| < retrospect: 19 mar >

March 19, 2017

I felt stressed this morning, juggling thoughts and preparation about moving together with Melissa (things are actually going well there, knock wood we are signing the lease on a terrific place Tuesday or Wednesday but of course planning a move is a walk through a forest of a thousand trees of things that could go wrong and might even be my fault for not being smarter about moving) and a BABAM band gig I was running, our traditional under-rehearsed ad hoc selves playing indoors for change, which somehow feels like it should raise the expectations.

A lot of situations will come up that we find stressful. Some of our emotional responses to those can be so stupid -- to quote Natalie Goldberg, "Stress is an ignorant state. It believes that everything is an emergency. Nothing is that important."

Now, *existentially* she's right (John Maynard Keynes: "But this 'long run' is a misleading guide to current affairs. 'In the long run' we are all dead.") -- but there is a subset of these issues that A we wouldn't have control over even if we were our best selves and B ARE pretty damn important, relative to the group of all concerns we have in this life.

And yet; our stress-tastic emotional responses (at least for the stuff that has now snowballed into a life of its own) are only useful in very small ways, just to the extent they can make us more thoughtful and attentive to preventing those situations, whether we're talking fundamentally life-altering things, such as a break-up, where maybe we can be wiser in how we love, or for the merely transient and infuriating, where maybe an alternate route or departure time would avoid this damn traffic.

But in general, we can rely on the higher, more rational part of our brains for that kind of bad-situation-pre-emption, and the stress just makes us miserable, and often dumber. Like I said at the end of February, whether I'm furious about it and making myself angry or accepting of it, the traffic is still there. So why be furious?

There's a menacing line from some belligerent military group "Don't Run, You'll Only Die Tired". The problems I'm facing now aren't gonna kill me... but even if they are, why should I die tired?

I have this version of my best self walking around, taking situations in hand. Hell, recognizing in a lot of ways I'm doing super well, healthy, sweet girl friend, well-paying job I dig, good friends, meaningful camaraderie and ego-gratifying work in my band music making. Sure I could switch scales and compare to some out there "best case of every scenario" version of life where, I dunno, I'm like a mix of Obama, Steve Jobs, Grace Hopper, Isaac Asimov, and Mr. Rogers, but that life doesn't exist, but the one that does has a lot to say for it.
Quote I was reminded of while writing that: "One ought never to turn one's back on a 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. Never run away from anything. Never!"
--Winston Churchill

March 19, 2016

March 19, 2015 - I made an interactive toy to sketch out an idea I have for a widget (expressing that "Problems (are) Inevitable / Problems (are) Soluble" mantra) that I'd like to get 3D printed or otherwise made tangible...

(the way the carved out squares show up as boxes rather than just blank is a kind of 'happy accident', not sure if they should be the way for the real piece or not... wdyt?)

It was fun playing with homemade, graph-paper fonts again.
Wow, frozen banana has a terrific, custard-like texture, all by itself.
Peel it before freezing is the one trick to it.
"QA Engineer walks into a bar. Orders a beer. Orders 0 beers. Orders 999999999 beers. Orders a lizard. Orders -1 beers. Orders a sfdeljknesv."

March 19, 2014

It's not as easy as you imagine to be polite when you have to scrounge for a living. You give me a surefire way of getting rich quick, and I promise to behave perfectly from that moment on.

Very well. Think of a business that particularly caters to some legitimate need of single people. There must be nothing about it that suggests recreation--not even music playing in the background. The atmosphere should be no-nonsense, utilitarian and eminently respectable. Then devise some way of keeping all your customers waiting. Service should be delayed just long enough to get people grumbling to one another, but not long enough to make them walk away in disgust. You should aim at having a good-sized group of unattached people standing together with a common practical purpose and nothing to do but to talk to one another while they wait. Miss Manners realizes that she has just described a laundromat, but perhaps you can think of something else.
My new rallying cry for the Nerf fights at work: "WELCOME TO SH*T-JUST-GOT-REAL-ISTAN. POPULATION: YOU"

March 19, 2013

Man, I guess I'm just a social user...

"I'm fine with that I'm fine with whatever I'm just in it for the getting together."
--Jonathan, via text, about lunch plans. He then pointed out with a little work it could be a pretty good hook.


March 19, 2012

Dream Dialog: "This icea cream just has 2 calories a serving!" "Yeah? How many servings in this bowl?" "Err, 200".

today's project...

March 19, 2011

Today I worked on a Newbies Guide to the upcoming Hub Crawl Puzzle/Photo Hunt... sadly Amber and I might miss it this year (it might be when we're in Europe) but still I enjoyed making a friendly introduction to it... I'll post a link as soon as the copy gets reviewed by the Hub Crawl's crack team of staff ninjas!
"These public employees won't see their names on Forbes Richest People anytime soon, but it is safe to say that in 2010 approximately 40 percent of Arlington's town and school employees earned salaries above the town's median nonfamily (individual) income of $54,517."
--The Arlington Advocate. Not sure the author is clear on what "median" means...

hear the birds?

