The bad UI that scared the bajeebers out of Hawaii
Trying to remember you is like carrying water in my hands a long distance
[during lull in conversation] maybe people who say the earth is flat are thinking of maps
"You're like the Raft of the Medusa, but piloted by Pippi Longstocking."
Final 3 panels of this SMBC comic - the whole thing resonated for me deeply. (Not completely; like I think there is at least some meaning between life and non-life...) Admittedly I had to look up "Raft of the Medusa".
On my devblog, some thoughts on game design
Don't you love the Oxford Dictionary? When I first read it, I thought it was a really really long poem about everything
Looking to make up some band music (but not looking to spend hundreds of dollars) I've been wrestling with the interface of both "MuseScore 2" and "NoteFlight", both very similar programs with startlingly frustrating UI. Why do they make it so hard to enter new notes and/or select existing notes to edit? Didn't Music Construction Set have this figured out in like 1984? For reals.
--My Super-Niece at the New England Aquarium (still from footage for my 'One Second Everyday'
http://www.city-data.com/top2/c467.html - 13 of the top 20 windiest US cities are in Massachusetts - and Somerville is 21. Is it weird that Cambridge and Somerville are 20 and 21 but Arlington isn't on the list at all?
My mom and I were corresponding about an old vacation video I had recently unearthed, and when I talked about my discomfort at being such a graceless, attention-seeking adolescent, my mom wrote:
I so wish you could be more understanding of your adolescent self. That's the real key....you were an adolescent and your actions then belong to that stage of development. You've grown into maturity with so so many positive attributes that were somehow cooked together from those years. Plus, you've carried into adulthood a lot of the creativity and risk taking that many adults leave behind.
I've been thinking a lot about my "creativity and risk taking". In most ways, I'm not much of a risk taker, because I live in this weird fear of being held account to some authority, sometime, somewhere, some voice that will point out "YOU CHOSE POORLY AND NOW THINGS ARE BAD AND YOU SHOULD FEEL BAD". So, I don't proactively choose much. And I don't judge much, or at least not casually, because then I'd be responsible for an opinion that could turn out to be wrong. I guess to the extent I seem like a risk taker, it's in not really caring if I got put into certain categories by other people... I've always had more interesting things to worry about than if I was a dork, that battle was probably already fought and lost. (Or won.)
There's that (often misattributed) quote by Marianne Williamson "Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure." that I've been mulling around. The thing is, on an abstract, intellectual level, I know some things are impossible. You can take the series 1 + 1/2 + 1/4 + 1/8 +.... for as long as you want, even forever, and you will never ever get to 3. The AI research Marvin Minsky mathematically proved (citation needed, couldn't find a good reference) that a type of neural network some other folks were working on would never, ever be able to differentiate certain types of visual patterns.
So how important is the impossibility of things to real life? Should I try to just label it a meaningless, abstract theoretical? Do I use the concept as too much of an excuse to continue my life's pattern of being a local optimizer, preferring to build in small steps rather than make grand sweeping changes?
relevant cartoon from http://tumblr.tastefullyoffensive.com/post/73422091488
On Valencia Street, I look out the window at the hipsters on their fixed-speed bikes. The tight clothes, the tiny hats -- their major struggle as a generation seems to be reducing drag. As if success in life requires being ever ready to slip through a narrow opening.
http://kottke.org/14/01/the-sum-of-all-positive-integers Good lord. 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + .... ends up equalling -(1/12). If you ever wanted to make a philosophical argument that math doesn't describe our world, start here.
I should either ditch it or upgrade it so it has my "of the moment" stuff too.
Went out into the Wintry Mix for a new Couch to 5K Day 1, this time with Galloway's "Easy 5K" app that tweaks the tempo on my own music to give me a good target pace.
Live and learn, die and forget it all.
