July 12, 2024


Steam Boat Races. Wowza.. what a bad idea! I feel like I can hear some 19th Century version of Scotty from Star Trek saying "I canne give her any more cap'n, she's gonna blow!" but it being... for real, with a lot of death.
wow. seriously moved by this:

July 12, 2023

Damn, Google... wasn't expecting the first search results (admittedly "sponsored" but part of Google's scam is to get companies to sponsor their own organic results lest they be sniped) like this:

To lead to a page like that:

Even if I had looked at the "what URL is this actually" bit, it starts "https://www.googleadservices.com/pagead/aclk?" and is probably legit - Google Ad Services just didn't vet the link properly - even if it wasn't a scam site when reviewed, why one earth are they allowing other folks to advertise themselves as "Google Sheets"?
Fellow dataviz lovers! Nice set of visualizations at pleated-jeans - I liked this one showing the orbits of planets as seen from Earth, but the one it starts with (different piano notes reverberating in water) is great too, and most of them are cool.

thoughts on feelings, feelings on thoughts

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness
Some momentary awareness comes
As an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they're a crowd of sorrows,
Who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
For some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
Meet them at the door laughing,
And invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,
Because each has been sent
As a guide from beyond.
Rumi, "The Guest House"

This poem came up as I was trying to deepen my knowledge of Internal Family Systems (which people point out I refer to a lot.) Specifically, I was wondering if IFS implied you always need to fully person-ify your sub-parts, or if it there were other forms - because sometimes my inner parts feel like a raging infant or poorly trained dog, or worse. But I wonder if IFS would say the point is to let these more elemental subsystems "borrow" the cognitive facilities of other parts of the mind, so that they might more clearly express themselves...

I've been having some good (and ongoing) dialog with John Sawers (a followup to a 4-person party conversation with Cordelia and Melissa) about emotions.

John's view (to paraphrase and summarize badly) seems to elevate the importance of emotions themselves; they just have a goal of expression (verbally, physically, or otherwise) and failure to attend to them is what really leads to problems. So I'm left trying to figure out why I am unwilling to treat emotions with similar sacred reverence.

Currently my favorite metaphor for emotion, especially "negative" ones, is that of a flame. An emotion is a flame that kind of wants to burn. The higher mind has some ability to choose how much kindling it puts on that flame - to consciously dwell on the resentments or anger or injustice so that the flame builds and builds. Or to take corrective action. Or to let it go out. But - a repressed flame may seem to be out yet might be smoldering underground, only to cause great problems later on.

(And despite my even-keeled nature, sometimes I enjoy whipping up a big bonfire of anger or even a drenching torrent of sweet sadness. But usually I'm able to control when that happens.)

It's easy for people to think stoic/epicurean philosophies (or even some of Eastern ones) are about repressing emotion, but I think a part of it is the preference of cultivating the flame of gentle, sustained contentment - tranquility, ataraxia. It's an emotion like the other ones that can be curated and cultivated - but sometimes at the cost of other Id-ish emotions that you need in order to change the world in good ways rather than lapse into complacency.

So my thinking now is focused on two observations:

* most negative emotions are rooted in a desire for the world to be different than it is. To me it feels like the core of Buddhist Duḥkha (suffering, or unsatisfactoriness) is about...attachment not just to the world as it is now (and will not be forever) but also attachment to the "similar but better" world we can so easily imagine.

* one of the primary drivers of emotional expression is a need for VALIDATION - either interpersonal (in part so other people might join in your cause to effect change, and so that you are seen as reasonable and responsible person in the community) or even INTRApersonal (so the rest of the mind will act appropriately) An emotion wants to be seen not just as representing the person, but as accurately understanding the world, without which the justification for changing the world could not stand.

For me, that validation is highly intellectualized. When empathy for other's beliefs caused me to lose my Faith in a single revelation being universally true, I became fiercely anti-authoritarian. Like - "Only God Can Judge..." but I'm not sure there is a God. And I don't think any earthly authority is self-justifying. But neither do I go full-on existentialist and think that every person can be their own judge (which is close-cousin to why I have trouble with John's view of the primacy of emotion.)

So I end up thinking that everything that matters is emergent. Every sense of morality and values, the way things "should be", it emerges from groups. And the more people it's emerging from and with, the more LIKELY it is to be universally true. And so I'm more willing than most people to subjugate my personal preferences to the validation I get for being in line with "what's good for the group" - sometimes having to trust the group to take my preferences into account to a sufficient degree.

