tag/bestof_photos

July 17, 2016bestof_photos

I've decided to go through all the digital photos I (or sometimes a friend on my camera, or my comission) taken over the past 20 years, and pick out the dozen best photos of each year. Starting with 1996 - but I was only taking photos for like half the year, so it's just a half dozen.

1996 marked my graduation from college, and my first apartment - in Waltham, where Dylan subletted from me for a while.

My first camera was the Kodak DC20. It had a beautiful minimalism; no screen, no flash, just a cut-out viewfinder. Like getting good old film developed at the drug store, you couldn't see what picture you had taken 'til later.

So, the best of 1996:

I think Dylan took this one. Hey, remember giant racks of CDs? And that Papasan chair saw me through college... it was kind of a big draw.


Dylan's self-portrait... you can see the DC20 in question.


I still have this golem, named Fish for reasons unclear to me now. He doesn't have the cyberpunk shades any more, but wears the glasses with clip-ons I was wearing at this time.


Dan Lipton!


Rebekah!


Lily, beloved kitty of R.


Bonus: a very early "Photoshop" I did.

July 18, 2016bestof_photos

My dozen best photos of 1997. Even though I had graduated, I sang with Tufts' sQ! as an alum. And I'm still working my first real, non-summer job. I moved to Cambridge's Inman Square that fall, splitting an apartment with my cousin Llara.


Dylan and Sarah, in the kitchen at Waltham.


sQ's Stacy on the piano.


This was one of my first "man I really like how this photo came out" - Daddy-O's red lighting and Rebekah's expression.


R again.


Austin at an sQ rehearsal.


Me at sQ. I may have been doing my "senior solo" of Cake's "The Distance".


I sometimes get to go with Dylan to his family's cabin on Lake George. Beefcake, anyone?


I reconnected with Mo, my college drinking buddy, who also happened to have moved to Inman Square... we ran into each other at the S+S. Dylan said she seemed really happy to see me - I think this photo is from a small dinner party she threw in the fall.


I hosted a holiday party that year, apparently semi-fancy-dress.


Mo gesturing in the kitchen. (Overall I wasn't taking many photos these years, and so sometimes there's less variety in subject...)


The day after the party, E. hung out. With a dinosaur on her head. Just because.


Mo again, the days after the party.


On a Hulu ad I first saw how Panera is really hammering "clean" as the primary descriptor for their salads. At first I thought it was a dig against Chipotle, though I guess it's kind of a trendy food movement, ish? But kind of a diffuse one as far as I can tell?

Anyway, can't say the ad was entirely ineffective, got me into the store where I took a shot of the poster.

Salads from Sweetgreen, Cosi, Chipotle, and Panera really are a boon to dieters who are willing to sacrifice some $$$ to save time.
A Brief History of Celebrities Using the Notes App to Share Their Thoughts With the World "...the street finds its own uses for things"

July 19, 2016bestof_photos

My dozen best photos of 1998...

Some of these were taken with the Kodak DC25, which took about identical shots to its minimalist sibling but had a flash and a screen (for reviewing shots after they were taken, still a regular viewfinder for composing them.)

Looking at the photos... as I can see in the "Rainbow Warrior Carla" photo halfway through the year I moved into the "Big Yellow House" with about 6 or 7 people including Mo (who loved the woodwork... we technically had separate bedrooms but that didn't last for long.) Despite having to share bathrooms and showers, it was terrific always having a N64 and people around for a game of Mario Kart or Smash Brothers.

Apparently I was going through a "tucking in my shirt" phase. Also, I changed jobs and started working near the Cambridge Galleria.


Mo at Inman's 1369 coffee house. It was nice living across the street from there.


My mom had an apartment in NYC these years (my technical residence during college was my own micro-studio apartment that overlooked Broadway! I wasn't down in the city nearly enough), here we are at the Guggenheim during an NYC trip.


The first of what is to be many photos of the shore of Ocean Grove, NJ. Here are shadows including Lena and Bjorn.


My hot dog has a first name, it's O-S-C-A-R. For some reason I remember this photo was taken by my Aunt Ruth and Grandma.


Dylan, Mandy, and me kayaking the Charles. Afterwards we went to Friendly's where Dylan sketched out my "I WANT TO DIE" adventure kayaking across the path of an oncoming boat.


Sarah at Lake George. One is truly never alone with a wacky noodle.


Rainbow warrior Carla, prepping for Pride. Interesting (I hadn't noticed that "Equality" sticker before. I remember being slow to identify it as a pro-gay symbol, years later.)


From my dad's side of the family... cousins John, me, Scott, Chip, Brian, and then Grandma.


My old boss Diane looks fierce in this one.


For many years this photo of me leading a pep band cheer, and its inverted version, was my "go to" photo. I like it's propaganda feel.


From that same outing (we were at Tufts' Homecoming game), Mo.


Someone made a "meme" version of this that's the first Google Image match for "MOAR MOAR MOAR". I was surprised when I ran across that online.


1998 Bonus... years later I turned that one headshot into this:

And this is the inverse version I liked so much, for its sci-fi vibe.
1998 Extra Bonus: When selecting the dozen, I shied away from having too much Sarah, lest I seem like some confused stalker, but damn if she isn't one photogenic selfie-pioneer here:

How Tennis Balls get made is visually compelling. By coincidence just the other day I saw a destroyed, chewed up tennis ball on the curb, thought about its construction and how people in a "Mad Max" society might miss having them.
The would-be-first-lady speech plagiarism as deliberate sabotage. Plus, Rick Roll.

Good lord.
For some reason I liked Quora's What's the Most Overrated Pleasure. Some I disagree with, but I'm getting to the point where it's worth analyzing the real benefit of things assumed to be pleasurable. (Oo oo another chance for me to analyze!)

July 20, 2016bestof_photos

My Dozen Best Photos of 1999...

At some point I got an Olympus C-900 Zoom, so there's a notable improvement in image resolution and clarity. I think the colors tended to be a little flat, though, but I loved how well-protected its lens was when you closed it up - great design.

Anyway, another year, another new apartment - a tiny, tiny 1 BR with Mo, with her figuring it was time for us to grow up and have our own space... I think the size (and relative cheapness) of it kind of represented training wheels.


Mo with Murphy, in that new apartment, which she decided to paint herself, in order to more deeply claim it.


Bjorn with a camera-shy Lena at Walden Pond.


Kyle Parrish, a friend from Tufts, and a much better poet than I. Me. I.


Fake knuckle tattoos.

Sarah at Lake George, again with Wacky Noodles.

Sarah at Lake George, but in a more contemplative mood.


A photo from the fountain at NYC's World Trade Center, taken 9/11/1999 - two years before, to the day. (That fountain had a great optical illusion only viewable from up the towers, with a circular edge that seemed to be eternally contracting, because of the "wake" of the water flowing over it.)


The WTC photo was during a trip to NYC to meet up with Veronika and some of her friends, as they travelled from Germany. This is Mo, Veronika, and a "B2"


Veronika had a way of melting with guys she really liked, here with her boyfriend on top of the Empire State Building.


Karla Goo, a fellow alum of sQ!, here after a concert of the group.


Lisa, a fellow Tufts Band Lemming, had a halloween party. Besides this dance move she and I would re-enact the Blues Brothers dance at odd intervals.


Back at the shore, I think again with Lena and Bjorn, one of whom took this shot. That might be the first in a series of green hoodies I've enjoyed over the years.


1999 Bonus: Two images (Dylan and his mom Linda, and Mo on a fence at Tufts) that came close but didn't quite make the cut...



1999 Extra Bonus: years later I got into "flat color pix" - basically single-image rotoscoping, aka "tracing".

Interesting! I had no idea you're much more likely tofall into an eccentric orbit than to actually hit the sun. (I guess satellites around the earth have just enough resistance from the upper atmosphere to not enjoy a similar free ride?)
30 Years of Saying Government is the Problem means you're going to be bad at government.
Mad Magazine released their Trump issue online. Trump vs The Bible is great. Christians: Trump is not one of you.
This is terrible

July 21, 2016bestof_photos

My Dozen Best Photos of The Year -- *2000*!

Clearly we survived Y2K without much hassle. I was kind of uptight about in 1997-8 or so, but then calmed down a bit as systems failed to collapse, even ones that had to look ahead.


My friend (and former coworker from my first job) Habib, from Morocco.


