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from a good guy at a great time

Thanks to Facebook I just played the "autocomplete your epitath", where you type "here lies [your name]. [pronoun] was " and then let autocomplete run the rest. I got
here lies kirk. he was a good guy at a great time
which I actually like a lot.
Not only did the Red Sox sweep the Yankees, Boston-area startups are on pace to overtake NYC venture totals thanks in part to companies like my own employer CarGurus...

from January 1, 2017

One Second Everyday for all of 2016.

1. Man, it was a long year! The stuff at the beginning of the year seems so long ago. (Seems kind of weird I've only been going out with Melissa for a year and half or so.)
2. Arguably, there's too much band stuff :-D I mean it's important to me, and photo/audiogenic, but maybe I should start favoring less repetitive stuff...
3. I think I might start posting these seasonally rather than monthly. I'm wondering if 30 seconds is too short but 6 minutes is too long - 1:30 seems like a decent time, and I tend to think of the year in seasons anyway (meteorological not astronomical - fall being Sept Oct Nov, Winter being Dec Jan Feb, etc, not based on solstice / equinox etc)
"These Dunkin Donuts drink carry trays seems like they should be useful for something - I think there's a lifehack for them? Like you put in seedlings in them?"
"Yeah, that sounds like such a lifehack thing. You know what's another lifehack? Don't spend your precious time and energy making seedlings."
Melissa and Me

Life is short, though I keep this from my children.
Life is short, and I've shortened mine
in a thousand delicious, ill-advised ways,
a thousand deliciously ill-advised ways
I'll keep from my children. The world is at least
fifty percent terrible, and that's a conservative
estimate, though I keep this from my children.
For every bird there is a stone thrown at a bird.
For every loved child, a child broken, bagged,
sunk in a lake. Life is short and the world
is at least half terrible, and for every kind
stranger, there is one who would break you,
though I keep this from my children. I am trying
to sell them the world. Any decent realtor,
walking you through a real shithole, chirps on
about good bones: This place could be beautiful,
right? You could make this place beautiful.
Maggie Smith, "Good Bones"

from December 7, 2016

Wears a hat of someone else's choosing
A sunset lover
Smooth elbows
A man with specific mannerisms
Sleeps diagonally
A perplexment
Rides the carousel
An evening botanist
Classically athletic
Wears a light wristwatch
Gives a careful handshake
Gives too much change for a dollar
A fluent swimmer
A keen-eyed birdwatcher
Fond of his mother
Built on an uncertain foundation
A real jackdaw
Avowed bachelor
A gentleman of the piers
Born with the caul
An aesthete
In the way of uncles
He throws a party with an open guest list
Son of the moon
A boy from Eton
Always rings twice
Has a silk bathrobe
Not quite up-to-code
He hitchhikes instead of taking the bus
Stays ahead of the game
A skillful mountain climber
Salutes another flag
An upside-down chimney-sweep

advent day 7

"I feel like one of my life goals should be getting a lifesize cut-out made out of me. Would you want one?"
"You're such an only child."
Me and Melissa
(it only sort of helped when I explained, no, I meant would she want one of herself.)

from October 5, 2016

Ten years ago - to the day - I posted about the song "99 Red Balloons", and hypothesized that the balloons were some kind of invading force, capable of triggering and then *surviving* a nuclear conflagration, as we hear in the song's final verse.

In retrospect, I should have realized the 1956 film The Red Balloon represented a small scout force, and the malicious treatment of the title character may have sealed humanity's fate.

At any rate, in this Apple commercial -- THEY'RE BACK

PS - oh, yikes, in 2001 I scoffed at a Fox News headline "BALLOONS: Why are they so DEADLY" but they were right... THEY WERE RIGHT

from the heartbreak of siri and dr mccoy's pants


Melissa wanted to watch Star Trek 2: The Wrath of Khan, so we are. (She had watched the old series some but not the movies) So far the hardest thing to explain is McCoy's pants in this scene.

from March 21, 2016

Since well before I set loose my robots, we've been a binary race. We mimic the patterns of our computers, training our brains toward yeses and nos, endless series of zeros and ones. We've lost confidence in our own minds.
Robot inventor Stephen R. Chinn in Louisa Hall's "Speak".
It echoes a theme that's been on my mind of late, how we are trying to reduce things in the world from their glorious multiplicity to a single line of "worth" and then further put that to the boolean values "good" and "bad".
Melissa is using my old iPad, after setting stuff up for her I used Photo Booth and gave her a special custom wallpaper.... it had the desired time bomb effect when she went to use it later

from November 24, 2015

The other week I had a bit of sleepy genius - a new product idea: Kitten Scented Air! I figure we can just put a little kitten in a air-filter looking box, with fans and stuff. Man, wouldn't people love that, to have their whole space smell like an adorable little kitten?

Of course, it might be considered a little mean to box up a kitten like that. (Heh, reminds me of the old "The Atlantic Puppy-Grinding Company slogan: "it may be cruel, but think of the jobs!") So maybe we could just keep the kittens at a central happy kitten farm, and bottle the air, put it into spray bottles.

I think Melissa pointed out it would be a nightmare for people with allergies, so they would have to be those hypoallergenic cats.

Or if we can't get enough of those, I think we could safely offer a homeopathic product: just the air from some dude who was THINKING about kittens. Brilliant, right?

Who's with me?

from November 29, 2014

Cautionary note in my avuncular roles..

"Like it. Like it. Like it. BE ME"

My family's derived preferences, in pie chart form.

Eulogy for Radio Shack. For a long time, they were small town America's connection to technology, and their catalogs were great.

from September 21, 2014


from June 13, 2014

This makes me Laugh Out Loud every time I see it...

Apparently it's part of the MMM3000 project, trying to make a helmet so hungry gamers don't have to take their hands off the controls. Fill their final prototype with the Soylent product and you'd be set for a good long while.
There's something magical about the brief period spanning 2004-2009 when digital cameras finally reached a mass appeal price point. Suddenly, people were taking more photos than ever before, but hadn't mastered the concept of 'how to look good in pictures' that came once smartphone cameras took over, ushering in the era of selfiemania.

1. I think this thing in Iraq is semi-huge. and underreported I know getting into Iraq was a mistake, I'm not convinced our complete pull out wasn't.
2. Recent I read (maybe in that "Think Like a Freak" book) how Saddam threw out the UN inspectors not because they'd report he had WMD but because they'd report he wouldn't; I (and a ton of other folks) had a rather-USA-centric view that didn't let me think about how he felt more threatened by regional rivals than by us.
3. If they weren't such a bunch of fundamentalist barbarians out to install a repressive region of utter intolerance, I'd almost have respect for these jerks. As it is I will just find it hilarious they are called "ISIS" just like the people in the animated series "Archer".

from January 11, 2014

cancer isn't funny unless it is a funny comic about cancer, like a clown with cancer or something

Clown sittin there in chemo. He gotta pump the stuff into his veins by hand. It honks every time he squeezes bag.

a clown wheezes as he tries to stay involved in a pie fight, but he has to pause for breath. He is a sad clown

'Look on the bright side, now you're thin enough to fit into the clown car' oh man guys I went a little dark there

Clown resolutely shaving off bright red tufts of hair before they fall out to the tune of 'Yakety Sax'

Clown ends call with insurance after finding out his treatments are not covered anymore with sad honk.

'The good news is the tumor has shrunk by 30%.' *happy honk* 'But we still have to operate.' *sad trombone honk*

During surgery a lapel flower squirts water over doctor. 'Clamp that! STAT!'

IV connected to an upside-down seltzer bottle.

one clown tosses a bucket full of meds at his suffering friend clown

(all that via http://mightygodking.com/2013/08/02/really-twitter-is-so-much-better-than-facebook/ )

from morning conversation

"Wow, 50 people are missing in an Italian cruise accident."
"Yeah, sounds horrendous, like a real life Titanic."
"...Titanic was real life."
Amber and Me, this morning over pancakes and the Sunday New York Times

On the day the world ends, be happy. If you accomplished a lot, you won the game. - If not, you bet on the right horse!

from yo dawg. err, cat.

