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photos of the month march 2024


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A bracing response to right wing critics
from the editor of the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
I know I'm a pain in the butt to buy gifts for, since I'm usually a combination of some spare income and poor impulse control. But this year I held off and was able to reply to Leah Ovoian Leach's "I need ideas for birthday gifts for a 50 year old guy!! Any suggestions" and got what you see here on the left: an old school rotary phone off ebay.

It's not wired to anything (it would be fun to raspberry pi up something to play sounds or respond to the dial - I actually thought a game like "Flappy Bird but with a Rotary controller" would be kinda hip) so for now it's just a big fidget spinner that pairs well with my dad's old typewriter.

I think the typewriter (my dad's, but an antique when got it) is an older generation than the phone, but they pair pretty well together, all that black bakelite and metal industrial design.)
I think my friend Tkoa Hill posted a video about some Gen Z'ers or Gen Alpha's trying to figure out how to use the dial (their biggest mistake was keeping the phone on the hook and planning to lift to talk after dialing.)

So now I can make hanging up and being "off the hook!" all too literal.

from "Elite: The Dark Wheel"

In space, everyone can hear you scream . . .
As long, that is, as you're equipped with a RemLok survival mask.
An instant after Alex Ryder hit the hard vacuum, a skin of plasFibre had been shot across his body from nozzles on the face piece, keeping him warm against the cold, tightening and protecting him, securing him against the void. The oxygen flow in his body was cut off to all but his heart and brain. Needle-doses of adrenalin and somnokie were held ready, just within the skin area of his mouth, ready to alert or depress his body functions according to circumstances.
And the RemLok screamed through space for help.

It was a standard survival device, an instantly recognisable distress call indicating that it was being sent out from a small, remotely located, dying body. The alarm screeched out on forty channels, shifting wavelength within each channel four times a second. One hundred and twenty chances to catch attention . . .

A cumbersome Boa class cruiser, loaded down with industrial machinery, slowed its departure run from Leesti and turned to scan space for the source of the signal . . .

Two police vipers came streaking from their patrol sector, near the sun, scanning for the body in trouble . . .

An adapted Moray Starboat, a vast glowing yellow star on its hull--the sign of a hospital ship-- came chugging out of the darkness . . .

Messages from ships to both the planet and its ring of Coriolis stations were abruptly broken as the split second message came screaming through. TV programmes were interrupted, the screen dissolving into a permanently recorded display of the space-grid location of the RemLok. Every advertising space module changed its garish display to flash, in brilliant green, the same information.

In the orbit-space around Leesti, a million heads turned starwards. That split second of panic, that moment's cry of distress, was a sound they knew too well to ignore, and were too frightened of to take for granted.
Robert Holdstock, "Elite: The Dark Wheel".
This was a novella that came packed with the video game "Elite". I think about it every time we get an AMBER alert.

new music playlist march 2024

4 star:
* Miss Cindy (The High Decibels)
Most interesting new song this month. I like the mix of southern gritty guitar and beastie boys style end-of-line-echoing
* Beware of the Boys (Mundian to Bach Ke) [feat. JAY-Z] (Panjabi MC)
Love the India music (and the tiger roar) and I think Jay-Z's flow goes well with it.
* You've Got the Love (Florence + the Machine)
* Flagpole Sitta (Harvey Danger)
* Katebegia (Broken Brothers Brass Band)

3 star:
* Goodbye My Lover (James Blunt)
* Days Like This (Dermot Kennedy)
* C64, More Like C Sixty-BORE (Beeble)
* Bad Breath (Willie Nelson)
* Music! Music! Music! (Teresa Brewer)
* Tired of Being Alone (Al Green)
* Broken Man (St. Vincent)
* Straighten Out the Rug (Maurice Jarre)
* Feel Again (Yarin Primak)
* Big Bottom (Spinal Tap)

As a kid I wondered if you could make a robot trumpet player. The answer is now yes. I wonder how the cyber-embouchure works... (you can google up a robot sax player as well...)
diesel sweeties kiss lips

Taiwan Earthquake dashcam footage wowowowowow -- when the road ahead looks like a video game level, what with all the boulders.
definitely sounds like a very stable genius who is definitely in a good state of mind to be president