So one side effect of putting my needs into the context groups I form is that I'm a very reliable person. And I sometimes have trouble refocusing irritation with people when they are less reliable.... but I try and exercise patience because I recognize that most people's value systems do work from the individual's preferences outwards, and since I come from a place of privilege that can put up with a lot without too much discomfort and I have a sense of allegiance to groups that is a bit idiosyncratic (especially since it's still so anti-authoritarian!) I can't expect everyone to have that same group-first way of thinking.

And it also means I have to worry if my emotional curation means I feel things "less", if quiet contentment is a good tradeoff for the passions I might otherwise more likely enjoy, or suffer...


July 12, 2021

A few weeks ago a friend described me as "mild-mannered". (I mean, presumably not in the Clark Kent sense.) And the other day, playing "Joking Hazard" (a card game about assembling 3 panel comics, a bit taboo stretching but not as prone to punching down as "Cards Against Humanity", say) another friend knew the card I was about to play had to be a good one because it made even me laugh - with the implication that I'm a bit less laugh-y than some (though I remembered making plenty of audible chuckles at other folk's plays throughout the game).

It makes me wonder how I come across to people, and how I really am. I once asked my then long-term therapist what he would diagnose me with and he said mild anhedonia ("an inability to experience pleasure from activities usually found enjoyable"). But that evaluation never felt quite on... I feel like I'm enjoying life a lot, and taking pleasure in things.

Maybe I do have a more curated sense of emotion than some folks? I guess I want to be thinking more instead of feeling - or rather to feel, but to have the option to chart my own course over calm waters, accounting for the prevailing winds and currents, and not to have my craft forever at the mercy of big waves of strong emotion. (And in general, distrusting emotions not to be arbitrary, to be too sure of their own reasonableness.)

Like compared to other (stereo)types of possibly too-controlled, too-disciplined, too-uptight people... I dunno. I have less of a "personal code" to everyday life than that I guess? I do have some nearly unbreakable rules for myself: to be reliable, and to weigh my personal preferences only as part of the aggregate sense of what the group wants; I don't want to be a martyr for a group but I don't think I should favor my own preference JUST because it's *my* preference.

Anyway. Would love to hear how I come across to people who know me and interact with me a lot, or, less self-centered-sounding, I would also love to hear how people cope with their own emotional management and outward expression.
Pondering (yet) more: there seems to be so much magical thinking in so much of our emotional landscape. Like this idea that if I REALLY root for the home team, or really REALLY resent the other side in politics, that alone will somehow "help".

(I mean, Japan is hosting the olympics, and will probably have to do it without live spectators. Should I have an emotional view of that? How I feel isn't going to change what they do about it (and the more I see about certain kinda racist aspects and corporate-serving bits of the olympics, the easier it seems to support mixed feelings anyway...))

I guess what emotional snowball thinking DOES accomplish is to promote group cohesion. Demonstrating the strength of your faith and commitment to your side having the right idea...
Cuttlefish are weirdly smart.
On Facebook, some friends graciously gave me feedback to my first post, and I found it so flattering I wanted to post it here for safekeeping.
You are mild mannered cool calm collect and polite
Chris D
You overthink a lot. You are always helping others. You do too much. You are very smart. I also agree with your therapist but I often wonder if it's something you've curated - like you're afraid to be emotional
Liz O
I think you express emotion. I have seen you laugh repeatedly and yell at your computer--both very strong emotional activities! I don't think you're mild-mannered necessarily. Nonviolent, nonaggressive, and nontoxic, yes. You overthink in a precocious only child sort of way (I can say this because I am one 😂). Not everyone has energy to overthink with you, but I think most realize it comes from an earnest, well-intentioned place. I would say you're possibly neurodivergent, like many engineers are, but an expert would know better. If people think you miss jokes sometimes, it's probably because you take them literally, or skip over the simple meaning and mistakenly believe there's a deeper meaning. Half my family does this you're not alone 😂 They're all very bright as well, but have to work a little to connect with other people sometimes.
Off the top of my head, I see you as having a heightened sense of responsibility for others' feelings, so maybe you automatically hold your own emotions back a bit? But I view you as generally happy and balanced with the way you exist in the world. You do ponder a lot, but I think you enjoy pondering, and I definitely enjoy reading about your pondering, it's thought-provoking and interesting. From the outside, I see you as happy and fulfilled in a very specific Kirk way
I think this post clearly illustrates how I think about you. Your brain is always on–you're both thinking through scenarios and also being pragmatic in terms of feedback etc. I think the difference here is that, unlike the majority of people, you *really* listen to what's being said around you or to you and then you process it and store it. Most people operate at such a surface level, especially when it comes to conversation, and I always found you to be particularly thoughtful–used less as an adjective here and more as a state-of-mind. I always felt like you had this intelligence layer/sieve that you let information permeate in *before* you reach the emotion. I think it's a wonderful trait–sometimes it feels like there aren't many humans left that actually listen to words and feelings vs just thinking about what they're going to say next. You're less reactive and your brain is patient.
***but also echoing Hannah and saying that I've seen lots of emotion from you in both laughter AND computer anger 😂😂😂
Lauren G
I guess in some ways I'm doing an ok job of being the kind of person I want to be!
I sort of can't believe we moved just 3 months ago! (and, uh, still haven't gotten around to any kind of housewarming :-D ) Still, it seems like we've been here in Arlington a long time already! I think in a good way.