March 19, 2010

It was warm enough to sleep with an open window and we could hear bird song the next morning and it made me think of the above short clip... I decided to transcribe it (for no particularly good reason, just to try to capture the delivery.)
"Beautiful day, isn't it?"
"Yes it is."
"Hear the birds?"
"Sometimes, I like to pretend that I'm, that I'm deaf? And I try to imagine what it'd be like--"
"--not to be able to hear them..."
"'s not so bad."

My sore neck provoked me into using a backpack rather than a courier bag. Irritating not to be able to easily stow and retrieve a book - also I feel so awkward using both straps, since using just one was de rigueur in middle and high school. But of course the style changed to the utilitarian in the early 1990s. "Still, asymmetry is always cool..." I point out to Amber. "Right, but beauty is based on symmetry." Odd, those two opposing relations. - interesting rule for cell etiquette: use the same rules as you would for excusing yourself to bathroom... - 70s era photos of killer Alcala's possible victims, the police looking for help IDing. As a collection, the images are haunting- but many of them are just great photos of people having fun.
Hmm. The iPhone screen, made of glass, is very durable. But the case scratches easily... (I suspect Apple doesn't mind the scuffs as something that would get people to upgrade sooner, but without disrupting use of the device.) Makes me think that an iPhone with the case made out of glass would be very durable... not to mention frickin' sweet.
"Well, we've had a good time tonight, considering we're all going to die someday."
--closer of Steve Martin, back in the day
"Legal Size": it's the 16:9 widescreen of copier paper!

why dolphins are cooler than people

March 19, 2009

Today's rule: the PC stays off 'til the apartment is straightened up. (iPhone to keep an eye on email, laptop for followup if needed, no cheating)

"I am tired and sick of war. Its glory is all moonshine... War is hell."
--Will Tecumseh Sherman, 1879.
"Inside every army is a crowd struggling to get out."
--John Keegan
The Silver Line is weird! I thought it was just a PC way of telling neighborhoods "Buses! No T for you!" but they're double length buses with long underground tunnels...

that we figure this thing out or learn to love the figuring (backlog flush #70 and travelog of kyoto and nara)

March 19, 2008

  • If the size of a man's components matched how many nerve endings were contained therein. I gotta be honest, I'm almost a little surprised he's not more well hung.
  • 10 most wanted Design Bugs
  • fishhighway, Habitrol for Fish...

Travelog of the Moment
So Wednesday I went on a bus tour of Kyoto and Nara. I wasn't utterly blown away by the tourguides (who may have been gearing for people who did zero reading about Japan in general) but it was the best way to get to these geographically diverse sites. Plus, a day with more riding and less walking seemed like a nice idea for my feet.

Also I met some nice people from Norway and Finland (dropped my Nokia street cred) and to be honest often they seemed more interesting than the tourguide's spiel.

Japanese do love their umbrellas! The standard umbrella is only a couple of bucks and is transparent, which makes a lot of sense.

This picture and the last were from our first stop, Nijo Castle, or "Nijo-jo" (heh). Both shoes and photography were forbidden inside.

Nijo Castle was built by the Shogun Iemitsu, so we saw where the feudal lords would pay tribute to him, and then where he had to sit below the platform of the emperor's messenger. Some of the work inside and out was really lovely.

Close-up of that...

One of the more interesting features was a clever "Nightingale Floor" in all the hallways; this clever system of metal bits that squeaked in a melodious way and prevented people from sneaking around. They say there are all sorts of hidden passageways and what not there. This is the view from underneath.

Trying to find nice and balanced shots of the grounds outside.

The outer wall looked strong.

After we went to the Golden Pavillion / Rokuon-Ji Temple. This is a detail of a map billboard there, I liked the art style.

The Golden Pavilion is a terrific building, centuries old, and covered in gold leaf. I think my ISO settings were messed up, so its beauty isn't coming through, or maybe it's me next to it.

Crane in the pond by the Pavilion.

Waterfall on the grounds there.

Finally we headed out to the Imperial Palace. Security was weirdly uptight there and we had to line up in 4s. But I liked the bright orange construction and fireproof white plaster:

And I saw my first blossoming cherry tree! Unfortunately I was fumbling with my camera battery and didn't get a picture of the guy stationed there to protect it. Maybe he had to be there, one girl seemed to try and make a dash for the tree and he angrily chased her away, though I'm not 100% sure if she would have tried if he hadn't been there.

From there to the 7 stories of the Kyoto Craft Center. And yes, I took a photo of this just for the obvious giggle about the Internet Cafe name.

