August 4, 2021 file under "sites I wish I knew of a year and a half ago" - very solid version of "Telephone Pictionary" aka "Eat Poop You Cat" - every player comes up with a sentence, than everyone tries to illustrate someone else's sentence, and then everyone tries to reconstruct the sentence to someone else's drawing, and so on for a few cycles.

Here's one from team playing earlier going from "Loud cloud beats the band" to "Golfer's Delight". "Loud cloud..." was an enjoyably idiosyncratic starting sentence I got to kick off the drawing part by illustrating. (Some sentences, like my "All monkeys like bananas", are a little boring because they're very stable, easy to draw.)

Besides the overall polish (and I haven't even tried out the variations it offers) is the great dynamic balance between drawing and guessing! Some other games either has everyone just guessing for extended periods, but this one, it's the more the merrier, and going over the results together has a lot of laughs. (Plus, it's totally non-competitive, come to think of it!)

I added it to the "Vouched for Quarantine Games" list some friends and I started.

August 4, 2020

The whippoorwill's name reflects the sounds we hear it make. But studies show there are two more notes to its song beyond the range of human hearing. Scholars wondered if other birds heard these notes, and recordings of mockingbirds, a species that mimics the songs of other birds, revealed that they did.
Charles Bowden
(He goes on to write "I think I want to hear these missing notes about the border and the ground about us when I write and bring the full song to the attention of others." The Harper's Magazine review I got the quote from talks about how he was a tremendous force writing reports from the American Southwest and Mexico.)
I was just trying to recall what comic this was, with a vision of cities as kind of a memetic parasite... turns out it was Grant Morrison's "The Invisibles".

Didn't realize how into Magic he was, like has part of his process. (Made me think of Damien Echols talking about magic on the trippy series "Midnight Gospel")
the tree who set healthy boundaries, an alternate ending for Shel Silverstein's "The Giving Tree" (Part of the "Topher Fixed It" series for young people)

photos of the month - july 2019

August 4, 2019

No one has proved that our intelligence is a successful adaption, over the long term. It remains to be seen if the human brain is powerful enough to solve the problems it has created.
Richard Wallace, AI-researcher
Quoted this 17 years ago and I think it holds up more than ever.
Every bad guy with a gun thinks he's a good guy with a gun.
(Who follows that up with "Every massacre enacts a collective desire for them.
It's time we started viewing those who obstruct basic remedy to massacre as conscious participants in the desire for massacre.
And treating them accordingly.")

August 4, 2018

It probably makes me feel too much like a grownup, but having one of those cheap Black and White Brother printers that use toner that lasts forever rather than rip-off color cartridge is super handy. Recommended.

August 4, 2017

The latest 99% Invisible podcast is about Time and "Ways of Hearing", some fascinating stuff about how digital timekeeping and click tracks have changed music, along with digital's weird flexibility, and some interesting tangents. At about 12:00 in Damon Krukowski talks about the classical musicians' "Tempo Rubato", stealing time here, but give it back here, and says it's called "Swing" in jazz or "Groove" in Rock and Funk...

At around 24:30 he says:
There's something very distinct about an experience of analog time, time that flexes slower and quicker -"Tempo Rubato" - and this feeling of "blurred time" from latency. For one, I can't think of a musical term for "latency", perhaps because it's not like anything we experience in lived time.
That seems false to me. As a student brass player I was frequently instructed to "anticipate", that if I started the mechanics of playing a note exactly on the beat, I'd be late.

For large ensembles (especially ones spread out like a marching band taking the field) the instruction was to use our eyes on the conductor or drum major to keep time, listening to our neighbors would result in slowing down at best, chronologically disjoint chaos at worst.

Even non-musicians have experienced the delay in thunder after lightning, or with a firework and its report.

Hell, our whole lives are lived in a weird bit of latency that our brains edit out! That's why have concepts of fast or slow reflexes... (not to mention an illusion of free will, but that's a different story.

(And at the far end of the spectrum, Einstein says that the speed of the light is the latency that we can never, ever get away from!)

