| < retrospect: 23 feb >

February 23, 2018

Great piece on tech nostalgia, a guy powers up his original 2002 iPod, old songs and playlists intact.

Only the final third is about the hardware itself, as classic and still functional (modulo the battery life) as it is; the rest is a nostalgic exploration of the author's digital musical life of the era, and the idiosyncrasies he had in categorizing songs and arranging playlists.

There are some old digital "snapshots" I treasure, like a folder with all the files stuffed on my Windows Desktop directory - one of those things I kept meaning to get back to, to curate out "the good stuff", but now holds holistic value as a slice of my old digital life. Similar for old screengrabs I have, or just photos with the monitor visible... the ones that inadvertently show what all I was up to those days are much more interesting than ones that just show an app. (The same phenomenon happens for old photos - ones where my old book stacks - or even just clutter - are intriguing no matter what the subject of the photo is supposed to be.)

Do you share in this kind of object nostalgia, digital or otherwise?

February 23, 2017

Trumps really worried some country is gonna out-nuke us? Jeez-louise.

amor fati

February 23, 2016
"Apes don't read PHILOSOPHY!"
"Yes they do Otto, they just don't UNDERSTAND it!"
--A Fish Called Wanda

For a few weeks I've been rolling the concept of "Amor Fati" -- a love of ones fate, the good and the bad -- around in my head, and been finding it comforting and energizing.

The thing is, I find its meaning a little difficult to describe to others, to put into words - and Melissa pointed out that's not a comfortable feeling for me. (Also, it's a little weird that its popularization comes in part of Nietzsche...)

"Amor Fati" is a complementary fit to other part of classical stoicism, with that philosophy's encouragement to divide events into those that you have control over and those that you don't. That's a good start for me, with my deeply embedded need to not let a situation go pear-shaped if I can be a martyr and "save" it. "Amor Fati" somehow completes that; not only can I recognize things are out of my control, but I can learn to embrace the circumstance in its entirety. (Embrace this circumstance, 'cause it's the only one you're gonna get!)

There's the obvious objection to loving the bad as well as the good... if you were really good at that, could you greet a stubbed toe or traffic jam or lost job with as much enthusiasm as a great movie or a raise? And so, without that general motivation to make things ("objectively") better for you or those around you, wouldn't you let things ("objectively") slip and get worse? I don't have a great counter to that, just an intuition that A. yeah, I don't think I'm likely to reach that kind of zen equanimity and B. accepting and loving that there will be more pleasant and less pleasant outcomes breaks through fears and anxieties about the latter, and those fears tend to be more stifling of positive action than tranquil, passive acceptance .

As with most of my attempts to find comforting philosophy, there can be a "first world problem" aspect to it, and I don't know how well it extends to truly trying circumstances. I do enjoy finding some parallels in other places though. At one point I learned the trick of recasting anxiety as excitement - physiologically their pretty similar - and "Amor Fati" helps with that, because you will love even the bad outcome you're nervous about. In the military, they talk about "embracing the suck" and even get a perverse pride in what they've muddled through. Finally, I guess "Amor Fati" is kind of a secular version of believers who find consolation in sad things as being part of "God's Will" - those believers tend to count on a divine plan that's ultimately for good in a way I can't, but I'm guessing it's a similar feeling in the meanwhile.

Anyway, I commisioned the designer Bnomio to recast this work on "Tempus Fugit" as "Amor Fati", and it's currently my iPhone wallpaper... (it will be my phone case when it's time for a new one.) Having this reminder literally at hand (combined with things I already like about the iPhone's PDA/organizing part of my life) is great, the phone becomes a worry stone... a non-worry stone. The ship may be foundering, our ultimate end has always been visible in the distance, time can tick away - but I love it.

