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photos of the month october 2021


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via Vanessa Mourao (photo by her husband), at the School of Honk Birthday celebration at the Powderhouse in Somerville
No matter what instrument you are playing you can't miss the first beat or you're through.
Ken Eglin in "Duplex Planet"... was listening to a podcast about him and the other retiree folks, and I bought the book "No More Shaves"

November 2, 2021

The best explanation of "The Dress" I've seen, from this Cracked article - includes some other great illusions, most of which I'd seen but some audio ambiguities that were new to me...

Was thinking about Mickey's hard pivot to "definitely Caucasian - like I guess he was in some color flicks before they honed in on that, while defining his eye whites as a distinct area.

I guess he was a little minstrel-y anyway, with the gloves and all.

Weird. Wouldn't have picked Disney to become such the dominant force. I guess it's the ability to make Disneyland/World into like a quasi-mythical place. I certainly was sold on it even as a teen.

Just watched that Runaway Brain short from 1995 and am now pondering the semiotics of Minnie Mouse purchasing a two-piece swimsuit

october 2021 new music playlist

Kaba Blon
Some great percussion in this one from "Music from Saharan Cellphones" - music that had been passed around from phone to phone.
via this tumblr post
Mumford & Sons
Mellow indie.
Via Ted Lasso.
Ben Franklin's Song
The Decemberists
Kind of cool stompy indie about Ben Franlkin.
Final song I'll grab from Hamilton Mixtape. For once, it IS the Decemberist, not just a group that sounds like the Decemberists.

Smells Like Teen Spirit
Too Many Zooz
Awesome small horn and drum cover.
(Found just kicking around youtube I guess)
GOGO霊幻! - モブサイコ
Mob Psycho OST
High energy music with a middle eastern vibe.
via this tumblr post with some great Japanese mascot dancing.
Lil Nas X
Straight ahead (well, not straight, so much) cover of Dolly Parton's classic from BBC One.
via this tumblr post
I Like It Like That
Rebirth Brass Band
Good ol' NOLA stuff, if a bit too raunchy gross.
Playing in background at Anna's dinner party

I am not a woman, I'm a god
Intense Electronic Pop.
She was playing on SNL.
Bella Ciao
Straight forward cover of the leftist classic.
(Just googling around what other songs they did besides tubthumper)
yankee and the brave (ep. 4)
Run The Jewels
Most of their hiphop songs are a bit same-y, but still a great sound - and an awesome Adult Swim Video.
Heard it closing up a Ted Lasso episode.
My Humps (feat. Black Eyed Peas) [JBroadway Remix]
Funky cover.
My friend JZ is one of the few people who understands the percussion I like in music...
Father and Farther
Jim Boyd & Sherman Alexie
Thoughtful kinda country tune, "Sometimes Father, You and I, are like a 3-legged horse that can't get across the finish line..."
From the Native American produce film "Smoke Signals"

Tainted Love
Hannah Peel
Amazing "music box" cover of the new wave classic.
Playing on an generally unwatched TV at Miller's pumpkin carving party.
Miami Sound Machine
Amazing crossover hit of the 80s.
this Cracked article mentioned an easteregg in the game Far Cry 6 about this song, and I got to thinking about it in general.
Pity The Downtrodden Landlord
Bob Hill
Folksy sardonic protest song.
A woman sang a verse of this at a BABAM protest for the tenants of the Forbes building.
Brotherly Love
Olive Oyl (Mae Questel)
From this old Popeye cartoon
"'Cause what we need is brotherly love..." from this old b+w cartoon I remembered from my childhood was stuck in my head. (Heh.... I think we just had a black and white TV back then, so maybe I didn't realize it was a black and white cartoon...)

Can’t Help Falling In Love (Live At Daytrotter)
Ingrid Michaelson
very How To Make A Blockbuster Movie Trailer vibe to this (i.e. haunting unexpected female cover a pop song.) - love the out of tune piano of it though.
(things I was just googling around after having had some other songs by this artist)

Via the wikipedia page on the Incoherents art movement.
An article on tough truths on leadership reminded me of something I heard on a podcast but forgot to remember the attribution: basically it's that every leader should ask people reporting to them "what is some bad news that I don't want to hear?"