I then switched to the Nara afternoon group. Nara's single biggest attraction (in both senses of "biggest") is Todai-ji temple, biggest wooden building in the world, and home of one of the largest Buddhas. This is just the outer gate.

The outer gate has two guardian figures, though I didn't quite catch the names:

(I don't think they were the Shinto ones) Still awfully fearsome...

Just a nature scene, with a groundskeeper in blue looking awfully small...

So there is the temple--those are people looking very, very small themselves. One detail is a "peekaboo" door the Buddha can peek out of...

Looking up at the Temple's entrance. They mentioned that the original building, which got destroyed, was about 30% wider, and there were models showing the old and current versions inside.

The Buddha! There are some priests in front for scale.

The Buddha was flanked by attendants... here's one--

--and the other. This Buddha was bigger than Kamakura's, but somehow... I don't know, I preferred the Buddha under the great wide open sky.

The temple had other guardians, one for each direction, but two were only heads. Here's one of the full bodied ones:

So for a 1000 Yen (~$10) donation, you could paint a tile that would be used in some new construction. (Also good luck forever I think!) You were asked to paint your Name, Address, Country, and Wish. This is me and my wish: "That we figure this thing out or learn to love the figuring"

So, one thing I've neglected to mention: the grounds were crawling with deer. For 150 Yen ($1.50) you could get a stack of ten cookies, like pizelles, to feed them. But... what's this sign warning about? Angry deer? Huh?

AAAAAAH DEER GET THEM OFF ME AAAAAH! (Seriously in general they were pretty decent, but the ones standing around the cookie stands would butt and nip you if they thought you were a bit slow with the goods.

Finally Kasuga Taisha Shrine. Lots of stone lanterns and I got to learn more details about Shinto practice. I must confess to a small dose of shrine fatigue at this point. Anyway, here is my afternoon tourguide climbing the stairs.

Back at the hotel. Tug of War is a serious sport here?

Finally on my run for dinner, I found three anti-smoking posters...well, not anti-smoking, just watch where you put your butts... the cowboy approach

the crime approach...

and then the love of pets technique...


March 19, 2007
Bleh. Sudden cold, or something, 100 degree temperature.

I'm dragging myself into work though, somewhat against my better judgment, because it's a special planning meeting day.

Followup: mercifully, they sent me backhome

Video of the Moment
--Randomly stumbled on this music video. Lovely in a diagrammatic kind of way.

nyc: blue eight

March 19, 2006

(Hold your mouse
over any image
for a few words.)

Back from NYC. Seeing those two towers reflected in the "Millenium Hilton" when your back is to the WTC site are a little unnerving, at least for a moment. The Guggenheim wasn't quite so blue as the other subjects, but it's always fun to photograph. The eight is there because I admired the craftsmanship, and then I could make it look like eight blue photos is what I was aiming for all along.

Other trip highlights were a terrific cheap Russian place in Brooklyn, just outside the Hassidic Jewish neighborhood our hotel was in, a Klee exhibit at "The Neue Galerie", hanging around where the St. Patricks Day parade was coming to a stop (always fun to see bands and groups coming undone, relaxing and grateful to be finished), Times Square, seeing "The Producers", and meeting up with Tony from Tufts.


March 19, 2005
Photos of the Moment

--Had a small shindig, almost forgot to do an update! Here are two pics, the rumpus room with people checking out some of Erin's student films, and the kitchen showing some of the great stuff Ksenia put together, pork kabons and chicken julienne and some other great stuff.

phillybuster day 1

March 19, 2004
I'm off to release JoustPong at PhillyClassic 5! Back Monday. Meanwhile, I'll let you enjoy some quickies that have been clogging up my backlog, starting last August or so...

...but before I go, check out this chest of drawers I nabbed on my way into work Wednesday. Since it turns out that almost every damn piece of furniture with drawers in it was Mo's, I consider it a good score. And luckily I was driving my Aunt and Uncle's minivan, so I could lug it around, it's pretty hefty. I'm using it for videogames, one system per drawer works out about right.

Sitting on top is the ghetto stereo I also grabbed. I think the main piece is busted, but extra speakers can sometimes be fun for making excessively-speakered frankenstereos with. (One of the best stereos I ever heard just had a ton of speakers around a room, all scavanged.)

