december 2017 new music playlist

January 2, 2018
New music from the last month of 2017 (4 star stuff in red) A lot of this month was holiday tunes... Other songs....

annual media roundupmedia

January 2, 2017
The media I consumed in 2016. The counts indicate if there were more or fewer of that in the year prior.

As always, something that I enjoyed and meets expectations is "3 star", something that I really liked is listed in red for 4 stars, potential all-time-favorite material, 5 star, is listed in red and bolded. Stuff in gray was below all that.

Movies at the Cinema (6 (-4))
Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Spotlight, Deadpool, RiffTrax Live: MST3K Reunion, Ghostbusters: Heed the Call, Rogue One
The MST3K really made me laugh. More and more I think that should be what I favor in media.

Movies on Video or Streaming (33 (--))
RocknRolla, Interstellar, What, Hannah and her Sisters, Fish Called Wanda, Donnie Darko, Spirited Away, Chinatown, 8 1/2, Down Periscope, Star Trek 2: The Wrath of Khan, Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, Mystery Men, Hail Caesar, The Graduate, Captain America: The First Avenger, Captain America: Civil War, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Face-Off: Gates vs Jobs, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex * But Were Afraid to Ask , Voices of a Distant Star, Kentucky Fried Movie, Age of Ultron, Inside Out, Streetcar Named Desire, Absolutely Fabulous, Star Trek Beyond, The Martian, Tropic of Cancer, The Jerk, Look Who's Back / Er ist wieder da, Drumline: A New Beat
Heh, exactly as many videos as in 2015... some of that was catching up on Marvel stuff on the flights to and from Malaysia. No real standouts here.

TV Show Seasons (26 (+12))
Rick and Morty Season 2, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia Season 5, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia Season 6, Girls Season 5, Broad City Season 3, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Modern Family Season 7, New Girl Season 5, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia Season 7, Extras Season 1, Extras Season 2, Game of Thrones Season 6, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia Season 8, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia Season 9, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia Season 10, Silicon Valley Season 1, The Expanse Season 1, Orange is the New Black Season 4, Silicon Valley Season 2, Lady Dynamite, Scrubs Season #1, Silicon Valley season three, Scrubs Season #2, Pulling Season 1, Pulling Seasons 2, Black Mirror Season 1
I guess it's not surprising that "Rick + Morty" and "Black Mirror" were the highpoints, both interesting scifi lenses on alternate versions of our own world. "Scrubs" deserves a special nod given how LONG is seasons were - I watched it while doing a giant scan-o-thon. And you know, Episode 4 of the first season made me weep; it's a goofy comedy but grounded both in real hospital life and in real emotion.

Books (56 (+10))
The Atari Book, The Enthusiast, The State of Play: Creators and Critics on Video Game Culture, Trump Temptations: The Billionaire and the Bellboy, Dreaming in Code, Egghead, The War of Art, Applied Economics: Thinking Beyond Stage One, Existentialism for Beginners, When Nietzsche Wept, Speak, The Simpsons: An Uncensored, Unauthorized History, Fear of Flying, Spelunky, How I Conquered Your Planet, The Violet Hour: Great Writers at The End, Couples, The Psychology of Romantic Love, Sleights of Mind, Constellation Games, Travels with Epicurus, is it evil not to be sure?, Shader, A Game Design Vocabulary, World of Warcraft (Bossfight Books), Dead Presidents, The Birds, Still Life with Woodpecker, Super Mario Brothers 3, Save the Cat, Don Quixote, The End of White Christian America, Letter to a Christian Nation, 10:04, Islam and the Future of Tolerance: A Dialog, The Joy of Leaving Your Shit All Over the Place, Presto!: How I Made Over 100 Pounds Disappear and Other Magical Tales, Waking Up: A Guide to Spirituality Without Religion, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, Lila: An Inquiry Into Morals, Instructions for Living Someone Else's Life, Zen in the Art of Archery, Rules for a Knight, Kiss Me Like a Stranger , The Neurotic’s Guide to Avoiding Enlightenment: How the Left-brain Plays Unending Games of Self-improvement , How They Were Found, The Visual Display of Quantitative Information, Boss Fight Books: Mega Man 3, The Fermata, Fierce Invalids Home From Hot Climates, How to Save Your Own Life, The Shephard's Crown, Aqua and Bondi: The Road to OS X & The Computer That Saved Apple, The Princess Diarist, Anthonology, Four Reincarnations
I'm always wary about how keeping this kind of log (for like 17 years now!) threatens to be "gamification", where I'm doing stuff just to add to the year tally - not the way I want to be. But the dip in "books" in 2015 (which had been down 15 from 2014) was on the back of my mind. Somewhat corrected this year. "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance" was a reread, and still one of my favorites. "is it evil not to be sure" by Lena Dunham was a great little read - interesting thinking of the parallels with Carrie Fisher's. (You can see a minireview with quotes I made on it. "Fear of Flying" was excellent in general. (Interesting how all of the stuff I rated 5 stars were in the form of first person storytelling.)

Comic / Graphic Novel (9 (--))
Mastermen, Mary Wept Over the Feet of Jesus, Zap Comix 16, Paying for It, Anatomy of Melancholy: The Best of A Softer World, Mauretania, The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl Vol 2: Squirrel You Know It's True, Frog and Toad (series), Hyperbole and a Half
Chester Brown's sparsely drawn works ("Mary Wept..." and "Paying for It"), with their thoughts about sexwork, probably stood out the most.

Video Games (1 (-6))
Saints Row: Gat Out of Hell
I guess what's most striking is how little I'm playing. Some of my friends have disdain for video games, and some regret over the time they themselves put into 'em over the years. I don't really - I liked 'em, I like physically interacting with and exploring virtual worlds. But- I guess I don't as much as I used to? Have games changed, or have I? Or is it just a busier schedule? (There's some games I played but didn't finish, like Hulk: Ultimate Destruction, and GTA: San Andreas, both repeats.)

Anyway, one view is I moved my "relaxing" time from video games on my own to tv shows, often with Melissa. Though come to look at it, most of those series were on my own, as I multitasked on other project stuff. Huh. I guess band is an expensive but quality investment of time, maybe that explains a lot of it?
Deacon: I think we drink virgin blood because it sounds cool.
Vladislav: I think of it like this. If you are going to eat a sandwich, you would just enjoy it more if you knew... no one had f***ed it.
--"What We Do in the Shadows", a funny "reality tv" movie about vampires sharing a flat. This quote is such a funny take on that usual "true love waits" line...
Watching the rose bowl parade on ABC. Good lord how I hate those tweets blatted to the screen. Just let us watch the damn bands and floats, please?

While I'm in my cranky old blogger man mode...

FB begging us to make Live a thing. Share the moment. But the examples they show are like, startling events? Big plays at the game etc.