I love the meta-reversal of that. It mirrors an excellent principle I've always tried to apply for myself - when I realize I'm hiding something from myself, semi-deliberately distracting myself away from a threat, that tells the other part of my brain "oh, beware, this thing must really be bad!"

Now this idea doesn't work all the time and in all situations or for all people. If you aren't able to keep the context that hardly any bad news is the final word (or embrace the existential bleakness "well someday the sun expands to engulf the Earth and then its the heat death of the universe anyway, so cheer up for now, kid") then diversion can be a good strategy. But I think it's good to cultivate leaning into bad stuff.
My 5G Coverage was getting a little spotty so I scheduled my Pfizer booster shot for today.

from Steve Pinker's "Rationality"

May I say that I have not thoroughly enjoyed serving with humans? I find their illogic and foolish emotions a constant irritant.
Mr. Spock
I've been thinking alot about Star Trek Vulcans in general; like how they strive to be ruled by logic but that actually represents a lot of internal struggles. (There's probably a lot more there then the "Vulcans Have No Emotions" thinking I took at face value as a kid.)
The psychologist David Myers has said that the essence of monotheistic belief is: (1) There is a God and (2) it's not me (and it's also not you). The secular equivalent is: (1) There is objective truth and (2) I don't know it (and neither do you). The same epistemic humility applies to the rationality that leads to truth. Perfect rationality and objective truth are aspirations that no mortal can ever claim to have attained. But the conviction that they are out there licenses us to develop rules we can all abide by that allow us to approach the truth collectively in ways that are impossible for any of us individually.
Steven Pinker, "Rationality"
Pretty succinct summary of some of my own feelings. Though one note... kind of interesting to implicity tie-in immortality with omniscience...
Some people hope to vest morality in a higher power. That's what religion is for, they say--even many scientists, like Stephen Jay Gould. But Plato made short work of this argument 2,400 years ago in Euthyphro. Is something moral because God commands it, or does God command some things because they are moral? If the former is true, and God had no reason for his commandments, why should we take his whims seriously? If God commanded you to torture and kill a child, would that make it right? "He would never do that!" you might object. But that flicks us onto the second horn of the dilemma. If God does have good reasons for his commandments, why don't we appeal to those reasons directly and skip the middleman? (As it happens, the God of the Old Testament did command people to slaughter children quite often.)
Steven Pinker, "Rationality"
I'm no Plato, but the idea that there is a shared higher moral framework that transcends individual beliefs that we appeal to when trying to persuade others just raise the question, why don't we focus on that potentially universal framework.
[Formal Logic] is *formal*, blinkered from seeing anything but the symbols and their arrangement as they are laid out in front of the reasoner. It is blind to the *content* of the proposition--what those symbols mean, and the context and background knowledge that might be mixed into the deliberation.
Steven Pinker, "Rationality"
You know I probably grabbed this quote because I thought it said "it is blind to the context" not content... because I am increasingly exasperated with reductionist methods that ignore context. I mean you can't swing entirely the other way, and turn everything into an endless sea of "it depends" but nothing can be truly understood in isolation.
Mindfulness of base rates can be a gift of equanimity as we reflect on our lives. Now and again we long for some rare outcome--a job, a prize, admission to an exclusive school, winning the heart of a dreamboat. We ponder our eminent qualifications and may be crushed and resentful when we are not rewarded with our just deserts. But of course other people are in the running, too, and however superior we think we may be, there are more of them. The judges, falling short of omniscience, cannot be guaranteed to appreciate our virtues. Remembering the base rates--the sheer number of competitors--can take some of the sting out of a rejection. However deserving we think we may be, the base rate--one in five? one in ten? one in a hundred?--should ground our expectations, and we can calibrate our hopes to the degree to which our specialness could reasonably be expected to budge the probability upward.
Steven Pinker, "Rationality"