(1 comment)

December Blender of Love

http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/12/12/out-of-our-brains/ - Amber linked a great piece on gizmos as extensions of our minds. That articles talk on "body thinking" makes me think that a "neuron accurate" computer brain model wouldn't work if it were sans body...

from requiem for a nagbot

At my old job, we had a nice kind of team culture going for the developers.

Our manager Scott asked us to do weekly staus reports at end of day on Thursdays. I thought it would be easy to forget that, so I set an iPhone alarm to remind me, and then figuring the rest of the team was in the same boat, I decided to get in the habit of nudging people. To do so, I invented a persona for our group Skype chatroom called "Nagbot 3000". In theory I could have made up an automated script to do the reminder, but A. that would be work and B. It was kind of fun trying to think of variants to keep things lively.

Nagbot 3000 was generally appreciated by my coworkers. Here are some excerpts I saved at some point...

[Aug 2 2007 16:31:21] NAGBOT 3000 SEZ: status reports for sbruce.

[Aug 16 2007 16:30:20] NAGBOT 3000 SEZ: status tonight!

[Aug 23 2007 16:30:31] NAGBOT 3000 SEZ: STATUS

[Aug 30 2007 16:54:51] NAGBOT 3000 SEZ: STATUS

[Sep 6 2007 17:12:06] NAGBOT SEZ; geez, i guess there's status though everyone seems hipdeep in demo prep...

[Sep 20 2007 16:30:31] NagBot sez: DO YER STATUS
[Sep 20 2007 16:30:48] NagBot sez: *beep*

[Sep 27 2007 15:02:45] NAGBOT 3000 SEZ: status

[Oct 4 2007 16:31:28] NAGBOT 300 SEZ: DO STATUS

[Oct 11 2007 16:17:57] NAGBOT SEZ: STATUS

[Oct 18 2007 16:52:39] NAGBOT 3000 SEZ: DO STATUS

[Oct 25 2007 16:31:02] NAGBOT 3500 (now with politeness module) SEZ: DO YOUR STATUS REPORT PLEASE



[Nov 15 2007 16:47:22] NAGBOT 3000 SEZ: DO STATUS

[Nov 29 2007 16:33:46] *************NAGBOT 3000 SEZ: DO STATUS**************************

[Dec 6 2007 16:30:31] NAGBOT 3000 SEZ: DO STATUS. PLZ.

[Dec 20 2007 16:30:14] NAGBOT SEZ DO STATUS

[Jan 3 2008 16:31:47] NAGBOT 3000 W/ NEW "X-TRA SASS" CIRCUIT SEZ: try to scrape together some kind of decent status report for this weird, holiday-stricken no-man's-land limbo of a week

[Jan 10 2008 16:37:17] NAGBOT 3000 (Freeware Basic Edition) SEZ: do sta.

[Jan 17 2008 16:32:11] NAGBOT 3000 (with music upgrade) SEZ (to the tune of Howdy Doody theme):


[Jan 31 2008 16:31:11] NAGBOT 3000 SEZ: SEND IN YOUR STATUS PLEASE.

[Feb 7 2008 16:30:34] NAGBOT 3000 SEZ: STATUS STATUS RAH RAH RAH

[Feb 14 2008 16:44:56] NAGBOT SEZ: DO STATUS, CHA CHA CHA

[Feb 21 2008 16:35:07] NAGBOT 3000 (RHYMING UPDATE) SEZ:
The Time Has Come
The Walrus Said
To Write Things Done and Not:
Plus Obstacles, And Take All That Stuff
And Send It O'er Scott


[Mar 6 2008 16:36:01] NAGBOT 3000 (NOW W/ POWERPOINT MODULE) SEZ:
Status Reports
* Due Thursday E.o.D.
* Send to Scott
* Report 3 things:
-what you did this past week
-what you plan to do next week
-obstacles in your way

[Mar 13 2008 16:31:05] NAGBOT 3000 (JAPANESE EDITION) SEZ: 自分のステータスレポートをご覧ください。


[Apr 17 2008 16:45:20] NAGBOT 3000 (with a little help from NagNAGBOTBot) SEZ: DO YOUR STATUS REPORT

[Apr 24 2008 16:28:01] NAGBOT 3000 (late 80s hiphop edition) SEZ: LOOKIN' AT MY GUCCI IT'S ABOUT THAT TIME

[May 1 2008 17:00:51] SLIGHTLY DELAYED NAGBOT 3000 SEZ: do your status!

[May 8 2008 16:30:30] NAGBOT 3000 (special Matrix Bullet-Time FX Edition) SEZ: dddddddddooooooooooooooooooo yyyyoooooooooooooooooouuuuurrrrrrrrrr sssssssttaaaaattuuuuuuuuuuuusssssssssssss rrreeeeeeeeepppooooooooooooooorrrrrrttt

[May 15 2008 17:23:45] NAGBOT 3000 SEZ (SUPER SECRET ENCRYPTION MODULE ENGAGED): qb lbhe fgnghf naq pbatenghyngvbaf ba xabjvat ebg-guvegrra!

[May 22 2008 16:33:20] NAGBOT 3000 (limerick edition) SEZ:
there once was a guy from rockport
whose career was nearly cut short
his work went unheeded
cause all that he needed
was to do his status report!

http://www.thebigmoney.com/articles/judgments/2009/09/03/emotional-rescue - how moods are almost literally contagious, and what that means for the economy. "f you put two people in a room facing each other, without talking to each other, their moods will converge, or more likely, the mood of the less expressive person will move towards the mood of the more expressive person." What are the implications of that for how I want to live my life?

on my car, the first leaf of fall? AARGH!
(eh, maybe just from a dead branch but still)

http://magweasel.com/category/reading-room/ - has an amazing translation of "Phantom of Akihabara", about gamers after a Japanese censorship apocalypse. Also the site is a good PC-Engine blog too.
http://www.care2.com/greenliving/the-9-types-of-intelligence.html - Amber sent me the link. EVERYTHING needs to be evaluated in a many dimensional kind of way.... though you end up sounding too much like that "evaluating a poem's greatness" shtick Robin Williams has all the students rip out of the book in Dead Poets Society.

from "did you know that the things that hold the ends of your shoelaces together have a name? aglets! couldn't do your car. aglets."

I was going to drop the store's car off and just sit at home until they fixed my car, then I'd figure out a way to pick it up. Because I had a very strong feeling that it wouldn't be ready on Monday.

Hey, guess what! It's Monday, and it's not ready! Was the engine accidentally shipped to the Lost City of Atlantis? No, that might make sense. Here's the actual reason I was given:
"The mechanics went to a race. They were supposed to be home last night, but, you know, all this rain!"
I paused, then said "Uh-huh." But I thought "I don't even know what that's supposed to MEAN!" Rain? Were they driving cars made out of paper? It was like he was reading some Surrealist Garage Excuse Generator. When I call tomorrow, I expect to be told one of the following:
"Well, it'd be done today, but one of the guys saw a bee once. And, y'know--hives."

"Did you know that the things that hold the ends of your shoelaces together have a name? Aglets! Couldn't do your car. Aglets."

"Seriously, in Flashdance she's got this huge loft apartment! How could a welder afford that? And who put that bucket of water up there?! MAN, I have to lie down now."

"I can't tell you when your car will be ready. (leans in, whispers) The corn has ears."
This is the last time I take my car to a place with a sign over the bay doors reading "Ne c'est pas une Garage."

