March 19, 2023

Once again I've been thinking a little bit about how in a lot of places "vulnerability" and "openness" are conflated, while for me they're on a see-saw...
I.e. (for me) I don't feel very "vulnerable", I am confident in my ability to muddle through nearly anything, and so I'm willing to be "open" and talk about nearly everything, and be frank about how I feel about things. So the more vulnerable, the less open, and vice versa.

Hm. I guess it's because... well, maybe I feel things less, then? Or rather I'm less driven by my instinctual preferences than a lot of people. I know "I feel things less" sounds awful and robotic, but being able to have some say in what instinctive emotions seem likely to serve me -- which emotional interpretations are well-aligned with SHARED reality and so can be given room to grow from seedling to strong plant, vs what instinctive emotions don't seem in my best interest and should be broken up as a seed -- is good for me.

So I could imagine if I was less adept at curating emotions early, if my only option was to build a macho firewall facade around a raging flame of sadness or anger or whatever, then I would see how vulnerability and openness were more related. But I don't rage like that! (At least not often) And so I'm willing to talk about anything with great candor. (Though I think Joel's damning line to Clementine in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind - "Constantly talking isn't necessarily communicating.")

(I was thinking too about once place I might be very vulnerable - I'm compulsive about Not Being Wrong. I don't have to be Right, for sure, but I have to express my uncertainty in no uncertain terms. This can lead to me being less clear and hard to follow, like when I start off with the disclaimer: "i know their might be competing views of this, and here's what they are, but I think the correct view is _____". All the disclaimers are absolutely a defense mechanism for this core vulnerability - so maybe I'm less "open" in that way.)

March 19, 2022

I used to believe that the human race as a whole was basically a few steps above wolves. That given the slightest change in circumstances, we would all, sooner or later, tear each other to shreds. That we were, at root, self-interested, cowardly, envious and potentially dangerous in groups. I have since come to believe -- after many meals with many different people in many, many different places -- that though there is no shortage of people who would do us harm, we are essentially good. That the world is, in fact, filled with mostly good and decent people who are simply doing the best they can. Everybody, it turns out, is proud of their food (when they have it). They enjoy sharing it with others (if they can). They love their children. They like a good joke. Sitting at the table has allowed me a privileged perspective and access that others, looking principally for "the story," do not, I believe, always get. People feel free, with a goofy American guy who has expressed interest only in their food and what they do for fun, to tell stories about themselves -- to let their guard down, to be and to reveal, on occasion, their truest selves. ... People, wherever they live, are not statistics. They are not abstractions. ... I'm not saying that sitting down with people and sharing a plate is the answer to world peace. Not by a long shot. But it can't hurt.
Anthony Bourdain

At Launch in Woburn...

Open Photo Gallery

Nothing like some of the climbing gym stuff to remind you you're no longer ready for boot camp, or doing your own stunts in the next movie...

free will and zeno's arrow

March 19, 2021
Listening to Sam Harris' final thoughts on free will. I agree most of us have an illusory sense of "self", but the idea that there's no free will... I mean he talks about "involuntarily action or a reflex" vs doing things "voluntarily". But how do we have a sense of "voluntarily" or "choice" without free will?

The arguments against free will feels both Inarguably True yet Absolutely Incorrect in the same way Zeno's paradox of the arrow (The arrow can never hit a target because it must travel halfway to its destination, then the next halfway again, then again, ad infinitum) feels technically true yet wrong. And for similar reasons - if every "choice" is made for us by this long chain of things outside of us - either a series of dominoes falling (like Newton) or dice rolling (like Quantum mechanics) stretching back to the origin of the Universe... like the arrow's flight, each step back to the past becomes incrementally less significant. If you understand infinitudes, you have a clear understanding of Zeno's paradox, you know that summing 1 + 1/2 + 1/4 + 1/8 [...] = 2. I think a similar conceptual leap is needed to reconcile a facile "so free will does not exist!" with our intuition that we have will power we can apply or not to the situations we find ourselves in.

We are part of the mechanism that is taking input and making output, even if we are sometimes fooled by how deliberate we are on it. Even if it's a subconscious reckoning that our narrative self claims credit for - will retroactively slap a logical framework on - it's not entirely wrong to do so, because that subconsciousness is a part of our selves as much as conscious part. (Like my coworker Scott Albertine said: "Consciousness is what running the algorithm feels like from the inside.")
Love the retrofuture/Zeerust! Especially the animation at the beginning section.

(via McGST)

March 19, 2020

I loved the art from this SBNation article on On Japanese Mascots:

When I was kid, "Music has charms to soothe a savage breast" - or more often the misquote of "savage beast" - seemed to come up a lot, but I haven't thought about it for years. 'Til this morning, throwing on some iTunes to help the day.

