kirk.is | < retrospect: 10 dec >

December 10, 2016

By @christhebarker :

more info. Lets hope thats pretty much it for this year.


advent day 10

"I don't have to outrun the lava, Abbey, I just have to outrun you. Or am I thinking of bears? I'm often thinking of bears."
--Mark Trail as imagined by Voshkod on the Comics Curmudgeon
"Donald Trump and Vince McMahon have worldviews and business approaches shaped by similar experiences. They understand how pro wrestling and its carny traditions can make money off of 'marks' the unsuspecting fans who don't know (or don't care) that it's a con."
--Chris Kelly and Brandon Wetherbee on Slate, on Donald Trump and the lessons he took from his time with Professional Wrestling
Aargh. I've done a ton of scanning with my eyes on the prize of just having less clutter - but I have trouble plucking up my courage to get rid of the physical material, especially the photos, even though they're carefully scanned, and even as I recognize that the cursory glance I gave each piece as I scanned it probably represents more attention than it would have other gotten otherwise.

Any advice? Dumping them all in a garbage bag seems like such an ignominious end, even as they'll live on in digital form.


Blender of Love

December 10, 2015


advent day 10

Red Line train travels multiple stops without operator Wow... I generally have a lot of love for the Red Line (possibly Stockholm Syndrome) and think people pile too much on a organization that is horribly underfunded and coping with aging infrastructure... but between this and the 2 people getting hit lately, things are a bit crazy.

animal advent ala emberley day 10

December 10, 2014


"The ambiguities and complexities of the human mind are what give fiction and perhaps all of art its power."
--Alan Lightman
"When the cosmos was smaller and denser, the universe itself began as a single, giant atom, whose gradual disintegration into smaller and smaller pieces formed nebulae, stars, and finally cosmic rays."
--Alan Lightman
"The universe of ideas is just as little independent of the nature of our experiences as clothes are of the form of the human body."
--Albert Einstein
"Our entire much-praised technological progress, and civilization generally, could be compared to an axe in the hand of a pathological criminal."
--Albert Einstein
I wonder if doing the "Daily Jumble" might help with some of the problems I have with inelastic thinking.
Boston Christmas Cavalcade for the Homeless I'm going to be playing at this thing! Chandler Travis likes me as a backup tuba. Who ever thought I'd be playing Johnny D's???

Woodshed-ing stuff, getting ready for Johnny D's -
Damn it feels good to be a tubist.
At least a ton better than a "guy who used to play tuba".

December 10, 2013

(16 comments)

advent day 10

At the risk of falling into the MRM/Men's Rights Movement sinkhole, I think this article brings up some important and unfortunate truths. I'd say it's a side effect of being at a halfway point in real gay acceptance; young straight men are fine with having gay friends etc, but HEAVEN FORBID anyway even think they might be a bit gay themselves.
I think different demographic groups do better and worse at this.
"Ever take a nap so long that it feels like a death test drive"
--http://twitter.com/aparnapkin

December 10, 2012


advent day 10

"You know how non-techies have terrible mental model of how a computer works? I often feel techies have similar models of businesses."
--http://twitter.com/patio11
Making the rounds? Nuanced and hilarious for anyone who saw the latest Batman movie:

20 years from now, the movie "Swingers"' swing dancing may be obviously retro relative to the movie, but what about playing NHL 93 on Genesis?
http://www.thisismyjam.com/kirkjerk -- Kathleen Edwards "Back to Me"

javadvent day 10

(2 comments)
December 10, 2011



Article about Applejack and dangerous homebrew "jacking" reminds me what a poetic name "moonshine" is for booze.
I love museums where Amber's bag is verboten as a backpack, but she can just wear it on one shoulder and it's magically an accepted purse.
Wow, the folks at Amazon are out to be the biggest dickbags in the history of retailing.

it's elephants all the way in

(2 comments)
December 10, 2010

--An old coworker Kevin S wrote me and said
I came across these math doodling videos and immediately thought of you:
http://vihart.com/doodling/
That's a pretty huge complement I thought! The other videos there were pretty great to, if a little cynical about math classes...


