2022 January❮❮prev

January 1, 2022

2021 One Second Everyday - my ninth year doing this project.

As usual, much tuba/band and protest stuff. New house stuff starts in February! My Sisyphus project early in the year, and vaccines shot, where weirdly I seem to be wearing the same shirt. Evidence of a lot of fun summer outings! Also many shots of Dean throughout.
This leads me to a second insight: The deep truth of being human is that there is no objective experience. Our brains are not built to measure the absolute value of anything. All that we perceive and feel is colored by expectation, comparison, and circumstance. There is no pure sensation, only inference based on sensation.
I don't think I live that truth as deeply as a lot of people, because my strongest impulse is to try ensure I'm as aligned with the shared subjective and/or absolute objective truth as possible.. but I recognize that is just my form of the same kind of ultimately subjective reality.
i absolutely regret not taking more pictures during travel whoever said youd appreciate your trips more without taking so many pics was dead wrong
hungwy

the joy of bookshelves

January 2, 2022
Ian Bogost on why Ebooks Are an Abomination (The title is a bit more combative than the conclusion; I suspect it might have been retroactively goosed up by an editor to be more click-bait-y)

I think he misses one of the main appeals of physical books; how they sit on the shelf after the main reading is done. Perhaps I'm a bit superficial but I value full bookcases as a reminder to myself (and a sign to visitors) of my history with and ongoing relationship to the printed word. Bogost addresses the physicality of print books as they are read, but on a shelf that physicality is equally even more significant; the shape and color and typography cement a book more firmly in bodily memory, as does the physical location on well-established, stable personal set of bookshelves.

And of course, a set of bookshelves can become a personal lending library in a way a bunch of books in a ebook device won't. Physical books are much more readily shared.

(And as an extension of that - physical books can support local booksellers. I bought a novel of an author I like from the window of Arlington's "The Book Rack" yesterday in part to do a small bit to help that continuation.)

All that said, I still do most of my reading on iPads. I've never liked the murky-gray of Kindles, my lightly astigmatic eyes prefer a backlit screen and it's great to be able to read in a dimly lit room without having to carefully balance an external light source.

(Back to the vanity of it: when someone sees you reading a physical book, they know you're not just dinking around on social media on your iPad or phone, so that's a plus for a social creature as well.)

Bogost claims ebooks are inferior for highlighting and marginalia, but I think iPads more than make up for that with multiple colors of highlighting and for copy and pasting passages - important for someone who thinks brief paragraphs can punch above their weight in content, and likes to capture those, either in a commonplace book or publically in a blog or on social media.

I'd say Bogost doesn't quite nail the dividing line of what genres work well as ebooks; there's a lot of non-fiction that is still pretty linear and fits the format well.

(Also, Bogost seems to mix electronic texts that reflow content vs PDF scans - I assume he knows but doesn't call out that margins are also useful to keep line lengths reasonable, and prevent the eye from having an excessively long journey across and back.)

Sometimes I try to split the difference then, doing most reading on my iPad (or sometimes now my large screen iPhone - but I'm sure Bogost would share my concern that it puts content in magazine-esque column widths, which is a bad vibe for much reading.) But if a book really strikes home, I like to ask for a copy of the print form for the shelf. The best of both worlds, potentially, though maybe a little unseemly to have a shelf with so many pristine, uncracked books there among the more well-worn editions.


(it's a photoshop but I cackled)

best photos of 2021

January 3, 2022
My favorite photos from 2021.

I've tried to be more mindful about not letting my "One Second Everyday" video clips interfere too much with my regular photography... so this year I started doing a regular reminder to check my phone for interesting images from the week that I might want to post.

Open Photo Gallery: Best of 2021


Dean in Arlington


Ducks in Lower Mystic Lake


Heron in Worcester


Swan at Mystic River


Gulls at Ocean Grove


Kellie at Arboretum


Girls in Medford


Girls in Arlington playground


Maile in Vermont


Charlo's retirement in Watertown


Melissa and Gull in Ocean Grove


Dean in chair


As usual I've noticed a two-axis aspect; images that are striking for me visually, in an abstract or objective way, and images that are more emotionally resonate, with the "best" images hitting high in both. But for my "second best" galleries, I realized I could use that split as an excuse to make two galleries, the first more purely visual:

Open Photo Gallery: 2021 Visuals


























And the other gallery of more personal ones. (But I guess all of these have a pretty decent visual aspect as well)

Open Photo Gallery: 2021 Memories


























Barista: Would you like to try a cappuccino muffin?
Customer: No, thanks. I don't want to start my appetite yet.

–Starbucks, 45th & Broadway
"Overheard in New York"
I saw this probably much closer to when it was posted, like 2014 or so. I think it was posted as something funny, the paradox of avoiding eating to avoid hunger, but I think it's dead-on for me!