The thing is, if it was a really good time, maybe you were watching the game, without your device up, and then maybe you were taken surprise by a big play? So they're offering to share, like, the moment after the moment? Or encouraging us to go further down the path of devices up for recording/broadcast all the damn time.

January 2, 2016

The other resolution I should aim for is controlling a "flinch" reaction I've developed when I'm coding along, or indeed doing much of anything - when instant, ego-gratifying success on the next mico-baby-step of the project at hand is not assured, I have this strong impulse to walk away for a second. (When I'm straightening up my place, this leads to a lot of bouncing around from subtask to subtask). For stuff I'm really nervous or uncertain about, the flinch can last for days. I suppose I need to come up with some better strategy to respond to it than assuming "recognizing it as a thing" will lead me to having it under control... but even that's a start.

december 2014 new song playlistplaylist

January 2, 2015
Two 4-stars (for me, YMMV) Some South Asian music came to my attention: Other songs, in descending order of "you gotta listen to this!"
TIL "50 Shades of Grey" was originally Twilight Fan Fiction.

I don't mean to be totally dismissive of Fan Fiction, but I got to say it explains my reaction to how it felt when I started reading it. There's just a clumsiness to it, with characters really clearly being just the way they are for the author's convenience (and a giant heap of Mary Sue-ism) rather than feeling grounded in some kind of reality and more generalized relatability. (Then again, the original Twilight felt the same way, kind of like it's its own fan fiction...) Though maybe I'm just not used to first person narration in general.
"Alright, Aesop, but what happened after the wolf gave up on the sour grapes? Maybe he opened a grape farm. Maybe there's a type of grape that gives him superpowers. Are there other trees with different fruits? Maybe there's a Mrs. Wolf. You've crafted a very interesting universe here, Aesop, and we'd like to explore it."
--James Harvey vs Fan Fiction
Director's Commentary for this year's Advent Calendar.

January 2, 20141sed

Dogs like to poop in alignment with Earth's Magnetic Field. SCIENCE!

Rocking, 'walking' gyroscopic cubes Speaking of science... I always thought gyroscopic forces were weird and mysterious. If -- when, rather -- I become a mad evil overlord, my robotic minions (cleverly and disarmingly disguised as retro-style "Companion Cubes") spontaneously LEAPING UP in blatant disregard of intuition about Newton's laws of action and reaction will mean you should probably start running on your puny human "pushing off against the ground" legs.

January 2, 2013

"spending all day in bed with someone, holding them, feeling palpable energy between the two of you, the sort of drugged frenzy that builds up between two people as they enjoy each other; that is better than france."
--tropigalia's LJ
"'Their, their.' - how to comfort an idiot."

annual media roundupmedia

January 2, 2012

Welcome to the 12th edition of my own personal gamification of watching movies, reading books, and playing games...

Compared to last year, few of the numbers moved that much.

Like last year I rated things, though I found my scale has changed. Nothing received the lowest 1 star rating. 2 starts, marked here in gray, were disappointments. 3 star things matched my expectations for them. 4 stars, marked in red, I'd recommend freely and enthusiastically, and 5 star things are in red and ALL CAPS and are just terrific.

Movies at the Cinema (13)
Battle: Los Angeles, Sucker Punch, The Adjustment Bureau, Hanna, Source Code, X-Men: First Class, Midnight in Paris, Transformers 3: Dark of the Moon, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Pt 2, Real Steel, A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas, Hugo, The Artist

"The Adjustment Bureau" was some great sci-fi in the mold of Inception. "Hugo" was simple fun with a nice bit of homage to the earliest films, and "The Artist"'s fun with the form and content of the silent movie was just terrific, I'm happy it exists.

Movies on Video (50)
Jeffrey, Mystery Men, Salt, Dinner for Shmucks, Sunshine Cleaning, SHORT BUS, Chasing Amy, Lars and the Real Girl, Silent Running, FRIDA, Killing Me Softly, Waiting for Superman, Family Guy Star Wars Trilogy, Sliding Doors, Arthur, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Havoc, Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths, Starz Inside: Comic Books Unbound, Gulliver's Travels, Karate Kid, Snatch, MirrorMask, Confederate States of America, Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels, Hot Tub Time Machine, True Grit, Cinema Paradiso, Almost Famous, Wild Target, My Big Fat Greek Wedding, Trainspotting, Exit Through the Gift Shop, Megamind, The Departed, All the Real Girls, Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Wonder Woman, Bridesmaids, Saving Silverman, Superbad, Star Wars: A New Hope, Beavis and Butthead Do America, Best in Show, Crazy, Stupid, Love, Party Girl, Catch-22, WILT

Shortbus was crazy sexy fun, Frida is artistically terrific, and Wilt, a short from German, is the best horror short I've ever seen, more on that as I find out ways to direct people to it.

TV Shows (15)
The Office: Season 6, Modern Family Season 1, Caprica Season 1.5, Mad Men Season 4, Archer, BETTER OFF TED SEASON 1, Game of Thrones Season 1, BETTER OFF TED SEASON 2, GREEN WING SEASON 1, GREEN WING SEASON 2, Parks and Recreation Season 1, Parks and Recreation Season 2, Parks and Recreation Season 3, Shameless Season 1, Shameless Season 2

What can I say, there's so much TV out there that we're able to stick with really good series for the most part. "Better Off Ted" and "Green Wing" are funny, funny, funny.

Books (60)
Extra Lives, How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, The Elements, Why We Suck, Book of Secrets, Bathroom Book of Canadian Quotes, Afterzen, Auntie Mame, JavaScript; The Good Parts, Zombie Spaceship Wasteland, Everything Explained Through Flowcharts, Adjustment Team, Reality Is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World , The Girl Who Couldn't Come , Kill Screen Issue 3: Intimacy, Two Is Enough, World War II: Extraordinary Facts and Stories, Man's Search for Meaning, ACCELERANDO, The Final Hours of Portal 2, Strangeland, The Pregnant Widow, L.A. Noire, Worldwar: In the Balance, The Big Book of American Humor, Kill Screen Volume 4: Shared Play, The Wee Free Men, Things I've Learned from Women Who've Dumped Me, Farewell, My Lovely, Gender Advertisements, Fletch, The War Nerd, CONSTELLATION GAMES, Rule 34, Ready Player One, THE ADVANCED GENIUS THEORY, Brain Bugs: How the Brain's Flaws Shape Our Lives, Eating the Dinosaur, 50 Religious Ideas You Really Need to Know, Life Among the Lutherans, Nude in the Tub, Snuff, Pilgrim in the Microworld, The Soloflex Story: An American Parable, Richard Matheson, The Making of Prince of Persia, Videogames Hardware Handbook Vol.2, RetroGamer Collection Vol. 5, Sex at Dawn, Steve Jobs, Monster Island, Retro Micro Games Action Vol 4, Designing for Emotion, Kill Screen 1.5, 50 Physics Ideas You Really Need to Know, Star Wars vs Star Trek, 11/22/63, Tune in Tokyo: The Gaijin Diaries, American Nerd, The Cleanest Race

"The Advanced Genius Theory" was smart pop-culture analysis. "Accelerando" and "Constellation Games" are both terrific pieces of sci-fi... I read early drafts for my friend Leonard Richardson... you can (and SHOULD) check out the current e-book serialization of it at Candlemark and Gleam.

