tag/poty

best photos of 1996

July 17, 2016
I've decided to go through all the digital photos I (or sometimes a friend on my camera, or my comission) taken over the past 20 years, and pick out the dozen best photos of each year. Starting with 1996 - but I was only taking photos for like half the year, so it's just a half dozen.

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

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

So, the best of 1996:

best photos of 1997

July 18, 2016
My dozen best photos of 1997. Even though I had graduated, I sang with Tufts' sQ! as an alum. And I'm still working my first real, non-summer job.
On a Hulu ad I first saw how Panera is really hammering "clean" as the primary descriptor for their salads. At first I thought it was a dig against Chipotle, though I guess it's kind of a trendy food movement, ish? But kind of a diffuse one as far as I can tell?

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

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

best photos of 1998

July 19, 2016
My dozen best photos of 1998...


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

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

best photos of 1999

July 20, 2016
My Dozen Best Photos of 1999...


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

best photos of 2000

July 21, 2016
My Dozen Best Photos of The Year -- *2000*!
Video Shows Unarmed Black Man Pleading With Arms Raised Before Getting Shot by Police - Hands up, don't shoot. Mercifully, not a death, and maybe "just" an error from an itchy trigger finger? Still... Racist, Barney Fife BS.
The Centipede is especially good...


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

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

best photos of 2001

July 22, 2016
My Dozen Best Photos of 2001.


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

best photos of 2002

July 23, 2016
My Dozen Best Photos of 2002.

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

best photos of 2003

July 24, 2016
My Dozen Best Photos of 2003:


Clay Shirky speaks to why I'm so appalled about Trump.

best photos of 2004

July 25, 2016
Best Photos of 2004... Mo and I part ways, I sell the house, publish my Atari game, and spend a lot of time with EB and Jane.


Slate on The Hillary Haters. Saturday at a party I was showing around some old Spy-magazine covers about Hillary from the 90s (I remember 'Hillary as dominatrix in particular.) The endless dislike of her has a lot of roots in sexism, without a doubt.

best photos of 2005

July 26, 2016
Best Photos of 2005, marking the halfway point of this project, years-wise.
Getting political fatigue to the point of burn out.

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

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

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

Life would go on.

We can do better, and knock wood will with Hillary. It's frustrating that it all comes down to a few swing states. Even more frustrating that we've so clustered around two very different narratives of what it means to be a good, smart American.
Dilbert on Corporate Slogans like Make the world a better place
From 15 Twitter Jokes Everyone Should Read:
Young children are like sponges. They are the filthiest thing in your house.
@RockabillyJay
I told a joke about a mandatory meeting once, you had to be there
@le_buns
Any dog can be a guide dog if you don't care where you're going
@matt___nelson

best photos of 2006

July 27, 2016

Mexican illustrator Mona Robles Reinvents Pokemons as 'Pokemayans':

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

best photos of 2007

July 28, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

best of 2008

July 29, 2016

Nothing in the world is as old as what was futuristic in the past.
Ben Lerner (in his 2014 novel 10:04)

The Freewright is a uni-tasking, distraction free, mechanical keyboard, don't go back and edit just keep writing word processor that also synchs up to the cloud. Very cool concept, it appeals to me in the same way scratching out things on the original Palm Pilot I bought a few months ago does.
Commercials on the Bar TV- one for this HP Spectre laptop, one for VistaPrint business cards, both with a lot of crappy faux-classy Shiny Gold on Black-- I'm worried we have Trump to blame for this? I mean who but sports channel watching business dudes are out for a super pricey Windows laptop and tacky business cards?
Susan Kare, pioneer in Mac Pixels and still a big player in the industry. So cool. The cross-stitch/pixel connection is great; sometimes I think about how my work on the old Etch-A-Sketch Animator connected me to my dad's Counter Cross-stitch work. (Kare points to this 1760 sampler by Elizabeth Laidman )
OPEN LETTER ON DONALD TRUMP FROM GOP NATIONAL SECURITY LEADERS I think this might be my new go-to summary for why Trump would be a horrible, horrible president.
Republican VP Pence chastises Obama for calling Trump "a demagogue" - says that "name calling" has no "place in public life."

best photos of 2009

July 31, 2016
Including a trip to Portugal, I think it makes its case for "best of the year galleries"

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

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

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

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

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

second best photos of 2009 and july 2016 new music playlist

August 2, 2016
Second Best Photos of 2009. Several years have had some bonus images thrown in, but 2009 was strong enough that I thought it could use its own runner-up gallery dozen.
In its essence, technology is something that man does not control.
Martin Heidegger

It was a rough month for me and iTunes; I realized that 180 or so songs were just gone, so I had to spend a lot of time digging them up from archives and what not. (and it's frustrating, because I'd prefer to use "smart" playlists based on "Added" dates, but iTunes doesn't let you backdate files.) Not sure what caused that; my dalliance with Apple Music, some bungling on my part, or what, but now I'm out to be a lot more careful with my music collection.
4 stars in red.

best photos of 2011

August 4, 2016
The year included a trip to Paris and London and also a trip to Cleveland. (Oddly enough more photos made it from Cleveland into this top dozen.)

second best photos of 2011

August 6, 2016
(Err, not counting the second best of the Europe Trip, but I think I'll leave those be.)

