation is a guide to upcoming events... (and not predicting the fall of an empire 1500 years ago... look up Preterism for an interesting take that that stuff happened) -- why try to make a sustainable planet at all? Plus you can always fit horrible current events into this kind of prophecy, so the end must be around the corner. It's the worst kind of semi-self-fulfilling prophecy possible, and an alarming number of American politicians in the highest offices have this mentality.

(And the whole "Left Behind" series rides on that, albeit with weirdly righteous people able to get kind of a second chance.)

Partially I'm bitter - on a trip to DC I sat in a slightly too old for me Sunday School class when I was 8 or so, taught by my Aunt Ruth, and there was a drawing of a Christian facing a firing squad for his beliefs... scared the bejeebers out of me. So it feels like people who are serious about their faith shouldn't cling to this milquetoast belief that they're too good for God to let suffer.

But still- in MOST media, the people trying to bring on the end of the world-- they're the bad guys. That's part of how you tell they're the bad guys. I think the same thing holds true in real life.

March 8, 2020

Is it optimistic or pessimistic to be concerned that the naming of COVID-19 has a Y2K-like problem?

from David Whyte's "The Three Marriages" (1/3)

I just finished David Whyte's "The Three Marriages: Reimagining Work, Self and Relationship". The book had many graceful moments and the underlying idea of those three critical connections that need to be nurtured and then have a conversation with each other is great, but the work felt like a haul after a while - but when I copied over all the quotes here I realized there was like 3 days worth (so I guess the ratio of good stuff to pages was still pretty decent...).
(My second most surprisingly effectual recently-added daily todo-ish rule, behind only "no popsicle 'til you've cleared out your personal email", is "read a little something every day" - the chapters of this book were about the right scale for that.)
We should not feel embarrassed by our difficulties, only by our failure to grow anything beautiful from them.
Alain de Botton
I looked down at the blue hands of my wristwatch: five minutes to eight. The interesting thing about wristwatches as objects of desire is that when advertised for sale, they are always worn in situations of extreme timelessness--climbing a rock face, flying a plane, sitting with your son--as if by their purchase we will be absolved of time and no longer besieged by its swift, uncaring passage.
David Whyte
To children, the union of their parents, good or bad, in a still photograph or in a moving memory, is the mythic meeting of the two gods who brought them into life and who provided, by their presence or by their disturbing absence, the surrounding universe of their growing.
David Whyte
Work is a constant conversation. It is the back-and-forth between what I think is me and what I think is not me; it is the edge between what the world needs of me and what I need of the world. Like the person to whom I am committed in a relationship, it is constantly changing and surprising me by its demands and needs but also by where it leads me, how much it teaches me, and especially, by how much tact, patience and maturity it demands of me.
David Whyte
You are neither here nor there
A hurry through which strange and known things pass.
Seamus Heaney
I wish I knew the beauty
Of leaves falling
To whom are we beautiful
As we go?
David Ignatow

Back-of-the-Envelope thread on COVID-19. Health resources are going to be mightily strained. There's an exponential curve - so one of the things we in the "don't touch your face" population - as goofy and hopeless as some stuff seems when there aren't active cases near... that we know of.... are doing is seeing if we can't slow things down and buy us more time.

From the London Review of Books The Word from Wuhan - Dated Feb 21. Interesting.
Illustrated National Parks In America Based On Their Worst Review. It's funny because some ("No cell service & terrible wifi", "Nothing specific to do") would really be good selling points for some!

via Bill the Splut

from David Whyte's "The Three Marriages" (2/3)

