If it's not Mitchell's, get back in the truck!

February 13, 2020
"You and Greg were having a little..."
"You and Craig... so you weren't talking to Greg about this."
"No... what?"
"It's a relief, just because I know, I mean..."
"No I said Craig."
"Fine, if it's Craig it's not as much of a problem."
"Why, what's ...wrong with Greg?"
"Just me and Greg, we've been having a little bit of a..."
"About what?"
"A contretemps."
"About what?"
"He's the easiest, easiest man to get along with that I think I've ever met in my entire life"
"Well, that's the thing. He's almost a bit too easy going, isn't he, and um, started to rile me a little bit, basically I was having lunch with him and my wife, and um, he was just being SO easy going... that um...you know I picked him up on it. And he responded to THAT by... carrying on being easy-going. And at that point I had to leave, I was absolutely... I was in a red fury."
I sort of aspire to being that kind of easy-going...

This is a rather young podcast, mentioned on Beef and Dairy Network Podcast - both are these great and FUNNY, improv-feeling British comedies, really playing in that space of keeping a stiff-upper lip through all kinds of madness and/or personal irritations, both keeping up their own little meta-fictions (the former pretending to be a small neighborhood newsletter replacement, but utterly ineptly edited, and the latter being a long running food industry information source.
bummer if we lose Betelgeuse! And psychologically rather upsetting.

no crime and punishment

February 13, 2019

For me fretting about a decision is also about forgetting that there's no god's eye view even possible - no means of looking forward and back in time with perfect knowledge, and thus no ability to consistently judge what the right course is, or was, or will be.

This is beyond there not being someone or some thing to punish me just for the sake of not having made the optimal choice, which is the passage's point - that all the universe provides is circumstance and consequences, not judgement with punishment or reward.

(But even without that cosmic judge, it's easy to live in fear of my future self regarding my present self with scorn. So I try and be sympathetic and empathetic with my past self - that bozo was doing about the best he could with what he got, prisoner of a a chain of cause and effect going back to the start of the universe, as are we all.)

UPDATE: on my FB Matt I. brought up a good counter:
The OP is totally wrong--I'm not fretting that the universe will punish me, I'm really worried precisely that it *won't* punish me so there's no real incentive for me to do the right thing, and I have to be extra careful as a result.
I think the original passage doesn't half to be read s 100% selfish - like you could be anxious that others will be punished for your choice - but the point is that someone could be blasé about their own choices as long as the negative consequences were on others is a good one.

UPDATE TO THE UPDATE: Both Matt and my ex Mo seemed to read the passage in the sense of personal good vs group benefit moral sense, but that spectrum didn't even register to me until Matt started talking about it - on closer inspection I think the difference is in the phrase "Right Decision" - I read it exclusively as "Correct Decision" while Matt and Maureen seem to have read it as "Morally Righteous Decision".
"We go straight from the gut, right sir? That's where the truth lies, right down here in the gut. Do you know you have more nerve endings in your gut than you have in your head? You can look it up. I know some of you are going to say "I did look it up, and that's not true." That's 'cause you looked it up in a book." Steve Colbert was the John the Baptist of Truthiness, but Trump is its Jesus. It is amazing how his followers will believe him over EVERY other source of information. Case in point:
‘Oh, crime actually stayed the same.’ Didn’t stay the same! It went way down. … These people, you know, you’d think they’d want to get to the bottom of a problem … not try and pull the wool over everybody’s eyes.”

Then Trump delivered his closing pitch, a direct appeal to intuition over evidence. You don’t need to check the numbers, he argued, since you already know walls work. “It’s fake news. I’m telling you, it’s just fake news,” the president jeered. “And you know what? You wouldn’t even have to know. You can say that automatically, without even knowing. It’s, like, it’s obvious, it’s common sense.”

you: the world has meaning

you: the world has no meaning

you: the world has meaning but not the kind I want

you: the world has meaning but only to me

you: i imbue the world w meaning

you: meaninglessness is a form of meaning

you: the world itself is meaning

the world:

February 13, 2018

Sheezus. Trump's "food box" is a perfect example of "For Every Complex Problem, There Is an Answer That Is Clear, Simple, and Wrong" I'm sure it sounds great to some people, but Annie Lowrey is

starting a list of questions that need to be asked - it's up to 60 but starts with
1. What if you don't receive your box one month?
2. What if you're homeless?
3. What if you don't have a place to receive mail?
4. What if you move frequently?
5. What if you have allergies?
6. What if the box gets wet, or animals get into it?