July 12, 2020

Two summerish/life thoughts:

One is: as best you can, try to appreciate the summer. Yes we trust future summers will open up more activities, and many of us our going through a bit of always-at-home limbo for both work and play, but try and treat this time as more than "in between" time - it's still life.

(Also, I hate to think about it but summer now has more options than a vaccine-less fall and winter for public-health-minded folks)

Two: new adventures in bachelor-boy-style cuisine -- I just realized that a bowl full of broken chips well-mixed with salsa (and eaten with a fork) is better than regular tortilla chips dipped in salsa. Anyone know what the fanciest-pants cuisine name for that kind of crumble would be?
Riley: "I want a bunk bed!"
Mindy: "Yes, okay, all right. I'll get you...I'll get you a bunk bed."
Riley's Mom: "Are you sure about this?"
Mindy: "Of course. I can do anything as long as it's just paying for something."
The Mindy Project.
I've posted this before but I dug up the longer quote

As one dude put it in a dream I had once:
When you reach the ripe old age of 27 like I have, and you have the choice between investing time and investing money, you realize you should never go for the time. You can always make more money...

July 12, 2019

I'm a bit older than Melissa. Usually close enough that we're on the same page pop-culture wise but I remember this add and she doesn't:

"You're just in time..." "Uh oh-" "...for my Chicken L'orange!" "Ooh!" "And my biscuits!" "Ahhh!" "And my-" "-ring around the collar..."
Finally watched "Captain Marvel". Dig that they didn't soften her edges to make her "likable" or whatever. Also, noticed the arcade game in the orbiting hideaway was Centipede, one of the few games of that era with a woman programmer (Dona Bailey), and one of the first designed to attract women players. (Trying my hand at updating the IMDB trivia page for the movie)
I almost hate to say, because having a functioning home office printer is such a damn sign of being grown up, but the Brother HL-L2300D - black and white, laser-jet, does double sided printing, is fast... is good to have. The toner just lasts and lasts, I'm no more subject to extortionately-priced color ink packs.

Of course even writing a post like this reminds me this old Onion, from when Steve Jobs was resigning from Apple for the last time - New Apple CEO Tim Cook: 'I'm Thinking Printers'

July 12, 2018

At work, we've started a UI reading group and our first book is Edward R. Tufte's (pronounced so it fits the rhyme of Humpty Dance") Envisioning Information.

Unrelatedly, I live in Boston. I always claimed the geometry of the streets was "non-Euclidean", since at the end of Route 2, you can decide to turn left and drive to Harvard Square, or you can decide to turn right and drive to Harvard Square. (I said it jokingly, but someone pointed out, if you define "non-Euclidean" as "the shortest path between two locations ISN'T a straight line" I'm not wrong!)

(Also only semi-relatedly; I used to live in Euclid, Ohio.)

Anyway, Geoff Boeing made this lovely infographic showing the cardinal orientation of streets in major cities:

So good. You can see what a mess Boston and Charlotte have made of themselves.
Security code for work.

Sleep is your body having had enough of you and wanting some time alone.

July 12, 2017

Great for people with a Nicholas "The Mezzanine" Baker or Donald "Design of Everyday Things" Norman fandom - The 100 Greatest Props in Movie History, and the Stories Behind Them
The Worst 20 Seconds of Soccer Ever. Follow the link and have google translate the page from Italian for you.
The Camrbdigeside Galleria Apple Store just reopened... on my devblog I wrote about how the Genius Bar is going away...

