2022 March❮❮prevnext❯❯

March 1, 2022

(I guess usual content warnings for people who don't like reading about obsessing on calories too much)

I sort of wish I had been making a better log of simplistic food preparations I've leaned on in my new "work from home" era... ("recipes" is generally way too generous a term.)

But like all of these are beyond easy and have very good flavor and satiation to calorie ration

1. Banana and Nutella in a Joseph's Flax Wrap (or more recently, an unsliced small Pita) My go-to breakfast.

2. Oatmeal with a splurtch of canned whipped cream (or as one ex cutely misheard it, whisper-cream). Another breakfast standby, also good as a snack.

3. Prewashed Greens w/ Salsa and maybe crumbled Tortilla for a quick and dirty "taco salad" (I don't do this one as much I should, I let the greens go bad too often)

4. Microwave Mac and Cheese covered in Salsa (almost equal proportions... the flavor to calorie ratio of salsa is unbelievable.)

5. My latest find: Microwave-in-Bag Green Beans, with a ramekin of horseradish mustard

6. Cup Noodles ramen, with a nice heap of Sriracha

7. And a chicken sausage, also in that wrap or pita, with mustard and/or sometimes crumbled chips...

I've had to mess around with frozen treats. Like really good chocolate coated things just won't last long, and pints of anything are similarly too hard to resist and regulate. Lately I realized old fashioned fudgesicle-brand pops, like the no-sugar-added type, do a pretty good job of hitting that chocolate and texture note, but not SO well that I'm tempted to rip through a box over a day or two. Also, Outshine Creamy Coconut hits that creamy texture most other fruit bars don't, similar for Luigi's Lemon Italian Ice. (Their cherry is pretty good too.)

I can't believe I was on the verge of Marie Kondo-ing the coffee maker, because a pot of coffee, chilled and consumed over 2 days, has been my single strongest quarantine ritual. Oh, and Atomic Fireball candies - 20-30 calories of mouth entertainment and distraction.

One thing WFH has reinforced is once things are at home, I'm not going to have a lot of willpower. I eat and drink in part as a angsty mental release throughout the day, and so I have to be careful about what is at hand. The good news is, if my brain has labeled something as "Melissa's" I'm generally good at respecting that boundary.

I've regained about 10 of the 15 pounds I lost at the start of quarantine, and I'm still intrigued by my body's reaction to the perception of food scarcity, or maybe the "danger" of food-gathering, is to eat less.

Anyway, let me know if you have any low-preparation, reasonable calorie food treats you've found tasty and useful

March 2, 2022


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Inside you are two wolves. And it's too dark to read.

After I drink coffee I show my empty cup to the IT guy and say that I have successfully installed Java. He hates me.

The bad news: mildly aging eyes, I'm doing the "glasses on top of the head" trick for stuff close up.

The good news...er, I kind of like if I get some glasses maybe they can be "progressives"? So like, on-brand.

March 3, 2022

I have a different interpretation of what a realist should conclude about the Russian invasion of Ukraine and its antecedents. I start from a different premise: Russia is *not* a great power. It is *obviously* a declining power, objectively so. Its only claims to global power status are its petroleum reserves, its nuclear arsenal, and our collective memories of the Cold War. Take those away, and Russia is no more a great power than Turkey was in 1935.
Objectively, no one wants to invade or destroy Russia, there are not and have never been plans for a NATO conquest of Russia. Russia had a good deal: they got to sell their petroleum and defend their territorial integrity with their aging nuclear arsenal. Invading Ukraine was a stupid strategic error made by a declining power that does not understand The Tragedy of Great Power Politics

(Ironically "The Tragedy of Great Power Politics" is a book by John Mearsheimer)

Oh and...

Get it?

via b3ta

februrary new music playlist

genderqueer etc pop rock
I think they were on SNL.

Life Goes On
Kinda gospel-twinged hiphop.
On an epsidode of Awkwafina is Nora from Queens.
Junior Walker & The All Stars
Awesome R+B.
An article about where did the high pitch sample used in K Pop / that "Jump Around" song come from cited this as a possibility.
New Orleans
The Blues Brothers & Louisiana Gator Boys
From the Blues Brothers 2000 sequel... an all star band.
During the Beatles Get Back documentary, I wanted to learn more about Billy Preston, I guess he made this song?

