tag/poem

bleak

March 13, 2001
Man, all of the news seems so bad these days. The economy getting set for a long haul bout of fear and loathing, George W. pimping for a tax cut nobody really wants and a star wars plan nobody will really benefit from save for the military companies trying to build it, though it ticks off friend and foe alike to no end. Foot & Mouth in Europe, West Nile here. School shootings, a military dropping bombs on itself. More bad weather. The Red Sox getting creamed in the preseason-- and I don't even care that much about the Red Sox. Who woulda thought that the 2000s, such a beacon of promise for the future, would start out so damn bleak?

Ah well, at least I have my health, according to the Doctor yesterday. And Mo found new work. And I've come to terms with life in all its shortness and longness.

Poetry of the Moment

Why I Hate Snow

Because it moves in like a bad love affair
Drifting down in ardent white sighs
Smoothing over the entire world
Only to crust overnight
And turn to dirty slush
At the first sign of day

Because it brings unreasonable joy
To dogs and small children
And causes both to leap cutely
As if the rest of us were missing the point entirely
When, in fact, we still have to go to work

Because it brings out our worst human pettiness
Sparks brawls over parking spaces
Causes minor politicians to die stupidly
Collects in our cuffs
And leaps into our boots
And turns our toes to prunes

Because, finally, Snow becomes our disappointment
in God
What begins in ornate flakes
Inimitable, divine
Ends in wet socks and pratfalls
In human grumbling over why there is mud on the carpet
And who will shovel the walk

pop pop pop

June 21, 2001
Guestbook Entry of the Moment
From observing your site, you appear to be very self-centered.
William Jones, 2001.06.20
Well duh! This is my homepage. (For less Kirk-centric work of mine, go see the love blender.) This is a 'blog of sorts after all, and as far as blogs go, it's barely about me at all, it's about other people's quotes, and links, with a little bit of doodling and rambling.

I admit the T-shirts thing is a bit much, but it's just something I've wanted to do. Man, it's a good thing I haven't yet started up the Kirklopedia I've been thinking of...now that's self-centered.

Information Toy of the Moment

This image is a shrunken screengrab from the site The Great Pop vs. Soda Controversy. "Pop" in green, "Soda" in blue, "Coke" in red, other in pink. Although I've adopted the standard term "Soda" of my current region, I still think "Pop" is a better word. In a single syllable it captures the effervescence of the stuff, it's not as clinical as "Soda" and not as hillbilly as calling everything a "Coke".
(via Image of the Day at cellar.org)

Poetry of the Moment
NIGHTS OF '57
It wasn't asphodel but mown grass
We practiced on each night after night prayers
When we lapped the college front lawn in bare feet,

Heel-bone and heart-thud, open-mouthed for summer.
The older I get, the quicker and the closer
I hear those laboring breaths and feel the coolth.
Seamus Heaney

sweet and short

October 1, 2001
Poem of the Moment
MeWe!
Shortest poem according to "The Guinness Book of Records".
This article talks about it and some other ideas in art.

Toy Link of the Moment
Modern Living is one of the coolest Flash sites I've ever seen. Click on the man in the recliner, then select a set of animations, then click on an animation. The collection has a very interesting style and a twisted edge, a bit like interactive Plymptoons. The parent site, hoogerbrugge.com, has some other animations as well.

muse

February 9, 2002
Muse
O trumpetman, unswallowed song
your yellow-down bluesound dogface to confound,
sing sweet what you knew aloud,
          sing your very funeral shroud-
                    the death of you, you know?
          Known to now.
Sing.

O saxman written on your reed
history shades of black and awhile,
purr the pregnant, poignant prose and call me home.
          purple-rich tone at home and roam
                    you're ash in the kingdom
          rubbed to sooth word-struck wounds
Soothe.

O drummerman solid boatsman mighty armed
steadfast slip over cymbal stream and
scythe in your hand, you can.
          back bone of a notion
                    spine of the time
          fertile ground for the sound.
Sail.

Breathe as the trumpetman breathes.
Blow as the saxman blows.
Beat as the drummerman beats.

--A poem I wrote in college, I should look up the season. I think the instructor (Peter Richards) thought it was about the best that I produced that semester, but to me it seems a bit contrived. The discrepancy between other people's idea of which poems of mine were best and my own is one of the reason I consider myself mostly a prose guy.

Incidentally, I found a stash of old papers and things I had saved, so there will probably a bit more of the selfindulgent navel-gazing on this site for a while. I'll try to keep it lively.