Enter a small room. Doors close. When doors open, you're in a different place. Elevators are the next best thing to wormholes
'I check my Privilege.' 'Roll high!' 'Ew...1.' 'You start arguing that being punk rock in school was like being a minority.' #TwitterDnD
Open Photo Gallery
One of the greatest attractions there is a building dedicated to Sol LeWitt's Wall Drawings. These certainly challenge many folk's idea of what art is: none of them are actually constructed by LeWitt's hands. Instead, each consists of a set of instructions, for example:
A team of drafters produced this result-- (all of his works are done by various teams of draftsmen (draftspeople?) and there's a subculture of folks who have worked on his pieces. Also, the works are "portable", in terms of one can be painted over and made again at the same place or elsewhere, and the new one is the official thing. (Only one official instance exists, but people can of course make their own unofficial duplicates.)
That one was one of our favorites. I liked how small discrepancies are magnified until a 3D-ish, almost topographical quality emerges. Detail:
Other Sol LeWitt pieces:
Some other images of us strolling around the place:
Pound for pound, the amoeba is the most vicious animal on earth.
Deluxe Town Diner has a lovely train station companion in Newton Centre; only place I know to get, say, tall order of pancakes and a sloe gin fizz...
Truth is, everybody is gonna hurt you; you just gotta find the ones worth suffering for.
New Blender of Love Digest is here!
Bad game for the Pats, congrats Jets. Ah well a time to "practice equanimity in success and failure" - which sounds LOSER TALK- and it is - but not untrue.
--for the MIT Mystery Hunt I am playing Frank, the rabbit guy from "Donnie Darko". It's a long story
I tend to live in the past because most of my life is there.
Go Team Left as an Exercise for the Reader!
Literary Bit of the Moment
"Well, I heard of this young girl. Eighteen years old. A Yassar student. For a price, she'll come over and discuss any subject - Proust, Yeats, anthropology. Exchange of ideas. You see what I'm driving at?"
"I mean my wife is great, don't get me wrong. But she won't discuss Pound with me. Or Eliot. I didn't know that when I married her. See, I need a woman who's mentally stimulating, Kaiser. And I'm willing to pay for it. I don't want an involvement - I want a quick intellectual experience, then I want the girl to leave. Christ, Kaiser, I'm a happily married man."
--Woody Allen, The Whore of Mensa
Via FoSO, brilliant art hoax "Entropa": http://tinyurl.com/7c9bv2
(weird... twitter just auto tinyurl'd me)
khftcea "Just let your love flow, like a mountain stream... ...cold, unreachable, and full of jagged rocks." Lore, http://badgods.com/
How many A's in KHAAAAAAAAN? http://www.flickr.com/photos/squidnews/3200285750/
SouperSalad has a "add a bowl of soup for the price of the day's projected high temp"- do they have a plan for of it goes negative?
MIT Mystery Hunt: Team lead Sarah can scan through a list of 28 categories and recite the 6 that hadn't been matched. Do I belong here?
For ten years I know that an anagram for my full name is "Risk Oral Linkage" Maybe this will come in handy during the Hunt?
Business Quote of the Moment
"The process isn't about not getting fired."
--Steve K as paraphrased by me, 2008.05.15. Steve is our "scrummaster", who helps the team guide itself through the 30-day-cycle ("sprint") process of software development known as "scrum". (It's not "process heavy" as far as these things go, but does have certain events, the daily standup meeting, the end of cycle review and "planning poker" meeting for the next sprint.) Sometimes Steve will emphasize the importance of keeping up to your part of the Scrum contract over making other people in the company happy.
Letter Excerpt of the Moment
She hugs you in the doorway and when you say to her, 'If you move just six inches closer, I'm going to kiss you,' she moves closer, and you kiss her and the whole world is nice.
--Charles Schulz to his paramour Tracey
Headline of the Moment
NY Times: New Bacteria Strain Is Striking Gay Men:
A new, highly drug-resistant strain of the “flesh-eating” MRSA bacteria is being spread among gay men in San Francisco and Boston, researchers reported on Monday.Oy. Just the echo effect is enough to make my heart drop.
I guess that's where strategies such as "only touch anything once" and "start at one end and systematically proceed to the other" come from, as a way of fighting that "tangential" method of decluttering.
Ladywear Mystery of the Moment
|--Photo above the "sleepwear and intimates" at the Target near my mom's. What are these? Are they just for prettifying bare feet? Are they meant to be worn with some kind of shoe?|
Anecdote of the Moment
(German contralto) Ernestine Schumann-Heink was an unashamed gourmand. Enrico Caruso, another lover of good food in quantity, entered the restaurant at which she was dining. Seeing her about to begin on a vast steak, he said, "Stina, surely you are not going to eat that alone?" "No, no, not alone," replied the lady, "mit potatoes."