But after TEN DAYS of having my car, they finally offered me a loaner. I ran to it because you know, all this rain, and sat down and realized "This is MY car!" A Ford Escort, but a Mercury Tracer's the same thing with a few differences in the bodywork. And despite it having the same dashboard layout as the car I've driven for 10 years, after only 10 days in another car I tried to shift into reverse by turning on the windshield wipers.

Any bets as to how quickly my car gets done, now that I have THEIR car? When they call tomorrow, I'll say "Yeah, I could bring it back today, but pancakes made the Pentagon a gerbil. Y'know, all this prune of dog barf!"

Something I had on my old backlog. You know, in trying to figure out if I had posted this before, I found out that according to Google 'til now, Bill's site was like the only place the phrase "mechanics went to a race" (words in that order) appears on the web.

(that's the result of a new sketch program I'm making that I hope will encourage me to do more doodles for the site.)

from taking sixes across the board

Really random Dear Diary kisrael ahoy
Wow, I managed to kick butt at minigolf yesterday, which never happens. After 18 holes I was ahead by like 10 strokes, with a lot of 2s. This was at Kimballs in Westford...I like the one hole that's a jump over a chasm, and another where putting your ball in the running water has a good chance of an easy hole-in-one. We put in a low-ish maximum 5 strokes rule... otherwise my triumph might have been even grander.

Andy was up from Atlanta, and so we had our traditional movie night at Jim and his wife Sam's place. Jim and Andy are so funny, the perfect people to watch bad movies with, and just hanging out... Jim is amazing. Like on the score sheet... He started with "Sam". Andy sometimes goes by the name "Big A", so that's what Jim wrote. And then "Little Kirk", and "Some Jim". And the other thing I admire is he didn't make a big deal about it, didn't call attention to it like I know I would've... it was just a funny little detail waiting to be discovered, or if no one discovered it, than just for his own mild amusement.

You can just get into this giggling at everything mode, kind of like you've been smoking weed, except your high on life. Or something. Other injokes were noticing that a "UMASS" sweatshirt is almost equally readable as "Um, ass?". And that the gal in the group ahead of us looked like she was "taking sixes across the board" which sounded weirdly dirty, but really just was what they assumed their maximum stroke count was.

Guess you had to be there. But they really are even funnier than that last paragraph makes them sound.

Page of the Moment
Kind of an extension of yesterday's thoughts on the adaptability of language, it's FUTURESE: The American Language in 3000 AD. Pretty cool stuff! (Though usually, the variation of English everyone in the Sci Fi galaxy speaks is called "Basic", not "Anglic" or "Galach")

Weird. I'm 90% sure I had this one email exchange this week via gmail, but can't find any archive of it. It's kind of freaking me out.
Wow, McCain is really trying to use a Hillary wedge! Just realized it's been years since I thought about Geraldine Ferraro...

from sillcock

(1 comment)
Spent most of the weekend helping out with EB, either in the "just hang out and relax" mode, or the "lets get stuff moved around and unpacked and try to get something resembling a house in order."

Like I twitter'd, EB recently had all the nice wood floors polyurethane'd and now is, for my money, a bit uptight about them. Yeah you don't want to make big gouges in 'em, but you don't want to be like your Great Aunt who puts all the furniture in plastic sheeting and making life miserable for your cousins.

There is a bit of family lore where my folks decided to let me skate in the apartment (which had broad-ish wood floors... this was in Salamanca, and I was so bummed to find out the place was torn down, I had dreams of seeing how the inside of it jived with my 27-years-ago memories of it) 'cause life and experience was more important than pristine floors. Conversely, maybe they were being a bit cavalier with a place that wasn't technically theirs, but still.

I figure you need to watch for the real trouble spots, I've learned that office chairs at work desks can wreak havoc on an otherwise nice floor, along with the wicker bottoms of papasan chairs, but if you do that, don't sweat it. (I don't want to sound like I'm picking on EB too much, after we were moving some heavy furniture around that could potentially leave some serious bites...)

I also helped him hose down some tarps that had been sitting outside for way too long, from when were scraping the shed in fact. Which led to this:

Exchange of the Moment
"Hey, what was that term for 'outside faucet' you used before? Hoistcock? Cockstopper?"
"...it was 'sillcock'."
"You know, like a house has a sill? It..."
"<still giggling>"
"Never mind."
Me and EB, 2008-8-10.

Years ago my folks said giving their kid a place to rollerskate was worth scuffed floors-now it's tough to deeply share EB's floor concerns.
If you can't find the toe-line, the bar ain't that serious about its dart board.

from gravely

So yesterday Evil B and I worked on his driveway. It was unpaved gravel but with enough weeds that it was starting to look like an extremely poorly kept lawn, virtually enough to give careless beachgoers an excuse to block it while parking.

Well, we took care of that.

The first part was the weeding. For the first stage we broke up the worst areas with the pickax and one of those twisting garden claw things, both shown here. Eventually we started shoveling hunks of gravely landscape into a sifting screen over a wheelbarrow, shaking furiously and picking out the roots and plant bits. Later we had to shovel and rake to redistribute the new gravel to cover the turned over space.

It was a lot of heavy and dusty work. The photo above is him and me standing after the new gravel was delivered. In all we had about 2 1/2 "scoops" delivered, a scoop being about a cubic yard, which is about a ton.

A ton of gravel is only like 30 or 40 bucks! I am totally in awe of our society that you can buy a ton of anything useful for that kind of money. I almost want to get a scoop delivered to my apartment, just so I could have a ton of something.

Physically it was a tough but satisfying day, and the end result was a huge improvement. In the evening we head for a reviving swim at the beach, braving the chilly water for a swim to the raft anchored offshore. It was kind of cool seeing Evil B pass on the neighborhood lore of the raft to some groups of younger people who later arrived: the game where you stand on the edge with your heels hanging off until the small ocean harbor waves throw you off, and then the ritual of diving to the bottom and returning with handfuls of sand to show that you've done it.

(Evil B mentioned that he liked the mix you see in Rockport. The first group who joined us swam over from a sailboat, 2 very young boys, 2 older girls, and a father-y figure. Later it was 3 boys, sweet natured kids who might've been from the wrong side of the tracks.)

So, a good day in all.

Exchange of the Moment
[Evil B explains that he's going to break up some ground with the pickax and I can then move in with the Garden Claw to rip it up. He begins swinging the pickaxe with great vigor:]
Evil B: "[Swings] Get in there! [Swings]"
Kirk: "Uh... your lips say 'yes, yes' but your ax says 'no, no'..."
Turns out he was addressing the ax, not me...
You had to be there but my nervous comment struck him as pretty funny.

from kirk you're a horrible person

Latest harebrained dieting scheme: nothing but fruit and veggies (though stuff like baked potatoes and salads can have some reasonable level of accoutrement) unless I have a craving for it.

Of course the danger here is that I start redefining "craving", but currently I have a distinct pattern: Every few days I'll just get a severe hankering for something, generally something that I saw the day prior. Since I'm more of an opportunistic eater besides that, maybe I need to just roll with it, and make room for those cravings by minimizing everything else.

It has been a few months since I've had soda. I haven't seen the benefits that "even giving up diet soda!" is supposed to have had. I haven't missed it that much either, though I was momentarily caught off guard at the movie theater, figuring out what goes with popcorn. Luckily they had bottles of water floating right in front of me.

Exchange of the Moment
"Kirk, you're a horrible person."
"That's not what yo' mama said last night!"
"...I could see her not saying that."
Jonathan and Me, 2007.08.30
"Shouldn't that be Jonathan and I?"
"No... you do the substitution... if I was quoting myself, I would write something like: [gestures]
         'Now is the Time'
"Well, you could be a pirate... Iiiii."
"Pirates don't say 'Iiii'."
"Then... 'Aarrgh.'"
"Pirates don't say 'Aargh' either! They say 'Arrrr'. That's what they're known for saying."
"Then maybe you could be some kind of... ...fantasy creature. One that says 'Iiii'."
Jonathan and I, immediately after previewing the transcription of the previous dialog.

