December 18, 2018

December 18, 2018
"These are simple, no-frills strategies, like being present and showing up for what you can, like your work and your friends and your trivia night and your cat. Limit your phone time and consumption of Internet content, whether that's social media, the 24-hour news cycle, or both. Our smartphones now feel like baby monitors that we should constantly be checking, but they can quickly turn into triggers for feelings of fear, isolation, sadness, despair, helplessness, anger, and frustration."
--Aparna Nancherla on our age of anxiety. I liked the "baby monitor" metaphor.
John Wayne on Rock Hudson:
Whereas Lauren Bacall was shocked to hear of his antics, John Wayne didn't bat an eye when Hudson "took a member of the Los Angeles Rams to bed with him" at the end of a day's shooting: "I think Rock's a hell of a guy," he said. "Who the hell cares if he's queer? The man plays great chess."
(via Lidija Haas in Harper's New Books)

December 18, 2017

The parking lot music system playing a schmaltzy version of Auld Lang Syne makes me feel like I'm trapped in some old movie flashback sequence.
"I did not like any of this. As I've mentioned, I am an only child. This makes me a member of the world-wide, super-smart, afraid-of-conflict narcissist club. And let me emphasize: afraid-of-conflict. Since I had no siblings to routinely challenge or hit me, and equally no interest in playing sports, I'd grown up without any experience in conflicts. I therefore had no reason to imagine confrontation of ANY kind, ranging from fighting to kissing was not, probably, fatal."
--John Hodgman, "Vacationland"
"The big trouble with dumb bastards is that they are too dumb to believe there is such a thing as being smart."
--Kurt Vonnegut. It reminds me this recent Sam Harris podcast with Tom Nichols, Defending the Experts - a super bright guy (a Never-Trumper despite being a Republican - and firmly in the 'Trump probably didn't want to win for reals' camp) who is just aghast at how "my common sense gut feel is better than your studied expertise" is running over the land. He made an interesting point about the kind of people who revel in Trump's success - apart from the white nationalist element, there are people who just feel left out by age of increasing technological change and expertise. I knew that, but pointing out that many of these people aren't even struggling financially, from communities stuck by heavy industry screw-over and the opioid epidemic - but they still feel chronically out of the loop - that part was a new angle for me, with some explanatory power.

December 18, 2016

Watched Rogue One - Spoiler Free Thoughts, mostly about the gear and ships and possible art influences.

I think I liked it better than Force Awakens, in part because it wasn't trying to duplicate the beats of the original.

Besides a few touches of Mad Max (Forest Whitaker's character had a bit of a trace of Immortan Joe - and almost served like an echo of Darth Vader) the probable influence I most enjoyed recognizing was the Star Wars video games - flying low under radar through fog filled trenches (ala N64 Rogue Squadron) Walkers through shallow tropical waters (ala the GameCube entry in the series) - probably a touch of the Battlefront series in the soldiers running around combat as well. I'm assuming.

Also, seeing Star Destroyers directly over urban areas made me think of those "Death Star over SF Bay video", circa 2008:

Another art influence I think, but obscure: the lanky K-2SO reminds me a LOT of the robots in Paul Rivoche's art in the appendix of Isaac Asimov-moderated "Robot City"-- see the art at the bottom here.

There was a bit too much "THIS year's toy" in the ships- (which is funny, I think one thing I didn't like about Force Awakens was how the ships didn't feel different *enough*) - for geeks who care about that kind of thing it's going to be tougher to justify why more of them didn't show up in the Original Trilogy. (Unless they make another Lucas-ian touch up and rerelease A New Hope)

You know, most prominent in that are all Imperial Shuttle-derived transports, ships with a center body and then 2, 3, or 4 folding wings, like Kylo Ren's ship. When the Vader's Shuttle started up Return of the Jedi, it was unlike anything we'd seen in Star Wars and Empire Strikes Back, but now they're everywhere, they just decided to sit out two films.

Speaking of making Return of the Jedi look bad - I know Star Wars has a "bad guys built a superweapon, good guys have to take it out" problem, but this movie talks about the criticality of the Death Star plans SO MUCH that it becomes weird how Return of the Jedi was just able to throw in a "the Death Star - again! But bigger!" so easily.