July 12, 2016


A Ghostbusters Gaiden, Directed by James Harvey:

cool modular chair and desk

I just found out my mom saved something I remember from my childhood bedrooms

July 12, 2014

While my guitar imitates your not so gentle weeping!

July 12, 2013


One martini is all right, two is too many, three is not enough.
James Thurber

Wow. "Having a boss who's worried about his ability to keep it in his pants" is a fireable offense in Iowa.
I went to the Home Depot, which was unnecessary. I need to go to the Apartment Depot, which is just a big warehouse with a whole lot of people standing around saying, "We don't have to fix shit."
Mitch Hedberg. Newly relevant quote I grabbed 7 years ago. The convo Miller and I had that day was pretty funny too: http://kirk.is/2006/07/12/


From a Daily Mail piece on how Dinos "did it"... on twitter, ExciteMike said it best:
I want to hi-five the artist responsible for these T. Rex grins:

Often when monologuing, like outlining what my team did for scrum, I find it helpful to shut my eyes to compose the sentence.

Is it just me?

After reading a book on Neuroplasticity, and how different parts of the brain overlap in function (and how one part can take over different functions in cases of brain damage) it makes me wonder about if visual and verbal parts of my brain are weirdly sharing circuits.
Jeezie petes, when Amazon gets "kozmo.com" like same-day service it's gonna eat the damn world.
On The Fat Boys. They kinda were a novelty act, but their human beatbox was the template for thousands of amateur fans
Before disillusionment comes illusionment.

Unit Tests are the hope that the reductionist art of making code can be repeated in seeing code run, which is a more holistic thing.

oh, bother


--via thepoke
"I KNOW math! I got the numerator, I got the denominator, I can integrate, I can- do whatever's the opposite of integrate..."
Me and Ed

http://www.eweek.com/c/a/Mobile-and-Wireless/Microsofts-Android-Royalties-Could-Outpace-Windows-Phone-Sales-597303/ Software patents are repugnant. Meant to protect the little guy from the big guy, now they funnel cash the other way.

super mario distant cousins

Super Mario Bros Crossover is a super clever redoing of the classic Super Mario Bros game with a host of characters from other NES games... Dueling Analogs ran with the idea 'til it kind of keeled over with hilarious exhaustion:

It's intriguing to see how the coders patched over differences between the various games worlds and interactions.
http://gizmodo.com/5573952/iphone-4-review Jason Chen's Praising With (Not So) Faint Damnation, in overwrought Creative Writing 301 prose, is funny/sad, how he pretends to have some kind of gadget Stockholm Syndrome...
Empirically noted that a big glass of water can raise my morning weigh-in by quite a bit! "A pint's a pound the whole world 'round" indeed. (And when gaining 3 lbs a year would put someone from "normal" to "obese" in a decade, it's kinda scary!)
http://www.newsweek.com/2010/07/10/the-creativity-crisis.html - a creativity crisis might be really dangerous for our nation's future. (It's funny, come to think of it I remember playing that game where you turn an abstract scribble into a doodle with Marnie in High School, just to kill time. And show off.)
Harvey Pekar is dead! Bigger loss for Cleveland than LeBron, IMO. American Splendor was so great, wonder about stories left to tell...
A sad transitory time for certain types of geeking: I could learn Flash but not run on iStuff. I could code w/ HTML5's Canvas but not run on IE.
People of Mars, you say we are brutes and savages. But let me tell you one thing: if I could get loose from this cage you have me in, I would tear you guys a new Martian asshole.
Jack Handey, "What I'd Say To The Martians"

The crows seemed to be calling his name, thought Caw.
Jack Handey

You should not believe a thing only because you like to believe it.
Diax's Rake, as presented in Neal Stephenson's "Anathem"- a nice complement to our world's Occam's Razor



--via horkulated, but the original photographer's archive is worth looking at.

It makes me irritated that I'm not a better photographer, though it's not like I've really worked ALL that much at it, and then there's my refusal to get used to a better camera than the Canon point-and-shoots.

In general, I think it IS more about the composition than, say, the lens, but there are times when I realize the limitations of the raw images I'm taking. (Also I would say that the new Canon automatic modes are significantly smarter than the previous ones.)