Quote of the Moment
If you could understand it, it wouldn't be poetry.

four poems

May 14, 2002
Objects
My life is my hand
The whorls of my fingers...
a prayerbook,
or a map-

My hand, my life, holds a novel,
pages smelling of the book's history;
words smelling of the book's birth-

textured like green polished stones

Found Art
He is brilliant, yes, but evil. So evil I
despair of comprehending him. This man
doesn't want to murder his father and
possess his mother: he wants to murder God
and posess the cosmos.

Echo
All voices told me "no"
a chorus with the tides
like a mute echo-
echo, first hope
of sun and dirt
a single hope
set in the cliff-face
written in ancient script
chisled with tools
of steel sinew muscle
bone clay stone flesh
fire

There is nothing more to be said
There is nothing,
more to be said.

There is...
nothing more to be said

--things I wrote in my poetry class with Peter Richards at Tufts University (found on a dot matrix printout) Not sure what I think of them now...a bit gimmicky maybe. "Found Art" was taken verbatim from a Usenet post, later I used it as the basis for Unspoken, you can see some other things I've written as well.

an ode

September 5, 2002
I hate pasta
I hate quiche
but what I hate
the most is feesh

smelly feesh
rots in a bag
smells so bad
it makes me gag

really nasty
not fit to eat
why do folks think
they're such a treat?

two big eyes
they stare at me
they always stare
but never see

swimmin' feesh
constantly take a bath
that is what
makes me laugh

for as they bathe
all night and day
then what the heck
makes 'em smell that way?
     --Kirk Israel, published in my High School's annual literary review, Eucuyo '90. They must've liked it, they closed the review with it. If I'm feeling masochistic I'll post the poem that opened the review, also by me.

poets

September 9, 2002
i often wonder
what exactly is the difference
between "good" poets and "bad" poets
two lines, like a ticket counter--one labeled GOOD
and the
     other BAD
and which one am i in
and if it matters
for while everyone it seems
would like to be "good" it seems
to me
that the "bad" poets
have a better time of it
they can write for
greeting-cards and get money
or write advertisements
for if you measure
a poet's relative ability
by how he can change lives
why
the "bad" poets win
hands down
using little sing-songs
that run through your mind
and that make people BUY!
that is why and how the "bad" poets
change your life
AND "good" poets
usually aren't really good
until they're dead
chilled and rotting
and
what good does
it do you then?
--Kirk Israel, published in my High School's annual literary review, Eucuyo '90. This is the poem that I threatened to use here when I kisrael'd this other one, surprisingly used to open the review. Its only saving graces come from the way it rips o...I mean, reflects the cadence and attitude of Don Marquis and his "archy & mehitabel" works, which I was (and still am) very fond of.

florida reunion filler day 3

September 29, 2002
Final Florida Filler Update: Florida has a surprisingly rich selection of radio stations, the spectrum is really packed. There's a narrow band that includes normal top-40, some alternative, some New Wave 80s for Mo, some Electronica/House for me, and NPR for both of us. Is Florida that good, or does Boston's selection just suck that much?

A Frivolous Clown to his Love
You sit alone there in the stands,
Performance then you clap your hands.
I am the one to make you laugh
Though now you'll think that I'm quite daft

For I say you're the one for me
The love for the bringer of glee
Tho' I might seem rather too bold
I can offer you joys untold,

A rubber nose in store for you
It's made in red, held on by glue,
Too big blue shoes, upon your feet
True Love that will never be beat

A splash of seltzer in your face
Pancake makeup on you will grace
A strange cone hat, polka-dot tie
Baggy huge pants, to you drawn nigh

And balls juggled, and noisy horn
rorar of the crowd, smell of popcorn
if these pleasures thee may move
Then come with me and be my love

Kirk Israel
Written for Mrs. McLaughlin's 11th grade English (Grade: "93 - A: good idea / Meter seems forced in places - not as smooth in some lines") I think the assigment was to make a poem based on "The Passionate Shepherd to His Love".

fragment from a future that never was

October 22, 2002
Link of a non-Moment
Amazing Mac/typewriter hybrid, straight outta the movie Brazil. Be sure to check out the mock-Ads made for it, trying to capture the spirit of the HP Lovecraft universe circa 1926. (via boingboing)

"The Pathology in the Politics"
George W. Bush as a "Dry Drunk". It sounded kind of corny, but after reading the article, I think is might explain nearly everything...it certainly seems to fit his patterns of speech and action. (On the other hand, doesn't some of his "speech" come from professional speechwriters? Do they make his catchphrases, or get them from him? ...And I guess you can't use this excuse for most of the rest of his administration...) But a lot of his mannerisms when he's trying to be serious and stately, they are a bit like a drunk guy trying to pretend he's not.

