January 22, 2018

"I came to the city when I was twenty and became a fruit seller. It's allowed me to build a house in my village. I feel healthy. I get to eat. A lot of people don't get to eat on time. So I've gotten everything I wanted. The minute you think: 'I have a lot'--that's the moment your spirit is at rest. My spirit is at rest."
--Fruit seller from Jaipur, India via Humans of New York
I've been using "Google Translate" to help facilitate with Omar, leader of "Banda de Paz", a group JP Honk partners with. My own high school and college spanish is so unreliable... so far my favorite observation is if you translate "rehearsal" into Spanish (ensayo) and back, you often get back "trial" or "test". That makes me think that many people rehearse harder than I do.
Did I mention I was born in Philadelphia?
"What I wanted was an image of Trump's first year that would stimulate the imagination without paralyzing the will. The writer Deanne Stillman put it best, I think, when she wrote on Twitter that Trump is luminol, the chemical that police spray on crime scenes to reveal traces of blood. Stillman was responding to a remark I had made about the astonishing profusion of secrets, tensions, lies, and dirty deals that have been exposed since Trump took office -- I was thinking of racial crimes, sex scandals, acts of espionage, political tricks, even the outlandish CIA plots, real and contemplated, that were disclosed in the JFK assassination files. It felt as though the country had been laid out on a slab for a giant inquest, an autopsy of the remains from a mass grave.

Trump had to be the cause. I could find no other. But how the process worked was harder to figure out. What had he done to lift the lid off the coffin? Why had all the bloodstains started glowing? I'd heard it said, for example, that Trump's alleged sexual assaults were the trigger for the #MeToo movement. That may be part of it, but there was something else going on, something bigger: a realignment of power. Many of the men accused of sexual misdeeds had enjoyed protection from the very institutions -- the political parties and media organizations -- that were partly leveled by Trump's election. Silencing women who had been sexually harassed or assaulted was business as usual for the Establishment. But Trump was not allied with the TV networks that employed such once-untouchable figures as Matt Lauer and Charlie Rose. He owed nothing to Harvey Weinstein's Hollywood, which conspicuously advertised its ties to Democratic causes and candidates. Trump's election shook the confidence of the wrongdoers within the Establishment, and their accusers sensed that, I suspect. Had Clinton won, Weinstein, an old friend and donor, would almost certainly have been partying at the White House, which might have given his victims pause. With Trump as president, though, no one knew what the new order would look like.

This is not a defense of Trump. Nor is it an apology for him. It is merely an acknowledgment that Trump breeds chaos, and chaos upends everything. It has ripple effects and unforeseen consequences. Conservatives are so afraid of chaos that they tend to oppose even thoughtful, reformist change, lest it spin out of control. Now they have a true maniac to deal with, and things are certainly out of their control. Over at the State Department, Trump's contempt for tradition and expertise has proved devastating. Morale is down and early retirements have jumped. Meanwhile, the NFL, the consummate fraternity, can no longer count on politicians' support. The league used to do its business quietly, behind the thickest of closed doors, but now its owners' thoughtless comments are leaking to the public: one of them recently compared the players to inmates in a prison. The same anarchic forces that dissolved the elite boys' clubs of the media are destabilizing these other entities that depend on school ties, teamwork, loyalty, and handshake deals. Gentleman's agreements, for good or ill, the ones that oppress and the ones that foster stability, need gentlemen to maintain them, after all. And Trump is not a gentleman."
--Walter Kirn writing in Harper's, The Uncertainty Principle
Any other fellow computer nerds out there subconsciously bugged that a trombone slide held all the way in is "first position" and not "zeroeth position"?

Actually, for my School of Honk'ers that might be curious about the pattern valves have -- I don't know if sectionals run this by new members when they start, so apologies if everyone knows it :-D (For School of Honk, this mostly is about the trumpets and tubas, though or baritone friends we get sometimes play the same too)

Most brass instruments with valves work the same way - pressing down more valves is like moving out the slide on a trombone, the air goes through that tube, so overall the instrument is "bigger", in terms of more tubing = slower vibration = lower sound. (Of course it's more complicated than that, since you have to learn to adjust your lips to buzz at a different "partial". Or it could be simpler than that- with a bugle (or heaven forbid a Vuvuzela) and no valves- in which case you can play nothing but partials. Bugle calls like "taps" and "reveille" make their music out of that- a trumpet player can play all those songs without pressing any valves, or just keeping one down all the time)

ANYWAY, the middle, "second" valve moves you down a half step, first valve a whole step, third valve -- 1 1/2 steps. Which seems pretty weird! I think it's meant to put the more-used whole step on the stronger pointer finger, maybe? And you can combine valves to lower more steps (you might have noticed the third valve is more-or-less the same as first plus second.) Some big horns like concert tubas will have a fourth valve, which will put you down 2 whole steps, and so is about the same as pressing 1 and 3, but lets you dig even lower beneath that.