While hanging out with my folks in NJ, Melissa and I fired up "Warioware" for GameCube. (She sometimes wonder if her life would have been slightly more interesting had she grown up with games). Those microgames, little tiny doses of gameplay, are cool and fun, and accessible to non-veteran gamers... Anyway, listening to an old Retronauts podcast about the N64, I found out that a very recognizable version of the mircogames, effectively a prototype in retrospect, came bundled in Mario Artist: Polygon Studio, a 3D modeling program that used the rare disk add-on for the N64...

See also this interview with some of the WarioWare team...

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.)

August 4, 2015

First Person View of fighting a fire. Scary!

The video CNN will play at the end of the world, for reals.
A pyramid for Jerusalem? More gist for the illuminati minded, I guess...
Am I missing something? I don't see Trump's brand of reality-denying crazy as being much beyond that of garden variety modern Foxish Republicanism. Plus, I think his "straight talk", "I'm rich enough to not be corrupted by politics" demeanor is surprisingly appealing; possibly Reagan-esque in its appeal, except in the decades since Reagan was in office, neocons started acting on what for him was mostly rhetoric and platitudes.
Also, it feels like the mainstream is being really assumptive that he hasn't got a chance. I mean, the Democratic frontrunner is the frontrunner in part because she is very famous and well-known; that's an advantage Trump thwarts. There's a lot of baggage to pick on with Clinton, rightly or wrongly, from Benghazi to the private email server. Trump just has a lot of business crap he doesn't seem to care about.
A man is rich in proportion to the number of things he can afford to let alone.
Henry David Thoreau

August 4, 2014

"And by the way... Your ship is filthy."
"Filthy? She has no idea. If we had a blacklight, it would look like a Jackson Pollock painting."
Gamora and Peter Quill, "Guardians of the Galaxy"... pretty good flick!

We are not members of different generations, as unlike, as some people would have us believe, as Eskimos and Australian Aborigines. We are all so close to each other in time that we should think of ourselves as brothers and sisters.... Whenever my children complain about the planet to me, I say 'Shut up! I just got here myself.'
Kurt Vonnegut

We are so lonely because we don't have enough friends and relatives. Human beings are supposed to live in stable, like-minded, extended families of fifty people or more.

Your class spokesperson mourned the collapse of the institution of marriage in this country. Marriage is collapsing because our families are too small. A man cannot be a whole society to a woman, and a woman cannot be a whole society to a man. We try, but it is scarcely surprising that so many of us go to pieces.

So I recommend that everybody here join all sorts of organizations, no matter how ridiculous, simply to get more people in his or her life. It does not matter much if all the other members are morons. Quantities of relatives of any sort are what we need.
Kurt Vonnegut.
That's why I'm in a band! I guess that's why I stick around church, a bit, but on the outskirts. Maybe the Arlington UU is too big for me.
Another flaw in the human character is that everybody wants to build and nobody wants to maintain it.
Kurt Vonnegut.

August 4, 2013 - PoMan3D, a super simplistic 3D line drawing hack for processing.js
The same people who decry handouts and social welfare are the ones who can't stop asking Me for free stuff.


August 4, 2012

Hauled out the Lego when EBB and his brood came over.... my collection is pretty immense but sadly underutilized... I might need to break it up and share the wealth, though it's maybe even tougher than giving up books!
My idea for a new Olympic sport: swimming tug-of-war. Brilliant, right?

the cars go round and round

August 4, 2011

Wow. Kinda makes me want to visit LA!

kittehs on deck

August 4, 2010
Kittehs on deck...

The first time I see a jogger smiling, I'll consider it.
Joan Rivers

Heh, the last photo on this iPhone 4 admiration page shows how much it looks like that German scale
When I'm in deepish codemode I "chainsmoke" drinking 32 oz waters. Healthy, but man, all those trips to the men's room...

the am love with at your

August 4, 2009
Like  No  yes  Cat  Dad
Mom  Can  And  Not  Was
Who  I  a  To  From
Stop  Go  Of  Off  She  he  me
Of  Off  This  my  you  is  it
The  am  Love  with  at  your
Went  Will

--had dinner with Rob B last night, and this vocabulary list for his 6 year old daughter was tacked to a wall. I'm calling it found poetry. - in some ways, PalmOS (esp. the home screen concept) lives on in the iPhone. And come to think of it, PalmOS looks much like early Mac...

track tracking

August 4, 2008
Wow, August already!

