| < retrospect: 18 nov >

malaysia 2016: panorama langkawi and the beach

November 18, 2016
It's amazing how wild the walkways near the hotel are...
Today we went to Panorama Langkawi to take the SkyCab (world's steepest and "Longest Free Span Mono-Cable Car") up to the SkyTrail path (instead of the Sky Glide funicular) to get on the SkyBridge. (I also stopped for a movie at SkyRex, which Melissa skipped, we also skipped shopping at the SkyBoutique or sending a postcard at the SkyPos) Anyway you can just see a cable car up there.
Sadly, the Oriental Village's (at the base) feature attraction, those floating human size hamster wheels and hamster balls, didn't seem to be running
Paid a bit more for the F-1 Simulator for me....
...lets just say I was better at regular driving (even on the left side of the road) in our rental car than I was at sim-F1; it's no Mario Kart.
Up, up, up
Action shot of Melissa.
I guess that's a more sensible strategy than my plan of standing up screaming and flailing my arms like Kermit at the beginning of the Muppet Show intro.
I'm happier here than I look, I think. Also: wow, that Oriental Village is far away.
As promised, the panorama was breathtaking! And this is only the halfway-up station.
Darth Vader was there. Wish I had got a better shot of the costume; the shirt in particular had local flare.
Finally up to the SkyBridge, a great twisty suspended path, with more of those "walk on the glass or pose for a selfie pointing straight down" panels.
Langkawi is (I think) built of these limestone rocks.
So pretty. The landscape was good too. Plus the sea went well with Melissa's shirt.
Whenever you go up these things, you think about the people who did so before you, but with tools and raw materials to build the things.
Errm, not sure the Panorama mode of the iPhone quite got the curve of the cable car right...
A lot of stairs this trip. Was trying to remember why we passed on the funicular.
That's a cute icon of a monkey.
The SkyBridge was a bit lower than the viewing platforms at the top. I liked the colors these fellow tourists were wearing.
They had those "Love Locks" things, but for sale.
Presumably they put the weight into the calculations, unlike that bridge in Paris...
Back down. I think this is the 7 Wells Waterfall.
Then suddenly... pterodactyl! (I kid, this is the SkyRex movie, a fun little jostly the trolley around Jurassic Park-ish thing)
Our rental car (Perodua Myvi) was a little larger than this, but not by all that much.
The diversity of the place is great, I think this place was Iranian?
Delish Kebab.
Did I mention the upgraded resort room we got? Wider than it is tall. Melissa had me make a GIF of her rotating while planking on it...
A little late afternoon lounging, then.
Squinty selfie!
The resort was an experiment in splurge. Resort-only beach side booze is nice, as is an shore side with shade.
Back at the hotel - a monitor lizard, maybe? And all the geckos were hot to trot because of these bugs that were flapping about- it was like the bugs were molting and/or losing their wings or something.
Salt water shampoo and conditioner does so much for me, doncha think?

November 18, 2015

at the Chalet du Mont-Royal terrace...

I dig the squirrel gargoyles at the chalet!

Croix du mont Royal

L'Oratoire Saint-Joseph...

The Oratory had some interesting light stuff inside the main area...

The shadows were cool outside as well

The interior has kind of a melgange of different art styles, and this detail from the previous photo seems to show the 60s roots...

Basilique Notre-Dame

A light dinner of Ketchup Potato Chips and Red Wine following a Kinder-Egg Amuse-Bouche. Some of why I love Québec!

November 18, 2014

November 18, 2013

Starscapes over the Jersey Seashore:

Awesome rant: American Football Teams logos redone as International Football Team logo... I love design work like that.
Watching the Patriots game. Slightly irritated with myself for getting so emotionally involved, rejoicing at the good stuff, cussing at the bad. I mean it's a natural enough thing to do, but it seems like a good time to practice Buddhist-like detachment... I mean what could matter less? Plus, it's so brutal on the player's bodies. And for everything I get psyched and jonesed about there's some fan for the other side feeling the opposite... a karmic zero sum game.