(Also everywhere in this movie: those little things that look like fancy pens in Imperial (and others?) pockets. I guess they're "Imperial Code Cylinders" but they're so ubiquitous as to be distracting.)

I loved the humanity in the opening scene at the farm - like what life might be like in an Empire dominated galaxy. Oh and Jyn Erso is a total badass gal. I wish we'd seen Carrie Fisher doing more of that kind of leading, either in the original trilogy or the new movie. (Though I guess technically she grew up in very protected royal circumstances...)
Oh, though I guess Luke's toy T-16 kind of had that Imperial Shuttle look.

advent day 18

December 18, 2015

advent day 18

"The purpose of gameplay is to hide secrets."
--The Arcane Kids, via Nick Suttner's bossfight book about "Shadow of the Colossus".

I find the idea immensely thought provoking. Like David Gelernter's "Beauty = simplicity + power" formulation, at first blush it seems too simplistic, and leaving out swaths of human experience, but I feel like most of that experience could be shoehorned into a loose reading of the definition.

animal advent ala emberley day 18

December 18, 2014

December 18, 2013

December 18, 2013

advent day 18

You know how there's always that lifehack "bet you never noticed that Reynolds Wrap foil has a place to push in the ends of the box to hold the roll!"? Turns out that it looks to be perforated, but is actually THE FRICKIN' STRONGEST PART OF THE BOX.

Well played, Reynolds.

December 18, 2012

December 18, 2012

advent day 18

"If you can not able use Perl for answer, you are ask wrong question."
I always loved the classic Mega Man 'bot design, so seeing the sketches for 9 (including unused Honey Woman) was cool.

javadvent day 18

December 18, 2011

"Figure out who you are, and then do it on purpose."
--Dolly Parton
"I've never seen a tax cut build a bridge."
--Barney Frank on This Week

life is a game, a video game-- and first and last i hate the past

December 18, 2010


javadvent calendar day 18

December 18, 2009 - Simpsons is only 20? Coulda SWORN I saw "black bart" t-shirts in middle school - hey remember SIMPSONS VS COSBY for the heart and soul of Thursday evenings?
I'd love to hear a gender studies analysis of eminem's kind of atrocious song "FACK". I'm not sure but I think he goes from heteronormative guy to faux porn starlet to flaming meterosexual barely clinging to his straightness.
"I like paying taxes. With them I buy civilization"
--Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes
"'I pay taxes' is the best retort to 'If you don't vote you can't complain'"
-- -- yeah but you should still vote....

i <3 mark hamill

December 18, 2008
mark hamill on
the muppet show

Google for "penis". Wikipedia's "Human penis size" comes before plain old article for "Penis" which is probably rather telling.
Also: Wikimedia Commons: "Note: This gallery does not need more general home-made images of penises." So much for my public service plan.
"Will It Blend?" makes me happy. What an excellent way of selling a product.
Wikipedia quote of the moment: "The Merovingian king was the master of the booty of war"-far more amused by "booty of war" than I should be.
CNN headline of the moment: "No good way to tell kids they have cancer". Almost ripe for dark humor, but it might be too sad for that.
Interesting trying to explain "Yankee Swaps" to Finns, esp. when you're a little unclear on the rules yourself. Result: Sex in the City DVD.
Huh, googling it, we did a bad variation where you didn't get another pick if someone took your gift (but you got to unwrap before deciding)
Bldg Mgmt is giving us grief about handing out individual bathroom keys--having to ask the guard for the key is low-dignity all around.

the blind kangaroomaker

December 18, 2007
So "Plato and a Platypus Walk into a Bar" also references David Hume pointing out the danger of analogies when describing something as unique as the entire universe. (I couldn't google up other references to Hume having this thought, but still.)

In particular, it's the trouble of the "watchmaker" analogy, where you say just like if you found a beautifully designed watch on the ground, you'd assume there was a skilled maker somewhere, rather than it just shake itself into being, a well "designed" universe implies a maker as well. But why, the book says Hume asks, pick a watch? Why not a kangaroo? Which is a complex and interconnected and organic system, much like the universe. In that case, our universe would have come from another universe, after that parent universe had sex with a third universe. So clearly, analogies are not always a way to definitive knowledge.

