| < retrospect: 4 jan >

January 4, 2018

"Helpless rage is a major cause of falls in the home."
--"Don Giovanni" (by Garrison Keillor)

I've been thinking of this quote a lot lately, as I play with the idea of if it's ok (meaning, compatible with the kind of moral life I want to live) to keep my dismay at events cerebral, rather than deeply emotionally processed.

It's balancing a desire for a healthy sense of equanimity against the idea that without emotion, there is no motion; that every action we undertake happens when our emotional elephant gets the impetus to move, our rational rider just trying to guide the elephant as best it can (and then take credit for it with post-facto rationalization, its true talent.)

In general curating my own emotional landscape might be more of an option for me than some because I have an almost-OCDish history of justifying and rationalizing myself, and some practice letting my rational side preempt emotions it thinks are invalid.

Also, the option to do so might be coming from a place of privilege - but maybe not as much as it first appears. An existentially bleak universe and set-point theory of happiness, if valid, would be available to almost everyone regardless of privilege.

"Textese" and code-switching or why a period at the end of a text message sounds harsh. Often, good messages in a dialog trail off, inviting further reply. This makes me feel a bit better about all the smilies I use. (And slowly I'll be less aghast at "u" and "r" showing up so often.)

January 4, 2017

Once, when I told her I was leaving a solid job, she asked me: "Are you scared? If not, you should be." She was advocating fear as a powerful -- useful -- survival tool. "The great boxer Archie Moore once told me," she said, " 'I ride my fear like a fast horse.' "
--Caitlin Roper on Katherine Dunn - the December 25 New York Times Magazine section was "The Lives They Lived" with some good articles about the lives of people who died in 2016.

december 2015 new music playlist

January 4, 2016
Semi-decent month for new music last month, the first one listed is the only 4-star.
  • Charlie On the MTA (Live) (The Heebee-jeebees) My one 4-star this month... I literally started laughing with delight the first time I heard it. This is a slightly different cover, but the way they take it lower and lower is so much fun...
  • Popcorn (Hot Butter) For being such a "hey electronic music!" song, this song's percussion is beautifully acoustic. Also: this video.
  • Bill Murray’s “Star Wars" (Oscar Isaac) The new Star Wars' awesome and enthusiastic supporting hero covering my favorite Star Wars lyrics? Yes please!
  • Drop It Like It's Hot (Pharrell Williams & Snoop Dogg) I only had a Best of Booty Mashup of this... I love the tongue cluck sound.
  • Mind Heist (Zack Hemsey) I was watching a video of how like every trailer now uses the "Inception Honk"...
  • Christmas At Ground Zero ("Weird Al" Yankovic) Eventually I'm going to get like every Weird Al song I loved on tape as a new MP3 purchase. I think the dark humor of this was a big influence on my Nuclear War Fun Club doodles.
  • Love the One You're With (The Isley Brothers) Tony at "Million Year Picnic" loves the Isley Bros. I'm still intrigued by the message of this song.
  • Nothing but a Heartache (The Flirtations) Some great R+B
  • Metroid II Return of Carmen Sandiego (Spindley Q Frog) Lovely mashup (Rockapella and Gameboy Chiptune) for a glorious little trainwreck.
  • Please Don't Talk About Me When I'm Gone (The Mills Brothers & Tommy Dorsey) Folks at the Dunster Road Holiday Party had a great songbook including this one.
  • Brimful of Asha (Cornershop) Somehow I missed this one in the 90s. It's been pointed out as such a terrifically South-Asian-in-England song without needing to make a big frame around it.
  • Sesame Street (Maynard Ferguson) I played this in my high school senior talent night band, and I love the bassline - bringing it to my current bands now.
  • DADDY (feat. CL) (PSY) Not quite a Gangham Style, but still.. ."got it from daddy" resonates with me. Creepy video tho.
  • Look On Down from the Bridge (Mazzy Star) Remembering the scene from "Rick and Morty" where SPOILER (?) Morty is absorbing the fact he's now going to be in an alternate universe where everyone he knows is an identical copy of the people he really knew... I dunno, it's kind of great.