November 18, 2012

hard day basementing

tweet treat

(1 comment)
November 18, 2011

--Warning, an F-bomb or two. Of course I always liked their Stress video (man, that must be over ten years old now) but this one is decent.
Amazon MP3 Downloader broken with chrome nowadays. Frustrating start to day, but amusingly song was "Mama Said (there'd be days like this)"
Funniest Siri parody I've seen - really captures and builds on the jokes I like to make about talking to "her".


(1 comment)
November 18, 2010

Wow- "Kate T" and her job offer has totally thwarted gmail's spam filter, like eight times over... is it the conversational tone? ah, identity through consumer electronics!

jump baby jump

November 18, 2009

According to the Youtube:
by Dr.Osamu Tezuka November 3 1928- February 9 1989 He was a Mangaka, Japanese manga artist and animator. Born in Osaka Prefecture, he is best known as the creator of Astro Boy and Kimba the White Lion. He is often credited as the Father of Anime, and the Walt Disney of Japan.
via AUMGN a new personal blog about game design.

I totally endorse alarm clocks with "gradual wake" that start beeping very softly then slowly crank it up. Emerson Research has good ones.
But, like other modern atheists and agnostics before him, Harris goes on to declare that faith is the root of all evil. A belief might seem innocent enough, but once you have blindly accepted the dogma that Jesus can be eaten in the form of a cracker, you have made a space in your mind for other monstrous fictions: that God desires the destruction of Israel, the ethnic cleansing of Palestineans, or the 9/11 massacres. Everybody must stop believing in anything that cannot be verified by the emperical methods of science.
--Karen Armstrong, "The Case for God". I'm nearing the end of her audiobook; finally she's getting to what I think is the target of her long and deep survey of the religious outlook, and it seems to be a strong endorsement of Postmodern Relativism. I think she's right to say that the New Atheism is a form of Fundamentalism, but I think in saying "look, there are alternatives to assuming that science and religion talk about the same sort of stuff" (namely recognizing the difference between Mythos and Logos, NOMA, Non-Overlapping Magisteria as she cites Stephen Jay Gould putting it) and explaining that split has existed for a long, long time, she is ignoring religion as it is practiced by the vast majority of people today. It's always dangerous to make presumptions about the spiritual journeys of others but it feels to me that a lot of people feel their faith instead of think about it, which is ok-- but I think few of them engage deeply enough to challenge a very literal reading of their scriptures. This does leave them vulnerable to accepting a variety of ideas of varying degrees of truth and dangerousness.
I bought a 24 pack of Whole Foods' Lime Italian Mineral Water for $8 yesterday... it's ok stuff, but "Serve ice cold for a deliciously refreshing thirst quencher and we promise you'll never drink plain water again"??? -- LIARS!


November 18, 2008
Been thinking about how I just don't have a sense of scale on economic matters. I mentioned this before in the context of what Obama's campaign shelled out for a half hour multiple network infomercial. National Median income is around $40K I've heard. I have a hard time really grasping most companies selling enough of anything to thereby pay for a staff of dozens or more.

Counterpoint: but I don't grasp just how many people 300,000,000 (the population of the USA) represents.

Countercounterpoint: still, consumer interest seems like such an odd duck. There are certain old networked computer games that have a single, centralized server. And in a lot of these, you'll be lucky to find more than 10 prowling around there.... 6 or 7 billion people in the world, and at the moment, it's just you 2 or 3 goons in this little nook of popculture. if you want to get enough for an actual game, you have to preschedule stuff in advance, outside of the channel of the game itself. It seems weird to me that interest drops off to such tiny numbers.

And my sense of scale in economics goes the other way. A less than 3% drop in retail sales is widely considered a disaster, and a bigger decline than we say after 9-11. 3 frickin' percent! How brittle is this system anyway?

I know right now it's worse to think about this stuff, because obviously the system has been chugging along, and continues to chug, for many decades, but it seems to give some credence to the whole "HA HA! IT'S ALL SMOKE AND MIRRORS!" crowd.