Trying to figure out if I should keep up the daily breakfast of banana in a wrap with nutella. Its a nice breakfast treat but I think it just gets me looking for other food in the late morning.

media i consumed in 2021

January 4, 2022
Media I consumed last year... 4 star in red, 5 star red and bolded, count and change from last year in parentheses. Pretty steady compared to 2020, honestly.

Movies at the Cinema (0 (-2))
Sigh.

Movies on Video or Streaming (49 (-4))
Death to 2020, The Social Dilemna, Clue: Highschool Edition, Rosemary's Baby, Oh Hello On Broadway, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Saving Private Ryan, We're the Millers, Life is Beautiful, The Intouchables, City of God, The Notebook, The Prestige, Run Lola Run, Bad Trip, The Comeback Kid, Kid Gorgeous, Cave of Forgotten Dreams, St. Vincent, Bo Burnham: Inside, Back to the Future, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Summer of Soul, Bottle Rocket, Tenet, Joker, Real Steel, The Big Lebowski, The Suicide Squad, Evangelion: 1.11 You Are (Not) Alone, Evangelion 2.22: You Can (Not) Advance, Loving Vincent, Evangelion 3.33: You Can (Not) Redo, Nobody, Hamilton, Evangelion: 3.0+1.0 Thrice Upon a Time, Hocus pocus, Smoke Signals, The Closer, Indie Game: The Movie, , Crisis on Two Earths, , Poltergeist, The Death of Stalin, Vader Immortal Episode 1, The Matrix: Resurrections, Jim Gaffigan: Comedy Monster, Death to 2021, The Animatrix
I finished off a "100 movies you must see" scratch-off poster, which led me stuff like "Life is Beautiful" and "The Intouchables". Glad to have finally seen "Hamilton", which was more emotionally resonant than I expected. I'm sad to see the new Matrix isn't more highly regarded: while it lacked some of the visual punch of the original trilogy, I thought it made up for it in really fleshing out some of the ideas the earlier movies set up.

TV Show Seasons (11 (-5))
Those Who Can't (random episodes), Pretend It's a City, Party Down Season 1, Party Down Season 2, Love, Death & Robots Season 2, Fleabag Season 1, Fleabag Season 2, Ted Lasso Season 1, Ted Lasso Season 2, Squid Game, Loki Season 1
It's funny what a bigger investment in time tv shows are than movies. Anyway, "Fleabag" was the real standout here - such good dark comedy, with the themes of sex and relationships.

Books (31 (+1))
Why Buddhism is True, Tao Te Ching, Situation Normal, The Water Dancer, Seven and a Half Lessons About the Brain, The Divided Brain and the Search for Meaning, Don Giovanni, You Look Like a Thing and I Love You, Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You, Probably Impossibilities, The Vanishing Half, The Big U, When They Call You a Terrorist, Tuck Everlasting, No One Is Talking About This., Deacon King Kong, Chatter: The Voice in Our Head, Why It Matters, and How to Harness It, The Master and His Emissary, The Body Is Not an Apology, The Decameron Project, Frankenstein, How to Change Your Mind, More Die of Heartbreak, Quiet Pine Trees, God Human Animal Machine, Several People are Typing, The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven, Rationality, Jumpers: A Play, A Carnival of Snackery, Ishmael
Hm. Not sure how I feel about how so much of my reading was for my Science and Spirituality or my Anti-Racism reading group, but to be fair a LOT of my reading time for the year was sunk into "The Master and his Emissary", a book about the two hemispheres of the brain that took me like 5 months. (And rereading Garrison Keillor's short story "Don Giovanni" - I snuck a copy online or check the great audiobook reading.)

Audiobooks/Podcast (10 (-6))
How Did This Get Played, My Brother My Brother and Me, Retronauts, Daring Fireball, Baby Geniuses, Poetry Unbound, Three Bean Salad, McGST Podcast, The Talk Show with John Gruber, Oh Hello
So podcasts aren't usually "finished" in the way other media are. "How Did This Get Played" is by far and away my favorite this year... I binged the whole backlog, it's just the perfect mix of funny people and video games. Actually it's so good that the time it took to binge it makes me less tolerant of other podcasts.

Comic / Graphic Novel (14 (+/- 0)
Slaughterhouse Five, Hereville: How Mirka Got Her Sword, Bird & Squirrel: All or Nothing, The Secret to Superhuman Strength, Lucy & Andy: Neanderthal, Clumsy: A Novel, Be A Man, The Big Guy and Rusty the Boy Robot, Unlikely, Any Easy Intimacy, Hell Was Full, No More Shaves, Introducing Jung: A Graphic Guide, Tonoharu
Ryan North's graphic novel adaption of "Slaughterhouse Five" is truly first rate. I always love Alison Bechdel and "The Secret to Superhuman Strength" was all about her relationship with exercise and her body. A lot of the other 4-stars are me rereading Jeff Brown, I do love his autobiographical stuff.

