One of the things I miss most from my old job was a certain slack channel - "#foolish-idea-friends" (channel name changed to protect the guilty.)
May 18, 2020
The heart of the slack channel was an ever-growing number list of foolish ideas - concept pitches. A few basic rules were established from the outset: no criticism of ideas were permitted... just because an idea was foolish didn't mean it was "bad"... ideas had to be original as far as we knew to get a number (later a habit of bringing in ideas from elsewhere with the tag "#SEFI" (for "someone else's foolish idea") instead of a number)
One of the fellow pioneers of the channel had written bots to scrape the ideas (one Foolish Idea was to make a "best of" book) and sent me a list of my 1000+ contributions. I had done over a quarter of the almost 4,000 the channel was up to upon my departure!
FIF #600 gives an idea of what the channel was most often used for:
- #600 categorization system for f-i-f; semi-serious but possibly outlandish proposals, less serious proposals just for a laugh, ones added quickly to grab a big number, thinly veiled complaints about stuff in the office, general-joshing on each other, other meta-stuff
- #1500 new html6 attribute: onlick. Like onclick, but you know, for licking things. Steve Jobs said "We made the buttons on the screen look so good you'll want to lick them." and I think modern web browsers should be ready for this.
- #321 formation of a committee to determine the plausibility of "aggressive passive" behavior; for example, furiously hammering water
- #212 A Street Fighter-like game but with the characters from Peanuts (Snoopy, Charlie Brown, etc)
- #1465 Trying to declutter but Marie Kondo is too pile-centric or mumbo-jumbo-y? Arrange all your possessions in a long straight line ordered by how much you want each item, make a perpendicular line at the cut off point, and discard everything to left. DONE AND DUSTED.(Note, you may still have to dust, especially around those shelves where the cluttering items used to sit.)
- #1576 If you have a device or thing in your life you really like and use a lot, like a laptop or iPad or video game system or something, have a loved one wrap it up so you can open it christmas day and think about how much you like it.
- #823 A service where university professors will adopt your child so they can get free tuition at that university
- #2565 A post-mortem service to excise and preserve specific body parts for rhetorical purposes. For example, a wedding finger for a loved one to keep, or a middle finger to send to a person you despised in life, or maybe your whole butt for a hated organization to kiss. The body part can be cremated, preserved in resin, or bronzed.
- #2226 Life in a zero-G or microgravity environment (like on an orbiting station or a spaceship that is not manuevering) offers many challenges. When you're exercising on the treadmill or just sitting at a work console, you need to strap yourself down with elastics and velcro. Exhaled CO2 silently pooling around your head is a constant threat if the air circulation system isn't perfect. And if you lose momentum in a large open area, like thanks to air resistance, it can be nearly impossible to get moving again. The solution to all of these is clear: astronauts should always wear old-school propeller beanies at all times when not in their helmets.
- #1368 every damn smoke and carbon monoxide detector should have a small lcd or e-ink screen that will you tell you its status. no more of this stupid "let me communicate through infuriatingly intermittent chirps". i mean seriously
- #1474 a film crew/biography service that parents can reserve for their young kids. Every year for your unbirthday (6 months opposite your birthday) they come and do a "day in the life" taping, as well as have their writers talk to you and write up what's on your mind and what your life is like
- #3470 make tombstones out of wet cement and let people at the funeral scratch in their final messages to the deceased
- #887 All light switches should have a tiny LED to show if it's on or not. (In some rooms it's obvious, but when the light switch is on the other side of the closed door...)
- #1471 an app to help remind you to keep in contact with friends you don't see regularly. Enter your friends names, and how important they are to you, and it will create a queue of people and nudge you when you should send a "just saying hi" message
- #1588 First Class Deluxe Junk Retirement. Trying to declutter, but stuck with stuff with sentimental value, and/or with no second-hand value? First Class Deluxe Junk Retirement will come to your house to pick it up, take a photo and send it to you, and then put it in a special mausoleum landfill. For example, my "Euclid High School English Departmental Award" medal with ribbon, from 1992. I will never do ANYTHING with this, right? And yet it's weirdly hard to get rid of. Ditto my heavy duty Varsity Jacket with built in cape/hood.
- #1438 One of my best FIFs ever - ok - so our cat has a "food puzzle" where you put kibble in a bunch of little plastic obstacles so the cat can't just chow down, but has to work a bit for each piece. It's meant for exercise, I guess, besides the mental stimulation factor, but it would be MUCH better if you could pour the kibble into some kind of little home base thing and then have little robo mice, each carrying a single platter that could hold just about one piece of kibble, and the cat could chase each bit, knock it to get the kibble, and then it would go back to the home base to get another piece...