Video of the Moment

"where I step a weed dies" - unnamed trantula in an Archy the Cockroach poem. (similar "name shouldn't be lower case" as E.E. Cummings) - how Obama is like Disraeli, Napoleon, Ozdemir-the leader from a different culture. But isn't that Hitler too?
Firefox's popup blocker needs to be smarter and allow stuff I just clicked to make happen.
Tempted to put in coins and select the empty vending machine slot, watch the things spin, turning crass commerce to machine performance art
Too grumpy to ingest a "Wicket in Action" book? "Most web-app frameworks don't provide a stateful programming model"? Eh? Like JSP Sessions?
Also irksome with "Wicket in Action": Servlet/JSPs aren't "regular Java programming"? - I think more people have done that than, say, Swing
Easy to get paranoid at work. If you recognize you're leaping to conclusions, pretend you didn't hear it, unless you need to jobhunt NOW


November 18, 2007
I made a game yesterday, for's Klik of the Month. It's called

Roshambo is another word for "Rock Paper Scissors", which is what you're playing against the cloud in the sky. The Cloud fires those things at the ground, and you have to defend bu firing back the appropriate defense. If you win, you get a point, if you lose, you lose a point, and if the cloud's attack reaches the ground you lose one of your 10 lives. Plus "Like a Prayer" is playing in the background.

(Actually, this morning I made remix version that plays about the same, except the bug is fixed in placed but you can aim anywhere on the screen with the mouse. Plus, to justify the dumb pun "whistle command" it plays a bad ringtone loop of "The Whistle Song".)

Article of the Moment
Fascinating article from National Geographic on Extreme Cases of Memory: AJ, who remembers everything, and EP who remembers nothing.
Though we curse these failures of memory on an almost daily basis, Schacter says, that's only because we don't see their benefits. Each sin is really the flip side of a virtue, "a price we pay for processes and functions that serve us well in many respects." There are good evolutionary reasons why our memories fail us in the specific ways they do. If everything we looked at, smelled, heard, or thought about was immediately filed away in the enormous database that is our long-term memory, we'd be drowning in irrelevant information.
I hope that's true. I sometimes try to console myself that my iffy memory is a byproduct of or enabler for the somewhat large amount of tangential thinking and creativity I have to work with.

Interesting that AJ has become a nostalgia fiend; it's not enough for her to remember all the details, she craves visual aids and external memory holders.

the yokes on you

November 18, 2006
Getting ready for a Ksenia birthday thing, no time for a proper update!

Quick observations: Russians are a lot more likely to use, say, Nescafé for coffee, and I gotta say, I don't see why "Instant" has such a bad reputation in this country. You can make a really rich coffee, and I think it tastes great, it takes much less time, and it sees much more difficult to do badly than making it in a regular coffee machine. Admittedly I'm not good at playing coffee snob, but still.

Quote of the Moment
Q: Doesn't God look down on missionary dating and tells us to not be "yoked with unbelievers"?
A: I looked up yoked, and the dictionary says it's a "A crossbar with two U-shaped pieces that encircle the necks of a pair of oxen or other draft animals working together." I would never encourage anybody to do this on a date...
--From Date To Save, a (hopefully) parody site encouraging young hot Christian teenage girls to convert heathens by dating and dumping them.

public opinion

November 18, 2005
Quote of the Moment
"We all do no end of feeling, and we mistake it for thinking. And out of it we get an aggregation which we consider a boon. Its name is Public Opinion. It is held in reverance. It settles everything. Some think it is the voice of God."
--Mark Twain

Ad Line of the Moment
I don't know how much this has hit the mainstream media, but News about Sony's DRM "rootkit" has been all over the blogsphere... BoingBoing has a good summary or two. The short of it is some Sony CDs include some pretty hardcore hacker software to try to ensure you can't copy the songs willy-nilly (Digital Rights Management, or DRM). Theoretically they shouldn't affect you if you play the CDs on a standalone player, but if you put them on a PC you are suddenly exposed to a number of attacks, and the program Sony initially offered to remove the software left even more gaping holes.