Video Games(13 (+1))
Save Them All, GTA V, Bird Alone, Bowser's Fury, Dr. Langeskov, The Tiger, and The Terribly Cursed Emerald: A Whirlwind Heist, Golf on Mars, Warioware: Get It Together, Carrion, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City (Definitive Edition), Smashy Road: Wanted 2, BOTW: The Champions Ballad, Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Boy half of these are repeats - I "had" to replay Breath of the Wild to rebuild my character after accidentally losing the save. I guess sometimes I get bummed I don't engage with games the way I used to. Smashy Road: Wanted 2 and Golf on Mars are both great diversions on mobile.

Live Concert
I've always been terrible at recording these, which is a shame because it should be like one of the most important things to track - it's just not quoet so "media-y". Anyway I remember going to an outdoor concert of Black Crowes with Leigh - not my usual genre but fun show.


Enkidu: Accept your flaws, you'll feel better. It worked for me.

Gilgamesh: You've accepted your flaws?

Enkidu: No, I accepted yours.

december 2021 new music playlist

January 5, 2022
Easy Way Out
Low Roar
Mellow indie - this song features in the game "Death Stranding".
Mentioned on the podcast "How Did This Get Played", in part of the how the game is an exhibit of "stuff Hideo Kojima likes"



Leave Me Alone (Remix)
Anup K.R.
Funny Hip Hop... kind of similar vibe to F*** this S*** I'm out
via this video in a tumblr post.
Justice 2020 (feat. Chali 2na & Trombone Shorty) [Cut Chemist Remix]
Dumpstaphunk
Protest NOLA music/hiphop.
Recommended via Melissa's hairdresser.
Russians
Sting
I remember my 5th grade best friend telling me about this song way back when - when he described it I remember hoping it wasn't a jingoistic anti-Russia song, but no, it's just generally anti-nukes. "It would be such an inconsiderate Thing to Do / If the Russians love their children too" really stuck with me.
Maybe I thought of this because we were watching "The Death of Stalin".
Magikarp Festival
Pokkén Tournament
Cool electronika with traditional Japanese drums.
From a random tumblr post.
Own Brand Freestyle (feat. Finch Fetti)
FelixThe1st & Dreya Mac
I guess this is a TikTok dance?
Via this tumblr post
Fantastico
Charo
Great flamenco (or something) guitar.
She featured on that Pee Wee Herman Radio Hour that was making the rounds last month.
Doom Crossing: Eternal Horizons (feat. Natalia Natchan)
The Chalkeaters
Comedy musical mashup of Animal Crossing (a very sweet and gentle game) and DOOM Eternal (a very violent metal game)
Random recommendation (after Montaigne's stuff)
The Question Song (Studio Version)
Tom Wilson
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iwY5o2fsG7Y
Was thinking about his really bad 80s standup with a tuba he did.
Hits from the Bong
Cypress Hill
So-so slow groove drug hiphop with a very short loop sample of "Sweet Talking Son of a Preacher Man"
I was looking for more versions of "Preacher Man"



Surface Pressure
Jessica Darrow
Strong Lin-Manuel Miranda song (I think he was involved in it) - has that kind of infectious Hamilton energy.
Chas linked to this song, after they had watched the movie "Encanto"...
Send Me on My Way
Guy Meets Girl
Soft indie boy/girl cover of that Rusted Root song.
Via this super cute tumblr post about the friendship of a dog and a new kitten
Tide Is High (Get the Feeling)
Atomic Kitten
Very 90s cover of the 60s (??) song also covered by Blondie. It's amazing how loud this song is.
One of the answers to a music trivia thing at work, where all the songs were somehow tied into cats.
Battle Hymn of the Republic
Odetta
60s Black Folk cover of the Civil War classic.
First recommendation for this song, looked for it after thinking about adding "Solidarity Forever" (same tune different lyrics) for my band BABAM.
Drive My Car
Black Heat
Funky cover of the Beatles song. I got sort of obsessed of if I like the way they tweak the "you can be my driver, and that's a start"...
Spin off of looking for Aretha Franlin's cover of "Let It Be" when I found this album of Black American Beatles covers.
The Anaconda of the Opera
mashed potatoes
Mashup, the hiphop song (with the deep sample of the 80s classic) and Phantom for all the theater nerds.
Via this Probably-Bad-RPG-ideas tumblr post



777
Bruno Mars, Anderson .Paak & Silk Sonic
Great Bruno Mars, so much happy energy.
via this apple Airpods ads
Male Fantasy
Billie Eilish
Very moody plaintive song.
From her recent SNL appearance.
demons
Hayley Kiyoko
Modern electronic pop.
Credits music (I think) on an episode of Loki...

