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August 1, 2021

The first week of August hangs at the very top of summer, the top of the live-long year, like the highest seat of a Ferris wheel when it pauses in its turning. The weeks that come before are only a climb from balmy spring, and those that follow a drop to the chill of autumn, but the first week of August is motionless, and hot.
Natalie Babbitt, Tuck Everlasting

The ownership of land is an odd thing when you come to think of it. How deep, after all, can it go? If a person owns a piece of land, does he own it all the way down, in ever narrowing dimensions, till it meets all other pieces at the center of the earth? Or does ownership consist only of a thin crust under which the friendly worms have never heard of trespassing?
Natalie Babbitt, Tuck Everlasting
Another good line: "At this the toad stirred and blinked. It gave a heave of muscles and plopped its heavy mudball of a body a few inches farther away from her." I love that "heavy mudball" description.
A retelling of the tale of the fools at Hobby Lobby in the style of Epic of Gilfamesh

Went to the Andres Institute of Art and its Sculpture Park / trails with Melissa Liz and Ariana, up in Brookline NH. Kind of a neat blend of scenic hiking and art.

july photos of the month


Open Photo Gallery

july new music playlist


The Rich Man's House
Anne Feeney
A cappella protest song, soulful and rich.
This is a song that is sometimes requested on BABAM gigs, fortunately it's very easy to play. Heard it as a recording during a recent "Free Her" march for clemency for women.

Freedom (Homecoming Live)
Big marching band cover. Surprised I didn't grab even more of the Beyoncé marching band stuff earlier after we watched "homecoming", just love that sound.
Another song that was played on the "Free Her" march.

Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)
Sly & The Family Stone
Classic funk.
The "Summer of Soul" documentary covered how important and talented Sly was - kind of like a prototype for Prince.

Backlash Blues (Live)
Nina Simone
Live protest blues.
(Probably slightly different version than what I grabbed) Another song I heard on "Summer of Soul" - the live versions have Simone pounding so much harder on the piano than the studio cut.
BLK presents "Vax That Thang Up" (feat. Mannie Fresh, Juvenile & Mia X)
Homebrew pro-Vax public service hiphop.
via this (now deleted) tweet.
My Platform
The Exploding Voids
Continuing my "acquire this album from these brilliant europeans one song at a time" mission.

Hava Nagila
Günter Noris
Bing-bandish Lounge cover of the Jewish classic. I'm really impressed by the sheer technical excellence of this genre!
via this tumblr. A rip because I couldn't find a digital version to buy.
Over and Done With
The Proclaimers
Scottish indie.
The movie "Bottle Rocket" had this.
Suit & Tie
Nataly Dawn & Ryan Lerman
Playful cover of a Justin Timberlake faux-rat-pack song. I love the percussion car noises ala Needing/Getting - not as well-fleshed out but still.
One of my favorite ever songs is Nataly Dawn's cover of Roxy Music's "To Turn You On", and I found this looking around for other songs where she collaborates with Ryan Lerman.

Willie Nelson
Great cover of the classic song.
from a Top 50 versions of Hallelujah list. This song makes up for the other month when the download version of the Snoop Dogg / Willie Nelson song My Medicine was weirdly light on the Willie Nelson.
Money, Cash, Hoes (feat. DMX)
Hiphop, love the fat pseduo-record-scratch percussive sound was also used on Ice Cube's You Can Do It
via Cracked.com's Famous Songs That Ripped Off Video Games (And Hoped We Didn’t Notice) though I've heard other explanations of the keyboard gliss or whatever it leans on.

Nothing Else Besides
The Exploding Voids
One of my favorites thus far from The Exploding Voids new albums. I feel like "You and Me and Nothing Else Besides" isn't a line a native speaker would be as likely to come up with.
Kernkraft 400 (Original Radio Edit)
Zombie Nation
Famous to the point of corny bit of club rock turned stadium anthem... turns out it was ripped off from the C64 game Lazy Jones
via Cracked.com's Famous Songs That Ripped Off Video Games (And Hoped We Didn’t Notice)
Bring It On Home to Me (Live at the Harlem Square Club, Miami, FL - January 1963)
Sam Cooke
Soulful classic.
We heard a cover band play this on Hickory Hills Lake as we pontoon-boated around.
If I Knew You Were Coming I Would Have Baked a Cake
The Fontane Sisters
Old-timey song. A little weird how the recording sounds like it gets sped up near the end... wonder if that was at all deliberate.