Come Back Home
Seotaiji and Boys
Classic K Pop... super strong Cypress Hill influence...
Watched a video "K Pop Explained" (was disappointed the video didn't get into KPop fans rallying as a force for social justice online...)
Goodnight, Sweetheart, Goodnight
Sha Na Na
Sha Na Na was such a weird bid of 50s/60s greaser nostalgia of the late 70s/early 80s...
I remembered this song randomly saying goodnight to Melissa.
Surfin' Safari
The Beach Boys
Classic surf song.
I am kind of obsessed with why every version I can find is "some honeys will be coming along" and "singing our song" instead of the version on the McDonalds promotional tape I grew up, "some honeys will be making the seen" / "put on my faded blue jeans"...
It's Not My Fault
Princess Nokia
I got to thinking about her old song "Tomboy", looked to see what she was up to.

Rock Tonight
Altitude Music & MC Justo
Hiphop from the Ronny Cheng youtube special
Let It Be
Aretha Franklin
Melissa really likes this cover. The original of the song is pretty important to me.
Gotta Move
Barbra Streisand
via a Bud Light Ad during the Superbowl
Eleanor Rigby
Ray Charles
Not quite the same version from this Strong Covers Vol 1 episode of Strong Songs, a great podcast breaking down music and showing how the sausage was made...
Master Kohga Battle
Manaka Kataoka
Videogame music from this video about fooling around in Breath of the Wild
Bah Bah Conniff Sprach (Zarathustra) [Single Version]
Ray Conniff
This weird 2001-cover was used in a Superbowl ad

Mary, Mary
One of those songs I heard quoted a LOT in the 80s/early 90s ("Mary Mary, Why you Buggin?") but maybe never heard? Sought it out after I read about the Amen Break - this beat from the Monkees was on a small record of reusable beats
California Love
2Pac featuring Dr. Dre & Roger Troutman
One of the songs I didn't know much about from the Superbowl show...

Amen "Break"
The Winstons
The original beat that launched 1,000 hip hop songs, as seen on this cracked article on the Amen Break
Charles Mingus
Eze is arranging this song for JP Honk to cover.
Dark Eyes
Stanley Black and His Orchestra
Another song JP Honk is experimenting with... though we're not trying it as a Tango, like this is...

Your life's continual task is to build your death. You are *in* death while you are *in* life: when you are no more *in* life you are after death. Or if you prefer it thus: after life you are dead, but during life you are dying: and death touches the dying more harshly than the dead, in a more lively a fashion and more essentially.
Montaigne (via)

The law is not science, it's jazz. It's a series of iterations based off a few consistent beats.
Elie Mystal
As Kottke points out, Conservative originalists know this, but they hide their prejudices behind the notion that the text is immutable.

And of course now conservative activist judges turn it into something like free jazz, breaking whatever precedent in order to enforce their vision of how authoritarians think the world should be.
I wish people had a 30 second trailer so I could see what I'm getting myself into.

March 5, 2022

Went with Melissa and her mom to the Van Gogh IMAGINE projector show, then later stopped by where Leah and her daughters had been helping watch the pup Baxter.

Open Photo Gallery

 At bedtime the 8 yo told me his teacher
said: Think of your mind like a pond
full of fish and each fish is a feeling. Try
to be the pond, not the fish. And all I
can say is primary school has
significantly improved.

