June 19, 2024

ok, we've had the "cute" girlfriend conversation and you know exactly what i think about that! i *do* understand that you're looking for someone who is attractive to you in every way. more than that, though, is that she should be the person who's always on your side, picks you first for dodgeball, and makes your knees weak. if the package she comes in isn't a ringer for, say, samantha mathis, are you going to pass that up? what a fool ye mortal be.
FoSO, 2004.08.09
It took me half an hour to hunt for this- and i found it in email in 2007 where I wrote "The even worse part is, I'm worried this isn't the first time I've forgotten it, and may have hunted for it before."

June 19, 2023

My interest is, my one hobby is, maintaining a democracy. If you get these 500,000 soldiers advocating anything smelling of Fascism, I'm going to get 500,00 more and lick the hell out of you.
USMC Major General Smedley Butler, 1934.
Via Task Force Butler, veterans against fascism and white supremacy. They have a guide against those Patriot Front assholes.

June 19, 2022


June 19, 2021

Striking essay - Nowadays in movies, Everyone is Beautiful and No One is Horny

I've always appreciated love scenes and nudity in movies, their verisimilitude and how they show sex as part of a real and multifaceted life. And admired the generosity of the actors involved (and now, hoping they weren't unduly pressured into it...)

Maybe some of the appreciation is a relic of a sunday school upbringing... one where you know right where every naked person or sex scene in your parents book collection is.

Sometimes it means I have to work on my understanding on concerns about the objectification of women. Like, I understand "no one wants to be an object", no one wants to be valued only for one thing, a thing that can be found in many other people, and thus have their individuality wiped away. But for me, the intrigue is sensuality as one facet of a more interesting person... it always implied a bridge between the mundane and the promised land, a hope that the chasm between regular life and making an affectionate skincentric connection with someone wasn't impossibly wide. As I put it long ago, I've always more easily seen the appeal of the stretchy tanktop vs fancy peekaboo lingerie - stuff trying to hard to put a frame around sex, isolating it from the rest of life.

(Found that essay linked to from headspace-hotel, where there's more thoughts on the appeal of lived-in bodies over carefully manicured temples.)

(more concise version)
Making Juneteenth a national holiday is good but kind of a study in too little too late. Newspaper classfieds of formerly enslaved people trying to find their loved ones are heartbreaking.

June 19, 2020

Man, I love P5.js and creative coding -

The use of clmtracker to do some basic webcam face recognition work was especially inspiring.
A reminder that the word "sex" was inserted into Title VII by a segregationist Democrat to try and kill the Civil Rights Act. One of the great self-owns of American legislative history. link

your one wild and precious life

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean-
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don't know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?
Mary Oliver, "The Summer Day"

June 19, 2018

On our asses in the Jackpot. (and more)
Happy Juneteenth Everyone.

June 19, 2017

I took this photo of Cora a week ago... just realized the light in it is a little odd, like she's being the sun is in two places making a cradle for her head... I guess maybe it's the reflection off the water?

Melissa points out that the first minute of this just about perfectly describes my relationship with cooking:

June 19, 2016

Two photos from an afternoon hanging out with Mama K and my super-niece Cora; she's quite the builderm that main tower is all her.


Talk about a city overdue!

And thanks Lebron James. I know he got a lot of hate for going to make sure he could get his rings, but the local came back, and made good.

June 19, 2015

They used to make Mario levels on graph paper.... love this stuff.

June 19, 2014

Got all 4 tires replaced on my car, a few were looking pretty cracked and old. But I realized I didn't have a good mental model of how a tire works, like, how there's no inner tube or anything. Coworker explained, http://goldwingdocs.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=15560 had some useful diagrams (found via google image search). A tire isn't much like most other inflatable things in our life, so it's not super intuitive how the air pressure inside is pressing the rubber of the tire so firmly against the metal rim that it's airtight, even with the weight of the car and road conditions and other abuse tires have to take.

