August 18, 2019


I used to draw robots! I'm not sure if my current pen and crosshatch choices go well it though...

the problem with having a giant light bulb for a brain is how thin and delicate the glass is. and how i got hammers for hands.

a snail really do be like [scooting his slimy lil way across the garden with dogged determination, resolute in his understanding that the destination lies in the journey itself]

Relying on your intuition is kind of like assuming the information at the first google hit is right.

anti-alt-right

August 18, 2018
Two shots from today's alt-right counterprotest-- Marie and my mom's old trombone, and then our merry little crew (not shown, Dave B who set it up at the last minute and then did his double slide whistle). Things were at a standstill, with the remainders of the 30-odd alt-righters standing there in their army helmets staring at the 300-odd counter-protestors chanting anti-Nazi thoughts at them, then the band (who had been doing a lot of chant backing and the odd song) stepped forward and backed a kind of chanting-crowd/honk-band duet, and then shortly thereafter the police said "enough" and shoo'd away the alt-righters. (I guess they try to spin it as they left the left there and went off to bunker hill, but it was clearly not a victory for them.) Anyway, timing might've been a coincidence but maybe not! I believe both Antifa and the alt-right-folk were prohibited from amplified music by the police, which means HONK! style groups like BABAM give the left a current asymmetrical advantage.

Marie and my mom's old trombone!


How fleeting are all human passions compared with the massive continuity of ducks.
Dorothy L. Sayers, Gaudy Night (1935)



Blender of Love

August 18, 2017


At around 1:50 they are doing some great Sousaphone flips-- I remember in high school, the older guys could do that one thing where in one fluid motion you lift up the horn, flip it around your back and replace it... never learned how to do it. Not sure if it's possible with my brass horn Scheiny, and potentially expensive (in repairs or medical bills) for this 40-something to find out!

TIL: Trump frickin' made up a Civil War battle so he could put up a plaque about it on his golf course.

Telling quote: "Many great American soldiers, both of the North and South, died at this spot" - an earlier form of that "both sides" shtick we've heard from him lately.

FAKE HISTORY. Awesome.

from Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

August 18, 2016
We take a handful of sand from the endless landscape of awareness around us and call that handful of sand the world.
Robert Pirsig, "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance"
Holy wars are not fought over [Hinduism and Buddhism and Taoism] because verbalized statements about reality are never presumed to be reality itself.
Robert Pirsig, "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance"
You are never dedicated to something you have complete confidence in. No one is fanatically shouting that the sun is going to rise tomorrow. They know it's going to rise tomorrow. When people are fanatically dedicated to political or religious faiths or any other kinds of dogmas or goals, it's always because these dogmas or goals are in doubt.
Robert Pirsig, "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance"
'Peace of mind isn't at all superficial, really. It's the whole thing. That which produces it is good maintenance; that which disturbs it is poor maintenance. What we call workability of the machine is just an objectification of this peace of mind. The ultimate test's always your own serenity. If you don't have this when you start and maintain it while you're working you're likely to build your personal problems right into the machine itself.'
Robert Pirsig, "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance"
What you have to do, if you get caught in this gumption trap of value rigidity, is slow down-- you're going to have to slow down anyway whether you want to or not-- but slow down deliberately and go over ground that you've been over before to see if the things you thought were important were really important and to... well... just stare at the machine. There's nothing wrong with that. Just live with it for a while. Watch it the way you watch a line when fishing and before long, as sure as you live, you'll get a little nibble, a little fact asking in a timid, humble way if you're interested in it. That's the way the world keeps on happening. Be interested in it.
Robert Pirsig, "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance".
I have to admit, this passage was usefully timed in my reread; it's very applicable to software debugging.
The next one is important. It's the internal gumption trap of ego. Ego isn't entirely separate from value rigidity but one of the many causes of it. If you have a high evaluation of yourself then your ability to recognize new facts is weakened. Your ego isolates you from the Quality reality. When the facts show that you've just goofed, you're not as likely to admit it. When false information makes you look good, you're likely to believe it. On any mechanical repair job ego comes in for rough treatment.
Robert Pirsig, "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance".
"Gumption Traps" are willpower dampers. Unfortunately soon after he states "Anxiety, the next gumption trap, is sort of the opposite of ego." which means he's not thinking of the ego-protecting anxiety produced by having a "Fixed Mindset"... we get anxious because we want to protect our delicate egos.
The hippies had in mind something that they wanted, and were calling it 'freedom,' but in the final analysis 'freedom' is a purely negative goal. It just says something is bad. Hippies weren't really offering any alternatives other than colorful short-term ones, and some of these were looking more and more like pure degeneracy. Degeneracy can be fun but it's hard to keep up as a serious lifetime occupation.
Robert Pirsig, "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance"