"There may be more beautiful times, but this one is ours."
--Jean-Paul Sartre... heh, two years ago I posted the perfect complement quote to today's essay.
People might know that 222 is my lucky number. So I was pretty psyched yesterday at 2:22, it being 2/22 and all. Obviously I'm looking forward to 2/22/22 ... especially because it's a *Tuesday*.
I hearby proclaim it PENULTIMATE TWOSDAY and plan to have a big party. (sadly, ULTIMATE TWOSDAY, 2/22/2222 will be a Friday.)

February 23, 2015

An 8 year old girl feeds crows and here are the gifts they leave her:

"Math has proven the existence of God, because it is absolute and without contradiction; but the devil must exist as well, because we cannot prove it."
--Descartes (paraphrased in "The Housekeeper and the Professor" by Yoko Ogawa)

February 23, 2014

"There may be more beautiful times, but this one is ours."
--Jean-Paul Sartre
Enjoying my final "Rhubarb and Custard" hard candy from the UK. Why isn't this flavor combination more known here?? It's awesome.
Can we ever really know what the inside of our nose smells like? Or is that truly the only smell we can ever really know?

February 23, 2013


new decal for work laptop - on my ui dev blog, a simple node POST echo server, and OSX Protips for my future self.
Guess I'm late on this, people are already making "stop it" videos, but I like how Harlem Shake vids are kind of a mix of "be your own animated GIF" and horror films:

fun with primates

February 23, 2012

Clever idea! The bit at 1:58 made me laugh, but you should watch the whole thing.

shadow fight

February 23, 2011

via - a view of the real Conservative "Daddy" model.

plastic wasteland

February 23, 2010

--Making the rounds, this massive Lego steampunk-wasteland crawler is nothing but awesome.
"If we water down the health care bill any more, it'll be homopathic."
"It's weird that people often confuse those two pursuits. People who are into very theoretical computer science are thought of in this same way as people who are shipping desktop applications. And they don't really have a lot to do with each other."
--jwz, in "Coders at Work"
What I learned today: unless you're at the equator, walking, say, due east is NOT walking in a straight line. (Walking east is staying at the same latitude, right? Now imagine doing that a few meters from the north pole. You'd obviously be walking in circles... at our latitude it's just a bigger circle.)
When and why did "wide mouth" become the standard for soda cans? Worry we weren't tossing the liquid into our gullets fast enough?

what did the snail say while riding on the turtle's back?

February 23, 2009

Snails Go west ! Funny TimeLapse from on Vimeo.

Holy cow. What were YOU doing in 1997, when the Dow was at this level? Nearly unfathomable - that's when I was a year out of school.

are they made of real girl scouts?

(1 comment)
February 23, 2008
Girl Scouts... their cookies seem to be in full effect once again at Alewife.

I'm always surprised at how young Girl Scouts are, because I remember in elementary school... the girls who were the age I was then were just "Brownies" or whatever, and the girls at the tables don't seem much older than that.

Then again, I guess having "Brownies Cookies" would just be confusing.

Advice of the Moment
Scalzi with Unasked-For Advice to New Writers About Money.

Quote of the Moment
"Everyone is born with genius, but most people only keep it a few minutes."
--Edgard Varese. That's an interesting take on the "tabla rosa" idea of infancy.


February 23, 2007
Ahh, my last day of self-indulgent non-workday before returning to my role as dutiful office denizen.

And set myself for some bigtime indulgence I have, with the purchase of an Xbox 360 as an early birthday/lets get it while I still have a smidgin of vacation left gift to myself. I generally don't get a new system until I see something of a personal "killer app" for it. This system it happened to be the game "Crackdown", which I hoped would be a blend of GTA, Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction, and Mercenaries. So far it's mostly like Mercenaries, but it's decent fun, and there are some upcoming titles that probably would have convinced me to buy the system anyway. The Xbox 360 isn't cheap, but probably fits within the price differential of what I could have spent on vacation, and what I actually did. No wonder the travel industry is so big; people can drop so much on a trip without even thinking about it.