March 6, 2022

So my friend Dylan is probably better at Wordle than I am. And he likes to pick a different word to start with each day, so that maybe someday he's able to "Get It In One"
But his strategy reminded me of an old bit of math weirdness that made me thinking he making a mistake... if you're playing some kind of small, repeated lottery (which trying to guess Wordle on the first try basically is) than the best strategy is to pick the same value and let the win come to you, so to speak, rather than trying to "chase the win" by guessing a new value each day. This is especially true in Wordle, where the game is slowly working its way through an ordered list and will eventually hit everything in that list (not counting the words it has already played)
Without actually looking at the Wordle lists, I made up a computer simulation (Dylan may be better at Wordle but I'm better at computer geek stuff.) - https://toys.alienbill.com/gii1/ - Starting on day 250, "Steady Eddie" picked a word and starts with it every day. "Hopeful Henry" picks a random word to start with each day.
When you run this simulation a lot, Eddie beats Henry over 2:1, in terms of Eddie gets it in one earlier. In fact, Henry NEVER gets it in one about 40% of the time. (Eddie fails to get it in one about 10% of the time, reflecting how we're starting on day 250 of 2300)
So, I dunno. I like to always start with ADIEU, and then follow up with a word with lots of Rs and Ss based on what the vowels are looking like. And I'd be willing to bet $20 that I get it in one earlier than Dylan (assuming no one cheats 😃 ) -- on the other hand, on the day ADIEU is first, I will have my joy in getting 1/6 diminished with all my fellow ADIEU-ers sharing the glory, while if/when Dylan gets it, it's much more likely to be a unique accomplishment that day, so maybe his strategy is better after all!

from "Word at the Threshold"

There is so much so in sorrow.
Lisa Smartt's father's final words
Yes, I would like some scrambled eggs, but where would you reappear?
Bill, Final Words Project participant

I always say that people at the end of their lives have one foot in heaven and one foot on earth. Folks who are dying can see things I cannot. To deny their reality is a huge mistake. It is so important that anyone sitting at the bedside of someone who is dying be willing to hear and affirm the person's reality. Stay silent and be present. I even cry with the guys in the hospice units in prison. I gave up on all I learned about not crying. I just think a life is worth crying over -- most of them have not had their lives cried over.
Cari Rush Willis (who has sat at the bedside of almost two hundred dying people, including some on death row)
These 3 quotes are from "Words at the Threshold", about what people say in the run up to death. The book takes a turn to the mystical, and brings forth a few anecdotes that, if fully believed, would seem to refute the materialist estimates of the soul and self - the estimates that claim soul and self are fundamentally rooted in our physical brain, that any hope to for life after death or out of our bodies is merely poetic, living on in the influence we had on others and as ripples we made in the physical universe during our lives.

I'm not sure always sure what to make of it all. On the one hand, I do tend to hold to that materialist viewpoint, and some of the counter-evidence anecdotes - the knowledge of the moment someone else's death despite long distance, say - seems to be a bit of wish-fulfillment thinking, or how we remember the statistically unusual cases and forget the rest. And frankly some of the final, invisible-to-others scenes described by the dying seem very similar to those twists on reality and brain chemistry of folks using psychedelics.

I feel like both death and drugs can hold a spiritual aspect - but the question will always be is that spirituality 'merely' some kind of transcendence that emerges from the base stuff of our normal physical reality, or is there some kind supernatural soul stuff out there?

The faith built for me as a kid, or that I built for myself, turned out to be fragile, because it insisted on being universal and so was readily refuted by the existence of other faiths and by my skepticism that only "my crew" was getting it right. But what if faiths in general aren't just social constructs, but a set of extremely murky mirrors of... something. I mean from here it's easy to get into half-baked woo-woo about quantum entanglement and how a system being observed / interacting seems fundamental in determining what it actually is - events that challenge the very edifice of "cause and effect" that so much of the logic- and evidence-based view of the world is based on.

Sigh. From here it's easy to see the path of early-1900s spiritualism looking to bridge these gaps in understanding... and how easily they were taken in by charlatans and outright flimflammery.

March 8, 2022

Stop Venting! It Doesn't Work I guess this article backs some of my preconceptions. I get defensive and second-guess-y about if I'm somehow more repressed than is healthy, but I absolutely think there is wisdom in not letting negative feelings snowball.

Like (or maybe even "as") memes, emotions can serve us by carrying important information but they also have their own agenda of "wanting" to be maintained and propagated.
I did a few small quotes and mini-review of Ken Kocienda's "Creative Selection", about his work on early iPhone and Safari browser...

(I liked this mockup of a candidate for the first iPhone keyboard)
What's the difference between Republicans and Ukrainians?

Ukrainians defend their Capitol.