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

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

best photos of 2012

August 7, 2016

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

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

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

I understand immediately why people collect stamps. I understand why people play polo. I can relate to every sexual kink I've ever seen video of.
Penn Jillette

Horses don't eat anything but plants, and they build strong bodies that some women find sexy in a way that's a little creepy.
Penn Jillette

It frightens me, the awful truth of how sweet life can be.
Bob Dylan (via Penn Jillette, who says it's his favorite line)

My dad loved soup and taught me to love soup. He also taught me to love ritual jokes. There were certain jokes he did every time the chance came up. Every time my dad had soup, he'd say, "Once I had soup while my nose was running, and I thought I'd never finish."
Penn Jillette.
That is a TERRIFIC dad joke! So delightfully gross.


August Blender of Love

second best photos of 2012

August 8, 2016
Hope it doesn't undercut the idea of picking "the dozen best for each year" by including these.


Olympic Logos discussed and rated...

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

best photos of 2013

August 9, 2016
This was the year I started doing "One Second Everyday", and I feel like the peak of photos was 2009-2012 or so, maybe? That I'm less thoughtful and anxious to make good images because I'm taking so many little videos...


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

From womenburningthings.tumblr.com

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

second best photos of 2013

August 11, 2016

Twenty percent of Americans describe themselves as "spiritual but not religious." Although the claim seems to annoy believers and atheists equally.
Sam Harris, "Waking Up: A Guide to Spirituality Without Religion"

There is barely time enough in a book-- or in a life-- to get to the point.
Sam Harris, "Waking Up: A Guide to Spirituality Without Religion"

The neurologist V. S. Ramachandran seems to have been thinking along these lines when he wrote, "It may not be coincidental that [you] use phrases like 'self conscious' when you really mean that you are conscious of others being conscious of you."
Sam Harris, "Waking Up: A Guide to Spirituality Without Religion"

The philosopher Roland Puccetti once observed that the existence of separate spheres of consciousness in the normal brain would explain one of the most perplexing features of split-brain research: Why is it that the right hemisphere is generally willing to bear silent witness to the errors and confabulations of the left? Could it be that the right hemisphere is used to it?
An answer consistent with the hypothesis of mental duality in the normal human brain suggests itself. The non-speaking hemisphere has known the true state of affairs from a very tender age. It has known this because beginning at age two or three it heard speech emanating from the common body that, as language development on the left proceeded, became too complex grammatically and syntactically for it to believe it was generating; the same, of course, for what it observed
Sam Harris, "Waking Up".
More than any of those other quotes, this idea has got me thinking. I want to read up on split minds, and the dual consciousness we all seem to carry. I've coming up with some "Just So" stories about and want to find out if that split could explain things like this "inner teenager" I have to struggle with in order to, for instance, keep my weight where "I" want it. I've tended to assume that my conscious self was just the aggregate of all of my brain when it decides to muster itself into a voice, but could it be there's more of a spatial division?

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

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

best photos of 2014

August 12, 2016
Two of the most amazing events happened on the same day in early May; Cora was born, and I went on a Zero-G flight.


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

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

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

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

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

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

second best photos of 2014

August 13, 2016

Cool, our cross-honkish-band BABAM got mentioned by name in a Boston Globe article about our gig with the Landmark Orchestra!

best photos of 2015

August 14, 2016
2015 - this project is just about at its end! Just today and a "Second Best of", and then I'm caught up.
As I get ready to head to Ireland for a work conference (silver lining to housemates: I can pre-announce this stuff without worrying about advertising an empty house), with a layover in Germany to meet some old friends, I realize they might ask me about Trump etc.

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

second best photos of 2015

August 15, 2016
So this marked 20 years worth of photos, posted! Thanks to everyone who took time to comment, its been a great stroll down memory lane.

best photos of 2016

June 3, 2017
Realized I hadn't done a "best of" photoset for 2016... (though the Malaysia trip had its own best of and second best of)

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

second best photos of 2016

June 4, 2017
Second Best Photos of 2016 - though to be honest I think some of these might be better than some of the "Best" I posted yesterday...
via @chapien who calls it the Tumblr Thread to End All Tumblr Threads

runner up best photos of 2016

June 5, 2017
The runner ups for best of 2016... (hmm is that 'third best of 2016?')

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

best photos of 2017

January 4, 2019
A year late but making good time...


[I] am rarely happier than when spending an entire day programming my computer to perform automatically a task that would otherwise take me a good ten seconds to do by hand.
Douglas Adams
Reminded of that quote after posting this devblog entry

second best photos of 2017

January 5, 2019
talk about a day late and a dollar short - the second best photos I took in 2017...


You don't own the atoms in your body. It's just your turn to use them.
u/Prof_Alchem
(reminds me of the quote from the movie Avatar: "She said all energy is only borrowed, and one day you have to give it back" )

best photos of 2018

January 6, 2019
My favorite dozen photos from 2018. Some I find visually compelling, others are a bit more about what the content is.
you: hey
them: what's happening
you: everything
them: cool
you: literally everything is happening
them: cool cool
you: somethings, like stones, are happening slowly
them: ok
you: other things like love or weather are happening faster
them: well, good to see you
you:

Melissa and I have "Iron Man 3" on in the background on SyFy. Commercials are a weird alternation: Pizza, Fitness, Pizza, Fitness, Pizza, Fitness....