My firstish attempt at making a whole meal:
Trader Joe's Pork Roast Florentine, Thai Rice, Salad....

javadvent calendar day 10

(4 comments)
December 10, 2009



In theory, Google Labs gives a (clunky, usable) RSS-driven "random signature" feature for Gmail-in practice, it's broken, and quietly fails. Super irritating, that.
How Underdogs Can Win - Girl's basketball, batch processing, and I think a lesson for a Goliath like the USA vs the world's Davids. (Though there are some interesting "quality of life" issues on Goliath's side.)

radio shack: you've got questions. we've got nostalgia!

(5 comments)
December 10, 2008
I know it's just the neatness of photographs cropped to have a blank background, but I find the photos page of the Obsolete Technology Website to be compelling:
I was kind of bummed that they didn't have the specific model of my first laptop, the Tandy 1100FD. So that inspired some Googling, and I ran into RadioShackCatalogs.com. What a find! I had forgotten what a oddly huge impression the 1987 Radio Shack Catalog had left one me... the way kids can turn catalogs into these almost sacred relics, not just of consumer desire, but of trying to learn more about a the world of manmade objects, especially in that pre-Internet-age, when TV was about the only other alternative to physical stores for this kind of stuff.

The site has a funky "page-turn" interface... usually I hate that stuff, but here, revisiting material I'm surprised to find burned into my back brain, it's oddly effective, I can almost smell the distinctive newsprint they used...

So the Tandy 1100FD... I found it on page 21 of the 91 Tandy Computer catalog. I talked my mom into getting this for me right before I headed off to college (I was kind of amazed to see a laptop marked down to around $500) and put it to very good use, I was a painfully early adopter in using it to take notes in class. (The thing had an oversized-Gameboy style screen and no harddrive, but had a very decent text processor built right in, so after 3 seconds I was ready to take my ASCII-art notes.)

Heh, also in the 91 catalog, page 51: the toastersized cellphone + handset combo that I was entrusted with while working at Camp Happiness in Cleveland. What a beast!

So I submitted the Radio Shack Catalog site to BoingBoing gadgets, and they posted it-- that post then got mentioned on the main Boingboing site, which probably led to the site being slashdotted the other day (whoops) but it seems to be better now.

Quote of the Moment
There is something, that comes suddenly like a wind on a warm summer's evening. It takes you off guard, and leaves you without peace. It follows you like a shadow, and it's impossible to shake. I don't know what it is, so I can only call it love.
--Yu Hong's Diary, from "Summer Palace". Or maybe more like today, the strong, rain-pelting wind on a stunningly warm pre-Winter's day...


Gas stations disable the stops that let the handle stay by itself. Praise for my mad holding skills? to ensure if there's a fire I'm in it?
Glue-sticked that old wallet yet again; at this point it's beyond frugal, maybe beyond digging the slender construction; it's a challenge
Obligatory holy cats, what a nice day post: Holy cats, what a nice day!
And by "holy cats nice" I mean windy and sprinkle-swept, but WARM.
"Thank you for shopping at the iTunes Store" is Apple's subject line of choice - grabs attention, need to check it's not a receipt. Meh.
"Do people suck more, or do computers?" "Loaded question." "You're right. Maybe it's just the intersection that's awful" "Exactly right."
"I celebrate myself, and sing myself, 'cause damned if I can get someone else to do it for me." Hm. That sounded even worse than I intended.
Overused joke: whenever there's something bad in food, the chemicals of diet coke, dioxins in beef, saying that's what makes it delicious!"

atariparty

(16 comments)
December 10, 2007
So, I realized I spent a little too much time making the following graphic of running Atari 2600 characters yesterday:

It's kind of cool 'cause you can put it end to end:

(That's Berzerk's shootist, Burgertime's Chef, Donkey Kong's Mario, HERO's hero, Fast Eddie, Tron Deadly Discs' Tron, Jungle Hunt's Adventurer, Keystone Kaper's Kop, Mountain King's would-be king, and Pitfall Harry.)

