2022 August❮❮prevnext❯❯

"It makes sense that you feel that way."

August 1, 2022
Melissa and I had a great week with Dylan, besides the incredible amounts of Lake-ish fun we had some great conversations, many about mental and emotional health.

One phrase he mentioned being very useful between him and his mom, so much so that it had an accompanying gesture (motioning as if it was a tattoo inscribed along the forearm) was "it makes sense that you feel that way."

I really adore that, because it is very validating with being fully endorsing-- it has a useful ambiguity of whether the confirmed "sense" is strictly objectively and rationally true, or just true within the context of the listener's mental landscape.

It clicks well with my recent observation of how "validation" is the critical thing in so many cases. Especially for negative emotions; for anger, people want to know other folks are on their side, wiling and able to recognize the same unacceptability of some aspect of the world and join in the fight against it, for sadness that the other might mourn alongside, or for almost any emotions; that other people recognize that the feeling is a sensible response, and that the initial feeler is not diminished by having that feeling, or too out of joint with the world.

This scales up to larger groups, of course: the majority of political ads are exercises in fomenting righteous outrage, because mere negative judgement might not be enough to open the purse strings or inspire other action. (This constant sense of helpless outrage gets tiring. No wonder some people are so drawn by promises of people who claim they can fix things.)

Importantly, I also think that the demand for validation scales *down* as well; I'm a big believer in "parts"-type therapeutic models, the ones that point out we are not the consistent, monolithic beings our consciousness tries to pretend we are. For me an emotion flares up from a singular, often non-verbal part. But then my slower, more think-y self has a moment to decide if it's going to put cognitive kindling and fuel on that emotion, or if it's going to decide that a bigger feeling doesn't serve the greater me, and let the emotion die out.

(This flame metaphor may not resonate for everyone, but I see it as useful in modeling other folks, even folks living more intuitively and not as "unemotionally" as I can appear to be going. Like Dylan mentioned he might have a feeling smoldering underground, causing irritation and then flaring up after a few days. Or other people seem to have a semi-constant large flames just barely contained. Or with fear-anxiety, fire fighting is a recurring struggle. But, it makes sense that they feel that way.)

Daddy, swing... take it easy.

photos of the month july 2022

August 2, 2022

Open Photo Gallery

Arrived at parade #2 early, took photos of bees in clover.

Lady in a wiener suit perched on her wiener mobile.

August 3, 2022

The hour from night to day.
The hour from side to side.
The hour for those past thirty.

The hour swept clean to the crowing of cocks.
The hour when earth betrays us.
The hour when wind blows from extinguished stars.
The hour of and-what-if-nothing-remains-after-us.

The hollow hour.
Blank, empty.
The very pit of all other hours.

No one feels good at four in the morning.
If ants feel good at four in the morning
--three cheers for the ants. And let five o'clock come
if we're to go on living.
Wislawa Szymborska

Basically, my rationale for always using plural verb agreement for "they" regardless of whether it's being used in the singular or the plural is that "you" also always takes plural verb agreement regardless of whether it's being used in the singular or the plural (i.e., always "you are", never "you is"), and spurious consistency is a time-honoured tradition in English grammatical crackpottery.

August 4, 2022

When an article says "some scientists think" then remember this: I, a scientist, once thought I could fit a whole orange in my mouth. I could, it turns out, get it in there, but I hadn't given sufficient thought to the reverse operation.

August 5, 2022

August 6, 2022

August 7, 2022

Great long weekend up in NH w/ Melissa's ol' PPLM crew, overlooking Attitash Mountain. Admittedly the skiing is pretty bad this time of year but the Sawyer Rock swimming area Saturday was excellent.

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On the way back Melissa and I hit the old Home of the Water Fairies, Diana's Baths.

Open Photo Gallery

August 8, 2022

But I understand what Darius is going through, I understand what that brother is going through in the sense of "revenge", you know?

"Anything to feel good."

And a lot of us the only way we know to feel good is to get revenge on somebody else. And I'm here to tell you... it DO feel good.

Oh my god, revenge feel good. I ain't saying it's full of NUTRIENTS... it ain't gonna help you in the long run, but in the short run it feels GOOD to get a little revenge on somebody sometimes.