Photo of the Moment

--EB catching his pride-and-joy at Arlington Center, 2007.08.29

from burn baby burn

I was watching the History Channel Star Wars special the other night, the one going on about how Star Wars has these mythic tropes, and when they showed Luke removing Vader's helmet at the end of Return of the Jedi, I started thinking about how Hayden Christensen must be thinking "that's supposed to be me?"... and I finally put my finger on something that has been bothering me fore a while:
Darth Vader unmasked and Uncle Fester; separated at birth?

In doing my extensive research for this, I found this Wii "Mii" Avatar of Vader Unmasked... I guess there are whole sites dedicated to celebrity Miis. Also I found this rather disturbing bit of fan art, Lava Damaged Vader, buy this one guy who does a lot of them.
There's a level of facility that everyone needs to accomplish, and from there it's a matter of deciding for yourself how important ultra-facility is to your expression. ... I found, like Joseph Campbell said, if you just follow whatever gives you a little joy or excitement or awe, then you're on the right track.
Terry Bozzio
(heh, speaking of Joseph Campbell...as the Star Wars special did at great length...)
You know, I think I need to rethink having positive feelings about Giuliani. I had some doubts back when he Disneyfied Times Square, and especially his recent playing-to-the-cheap-seats indignation that our Iraq policy may have set some of the conditions that let WTC happen, but he had that social liberal / fiscal conservative vibe going, pro-choice and all... but after reading that link, yikes.

from the great chair famine of 2012

(1 comment)
Another Sunday on EB's home refurbishment project in Rockport. This day entailed packing lots of chairs into those transportable storage containers (a lockable shed-like box up with stuff, then the storage company carries it away to a nice climate-controlled place for the interim.)

EvilB working away in the chair stockpile
And by lots of chairs, I mean lots of chairs, some in various states of disrepair (including a few missing their wicker seats, which I consider the "assless chaps" of chairdom), but each now wrapped in those cheap furniture blankets you can buy at U-Haul.

Why his folks' place has quite so many chairs was never quite clear. "Maybe I had a shortage of chairs growing up," joked his mom.

Sure, we may scoff now, but it's clear that this storage container will be their key to weathering the upcoming Great Chair Famine of 2012.

Sounds of the Moment
Boingboing posted some fascinating Audio Illusions. The first link, Shepard's ascending tones, is especially amazing... the tones definately seem to be getting higher and higher, but if you press "play" as it soon as it ends you realize you're back where you started! It's about as exact an aural equivalent of Escher's Ascending and Descending as you could hope for.

from where the wings have no shame

Ah, the joy of Liberal Guilt: I've started taking my daily coffee without milk, just to see if I feel better with less dairy. But if the Dunkin Donuts worker is African-American, I have to admit I catch myself before asking for it "black".

The sweetener issue comes into play too. "Black with sugar" sounds like a pickup line. Maybe "Black, an Equal" is a more positive message.

Or I'll just stick with saying "no milk".

Newsquote and Links of the Moment
But defining the current surge as a "Plan A" is a dangerously dishonest move that ignores the history of the Iraq war to date. In fact, since 2003, we have run through at least six plans, none of which has succeeded. The Petraeus plan is something more akin to Plan F—truly, the last Hail Mary play in the fourth quarter. And if it fails, then we better start considering Plan G, also known as "Get out of Iraq."
Slate has had some interesting stuff lately. I enjoyed the gusto Blogging the Bible displayed for the book of Solomon, and today's meditation on the SkyMall's SnacDaddy product as a message about American culture is not to be missed. (In response to the SnacDaddy's promise to hide the discarded bones and how "your mess is kept out of sight while the wings keep coming.": "Thank God, because as everyone knows, looking at chicken bones after having eaten chicken parts can result in devastating moments of existential doubt: I too will become nothing more than bare wing bones someday. Kinda Beckett-like.")

from delawary

Oy, the weekend. I'm in Delaware the latter half of next week, so this weekend I have to find that difficult balance of preparation for the trip next week and that big category of "anything that isn't damn work related".

IM of the Moment
FoSO: is delaware worth visiting?
kirk:let me ask you this: do you like the business sense of connecticut, the small-shore state feel of rhode island, and the black urban sensibility of the non-political parts of washington dc?
FoSO: wow, yes! sounds really nice...
kirk: huh, that sounds a lot better than I meant it to now that i read it

Toy of the Season

--I linked to this snowflake construction kit toy before, but it bears repeating. Still has some oddities, every once in a while you'll be making an elaborate creation, then go to cut off a little near the left-edge center, and then suddenly everything drops off except for that little bit you meant to remove... fortunately there's an Undo button. (Be warned I had poor results with the "Email This Flake" function.)

FoSO also pointed out Zefrank's Kaleidoscope-y variant

from *cough cough*

Ricola coughdrops has a current promotional campaign that I find despicably brilliant. "Find the Mystey Cougher"... somewhere in America someone will be coughing, and if a person offers them a ricola coughdrop, they'll get a million bucks.

It sounds like there's a website and clues being dropped by email, so it's not as random as all that.

Still, as the Daily Dump puts it:
The brilliance of this is manifold. First, it would be HILARIOUS to see someone rushing through a crowded subway station or a restaurant offering everyone who coughed a Ricola. What are the chances that someone gets beat up doing this? 10:1? 5:1? Hilarious. Second, I want TWO people in the same place rushing around offering everyone a Ricola, shoving each other out of the way to be the first one to offer the lozenge. Third, I want to see someone run up to a Spanish person who just coughed and offer them a Ricola, only to have the Spanish person make a gesture that they don't understand and have the person FLIP OUT screaming, "How do you say, 'Would you like a Ricola?' in Spanish. HOW DO YOU SAY IT!" My head is spinning over this.
Personally, I'm thinking of the pathetic loser who doesn't even realize hints are being dropped, but who could really use the money, pathetically and desperately reprogramming themselves to offer a Ricola coughdrop to anyone they encounter coughing for the rest of their life.

On that Daily Dump site, I liked The Bourbon Samurai's comment:
Other cough drop companies should create competing mysery coughers...you would never know which to offer..."Halls? Ricola? Sucrets? Glass of Robitussin? Dammit! WHICH ONE ARE YOU!!!"

Quote of the Moment
Television reporter: "This November will be your 104th birthday. What is your secret for longevity?"
Elderly man: "Huh?"

from i just like saying "luftballoons"

I was thinking about 99 Red Balloons the other day. For those who haven't ever really listened, the plot of the song is that people buy a bunch of balloons, let them go, it triggers some kind Air Force defense system and Word War III results.

So the song starts off a little weird:
You and I in a little toy shop
Buy a bag of balloons with the money we've got.
Set them free at the break of dawn
'Til one by one, they were gone.
You'd think they'd need to be helium filled balloons. The "money we've got" line makes it sound like they don't have much, and they don't mention anything about purchasing a helium tank... perhaps it's a super windy day or something? Maybe the balloons were prefilled with helium? (Though would 99 of them fit in a bag?) Or maybe it's something much, much more sinister...

Take a look at the ending:
It's all over and I'm standing pretty.
In this dust that was a city.
If I could find a souvenir.
Just to prove the world was here.
And here is a red balloon
I think of you and let it go.
What I want to know is... just how tough is that damn balloon? I mean, the nuclear exchange pulverized the town, and this balloon survived? Maybe the air force was right to scramble and attack these well-nigh-invulnerable super-balloons that don't need helium to fly, and seem to have deliberatly provoked a nuclear conflagration... we played right into their hands!

It's been a while since I've seen that film, but maybe Le Ballon rouge was just a scout... in fact, possibly that young boy should be tried as a collaborator!

I, for one, welcome our new floating latex overlords.

from what not to name a car

For what it's worth, the Impala SS gets my vote for "worst named car ever". What, "Punctura Nazi Trooper" was already taken?

