March 7, 2018

Porn is not the worst thing on Yikes. Parents, be there. That "u r beautiful plz dont kill urself im only 10 but i will b ur friend." is f'in heartbreaking.
"[skydiving on 1st date]

ME: [shouting] Hey, I guess we're really 'falling' for each other lol

HER: [continues falling and never opens chute]"

March 7, 2017

On the second day of my goofy diet "plan", CAW -- one somwhat unrestricted meal (lunch, usually) combined with a more spartan array of apples (and other handfruit, I've decided) and zero or low calorie beverages, and sugarless gum, is meant to limit my body's perception of available tasty snacks. The body is kind of your frenemy when it comes to dieting, right? It really wants to keep you nice and round as a hedge against and presumption of future scarcity. Some bodies respond to a lack of diversity by sulking and making the person miserable, mine seems able to accept it as discipline and doesn't play a lot of games with cravings.

For me, any diet plan not based on my current food availability environment (meaning both a plan for declining the glorious abundance of tasty snacks at work as well as my total laziness in getting or preparing food) is at extreme risk and will likely fail. Conversely, a customized "way of eating" CAN leverage the way I'm not super hungry in the morning (but will otherwise gladly cram my gullet with tasty, carby entries from DD) or, oddly, in the evening, where sometimes just a few bites of something here and there will suffice 'til I go to bed.

Overall CAW-1 is probably not as good as what worked so well last year, a Sweetgreen salad for lunch and rigid calorie counting, and if there was a great salad place near the Galleria (some place that featured premade mixes (so I don't have to decide so much) of known calorie counts (so I don't have to weigh and guestimate and add so much) I might even disregard the catered lunch at work. But I don't think I have that, so CAW-1 feels like the most realistic workable option for now. "Trying to be good" in my new food environment alone has had me gain about eight pounds in three months, and I don't want to consider that acceptable.

March 7, 2016

Smarter than average talk about Trump, but maybe because the bar for that is kind of low.
"Here is a much simpler explanation for Donald Trump: Republicans have fed the country ideas about decline, betrayal and treason. They have encouraged the forces of anti-intellectualism, obstructionism and populism. They have flirted with bigotry and racism. Trump merely chose to unashamedly embrace all of it, saying plainly what they were hinting at for years. In doing so, he hit a jackpot."
-- Fareed Zakaria in a editorital in the Washington Post Where were Republican moderates 20 years ago?. Gingrich's "Contract on with America" was rhetorically brilliant, and it came bundled with the nasty disrespectful spin cycle that we have so much with us today.
Oral History of "The Golden Girls" - A little of the history of a delightful show.
"I was worried I was getting old and pedestrian about sex... and you know I pride myself on my sexual openness. What I lack in skill I make up for in EXTREME curiosity."
--Hannah on "Girls"

nuh-uh, didn't say the magic word!

March 7, 2015
I decided to tear directly into the second Second "Science of Discworld" book when I realized it deals heavily with matters of mind and consciousness. It also talks about magic (here, in the Arthur C Clarke "indistinguishable from sufficiently advanced technology" sense) but ties in "magical" technology with the poor understanding of cause and effect we all tend to have as children:
Parents and carers are always transmuting the child's expressed desires into actions and objects, from food appearing on the table when the child is hungry to toys and other birthday and Christmas gifts. We surround these simple verbal requests with 'magical' ritual. We require the spell to begin with 'please', and its execution to be recognised by 'thank you'.
Coming home in the car and clicking the garage open, clicking the infrared remote to open or lock the car, changing TV channels - even switching on the light by the wall switch - are just that kind of magic. Unlike our Victorian forebears, we like to hide the machinery and pretend it's not there. So Clarke's dictum is not at all surprising. What it means is that this ape keeps trying, with incredible ingenuity, to get back into the nursery, when everything was done for it.
(Later they point out that you don't need high technology to continue this "making wishes" form of life, just lots of money -- "Feudal societies have a baronial class, who are in many respects allowed to remain in their nursery personas by being surrounded by servants and slaves and other parent-surrogates.")

I liked the reminder that the Victorians liked to expose the workings and fine engineering cleverness. But more than that, I was struck with how my preferences in software development are Victorian, in that sense. I prefer systems that "show their work" and expose the plumbing. That doesn't seem to be the dominant trend in the industry, however. In the late-90s, early-00s it was "Unix vs Microsoft" in development style, the latter giving you very powerful toolsets that a developer might not ever quite understand the flow of. Things "just worked" and coder life was productive and grand. Or they didn't, and coder life was misery and suffering. That Microsoft style seems to be seeping more and more into the stack that is still more at home on Unix-like systems, despite the culture those systems came from, the culture of relatively easy to understand and decoupled parts communicating, ideally via pipes.