Any theory that can account for all the facts is wrong, because some of the facts are wrong.
Francis Crick

The cat that sits down on a hot stove-lid . . . will never sit down on a hot stove-lid again, and that is well; but also she will never sit down on a cold one any more.
Mark Twain

No logical argument can establish a moral claim. But an argument *can* establish that a claim under debate is inconsistent with another claim a person holds dear, or with values like life and happiness that most people claim for themselves and would agree are legitimate desires of everyone else.
Steven Pinker, "Rationality"
(Again, this goes back to the appeal of a kind of Plato and the hope for a universally agreeable set of moral priorities.)
Vincent and his mini-sousaphone, newest member of JP Honk...


There's no question of things getting better.
Things are one way or they are another way; 'better' is how we see them, Archie says, and I don't personally, very much; though sometimes he makes them seem not so bad after all--no, that's wrong, too: he knows not 'seems'. Things do not *seem*, on the one hand, they *are*; and on the other hand, bad is not what they can *be*. They can be green, or square, or Japanese, loud, fatal, waterproof or vanilla-flavoured; and the same for actions, which can be *disapproved* of, or comical, unexpected, saddening or good television, variously, depending on who frowns, laughs, jumps, weeps or wouldn't have missed it for the world. Things and actions, you understand, can have any number of real and verifiable properties. But good and bad, better and worse, these are not real properties of things, they are just expressions of our feelings about them.
Dotty in Tom Stoppard's play "Jumpers"
I admit the play didn't quite live up to my hopes. For obvious reasons it reminded me strongly of Monty Python's Professor of Logic skit, which came out a year or two after, but I'm not sure if the skit parodies the play or if they are both mirroring some British Academician tropes or a specific source.

Definitely some tie-ins with this kind of moral relativism and my concerns about how so much "reasoning" and signaling we do is about "I'm on team for this" or "I'm on team against this". Like that feeling is considered the most crucial thing. And I've been led to believe that having a feeling about something is the only thing that stirs us to action - we can't really think our way into action, only emotion provides the critical impetus. (Though we might have a subjective emotion that has us strongly support objective rationality.)

To try and reconcile the possible lack of good and bad as objective absolutes along with our overwhelming dependency on having strong for/against preferences to provide (possibly the entirety of) motif force for our actions, we are quickly forced to the question "what is the point of it all, anyway?" - like, existentially. For me the answer is to support the creation of creative, categorical novelty in the universe - to help humanity become something and create things - and types of things - that otherwise couldn't exist in this corner of the universe.
You're looking like a million bucks, without the million. How close are you to the million? Forty thousand?
William Ferguson, in "No More Shaves"

Robots are mechanical men. They walk around, they set the table and don't say nothin'. They bring you your underwear and they put you to bed. They take out a cigar and smoke cigars. They stand there and watch you. Mechanical men. Christ, they wash windows, shovel snow, give you a cigar, put out the lights, and then they wave good night.
Larry Green, in "No More Shaves"
("No More Shaves" is a collection of illustrated stories from elders collected in the zine The Duplex Planet.)

(SPOILER: wow, Legos, Nintendo, *and* Transformers - the biggest hits of the 80s and 90s!)
added a Gelaskins to my new Macbook, and then an Apple sticker on the side for Alien Bill to ponder.

November 6, 2021

But I have to say this in defense of humankind: In no matter what era in history, including the Garden of Eden, everybody just got here. And, except for the Garden of Eden, there were already all these games going on that could make you act crazy, even if you weren't crazy to begin with. Some of the crazymaking games going on today are love and hate, liberalism and conservatism, automobiles and credit cards, golf, and girls' basketball.
Kurt Vonnegut, A Man Without a Country
Damn it, love everything about this quote 'til the rip of the last 3 words.

November 7, 2021


Replying to
@MonicaNBCBoston @NBC10Boston and @NECN

I support all lawful assemblies of brass bands

And most unlawful ones too because civil disobedience is improved with a horn section.
(Super Happy What-ever-the-f*** had a rally, leveraging anti-vax idiocy for their general stupid agenda of "straight pride" and white supremacy, and I was with the band to counter their idiocy.)
News video on NECN showed angry yelling men, squabbling protesters...and Rayyan smiling next to Johnny

Hi, welcome to Chuck E. Cheese. Everything is visibly dirty and our mascot is a rat, eat some pizza near a sneezing child.