I guess the general Republican impulse to privatize and channel government action through existing businesses stops when they have a chance to make people feel shitty about not having a lot of money.

February 13, 2017

New tuba bell cover for BABAM. I split the difference between wanting to look homespun and wanting to get what the acronym means by using a tool in Sketch Club for iOS that let me draw with a line made up of repeated words...

February 13, 2016

Minutes after Scalia's death right-wingers seek to block nominee Obama hasn't even appointed yet I had just heard about Scalia's death but I thought this was an Onion headline.

February 13, 2015

He began with the first, serving up a long soliloquy about life, marriage, journalism, why we're here, why we die, why things begin, why they end. As someone who had also been through a divorce himself, making a few unscheduled stops in hell before coming back, he was impassioned. He explained that everything -- every relationship, every person, every job -- has its time in life, and then, as he noted, all of a sudden it doesn't. He told me I could feel sorry for myself that something was ending, or be excited and appreciative that it had ever even existed. He talked about his wife and daughters as an example of the good things life throws at you.

It's easier to put on slippers than to carpet the world.
Stuart Smalley

February 13, 2014

http://www.pointerpointer.com/ -- most excellent.

February 13, 2013

Man Ray coming back? That was the only club I knew how to go to!
A human is a system for converting dust billions of years ago into dust billions of years from now via a roundabout process which involves checking email a lot.

We have some intern types at work who are bright but REALLY green. One has done some impressive looking Java coding in Eclipse, but said "Command line... yeah... I've heard of those, was thinking I should learn how to use it?"

It's hard for me to conceive not knowing that kind of thing, and so I'm worried about my ability to explain it. "Uhhhh-- it's kind of a chat program, except you're texting with a REALLY stupid robot."
http://kirkdev.blogspot.com/ -- on my dev blog, the web gets yet another "getting started with node.js / wow node.js is SO COOL" blog post.

basalmiq and the big blue arrow

February 13, 2012

For my devblog I made a mockup of basalmiq's big blue arrow. The way it always rotates to point to the middle of the thing is a subtle but terrific bit of User Interface design!
A thing about time is how things you anticipate (trips, graduations, product launches. etc) can all come to pass no matter how far ahead, but so does growing older...
http://www.mcfunkypants.com/nanoLD/ Loved Pile o' Gears, the made-in-48-minutes nanogames. Games that provide accomplishment w/o overstaying their welcome!


February 13, 2011

--I also like that they used my lucky number's worth of shirts
http://www.boingboing.net/2011/02/13/waltham-mass-becomes.html My family's stomping grounds to become "Steampunkville" - What hath God wrought
I hope kitty enjoys me repeatedly throwing his toy mouse to go fetch and isn't just like "DUDE I PUT THAT MOUSE *HERE*. GOD DAMN."

can't even focus on a coffee cup

February 13, 2010

Always loved this Chemical Brothers song--
Sunday morning I'm waking up
Can't even focus on a coffee cup
Don't even know who's bed I'm in
Where do I start
Where do I begin
There's a more literal video interpretation of the song with a pretty young woman in it, but it's not quite as magical
[Reading] "How much sex you do you think is had in the Olympic Village? My guess: A lot."
"...I think I hear that every Olympics."
"Hm, yeah. And maybe it's more, you know, after the events, they don't want to sex away their game."
"Well I don't think you can sex away, like, 'Curling'"
Me and Amber this morning

http://is.gd/8k2ct - no woman's ski jump in the Olympics, when the world record is held by a woman, sounds like total bullshit.
Ooh they're BRAND-NAME Advil... wow....