There's a reductio ad absurdum of this, of course, that says why should I be uncomfortable with this kind of abstraction in technology when I accept so many others underneath it? I took some elementary assembly language in college, and even programmed an Atari game... but the amount of abstraction embedded in this laptop I'm writing this on is unfathomable. Just thinking about what's going on to get pixels glowing on the screen, the number of interlocked electronic subsystems in constant communication, a weird dance of impulse and intent... but, it's pretty reliable! It's acceptable to me because it hardly ever fails in subtle ways - or at all, for that matter. This is in contrast to these newer "framework of the months" for software development... if I'm coding with my preferred Imperative style of simple code, libraries for the tough stuff, stack traces that make sense... I know I can do pretty much anything a browser can allow. When using one of these magical frameworks, I have to see if the framework permits it, or if I'll be given the extra burden of working around it to meet the specification.

But, I persevere. Because these tools are powerful, and when I take enough time to really learn and get to know a toolkit, I'm empowered. Also, because my real goals are to do make interesting things, and a lot of the people with interesting things for me to make (and the budgets to pay me to make them) love these toolkits, and I want to be easy to work with.


The book extends some related ideas that to my ear starts leaning to Taoism:
A Spinozan view of child development sees the opposite of wish-fulfilment. There are rules, constraints, that limit what we can do. The child learns, as she grows, to modify her plans as she perceives more of the rules. Initially, she might attempt to cross the room assuming that the chair is not an obstacle; when it doesn't move out of her way, she will feel frustration , a 'passion'. And throws a paddy. Later, as she constructs her path to avoid the chair, more of her plans will peaceably, and successfully, come to fruition. As she grows and learns more of the rules - God's Will or the warp and woof of universal causation - this progressive success will produce a calm acceptance of constraints: peace rather than passion.
(I had to confirm I knew what "throwing a paddy" meant from context... and like I feared, it's a bit racist.)

I hadn't heard as much about Spinoza in a while, I think I dig that kind of pantheistic outlook.


march blender of love

March 7, 2014

Possibly foolishly when sleepless Thursday night for a work hackathon. Great sunrise from the office though.

go jumbos!

March 7, 2013
An infographic from this Boston Magazine article puts Tufts' Jumbo as the champion, of all the local mascots duking it out:
click for full


(1 comment)
March 7, 2012

"RT @j_zimms: Never has the word "pedant" seemed so impoverished.  Finnish word for pedant, pilkunnussija, translates as 'comma fucker'"
-- I enjoy that this photo-rich Apple coverage allows "latest at bottom" sorting. Plus: does anyone love/rely on Siri?
Huh. Apple gave up coming up with new form factors, AND new names for the iPad? Odd.
Seriously, dunno if the "new iPad" moniker is genius in mindspace, or incredibly stupid, making it harder to talk (and boast) about. -- an appreciative view of what George Lucas likely cribbed from in making Star Wars.

dc horror picture show

March 7, 2011

Hungary Uses iPad To Draft New Constitution -- this must seem like sacrilege to so many Americans, who take their government as they take their religion, from static old tomes, "holy (and wholly) writ"
"Are you in, genius? Are you in, capable? In, solent? In, describable? In, bearable?"

did you mean: alright

(1 comment)
March 7, 2010
I'm weirdly captivated by the "makes me a big deal. Ha ha." part of this add for Palm at South Station.

In a similar note, I'm both amused and alarmed at what I've been teaching my iPhone auto-correct...

I went with Amber and Kjersten to see the Alice in Wonderland. The "lightshow" they do beforehand is kind of boring (but where else is one going to hear Big Bad Voodoo Daddy these days?) so we made our own fun with pictures.

Kjersten apparently had a lot of trouble getting just the right shot of me and Amber so I made a montage of this series...

smal gif cinema version: is gaming Google! Google (no quotes) "wikipedia alice in wonderland" - the 1st link that says (2010 movie) (3rd in all) is fanpop
I know I'm tempting Murphy and His Law but- the sandals are back!
"Machines take me by surprise with great frequency."
--Alan Turing
It's kind of weird how every Oscar is "for" someone else, at least according to the person receiving it.

would he?

(1 comment)
March 7, 2009
--Ashley Quigg, from What if Woody Allen Had Directed Watchmen? he and Dan Kois speculate on "How other directors might have filmed the comics classic."