"To discard the stuff we've acquired is to murder the version of ourselves we envision using it."
--Laura Miller, in a critique of Marie Kondo's tidying up books and philosophy. She also cites June Thomas labeling it as encouraging an "anorexia of things." (I guess the counter-argument is: that's true, about the "murder", but so often that vision of what "could be, maybe" interferes with our pleasure in "what is")
All Hail DiscordiaFNORD...
Amused that Google Maps for IOS clearly wasn't tested in a walking city such as Boston; even when on a walking route it gives you real time turn directions blocks ahead of time, as if you were zipping along in a car.

January 4, 2015

"Don't look at me, I just gave birth to him..."
"Hey, nature OR nurture, either way it's your fault..."
--My Mom and I during the holidays, after I did something or other during one of our traditional games of Dr. Mario...
Having a projector as my main TV, and a combination office / media room, is kind of weird. I watch football looking up at an 85" high def picture, 2-3 feet away.
It's like a vision of the future, but I'm not sure if it's more "Star Trek main screen" or "Fahrenheit 451 Parlor Walls"


annual media roundup

(1 comment)
January 4, 2014
My usual media roundup. Far fewer movies on video is the main change. I guess I watch more of those when I'm going steady for longer. Usually.

Better than expected stuff in red, All time favorite in bold, not so good stuff in grey.

So, "all time favorites": Gravity 3D, but in IMAX. It's a bit hokey, but the majestic expanse of Earth are half the key to placating my inner child astronaut.

Bookwise, "Cloud Atlas" was a stylistic tour de force, I love how it built and then deconstructed itself. "Spell of the Sensuous" talks about what we lost with the rise of phonetic alphabets and more. "Dirk Gently" is just amazing in how well it holds up, how fresh it still seems.

In Comics, Harvey Pekar's Cleveland is a beautiful tale of a city I love, James Sturm's America: God, Gold, and Golems includes "The Golem", maybe the best baseball story every told, The Infinite Wait is a great and very personal set of autobiographical tales by Jula Wertz

In video games, Saints Row IV was an astounding melange of super heroism and goofy action, and GTA: San Andreas on iPad was what I wanted GTAV to be more like.