April 4, 2024

Some UX humor - ideas from Soren Iverson...my 3 favs:

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April 5, 2024

As an agnostic, I have spent most of my life thinking about the decline of faith in America in mostly positive terms. Organized religion seemed, to me, beset by scandal and entangled in noxious politics. So, I thought, what is there really to mourn? Only in the past few years have I come around to a different view. Maybe religion, for all of its faults, works a bit like a retaining wall to hold back the destabilizing pressure of American hyper-individualism, which threatens to swell and spill over in its absence.
I usually say my HONK! bands are my church. They certainly have many of the same aspects Thompson talks about in terms of the ritual of practice.

April 6, 2024

Civilization and science fight against the natural mistakes of our brains. It's a wonder of our species that we're learning to use our brains to fight our brains. If you feel it, but it isn't right, don't do it and don't believe it. We can be better than natural -- we're human.
Penn Jillette

The Dinosaur Park, Cedar Creek TX

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April 7, 2024

As background to this joke, know that there is a simply enormous number of distinct species of beetle: well over 300,000; and you need to know of the famous quip by J.B.S. Haldane. When asked "What has the study of biology taught you about the Creator, Dr. Haldane?", he replied

"I'm not sure, but He seems to be inordinately fond of beetles."

This inspired the following mediation on Adam naming the animals...

God: And here's the next species, one I'm particularly proud of...
Adam: Beetle.
God: Excellent. Now here's another...
Adam: Beetle.
God: No, you just named the last one "beetle". This one is quite different -- look at the pattern on the wing cases, and the shape of the antennae...
Adam: Beetle.
God: Well, OK, though they certainly look different to Me. Now, the next species is--
Adam: Beetle.
Excerpt from "The *Real* Reason for the Fall" (credits: Ken Cox)

More Austin - Mount Bonnell, the Museum of Illusions, and trying to see some damn bats.

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heart shaped cactus, Mt Bonnell
In the Museum of Illusions...
Unfortunately we saw far more people than bats.

April 8, 2024


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At the Museum of the Weird...
All That Razz at Voodoo Doughnut.
Texas Toy Museum had a bunch of toy collections and games (arcade and console) setup to play - Gen X nostalgia gold.
Dewbacks won me a bet a while back, since that's how I KNEW they were in the original movie and not a 90s CGI addition.
Eclipse Ready...
I feel like the weather made us miss out from the most cosmic aspect. But I did see one Eye of Sauron moment at least through it all...
Wound things down with a ghost tour...

April 9, 2024

Hans Holbein, Danse Macabre

April 10, 2024

Surprise- thought those were JUST eclipse glasses that are now useless? They may be what Douglas Adams described in "The Restaurant at the End of the Universe":

"Joo Janta 200 Super-Chromatic Peril Sensitive Sunglasses have been specially designed to help people develop a relaxed attitude to danger. At the first hint of trouble, they turn totally black and thus prevent you from seeing anything that might alarm you."

If yours are still black all the time, watch out...

April 11, 2024


April 12, 2024

RIP Nicole Brown Simpson.
And Ron Goldman.
And Norm McDonald.

Weirdest OJ Simpson cameo is a namedrop in the Buck Rogers episode "Planet of the Slave Girls" (yikes):
Capt. William "Buck" Rogers : Come on, Duke, it's me.

Major Duke Danton : If it's you Rogers, who's the juice?

Dr. Theopolis : The what?

Capt. William "Buck" Rogers : O.J. Simpson. I told you all about him out in the desert. Running back out of USC. He played for the Buffalo Bills.
I mean to be fair canonically Buck got frozen in 1987 which was even before the Naked Gun stuff but still.
Thinking of the U shaped curve where middle age tends to be kind of a low point. 40 for women, 50 for men.

Sort of feeling it. But it feels, like, drive by circumstances rather than existential concerns? Like if I was rich - or even had a job I felt secure and productive in - I think I could get over the other stuff and be my usual chipper self. Which sort of sucks, I'd like to think that my cheerful existential outlook is independent of circumstances but its definitely gotten a boost from tech being a good career for most of the decades of my adult life, but stinking up the joint right now.

April 13, 2024


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