Any one got some great scavanging stories?

backlog flush #41
  • Maybe the coolest link today: It's the Institute...of the Future! Lots of neat gadgets and software.
  • I logged a link to the results of the 2002 Minigame Compo last June. I submitted a stripped down early version of JoustPong as a 1K entry in the 2003 Minigame did middling-poor, but it had the first style of physics I used which went way too fast.
  • I had and loved Ed Emberley's Drawing Book of Animals. It's dedicated to himself as a kid, I should look up the wording. That site has draw "Cowboy Calhoun"...I like how the books show you what you're adding to the picture at the bottom.
  • Start of a ramble:
    I've been thinking a lot about "multiple intelligences" and lately it's been occurring to me that I might not be as smart as I assume I am. Or that specifically, in some ways, I'm pretty dumb.
    I find it interesting
    ...yes, I'm sure I did, but not enough to finish the mini-essay.
  • rRootage and Noiz2sa and other abstract games.
  • A mirror made of wood
  • Your Guide to Looking Busy at Work.
  • The most amazing Video Game music remix website ever. As far as I know.
  • "Hello, I'm Troy McClure. You may remember me from such movies as..." -- the complete list, from "Cry Yuma" to "Man Verses Nature: The Road To Victory".

idle amusements

(1 comment)
March 19, 2003
Interview of the Moment
I'm not sure why, but I really liked the latest Onion AV Club interview with Eric Idle (of Monty Python fame). I guess I just like when famous, creative people sound happy and relaxed about what they do, and grateful for having had the chance to do it.

Iraq Links of the Moment has a scorecard for the first few days of the war. ("First, ignore all first-night commentary") Sounds almost as much fun as an Oscar betting pool! A different Slate piece had a link to a PDF analyzing the possible benefits and dangers of our moves into Iraq. I also found a decent biography of Saddam Hussein that mostly focuses on his dictatorship but claims "Saddam the paranoid tyrant can be traced back to Saddam the persecuted village boy". (It copies a bit from the Atlantic article I posted before, especially about is current daily routine.)

Graphic Design of the Moment
David Levine's Graphic Design from the 1920s and 1930s in Travel Ephemera has an unwieldy title and some poor choice of colors, but is well laid out and has some great images.

Flash of the Moment
Oddly compelling political cheap shot.

Moment of the Moment
8 o'clock. All's still quiet. Guess the time of our choosing is a little later.

"every thang's going to be all white!"

March 19, 2002
News of the Moment
I just love the saga of the Fightin' Whities. I'm not sure if it's going to be effective as a point-making tactic...I think a lot of white guys will just think it's kind of a cool joke and not get that some Native Americans might be offended by certain team mascots.

Quote of the Moment
"There is a wonderful Hasidic story about a rabbi who was asked whether it is ever proper to act as if God did not exist. He responded, 'Yes, when you are asked to give to charity, you should give as if there were no God to help the object of the charity.'"
--Alan Dershowitz, from an article on morality not based on faith, via Bill the Splut.

Games of the Moment
From the makers of the highly addictive kickups, it's a cool little overhead shooter bughunt. (People looking for a more sedate time might want to stick with marble mayhem.)


(1 comment)
March 19, 2001
Went ice-skating for the first time in my life yesterday with some of the Tufts Band Lemmings gang. It's a lot of fun, better than roller blading, just mostly because of the novelty of being on a big field of ice and not falling on my butt. I think I was pretty good for a first timer (possibly because of the roller blading I think.) There were a lot of kids there. At first that was a little annoying, but then I thought of them as forming a big obstacle course, or maybe a mine field. Then it was even more fun!

Movie Quote of the Moment
Corky: You know what the difference is between you and me, Violet?
Violet: No.
Corky: Me neither.

--from Bound, the first movies from the as the Wachowski Brothers who would later bring us The Matrix. That is a great closing romantic line to a neat neo-noir film.

KHftCEA 1999-03 March

KHftCEA 1999-03 March

"If people were going to use computers all day, everyday, the design of such machines was not solely a technical problem-- it was also an aesthetic one. *A lousy interface woulb mean a lousy life.*"

"An art form based on the computer should be impossible without it."
--Myron Krueger
You might like to know that *every* national anthem in the world can be sung with the words
 "I am right and you are wrong".
 Try it -- you'll annoy the *hell* out of people

(the USSR is one of the hardest to make scan, but even it works, after a fashion. US, UK, Germany, France dead easy.)
--Alan Lothian
"The past resembles the future as water resembles water"
--Ibn Khaldun (1332-1406)  
Don't theorize about your own romances, friend. Be thrilled, be ecstatic, be desolate, but don't be an expert about you and the people you love and why it happened. With love, the pleasure is in the details, not in the theory. Love has to do with her eyes, the touch of her hand, her voice, her laughter, how it felt to stand next to her and feel her brush against you, how it felt to see her after a long absence. Love isn't a Problem to sit around and discuss. If your heart still longs for her, then you are in love, and her idea about why it didn't work out is something that may give her consolation but it doesn't mean anything to you or me.  
--Mr. Blue
Been sick and working hard, and playing Mario Party et al at night.  I feel really wiped out.  

< retrospect: 19 mar >