March 9, 2022


The Soviet pre-eminence in chess can be traced to the average Russian's readiness to brood obsessively over anything, even the arrangement of some pieces of wood. Indeed, the Russians' predisposition for quiet reflection followed by sudden preventive action explains why they led the field for many years in both chess and ax murders.
Marshall Brickman, in April 1973 Playboy

March 10, 2022

However sad and however frightening it may sound, I think that in our country a return to a certain period of totalitarian rule is possible. The danger is not to be found in the organs that provide order, the police or even the army. It is a danger at our summit, in the mentality of our people, our nation.

March 11, 2022

Modern Russia as a mafia setup. Mafia Gangs aren't good at complex production or even maintenance, which helps explain both some the ineptitude of the Army there, as well as how devastating sanctions there could be, since they do so little homegrown stuff.
I pray body dysmorphia is real cause otherwise I look really really bad

March 12, 2022


600 Songs From 1990-1999 Remixed Into 34 Minutes #TimsTwitterListeningParty

via twitter.com/dr_pangallo who says
"We're going to hear a lot of Republicans using the term "qualifications" to attack to Ketanji Brown Jackson's appointment to the Supreme Court, so I've put together a helpful graphic that should clarify what exactly Republicans mean when they say "qualification"..."

Is it just me or does Putin look like a grown up Dewey from Malcolm in the Middle?

March 13, 2022


March 14, 2022

Pi Day is just a fake holiday created by math companies to sell more math.

Some evenings... that is literally the best part of the evening.
celebrating pi day by acting irrationally and going on and on and on

March 15, 2022

Beware the Ides of March, my son!
The jaws that bite,
the claws that catch!

March 16, 2022

A Boat

O beautiful
was the werewolf
in his evil forest.
We took him
to the carnival
and he started
when he saw
the Ferris wheel.
green and red tears
flowed down
his furry cheeks.
He looked
like a boat
out on the dark
Richard Brautigan

(but I feel like this is Generation X as well?)
i love when tragedies are like "the love was there. it didnt change anything. it didnt save anyone. there were just too many forces against it. but it still matters that the love was there"

March 17, 2022

One of my all time favorite lyrics is early in Portal's closing song "Still Alive" - Aperture Science is the game's incredibly messed-up parody of big orgs, and the line is "Aperture Science: We do what we must, because we can." - i.e. we'll do these (presumably ethically dubious) things because no one can stop us."

But I guess for my life there's a humbler reading of that line - I'll muddle through even the crap parts of life, and I have enough privilege to do so.

A few years ago I remember some memes, maybe echoing this NY Times article on Is Resilience Overrated where the author quotes friends saying "'You're so resilient' is just code for 'You're on your own, sorry.'" and "resilience is made up by our capitalist overlords".

But the world is what it is, right? Everything is the way it is for a reason. Some of those reasons are malice and greed, some are just the unfortunate truth of entropy, but most of the deliberate ones are serving some "good" or other, and change will only come with a range of sacrifice of one type or another.

Some of it swings back to my recent wonder at people being driven by emotions. Raging and ranting against the unjustness of the world... maybe it's needed to power efforts to correct what we can, but it's a SUPER inefficient energy source - the waste heat it throws off is so damaging to our internal mechanisms and sometimes those around us...

(Thinking on despair and people's emotional reactions to things - yeesh, almost a decade ago I tackled a parallel line of "if you can't live without me, why aren't you dead yet?!". And the idea of how while "can't live without" isn't a literal claim of life and death it does point to a real sense of not being able to live as a whole, complete person. The death of our best self, the break from our self-actualized self. There's a parallel with outrage at the world for not letting us live up to our potentials.)
When People imagine Superman pushing a planet, they imagine him being in space, in reality he'd just be doing a handstand

March 18, 2022

Just finished "Pac-Man: Birth of an Icon", a colorful coffee-table-book masterpiece.
So infamously Pac-Man was originally Puck-Man, the name changed to avoid F'in vandalism, but the original cabinet art was so much better than the one released in the USA.

People aren't quite sure of the origin of the "toy-like" red-eyed, be-legged but armless smirking Pac-Man, though it may have been outsourced to Gordon Morison. The eye-catching yellow sides were probably a great idea, however.
I had a strong concept about what a game designer is- someone who designs projects to make people happy.
Toru Iwatani, creator of Pac-Man

Making a game combines everything that's hard about building a bridge with everything that's hard about composing an opera. Games are basically operas made out of bridges.
Frank Lantz, Directory of the New York University Game Center

Also I do love the art for the earlier Namco game "Gee Bee"...