Random Observation of the Moment
The headphones that I use at work have a little volume control on the wire itself. Just today I noticed that there's a Mono/Stereo switch on it. I was curious to see if it meant the sound was balanced between the two speakers, or just came out of one (ok, kind of dumb.) But I learned that the default Windows 'bell' sound has an odd stereophonic back-and-forth to it that I had never noticed before (until, of course, I switched my headphones to 'mono' where it became a single simple sound.)

Now you know. Carry on.

Political Web Toy of the Moment
Ranjit passed on a link that Mo had sent me a while back, Make Your Own Bush Speech. A little limited because you can only use each phrase once, but still, you can make some amusing stuff.

Poetry of the Moment
Later,
when you face old age and its natural conclusion
your courage will still be shown in the little ways,
each spring will be a sword you'll sharpen,
those you love will live in a fever of love,
and you'll bargain with the calendar
and at the last moment
when death opens the back door
you'll put on your carpet slippers
and stride out.
from Courage, by Anne Sexton
From a collection of poetry selected by Garrison Keillor titled Good Poems that lives up to its name.

city of broken dreams and glass

(1 comment)
May 11, 2003
He Asked Her Name and For A Light
This was the city of broken dreams and glass.
He was against the wall and the war.
She had high hopes and boots.
She aroused suspicion and men.
He bought her story and a beer.
She dropped her cigarettes and a hint.
They left together and their fears behind.
--A poem I half found and half wrote at
this Words & Stuff page on "Zeugma"

Link of the Moment
Atlas Comics presents The 25 All-Time Greatest Covers of American Comic Books. Click on each one for a larger image and a description of why it was chosen. Some interesting choices there, with a big emphasis on some of the patriotic covers that came out during World War II. The page of rejects is kind of amusing, no commentary though, I suppose most of them speak for themselves.

pudding is not a beverage

(1 comment)
September 27, 2003
Quote of the Moment
Pudding can't fill the emptiness inside me... but it'll help!
Capt. Hank Murphy, Sealab 2021
Poem of the Moment
Loveliest of trees, the maple now
Is turning yellow on the bough.
It stands aong the trees of green,
All dressed up for Halloween.
Now of my three score years and ten,
Sixty will not come again.
Subtract from seventy, three score.
It means I don't have many more.
And since to look at things sublime,
Ten years is not a lot of time.
It's rather sobering for a fellow
To see the maples turning yellow.
What's funny is I remembered the original as being set in Winter, not spring...

happiest (a poem)

(3 comments)
December 22, 2003
I want to write about those times when I was happiest;
those times when good fortune seemed to alight on my shoulders
and the sky was smiling down on me with a grin the size of the world.


(When asked what had satisfied him most in life,
  Man Ray -- photographer, painter, sculptor, innovator --
  said "...I'd say women".

...I'll say women.)


High School summer nights;
heels over head for the German girl--
--my last simple love. Late nights outside
the home of her host family...
(Maybe I broke one heart to get there.
  Maybe not. In either case it was worth it.)
...leaning, pushed up against the cinder wall that
was still releasing the heat absorbed in the day.
standing, leaning, but legs splayed,
the German girl standing between them,
leaning in close herself.
Kissing, and kissing, and kissing, and kissing.

In a month I'll notice she stops closing her eyes
but now, this moment: I was happiest.


Years later. College.
That beautiful girl with the curly long dark hair.
So assured. Sitting in that white and black
director's chair. Her shirt off. Leaning back.
Those beautiful breasts. Knowing a dozen guys
on campus whose envy at that situation could
knock down the walls of that brave little dorm room.
Thinking that this time could be the time
it was going to work, was going to stay working.

Her leaning so far back, letting herself melt into that moment.

That cheap chair would break in minutes.
And that damn carousel of a romance would spin away
from me by midterms. But that moment: I was happiest.


Finally. Years after college.
A midwinter escape to the Jersey Shore with
you and some friends. (The Russian chick, and
her husband, but they're a different story)
Together the four of us had run away, just for
a short while, a break from the workaday life,
But more than that, I thought all the old cycles
had broken. The old patterns of finding and
loss washed away. I tasted some salt from the
ocean water. I wrote a heart and our initials
in the damp sand. My college drinking buddy
and I had found something more in each other
and I thought that was all there was to find.

