2023 February❮❮prevnext❯❯

February 1, 2023

Muchísimas gracias to Nelson for sewing up and on a much better version of my "JP" patch for my JP Honk Band Jacket! (previous version was a similar piece of felt, crudely pinned on and with "JP" penned in via sharpie.)

photos of the month january 2023

It's groundhog day. Again.

Open Photo Gallery

There are certain words you don't want to see in a weather discussion, such as "historical."

February 3, 2023

The Gods of Shuffle graced me with The Mountain Goats' No Children, I found this interview with these two quotes I'm finding kind of moving at the moment...
I suffer from anxiety, and one of the most helpful things I've learned is that if you fight anxiety, if you start to feel yourself going into a panic attack and you try to stop it, that makes it worse. ['No Children'] is a song that says, 'No, I just want to stay in this painful moment. I just want to feel this painful moment, and take joy in how dark we can make this moment.'
Joseph Fink (creator of the "Welcome to Night Vale" and Mountain Goats fan)

Love these kids as hard as you can, because a lot of them haven't had that.
Mountain Goats artist John Darnielle, on being a counselor for Lutheran Social Services (at a placement for kids who for whatever reason, weren't with their parents)

February 4, 2023

The great works of the Lord are carefully crafted in respect of all that he wills, so that in a wonderful and ineffable way nothing happens contrary to his will, even that which is contrary to his will!
John Calvin

February 5, 2023

New cartesian dualism just dropped.
People are like "these animals have exoskeletons and these ones have endoskeletons" but no. It's all exoskeletons, your exoskeleton is protecting your bone marrow which is where your soul (which is you) is. The rest of the stuff is extraneous decoration that Big Pharma wants you to think is important/
Why do you think there's so few ghosts around? Why are most ghosts people who died violently? You gotta crack the bones to let the soul out. Most souls are trapped alone in the dark and silent ground (or teaching hospitals) for hundreds or thousands of years until the bones eventually start to break. People who are cremated get their whole soul released and it can reincarnate. But if someone dies violently then maybe only a couple of their bones are cracked and a little scrap of the soul escapes but it's incomplete and confused. Can't figure out how to leave, gets obsessed with its own circumstances, repeats actions, CANNOT be reasoned with. PROOF that the soul is in the marrow.

See I know what I'm talking about.
Sin is stored in the teeth btw which is why young children are innocent (they'll get a do-over with replacement teeth) and the elderly are shameless (once you have no teeth to remember your sins, you have nothing to fear).
Upon review I think that maybe vodka isn't for me.

Aging bites a bit harder when you're not fond of the parent you resemble.

"the fight for what's right is whatever they do" is hardly a basis for a moral system

Been thinking about the old Adventures of the Gummi Bears cartoon...

A few thoughts:
1. Making a mythological sort of backstory for a candy was an interesting choice, especially since it wasn't tied to a particular brand.
2. This cartoon really upped the animation standards for Saturday morning fare. Looking at the intro... maybe some of it was the design? Those Ogres just have a great sense of mass to them, as do the bears themselves (and the end of that club "Cavin" is wielding at around 30 seconds in)
3. For a long time I thought the theme song had a line "They take pride in knowing / the fight for what's right is whatever they do" which even as a youngster struck me as a bizarrely self-serving sense of morality. (Reading and listening now, it's probably "they'll fight for what's right in whatever they do" which is a bit better.)
4. The family relationship in the warren was always kind of vague. But Sunni Gummi, the second youngest one, always struck me as surprisingly gender ambiguous. Maybe some of it was her kind of stylish short, swooped 80s haircut, but also I think it's good that they avoid the "smurfette" variety of pre-teen girlhood in the show.

I realize I think a lot about this tumblr-ized tiktok of Cheetah Calls for His Sibling, like beyond the "heh Cheetah's make surprisingly housecat like meows", I think how it demonstrates what our kitty Dean is looking for. Maybe less licking though.
You should see this

January 2023 New Music Playlist

Hark! Starting with a rare 5-star.

I Listened
Apes of the State
This song resonates for me on a few levels - the defence after being accused of not listening, the sense of dumb but self-aware feminine longing....
Angel in Flip-Flops
Steve Martin & Only Murders in the Building – Cast
Funnyish song... its onomatopoeia for flip-flops ('pitta putta' is catchy)

Addison Rae
"You say you're obsessed with me / So I took a second and I said me too / I'm obsessed with me as much as you"
The Slow Drug
PJ Harvey
I think I missed out on PJ Harvey a bit. I always think that when I hear Dan Bern's song praising "Chick Singers"
Bad Liar
Selena Gomez
This mode of music is very catchy.