Just reread "Watchmen" because I wasn't getting all the jokes going around. Speaking of... if there's one thing this movie release is demonstrating, it's that the only way to make the word "wang" funnier is to precede it with "enormous blue". - What if god disappeared? (tongue in cheek disguised atheist rant)
Republicans love to harp on "what if healthcare becomes like the local DMV"? What a cheap and facile shot-- I don't even think the DMV is that bad.
Ha what to do with an old Windows XP laptop that works, IF you use a rubber band to hold the power connection up and in. - heh, Ranjit is on All Things Considered - he made an instrument a day in Feb, the Mobius Musicbox is genius.
One scifi idea from George R R Martin's "Tuf Voyaging" (great read) that's stuck with me is an overpopulated planet using the "calorie" as currency.
"Everybody talks first draft."
--Larry Niven, Niven's Laws for Writers
The Internet would be 0.09% cooler if Youtube embedded the title of videos in the links, rather than random strings.

it's the economy, stupid

March 7, 2008
Ah, the economy.

I'm nervous by nature, and so frankly was a bit surprised at how well 2005 and 2006 seemed to go, economically-speaking. Now it looks like the chickens are coming home to roost.

I know some of this is a side effect of my general financial good fortune and lack of family to support, but sometimes I have trouble deeply understanding how as a country we have a negative savings rate. I don't think this is an international phenomenon; it's us.

What is it about us? A screwed up job market that tends to be bottom- and top-heavy? A culture so addled with materialism that people make an endless series of dumb purchasing decisions? As my Libertarian friends would probably argue, too darn much taxation?

But spending seems to be what our economy is based on! Is it some giant shell game? I remember listening to public radio when I was sick, some commentator who kind of contradicted herself without blinking an eye, on the one hand saying this downturn was going to be rough because consumers can't spend their way out of it, on the other hand chastising Americans for spending this way to begin with.

For a lot of us it all comes down to employment. If your job situation stays good you should be more less OK. If not, it's going to be a scary struggle. But even if you're in the first category, man, it's tough not to let this stuff dominate your thinking and outlook in general.

Heh, maybe working for a European company will help. I wouldn't count on it, I've been burnt by that kind of thinking before, thinking that being sheltered under the Thomson umbrella would help my subsidiary muddle through, but it turns out when you work for one part of a giant company and your part is doing pretty well, they may still look to economize on your part just to help out the other sections.

Woo, ramble-heavy posts as of late!

book 'em danno

March 7, 2007
So, the commute is a tad longer than I figured, a solid hour each way.

But it's an hour of reading, which is much more satisfying (and cheaper) than a halfhour drive with talk radio or NPR.

Yesterday I was legitimately startled to find myself at Alewife station, the end of the subway ride, since I had zero recollection of transferring from the green line to the red. (Doubly startling because I didn't think my book was all that engrossing.) I could remember noticing how those damn "Metro Daily"s were caught on the wheel area of the green line train, pushing a Red Bull can along, and with a great force of will, I could kind of recall finding a seat on the red line, but only sort of.

I used to get lost in books when I was a kid... I remember times in sixth grade when I wouldn't even respond to my name being called, not to mention developing the ability to navigate the halls with my nose in a book. I thought I had lost that tendency, but now I'm not so sure.

I remember seeing some propoganda for kids about how reading builds powers of concentration. Do you think that's the case? Does reading as a discipline form a better mind in and of itself, or is it more dependent on the quality of the ideas embedded?

Passage of the Moment
I walked beside the reflecting pool that more than doubles the majesty of the Lincoln Memorial. It's a genuinely impressive sight. I walked up the steps, through the colonnade and into the Doric temple-inspired building to see the 20-foot marble statute of Lincoln. He looked pretty much as he had done when he showed up in Star Trek. Only taller. And more marbly.
--"Dave Gorman's Googlewhack Adventure", in the 99-cent bin at Tufts bookstore. A gently funny kind of book. For me some of the amusement came from it being a reference to one of the few original Trek episodes I hadn't seen, but still caught from a reference to the episode in some god-awful Star Trek comic. (I think the aliens from the historical figures planet were fighting it out with the guys who made it so the Federation and the Klingons couldn't fight. (Heh, trivia note from the first link: At one point the Excalbian posing as Lincoln says, "There's no honorable way to kill, no gentle way to destroy. There's nothing good in war except its ending." This quote is often erroneously attributed to the real-life Abraham Lincoln)

I'm try speed-dating tonight. Somehow, I don't think I should bring up the whole "oh yeah remember that episode where the aliens beamed up Abe Lincoln to the Enterprise I didn't see it but I read about it in a comic it was pretty cool."