I need to commit to getting my life in order. I'll give myself to the end of the month.

I mean this September should be a new start... 1988 was the start of high school, '92 was college, '96 was real life, '00 was (engaged and, "thanks" EB) married life, '04 was single life... it's a pattern of 4s, with some action on the 2s.

Music Geekery of the Moment
Annoyingly my car stereo does not have an iPod hookup or audio-in jack (also annoying: most car dashes seem to have a "double height" radio slot, but most replacement car radios are single height. Which work in the double height slots-- if you don't mind ugly mounting kits and a big expanse of blah surrounding the radio itself.) However, the manufacturer stereo will play CDs with MP3s on them, a fairly nifty feature for a 2004 car.

Before my trip to Virginia, I took an hour or so to dump all the music I put on my iPhone (around 1500 songs, everything rate 3 stars or higher) onto a series of 10 CDs. After two long car trips, I'm just starting disk 5.

It was kind of an interesting way to divide music: because most of my MP3s have the track # as the first part of the filename, the songs were mostly sorted by track number first, then by name. Except, oddly, the end of the first disk had a weirdly high concentration of my Paul Simon and Beatles... it was frustrating, 'cause while I like Paul Simon and I like the Beatles, have a big mix that's just bouncing between the two when it should be playing a broad selection is annoying.

I investigated, and it turns out they got such a bump because a lot of their music came on multi-disk sets and the numbering scheme had the first number be that of the disk, rather than the track. Ta Da.

But it got me wondering about which track placement tended to meet my criteria for listenability, and so I hacked together some Perl and came up with the following chart -- even less interesting than I expected, but hey:
1:211 2:155 3:131 4:136 5:113 6:101
7:88 8:93 9:88 10:77 11:65 12:54
13:48 14:29 15:24 16:25 17:13 18:11
19:9 20:9 21:0 22:3 23:0 24:1
25:1 26:0 27:0 28:0 29:1 30:1
31:1 32:1
So the first number is the track #, and then how many times it showed up in my 1500 or so songs. Like I said, not very interesting... odd that there's more track 4 than 3, and 8 then 7, but not the stuff research papers are made of.

Just to cap off the geekery, I took a look at the first word of the titles:
I:54 The:51 Track:19 What:16
You:16 My:14 I'm:11 Take:11
A:11 Come:10 All:10 Don't:10
Good:10 One:9 It's:9 We:8
(So obviously the math is a bit off, since "Track" is over-represented as what shows up when the title didn't come through.)

Just needed to get this out of my system. And onto my website.

Just met the girl of my dreams in a dream, smart and funny and bold. Plus, I was smart and funny and bold. So it worked out dream-well.
My Epitath: "What Doesn't Kill Us Makes Us Stronger. ...Whoops."
Automated "sorry, please RE-enter the code without any dashes or spaces" systems are retarded. Programmers are lazy or stupid or both.

me and ellio down by the schoolyard

(1 comment)
August 4, 2007
In Rockport, work-a-day work-a-day.

Workplace Humor of the Moment

--Ellio and Jonathan and me, in our old shared office space.

Product of the Moment
My envy of Heelys continues unabated, because of or despite of this Slate piece on using the adult-sized version. If only I liked wearing sneakers or anything that isn't a sandal or shoe for work.

comscan has detected an energy field pro---

August 4, 2006
So the heatwave broke.

In retrospect, I probably chose the wrong time to switch away from antipersperant and just to deoderant, but in practice it seems to work out ok.

I guess it's just the clogging your glands for cosmetic effect seems a little rude.

Art of the Moment

click for fullsize

"April", by Timna Woollard
from Where The Heart Is.

Video of the Moment
This video of a smartass Darth Vader (acting a bit more like Dr. Evil from Austin Powers) is the funniest recut of a movie scene that I've seen... the guy who made it has perfect comedic timing.

free advice cheap at twice the price!

August 4, 2005
Hints of the Moment
A mouse trap, placed on top on of your alarm clock will prevent you from rolling over and going back to sleep.