Swingin' The Alphabet
The Three Stooges
Ripped from the youtube - merry nonsense pitterpatter song, makes me think of my Papa Sam, from traditional watch stooges on NYE.
Re: Your Brains
Jonathan Coulton
Novelty song about zombies. Funnier in theory than practice.

Amazing Grace
Judy Collins
I'm a secular person but this song is transcendent. If you squint really hard you can make a poetic, non-supernatural interpretation.
Ani DiFranco
Melissa reminded me of this song, and its mood of being scared of the other person's reaction.
Beat Goes On (Rhythm to the Brain)
Goofy fun clubby sound
Sah Sah
Nancy Ajram & Marshmello
Saw this on a Tik Tok about "when you tell your arab mom you're craving hamburgers" (and the bit of food-porn that results)
Arun got pointed me to this group, kind of a Squirrel Nut Zippers energy, and love this take on "Tetris" (Korobeiniki) - with lyrics about the game. And a tuba.
Pump It Up (2021 Remaster)
Elvis Costello & The Attractions
My friend Carrie mentions if you want this bassline played at about 2/3 to 3/4 speed, she's your woman.

Enjoy Yourself
Always love the vibe of "Enjoy Yourself / It's Later Than You Think" (Thanks Arun)
Hi Ren
Singer personifying and singing with his mental illness

Beastie Boys Tribute
Paul Meany / Beastie Boys
I think cmg posted this one ... 3 beastie boy tracks with additional drum and guitar and keyboard tracks you can see being put down live in studio...

February 8, 2023

I'm badly needing a new pair of jeans, I'm down to like one pair and one junk pair. Melissa encourages me to avoid bagginess of the butt (now that it's clear I've inherited the "Scheinfeldt No-Ass") but... I dunno. I'm not sure I dig the feel of the stretchier stuff that seems to be the trend, but also I don't want to feel constrained.

And I know dudes have it better than gals, clothing and judgemental society wise, but...what IS it with Levi's and putting Waist/Length sizes on the back tag? That is so weirdly invasive for anyone who wants to be taller or less wide. And the fact the numbers tend to be in the same range just invites weird comparison.
Google Cat, Touch Paw Icon, Click Anywhere, You're Welcome.

February 9, 2023

In Wordle today, I was a little annoyed when I had 3 guesses in a row for the one blank I was missing. I checked and it turns out there were 6 5-letter words that matched the pattern I knew, so "in revenge" I made a new page of wordle off-by-one-letter families.

like if you have _EARS or _ILLS you're hosed, each has 12 possible values (bears dears fears gears hears nears pears rears sears tears wears years and bills dills fills gills hills kills mills pills rills sills tills wills)

ODDLY ENOUGH, 40 Years Ago Today, exactly, word was published of me getting a "superspeller" award, some fundraiser for the American Lung Association. Which seems weird to me because spelling really has not felt like a strong suit for me for some time.

February 10, 2023

"If I had time travel I'd kill Hitler" "If I had time travel I'd stop my favourite politician getting assassinated" you're all thinking way too small. If I had time travel I'd stop Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin from dying on the moon due to Soviet sabotage, kicking off the Great Nuclear War and devastating half of the planet.

There are some things you cannot control, and I am at least three of them.

February 11, 2023

interesting take on the argument of it's ok to nag fat people because it's A seemingly potentially changeable through force of will and B correlated with bad health outcomes. Well, so is being poor, but a doctor saying "have you tried being rich?" would not be seen as practicing good medicine.

February 12, 2023


Let there be dancing in the streets, drinking in the saloons, and necking in the parlor. Play, Don!
Groucho Marx

February 13, 2023

One of my favorite books is Greg Egan's "Permutation City" - you can get the kindle version for like $4, and while it's old, it remains one of the most thoughtful speculations about what it might be like to be an uploaded person.