Journal Entry of the Moment
Setting: sitting on Loverboy's lap
Loverboy: *pensive* I've never had such a big girlfriend.
Me: I beg your pardon?
L: *Slightly louder* I said, I've never had such a big girlfriend.
M: Yes, that's what I thought I'd heard. What the hell...?
L: I mean, they never quite reached my nose.
M: And that's big then? Not tall?
L: Why yes, you're chunky.
M: CHUNKY?! You think I'm bloody chunky??
L: Well of course you are!
M: Chunky?! I am NOT chunky!
L: But you are! You know you are not thin.
M: Well cheers.
L: Oh please, you know what I mean, you don't look famished.
M: I'll say. Oh wait. Is this universal-chunky or Loverboy-chunky?
[He often uses adjectives in a way that the rest of the world doesn't share, and it's led to some beautiful linguistics-based situations in the past.]
L: Er, mine? But they're the same this time.
M: Really. Please look up chunky and then tell me if it still is what you mean.
L: Don't be ridiculous, I don't need to look it up, I know what it means.
M: If you don't look it up I'll smoke in the living-room.
L: *laughs*
M: *has fag in living-room*
M: Do you think this conversation is going well, would you say? What with the defunct girlfriends and my being a robust farm animal?
L: Honestly, I'll never understand why women are so weird, what's wrong w what I said? See, I've looked it up!
M: Yes?
L: *vindicated-like* "Short, heavy, stocky".
M: Did you hear what you've just said? This is absolutely demented, that's what I am, you say?
L: I've told you bfr, your body is muscled.
M: What, a new one? Muscled! Where the hell do you see muscles and what do muscles have to do w stocky?
L: Maybe you're not quite so muscled now but it's easy to see you once were. That's chunky.
L: All right then. Be that way.
M: *Sticks hand all the way down to his stomach, pushes into small intestine and writes THAT IS NOT WHAT CHUNKY MEANS in the lining. In blood.*
He has just walked into the office looking for something and en passant idly remarked But you are chunky.

She has a pretty amazing writing style, sometimes reading it is like taking a sip from a firehose. (She was the girlfriend of our former foreign exchange student's brother and they stayed briefly at my mom's NYC apartment when I was visiting as well.)

Hedbergism of the Moment
I get a cold sore. I hate to say it, Minnesota, but in a cold sore I put Carmex on it 'cause Carmex is supposed to alleviate cold sores. I dunno if it does help, but it will make them shiny and more noticeable. It's like cold sore highlighter! Maybe they could come up with an arrow that heals cold sores.

from ding-taepo-dong

If memory serves, the Boston fireworks preshow had not just Aerosmith but Rockapella.

It is my considered opinion that "a cappella" is for singing, not for listening. I have no idea how it attracts any kind of fanbase.

Sidebar of the Moment
--I almost did a spittake when I saw that the sidebar from an MSNBC article on North Korea's missiles had its own "Launch" button...

Other News of the Moment
USA to hit 300 million. Clearly I'm going to have to update my mental rough estimate of the population, which has been at "275 million or so" for too long.

Interesting how experts think it puts the USA in a better position than Europe and Japan, especially in terms of having a chance of caring for an aging population. It's a detail that should be brought up more often in immigration debates.

from tiddley, your tummy pal

Yesterday my coworker let loose with a mighty sneeze, one on par with my own. Some of the other coworkers commented, and I mentioned that a "sneeze like that is nothing to sneeze at." Not my finest humor moment, but hey.

So what is something to sneeze at? One coworker suggest pepper, or pollen, but I don't think causing a sneeze is the same as being sneezed at, despite the likely proximity.

All lame jokes aside, it is an odd expression. I guess sneezing could be construed as a sign of insufficient respect, but hey... when you gotta sneeze, you gotta sneeze.

E-mail excerpt of the Moment
(After some talk about yesterday's diet-related kisraeling, and how even though Zippos are great fidgits I really shouldn't even joke about taking up smoking as a diet aid.)

>>>>Sometimes I find myself wishing
>>>>that I had a tapeworm or something though :-)


>>clearly you haven't seen enough cute, cuddley,
>>muppety cartoony tapeworms.

>again, 'eeeeeeewwwwwww!!!!!!!!!'

No, really, take a look!

--Me and FoSO. Of course, there is nothing new under the sun, and every good idea you have is probably already done somewhere on the Internet.

Personal News of the Moment
Just got the news from my boss...

Sure I'm just going to waste it, but still.... FOUR DAY WEEKEND!

from knock knock

I was giving Ksenia some grief about the way she might have to work at the temple on Christmas Day...she's culturally ethnically Jewish but Russian Orthodox in practice. Of course, the 25th isn't Orthodox Christmas anyway.

At any rate, she got the hiccups as we were walking through Harvard Square, and I suggested maybe it was God punishing her, either for being a fence-sitter like that, or for being mean to me and tricking me into carrying the bag from 7-11. So I started telling Knock-Knock jokes:
"Knock knock."
"Who's there?"
and then a bit later, down the street:
"Knock Knock."
"...Who's there?"
Finally as we were almost back to the car:
"Knock knock."
"Knock knock!"
"Fine, who is there?"
"A cute little kitten!"
"A cute little kitten who?"
So I'm not sure which Hell I'm going to end up in, but one of them.

Gripe of the Moment
Last year I griped about how dumb Window's file finder had become. Well, Outlook 2003 seems to be campaigning for a place on my S***list. It's just trying so darn hard to be helpful...rearranging the taskbar buttons for messages I'm composing, closing the window of an email I was composing but navigated away from, and tucking it safely away in the sent folder...bleh! So inconsistent with anything else I've ever used! And now it has some of the same "lets make search results look like regular content" that plagues Window's file Explorer...in this case they have a nice filter-looking search, but there's not an obvious visual cue that the filter is being applied. This means you can happily think "oh, no new mail lately" when what's really happening is "no new mail that meets the keywords you were searching for."


from mein gott, madonna is packin'!

Photo Phunnies of the Moment
Besides her amazing wire-y biceps, the current issue of Rolling Stone indicates that Madonna is More Man Than I'll Ever Be:


Watch those shadows, boys. (It's even more blatant in the magazine.)

from 5! = 1·2·3·4·5

Geek Snarkery of the Moment
A friend gave me a photocopy of a worksheet from a programmer job interview, the contents of which I'm transcribing here. Probably the worst interviewee experience I've seen. I've tried to be reasonably fair; arguably I should could be generous and use * in place of ·, since this was handwritten, but given all the absolute conceptual failures and mental disconnects, I'm leaving it as is.

So the interview "challenge" was to write a factorial function. Now, I don't know exactly how well or poorly the problem was described by the interviewer, but given the first line, probably copied from a whiteboard, I'm assuming it was pretty straightforward. Here's what the sheet had on it...most of the strikes are circular scribble-outs:
5! = 1·2·3·4·5

public string access(string 5! a)
    string b = a.substring(0,1);
    Int int c = b String.getValue(b);
    if(c < 2){
    } else if (c < 3){
    } else if (c < 4){
I know that won't mean anything to non-geeks, but the layer on top of layer of sheer "Not Getting It" is a real jawdropper. (I went ahead and placed an attempt to list all (or at least most of) the problems as the first comment) For someone aspiring to a Java development position, and who must've sounded at least possibly decent on the phonescreen...supposedly the person has multiple masters degrees in science-y and computer-science-y fields, both from good local Universities.

In case you think I'm being unfair, here is a link to the actual handwritten response.

Dialog of the Moment
"Death needs time like a junkie needs junk."
"And what does Death need time for?"
"The answer is so simple. Death needs time for what it kills to grow in..."
William S. Burroughs
Via this Katrina-related BoingBoing piece.