Which makes the new Tweeter radio spot's opening that much more funny: "Been waiting for the next big thing from Sony?" Heheh, yeah, kind of in the same way I'm waiting for the next big flu pandemic.

Political Snarkery of the Moment
--Worst. President. Ever. Given competition like Nixon, that's really saying something.

to do: start to do list

November 18, 2004
Here's where I'm torn: I love the idea of getting things done, of ticking them off of a "to do" list, of freeing my brain from the clutter of "stuff I gotta get around to doing". But I'm also cursed by this procrastination urge, usually when I'm not quite sure how to do something, or it's not clear if it's going to work out like I hope.

And of course that sense of anxiety-induced procrastination is a bumbling idiot: for these situations where I'm not sure if it's going to work out, putting off finding out rarely helps and often hurts. So much of the time it's better to get a "good enough" (or at least "good try enough") solution out quickly, in time to take a second or third stab at it if need be...hardly ever do I use that "extra time" in a productive way. (Of course not, because if I did use that time well, I would be "taking the time to do things right the first time" rather than just "procrastinating".)

So my entire life seems like a struggle between these two impulses, the light and the dark. I suspect winning this battle is what separates the gifted and talent successes from the gifted and talent nobodies.

Come to think of it I've been aware of this for a while...last year I bought a hypnosis CD "Do It Now". The thing is, I'm thinking I'm not too succeptible to hypnosis, though it might be worth giving it another shot at sometime. I do sometimes hear the womans voice in my head "think about how good it will feel when you just 'do it now'"...

Commercial of the Moment
The music and dancing is not as good as Breakin' Soundwave, but Citroën's Dancing "Transformer" is closer to being photorealistic...

iraq your brains

November 18, 2003
Heh...looking at my little stats at the bottom of this page, I've been getting a small spike in traffic, like 175 unique frontpage visitors instead of my usual 100 or so. I wonder if its that reference in the December Popular Science I previously mentioned? It's easy to forget how much bigger mainstream print is than most of the web. I need to be extra-interesting these next few weeks, hopefully some people just dropping by will become regulars.

News Funny of the Moment
For months, soldiers at Camp Doha, Kuwait, have been wearing T-shirts that say, "Operation Iraqi Freedom: Mission Accomplished." But recently a new T-shirt has appeared suggesting that the mission may be more open-ended.

It reads, "Operation Iraqi Freedom: Established 2003."

--Excerpted from article by Michael R. Gordon in the NY Times, Nov. 7, 2003, via rec.humor.funny

Articles of the Moment
Speaking of all things Popular Sciencey, MSNBC has Seven flights of fancy that fizzled...where are the flying cars, indeed. In a similar, albeit very retro, vein of technology not living up to its promise, Wired reports on a failed idea for a dual cannon that would launch two cannonballs, connected by a chain, to take down big swaths of soldiers at once. Cute idea, the technology wasn't up to the accuracy needed to launch both balls exactly at once, however...

Sneaking of the Moment
Took an extended lunchbreak today to catch a matinee of The Matrix: Revolutions. First off, if your company has a reasonable pseudo-flextime policy, I highly reccomend doing this. It's an extremely satisfying way to catch a movie you're jonesing to see, about the cost of a video rental. And you know? I thought it was a pretty good movie over all. I know the reviews all said it sucked, and a few of my friends advised me not to bother, but I was satisfied by its apocalyptic tone and way of wrapping up the trilogy. Admittedly, maybe it would've been better if the first movie was just all there was, but I had a good time.

There's a laugh-out-loud funny site, The Matrix: Resolutions (WARNING: MASSIVE SPOILERS), that makes fun of a lot of the directions some of the scifi geeks speculated or wished that it would end. Well worth the read.