Before the book really gets into its themes of Artificial Realities, the "real world" - close enough to our own to be very recognizable - has a technology that has stuck with me, a really powerful virtual assistant called "Camel's Eye":
Upstairs, in the bedroom that doubled as an office, Maria switched on her terminal and glanced at a summary of the twenty-one items of mail which had arrived since she'd last checked. All were classified as "Junk"; there was nothing from anyone she knew – and nothing remotely like an offer of paid work. Camel's Eye, her screening software, had identified six pleas for donations from charities (all worthy causes, but Maria hardened her heart); five invitations to enter lotteries and competitions; seven retail catalogs (all of which boasted that they'd been tailored to her personality and "current lifestyle requirements" – but Camel's Eye had assessed their contents and found nothing of interest); and three interactives.
and later:
She started again on the letter. After three drafts of the first paragraph – all eliciting the same response from Camel's Eye: You'll hate this when you re-read it later. Trust me. – she finally admitted to herself that she was wasted. She shut down everything and crawled into bed.
With what I've been seeing from ChatGPT, I think we are on the verge of having this technological capability. (Of course, with modern tech, there's always the question of who's interesting is the software truly minding...)

The "real world" on the book had a lot of video conferencing, but projected that often people would prefer to use software reconstructions of themselves as avatars, ala Max Headroom.

February 14, 2023

On my devblog I write about Lotus Agenda and my own re-discovery of making a "DONE" list as an ego-gratifying complement to regular TODO lists
About Russia's Wagner Group. I don't want to romanticize these scumbags but it makes me think about the sci-fi series "Hammer's Slammers", about a for-hire tank brigade. Also makes me think about the enemy group Cobra from old "GI Joe" cartoons. It's hard to think private armies could be a thing in the real world, but I guess in a world where some corporations have bigger budgets are larger than many nation, it's not a total shock.

February 15, 2023

We are debugging an issue with engagement across the platform. Any people who can make dashboards and write software please can you help solve this problem. This is high urgency. If you are willing to help out please thumbs up this post.
BWAHAHAHA - first off - James Musk? Elon has made this a family business too? Shades of the family first model of Trump.

Secondly, Any people who can make dashboards and write software please can you help solve this problem has a real @dril "someone who is good at the economy please help me budget this. my family is dying" energy.

Thirdly, yeah, not just the nepotism but the Elon's desperate need for attention is parallel to Trump - along with a frustration at being beaten by Biden....

February 16, 2023

The amount of energy needed to refute bullshit is an order of magnitude bigger than to produce it.
Brandolini's Law (also known as the bullshit asymmetry principle)


February 17, 2023

Silicon Valley was born, a computer heartland that would be defined by the rivalry between two men: Bill Gates and Steve Jobs. [...] Gates founded Microsoft, and hit the big time with the baffling, unofficial sequel to Ms. Pac-Man, called MS-DOS. Meanwhile, Jobs created the Apple Macintosh, the world's first inherently smug computer.
Cunk on Earth

As early as the 1920s, researchers giving IQ tests to non-Westerners realized that any test of intelligence is strongly, if subtly, imbued with cultural biases... Samoans, when given a test requiring them to trace a route form point A to point B, often chose not the most direct route (the "correct" answer), but rather the most aesthetically pleasing one. Australian aborigines find it difficult to understand why a friend would ask them to solve a difficult puzzle and not help them with it. Indeed, the assumption that one must provide answers alone, without assistance from those who are older and wiser, is a statement about the culture-bound view of intelligence. Certainly the smartest thing to do, when face with a difficult problem, is to seek the advice of more experienced relatives and friends!
Jonathan Marks - Anthropology and the Bell Curve
I've had similar thoughts when I read about rich young assholes paying for smart poor kids to take tests for them. Like, yeah, it ABSOLUTELY sucks to reinforce the unfairness of the world especially in the places that are meant to reflect some level of meritocracy. But on the other hand, these assholes are probably going to be successful, since they have connections and understanding of the processes of the world.

February 18, 2023

Between using lighter metals to make coins, the way quarters have gone beyond "50 states" to "whatever commemorative thing we dig" (and new nickel designs right?) but mostly everything being tap to pay these days... coins just feel fake, you know? Like I would totally see kids not thinking of them as, like "money" at all.