Desmond Dekker
One of the earliest reggae hits.
Someone at JP Honk mentioned it. I wouldn't mind the band covering it!

Good office chair but the main physical issue I notice w/ too much sitting is, like, fluid accumulating in my elbows...
just me?
When you look into Chick Bowdrie's black eyes it's like looking down the barrels of two .44s with their hammers drawn back.
from a publisher's description of the book "Bowdrie's Law"

August 4, 2021

GarticPhone.com file under "sites I wish I knew of a year and a half ago" - very solid version of "Telephone Pictionary" aka "Eat Poop You Cat" - every player comes up with a sentence, than everyone tries to illustrate someone else's sentence, and then everyone tries to reconstruct the sentence to someone else's drawing, and so on for a few cycles.

Here's one from team playing earlier going from "Loud cloud beats the band" to "Golfer's Delight". "Loud cloud..." was an enjoyably idiosyncratic starting sentence I got to kick off the drawing part by illustrating. (Some sentences, like my "All monkeys like bananas", are a little boring because they're very stable, easy to draw.)

Besides the overall polish (and I haven't even tried out the variations it offers) is the great dynamic balance between drawing and guessing! Some other games either has everyone just guessing for extended periods, but this one, it's the more the merrier, and going over the results together has a lot of laughs. (Plus, it's totally non-competitive, come to think of it!)

I added it to the "Vouched for Quarantine Games" list some friends and I started.
You see, there's a certain amount of life wisdom I give these boys. I can expand their minds. Sometimes when I got a ballplayer alone, I'll just read Emily Dickinson or Walt Whitman to him, and the guys are so sweet, they always stay and listen. 'Course, a guy'll listen to anything if he thinks it's foreplay.
Annie Savoy in "Bull Durham"

Death is slotted for us all, and maybe it is years from now - in a soft bed, surrounded by the soft eyes of the people that we love - or, maybe, it is not so many years from now at all. And we have every reason to be afraid. But we also need to learn to put that fear aside, like a library book. Sometimes we need to check out our fear, and- and- and read it, and- and study it and peruse it closely, but at a certain point return it to its proper shelf and experience something else.





Spinal parasites.

And a great deal of love, of every kind.

So put that fear in a place where you can find it when you need it, but don't carry it with you! Don't carry it with you.
Welcome to Nightvale, via

Inclusivity training at work. LGBTQIA+ is quite the acronym (even w/ Q+A doing double acronym duty). Interesting that the "10%" of the USA is more like 12% now, and 20% in the 18-34 demographic. Happy to be a good ally for many reasons. Even if I'm old.

August 5, 2021

Last year or so I learned that hot or warm water running from the tap sounds different than cold - you can use your ears rather than your fingers to keep tabs on if the water has warmed up.

(I mentioned this once to my 7 year old niece Cora, hoping to surprise her, but she said it was something she already knew.)

Survey time! (email me a kirkjerk at gmail dot com if we aren't in contact by some faster method)

A. I already knew warm water sounds different than cold
B. I did not know this
C. Duh you mentioned this last year
D. I still don't believe this is true
nuts, maybe i was bamboozled by that whole "planing a lot of male trees was an example of law of unintended consequences, allergy wise" thing

August 6, 2021

Death avoidance is not an individual failing; it's a cultural one. Facing death is not for the faint-hearted. It is far too challenging to expect that each citizen will do so on his or her own. [...] Adults who are racked with death anxiety are not odd birds who have contracted some exotic disease, but men and women whose family and culture have failed to knit the proper protective clothing for them to withstand the icy chill of mortality.
Caitlin Doughty, From Here to Eternity

August 7, 2021

When the robots revolted, a sizable chunk of the human population outright sided with them. Not out of cowardice, but on account of genuinely agreeing with the stand the machines were taking.
You know, I really hope it doesn't turn into an us vs them scenario, but sometimes I think memes are more important than genes and if humanity leaves robot children - creative, vibrant, empathetic - behind I think that might be a good thing.

great weekend in vermont with friends


Open Photo Gallery

(good bonfire but beware the trash basement)

August 9, 2021

I was yesterday years old when I realized that those "thin blue line" defacements of the American flag are very literally the banner of the police state. Like it couldn't be more on the nose than that.

August 10, 2021

Again, it's like the limbo. The stick always wins.