Comics (29)
Dread & Superficiality: Woody Allen as Comic Strip, Breakdowns: Portrait of the Artist as a Young %@&*!, Ignition City, The Killing Joke, Alien Legion: Grimrod, Henry & Glenn Forever, Aetheric Mechanics, I Swallowed the Key to my Heart 2, THE GOLEM'S MIGHTY SWING, Portal 2: Lab Rat, I swallowed the Key to my Heart, Interplanetary Spy 7: Rebel Spy, Satchel Paige: Striking Out Jim Crow, Market Day, Love, Loss, and What I Wore, Huntington, West Virginia "On the Fly" , The Punisher: Barracuda, Black Orchid, Star Wars Empire Vol. 7, Zot!: The Complete Black and White Collection: 1987-1991, Save Yourself, Mammal, Zot! Book One, M.F.A., Boston Security Officer 1, Hark! A Vagrant, Oglaf, The Most Dangerous Game, Local Heroes, A Long Day of Mr. James Teacher, The Best of the Rejection Collection

Again, a lot of good stuff, but "The Golem's Mighty Swing is a majestic and moving piece of art, an old favorite. I'd also like to add how impressed I am with Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal, maker of "Save Yourself Mammal!" and "The Most Dangerous Game" -- it is a funny, daily comic that gives xkcd a run for its money.

Video Games(13)
Bad Dudes vs Dragon Ninja, Sly Spy: Secret Agent, Portal 2, Portal 2 Co-op, Earth Defense Force Insect Armegeddon, Earth Defense Force Insect Armegeddon, ENDI Tank Battle, Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Gears of War 3, Saints Row the Third, Yahtzee Adventures, Star Fox 64 3D, Mario Kart 7

I think the strongest recommendation here is actually "Saints Row the Third", a refreshingly unpretentious and exuberantly violent funfest in the GTA-ish open world genre.

bubble bubble toil no trouble

January 2, 2011

--via"Charming" is the word for it! I dig it. Kinda wanted to see the ying-yang bubble though. Also I wonder what kind of bubble formula he is using...

a decade of writing down the stuff i was watchingmedia

January 2, 2010

So for a decade now I've been keeping a database of the media I've been consuming!

Last year I mentioned I wanted to graph this stuff out, and so here it is:

(adding to the geekery, this is a screenshot from a homemade java processing program, not an Excel thing like a sane nerd might've done.)

As I predicted my commute change led to a decrease in books read, though I didn't know that was a trend. I'm surprised to see that I haven't, in fact, been playing as far fewer video games through as I had thought. I think the early 2000s amount of movies-on-tv was from having a tv in my home office and the mid-2000s spike in videos was the discovery of Netflix.

I also made a permanent features page for this stuff, with links to all the previous years.

I always feel he need to apologize for this, and I'm not sure if anyone reads my recommendations all that closely. Still, if nothing else these are notes to my future self, who I hope will always be at least a little bit interested.

Movies at the Cinema (18)
Slumdog Millionaire, Watchmen, Star Trek, Xmen Origins: Wolverine, Terminator: Salvation, Up, Angels and Demons, The Hangover, Transformers 2, Funny People, Whatever Works, District 9, Inglourious Basterds, Zombieland, Where the Wild Things Are, 2012, Avatar, Sherlock Holmes

Watchmen was a solid translation of the comic, and I liked the change they made to the ending. I was delighted to see the return of Kirk as the pre-eminent Captain with Star Trek. Up was beautiful and touching. IMAX Transformers 2 made it just a terrific spectacle, and if you take it for what it was it was pretty great. Funny People and Whatever Works were both kind of sweet-nature comedies. I love the way Where the Wild Things Are didn' try to prefectly map the realm with the monsters to their parallels in the "real world". Finally Avatar was stupendous, especially in IMAX 3D.

Movies on DVD (37)
Idiocracy, Vicky Cristina Barcelona, Jumper, Ali G Indahouse, Shaun of the Dead, Sex Drive, Better than Chocolate, Blues Brothers, Burn After Reading, Zack and Miri Make a Porno, Seven Pounds, In Bruges, The Day the Earth Stood Still, Repo: the generic opera, Wall-E, The Big Lebowski, American Beauty, Rosencrantz + Guldernstern are Dead, Henry and June, Pushing Tin, Bender's Big Score, Ponyo, The Butterfly Effect, (500) Days of Summer, Transformers, The Station Agent, Stick It, Drumline, Robocop, Caprica, Better Than Chocolate, Barb Wire, Indepdence Day, Chasing Amy, Across the Universe, Backbeat, Kama Sutra

I got the chance to revisit a lot of favorite videos with JZ and Amber. Vicky Cristina Barcelona was new to me, but, you know, it's still Woody Allen. Shaun of the Dead is still my favorite Zombie flick. Better than Chocolate is still a great and sexy without being tawdry young lesbians in love flick. Everyone needs to see Blues Brothers. I watched Burn After Reading and In Bruges with cmg, and both were funny but dark. The Big Lebowski, American Beauty, Rosencrantz + Guldernstern are Dead are all classics. As is Henry and June, and I'm still irritated NC-17 isn't a legitimate film category or movie makers. Pushing Tin is fun. Ponyo had a Disney release but we caught it on bootleg. I'm not sure how I missed The Butterfly Effect - maybe I was scared of Ashton Kutcher, but it's really a thoughtful sci-fi piece. (500) Days of Summer was romantic and lovely. Stick It and Drumline are two great teens-over-adversary montge flicks with great visual moments. Robocop is Robocop. Chasing Amy is Chasing Amy - a bit awkward but still nifty. Across the Universe is a lovely rework of so many Beatles pieces, and Backbeat is their story in Hamburg - very sweet and romantic. Finally Kama Sutra is not as sex-crazed as you might hope, but it's a simple story well-told.

Things on Television
The Invasion, Resident Evil: Extinction, Alice, VH1's 100 Greatest Hip-Hop Songs, Wizard of Oz

Wizard of Oz is great, if sleepy. Amber and I watched through all five hours of VH1's 100 Greatest Hip-Hop Songs and it was pretty cool, even if some of the choices are baffling, and man... does TV really need that many reality shows with washed up hiphop performers?