--via Bartlett's Book of Anecdotes. I also like her response when she was crashing her way through the orchestra pit, and the conductor hissed at her to go sideways: "Mein Gott! I haff no sideways."
At the airport I saw a few cowboy hats. It got me wondering, and I mean this sincerly; how does a guy wearing a hat decide to wear a dark hat or a light hat? Do they pick one shade and stick with it? Does a dark hat reflect an inner dangerous streak?
Kid Games of the Moment
OICURMT! O I C U 8 1 2 A B C D goldfish L M N O goldfish! O S A R...S M P N? F U M? S, E F M. F U X? S, E F X O K L F M N X--I learned these when I was a kid...I admit that now the goldfish thing doesn't make a lot of sense.
UPDATE: In today's comments Catherine described what this other site calls the Cockney Alphabet...
A while back in trying to understand Mo a little better I read "The Introvert Advantage" and although I feel I'm kind of bipolar on the Introvert/Extrovert scale, I definately grokked what the book was saying about the introvert's need to "recharge my batteries" by being alone for a bit. For me that usually involves just unwinding and catching up on websites.
Also, I am so longing for big stretches of freetime to tackle some projects. Going through my CD colllection and making mp3 rips, moving my websites to new server space, revamping my online database program...
Video of the Moment
Funny, funny video of a man blowing up a raft.
My cold, cold drive to work this morning would have been so much more tolerable if it was in this Mazda autobot. Admittedly, merely a computer animation (and in a car that doesn't seem to have much in the way of passenger seating) but still a bit hypnotic to watch.
The page it comes from has some random backstory about it: "The TRANSFORMERS® RX-8, is a TRANSFORMERS ALTERNATORS vehicle that combines the spark from an AUTOBOT solider with 100% pure MAZDA ZOOM-ZOOM." ("Transformers Alternators". Maybe they could throw in a few more electronic part names, like if there's a rebellion maybe they'll be the "Transformer Alternator Resistor" and if you're talking about a robot that can do, like, a LOT, it would be a "Transformer Alternator Resistor Capacitor"....) Good to know that the protection of the planet is in such good hands, but if this the team up with Mazda and the Autobots to avoid Cosmic Rust, I wonder what would happen if McDonald-Douglas starting building robot bodies for the Decepticons?
Watch the skies.
(Heh...what if, like, 747s were Transformers? For some reason I imagine them as being these really big, dumb lumbering guys...)
Pseudo-Intellectual Ramble of the Moment
I've been e-mailing with a friend (about Mensa) when I started namedropping the "theory of multiple intelligences"...she asked what it was and I wrote the following...maybe someone out there will find it interesting.
It's a kind of self-evident idea: most people know that you can be smart at one thing (like taking standardized tests ;-) and dumb at other things, but we still tend to measure smarts on one scale and call that "intelligence". The theory of multiple intelligences just says that there are different ways of being smart, emotional and what not...
Actually I just realized I've been using the term loosely... A google search came up with
which lists 8 specific ones:
Linguistic intelligence ("word smart"):
Logical-mathematical intelligence ("number/reasoning smart")
Spatial intelligence ("picture smart")
Bodily-Kinesthetic intelligence ("body smart")
Musical intelligence ("music smart")
Interpersonal intelligence ("people smart")
Intrapersonal intelligence ("self smart")
Naturalist intelligence ("nature smart")
At one point back in school, when I was still using the term loosely, I thought there should be a similar concept for art and literature. It was in an early black literature class, and I was noticing the circles some of the academics were running in to justify studying some of these novels that really weren't "very good"; schlocky and corny, knockoffs of the white novels written at the same time. But they were worth reading, because of who wrote them and when they were written. I realized a "theory of multiple intelligences" would do well to analyze what makes a given work worthwhile.