Indiana cheerleaders rescued a stuck ball vs. Saint Mary's and became legends...

March 19, 2022

I used to believe that the human race as a whole was basically a few steps above wolves. That given the slightest change in circumstances, we would all, sooner or later, tear each other to shreds. That we were, at root, self-interested, cowardly, envious and potentially dangerous in groups. I have since come to believe -- after many meals with many different people in many, many different places -- that though there is no shortage of people who would do us harm, we are essentially good. That the world is, in fact, filled with mostly good and decent people who are simply doing the best they can. Everybody, it turns out, is proud of their food (when they have it). They enjoy sharing it with others (if they can). They love their children. They like a good joke. Sitting at the table has allowed me a privileged perspective and access that others, looking principally for "the story," do not, I believe, always get. People feel free, with a goofy American guy who has expressed interest only in their food and what they do for fun, to tell stories about themselves -- to let their guard down, to be and to reveal, on occasion, their truest selves. ... People, wherever they live, are not statistics. They are not abstractions. ... I'm not saying that sitting down with people and sharing a plate is the answer to world peace. Not by a long shot. But it can't hurt.
Anthony Bourdain

At Launch in Woburn...

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Nothing like some of the climbing gym stuff to remind you you're no longer ready for boot camp, or doing your own stunts in the next movie...

March 20, 2022

Woke up this morning with
a terrific urge to lie in bed all day
and read. Fought against it for a minute.

Then looked out the window at the rain.
And gave over. Put myself entirely
in the keep of this rainy morning.

Would I live my life over again?
Make the same unforgiveable mistakes?
Yes, given half a chance. Yes.
Raymond Carver, "Rain"

Cool video on the original German jerry can. While the history of it (as a superior design then copied by other countries to varying degrees of fidelity and success) was interesting my favorite part of the video is the first part, focused on the design- especially the three handles on top, allowing different configurations like one person carrying 4 empties, or 2 people cooperating to carry one, etc.

(A lot of other cool details in the design as well, an air pocket that would make preventing it from sinking if dropped in water, very durable internal weld, a super clever latch that precluded the need for extra funnels/nozzles...)
Billboard seen in Mario Kart Tour, shared by the game's official Facebook account in 2019. via

Would have killed them to have called the fake company "Web BOWSER"?

March 21, 2022

Hey! A talkin' piano!

Never has the old blues admonition to "make it talk, son, make it talk" been so feasible!
Welcoming the new Union Square T stop with Boston For Fun, a casual band mailing list perfect for stuff like this.

Channel 7 News is on it - some little clips of our celebratory band.

Open Photo Gallery

March 22, 2022

The risk of Armageddon has risen dramatically. Stay bullish on
stocks over a 12-month horizon.
BCA Research, via

Why do I care what's going on in the conflict between Ukraine and Russia. And I'm serious. Like why do I care? And why shouldn't I root for Russia? Which I am.

gas prices spiderman meme blame biden

March 23, 2022

I was at a shitty crustpunk bar once getting an after-work beer. One of those shitholes where the bartenders clearly hate you. So the bartender and I were ignoring one another when someone sits next to me and he immediately says, "no. get out."

And the dude next to me says, "hey i'm not doing anything, i'm a paying customer." and the bartender reaches under the counter for a bat or something and says, "out. now." and the dude leaves, kind of yelling. And he was dressed in a punk uniform, I noticed

Anyway, I asked what that was about and the bartender was like, "you didn't see his vest but it was all nazi shit. Iron crosses and stuff. You get to recognize them."

And i was like, ohok and he continues.

"you have to nip it in the bud immediately. These guys come in and it's always a nice, polite one. And you serve them because you don't want to cause a scene. And then they become a regular and after awhile they bring a friend. And that dude is cool too.

And then THEY bring friends and the friends bring friends and they stop being cool and then you realize, oh shit, this is a Nazi bar now. And it's too late because they're entrenched and if you try to kick them out, they cause a PROBLEM. So you have to shut them down.

