it's quite a mausoleum, you're always glad to see 'em

September 29, 2019
Yesterday I went with Melissa and Ariana to Mt Auburn Cemetery - feeling a bit remiss in not having lived near Boston for years without going there... it's quite restful and lovely, besides seeing some graves (like Isabella Stewart Gardner's mausoleum) it's an arboretum,has a few ponds, boasts some plants hosting lovely butterflies, and has a small hilltop tower you can climb to get one of the best views of all of Boston and the 360 area around... all for free, but buying a $1 map makes it even better, pointing out some historically important graves (besides Gardner, I has us go to say hi to Buckminster Fuller's grave, which sadly only has a picture of a geodesic dome on a rather humble and prosaic marker) and sculptures... (you can either navigate with the map alone or it pairs well with google maps)
I'm making "cheat sheets" for BABAM for tubas (and hopefully eventually other parts) - taking our main 10 or so songs and putting the relevant sections on one page that can be printed onto a sheet or so or peeked at via phone. Things are geared at novices, so I'm putting in the fingerings (might make up a set with trombone slide positions as well)

It's amazing how sensitive my ego can be... I've had a few false starts and dead ends in making a workflow for assembling the cheat sheets (messing with using my ipad as a touch screen to draw in the numbers, and also whether I should use screenshots from existing sheet music or just re-enter notes into the composition program musescore). But it's so weirdly difficult for me to admit "yeah, that earlier idea was gonna be pretty clutzy" without feeling like I'm harshly criticizing my past self. (even if some of the "fault" was with the technology - I would not recommend "duet display" for using an ipad as an extra screen drawing pad)

Isn't that weird? I can't even celebrate "oh, here's a hacked together method that works pretty well" without being annoyed at me not seeing the best path immediately. (And also without considering how someone more adept would have an even slicker path.) It's fixed mindset writ small.

September 29, 2018

While I can applaud FB encouraging page maintainers to respond promptly to folks contacting the page, this alert - coming after a successful dialogue (my band will likely march with the 15th anniversary JP Canine Costume Parade) worries me that they will clumsily ding the page's response rate because I let Brad have the last word ("great")

The subtle encouragement to have the page runner post the last reply seems like damaging bad UX. When I wrote a post kvetching about this on FB, a friend said that's why he tends to end with the thumbs up, as a kind of punctuation. Good idea, if a bit of a hack.
Samuel L Jackson Meets Brett Kavanaugh:

"Look, I don't- ya know- My mom thought I was handsome.... that's kinda all you really need in the world..."
(in response to "What's it like to be that handsome?")
Walking home with my tuba after Tufts homecoming win past cheerful, boozy tailgaters - I don't want to overstate the parallel to more serious forms of catcalling, but "HEY TUBA PLAY US SOMETHING OOMPAPA OOMPAPA" is kind of a thing. On the other hand playing a small tune for a suitably impressed kid is a delight, so it's a mixed bag.
HANG GLIDER COP: I see a crime happening directly below me
[glides on]
Not much I can do

September 29, 2017

The Rural Higher-Education Crisis. Young rural white folks aren't going to college much. I wonder how much of that is what kind of industry they see near them. It's hard for me to imagine my kind of work far away from a population and high tech center, though I know a few people who consult from home on projects. But then again I am poor at visualizing how any community makes its economy work.
"I think it's a good health tip to say 'I'm not a worrier.'"
Bill Murray.
Also a lot of the things on this page of Bill Murray quots were pretty good.

September 29, 2016

Lifehack: worried your view of time is getting too quantitative, with nothing but digital clockfaces in your life? And use a Mac? Set the clockface to Analog for a while.

September 29, 2015

Reminds me of how one of the reasons I'll dread giving up my 2004 Scion when it comes time is that it's such a great steering wheel percussion instrument... great bass thump, nice snare, and a good percussive scratch along the side.

September 29, 2014

Homer Simpson -- "Lousy minor setback! THIS WORLD SUCKS!"