Games from behind the Iron Curtain. Interesting free-wheeling energy to it - comments on the slashdot article linked to a gameplay video of the game Perestroika - interesting blend of commentary and gameplay, if rather light in the animation department.
Talking about those last links, someone brought up both Tetris and Rubik's Cube... made me think about those solving robots, and found this video for world's records involving solving:

See also The Adventures of Indiana Jones in Wenceslas Square in Prague on January 16, 1989 a kind of terrible game you can now play in English in a browser
The atoms our bodies are made up of are 13 billion years old.
/u/wilhelmtherealm
Damn, no wonder I have trouble waking up in the morning.

again and again and again

January 6, 2022
I had a dream last night about a language that had a verb tense especially for apocalyptic things, but the culture believed in endless recurring cycles, so it meant "this will happen, and/but has already happened".

Probably it comes from thinking about this quote, about Epic of Gilgamesh:
i just love the concept of a narrative foil and by narrative foil I mean a soul mate and by soul mate I mean a mirror image, a photographic negative of your insides, whole in ways you are broken, broken in ways you are whole and by that I mean your fate and by that I mean the immovable object to your unstoppable force and by that I mean a star with which you are locked in fatal orbit, doomed to meet in cataclysmic fire with open arms. the person that makes you say I could love you everywhere in all the dark places that needed love, and I could love you so perfectly we would both be annihilated. the person that is your downfall because they're your perfect shadow and you are the hero of this story but, hero, this was always going to happen, not because it's written in the stars, but because you would choose it, again and again and again
(That "again and again and again" construction and concept of choosing the other, always, is also used in the Arcade Fire "The Suburbs (Continued)"- I did a deep reading of that haunting 1m30s of music last fall.)

It makes me think of how the other day I replied to a post quoting falsely attributed to noted theologian Tim Tebow about how, like, the rise of a cashless society was a predicted by the Book of Revelation, and, you know, the endtimes are probably gonna be in our lifetime, etc.

I'm not a person of faith but I try to be mature and sympathetic and reasonably gentle about other people's. Still, I'm really bothered by how apocalyptic thinking is basically incompatible with good stewardship of what we got. So I started my reply with Matthew 24:36 "But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only." but then also pointed out that every generation seems to think that the end might be right around the corner, that even 2 verses before that Jesus was saying "Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled."

Like, I guess you really have to stretch the meaning of "this generation" to still see Revelations as a guide to upcoming events. (Honestly I kind of like "preterism" that says these events have already somewhat happened, and we're living in a post-apocalyptic world already.)

But why does it bug me so much? Why do I feel compelled to chime in?

I am now fundamentally not a big swings planner and dreamer, and so I wonder, if I hadn't grown up with the idea that eternal life was possible IF you didn't screw this one up (and endless punishment for you if you did), followed by lessons outlining upcoming Christian persecution and general world-ending, and then more secular concerns like nuclear war, climate collapse, and in between those years I was really worried about Y2K computer implosions... would I have been better at shaping my career or maybe even aimed at a family life? (You can even make a narrative of my first main partner pivoting in her head to thinking in family terms, and me having not given indication I was joining her, and that drove her to look elsewhere.)

But, of course, there's a contradiction here. I mean which one is the driving theme, immortality or finality - that my soul is eternal, so I better be uptight and act right? Or almost the opposite, that everything is coming to an end, so don't bother to build?

Something I've got to ask, again and again and again.

January 7, 2022

I've been thinking about this concept, additive vs subtractive nutrition. This nutritionist dismissing some food myths had a similar energy.
A FB friend posted the Joshua Bell experiment where one of the finest musicians in the world goes nearly unnoticed during a busy DC commute. (One of the original authors objects to some of its memification but still I think the core idea stands through)

My response was this:
one take away for me is that context matters. things aren't always beautiful in and of themselves in a self-contained way, it's set and setting and how they connect- that matters too.

(among my fellow programmers i find this reductionist vs holism thing comes up a lot, this drive to ignore context and deal with things as self contained units)

but also, yeah, good to keep our eyes open for innocuous things we can make a beautiful connection to.

Insurrection: the musical. For all you musical fans. Or anyone who doesn't think orderly change of government should be overseen by rando dudes in buffalo outfits invading our capitol and looking for political enemies to hurt.

RIP Sidney Poitier (also... bell hooks, Betty White, John Madden, et al...)

January 8, 2022



Dumb idea I had yesterday, like maybe making stickers of this. I wish I could blame it on being asleep and having a stupid dream.
The universe is an ongoing explosion.
That's where you live.
In an explosion.

We absolutely don't know what living is.