Mo and I got engaged on Valentine's Day. (She had been a little frustrated that I hadn't punctuated a promise made early in dating that I wouldn't propose before 2000 by popping the question on the stroke of Y2K.)


This photo here as a reminder for me of my biggest "dot com" play, "Event Zero".


For an only child, I have a lot of cousins-once-removed or whatever it is.


Beloved English Teacher Judith McLaughlin, who died a year or two ago. I would call on her every visit back to Cleveland - it's a hoot to do some day drinking with your funny and gracious high school teacher.


After the wedding of Wendy, with Mike Witczak--


We visited Veronika in Germany that fall... here we are at Uni-Marburg... and I thought Tufts had a big hill, it ain't a patch on Uni-Marburg.


Me in Wurzburg.


Back at work - Giant Spider! Lowering from the Monster.com blimp. (A bit of office tom-foolery)


Another year, another new apartment. And a little peck from Dylan.


Brooke threw a lot of fun parties these years.


Mo's friend and then-(uh)-future-maid-of-honor Lee. For some reason I think I remember she's around to help Mo try on wedding dresses (We had a year and a half engagement.)


2000 BONUS

Video Shows Unarmed Black Man Pleading With Arms Raised Before Getting Shot by Police - Hands up, don't shoot. Mercifully, not a death, and maybe "just" an error from an itchy trigger finger? Still... Racist, Barney Fife BS.
The Centipede is especially good...


How Republicans went from the party of Lincoln to the party of Trump, in 13 maps - want to keep this around in for when the old "Us? Racist? But we're the Party of Lincoln!" comes around.
Jimminy Frickin Crickets, Republicans.

Extra bonus: Trump and Putin see eye to eye on NATO (even as Pence tries to say we WOULD stand with the alliance that kept us through the cold war.)
The ultimate Tell Me Again Why Trump is a Fascist.

July 22, 2016bestof_photos

My Dozen Best Photos of 2001.

Camera-wise, I think this year I started my long relationship with Canon PowerShots. They were truly pocketable cameras that took nice shots, and I kept one with me all the time for years (PalmPilot, Camera, Wallet, Keys, Sunglasses) - in fact there's still usually one in my courier bag, but it doesn't get much action.


Though actually, I think this is the only "Best of" photo taken with the Kodak PalmPix, a clip-on camera for the PalmPilot. Not a good camera in general, but has an interesting winter wonderland effect here.


Again, Brooke threw some good parties, like this Angel/Devil themed one.


Angel from the Angel/Devil party.


I've always loved this picture of Greg's kid, the whole "stop fooling around with a camera and get me more to drink" of it.

One of the few photos here not taken with my equipment; our wedding was professionally photographed, but this shot of the dancing after was done with a plastic toy camera. Two young people who didn't know what they were doing, but were trying to look cool doing it, I guess. We had a giant framed print of this one on the wall for a while.


Honeymoon in Mexico. It was a photogenic place, but I had surprisingly few great shots.


Aunt Susan and Uncle Bill on the stoop at Wigglesworth.


Mo and I and the Tufts band lemmings went Apple Picking...


Goddess of Apples.


Jen the Juggler.


Apple Strongman.


My best highschool buddy Mike was fond of road trips, including this one to Boston with his pal Dave. I guess this was pre-Big Dig, when there was still an elevated highway there.


"The crime and violence that today afflicts our nation will soon -- and I mean very soon -- come to an end. Beginning on January 20th 2017, safety will be restored."
----Donald Trump. Besides the fact this is a spooky authoritarian tyrant kind of line, how the HELL could he promise this unless he was like, ordering the crime and violence himself?

July 23, 2016bestof_photos

My Dozen Best Photos of 2002.

Another Brooke Party shot from the stairway up from her kitchen, since kitchens are were all respectable parties end up.


A walkway light in the snow, in Burlington, outside of the offices of Gale.


2001 was the first year I renewed a lease on an apartment, but Mo and I bought a house this year. Househunting was more a project of her and her mom with me supporting them from the edges; probably a harbinger, in retrospect. Anyway, Mo in a this mighty chair she had brought into the relationship, on moving day.


I went to Philly Classic, a classic/retro video games convention. Here is a man in a homebrew Atari 2600 Pitfall Cartridge costume.


My Father-in-Law's birthday, in the dining room of the new house.


A one-year-anniversary trip to Ogunquit.


Our friends Lee and Michelle got married.


Cousin at a family reunion.


At this point I'm working in Salem (the dot com crash was the roughest patch for me job-wise, but wasn't too awful.) You get a nice view of the Canon PowerShot I was using then.


Mo recreating that famous James Dean look.


The year before we had adopted Denali as company for Murphy. This was one end of the "great room" in our new house, probably the house's single best feature.


View from inside a Jack-O-Lantern


"Don't get mad if you parents ask 'simple tech questions' because they taught you how to use a spoon."
--Thechangingboy

July 24, 2016bestof_photos

My Dozen Best Photos of 2003:


There was a little park and playground right across from our house in Waltham.


Yi, at my job in Salem.


Mo and her dad. Folder information suggests this is around her brother Dan's thesis concert.


We travelled to Europe that spring, in part to attend Veronika and Volker's wedding in Germany. The German guests thought I was being charmingly euphemistic when I told them Veronika and I "dated" in high school. Also I learned, don't try and keep up with German guests when there's free red wine being poured.


The kid of one of V+V's friends. I learned two things playing Pictionary (in English) with Germans: one, the German's view of Aladdin's Lamp is more upright, like a vase. Two, in English (or at least the UK flavor?) technically, a frown is an expression of the brows, not of the mouth.


We visited my mom who was working in London those years. I've always liked this shot of Mo on the London Eye, Europe's tallest ferris wheel.


Jane and Julia. Sometimes Jane and I felt like the only liberals at that place, it was a bit square.


The family reunion was in Belmont that year, here's a little soccer action.


An in-progress shot of my project for that year, JoustPong for the Atari 2600. I don't want to mix up cause and effect, but sometimes I wonder about if I had put as much focus on Mo's project of getting a house as I had on my own technical endeavor.


I do enjoy this shot from EB's wedding.


Halloween Pac-Danger, at the "Paper Source" near Porter.


Flapper Jane dancing at a masquerade ball Mo and I threw. Sometimes that feels like the last hurrah for me and her and that place and that time; she had realized her interests lay elsewhere.



BONUS: A few months later I made this composite shot of the park, and called it "Ghost of a Snowman"
Clay Shirky speaks to why I'm so appalled about Trump.

July 25, 2016bestof_photos

Best Photos of 2004... Mo and I part ways, I sell the house, publish my Atari game, and spend a lot of time with EB and Jane.


The pier at the Ocean Grove NJ boardwalk. I think the fishing house at the end had been rebuilt after the Blizzard of '96, and then got destroyed again during Hurricane Sandy.


I guess the last photo of Mo in "Best of" is this one of her at Home Depot, as we got the house ready for sale.


I released JoustPong at Philly Classic that year (note the custom T-Shirt, a giveaway with the first batch of carts) and shared the AtariAge booth with Howard Scott Warshaw - creator of the Atari game Yar's Revenge and, more infamously, the rushed version of "E.T." that "caused" the Great Video Crash of 1983.


For some reason I had to stop by Mo's new apartment at Davis, and we took turns doing portraits with her new fancy Rebel camera. I feel like this is one of my best pre-beard portraits of me.


EB helping me patch the crumbling concrete of the front stairs of the house. (Actually it's funny how much time I'd spend waiting for him at Home Depot, as he enlisted me as unskilled labor getting his new place into shape.)


My favorite Professor at Tufts, Alva Couch, speaking at some department alumni thing.


EB and I went through a phase of playing darts at Flat Top Johnny's where we met this pair. Nothing more than goofy half-flirting happened, I just find this photo amusing. (Also I was amazed that one time when EB+I inadvertently skipped the check at FTJ's, the staff immediately told us when we came in next time. I think my face blindness would be a handicap in that kind of job.)


EB and I on a tandem ride of the "Skycoaster" at Six Flags.


Jane outside of work - we'd go toss a football in the parking lot sometimes.


And Jane at a restaurant, near work. She was a big supportive help that year, though her advice to get me out of the big jeans I would wear all the time kept me in nothing but khakis for the better part of a decade.


I visited Mike in Cleveland, and for his birthday his friends subjected him to a kind of prank mystery car ride.


Cousins in motion at the Family Reunion.


BONUS!