I recently bought a copy of "Photoshop Elements" and a book, because I think a lot of what I find visually compelling in photographs beyond composition is done in the virtual darkroom; (like some of the light and texture in this portrait) I need to better understand color and saturation and things like that, tough because right now they seem kind of nebulous to me.
http://www.csmonitor.com/2009/0624/p09s02-coop.html - CSM editorial on how gender balance might have helped ward off the worst of the financial meltdown.
Added 9 photos to my family and friends photo project http://kirk.is/2009/06/02/ - 26 in all, feeling a bit surrounded!
Fire! It is what we can doing we hope. No fear. Not ourselves. Say quietly to all people coming up down everywhere a prayer. Always is a clerk. He is assured of safety by expert men who are in the bar for telephone for the fighters of the fire come out.
notice posted in the hallways of a Florence, Italy, hotel (via Bill the Splut)

My "!psyched" mp3 playlist - 27 songs - energetic, familiar music for working to, now a great anti-slack tool I don't utilize enough.
Wish I could get every damn spellchecker in my life to not fix lowercase to upper-That's a grammar 'mistake' I choose to make, not spelling
http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=why-do-we-swear - swearing cam mitigate pain - it seems amazing to me that cussing is neurologically distinctive. It's almost as if we had swearing before we had language...
Sox enter the All-Star break 3 games ahead of the Yankees and with the best record in the AL. Dig it!
I just sent Amber a jokey one word txt: *hic*. Luckily I caught iPhone trying to autocorrect that to *HIV*.
Loveblender.com couplet: "Such a dirty girl filled with dark desires. My saliva isn't enough to put out your sexual fire." Oy.

"yeah, I think people are just getting stuper. stupider." -scott

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So a few weeks ago that Atlantic Is Google Making Us Dumber? article was making the rounds. I finally read it, and wasn't crazy about it. The background was excellent, and talking about how technological changes modifies our way of thinking, like how touchtyping let Nietzsche avoid migraines and start writing more in bon mots, was great. But the final conclusions weren't solid.

There seems to be two main lines of attack: one is that Google is making us soft, that we're going to retain less in our heads since such vast amounts of information -- no, not just vast amounts - terrific methods of getting to the right, small bit of information, with connections to more - are always at hand.

The other line of attack seems to use Google as a convenient shorthand, or possibly whipping boy, for soundbite culture in general. That so many of us our losing our ability to focus for medium or long stretches.

(Disclaimer: I'm increasingly aware that I might not have a "representative" way of thinking, and that too often I'll forget that not everyone approaches problems like I do, and therefore my analysis is suspect as I start to apply it generally.)

Trying to get to the root cause of why having access to lots of information can lead to shorter attention spans is tricky. I think of how I approach long books, on "interestingness density". A really long book better have MANY interesting ideas, or otherwise the return on time and thought invested suffers.

Regular readers of the site will know I've been formulating this idea of "interestingness", sometimes even "interestingness as a moral good", for a while now. Maybe I then owe it to myself to try and peel back the layers of it, find out what makes interestingness interesting, or if there's a way to define or predict what is interesting besides "I know it when I see it"...

Interestingness can be shallow, that's for sure, prefering a great paragraph to a good essay, and the novel and the nifty over the prolonged and fretted-over. But it doesn't have to be; a good technical account can go extremely deep and still maintain a level of novel ideas, or rich and non-intuitive but useful metaphors that make the subject fascinating.

Bringing this back to the main attention span issue... maybe people are using this same kind of lens to judge how long they want to look into something, because something more interesting might be just around the corner. Or maybe we've become more demanding consumers, and getting the gist of something is enough.

Also: I'm more aware of how I tend to speak in parentheses. So often the parenthetical aside is the loveliest part of a multipart thought.

Quote of the Moment
I am nuts for information-- as are we all, I suspect, most real men and women. I can't get enough of the stuff. When I'm clicking through the hundreds of E-mail messages that await me each morning, sometimes I imagine I'm a mighty information whale, sifting through thousands of tiny (but nutritious!) krill bits. Yum! Whether it's reading the cereal box or scanning the advertisment slide show some genius thought to project on the big screen at the movie theater, my appetite for information is unquenchable.
Joshua Quittner. Actually I first recorded this in 1998...

Google Feature of the Moment
Speaking of Google, Anthony gave me a tour of the NYC office on my way down to VA, when I stopped over to pick up a copy of Wii Fit he graciously had located for me. He pointed out that Google DOES have a feature I was looking for, namely providing date-ordered search results when you're searching a site that has a blog-like format, but you have to click on "Blogs" under "More" to activate it. I think it should be an option whenever you do a "site:"-specific search, and that site in question is known to have a Blog-ish format.