And what I thought is it doesn't have to preclude pointing to some things as "great works", it doesn't have to be some egalitarian equality of all books; even a dimestore trashy romance is "good" at provoking a certain response in its audience, via titillation and/or something emotional; it just is more likely to be bad on the other fronts. A book by your eight-year-old is unlikely to be a breakthrough work of genius, but it will mean so much to you because of who wrote it. Things that are great, that inarguably deserve a prominent place in "the canon", on the other hand, are much more likely to be effective on a bunch of these hypothetical levels, and that's why we consider them great.
Link of the Moment
Mars Vs. Earth Probes ("As you are well aware, Earth is currently the underdog in the solar system division in the Expensive Hardware Lob. For every piece of hardware that returns useful information from the Lobbee's planet, the Lobber scores a point. For every piece of hardware sucessfully thwarted by the Lobbee, they score a point.") -- so far Mars is ahead, 20 to 16. (Though if you just count the good ol' USA, our record is 10 to 5. Dang Russkies!)
News of the Moment
if the northeast cold snap does cause blackouts...man, that will be very, very bad. What a nightmare....I keep thinking back to this old Barney Miller episode where there was this guy who was kind of a prototype for the Y2K folks who came later, except his deal was converting all his paper money to gold in preperation for the coming ice age...if changes in climate patterns are making this kind of North Pole blast more likely...ugh!
"Those who do not understand history should not be permitted to make it."
--Carl Dershem, via the sig of Danny Sichel, Very appropriate of our current time I think.
Fruit of the Moment
Yikes! Bananas Split, maybe within a decade?
Link of the Moment
Adweek on the best 20 ad campaigns of the past 20 years. I don't know why I love this stuff so much. Heh... Bartles & Jaymes, "We thank you for your support." Hadn't thought of that for a looong time, but it was pretty great.
News of the Moment
Space Shuttle launches with the first Israeli astronaut. (Can Mel Brook's vision of "Jews in Space" from History of the World be far away?) Anyway, security was extra tight for this one...what a big target, in more than one sense of the word.
When the capitalistic message we try to bring the world goes a little bit awry...it's the handheld video game "Laden Vs. USA", with real pictures from September 11.
On the one hand, it's appalling to make a terrorist incident where thousands died into a game. On the other hand, you have to admire the chutzpah. And really, is that much worse than the flash games like this or the "Come Mr. Taliban, Hand Over Bin Laden / Daylight Come and We Drop Da Bomb" flash video?
Quote of the Moment
"What comes out of your mouth is more important than what goes into it."
--Russian priest being quoted by man about the drinking of Vodka, during an NPR story on Santa Claus vs. Father Frost (the traditional Russian giftbringer.)
Our neutered boy cat has started humping our spayed girl cat. Man, I know we should necessarily judge cats by our standards of conduct, but sheesh. That's just icky.
Joke of the Moment
Scenario: A bishop (B) and a rabbi (R) are sharing a train compartment. After a short while, the two men of the cloth start relating some of their past life experiences...
B: So tell me, rabbi, have you ever actually tasted ham?
R: Well yes, in fact. Once when I was very young and daring, I tried it. But only the once...
R: So tell me bishop, have you ever ... enjoyed the comforts of a young woman?
B: Well, ahem, yes... before I took my vows, mind you, when I was not so old and not so wise...
(another short pause)
R: Zo, it's better than ham, hmm?
--John Henshaw, via rec.humor.funny.reruns
Defunct Link of the Moment
A while back I was cruising Domain Surfer (the best way to see what domains are free or taken... another addition for that hypothetical best ever links list). I must've been checking out the namespace near my own alienbill.com when I found alienbob.com. At the time, the site had nothing but a block of some odd animation of Bill Gates morphing into a devil. I wrote the site and asked what the story was... the owner said once for some Model-UN type experiment set on modeling the politics and economy of a colony on Mars he decided to simulate a dictatorship based on Alien Bob. Alas, the domain is no more, and Alien Bill now stands alone.
There's a cliche that compares romance to worship, and I say yes; there's a type of relationship that is like religion, but that's a very unfortunate thing. The silver lining is that you are persuaded to be a better person than you otherwise are, but on the whole that's a mighty grey cloud. It's the type of assymetrical relationship where faith and doubt replace real communication, where you live in fear of eternal seperation and in hope of eternal happiness. That's no way to live. I'm all for the secular humanism of a balanced romance.