BONUS BONUS! Months after assembling the photos, I couldn't remember why this one didn't make the cut.


Slate on The Hillary Haters. Saturday at a party I was showing around some old Spy-magazine covers about Hillary from the 90s (I remember 'Hillary as dominatrix in particular.) The endless dislike of her has a lot of roots in sexism, without a doubt.
I just finished "Don Quixote" for a second time (living out some old maxim that just as a piece of architecture should be viewed in the morning, mid-day, and dusk, so should this book be read as a young person, a middle-aged guy, and an old man.)

I read Edith Grossman's 2003 translation. Some highlights I made to record here:

The one passage I remember from my first reading is from Marcella's defense, as she's being accused of a shepherd's death because of her failure to return his love:

Heaven made me, as all of you say, so beautiful that you cannot resist my beauty and are compelled to love me, and because of the love you show me, you claim that I am obliged to love you in return. I know, with the natural understanding that God has given me, that everything beautiful is lovable, but I cannot grasp why, simply because it is loved, the thing loved for its beauty is obliged to love the one who loves it.

(In the same way I sometimes dig the KJV version of the bible, this translation is nicely old school.)
---
Another idea I saw cited in Jack Kerouac's "Dharma Bums" was "Comparisons are Odious":

'Stop right there, Señor Don Montesinos,' I said then. 'Your grace should recount this history in the proper manner, for you know that all comparisons are odious, and there is no reason to compare anyone to anyone else. The peerless Dulcinea of Toboso is who she is, and Señora Belerma is who she is, and who she was, and no more should be said about it.'

While here "Comparisons are Odious" mostly applies to people, I find it critical in my understanding of "Amor Fati", the love of one's fate; we spend so much effort comparing this world to all these other, slightly more pleasant alternative universes (just like this one, but I'm not stuck in traffic!, for instance) that it makes us miserable with very little return.
---
Harold Bloom's Introduction to the work mentions: It remained for La Rochefoucauld to restate the other side of the paradox: some people would never have loved if they had not heard of love.
---
The book cites verses from other source, such as Commander Escrivá's
Come, death, so secret,
so still I do not hear your approach,
so that the pleasure of dying
does not bring me back to life.


and there was also a reference (Sancho watched everything, and not one thing caused him sorrow) to
"Nero, on Tarpeian Rock, / watched as Rome went up in flames; / crying ancients, screaming infants, / and not one thing caused him sorrow."
---
Of course, much of the joy of the book are the proverbs and quotes, famously by Sancho but also Don Quixote himself:
---
At one point the Knight of the Sorrowful Countenance says "Now you will see, said Agrajes" which Grossman footnotes "Agrajes, a character in AmadĂ­s of Gaul [One of the most established tales about knight errantry] would say these words before doing battle; it became a proverbial expression used at the beginning of a fight."
---
Some passages still resonate today:
---
I was interested in a view of the year that seems to put the year into five seasons, not four:
spring pursues summer, summer pursues estío, 1 estío pursues autumn, autumn pursues winter, and winter pursues spring, and in this way time turns around a continuous wheel;
---
Finally, I loved this rant:
"Oh, base, lowborn, wretched, rude, ignorant, foul-mouthed, ill-spoken, slanderous, insolent varlet! You have dared to speak such words in my presence and in the presence of these distinguished ladies, dared to fill your befuddled imagination with such vileness and effrontery? Leave my presence, unholy monster, repository of lies, stronghold of falsehoods, storehouse of deceits, inventor of iniquities, promulgator of insolence, enemy of the decorum owed to these royal persons. Go, do not appear before me under pain of my wrath!"

July 26, 2016bestof_photos

Best Photos of 2005, marking the halfway point of this project, years-wise.

It's been kind of therapeutic going going through years past this way; it's been a nice way of reviewing the past and lengthening my sense of the chronological space without being stuck there.


Not quite see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil, but along those lines.


I started dating Ksenia in late 2004, at some point she was helping friends and relatives arrange flowers, I liked this photo.


At one point most of her family went skiing, and I stayed with her and her grandfather. During a blizzard. Snow was above my car's windows...


Alex and Tonya's wedding. I always liked the intimacy shown in this one.


EB vs Sponge Bob Pinata.


Coworker Noor enjoying my office toy Hulk Hands.


Ksenia and I hiked Monadnock - April was a bit early for the path we were taking with friends. Andy is in this photo as well.


Ksenia joined me on a work trip to Chicago.


We got kind of lost in Chicago, and were tired.


The Lynn shore. The light was kind of amazing.


Coworker prank - they used my hoody to make a "virtual me" when I was out with a hurt back. "Works on my machine" is such a great catchphrase for the developer.


Another winter, more snow shoveling.


2005 Bonus Images!
Ksenia and Me in the Chicago's Cloud Gate sculpture.


Another shot from that sunset at the Lynn shore.


Ksenia - same shore, different day. I love how the clouds mirrored on the sands looks about the same as in the sky.


Erin over an Alien Bill birthday cake


Getting political fatigue to the point of burn out.

Whichever side wins, it's not the end of the world, or the republic. We'll get shitty judges, lives (especially for vulnerable classes) will be made worse, we'll continue banking on some future geo-engineering crap rather than actually thinking about climate change, we'll be more at risk for authoritarian crap, we'll be a few ticks closer to nuclear armageddon. Trump will be Putin's man in the white house, etc.

Most of us will still muddle through in conditions that are the envy of 99% of the history of humanity. We'll be that much farther from our potential as a species, and in general being on the wrong side of history.

We've survived LBJ, Nixon, Reagan, GWB, Newt Gingrich.

Life would go on.

We can do better, and knock wood will with Hillary. It's frustrating that it all comes down to a few swing states. Even more frustrating that we've so clustered around two very different narratives of what it means to be a good, smart American.
Dilbert on Corporate Slogans like Make the world a better place
From 15 Twitter Jokes Everyone Should Read:

Young children are like sponges. They are the filthiest thing in your house.
--@RockabillyJay

I told a joke about a mandatory meeting once, you had to be there
--@le_buns

Any dog can be a guide dog if you don't care where you're going
--@matt___nelson

July 27, 2016bestof_photos

Best Photos of 2006. Surprising jump in the ratio of things and places to portraits of people...

At the end of 2005 I took a new job with a small company called "Refresh Software" that had me travelling quite a bit - this photo is from Addison, TX. (I'll remember the name because the town's street signs proclaimed "Addison!", like it was a musical.)


I think this photo is from Georgetown, on another business trip, this one to DC.


Took a minibreak to NYC; here's the Guggenheim interior.


Ksenia at the Boston Museum of Science


Rainy day at work.


I think this is the first year I discovered going Kayaking on the Charles to see the fireworks... to this day I'm sort of bummed when a kayaking trip doesn't have a big spectacle at the end.


Beetle at work. Canons had good macro functions!


Flower in the garden of the Deerhill in Vermont


Went to the Aquarium before doing some whale watching... they had a great jellyfish exhibit (if scary, as these brainless geniuses are poised to take over the oceans as they warm up.)


I was a somewhat early adopter of car GPS; this photo is because this GPS model had a high-score like "Max Speed" feature - 2492 mph! Not bad for a little Scion xA... probably bad mileage though.


As the story went: My coworker Rob's son James sold this original art to his dad. The original asking price had been a dollar and ten cents. During the negotiations, dismayed at his dad's lowball offer of a quarter, young James pointed out "but look at all that action!". (The final agreed upon price was a dollar.) It is a lot of action!


With Jane in Portland Maine... amazing year-end long shadows there.


Mexican illustrator Mona Robles Reinvents Pokemons as 'Pokemayans':

Trump: Release the Tax Returns or Get Out of the Race

July 28, 2016bestof_photos

Best Photos of 2007. Took a photography class this year, and had trips to Florida and Chicago.

Ksenia and I broke up at the end of the previous year, but we were still in each other's life a little bit.
From the Florida trip to visit John and Cordelia. Here he is doing a Hamlet with a coconut, I think.


EB enlisted me as cheap unskilled labor in refurbing a house. He was a big fan of coveralls. We enjoy the oddly "Beastie Boys" nature of this shot.


EB's baby (EBB)


I was on my belly at the Boston Public Garden for this shot. My buddy JZ said "I envy you". I thought he was being sarcastic, but know, he kind of admired having a hobby like that, with the Canon PowerShot always in my pocket.


At Six Flags. Love the soaring nature of this.


