March 16, 2019

To attract the moths, [the Bolas Spider] Nancy emits a chemical cocktail that resembles the pheromones that female moths gives off when they are ready to mate. Chemical mimicry and common sense: If you want to catch a chicken, smell like a horny chicken. If you want to catch me, smell like doritos and a nap.

Omg I just realized how cute it is that pirates call their friends their hearties 😍

Sometimes I think how the universe was pulled into existence through the smallest hole in nothingness, and other times I think how cool it is that sticks look like swords.

March 16, 2018

Shame on South Boston Allied War Veterans Council for excluding Veterans for Peace in the St Pats Parade.
[finishes binge watching "Black Mirror"]
Hold My Beer...

March 16, 2017

I have such ambivalence about video games.

This article might exaggerate the scale of people, especially young ones, switching to a virtual world for comfort, but maybe not.

It's crazy at how coddling single player games have become. They really want you to succeed, but feel you've accomplished something. You used to maybe need a map (heh, I think about how I never would have gotten through Metroid on NES without that player's guide map, and guidebooks were a mainstay for me in big N64 and GC games) but now that's all baked into the game. Any mission failure is immediately handled another chance, it's barely a setback, and maybe they'll quietly knock the difficulty down a few notches for you. It used to be you'd think you could get good at something, gaining skills 'til you could "beat the mission", but now it's so quick to retry and retry that sometimes you're just playing the odds.

I suppose that's less true for the online multiplayer stuff. I've always shunned that, but maybe mostly it's too bruising for my ego to get my butt handed to me by "that 12 year old who can spend all his time playing the damn thing". I guess I'm kind of amazed multiplayer avoids that, or succeeds despite that effect... I guess it's through careful tourneying, group you with like-skilled opponents?

It's such an odd blending of factors for me: fixed mindset, the desire to see a new microcosm, empowerment fantasies, fun visceral physics engines... what hardware I've favored, disliking sheer "make the number go higher" games, dabbling in creating my own tiny games, really missing having 4 or 5 people over for a round of "couch" nintendo games...

At one point I was sure that games were a good path to creating in digital media for kids, now I have my doubts. For one thing, the triple-A titles you can play are so far beyond what you can generally make. (I should keep my eyes open for tools that allow playfulness in 3D, for a start) For another, they seem to have evolved into a human-attention sucking rabbit hole - I mean they always kind of have been, but the evolution has made them that much more potent.

March 16, 2016

To be lonely is to be among men who do not know what you mean.
Isaiah Berlin, "The Decline of Utopian Ideas in the West".
A very provocative article - it's theme is that since there's so much diversity across cultures, the hope of a single unifying Utopia is hopeless. Personally I'm not sure if a Utopia would need to be so homogenous and all-encompassing as he says, and also I think the primary issue is getting rid of "cheaters" - since people tend to rate the circumstance of their lives relative to their neighbors and not in a more objective way, keeping people on track to a greater good is tricky!

March 16, 2015

I do like Japanese infinite toys. I remember bringing a bunch of the bubble wrap back from Japan. shameless pandering for people to go to youtube and Thumbs Up this video I have a cameo in! A friend is campaigning to be a playtester for Exploding Kittens, a new game tied in with The Oatmeal...
Follow up to yesterday's note on "expecting to be annoyed"... on FB David H said the attitude might be called a form of "realist optimism" and Tim K wrote:
t could also be seen as a sort of Zen-like acceptance. Truthfully, I think the real wisdom of not allowing oneself to be stressed by or overly focused on things outside one's ability to control or influence is an element of just about any philosophical branch. It's sort of one of those universal truths, that is expressed differently in different contexts, but boils down to the same thing in the end.

My response was
Tim you're right that it's a fairly common sentiment, but some of the nuance is important. For instance I dig neo-stoicism (see ) over Zen because of how it doesn't discourage embracing of the pleasant (unlike Zen's encouragement to detach from positive and negative-- and usual disclaimers about my understanding of Zen apply)

In this case, it's the setting of expectations that is useful for my temperament, in a way mere acceptance in real time doesn't. Lower parts of my intellect get flustered and worried when things go wrong, and I become so aware of "THIS COULD BE OTHERWISE AND THAT WOULD BE BETTER FOR ME" that I'm prone to immature outbursts of anger. (Homer Simpson's stuck-in-traffic "Lousy Minor Setback! THIS WORLD SUCKS!" sums it up pretty well.)