It was a moment, a moment that held the end
of needing other moments: I was happiest.


Oh Darling.
Now, this moment.
You say that you're leaving.
Maybe I don't understand why.
Maybe I understand all too well.

Kundera wrote of poetic memory. That's what I inscribed
in his book that I gave to you: "to finding a place in
poetic memory". But I thought...I thought it would be
more about being poetry. Less about being a memory.

Aw Darling.
Maybe we'll each find more times, other moments.
Maybe I'll be happiest again.

I don't know and I can't know
but right now I miss you more than anything.

boo

(1 comment)
April 16, 2004
Sorry for yesterday's entry, it was a bit content-lite and self-indulgent. (I know, completely unprecedented for this site.)

Somehow that sign I took the photo of went away...I've got to call the Real Estate folks, I know they were sending someone to put it more firmly in place, maybe something went wrong...

Here's one thing I was working on, a little teaching program for 2600 Cookbook called "milquetoast the ghost". I think he's one of the cutest 8x8 monochrome sprites I've ever seen, especially when you press the button to make him go boo...

Political Quote and Article of the Moment
And the credibility of the United States is incredibly important
Bush Jr...
in Trust, Don't Verify William Saletan cuts him a little slack for his frequent misuse of "incredible" ("illiterate, is harmless", as when paired with "credibility") but then rips into him for the contradictions inherent in his outlook. Did you hear that clip of Bush stammering when asked if he's made any mistakes? Not being able to admit mistakes, even in the "mistakes were made" dodging-sense, is a huge character flaw.

Poem of the Moment
And then there's the one you write
that makes even you laugh.
You never want to see her again.
You don't want to see her handwriting
on a letter. You don't want to come home
and see the little yellow light
flashing messages of regret.
You don't want to pick up the phone
and hear how much she's been missing you.
Couldn't you meet for a drink?
Not any more. Maybe in a year or two.
All you want to do now
is draw a line under your life
and get on with the past.
Do you make yourself perfectly clear?
You sign with just your name,
a businesslike touch
which makes even you laugh.
Hugo Williams, "All That".
Modulo gender and technology choices, I'm thinking that's about what Mo's feeling now.

Link of the Moment
I was going to post this around Valentine's Day, but it was down, maybe it got swamped with traffic...The Kiss "is a place to talk about kisses. Specifically, it's a place to talk about those kisses that mattered - the kiss that made an impression that stuck with you long after the kiss itself was over, the kiss that you still remember all the details of, the kiss that you still think about sometimes." Cool reading.

Q+A of the Moment
Brooke followed my instructions and has answered some question trios of her own, including ones I asked. I know the "copy this into your journal" instruction works better on LJ, since everyone there has their own journal, but did any other kisrael.com question askers follow suit somewhere?

am i blue

(3 comments)
May 19, 2004
Image of the Moment

--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's
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
speak.

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.
"Siren Song", Hugo Williams. I love that "tell me in two words what you were going to tell in a thousand" line.
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.

adam and billy, bibliophiles

(11 comments)
February 11, 2005
Brainteaser of the Moment
Two boys, Adam and Billy, go to a bookstore. Adam is 41 cents short of the price of a certain book. Billy is one cent short. They decide to combine their money to buy the book but they realize they still don't have enough. How much does the book cost?

Answer: (highlight with mouse to read -- but seriously, try to work this one out. Give it at least a half hour if the answer isn't obvious to you.)

41 cents, i.e. Adam has no money.

I got this last night after an embarrasingly long time of writing out simultaneous equations and not getting anywhere. And then I only got the answer by looking for obvious "gimmick" answers and seeing if one worked. And I realized last night that I probably didn't really get it because I was still thinking maybe there was a second answer. This morning I finally realized how to think about it properly...Bill is only ONE CENT shy of the price of the book...add ANY positive integer value to that, and he should have enough...so there's no other amount other than zero for Adam's money.
Let me know if you get it or not!

Poem of the Moment
You want a social life, with friends.
A passionate love life and as well
To work hard every day. What's true
Is of these three you may have two
And two can pay you dividends
But never may have three.

There isn't time enough, my friends--
Though dawn begins, yet midnight ends--
To find the time to have love, work, and friends.
Michelangelo had feeling
For Vittoria and the Ceiling
But did he go to parties at day's end?