Wii Fit's bad posture, jutted hip model is much sexier than the same model standing w/ good posture. Also the voice is Navi meets GlaDOS.
moving on

vacation scratchlog flush #4

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I enjoyed tearing through Hardcore Gaming 101, for people interested in the history of gaming their recent special on Pre-SF2 Fighting Games was especially good.
Their page on the delightfully whimsical and increasingly homoerotic "Cho Aniki" series brought me to i-mockery's Cho Aniki page, part of their amusingly sophomoric Sexual Moments in Video Games series. I liked these images from the classic "Rampage"

These are your characters after they've de-morphed from their giant monsterous forms after taking too much damage. The amusing part is that you're then vulnerable to one of the other monsters coming over and gobbling you up as you're shamefacedly trying to slink offscreen...
Two last points... thanks to their explanation I now see "R-Type" as one of the coolest game names ever... a (somewhat obscure) evolutionary biology term describes "K-types" as species who have few young and invest resources into helping them thrive (ala most mammals) vs. "R-types" that try a more scattershot approach of many young cheaply, and maybe some will survive. A bioengineered "R-Type" (from the future, I think) makes a great enemy and scenario, an explanation why it's always one guy in a ship vs screaming alien hoardes.
Finally, The Phoenix had an OK piece on the best Video Game bosses.

15 Reasons Mister Rogers Was the Best Neighbor Ever.

The 7 minute sopranos (meant as kind of a prep for the final season I guess...) via this Slate piece on minisodes, turning sugary pop culture into, I dunno, pure glucose or something.

!umami victory!

I'm watching the Allstar Game as I write this... they just gave the Commissioner's Historic Achievement Award to late Latino legend Roberto Clemente. Not only was he an incredible humanitarian, but he was one hell of a ballplayer.

Looking at the previous recepients, I'd say he's head and shoulders above most of them, especially the ones whose memory will be tainted by their likely steroid use.

AIM Dialog of the Moment
atomicobie:*JUDO KICK*
atomicobie: HUNAN BEEF!
kirkjerk: M....S.........G!!!!!!
atomicobie: *dies*
atomicobie: you win
kirkjerk: !umami victory!
atomicobie: *still in throes of death twitching*
atomicobie: *going to be a minute*
kirkjerk: Man, I never expected my Loony Tunes plus bad chinese restaurant mojo to be so strong!
atomicobie: *still twitching*
atomicobie: *glares at watch*
kirkjerk: twitching...deliciously
atomicobie: *man, msg takes a while*
kirkjerk: Yeah, we should have tried instant msg-ing
atomicobie: *comes back to life to throttle you*
--Miller and myself. For the record, Hassan Chop is explained here, and umami was previously kisrael'd

Hedbergism of the Moment
I went to the Home Depot, which was unnecessary. I need to go to the Apartment Depot, which is just a big warehouse with a whole lot of people standing around saying, "We don't have to fix shit."
Mitch Hedberg. Man, ain't that the truth. There is so much that I don't miss about homeownership...

rock and roll

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Horoscope of the Moment
Taurus: (April. 20-May 20)
Please stop comparing your own experiences to those of Sisyphus, who, unlike you, at least tried to get stuff done.
Old Onion Horoscope

Political Statement of the Moment
Bush when directly asked if he will live up to his pledge to dismiss any leakers in the CIA officer case, when that leaker turns out to be his advisor Karl Rove.
[Insert usual political jab about "bringing integrity to the whitehouse here"]

Geek Anecdote of the Moment
You know, I remember Friendster was always so, so dang slow.

And I also noticed that, judging by the URLs on the site, they were using Java/JSP.

I've updated my profile recently. And the site seems pretty responsive.

And the URLs indicated it's now in PHP.

I'm just sayin', is all...and yet it's still Java that brings in the big bucks, roughly speaking and at least for the time being.

didn't inhale

Ramble of the Moment
So in the "What Are You Trying To Do, KILL Your Mother???" department, I wanted to mention that I've made an odd discovery; how to inhale while having a cigarette. And because I'm NOT a smoker, I get a pretty amazing buzz, to the amusement and perhaps even envy of my smoker friends. (And there were a lot of them in Cleveland.) It's reasonably intense (but still mellow) and short-lived.

For years I was the tiniest bit of a social smoker...at my absolute height, one a day with a girlfriend who was on about the same schedule. But I didn't inhale, just brought it into my cheeks, and so never saw the point really, other than that the mechanics were kind of fun.