August 18, 2015

It's so...lovely. I'm very grateful to be alive, even though I know a lot of dead people.
This quote reminds me a bit of Morrie Schwartz' "Death ends a life, not a relationship" -- (http://kirk.is/2007/05/10/ for more context)

August 18, 2014

The jaded sousaphonist...

August 18, 2013

Made it through the day without more flexeril! But I had it on hand...

moving day

August 18, 2012
We were helping my buddy JZ and his family move. He seemed to spend a lot of time handing this down from and putting things up in attics.

forget mechanism 1-7

August 18, 2011

--Mechanism 8 by Necros...I had this song as a ".mod" file back in college (MOD was a neat format, before computer were up for dealing with .MP3s (and popular on the Amiga) that unlike .MIDIs contained their own musical samples, so you could do a lot with them.

I believe Necros was part of the demo scene -- the stuff like Second Reality and Panic... totally amazing stuff to be rendering in real time on a 386 PC...
Evolution of the Tube Map

zoooooOOOOOOOOOOOMMMMMMMM

August 18, 2010

--Mahó Beach, St. Maarten, via this National Geographic Photo of the Day that has a larger version
Today's diet experiment: is a large iced "dark roast" with Splenda about as satiating as one with sugar?
Starting a cult of Wendy's Baja salad at work. I've lost over 15lbs with it as my regular lunch! Today 2 coworkers went over with me.
It's worry, worry all of the time / You don't know how to laugh / They'll think of something funny / When they write your epitaph

photos of the moment

(2 comments)
August 18, 2009
The backyard of Amber's new digs is verdant:


I'm having to admit I have a hard time resisting making images of bugs and slimy things and creatures in general:


We went to see one of the last days of the Shepard Fairey exhibit at the ICA. Outside the main exhibit they had a nice stretch of white wall for me to use as a backdrop for pictures of Amber.

And, I am a dork.


The view opposite the white wall wasn't so bad either:


The following weekend we went to visit EB and his brood up in Rockport. You know, I didn't even quite realize that gulls HAD tongues before this:

And EBB1 is as charming as always


But her new sister is no stranger to being hypercute herself:

3 Cheers for Cheap Digital Cameras!
http://gadgets.boingboing.net/2009/08/17/scary-psa-warns-agai.html - HORRIFYING PSA against driving+texting. Even more than the impact footage, the cool professionalism of the emergency workers freaks me out.
http://news.cnet.com/8301-17852_3-10309716-71.html?tag=rtcol;pop totally awful and lovely: probability theory in marriage strategy optimization
People who host a blankish page saying "This page is undergoing a major update. Please visit again soon" do not understand how people use the Internet very well.

the mental butterfly

(1 comment)
August 18, 2008
It's been enlightening pondering the difference and similarities between EB, his outlook and ways of thinking, and my own.

Not that the SATs should be the end-all be-alls that we treat them as (And by we, I'm at risk for meaning "people who did well on them") but I was surprised he did better in the Verbal than the Math, though combined I technically beat him by 10 points. But given how entrenched he was in engineering I had always assumed he was more of a math guy, despite admiring some high-falutin' prose he had pulled together on the old tufts.general newsgroup.

But more to the point, I have a mind that enjoys flitting from thought to thought, where as his methodology is more of a focused charge. (This weekend he was a bit tired and preoccupied, which led to a higher number of half-finished thoughts and barely started sentences as different concepts fought to claim the focus of the track of his mind.) Historically, I'm almost able to keep up a conversation while enmeshed in a heated round of Dr. Mario or Puzzle League, while he greatly dislikes distraction.

Which isn't to say my tangential mind is inferior or superior to his goal-oriented approach. I envy and fear his long term game strategy making, to the point where I tend to dislike games that don't favor my scattershot, fast methodologies.

I'd like to think of other implications of this dichotomy. One is this: when I hear about articles along the lines of Is Google Making Us Stupid? it doesn't bother me too much; usually such an article isn't about being "stupid" per se, but retaining fewer facts in our heads that can easily accessed electronically, and indulging in a low-attention-span, high-connectivity (i.e. tangential links) form of mind play in lieu of the good hard think. But since this is how my mind seems to operate, and since I think I have a decent mind, I don't see it as much of a problem.