Old telephone books make ideal personal address books. Simply cross out the names and addresses of people you don't know.

Avoid parking tickets by leaving your windshield wipers turned to fast wipe whenever you leave your car parked illegally.

High blood pressure sufferers: Simply cut yourself and bleed for a while, thus reducing the pressure in your veins.

A sheet of sandpaper makes a cheap and effective substitute for costly maps when visiting the Sahara desert.
That last one reminds me of a suggestion I thought of for a friend whose all-black cat went missing; she was searching for a recent photo, but I suggested that a picture of any black cat off of the Internet would probably serve 98% as well for purposes of "Missing Cat" signs.

rico's roughnecks - everybody fights. nobody quits

August 4, 2004
You know, I found something a little sad in realizing I don't know this new apartment as well as the old, groping for the kitchen faucet in the dark, I didn't intuitively know that it was one of those single long handle jobbies, rather than having two twisting handles...I dunno.

I think the divorce being final this Saturday is going to bend my perspective a bit, probably for the better. We'll see how it goes.

Quote of the Moment
Slashdot had an article linking to this piece on the next generations of Army uniforms. Here was my response to Slashdot:

It's worth RTFA, because of some absolutely choice quotes:
the 2020 model will remind you of an ominous creature out of a science fiction movie
I love the use of "ominous"
When you have a uniform with this new nanotechnology, it can absorb unlimited numbers of machine-gun rounds
Wouldn't that get kind of heavy?
We are looking at potentially mounting a weapon directly to the uniform system and now the soldier becomes a walking gun platform.
Now THAT sounds like fun...

Grumble of the Moment
How much do I find my job rather unengaging? So much so that I'm really looking forward to going to Walgreens over lunch and picking up one of those stupid SMTWTFS pillboxes people with a variety of pills use to keep track. I don't have a lot of pills but I can't think of a better way of keeping track of the 6 all-in-one vitamins I'm supposed to be having daily. (One of the side effects of going to a semi-hippy doctor I guess.) I'll keep the pill thing shamefully hidden in the depths of my everpresent courier bag...

Urban Legend of the Moment
Heheheh...I was just really amused by this Starbucks poster ("Collapse into Cool") and that they didn't see the implication of a tie-in w/ WTC...

[insert floppy and hard drives joke here]

August 4, 2003
Sorry for yesterday's minimalistic update. Except for finishing up this month's loveblender I spent most of the day hanging out with my Aunt. A lot of the day we spent gaming, especially "Monkey Target" in "Super Monkey Ball 2" (the one where you have to roll your monkey ball down a skislope, click to let the hemispheres unfold into wings, and then hanglide to target islands over the water.)

We also spent a lot of time showing her Paint Shop Pro, and I was impressed with how quickly she picked it up. Also it's cool seeing someone get excited about some of the random abstract stuff you can do with it, like I was back when I first encountered the type of program back in highschool. (I should do a gallery of some of the stuff I've saved. Usually more cartoon-y than abstract, come to think of it.)

Also, I found out that she and I both share the same habit of making sure our respective wedding rings are worn so that the text on the inside is "right side up" (i.e. correctly oriented when holding out the hand with the fingers pointing up.) For her, it's an issue of "bad luck", for me it's this weird concern that the words would feel dizzy if they were upsidedown all the time. She was pleasantly startled to realize someone besides her shared that little "superstition".

Geekness of the Moment
Digital Data Porn is a repackaging of oldschool computer ads and images in an odd "pornsite-like" format. (No nudity or anything, at least as far as I can tell, though that one picture of someone going to lick an atari joystick is rather disturbingly blatant.) It kind of feels like a joke taking too far ("man, you collect these old images like other people collect girlie pix!" "wait...I have an idea!")
I kinda liked this lady here...for the Epson Handheld Computer HX-20. Maybe people had bigger hands back then, or something.

News of the Moment
I hadn't heard much about the Liberian Crossdressing Soldiers before featured that article.
UPDATE: on the comments section, Mike Smith pointed out this related blog entry. You know, between this crossdressing stuff, that whole "sex with a virgin will cure AIDS" idea, and the whole "the Liberians will lay down there arms as soon as the Americans or other peace keepers move in, but we just can't bring ourselves to do it on our own"...I dunno, they don't seem like the most sophisticated warrior males in the world.