And I'm not going to indulge nearly that often. I am aware of the risks of this, and if I ever actually smoke alone or have more than 2 in one evening, that's it, I'm going cold turkey. But I have a few friends (like Anne Lapine) who have been doing this for a while; the trick is, if you stop getting the buzz, you deal with it by laying off for a month or two, not by upping the dose.

So I know many here will think me utterly foolish, and playing a risky game. And I'm aware of how unhealthy and difficult to shake an addiction to cigarettes can be. Up 'til now, at least chemical-wise, I haven't displayed any kind of readily addicted personality, so I don't think the overall risk to this carefully-bounded behaviour is as great as it would seem.

Incidentally, when I was in Portugal on the border with Spain I astounded Marcos by saying "tu sabes yo no fumo" in perfectly accented Spanish. During my 3 weeks there I started a trademark / running joke of accepting a cigarette (didn't want to be rude) and not lighting it...

Image of the Moment
--Here I am that trip, do-rage, unlit cigarette, beloved green canvas jacket, Marcos' (I think) sunglasses, waist pack and all. (Incidentally, I think the car we drove around in was a 60's Honda knockoff the Mini called the N360 that the Mini dealer mentioned.)

Lines of the Moment
She was the answer to his dreams.
Unfortunately, that answer was "no".
Evil Bastard

Feature of the Moment
Via Bill, it is the Worst Songs of Great Rockers. S'funny!

spin me right round baby right round

(1 comment)
I love this latest twist in Bush's truth-warping spin about Iraq looking to buy Uranium from Africa. Pressure the other groups not to object to the language (our own intelligence pretty much knew it was a scam, which is why the speech referred to the British intelligence sources and not our own) and then blame 'em for not telling you no. "Hey, George Tenet, fall on this grenade for me, would ya? There's a good man." (And now the prez magnanimously says he "still has faith" in the man. Well DUH! Seriously, who was the one with the @)$*@ "truth problem"? Who are the ones who are "revisionist historians". Damn, that pisses me off.)

Links of the Moment
I had forgotten how cool QuickTime VR can be. You can pan 360 degrees (and often up and down), zoom in and out to a surprising degree...and I love how some of them show this "holodeck" looking pattern until the image actually loads.

Panoramas.dk is a site with tons of 'em, and many are really cool: the most recent is a scene of Fireworks from the top of the Empire State Building (with a soundtrack, which I actually think detracts a bit, makes it sound like one of those awful "Audio/Video" slideshow presentations we had to sit through during elementary school field trips.)

Other cool ones include Times Square (and the same at New Year's Eve), WTC Light Towers in tribute to 9/11 (be sure to pan up!), the Eiffel Tower, an Underwater Wreck, and an indoor shot, Basilica Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome.

Seriously, these are really good...I actually have less of a need to go see the Eiffel Tower now. It sounds goofy, but it's true; the panoramic view is a big part of the draw for me.

Sale of the Moment
People who live near Boston should check out The Construction Site on Moody Street in Waltham...the best building toys store I've ever seen. (it is run by friends of my family, but I think that description still stands.) And right now, they're running their first ever sale on all LEGO...20% off all LEGO from today 'til July 25th! They also have a big Jenga Fett in the window, and a cool K'Nex roller coaster above their main register. They also have two cool associated stores that share the space, "Aisle 9" with lots of jewlry gifts and cooly designed doodads, and "The Rail Yard", with toy wooden trains of all types.

adventures of our own

Political Link of the Moment
Slate asks the musical question, "Who Wants This War? - And why don't we find out before we start one?"

I think our relatively "easy" military successes of the last decade may be leading people to forget how ugly this might be, on the warfront, on the economy, in terms of putting fuel on anti-US fire in general...

Game of the Moment
Adventure is one of the true giants of old video games, an attempt to make a graphical version of the old text game Colossal Cave Adventure. Along with being the forefather of Ultima, Final Fantasy, and all of those graphical RPGs, it contained the first videogame "Easter Egg", a hidden room with its creator Warren Robinett's name. Warren Robinett put together an interesting PowerPoint presentation (Google has the text version, but messed up) that talks about the history of the game and Atari programming in general. Plus, Scott Pehnke has made a passable but imperfect Flash Port of the game. (And of course you could try out "Indenture", an excellent replica-plus-expansion of the original game for MS-DOS by VGR.)