Come on down for some rat pizza at our child casino.

November 8, 2021

This medium article Clive Thompson describing his doodling technique and a little browser app he made for it. Charming and pleasant!

November 9, 2021

Interesting reading about Kaoru Kuroki The Feminist JAV Star Who Made Hairy Armpits Popular In Japan
If destiny exists, then there's only 0% or 100% chance.

November 10, 2021


And that's why I'm telling this story, and I'm not pulling any punches, and all the old-school guys who don't want to hear this stuff, and think that we shouldn't talk about it, those guys can respectfully kiss my ass. If I wasn't on Zoloft, if I wasn't getting help for my mental health, if I was too afraid to talk about this stuff, I'd end up killing myself. Period. I've lost too many friends in this business to shut my mouth and bury all of these emotions with pills and booze.
Wrestler Eddie Kingston
At best I've been an extremely casual wrestling fan, but hearing about this guy connect with fans speaking candidly about his mental health and unmet aspirations is moving. From this sbnation piece that also includes a promo w/ CM Punk that has a kind of realness to it, even as you know their hitting certain marks for the storyline.
Here is my secret: I don't mind what happens.
Jiddu Krishnamurti

My friend Leigh commented on that last quote on FB, saying it resonated for her right now, and dovetails with "the root of suffering is attachment" (for her, meaning to outcomes)
yeah i know it can be a bit glib, or at least aspirational- like sometimes situations are so objectively unpleasant that how can one not mind??

It is not the case that "everything happens for a reason" - like a singular hidden purpose that has our best interest in heart. Everything happens for its own whole host of circumstances, most of which are arbitrary.

But our speculative brains are constantly driving, always imagining a world a lot like this one but more tuned to our preferences of the moment; a world that doesn't exist but seems so tantalizingly possible and close that its absence makes us miserable.

November 11, 2021

Slowly, slowly,
the autumn draws to its close.
Cruelly cold
the wind congeals the dew.
Vines and grasses
will not be green again--
The trees in my garden
are withering forlorn.
The pure air
is cleansed of lingering lees
And mysteriously,
Heaven's realms are high.
Nothing is left
of the spent cicada's song,
A flock of geese
goes crying down the sky.
The myriad transformations
unravel one another
And human life
how should it not be hard?
From ancient times
there was none but had to die,
Remembering this
scorches my very heart.
What is there I can do
to assuage this mood?
Only enjoy myself
drinking my unstrained wine.
I do not know
about a thousand years,
Rather let me make
this morning last forever.
Tao Yuanming, Written on the Ninth Day of the Ninth Month of the Year yi-yu (A.D. 409) Translated by William Acker

November 12, 2021

click to play


I made an isometric doodling program based on an old Antic magazine type-in program. You can see the first and second rough drafts that tried to recreate the old way of doing the isometric artwork... but really P5's WebGL 3D mode and "normalMaterial" coloring was kind of made for it.

arrow keys plus 'a' and 'z' draw (space bar toggles between drawing and moving) ...you can hit 'r' to have it generate random trails...

mouse changes the viewing angle, 't' toggles a classic "orthogonal" view vs regular perspective.. 'c' clears, space toggles drawing vs just moving, 's' for screenshots.
I find myself very curiously vaguely anxious if our cat Dean likes me, when there's vanishingly little reason to suspect otherwise. It really stuck with me, whoever pointed out how relaxed he must be for some of his weirder on-back, belly-exposed sleeping positions. And yeah, sure he's sucking up a bit when he's jonesing for breakfast, but looking for laptime after is... I mean, it's not like I can expect him to admire me for what I really like about me (my creative projects and dedication to people and bands) and overall a mistake to oversweat a distinction between being a good provider of warmth, pets, and food vs reasons why humans are supposed to like each other.
Programming is very Kafkaesque. You're dealing with this arbitrary system that no one will explain to you because no one actually understands all of it. There are bugs.