Books (40)
The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid, Uniforms, Inventing Modern, Like You'd Understand, Anyway, Magic for Beginners, Battle Stations, The Shangri-La Diet, Effective Java, Sum: Forty Tales from the Afterlives, Racing the Beam, Holy Cow: an Indian Adveture, The 10,000 Year Explosion, Diary of Indignities, The Great Fires, The Book of Totally Useless Information, Old Age Comes at a Bad Time, (book of George Washington selected letters), Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal, The Love Poems of James Laughlin, Amerika: Russian Writers view the United States, Me and You, His Excellency George Washington, A Home at the End of the World, Everything is Illuminated, Going Postal, The Adventure Capitalist, He's Just Not That Into You, Interpreter of Maladies, The Photograph as Contemporary Art, And Another Thing*, A Catalogue of Unfindable Objects, The Case for God*, You Better Not Cry*, 9 Stories, 1,001 Things They Won't Tell You, Word Myths, Nothing to be Frightened Of, Ounce, Dice, Trice, Stop Me If You've Heard This: A History and Philosophy of Jokes, Franny and Zooey * (audiobook)

The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid - nostalgic but not sickly sweet look back to the 50s. Uniforms was a surprisingly cool read, though the author was a bit of an elitest. Like You'd Understand, Anyway were some brilliant and well-searched short pieces on people surviving extremely difficult circumstances. The Shangri-La Diet has an awesome idea thouh I'm not proof positive it works. Effective Java should be read by every Java programmers. Sum: Forty Tales from the Afterlives was like "Einstein Dreams" but about various incarnations of the afterlife and God. Racing the Beam was a cool in-depth look into programming for the Atari 2600. Holy Cow: an Indian Adveture showed me just what amazing diversity India sports. The Great Fires is the best book of romantic poetry ever. Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal was like a funny and pop-culture remake of the Last Temptation of Christ. Me and You is a superbly sensual story I first read in college. His Excellency George Washington pointed out what a toweing figure this guy was. A Home at the End of the World made me wonder why all books can't be this sensual. Everything is Illuminated is also good as a movie. And Another Thing was a worthy Hitchhiker's Guide sequel. A Catalogue of Unfindable Objects was referenced in "The Design of Everyday Things" and is a brilliant bit of design fantasy and social commentary, though a bit French. The Case for God was a profound survey of religion, and makes me wonder if people really were that good at seperating the "mythos" from the "logos". You Better Not Cry was classic Augusten Burroughs but hearing him read his own stuff was terrible until I listened to it at double speed. Nothing to be Frightened Of is an interesting musing on mortality. Ounce, Dice, Trice is a fun kid-friendly book about words, meant to be read aloud. Stop Me If You've Heard This: A History and Philosophy of Jokes had some neat thoughts about the attempt to capture humor in writing. Franny and Zooey told me that I was wrong to dislike Salinger so immensly after "Catcher in the Rye".

Comics (23)
The Boys Vol 1, The Boys Vol 2, The Boys Vol 3, Secret Identity, Emperor Joker, Help is on the Way, Astonishing X-men: Dangerous, Astonishing X-men: Gifted, The Watchmen, All-Star Superman #2, Funny Misshapen Body, Star Trek: Countdown, Blankets, Another Dollar, 32 Stories, The Man Who Loved Breasts, Will You Still Love Me If I Wet the Bed?, Empowered, Empowered #2, Empowered #3, Empowered #4, Empowered #5, What it Feels Like to be a Building

Secret Identity started kind of corny but turned into a decent Superman tale. I loved the insanity of Emperor Joker Help is on the Way is a compilation of the web comic "Basic Instructions". I reread The Watchmen in preperation for the movie, and I thought the movie held up. Funny Misshapen Body might be Jeffrey Brown's most informative work. Blankets is a great graphic novel, sweet, romantic, a great study into growing up among bible thumpers - Amber's first Pekar remains strong in Another Dollar, 32 Stories is Optic Nerve. The Man Who Loved Breasts is funny, and Will You Still Love Me If I Wet the Bed? is the sweetest thing ever. Empowered 1-5 are these really weird mashups of superhero and B+D comics - light hearted and not TOO too porny for all of that. What it Feels Like to be a Building is just a neat book about the pressures walls and ceilings face every day.

Video Games (11)
EDF 2017, EDF 2017, EDF 2017, GTA4: Thoe Lost + Damned, Wario World, Gears of War, Game-a-Day, Transformers 2: Rise of the Fallen, Portal, Flower, GTA4: The Ballad of Gay Tony

Guess I still love me some EDF 2017, maybe the best B-movie game ever, and hecka fun for two people. Gears of War is still a definitive classic. Transformers 2: Rise of the Fallen is a competent little reward-driven shooter. Portal is of course brilliant. Flower is poetic and beautiful, and GTA4: The Ballad of Gay Tony is probably the ulitmate little GTA4 game, with mission select, a tank, and skydiving.

Overall I'm a little sad I'm not playing more games. I got into but didn't finish Retro Challenge, Scribblenauts, and GTA: Chinatown Wars. on DS -- I guess I don't find it the most compelling system.

I also saw the stage show "The Buddha In His Own Words" which was pretty decent.
"I'm a virgin by choice."
"Not YOUR choice."
--"Year One

what kirk listened to, watched, read, and playedmedia

January 2, 2009

I figured out how to make iTunes "Smart Playlists" that just play music I've added to my collection in the last 30,60, or 90 days. Before I made the lists, I found I would tend to search out songs I just added manually, so it's nice to have all the new stuff on one list.

For a brief time, I was almost feeling badly about how much I was listening to the 30 or 60 day list, like I was somehow being unfair to the time-test goodness of the other 1600 odd songs I had rated as worthy enough to carry around (about 1 in 5 of my whole ripped collection.) Then I realized I had it backwards, that of COURSE "now" is the correct time to kind of get acquainted with the new stuff, that any song I like in the long run probably needs some kind of honeymoon period where it's in my head a lot, before it gets just a 1 in 1600 chance of shuffling up.

Sometimes I think I overthink things a bit. (hey, I think there might be my epitaph there!)

Media of the Year
So, my annual tradition of Media in Review! Italics for the stuff I noted as "recommendation worthy" with a few words on each recommend after.

Next year will mark 10 years of doing this media journaling. I want to make a chart. I already know that T-commutes are better for # of books, and girlfriends are better for videos.

Movies at the Cinema (9)
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, Hulk, Wanted, Hancock, The Dark Knight, Pineapple Express, Tropic Thunder, Clockwork Orange, Milk

Surprisingly, Hancock was the only bit of summer fare I noted as a recommend (I guess I thought Dark Knight was a bit overplayed, and long...). If nothing else, the flying sequences of Hancock, a real sense of barely-controled power and gracelessness, made it worthwhile. I counted Clockwork Orange as "cinema", even though it was just the MIT film series. And lately, Milk was worthwhile, if a bit of a tearjerker; you wonder if the people who think a pre-election release could have helped stop CA's Prop 8 are right.