Another implication: decluttering and straightening up is an almost comically disorganized "oh do this no do this no that" for me where a dozen tasks get started but almost nothing gets done.

So how about everyone here? Are they more of a goal-oriented, focused thinker like EB? Or kind of a thought butterfly like me? Or something else?

Photo of the Moment

--I love this shot from an article on Phelps' Miracle Finish... from what little I've learned about sports in casually watching the Olympics, one bit is the final touch of the wall is hyper-important.

I also liked Usain Bolt's agenda (and his name!) on the day of his world-record beating time...
"Woke up at 11. Had some lunch -- some nuggets. Watched some more TV. Went to my room, slept for three hours. Went back, got some more nuggets, then came to the track."
What would just be a slacker's morning for anyone else sounds unspeakably cool when you're really achieving something special!


Weird dreams- MMORPG world where an emperor CEO had commanded mass suicide. People choosing whether to join in leaping off a 'scraper
On Friday's rainout at Fenway, the Hot Tamale Brass Band was one of the few silver linings, other than the pleasant hanging out w/ friends.
Using my ATM-card as credit card for a bit; w/ that and direct deposit, risk of nil budget tracking, just a money pile that waxes and wanes
Forbes still does these autoadvancing slide shows. Quaint-and annoying, as if I'd rather sit + wait then just click. Probably good for ads.

winning: everything or only thing?

(6 comments)
August 18, 2007
So last night I'm helping to watch a five-year-old cousin of mine, enlisting my Aunt's GameCube as co-babysitter. Caleb likes two player games but is absolutely shameless in asking to swap controllers whenever I get the least bit ahead.

My Aunt says he reminds me of him at that age.

So despite that, or possibly because of that, I try to help him get a sense of perspective.
"Hey, you know what happens if you lose?"
"What?"
"Nothing! I still think you're a good kid. But you know what happens if you win?"
"What?"
"Still nothing! It's just a silly game."
But winning in and of itself was more important than game logic to him and he freely reveled in victory even if it was the result of a last second swap. For some of the latter games I would quietly let him win, but still I wonder which is the best stance to take: to play along and make him happy, or to try and help him put losing a game into perspective.

For if I wasn't letting him win he would have LOST. Oh yes, he would have lost, and sweet victory would have been mine!

xena warrior planet

August 18, 2006
You know, reading how about rather than demote Pluto from planethood they're going to be adding in 3 more planets, and how that's going to mess up the mnemonics (especially "Xena", though at least for a while that should be a wellspring of "Warrior Princess" jokes) I just had to say... I think the mnemonic I learned, "My Very Educated Mother Just Showed Us Nine Planets" is far superior and appropriate than ones that have her serving pickles or nine pizzas or any of that.

Project of the Moment
So last weekend I finished up my Where The Heart Is Reclamation Project with easier all-on-one-page views and a calendar application. I almost doubt that anyone will use it, not to mention all the customization features, but... it's there. It was the feature on this month's very late Blender of Love.

I also sent it to BoingBoing but it didn't seem to attract any interest. I think I've gotten BoingBoing'd twice, the gamebuttons link ("just about the coolest goddamned webthing, ever") was sent in by Eli the Bearded, who I think is a friend of the site but I know from alt.hackers, and then my laser sloths book ("Killer!") was an add-on to a previous entry. Anyway, I think that it's tough for someone submitting something they've done to get attention from the posters there.

Hmm, maybe I shoulda been trying my luck as a Metafilterer. Or admit I'm not always the best judge of what other people will find fascinating, though it's only every once in a while that I have something I feel is boingboingable.

sensible shoes

(3 comments)
August 18, 2005
Quote of the Moment
People think love is an emotion. Love is good sense.
I was late this month...technically only a week and a day or two, but that added up to like the 15th or so...

Photo of the Moment
--In case you were wondering what Ksenia and I looked like on horseback, well here you go. Trailriding at "Bobby's Ranch".


an unusually mild august night in portugal

(7 comments)
August 18, 2004
12 years ago this month, it was a surprisingly temperate August in Portugal. I was visiting with Marcos and his family in Vilar Formoso for three weeks before going to college. (Marcos had been living with me and my mom as a foreign exchange student the school year before, he's an incredibly congenial guy with GQ looks. He had about 15 different gals asking him to the Homecoming Dance that fall.)