Homer nightly went to banquets
Wrote all day but had no lockets
Bright with pictures of his Girl.
I know one who loves and parties
And has done so since his thirties
But writes hardly anything at all.
Kenneth Koch.
Grabbed from this page which also has a great play on that old William Carlos Williams poem. (via Amy Krouse Rosenthal's Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life)

Passing of the Moment
Death of a Playwright. (But hey...at least he got to do Marilyn Monroe...)

gravy trains to nowhere

December 17, 2006
Poem of the Moment
been down these roads
a long while now
saw a lot of friendly faces
working it all out

too many times
i've been finding easy gravy trains
making those gravy train angels
sweeping our arms
facing the sky
laying down by the side of the trail
--A rough recreation of a "Paul Simon lyric" I read in a dream last night. The most memorable part was the idea of making "snow angels" in gravy, and how that plus the "gravy train" was a metaphor for taking romance too casually, and too much for granted.

It seemed a lot more meaningful in the dream.


death is no different whined at than withstood

May 12, 2008
Cyclones in Burma! Volcanoes in South America! Tornadoes in Oklahoma! Earthquakes in China!

I guess I should let all that help get a perspective on my own problems and pile of stress that leaped on me as of late (Laid off friends who could use resume help! Deadlines at work! Former mentors who need side projects done! Investments gone bad! Apartment moves that need to be established!)

Probably some of the stage for the current AAAAAAHH!!! was also set by Bill the Splut's link to our planet's maybe-already-too-late need for CO2 350, tickling my old nuclear war/Y2K-ish anxieties that are generally well-coated by existential bravado but might be still lurking underneath.

So lets cheer myself up with some poetry!

Poem of the Moment
I work all day, and get half-drunk at night.
Waking at four to soundless dark, I stare.
In time the curtain-edges will grow light.
Till then I see what's really always there:
Unresting death, a whole day nearer now,
Making all thought impossible but how
And where and when I shall myself die.
Arid interrogation: yet the dread
Of dying, and being dead,
Flashes afresh to hold and horrify.

The mind blanks at the glare. Not in remorse
-- The good not done, the love not given, time
Torn off unused -- nor wretchedly because
An only life can take so long to climb
Clear of its wrong beginnings, and may never;
But at the total emptiness for ever,
The sure extinction that we travel to
And shall be lost in always. Not to be here,
Not to be anywhere,
And soon; nothing more terrible, nothing more true.

This is a special way of being afraid
No trick dispels. Religion used to try,
That vast moth-eaten musical brocade
Created to pretend we never die,
And specious stuff that says No rational being
Can fear a thing it will not feel
, not seeing
That this is what we fear -- no sight, no sound,
No touch or taste or smell, nothing to think with,
Nothing to love or link with,
The anaesthetic from which none come round.

And so it stays just on the edge of vision,
A small unfocused blur, a standing chill
That slows each impulse down to indecision.
Most things may never happen: this one will,
And realisation of it rages out
In furnace-fear when we are caught without
People or drink. Courage is no good:
It means not scaring others. Being brave
Lets no one off the grave.
Death is no different whined at than withstood.

Slowly light strengthens, and the room takes shape.
It stands plain as a wardrobe, what we know,
Have always known, know that we can't escape,
Yet can't accept. One side will have to go.
Meanwhile telephones crouch, getting ready to ring
In locked-up offices, and all the uncaring
Intricate rented world begins to rouse.
The sky is white as clay, with no sun.
Work has to be done.
Postmen like doctors go from house to house.

Philip Larkin, Aubade

sigh. so disillusioning when you work to crank up your work ethic and it's not as big a difference as you expected.
so, advil is like a blood thinner, right? so is a headache, like, 'jeez the blood in my head is too thick'?
why does it feel easier to take the 77 from harvard than the 79 from alewife?

poem of the moment

September 8, 2008
"C'est la Vie!"
accepting that
"this should not be!"
but coping
more stoically; philosophically--
"C'est la Vie..."
--a poem I twittered the other day; I'm trying to use "C'est la Vie" as a bit of a mantra to preempt or quench these little bursts of frustrated outrage I experience on a regular basis.
Such a pleasure of autumn, to kick back on a Sunday afternoon or night, put on a football game you don't care about, websurf, maybe sleep...
New favorite dumb car name: the Nissan "Murano". Because "Idiota" just didn't scan.
a massage can have a message, but a message can't have a massage
J.Brown:"You don't have to do no soloing, brother, just keep what you got- Don't turn it loose, 'cause it's a mother."-best drumsolo advice
Nice, got a ticket for tonights soldout-record-breaking Red Sox game! (Why do I never have my Sox hat or sweatshirt when this happens...)
Kevin S points out that soldout-record-breaking game SOUNDS cool, but people at the next night, or the next, etc etc, will have it too