When I thought back to what it took to make those, it seems a little crazy:
  • play a game with the emulator PCAEW (that records AVI movies)
  • import the movies into Animation Shop
  • copy frames into (ancient) Paint Shop Pro to isolate the characters
  • cut and paste those pieces into a new Animation Shop Animated GIF....
  • (manually) break the GIFs back into individual frames,
  • write a Java Processing program to show them all together and make a series of new frames
  • import those into Animation Shop.
Yeesh! No wonder it killed an afternoon/evening. It's quite a little Virtual Crafts project, but I get the feeling it somehow garners less respect than, say, knitting something would.

My housemate wrote about his irritation with people who say "You must have too much free time on your hands.". And while I agree with him, that's an absolutely rude, dismissive, and small-souled thing to say, in at least this case I could almost see their point.

I need to get some tools to automate manipulating animated GIFs, that would have sped things up.

Exchange of the Moment
Aunt Susan: "See? Aren't I just the lowest-maintenance relative you have?"
Me: "Well... there's my dad. We just have to mow over where he's buried! But I think we contract out to a guy for that."
--2007.12.09. Ah, macabre humor. My favorite!

Sports of the Moment
So the Patriots won an important game yesterday, with a dominating second half against the #1 Defense Steelers, and kept thoughts of a perfect season alive. In the week-long leadup, one of the Steelers was dumb enough to "guarantee" a victory, and Brady took special pride in burning him several times during the game.

Just for fun (and out of respect, not schadenfreude) I hit fansite "Stillers.com" (gotta appreciate the name) and read stuff like this article. That article and a few others rip on the Patriot's fanbase, not just for being fair-weatherish (not utterly unfounded, but I suspect most hardcore, longterm fandbases like the Steelers and the Packers put down roots in the rich soil of a phenomenal team run and accompanying bandwagon) but because the Red Sox are still first in the hearts and minds in the area.

To which I can only reply, neener-neener.

it's not just how big it is. it's how close you are to it.

(2 comments)
December 10, 2006
For a while I was wondering if there was a good way to compare the sizes of various screens in my life, from my projector's pulldown screen in my living room, to my monitor at home, to what I get when I go to the movies. I know that the important thing wasn't the physical size of the screen, but a factor of that and how far away you're sitting from it...how many degree degrees of my personal viewspace a screen fills. I couldn't think if a convenient way of measuring that, until the other day: I extend my hand directly in front of my face as if I was thumbing my nose at the screen, then put the pointer finger of my ohter hand perpendicular to the pinky, and line that up against the corner of the screen. I can then get a width or height measured in "finger". It's not an exact science, but it's pretty good.

Advice of the Moment
2. If you're invited to a private party, don't out your host to his neighbors by walking up the sidewalk wearing nothing but a thong, a leash, and a leather hood.
--BDSM "scene" advice from Seattle's "The Stranger". It's always kind of funny reading about how a group tries to police itself, you can imagine some of the bozo-ry they have to put up with.

anastasia krupnick where are you

(3 comments)
December 10, 2005
Ksenia and I watched "Anastasia" last night...she thought the Russian translation was better, at least for the song lyrics. Even before they had Aaliyah introduce the Featurette (she was on the soundtrack, though it's not clear if she's one of the character singing voices), I started thinking about how weird it is that most of the time for animated musicals they have totally different people as the "acting voice" and the "singing voice". I mean, shouldn't there be a stronger connection between's someone singing voice and speaking voice than that? Shouldn't we be able to see right through such a blatant fraud?

Or how a lot of voice over work is done in total isolation from the other voices, that conversations are just pieced together...or even the way different shots and takes are stitched together to make a conversation in a film. (Actually, I've become extremely sensitive to even small little gaps in continuity in movies and sitcoms, where an actor's arm or head is from shot to shot...it becomes maddening after a while.)

That seems so wrong somehow, just so threatening that our conversations might be nothing more than parallel monologues, with at best slight recognitions of each other's thoughts. We're all on the verge of becoming actors in a great big Samuel Beckett play.