From I Am Furious (Yellow)
(as I said the other day: I use "Lousy Minor Setback! This World Sucks!" as a mantra, sometimes, to remind myself that I'm crazily over-reacting to whatever little inconvenience is irking me just then, like a broken escalator. ("Mantra" is the wrong term... what's the word for a cross between a catchphrase and a koan to set one's thinking on a better path? Sort of a catchprahse wrang-wrang, to use Vonnegut's bokononism terminology.))

the very act of breathing reminds you you're not whole

September 29, 2013


September 29, 2012

EB on a bit of a tear at the hardware store- so little made in USA, even the "Vermont American" (R) rand is made in China. #usafail

in the shop

a cold rainy day in beantown

September 29, 2011

Red Sox had a choke for the ages yesterday. The graph source points out that it wasn't just the month of September-- into the late innings, things were looking "ok"... Such a set of statistical craziness ("Multiply those four probabilities together, and you get a combined probability of about one chance in 278 million of all these events coming together in quite this way.") is making people question ideas that streaks and chokes are semi-mythological. (Personall, I think it started when bad hitting made Tim Wakefield have to play like 8 or 9 games before he got his 200th win. That got the pitching thinking. And choking.

For bitter fun, check out ESPN's picks at the start of the season.

Ah well, it's not losing a series after being ahead 3 games to none or anything, but still.

(And Patriots' last game... and the NBA strike...Bruins anyone?)
Everybody lies, but it doesn't matter because nobody listens.
Nick Diamos

Man. Yesterday: Amazon intros cheap tablet, but that "silk" web thing scares me; Microsoft starts getting money from android, and Sox choke
BoA to charge $5/mo for using debit cards at stores. Might be time to look for alternatives...
Anything's a toy if you play with it.
Andy on "Parks + Recreation"

the colors of the web

September 29, 2010

an excerpt of the colors of the web
Basically looking into the top 100 brands -
dig this kind of analysis so much! - oh so brilliant -- an Asteroids fighter on any page, blasting away page elements...

portugal 2009

September 29, 2009
Table of Contents for my vacation to Portugal ... (by coincidence, exactly a year and a half after my Japan wrapup)


calling london




castle of são jorge




feira da ladra e cascais




torre de belém e marcos


berardo / aqueduct / bica




back to boston - the speech ready if the Apollo moon landing had left the astronauts stranded. RIP, William Safire.
HULK feel pain, too! If Wolverine prick us with claws do Hulk not bleed green? If General Thunderbolt Ross tickle Hulk with Apache gunships do Hulk not throw tanks? If gamma bomb poison Hulk do we not become Hulk? And if Ducky ignore us for Kenya-born Nazi Commie, shall Hulk not weep like little Disney Princess?
excerpt from The Incredible Merchant of Venice: Merchants of MENACE!, Stan Lee Shakespeare, pub. 1596
(via Bill )
"Hi Kirk, Hope you are doing in the best of the mood!!" -- random recruiter spam to me. Nice to see the recruiters out I guess...
dumb kosher-ness thought: babies drinking breast milk. Isn't that like drinking milk from a bottle made of meat? (Some googling explains breast milks is pareve, ok to eat with meat or dairy)

boom, baby. boom.

September 29, 2008
Oof-dah, fun on the markets...

Lets assume the voting was mostly political and not about "fiscal morality" or "just makes sense" or whatever. Is Joe Sixpack for anything that promises to Help the Fiscal Crisis or against Welfare for Wall Street Fat Cats?

Excerpt of the Moment
A single bulb backlit the frame of the monster, who seemed as peaceful in sleep as he was terrifying in his waking hours. Sheldon thought back to the day five years ago when he gave life to this powerful creature. The sacrifice, dedication and secrecy that had gone hand in hand with the project. His parents never knew. Sheldon had convinced them that his thousands of hours in the basement were spent masturbating. Botched experiments often made his lies more difficult, but his parents took to their graves the belief that sometimes when Sheldon ejaculated, there was an explosion and fire.
Jon Stewart, "Revenge is a Dish Best Served Cold", from "Naked Pictures of Famous People".
The book didn't live up to its title, or that "America" textbook parody. The New Yorker "casual" format sometimes isn't all that funny...

Link of the Moment is weirdly hypnotic, all these little < 140 character snippets scrolling down as they are entered. Captivating, a bit vapid... maybe a way of catching the technoliterate zeitgeist.

I love when football players are running in formation to protect the guy trying to return a kickoff, holding hands. If only they skipped...
"i was determined not to need this / so determined not to see this / coming, going, gone" -jess yoakum
pentomino "Monday: eat at Chili's to cure cancer"? I think you might want to try some more traditional courses of treatment first.
Alaska's state quarter is the awesomest, a bear totally ripping into some salmon.
You can't spell "down" without D-O-W!
From hope to duh: "The market is down less than 200! That's not so b-- oh wait, that's NASDAQ."
In general I'm getting so sick of people's negativity in general, such a bitch + glass half empty culture. It's just not a useful stance.
Weird; CNN seems to be linking to wrong HR 3997 "How they voted" doc, - that's last year, not the bailout...
Also... NY has a "Congressman Israel"? Who knew?
"Aaaayyy... See? I'm like the white the Fonz" "Uhhh--the Fonz WAS white" "Aaaayyyy!"

if you want a sense of perspective, you can't afford it

September 29, 2007
Might be in Rockport, so I'll prepublish this.