I drank alcohol for the first time in Portugal. In fact, I learned something, and I'll impart that bit of drinking wisdom to you now:
If you're ever in a little cafe in Portugal, and you see the guy behind the counter making up some weird, green kool-aid looking concoction in a large barrel-shaped glass, don't ask what it is.

If you do ask what it is, don't accept when your friend offers to buy you one.

If you do accept when your friend offers to buy you one, don't listen to the man behind the counter when he says "hey, you drink like this [mimes chugging], I buy you another!"

If you do listen to the man behind the counter when he says "hey, you drink like this", and you do drink like that, and you start sipping at your second, and the man behind the counter says "no, no, this one too you must drink like this", ignore him.

And if you don't ignore him...well, at this point, you're pretty much on your own.
Anyway.

Marcos and his brother Manny had a good friend named Baptista. The four of us had hung around that cafe, and one great early early morning drove to the bakery where Baptista used to work and got hot crusty rolls and drove back home and made up this amazing tuna stuff to put on them and played cards in the kitchen 'til dawn.

Baptista was a nice guy, a few years older than me, and a bit political-minded. He only had a little bit of English, I had no Portuguese . Together we tried to figure out the Portuguese version of Microsoft Word, which I had never tried to use before, even in English. Also, I was doodling constantly in a notebook those weeks; another time he and collaborated on some odd political cartoons about censorship; that's why I know the Portuguese word for ink: "tinta".

But neither of those were the time I want to talk about.

See, I wasn't supposed to be in Portugal for 3 weeks; I was supposed to be there for around a week and a half, spending the rest of the time visiting Veronika in Germany. Veronika and I had gone out the year before Marcos' stay, when she was a foreign exchange student. We hadn't made each other any promises about keeping it up long distance, but we were writing, and that Spring she had sent me a bit of a "Dear John" letter, she had met somebody new. A few weeks later, she wrote again and confirmed it would probably be awkward if I were to visit.

So.

One thing I learned is that when you're young and Portuguese, living on the border with Spain, lots of times you cross the border where there are some better clubs. You drink a lot and pee on the buildings, it's kind of a tradition. So a bunch of us had done just that, and then plans got a little drunken and confused, but there was something about meeting back in Vilar Formoso at the train station. Baptista and I stumbled back and waited for Marcos and a few other guys.

I decided to tell him about Veronika, and how I still had such strong feelings for her, and how amazing she was, and how sad I was that I wasn't going to be able to see her that summer. And he opened up to me about his French teacher, this woman he had a huge crush on, but it was doomed from the start. There was something about that moment: the moonlight, the booze, the empty train station, having to stumble through phrases to find the words we had in common to tell our parallel stories of heartbreak...

Later Marcos and his friend showed up, and the friend took this picture:

If it's not completely obvious, we're all pretty drunk. Also, Portuguese train stations have some of the loveliest murals.

The next Spring, I found out Baptista had died...I guess he had some epilepsy, and maybe there was some tie-in with former drug use, or something, I don't know. So I was shocked and sad. And a little later the Beatles' "Let It Be" came on the CD player, and I wept, like I hadn't since my father had died, like I wouldn't again 'til Mo told me she wanted a divorce.

Just one of those things, I guess.

(On a whim I Google'd up Marcos yesterday, he's been really bad about staying in touch. Looks like he's involved in some European political/humanitarian stuff, head of the youth forum for The North - South Centre of the Council of Europe. I don't know how big a deal that is, though I found some photos from 1998 with him sitting next to Kofi Annan. It's making my life feel a little trivial, actually.)

And that's what I wanted to say about that. There are more stories behind the photos from that trip to Portugal, seeing the old Roman aqueducts, going to Baptista's town to see a small hometown bullfight (the bulls aren't killed, and anyone can run across the ring...) and maybe some other time I'll get into all that. But right now I'm thinking about that night, and the booze, and the train station in the moonlight in Portugal.

aghast

(3 comments)
August 18, 2003
Art of the Moment

--a while back I posted some new art by Carly R., who was in my dorm one year at Tufts. Back then I would put up sheets of newspaper-type paper instead of the usual dry-erase board for leaving messages, and sometimes Carly would leave me drawings. (The child is aghast at the F-word some had written above...actually, it may have been Carly mentioning something she overheard someone say in the hall.) It's such a neat picture, such good shading, the teddy bear, the expression, even the pose of the legs. (This marks me find this giant binder I had put in all my papers I had saved from high school and college.)