Politics of the Moment
Fun if rude-n-crude rant about Bedtime for BonzoBush...he blew off a 2-hour lunch meeting because the night before the Argenentinian schedule pushed events past his bedtime. Poor pumpkin! What a loser we have for president, and I don't just mean the popular vote in 2000. Maybe it's a good thing Cheney's really the guy in charge, then.

from bumper2bumper

(1 comment)
Bad Game Idea of the Moment
--I made up this (poor) mockup for this AtariAge thread about "Games you would never play". The scary part is the name and idea is something I came up with in 1997 on r.g.v.c....in 1997.

from a fifth of...oh nevermind

Joke of the Moment
Q. What was Beethoven's favorite fruit?


--The only way I could think of showing a sound based joke...

Geek Fashion of the Moment
WOW. an LED-tanktop that plays "Conway's Game of Life".

I wonder if the idea could be modified to scroll text as well...

from pop culture

Movie of the Moment
A brief video of a bunny trying to find love with a balloon. Personally, I think having a lover disappear like that would be a most distressing experience.

Sleepy Talk of the Morning
A bit of early morning conversation between Me and Ksenia...it's just PG-13, and not in a personal way, but Mom filter engaged, highlight text with mouse or hit Ctrl-A to read.
<filter type="mom" tip="highlight text with mouse or hit ctrl-a to read">
"We need to get up."
"Ehhrmmmmm....not yet."
"No we have to get up."
"What time is it?"
"Like 8."
"Guh, you're right."
"Of course. I'm always right."
"No, I'm always right!"
"That's a good point. You are the sun of rightness, and I am merely the moon, just reflecting a bit of your rightness at night."
"You're right New York City, and I'm merely right New Jersey. You're the Eiffel Tower of rightness, and I'm the Arc de Triomphe."
"You're a great big garbage dump of right, and I'm only a little toxic stream running off of it."
"I liked the sun and the moon thing better."
"You're the penis of rightness, and I'm just the pubic hair around it. No, better...you're the vagina of rightness, I'm just the bellybutton of rightness."
"But the clitoris of truth is: we have to get up, like now."
"OK I'm going!"

from go tufts 913017652975623321901282055s!

I'm not the first person to make this kind of joke, but after reading about Peta's campaign drawing strong parallels between human slavery and our treatment of animals, and then hearing about the NCAA's recent decisions about "Native American" mascots, and then seeing a bumpersticker for some local school's "Lions" team, I got to thinking if the next step for Peta is to discourage the use of that kind of mascot.

An Onion-esque site ScrappleFace got to the idea first. Or as they put it:
An NCAA spokesman said the organization will also consider a resolution at its next meeting to eliminate team names and mascots altogether, and to identify each collegiate sports team by a randomly-generated 27-digit number.
I'm all for it! I even decided to give my alma mater a head start with the following graphic...

I'm still working on an appropriate cheer.

from ...[grunt]...

(1 comment)
Dialog of the Moment
"Keep your rear foot firmly in contact with the ground, don't let it roll up on the arch."
"Create length along the front...and be sure to focus on Uddiyana Mudra and Uddiyana Mudra, they can really help."
"Try and keep your belly soft."
"No problem!"
My yoga instructor and me last night. Got a laugh from the rest of the small class.

Link of the Moment
Star Trek business cards. I love the retro-60s design work.

UPDATE: Some Star Wars ones as well, possibly actually made up in the actual era. Plus a famous card of 3CP0...

from illusion/elusion

So the other day my Tufts alumni connection brought be some disturbing news. No, not that they had possibly been hacked and all my personal information they have on me was at risk -- worse. A guy named Kirk Jalbert was having his MFA thesis exhibition at Tufts' Aidekman Gallery, and it had an Atari theme. The implication was, for me, enormous: not only might I not be the biggest source of Atari 2600 mojo to come from Tufts University, I might not even be the biggest source of Atari 2600 mojo to come from Tufts University named Kirk. Troubling indeed, and further investigation was in order.

Kirk Jalbert's piece is named Illusion/Elusion and the description is as follows:
Why do outdated technologies proliferate in mainstream culture? As a member of the first generation of virtual-capable human beings, my body has grown proprioceptively comfortable with its on-screen counterpart. Interactive experiences of the past, once difficult, are now navigated with ease. Physical and mental reference points have been created. We have evolved, yet still return to earlier virtual experiences sometimes bent by the interference of distorted memory. Illusion/Elusion is an exploration of these nostalgic fascinations through elementary interactions with an Atari2600-based system.
Phew, quite a mouthful. Answers.com reports that proprioception is "The unconscious perception of movement and spatial orientation arising from stimuli within the body itself." Hmm, ok. "Interactive experiences of the past, once difficult, are now navigated with ease" -- interesting. At first I thought he meant that modern games are easier, but actually he means the old games are simpler than their modern-day counterparts.

Anyway, onto the work itself. (I didn't ask if it was ok to take photos or not, so I took these on the sly. Hopefully I won't get a nastygram about all this review...)

The set up at Aidekman has 3 TVs on stands on one side and then a mass of assorted, repetitious hardware (including some brightly painted Atari 2600s) attached to the nearby walls with lots of strung wire connecting it all.

Each TV has a good ol' Atari CX40 joystick, headphones, and 2 buttons (one "illusion" the other "elusion"). The TVs switch between Pitfall!, Frogger, Pac-Man, and this old black and white video from the 50s or something. The "illusion" button seems to act as a reset for the game, and the "elusion" seems to switch to the video, and also sometimes the TVs seem to switch of their own accord. The reception was really terrible on some of the TVs, it wasn't clear if this was on purpose or not.

The hardware was interesting to look at. It produced pleasing, cricket-like clicks which seemed to correspond with the switching of the TV displays.

The Ataris were brightly colored, and each had a rebadged cart in its slot. Not the sharpest looking homebrew stickers I've seen, but hey.

So, that was pretty much it. I suppose people's reaction to the work will have hinge on how they feel about modern and interactive art in general. (I generally like interactive art just so long as the viewer can actually tell that the work is responding to them and not just noodling along on its own.) Personally, I think "Art is what you can get away with", and this was reasonably interesting and visually pleasing, so I thought it was pretty good over all. On the other hand, it wasn't engrossing for that long...and of course some of the appeal was just playing a bit of Pitfall and Pac-Man, which I hadn't for a while. (And I probably have much more recently than most of the intended audience.) I suppose that ties into the theme of "technological tourism", the simple nostalgic pleasure of these old games. I think the whole 2D iconic representation of the games is a rich territory that Kirk Jalbert downplays in favor of the "it's just nostalgia" vibe. Also, the title "illusion/elusion" is pretentious as all hell...

So I give it a thumbs up. It gives me hope that someday if I ever get around to my "Myth of Sisyphus" 2600 game and make or followup a few contacts, maybe I can get some gallery time somewhere...

from spf30

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.

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."
Me and Peterman while packing last night.

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.

from random flowers

Charity of the Moment
Chip in to send flowers to random gay people waiting in line to get married in San Francisco...very cool idea.

Death Match of the Moment
Which icon of the old school would win?
80s Rapper
  70s Computer
Street Cred
Well-regarded by hardcore fans Hated by millions of schoolkids
Advantage: KRS-ONE
Black Monochrome
Advantage: KRS-ONE
Google Hits
81,200 88, 500
Advantage: Too Close To Call
Personal Feelings
Liked that line "and war...is just a game on Atari" Eh, this little "dancing demon" game was cute
Advantage: KRS-ONE
Name Meaning
"Knowledge Reigns Supreme Over Nearly Everyone" "Tandy Radio Shack for the 80s"
Advantage: KRS-ONE
English BASIC
Advantage: Tie
Doug E Fresh Commodore 64
Advantage: TRS-80


Bushism of the Moment
"Haven't we already given money to rich people? Why are we going to do it again?"
"Stick to principle. Stick to principle."
Bush Jr (in an unguarded moment) and Karl Rove, a November 2002 meeting on the second round of taxcuts.
MullyMolly Ivins says that even tops her previous favorite Bushism, his October 4 2001 proclamation that "We need to counter the shockwave of the evildoer by having individual rate cuts accelerated and by thinking about tax rebates."