- #355 see-through lids for toilets so you can ensure all the material was whisked away instead of leaving it as a gross surprise for the next person, and without aerosolizing the gross stuff either. (Or possibly a sophisticated sensor system to take of reflushes automagically)
- #1073 learn that little 'waiting' step b-boy dancers do right before they launch into something truly impressive. but never do a fancy move, just do the step over and over
- #768 Make an MP3 of silence or someone going "that's the end!" and name the tune early in the alphabet, so when iOS has decided it has run out of audio to play and for some reason starts playing "all songs alphabetically" you don't get blasted by Michael Jackson going "A B C, easy a 1 2 3" ALL THE DAMN TIME
- #1515 out of churros? try this delicious salty, sweet, crispy, chewy dessert: take a chocolate from the front desk (preferably dark or choc w/ caramel) and put it between two tortilla chips!
- #2758 new drink: Apple X-Cider -- take one cup of company cider, drink while sucking on an Atomic Fireball candy
- #270 default slack avatars that are flash GIFs that trigger epileptic seizures so users have a moral and possibly legal obligation to change them
- #391 gamify gamification! every scoring rule you invent for whatever you are gamifying gets you a G.G. Star!
- #485 Start postfixing updated versions of functions etc with "New". This is super great for sites that have "New" and "Used" cars, so people get to enjoy making up heuristics like "if the New is a prefix, it's probably about new cars, but if New is a postfix, it's probably just a later version of a previously existing function"
- #2718 Luggage with face detection that is also delighted to see you as it swings around the baggage carousel and can express that- makes you feel loved after a rough flight and helps you locate your bag. The name of this wonder-product? "emotional baggage"
- #432 pave a road with bad intentions, see where it gets you
- #2190 market an extra-rough brand of kleenex called "grindstone"
- #2793 football uniforms made out of really stretchy material so if a defender grabs you by the uniform you can just keep on running. Bonus: if defender is really strong and heavy and manages to hold on, comedy as you get flung back to him like a rubber band.
- #2567 Along with surgery to reduce snoring, surgery to increase snoring but it comic ways - giant long snort on the inhale, descending whistling tone on the exhale.
- #38 alcoholic drinks mixed with aspirin and gatorade to get a jump on your hangover the next day
- #250 a bumper sticker that wards off cops by saying "don't worry i've driven MUCH drinker than this"
- #2560 combine "Now & Laters" candies with "Atomic Warheads" and call them "Apocalypse Now & Laters"
- #2714 make a 60s/70s mashup cover group called "Earth, Blood, Wind, Sweat, Fire, and Tears."
- #711 Find that butterfly whose wing flapping is causing tornadoes on the other side of the world and STOP IT, FFS
- #235 phone cases marketed by how they feel- texture, weight, etc- more than how they look after all you are mostly just looking at the glass screen, but how they feel to your hand whether out or in your pocket is important all the time
- #413 A Todo App that indicates items have been there too long by overlaying them with subtle cobwebs... you can even swipe them away to indicate progress on the task or just out of frustration
- #193 conduct a social engineering campaign to change social mores so it's ok to react when people are in the bathroom stall next to you: cheering them on if they make a particularly impressive sound, sympathizing if it sounds like they're having problems, etc
- #1055 Micro-Time-Zones. All clocks in a timezone are set to the nearest minute based on the current Longitude. No more stupid bumps when you cross certain state borders!!!
Oh one bonus I almost missed:
- #1593 Make years start on March 1. This will have 3 big advantages:
1. meteorological seasons now line up year - starting with March/April/May spring, June/July/August summer, the school year starts with Sep/Oct/Nov Fall, and then Dec/Jan/Feb Winter 2. September and October now fall on their appropriate Latin numbers (7 and 8)
3. NFL season is no longer this weird ambiguity springing from regular seasons and playoffs of one "season" being in different years
May 12, 2017
The past doesn't go away. It keeps calling to us from the woods, and at vulnerable moments, at twilight on a fall day with a Chopin étude playing, it can be almost overwhelming. Those old voices weeping and whispering. I have my ghosts and you have yours. Tell me about it. Meanwhile, the day passes, we eat dinner, we put the dishes in the dishwasher, we clean up the kitchen, we pick up a book, life goes on. I believe that
All of the lovers and the love they made --A friend of mine told me a few weeks ago: "You can't regret all of the things you went through in order to get to the happiness where you are now." The old love prepared you for this new one. The tortured and exhausting 10 years with him is a crucial part of your education and can't be separated from the rest and burned. It's quite reasonable to still miss him after only two years. You're not imprinted with him, though, and you know that. You've moved on. You're only enjoying a little sweet sadness. What would an autumn night be like without it? What an inhuman life a person must lead to never experience such feelings.