This image was slightly funnier in my head

Random Links of the Moment
I found a strange little frisson of satisfaction in both of these stories: A "smart" computer program has been busted for practicing law without a license, and one of my favorite songs Tom's Diner was the target song during the creation of the .MP3 music format.

I miss Napster. I didn't use it much, mostly to track down obscure tracks, so its replacements that offer a similar kind of bulk but without the obscure tracks just miss the point for me.

todo tada

March 7, 2006
Kirkminutiae of the Moment
Ways I've had of organizing my ToDos, ending with a new system I'm particularly pleased with...
Stickies and Spindle
I'd right things on stickies, and then stick them on a spindle when they were complete.
PROS: Visceral pleasure of impaling stickies, can use physical placement of stickies to makes subasks or to re-arrange priority, have tangible record of what was done.
CONS: stickies don't stick to cube walls that well, so I had to designate deskspace as "sticky land". Also, generally disorganized looking, and it got pretty easy to loose stickies.
I do tend to keep my personal ToDos on Palm, and a while back I thought about what my Ideal Palm ToDo app would be like
PROS: With me all the time. Very neat and orderly.
CONS: Old tasks tend to linger-- too low of a "nag" factor, and not much to show other people. Clunky reordering, and no concept of "subtasks". Plus, completed tasks pretty much go away when you "purge completed tasks".
PROS: Kind of fun, and you can be very expressive in terms of priority.
CONS: Tough to reorder. Bad marker smell. Old tasks tend to accumulate, surprisingly. Almost a little too visible to coworkers. And at my previous job, I didn't even have my own whiteboard, though maybe I could have asked for one.
Small .txt files and notepad.exe
Sometimes I'll still use this when I have a lot of things to do during a weekend: creating a list, and then cutting and pasting from a TODO section to a TODONE section so I can feel good about getting through stuff. (In fact, I posted an example a while back.)
PROS: Readily available, easy to put in priority order and then re-arrange on the fly
CONS: Doesn't travel very well, too easy to forget to save file.
Graph Paper a Day
The latest and my current favorite. Originally I was stealing printer paper, but graph paper has some advantages as described by this Book of Ratings entry. For over a week now I've been starting the day with a fresh sheet, dating it, transfering any previous undone tasks to it. (On the previous day's sheet, I circle things that were undone but passed forward.) Then as I get things done I cross 'em off with a big bold stroke of the pen.
PROS: Many! Each day is a bit of a blank slate, unlike the whiteboard, but the discupline of transferring undone things urges me not to let them linger. You can group things into subtasks. Plus I have a nice historical reference, good for both personal satisfaction as well as having to record "hours worked". More viscerally satisfying than the electronic based systems. CONS: Not much...sometimes I come close to running out of room on a single sheet.
Any one else have a system they want to share?

nuts of dough

March 7, 2005
Fortune Cookie of the Moment
Don't expect romantic attachments to  
    be strictly logical or rational!
   Lucky Numbers 6, 7, 26, 27, 36, 37
--Fortune Cookie Fortune that I've been carrying in my wallet for a while, I transcribed it for the latest issue of the Blender of Love Digest.

Article of the Moment on the staying power of Dunkin Donuts. I admit I've always kind of liked its blue collar vibe...there was a time when Mo and I would head out, she'd get something from Starbucks, and I'd get something from the Dunkin Donuts two doors down. The article is right about the crap-tacular ambience of DD, but misses the way that for a lot of people, it's strictly a "To Go" kind of place...I'm pretty sure the car is the predominant dining area for the chain.

Ksenia mentioned some rumor that Dunkin Donuts adds hormones to make their product more addictive or something. I couldn't find any talk about this idea on Google, though I wonder if non-hormone-free cream for the coffee counts...

Link of the Moment
FoSO's SO MoSO reminded me of, proof positive that Superman is such a dick.

stomp, crush, crumble and chomp

March 7, 2004
Invitation of the Moment
So I'm turning 30 at the end of the month. I decided on a three part party format: video games in the afternoon, then dinner at Summer Shack near Alewife, than back to my place for the booze and shmooze. I was pretty proud of the ebiteevite (nice typo!) I came up with, kind of a Godzilla-theme. (His decade-birthday is coming up as well.) I mentioned that there would be dancing, and then provided this link to a preview of the dancing.

So if you're a Boston-area friend of Kirk and didn't get an evite, let me know, I probably just got your email wrong...