For an opposing view, from the same site, and still with MASSIVE SPOILERS, check out 50 Reasons to Reject The Matrix. A bit toungue-in-cheek (sort of like The Onion's Jackie Harvey's The Outside Scoop meets the Simpsons' Comic Book Guy) but still some good points. One quote:
The cybernetic army that took over the Earth, says the film, was solar powered. The human resistance responded by blotting out the sky.

A desperate measure, but surely the only choice they had. It was that, or, I don't know, postpone their counterattack until evening.

monday mourning

November 18, 2002
Huh, without my Palm I might not have realized today was the 30th anniversary of my folk's wedding. My dad passed away in 1988--sometimes it frustrates me that that was when I was still a boring and graceless adolescent.

Shifting the Sun
When your father dies, say the Irish,
you lose your umbrella against bad weather.
May his sun be your light, say the Armenians.

When your father dies, say the Welsh,
you sink a foot deeper into the earth.
May you inherit his light, say the Armenians.

When your father dies, say the Canadians,
you run out of excuses. May you inherit
his sun, say the Armenians.

When your father dies, say the French,
you become your own father.
May you stand up in his light, say the Armenians.

When your father dies, say the Indians,
he comes back as the thunder.
May you inherit his light, say the Armenians.

When your father dies, say the Russians,
he takes your childhood with him.
May you inherit his light, say the Armenians.

When your father dies, say the English,
you join the club you vowed you woudn't.
May you inherit his sun, say the Armenians.

When your father dies, say the Armenians,
your sun shines forever.
And you walk in his light.
--Diana Der-Hovanessian

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb
An interesting article from one of the writers for Dr. Strangelove...includes description of the semi-legendary cut piefight scene. Too bad the actors let themselves slip out of character for it, and also that it took so long for the studios to recognize what a great movie it was. But mostly I just wanted an excuse to showoff this old pixeltime work I made.

Footage of the Moment
On March 31, 1984 (my tenth birthday...) a guy swooped through the 'legs' of the Eiffel Tower. I think the resulting footage and photo would seem even cooler if 9/11 wasn't tainting it with a slight air of menace.

Cartoons of the Moment
Ah, the power of Insomnia...and a Red Meatish take on a similar situation.

gamecube ahoy

November 18, 2001
(Conclusion of the guestbook mystery?) must be T... since "T" is a lot more likely than "M" to know that I was hedging my bet (since she was the second Jen) and "M" is actually a "W" anyway... (also, Mad Mike's original quote was that "Diet Dr Pepper is god's perfect softdrink", not that it's Heaven on Earth...)

Oh, and yesterday I was talking about those PS2 ads...I meant to talk about the odd "The Third Place" tagline. I suppose it's some weird stuff about being the third place between imagination and reality or some such marketing crap, but it seems a poor choice considering there are three major systems competing now...

Speaking of which...I get my hands on a Game Cube today.

Also, I got up at 4:45am to go look at the Leonid Meteors. I didn't go very far from home, but despite Boston's ever present purple glow I still saw quite a few. Not quite a storm, maybe more of a sprinkle.

Funny of the Moment
"Proto star? Like that hard as nails Jupiter that you said was a fluffy gas ball??? Too funny. Jupiter is SOLID, just view the Shoemaker-Levy 9 comet impacts ON THE SURFACE!!! Astronomers just don't keep up."
--John Boatwright in alt.atheism, via Theistic Hogwash

Link of the Moment
The Straight Dope answers that age old question Is it true turtles breathe through their butts?
(Deevaa, that font was selected just for you.)
KHftCEA 1997-11.2 November

KHftCEA 1997-11.2 November

"If people think nature is their friend, then they sure don't need an enemy"
          --Kurt Vonnegut
"I tell you, we are here on Earth to fart around, and don't let anybody tell you any different."
          --Kurt Vonnegut
Few minutes before The Meeting.  Everyone's nervous as hell. "It's the end of the world as we know it."
"Wheeeeeeeeeeee.  RIS rah rah!"

< retrospect: 18 nov >