Been thinking about trying a few more online dating sites. For websites in general, I tend to be so droll in my user name selection, sticking with "kisrael" or "kirkjerk", neither of which are very descriptive (or to the extent they are descriptive are a little misleading) For dating sites, am I missing the chance to do a little advertising? I was thinking I want something that says funny and/or literate. "booksmart"? "funnypages"? "bookcrush"? Or throws in the bike, which is only mildly misleading on that whole "I'm athletic" shtick... "bikeandread". Bleh, too many vowels. (Of course, when brainstorming, it's always fun to think of the blatantly inappropriate... "bigstuff4u" etc.)

Plus, it seems like there's a habit of appending your year of birth to the end, ala booksmart74. That seems to kind of descend from the AOL days of yore.

I'm a little disenchanted with the whole online dating culture's tendency to express disinterest, or even loss of interest, by simply not communicating. It lacks the milkshake of human kindness.

Also, hmm. It seems that the proportion of people who express a fascination and love of the great outdoors is greater than what I run into in other parts of life. Sometimes I wonder if it's sincere and accurate and I just haven't been paying attention, a bit of optimism about what they'd like to be, or just a bit of what they think other people want them to be.

Ecard of the Moment, "when you care enough to click send". Some funny and cynical use of good ol' clip art.

quit bugging me

September 29, 2006
In a recent Tuesday Morning Quarterback Easterbrook mentions "The Progress Paradox" (Hmm, I might have to read his book on the subject.) In TMQ he writes
Kahneman, Krueger and their collaborators also offer a vital insight -- that happiness comes from choosing time over money, but most Americans choose money over time. "Leisure is better for happiness than increased income," they argue, supposing that time spent in travel, having new experiences, relaxing, hiking, reading, or simply looking up at the stars is more important to our sense of well-being than a new car or impressive house. Unless you are in a bad financial situation, Kahneman and Krueger recommend you spend less time working, accept somewhat lower income, and use your freed hours to experience life.
Man I wish I was better at living that! I guess there are two things drawing me back from trying to coast on savings: health insurance and vague fears about retirement. Of course, I'm way overdue for bucking up and figuring out my 401Ks situation once and for all. But man, I so wish the Clintons Single Payer Healthcare idea had made it in the 90s. Rent and food, I can budget for that, but it always feels like healthcare has this risk for becoming an unlimited and vast expense at any moment, even though it probably won't.

I was talking to a Candian Ex-Pat He considers Canada's healthcare to be, and I quote, "best in the world". Which doesn't jive with how it's sometimes painted here.

Photos of the Moment
Another bug at work... bigger than the last one I took photos of but mercifully on the other side of the window. A bit backlit, but I kind of like the parking lot behind:

unhappy day

(1 comment)
September 29, 2005
Loss of the Moment
Yesterday I had the sad privilege of going to the funeral of a co-worker...a great guy by the name of Ed Breytman who passed away at the incredibly unjust age of 47. I got the chance to work with Ed, and help him out a bit with my knowledge of the computer language Perl...I think one of my strongest memories of him will be the way he called me by the nickname "Guru" when he was looking for a bit of help. (Though it wasn't just me, I think I heard him use it for other folks.) Actually, I think his attitude about the knowledge of others was admirable, especially because he was a go-getter himself. It's not going to be easy to pick up the stress and performance testing he was doing for the company from where he left off.

It was the first Jewish funeral I've been to, I believe. It was largely conducted in Russian, with some traditional Hebrew here and a bit of explanatory English there. One tradition I admired relative to current Protestant American habits is having mourners put the dirt on the coffin, either in symbolic garden-spadefuls, or even more utilitarian shovelfuls. I think there's a sense of closure with that, and a macabre beauty in restoring some of the literal meaning of the phrase "burying a loved one". (If I remember rightly the Protestant funerals I've been too often have the mourners bear witness to lowering the casket into the ground, but then leave an open grave, having the groundskeepers do everything after.)

So, that was really sad, and Ed will missed mightily.