Movies at the Cinema (14)
Oscar Shorts Nominations Live Action, Oscar Shorts Nominations Animated, Lincoln, Iron Man 3, Star Trek: Into Darkness, World War Z, Man of Steel, Pacific Rim, The World's End, Riddick, Texts from Bennett, Gravity, Blue is the Warmest Color, Gravity
Movies on Video (26)
Chungking Express, Nick and Nora's Infinite Playlist, Melvin Goes to Dinner, Role Models, Porco Rosso, The Cabin in the Woods, Girls Season 2, Total Recall, Zero Dark Thirty, Wreck-It Ralph, The Big Lebowski, Good Will Hunting, The Fountainhead, Guilt Trip, A River Runs Through It, Safety Not Guaranteed, YPF, Scarface, Cloud Atlas, John Carter, Sick & Tired, Hangover 3, The Way, Way Back, Frances Ha, The To Do List, National Lampoon Christmas Vacation
TV Seasons (7)
Parks and Recreation Season 5, The Office Season 9, New Girl Season 2, Modern Family Season 4, Game of Thrones Season 3, The Mindy Project Season 1, Enterprise Season 4
Books (60)
Squirrel seeks Chipmunk, How Music Works, How to Think More About Sex, My Heart Is an Idiot, Seductive Interaction Design, Sacred Hoops, An Unexpected Twist, The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ, What French Women Know, Euphemania: Our Love Affair with Euphemisms, My Mother's Bible: A Son Discovers Clues to God, Star Wench, Love Is Not Constantly Wondering If You Are Making the Biggest Mistake of Your Life, Can a Robot be Human?, Rules for Virgins, When I Say No, I Feel Guilty, Life is Elsewhere, The Dude and the Zen Master, Off to Be the Wizard, Ladies and Gentlemen, the Bible, You, Surfaces and Essences: Analogy as the Fuel and Fire of Thinking, Intuition Pumps, Higher Than The Hawk, Unmastered: A book on desire, most difficult to tell, Cloud Atlas, You're Not Doing It Right, Half-Life: Reflections from Jerusalem on a Broken Neck, And Baby Makes More, A Cynic's Guide to a Rich and Full Life, Consider Phlebas, Among Murderers: Life after Prison, Very Short Stories: 300 Bite-Size Works of Fiction, Into the Wild, The 7 Secrets of the Prolific, The Spell of the Sensuous, Faith of Cranes, Terrible Nerd, The Old Man and the Sea, Dry, Magical Thinking, Dreamcast Worlds: A Design History, Michrochondria, The Stench of Honolulu: A Tropical Adventure, Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency, Long Dark Teatime of the Soul, Salmon of Doubt, Quarantine, Hardwiring Happiness, Screw Everyone: Sleeping My Way to Monogamy, The Art of Loving, Oh Myy, MindSets, Collected Poems (Jack Gilbert), The Relaxation Response, The Art of Lying Down, The FastDiet, Dogfight, A Slow Year, EarthBound
Comics (26)
Tiny Art Director, Kiki de Montparnasse, Beg the Question, Kingdom Come, "Failure"@Boston Phoenix, Harvey Pekar's Cleveland, Wizzywig, Feyman, Habibi, Empire State, I Thought You'd Be Funnier, All Over the World and other stories, James Sturm's America: God, Gold, and Golems, An Elegy for Amelia Johnson, Be a man, Clumsy, Unlikely, Failure, Asterios Polyp, xkcd time, Siverbow's Basin, Mush: Sled Dogs with Issues, xkcd: time, Not the Israel My Parents Promised Me, The Infinite Wait and other stories, Tag and Blink Were Here
Video Games (11)
New Super Mario Bros U, GTA: Vice City, 400 Years, Driver, Gears of War: Judgement, Bioshock Infinite, Rogue Squadron 2: Rogue Leader, Saints Row IV, GTAV, Peggle Nights, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas

"'NO NO NO NO' - the guy who invented folding chairs watching a wrestling match"

January 4, 2013

"People say nothing is impossible, but I do nothing every day."
--Winnie The Poo (in Winnie The Pooh's Homerun Derby)

"Best definition of burnout ever: 'your mind refusing to permit you to work, because it has seen what happens when it lets you work'"

on making games

January 4, 2012
George "The Fat Man" Sanger on making games:
As gamers, we bring to the world some very special gifts. We move forward at lightning speed and embrace technology and invention in a way that surpasses every group of people that has ever come before in all of history. To play it safe in this business is to deny our inner nature. It is to deny our responsibility to the world and to the players. To not take risks is to go against the very principles of fun and risk that define the art of game development.

In short, This Is Gaming. If you're not exposing your players to anything new, then you are just asking them to connect dots. Connect-the-dots is not a game.

God put you on this planet along with the other game makers that you might complete your mission, a crucial part of which is scaring the crap out of your investors.

You are to do this by exposing those investors to your brilliant but untried ideas. And if the thought of that investor walking out the door with his money is too frightening for you, and because of that, you can only bring yourself to propose ideas "that work" and "that people like," then you are not a game maker, you have no idea what makes games fun, and it is morally imperative that you go into another business. You might try selling soap. People always need soap. And if you don't want to do sell soap, then take risks. Start with the Big Risk, where John and John started: Dedicate your life to your work. And then, you gotta go past them, you gotta innovate, you gotta keep on going.
from Tasty Morsels of Sonic Goodness: The Fat Man on Game Audio
The book "The Fat Man on Game Audio" talks about Nudie, the guy who made rhinestone cowboy suits and dressed Elvis
"[Oh my foes and oh my friends, when the Devil counts, he starts at zero.]"
--The Fat Man
"@fivethirtyeight State with highest voter turnout in general elections should have first presidential contest. Reward Democracy."