Hmm. Probably we got it from Bugs Bunny in Hurdy-Gury Hare: "they say music calms the savage beast"...
The worst is not the enemy of the bad.

March 19, 2019

Hmm, I was wondering about those Shen Yun billboards and the show they advertise - like, was it just like the Nutcracker? But the billboards made it seem a little deeper than that-- This article showed up, and that whole "Falun Gong" vs Chinese Communist Government angle is so odd...
ME: But Lord, what about the times I saw only one set of footprints in the sand?

JESUS: You know what, stop trying to be some kind of beach detective

March 19, 2018

I sort of hate how "make sure you make a thumbnail with a person making a big reaction" is such a thing on youtube. I'm sure it's some part of social media marketing psychology 101 now, but, damn.
From my devblog, Graphic Designing in Code

March 19, 2017

I felt stressed this morning, juggling thoughts and preparation about moving together with Melissa (things are actually going well there, knock wood we are signing the lease on a terrific place Tuesday or Wednesday but of course planning a move is a walk through a forest of a thousand trees of things that could go wrong and might even be my fault for not being smarter about moving) and a BABAM band gig I was running, our traditional under-rehearsed ad hoc selves playing indoors for change, which somehow feels like it should raise the expectations.

A lot of situations will come up that we find stressful. Some of our emotional responses to those can be so stupid -- to quote Natalie Goldberg, "Stress is an ignorant state. It believes that everything is an emergency. Nothing is that important."

Now, *existentially* she's right (John Maynard Keynes: "But this 'long run' is a misleading guide to current affairs. 'In the long run' we are all dead.") -- but there is a subset of these issues that A we wouldn't have control over even if we were our best selves and B ARE pretty damn important, relative to the group of all concerns we have in this life.

And yet; our stress-tastic emotional responses (at least for the stuff that has now snowballed into a life of its own) are only useful in very small ways, just to the extent they can make us more thoughtful and attentive to preventing those situations, whether we're talking fundamentally life-altering things, such as a break-up, where maybe we can be wiser in how we love, or for the merely transient and infuriating, where maybe an alternate route or departure time would avoid this damn traffic.

But in general, we can rely on the higher, more rational part of our brains for that kind of bad-situation-pre-emption, and the stress just makes us miserable, and often dumber. Like I said at the end of February, whether I'm furious about it and making myself angry or accepting of it, the traffic is still there. So why be furious?

There's a menacing line from some belligerent military group "Don't Run, You'll Only Die Tired". The problems I'm facing now aren't gonna kill me... but even if they are, why should I die tired?

I have this version of my best self walking around, taking situations in hand. Hell, recognizing in a lot of ways I'm doing super well, healthy, sweet girl friend, well-paying job I dig, good friends, meaningful camaraderie and ego-gratifying work in my band music making. Sure I could switch scales and compare to some out there "best case of every scenario" version of life where, I dunno, I'm like a mix of Obama, Steve Jobs, Grace Hopper, Isaac Asimov, and Mr. Rogers, but that life doesn't exist, but the one that does has a lot to say for it.
Quote I was reminded of while writing that:
One ought never to turn one's back on a threatened danger and try to run away from it. If you do that, you will double the danger. But if you meet it promptly and without flinching, you will reduce the danger by half. Never run away from anything. Never!
Winston Churchill

March 19, 2016

March 19, 2015 - I made an interactive toy to sketch out an idea I have for a widget (expressing that "Problems (are) Inevitable / Problems (are) Soluble" mantra) that I'd like to get 3D printed or otherwise made tangible...

(the way the carved out squares show up as boxes rather than just blank is a kind of 'happy accident', not sure if they should be the way for the real piece or not... wdyt?)

It was fun playing with homemade, graph-paper fonts again.
Wow, frozen banana has a terrific, custard-like texture, all by itself.
Peel it before freezing is the one trick to it.
QA Engineer walks into a bar. Orders a beer. Orders 0 beers. Orders 999999999 beers. Orders a lizard. Orders -1 beers. Orders a sfdeljknesv.

March 19, 2014

It's not as easy as you imagine to be polite when you have to scrounge for a living. You give me a surefire way of getting rich quick, and I promise to behave perfectly from that moment on.

Very well. Think of a business that particularly caters to some legitimate need of single people. There must be nothing about it that suggests recreation--not even music playing in the background. The atmosphere should be no-nonsense, utilitarian and eminently respectable. Then devise some way of keeping all your customers waiting. Service should be delayed just long enough to get people grumbling to one another, but not long enough to make them walk away in disgust. You should aim at having a good-sized group of unattached people standing together with a common practical purpose and nothing to do but to talk to one another while they wait. Miss Manners realizes that she has just described a laundromat, but perhaps you can think of something else.