There seems to be a constant visiting dynamic in all stages of life where it appears that we get only the girl, the guy, the work, the job, the sense of self, or a participation in wider creation that we actually feel we are worthy of. If we don't feel we deserve it, then, like a spendthrift heiress, throwing her patrimony to the winds, we do our best to sabotage and give away what we feel we did not deserve in the first place.
David Whyte
Interesting idea, especially in my own struggles with the supremacy of objective truth and my throttling of any nascent emotion that might be incompatible with it. (Of course for those times the "truth" I was protecting was "I'm an terribly smart child", the self-sabotage takes a different form, and I carefully curate what tasks I will throw myself into with full effort, lest a disappointing outcome challenge that "truth")
In the little world in which children have their existence, whosoever brings them up, there is nothing so finely perceived and so finely felt, as injustice.
Charles Dickens, Great Expectations
They have the greatest, most potent drug of all, *youth*--and they won't even realize it until it is gone.
Elderly Woman talking to a journalist about teen drug use.
The essence of this bliss was to walk by yourself in the black night, the slide shut, the topcoat buttoned, not a ray escaping . . . a mere pillar of darkness in the dark; and all the while, deep down in the privacy of your fool's heart, to know you had a bull's eye at your belt, and to exult and to sing over the knowledge.
Robert Louis Stevenson
Stevenson is writing about an odd game he and local boys played, hiding and revealing tin lanterns worn under the winter coat. The metaphors range from the subtle to the obvious.
Women'll throw you further'n gunpowder'll blow you.
English rural truckdriver to a hitchhiking David Whyte
In many ways, our to-do lists have become the postmodern equivalent of the priest's rosary, the lama's sutra or the old prayer book--keeping a larger, avalanching reality at bay. Above all, the to-do list keeps the evil of not-doing at bay, a list that many of us like to chant and cycle through religiously as we make our way to work through the commute.
David Whyte

For some reason were scared of looking into the abyss of the ocean when its only a few miles deep, but we're completly fine looking into the nearly infite abyss of space. In fact, most of us find is calming.

Gravity doesn't drag me upwards into the unforgiving maw of the cosmos.

Not yet.

On FB, with that last post my friend Matt M wrote
I've felt that vertigo, looking up
It reminded me of the electricsheepcomix webcomic Overheard at the Rave, specifically these two panels:

His The Guy I Almost Was and Revelation meets Pokemon Apocamon really stuck with me as well.
Tweet thread on Life inside Hospitals in the Italian Hot Zone - just not enough respirators or even beds and too many hard decisions about who gets the too few resources. FlattenTheCurve is how we help. And it's weird, because like all curves, it's statistics, and having to try and help trim the forest of the pandemic with "inconsequential" trees of action in our day to day life is frustrating.
Wonder if we'll finally be done talking about stuff "going viral". What's a good replacement? "gain critical mass"? Gah, that's horrific too. So is spreading like wildfire. Damn, what's a positive exponential thing?
All opinions are not equal. Some are a very great deal more robust, sophisticated and well supported in logic and argument than others.
Douglas Adams
I don't accept the currently fashionable assertion that any view is automatically as worthy of respect as any equal and opposite view.
Douglas Adams
I'd far rather be happy than right any day.
Douglas Adams
Beethoven tells you what it's like to be Beethoven and Mozart tells you what it's like to be human. Bach tells you what it's like to be the universe.
Douglas Adams
All from this BBC page of 42 DNA quotes. Of course I worry that the third quote refutes the first, with help from the phenomenon the second quote is pointing to.

from David Whyte's "The Three Marriages" (3/3)

It's like being in the ocean when the waves are really rough and high. They knock you over and you find yourself on the floor of the ocean with your face in the sand. The sand is getting in your nose and your mouth and your eyes and the waves are holding you down. But then the wave recedes and you stand back up and you walk until the next wave comes in and knocks you down and the same thing keeps happening. And each time you just stand back up and after a while it seems to you that the waves are getting smaller and smaller.
Pema Chödrön (nee Deirdre Blomfield-Brown) citing her teacher Chögyam Trungpa
It is not a lack of love, but a lack of friendship that makes unhappy marriages.
Friedrich Nietzsche
Like everything which is not the involuntary result of fleeting emotion but the creation of time and will, any marriage, happy or unhappy, is infinitely more interesting than any romance, however passionate.
W. H. Auden
All disciplines have crucial testing thresholds, thresholds that ask us if we are serious or ask us if we want to turn back and do something else.
David Whyte
Every marriage is probably the meeting of two equally compelling stories, if they can be but told properly.
David Whyte reminding us not to ignore Fanny Osbourne's story when exploring Robert Louis Stevenson's Trans-atlantic and cross-country pursuit and eventual marriage of her.
To find out our partners' desires, we must sustain a conversation with them that helps to bring those wants and desires to light. Sometimes we have to do this even when they are afraid of discovering them themselves. The deep, abiding fear is that we will stumble across the desire in them that wants a life different from the one we are capable of giving them.
David Whyte
The café in Edinburgh where J. K. Rowling wrote now has a small plaque on the wall outside to explain who sat there with such private, unsung courage. Most likely the place in which we sit and struggle to bring our work back to life will have nothing to commemorate it except a little window in our own memory that opens onto the small stage on which we appeared during difficult times.