January 22, 2017

A book of National Lampoon stuff had "Pornography for the Dumb" (in the unable to speak sense). You had to translate sign language characters. So I did.




January 22, 2016

Ah the low-40-something bachelor boy. #iknowthatfeel

January 22, 2015

"Made a graph of my past relationships. I have an ex axis and a why axis"
--Yik Yak, via tumblr.
Belichick, the comic book villain America needs.
The Road To Armageddon(2004) A point I've made before, but a bit more so recently: in save the world movies, an easy way to know who's the Bad Guys is they're the ones trying to bring about the end of the world. I think the same holds true for real life.

Dispensationalism, especially the "pre-millennialist"/Left-Behind variety ("Get Out Of Revelation Free, man it's gonna suck down here, I pity the rest of you suckas, shoulda repented when you had the chance!") is just horrible. It's one of those stories told to young Christian kids to calm them down when they learn enough about Revelation to freak the hell out ("O, surely God loves US to much to let all this bad stuff happen to US") but when their church isn't sophisticated enough to see Revelation as pretty clearly describing then current-day-Rome, and a metaphorical description of spiritual battle rather than as true life events, but instead say it has just enough poetry to see military helicopters as plagues of locusts or what not.

January 22, 2014

"AVOID your partner fantasising about other people during sex by shouting 'It's ME by the way!' every couple of seconds. @PyrrhicBuddhism"
--http://twitter.com/TwopTwips
http://wvpublic.org/post/hell-you-west-virginians-raw-response-water-crisis-goes-viral To me, this is what laissez-faire capitalism looks like.
"RECREATE the thrill of The Lotto by not guessing someone's phone number and then giving them two quid. (via @Swissss)"
--http://twitter.com/TwopTwips
Sometimes I wonder if an attitude of presumed (semi-)foiled belligerence would be a better way of dealing with the world. "C'mon world, send some jerk to cut me off? Is that all you got! Pah!" "WELL BOO-HOO my editor crashed and took an hour's work with it" "A drippy nose and fatigue-- NICE TRY! IMMA GET THROUGH THIS"

On the one hand, it seems like a nice way of Murphy's-Law-Jitsu: there's no situation so bad it couldn't be worse, be grateful it's not worst. Real cynics are either pleasantly surprised, or just having their expectations met... maybe I could actually enjoy challenges rather than just seek validation.

But then, I guess this way paranoia lies. Also assuming everything was out to get me might give me an unreasonable chip on my shoulder, assuming everything I got was all my own two feet and my own two fists, make me think I hit a triple when I was born on third base.
http://www.cracked.com/photoplasty_771_39-innocent-gestures-that-will-make-people-overseas-hate-you/ pretty decent list of cultural differences, I always dig knowing about the little differences.

January 22, 2013

Week 2 Day 1 of "Easy 5K". Feeling a possibly unwarranted brotherhood with other people jogging at this crazy cold and early hour. Most of them are beyond needing run/walk/run but it's nice to notice most all of them are jogging, not fast running like I suppose I generally assumed.
http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2013/01/virginia-republicans-give-blacks-finger-mlk-day -- wow. I wonder why so many African-Americans don't dig the Republicans. Maybe because Republicans can act ABSOLUTELY reprehensibly?
"Outside the window, Mark stood in the moonlight, serenading Vicky. Her heart remained closed, unmoved by the sounds of his tuba."
--http://twitter.com/VeryShortStory
"MAKE a Dubstep remix by playing a short bit of the original song before going WEEEEEEAAAAAAAARRRGGHHHAAAASSSHHHH WOBWOBWOB. @theinvisiblegor"
--http://twitter.com/TwopTwips

tendrilsvideogame

(5 comments)
January 22, 2012


Tendrils is a game I made for Glorious Trainwreck's Klik of the Month #55.