And i was like, 'oh damn.' and he said "yeah, you have to ignore their reasonable arguments because their end goal is to be terrible, awful people."

And then he went back to ignoring me. But I haven't forgotten that at all.

Yet, in a bizarre, backwards way, death is the light by which the shadow of all of life's meaning is measured. Without death, everything would feel inconsequential, all experience arbitrary, all metrics and values suddenly zero.
Mark Manson

Germans can be awfully clever...

March 24, 2022

If I can wear about the same outfits I have been for the past quarter century.... am I Fashion Timeless or just Fashion Obliviousness?
(tho understanding A. there's a gender advantage here, but also B. mundane fashion seems to have slowed down a bit the past years, maybe ever since an ascendency of aspirational middle class look from the Gap...)
what if ghosts can't see us either and they're scared as shit cause who the fuck is making pizza bagels at 2 a.m

Moving speech by Senator Booker about the significance of Judge Jackson's nomination (longer version)
Most alien races scorned humanity for their lack of psychic ability and reliance on perceiving the world through light and vibrations... until they participated in their first war. Turns out lining up straight light beams through sights lets you aim weapons at devastatingly long ranges.

March 25, 2022

The older you get, the better ginger ale tastes.
Scott Albertine

The line between skinny dipping and having a bath is shaped by the most expected form of duck to behold at any given time.

A tanker from the big city tells the infantry how to deal with the tanks on the other side...

I mentioned this other month, but I'm seriously wonder if the "Body Thetan" concept of Scientology - if sheer nonsense on many levels, might be psychologically useful in terms of treating self-defeating thoughts as externalized enemies...

March 26, 2022

The world is too big for love to be real. There are too many people in the world to ever know, beyond everything, that you are with the right person. That your heart is as swollen as it can be. Think of all the people in China. It is unlikely anyone will ever meet all of them. How can we know for certain, that trapped inside a foreign language and thumping in a foreign heart there isn't a love that is meant for us. The infinite possibility of existence, its limitless potential, is the proof that we need that love is nothing more than an imagination, a human folly, friendship swollen with self-importance, a final retreat from the storm of possibility. The love of our life could so easily have been someone else. It is random and accidental, haphazard and unsystematic. That which we feel for one person, clinging on to the delusion of destiny, could so easily be felt for a million people should the timing and the meetings and the mutual readiness have coalesced at some other time in some other place. Should someone else have accepted us or rejected us then everything would have been different. And once we know this, we know that all love is a lie. Not honesty but deception. Not heroism but cowardice. An unspoken agreement of mutual consolidation and compromise, a shield from possibility and a bed in which to sleep, nothing more than that. But I do still miss her.
Daniel Kitson

March 27, 2022

(this tweet about a guy's toothbrushing music video being thwarted by his roommate never fails to entertain.)

March 28, 2022


Open Photo Gallery

Such a good metaphor!
rice fills me with joy and happiness, but more importantly it fills me with rice

Seeing conservatives say that will smith did a cancel culture and couldn't take a joke and others saying he upheld masculine virtue; libs split between saying Will defended black women and that he did a violence, finally something that splits political blocs, thank you Will Smith

March 29, 2022

I came up with a meme getting to the heart of my procrastination.

So much of it is just a reflection of fixed mindset. My fortress of ego's needs are the one place built to defy and withstand a general "hey, ultimately everything will be ok or end, so don't worry about it"-driven rationality.
Most alien races scorned humanity for their lack of psychic ability and reliance on perceiving the world through light and vibrations... until they participated in their first war. Turns out lining up straight light beams through sights lets you aim weapons at devastatingly long ranges.

So I spend some of my life correcting would-be pedants who say "it's not a tuba, it's a sousaphone". No, numskull, a sousaphone is a type of tuba, so don't get all organologistier than thou.
But judging by the program "musescore", the true name of a cello is the violoncello?? I am honestly a little surprised it never comes up... good on them!

March 30, 2022

What fresh hell is this?

March 31, 2022

Joking how I had to look up what the target of the protest BABAM was backing today.

That's from "The Wild One", but I guess it's also a bit "Rebel With Too Many Causes"
With his retirement, we're reminded how Bruce Arians isa true class act.

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