Nothing that was between them was a mistake.
All that we did for love's sake
Was not wasted and will never fade.
100 Lessons from the masters of street photography. Apple's how to shoot great photos with iPhones is good too.
Experimenting with posting every season / 3 months vs every month...
Is it just me or does the concept of judges running for election feel really weird? Straightup Democracy for everything seems kind of odd. (Albeit, better than the neither-fish-nor-fowl (tho a bit foul) electoral college...)
Keep me from going to sleep too soonThe final line was rattling around my head this morning.
Or if I go to sleep too soon
Come wake me up. Come any hour
Of night. Come whistling up the road.
Stomp on the porch. Bang on the door.
Make me get out of bed and come
And let you in and light a light.
Tell me the northern lights are on
And make me look. Or tell me clouds
Are doing something to the moon
They never did before, and show me.
See that I see. Talk to me till
I'm half as wide awake as you
And start to dress wondering why
I ever went to bed at all.
Tell me the walking is superb.
Not only tell me but persuade me.
You know I'm not too hard persuaded.
Necessity is the mother of invention. Boredom is the Father. Laziness is the shifty uncle. Laziness might be the illegitimate father; as in one day Necessity was bored of Boredom and noticed Laziness was much more fun.
from "The Space Merchants", by Frederick Pohl and C.M. Kornbluth:
January 8, 2017
[The doorman] whistled up a two-man pedicab, and Kathy gave the lead boy the hospital's address. "You can come if you like, Mitch," she said, and I climbed in beside her. The doorman gave us a starting push and the cabbies grunted getting up momentum.What Aldous Huxley did to Orwell with eugenics, this 1952 book does to Huxley with sheer capitalism - a semi-dystopia vision of a world of salesman run amuck.
Unasked, I put down the top. For a moment it was like our courtship again: the friendly dark, the slight, musty smell of the canvas top, the squeak of the springs. But for a moment only. "Watch that, Mitch," she said warningly.
"Please, Kathy," I said carefully. "Let me say it anyhow. It won't take long." She didn't say no. "We were married eight months ago--all right," I said quickly as she started to speak, "it wasn't an absolute marriage. But we took the interlocutory vows. Do you remember why we did that?"
She said patiently after a moment: "We were in love."
"That's right," I said, "I loved you and you loved me. And we both had our work to think about, and we knew that sometimes it made us a little hard to get along with. So we made it interim. It had a year to run before we had to decide whether to make it permanent." I touched her hand and she didn't move it away. "Kathy dear, don't you think we knew what we were doing then? Can't we--at least--give it the year's trial? There are still four months to go. Let's try it. If the year ends and you don't want to file your certificate--well, at least I won't be able to say you didn't give me a chance. As for me, I don't have to wait. My certificate's on file now and I won't change."
We passed a street light and I saw her lips twisted into an expression I couldn't quite read. "Oh, damn it all, Mitch," she said unhappily, "I know you won't change. That's what makes it all so terrible. Must I sit here and call you names to convince you that it's hopeless? Do I have to tell you that you're an ill-tempered, contriving Machiavellian, selfish pig of a man to live with? I used to think you were a sweet guy, Mitch. An idealist who cared for principles and ethics instead of money. I had every reason to think so. You told me so yourself, very convincingly. You were very plausible about my work too. You boned up on medicine, you came to watch me operate three times a week, you told all our friends while I was sitting right in the room listening to you how proud you were to be married to a surgeon. It took me three months to find out what you meant by that. Anybody could marry a girl who'd be a housewife. But it took a Mitchell Courtenay to marry a first-class rated surgeon and make her a housewife." Her voice was tremulous. "I couldn't take it, Mitch. I never will be able to. Not the arguments, the sulkiness, and the ever-and-ever fighting. I'm a doctor. Sometimes a life depends on me. If I'm all torn up inside from battling with my husband, that life isn't safe, Mitch. Can't you see that?"
Something that sounded like a sob.
I asked quietly: "Kathy, don't you still love me?"
She was absolutely quite for a long moment. Then she laughed wildly and very briefly. "Here's the hospital, Mitch," she said. "It's midnight."
This passage has stuck with me; the concept of "interim marriage" still sounds futuristic. But more than that, Kathy's protesting paragraph, that's what really has rattled around in my brain for a while. (Some parts more than others - being a guy who doesn't change much more so than being a guy who argues and sulks and fights.)