Link of the Moment
Brooke reminded me of Fenslerfilm, primarily old GI Joe Public Service Announcements redubbed and remixed into absurdist theater. The first one PSA01 is pretty representative, and PSA17 made me laugh for a while...

and we'll all go together when we go

(1 comment)
March 7, 2003
Quote of the Moment
"I'm not tempted to write a song about George W.Bush. I couldn't figure out what sort of song I would write. That's the problem: I don't want to satirise George Bush and his puppeteers, I want to vaporise them."
--Interview with Tom Lehrer. He then goes on to add "And that's not funny."

Economics of the Moment
The black art of setting prices. Helps explain why airline pricing is so wacky.

Quote of a Past Moment
"To occupy Iraq would instantly shatter our coalition, turning the whole Arab world against us, and make a broken tyrant into a latter-day Arab hero."
--George Bush Sr., 1996. Oh, but I guess it's ok now 'cause 9/11 changes everything. (thanks Bill)

Conspiracy of the Moment
More X-Files Vibing: into tomorrow. The Metafilter crew is a bit skeptical.

dance machine

March 7, 2002
Palm Toy of the Moment
In the things that are cooler in idea than implementation department, it's Tap, a program for the Palm (they have a screen saver version as well.) It comes in male and female dancer varieties, and the webpage talks about some high falutin' ideas of public and private spaces, artificial intelligence, and data exchange, but in the end it ends up like a lame form of tamagotchi.

Quote of the Moment
"Walking on water and developing software from a specification are easy if both are frozen."
--Edward V. Berard

News of the Moment
Wow...who would've thought Co-Ed Naked Bungee actually exists? (Some neat photos, none all that revealing.)

shove it

March 7, 2001
I hate the snow. At least I can feel macho shoving Mo's car directly through snowbanks... or that's what it feels like I'm doing. If I'm still living in a place with this kind of weather when I get my next car, I'm going for something with 4WD.

Link of the Moment had a story on Chuck Barris, the guy who gave us the Newlywed Game and the Gong Show. The author paints those shows as precursors to today's "reality programming". He's a very interesting guy.

Line of the Moment
"I doubt my getting fired from the Dairy Queen is a bellwether of recession, but it sure is a bellwether of I stuck my wang in the butterscotch."
--The Onion, Layoffs And The R-Word

KHftCEA 2000-03.1 March

"WOW I can hear my STOMACH making POOP!"
--Trollman on Upright Citizen's Brigade
"It's the cracked ones who let all the light into the world."
--writer from my Tufts writing class
poem: Words huddled together for warmth.
you can't you can never be sure
you die without knowing
whether anything you wrote was any good
if you have to be sure don't write
--W.S. Merwin, "Berryman"
whirl mehitabel whirl
leap shadow leap
you gotta dance till the sun comes up
for you got no place to sleep
--Don Marquis
Trinculo: They say there's but five upon this isle. We are three of them; if th' other two be brained like us, the state totters.
 --Shakespeare, "The Tempest" (from HS paper "The Style of the Isle")
"There's a word for people who live close to nature - starving."
--Brother Guy Consolmagno, Vatican astronomer
Had a bit of an existential crisis last night. (Why do these things usually happen in bed? Guess that's what I get for trying to go to sleep too early.) It framed itself in terms of "I might be dying and aware of it someday"- of course, I'm dying right now, but (relatively) slowly. The thought might have been brought on by Mo's observation that one of us might have to live through the other's death. Which bothers me, but doesn't grab me as much on the reptile brain level. Mostly it's the thought that interesting things will happen and I'll have lost my chance to see them. On the other hand, the planet and even the universe probably aren't immortal in any meaningful way either. Possibly dying on my own time means I'll avoid dying on somebody else's, some giant tragic disaster.
Jesus, just got a rare mid-day jolt of the above. Thinking about Mo's eye-rolling about my pipedreams of retiring early... But I have ONE LIFE and I have to spend it WORKING?? I guess it's better than spending it starving or fighting, and in conditions that are easily in the top ten percent of humankind, historically.
Someone suggested  Depek Chopra's book "7 steps to spiritual success" for the above
This morning I resolved that I should be around 20 lbs lighter for my wedding.

KHftCEA 1999-03 March

Got the apartment.  Signed a lease.  Yikes!  At least "cohabitation" made a good ramble for the Digest...

KHftCEA 1998-03.1 March

"C is for salad, that's good enough for me [...] no, C is the abstract representation of this salad [...] I mean, C is a variable, to which I'm assiging the value of salad [...] I really like balsamic vinegar dressing."