Of course, a vacation gets me out of the house, into some warmer climes, lets me catch up with distant friends, and provides many interesting photo-ops and chances to catch up on my reading, while a video game system is an enabler of cocooning. Which might be reasonable as I finish up recovering from such a big cold.

Looking back on the past 8 weeks, I'd have to admit I did not get my personal project mojo working the way I had hoped. I don't think I was quite orderly enough about it. I did a number of small projects, but mostly ones that entered my head on a given day, and not off of "the list".

Floria Photos of the Moment
So on my final day there Felisdemens and I snuck in a trip to Butterfly World! (It was either that or, I kid you not, a trip to the firing range, which is something I've always wanted to try.)

I had to love the camouflage of this one: ("Who, me?")

They also had birds, like this patient humming bird:

But even more fun were the very lively Lorikeets... you could buy a small tub of nectar and the birds would gladly perch and sloppily lap it up...

Clever lookin' fellas...

Finally, along side they had a small exhibit with some even more exotic, albeit dead, bug specimens:

Man. The photo doesn't do the size of some of those guys justice, 'cause let me tell you, if I made landfall and saw that one with the giant antennae running around, I'd be like "sorry fellas, time to get back on the boat and our butts back to Old Zealand"...


February 23, 2006
Line of the Moment
blogha and I retreated to the Fleabag Arms, where I'd have welcomed finding a dead hooker in the mattress as it would have made the bed more comfortable.
--Felisdemens in a private entry on her LJ. That is a great line, I've been at hotels like that, but the worst I've found was a kind of disgusting business-y buttdown (err, 'buttondown', thanks LAN3) shirt inside a foldout bed. (sQ trip to Pittsburgh, 1996 or '97)

Art of the Moment
A video of the History of the Amen Break, a 60s drum riff that's been resampled and repurposed all over the place. If what the guy is saying is true...I'm surprised, frankly, I thought with drum machines you could make up many new rhythms that would sound about as good. Plus, some of the samples he plays...I can barely tell it came from the same source. Still, a fun listen.

Bad News of the Moment
Gunmen Execute 47 Factory Workers in Iraq. Wow, they might be going from the "1776" to the "1861" stage in a hurry.

I still wonder if Saddam knew more about how to run Iraq as a single entity than we do. Not that it justifies commiting attrocities, but still. I still think an alternate history where Saddam didn't invade Kuwait might have made life easier for the world, if not for certain ethnic groups and dissidents in Iraq.

ordinary world

February 23, 2005
Lyrics and Ramble of the Moment
But I won't cry for yesterday
There's an ordinary world
Somehow I have to find
And as I try to make my way
To the ordinary world
I will learn to survive
--"Ordinary World", Duran Duran.

I got into this song lately because there's a decent "house" cover of it in a "Dance Dance Revolution" game I picked up recently. The lyrics have that nice melancholy vibe I'm so fond of. But when I finally thought about it... I dunno, somehow marriage seemed more like the "ordinary world", and now I'm in this kind of uncertain territory, with fewer constants to rely on.

It hit me yesterday when I was having tea out of one of these blue oversized mugs I have. (After a divorce, that whole "I don't remember how this item entered my life" mystery thing becomes a little more poignant.) They're really good to eat cereal out of, and I used to like doing that, and even drinking tea kind of reminded me of the sense-feel of it. I don't have cereal now though, I purposefully try not to keep a lot of food in the house, because either I like it and will eat a lot of it, or I dislike it and it'll spoil. But with married life, there was cereal and milk around, and it was ok.

Which brings me back to the whole time management I've already griped about here, it feels like I don't have any free time...specifically, it starts with not having much time to spend unwinding via random websurfing. That then generally leads to not having time to work on one of my backlog of "projects I want to get around to doing real soon now." Sure, I do have some time, but currently I have the theory that I'm not just lazy in these cases, that I do actually need some recharging time letting my brain play over the web or a decent book or a videogame, and only when that's done will I be able to get onto the "projects" horse.