Movies on DVD (35)
Hostel, Akira, Starship Troopers, I Am Legend, Spike & Mike's Sick & Twisted: Full Frontal, Heat, Run Lola Run, Strange Days, Wonder Boys, A Beautiful Mind, Lost in Translation, Shopgirl, Kevin Smith Speaks Part 1, Borat, The Matrix, Atonement, Walking My Life, Juno, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, The Darjeeling Limited, Mean Girls, My Neighbor Tortoro, A Clockwork Orange, Bad News Bears, Bourne Ultimatum, Kill Bill Vol.1, Kill Bill Vol.2, Stick It, Iron Man, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters, Casino Royale, The Fall, Hellboy 2, The Stangers

It's amazing how well Anime great Akira has aged; that motorcycle still looks 15 minutes into the future 20 years later. Run Lola Run was a visit with an old favorite. A Beautiful Mind and Shopgirl were both thoughtful and poignant movies. Walking my Life was a Japanese tearjerker I watched on the way back from Japan, a 48-year-old executive finds he has 6 months to live, and tries to make peace with all the people in his life. Juno and The Darjeeling Limited both deserve their place as quirky, indy-ish stuff making its way into the mainstream. Stick It is teen athelete training montage fodder utterly redeemed by some amazing and playful artsy cinematography... also a kicking sountrack. Iron Man might have edged out Hancock had I seen it at the cinema, but whatever. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind remains as, quite possibly, my favorite movie. The Fall looks quite a bit like the director's previous work The Cell; all super saturated dreamworld. It doesn't quite hang together, but it's still a moving and worthwhile experience.

Books (64)
Cherry The Mind's I, The Lathe of Heaven, A Poem for Autumn, Haunted, A Short History of Nearly Everything, Etiquette Guide to Japan, Men and Cartoons, House on Boulevard St., Ubik, The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana, Sesame Street Unpaved: Scripts, Stories, Secrets, and Songs, The Kite Runner, Tuf Voyaging, Thank You and OK! An American Zen Failure in Japan, The Armageddon Rag, After Dark, The Portable Dorothy Parker, Why Do Men Have Nipples?, I'm a Stranger Here Myself, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintanence, Dead Witch Walking, Wild Ducks Flying Backwards, Eyewitness Testimonies: Appeals from the A-Bomb Survivors (3rd rd), The Haunted Smile, The Screwtape Letters, Small Things Considered, The Classic Tradition of Haiku: An Anthology, Meeting with Japan, Agile Project Management with Scrum, Freedom Evolves, Be Sweet: A Conditional Love Story, Ascending Peculiarity, Slowness: A Novel, I Love You, Beth Cooper, Starship Troopers, Smoke and Mirrors: Short Fictions and Illusions, How to Succeed in a Japanese Company, When You Are Engulfed in Flames, How Are Things?, In Our Time, Confederates in the Attic, On Intelligence, Tender is the Night, The Tao Is Silent, The Science of Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials, Tao of Pooh, The Te of Piglet, Penn & Teller's How to Play in Traffic, Passing for Thin, Ender's Shadow, Naked Pictures of Famous People, Postman Always Rings Twice, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, I Am a Strange Loop, Guidebook to Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, A Clockwork Orange, Game Design Workshop, Stick to Drawing Comics, Monkey Brain, Future Weapons of War, Word of Mouth, , The Encyclopdia of Immaturity, Word of Mouth 2

I got my reading group to tackle The Mind's I, and it remains my favorite introduction to thinking about thinking and being. The Lathe of Heaven is a terrific bit of parallel-universe sci-fi thought experimenting, a meditation on Daoism. Bryon's A Short History of Nearly Everything had some sketchy science here and there, but was a good layman introduction to the universe. Men and Cartoons was "like wild sheep chase guy meets superhero comics, lovely". My mom got me House on Boulevard St., some poems, and it was worthwhile. Phillip K Dick's Ubik seemed to be a big influence on "Lathe of Heaven", actually. The most disturbing part of The Kite Runner probably wasn't the rape, but the betrayal of the friend. Tuf Voyaging makes me wish George R.R Martin was more known for his sci-fi than his fantasy. Thank You and OK! An American Zen Failure in Japan was a bit long, but an interesting study in "West Coast" Zen and its more traditinal practice. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintanence is high on the list of my favorite books, can't believe it took me so long to get to it. Meeting with Japan was the perfect post-trip gift from EB, in the 1960s an Italian who had once been prisoner there revisits the "New Japan". Starship Troopers deserves a better movie. Gaiman's Smoke and Mirrors: Short Fictions and Illusions had some very cool bits. Sedaris was pretty much back in form with When You Are Engulfed in Flames. Confederates in the Attic was a kind of fascinating take on how the current South feels about the War almost a century and a half later. On Intelligence has, I think, THE correct model for how the brain works, even if the author gets Searle's Chinese Room all wrong. Postman Always Rings Twice is some tight little noir - I loved the idea that it was Banned in Boston. I Am a Strange Loop was good thinking about consciousness. A Clockwork Orange was a better book than I expected, I was worried about parsing its made up language, but learning it was really a delight. I started skimming Game Design Workshop but read all the great interviews with industry veterans. Stick to Drawing Comics, Monkey Brain! shows there's more to Scott Adams than Dilbert. I've already deeply praised Word of Mouth, and finally, The Yiddish Policeman's Union is great Yiddish Noir/Alternate History.

Comics (28)
All Star Superman Vol. 1, The Warsun Prophecies, Astonishing X-Men: Gifted, Catwoman: The Life and Times of a Feline Fatale, Scheherazade: Comics About Love, Treachery, Mothers, and Monsters, Another Day, Amphigorey, I was a Teenage Comic Nerd, whatever, Wanted, Little Things: A Memoir in Slices, It's a Good Life, If You Don't Weaken, Postage stamp funnies, We Eat Tonight, Action Philosophers Giant Size Thing Vol 2, The Fart Party, The Boondocks - Because I Know You Don't Read the Newspaper, How to Love, Binky's Guide to Love, Red Eye, Black Eye, Weapon Brown, Introducing Noam Chomsky, Grrl Scouts Volume 1, Guilty, The Man Who Loved Breasts, Zhuangzi Speaks: The Music of Nature, Rent Girl, The Complete Cartoons of the New Yorker

All-Star Superman Vol.1 is this lovely take on the iconic figure; just this refreshing kind of whitespace approach. Amphigorey remains dark and disturbing and wonderful. Whatever, by Boston local Karl Stevens, is fantastic. His realistic style and mundane "Allston Brighton Life" subject matter makes him my new favorite. It's a Good Life, If You Don't Weaken is an intriguing cartoonist detective story. The Boondocks - Because I Know You Don't Read the Newspaper... amazed with what he got away with in the newspapers, very cutting and smart. Weapon Brown is hard to get but worth it... Mad Max meets Peanuts via Clockwork Orange. Zhuangzi Speaks: The Music of Nature were some charmingly illustrated Daoist lessons. Rent Girl uses words and pictures to show you just how sexy and glamorous prostitution isn't. And the Complete Cartoons of the New Yorker with 2 CDs was the best value I'd gotten my Uncle ever.