Random Ramble of the Moment
So lately I've been thinking about this little "shoot you" gesture I sometimes make when passing people in the hallway at work. You know the one I mean? It's kind of a toned version of a lounge-y "hey, here's looking at you, don't you go changing" gesture (often with a tongue click to go with it), you make a gun with your hand and get a few shots off.

I don't know if it's kind of a subconsciously aggressive thing or not, and if I'm more likely to do it towards men than women. I don't think I use it much when I'm really irritated with someone...though there is that one thing where you pretend to start to start to commit suicide, then shake your head and point the gun at the other guy's head instead...I have to be really irritated to do that though.

I usually use the traditional first finger as the barrel, and the thumb as the hammer, other fingers closed against the palm. (Though recently I learned some other folks (Hi, LAN3) hold their fingers wrapped around an invisible gun, using their first finger to squeeze the hypothetical trigger.) I've realized that when I put the hammer down, so to speak, I can't bend my thumb at the knuckle, the pointer finger curves along with it...more so in my right hand than my left, by a lot. So I just tuck in my thumb more where it hits the palm.

It's sometimes fun to end the shoot by blowing on the barrels, spinning the guns around your fingers then putting the gun back in its holster. LAN3 also pointed out additional merriment from then pretending to miss the holster, ala Don Knotts...

Of course, if someone does it to me, I simply show the bullet zinging off my clearly bulletproof chest. (I think I got that trick from Calvin and Hobbes.)

Sorry this is so random, for some reason I've been meaning to write about it for a few days now.

more powerful than a (small) locomotive

August 4, 2002
Prose of the Moment
Superhero stands arms akimbo. Below him the city is a neon sprawl. He aches. Too many arch-villains battled, too many last minute rescues. Thanks to certain fictional characters the world expects superhero to be invulnerable. But he's not. Superpowers are wear and tear on a body- the knees and back especially. And such bad karma- encountering all that evil and having all that power. You don't think evildoers try to make sweet sounding deals? As if superpowers and good intentions automatically came bundled with super morals. But now the city sleeps safely, and superhero calls it a day.
I was reading through some of KHftCEA, the quote journal precursor to this blog, when it hit me that I haven't been writing the odd little prose snippets that I used to. So if you see more of those on this page, that's why.

Quote of the Moment
It sometimes seems to me that the brain is actually a very shitty computer. So why would you want to build a computer out of slimy, wet, broken, slow, hungry, tired neurons?
Actually, his answers read kind of like a chatbot script, often wholly unconnected to the questions that were asked by Slashdot. He also brought up the interesting point:
No one has proved that our intelligence is a successful adaption, over the long term. It remains to be seen if the human brain is powerful enough to solve the problems it has created.

fight! fight!

August 4, 2001
Funny You Should Ask...
On comp.risks, found this reference: Husband's internet date turns out to be his wife. Upshot is, a Beijing couple both arranged to meet their secret dates from the website "Green, Green Schoolyard", only it turned out to be each other.

Make Lego, Not War
Attempt to prolong the life of your vehicle, for you are in it, and if it is destroyed, a few effects of death may be observed.
Xereve Grungt, SpaceDriver Elite, Hesperan Guard
The quote is from a game known as Lego Wars, playing wargames with the famous little plastic men (and now, women). An even more advanced system, with lots of fun pictures, can be seen at the Brikwars site.

"So little time, so little to do."
--Oscar Levant
The other night at the Arsenal Mall Kay-Bee I started talking with a hard core videogame geekess who worked there... she had lots to say about the Pocket NeoGeo, and games in general, and how once the name of "Lord Siren" was well known on the original Game Sages boards, though she wasn't part of the official team.  She was kind of like the Simpson's Comic Book Guy of video games.
 Listened to George W's nomination acceptance speech. Even if this silver spoon golden rolodex lightweight wins at least the Repubicans have drifted centerwards.
If discretion is the better part of valor, and running away the better part of discretion, then I plan on being one of the most valiant men I know.
(where's that from?)