Excerpt of the Moment
I was about ready to say I think I better go down and see my mom now when she leaned forward and kissed me with an open mouth on the lips. It wasn't like with Jilly. Nothing could distract me, not even the living corpse of her father. She took my hand in hers and slipped it inside her shirt. It was more romantic than it sounds.
--Dirk Wittenborn, "Fierce People". (The "living corpse" is about her father in a coma.) Always weird when the book you've had on your "read this someday" pile for years was made into a move in the meanwhile and you didn't even realize. Odd book, set in '78 but with some anachronisms, I'd say, like tasers and diet coke, and turns of phrase like "the 'rents" for parents. It feels like an 80s child writing about the 70s but sounding more like the 90s movie Cruel Intentions (which in turn is based on a book from the 1780s)

i'm just glad to be here. i just want to help the club any way I can.

December 18, 2006
Oof-dah. Between the holiday hectics and back-to-back business trips, it's a challenge to make this site interesting... my apologies for that!

Baseball of the Moment
1. I'm just glad to be here. I just want to help the club any way I can.
2. Baseball's a funny game.
3. I'd rather be lucky than good.
4. We're going to take the season one game at a time.
5. You're only as good as your last game (last at-bat).
6. This game has really changed.
7. If we stay healthy we should be right there.
8. It takes 24 (25) players.
9. We need two more players to take us over the top: Babe Ruth & Lou Gehrig.
10. We have a different hero every day.
11. We'll get 'em tomorrow.
12. This team seems ready to gel.
13. With a couple breaks, we win that game.
14. That All-Star voting is a joke.
15. The catcher and I were on the same wavelength.
16. I just went right at 'em.
17. I did my best and that's all I can do.
18. You just can't pitch behind.
19. That's the name of the game.
20. We've got to have fun.
21. I didn't have my good stuff, but I battled 'em.
22. Give the guy some credit; he hit a good pitch.
23. He, we were due to catch a break or two.
24. Yes.
25. No.
26. That's why they pay him _____ million dollars.
27. Even I could have hit that pitch.
28. I know you are but what am I?
29. I was getting my off-speed stuff over so they couldn't sit on the fastball.
30. I have my at 'em ball going today.
31. I have some great plays made behind me tonight.
32. I couldn't have done it without my teammates.
33. You saw it... write it.
34. I just wanted to go as hard as I could as long as I could.
35. I'm seeing the ball real good.
36. I hit that ball good.
37. I don't get paid to hit.
--Pitcher Don Carman's 1990 "Report Responses"... said to be a handwritten note posted above his locker with a note for reports "You saw the game ... take what you need."

I guess that might have been some of the inspiration for that bit in "Bull Durham" where the rookie gets taught all the happy talk... I couuldn't find the whole routine online though.

Billboard of the Moment
After actually thinking a few months prior that it seemed like that Abercrombie model in a billboard at Porter Square would be getting pretty damn cold, I was entertained that they gave the guy a coat. (Someone else was less amused, this board replaced the same one that had been vandalized with either tomatoes or maybe a paintball gun.) Still, I think the funniest take on the whole "why are we using naked male posers to sell clothing even to men" thing was that one men store's ad that showed two shlubs playing some touch football, running circles around the black and white models too busy posing with footballs in slo-mo to actually do anything.

twentyeight to nuthin'

December 18, 2005
Patriots got a tremendous win last yesterday against a team widely regarded as pretty decent. Great to see! Lets people have theories like the first part of the season was just a bunch of injuries plus Belichick going "back to basics" like he does almost every year.

Anyway, I just wanted to point out that this photo of Brady that has been seen frequent web use lately just isn't that flattering:

It kind of looks like some foppish dance step...1 2 Kick! and 3 4 Spin! and 1 2 Throw!

Aside of the Moment
I find the language that I've seen Ksenia use on Instant Messenger programs sometimes interesting: Russian, written phonetically, I think with English pronunciation. As far as I can tell it doesn't have very formal rules for spelling. Does that count as a pidgin? I guess it happens with a lot of different languages, especially Asian ones. Does anyone study these, or is it just a little side thing?

short people

December 18, 2004
Ramble of the Moment
Alright, this might fall under the category of "too much information", not that that's ever stopped me before...