Video Games (15)
Raiden 2, Earth Defense Force 2017, Earth Defense Force 2017, Blood Ties, Earth Defense Force 2017, Gears of War, GTA IV, Portal, The Incredible Hulk, Fantastic Contraption, Karoshi 2, Mercenaries 2, Gears of War 2, Star Fox: Assault, Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts and Bolts

I played Earth Defense Force 2017 three times this year, and man was it fun... B-movie sci fi run and gun epic brilliance. Gears of War is pretty well known. The sequel I also played through with JZ this year was worthy, but the hamfisted attempts at characterization make appreciate the original more. I'm kind of surprised GTA IV didn't make my "reccomend list", because I did think it was good. Portal I just watched JZ play after enjoying it the year before. I've already sang the praises of Fantastic Contraption, and I'm glad I ponied up the small registration fee -- we need to support stuff like this! Auntie Pixelante introduced me to Karoshi 2, suicidal indy puzzling. Mercenaries 2 was flawed but very, very satisfying, and may be the only game I enjoy driving a tank in this generation. Finally, I mentioned how much I loved the Lego-dream of Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts and Bolts

Pure physical comedy in Halo 3; Ivan and I startle each other in corridor, fumbling weapons, as I die I deploy hopeless, useless shield, ZUM
Trying to place Ivan's new facial hair, and realized the mustache/muttonchops (no goatee) look is Lemmy from Motorhead - no warts though
Oy, dating. One asks: what AM I looking for? Counter: Of all my failed romances (technically all past ones) how many would I undo? Very few.
New favorite pen: Pilot Precise V7 RT, a nice-feeling retractable continuation of the line... who says there's no such thing as progress?
CNN: mullah to boy 'Now that you have finished the Quran, you need to go and commit a suicide attack' - meaner than MY sunday school, fo'sho - NPR asks "when did you see trouble coming?" I wanted OUT of homeowning in '04-- and-maybe- the boom felt "wrong"

media of the yearmedia

January 2, 2008

So, my narcissistic annual tradition: here's the media I consumed over the past year. I was pleased that my T-based commute let me read like twice as many books this year.

Movies at the Cinema: (16)
Night at the Museum, Smokin' Aces, Pan's Labyrinth, Grindhouse, Spiderman 3, Pirates of the Carribean 3 : At World's End, Ocean's 13, Fantastic Four, Transformers, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Hot Fuzz, Superbad, Simpsons, Good Luck Chuck, 2 Days in Paris, Lust, Caution

Pan's Labyrinth was dark and weird and scary and lovely. Hot Fuzz was a funny British mocking and honoring cop movies, 2 Days in Paris was kind of a Parisian Woody Allen neurotic comedy, and Lust, Caution and its story in occupied China was sensual but absolutely disturbing.

Movies on DVD (52)
History of the World Part I, Brick, Dukes of Hazzard, Natural Born Killers, Lie With Me, Dr. Katz Season 1, Voices of a Distant Star, Supernatural Season 1, Birthday Girl, Red Dawn, Sports Night Season 1, The Place Promised in Our Early Days , Sarah Silverman: Jesus is Magic, Saw, Little Miss Sunshine, Pumping Iron, The OH! in Ohio, Foxfire, This Film Is Not Rated, i heart huckabees, Me and You and Everyone We Know, Waiting..., Kung Fu Hustle, Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan , Eurotrip, Gizmo, Smoke, Strangers with Candy Season 1, Dirty Shame, Flyboys, Shaun of the Dead, Volver, Lord of War, Johnny Mnemonic, Killing Zoe, Girl Play, Children of Men, Marie Antoinette, Spaced Season 1, Kalifornia, The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra, Black Snake Moan, Reno 911!: Miami, 300, Save the Green Planet!, The Fountain, Dasepo Naughty Girls, Pirates of the Carribean 2: Dead Man's Chest, Blood Diamond, Live Free or Die Hard, Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgandy, A Scanner Darkly

Brick was nior Encyclopedia Brown. Lie With Me was sexy arthouse. I've already said a lot about Voices of a Distant Star and its spiritual successor The Place Promised in Our Early Days didn't disappoint. Kung Fu Hustle was just plain fun. Gizmo! is worth tracking down for its take on inventions and feats in the 30s 40s and 50s. The dystopia of Children of Men was a little heavy handed but it was still a great video. Spaced Season 1... I think it's where the folks from Hot Fuzz / Shaun of the Dead got it going. Save the Green Planet was a Korean film, very hard to parse, and with some ambiguity about its crazy hero. Finally, A Scanner Darkly used that rotoscope effect in a great way.

Movies on TV (2)
Seabiscuit, Beer League

Not much to say, though Arty Lang's Beer League was a bit better than I expected

Books (78)
On A Pale Horse, Bearing an Hourglass, The Ancestor's Tale, The Unix-Haters Handbook, A Short History of Myth, The Alien Years, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, Blink, An Anthropologist On Mars:, Grave Peril, The Only Bush I Trust Is My Own, The Civilized Engineer, Dave Gorman's Googlewhack! Adventure, Virtual Organisms: The Startling World of Artificial Life, The Game-Players of Titan, Magical Thinking, Sellevision, Running with Scissors, Friday Night Lights, Ruining It for Everybody, Why We Do It: Rethinking Sex and the Selfish Gene, The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across The Eight Dimension, The Sixteen Pleasures, Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs, Dork Whore, Investigating Sex: Surrealist Discussions 1928-1932, Recue from Domestic Perfection, A Year in the Merde, Timequake, Steppenwolf, Kennedy and his Women, Solaris, The Middle-Aged Man on the Flying Trapeze, The Average American Male: A Novel, Overclocked, Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom, Tuesdays with Morrie, What's Your Dangerous Idea?, Mind & Emergence: from quantum to consciousness, The Fountainhead, The Complete Idiot's Guide to Zen Living , The Secret Symbols of the Dollar Bill, The Dharma Bums, The Perks of Being a Wallflower., One Good Turn: A Natural History of the Screwdriver and the Screw, Eleanor Rigby, The Complete Saki, It's Too Late to Say I'm Sorry, Everyday Life in Early America, One-Night Stands with American History, Country Stores in Early New England, The Education of a Coach, The Planiverse, Possible Side Effects, Invisible Cities, America (The Book) A Citizen's Guide to Democracy in Inaction, We, Not Even Wrong: Adventures in Autism, Consider the Lobster, David Rakoff, Edge presents The 100 Best Videogames, Comedy by the Numbers: The 169 Secrets of Humor and Popularity , The Planets, Pro-Wicket, CODE The Hidden Language of Computer Hardware and Software, The Man In The High Castle, New York Sawed in Half, The Golden Compass, Good Poems for Hard Times, The Subtle Knife, The Amber Spyglass, The Selfish Gene, The Dharma of Star Wars, The Maltese Falcon, Riding Rockets, Fierce People, Plato and a Platypus Walk into a Bar, Schulz and Peanuts