June 19, 2013

Battlebots: an Oral History... was just thinking about that show...

flowchart puns


from I Love Charts tumblr.
It's on thing to be a real fan, but people who wear fashion Yankees wear remind me of Ayn Rand and her dollar sign broach.


click to play

learnworms - source - built with processing
Not too unlike yesterday, but here you paint a worm with the mouse and it "learns" and repeats the pattern. (Space clears.) Another little toy for KotMK #48
via SpindleyQ: Thank you, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, for these lovely jokes http://t.co/KRpse5K
FWIW, digging the "QVS" stylus for iPad... like $8 at Microcenter (at the impulse item section)- has a clip and great smooth round end.

photos from the past two days

I photoblogged this branch in mud near Alewife the other day, but it's worth a closer look, I think--

Amber pointed out there were some stunning blue hydrangeas in the neighbor's yard-- the fullsize version of this is even wicked more lovelier...the colors are just crazy, this looks like something rendered by a computer (err, in a good way)

Couch on a truck, making its way to the big city!

the game of games


--Paul Robertson's "Kings of Power 4 Billion %" - 12 minutes of absolute epic. The way he uses the old video game shoot-em-'til-they-blink-and-disappear formalism and ramps it up to way, way, way beyond 11... (Previously linked: kind of the old Gameboy version of something similar, Pirate Babys Cabana Battle Street Fight 2006)
Suspicion climbed all over her face, like a kitten, but not so playfully.
Raymond Chandler

http://www.gamasutra.com/features/20060322/sheffield_01.shtml - an older piece on 1 button gaming
The Unix timestamp is creeping up on 1.25 million seconds. Wow, was it that long since it hit 1 million even?
The gal I'm seeing just called me on it being a billion, not a million seconds in the Unix Time Stamp..that is so hot.
(but like my old physics teacher Charles Reno said, "what's a few orders of magnitude among friends?")


(1 comment)
Lately I've been thinking about what makes a professional looking website. Is it some careful balance of style and balance and color, or are there some tricks you can use? I guess the answer I'm coming up with is a little of both.

A related anecdote... at work I was charged with coming up with a rough screen layout for an editing page with collapsible sections. I came up with something as follows:

v Section One
Option One
Option Two
Option Three
Option Four
Option Five
Option Six

> Section Two

> Section Three
(The panels are wired up so you can show/hide the contents.) Anyway, our audience loved the functionality of the page, but didn't like the look and feel. So we asked one of our designers, Adam, if he could suggest some minor changes, here's what he came up with:

  Section One
Option One
Option Two
Option Three
Option Four
Option Five
Option Six

  Section Two

  Section Three
Now technically we haven't gotten feedback for the new look but I suspect they'll love it. The changes are small, rounded corners, a softer color, and making the whole section colored. But it really points out how engineer-y my old thinking was; I had a mental block that said headers are headers, and content (in this case the checkboxes) is content, and never the twain shall meet. But now I can see the elegance of this approach, of treating each chunk as a collapsible block rather than as a series of sections with "appropriate headers". (My design re-used an old trick of mine, of using slashes and the letter "v" in a sans-serif font as arrows, rather than a graphic, but I don't think that's the big deal.)

So, what else makes a professional site? What are the clues, subtle or obvious, that speak "corporate"?

So looking at sites like Ford.com IBM.com, or my friend Tammy's atomicpink (she does design work for hire) and musing they look different than my look, I think it's some of the following: It's weird when you start looking at sites in terms of "why does this site look professional to me?" After a while you start thinking maybe a site IS pretty amateurish, but either they make it work or you're just used to it.

Heh, Celtics parade today. Wasn't there some highschool rule about avoiding wearing green on a Thursday? Oh well!
The meme of calling "synchronize with repository" (prelude to "checking in" code) "stink-ronize with suppository" is spreading at my office

cool programs about a decade late

Hey kids! Remember the Palm? Would you believe games and utilities are still being made for it?

Alright, I'm a little cynical. But I still think my Palm Z22 has about the best PDA UI out there, so much better designed around the constraints of working with a small screen than the Microsoft Outlook derived crap, or some of the cellphones that don't even pretend to make an effort at usability.

For a long time I've been amusing myself writing things in PocketC, a little computer language that lets you write, compile, and run things on the Palm. Only recently though did I start to notice there's also a Windows-y desktop version that lets you take the same code and make standalone Palm apps, which is a much cooler way to be. So here are two:

bpm -- this is one of the few truly practical Palm programs I've made, despite (or because of) its bare appearance. If you just start tapping in the rhythm of a song or your pulse, it will give you the beats per minute after just a few taps.
5Jive -- I wrote the core of this years ago, on vacation in Florida, based on a Windows game I saw there. Click on a shape, and then to some square it can move to, and when you get five or more in a row they disappear.