February 19, 2023

Ron Swanson, my character from 'Parks and Rec,' was considered very masculine. I'm often accused of masculinity. And, you know, I was born looking like this and I sound like this. You know, I did not cultivate [this]. I don't go to the gym. I'm not chasing masculinity. And so it's always seemed a little strange to me as a mincing theater artist to be accused of being manly. I am pretty handy at splitting firewood or changing a tire, but so are the women in my family. And so I use it as an opportunity to encourage people to try and loosen their ideas about genderizing everything. I know ladies that are great woodworkers and I know men that make an amazing quiche and everything across every spectrum in between.
Nick Offerman, via

I think a big reason why "children are an oppressed group" gets (wrongly!) read as a "pedophile talking point" is that everyone treats children so terribly that actual child molesters can speedrun winning a kid's trust by like, actually respecting their needs and perspective, at least at first. Which means that the only way out of this mess is for all of us adults to treat children with respect, so that abusers can't use the rareness of that respect as a weapon.
discodeerdiary on this tumblr thread with an interesting anecdote from "prismatic-bell" who nearly got recruited by the KKK while doing an English paper on them, only their young-Christian hesitation about burning crosses warned them off.
I probably give myself too much credit for my instinct to treat kids as peers... I've since realized that there's a somewhat deep psychologial/philosophical reason why I do that but you know, they seem to like it. Sometimes I have to lay down the law and be a grown up but mostly I just enjoy their fresh perspectives.

The most important thing about any relationship, romantic or platonic or familiar, is that you gotta be in cahoots

Bite-sized Sir George and the Dragon Sexy Fan Fic

February 20, 2023

Ustedes los jóvenes están en la edad exacta de la desesperación. Yo nunca me sentí más acabado y viejo que a los veintitantos. Decía 'ya me pasó la vida y no hice nada'. Pero estoy aquí para decirles que no: tienen un chingo de tiempo [You young people are in the exact age of desperation. I never felt more done and old than in my twenties. I'd say 'life has passed me by and i did nothing'. But i'm here to tell you that's not true: you have a lot of fucking time]
Guillermo del Toro

This improv of "two sides of a pisatchio being pulled apart fighting to protect the pistachio" reminded me of this prose work I posted 20 years ago:


"Wait!" cried the last two peas in the can. My hand stopped its arc to the garbage.

"What do you want?" I asked them, the two peas that clung in the slivery cylinder.

"We want out."

"What do you care? You're peas."

"That's right. We're peas. What is there for us but the fork and the plate? How can you deny us our place on the plate? We've lived on the vine, huddled in our pod on cold nights, striving away for greenness and roundness. It's all been in vain if you throw us away."

"I didn't know peas had feelings," I said.

"We do," they replied, "and this is our moment. We have nothing higher, no krishna, no green goddess, no madonna of the vegetable garden. This is our calling, no other, the climax of sun and rain and humus, green energy pushing through our vines, this is us, this is what we are. We are the peas."

"How can I help?" I asked them.

"Give us butter and salt," they said, "and maybe pearl onions."

"You know you'll be eaten." I said.


"Does it hurt?"

"No one knows," they answered.

Margaret Davis

February 21, 2023

Here's our jingle for Goldfish
Yes, baked and not fried Goldfish
The wholesome snack
That smiles back
Until you bite their heads off

See the fishes swimming -
Oh look, the pretzels winning!
Didn't that make you feel good about Goldfish?
Yesterday Chas and Cora were singing from this old Goldfish Crackers Ad. Surprisingly campy and self-aware for the era. Though interesting from a diversity standpoint.

it's not "am I good enough to do it?", it's "do I like it enough to be bad at it?"
Heh, I guess there's also "but do I like it enough to keep working at it so I'm not as bad at instead of letting my ego tell me to not risk trying and failing vs not really trying and accepting whatever I can cruise into with natural beginner's luck.
I'm worried for some 80s/90s kids the real "Time Enough At Last" will be like, retiring and having time and money but lack of reflexes and maybe interest in video games.

quotes from "The Good Life"

For the Science and Spirituality reading and discussion group I help lead we read "The Good Life" about The Harvard Study of Adult Development, where they studied one cohort of Harvard young men and another of Boston disadvantaged male teens. You can get a good feel for the book from Bob Waldingers TED talk

Here are some tidbits from the book, mostly stuff the book itself quoted...
There isn't time, so brief is life, for bickerings, apologies, heartburnings, callings to account. There is only time for loving, and but an instant, so to speak, for that.
Mark Twain

The best ideas aren't hidden in shadowy recesses. They're right in front of us, hidden in plain sight.
Richard Farson and Ralph Keyes

[Western Culture gives us] extraordinary wealth and comfort and personal freedom. The freedom to be lords of our tiny skull-sized kingdoms, alone at the center of all creation. This kind of freedom has much to recommend it. But of course there are all different kinds of freedom, and the kind that is most precious you will not hear much talked about in the great outside world of winning and achieving and displaying. The really important kind of freedom involves attention, and awareness, and discipline, and effort, and being able truly to care about other people and to sacrifice for them, over and over, in myriad petty little unsexy ways, every day.
David Foster Wallace