November 13, 2021

hey sushi rice just went up my nose - that's gonna burn... yup it burns
Melissa (a few weeks ago, jotted it down but forgot to post.)

November 14, 2021

If you're willing to walk among us unvaccinated, you are an enemy. I don't care about your political beliefs. [...] You are not allowed to infect anybody just because you think you've got rights that are delusional. You don't have the right to go through a red light--actually the government has the right to tell you to stop. If they tell you you can't smoke in a building, you can't smoke in a building. And that's not because they want to take away your rights--that's because the rest of us hate it. We don't want to smell your smoke. [...] I don't want to catch your disease. I don't want to risk my life just because you want to go through a red light. This whole idea, this delusional, evil idea that you get to do whatever you want and the rest of the world be damned is really terrible.

Playground fun w/ Cora and Kayla and Charlotte

November 15, 2021

Increasingly the weirdness of phone numbers, how anyone can contact you without a prior connection if they know or can guess 10 or so digits, is becoming apparent. Hell, if it wasn't for the ubiquity of SMS text as the default "Two Factor Authentication", or non-SMS services like Signal that seem pretty bound to phone numbers, it would be tempting to try and make all phone numbers go the way of the personal landline.

(Man, it's been so long I don't even remember... when you moved, the phone number stayed with the house, right? Like it was cellphones that brought out more permanent phone numbers...)
So, Republicans can't really win on fair votes, so:
A. they bitch and moan and make a culture of questioning any election they think they shoulda won
B. gerrymander the fuck out of everything
C. cheat and fuck around with procedure and not actually doing their fucking jobs to steal supreme court seats
Oh and
D. in Texas, make up bizarre ass "lets deputize everyone" new laws to avoid the normal forms of court review.

I mean what the fuck. How can anyone be a Republican and think their party is on the up and up?

November 16, 2021


November 17, 2021

These arguments were the lifeblood of the hacker community. Sometimes people would literally scream at each other, insisting on a certain kind of coding scheme for an assembler, or a specific type of interface, or a particular feature in a computer language. These differences would have hackers banging on the blackboard or throwing chalk across the room. It wasn't so much a battle of egos as it was an attempt to figure out what "The Right Thing" was. The term had special meaning to the hackers. The Right Thing implied that to any problem, whether a programming dilemma, a hardware interface mismatch, or a question of software architecture, a solution existed that was just . . . it. The perfect algorithm. You'd have hacked right into the sweet spot, and anyone with half a brain would see that the straight line between two points had been drawn, and there was no sense trying to top it. "The Right Thing," Gosper would later explain, "very specifically meant the unique, correct, elegant solution . . . the thing that satisfied all the constraints at the same time, which everyone seemed to believe existed for most problems."
Steven Levy in "Hackers: Heroes of the Computer Revolution"
I stole a paperback of this from my Uncle's library back in the day. It covers the MIT / Tech Model Railroad Club of the 60s, the Apple II etc homebrew hackers of the 70s, and then the early home computer programmers of the 80s.

The book probably was pretty inspirational for me, and I see how well this "Right Thing" attitude parallels how I see the world, the central relic of the religiosity of my youth... I have this sense that there is an ultimate objective Truth- the "view from God's Throne" of the world for matters of What We Should Do (whether or not there is a divine butt in that chair!) and any view holdable by humans is only an approximation of that divine perspective - and any earthly authority is only valid to the extent to the extent that it is an accurate reflection of that view. (This is in contrast to an everything is subjective view... it leans into uncertainty in a way that both hard core fundamentalism and post-modern-ish existenitalism lack.)

excerpts from "A Carnival of Snackery"

Just finished David Sedaris "A Carnival of Snackery", excerpts from his last 20 years of journaling. (I really do like the journal genre....) Just in time for Melissa and I to see him live on Sunday.
September 25, 2007

To honor the death of Marcel Marceau I observed a minute of silence.
David Sedaris, "A Carnival of Snackery"