With "mere acceptance", I can quickly quell the outburst, but it's more effective to have prepped the landscape with the expectation that things will utterly fail to live up to my self-centered ideal for them.

Just like Homer Simpson provides a good model for the rage, Garry Gergich from Parks & Recreation is a good model for calm acceptance of terrible and stupid things happening to one. (To borrow TV Trope's term, he's the Butt Monkey of the show, but then the writers make it up to the character by giving him an amazing wife and family situation.)

So we got the record for snow (funny, I remember 92-93, my freshman year, a bit more strongly than the 95-96 previous record holder, even though 92-93 is only like 7th on the list now) but the more amazing bit was how much of that was in one month. But of course, Capracotta Italy is making us look like rookies.

We're going to be amazed at how calm and gentle our environment was for us, in retrospect.
I think dead is really a thing just like alive except you have less choices to make.

March 16, 2014

Rayman Legends for Wii U-so good. Great art, awesome, unique, and forgiving co-op play, slapstick physics, and a terrific physics-y "soccer" Kung Foot

March 16, 2013

This was one of the 5 days (2011.07.07, 2013.03.16, 2013.05.04, 2013.05.08, 2013.05.13) I missed, as of this site's 5000th entry on Sep 8 2014...

the maniacal brilliance of the old cartoons

March 16, 2012

--via Bill the Splut

"I need to find a job doing something I'm good at, but what?"
"Fleeing like a coward?"
"Are you referring to jogging? I do that for my health."
"Which is fleeing like a coward from your own mortality."

That's right. It's over and then it begins again.
Marlin Brando in "Last Tango in Paris"

Most people who read poetry are reading because they want to write it.
Nicholson Baker, "The Anthologist"

An alternate translation for "Carpe Diem" is "Pluck the Day", like you would a fruit, or maybe a bowstring. I like that better.

playlist: season_2010 4 winter

(1 comment)
March 16, 2011
Every season I keep a rolling playlist of music I discover, and then I track down videos for most of them, to share them with you, and to keep around for my future self. Last Winter was a pretty good season for my music!

Recommendations from friends. Over the years I've grown to dig the Verve Remixed albus... I usually end up loving one or two songs from each. Songs I found out about thanks to sports. Songs from movie soundtracks... Songs from Internet Videos... We went to Francesca's Espresso Bar one morning, and I heard these-- A bunch of songs I rememnber from either my youth or a few years back... Songs I don't really remember how I found out about...
Finally, a bunch of mashups from Lenlow... I couldn't find videos for most of these but they're all great, especially "Do Your Thing to the Music" (I just love that "I don't need no tv, I don't need no news, all I need is a bumpin' beat to bump away these bl-bl-blues". I found this treasure trove looking for his mashup of Kanye and the muppets, "Kanye Mahna"... and it's amazing how much more I like these mashups than any of the originals of their own, a good mashup finds a real synergy. That's it! Lately I've gotten better at tracking where I hear music. A weirdly large amount of it is upstairs at the Copley Square CVS.
Kind of weird that the iPhone playlist has the album name before the artist-if you don't listen to the whole album, likely it doesn't matter - Tron "tween" vid, via miller. Weird to think that many of Tron's biggest fans are probably a bit faceblind; so Alan Bradly/Tron being the same guy is harder to "get"
Amber says that if she twittered it would be something like "Surprised Kirk hasn't made any 'Erin Go Braless!' jokes this year. Yet."


March 16, 2010

--Man -- some people get PAID to do "the robot"!

Kind of makes me wish our traffic lights were smart and more aware of traffic waiting. I am unwilling to relocate to North Korea to get that however.