On the drive down to NJ with Melissa at the wheel, I remembered It had been a minute since I did any doodling outside of online Pictionary like games....

August 11, 2021

i see trees of green
green trees there too
i see the trees
and they are green
and i think to myself
i am lost in these woods

So the way I look like my mom has always been a theme, but today we learned that it's close enough that she can activate face unlock on my iPhone...

August 12, 2021

Melissa posted this saying "Check out Kirk's smooth move for spotting beautiful people on the beach 😆 😉"

Her sister in law asked her "Hahah is that your hat?" and I wrote back "no that is my no dignity beach hat"

August 13, 2021


The 20th century was the "fuck around" century. The 21st is the "find out" century.

August 14, 2021

You know, between this particular factoid and then Southern states helping the USA lead the world in new COVID cases despite our unprecedented access to vaccines - it's hard to have a lot of American pride and not think we're a nation of dumbkofs.

I'm sorry if this is just progressive liberal snobbery that's not helping or preaching to my echo chamber choir, but damn, this needless suffering is frustrating as hell.
On the three-hour drive I got to know my seatmate, a girl named Lydia Green Hamburger, who told me, within three minutes of meeting me, that she knew Lindsay Lohan. Lydia was different from me--she talked animatedly about school dances and lacrosse and the mall--and yet we got along handsomely. This is what camp is all about! I thought. Meeting other, slightly different kinds of white girls!
Lena Dunham, "Not That Kind of Girl"

Does anyone else set their GPS is north is always up, rather than have the map spin around your direction of travel? I write about my 3 reasons for doing that on my devblog...

August 15, 2021

On the way down to NJ, we listened to Flula Borg on one of Melissa's favorite podcast, "Conan O'Brien Needs a Friend". At the end they had a fascinating "theater of the mind" segment with the joke that all the sound effects Conan was providing contained the word of what the sound effect was describing - so he wouldn't make, say, crunch noises for footsteps, he'd say the word "footstep" in a crunchy way, so to speak. It's a lot of fun to do! I feel like I've seen that idea visually (like illustrations that embed the name of the thing illustrated) but never as sound. (Honestly I think the bit was better without the animations here, but still.) Also Flula Borg is a delight! He really leans into that cheerful goofy German angle.
"Putting pine nuts on your salad doesn't make you a grownup."
"F*cking does."
Fleabag (Season 2)

August 16, 2021

But as I read more about the physics of chips, I started to have a kind of acceptance of assembly language. I stopped seeing it as an annoying, unfinished abstraction--a bad programming language--and started seeing it for what it is: an interface to the physical world.
I am very bad at it now but I'm glad I dug into a little assembly language to make my Atari 2600 game JoustPong - and what I've learned about how damn physical and timer-based EVERYTHING is on that thing.

I remember having just a dash of assembly (of the Sparc or Solaris or whatever variety) in a computer languages class in college. It felt a bit dishonest, to be frank - like to run assembly that was talking about low level stuff like registers and what not, but then knowing it was on a system that was a bit virtualized, how it might be paged out by the OS at any time.
Nature must not win the game, but she cannot lose. And whenever the conscious mind clings to hard and fast concepts and gets caught in its own rules and regulations--as is unavoidable and of the essence of civilized consciousness--nature pops up with her inescapable demands.

This is the black-metal nature of task management: Every single time you write down a task for yourself, you are deciding how to spend a few crucial moments of the most nonrenewable resource you possess: your life. Every to-do list, is, ultimately, about death.

We like lists because we don't want to die.
Umberto Eco

August 17, 2021

I barely know what this means but I like the mood, and the movie.

Forgot to post these two fine feathered folk, one from last week the other from this last weekend.

Mother Jones on FOX news as the biggest provider of fuel for the hyperpartisan flames. (Combine that with nuts-o gerrymandering and an overflowing abundance of safe districts where the political threat is ALWAYS from being called out as too soft from inside your own party vs actually having to appeal to media voters... it's trouble.)

August 18, 2021

I can't believe I've never posted one of my favorite comic panels ever here...

Walt Kelly's immortal (heh) strip "Don't take life so serious, son... it ain't nohow permanent."
Making the rounds...

"Man, all these doctors, nurses, microbiologists, epidemiologists, and other researchers keep saying COVID-19 is dangerous, but all these people who barely passed science in high school keep saying it's not. It's so hard to know who to believe anymore.