Perhaps each of us should go back with actual plaques and place them in cafés, on walls or in office cubicles with little notes of private courage for the inspiration of others. "This is where I kept my faith alive during very dark days," "This is where I found the courage to leave my marriage," or "This is where I realized that I couldn't have everything I wanted and so felt the freedom to request what I needed." Such puzzling, intriguing and inspirational signs everywhere might bring us to an understanding of the constant enacted dramas occurring around us. How every chair and every corner holds a possibility for redemption. The plaques that said things such as "This is the table where I gave up on my ideals and took a very large bribe" would be equally instructive for the reader.

David Whyte. I'm saving this as a "stupid-idea-buddies" entry for work...
There is no path that goes all the way.
Han Shan

Two podcast episodes on procrastination:
one was Alie Ward's Ologies: Volitional Psychology (PROCRASTINATION) with Dr. Joseph R. Ferrari - one repeated phrase was "everyone procrastinates, but not everyone is a procrastinator", that only 20% of adults are truly chronic procrastinators. I was surprised he didn't take more of a spectrum. He also claims that time management is a myth....(also can I say he has a delightful voice for a doctor, a bit like a toned down Dr. Marvin Monroe on the Simpsons - but I also appreciate that the Ologies podcast has written transcripts available.)

For the 80% of us, or whatever, Adam Grant's WorkLife had The real reason you procrastinate, including some talk with Margaret Atwood. This podcast said that the challenge is primarily emotional - that procrastination is very often veering from negative feelings of insecurity etc - but didn't veer away from some Time Management advice.

WorkLife also gave another word to the rational-aware/emotional-intuitive split I've been thinking so much on lately: "Should Self" vs "Want Self". I think in this model, the Should Self has logic and language, and so can outthink the Want Self... though clearly Want Self has its own tricks. (Grant introduces the concept with Atwood using two names for herself: Margaret who does the writing, and (based on her childhood name) Peggy who does everything else. Peggy lines up with the Should Self, roughly, but the metaphor doesn't seem to quite hold up IMO.

I want to make an infomercial where it's not clear what the guys selling. Like hes demonstrating how powerful this vacuum is by sucking up a bowling ball but then he starts showing you how strong the bowling ball is by dropping it on some knives but then hes showing how the knives havent been damaged at all by using them to cut through some shoes and it goes on and on for two hours then just loops back to the start while a number flashes on screen the whole time and if you call it it just echoes whatever you say back to you.

We are all the Koala-Fish-Mutant-Bird

Lately I've been thinking of this scene from Clerks: Specifically, the mini-monolog:
I saw one, one time, that said 'the next week, the world is ending'. And in the next week's paper, they said 'we were miraculously saved at the zero hour by a Koala-Fish-Mutant-Bird'. Heheh, crazy shit.
So my employer just adopted an "everyone WFH 4 weeks" policy (there's a lot to unpack in a place where everyone can work from home - and in places where people can't.) And major universities are shifting into an online mode - (also a lot to unpack about traditional universities vs online learning...)

This is the first time in the Social Media age we're asked to achieve Social Distancing. 4 weeks WFH feels daunting, like a bad blizzard that keeps you home for a week, but for a month...

And if by chance it works well enough, that if we avoid Wuhan- and Northern-Italy levels of no more beds, no more ventilators... or even if it happens, but isn't widely reported - the naysayers are going to be this guy, accusing us of being tabloids.

But now is the time when we must become our own Koala-Fish-Mutant-Bird.
Social distancing w/ Melissa in our 3rd Floor Walkup reminded me of this tweet from last fall:
I LOVE living on the top floor!! love to look out my window in my robe and scowl at the wretched earth

If we all start working from home, we need to check in on the extroverts.

I'm not saying that day 2 of Work-From-Home has given me full on cabin fever yet, but this thread dangling from a bit of laundry seemed AMAZING

March 13, 2020

Notes from UCSF BioHub Panel on COVID-19. A predictable resurgence come Autumn is alarming, I know a number of events that have kicked the can down the road 'til then.
I am blessed with a pretty kickin' WFH setup. Coworkers expressed envy over my office chair. Got a personal laptop ready for Social Media and music, my gallery of peeps, a nice old large format photo rescued from JP Library, my dad's antique typewriter, etc...