Image of the Moment

--The World's Most Populous Countries, sized by population, but still roughly in their regular geographical forms. (via boingboing, natch) Hellooooo China and India! Though, you know, the USA holds its own...sometimes that surprises me a little bit.

medieval times...of the FUTURE

(4 comments)
December 10, 2004
Web Comic of the Moment
Building an artificial intelligence that appreciates Mozart is easy... building AI that appreciates a theme restaurant is the real challenge.
--Nine Planets Without Intelligent Life is a webcomic about two robots in a solar system after humanity has passed. Over all I thought it was just pretty good, with strange scrolling, but I really like the explanation of the setting of humanity ending and why robots are doing what they're doing. The clipping comes from this comic explaining why robots eat.

News Snippet of the Moment
He later told Brey that he planned to sue Pantera for stealing his identity. Brey and friend Dave Johnson said Gale's behavior frightened them and they distanced themselves from him several years ago. But other friends said they never considered Gale capable of violence. [...] On Wednesday night, the 25-year-old former Marine charged the stage at a show by Abbott's new band, Damageplan, and gunned down four people including Abbott before a policeman fatally shot him.
--ABCnews Story. I have as much respect for the marines as the next guy, and I do believe Gale is an aberration. BUT... aren't Marines capable of violence, kind of by definition?

you can't handle th - oh, never mind.

(2 comments)
December 10, 2003
Quotes of the Moment
"Believe those who are seeking the truth. Doubt those who find it."
--Andre Gide

"Tell the truth and run."
--Yugoslav proverb

Obsession of the Moment
I'm not sure why I like to post about obsessives on the 'net, maybe it makes me feel more normal, but here's a wired story about a guy who's really into those Apple stores. I mean, really likes, like travel-to-Tokyo-likes. Which is really a little odd, because one of the points is that all the stores are clones of each other...

Image and Mystery of the Moment
--Can anyone explain this pile of albino kermits in santa suits I saw at Suncoast video? They were kind of creeping me out.


Scientific Study of the Moment
The wonder of science! Pretty women scramble men's ability to assess the future. Guess this falls into the "heck, I could've told you that" category, but the actual details of the study are pretty interesting.

a pox on both your houses

December 10, 2002
Bad News of the Moment
You know, it took me a while to realize why Federal Government wanted "first responders" to be immunized within 30 days...it seemed like such a rush schedule. And then I realized it probably has to do with possible schedules for war with Iraq, especially given this whole Madame Smallpox, Soviet->Iraq connection. Woohoo! Let's hope they're just being conservative and that they don't know specifics that they're not telling us. (What's is it, like a 30% mortality rate for smallpox?)

As scary as that is, what's about as bad is thinking what our government might do if there were outbreaks of smallpox that coincided with an attack on Iraq. Any escalation beyond what they're already likely planning is really awful to consider...could it be the justification our cowboys are looking for to whip out some of our Weapons of Mass Destruction?

Geek Funny of the Moment
You know what would be cool?
A One Ring looseleaf binder. It would have one ring, and you could use it in the darkness. To, you know, bind things.
--Alter S. Reiss on rec.arts.sf.fandom via alt.humor.best-of-usenet

Religous Funny of the Moment
If Xmas was a Jewish Holiday--funny cultural crossover idea.

Lifestyle Change of the Moment
At work, they started firing warning shots o'er the starboard bow about websurfing on the company dime. (In particular, they seem to be alarmed at how often http://alienbill.com/home/ shows up from my computer...it's my startpage, I use it for work as well as play, but still. They also have an idiotic URL-keyword-based blocker engaged, so "loveblender.com", about as innocent a domain as you could hope for, raises red flags.) So that probably means I'm due for a lifestyle shift, and need to back away from the intraday updates I've been doing, and in general, not do any sort of surfing except maybe around lunch.

Although I resent having to do it, it's probably an overdue change. It's a form of growing up, I guess. I've developed very slackeriffic habits in the late-90s, and never really had the need to shake 'em. I'd still get my work done on schedule and of excellent quality relative to my peers. Assuming this takes, who knows, maybe I'm poised to be some kind of development superstar.

I'd feel worse about it if I wasn't still making a lot of money, managing to avoid post-dot-com deflation. I mean, it's an annual salary, but to expect them to pay all those tens of dollars per hour of me just nosing around the world wid...er, I mean, keeping abreast of the latest software and technical developments via online professional journals (ahem) is a bit much.