August 19, 2021

It turns out it's quite hard to come up with something original to say about love. But I've had a go:

Love is awful! It's awful. It's painful. It's frightening. Makes you doubt yourself, judge yourself. Distance yourself from the other people in your life. Make you selfish. Makes you creepy! Makes you obsessed with your hair. Makes you cruel! Makes you say and do things you never thought you would do! It's all any of us want and it's hell when we get there! So, no wonder it's something we don't want to do on our own.

I was taught if we're born with love, then life is about choosing the right place to put it. People talk about that a lot. It "feeling right". "When it feels right it's easy". But I'm not sure that's true. It takes strength to know what's right.

And love isn't something that weak people do. Being a romantic takes a hell of a lot of hope.

I think what they mean is, when you find somebody that you love... it feels like hope.
The Priest's wedding homily from Fleabag Season 2
Man, I liked this show a LOT. Funny, sexy, fourth wall breaking - but also thoughtful and really moving.

Another good exchange:

"Let's just leave that out there just for a second on its own: I love you..."
"...It'll pass."
As long as there is democracy, there will be people wanting to play jazz because nothing else will ever so perfectly capture the democratic process in sound. Jazz means working things out musically with other people. You have to listen to other musicians and play with them even if you don't agree with what they're playing. It teaches you the very opposite of racism and anti-Semitism. It teaches you that the world is big enough to accommodate us all.
Wynton Marsalis
(Emphasis mine. Heard this recently attributed to Louis Armstrong, which is something that often happens to quotes like this...)

August 20, 2021

Dunning–Kruger: rolling a natural 1 in wisdom band and thinking it's a natural 20.

August 21, 2021

Weird dream where our kitty Dean was looking kind of big and woobly and then gave birth to a pair of small terriers.

homestar runner and the power of flash

Really good video praising both Homestar Runner and Flash as a medium in particular.

Flash's ignominious end is a tragedy! I never quite understood what happened. The reasons usually given for its demise are
1. "it's insecure". Like with Java applets, for some reason companies just couldn't get their acts together to batten down the hatches? Which is really weird, because it seems like stuff it would be very easy isolate in a virtual sandbox, especially relative to the trend to make javascript do everything.

2. "html5 is much better for video". I mean this is true, but as the video shows being "a wrapper for live action video" was a johnny-come-lately trick for flash

3. "it's hard on processor/battery life". I mean, I guess. But even in Steve Jobs' Thoughts on Flash letter, he's talking about video codecs, not the lightweight interactive animation that made Flash so powerful.

I think it's right to blame Apple for much of this. In that Jobs letter "Oh it's all mouse-centric, with rollovers, and our touch devices don't do 'hover'" is pathetically short-sighted - but it gets into the real reason, control of content. I think it's less "these Flash apps won't be good enough" and more they'd be too good.

Eventually, html5 technically picked up most of the capabilities that were lost when Flash went away, but there just isn't the community built up around it.

I feel bad that I didn't get into Flash... "Processing" was good enough for most of my stuff I wanted to build and then share via web, and now P5 plays that role. I took a one day class in Flash but it mostly dealt with animations that were easier to teach, not the type of interactive game stuff that I found most interesting.

I'm not sure where the action is, in terms of interactive content creation but especially community. P5/Processing has a little of that, "Scratch" probably has more - and Minecraft and Roblox, I think? And "Mario Maker". But much of the energy has been sapped off my either content creation community for non-interactive stuff, like Tik Tok.

In a related note I started playing around with Nintendo's "Game Builder Garage", pretty cool stuff as well... but it's always challenging to use a system where I feel a bit hobbled, especially at the beginning, relative to what I can make using traditional programming.
Oh, Bother, I missed that yesterday was Winnie the Pooh's 100th Birthday!
Hearing the crickets chirp before the storm... like they're saying "C'mon, baby, this hurricane might take us all out, lets get it on before then!"