it's the beautiful moms in their yoga clothes

(1 comment)
February 13, 2009

Judd Gregg is a total wuss. Republicans are the new "Dead-Enders". A lukewarm stimulus might be worse than no stimulus, in part 'cause Republicans can say "well we TRIED"
Times have not become more violent. They have just become more televised.
Marilyn Manson.
It's a good point. It also means that our stress can go up as other's problems become our own, and empathy fatigue can set in.
Tonight around 6:30 the unix timestamp will be 1234567890!
Pridential Center Gamestop sold the last copy of the game I frickin' pre-ordered to the guy in line in front of me. WTF GameStop? Just what do you mean by "preorder"?
more on today's Trader Joe ad
now wait a minute y'all- this dance ain't for everybody only the sexy people so all you fly mothers get on out there and dance, dance i say
http://www.moonmilk.com/ - ranjit is making an instrument a day. Nifty!

spam ftw :-(

February 13, 2008
So my email was bouncing yesterday. Then I found out my domain provider had turned off my "catchall" email forwarding, it was just getting too much spam and it was hurting the "reputation" of their servers.

It's temporarily back, but it looks like I'll have to give up my decade+ long luxury of saying "sure, anything @alienbill.com gets to me, so just use whatever username you find most amusing."

Lately I have been giving the same email to companies who ask for one, but there are still a lot of email addresses I'd ideally like to support, and I'm trying to think of ways to best determine which ones that should be.

It's really sad that the spammers are winning like this. The geek archivist purist in me longs for email addresses to be eternal.

Courtroom Exchange of the Moment
Attorney: So you saw that, did you?
Witness: Yes, I did.
Attorney: That was pretty far from you. How far can you see?
Witness: I can see the moon, how far is that?
It's a good point! Most of us can see for lightyears, for certain values of "see".

Interview of the Moment
Blacktron Renegade
This guy had the Lego Job I so coveted as a 12 year old. I was about 6 years too young by the sound of it! His "Blacktron" stuff (especially the asymmetrical "Renegade" shown here) was really the first stuff to push the envelope from a design standpoint.

Nowadays, man, it's clear really brilliant fanfolks are working there. I've heard about the strenuous audition process Lego has developed, and much of the sets they come up with (especially with all the new joint and lever type pieces) seem cooler than anything I would throw together.

phrygian cap

February 13, 2007
Heh. Murphy being what He is, of course it's going to snow the day before my flight, possibly the first Nor'Easter. Though I guess the forecast is for inches not feet, and maybe it won't be that bad.

Video of the Moment
Cute attempt at a revival of the classic newsreel, the month in review, at Slate... some amusing vintage footage, all in b+w w/ the scratches and old-timey announcer.

FAQ of the Moment
So yesterday, with EB's assistance, I finished "Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess". A great game, epic, though the ending sequence was a little flat, and given that I'm not that crazy about the artificial puzzle mechanic, I can't be sure it was worth the 50 or so hours I put into it. (I definitely have mixed feelings about games that show you exactly how much time you've put into them, because it's always a larger number than you'd expect. On the other hand, it's not that much worse than frittering away time websurfing...)

The day after I finished the game, Slashdot pointed out that one of the GameFAQs entries for it is the entire script, along with some commentary, finishing with an attempt to piece the various games together into a single narrative (or, as the author argues, forked... one set following the "alternate timeline" if the Link of "Ocarina of Time" hadn't saved the world)

I guess I was kind of amused by the writing style, sort of Elevated "Comicbook Store Guy" prose...
This is of course the second guide I have partaken in, the first being a Gold Medal Guide I wrote for the oft-shunned but oddly addictive Star Fox Assault. It's a draughty little game, open as cannon fodder to those more willing to mince their teeth at its flaws, but it exposed to me the world of guide crafting, a world I have only approached with a detached torpidity since my last guide, one where I can espouse my love affair with the game and yet am still on due trajectory to paint around its corners and write anything but a full length guide. Twilight Princess was a likely candidate, but the availability of the Wii sunk that battle ship rather swiftly as I spent two weeks on a gladiatorial blood lust making Walmart employers quit in a fit of rage, swearing they'd die happy if they never heard the word Wii again.
Anyway, it was interesting to skim through that all, see his theories, and catch up on story bits I might not have payed enough attention to my first time through.

maybe a bit too existential

February 13, 2006
Passage of the Moment
I sat there and tried to puzzle out what I would ask Mrs. Stanhunt, and what I would do with what I learned, if I learned something. I was playing this case existential, maybe a bit too existential. I needed a lead. I needed a client. Hell, I even needed a sandwich. There was probably little chance of Celeste Stanhunt coming downstairs and offering me a sandwich.
Jonathan Lethem "Gun, with Occasional Music"
Cyberpunkish Noir, very stylistic with some cool ideas. I'm not sure who recommended it to me but it was really good.