poem of the moment

September 20, 2010
Life is not land we own.
O no, it is only lent.
In the end we are left alone
When the last light is spent.
So live that you may say,
Lord, I have no regret.
Thank you for these sunny days
And for the last sunset.
Garrison Keillor, embedded in his novel "Pontoon".
(One of the other characters disparages it a bit.) It reminds me a bit of Avatar's "all energy is only borrowed, and one day you have to give it back."
I'd like to see an honest Cocoa Puffs commercial where the announcer says "It's adjacent to this complete breakfast!"

CSS geekery... now I think any complex layout that depends heavily on float:left is doomed to be unportable and fragile, a hothouse flower.

October 16, 2013



The hour from night to day.
The hour from side to side.
The hour for those past thirty.

The hour swept clean to the crowing of cocks.
The hour when earth betrays us.
The hour when wind blows from extinguished stars.
The hour of and-what-if-nothing-remains-after-us.

The hollow hour.
Blank, empty.
The very pit of all other hours.

No one feels good at four in the morning.
If ants feel good at four in the morning
--three cheers for the ants. And let five o'clock come
if we're to go on living.
Wislawa Szymborska

Looks like the placeholder at alleyoop.com ain't there no more.
Much to my delight, "Rhubarb and Custard" appears to be a bit of a thing for candy in the UK.

September 28, 2014

My weight since 1999:

I made a new diet graph tool and put it online at kirk.is/diet, in part because I was sick of always hunting for the raw data when it was time to update it. I crudely made it a continuous curve - I like the look of it, though of course if read literally it implies my weight sometimes goes back in time. (Generally, time periods I don't have much data for get a little wonky, but I'm ok that graph visually reflects that uncertainty)

(I used to laugh when the marketing guys would use the catchphrase "up, and to the right" for what they wanted to see on their number charts, but now I get it!)
Applaud your neighbor; admire his style
That grates upon you like a sawtooth file.
His trespasses resemble yours in kind;
He too is being crowded from behind.
Don't kill; or if you must, while killing, grieve.
Doubt not; that is, until you can't believe.
Don't covet Mrs. X; or if you do,
Make sure, before you leap, she covets you.
John Updike, from "V. Conclusion"

Next giant need for Siri: a sophisticated way to correct the speech-to-text mistranscriptions, but also via voice. Getting her to understand the word "rum" is nuts. Rama? Rob? Walmart? such an infuriating almost-there technology.

requiem for an umbrella plant

September 30, 2014
So, my mom informed that the "Kirk Tree", an umbrella plant that was planted when I was born, is no longer with us. Here we are in 2008...

It had been struggling lately, with only a few leaves at the top.

I admit I'm bummed, even though I had foisted care and feeding of it onto my mom lo these many years, it was a cool thing to know was around. It's not like it was my picture of Dorian Gray or my horcrux or anything, but as a bit of a plant sibling of mine, I feel its loss.

Poem of the Moment
Margaret, are you grieving
Over Goldengrove unleaving?
Leaves, like the things of man, you
With your fresh thoughts care for, can you?
Ah! as the heart grows older
It will come to such sights colder
By and by, nor spare a sigh
Though worlds of wanwood leafmeal lie;
And yet you will weep and know why.
Now no matter, child, the name:
Sorrow's springs are the same.
Nor mouth had, no nor mind, expressed
What héart héard of, ghóst guéssed:
It is the blight man was born for,
It is Margaret you mourn for.
Gerard Manley Hopkins, "Spring and Fall (To a Young Child)"

Overheard at Alewife just now: "There's a Dunkins - We're saved!"

march 2015 new music playlist

April 2, 2015
Ok month for new music... 4-5 stars in red. A lot more instrumental stuff than usual.

--from http://dogscantlookup.com/post/115268609033 ...

"C'est la Vie!"
accepting that
"this should not be!"
but coping
more stoically; philosophically--
"C'est la Vie..."
A poem I wrote 7 years ago...
I had forgotten about it, but really it was the same idea I rediscovered recently, the concept that if you expect life to be suboptimal, and stop demanding that it live up to all of your momentary hopes and expectations, it can be easier and less scary when small(ish) things do go wrong -- SNAFU usually won't lead to FUBAR.
[On worrying about "Skynet" scenarios] Humans are going to die on this planet. We're not going to go through a wormhole to another galaxy; it's just not going to happen. What will survive on our behalf is AIs--if we manage to create them. That's not problematic, it's desirable.
Alex Garland, talking with Wired about his new film "Ex Machina".
I really agree with his point here. (Also, is he getting a dig into the film "Interstellar"?)