You know everything in the world is going to shit when the day is almost over and not one person has acknowledged that it's Friday the 13th

Not sure what the more befuddling "COVID-19: We're on the case" email is: Smoothie King (I have no recollection of going to a Smoothie King) or my web domain registrar Network Solutions + register.com.

March 14, 2020

The real world might not be so bad. But I do hate myself.

It's your heart that perceives reality as being ugly and painful.

How you see reality, how you interpret it...The slightest changes in those leads to huge changes in your heart.

There are as many truths as there are people.

But there's only one truth for you. Built from a myopic worldview using information altered to protect yourself... It's a contrived truth.

A worldview that one person can hold in their head don't amount to much.

But people can only measure things based on their own little yardstick.

People try to see the world using only truths that have been handed to them.

Sunny days are cheerful.

Rainy days are depressing.

You start to assume that's the case because others tell you so.

But fun things can also happen on rainy days.

A change in how one small detail is interpreted can transform everything. The truth within each of us is a fragile thing.

That's pretty much all that human truth amounts to. That's what drives us to seek out a deeper truth.

Neon Genesis Evangelion
Finished the series Friday night. I was looking to find a transcription to save myself the typing which I found here but I think the line that really grabbed me was better given in the Netflix subtitles which I retyped above: Toji's "A worldview that one person can hold in their head don't amount to much." (Netflix subtitles by Dan Kanemitsu and David Fleming.)

The part I quoted is what resonated for me - the nature of objective reality and perception, though it also leads to a lesson for the main character Shinji, that he doesn't have to hate himself, and that he has a right to be here - I think that is closer to the heart of why this series meant so much for so many.

I watched the series with subtitles, which I guess is "more pure", but I dunno - there were sequences that were words flashing on screen with spoken text, and other times where there were non-animated or otherwise non-narrative images with narration by characters, and I think the difference in feeling in reading everything might not be worth what you get from the initial voice acting... but maybe the translation was better? Not sure.
A worldview that one person can hold in their head don't amount to much.
Toji, Neon Genesis Evangelion

socially distant in the streets, emotionally distant in the sheets

March 15, 2020

click to play

Yesterday Cora and I built a (kind of rickety tbh) Ferris Wheel and electric powered Spinning Ride toy and then later she and I attempted a virtual version, importing photos of two of her toys to ride...
January 22: "We have it totally under control. It's one person coming in from China. It's going to be just fine."
February 2: "We pretty much shut it down coming in from China."
February 24: "The Coronavirus is very much under control in the USA... Stock Market starting to look very good to me!"
February 25: "CDC and my Administration are doing a GREAT job of handling Coronavirus."
February 25: "I think that's a problem that's going to go away... They have studied it. They know very much. In fact, we're very close to a vaccine."
February 26: "The 15 (cases in the US) within a couple of days is going to be down to close to zero."
February 26: "We're going very substantially down, not up."
February 27: "One day it's like a miracle, it will disappear."
February 28: "We're ordering a lot of supplies. We're ordering a lot of, uh, elements that frankly we wouldn't be ordering unless it was something like this. But we're ordering a lot of different elements of medical."
March 2: "You take a solid flu vaccine, you don't think that could have an impact, or much of an impact, on corona?"
March 2: "A lot of things are happening, a lot of very exciting things are happening and they're happening very rapidly."
March 4: "If we have thousands or hundreds of thousands of people that get better just by, you know, sitting around and even going to work -- some of them go to work, but they get better."
March 5: "I NEVER said people that are feeling sick should go to work."
March 5: "The United States... has, as of now, only 129 cases... and 11 deaths. We are working very hard to keep these numbers as low as possible!"
March 6: "I think we're doing a really good job in this country at keeping it down... a tremendous job at keeping it down."
March 6: "Anybody right now, and yesterday, anybody that needs a test gets a test. They're there. And the tests are beautiful.... the tests are all perfect like the letter was perfect. The transcription was perfect. Right? This was not as perfect as that but pretty good."
March 6: "I like this stuff. I really get it. People are surprised that I understand it... Every one of these doctors said, 'How do you know so much about this?' Maybe I have a natural ability. Maybe I should have done that instead of running for president."
March 6: "I don't need to have the numbers double because of one ship that wasn't our fault."
March 8: "We have a perfectly coordinated and fine-tuned plan at the White House for our attack on CoronaVirus."
March 9: "This blindsided the world."
March 13: "I don't take responsibility at all"
President Donald Trump

honestly fuck viruses they're not even alive they're just strands of punk ass DNA that go around fucking up us normal and god fearing life forms you don't even have a nucleus you stupid bacteriophage looking horizontally transmitting RNA clump

I liked these ideas for a Coroniavirus episode of "The Office"
Stay home, and tell everyone else to stay home.