But yeah, the surgeon thing - I've been pondering about how admiration is an important part of romantic attachment for me, and how I can almost always identify the specific, objectively cool something that made each person I've been lucky enough to be with distinct from everyone else, the gray lining to that silver cloud is how sometimes I do it to show off - it sounds cynical to identify it, but I think it's a natural human trait to enjoy having a partner who boosts ones own status in your shared social circles.
That Arroz con Leche Popsicle, from an ice cream truck here in Austin was the best ice cream thing I've had in a year. Also the weather here is a bit better than Boston today.
kulfi cardamom popsicles from the Bollywood movie place are a close second.
A middling-fair month for finding music - no 4 stars. Sorted in inverse "you gotta hear (or see) this!"
April 1, 2016
- Upside Down & Inside Out (OK Go) The song is solid, dig that "CD skip" effect, but the video... it's like that Zero-G trip in video form.
- Iko Iko (Dr. John) Been getting more into this song, I like Dr. John's cajun pronunciations.
- Jody, Come Back and Get Your Shoes (Bobby Newsome) I got this solid R+B tune after this article on the name "Jody" - in some military marching songs, Jody is the guy who steals your gal.
- 212 (feat. Lazy Jay) (Azealia Banks) Sexy energy in parts... and I gotta admit "212" scans better than "617" (an answer I saw on Kottke: It's 2006. You're DJing a club. You have a 2016 iPod. What song do you put on to make everyone go nuts?)
- Stand By Me (Ben E. King) I was just surprised this one wasn't in my collection already.
- Seven Bridges Road (Live) (Eagles) To quote The Comics Curmudgeon "ha ha ha punk rock dude, you’re in a band that plays Eagles covers"
- Leader of the Pack (The Shangri-Las) - "Betty, is that Jimmy's ring you're wearing?" - my parent's names, by chance! I like that "look out look out look out!" yell.
- Suicide Is Painless (Johnny Mandel) (aka "Theme from M*A*S*H" - literally written by a 14 year old, with the mandate that 'it had to be called "Suicide Is Painless"; second, it had to be the "stupidest song ever written"'. I really appreciate the exquisite sophomoric aspect of it, plus it just sounds good.
- Maximum Effort (Junkie XL) - from the movie "Deadpool" - I saw this documentary that talks about the Synclavier II sound sample it makes such good use of.
- Groove Is In The Heart (Edwin van Santen) SID Chiptune cover of my favorite and most sacred song.
- Here's Where the Story Ends (The Sundays) A favorite of Melissa's... So. 90s.
- Rag Mop (Lionel Hampton and His Orchestra) If you're ever worried music is getting meaningless, come back to this old classic.
- The Ballad of Irving (Frank Gallop) Dr. Demento classic, Big, Short, Fat Irving, the 142nd Fastest Gun in the West... (parody of Lorne Greene's Ringo) - kind of weird that songs can have their own laughtracks...
Seriously amazing Empire-centric, 80s-anime-style short Star Wars battle drawn and animated weekends over 4 years by one fan...
I enjoyed this Vine "Hype Man Duties"
instagram: @sayhop , Mar 2, 2015
It's nearly seven, and still light out! We've survived the snow, we've made it through the dark. Onward!
I regretted that I hadn't done more. Not good works, necessarily: I did my part for the homeless, the alkies, public radio, various losing liberals, an open school, the Save the Spiders Foundation, the Home for the Moody, the lower-spine association, the Suspicion Center, some others. I regretted never having played the accordion, seen New Mexico or Maine, learned to dance the fox-trot, met Victor Borge, read Moby Dick or Don Quixote, eaten supper in the Oak Room at the Algonquin, fished Rainy Lake, known a little physics, talked to my dad about his father.from "We Are Still Married", a brief essay about thoughts he had while waiting for his commercial flight to dump fuel after an engine explosion. I'm surprised I hadn't transcribed this before, because it comes to me from time to time.
I regretted some bad shows I did.
I regretted having hurt some people.
Two haiku from the British Museum's exhibit "Shunga: sex and pleasure in Japanes art":
Onto his silent lap
her eloquent hips
unable to know your true heart
I give my body to you
--Onakatomi no Yoshinobu
June 22, 2012
The trophy I won as the captaoin of the "People's Choice" team "Team Typing + Textbook Topic Targetting" at my company's 2 1/2 day hackathon, "Alleyoop Ignite"
For event T-shirts, Lauren made an awesome design:
April 21, 2011
--Someone at work posted this outside their cube, it's from Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal Comics. Good stuff!