We had drinks last night with our neighbor, who said, in reference to a schoolmate who had gone on to amass a great fortune, "When a friend succeeds, a little part of us dies, doesn't it?"
David Sedaris, "A Carnival of Snackery"

March 17, 2010

This afternoon's Radio 4 quiz show included the line "One in three Americans weighs as much as the other two."
David Sedaris, "A Carnival of Snackery"

The key is to fill the space between your skill level and perfection with charm.
David Sedaris, "A Carnival of Snackery"

November 19, 2021

Kyle Rittenhouse:
USA! land of lots of guns, and no consequences! (if you're white)

November 20, 2021

From a military legal worker:

I'm seeing a lot of ignorance and misinformation flying around about what happened in Kenosha, and I'm going to set the record straight from a professional legal position... as well as from a former military position. I'm going to explain some things from a more technical angle derived from my many years as a paralegal and from my experience working in federal criminal justice and prosecution.

Legally, if you are in the process of a commission of a crime, it negates your ability to claim self defense if you kill someone. As in, it can't even be entered as your official defense in court. It is similar to getting rear-ended at a red light through zero fault of your own, but you were driving without a license or insurance. It automatically makes you at fault because you weren't even legally allowed to be driving.

That 17 year old in Kenosha had committed two crimes and was not even legally allowed to open carry the rifle he used to shoot three people. This means that he legally cannot claim self defense.

Another key discussion is the Castle Doctrine. Some of you may be vaguely familiar with it, as it is what allows you to use deadly force when someone comes into your house unlawfully, etc. But there are some finer points most people don't realize that you generally have to do some formal legal studies to know.

First, as soon as someone sets foot inside the threshold of your home uninvited that you believe intends to commit a crime, you can legally use deadly force and it is immediately considered self defense, even if they haven't made any violent threats or actions towards harming you.

This is because in every instance outside your home, you are required to retreat and extricate yourself from a dangerous situation if possible. It is a legal mandate, not a suggestion. Your home is considered the final retreat point, and legally you should be safe in your "Castle." There is nowhere else to retreat to, etc. This is why you are able to immediately use deadly force.

However, it is NOT to protect your property, it is for protecting your LIFE. And once the burglar, for instance, has left your home... the threat to your life is considered neutralized, and deadly force is no longer authorized. So if a burglar runs out the door and down the street with your TV, you are no longer allowed to shoot after them because they are not threatening your life. You call the police, you file a claim with your insurance, and you get a new TV. If you shoot a burglar in the back down the street, you can and should be charged with murder.

While you are out in PUBLIC, this means a lot of things obviously. It means that there is far more scrutiny and boxes that must be checked in order to claim self defense. You must be in IMMINENT danger of losing life and limb. Getting into an argument and feeling scared of being punched by an unarmed person? Not likely to be a situation where deadly force is authorized. You MUST retreat.

If someone shoots at you or pulls a knife on you in the street, that is deadly force and can be met with deadly force. But if the person is unarmed, you cannot shoot them because you're afraid of a little scuffle. That is why Rittenhouse illegally shot the first protester, and it is one of the many reasons it cannot be considered self defense. The man threw a plastic bag with trash in it at him AND MISSED, and Rittenhouse shot him. He chased his victim and instigated a fight by brandishing and flagging people with his rifle, because he is an untrained idiot with a gun. The protester was not a threat, and even if he was, all he had to do was retreat back to the police line. He rushed at protesters with a gun drawn to pick a fight, and people are acting as if he were just there to keep the peace.

He fired INTO A CROWD, and it's a miracle he didn't hit more people. More people that hadn't thrown a plastic bag. More people that were just trying to protest police brutality, which is a real issue in this country.

And then when he did finally run away, some more protesters attempted to subdue him after he had already murdered someone, he tripped, and shot two people trying to stop him from shooting others.

The fact that the police didn't arrest him and take him into custody right then and there, even if they suspected it could be self defense, is a grave issue with that police department.