We have COVID-19 patients, though right now they do not exceed our ability to care for all of them. Based on modeling exponential community spread, soon I will be telling high-mortality folks that I will not be able to give them life-supporting care, but that I can give them opiates to ease their breathing as they die.

Alone, without visitors, because we need to prioritize limiting spread.

Please help doctors in your area minimize this suffering. You CAN help! STAY THE FUCK HOME and tell everyone you know to do the same, no matter how healthy.
FB repost from a Boston area MD (n.b.: They have clarified in comments that it DOES NOT MATTER how healthy you feel (in terms of socializing), as asymptomatic transmission IS HAPPENING)

March 16, 2020

Frodo: I wish none of this had happened.
Gandalf: So do all who live to see such times, but that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.
Lord of the Rings
Applicable to many troubled times of course, and with the evil being a mindless bundle of pointless RNA.

Via this tumblr post that also mentions Sam's comments...
Petition: Dunkin' should enable tips in online ordering - get in early!!

At one point I said, 'Hey there's Hawaii! There's Hawaii...there goes Hawaii' - that's how fast we were moving. Crossed over the California coastline at Mach 8, at about 120,000 feet and came in over the landing strip at Edwards Air Force Base in California. And this is where the commander gets to show his stuff, because he's going to land it, and it's a 200,000 pound... brick. It sort of flies. So at 40,000 feet you're subsonic, below the speed of sound, passing overhead, synch rates of 11,000 feet per minute, 300 miles an hour, you get to 1200 feet, pull back slightly on the stick, shallow the glide angle, slow down, touchdown at 200 miles an hour, and roll out. You only have one chance at this, 'cause it's a glider. And as we've said, it's better to die than look bad... ....and fortunately we didn't do either.
Astronaut Frederick Hauck about maintaining composure, guiding the Space Shuttle to a landing in the first mission after the Challenger explosion.
via The Moth Live in Portland, Maine. Mostly I like the "it's better to die than look bad" line.

on not getting swamped

FB offered this image for me to repost from 2017:

The core issue of it still sort of remains for me. I mean I *feel* things, but mostly anxiety and what not, and I cultivate sympathy and empathy for loved ones especially when they get knocked over by a wave of fear, but lately I'm even more aware of this philosophical safe space of emptiness I have, that my feelings and preferences don't matter much from the objective potential God's Eye View that I am forever subservient to, so I might as buck up and give the world a sardonic grin and get ready to roll with it.

To accept that it's not morally wrong to not get swamped by feeling is tough - whether it's fear of viruses and being part of a chain of infecting the vulnerable as well as myself, or concern for an economic future that suddenly has many more questions than answers (and the answers we have are all pretty bad), or of outrage that might lead me to be more politically active.
The older ya get
The more it's gonna cost
To do the things you did
When you were young

When an old man's in love
He just *thinks* he's in clover
He's not cooking with gas
He's just warming it over

Riley Shepard
Via the Hidden Brain podcast The Cowboy Philosopher
Y'know, I really had high hopes for 2020. Usually even numbered years have a good vibe for me.
So a question about R0, how many people an infected person gives it to, on average... a few places I've seen them run the exponential math that results:


Now, I don't want to underplay it- viral spread is exponential, and this explosive growth is fundamentally true. And if seeing these exact numbers helps someone get the message, and do the right thing, and stay the hell home for a while, good.

But... does R0 assume 3 new cases, of people who otherwise wouldn't be infected? At some point - maybe sooner maybe later - the contact is with people who were going to catch it anyway. Exponential growth eventually ends. (Just like: "All Bleeding Eventually Stops")

So the math geek in me is irked or at least questioning, but I don't want that "skepticism" to detract from the fundamental correctness and truth and Truth of the issues at hand...

(Oh, did I not post that brilliant Washington Post Simulations of Viral Spread?)
Under current guidelines one's milkshake is only permitted to bring nine boys to the yard.