If everything is coming your way then you're in the wrong lane.
I think half of my problem with clutter is a refusal to believe that I'm not depriving some future biographer of precious research material.
January 10, 2011
from Tom the Dancing Bug Bob's Adventure Through Time. Years ago I printed out these panels for use as cubicle art... I just love the realization that yeah, in the 1700s Sprite would seem pretty amazing. (from GoComic's surprisingly deep archive - glad I didn't have to rely on Salon.com for this.)
http://www.boingboing.net/2011/01/08/youtube-videos-of-ar.html So the shooter's nutiness may transcend violent rightwing bombast- but I still think having this kind of nut around argues against concealed carry.
January 4, 2011
--love the spacing and comic timing of the action in this. via
computer programming is moments of triumph surrounded by hours of the computer telling you you're an idiot
Harboring new doubts about MBTA bag bomb residue search-they missed that my bag was packed with ATOMIC fireballs! (Christmas gift from mom)
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/02/weekinreview/02parkerpope.html - NY Times on sustaining romantic love.
Trying the rotated 90 degrees "tallscreen, not widescreen" thing. A bit vertiginous but you can see a lot of code at once.
In theory I should care about HTML tricks that work in practice but not in theory (like putting a div inside an a href link tag.) In practice I probably won't.
Felisdemens writing on her beloved J in her LiveJournal:
January 10, 2010
My love is the kind of love that wants to destroy his enemies and bring their severed, dripping heads to lay at his feet. But he doesn't have any enemies. And if I brought him any severed heads he would look at me with benign puzzlement and say "I actually think I'd rather have a latte." And I'd get him one.J, aka Mr.Ibis, is an incredibly good natured and jovial guide. Such a nice little tribute!
My love is the kind of love that rises from tar-black waters, all lashing tentacles and snapping jaws and insatiable hunger, primed to devour and subsume. But he leans out to put a warm palm between its mad yellow eyes, and it settles back under the surface burbling happily and does not eat either him or Tokyo.
My love is the kind of love that stands on top of the mountain with a fistful of lightning, prepared to bend the universe to my will and carve his name across the face of the sky. But he calls up to ask if I know where the checkbook is and if I want to get sushi tonight, and I let the lightning go, turn off the Doomsday machine and come down to discuss dinner plans.
I've been domesticated. But not constrained, not pressured to change. It's just that I walk beside a gentler man, and I want to keep his pace. Which is not to say that I don't have the Doomsday machine hidden behind the Triscuits in the pantry.
Patriots lookin' old and busted.
April 8, 2009
Certain moments will never change nor stop being -I found reference to this work on this page that reprints his "There is a gold light in certain old paintings" - something I saw in the New Yorker in the 90s and has stuck with me ever since, with the title, and stunning lines like "Orpheus hesitated beside the black river. / With so much to look forward to he looked back." and "I say the song went this way: O prolong / Now the sorrow if that is all there is to prolong."
My mother's face all smiles, all wrinkles soon;
The rock wall building, built, collapsed then, fallen;
Our upright loosening downward slowly out of tune -
All fixed into place now, all rhyming with each other.
That red-haired girl with wide mouth - Eleanor -
Forgotten thirty years - her freckled shoulders, hands.
The breast of Mary Something, freed from a white swimsuit,
Damp, sandy, warm; or Margery's, a small caught bird -
Darkness they rise from, darkness they sink back toward.
O marvellous early cigarettes! O bitter smoke, Benton!
And Kenny in wartime whites, crisp, cocky,
Time a bow bent with his certain failure.
Dusks, dawns; waves; the end of songs. . .
http://www.slate.com/id/2214067/ - Howard the Duck, now on DVD. Terrible movie, but the novel based on the movie was actually pretty decent!
Last night, an older lady came up to me at Staples: "Kirk!...You don't remember me at all, do you? I was at Cindy's dinner." "Cindy?"-didn't have the heart to ask.
a-suit_N.htm?csp=34 - "Ninja suit helps one-flipper turtle swim". I am not making that up.
"Good lord, what is that inky black puddle Marvin's mom is cleaning up? Does the awful tyke piss out pure evil?"
It seems so dark these days, but I console myself with the reminder that these are very near darkest days of the year, that the sine wave of daytime has pretty much peaked, axial tilt is doing its worse and we're surviving, and for the most part it will only get better from here.