'Cause revenge.. that's an impulse we learn at an EARLY age. We learn revenge early. It's not taught, it's something that's just in us because you see someone who got away with something, and they ain't got their thump behind their ear yet, and you got to make the world right.
Roy Wood Jr, Imperfect Messenger "Anything to Feel Good" is a theme of his special... (he compares it to getting your crab leg, that one moment of pleasure after working through all the hard stuff.)
This jumped out to me, I've been trying to better express my idea of morality as an emergent property, not one that needs to be set by a divine, out-of-the-system supernatural agent...

new music playlist july 2022

August 9, 2022
Huh. On the one hand I've been grabbing a lot less songs lately, but most of it is pretty good! Not sure if it's because of the other media I'm consuming or what.

Also I've gotten really good at ripping songs straight outta the browser via "Audio Hijack" - as long as the song is under 10 minutes you can use the free version.

Dig Down
Lots of George Michael callbacks here, heard about it on the "Strong Songs" podcast.

Rice Krispies
Rolling Stones
Cracked thinks this might be the actual Rolling Stones doing a 30 second spot for Rice Krispies.
Americus (Religious Right Rock)
Grand Buffet
Parody of rightwing dumbassness, on a Suicide Girls dvd some of the performers are having a shout sing of it.

Insane Dryer Noise Remix
Tik Tok
Someone found their washer machine making a funky beat, and musicians riffed on it.

Just a Gigolo / I Ain't Got Nobody
Louis Prima
Checking in on the "Diamond Dave" version of this, it's almost surprising how little it adds. Anyway grabbed this because one band I sometimes swing with wants to try it.

Mario Raceway
Magnificent Danger
Fun HONK-ish cover of Mario 64 music. Ripped this MP3 from the video, don't think they've release it for reals... saw MagDan at a recent brass afternoon at the Medford Condon hatch shell.

Special Powers
Grand Buffet
from the Americus folks - love this song a lot more, REALLY strong mid-era Beastie Boys energy.
What's Inside a Girl?
The Cramps
Surfer Punk or maybe "haunted house" vibe - I remember being a bit scandalized by a xerox'd 8.5x11 poster for this song, some woman standing provocatively w/ a bunch of question marks around...

It Comes in Waves
Long Haul Paul
Heartbreaking song about a father losing his sun to drugs, via the Over the Road podcast about long-haul truckers

"Look, I don't want any wounded guys in the parade," Trump said. "This doesn't look good for me." He explained with distaste that at the Bastille Day parade there had been several formations of injured veterans, including wheelchair-bound soldiers who had lost limbs in battle.

Kelly could not believe what he was hearing. "Those are the heroes," he told Trump. "In our society, there's only one group of people who are more heroic than they are--and they are buried over in Arlington." Kelly did not mention that his own son Robert, a lieutenant killed in action in Afghanistan, was among the dead interred there.

"I don't want them," Trump repeated. "It doesn't look good for me."

It turned out that the generals had rules, standards, and expertise, not blind loyalty. The President's loud complaint to John Kelly one day was typical: "You fucking generals, why can't you be like the German generals?"

"Which generals?" Kelly asked.

"The German generals in World War II," Trump responded.

"You do know that they tried to kill Hitler three times and almost pulled it off?" Kelly said.

But, of course, Trump did not know that. "No, no, no, they were totally loyal to him," the President replied. In his version of history, the generals of the Third Reich had been completely subservient to Hitler; this was the model he wanted for his military.

Interview: Jon Freeman & Anne Westfall (Archon, Archon II) - I found a link to this interview (grabbed off of Usenet) in a tweet to the Wayback Machine's view of alienbill.com... deserves a slightly less defunct home!