March 18, 2020

My weight graph for two decades : diet.kirk.is
Hmm. Mixed feelings, I'm below 200 lbs for the first time since 2018 (save one momentary dip last spring)

It might sort of verify my theory that an office with a free lunch (TANSTAAFL) combined with ever-packed snack kitchen requires too much willpower to overcome. But also right now... akin to not feeling 100% food secure, I guess. I mean we can take precautions for another grocery run and our risk factors only slightly increase, but the more conservatively I eat the longer our "hoarded resources" will last - though probably not the full 4 weeks of WFH that has been mandated so far.

I've been food logging a few days, since it's harder to keep track of stuff. My perennial goto of "chicken sausage in a wrap" is still arond, along with frozen treats (I think I finally figured out cheap fudgicles and creamsicles have about the same calorie hit / satiation ratio but are cheaper than those diet-y yogurt things, now that "Chilly Cow" brand is no longer available) though I'm trying to stretch the treats a bit. Canned soups and cup noodles play a big role. "wrap with nutella" is a delicious new comer to cover the sweet tooth, and apples and oranges while they last. Oh and making iced coffee at home. Melissa and I have collaborated on some less blatantly bachelor-boyish meals as well.
Modern Living / Neurotica is an old set of Flash animations with a lot of weird artsy charm.. I guess it's like "see it while you still have a browser that might run Flash!"
I'm officially tired of winning.
Calling it "CoronaVirus" was - almost - endearing in its ineptness. Calling it "The Chinese Virus" is assholery at its most presidential. How about "The Whoops We Fired Our Pandemic Response Team Back in 2018 Virus"?
Famous Lines of Poetry Revised for the Age of Coronavirus
If you have a Zoom connection, that plus randomwordgenerator.com/pictionary.php is all you need to a amusingly clunky Pictionary-like game online using Zoom's built-in share Whiteboard. Use someone's iPhone timer, maybe make a simple rule like "successful guess is 1 point for artist, 1 point for guesser"... (UPDATE: with more than like 4 people it's probably better to break into teams -- otherwise it gets a little tough to figure who guessed what first. )

UPDATE: Codenames at horsepaste.com is pretty good too!

March 19, 2020

I loved the art from this SBNation article on On Japanese Mascots:

When I was kid, "Music has charms to soothe a savage breast" - or more often the misquote of "savage beast" - seemed to come up a lot, but I haven't thought about it for years. 'Til this morning, throwing on some iTunes to help the day.

Hmm. Probably we got it from Bugs Bunny in Hurdy-Gury Hare: "they say music calms the savage beast"...
The worst is not the enemy of the bad.

March 20, 2020

Quick sketch of "Witch" for a round of the mobile game "Draw Something" (Like "Words with Friends" but Pictionary.)

I've been playing for like... yikes, 8 years (!) but only one other buddy, OssianGrr, has been steady for years of that - we seem to try and get at least one exchange a day.

Anyway, if in these weeks of social distancing you'd like to add a little doodling-and-guessing, I think I'm "kirkjerk" (or maybe that username in my gmail email address). I'd recommend the $5 Pro version on a tablet... (the store has regular and "Classic" and not sure what the upgrade path is... but if you don't mind ads you can play for free as well I think.)
Insider Trading by Senators based on closed door information. That's cool.
Wait, is this the first time Trump used the term "nasty" not targeted at a woman? Progress?

Man, between shit like his own tax returns and, I dunno, making sure we have sufficient CoronaVirus(tm) tests, this dude just hates numbers.

NUMEROPHOBIA: the struggle is real.

covivid dreams

I’ve been thinking about this quote from 2002, Mark Turmell talking on the fall of the arcades and the rise of the Internet:
But the bottom line is that the players and kids stopped showing up. I think this is a weird fact, but every week we looked at earnings around the country, and the day that the Clinton report from the testimony of Monica Lewinsky got published on the Internet, the earnings in the arcades dropped 20%. Unfortunately, [those earnings] never returned! At that moment, I think the Internet became a source of entertainment.
Sometimes cultural changes happen all at once. We are likely at some kind of pivot point now. Right now it’s so easy to ask What’s the point of anything social? Why do people like to travel so much? Why come together in huge numbers to see a show or a sporting event or a politician? For the first time in my lifetime, a huge mass of people are painfully aware of the little gamble each mass event can be.

Even smaller numbers - in earlier seasons, how rarely did I notice how so many activities in the world were so, so dependent on humans in proximity. We are such social creatures, coming together for so so much. When that's blocked... man do things fall apart. What a freezing water shock for an economy that has been jogging along, on pretty clear straight lines up from 2009, a kind of fake second wind from tax cuts. "Make America Great Again" will have a truth in autumn of 2020 that it didn't in 2016.