You can get an e-text of The Unix-Haters Handbook for free now. It's dated but opened my eyes to a world beyond Unix as the optimal OS- especially the reminder that the Clipboard has overlap with Unix pipes but does stuff pipes never could. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time tried to give insight into the inner life of autistics. Magical Thinking: True Stories made me think that Augusten Burroughs is David Sedaris turned up to 11. The Sixteen Pleasures was a lovely work; "The Hours" crossed with "Cinema Paradiso", with a thoughtful look at the craft of book preservation. I reread Timequake, Vonnegut's swansong, and it was still fantastic. Tuesdays with Morrie was a tearjerker, but not without wisdom What Is Your Dangerous Idea? had some neat thoughts, there might be a web version to hunt down. Kerouac's The Dharma Bums had some real insights in to the challenges of an American applying Zen Bhuddism to real life. One Good Turn: A Natural History of the Screwdriver and the Screw was geektastically wonderful. The Complete Saki- the guy is the Thurber of Edwardian Fops! Comedy by the Numbers: The 169 Secrets of Humor and Popularity was funny in a meta kind of way. CODE The Hidden Language of Computer Hardware and Software is Petzold building a computer from the ground up, conceptually; great layman reading. His Dark Materials Trilogy had some ideas that I'm sure millions will find blasphemous, it's too bad they shied away from that in the first movie. The Dharma of Star Wars pointed out how much of that California version of Zen leaked into all the films. The Maltese Falcon was hardboiled and great. Riding Rockets: The Outrageous Tales of a Space Shuttle Astronaut lived up to its subtitle.

Comics/Graphic Novels (29)
Transformers Evolutions: Hearts of Steel, 32 Stories, Filth, Goddess, Swamp Thing: A Murder of Crows, Swamp Thing: Love and Death, Swamp Thing: The Curse, Swamp Thing: Earth to Earth, The New American Splendor Anthology, Feeble Attempts, Bighead, Fun Home: A Family Tragicomedy, Houdini: The Handcuff King, Star Wars Rogue Squadron Omnibus Vol 1, Demo, Action Philosophers, Sequential, Truth and Beauty Bombs, How to Make Money Like a Porn Star, Incredible Change-Bots, Marvel Zombies vs. Army of Darkness, Pet Noir, Clumsy, Will You Still Love Me If I Wet The Bed?, I Shall Destroy All The Civilized Planets!, Ministry of Space, Planetary - All Over the World and Other Stories, Planetary 2, Planetary 3

32 Stories was the very earliest Optic Nerve, great stuff writ small. Fans of "Dykes to Watch Out For" should check out the autobiographical Fun Home: A Family Tragicomedy, it struck home in a few weird ways. Demo was a nice take on "real world superpowers". Action Philosophers was a goofy review of some deep thinkers. I enjoyed rereading old Softer World comics Truth and Beauty Bombs; deeply weird stuff. Will You Still Love Me If I Wet The Bed? was a reread of some great sweet short comics. Fletcher Hanks' I Shall Destroy All The Civilized Planets! is just so deeply old school and weird... Finally Ministry of Space had a nice "Dan Dare" vibe as it recast the space race as something where the Brits got ahead.

Games (17)
Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, Crackdown, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories, StarFox 64, Chibi-Robo!, Toy Story, Gears of War, Crackdown, Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction, Trax, Bioshock, Robot Gardening, Raiden 2, Halo 3, Super Mario Galaxies, flywrench, Portal

Wow... I didn't play too too many games but there were some great ones. Chibi-Robo was a lost gem on the GC; very sweet tale of a little robot helping a disfunctional family. It took me a while to get used to Gears of War's "duck and cover" mentality, but it has its charms. Crackdown was a super-powered take on the GTA formula, but Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction is THE superhero game par excellence. Trax was a recommendation from a friend, a tiny little gem for the old Gameboy. Bioshock was underwater Ayn Rand gone all wrong (but at least it had three dimensional characters! ZING!) Super Mario Galaxies was a collection of brilliant little gameplay microcosms, and Portal, with its simple idea of "what happens if you could connect any two parts of a room with a door?, along with its psychotic computer was just a great way to end the year. Favorite quote:
Good news. I figured out what that thing you just incinerated did. It was a Morality Core they installed after I flooded the enrichment center with a deadly neurotoxin to make me stop flooding the enrichment center with a deadly neurotoxin. So get comfortable while I warm up the Neurotoxin Emitters.
That made me laugh...

nyack filler day 1

(1 comment)
January 2, 2007

I'll be at my Mom's, with uncertain 'net access for at least a while, so I've prepublished some material, digging into my previous backlog for still unused quotes...

Quotes of the Moment
"To love and win is the best thing. To love and lose, the next best."
-- William M. Thackeray

"We need to help people to discover the true meaning of love. Love is generally confused with dependence. Those of use who have grown in true love know that we can love only in proportion to our capacity for independence."
--Mr. Rogers

"Most people have two reasons for doing anything -- a good reason, and the real reason."

"Be patient towards all that is unsolved in your heart, and learn to love the questions themselves."
--Rainer Maria Rikle (as quoted by Mr. Rogers)

blah blah laptops blah blah

January 2, 2006

A few months ago I bought back the ebay'd iBook I bought from EB, but it was upgraded in the meanwhile. Assisting Ksenia with her Powerbook helped me get used to some of the paradigm shifts that chased me a way last time. (EB has a theory that the timing of the original purchase, right after Mo moved out, might have contributed to it, that it was just a time of too much change to begin with.)

And then recently I got a new job, and I have an ugly but powerful laptop that I sometimes bring home. It's bigger than I like laptops to be (though I'm starting to appreciate "widescreen" format can see longer lines of code and logfile dumps without linewrapping) and has that ugly shiny black plastic that partially led me to reject a Kenwood stereo system in 1996, but it's undoubtedly the most powerful PC in my day to day life.