I was back in Chicago, for Michi and Jesse's wedding... pretty town!


Pretty Ariana, at the wedding. She's not usually quite so Nixon-ish.


EBB in the air.


https://blog.xkcd.com/2007/10/01/the-meetup/ - there was an xkcd meetup, inspired by the details of a specific comic, I attended with Rebekah and Derek. A beautiful gathering of nerdly types!


Ksenia modeled for me for a photography class I was taking, and we used a video projector to put images on her. She is an artist, and had an experience as an assitant at the Russian edition of Cosmo, so some cool images resulted.


Also for the class, self-portrait in security mirror at Alewife Station.

.
My Mom, Uncle, and Aunt at Thanksgiving at our cousins'



Amazing demos of how different camera lenses make the subject look much, much fatter.

I'm trying to figure out if there was any way college or something could have gotten me to my current awareness of how frickin' different people are.

I think a lot of people, as a short hand, kind of assume everyone is more or less like them. It's a bit of a working hypothesis we need for empathy?

But then... I dunno. Even apart from all the crazy amounts of partisan tribal bickering. Sometimes when I read about how badly people do on basic science questions, or fractions, say, it's just weird. Negative, sure - but just strange, too.

And I'm aware of how thinking about "basic science and math questions" as a rubric is kind of intensely OF my particular demographic.

And all this is just in my country, a culture I kind of sort of more or less understand. (Actually I should probably limit my claims to intra-culture, FWIW) That there are all these other nations and cultures, each presumably with their own intra-culture diversity, is even harder to wrap my head around.

July 29, 2016bestof_photos

Best of 2008... highlight was a 2-week trip Japan

Josh took me to see the Kamakura Daibutsu, "The Giant Buddha of Kamakura". It's a bit reminiscent of the Statue of Liberty, albeit not quite as tall - but you can go inside of it and look around.


This image is my current Desktop wallpaper. Originally oddly cropped in order to get the moon and a hawk in the frame at once, I call it "Peek-a-Buddha"


Weekends were stuff close to Tokyo with Josh, but during the week days I would travel on my own. This is the "A-Bomb Dome" in Hiroshima; originally "The Product Exhibition Hall building" and one of the few structures not to be flattened by the blast and ensuing fires.


Back in Tokyo; Shinjuku district, I believe.


View from the bullet train. (There's a great national rail pass that only tourists can get, and the adherence to the posted arrival times was remarkable. Also remarkable was the weather variation you could see as you travelled; most of time it was very Spring-like March, but then I caught this scene out of the window.) I like it's soft focus and happenstance composition.


Back in Boston; my friend JZ. We met at Enpocket/Nokia (the Refresh job only lasted a year because of budgetary reasons.) These were enjoyable "bachelor boy" days, spending a lot of time walking around and playing video games.


I had dinner at Legal Seafoods with my Uncle Bill and a server was walking around showing this behemoth.


Family reunion in Ocean Grove, New Jersey.


The cousins did some boogie boarding at the shore.


Sarah throws an annual Jack-O-Lantern making party. Mine is the Astronaut helmet one, fifth from the left... maybe a little too abstract?


Miller threw a halloween party, here's Ariana doing her best "Wicked" pose.


Nice family shot of EB and his family as I helped them select a Christmas tree.


"Nothing in the world is as old as what was futuristic in the past."
--Ben Lerner (in his 2014 novel 10:04)
The Freewright is a uni-tasking, distraction free, mechanical keyboard, don't go back and edit just keep writing word processor that also synchs up to the cloud. Very cool concept, it appeals to me in the same way scratching out things on the original Palm Pilot I bought a few months ago does.
Commercials on the Bar TV- one for this HP Spectre laptop, one for VistaPrint business cards, both with a lot of crappy faux-classy Shiny Gold on Black-- I'm worried we have Trump to blame for this? I mean who but sports channel watching business dudes are out for a super pricey Windows laptop and tacky business cards?
Susan Kare, pioneer in Mac Pixels and still a big player in the industry. So cool. The cross-stitch/pixel connection is great; sometimes I think about how my work on the old Etch-A-Sketch Animator connected me to my dad's Counter Cross-stitch work. (Kare points to this 1760 sampler by Elizabeth Laidman )
OPEN LETTER ON DONALD TRUMP FROM GOP NATIONAL SECURITY LEADERS I think this might be my new go-to summary for why Trump would be a horrible, horrible president.
Republican VP Pence chastises Obama for calling Trump "a demagogue" - says that "name calling" has no "place in public life."

July 30, 2016bestof_photostuba

2008 Photo Bonus: Scenes from Japan! (Decided that some years I had a cool enough trip to warrant a secondary album for the year.)
I'm grabbing place names from the much more detailed day by day travel log I did then (starting @ http://kirk.is/2008/03/14/)

Detail from a temple in Kamakura - besides the lovely color I liked that it used the "triforce" symbol I knew from Legend of Zelda.


View from Yokohama's Landmark Tower, Japan's tallest building (at 69 stories, because of earthquakes, but it has the world's fastest elevator.)


An enjoyable billboard on the walk to Hiroshima Station.


The imperial palace at Kyoto.


Statue behind protective fencing at the gate of Todai-ji in Nara.


Th Great Buddha hall at Todai-ji - look at the scale relative to the people! One detail is a "peekaboo" door the Buddha can peek out of.


Delicious calamari on a stick from a street vendor, in Osaka, known for its cuisine


I was a gray day and I really enjoyed how this girl's raincoat visually popped.


Josh is good at raising his daughter.


Shinjuku district.


My final side trip was to Kanazawa, a town with an emphasis on the arts. This was a statue on a street corner


The 21st Century Contemporary Art Museum had an installation of Argentinian Leandro Erlich's "Swimming Pool", a facsimile of a small courtyard swimming pool... except there are fellow tourists moving around down there...
Is It Just Me, Or Is the World Going Crazy? Great article - maybe a little privileged, but like Jesus said, "the poor you will have with you always", so while we should always fight for economic justice we shouldn't think it's newly awful.

There's so much demonization going on. Our fellow citizen republicans are still people. Maybe misguided, maybe drinking way too deeply from this fountain of fearmongering, but people. And not even idiotic people, always.
"No one stays home and watches TV on Sunday - everyone's out playing polo!"
--Wealthy Potential Ad Buyer in Blake Snyder's guide to filmwriting "Save The Cat!" (The title refers to putting in a scene early that makes the audience like the main character, for example saving a cat.)

After JP Honk played Figment, I got myself framed by artist Franklin Marval
Protestant Minster: "God loves everyone!"
Catholic Priest: "God is love."
Eastern Orthodox Presbyter: "God is who is."
Rabbi: "This is special? Who isn't who is?"
--Hail Caesar

July 31, 2016bestof_photos

Best of 2009. Including a trip to Portugal, I think it makes its case for "best of the year galleries"

The woman JZ was dating worked high up in an office overlooking the Boston Common. New Years 2009 was brutally cold and windy and so they launched the fireworks from there surprisingly low - for many we were looking down on them.


Took a train to DC with my Aunt and Uncle, this is NYC along the way.


Spotlight on a Slug on my mom's patio in Mount Vernon.


Mount Vernon the estate had some livestock. I like this attendant's casualness with her charge.


I started dating Amber, shown here at Spy Pond. There's something poignant in her expression here, but she says mostly she just had a cold.


Karen and Chas got married!


A boy and his dog.


Portugal - The Lisbon Oceanarium (where my gracious host Johnny had worked) I had forgotten this shot, but man, now I REALLY love it.

Two riders of the Lisbon subway. I just saw something so friendly, gracious, and relaxed in their mirrored body language that this shot has stuck with me for a long time.


"Elevador da Bica", where the nightlife spills into the steep street - at midnight my old AFS brother Marcos and I went to see his friends who were having a meal at home, then we hit the bars. At like 2 or 3 it's generally time to look for another bar. At 4 you stumble home via the bakeries that are just putting out the freshest greatest stuff.


Uncle Bill and Aunt Susan at the Union Oyster House.


Fire with Michi, outside Ariana's Steampunk Ball.


How and Why Trump Will Try to Ditch the Debates If Trump won't stand up to 1:1 debates, and he won't release his tax documents, he is a coward unworthy of your vote.
This week I finished Robert P. Jones' "The End of White Christian America", a left-leaning (I think) study in how White Protestantism (North and South, unlike the WASP term) has been on the decline in terms of power for decades. One sign of that: "The current [pre-2016] U.S. Supreme Court is comprised of six Catholics and three Jews." - in 225 years there have only been 6 other Catholics, and 5 other Jews sitting there.