You can also just sit and watch the organic oddness of it!

This is the HTML5 Processing.js version. IE users can play the java version
Man, BattleTanx Global Assault for the N64. What a fine game, that really knows what it's about.
Yikes Robert Kraft man-kisses as embarrassingly as he high-fives! and that game- talk about by the skin of their teeth...
That kid from the show "Touch"-- I want him on my MIT #mysteryhunt team next year (we led lower half of standings, good for small team)

i to the b to the m

January 22, 2011

--Only watched 2/3 of this so far, but I'm knocked over by the sense of history, the subtle backdrop of Phillip Glass, the video quality on the iPad (try this full screen), the intriguing old footage, and seeing old veterans like Fred "The Mythical Man Month" Brooks.
Just had Amber guide me in the making of pancakes with blueberry sauce! Nice. I will slowly gain something resembling kitchen competence.
Tried the "Texas Roadhouse" in Everett- always wondered about it there in the middle of the plaza. Turns out it's kinda corny (think "Outback Steakhouse" but Texas) but has really tasty robust food cheap. Plus they start with a bucket of peanuts on table.

tv fractal

January 22, 2010

--sorry kisrael has been just a youtube video a day as of late - very hectic time at work thanks to getting slammed by malware and being forced to reformat...
http://weblog.masukomi.org/2010/01/22/on-creating-my-own-language -Kate on the pleasure of developing and using her own artificial language. She makes it sound very appealing, even though I'm hopeless at languages.

how do you spell bears

(4 comments)
January 22, 2009


--Harvey James. I wish I knew why I find this so amusing... I think it's just the weirdness of its conceptual negative space...

Quote of the Moment
"This mental process will always be a little unknowable, which is why it's so interesting to study. At a certain point, you just have to admit that your brain knows more than you do."
--Jung-Beeman. Not quite comfortable with the who implied self/brain split though!


Joke I like WAY more than I should: Q: What talks really slow and likes blowjobs? A: Meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!
Ha, Obama took an oath "do-over", which hopefully should preempt some paranoid naysaying - http://www.rte.ie/news/2009/0122/uspolitics.html
"--and they say there's no such thing as progress!" "Actually I don't think anyone says that." "...irregardless!" "...you win."
The 90s "sensitive new age guy" totally got supplanted by the emo kid.

why yellow is not green

(7 comments)
January 22, 2008

Every residential street I see in Boston has a pile of those big fat Yellow Pages on the stoop. Few apartment dwellers seem to want one in this era of easy search engine lookups, and then no one wants responsibility for throwing them out or finding out how they can be recycled or whatever, so they sit forlorn in their protective plastic bags for months.

I guess someone's business model relies on assuming they remain intensly popular and useful, so they'll keep arriving year after year....

Observation of the Moment
At an elemental level gravity is extraordinarily unrobust. Each time you pick up a book from a table or a dime from the floor you effortlessly overcome the combined gravitational exertion of an entire planet.
--Bill Bryson

star hop day 1

(4 comments)
January 22, 2007

So, the Patriots lost in about the worst fashion possible, letting the colts make what I believe is a record setting comeback for this kind of game after being down 21-3. That was just terrible. Chargers beat us up too much? The spa-like temperatures in the dome? (Who knew a dome team could so play the weather conditions card...) Core defensive unit getting old and busted? Dunno.

Personal silver lining: at least I won't be obsessing so much about football the next two weeks.

Video of the Moment
"I'm here to tell you a story about two people who decided to buy a starship. They buy it, and now at this point, they are somewhere in space, slowly drifting at about 10,000 miles per hour..."

--"Star Hop", sci-fi comedy play I wrote for (and also saw performed at, by grown-ups) the 10th Annual Marilyn Bianchi Kids' Playwriting Festival, as "directed" by me at Monticello Middle School in Cleveland Heights. Featuring a cameo by the director at the end of this part (the play is broken into thirds for Youtube) as a goonish security guard, toting this awesome gun.

There's a strong Hitchhikers' Guide influence here, though to my relief most of the gags seem original. "Starpox", what they name the ship, is a curse from that book, and probably makes the worst joke in the script.

The opening narration got cut out so I included the text above.