Video of the Moment
LAN3 msg'd me with:
Have you seen this? It's an excerpt from the british motorhead show called "Top Gear", wherein they test out the manueverability of a little city-car (the Toyota Aygo) by having 10 of them play soccer, in car.
That is so cool. I love small city-cars. Plus, car soccer looks like it would make a grat videogame. (Heh... I think there was a car in the UK called the VW Polo, that would have been ever more apropos for the sport.)

Video of a Past Moment
We were watching some Winter Olympics last night. There was the ski jump... man, it's amazing to see at the very end of the jump, as the skier is acting as an airfoil-- reminds me of some of my flying/gliding dream images. Anyway, "Ask Yahoo!" answer Who's the "agony of defeat" guy from "The Wide World of Sports", which is the infamous failed ski jump attempt, and thanks to Yahoo Video (which seems to have a much better selection that Google's video service) I was able to find the relevant show introduction. Wheeee!

Observation of the Moment
I was trying to figure out why I was just not impressed by the NYC blizzard with its twenty inches...so I googled and found out that that monster I dug out from last year was when I was close to Salem, which had a whopping 38 inches.

Also, compared to this photo I have of an early '96 blizzard in NYC...well, I guess it's how much the snow drifts rather than the amount falling, but '96 seems more amazing to me.

"when i spend a dollar on a bottle of water, i only drink -- perrier"

February 13, 2005
So Perrier now comes in a big plastic bottle. The bottle I bought says "Now Portable!" -- though I remember it coming in even smaller glass bottles, so it doesn't seem like such a new thing. And of course I read "Portable" as "Potable", as if previously it was unfit to drink.

I have to say though, I hate the word "potable", maybe because I sill kind of see the word "potty" in it. Do we really need a different word than "drinkable"?

Heh, remember when Perrier seemed like a really classy thing? Back when it still seemed a little odd to pay for water in small bottles. Than came Evian and all the would-be-clever people pointing out that it spells "naive" backwards...at least Perrier has boubles, and an interesting flavor.

Today's title comes from a poster at Bernie Shulman's (a grocery chain in Cleveland that had these neat hand-drawn posters) back in the early 90s.

i can't stop this feeling, deep inside of me. it might be some kind of intestinal flu.

February 13, 2004
Woo, Friday the 13th. Sometimes it feels like I've been living a whole month of Friday the 13ths, especially this week. Fearing for my job, fearing for my emotional health...admittedly not the same as fearing I'm going to be sliced repeatedly by an evil man in a hockey mask, but that's just a movie.

Public Service of the Moment
If you have any reason to believe that your day may end up being short of your daily minimum allotment of David Hasselhoff, or if you are of German Descent*, Please Click Here

Prayer of the Moment
<Firefly> Time for my prayers:
<Firefly> Our Father, who 0wnz heaven, j00 r0ck!
<Firefly> May all 0ur base someday be belong to you!
<Firefly> May j00 0wn earth just like j00 0wn heaven.
<Firefly> Give us this day our warez, mp3z, and pr0n through a phat pipe.
<Firefly> And cut us some slack when we act like n00b lamerz, just as we teach n00bz when they act lame on us.
<Firefly> Please don't give us root access on some poor d00d'z box when we're too pissed off to think about what's right and wrong, and if you could keep the fbi off our backs, we'd appreciate it.
<Firefly> For j00 0wn r00t on all our b0x3s 4ever and ever, 4m3n.
For those not in the know, it's a parody of a certain type of hacker talk...kinda clever, actually.

Online Toy of the Moment
Admittedly I posted this 3 years ago, but this year I remembered to link to it before Valentine's Day, it's the ACME Heart Maker. Good fun if you're trying to be cute or if your just bitter and cynical like I am today.

News Coverage of the Moment
The Daily Show invents the Bush-on-Meet-the-Press drinking game! *Hic*

wheedle a weasel whistle

February 13, 2003
Hrrm, bit of a spike in frontpage hits yesterday, wonder why.