I could further dissect this situation, but for now I'm going to end with people passing around misinformation about the victims being "criminals so they deserved it."

First, there are no actual records of Jacob Blake or the people shot by Rittenhouse being in the official sex offender's registry. None of them raped a 14 year old girl years ago, that is complete fabrication being purposely spread by right wing extremist sites in order to try and justify the shootings.

Jacob Blake was indeed awaiting trial for sexual assault and trespassing, and did have a warrant for his arrest. It was not assault on a child, because that is a different charge with a different title. On the charging document, it would literally say that it was against a child. From what is publicly known, he allegedly broke into an ex girlfriend's house and allegedly assaulted HER, but he is innocent until proven guilty, and still deserves his day in court. He could truly be innocent.

Rittenhouse's victims do not appear to have had any record, and even if they did, he couldn't have known that at the time. You cannot insist a shoot was justified AFTER the fact because "that person was a criminal." Criminals have rights too, whether you like it or not, and it is enshrined in the very documents that built our country. If you don't like the constitution and bill of rights, I don't know what to tell you.

This is also not MY OPINION, this is literally how the criminal justice system and our laws work. I hold a degree in paralegal studies and served 8 years as an Army paralegal. I've worked for the criminal division in the Chicago US Attorney's Office, and currently work in federal law enforcement. This is what I do for a living, and I am not pulling this out of my ass, and my knowlege is a culmination of working in the field and being passionate about justice for 16 years. I'd be happy to send you sources and opines and case law and statutes if you need it. I did not get this from "mainstream media," and I am not brainwashed by the left. I'm an independent progressive.

May he face justice for what he did, and may we find a way to get on common ground before more fuses to this powder keg are lit.

This has been my Ted Talk.
Larry Knight

November 21, 2021

Who the fuck in their right mind
would want everlasting life?
The endless conversation.
The film was dark, and not as much of a dark comedy as the trailers promised, still pretty good though. And a reminder as bad as our culture and government has been and is, it could be a lot worse.

November 22, 2021

Would love to see a deep dive of the semiotics of highway billboards near NYC/NJ vs other areas. They just feel different... like more brazen and ostentatious, or more command and authoritarian, on average. I think.

November 23, 2021


"hi Norm dont know if you will read this, my mom passed away nd was wondering if you could give me some words of wisdom. You are the funniest ever!"

"Take all the love you have for her, Pablo, and give it freely to all that you meet. Your mom will look down upon you, happy and proud."
Pablo Fernandez and Norm Macdonald

I put some thoughts on the Oculus 2 on my devblog.

November 24, 2021

Interesting thoughts on progressive liberals vs conservatives; on how a liberal says they might be willing to sacrifice the statue of liberty to save a human life, and a conservative might view that as ridiculous; but if you asked them if they would sacrifice a spouse or personal loved one, the conservative might change their answer. And then into interesting thoughts on how Conservative view is fundamentally you can't make the world better, but you can punish people for being bad, and so that deeply informs their inability to make good, useful government.
I wrote up about a microreview of Pixelmator Pro on my devblog - just kind of goofing / recrecreating an effect I've seen around:

Fractals as a way of thinking about grief

I dunno, maybe it's too loose with the metaphor?

Like I've had similar thoughts that maybe life has that fractal aspect, in the sense of there's more detail the more you go in. But "detail" isn't enough, it has to have that self-similarity. So I dunno.
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JEREMY ROBARD: Call now, and sign up for my "Think Your Way To Success" program. And if you want to think really fast, try my "Crank It Out" program. Call 1-866-434-SELF. Hey! Don't just do it, think about it!
Just played GTA:VC (again) now that it's on Switch. It was my first GTA, and has a sweet spot between the over-simplicity of 3 (namely by having copters and motorcycles) and the huge scope of San Andreas.

This spot stuck with me this play through, especially since these days I'm thinking about "thoughts vs feelings" as motivational force, and "Don't just do it, think about it!" seems like great advice. (What's weird about this ad are the course titles... I don't know, they seem sort of plausible and not very jokey, especially given GTA's usual hamfisted parody standards.)