My new rallying cry for the Nerf fights at work: "WELCOME TO SH*T-JUST-GOT-REAL-ISTAN. POPULATION: YOU"

March 19, 2013

Man, I guess I'm just a social user...

I'm fine with that I'm fine with whatever I'm just in it for the getting together.
Jonathan, via text, about lunch plans.
He then pointed out with a little work it could be a pretty good hook.


March 19, 2012

Dream Dialog: "This icea cream just has 2 calories a serving!" "Yeah? How many servings in this bowl?" "Err, 200".

today's project...

March 19, 2011

Today I worked on a Newbies Guide to the upcoming Hub Crawl Puzzle/Photo Hunt... sadly Amber and I might miss it this year (it might be when we're in Europe) but still I enjoyed making a friendly introduction to it... I'll post a link as soon as the copy gets reviewed by the Hub Crawl's crack team of staff ninjas!
These public employees won't see their names on Forbes Richest People anytime soon, but it is safe to say that in 2010 approximately 40 percent of Arlington's town and school employees earned salaries above the town's median nonfamily (individual) income of $54,517.
The Arlington Advocate.
Not sure the author is clear on what "median" means...

hear the birds?

March 19, 2010

It was warm enough to sleep with an open window and we could hear bird song the next morning and it made me think of the above short clip... I decided to transcribe it (for no particularly good reason, just to try to capture the delivery.)
"Beautiful day, isn't it?"
"Yes it is."
"Hear the birds?"
"Sometimes, I like to pretend that I'm, that I'm deaf? And I try to imagine what it'd be like--"
"--not to be able to hear them..."
"'s not so bad."

My sore neck provoked me into using a backpack rather than a courier bag. Irritating not to be able to easily stow and retrieve a book - also I feel so awkward using both straps, since using just one was de rigueur in middle and high school. But of course the style changed to the utilitarian in the early 1990s. "Still, asymmetry is always cool..." I point out to Amber. "Right, but beauty is based on symmetry." Odd, those two opposing relations. - interesting rule for cell etiquette: use the same rules as you would for excusing yourself to bathroom... - 70s era photos of killer Alcala's possible victims, the police looking for help IDing. As a collection, the images are haunting- but many of them are just great photos of people having fun.
Hmm. The iPhone screen, made of glass, is very durable. But the case scratches easily... (I suspect Apple doesn't mind the scuffs as something that would get people to upgrade sooner, but without disrupting use of the device.) Makes me think that an iPhone with the case made out of glass would be very durable... not to mention frickin' sweet.
Well, we've had a good time tonight, considering we're all going to die someday.
closer of Steve Martin, back in the day

"Legal Size": it's the 16:9 widescreen of copier paper!

why dolphins are cooler than people

March 19, 2009

Today's rule: the PC stays off 'til the apartment is straightened up. (iPhone to keep an eye on email, laptop for followup if needed, no cheating)

I am tired and sick of war. Its glory is all moonshine... War is hell.
Will Tecumseh Sherman, 1879.

Inside every army is a crowd struggling to get out.
John Keegan

The Silver Line is weird! I thought it was just a PC way of telling neighborhoods "Buses! No T for you!" but they're double length buses with long underground tunnels...

that we figure this thing out or learn to love the figuring (backlog flush #70 and travelog of kyoto and nara)

March 19, 2008

Travelog of the Moment
So Wednesday I went on a bus tour of Kyoto and Nara. I wasn't utterly blown away by the tourguides (who may have been gearing for people who did zero reading about Japan in general) but it was the best way to get to these geographically diverse sites. Plus, a day with more riding and less walking seemed like a nice idea for my feet.

Also I met some nice people from Norway and Finland (dropped my Nokia street cred) and to be honest often they seemed more interesting than the tourguide's spiel.


March 19, 2007
Bleh. Sudden cold, or something, 100 degree temperature.

I'm dragging myself into work though, somewhat against my better judgment, because it's a special planning meeting day.

Followup: mercifully, they sent me backhome

Video of the Moment

--Randomly stumbled on this music video (Röyksopp Remind Me). Lovely in a diagrammatic kind of way.

nyc: blue eight

March 19, 2006
Back from NYC. Seeing those two towers reflected in the "Millenium Hilton" when your back is to the WTC site are a little unnerving, at least for a moment. The Guggenheim wasn't quite so blue as the other subjects, but it's always fun to photograph. The eight is there because I admired the craftsmanship, and then I could make it look like eight blue photos is what I was aiming for all along.