School Headline of the Moment
College Republicans battle sex events: Tufts University hosts 'Condom Olympics,' 'Vulvapalooza'
"'The gratuitousness of these events is incredible,' said Tufts Republicans President Philipp Tsipman."...he says that like it's a bad thing. (And how do you pronounce Tsipman, anyway?) Go Jumbos! Now I'm slightly more likely to give my alma mater money. Sometime.

from it was a class on romance

Dialog of the Moment
"Remember that class you tried to hold last semester, out of your dorm room?"
"Err, not really."
"It was a class on romance..."
"Oh, that one."
"...that mostly consisted of 45 minutes of you fiddling with the VCR, trying to find the right part of the tape, giving helpful advice like 'if you're watching videos on a date I guess you should try not to do this, then'."
"And then there was something about how sometimes it was romantic to casually slip a hand in someones front jeans pocket."
"Or vice-versa, you said."
"But then you suggested 'but not to the extent that you acquire a nickname like 'itchyballs'.'"
"Thanks for remembering."
"My pleasure."
--Jen (an old girlfriend) and I, in a dream I had this morning that made me giggle out loud. Paraphrased a bit, I tried to punch it up so you could see what I was giggling about.

Geek Link of the Moment
Possibly about to be slashdotted to heck, the images of putting a model of the Enterprise through a "atmospheric re-entry simulator" are hard core geek cool.

Geekier Link of the Moment
A Russian site looks at toilets as portrayed in video games. Many different video games. Strange world we live in. Would it make more sense in Russian?

News of the Moment
Looks like theres news of another earthbound solar flare. That final line ("Space weather forecasters say this spate of strong solar flares unusual because it is not following normal patterns of solar behavior. The sun follows an 11-year cycle of activity, with the last peak being around 2000") gives me a bad feeling.

from hip hop hooray

Hip Hop Mysteries of the Moment
So we had a party this weekend. It went ok but didn't jell quite as well as our last one. I felt bad because I kind of pushed out John Sawer's new mix with my old traditional one, but I really think that to get my crowd dancing, there's no substitute for that early-90s hiphop. That said, here are some random thoughts I've been having on some of the biggest hits in the genre.
You're on a mission and you're wishin'
someone could cure you're lonely condition
You're lookin' for love in all the wrong places
No fine girls just ugly faces
From frustration first inclination
Is to become a monk and leave the situation
But every dark tunnel has a light I hope
So don't hang yourself with a celibate rope
"Bust A Move" by Young MC
In the early 90s, were we really struck with a crisis of young men throwing in the towel and joining monasteries, even in a metaphorical sense? How many guys, when faced with difficulty getting female companionship, are really like to adopt this kind of "sour grapes" stance? "Feh. Women! Who needs 'em? I'd rather be celibate."

The next half hour was the same old thing
My mother buyin' me clothes from 1963
And then she lost her mind and did the ultimate
I asked her for Adidas, and she bought me Zips!
Ok. Here's the situation.
My parents went away on a week's vacation
And, they left the keys to the brand new Porsche
Would they mind? Mmm, well, of course not.
D. J. Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince, "Parents Just Don't Understand"
So this goofy cheerful rap seems to have a bit of a dichotomy. Are the utterly fashion-ignorant and sensible sounding parents really going to buy a Porsche? It's such an odd detail, this song is all over the map, swinging wildly from "What's Happening" to "The Cosby Show". (Maybe it's that cross-cultural ability that let Will Smith transcend mere Fresh Princeness to attain Big Willie Style and save the planet from alien invasion like three or four times over.)
So, fellas! (Yeah!) Fellas! (Yeah!)
Has your girlfriend got the butt? (Hell yeah!)
Tell 'em to shake it! (Shake it!) Shake it! (Shake it!)
Shake that healthy butt!
Baby got back!
Sir Mix-A-Lot, "Baby Got Back"
This is an insanely popular song at parties, it really gets people dancing. I think mostly because woman (including white women, even though they kinda sort aren't as much the subject of the song as they seem to think) like being reminded that sexiness is not confined to twig-like models. (Though it's kind of odd that Mix A Lot mentions having a small waist twice in the song.) However, for men dancing along with these women who have a steady relationship with one of them, I do not recommend shouting "Yeah!" too loudly at the "does your girlfriend got the butt?" point in the song. Just some advice.

Quote of the Moment
Repetition is the only form of permanence that Nature can achieve.
George Santayana.
Chapter starting quote for the book "The Electric Meme", which was rather long and tough to follow but argued that memes most resemble "prions", in the way that they are brainstuff that replicates via causing other brainstuff to take its form, unlike viruses that have their own genetic payloads.

from meanwhile, back at the raunch...

AIM Chat of the Moment
Talking about Internet Porn Ads, raunch filter engaged, highlight text with your mouse to read, or hit Ctrl-A:
kirk: You know, maybe I'm jaded, but "girls who crave giant cock" catches my attention less than would a "girls who are hoping for a 4 to 6 inch dick...just like yours!"
ranjit: heh -- i never thought of that!
ranjit: on the other hand, how many people would pay to see "BARELY LEGAL GIRLS FUCK PASTY NEBBISHES?"
kirk: "horny sluts want it in their face...from self-effacing pseudo-literati guys who did ok on their SATs!"

Ramble of the Moment
(This Ramble enhanced with selections from Presidents Day coloring pages from whitehouse.gov/kids.)
So, yesterday was the 3 year anniversary of the highpoint of the Nasdaq. By coincidence, in trying to use Google to spellcheck "Schadenfreude", which was the May 10 2000 Dictionary.com Word of the Day with this example of ussage:
If self-replicating e-commerce baby tycoons get on your nerves, it's schadenfreude time. It's true that the Nasdaq rebounded after its staggering loss Tuesday. Nonetheless, what AP described as "the most volatile day ever for U.S. stocks" left a distinctly bearish aftertaste.
"Market Motion Sickness." The Industry Standard's Media Grok, April 5, 2000
Man, what an understatement. Another year of this crap, and I'll have been employed in bad times for as long as I was in good. Unless of course you believe this is the aftermath of a 20 year boom, or even of a 200 year one, in which case things have been good for so long who knows how bad they can get.

Chester Arthur
And what a time President Junior and company has provided for us. This whole UN Resolution thing is so funny, and it follows the pattern set with congress giving carte blanche to the administration last October, and then acting surprised that they're using that. We kind of tried to dupe the UN into signing that last resolution, arguing that it wouldn't neccesarily lead to war. Yeah, right; is it any surprise that they won't sign another one, given the fact that they don't think war is a good idea? It's as if we're prancing around saying "look--you wanted war! You wanted war! Look what you signed! Now let's really go for it."

Warren Harding
NPR had some commentary by Norman Schwarzkopf's personal briefing officer for Desert Storm that gave me pause...this might not be "another Vietnam", but something Somalia-esque is a posibility. If we're out to "get Saddam", then what incentive is there for him and his supporters not to go all out with the chemical and biological agents on our soldiers, or worse? To not fight to the bitter end in the streets of the cities? (That commentary also brought up the distraction factor making North Korea a bit bolder about selling nuclear material, or Al Qaeda more likely to mount a big strike.)

John Kennedy
Geez, I hate it when it gets to a point where I say "Man, I hope the hard core conservatives are right on this one", because, as some leftish leaning thinktank guy on the Daily Show pointed out, backing down from where we are now might, amazingly, be worse than getting on with it, and other countries think that. I have to confess my bellyaching on Afghanistan and some other military movements wasn't entirely justified...I mean, we've done a suck job of support after the fact, anad we didn't actually get Osama or anything, but it was a qualified success in some ways. Damn damn damn, I hope these guys know what they're doing.