Also, I didn't realize Southern Baptists forked away from the main Baptist body when the American Baptist Foreign Mission Society started disqualifying slave holders as missionaries.

The book puts a lot of weight into how the young generation is generally for gay rights, particularly marriage, and that's tied into how the older generation is losing clout trying to hold that line. (What's cause and what's effect is not always clear, I'd say.)

I like this quote from author and Baptist minister David Gushee: Jones says he takes the Christian Right to task for being less motivated by the gospel and more by "nostalgia for a less-religiously and morally pluralistic age, when specifically Christian practices dominated American public life in a way that is now impossible and *should* be impossible under our constitutional system."

(The book also mentioned the case of lesbian mayor of Houston Annise Parker, where in a messy controversy about a equal rights (maybe centering on Transgender bathroom access?) she subpoenaed the sermons of five area pastors, which on the face of it seems a bit too far.)

August 1, 2016bestof_photos1sed

2009 Photo Bonus: Scenes from Portugal. (People so inclined can see a more detailed day-by-day travelog at http://kirk.is/2009/09/29/ )


Lisbon has a vibrant street art / graffiti scene. Less colorful than some pieces, I like how this one was integrated with its canvas.


I'm not sure the soft focus was deliberate, but I like it.


Another shot of feeding time at the Oceanarium.


Jonny was so kind to host me! Here she is one the beach with her loved and lamented Papoila.

At a street fair, I was amused by the knickers-as-dream-catchers display.


The National Pantheon


Capela dos Ossos - the "Chapel of Bones"...


"Temple of Diana"


The Cathedral of Évora


Halfway through the trip, I shifted over to hang out with my old AFS brother Marcos. I was really impressed with his adeptness at throwing together a simple and wonderful grilled meat and vegetables combo.


On top of an Aqueduct.


Marcos and Eliane--


Highlights for July were a trip down to Ocean Grove New Jersey, Porchfest, a nice ladybug on the 16th, and lots of band as always... on the 17th, actually, after a pipeline rally, my tuba and I did a bit of background bass for a freestyle rap thing that I guess is a weekly event at Downtown Crossing Station.


RIP Seymour Papert, co-inventor of the "kid's" computer language Logo - "You can't think seriously about thinking without thinking about thinking about something."
The End Of The World

Quite unexpectedly, as Vasserot
The armless ambidextrian was lighting
A match between his great and second toe,
And Ralph the lion was engaged in biting
The neck of Madame Sossman while the drum
Pointed, and Teeny was about to cough
In waltz-time swinging Jocko by the thumb
Quite unexpectedly to top blew off:

And there, there overhead, there, there hung over
Those thousands of white faces, those dazed eyes,
There in the starless dark, the poise, the hover,
There with vast wings across the cancelled skies,
There in the sudden blackness the black pall
Of nothing, nothing, nothing -- nothing at all.
--Archibald MacLeish

I just finished Sam Harris' "Letter to a Christian Nation". It's a brief book but in a stridently and generally not too sympathetic tone... some quotes:
---
"The same Gallup poll revealed that 53 percent of Americans are actually creationists. This means that despite a full century of scientific insights attesting to the antiquity of life and the greater antiquity of the earth, more than half of our neighbors believe that the entire cosmos was created six thousand years ago. This is, incidentally, about a thousand years after the Sumerians invented glue."
---
"Imagine the consequences if any significant component of the U.S. government actually believed that the world was about to end and that its ending would be glorious."
---
"The problem with such [atheist tyrants e.g. Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, Mao Zedong, Pol Pot, and Kim Il Sung] is not that they reject the dogma of religion, but that they embrace other life-destroying myths."
---
"If current trends continue, France will be a majority-Muslim country in twenty-five years-- and that is if immigration were to stop tomorrow."
---
Most of the arguments he made I'd heard before... again, his tone was a little angrier and strident than I like, though I thought his points were well argued. One point he made I hadn't thought of, or heard elsewhere: "But let us assume, for the moment, that every three-day-old human embryo has a soul worthy of our moral concern. Embryos at this stage occasionally split, becoming separate people (identical twins)." He's stating it in terms of stem-cell research, but I think the argument also has implications for Pro-Choice/Pro-Life arguing, at least the form of it- if it's not a strawman - that says there's an immortal soul created at the moment of conception. If so, what happens with twins? Of course this argument fades away if you have a less supernatural conception of soul (though the hope for immortality usually goes with that) - I think even for people who believe it's an issue for women and maybe their doctors, there's a natural preference that abortion be "safe, legal, and rare"... the potential for personhood is worthy of some consideration, but I don't think too much, lest we go slip into the catholic view where every form of birth control is suspect... we're certainly under no obligation to make sure as many potential people become actual people as possible... in fact, to some extent the opposite.

july 2016 new music playlistbestof_photosplaylist

August 2, 2016
It was a rough month for me and iTunes; I realized that 180 or so songs were just gone, so I had to spend a lot of time digging them up from archives and what not. (and it's frustrating, because I'd prefer to use "smart" playlists based on "Added" dates, but iTunes doesn't let you backdate files.) Not sure what caused that; my dalliance with Apple Music, some bungling on my part, or what, but now I'm out to be a lot more careful with my music collection. 4 stars in red.
Second Best Photos of 2009. Several years have had some bonus images thrown in, but 2009 was strong enough that I thought it could use its own runner-up gallery dozen.

With R+D we made a legion of homemade peeps and then puffed Totoros.


Ariana at the shore.


Amber with strawberries.


4th of July kayak.


Jane at Old Orchard Beach in Maine.


Me at Old Orchard Beach in Maine.


Spy Pond.


Amber at ICA.


Rockport Gull.


Jack O' Lanterns at Sarah's.


Steampunk Ariana.


Christmas loot.


Bonus: haunting child from Cozy Coupe box.


"In its essence, technology is something that man does not control."
--Martin Heidegger

August 4, 2016bestof_photos

Best Photos of 2011- the year included a trip to Paris and London and also a trip to Cleveland. (Oddly enough more photos made it from Cleveland into this top dozen.)


Interior wall outside the MFA's (then new-ish) Art of the Americas wing.


Spotlighted cellist at Harvard Station.


View from the patio of our Air B+B in Paris. Honestly my favorite memory and meal of the trip was baguette and cheese and fruit and good cheap table wine on that balcony.


St. Paul's Cathedral, across the Thames from the Tate Modern. (What was that I was saying about liking oddly cropped shots with too much sky?)


Amber's dad, I think on the Cannon Mountain Tramway in NH. I wonder if those who know him will agree this is like the most Amber's dad photo ever.


My second annual return to parasailing over Belmar and Ocean Grove.


My team of Alleyoop-ers for a run around near Faneuil Hall photo scavenger hunt.


Sunset at Rocky River Park near Cleveland.


The Broken Piers at Cleveland Edgewater Park.


Amber and her bestie Sam, who is wearing a dinosaur mask I had just bought at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History.


View from my work, near Newbury Street.


Some "vandal" added perfect makeup to a Paul Revere portrait poster for the MFA (the portrait that was the basis for the Sam Adams brewer, patriot bottle art.)

August 5, 2016bestof_photos

2011 Photo Bonus: Scenes from Europe (Paris, Germany, and London) There's a more detailed day by day photo journal at http://kirk.is/photos/2011europe/.


One of our first impressions of Paris was at the farmer's market near our place: a man with a fishbowl on his head.


Lovers in Paris.


Low shot of the Eiffel Tower. But, you probably guessed that.


I played with my camera's "tilt shift" mode when we went up the Eiffel Tower.


I guess I mentioned this was my favorite meal the entire trip. (Though "German Turkish Food" was a close second.) Great baguette and wine is so cheap in Paris.


Woman taking in the art at the centre pompidou. (I use a similar art arrangement for my wall of photos of peole dear to me.)


At l'orangerie, an artist taking an impression of Monet.


We had a meal or two at the photogenic cafe at the end of our street (so photogenic they shot scenes for a movie there during our stay.)


A brief stopover in Germany to visit Veronika and Volker and their kids. So green!


Then to London.


Englishman walking in tube station with umbrella.


View from the peephole of our tiny Air B+B flat.