A social/romantic life cuts into that time pretty badly (and I think my yoga class moving to midweek and about half my Tuesday nights having UU activities doesn't help either.) I guess my daily routine involved mostly hanging around my PC in the evenings. But with that out of the way, it was easier to go out or have a video game night in with friends or to do stuff with Mo or to work on my own projects and not feel pressured for time.

And I say "do stuff with Mo" but I'm not sure if there was enough of that. She certainly ended up thinking that there wasn't, though she did a really poor job of explaining that to me at the time. One of the saddest things I remember her saying post facto was that sometimes she had had a weird dream of having a daughter so that she'd have someone to do stuff with. She mentioned that in context of the gardening she had been doing in the little plot at the side of the house, an idyllic mother-daughter scene/fantasia ...I had helped her a little, but I wasn't enthusiastic about it, and I might've griped a little. Not much, I did try to get into it, but it really wasn't my thing, and I didn't pretend that it was.

So....does that mean I was a lousy husband? Mo felt profoundly lonely. I didn't. I didn't really get that she did. And for those reasons, maybe she was right to split. I didn't even think about it at the time, but the relationship was molded to what I still think might be my "ideal", this idea of being a rewarding and valuable and giving foundation for all the other interesting stuff in life. A means as much as an end.

Heh. You know, Mo suggested (getting the idea from her mom, I think) this Khalil Gibran reading for our wedding:

But let there be spaces in your togetherness,
And let the winds of the heavens dance between you.
Love one another but make not a bond of love:
Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.
Fill each other's cup but drink not from one cup.
Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf.
Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone.
Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music.
Give your hearts, but not into each other's keeping
For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts.
And stand together, yet not too near together:
For the pillars of the temple stand apart,
And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other's shadow

I voted against it at the time, it seemed a little too negative or nuanced for a wedding, but in retrospect, it really speaks to what I think marriage should be, and I guess I assumed Mo felt the same way.

Ah well. Live and learn. It's like what Richard Feynman wrote:
"I'll never make that mistake again, reading the experts' opinions. Of course, you only live one life, and you make all your mistakes, and learn what not to do, and that's the end of you."

because every game is better with a pterodactyl

(1 comment)
February 23, 2004

So I had a very productive day at Atari 2600 hacking yesterday...I added Joust's "Pterry" into my JoustPong mix. (My graphic shown here.) I was very pleased with how much coding and debugging I got done. If this week goes well I should be able to release at PhillyClassic.

Atari of the Moment
Speaking of all things Atari, yesterday I stumbled onto The Atari 2600 Fun Facts And Information Guide, a 1997 FAQ about what was going on, a peek back into the homebrew scene of the time.

Quote of the Moment
"If there are any gods whose chief concern is man, they can't be very important gods."
--Arthur C. Clarke. It is an interesting matter or perspective.

Exercise of the Moment
The New Yorker had a good piece on the Aryan Brotherhood, a very powerful gang within the prison system. ("Oz" showed them a lot.) The article had a quick side note to a popular prison exercise known as a "Burpee"...I found this page describing the routine. (In case you were wondering, with the descending rep sequence, 20 would be 210 reps in all, 25 would be 325, and 30 would be 465. Though somehow I think me writing a tiny computer program to figure that out is indicitive of how my butt would get so beat down in anything but the most country club of prisons...)

Advice of the Moment
Jazz great Charles Mingus on training a cat to use a toilet. That seems like a very cool thing to do, though I've heard others advice against wanting to cat to learn how flush, since giving a cat a running water toy might not be such a good thing.

where4 rt thou r0me0?

(1 comment)
February 23, 2003
Drama of the Moment
> I have yet to find a way to have a whole
> conversation in emoticons

Fah. I can rewrite "Romeo & Juliet" in emoticons.