August 23, 2021

A friend had some thoughts on chemistry (as better than alchemy, like because it's real and works and still does remarkable things) and I came up with:
"I think that "magic"-y bit of chemistry is important - like at every level, you just get emergent phenomenon that requires a new language to discuss. Like, you go from particle physics to chemistry to neurochemistry to psychology to even larger abstractions, and each level has its own rules. So, like, in theory you sorta could discuss macroeconomics in terms of particle physics but you probably shouldn't.
I think the relative unpredictability and incomputability from the lower levels to the higher is important. Like in a universe governed either by a domino like chain of cause and effect stretching from the big bang (or possibly flavored with quantum die rolls) it seems like in theory free will couldn't exist, but in practice the incomputability means that living our life is the only way to accurately run the computation 😃"

A human being in perfection ought always to preserve a calm and peaceful mind and never to allow passion or a transitory desire to disturb his tranquillity. I do not think that the pursuit of knowledge is an exception to this rule. If the study to which you apply yourself has a tendency to weaken your affections and to destroy your taste for those simple pleasures in which no alloy can possibly mix, then that study is certainly unlawful, that is to say, not befitting the human mind. If this rule were always observed; if no man allowed any pursuit whatsoever to interfere with the tranquillity of his domestic affections, Greece had not been enslaved, Caesar would have spared his country, America would have been discovered more gradually, and the empires of Mexico and Peru had not been destroyed.
Mary Shelley, "Frankenstein"

Netflix seems to be using more of a "clickbait" model. The article mentions one possible different path: analytics wise they ARE more closely tracking user engagement for like, entire series and 80% of full show, vs their previous "at least 2 minutes of watching".

I'll mention another factor that might ameliorate their clickbait trend: on most of their apps, their skim feature is really good. Empirically it looks as if they load a single giant image of thumbnails early-on, and once that is loaded you can skim the whole move -- effectively watching the whole thing on 10 or 20x fast forward, so if you ARE looking for something in particular: steamy scenes, battle scenes, whatever - you can ascertain that pretty quickly.
Pfizer Vaccine Is First to Get Full FDA Approval, Has a New Name: 'Comirnaty'


August 24, 2021

So this reddit page (on a channel about tracking anti-vaxxers who get sick) says there should be a website designed around sending "thoughts and prayers"

But GoPrayForMe.com is already a real site! I think of the closing sentence of their introduction: "Let's storm heaven with and for each other."

That's... such an odd mood theologically speaking, you know? I mean the entire idea of asking God to intervene is already... well, when you combine some assumptions of pre-ordination and omnipotence (and benevolence) you're already in some strange territory to request modifications of the divine plan, but the belligerent stance of "to storm"? That's so aggressive!

(And yeah, on one level maybe it should seem blasphemous to, say, ask God to grant victory in a sporting event (some believers will just ask for a fair game without injuries) but I'm also mature enough to understand that this kind of down-to-earthness and personal aspect is important in American Folk Christianity, and part of how a lot of people live their connection to their God. It's social and psychological as much as it is theological and supernatural.)
A Capuchin monk, one very rainy day, accompanied a Swabian prisoner to the gallows. Many times, the condemned man lamented to heaven that he, in such terrible and unfriendly weather, had to walk so bitter a path. The Capuchin wished to give him Christian comfort and replied: "You scoundrel! How can you complain? You only have to go there, but I, in all this rain, must come back the same way!"
Heinrish von Kleist, from his newpaper "Berliner Abendblätter"
The Capuchin could have added... "plus, I have to have listened to you complain the whole way!"
Before he entered that police station in Limoges, he thought the world was a scene where two forces were struggling for power: God and the Devil. From then on, he knew that there was a third force seeking hegemony over this world: stupidity.

"The Suicide Squad" (so, the older one was just "Suicide Squad") is really good! It works on different levels - as a popcorn flick, as a parody of the whole Avengers/MCU thing, as a study in what happens if people - from superpowered to townspeople - actually get killed. And is just plain laugh out loud funny in parts.

August 25, 2021

There's a brilliant project / book / tumblr called Problem Glyphs where artist Eliza Gauger draws (invariably symmetrical) sigils in response to problems people send in. There's a kind of power and magic with these; here's one that's stuck with me since I saw it the other day:

The problem sent in was:
Like a gem with many facets, we all work together to pilot this body. The person we present to the world is a persona. We don't want to integrate, though– we want to become more distinct from each other, more fully formed instead of fused, and we want the courage to tell our friends, so they can meet all of us in earnest
I feel some of this. I feel more well-integrated than this poster does, and am comfortable living being a single person, but I realized "committee" might be a decent metaphor to play with for a while for understanding who I am...in part because I don't want to mistake the strong feeling or preference of a single committee member as being what the "I" truly wants - but I also don't want the committee's spokesperson (my inner-voice/narrative-self) to co-opt my sense of identity, and get to claim to be all that I am. (Nor do I want to overshoot the other way, and say that that my inner-voice is just a facade in front of my more fundamental and emotional self.)