And the weird part is, it could be so much worse. This virus’ hospitalization rate, while enough to swamp our gotta-stay-lean-and-profitable (or government underfunded) health care systems, might be even smaller than it looks. Ditto the death rate. Bad enough, for sure, and my heart goes to everyone who has lost someone, or where the struggle is yet to come. But it’s just a biochemical die roll it wasn’t an order of magnitude worse. Pray that we will put a larger focus on forward-looking research focused on prevention and response.

Don’t let Trump off the hook for this one. No, it’s not all his fault, but our anemic response, our inability to get tests up and out in a way that would have really helped and saved lives, comes from the top. You had a pandemic response team around for a reason ’til he let it fall aside in 2018. Then we had months where we could have focused on building ventilators and masks and cooperating on getting the most accurate and fast test, but we just played wait-and-see. There’s historical evidence Trump really buys perception as reality, and so he just talked it down. And there’s a line between talking to soothe jittery markets and to spin so much “miracle” kumbaya that people don’t take important action, and Trump crossed it.

When Trump’s sharpie crosses out “Corona” and replaces it with “Chinese”… he knows the game he’s playing. Move the blame, distract from his own disastrous under-response - give a little “sensible” racism for his base with just a kernel of virological truth - but more importantly, if called on the distracting racist bullshit of it, he can turn the story into “oh look at those liberals, more worried about being all Politically Correct than with dealing with the big crisis here!”

All of us will have to rebuild some of our lives after this. Many of us will face economic hardships. And most of us might be poised to ask, what should my priorities in life be. Let us look for answers of love with safety and like the old hippy said:
There's always a little bit of heaven, even in a disaster area.
Wavy Gravy
Right now - find that heaven as best you can.

so no one was gonna tell me that walruses can whistle i just had to find this out on my own? pic.twitter.com/Pn06ZSkddH

— 𝑒𝓂𝑜𝓉𝒾𝑜𝓃𝒶𝓁 𝓈𝒽𝑜𝓇𝓉𝓎 (@FrickinDelanie) March 19, 2020

March 22, 2020

Days slipping by. In 2020 before these days, I was finding a pleasant groove at work - focusing well, sticking to my grind. Workdays seemed a bit longer than they had before, in a healthy way. Now I still make progress but it's tougher. Interruptions take a larger toll.

I feel like I have so much less free time, even with all my band stuff set aside and my commute evaporated. When a day of coding has been a struggle, there's a temptation to just keep at it into the evening, further smudging the already wispy boundaries between professional time and personal time and space.

Yesterday, Saturday, I was honestly astonished how it go to be 2pm so quickly.
Self-exile Day 11. Evening. Words begin playing visual tricks - there is no way that FEBRUARY and SCHOOL are spelled like that!
Oh and RIP Kenny Rogers. If this wasn't such a stupid time you'd be getting a lot more attention. I can almost see the memes from an alternate timeline...

March 23, 2020


We just watched Beyoncé's Homecoming on Netflix - good lord how did Beyoncé mixing it up with HBCU Marching Bands and Drum Lines fly under my radar??
Ugh, social distancing must be rough on a lot of 12-step programs and support groups...

March 24, 2020

My very talented friend and School of Honk classmate/bandmate Sophie made this fun throwback:

March 25, 2020


The earliest bird gets the worm. But the second mouse gets the cheese.

Super Ambitious Lego Projects
OMG, Tiger King on Netflix.

March 26, 2020

By the way, it's not just South Korea who got much better control of this than us thanks to testing - so did Germany.

Yet the partisan people are letting Trump et al off the hook. We wasted months. Innocent people will be dying by the thousands, needlessly.