Sometimes atoms just get very haunted.

That's us.

When an explosion explodes hard enough, dust wakes up and thinks about itself.

And tweets about it.

January 9, 2022

Watched the infamous Fensler Films GI Joe PSA remakes with Melissa the other day:

(Warning, the humor is a little surreal and also doesn't shy from rolling further with the vague racism of the original cartoons.)

A while back I mentioned how my answer to a meme about childhood cartoons and things we... well, noticed... involved a short-haired cat cheerleader in a Heathcliff cartoon. Not that I'm anything of a furry, it's just that even then I could recognize having a preference for something tomboy-ish to anything performatively femmy-femme.

Watching the Fensler Films, I remembered how much my pre-adolescent attention was taken by Lady Jaye:


Like, compared to the other token female on the GI Joe, Scarlett, it was no contest:

Not that either of them were particularly well-represented by their action figure box art - but ah those innocent days when just a daringly lowered zipper and some cleavage on toy packaging was of significant interest...

That kind of butch look has always had an appeal for me - clearly not the sole focus of what kind of femininity I am attracted to, but still something I dig.

Maybe I can owe it to The Salvation Army? I mean we were all, boys and girls and men and women alike dressed up in its oddly paramilitary way. (And both of my parents wore the same uniform, did the same kind of role, and even had similar hair lengths.) I mean that's just a guess, it's never 100% clear what forms our interests and leanings in those young days of figuring the world out, and our place in it.

And so classic femme and girlish stuff never held an appeal, and always seemed less cool than the stuff boys and tomboys were up to. I think too I may have developed an unfortunate association with femme as... I dunno, weak? Like demanding attention and protection and being generally distracting from the more interesting stuff in life. (Again, that's not a mature or complete view, but it's something I can at least recognize as a theme that I was imprinted with.)

I mean it probably also influences my support of Trans-rights. For me gender just isn't ALL that interesting, I can just surf on male privilege, and a general non-swaggering masculinity is comfortable for me from some mix of nature and nurture... and if someone's soulsearching tells them what they are means there's a mismatch in body and spirit, who am I or anyone to tell they're wrong? What kind of prescriptivist chutzpah would it take to say you know that person is just wrong, because they disagree with what most people have told you how things should be...
Kind of chuffed about my new toolkit for making a fullscreen viewer for my blog's image galleries.

January 10, 2022

I think in some Monty Python book I saw this, John Cleese in a fumetti / photonovel "Christopher's Punctured Romance" where the main character falls for a Barbie doll...

For some reason that down-to-earth talk about how he's "got some ennui" (like treatable with aspirin?) has always stuck with me.

Open Photo Gallery







January 11, 2022

I'm not going to tell you that we live in the cyberpunk future. But I am going to say that we live in a future we didn't plan for. A future we can learn about by reading the genre. A future that might one day be called post-cyberpunk.
GPT-3 and K Allado-McDowell in "Pharmako AI"
Intriguing book, cowritten by a human and the computer system GPT-3. My Science + Spirituality reading/discussion group is reading some excerpts for our next Zoom meeting next week, let me know if you'd be interested in attending.

Also, we'll be listening to Act One, "Ghostwriter", in The Ghost in the Machine episode of This American Life, where a woman uses GPT-3 to work through her grief about the loss of her sister back in college.

GPT-3 is... something. Astounding the coherence, and maybe sometimes the insight. You get to wondering, is there a "there there" or is any wisdom from it just "borrowed". But then you get to thinking... maybe all human knowledge is borrowed. Maybe all thinking is basically powered by metaphor.


January 12, 2022

Just bought a used Xbox Series X from a friend. Tonight I zoned out a bit with Microsoft Flight Simulator. They incorporate a ton of satellite data - a bit like that 3D view trick Apple Maps can do that turns your neighborhood into a rotatable SimCity.

Started with the NYC tour (which is a city I'm reasonably familiar with the layout of) but then went (by futuristic Drone-y helicopter) to my house in Arlington. Things are garbled that close up but I could certainly make out this place and land in the empty lot across. (Also, interesting that the Boston seaport info is way out of date- there were still big parking lots instead of the tallish buildings that are there now.)

I also checked out my mom and Aunt's place in Ocean Grove, NJ - it's kind of cool how all this navigation takes a bit of landmark reckoning - cities have thumbtacks in the view, AR-wise, but to narrow it down to a street, you have to know the place. Oh and I saw Cleveland next to good ol' Lake Erie (next time I should go for Burke Lakefront instead of Hopkins...)

I went to some other places - the pyramids of Egypt (first time I really got a sense of the layout of those and the sphinx), Tokyo, Paris, London. (Weirdly the London Eye is not really in the game, somehow compressed to be under the surface of the Thames) For those places I've been lucky enough to visit, it gave me a dual twinge of sorrow - both that we've been pretty isolated for so long, and then for the people I saw those places with I'm no longer connected to.