December 11, 2006
Literary Passage of the Moment
Venture too far for love, she tells herself, and you renounce citizenship in the country you've made for yourself. You end up just sailing from port to port. Still, there is this sense of missed opportunity. Maybe there is nothing, ever, that can equal the recollection of having been young together. Maybe it's as simple as that. Richard was the person Clarissa loved at her most optimistic moment. [...] It had seemed like the beginning of happiness, and Clarissa is still sometimes shocked, more than thirty years later, to realize that it was happiness; that the entire experience lay in a kiss and a walk, the anticipation of dinner and a book. [...] What lives undimmed in Clarissa's mind more than three decades later is a kiss at dusk on a patch of dead grass, and a walk around a pond as mosquitoes droned in the darkening air. There is still that singular perfection, and it's perfect in part because it seemed, at the time, so clearly to promise more. Now she knows: That was the moment, right then. There has been no other.Comparing the excerpt to the full passage from the book, it seems like it does a pretty good job, removing the bits that are more subjective, and that the reader would need to take in more of the book to catch the setting. But then another side of me wonders if those subjective details are what it's all about, what sets the scene first, with the more universal analysis built on top of that.
Article of the Moment
Slate on Sudhir Venkatesh's new book on the ghetto economy and sociology. It's a fascinating article, but it almost sounds too good to be true, like one of those personal stories where the main character turns out to be completely made up by the author.
I gave blood today.... actually went ahead and did the Double Red Blood Cell thing, where they use a centrifuge to take out a double dose of red cells and then put the rest back. So my sense of moral smugness should power me throughout the rest of the day.
May 6, 2006
Passage of the Moment
i can taste summer coming. there are certain smells that i forget about until summer rolls around, and then they all come flowing back in my memory: bonfires, sunblock, cookouts, fresh-cut grass... and then there are the images, pictures of things in my mind that probably weren't as good as i remember, yet i can see them so vividly: cramming in a car to go to drive-in movies, covered in bugspray and armed with snacks; wandering around amusement parks dripping wet from water rides; grabbing an elephant ear and some cotton candy at the local fair; seeing a movie on a weeknight and leaving the theater to meet the warm night air... these are the things i hope to do every summer; sometimes i do, sometimes i don't... but this year i'm hoping extra hard.Such a lovely passage, gave me a big old wave of nostalgic feeling. It's really good writing, a lot of sensory details if you're in the right frame of mine. Makes me happy for the return of summer!
Started getting into semi-serious packing yesterday. I'm moving June 7th. And I've come to realize that living in an echo-y boxed up house is a good way of disconnecting, or at least marking the transition.
May 23, 2004
I skipped a morning shower yesterday, partially out of laziness, partially because...well, frankly, I just love the way my skin smells after I've spent a day slathered in SPF30, walking around in the sun. Some combination of light sweat and the chemicals all baked together, or something. It doesn't work with all brands, but a lot of 'em, including Banana Boat Sport, the one I bought the other day. It so taps into all these great old memories I have of going to amusement parks with my high school friends, flirting and riding rides and having a great time. Also summers working with mentally handicapped kids at the Catholic Diocese daycamp, which had its own kind of satisfactions.
Some of the sweetest and most nostalgic times I've had were riding back from Cedar Point, Mike driving with his gal pal in the front, me snuggling and sneaking kisses with my romantic interest in the back. Well, not always that sneaky. Our favorite tape to put in was the soundtrack to the Blues Brothers movie, on the portable tape player Mike used since his car (the 'Mikeymobile', a kind of aged Chevy Citation) didn't have its own stereo.
But anyway, getting back to the smell...I really love it. I mean...it's all I could do not to jam my nose on my shoulder and just stay there for hours, breathing deeply.
Exchange of the Moment
"I could spend the time to sort this crap out properly. But I'd rather send a message to my future self. That message is 'F*** you, YOU sort it out, I'm busy.'" [begins dumping stuff from closet into cardboard box.]
"Yeah, but didn't you already kind of do that to yourself, that's why it's in this state now?"
"Nah. That wasn't me, that was my past self. He was a real prick."
Photos of the Moment
The "Mind Eraser" at Six Flags New England on Friday:
Censorship of the Moment
The poems being censored for being "un-American" is one of the most jaw-dropping stories I've read this week. As Bill the Splut put it, "What's the Eternal War on Terror about again? Oh, right, they hate freedom."
I'm grimly amused by the idea that via Chalabi, Iran played the USA like a bad violin, that they got their #1 foe (US, ala the Great Satan) to take out their #2 foe Saddam.