i should watch more hockey

January 4, 2011

--love the spacing and comic timing of the action in this. via
"computer programming is moments of triumph surrounded by hours of the computer telling you you're an idiot"
Harboring new doubts about MBTA bag bomb residue search-they missed that my bag was packed with ATOMIC fireballs! (Christmas gift from mom) - NY Times on sustaining romantic love.
Trying the rotated 90 degrees "tallscreen, not widescreen" thing. A bit vertiginous but you can see a lot of code at once.
In theory I should care about HTML tricks that work in practice but not in theory (like putting a div inside an a href link tag.) In practice I probably won't.

under the sea

January 4, 2010
The great Renaissance essayist Montaigne loved sleep; his only frustration was that when you are asleep, you are not conscious of its pleasures. He therefore instructed his servant to wake him in the middle of the night so that he could come into semi-consciousness in order to savor the feeling of sleepiness, and then enjoy the pleasure of going back to sleep.
--Tom Hodgkinson, "How To Be Idle", a decent little read, if a bit elitist.
In coding in a new environment, a really tight change/see change loop (ala Perl or JSP/ASP w/o really compiling) makes up for a lot.
Right side pocket: keys, wallet, camera. Left side pockets: iPhone, sunglasses, earbuds. Easier to count 3 items twice than 6 items once.
"You're crazy! You're actually crazy!"
"They called Einstein crazy."
"That's not true; no one ever called Einstein crazy!"
"Well, they would have if he'd carried on like this..."
--Casino Royale (1967)

Man, aluminum foil is so cool. Like, whole rolls of thinly pressed metal you can just buy in the local market- crazy!

star trekkin' across the universe

January 4, 2009
Oofdah, busy weekend!

Link of the Moment
Or a link of a link, rather, Siskoid has blogged every single Trek episodes, from all the various series. Quite a project! That's a lot of Trek for one guy to take.

Quote of the Moment
"One Day You Will Be Nostalgic For Now."
--quoted on the Suicide Girls DVD, among other places. I actually find it deeply motivational to make the best of the current time.

JZ just sold a character in the MUD Gemstone 4 for $400, he says a firesale price. That much real money for a text only game charcter? Wow.

toss that ravaging grizzly a steak while we try to get away

(1 comment)
January 4, 2008
So the Patriots' Belichick was voted Coach of the Year, despite the whole Spygate thing. Is this:

A. Sheer recognition of a unique achievement in the NFL, the 16-0 season.
B. A show of solidarity for a guy who was probably a scapegoat for a not uncommon practice in the NFL
C. A gift to the AFC, in the sense of "we better not make this guy any madder!"

Article of the MOment
"Don't know why I thought of you" wrote Beau as he sent me this NY times piece on having clutter, being overweight, and the cognitive science behind hoarding. Yeah, sure, Beau. Just play innocent.

I kid, I kid; Beau is one of the most straight forward and unsnarky people I know. And to be fair, all three of those are issues I'll write about here-- in fact there was that previous time I heard about viewing excess weight as "body clutter".

First Kiss of the Moment
Suddenly I know so much. I understand about waves and cross tides and how jellyfish float and why rivers empty themselves in the Gulf. I understand the undulating movement of the stingray on Sea Hunt and the hard forward muscle of the shark. Now I know why they call it petting, for even though I'm more still in the plush warmth of his mouth than I can ever get in church, my whole body is purring. I let my self breathe into him a breath that tastes like ashes from a long fire.
--Mary Karr, "Cherry"

nyack filler day 3

January 4, 2007
Quotes of the Moment
"The only rational patriotism is loyalty to the nation ALL the time, loyalty to the government when it deserved it."
--Mark Twain, "The Czar's Soliloquy"

And do you think that unto such as you;
A maggot-minded, starved, fanatic crew:
God gave the secret--and denied it me?
Well, well, what matters it? Believe that, too.
--Omar Khayyam, as translated by Richard le Gallienne, via this Slate article on understanding Islamic fanaticism.