Does it sometimes seem weird to anyone that, on a world with seven and a half billion people, a random individual can stand some place semi-famous? Like there's only one Westminster Abbey, it's a singular location that a lot of people around the world know of, yet... I was there once, me, as one of the 7.5 billion. (Along with millions of other tourists... Or even local stuff, there's only one Boston Common, yet some years I'm definitely the one tuba player throughout the world who showed up to the most protests there. (Yeah, I know there's a heavy Western bias here, that folks in Asia or Africa don't know Boston Common from beans, and China has a dozen cities bigger than NYC even of which I know like 3 or 4, but still.)

January 13, 2022

There's been a big project going on at the end of my street for a while now. A while back I noticed a sign in the whole saying "Welcome To" but I couldn't see the rest. Snuck a video with this still today:



I'm not quite sure of the full (presumably sardonic) meaning of "Welcome To America" over an underground/sewer-ish hole but I have a hunch it might be a political stance I'd find disagreeable.





January 14, 2022

Physics says: go to sleep. Of course
you're tired. Every atom in you
has been dancing the shimmy in silver shoes
nonstop from mitosis to now.
Quit tapping your feet. They'll dance
inside themselves without you. Go to sleep.

Geology says: it will be all right. Slow inch
by inch America is giving itself
to the ocean. Go to sleep. Let darkness
lap at your sides. Give darkness an inch.
You aren't alone. All of the continents used to be
one body. You aren't alone. Go to sleep.

Astronomy says: the sun will rise tomorrow,
Zoology says: on rainbow-fish and lithe gazelle,
Psychology says: but first it has to be night, so
Biology says: the body-clocks are stopped all over town
and
History says: here are the blankets, layer on layer, down and down.
Albert Goldbarth, "The Sciences Sing a Lullabye"



January 15, 2022

The gayest thing I've seen in absolutely the best sense of the term. No matter how you swing, if you can't see the beauty in this, including and dependent on the symmetries of the dancers...well, your loss!

Interesting, tablet-oriented stylized sketch web program: minimator


January 16, 2022

On my devblog, the zen of palm, a browser-based palmos emulator, and the handspring. Interesting learning the Palm UI was mocked up in hypercard.

January 17, 2022

Life is all about maintenance. Your body, your house, your relationships, everything requires constant never ending maintenance.
/u/lordkushagra
But I think the rejoinder is: "we are all foot soldiers in the war against entropy"
Therapists Share 'Weird' Things People Are Scared To Tell Them--Even Though They're Normal Interesting. However "abnormal" you might think you are, you are more than likely not alone...

I think the idea that there are different parts of you (especially the ones provoking unwanted thoughts and desires) and why you as a whole might be accountable for the actions of these parts, and you might even have SOME limited ability to shape and guide them in the long run, they can not be conflated with you as a whole.
good to ponder on today: Most of you have no idea what Martin Luther King actually did


January 18, 2022



My dad's name was given phonetically as Ha-gu-yah-cla-ga-hus. (My mom was A-wan-ghan)
But that way of getting songs and dances, I guess that's way past our stage. I guess we're too civilized nowadays, cause at that time, see, they practically lived right with the animals and out in the woods all the time. They didn't have no automobiles or airplanes flying around or anything of that sort, and they were so close to nature, I guess that's how they probably got to get some of these songs together. A lot of stories, different stories, has been told of how these songs originated, and all of it starts with them coming from the different animals that were roaming the big forest at that time. And in the mountains and places like that, along the rivers, you can hear all these different kind of songs that was made up. Then as it came along, these persons that had heard these songs had started handing them down to the younger generation, up till today. Like me learning these songs: I learnt that from me going to all these different dances when I was a young lad, just a young kid at that time, just a little boy. Well, I started dancing the Eagle Dance when I was just about eight or nine years old. So now you can see how we carry our religion and traditions and all that. Most of us that had lived right along where the longhouse is, still believe in this religion, and we try to keep up the traditions as our older folks had done years before, and I think that's just the way it's been handed down all down through the years, from generation to generation, as far as I know of.
Richard Johnny John (mentioned in the clipping) on the Seneca song tradition.
via an interview with Jerome Rothenberg: Parts 1 + 2, Part 3. The interview also speaks of using song for environmental protest (against a dam) so I'm sort of pleased to identify a rough parallel with some of my musical work, even as I realize musical protest is always an uphill climb with clear successes thin on the ground.
How to give an MLK jr Day speech...
Measure with a micrometer. Mark with chalk. Cut with an axe.
Internet Wisdom
I feel like I've quoted this a lot, surprised I couldn't find it in my blog history.
I hope people in the Arlington/Somerville/Cambridge area appreciate how I helped ward of major snowfall this last storm by having purchased a new snowblower after the last snow we had.