UPDATE: According to the analysis of my Referer log, I've gotten over 150 hits by people searching for variations on "cheese eating surrender monkeys", which I used as a title Monday. Guess that explains it. (The phrase comes from a Simpsons quote, Groundskeeper Willie teaching a French class, that has been adopted by the right wing media lately.)

Quote of the Moment
"Weaseling out of things is what separates us from the animals. Except for weasels, I guess."
Homer Simpson.
Quoted by Ranjit, I've found a few wordings of it online, but his is funniest.

News of the Moment
Osama (might be) vowing to die a martyr in the next year or so. Idle speculation: he is dead, these tapes are coming from an impersonator, and they don't think they can keep it up. There was that big todo over that last tape, and while our officials declared the real deal, some scholars in other countries weren't as sure. Of course, this is just random speculation, take it with a grain of salt.

Image of the Moment
--Inspired by a Conan O'Brien monologue (explaining to Bush that the transition was from Bert to Ernie.) Very soothing, hey?
(Ernie is Er-range, is how my parents remembered who was Ernie and who was Bert...)

Headline of the Moment
North Korea Wants Arms and More Aid From U.S. At first I thought they were asking from arms from the USA, which would be kind of funny. Even still it's a weird headline. But mostly, I want to comment on Kim Jong Il. They says he's a bit of a playboy, and you know what? He looks it. Like an evil bon vivant, and I'll bet you his constant sunglasses and swept back hair are the epitome of North Korean cool. He's straight outta a James Bond flick. Err, Austin Powers. Well, how about some kooky villain in a Japanese fighting game?

It's interesting how nuclear proliferation might change the world situation, impinging on what the USA can do as "sole superpower". I don't think the danger is the missiles though, it's smuggled nukes, whether by nations or by independent groups.

what to do, what to do

February 13, 2002
Poem of the Moment
We have two options:
(a) hide under the bed (b) run and scream in fear
the a turned into an angel, and the b into a mug of beer
Ranjit was testing out Trillian's auto (phrase) to icon translation
I wrangled the lines just a bit to rhyme, but I really like the playfulness inherent in these lines. And then we found poetry...

Link of the Moment
Take a look at this guy's cover letter page. As Portal of Evil put it, "He may have all kinds of computer experience, but he lacks a certain something when it comes to putting together a resume that does not make your head explode." I think he must've formed his sense of visual design from NASCAR.

Oh yeah, speaking of all things résumé-ish...I'll be out of work in 2 months... time to take this weak job market head on.


February 13, 2001
The Joy of Ancient Gadgetry
In the early-80s there was a great piece of now-defunct consumer technology called the RCA SelectaVision VideoDisc (cleverly abbreviated to CED by those in the know). It's kind of like a stone age DVD... inside a case (roughly the size and shape of an LP, but thicker) it's a circular platter that the player actually puts a needle on, just like a record, but instead of sound only, you get an entire movie. The case is kind of cool as well, you shove it in the player, it grabs the platter out of it, and then spits the case back out. Anyway, the device still has its fans (actually my Aunt and Uncle have a bookshelf or two full of flicks for the thing) and some of the more extreme of those fans have made the CED Magic site. Everything you'd want to know about this amazing technology, and then some. (If you're in the mood for more technology that fell by the wayside, check out 8 Track Heaven)

Game of the Moment
Came home sick. Really felt unwell. Spent too much time unlocking every screen in Yoshi's Story, a way-too-cute platformer for the N64.

Television of the Moment
Right now I'm watching "Behind the Music" on Weird Al Yankovic. Weird Al's interesting, he's very down to earth when interviewed "for real", very different from his "wacky persona". (You can see this on the "Ask Al" section of his official website) I don't listen to him much any more, or at all come to think of it, but I still have a fond place in my musical heart for him. I think he's the "gateway drug" who has allowed a lot of young geeks get out of pretentious not-really-understood jazz and classical and into popular music.

In a dream, It occurs to me that maybe America is so arrogant because we're the only country to put a person on the moon.
"A casual stroll through a lunatic asylum shows that faith does not prove anything."
My mom just mentioned that my Dad was 23 when they got married... *YIKES*

(at the Fantasticks with Mo + Mom, remembering awaiting her contact while in line at the thrift store)