"Yet man is born unto trouble as surely as sparks fly upward."
Job 5:7

One lecturer at DeVry was fond of saying "There's no such thing as 'the good old days.' They were just old."
--Nick B


January 4, 2006
So Boston sports guys love to praise things and love to complain things, so Doug Flutie's first NFL dropkick "point after" in 60 years has generated a lot of heat and noise... I think the people who say that it made a "mockery" of the game miss the core idea that it was just a really, really cool thing to do, and was a great cap to a meaningless game, a hard fought season, and maybe even a football career, if it comes to that. (UPDATE: huh, I only now realized that a dropkick has the player dropping the ball so it hits the ground, not like a punter who kicks it away directly...for years and years my picture of what it was (like that "Drop Kick Me Jesus Though The Goalposts Of Life" song) was wrong, but I think that's true for a lot of people.

Quote of the Moment
"You live and learn. At any rate, you live."
--Douglas Adams

Year End Wrap Ups of the Moment
From the BBC, 100 things we didn't know this time last year... though I knew a few of 'em. From New Scientist 13 Things That Scientists Still Don't Know. And finally, Candi's Second Annual Best Covno Pieces... damn it, I used to be funnier on AIM, I swear. But her friends are funny, and I admire that, and her diligence in recording the funny.


January 4, 2005
Yeesh...I really gotta get more people in on the sidebar! I know its been the holiday season, but still...doesn't anyone have anything to kvetch about? Some enlightening nugget of wisdom or randomness?

Quote of the Moment
"Everything you've learned in school as 'obvious' becomes less and less obvious as you begin to study the universe. For example, there are no solids in the universe. There's not even a suggestion of a solid. There are no absolute continuums. There are no surfaces. There are no straight lines."
--Buckminster Fuller. No straight lines? But that's the very basis of good comedy!

News of the Moment
Apocalyptic Christians are scary: "$350 for One Jew, $700 for a Couple". Rule of thumb: never trust ANYONE working to make prophecies come true.
And as much as I wanted Gore to win, I guess I'm just as happy Lieberman never became the VP, that frickin' puritan fundamentalist.
(link via Bill)

new year filler day 4 (backlog flush #39)

January 4, 2004
  • That's a painting from Jim Davies: Pac-Man Art page. You should click and read to find out the philisophical depth of it. (Reminds me a bit of the passage I quoted in this review of the book "Lucky Wander Boy".)
  • MJD's Universe of Discourse has some odd stuff on it, including the chess microvariant "hexapawn", the Dick Feynman Cabal of the Discordian Society, and other conceptually off-the-wall stuff.
  • You're out of my mind.
    Guess that makes two of us...
    --John Gorka, "Out of My Mind". In May, I recorded that quote along with the inscriptin "out of mind, out of sight, out of milk", which I think occured to me in a dream or something.
  • DB-DB has a lot of very odd stuff and a whimsical sense of design. And tiny naked pixelated men.
  • Learn to hack old-school via the hacker's handbook -- circa 1985. Interesting for the history aspect.
Spoonerism of the Moment
"Her Bouldering Smeauty"
--Just a little meme that occured to me and got stuck in my head while reading poems for the blender of love yesterday.

Link of the Moment
This NY Times article about some compulsive hoarders might be a motivation for people who are trying to declutter. (Or maybe the opposite, maybe someone will think "I'm not as bad as THESE guys, so maybe I'm ok after all".)

I just went through all these old tapes I never listen to. Listened briefly to all the unlabeled ones. I discarded most, keeping mostly a few homemade tapes. I even got rid of "irreplacable" mixes that I'm never ever going to listen to. (Including, alas, one I think was from Veronika, but she didn't label it.) Other mixes I try to keep a text copy of the track list even if I get rid of the original again. I don't think I'll ever reconstruct them but its nice to know the information isn't truly lost, and a textfile in a folder especially for the purpose (with a index.html providing metadata for it, in fact) isn't a clutter burden.)


(1 comment)
January 4, 2003
Man, that's a lot of snow. I saw a guy snowboarding down our hill this morning, no joke. (And someone else crosscountry skiing down the sideroad yesterday.)

Review of the Moment
This review of a book of breakup letters takes on a wonderful life of its own. I'm half tempted to use it as this month's blender feature. (Random side note...the number of poems to look at from last month? 666. I kid you not. A bit menacing, that.)