Bostoners: you may have forgotten, but that big bright thing in the sky is the "sun". DO NOT LOOK DIRECTLY AT IT.

Also, a tint of blue in the sky, rather than the typical grey-white, is acceptable.
The worst moment for the atheist is when he is really thankful and has nobody to thank.
Dante Gabriel Rossetti

It's seven PM and daylight. I can't even tell you how much love I have for Daylight Savings Time.
I am a humanist, which mean, in part, that I have tried to behave decently without any expectation of rewards or punishments after I'm dead

the rise and decline of the blender of love

March 16, 2009
So I made a new Blender of Love digest yesterday... the ramble featured the following graph:
This is number of monthly submissions over time. While I'm grateful that I'm not having to read (well, skim) 500-600 pieces every month, I kind of wish it had stabilized at where it was a few years ago, because the numbers are starting to alarm me. The Blender has its stalwarts, but I don't really understand what happened to provoke either the rise or decline of it. I used to promote it in the 90s, some banner exchange programs, some plugs on like Usenet, but now I'm not sure what I'd do, other than possibly take a shot in the dark and advertise on Google AdWords.

So it's a bummer when a project of over a decade and a half seems in poor health!

I am proud of the look of my graph though, handrolled in Java processing. - the better moustrap, with strobe photography! - great daft punks toy. Not quite as cool as but less obscene and abusive.

hello japan! (backlog flush #67 and travelog)

March 16, 2008
Travelog of the Moment
Another amazing day with Josh. I'm going to be traveling to Hiroshima and Kyoto on my own by rail, so I might not be posting quite so extensively for a bit...

not so domo arigato, mr. roboto

(1 comment)
March 16, 2007
I just tried to txt what I didn't realize was a landline, and got told my message was relayed via Sprint's "text to landline" service.

I guess some robot read my text to my intended recipient.

I'm not sure if I'm comfortable with robots taking that familiar a role in my communication, especially without warning me first.

Image of the Moment
--Given that Lucky already has magical powers of uncertain magnitude, helping him see into the future doesn't sound like such a good idea, kind of how like Agent Smith absorbed the Oracle so that HE had the power of precognition. Actually I'm convinced Lucky is going to snap, turn all the kids chasing him into mice, and then step on them.

Observation of the Moment
We walked four blocks south to a Brazilian restaurant that I must have walked past a thousand times on my own and yet never noticed. This further proved my own belief that there is only so much any given person can see for themselves in Manhattan. It takes two people, looking in all directions at once, to see everything.
Augusten Burroughs, "Magical Thinking". Great read, and I think this comment is dead all. It's a little true for a lot of places, actually, but even more so for NYC. And I dig the romantic undertone.

i think sex is better than logic but i can't prove it

March 16, 2006
Off to NYC! Actually grabbed a Brooklyn Hotel...last minute options in Manhattan were either expensive or skanky without a ton of middle ground.

Man I miss my mom's apartment on the Upper West Side, and that little seperate room I own little microstudio overlooking broadway... sigh.

Logic of the Moment
Good evening. The last scene was interesting from the point of view of a professional logician because it contained a number of logical fallacies; that is, invalid propositional constructions and syllogistic forms, of the type so often committed by my wife.

'All wood burns,' states Sir Bedevere. 'Therefore,' he concludes, 'all that burns is wood.' This is, of course, pure bullshit. Universal affirmatives can only be partially converted: all of Alma Cogan is dead, but only some of the class of dead people are Alma Cogan. 'Oh yes,' one would think. However, my wife does not understand this necessary limitation of the conversion of a proposition; consequently, she does not understand me, for how can a woman expect to appreciate a professor of logic, if the simplest cloth-eared syllogism causes her to flounder?