But still. My role as observer of the online world, and recording it here, is one of the most important things in my life. (Of course, my company's big nightmare seems to be paying me as I work for somebody else on the sly, so maybe this is triggering their primal fears.)

So, assuming I do go back using just a local page for my homepage, and strictly limit myself to technical stuff on Google for the most part, it'll mark a change of my life from the last 5 years. It'll be growing up, and I'm not sure if I like that. Somehow growing up always seems to carry the danger of shrivelling up, losing that spark.

Yeesh, I'm going to be even more sensitive about things that seem to risk cutting into my freetime...

to sleep perchance

(8 comments)
December 10, 2001
Hmm. In my guestbook Rhetoric from the Love Blender commented on this poem, hadn't thought of it for a while.

Geek Chat of the Moment
kirk: I've found another nugget of wisdom to add to my regular expressions arsenal
john: mmm???
kirk: they work better when not commented out
--You might have to be a bit of a programmer to get this. Regular Expressions are a tricky-ish tool to process text in a program, and one thing programmers do is "comment out" lines of code (i.e. turn them from program code to mere non-code commentary) when they're poking around, trying to figure out what's going wrong. Hmm. For a non-geek this joke probably doesn't work at all. But Who Says Java Programmers Don't Have A Sense Of Humor?

PG-13 Link of the Moment
This tale of the Worst Job in Singapore (At a zoo sperm bank--you figure it out...) sets off my BS detector, but it's still a funny read.
KHftCEA 1997-12.2 December KHftCEA 2000-12.1 December

KHftCEA 2000-12.1 December

"Don't these fools realize they're violating every principle of feng-shui?"
--two construction foreman poring over a plan on a girder, New Yorker cartoon
---
"Joe, you never heard such cheering."
"Yes, I have."
--Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio
---
Time to write here, while watching Run Lola Run with Dan and Mo. If I done 't write more this will be the month of infamy that uses a single 4k memo... but I still need to type in those WLT quotes. Work's either more engrossing or more demanding... or both.  Probably both.

Anyway.  Here's what's going on, notes to my future self: (I guess this kind of entry would make more sense as a year end wrap-up.)

The biggest news story is the presidential race, the virtual tie in Florida. It's been looking like Bush (who seems to be headed to be a pure figurehead for bitter ex-Bush staff, with Chaney holding the real power) is going to take it.

There's talk of recession in the air.  

My company had layoffs.  Mo just got a promotion. The job market still seems ok, though I wonder how all these layoffs with the dotcoms can not take their toll. At work I'm doing "consulting". It's an interesting project and not much of a drive and one of my favorite coworkers is there so I don't mind so much. I've persuaded them to let me change it from an ASP like datascreen editing project to something with an OO aproach using Servlets for the control.

Things with Mo are good.  Sometimes I nag that we don't make love often enough.  But it's a pretty minor thing.  We're merging finances more and more.  That's a big step towards feeling like a unit.  

So, all that's left is life itself.  I still feel all too mortal.  But sometimes I can convince myself that 70 years is a good run.  That coming up to having it half behind me is not a tragedy. At night I can still get worried.  I don't know why I'm more likely to feel mortal then, why life takes on an existential absurdity. I guess I worry how days and weeks can slip by.  Either life is short, or I have trouble seeing something big when all I see are not *that* numerous small parts. Or both.

For my new year's resolutio, I want to keep in touch with friends more.  At least one get-together a week.

Left my sunglasses at work. I hope.
00-12-10
---
KHftCEA 1997-12.2 December

A to the K?
          A to the mother-fuckin' C!
A to the mother-fuckin' K homeboy,
A to the moth-er-fuck-in' K!

Insane in the brain...insane in the membrane.
          --Cypress Hill
---
"leverage=take advantage of"
--Kirk's Guide to Corporate Speak
---
what shall we do with a drunken sailor?
What shall we do with a drunken sailor?
What shall we do with a drunken sailor?
Early in the morning.
---
planning my first real party... Yikes, why are my social circles so deep-not-wide?
97-12-10
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< retrospect: 10 dec >