"Spooning is out, spatulaing is the next big trend. Slide up behind your partner and then launch them out of bed"
--fartgallery

August 6, 2016bestof_photos

Second Best Photos of 2011. (Err, not counting the second best of the Europe Trip, but I think I'll leave those be.)


JZ in one the Pax East hallways.


Kjersten.


For ten years, I attended (and sometimes ran) a 'covenant group' at my UU church - this is the crew at its height, I'd say


Spider web on Cannon Mountain.


Amber's brother did some bike racing. STOP GUYS! You're going too fast.


EBB2.


The Cleveland Natural History museum has this board of Beetles, but one of them is special.


Karaoke night with some Alleyoopers at Limelight.


MELAS (My Ever Lovin' Aunt Susan)


At the MFA, "Endlessly Repeating Twentieth Century Modernism"


I'm known for making this face in photos, but usually at the camera not at the person I'm with.


My dad's folk art Christmas Tree, and his typewriter. (It was an antique when he got it, he wasn't THAT old.)


30-plus years of being a Star Trek fan and I just now realized that fictional doctor Leonard McCoy and science fiction actor Leonard "Spock" Nimoy share a first name.
http://kottke.org/16/07/ive-never-had-a-goal - I've had this link open in a tab for way too long, meaning to write about it a little.

I'm very non-goal-oriented, which I kind of view as a source of weakness (recognizing it's because I'm a bit too wussy about the ego damage of failure vs the more even wear of not trying) but also strength (I think I'm better than average at locating low hanging fruits and making small but meaningful tweaks to existing things.)

August 7, 2016bestof_photos

Best Photos of 2012. The year I discovered Instagram filters, apparently! I do like how they got people thinking more about image presentation for a while, and the square crop format is pretty hip.


New Year's "Cherry Japanese Things" (according to my journal entry) at Erica + Todd's


EBB2 on ice, with EB and EBB1 behind.


Got a Nintendo-themed racetrack for my birthday - never had an electric racetrack growing up! Also this shows off my book collection of the time. I don't really regret "Kondo"-izing it, since it is a pleasure having book shelves of just books I love, but sometimes I miss how smart I thought it made me look.


Lake near Lake Champlain from the Burlington VT side.


Took a little weekend jaunt to Washington DC with JZ. I liked the atrium in the National Portrait Gallery.


Emma was a sassy cat. After Amber left I took care of her, though she aged out half a year later. (Supposedly she was once a fat cat but I only knew her skinny.)


Amber by the shore.


Kirk under the shore. Waterproof cameras and underwater cell phone cases are fun.


Gummy-bear cubicle prank @ Alleyoop. It started with the giant gummy bear and an unfulfilled wager about whether it could be consumed... turning it into Gulliver's Travels (Gummiver's Travels?) was genius.


Toy Robot at Magnolia Park in Arlington. And the discovery of Instagram filters.


Lego Spaceman and EBB1.


Spy Pond in Arlington. #nofilter #justkidding #somefilterclearly


I just finished Penn Jillette's "Presto!: How I Made Over 100 Pounds Disappear and Other Magical Tales". The kickstart to his losing 100 lbs was two weeks of NOTHING but potatoes, but that was mostly just to get him away from the super flavors of "SAD", the "Standard American Diet". (Then it switches to something like "Whole Plant" emphasis. It's pretty dang spartan overall.)

I'd like to flatter myself by seeing some similarities in me and him, though that's obviously a stretch (despite finding out he's been keep a daily diary for years, like I do.) I think the most critical difference springs from this:
Live outside the law. Be honest. It's easy once you get there, but it's difficult to start. You're bucking the whole system. The law says make things easy-- so do things that are hard! Everything you love was hard to do: juggling, playing bebop jazz on upright bass, catching a bullet in your teeth, working with Teller, being married, raising children-- even reading Moby-Dick was hard. All the things that make life worth living take work.
Actually Penn quotes Neil Young on how I end up feeling:
"It's hard enough losing without the confusion of knowing I tried."
...I have a hard time shaking this fixed mindset that causes me to seek out all the ego-gratifying low hanging fruits. A useful talent, sometimes. Though also I've been thinking about how it has shaped the music I like, which tends to prefer the accessible to the subtle; I think though I have enough "novelty seeking" that it keeps me out of the worst of the ruts.

Another passage I found striking:
I worry a little about the young adults of today. I worry that they aren't sexting quite enough and won't have enough naked pictures and porn video of themselves. I worry there's still too much false information about society's unnecessary stigma about sex. There's stuff in the news all the time about college students sexting, but still reports say that fewer than half of young adults are sexting pictures of themselves. I don't want to see pictures of young people naked. I'm old and I'm creepy, but I'm not that creepy. What I want is pictures of my friends and myself when we were twenty. I want just what at least half of young people are going to have when they themselves are old and creepy. The news sources I read (which are for old people like me) fret about young adults not understanding that when they post nude pictures of themselves, those pictures will never go away. That's a feature, not a bug, and fortunately at least half of young adults know that.


"I understand immediately why people collect stamps. I understand why people play polo. I can relate to every sexual kink I've ever seen video of."
--Penn Jillette
"Horses don't eat anything but plants, and they build strong bodies that some women find sexy in a way that's a little creepy."
--Penn Jillette
"It frightens me, the awful truth of how sweet life can be."
--Bob Dylan (via Penn Jillette, who says it's his favorite line)
"My dad loved soup and taught me to love soup. He also taught me to love ritual jokes. There were certain jokes he did every time the chance came up. Every time my dad had soup, he'd say, "Once I had soup while my nose was running, and I thought I'd never finish.""
--Penn Jillette. That is a TERRIFIC dad joke! So delightfully gross.


August Blender of Love

August 8, 2016bestof_photos

Second Best Photos of 2012. Hope it doesn't undercut the idea of picking "the dozen best for each year" by including these.


Project photo! Over the years, "cheap, funky watches" were my go to gift for my mom, being about the only jewelry-like little bit of fun she was allowed to get away with when in uniform. This year I went all out and got her a dozen, to be opened one per month. Each month got its own icon reflecting the season or the watchface or both.


<geektime>This book on Java EJBs is actually a callback to, like, 2002. "EJB encourages collaboration of more than six different parties." It's almost unclear if they're talking people or components, but I think people... anyway, the first generation of EJB was where I first encountered a technology that was achieving huge popularity despite what to me was clear and egregious over-engineering, high complexity, and poor transparency. Anyway, like I said in 2001-- EJB - the technology to allow you to scale your application across many servers... and the performance to make sure that you'll need to"</geektime>


Still too fond of shadows, they're kind of a fallback for "One Second Everyday" B-roll footage.


Google Image search tells me this is the Old Patent Office Building (from my DC trip.)


Old Abe from the Lincoln Memorial. I was holding the camera up so the shot was a bit less "up the nostrils" than usual.


JZ and I went to a DC United soccer match. I lost my sunglasses at the tailgating.


EBB2 + EBB1 on the Harbor Islands.


Smokey, my Uncle Bill's loyal companion.


MELAS at the shore.


My Sousaphone, "Beauty". I like how she seems to be plaintively looking out the window here. (As if she's looking for a band to be in, which will happen next year.)


Arlington had a crazy "microburst" in the evening... trees were uprooted everywhere. I think I had been on the subway at the time, walking through the aftermath was surreal enough, not sure what it would have been like to have been there in person!


Kjersten and Raia.


Olympic Logos discussed and rated...

Propublica on the white underclass. Reading about J.D. Vance's bio makes me think a bit about my upbringing; a lot of privilege, despite money being tight, but then some inheritance and insurance money that had the silver lining of making college available without crushing debt. Sometimes closer exposure to some of this 'underclass' because of my parents' roles in The Salvation Army, probably the transition to college was a bigger demographic shift than I noticed.

August 9, 2016bestof_photos

Best Photos of 2013. This was the year I started doing "One Second Everyday", and I feel like the peak of photos was 2009-2012 or so, maybe? That I'm less thoughtful and anxious to make good images because I'm taking so many little videos...


Ah, sweet New Hampshire fireworks, from a July 4th at Kimball Castle


Kimball Castle at sunset.


David and Hunter.


The boat on Lake Winnipesaukee (that David and Hunter are on). A dinner cruise with Lobster, I think.


One of my early band favorite photos of me, at "Circle the City". I didn't have my "sex cop onesie" yet. I really like how I was decorating my bell then, getting the name of the band there but not covering up the nice reflective curves of the bell.


Detail of Tom Parmenter's drum.