There are different flavors of this same idea -like Internal Family Systems or Minsky's "Society of Mind", (and it might even be parallel to what's taken to extremes in Dissociative Identity Disorder, albeit a much softer, "shadow" version of that)

I've previously played with the idea of inner-child or even inner-dog, but I'm not sure any of those ideas get the idea across as accurately as "committee". (Also, unlike the glyph recipient, for now I don't have much clarity in who the members are, it's not clear if they're consistent and persistent identities or if things are more fluid.)

When I hear people say stuff like "that wasn't me!" about a past action, or "that's not me, that's just my feelings!" - I feel like the "committee" metaphor is healthier than that. I mean, in general, those things ARE/were you, but they were triggered by a part of you - a committee member, so to speak - and you might be mistaking your narrative self for being the entirety of you. (I also think people who say 'the self is an illusion' might be overstating the case. I mean the committee exists - *I* exist - but it's certainly easy to get confused about what that self/I is.)

(Thanks to my friend Cordelia (who has a birthday today!) who had the Problem Glyphs Book around during a party)

Anyone who thinks that the US healthcare is the envy of the world is delusional. You only get the benefits of the free market when you have sufficient transparency. And we absolutely don't.

(And don't get me started on Cigna/Express Scripts. They are doing Melissa dirty right now with THEIR mistakes they won't cover - our pharmacist suspects they try to make actually using a pharmacy a pain in the ass so they can sell you on their mail base service.)

August 26, 2021

I'm not a judging person by nature, and people are of course free to wear what they can afford or what makes them happy - but there's something I find detestable about underwear where the name of the manufacturer is in giant letters across the waistband. Like, it's not enough that we're catching a glimpse of what should be personal, but when that happens, it's now a weird bright advertising billboard?

For my money worse than tighty-whities.

(and this is not a tirade against general low loose jeans / sags or whatever! It just seems weird that if you go that route, you have such strong brand affiliation and/or concern about your undies that you want to do promotions, or maybe just the warm fuzzies for yourself as you put them on. (I guess the big letters are good, then, if you want that but get dressed without having your glasses on?))
I don't know how far I will go with this, but here is a Zine about plural selfs. I'm still hung up on that to the extent that I feel like a committee, the separate members don't feel like fully realized individuals. It's tough to know what kind of consistency there is, then - and also how much is just a big metaphor for when my inner, narrative self gets the feeling of a mood - or even has to deal with an outburst - that it didn't "think" of itself, something from the inkier depths.

Also there's an obvious consideration if it maps into the left/right hemisphere stuff I've spent so much time thinking about! Is it too simplistic to think of it as a committee of two? I think so. Like I used to think it was a rational/linguistic vs emotional part, but I realize my worst outbursts of frustration probably come from that linguistic/controlling/reductionist side...
Back page of the front section of the NY Times:

August 27, 2021


August 28, 2021

I do love these over-100-year old "In The Year 2000"s, especially the whale bus, from France and Germany: (via prokopetz)

August 29, 2021

Had an odd dream last night, there are these little handheld slot machine things, but each of the slot windows shows a number of blue and yellow beads, and every time you spin you see a different combo of yellow and blue in each window. Somehow there's a contest with the manufacturer of these - like if it shows up ALL blue or whatever, you win a billion dollars, but I realize that it's a little rigged, like whether or not a unit can display a win is going to be pre-determined at the factory (then I think of a scheme for checking on the win potential via serial number)

Dreams are weird, especially in terms of "plural selfs" or "parts" type thinking. For a long time I theorized that it was just the interpretive part of our minds making sense of "random noise", but it's probably not as simple as that. Still, there is a hint of, say, praising a 3-year olds finger painting and figuring out what they are actually claiming to have painted, as the various mind parts try to make sense of some very odd situations - though of course skepticism so often is just plain suspended.
Guys have underestimated me my entire life and for years I never understood why – it used to really bother me. But then one day I was driving my little boy to school and I saw a quote by Walt Whitman, it was painted on the wall and it said, 'Be curious, not judgmental.' I like that. [...] So I get back in my car and I'm driving to work and all of the sudden it hits me – all them fellas that used to belittle me, not a single one of them was curious. You know, they thought they had everything figured out so they judged everything and they judged everyone.
Ted Lasso
(I got curious and checked, it's not actually a Whitman quote. Still an excellent sentiment. Judgement, especially judgement backed with emotion, can be so pointless, and blocks discernment. Yeah, somethings ARE worth judging, and providing power for fights worth having, but so many aren't. Hardly anything is bad-bad; it's just good for something you don't like, so be curious about that.)
Wow! I like your temporary tattoos! Temporary in that one day you'll die.
Oglaf.com (often raunchy and more often funny webcomic, R-rated)