Image of the Moment
May 19, 2004
--More fun with yesterday's Scale2Xd filter. I have to get some new base images to play with, I use this one way too much...and now it's even worse, because I'm less inclined to use some of the nice shots of Mo I have. I'm not sure why I like this one so much...I guess having my eyes covered make it easier to mess with, plus it has some bold colors and an interesting pose.
Hmmm. Thinking about this now, I guess I'm kind of like some photoshop n00b just discovering filters...the fact that I have to do some semi-clever steps (reduce in size, tweak the palette reduction, saving as a .PNG, then running a command line program for the atual filtering) doesn't really change that...
Poem of the Moment
I phoned from time to time, to see if she'sI adore the line "tell me in two words what you were going to tell in a thousand".
changed the music on her answerphone.
'Tell me in two words,' goes the recording,
'what you were going to tell in a thousand.'
I peer into that thought, like peering out
to sea at night, hearing the sound of
waves breaking on the rocks, knowing she
is there, listening, waiting for me to
Once in a while she'll pick up the phone
and her voice sings to me out of the past.
The hair on the back of my neck stands up
as I catch her smell for a second.
(2019 UPDATE: this poem really hits me as an example of how even our relationships are changed by the technology of the day. There's nothing quite like this with today's cellphones - and most people would prefer you'd text anyway...)
News of the Moment
Texas...what a bunch of Yahoos. They want to deny the Unitarians tax-exempt status because it "does not have one system of belief". Jimminy frickin' crickets. Heaven forbid people be able to admit something besides blind "I just KNOW this is right" faith.
Passage of the Moment
May 9, 2004
I object when people, especially therapists, talk about "resolving grief," as if grief could ever be so compliant. We humans don't "resolve" grief; we live with it. The pain of our losses recedes, over time, and we get on with our lives. But periodically one may well find the chill hand on the heart--what we miss, our mortality--its sudden grip like a sharp intake of breath. It is important for us to recall in such moments that we still remain. Grief washes over us and we are left standing. It's okay. Nothing's wrong. It's just a natural part of things. Dead leaves underfoot. A clear autumn evening, the black sky like a vault, the vapor of our own breath in the air, a surprise. "Oh," we say. "It will be winter again soon. It's grown dark so early." And we burrow deep into our clothes for a moment, glad to be heading home.It's mostly a book on couples' communication. I plan to read it as kind of an autopsy for what Mo and I had, and to try to do better next time...
I think for a long time I've confused having almost no sense of privacy with having a well-developed sense of intimacy, and maybe that's not the case. I think I tended to clam up about some things, how I felt about Mo (I tend to see saying I Love You as kind of a manipulative thing; you show love by your actions, the words can be faked) and when things were bad at work (I didn't want to rub her face in the way how, other than being vaguely supportive, she was helpless to make that situation better.)
So I'm a little worried that, because I really do believe in the power of people to make deliberate changes in their lives (even though it often doesn't take 100%, complete turnarounds are rare) I'm going to read this book, see so much of what Mo and I went through analyzed and given roadmaps to workthrough, that it's going to be really frustrating...a big "if only" game, "if only she had expressed how she saw the problem in English."
UPDATE: Interesting to note the similarities between this passage and this bit from Garrison Keillor's "Mr. Blue" column.
Game of the Moment
September 28, 2003
Ant Arena is a challenging little game. It's based on the way kids would stage little ant gladatorial battles by putting a few in a plastic dish. In the game, you have to steer your blank ant so it hits the sides or backs of increasing numbers of red ants. Fun!
Passage of the Moment
It was good, making love two nights in a row. Doggone it, maybe we men are right about sex not being the answer; sex is the question, yes is the answer, and it blows away a ream of troubles, especially when it's your old beloved. Oh, miracle of miracles. Authentic rapturous passion between two old pros. You lie in bed afterward in a warm daze, tired, rapturized, like a salmon who made it back to the headwaters, like an old stallion who has fulfilled his destiny one more time, and life begins anew. In the dark, the judges are holding up their scorecards--8.1, 9.0, 9.0, 8.9--but that doesn't matter so much, what matters is that the war is over, the roads are open again, the ice is gone, spring is here, and you have discovered, for the 863rd time, the great beauty and simplicity of your life as an animal here on earth. You rise naked from the bed and go down to the creek for a drink of water and far off in the distance other males sound their cries of manly joy and you reply with a deep, chesty roar and the forest is quiet. You drink your water and return to the warm nest of percale and eiderdown and fit your naked self into the dozy curve of Madame's body where she lies swooned on her side and you smell her dew and roses and absorb a simple thought about marriage: this woman is all women, and when you chose her, you became Jay Gatsby and Robert Jordan and Prince Andre and Raskolinov and Ishmael and embarked on a life of imagination, which adultery cruelly violates, and breaks up the music in your head, and also it's a hell of a lot of work to scout up something inferior to what you and she can create at home. You have roamed the Western world in search of a the perfect tuna sandwich; your wife makes a good tuna sandwich; your powers of imagination are what make it perfect.