Quote of the Moment
I'm gonna be free like a bird, and eat birdseed...or whatever, you'll see
Ol' Dirty Bastard on his incarceration and the "Free ODB" campaign.

to boldly split infinitives

Oy, my freefloating dread (the one that got me worried about Y2K, and then the idea of giant EMF pulses, that kind of thing) is starting to latch on to the whole economy situation. Mo's pretty doubtful about her company past 3-6 months or so, Homeruns might join webvan in the deadpool, that kind of thing. My company seems relatively stable, but still isn't quite making its budget this year. Yeesh. We have a pretty good nestegg, but still it's driving me nuts. Guess that comes from a semi-surprise layoff. (My dread always gets it roots in something sort of real, but usually there's some kind of subtext that is secretly fueling it.)

Geek News of the Moment
This is the ship from an upcoming Star Trek series, one set before the days of Captain Kirk. That idea captures my interest in a way Deep Space 9 and Voyager didn't, assuming it's done well. (You can see some spoilers for the pilot episode here.)

In doing some research on the design of the ship, I found a few cool sites: Ex Astris Scientia Starship Gallery has a lot of pictures of many ships from the various shows... the cutaway bridge views were very cool. Even more intriguing was a page on Starship Concept Art, behind-the-scenes coverage of what the designers were thinking. I especially like the original sketches for the ship that started it all. (Be sure to click on the "thumbnails", many actually contain much more information than is shown on the page.) (image from a cleaned up version by wes button)

Lit Bit of the Moment
The assistant's dark hair was messy. She is wearing sloppily applied red lipstick; a short black skirt with no stockings; a rumbled black V-neck sweater (at least she is wearing a bra); clunky black shoes. She looks like (pardon the expression) someone rode her hard and put her away wet.
4 Blondes, Candace Bushnell.
I dunno, I think it's a funny expression.(Then the assistant asks for the day off to go to the doctor's for treating a UTI, and the narrator realizes someone did ride her hard and put her away wet.)

"DAMN! You don't get kissed like THAT in prison!"
--Strip Mall
With every passing hour, our solar system comes forty-three thousand miles closer to globular cluster M13 in the constellation Hercules, and still there are some misfits who continue to insist that there is no such thing as progress.
--Pegasus Publishing Bumpersticker
Unrequited love is way underated. It's kind of like smoking. Ultimately it's bad for you, especially in the long term. Both are bad for your health, make you "smell" worse to others, and cause you to pick up annoying repetitive habits, whether it's constantly wanting something in your mouth (smoking) or anxiously checking e-mail (unrequited love). But on the other hand, both have a certain glamour, give us something to do with ourselves, and have a huge deserved mystique and romantic history behind them. Smoking gets you outside where as otherwise you might stick yourself in the office all day, unrequited love gets you to write amusing bon mots where as otherwise you might write nothing but pedestrian e-mail.
"That really reminds me of a film Woody Allen would make."
--Mo after watching (Woody Allen's) "Celebrity"
Getting irritated trying to unlock the Ness character from "Smash Brothers". You have to beat the 1 player game on your original 3 lives (which I've done twice, out of maybe 15 attempts at like 20 minutes a pop) and then beat Ness. Lead to an interesting conversation with Mo about how I still dislike challenges for the sake of challenge: to me, seeing something interesting is the only worthwhile goal. She finds this ideal extremely alien to her.

Still, my anger and exclamations at this game are childlike and ill-becoming.

We went to the South Park movie last night. Very boundary pushing and purposefully shocking; few taboos were safe. I loved it. It's been a long time since I've gone to a flick and couldn't make out a lot of dialog because of the laughter of the audience.

Mo went to a spa yesterday, last night I noticed she smelled like R's dorm room, or maybe her linens. Odd to have such a strong latent sense memory.
Frasier: You exploit vulnerable people, charging them huge fees for holding their hands and pretending insight into their problems.
Fortune Teller: How is that different from what you do?
Frasier: [long pause] I can prescribe drugs.
Memory: Rebekah saying she could see why I had love Veronika after we had dinner with her and Thomas at Border Cafe freshman year.  I write it down now because of a vague worry that it's the kind of thing I might forget and lose forever. (I just read a statistic: Percentage of people who start losing their memory after age 30: 100%)
found that silly jazz cd in the jewelbox for soulcoughing... I'll find that sarah mclaughlin cd yet!

last service stop on i90 in ny.  I've been here with veronika which also the elvis costello song playing...

heading west trying to outrun the sunset...maybe that's the idea behind california?

In PA:  1st sign for Cleveland:115