I've noticed an odd change in what I find inherently physically appealling in women. I mean, I think most everyone has their "type"...not that they don't recongize the beauty of people not matching that type, but anyone they meet who fits the category gets kind of a "bonus" in how attractive they seem. Like guys who say they go for "leggy blonds". And for the longest time for me it was short, compact women who would get that boost.

But not so much lately. Probably not coincidentally, around since a month or so after starting to go out with Ksenia, who has a nice long lean look. So I wonder about the chicken and egg nature of this. Though the appeal of women who might be said to fit Ksenia's type isn't as pronounced as my previous attraction to compact women. But a majority of my fun relationships from half way through high school to...well, Mo...were with women who could be considered short. So maybe that explains it, that being with someone who I find attractive in many ways has an influence on what I find physically appealing in the outside world.

Eh, who knows. Warning: this ramble gets worse. The squeamish or prudish may want to skip to the cute little doggie picture below.

In other news...I'm trying to think of an equivalent of the metaphor for "shot my load", one that I can actually use in polite conversation. I mean, it's a useful concept; I want to say how I kind of "shot my load" in terms of thougtful gifts for Ksenia because her birthday was in November, and now Christmas is coming up. But of course I can't say that without being really offensive. Anyone know of an equivalent metaphor, the idea of using up all your resources so now you don't have any left?

Image of the Moment
--A dog with large ears from's Image of the Day.

42 muscles to frown

(1 comment)
December 18, 2003
Feh, my unique visitor counter may be gradually return to its pre-Popular Science levels (assuming that's what caused the boost.) It was 1300 for a few days, then a jump to 400 for a week or so, now its around 200. Ah well! Hopefully a few of the new visitors have decided to stick around and check out things on a regular basis...

Exchange of the Moment
Etoile says, "When someone annoys you, it takes 42 muscles to frown, but it only takes 4 muscles to extend your arm and whack them in the head."
Gilmore says, "it takes no muscles at all to use your psychic abilities to give them inoperable tumors throughout their vital organs"
--via tehsux, 'comics without pictures', which seems to be irc chat selections. Very fun stuff, but also very heavy on the gay and dick jokes. So if that's your cup of tea, read on! It's very funny. People of a less sophomoric bend may not enjoy it so much.

Link of the Moment
You're not alone when you dream of spitting teeth, here are the 12 Universal Dreams.


December 18, 2002
Oy, weird, I just remember I had a dream last night where I was going to kill myself at A dinner party for my 29th or 30th birthday, had my head in a noose and everything for a while, but then I decided not to. I said to the party "they say a lot of people who attempt suicide just want the attention... and I certainly wouldn't put that past me!"

Reminds me of one of my favorite Simpsons clips...this clip was one of the more useful ones to have at hand at work, along with this one. (Hey, it's easy to dehydrate when you''re codemonkeying--thank heavens that job offered free softdrinks. Actually, I kid. Free softdrinks aren't such a hot idea.)

Quote of the Moment
"No computer has ever been designed that is ever aware of what it's doing, but most of the time, we aren't either."
--Marvin Minsky. I added this one to my mortality guide, it's a good reminder that our flavor of consciousness isn't all we crack it up to be.

snot funny

December 18, 2001
Quote of the Moment
"It should not be surprising kids like the stuff. Dried nasal discharge is largely composed of complex sugars, sodium and water -- the same ingredients as most junk foods."
--from this really interesting piece on snot research. (via Ranjit)
Mystery of the Moment
What the heck is this?? Perhaps there are some things I just wasn't meant to know.

KHftCEA 1997-12.3 December

           Then I will tell you a great secret, Captain, perhaps the greatest of all time.  The molecules of your body are the same molecules that make up this station, and the nebula outside-- that burn inside the stars themselves.  We are starstuff.  We are the Universe made manifest, tring to figure itself out.
-Delenn, Babylon 5
All the molecules in your body were formed inside stars. We are the future of ancient stars.
-The 1997 Nobel Conference.  
People and stars are made of the same stuff.
-Bill Nye the Science Guy
What *am* I looking for with Mo?

KHftCEA 1997-12.2 December

i'm sitting next to the man who invented the "if it tastes *this* rich, I don't want to stop" part of the "fill it to the rim with brim" ad campaign. Pop culture meltdown.