August 10, 2022

Anyway, I know "motivation" is a fickle thing, and it's hard to tell a framing that provides a temporary structural boost from an actual epiphany that might have legs, but right now reminding myself that eating in a more disciplined way is something I "want" is useful.
Currently a lot of my pondering on life philosophy is the conflict between personal preferences and preferences as filtered into and back down from group, which tend to have more "shoulds". And dieting tends to live in that realm of shoulds. But if I can reframe it as something my Self WANTS... not just a conflict between my inner self that loves tasty treats and the feeling of consumption against the schoolmarmish "should" self that clucks its tongue and tells me know, maybe that can help.
And it's entangled enough with my applied philosophy way of life that I think there's a chance it might be a long term improvement, though I won't be shocked if the old systems (evolution-wise-speaking) have their say and persuade me to let my weight up so as to better handle the next famine. But we'll see how it goes.
In New Hampshire I saw road signs for State Representative Jerry Knirk. Knirk was knew to me.

But to be fair, at this point if you're not afraid of the computers than you're not paying attention...

August 11, 2022

Hall: Your middle name is "Macho," but I'm wondering if you ever cried. Has Macho Man ever cried?

Savage: Yeah, uh huh, it's okay for macho men to show every emotion available, because I've cried a thousand times and I'll cry some more -- but I've soared with the eagles and I've slithered with the snakes, and I've been everywhere in between and I'm gonna tell you something right now: There's one guarantee in life -- there are no guarantees. And understand this, nobody likes a quitter, nobody said life was easy. So if you get knocked down and you take the standing eight count, you get back up and you fight again. That's the Macho Mania, dig it?

August 12, 2022

When I see an artist seeking commissions on tumblr, I often order up an alien bill just for grins, and then post it up on the Alien Bill Gallery... These are by tumblr user fubblers

todo-list dump

August 13, 2022
I am really feeling better about my life management by shifting to using "2do" just for repeating and time sensitive items and the free-form text "Tot" app for everything else, but I haven't finished transferring all the misc items out of "2do". One category of tasks was "Just Blog It Doofus" so I'll try to tear threw those today...
A "no math" (but seven-part) guide to modern quantum mechanics

An "angel" is anything that carries out a mission for God. This includes forces of nature. [...] Photosynthesis? That's an angel. Gravity? An angel. Magnetism? Angel. The Midrash in Bereishis Rabbah (chapter 1) says than an angel only performs one job. That job doesn't have to be destroying Sodom; it could be peristalsis, centripetal force or condensation.
Rabbi Jack Abramowitz, Angels (via he-harim + lazarusemma)
via headspace-hotel who adds "Im obsessed with this idea and I will not be able to stop thinking about the angel that caramelizes onions"
Chewbacca's lifespan was 7 times longer than Han's so Han was kinda like Chewbacca's dog. Han wouldn't have died if Chewie had properly neutered his pet

fantasy biology but it's weird and kinda horrifying like real biology: reproduction. Fun speculations.
Knowledge: knowing that a tomato is a fruit.
Wisdom: not putting tomatoes in a fruit salad.
Philosophy: wondering if ketchup is a smoothie.

Excellent Programmer Memes
Sein of Blue - what if you Seinfeldified Miles Davis?
If you're cremated after you die, you can be put into an hourglass and continue being part of family game night.

I really love the game Xevious (which apparently isn't TOO well known but one of those "your favorite game designers favorite retro game" candidates, especially in Japan) but I loved the full area maps on the StrategyWiki Xevious Page
Hanson refers to an idea that originated with Jung: the concept of the self as a committee of various parts. "If the brain is a committee, the chair of the committee, roughly, tends to live right behind the forehead. So when you increase activation of the chair of the committee, who in effect is then able to say to the self-critical member of the committee, "Oh, we hear you already. We got it. Enough already. Hand the microphone to somebody else.".

Maniac Mansion Design Chart was mentioned on How Did This Get Played
Be a Pelican not a Pelican't.
I always love attempts to bring game programming to the larger audience, like the Paystation Net Yaroze... here are the sprites from Family BASIC, an addon to the Famicom (original Japanese version of the NES)

The MIT Dropouts Who Created Ms. Pac-Man: A 35th-Anniversary Oral History. Love that they are kinda local guys! (Also this company low-ley made THE most amazing arcade ports for the Atari 2600... Battle Zone, Pole Position, etc were just were Atari took back the throne from Activision...)
The Onelook Thesaurus is pretty cool.