Quote of the Moment
Education is the ability to listen to almost anything without losing your temper or your self-confidence.
Robert Frost

lights! camera! etc!

September 29, 2004
As we enter the dark half of the year, I'm realizing I really don't have enough lights in my apartment. The place is kind of weird, with lots of switches that don't do anything, and few overhead lights...instead most of the rooms have an odd vent thing, cocentric circles in the middle of the ceiling. Maybe some fuses are blown or something, but it doesn't seem like the round vents do much, except for the one in the bathroom.

Anyway, I've grown rather fond of these florescent lights, the freestanding "Torchier" kind, similar the hoardes of halogen ones in the mid-90s. TAGS has them for a ridiculously low, subsidized price, like $7 or $8. (Not as much of a selection as they did during the summer however.) I find florescent light is wonderful as long as it is bounced off of a wall or ceiling. And I like that they use less energy. And if one tips over, it's not going to burn down the house, and probably won't become a little insect frying pan either.

In other news...I'm dabbling with using gmail fulltime, so my new address is kirkjerk at gmail dot com. (Hmm, maybe I should switch to a more professional alias?) All my old email addresses work as well. I'm surprised at what a leap of faith it feels like for me, switching from my trusty, rusty "crappy homebrew webmail system" to this. It handles attachments much better however, and has a lot of other cool features.

Article of the Moment
Trust me...historically speaking, your job isn't that bad.

Email Quote of the Moment
If under Saddam it was a 'potential' threat, under the Americans it has been transformed to 'imminent and active threat,' a foreign policy failure bound to haunt the United States for decades to come.
from this email, supposedly from Farnaz Fassihi, WSJ's Mideast correspondent in Baghdad, making the rounds.
It paints a pretty grim picture. (Slate points out no matter how good or bad a situation, it just shows Bush was Right, infallible in his own mind.)

Essay of the Moment
Another lovely Paul Graham musing: What The Bubble Got Right. Very amusing illustration at top, now that I think about it. Oh how I miss the dot com days...

boom boom boom

(1 comment)
September 29, 2003
So they're rounding up people for layoffs at work today (the rumor mill predicted this last week) I'm not sure if I'm in or out yet (over the weekend I gave myself 50/50 odds) but my pulse is going over 130. I'd really like to avoid 3 layoffs in 3 calendar years.

UDPATE: so far, so good, looks as if I'm in the clear for now.

Article of the Moment
I, Cringley on the Taguchi Method of robust design. Cool column. Not sure if I would name a column after myself if I had a name like "Cringley" though.

Quote of the Moment
Cole's Law: Thinly sliced cabbage.

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".

read my head

September 29, 2001
Image of the Moment

--from a St. Petersburg Times article on patriotic tattoos. Two telling quotes: "It's painful" (Jack Hansen, shown above) and "Tattoo shops haven't seen a boom like this since Dale Earnhardt died, and people wanted the number 3 and 'Intimidator' scrawled on their bodies."

Concepts of the Moment:
Sabi: a mood--often expressed through literature--of attentive melancholy.

Wabi: a cozier, more object-centered aesthetic of less as more.

Wabi-Sabi: As a single idea, wabi-sabi fuses two moods seamlessly: a sigh of gentle melancholy, and a sigh of slightly bittersweet contentment, awareness of the transcience of earthly things, and a resigned pleasure in simple things that bear marks of that transcience.
Jim Spayde of Utne Reader
via Fifteen Megabytes of Fame - Amy Rosenthal finally found a name for the concept of the feeling she had.

Bees are nice. They are gentle. They make honey and pollinate flowers. Of all the things that sting you, they are my favorite.

Similarly, of the things that disembowel you, I feel tigers are the prettiest., O Nature!
Pierre Trudeau, former prime minister of Canada, died recently. I should read up on him- a strident federalist who also believed in getting the government out of the bedroom and who by the force of his personality (and startling wardrobe?) did a lot for Canada on the international scene- popular uith an attitude of 'anyone who *really* wants to lead probably shouldn't, and I don't'.
Waiting in the Autumn chill for the airport shuttle bus in the twilight, I see stadium lighting and a playing field, and I think of high school away games and marching band- and now I realize I'm just thinking of what it was like unpacking from the bus- heh, I  haven't thought of the instrument truck for years, with its funky hydraulic lift platform.
"I'm not against women.  Not often enough, anyway."
          --Groucho Marx(?)
every first kiss feels like a miracle