For example, given the premise, 'all fish live underwater' and 'all mackerel are fish', my wife will conclude, not that 'all mackerel live underwater', but that 'if she buys kippers it will not rain', or that 'trout live in trees', or even that 'I do not love her any more.' This she calls 'using her intuition'. I call it 'crap', and it gets me very irritated because it is not logical. 'There will be no supper tonight,' she will sometimes cry upon my return home. 'Why not?' I will ask. 'Because I have been screwing the milkman all day,' she will say, quite oblivious of the howling error she has made. 'But,' I will wearily point out, 'even given that the activities of screwing the milkman and getting supper are mutually exclusive, now that the screwing is over, surely then, supper may now, logically, be got.' 'You don't love me any more,' she will now often postulate. 'If you did, you would give me one now and again, so that I would not have to rely on that rancid Pakistani for my orgasms.' 'I will give you one after you have got me my supper,' I now usually scream, 'but not before'-- as you understand, making her bang contingent on the arrival of my supper. 'God, you turn me on when you're angry, you ancient brute!' she now mysteriously deduces, forcing her sweetly throbbing tongue down my throat. 'Fuck supper!' I now invariably conclude, throwing logic somewhat joyously to the four winds, and so we thrash about on our milk-stained floor, transported by animal passion, until we sink back, exhausted, onto the cartons of yogurt.

I'm afraid I seem to have strayed somewhat from my original brief. But in a nutshell: sex is more fun than logic-- one cannot prove this, but it 'is' in the same sense that Mount Everest 'is', or that Alma Cogan 'isn't'.

from The Album of the Soundtrack of the Trailer of the Film of Monty Python and the Holy Grail, transcribed here.

outlook not so good

March 16, 2005
Rant of the Moment
Man, I hate hate HATE how Outlook "helpfully" tried to preserve the font and coloring information when you cut and paste from a web browser. Am I alone in thinking that if you're writing an email, you don't want it to look like a mishmash of fonts and colors? That an email is usually a single nit that has its own cohesive sense of displaying text? It might be tolerable if it weren't for the completely retarded way that when you start typing after the cut and paste, your new text is in the same wacky font and color.

I know I should probably be sticking to non-HTML "Plain Text" mode, but sometimes it's useful to bold something to bring attention to it, and using asterisks for *emphasis* is a little too old school.

Feh. Outlook is broken both by design and implementation -- trying to correct the problem by selecting all of my text and then picking a new style led to bizarre inconsistent results. Almost makes me wish for a Word Perfect-ish "Reveal Codes" or a browser "Edit as HTML Source" option so I can figure out how it gets so screwed up.

pair a' noids

March 16, 2004
Paranoia of the Moment
was wondering if anybody could recommend suitable survival strategies for street games? I'm not talking about games for children but about the very expensive type of game where whole cities start acting around a single person (the player) and newspaper articles, TV news and hollywood movies are made with bits and pieces taken from that person's diary or even his brain ..
from this Slashdot journal entry that LAN3 pointed out to me, which probably indicates not all is well with this guys head. Still kind of an interesting read.
Personal Paranoia of the Moment
Now, counterterrorism officials say one of their biggest concerns is how U.S. actions such as the war in Iraq are motivating new recruits bound by a common goal: to destroy Western secular society.
Both government and private experts are bracing for what they say will be a war that could last for generations.
ar on terrorism could spawn new enemies". It just reminded me of how there are people with these visions of a whole happy sunshine-y world for Allah and are willing to blow things up to try and get there. "You love life and we love death" indeed. Religious fervor and fundamentalism can be so frickin' dangerous...even when the "religion" is an atheistic belief.

And there will be more, if God wills it. "What's that God? You say you want me to build a bomb? And blow up a bunch of commuters! Ok! As long as it's your will!"

I do worry about the idea that the Spanish election was a bit like feeding meat to an alligator, like some administration official said.

Sociology of the Moment
Fun to play with two axis way of grouping people: Elf/Dwarf (high concept thinkers vs. pracitcal doers) and Ninja/Pirate (quiet and honourable vs unrestrained and gregarious) I'm heavily on the Pirate side, and probably a bit towards the dwarvish, though I do have a bit of the Elfen "what would be the bestest way of doing this in me.

What about you? Are you a dwarfen ninja, an elven pirate? Though in my mind, it seems like ninja/elf and dwarf/pirate are more likely combinations, they seem similar to me somehow.