Love by its very nature is unworldly.
Hannah Arendt

When asked to describe his philosophy for getting through hard times, [study participant Sterling Ainsley] said, "You try not to let life get to you. You remember your victories and take a positive attitude."
Bob Waldinger and Marc Schulz in "The Good Life" on The Harvard Study of Adult Development

Attention is the most basic form of love.
John Tarrant

There are two pillars of happiness revealed by the [Study].... One is love. The other is finding a way of coping with life that does not push love away.
George Vaillant, former direct of the Harvard Study of Adult Development

You can't stop the waves but you can learn to surf.
Jon Kabat-Zinn

There's an old adage in psychiatry: Don't just do something, sit there.
Waldinger + Schulz, "The Good Life"

There is no remedy for love but to love more.
Henry David Thoreau

Bob thinks of a moment when, as a young man, he was going through a time in which he was incredibly angry at his parents, and an uncle took him aside. *I know you're mad*, his uncle said. *But just remember: nobody is ever going to care about you this much ever again.*
Bob Waldinger in "The Good Life"

February 24, 2023


love saying i've been getting really into mundane normal things as if they're a new undiscovered hobby. been getting really into pudding cups lately.

Jettison is like one of the top 10 words in the english language, get that fucking thing out of here at a notable velocity
It's the more noble "YEET!"

February 25, 2023

I've been doing "doodle of the day" as a way of saying Hi on my work chat...

February 26, 2023

So I have a weekly 4-hour-or-so call with my superniece Cora, and yesterday's was especially good, we got into co-doodling/drawing and talking about doodling. I actually discovered a new-ish coloring tool in Apple Notes (my prefered doodle program)

Open Photo Gallery

We started collaborating on a wolfwoman, though I think we haven't quite worked out the difference between a wolfwoman and a werewolf.

I kind of explained some of the techniques I heard you "should" use more of, but honestly I'm usually too lazy to do...

Also I decided to experiment with "anime"/chibi style ala the game "Gacha Life", but the results were... pretty bad...

I did realize there's a nice airbrush-like tool in Notes now - I still need to get skills in using it but it's much friendlier feeling that tne "highlighter" tool I've been using.

Rooster man.

Cat guy. Beteween this one and the next one I realized maybe I should be using that "draw the structure first" technique more often...

Cora as wolf-Cora.

Alright, enough trying to draw humans.

Cora's 3-tailed fox character Sábia

Cora was getting frustrated by coloring - she had a good version of her Sábia fox character going, and she was sort of distraught by having "wasted an hour" when the orange coloring she was using led to bad results that she ripped up. So it was maybe chance to work with her on emotional regulation. Also made me think about how the digital tools I prefer (even though I've never been more than a doodler) are much more forgiving than good ol' paper...

"This is the ideal desktop setup. You may not like it, but this is what peak performance looks like."
Just a note for me to find when I'm making an argument in terms of trans rights - on intersex folks. Intersex isn't the same as Trans but I think it helps with the argument that a genital centric, fifth grade science class understanding of what makes men, women, and non-binary just isn't enough to get all authoritarian about.
There's a saying from computer science.

"Whatever you measure will improve. This is a warning"

Whether it's metrics you're applying to employees, or unit tests of AIs, or fulfilling statistical victories.

Want more lines of code written? Done, now no one writes short, snappy code and every if statement uses three different lines.

Want this neural net that's learning how to walk to reach the furthest distance? Now it makes itself impossibly tall so that when it falls down, the top of it reaches further.

Want more jobs? Well, the finger on that monkey paw is curling up as you speak.
esoteric-merit via

random shots from the ending of The 3-D Battles of World Runner:

February 27, 2023


Huh! ABA Browser Games, by sole developer Kenta "Saba" Cho. Big focus on minimal control schemes, many are just a single tap button. "Paku Paku", 1D Pac-Man, is especially brilliant... (some of my game button arcade pushbuttons had a similar vibe.)

I just realized he made Noiz, one of the most impressive games for Palm and Java Applet - it's like a bullet hell shooter version of Qix...

Also I love that his homepage still uses the ~...

February 28, 2023

excellent and touching story of building a frog-ish dreamhome

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