Romeo: :(
Juliet: :(
Romeo: :)
Juliet :)
Romeo: :pppppppp
Juliet: :00000000
Romeo & Juliet: 0=o 0=o 0=o 0=o
Romeo: :)))))))))))))
Juliet: :)))))))))))
Romeo: :|
Juliet: :|
Juliet: :0 <----[]
Juliet: x(
Romeo: :((((((((((
Romeo: :( ---||-
Romeo x( ___
Juliet: :((((((((
Juliet :( ---||-
Juliet x( ___


--Dan on aus.culture.gothic.

Quote of the Moment
"It's really amazing how incredibly fast life goes. Boom! You're born. You go through life, meeting troubles along the way, but you overcome those troubles, and you have a blast. And before you know it, you're dead. If that ain't beauty, I don't know what is."
Arjay Flecher via

Article of the Moment
War in Iraq and hands off Israel; welcome to the current administration and the age of self-fulfilling Biblical prophecy. (Wow, maybe God diddled with the Florida vote record Himself as an instrument of His will; or maybe He moved in mysterious ways to set up and preserve the ridiculous Electoral College all those years ago, just so we can get where we are today.)


February 23, 2002
Guestbook Quote of the Moment
Baked Stuffed Chicken--great recipe 6-7 lb. chicken, 1 cup melted butter, 1 cup stuffing, 1 cup uncooked popcorn, salt/pepper to taste; Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Brush chicken well with melted butter, salt and pepper. Fill cavity with stuffing and popcorn. Place in baking pan in the oven. Listen for popping sounds. When the chicken's ass blows out the oven door and flies across the room, the chicken is done. ......And, you thought I couldn't cook.
--Chef Boyardee, 2002.02.18

Link of the Moment
Kind of funny but not hilarious, it's the Freak Watcher's Textbook, a guide to the various freaks of Royal Oak, Michigan.

gotta have heart

February 23, 2001
Quote of the Moment
Well there are parts of Unix that have timeless qualities.
But cron... 70s as disco.
--Me to Lee on AOL-IM

Virtual Candy
A little bit late for Valentine's Day, it's the Make Your Own Candy Heart. A chance to see how creative you can be with a maximum of 4 letters each on 2 lines. I guess Mo and I are lucky to have such short names...(via Cruel Site)

Rant of the Moment
VisualCafe. Visual Source Safe. Visual C++. Visual Interdev. What the hell? Were the previous versions designed for the blind, or what? It makes it harder for me to find the right icon when all I can see on the task bar are buttons captioned "Visua...", I have to rely on the damn icon, and it slows me down. Dang that's irritating.

KHftCEA 1998-02.1 February KHftCEA 1999-02.2 February KHftCEA 2000-02.1 February

KHftCEA 2000-02.1 February

"At the end of those two hours, if you turned down the volume of your TV and you listened real carefully, you could hear Western civilization crumbling around you."
-- Robert Thompson on "Who Wants to Marry a Multi-Millionaire?"
If I love you, what business is it of yours?
--Johann van Goethe
So after a weebit of fuss Mo has her diamond, from E B Horn. There definately is someting about adorning your beloved with such a rock.
McCain won Michigan and Arizona.  Maybe it won't matter,except to give the Dems a boost in November. I'm not sure how I feel about him. What issues matter to me?  I don't want a pro-lifer.  Beyond that, I don't know.  I'm not even sure who among the 4 canidates is the most moderate, which is what I'm really after.
KHftCEA 1999-02.2 February

Looking at apartments... Mo's getting stressed out, though felt better after seeing two decent apartments yesterday.  I think there's plenty of time, and even space.
KHftCEA 1998-02.1 February

"The Journal of Applied Insanity"
gowen's e-mail talking about his wedding ring, his missing Karen, and wishing Mo & I well was so sweet + mushy- didn't know the old Maine BOfH had it in him.

< retrospect: 23 feb >