Instagram detail of my dad's typewriter.


Snuck a shot on the train. Man, that guy is ASLEEP.


Cherry pickers outside the BCEC.


At this point the owners wanted to sell the apartment I had found with Amber (and subsequently invited Miller in as a housemate) and this is a Halloween party in the new place.


David, MELAS, Mary


The pier in Ocean Grove, again. Last year's Runner-Up album has a shot of MELAS where there's still a fishing house at the end, but this is after Hurricane Sandy.


Easy to watch but not dumbed down History of the American Civil War.
First Person Squirrel!

From womenburningthings.tumblr.com

First Seven Jobs:
Pharmacy Stockboy/Clerk
Salvation Army Christmas Kettle Worker
Camp Counselor for Special Needs Kids
Dorm Mailman
Computer Lab User Consultant -> (to Manager)
Computer Programmer (On Campus)
Computer Programmer (For Reals)
#firstsevenjobs
"I am not your Watson, a**hole!"
--Elijah Wood's character in a new Dirk Gently series. Relevant to my interests. (I always like Douglas Adams more when he put things back on Earth, than when he was in "zany adventures in space!" mode.)

August 10, 2016bestof_photos

2013 Travel Photos: Alaska, later Cardiff and London. (I kept a more detailed photolog for Alaska and later for the UK stuff)


Joined Riana in Juneau, and we took a puddle jumper to Gustavus. Alaska has a reverse rising oceans problem; its melting glacier weight means its land is rising. (Also Riana was amazing at spotting and knowing what random ambient plantlife to eat, from strawberries to seaweed.)


Margerie Glacier. That's a fullsized cruise ship there, for contrast. It is nearly impossible to get a sense of scale of things in Alaska; things are so often much farther and much larger than they appear.


Sea kayaking in Glacier Bay. Scary when the fog meant we couldn't see land anywhere but Riana's sense of direction was uncanny.


View from Mt. Roberts, back in Juneau.


New trip! My company was based in Cardiff, so John and I travelled to Wales, and took a sidetrip to London.


The hotel in London had nice chairs. Here I'm pretending I'm not setting up a photo.


Split view from the London Eye.


Another practiced in "distractedly" posing for shots, again on the London Eye.


Rainbow over London!


Shakespeare's Globe Theater.


John at Camden Market.


The British Museum looks like a sci-fi set.


"Poop is the cause, diapers are the effect."
--Josh Dahl, instructor of a comics story making class. Good comics stories tend to have strong senses of cause and effect...

August 11, 2016bestof_photos

Second Best Photos of 2013.

Trio out for a drink.


Ocean Grove after Sandy.


Everyone needs a Totoro hoody.


Spy Pond, Arlington.


Trumpeter from Balkan Brass at (sigh) Johnny D's. (Small point of pride for me is that in late 2014 I got to 'play' Johnny D's backing Chandler Travis' Trombone Choir.)


Different homebrew JP Honk drum.


My tuba "Beauty" waiting before the HONK! Parade.


Young entrepreneur Hunter.


My Ever Lovin' Mom.


I was taking some drawing classes. I wanted to see if could improve my usual 'doodle' style of art, but I admit being able to freely look deeply at an uncovered body was a pleasure, and relatively rare for me.


A+T in Salem.


Another view of the broken pier (sans Fishing Shack) in Ocean Grove.


BONUS: selfie @ Harvard Sq Panera, showing a new pair of glasses.


"Twenty percent of Americans describe themselves as "spiritual but not religious." Although the claim seems to annoy believers and atheists equally."
--Sam Harris, "Waking Up: A Guide to Spirituality Without Religion"
"There is barely time enough in a book-- or in a life-- to get to the point."
--Sam Harris, "Waking Up: A Guide to Spirituality Without Religion"
"The neurologist V. S. Ramachandran seems to have been thinking along these lines when he wrote, "It may not be coincidental that [you] use phrases like 'self conscious' when you really mean that you are conscious of others being conscious of you.""
--Sam Harris, "Waking Up: A Guide to Spirituality Without Religion"
The philosopher Roland Puccetti once observed that the existence of separate spheres of consciousness in the normal brain would explain one of the most perplexing features of split-brain research: Why is it that the right hemisphere is generally willing to bear silent witness to the errors and confabulations of the left? Could it be that the right hemisphere is used to it?
An answer consistent with the hypothesis of mental duality in the normal human brain suggests itself. The non-speaking hemisphere has known the true state of affairs from a very tender age. It has known this because beginning at age two or three it heard speech emanating from the common body that, as language development on the left proceeded, became too complex grammatically and syntactically for it to believe it was generating; the same, of course, for what it observed
--Sam Harris, "Waking Up".

More than any of those other quotes, this idea has got me thinking. I want to read up on split minds, and the dual consciousness we all seem to carry. I've coming up with some "Just So" stories about and want to find out if that split could explain things like this "inner teenager" I have to struggle with in order to, for instance, keep my weight where "I" want it. I've tended to assume that my conscious self was just the aggregate of all of my brain when it decides to muster itself into a voice, but could it be there's more of a spatial division?

Even if true, it does myself - my full self- a disservice to let my left-brain speaker presume it's "more authentically me" than my inner teenager or what not... "we're" all in this together, in the most literal sense possible. Similarly, in the Sam Harris podcast where he's patching things up with Daniel Dennett, I'm surprised they both let Texas belltower shooter Charles Whitman - whose notes and requested autopsy pointed to a brain tumor as the cause of his murderous behavior - let that brain tumor be considered as something external to Whitman... since if detected in a timely way it could have been removed, and Whitman would have been by most accounts a fine upright person. But I'd have to say, when that tumor was controlling his actions, it was "really him", you know? Saying otherwise feels like a distraction.

I want to ponder on this further to think if other external influences to a person's behavior, outside control, hypnosis, etc, challenges my view, but I think it's pretty consistent.

August 12, 2016bestof_photos

Best of 2014. Two of the most amazing events happened on the same day in early May; Cora was born, and I went on a Zero-G flight.


Kay has an enviable look. (Haven't talked about cameras in a while... some of the shots from the end of last year and this one were with a new Canon Rebel T3, a DSLR larger than the PowerShots, and feeling more like a "real" camera overall.)


Had an all-night "Hack-A-Thon" at work, this is Seaport District at dawn.

EBB2 and EBB1 at a playground.


Googly Monster Fingerpuppet. I think this might have been an accidental photo shot when going to take video for "One Second Everyday" - 1SED is great, but probably makes me less thoughtful, or at least less frequent (which leads to the same results) about static photos.


Bar scene, being taken by hunter. There subtle emotional play going on here.

Me in Zero-G, on one of those "vomit-comet" type planes - a 40th birthday gift to myself.


Me and my Super-Niece Cora, about 2 months old here. I have a similar shot from the day after she was born, but I like how she looks like she's puzzling something out here.


I didn't take it but this is about my favorite early photo of Cora.


Photo by David F Parmenter - a glitchy panorama of the JP Honk Band at Haley House that I Printed and put above my bedroom door.


Cora at rest with her Mama K.


EB and I collaborated on designing and making the "hoop banner" for JP Honk.


Finally, my tuba "Beauty" and I dressed up as skeletons for Halloween.


"Hey Elliott, here's a tasty way to get over your sadness: Eat your tears."
--Amelia
Dying is Probably Okay - a retort to a piece on Peter Thiel being right about radical life extension.
BABAM band (collective of folks from HONK-stye bands) played along with the Landmark Orchestra at the Hatch Shell, like we did last year. Here's Marie, me and organizer Chris Schroeder's kid, all who were feeling pretty Super!

Disclaimer: if you like vaping, more power to you. Have fun with it! The clouds of smoke seen kind of fun, and I guess it's less dangerous than more traditional tobacco. That said...

I think I figured out why Vaping seems so weird to me- even beyond the dystopian sci-fi feel of it, beyond the goofy candy flavors that are often chosen for it, beyond folks who treat he human fog-machine aspect as a competitive sport:

A classic cigarette is an event. Like having a drink, it demarks a period of time (often providing a small time of respite from work drudgery): from the moment of lighting to when the cigarette is stubbed out. This seems not to be the case with people vaping; people can carry it around and take a puff whenever they feel like it.

Vonnegut kind of justified smoking as "a fairly sure, fairly honorable form of suicide" but vaping seems to rob it of some of that critical dignity... at its worse, especially dangling from a chain around the neck, the vaporizer looks (and, to some extent, acts) like a baby's pacifier- at its best, it's like someone walking around with a sports bottle, having a pull as thirst dictates.