July 16, 2016

A while back James Harvey posted a link to Prince on the piano riffing on "So High" - at 18 minutes it's longer than I'd put in my music collection, but it's good.
Accept the things you cannot change:
the bleating clock,
the nightly go
--dog leash in tow--
around the block,

neural chemistry,
patchy hair,
a longing stare
and X-ray eye,

and the niggling fact
that things will stay
roughly this way,
to be exact.

Forgive the things you cannot have:
the supple bod,
taut undergrads,
a nicer pad,
long chats with God,

an older name,
your peers' respect,
the oll korrect,
unbridled fame,

a sense of ease
in your own skin,
a lighter burden
by degrees.

The life you'd swap for on the train
(sight unseen)
is much like yours
though it appears
more green.

So, why this pain
that shorts the breath
and spoils your health?
You grow serene--

not yet, but after
your will resigns
a few more times
with heavy laughter.

LOL Trump. Why is public radio playing his VP like its news not propaganda? Also I love how he says he's going back over the years to look at the Middle East, starting with Clinton, and some how skips 2000-2008? LOLOLOL, Republicans.
Pokemon Go is also terrific if you enjoy having your workday constantly interrupted by imaginary bats, like Hunter S. Thompson.
Washington Post

So I've been noticing more music missing from iTunes :-( Luckily I have both some old archives and even the mojo to parse out what old stuff might be missing, but it's a super-pain. My devblog: parsing itunes Library.xml into json

November 4, 2016

Wheels sigh with longing for the horizon.
Hunger moans in the spoon's hollow belly.
Tools recount the needs from which they arose
and so comprise a history of human desire.

The match recalls fear in the fireless night,
the saw's oiled teeth plead for perfect order,
the pen cannot imagine life without ink.

Even that technology employed by the soul
in its perilous escape from the prison of the body
is exhibited here, in these letters, in words.


UNSATISFYING from PARALLEL STUDIO on Vimeo.


Odd Dream bit, Richard Feynman was a band leader at some kind of street festival. He was showing off some topological principle by a surprisingly sparse net that was keeping a bunch of foam balls around his body. (Not unlike one of the Fruit of the Loom "grapes" guy, not that that had much to do with the dream) The soloist was Kurt Vonnegut on Clarinet. (I think my subconscious may have been oddly merging Woody Allen's side instrument with R. Crumb's musical look and feel.)
Don't take life so serious, son, it ain't nohow permanent.
Walt Kelly's "Pogo"
Not to underplay the importance of presidential election, especially viz a viz the supreme court and also the message about, well, anyone who ain't a straight white male, but I think people are forgetting our ability to muddle through. (That said, I'm finding a weird comfort in having ordered "Scatter, Adapt, and Remember: How Humans Will Survive a Mass Extinction"... )

January 1, 2017

One Second Everyday for all of 2016.

Thoughts:
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"

March 2, 2017

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 soon
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.
Robert Francis, "Summons".
The final line was rattling around my head this morning.
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.
S. Chan

May 3, 2017

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I- 
I took the one less travelled by, 
Tripped over a branch, and broke my nose 
--
I hear America singing, and doggone 
if someone's not flat. One of the tenors, 
I think. 
--
Open here I flung the shutter, 
when with many a flirt and flutter
Traversed that curs'd bird from the week before
I shot it dead, and then it drop upon the floor 
Now, the Raven 'nevermore' 
--
Two roads diverged, 
but the one I wanted to take had a detour sign on it, 
dammit to hell. 
--
A rock sat in the woods, thinking, 
for many years, of many things. 
Realized God and His plan 
How to perfect life for plant and man 
but it was a rock, and rocks can't speak 
so it had to keep it to itself 
--
an ant crossed the sidewalk 
in its busy little industry 
i saw reflected the laws of 
god and man 
'enough of this' I thought 
and crushed its tiny head 
--I had been searching through old scanned school papers for these, when I found them in a one of the PalmPilot journal entries I slapped on my website, in a 1997 memo called "Old Poems", so I think they date back to college or high school.