Man, were those kids hamming it up!

be a man

(1 comment)
January 22, 2006

Exchange of the Moment
"You left something here"
"What?"
"Your underwear."
"Oh... hee hee"
"Yeah, it's disappointing. I gave you a pair of boxers, and you can wear them around...
...anything I do with your underwear ends up being weird."
--Jeffrey Brown, from his short comic novel Any Easy Intimacy. I also recently bought his Be A Man, a hilarious parody of his own work Clumsy and the people who told him to stand up for himself more after that... he decides to play "what-if" in full-bore testosterone, and the results are laugh out loud funny.

AmITallOrNot?

January 22, 2005
Web Toy of the Moment
Amusing toy, Tall Or Not, lets you see how you measure up compared to many famous people.

Essay of the Moment
Another great Paul Graham essay, this time his version of a commencement address, What You'll Wish You'd Known. He gives the advice "In the graduation-speech approach, you decide where you want to be in twenty years, and then ask: what should I do now to get there? I propose instead that you don't commit to anything in the future, but just look at the options available now, and choose those that will give you the most promising range of options afterward." which I kind of agree with, and I guess I'd have to say its worked out well for me so far, but I'm getting a little burned out on it, and also I think my lack of goals didn't jibe with Mo's sense of drive, and in the long run that proved to be a problem.

woo!

(18 comments)
January 22, 2004

Usenet Funny of the Moment
Andrew wrote:
> "Early candidate for 2004: Paycheck. Would it kill
> John Woo to tone down the action part of his action flicks?"
If it did, I think it would be in a hail of blue pencils
as he leapt across the cutting room in slow motion,
launching script changes with both hands as production assistants
dive for cover.
--Carl Burke, rec.arts.tv.mst3k.misc

Online Tool of the Moment
Thanks to Jane for sending me a link to one of the better Which Canidate Is Right For You? kind of tools I've seen. It's a lot better than NPR's "pick your favorite soundbite" approach, where you're lucky if you can read between the lines. On the other hand, it seems the scoring is a bit harsh, with only exact matches 'counting'.

Article of the Moment
Slate.com has more analysis of the State of the Union speech, Fred Kaplen studying specific phrases in a piece called Evasions, Half-Truths, and the State of the Union.

Ramble of the Moment
So, I have a BIG decision to make: should I try to keep the House Mo and I bought and continue paying for it on my own, or should I cut loose, cash out, and just get a smaller apartment? It's funny, earlier I said that buying a house together was in many ways a bigger deal than get married, and now that entire big deal is in my lap. (On the other hand, I said being married wasn't that different from being shacked up, and I've done a 180 on that.)

For reasons of getting closure sooner rather than later, Mo would like for me to keep the house, and has made an offer to buy out her equity at kind of a bargain rate, especially if our estimates of the current worth of the property are as super-conservative as I think they might be. She says she just wants to move on and start the next phase of everything, rather than sticking around, get the house in saleable shape as I move out.

I think I should be able to swing a place like this but I really should consider trying to get a housemate. And also, there were some shakeups high up at my company today and it's not clear what the trickle down effect will be, so that makes me kind of nervous.

I made up a document with an explicit view of my finances, salary and savings and all that, and sent it to my mom, my Aunt, our financial advisor, Dylan, Peterman, and a few other folks. So far the suggestions have been a mixed bag. My Aunt says that having property has done very well for her, and it probably would for me as well. My mom hasn't taken a definite stand. Dylan thinks the answer is obvious, get out, the house is of my old life and I don't need that kind of space. Peterman thinks I should take Mo up on her offer to buy her out at a fairly reduced rate, and then turn around and sell. Our financial advisor thinks it's a no-brainer, the house is a good investment, but Mo's offer in particular is too good to pass up.

I can't believe how difficult a decision this is turning out to be. I guess right now, my heart is saying move, my head is saying keep. It just seems like...too much. Having this kind of property seems to add too much inertia--it's not the final word on where I live, how much I have to earn, what kind of starting point I might have if I get a future romantic interest that starts to look serious, but still, it's a big influence. Making it more complicated are ideas like buy the house, but sell it soon, trying to leverage Mo's deal while still planning to live a bit smaller.

I welcome anyone's feedback...obviously I'm not posting my financial numbers for just anyone to see, but still, I'd like to gain some benefit from anyone else's past experience...

backlog flush #17

(1 comment)
January 22, 2003

Man, not too harp on it, but it is so cold. It feels like I can almost sense the cold seeping into the bones of the house, gradually taking it over. I don't think that's how it's actually going to work out, but still.