Again, not really trying to mock its use, just isolating why it seems so goofy to me in a "you kids get off my lawn!" kind of way.

August 13, 2016bestof_photos

Second Best Photos of 2014.

Another shot of Kay, handsome devil.


Young Entrepreneur + GF.


Escalator, alligator!


Rain on the glass ceiling at Copley T.


"Power Surge" at Old Orchard Beach, Maine.


Me riding "Power Surge" at Old Orchard Beach, Maine.


Snail.


The view from the road between WTC and the BCEC.


Northern Outdoors Penobscot River Rafting is excellent. Went with some coworkers including Motvi (behind) and Liyuan (front and off-center)


Presiding over construction of the hoop bannner.


Trampoline date at Sky Zone (experimenting with that 'make a first date something adrenaline pumping' idea)


At EB's.... POOING BEARS EATING PEARS what more needs to be said?
Cool, our cross-honkish-band BABAM got mentioned by name in a Boston Globe article about our gig with the Landmark Orchestra!

August 14, 2016bestof_photos

The Best Photos of 2015 - this project is just about at its end! Just today and a "Second Best of", and then I'm caught up.


I'd done book purges before, but this was one significantly deeper - really getting to the Kondo-esque pleasure of having bookshelves of books I love, no filler. Presided over by Daidai, whom I was catsitting for.


or my "One Second Everyday" I take too many shots of reflections in puddles, but I find them fascinating. As a kid I used to wonder if they might be insights into mirror universes...


Mama C and Cora.


My "sexy cop onesie" (from Garment District) for JP Honk, taken around that year's Wake Up The Earth.


EBB2, with EBB1 peeking behind.


JZ and MZ got married, and dang me if them and their family don't look like they should be stock photography for something.


My go-to profile shot, a selfie taken in my hallway. I think I did a good job framing my head with the sunlight.


Just last week we had the repeat of HONK-style bands playing at the Hatch Shell with the Landmarks Orchestra... for the first event I wandered in and got a photo of the city looking out from the Hatch.


Fisheye lens view from work... This 8th floor in Seaport is definitely in the top 3 "views from my office" I've enjoyed, maybe even the top.


Melissa and Me selfie, at Weirs Beach.


Melissa and I took a trip to Montreal. I didn't get as many fantastic photos as I might have guessed (it was just a few days) but the Notre-Dame Basilica was amazing. I was a little surprised how many times they told us it was where Celine Dion got married.


Set up a holiday shot with my Mom and Aunt.


As I get ready to head to Ireland for a work conference (silver lining to housemates: I can pre-announce this stuff without worrying about advertising an empty house), with a layover in Germany to meet some old friends, I realize they might ask me about Trump etc.

It makes me think that one current advantage of our two major party system is this: Trump's surprisingly high floor is at least partially supported by some really ugly sentiment; if the Democratic Party were to splinter, the USA would be at big risk of seeing a lot of traction in extreme right wing parties, like the more multiparty states in Europe are dealing with.

August 15, 2016bestof_photos

The Second Best Photos of 2015... 20 years worth of photos, posted! Thanks to everyone who took time to comment, its been a great stroll down memory lane.


Liyuan was kind of amazing at the teambuilding event at Brooklyn Boulders!


Just another Honkband practice.


I often have this trio of robots at my work desk: Invid Scout on the left, Iron Giant on right, some Fisher Price transformer in the middle. I kind of see them as my mom, my dad, and myself with characteristics of both, in that order


JP Honk event - Marie, Tom, and bubbles.


EBB2 looking pretty artsy.


This is either a screen capture or a misclick of my One Second Everyday video. But a fun one innertubing!


Early date with Melissa, going to see the fireworks on the Charles via Kayak. I like the elegance of her gesture.


Honkin' at the Hatch.


Beercan Art.


Shadowy Tuba Player.


A treat seeing my comic "So, You're Going to Die" at Million Year Picnic...


Panorama of Ocean Grove beach

best photo from malaysia trip 2016travelbestof_photos

November 29, 2016
In the Guan Di Temple in Kuala Lumpur
The Sri Mahamariamman Temple of Kuala Lumpur
The Batu Caves
Street shot in George Town, Penang
Colorful building and cars in George Town.
One of the Clan Jetties at George Town.
Monkey at the Andaman Resort in Langkawi
Hidden waterfall in Langkawi
View from Panaroma Langkawi
Kuah night market in Langkawi
Temurun Waterfall, Langkawi
Monkey alongside steps to Seven Well, Langkawi

"Relationships are all about asking people to hold things."
--Melissa. (This was especially true in the context she said this, the airport, as we both played that game of 'Ok do I have everything? Ok do I still have everything? Let me check again. How about now?')
My iPhone 6 was sort of on its last legs so I upgraded - but I went for the iPhone SE, which is the old iPhone 5 body with a 6S camera. There's something great about that old form factor, how easy it is to manage for quick camera shots etc. (Remember when smaller was considered better for electronics?)

second best photos from malaysia trip 2016travelbestof_photos

November 30, 2016
KL kitty on pipes.
Booth at the KL Central Market
We had a lot of coconut water. If they're cut a certain way you get this kind of weird but convenient membrane left, not just a gaping maw to stick your straw into.
The Batu Caves. The conjunction of rock formations, human-made temples, and greenery was striking.
Monkey silhouette outside Batu Caves.
View from the KL Tower
At the KL Tower - a number of places had those glass-bottom floors you could walk over. Great shot of Melissa.
George Town is famous for its street art.
Panoramic Slice from top of pagado at Kek Lok Si.
View from Penang Hill.
The SkyBridge in Langkawi was quite a nice piece of engineering.
Irregular steps carved out of the stones near the Temurun Waterfall in Langkawi


--from Concept art of vehicles driven by Toads from Mario Strikers Charged. via Supper Mario Broth
"I think I just summarized my life philosophy really succinctly to my roommate:
'you do what you gotta do. and sometimes you do it in heels'"
--Anna Anthropy

June 3, 2017bestof_photos

Realized I hadn't done a "best of" photoset for 2016... (though the Malaysia trip had its own best of and scond best of)

I suspect my dedication to "One Second Everyday" taps some of my still photography mojo.

Aunt Susan and Cora


I think other people like this shot more than I do. I'm really not in need of sweaterly consolation, just posing.


My boot, at a Bread and Puppet rehearsal at Mass College of Art.


HONK!TX, at it again with the white vans


Also from HONK!TX - another blurred shot but I love the camaraderie.


I forgot it at the time but now I love the mellow colors of this turkey and window shot.


Melissa parasailing over Ocean Grove New Jersey


You don't have to go far from home for good goofy selfie.


Cora at my unbirthday


Batu Cave in Malaysia... probably the most strking shot of the trip.


One of our best tourist selfies ever.


Melancholy Malaysian Monkey

June 4, 2017bestof_photos

Second Best Photos of 2016 - though to be honest I think some of these might be better than some of the "Best" I posted yesterday...


At the Charles Riverfest


Cora


Chet at JP Honk practice


Shot of Kristin as I fooled around with my "good camera" at a double birthday party...


My old apartment building felt armor clad when it was having insulation added


Once in a photography class this woman (with a great Irish accent) commented on my phtos "ya like boogs, doncha?" Not sure why I tried to deny it.


A pier in George Town in Penang.


Bird drinking from the sky.


I snuck a photo on my way to comics writing class because I liked how these folks clothing was paired, but then realized they were probably having some kind of sad breakup


gimmicky photo in Dublin


Flooded street outside of Aeronaut Brewery.


More casual times.
via @chapien who calls it the Tumblr Thread to End All Tumblr Threads

June 5, 2017bestof_photos

The runner ups for best of 2016...

Cora


Wall in Austin during HONK!TX


Sunset over Lake Winnipesaukee


Built Benny's Spaceship Spaceship SPACESHIP with Melissa.


Not positive where I took this


In a Malaysian Temple.


Loved the Spock from the old Jumptap/Millennial Media/AOL days.


Outside the Batu Cave.


Dublin.


Art at Fort Point Bridge


Mop at an Arlington Church


Kristin in shades.
"To feel that life is meaningless unless 'I' can be permanent is like having fallen desperately in love with an inch."
--Alan W. Watts, "The Wisdom of Insecurity"