August 14, 2022

Stability is a hard sell, I'll grant you; the payoff is far away. No hominid ever thought, "If I poke this stick into a termite mound, then 50,000 generations from now my progeny will pay for five streaming services, including Peacock." They thought, "I am tired of chasing these termites all over the place when there's a veritable termite fountain over there." And suddenly, right then, they were eating the world. Humans are here for a good time, not a long time.

August 15, 2022

Minor epiphany: I have almost the same fixed mindset for my body that I do for my emotional / intellectual self and life in general. Like, I'm reasonably happy with it and confident about it, but I am rarely inclined to push its boundaries, to find out more exactly what the limits are, or to extend them through dogged persistence. And I also expect it to be very reliable, always able to do what I ask, so long as I don't ask for too much.

I'm sure upcoming decades may force me to recognize that neither my body nor my wits are infinitely reliable...
kidpix.app recreates old doodling software. I wonder what the modern day closest equivalent is...
I like that the first American coin said "MIND YOUR BUSINESS"

via Cracked.com
sketch.metademolab.com kind of a cool "animate kids drawings" tool. I like how it lets you see how the sausage is made

August 16, 2022

Fractals on the Mind - a cool brief lecture video on Fractals and Biophilia form an old mentor of mine.

Biophilia is a very right brained kind of thing - the controlling left brain doesn't like it as much, it's a bit more out of control...

August 17, 2022

Recent snack "creation" of mine: 2 Wasa Rye crackers with Dijon or Horesradish Mustard.

I say it's a reasonable snack that does good at meeting chip-like salty/crunchy cravings, and is pretty satisfying @ 40 calories. (The crackers alone would be kind of miserable, but with a good mustard? Not bad!)

Melissa says it's "weird" and "like something a pregnant lady would eat"

Are you on Team Kirk or Team Melissa on this one?

August 18, 2022

Pitch for a new Religion: The Church of Faith in Doubt and Certain Vagueness.

Most faiths either assume every other faith is wrong (universal truth: yes, other faiths: wrong), or that most every faith is a flavor of right (universal truth: yes, other faiths: right ) or run a bit existential (universal truth: no, other faiths: right) or nihilist (universal truth: no. other faiths: wrong)

The Church of Faith in Doubt and Certain Vagueness splits these differences (universal truth: sort of, other faiths: right and wrong) and says that there is a general direction of universal truth that emerges from the shared human condition, but that we can never be certain which specific faith is closest to it, just endless hashing over which faiths probably are closest to universal, and asking about what criteria we use to like one faith over another, since those criteria might be the important bit.

The Church's patron saint is Goedel.
Meetings at The Chapel of No Special Revelations.
Cracked.com on cool bugs
Alien Bill commissioned from Joe Ellis

My favorite podcast is "Get Played", where the 3 hosts (really skilled in comedy) talk about video games. Their patreon has a side podcast "Get Animed", where they've been going through Neon Genesis Evangelion, so I'm rewatching odd episodes even though I watched it for the first time in 2020.)

Anyway, the Netflix verison (notorious for being too cheap to pay for the rights for "Fly Me To The Moon") has notably different translations for the written captions and for the overdubs. It's interesting taking in the same information in two different spins at once...

August 19, 2022

The other thing too I always come back to... and I know that [Trump], bizarrely, and again you can't make this up, before he got into politics he was a well-known occasional figure in pro-wrestling? Which you really can't make up. But I've always thought that professional wrestling really does explain Trump's view of how the world works. It's not quite fake, but it's also just, you just say what you want to have happen and then that happens. If the plot line is that the other guy wins the title, because the ref got distracted and looked the other way, and our hero got hit over the head and lost his championship belt, that's Trump losing his presidency. The hero who lost his belt can just sort of stamp his feet and get the crowd behind him and then steal the belt back and now he's the champion again. Right? And he thinks everything works that way. You just say what you want to happen and it happens and nothing is really based on actual cause and effect, it's all just like he thinks you can screenwrite the whole whole world, which is sort of how Pro-wrestling works, and that's why people like to watch it. Most people understand that that's, you know, fiction.
John Gruber on "The Talk Show".

August 20, 2022

Man, my passport photos ain't getting any prettier.

I guess you used to be allowed to smile? and keep your glasses on? Huh.