Murphy can be your friend and ally once you appreciate his mysterious ways.
Good overview of symptoms of the new COVID variant, especially the scratchy throat. (Like I'm always tired and always have some allergy phlegm, so it's good to be knowing what else to look for.)
I wanted to give you something --
no stone, clay, bracelet,
no edible leaf could pass through.
Even a molecule's fragrance by then too large.
Giving had been taken, as you soon would be.
Still, I offered the puffs of air shaped to meaning.
They remained air.
I offered memory on memory,
but what is memory that dies with the fallible inks?
I offered apology, sorrow, longing. I offered anger.
How fine is the mesh of death. You can almost see through it.
I stood on one side of the present, you stood on the other.
Jane Hirshfield, "The Present"




We often have to explain to young people why study is useful. It's pointless telling them that it's for the sake of knowledge, if they don't care about knowledge. Nor is there any point in telling them that an educated person gets through life better than an ignoramus, because they can always point to some genius who, from their standpoint, leads a wretched life. And so the only answer is that the exercise of knowledge creates relationships, continuity, and emotional attachments. It introduces us to parents other than our biological ones. It allows us to live longer, because we don't just remember our own life but also those of others. It creates an unbroken thread that runs from our adolescence (and sometimes from infancy) to the present day. And all this is very beautiful.
Umberto Eco

January 19, 2022




Live every moment as not to regret what you are about to do.
Mickey Mouse
Is that an actual quote? I am really wondering what the context of that possibly was!

January 20, 2022



via


On my devblog, I wrote about my new daily todo tracker and what I've learned about the usefulness of using different methods of recording/tracking todos: ad hoc + soon vs daily habits vs long term + projects. Trying to put them all in one todo app was clogging things up and adding a strain to my life.
House passes bill to award Congressional Gold Medal to Willie O'Ree, the first Black NHL player Just found out about Willie O'Ree, first Black player in the NHL. Glad to hear he was a Bruin! Celtics were the first NBA team to draft an African American too. (Unlike the Red Sox who were notably last to integrate)

It still smarts when I hear SNL jokes and what not about Boston as the most racist. But the segregation of cities is still pretty obvious when you walk around... basically White folks here seem like a split of conservatives who think America is past racism (I mean excepting the ones who purposefully lean into racism) and liberals who assume they're personally too smart to be racist.



What happened? Why is internet punk now all about artificially creating scarcity?

Remember when Napster was punk because it knocked down the walls of scarcity and access created by record companies?

We went from "fuck you, capitalism" to "let's make more capitalism."

January 21, 2022

Walking in the cold this morning, back from the tire place. Got some iced coffee from Quebrada. Always fun to witness your iced coffee get more iced!



Love is a direction and not a state of the soul.
Simone Weil

January 22, 2022

Cleaning the "blog this" part of my todo list I found this:
A friend asked the other day what percentage of people I went to youth group with "deconstructed" and what percentage remained evangelical. As I thought about it, I realized that for the most part it was the kids who took their faith the most seriously who eventually walked away.

Those of us who tearfully promised that we would follow Jesus anywhere eventually followed him out the door. The Queer kids, more than anyone, learned exactly what it meant to work out our faith with fear and trembling.

They told us to read the Bible and take it seriously and then mocked us for becoming "social justice warriors."

Now they're warning us not to deconstruct to the point of meaninglessness.

But they took a chisel to God until he fit in a box. They "deconstructed" the concept of love until it allowed them to tolerate sexual abuse, celebrate white supremacy, and look away from kids in cages.

Some of us got to where we are because we took it all to heart. We took the most foundational elements of our faith to their natural conclusions. Folks who deconstruct evangelicalism aren't drop-outs; they're graduates.
via headspace-hotel tumblr with obaewankenope's observation that
"But they took a chisel to God until he fit into a box" is probably the RAWEST line I've ever read in my life.
And while I'm not queer, just an ally, a lot of this process reflects what happened to me. The aspects of God I deeply absorbed: But the prevalence of other religions - in particular Islam - seemed incompatible with any configuration of a universal God.

And frankly, maybe this was just the affable nerd I was, jealous of the fun time other kids were having, but most of my fellow church teens seemed pretty lax in their lifestyles relative to me.

I mean, looking back with maturity, those seemingly lax believers (who also seemed to indulge more deeply in the catharsis of the altar call at the end of church band camp) probably had it right. I mean, there's a part of me that is still startled by practicing Christians who shack up before marriage! Or swear a lot.