November 25, 2021

So, Happy Thanksgiving!

I took the week off to hang with my folks and one thing I've been doing is catching up on Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild for Switch. Just a week or two ago I realized I had accidentally erased my save file, and so I'd like to regain some of the cool stuff I had in the game. (Especially the horses that Cora liked.)

It's a great game, but it makes me think about why I dislike puzzles in games so much. The simplest theory is that I just don't like them because I'm not good at them. But I also realized I can explain it under the overall arch I have of how I'm interested in how things interact, not on what they intrinsically are...

Like, puzzles (like the ones in the 4 "Divine Beast" dungeons in BotW) are self-contained. Some smart and creative game designer set it up, and you're either clever enough to re-follow their steps, or you give up and look for guides online. But... you're not solving problems that are really connected to anything. (Slightly less true in that the puzzles in BotW involve physics.) They are set up to be bounded little challenges, but not really connect with solving things in the "real world" or even in the world of the rest of game.

That's one of the things I like about casual "party games" vs more thinky stuff like "Settlers of Catan" or what not. I mean, a strategy game like Catan is essentially a puzzle game you are playing against other folks. And again, I might dislike it because I'm not good at it and it bruises my tender ego, but also I prefer games that let players really use creativity, in part because that creativity tends to be making references to the outside world... a Pictionary-ish reference or Quiplash-like jest, pop-culture or otherwise, connects with the outside world.

(Heh, but then again I secretly don't like trivial games, which are all about referencing the outside world. I guess in that case I just like activities that create new stuff, not just talk about everything that's already there. Creativity and "Categorical Novelty" are existential goods, by my reckoning.)
FOLLOWUP: To be fair, a lot of the problem is my frustration in reading the results of actions inside a puzzle - like if some action doesn't have an effect it's not always clear if it was the wrong action, or just wrong performed. For example on the "Vah Medoh" puzzle that inspired this ramble, "The trick here is that we need to hit the large switch with the battering ram with full force in order to press it all the way down."... I got the idea of using the ram, but since it didn't work, I thought it was the wrong solution, not the right general ide badly performed...

November 26, 2021

I slightly touched up this photo of Star the pup...

it got me thinking about what I thought was a controversy about photoshopping up a photo from the 1984 Olympics... but, ironically enough, I can't find any evidence of my memory - I write about that on my devblog, some possibly false memories about the history of making false memories
It's not safe out here. It's wondrous, with treasures to satiate desires both subtle and gross. But it's not for the timid.
Q on "Star Trek: The Next Generation"

The UX of LEGO Interface Panels

November 27, 2021

Yesterday I took took my semi-regular pilgramage to Asbury Park's "Silverball Retro Arcade". Nice to see it humming along even in winter - though I guess it was a holiday day.
I suspect pinball fans might gripe amount the increasing amount of floorspace being dedicated to arcade machines vs pinball. After all, videogames are subject to emulation and duplication in a way that pinball machines are not! Still, there's something special about real arcade games, especially ones with distinctive controls... they had a "Discs of Tron" (regular standup, not the immersive one) and even Time Pilot's controller has a distinctive feel. (Being so enamored of its sci-fi sibling Time Pilot '84, I forgot what a nice dogfight feel the original had - the looping around to try to get out of danger and onto offense is fantastic.)
I'm typically not much for conspiracy theories about the British royals, but the idea that they're desperately trying to keep the Queen going until next year specifically because if she abdicates or dies before February 6th she'll go down in history as having had a sixty-nine year reign is the funniest goddamn thing I've ever heard.

November 28, 2021


Ever stop to think about how that celebratory helmet bump thing is pretty much how football players kiss?

gorn with the wind



November 30, 2021

Overheard at work:
"My update: To use a word from Kirk, the Group Outlook calendar is Wonky."

I did not realize "wonky" was so idiosyncratic a term!

But I've been told that it's a tough road for me to hope to maintain anonymous on the theoretically anonymous feedback part of our sprint reviews, my voice (or maybe just weirdo word choice) kind of comes through...

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