I know I've kvetched about it before but it is MADDENING how "polarized" is ALWAYS assumed superior for sunglasses, even though almost all of us live in a world of screens, some of which we want to look at even if it's sunny out.

I can get custom sunglasses made mirrored and non-polarized (my preference) but I'm not sure if I can find someone to hack up some clipons the same way...

August 21, 2022

Reread Cat's Cradle, first on a list of this All Vonnegut Novel suggested reading order. It remains one of my favorite books, and I want to make it clear, I want the Bokononist Final Rites read at my funeral, at least up to "Good Night!".
We watched the Laboratory's receptionist turn on the many educational exhibits that lined the foyer's walls. The receptionist was a tall, thin girl--icy, pale. At her crisp touch, lights twinkled, wheels turned, flasks bubbled, bells rang.

"Magic," declared Miss Pefko.

"I'm sorry to hear a member of the Laboratory family using that brackish, medieval word," said Dr. Breed. "Every one of those exhibits explains itself. They're designed so as *not* to be mystifying. They're the very antithesis of magic."

"The very what of magic?"

"The exact opposite of magic."

"You couldn't prove it by me."

Dr. Breed looked just a little peeved. "Well," he said, "we don't *want* to mystify. At least give us credit for that."
Kurt Vonnegut, Cat's Cradle

And the driver asked me if I would mind another brief detour, this time to a tombstone salesroom across the street from the cemetery.

I wasn't a Bokononist then, so I agreed with some peevishness. As a Bokononist, of course, I would have agreed gaily to go anywhere anyone suggested. As Bokonon says: "Peculiar travel suggestions are dancing lessons from God."
Kurt Vonnegut, Cat's Cradle
I think of that line "Peculiar travel suggestions are dancing lessons from God" to help justify saying yes all the time - I was glad to be reminded that it applies not just to big journeys but small side trips as well.
'Americans are forever searching for love in forms it never takes, in places it can never be. It must have something to do with the vanished frontier.'
Ambassador Minton quoting his wife's letter to the Times, in
Kurt Vonnegut, Cat's Cradle

An evening at Revere Beach, and then some of Cora's lil chicks.

Open Photo Gallery

August 22, 2022

I admit I scoff and wonder when I see people's phones with 10,000s of unread messages, but admittedly that's because I lean so heavily on Gmail's "Important" heuristic, which is pretty decent (And I have always preferred its earlier yay/nay guess to the "divide into TYPE of mail" that came later) I aim for something like inbox zero, but only counting the stuff labeled "important".

But, my "unimportant" pile was sneaking up 10,000 - I really need to unsubscribe more often - since Dec 8. I mean 10K feels like a TON... but it's only ~40 a day!

The way 40 a day adds up to 10,000 in less than a year, and I think that sounds surprising to most people - is part of a general "innumeracy" most of us share. Like we just aren't good at thinking about how stuff scales geometrically, like "number of emails per day" x "number of days", and 365 days is more time than it feels like.

August 23, 2022

Thinking about the natural tendency to procrastinate, and how different theories of mind explain it.

IFS (Internal Family Systems) probably does a neat job of it: you have some kind of inner child that doesn't want its ego hurt and so a guardian is set up to avoiding getting to the brass tacks of it all.

Like a lot of things, it's all about our emotional attachment to the world being a certain way. We don't want to put off finding out if the world of outcomes is in fact not what we would like it to be. Like, sometimes it's just easier to live in this fuzzy realm of "maybe things are good" than to try hard and see our limitations pointed out in start relief.

I still like that Churchill saying "One ought never to turn one's back on threatened danger and try to run away from it. If you do that you will double the danger. But if you meet it promptly and without flinching you will reduce the danger by half." It's never truer than when the danger is to our precious egos, since only a small subset of problems get easier by ignoring them...
I did not LET myself go. I just WENT.

August 24, 2022



Until lions have their own historians, the hunters will always be glorified.
Ethiopian Proverb

August 25, 2022

Though of this when I read the headline Terrell Owens ran a sub 4.5 in the 40, and he's 48-years old.

I mean 48 is a perfectly healthy age to be right
Two of my favorites from this page 17 Pictures Showing How The Past Saw The Future Playing Out

I love retrofuturism!