I like the winding paths my unoptimized algorithm for 5jive ends up with... I tweaked the timing so it takes about the same amount of time no matter how many steps the shape has to take. Also I'm pleased with the tiny "alienbill.com" I got to fit in a 39x4 grid as a signature.

Links of the Moment
Two neat things on Slate today: 31 photos that changed the world and this link on some UK people enjoying playing with sins against the English language.

sea food then eat it

Do restaurants attached to major Aquariums (like the New England Aquarium) serve sea food? Doesn't that seem a bit mean spirited?

Writing of a Previous Moment
Sam's days were full of wonder. There was not a day that went by without an angel. After a while, they seemed quite ordinary.

He hardly ever saw the angels when he was at work. He speculated that there might be something about retail clothing and the divine that just couldn't chime. But walking to or from the bust stop, or at home, there the surface of reality would sometimes twist, like the peel of an orange.

Angels came in all builds. Skinny ones, fat ones, lanky ones, tiny ones, muscular ones, grandmotherly ones, but always with a weird shimmmer-glow. And they were often wrestling with demons, ugly red and black and green monsters that reeked of sewage and ammonia. Sometimes the angel would win, sometimes the demon.
I dug it up and read it to Ksenia (who's name is almost suspiciously like that of one of the characters) the other night after re-watching one of her favorite videos "City of Angels". I decided to transcribe it yesterday.

Every once in a while I think I should try to really get my prose mojo working again. The trouble is I don't feel like I have a story I just Gotta Write, and then I'm painfully aware of how almost any detail I put in a story is something from life, that I can't make up details (or, generally, even themes and plots) without cribbing from real life or other works.

Birthday of the Moment
Huh, Slate is 10 years old! EB thinks it's all consumer-y and lacks Salon's moral backbone, but...it doesn't have annoying interstitials, and seems to have a high ratio of interesting content, which is index'd in a very good "at a glance" manner.

livin' for the weekend

Information Toy of the Moment
Just an enhancement of a script I made a while ago, this tells you the day-of-the-week for a given date for a series of years rather than just one year. Mostly I wanted to see for what years my birthday was going to fall on a weekend...

enraging enron

Political Music of the Moment
Eron's Got The Power...those recent taped Enron-daming phonecalls set against Snaps "I Got The Power".

Geek Link of the Moment
Slashdot linked to a look back at "The Mythical Man Month", one of THE most important works in computer engineering even though it was written like 30 years ago...the article shows what's aged well, and what hasn't. That book gave us ideas like "Adding manpower to a late software project makes it later."

Reminds me of my other current favorite "The first 90% of a project takes 10% of the time. The last 10% takes 90% of the time, too."

Car Thoughts of the Moment
So I'm getting closer to make a decision about a car, I think. Interestingly the top contender has changed... I test drove a Scion xA the other day. Unlike its more popular brother, the uberboxy xB, its design really appeals to me, strong-looking without being overbearing. Scion is a new division of Toyota, just Honda has Accord and Toyota also has Lexus, but geared for 20-somethings. It is a little odd to me that the most appealing car is actually cheaper than the one I bought 8 years ago, but still...it's modern euro in styling, and I've always liked the "miniminivan" hatchback look (I actually looked at getting an Eagle Summit back in 1996, but I doubt it would have lasted as well as the Civic hatchback has.) For worse or probably better, Scions are "no haggle" set priced, like Saturns.

The MINI Cooper is still a posibility. It has a "ooh I wanna see that" factor that chicks might dig, and Scion is still in the "what's a Scion" stage (and with much more attention being paid to the other two models.) But Mike cautioned me about the reliability of MINIs, and Consumer Reports says they're the pits in terms of problems so far. (Scion is too new to have data on, but given how well the other Toyotas rank, I wouldn't be too worried.) Another advantage the xB has is having 4 doors plus the hatch...I don't drive groups a lot, but if I got a MINI...the leg room for people sitting in the back is just cruel and unusual.

Other cars I've thought about: the Toyota Prius is a decent idea, but the styling is too "space buggy" looking for me. I think in general I like hatchbacks: some cargo ability, but it's still a car, as opposed to even those small little SUVs. (I've come to realize that, just like a felt like a goon for being a single guy in a whole house, driving to work in what wants to be a truck feels wasteful as well.) I've thought about some other vehicles: Consumer Reports loves the Ford Focus, but I guess I don't get good vibes from American cars. I even toyed with a Jeep Wrangler, but, besides feeling a little like a poser for having such an outdoorsy thing, it's not recommended as a great highway vehicle.