Geek Funny of the Moment
Bjarne Stroustrup, creator of the super influential computer language C++, explains why he did it--to keep programmers rolling in dough. (Here's an actual slashdot interview with him, just so you don't think it's all fun and games.)

short entry

January 4, 2002
Link of the Moment
Via Bill the Splut, it's Kiru's Analysis of Lord of the Rings. Funny Stuff, with advice to various races and characters. Here's a dwarf.

Guestbook Quote of the Moment
When going downhill skiing, make sure you know how to get up when you fall. Ouch.
--Ben M., 2002.01.03. You know, that's the same problem I had the season I was in the school skiing group in Middle School, and I haven't been on the slopes since.

feeding cats

January 4, 2001
Feeding Time for Cat:
Cat: Meow. Merrow. Meow. Rowwr. Meow
Me: Yeah, yeah, I'm getting your food already!
Cat: Rowwr. Meow. Merrrrow.
Me: Ok, ok, I get it! You're hungry! Look, I'm getting your food!
Cat: Meow. Rowwwr. Mew. Meow. Merrow.
Me: Cat, shut up!
Cat: Merrow. Meow. Meow. Rowwr.
Me: Cat, look. There is no correlation between you meowing incessantly and me feeding you. Ok, yes, sorry, there is. But correlation is not causation! Don't you know correlation is not causation? Nimrod, I'd feed you even if you weren't meowing like a mofo! Can you get it through your little almond sized brain that there is not causation here?? Your meowing is not getting you more food or making me move any more quickly!
Cat: Meow. Mew. Merrow. Meow.
Me: Gah!

There are a lot of websites that try to be funny, but a much smaller number that make me laugh out loud. Yesterday's Cruel Site of the Day was Cliff Yablonski Hates You. This is a very mean site that takes on the persona of two-fisted Cliff as he makes fun of people in all of these pictures, in the spirit of the infamous Fat Chicks in Party Hats and Fugly. These sites are not for everyone, (it might be a 'guy' thing, and not a sensitive new age guy thing either,) they are mean and sometimes you feel sorry for the people in the pictures, but usually it's very funny, with pictures that just shouldn't have been taken getting their karmic reward.

Quote of the Moment:
"The world's full of offensive knickknacks, Yahoo, have fun banning it all." Yahoo Kuckles Under

Yahoo caving into the French and banning all Nazi memorabilia, theoretically not because the French government was suing their butts, really rubs me the wrong way. It sets a bad precedent that the World Wide Web will be under the jurisdiction of the most conservative judiciary that has jurisdiction over any non-trivial population of Web users. And it's just plain censorship.

KHftCEA 1998-01.1 January KHftCEA 2000-01.1 January

KHftCEA 2000-01.1 January

Although the idea of being a circus clown has held appeal for me ever since childhood, the practicalities have always kept me at bay: I would not enjoy getting into a tiny car and sitting very, very close to other members of my profession; I do not waut to litter my friends' home with my failed balloon art; I am not anxious to have seltzer down my pants.
--Henry Alford, Municipal Bondage
"Y2K appears to be the Baby Boomers mid-life crisis, and it has the potential to be a dandy."
I'm in love...not just with Beth Hillyer who is utterly, completely wonderfully feminine, but I'm in love with Sheila Grove and Dorothy fact, I'm in love with fifty girls. "Bless them all, the long and the short and the tall..." That's a World War II song my father used to sing...and there's another. "Thank Heaven for little girls." Only these aren't little girls...they are fully developed women with breasts and swaying behinds and soft round stomachs.
--Robert H. Rimmer, The Harrad Experiment
A coworker, Vlad Smirnov, died on an overly ambitous mountain climbing trip in Mexico. Difficult to think of what they must've went through. I almost feel bad for disagreeing with him on a few UI issues.
KHftCEA 1998-01.1 January

Gas came to 10.00 even, of it's own accord.
To Mo:"There are many things I hope to experience with you. Reconstructive surgery is not one of them."
"I am a fish person."
          --Sarah Strachan


< retrospect: 4 jan >