Whatever happened to having a "humble foreign policy"? Oh right, 9/11 changes everything.

from swingers

Blogrolling of the Moment
So the other week Ross wrote the following in his blog (look for the giant math cartoon):
So I was thinking today about my life as I carried my physics book, my calculus book, my saxophone, music for three ensembles, and of course my calculator... I am really a geek! All this time, I thought I was just a cool guy, and joked around about being dorky. But hell, I am like the epitome of a nerd! I play three instruments in seven ensembles, I direct the marching band, I take pride in learning calculus, I am taking several AP tests this year and am interested in Quantum Physics, I drive this car...
And I could kind of feel his pain...I went to the same high school, actually, went through a lot of the same things, so I added the following reassuring note to his guestbook:

Don't be so hard on your self.

Why...I can think of another nerdy teenager...unlucky in love, socially awkward, clumsy, with glasses. Good at school, but involved in decidedly uncool school activities. Sometimes even picked on by jocks and other idiots.

But it turned out ok, for you see...that teenager became spiderman.

Article of the Moment
Business 2.0 argues maybe we aren't as bad off as all that, economically. The comparison of numbers to the Reagan years is interesting...though more of the general bad mood is justifiable if you think that a getting blown up my a terrorist is worse than getting nuked by the Soviet Union. (The former is more likely to have an event, the latter had a lot more potential for total global catastrophe.)

from knothing but knock knocks

"Knock knock."
"Who's there?"
"Dwayne who?"
"Dwayne the bathtub, I'm dwowning!"
--Earliest knock-knock I can remember.

"Knock knock."
"Who's there?"
     "Death wh--URK!"
--via Bill and Li.

"Wanna do a
Knock-Knock Joke?"
"You start."
"Knock knock!"
"Who's there?"
--My Dad got me with this one when I was little kid.

"Knock knock."
"Who's there?"
"Not you anymore."
--Boss in Dilbert using "humor to ease the tension when the workplace is being trimmed."

"Knock knock."
"Who's there?"
"Anxious Cow"
--High School favorite.

"Knock knock."
"Cow with ESP"
--Steve Sian, from a dream he had.


"Knock knock."
"Who's there?"

--from Middle School... doesn't really work without being from with the title, alas.

from but you can't tuna fish

I approve of the ruling against the Pledge of Allegiance. In my believing days, I thought it violated that whole "don't take oaths" mandate of the Bible, and later, I thought it rude that, even if you stretch "God" to include Jehovah and Allah and all that, people who believe in many gods (ala Hindus) or no god at all (atheists) or aren't sure have to chime in and say 'under God' despite their belief...kind of like bending someone's arm and making them say uncle. I tended to mumble when I was in situations where I was obliged to say it. I think the fact that Eisenhower et al. just snuck it in there during the 1950s makes it worse. And I love how all the conservatives are all up in arms about the ruling. Too bad it'll probably be overturned.

Recipe of the Moment: Tuna ala Kirk
Can of Tuna
Grey Poupon Mustard

Open can of tuna. Preferably one of the kinds with the bigger chunks. Bread & Circus has a good brand that's cheap. Dump the water, pour remaining contents into a bowl. Give a few little pieces to the cats. Add healthy dollops of of mustard. Stir thoroughly.
I love this dish! Maybe I'm just a mustard fiend.

Quote of the Moment
If ants had nuclear weapons, they would probably end the world in a week.
Journey to the Ants, Bert Holldobler & Edward O. Wilson

from to sleep perchance

Hmm. In my guestbook Rhetoric from the Love Blender commented on this poem, hadn't thought of it for a while.

Geek Chat of the Moment
kirk: I've found another nugget of wisdom to add to my regular expressions arsenal
john: mmm???
kirk: they work better when not commented out
You might have to be a bit of a programmer to get this. Regular Expressions are a tricky-ish tool to process text in a program, and one thing programmers do is "comment out" lines of code (i.e. turn them from program code to mere non-code commentary) when they're poking around, trying to figure out what's going wrong. Hmm. For a non-geek this joke probably doesn't work at all. But Who Says Java Programmers Don't Have A Sense Of Humor?

PG-13 Link of the Moment
This tale of the Worst Job in Singapore (At a zoo sperm bank--you figure it out...) sets off my BS detector, but it's still a funny read.

from all in the branding

I think our car companies are sitting on a goldmine, if only they'd realize it. Afghanistan is very rugged terrain, there's a ton of money being poured in there, and I believe that Muslims deserve an SUV that reflects their lifestyle:

Of course, not to be out done, we Americans need a car that shows our determination to "rid the world of the evil-doers", and whose name echos the (admittedly ill-chosen) words of President Junior:

I mean, who needs a tough, durable vehicle more than the Islamic fighters? And what vehicle is more American than an SUV? These facts, combined with a transportation-vacuum created by people's reluctance to fly, might help revitalize America's struggling manufacturing sector...

from madness takes its toll, have exact change

Funny of the Moment
> "Man is certainly stark mad. He cannot make a worm,
> and yet he will be making gods by the dozens." -Montaigne

Yo' god so false, when you pray, you get a busy signal!

Yo' god so false, Pascal be wagerin' AGAINST him!

Yo' diety so low, he need a stool to pray to himself!

Voltaire (via Ranjit on alt.religion.kibology)

Nutrition of the Moment
A Harvard Nutrition author wants to update the USDA Food Pyramid. It's not quite Atkins, but it does pay attention to things like 'glycemic load'. I have no idea how I'd go about getting more whole grains in my diet, or Plant Oils. Favorite quote: (talking about the author's personal habits)"'What about secret indulgences?' 'Sometimes I'll have some flavorful cheese or a bit of chocolate.'" Whew! What a wild man!

Game of the Moment
"Man! Those people down there look so small! Like Ants! Let me get out my giant novelty sized magnifying glass... ahh, good. Hey, what's that burning smell?" A wonderfully demented game, very well done, but not quite as rich a world sim as it may first appear. I love the name and logo of the site, bossmonster (via memepool)

from hot beverages

Moment of the Moment
My girlfriend has a cold. She told me to get her a large caramel cider from starbucks (super tasty, like drinking a caramel apple) or if they didn't have that a chai latte. They were out of cider so I bring her back the chai. Half an hour later she says "Man, the trouble with being sick is that nothing tastes right. That cider was really weird."

I find coffee cups incredibly satisfying to doodle. I suggest you try it. They're easy and fun. I included one even though there wasn't actually any coffee in that story, they're that much fun.

Link of the Moment
I wish my website was as smart and funny as 15 Megabytes of Fame by Amy Krouse Rosenthal, and maybe with the same touch of wistfulness. It's updated every week. My friend Dylan told me to get her book The Book of Eleven. He said it was the funniest thing ever, and it wasn't, but it was funny, and I could really connect with the things she was saying. It's worth going to your local bookstore (Preferably not Barnes and Noble) and having them order it. Her site is so good that I'm tempted to start a 'best links' page just for sites like that.

Quote of the Moment
I don't like the idea of anybody getting killed, but especially me.
Clint Eastwood

from a study in contrasts

One of these things is not like the other...
This is the stairmaster Mo and I have in our apartment. Mo and I decided it was worth the money to invest in our health, she knew it was an exercise she would faithfully do, and I've followed suit. It is a pinnacle of modern exercise equipment, precision engineering, with electronic programs so that it can be precisely adjusted to our precise workout needs. It cost over $2000.
This is the watercup I use when I'm on the stairmaster. It's made of not particularly durable plastic, its lid is now cracked and it still has its original straw. It was free with a value meal at taco bell.

Quote of the Moment:
I have yet to see any problem, however complicated, which, when you looked at it in the right way, did not become still more complicated.