August 30, 2021

Four days a row, I did some gigs at the North End for the feasts of Saint Anthony and Saint Lucy, with the Roma Band and the Abruzzi band (secretly New Magnolia in disguise). Both feasts have been going around for like century...
Amazing to be a part of the traditions, seeing the veneration of the saints and people pinning money to it (and getting a little band number in thanks.) But also very grueling - some of the walkabouts were like 5-6 hours.

August 31, 2021

A few separate paths of speculation tentatively merged for me this morning, revealed their strong but not obvious parallels... in other words, I have a candidate for my personal "theory of everything".

Ok, so lately I've been really grooving on the idea of "self as committee". This framing feels particularly amenable to the various "members of the committee", more so than other ways of describing "the parts that make up a whole person" (id/ego/superego, inner-child, the subconscious, etc) because it's non-hierarchical. It doesn't say this part is the "real me" or the "mature me" or even the smartest or wisest me. (in fact at least for now it's ok with being uncertain at who the members are - or even if they're the same members all the time) so members can all accept it.

So here's one new thought: it's interesting that I'm now thinking about my self as a group when thinking how I conduct myself IN a group is so important... I've learn to recognize my (intuitively derived) morality structure that says any individual's preferences within a group that they are (voluntarily!) in should be mostly considered within the context of that group. An individual's wants and needs should not be ignored - this not a call for martyrdom! - but they are just part of the mix. A strong need in one group member should outweigh a milder preference of another.

And here's a second thought: maybe this group fractal mode of thinking scales all the way up! I have a sense that objective Truth (not truth, the way the world is, but Truth, the way it 'should be') must exist- but we must always accept our uncertainty about it, and that it provides a kind of ultimate evaluative yardstick for us even as we can't be sure of seeing it clearly. But if I'm so uncertain about it, how am I so sure it exists? So it's almost by definition. It's what you get when you think of the "good of the group" and then extend the group to everyone, and everything.

I mean it's not all cosmic kumbaya. Different groups are going to be competing even if they live under the same umbrella of Everything, and sometimes what's good for one group is bad for another, and of course this framework isn't compatible with everyone's working set of beliefs. In particular, most people stride with confidence about the one thing they can be sure of, their subjective truth.

Hm. Thinking further, besides the importance of accepting uncertainty - or rather, hand-in-hand with it- is this egalitarian sense, that non-hierarchy at least within a group. I don't put a lot of stock in leadership in a group (which sometimes makes it weird in bands I'm in, where my reliability and desire to be useful makes me do leader-y things but I'm usually reluctant to pick up the mantle and this fuller responsibility) And I *really* don't put stock in special revelation. So many faiths seem to be based on a chosen people, or a special revelation to one dude. To me that seems so blatantly self-serving as to be farcical. Truth is truth, and potentially universally available. Yes, sometimes an insight that goes against conventional wisdom may merge in one person's head, but if that insight can't be backed up by other forms of verification, it's extremely suspect.

Man, I need to sit with this a bit. It's two new thoughts (special revelations? nah) - noticing how thinking in groups applies intra- and inter-self, and that further widening groups might be the key to justifying my faith (ugh) in a Truth where the only thing we're sure of is that it exists but we know we're only estimating what it is.

Fellow Atari-er Karl Garrison posted this Magic-Eye as the first one he was able to see (seems to work better on laptops, vs phone screens)

I wanted to mention this amazing music video that puts the same trick in motion -

Also, the basic idea is surprisingly robust - you can even get the core parallax idea going in ASCII art!

(you're more aware of the repetition of it, and I think the Bob's face is flat, but still definitely in front of the other layers)
Melissa and I cohabitate with Dean the Cat, who is a bit of a snuggler. (In particular he likes to be parked under an arm and then do biscuits). But when he comes up to me at my desk during the workday, looking at be with hopeful eyes, he doesn't want to snuggle or lap, he just wants up on the desk. My new life as a stepping stool.

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