Trivia Quote of the Moment
"One day he pulled up his shirt to show me his belly button, which he didn't have. He'd had an operation and when they sewed him up they took it away. His belly button was gone!"
--Karen Black on Alfred Hitchcock. So that's why Alfred Hitchcock didn't have a bellybutton.
Headline of the Moment
CNN had the headline Colombia explosion kills 10. I have to admit, my first thought was "Again? Why isn't the headline higher up?" And then it was "Isn't that old news? And shouldn't it be kills 7?" Then I read the article.
Passage of the Moment
March 28, 2003
I suggest that if we, through force of imagination, were to dilate time to experience it as the Pac-Man does, and increase the resolution to allow us to read as much into each pixel as the Pac-Man must, we would not see the identical dots as identical at all. When the microscopic differences in each pixel are made large, each dot will possess a snowflake's uniqueness, and the acquisiion of each--no, the experience of each--will bring the Pac-Man a very specific and distinct joy or sorrow. The dots all rack up points equally, of course, in retrospect, however, some are revealed as wrong choices, links in a chain of wrong choices that trace out a wrong path leading to a withering demise beneath the adorable and utterly unforgiving eyes of Blinky, Inky, Pinky, or Clyde.An interesting Douglas Coupland-ish novel, but with a focus on classic video games, and a side in the dot com world. I posted a review of it on rec.games.video.classic.
Book Review of the Moment
I just finished Dan Savage's Skipping Towards Gomorrah. It was really terrific, I thoughtful but fun romp through each of the seven deadly sins and an attack on the ridiculous and hupocritical "morality" of commentators like Bork and Buchanan: but he points out some of the idiocies of the left as well. One of his central ideas is that as adults, we can choose our own course, that we can choose to take some risks, and dabbling in drugs or gambling or sex is not the inevitable slippery slope that our culture tries to tell us it is. He also points out how these commentators who so often go back to the founding documents of our nation so often ignore the "pursuit of happiness" bit, especially when it's not a path to happiness that they like for themselves. A really good read.
Toy of the Moment
CNN has some Rotateable 3D Models of some of our armed forces' tanks, planes, etc. You need to load a plugin but it's pretty painless.
Comment of the Moment
"I don't see Saddam Hussein capitulating. He's come to the conclusion he's not going to make it out alive, and now he wants a larger chapter in the history book. He'll fight until the bitter end."You know it might sound stupid or somehow unpatriotic to say but I don't think that this war is going all that well. They weren't shocked, they weren't awed. The bombs came and they find themselves still standing. The fight is gonna be for Baghdad. We'll win the battle but lose the war...or rather, win the war but loose the larger war. In the desert, we can kick ass and take names. In the cities, it might look more like Vietnam or Soviet-era Afghanistan. Just a guess.
Florida Filler Update: (Yes, I am a geek, why do you ask?) Florida is very warm and humid. I love some of the wildlife here, the little lizards like we had when we lived on St. Thomas, the little toads like when we lived in Cincinnati. Family anecdote: I would collect these tiny frogs and put them in old Cool Whip containers with holes in the lid that I would bring with me everywhere. One time my mom was driving with me in the back seat, she assumes I'm asleep because I'm quiet for so long, and then she hears "got 'em all back now, mom!"...related family-in-law factoid: Mo's dad helped invent Cool Whip.
September 27, 2002
"Wait!" cried the last two peas in the can. My hand stopped its arc to the garbage.
"What do you want?" I asked them, the two peas that clung in the slivery cylinder.
"We want out."
"What do you care? You're peas."
"That's right. We're peas. What is there for us but the fork and the plate? How can you deny us our place on the plate? We've lived on the vine, huddled in our pod on cold nights, striving away for greenness and roundness. It's all been in vain if you throw us away."
"I didn't know peas had feelings," I said.
"We do," they replied, "and this is our moment. We have nothing higher, no krishna, no green goddess, no madonna of the vegetable garden. This is our calling, no other, the climax of sun and rain and humus, green energy pushing through our vines, this is us, this is what we are. We are the peas."
"How can I help?" I asked them.
"Give us butter and salt," they said, "and maybe pearl onions."
"You know you'll be eaten." I said.
"Does it hurt?"
"No one knows," they answered.