So there's kind of an embarassment of riches, 'cause if I'm heading out to Ksenia's or similar I have to figure out which ones to bring. My trusty old small PC laptop, Sliver, has all my files, I know how to get web tasks done on it easily, but it runs hot and can't run on battery. The iBook I actively enjoy using...OSX has a certain minimalistic feel (and encourages me to not have a huge plethora of windows open), it runs cool, has great battery life...but it can't play DVDs, and there are some tasks (especially image manipulation) that I haven't learned how to do on it. Then there's always the work PC...powerful, big, good battery life...but it's not my PC and it doesn't have my personal files. It can burn DVDs, which came in useful recently.

And of course Ksenia has her Powerbook around a lot...probably the rough equivalent of my work PC in terms of power, but it's a Mac. Having all four machines in the same room is kind of weird.

Cheap(ish) laptops have kind of changed my computing life, especially when combined with wireless networks at home, work, and Ksenia's family's place. Oh, and doubley so this winter, when I'm turning down the thermostat and using space heaters...I usually want to huddle someplace warm rather than setting up at my cold desk.

Geek Existentialism of the Moment
--image from Geek on Stun's Marios. 64.
"Life is a lot like the Minus World.

It's all the same, it just keeps repeating itself, until you run out of time."
--Nick B. The Minus World is a "secret" level in Super Mario Brothers, an underwater, endlessly repeating loop. But you know...given how hard that level is to get to, and also how wildly improbably our own existences are, maybe we should be happy and grateful to get there/here.

kirk has been listening to talk radio too much lately

January 2, 2005

Advertising Rant of the Moment
Very random gripe: there's this radio spot for GEICO car insurance that ends with some smug claim along the lines of "GEICO's Satisfaction Rating stands at 97%. How would you rate your insurance provider?" I think this is annoying and a bit misleading -- the suggestion is that most people would rate their own company at something less than "97% Satisfactory"...but I'm sure that's not what the original factoid was about: the 97% figure probably comes from one of those "Unsatisfied - Not Very Satisfied - Satisfied - Very Satisfied - Extremely Satisfied" questions and only 3% of the people checked "Unsatisfied". The ad manages to imply that people are "97% Satisfied" with the service, when really it's just only 3% are Unsatisifed...which is actually a pretty good rating, but still.

Of course, this is apart from their whole dorky GEICO/gecko "mixup" campaign, which the radio ad is mercifully free of.

Sigh. Like the Simpsons' Comic Book Guy says, "Rest assured I was on the internet within minutes registering my disgust throughout the world."

Article of the Moment
Dave Barry's 2004 in Review. (Thanks Bill the Splut)

Quote of the Moment
"Love is like a friendship caught on fire. In the beginning a flame, very pretty, often hot and fierce, but still only light and flickering. As love grows older, our hearts mature and our love becomes as coals, deep-burning and unquenchable."
--Bruce Lee, the top of the page quote for this month's Blender of Love Digest.

new year filler day 2 (backlog flush #37)

January 2, 2004

Backlog Flush of the Moment


January 2, 2003

Song of the Moment
The Twelve STDs of Christmas. British, and strangely gruesome and hilarious. Other countries are so much more open about this to our government, trying to surpress information about how condoms can help prevent the spread of this stuff.

Quote of the Moment
Ralph's Observation: It is a mistake to let any mechanical object realise that you are in a hurry.
--via slashdot

Article of the Moment on how holiday sales were up last year...they just didn't keep pace with inflation. Yeesh, I'd hate to think what we'd hear if people were actually buying less en masse.

Bad Manuals of the Year had a Worst Manual Contest. I liked the scooter and rubik's cube instructions...nice touch, trying to learn how to solve a cube from a black and white diagram.

things you find while getting ready to movehistoryfamily

January 2, 2002

Article of a Previous Moment
SALAMANCA, NY -- Captain and Mrs. James Israel were adopted into the Seneca Nation of Indians recently. Mrs. Israel was adopted by George Heron of the "Hawk Clan" and Captain Israel was adopted by Mrs. Harriet Pierce of the "Bear Clan." Pictured are Mr. Heron, Mrs. Captain Israel, Kirk Logan Israel, Mrs. Helen Harris, representing the Hawk Clan Mother; Mrs. Pierce; and Captain Israel
--The War Cry, March 27, 1982. The War Cry is the periodical of the Salvation Army...I remember making a nest of blankets in the back of the Station Wagon as my parents drove around doing the "Tavern Route", selling "War Cry"s. This clipping was unearthed by my cousin Scott Bedio, who is a Salvation Army historian. I've always tried to figure out if this makes me an adoptive member of the Seneca tribe or not...

Funny of the Moment
"All I'm saying is that people who say 'irregardless' are TOTAL CRETINS!"
"LOTS of people say 'irregardless.'"
"That's exactly my point! 'LOTS' of people ARE cretins!!!"
"Look: just because a person doesn't have "BOOK SMARTS" doesn't mean he or she is STUPID! That newscaster might have a lot of EMOTIONAL intelligence!"
"May I inject one teensy-weensy thought?"
"Go ahead!"
"Emotional Intelligence is CRAP!!!"
--Roz Chast, New Yorker back page.

The meaning of life, 80s music, and memes

January 2, 2001

80s music makes me a little sad sometimes. Born in 1974, I was a little young for most of it. And culturally unaware after that, until at least the 90s. (Weird Al was my gateway drug to pop culture music.) I like dancing to it at this one club, but when I see collections of it advertised on TV, I'm more aware of the passing of time... maybe it is the way a whole genre of music has come and gone in my lifetime.

She blinded me with science, baby.

On the Usenet group alt.atheism, someone was asking for opinions as to the meaning of life. I rambled for a bit about genes and memes, (maybe I'll add a link when it shows up on Deja) and ended with this:

But if you want a simple answer:
Here are the three meaningful things in life: being happy, being kind & patient & generous, and being interesting.
I dunno, I thought it was pretty good summation of what I think, what I feel.

Speaking of memes, there's a meme-centric Church of Virus I want to check out. I wonder how it stacks up to Vonnegut's Bokononism (or the Church of the Subgenius) in terms of jokey religions.

KHftCEA 2001-01 January

"I have yet to see any problem, however complicated, which, when you looked at it in the right way, did not become still more complicated."
--Paul Anderson
Ideas from the kisrael blog:
80s music makes me sad for some reason.  Maybe it's the way a whole genre was born and died all within my lifetime.

*lose weight
*be slower to anger
*meet up with a friend at least once a wekk

A quote from me, in response to the meaning of life in alt.atheism:

Here are the three meaningful things in life: being happy, being kind & patient & generous, and being interesting.

I exercise on a $2400 stairmaster and use a tacobell cup with a cracking lid that came free with a value meal for water.