But I have advice. This is the advice that I hope you'll leave with, alright? This is it. You just need to learn to do one thing really well. And it's this: You Need to Learn to Manage Your Expectations. It's not an innate thing you're born with. It's a skill. If you work at it, you'll get good at it. The more you manage your expectations, you'll feel more fulfilled, less depressed, happier overall.
Tom Segura

March 27, 2020


Near-work photo from a more relaxed time, by Lloyd Park

(It's funny, at first I captioned this as 'from a simpler time', but the beauty of then was that it was more complex, but in enjoyable ways.)
I don't believe you need 40,000 or 30,000 ventilators. You know, at a major hospital sometimes they'll have two ventilators. All of a sudden they're saying, 'Can we order 30,000 ventilators?'
Hey, here's a fun quarantine game we can play online.... lets brainstorm all the wacky fun repurposings for ventilators, that must be New York's REAL reason for wanting so many. I'll start: use one to make an air-powered fidget spinner that spins one way than the other.

just a reminder that if your fellow self quarantining neighbors are being too loud you might be able to connect to their Bluetooth speaker

— Matt O'Brien (@matt_obrien) March 24, 2020

is pretty good online Codenames, for use with Zoom or what not...

March 28, 2020

"After I Turn Sixty-Nine"

I don't imagine that a chariot is hurrying near but that a sleek car is speeding up
I have started a list of the costumes I want to be buried in, beginning with horny centaur
I try to put aside obituaries but I am unable to do so for very long (maybe ten minutes)
I eat the same meal every night while reading recipes of dishes I have never tasted
I shudder nearly every time I read the phrase "Lifetime Guarantee or Your Money Back."
I no longer find it necessary to stop and look at what is going on at a construction site
I decide I won't tell people to stop sending me books even if I will never read them
I stop and watch ambulances trying to get past cars that don't want to move aside
I begin thinking about different methods I might use to remove myself from the story
I know what my friend meant when he said his dog would take his place on the couch
I think about the cities I will never return to, including Cadaqués and Caracas
I wonder when I will no longer begin a sentence with the words "if" and "when"
I dream that my ashes will be scattered in a remote spot in Ireland that no one visits
I admit that shrinking into myself is not as unpleasant as I once thought
John Yau
It reminds me a little bit of the conclusion of Anne Sexton's "Courage"

backlog flush

I have a section of my Todo list called "Google", notes to look up stuff later... but I've been bad about getting back to it, here's some cute stuff I found.
Jesus, everything ends badly, otherwise it wouldn't end.

The game Ducks Ahoy has this crazy charm - I feel there wasn't much "pixel art" back then as cute as this:

Back in the 80s, holograms were really a big thing - impressive ones the size of greeting cards, not these little dinky stickers on credit cards or whatever. You'd have carefully-lit kiosks at the mall selling them.

I took an after-hours class in making them in sixth grade! You need an elaborate setup to do it properly: a laser, special photographic plates, a dark room, and a sand table to dampen vibration. For the final project, we could select pile of small object. For some reason I was in a pretentious "minimalism is cool" phase (this was around the same time I was trying to convince myself I loved classical and jazz because that's what smart people liked and I was a smart person) and while other students made these cool still lifes with a digital watch, a chess piece, etc, I just had some marbles and magnetic washers.

Lesson learned: sometimes less is less.

Kind of the same thing with "Magic eye" puzzles in the 90s... I remember small specialty storefronts full of nothing but them, and the first time I "saw it", my eyes just sinking into a very large landscape portrait of the white house, on a band field trip. It was astounding!

But holograms needed careful lighting and attention and magic eye puzzles are there own challenge. 3D movies are still a novelty, 3D TVs never took off (both of those needing glasses) and the Nintendo 3DS' ability to do 3D without glasses is a bit wonky. I guess 3D isn't that important to us, not enough for us to make many compromises for anyway.

March 30, 2020

To the Godless Prophet Murphy and his Eternal Law:
"No good deed goes unpunished" so I acknowledge your secular mandate to reward my joint efforts at housecleaning with a pulled lower back in these quarantine times. I further acknowledge that in your eternal promise of "there is no situation so bad that it couldn't be worse" I might have come down with COVID-19 and be supplementing every dry cough with wrenching back spasms, so thank you for staying your hand, and please accept this benediction on your capricious power as reason to allow me slouch out from under the gaze of your bloodshot eye.
An old mentor of mine made this COVID-19 simulation, a bit more detailed than some of the other ones I've seen: ventrella.com/covid19/
Now it's kinda like life is just staring at the 3 dots on iMessage while coronavirus is typing

March 31, 2020


Maine asked for a half-million N95 masks and received about 5 percent of what it requested. Florida, by contrast, requested 430,000 surgical masks, 180,000 N95 respirators, 82,000 face shields, and 238,000 gloves--and received it all within three days.
This is no fucking way to run a crisis. DeSantis pretending a public health crisis is mostly about border security and not his own party beach is beyond stupid.

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