I'd been thinking of the rock poem a lot. One way of framing arguments I have with my conversation sparring partner is that I tend to focus on the surfaces things, or more specifically the interactions they can have, while to me he seems obsessed with how things really are through and through, in a deep interior way. It's interesting that as far back as 25 years ago the idea that interactions and communications are what give interior lives meaning.
That sparring partner also trotted out the psychological figure of the puer aeternus, eternal adolescent. The fact he considers the label absolutely damning while I think it's, I dunno, incomplete but descriptive, and with it's pros and cons, speaks to the other parts of the profound differences in our outlooks.

(Also looking at the latin phrase it reminded me of 1997 The New Yorker reviewed the Blender of Love (there really was a lot less going on on the web back then) and I had to look up what "puerile"meant when describing my editorials. I was mildly offended, but hey, it's The New Yorker and they cut it with "somewhat".)

affirmation

August 3, 2017
To grow old is to lose everything.
Aging, everybody knows it.
Even when we are young,
we glimpse it sometimes, and nod our heads
when a grandfather dies.
Then we row for years on the midsummer
pond, ignorant and content. But a marriage,
that began without harm, scatters
into debris on the shore,
and a friend from school drops
cold on a rocky strand.
If a new love carries us
past middle age, our wife will die
at her strongest and most beautiful.
New women come and go. All go.
The pretty lover who announces
that she is temporary
is temporary. The bold woman,
middle-aged against our old age,
sinks under an anxiety she cannot withstand.
Another friend of decades estranges himself
in words that pollute thirty years.
Let us stifle under mud at the pond's edge
and affirm that it is fitting
and delicious to lose everything.
"Affirmation", by Donald Hall. I love those final 3 lines... it reminds me a bit of "Dulce et Decorum Est".

August 10, 2017

boy,
the claims you've made on love-
i think it must be sin.
(as if the deepest
part of me
was found six inches in!)
00-8-7
(an unearthed poem I made way back when, experimenting with PoV....)
I think there's an awful long way for adventure games, interactive fiction, whatever you want to call it, to go. And I hope that more people will come into that field from outside the computer field. Up until now, it's been rather like, well, imagine if everything ever written on a typewriter had been written by the guys who invented the typewriter.

February 2, 2018

On his blog and podcast, John Gruber is delighted by this Steve Jobs anecdote by Bethany Bongiorno:
At one point Steve wanted to turn UIKit elements orange. Not just any orange, he wanted a particular orange from the button on a certain old Sony remote. We got a bunch of remotes from Sony with orange buttons to try and find the right one. In the end, Steve hated it.
Gruber describes it as one of the greatest concise Steve Jobs stories and how there's this philosophy of "Strong opinions loosely held."

I have a hard time with that, that there can be so little correlation between how strongly you feel about something and your tenacity in keeping to that belief. It's difficult for me to think of an opinion as "just" a subjective opinion, and not "one's best guess as to what is objectively best or true".

I guess I can allow myself...preferences, more so than opinions?

It's Groundhog Day. Again.
The shirt touches his neck
and smooths over his back.
It slides down his sides.
It even goes down below his belt--
down into his pants.
Lucky shirt.
Jane Kenyon, "The Shirt"

October 24, 2019

Give me something
to bite my teeth into,
like your wool socks,
gray and soft,
best when worn without shoes,
displayed, kicked up
on the coffee table.
Better yet...
your jeans; five pockets,
rivets, amber thread stitching,
with a zipper fly.
Again and again they thump
and tumble
with mine in the dryer.
Never offering resistance
to its heat.
I admit to being frightened
at the thought
of such a hunger.
Tery J. England (in Spare Change News in 1999)

A piece on the background of that old brilliant VW ad featuring Nick Drake's "Pink Moon" (Heh, along with Saints Go Marching In... what is it about apocalyptic music?)

Never has an ad filled me with longing for a car before, and never since. The article mentions capturing the transcendence of driving in a convertible at night, and I can feel that, even though I don't think I've experienced it. Plus all the incidental shots, the guy in the back seat sneaking glances at the gal as she gazes at the night sky overhead...

Found that article while grooming old blog entries, specifically this one where I post 2 other absolutely brilliant ads from VW around the same time - ("Da Da Da" was good too but didn't quite make the cut)

November 3, 2019

Poem I wrote in high school or college, then thought lost, then found 2 years ago, then forgotten that it had been unearthed:
A rock sat in the woods, thinking,
for many years, of many things.
Realized God and His plan
How to perfect life for plant and man
but it was a rock, and rocks can't speak
so it had to keep it to itself
I'm fascinated by it as an early instance of a thought I later had, how the interior lives and origins of things matter so much less than their surface interactions...