Analysis of the Moment
Predicting the next big IT failure is about how some companies, by being the market leader at the top of their game and catering to the highest level of demand, become vulnerable to upstarts offering cheaper "good enough" solutions. When it comes to my profession, I see so many instances of over-engineering for the task at hand, thinking it's cheaper to buy an expensive off-the-shelf solution that can be then mangled to do the job just right rather than doing it from scratch...(I'm a big fan of the latter approach, for reasons both good (I really think it's the best approach) and greedy (it's also what I most enjoy doing.))

Geek Link of the Moment
From Slashdot, Before and After (well, "During") satellite pictures of the blackout.

Advice of the Moment
Kids, your birthday only comes once a year. Don't waste it on a metal detector.
Daughter of the Emily "Human Guinea Pig" Yoffe--the daughter had been seduced by a commercial for a metal detector.
From Slate.com's Human Guinea Pig Project article The perverse thrill of metal detecting, the world's worst hobby.

bricks

(1 comment)
August 18, 2002
Mo and I share the same middle initial, "L". She mentioned noticing that for the first time yesterday, looking over some papers we both had to sign to refinance our mortgage. I'm not sure if it ever really registered with me or not. Though I think we agree that my "Logan" is more interesting than her "Lynn".

Middle names are kind of funny in general.

Bricks of the Moment
cantilevering
possibility into
precariousness
--Judith
I dreamt I was
a brick and I...
AAAAAAAAAAAAH!!
--David Pacheco
--The results of the moonmilk brick haiku contest (where the 16 characters-per-line-max haikus will be turned into bricks, supporting a fundraiser by the Friends of Garner State Park) are in. The top haiku was my personal pick as guest judge, I'll sponsor its enscription into brick, and the second not-quite-haiku was another pick.

It's really tough getting the right number of syllables into that small an amount of letters.

Sort of along the same lines, in college I wrote a poem titled "Bricks" that has held up reasonably well.

News of the Moment
Perfector of the frisbee flying disc, recently deceased, to be turned into memorial flying discs. That is so cool! If my own frisbee skills were any better than laughably pathetic, I'd definitely want one.

wellhungover

August 18, 2001
Wow. My 10k+1 party turned out great... better than my gut instinct said it was gonna be especially given a lightish turnout and Mo not being able to cohost (feeling under the weather, but her vietnamese spring rolls and homemade guac and salsa and death sangria and later cookies were big hits.) Shmoozing on the back porch in a distant storm, video games (especially 'Worms Armegeddon' for DreamCast), and then I found out you can get some good dancing by insisting and also making a good mix cd.

IMDb Quote of the Moment
"There's an old Italian saying: don't burn your tongue on another man's soup."
"Yeah? There's an old Irish saying: don't listen to old Italian sayings."
Link of the Moment
Man, there are some weird videogames in Japan. (via Bill the Splut)


Watched "Blair Witch Project"- not as scary as it was made out to be, but some scenes linger: the stones clacking, the "confession" at the end..

There was a preview for "Better Than Chocolate"- a young women in love flick that seems to be in the spirit of "Go Fish" and "The Incredibly True Story". I mentioned how hot the women seemed- Mo pointed out one of them resembled Rebekah (the one I found cuter, though Mo preferred the more butch one.) Now here's the question: do I like that type because of R., or did I respond to her because of that type? Admittedly, it's something about the hair. I've always been fond of really short hair, at some point I started liking straight hair in ponytails (and baseball caps,) but I'm not sure about "big jew hair" ( I remember how little I liked R's exeriment with short hair-)
99-8-18
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Random Memory: summer sleepovers at Todd Beecher's (brother Eric): sleeping (utterly innocently- a few years later and the typical fear of gayness would've put one of us on the floor) in the same bed (only single fan for cooling), game of trying to ID video game screens (like Pole Position) sketched on each other's back by finger, making tales of the "wussy kitties", playing C=64 games such as Elite, trying to make an RPG for Tron, my 3rd grade believing of the tale of his E.T. origins ('til he got to the part about dragon dice as food.), later rivalry with Dylan.
99-8-18
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in- design meeting...will to live- slipping away... lifeforce draining... can't- go on...
97-8-18
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