Maybe if I had grown up with a faith that leaned more into the mystery and not knowing and was a little more relaxed on the lifestyle thing... I think the Catholics have something going with the idea of confession, even if the idea of being reliant on the institution to save oneself from hellfire has been all too readily abused. Catholics - again, at least some Catholics - also seem to have a less literalist view of things, and accepting mystery and weirdness as a part of It all.
"Salvation Army" among the reasons Reasons for admission to a West Virginian lunatic asylum.


I don't know if it's worse to make a 'Army joke or a West Virginia joke.

Quotes via Siobhan Roberts "Genius At Play: The Curious Mind of John Horton Conway"

January 23, 2022
Tell all the Truth but tell it slant.
Emily Dickinson

There is a strong sense in which infinite numbers don't exist. There doesn't seem to be anything actually infinite in the real world at all. I don't know, maybe there is. But here are these infinite numbers, and whatever their ontological status is, I'm sure that you know they are not just an invention--I think "discovery" is the right word.
John Conway
Discovering something that doesn't exist is pretty remarkable... I guess what we are saying is that it's the discovery of a procedure or pattern.
If a lot can happen, everything will happen.
Conway's Presumption (Sometimes given as "If a lot is going on, everything can." or "If you can't understand what's going on, then probably *everything* is going on."

If Conway had never turned his hand to designing cellular-automata worlds--if Conway had never even existed--some other mathematician might very well have hit upon exactly the Life world that Conway gets the credit for. So, as we follow the Darwinian down this path, God the Artificer turns first into God the Law*giver*, who now can be seen to merge with God the Law*finder*. God's hypothesized contribution is thereby becoming less personal--and hence more readily performable by something dogged and mindless!
Siobhan Roberts, "Genius At Play"

Suppose surreal numbers had been invented first and real numbers second--suppose it had gone the other way and we had all grown up learning surreal numbers. And then someone said, 'Well, yeah, but there is this special case of the numbers you can write in decimal notation and so on.' If everybody had known surreal numbers from childhood, then physicists would believe that surreal numbers were real and that the universe, the laws of physics, would be defined by surreal numbers--and they would assume that things that are true of the surreal numbers are true in quantum theory. This makes me realize how much a leap of faith it is even to believe that physics based on real numbers is real. Because there is no more reason to believe that all the things in our universe can be infinitely divisible according to real numbers than there is to believe in surreal numbers. It's just a matter of familiarity with a concept. So when people develop theories of chaos based on real numbers, there is no reason to think that this could actually be true of the real world. In the same way, it wasn't until Einstein came along that people realized that there could be curvature in space with non-Euclidean geometries or that maybe the universe is only finite.
John Conway

The day can be saved with 45 minutes of work.
John Conway, citing words of wisdom of a graduate student

Princeton is a wonderful little spot. A quaint and ceremonious village of puny demigods on stilts.
Albert Einstein

Geometry is the user-friendly interface of math.
Bill Thurston

Marx is nowadays not regarded as a very great philosopher. But his ideas are still useful. And in particular he said something that applies to teaching. It was something to the effect that "the secrets to success in life are honesty and sincerity. If you can fake those, then you've got it made."

And I think that is terribly important in teaching. I would stick enthusiasm in with honesty and sincerity--enthusiasm is very important in teaching. You don't have to fake it. If you actually have it, that's the best thing. But if not, you better fake it. So you know, I've been teaching such-and-such a subject for 50 years--my god, half a century. And so it's difficult sometimes to pretend not to be a bit bored with it, when I am actually quite a lot bored with it. How do I do it? Fake it. I'm really serious that if you can fake it you've got it made.

By the way, it was Groucho Marx who said that, not Karl. Groucho has a lot of lessons to teach us. "I won't belong to any club that will have me as a member," that's another one.
John Conway

Well, "lustrum" is an English word meaning a period of 5 years.
John Conway
I like thinking in different frames of time like that. "Lustrum" seems pretty good! For a long while I tended to think in 4 year chunks, since that matched up with high school and college.
I was struck down with this awful thing and it changed my life, utterly. It was 20 seconds that aged me by 20 years. And I feel such a fool. Had I paid attention to my diet it wouldn't have happened. The road not taken was not taken at my folly. I feel old now; I never felt old before the stroke. It's a permanent intimation of mortality. Every day I think about death. With these lectures, I want to get the message out before I die; I want to get this damn stuff out. I want people to recognize the truth of it about the world. And not in 100 years' time. I want to see them recognize it.
John Conway (Roberts says he framed it for himself as a choice: to be depressed, or not to be depressed.)

I have people asking me whether Einstein's brain got to be the way it is because he did so much physics. And of course I think it is the other way around. I think he did so much physics because his brain had a certain anatomy.
Neuroscientist Sandra Witelson

They've been putting me through a battery of tests, and I feel pretty battered.
John Conway



2022 January❮❮prev