I also glanced at a nice used car place. Eh, my instincts are saying new will be better.

Ultimately, of course, this is my decision to make and live with (and I am getting better at getting the gumption to make big decisions and accepting that the responsibility is all mine, and that I'm not a terrible person if I do make some dumb moves.) Still, I'm glad Mike pointed out the MINI's possible issues...so I gotta ask...if the main reason I'd be getting a MINI Cooper over a Scion xB is because I think chicks are more likely to dig it...is that likely to be a big factor in those crucial first impressions women will make about me? Could my appreciation of oddball car design hurt my potential dating life? (Yeah, yeah, anyone I'd want to get serious with wouldn't care about that, blah blah...but I mean really...)

it's only thursday

Toys of the Moment
Odd little stylized experiments in Flash, blprnt v.2. Click the numbers at the bottom to see different animations/collaborations.

Chat of the Moment
J-Dogg> My wishes are like poetry in your eyes. We want this moment to last forever.
Partner8> OMFG are you trying to cyber me?
J-Dogg> We are like two dancers, for whom the music never stops. I Kiss the top of your hand. You are taken aback by the bulge that forms in your thigh.
Partner8> Is that like cancer?
J-Dogg> If cancer is our love, then I hope you don't have the technology of chemotherapy.
Partner8> Good one romeo.
from this slashdot post with like 10 of 'em, though I think they have their origin from somewhere else.
WARNING: raunchy, but that's mitigated by extreme goofiness. If you're in a hurry, the top three are probably the funniest.

Articles of the Moment
Wired article on Aesthetics and the new new new Economy. Also, they report on some cool stuff going in NYC in terms of the Mob Project, flash crowds that suddenly congregate, linger harmlessly for 10 minutes or so, and then disperse.
UPDATE: but boingboing.net linked to an even cooler/goofier happening, where lots of folks dress up as Agent Smith for the Matrix opening in Japan.

get your mind out of the gutter

Image of the Moment
--Perhaps it is time to clean out the house's gutters. Rainspouts were not meant to support ecosystems.

Geekdom of the Moment
Oh, in case you were wonder what I did on my weekend, or what a small classic video game trademeet looks like, well here you go.

More Geekdom
PalmEvolution.com has a kind of interesting Visual Family Tree of the Palm Pilot. I love that thing.

the navel stares back

Quote and Link of the Moment
"Bill, have you ever heard the expression 'It's easier to catch flies with honey instead of vinegar'?"
"Dave, have you ever heard the expression 'Only a hillbilly sits around and tries to figure out the best way to catch flies'?"
The other day memepool.com had a link with way, way too much analysis of this show. It was pretty astounding all in all, but I do appreciate the thing a lot more now... it's almost like I have an excuse to enjoy it.

Navel Gazing of the Moment
In high school and college, I had a really good collection of T-shirts. I was really fussy about what I'd add to my collection, and was a Pain in the Rear to buy shirts for, since there was a good chance I wouldn't wear what was bought for me. Entropy took its toll, however, and many of these shirts became unwearable, but I was loathe to get rid of them since many were irreplaceable in a very literal sense-- I couldn't get another of most of these designs if I wanted to. I didn't want to fill my closet with a huge array of unwearable shirts, however. I finally stumbled on the idea of using digital photography to make a record of these shirts. Once I had that, I felt free to ditch the actual material object. There's a logic in here somewhere, and a study in how it's the pattern and not the object that I really find important. Admittedly it's hard to find abstract pattern in my size, but hey. So:

T-Shirt:#1 of a Series

"AIDSGATE". Reproduction of a silkscreen with Ronald Reagan's portrait, except he has pink eyes, and looks a bit daft. Bought in the NYC Salvation Army thriftstore that was around the corner from my mom's old apartment. When Mo invited me to a TTGLBC meeting, I considered wearing this as a political statement of support. Didn't wear it much besides that.

ZipTran and the Rapid Prototype Goal: Fully Assed Code from a Half Assed Develpment Cycle
I think my trouble with writing lyrics is continuing a thought across several lines- I try to wrap up a thought in a rhyme.