August 26, 2022

It's tough being a lesbian, and a feminist - some days I'm part of the problem.
Wanda Sykes (last night at the Medford Square Chevalier)
(it was one of those phones-in-sealed-bags shows, so I couldn't transcribe the quote when it was fresh, so slight paraphrase.)

When I think about procrastination, I think back to this one self-hypnosis (or something) CD I had, and the woman with a "Just Do It Now" mantra, something like "it will feel so good if you Just Do It Now".

I think about hypnosis. I guess it seems arrogant to assume I'm likely not too succeptible? thoughts of Jabba the Hutt "You weak minded fool! He's using an old Jedi mind trick...Your mind powers will not work on me, boy." But I do wonder if my deeply internalized distrust of intuition and habitual diminishment of personal preference until my higher brain takes a guess at the objective view of things means I'm less prone to unquestioningly take the hypnotic suggestion.

Or not. I dunno. Sometimes it just seems like a scam.
Generally, highly motivated, intelligent individuals are the best hypnotic subjects because of their ability to concentrate; [...] However, the ability to concentrate, though necessary for hypnotic susceptibility, is not in itself a sufficient condition since some subjects who show good concentration are relatively unsusceptible.

Casually mentioning that persons of low mentality seldom are good hypnotic subjects increases motivation. Even though this statement is not strictly true, all patients wish to be regarded as above average in intelligence. Therefore, the remarks, by inference, increase their susceptibility. [...] Scientifically minded individuals are often poor subjects because of internal "noise"--self-analysis of their emotions.
I suspect I fall firmly into that final category; sounds like a deeply-ingrained habit of second-guessing oneself seems to be a barrier to hypnosis. So my guess is hypnosis works by having the hypnotist take the role of an internal voice of the mind, and works best when one's inner voice is used to being seeing as authoritative.

(On the other hand, I feel like I'm as prone to suspending disbelief as anyone when dreaming...)

Forgiving your son who ran away from home to blow his inheritance and celebrating his return with a big feast is a slap in the face to the sons who faithfully stayed by your side the whole time!

August 27, 2022

Alien Bills by Bart Cusick; we worked together on one of my best Global Game Jam games, the 2 players on one tablet game Heartchers. We've helped each other out now and then and a while back he made a bunch of Alien Bills but didn't send them off because he didn't get to the coloring, still they are some of my favorite Alien Bills ever:

Open Photo Gallery

I am heartened because if (and it's a big if) I ever make an extended version of "So You're Going to Die", I finally have a good working friendship with another illustrator who would be up for the task.

August 28, 2022

Marched with New Magnolia in the Feast of St Anthony's festival Saturday and Sunday. Saturday had a lot of ducking into restaurants flash-mob style. It's hours and hours of marching but great to be part of a century-strong tradition...

Open Photo Gallery

I've persuaded the bandleader Ken to add "Space Cadet" (my signature bassline, loving stolen from the Atari 2600 port of IREM's game "Moon Patrol") and man - it's a bop

August 29, 2022

Remember that you're a thought machine.
Steve Martin (on staying alert for comedy inspiration.)

August 30, 2022

You're so calm, always...like a tractor.
Ksenia (in 2006)
One of the pleasures of running a quote-and-link blog for over 20 years is looking back and finding evidence of growth, or the consistency of personal traits... like this one tells me 16 years ago I still had this (maybe overly) even-keeled nature that's been on my mind lately

(This quote came about a week after she said "I'm so jealous.... you have such long eyelashes... like a *cow*!" and then had to explain it was a legitimate compliment, think like a baby calf, and she was envious of what I could achieve without mascara.)
Went a little long but English with German Syntax was kinda neat. Is that where Yoda gets it?

August 31, 2022

RIP Mikhail Gorbachev, father of Glasnost, Perestroika, and a thousand forehead birthmark jokes.
It ain't rocket science. Donald "The Art of the Deal" Trump took home a pile of docs (especially about our intelligence operators) so he could wheel and deal. What a scuzz ball.
Michigan board blocks certification of abortion rights ballot measure, throwing it to the courts hey remember when republicans believed in rule of law?

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