Article of the Moment on the rise of the American cupholder. It's synchronicity; I've been borrowing my Aunt and Uncle's minivan (nice that it's a Honda, as is my own hatchback (in the shop); I know where right where all the controls are) and was glancing at the manual (actually looking for instrutions on the fold-up seating) when I found where it described the cupholders: fold-out jobbies that don't seem as sturdy as the ones in my car (the bottom is just a plastic bar that falls down when the thing slides out) but must be less likely to accumulate the dried spilled coffee and other beverage goop that I sometimes have to clean up out of mine. What struck me about the description of the cupholders in the manual was the admonition that they were only to be used when the car wasn't moving, since liquids (maybe even hot liquids!) could slosh around when the vehicle was in motion. Apparently, the manual writers come from some (lawsuit-prone) universe where A. People just like to sit in their stationary car to consume beverages and B. They haven't developed effective drink lid technology.

putting the whisk into whiskers

(1 comment)
March 16, 2003
Videos of the Moment
Making the rounds: Hercubush explains the administration's need for oil.

I hate shaving too.

I like the idea of tensecondfilms, though there's something screwy with realmedia on my system. Also, they rudely ignored brooklyngirls's entry, I Was A Teenage Cartoon.

Cartoon of the Moment

Link of the Moment
This Ebay listing is very very odd.

Threat of the Moment
When the enemy starts a large-scale battle, he must realise that the battle between us will be open wherever there is sky, land and water in the entire world.
Saddam Hussein threatening to make the war global. Well, he thought the last one would be the "Mother of All Battles", so there's at least some precedent for overblown rhetoric. Of course, the last Bush who attacked him didn't seem quite so intent on killing him, so who knows. Between this and mystery-pneumonia I kind of wish Mo and I didn't have to leave the house this week.

rainy housewarming

March 16, 2002
Huh, I was getting over 100 unique users/day for a few days there, now it's back down...maybe more people were Google image searching on WTC because of the six month anninversary? Ah well, that's the danger when you start looking at the numbers on a daily basis...

Link of the Moment
Ah, at last there's Google News.

Game of the Moment
Ah, at last there's slime volleyball.
(Tough game, a little easier if you use the arrowkeys for left and right and w to jump.)

Quote of the Moment
The Future is here. It is just not evenly distributed.
William Gibson, who was quote by Tim O'Reilly the other day (except he rendered it as "widely" instead of "evenly") It's a great point though, and interesting to think how and where the future has its roots in the present. Though there's a downside to that as well, if you think of the WTC part of the present, and not the shiny cool computer gadget side.

industry substandard

March 16, 2001
Yikes. Trying to figure out if things are afoot in my company. My heart's racing a bit.

Quote of the Moment

"It's so hard being neurotic. A normal person would be able to touch this [gooey brownie] with their bare hand, but not me."
Rob Baum, 2001.03.15
Link of the Moment
Scarily plausible article on Slate: The Case For Northern Secession.

Quote of the Next Couple Years

Initially, Bush wanted the bad economy to be associated with the Clinton era and was framing it as worse than it was and now he is framing things as being worse than they are in order to promote his tax cut to create support and rationale for his tax cut. It was disingenuous, and a really bad move. Because he's drumming up a pessimism about the economy that's a self-fulfilling prophecy.
It points out that on the Clinton watch we had some sharp downturns that we managed our way through, but Bush is trash talking the economy to play up his taxcut plan, and that may screw us all. I have less faith in ever in Bush, and this electoral college driven mixup will haunt us for years.

Wired article with the vi guy's essay on the obsolesence of humanity and, much more disturbingly to me, this  geometrically increasing "Oops!" factor that nano-, bio-, and maybe cyber- technology will be bringing on over this next century. In particular the "grey goo" idea, and custom bacteria multiplying like clouds of pollen stick in my head as vivid images of biosphere imploding disaster. Sigh- hopefully these memes won't rush in to fill a void Y2K left behind.

Right now I'm at Home Depot, trailing Mo as she gets paint color sample chips to base a wedding color scheme on (and to get the makings of a murphy free flower & plant shelf)