Other trip highlights were a terrific cheap Russian place in Brooklyn, just outside the Hassidic Jewish neighborhood our hotel was in, a Klee exhibit at "The Neue Galerie", hanging around where the St. Patricks Day parade was coming to a stop (always fun to see bands and groups coming undone, relaxing and grateful to be finished), Times Square, seeing "The Producers", and meeting up with Tony from Tufts.


March 19, 2005
Photos of the Moment

--Had a small shindig, almost forgot to do an update! Here are two pics, the rumpus room with people checking out some of Erin's student films, and the kitchen showing some of the great stuff Ksenia put together, pork kabons and chicken julienne and some other great stuff.

phillybuster day 1

March 19, 2004
I'm off to release JoustPong at PhillyClassic 5! Back Monday. Meanwhile, I'll let you enjoy some quickies that have been clogging up my backlog, starting last August or so...

...but before I go, check out this chest of drawers I nabbed on my way into work Wednesday. Since it turns out that almost every damn piece of furniture with drawers in it was Mo's, I consider it a good score. And luckily I was driving my Aunt and Uncle's minivan, so I could lug it around, it's pretty hefty. I'm using it for videogames, one system per drawer works out about right.

Sitting on top is the ghetto stereo I also grabbed. I think the main piece is busted, but extra speakers can sometimes be fun for making excessively-speakered frankenstereos with. (One of the best stereos I ever heard just had a ton of speakers around a room, all scavanged.)

Any one got some great scavanging stories?

backlog flush #41

idle amusements

March 19, 2003
Interview of the Moment
I'm not sure why, but I really liked the latest Onion AV Club interview with Eric Idle (of Monty Python fame). I guess I just like when famous, creative people sound happy and relaxed about what they do, and grateful for having had the chance to do it.

Iraq Links of the Moment has a scorecard for the first few days of the war. ("First, ignore all first-night commentary") Sounds almost as much fun as an Oscar betting pool! A different Slate piece had a link to a PDF analyzing the possible benefits and dangers of our moves into Iraq. I also found a decent biography of Saddam Hussein that mostly focuses on his dictatorship but claims "Saddam the paranoid tyrant can be traced back to Saddam the persecuted village boy". (It copies a bit from the Atlantic article I posted before, especially about is current daily routine.)

Graphic Design of the Moment
David Levine's Graphic Design from the 1920s and 1930s in Travel Ephemera has an unwieldy title and some poor choice of colors, but is well laid out and has some great images.

Flash of the Moment
Oddly compelling political cheap shot.

Moment of the Moment
8 o'clock. All's still quiet. Guess the time of our choosing is a little later.

"every thang's going to be all white!"

March 19, 2002
News of the Moment
I just love the saga of the Fightin' Whities. I'm not sure if it's going to be effective as a point-making tactic...I think a lot of white guys will just think it's kind of a cool joke and not get that some Native Americans might be offended by certain team mascots.

Quote of the Moment
There is a wonderful Hasidic story about a rabbi who was asked whether it is ever proper to act as if God did not exist. He responded, 'Yes, when you are asked to give to charity, you should give as if there were no God to help the object of the charity.'
via Bill the Splut

Games of the Moment
From the makers of the highly addictive kickups, it's a cool little overhead shooter bughunt. (People looking for a more sedate time might want to stick with marble mayhem.)


March 19, 2001
Went ice-skating for the first time in my life yesterday with some of the Tufts Band Lemmings gang. It's a lot of fun, better than roller blading, just mostly because of the novelty of being on a big field of ice and not falling on my butt. I think I was pretty good for a first timer (possibly because of the roller blading I think.) There were a lot of kids there. At first that was a little annoying, but then I thought of them as forming a big obstacle course, or maybe a mine field. Then it was even more fun!

Movie Quote of the Moment
Corky: You know what the difference is between you and me, Violet?
Violet: No.
Corky: Me neither.
Bound was the first movies from the Wachowski Brothers Siblings Sisters who would later bring us The Matrix. That is a great closing romantic line to a neat neo-noir film.

"If people were going to use computers all day, everyday, the design of such machines was not solely a technical problem-- it was also an aesthetic one. *A lousy interface woulb mean a lousy life.*"

"An art form based on the computer should be impossible without it."
--Myron Krueger
You might like to know that *every* national anthem in the world can be sung with the words
 "I am right and you are wrong".
 Try it -- you'll annoy the *hell* out of people

(the USSR is one of the hardest to make scan, but even it works, after a fashion. US, UK, Germany, France dead easy.)
--Alan Lothian
"The past resembles the future as water resembles water"
--Ibn Khaldun (1332-1406)  
Don't theorize about your own romances, friend. Be thrilled, be ecstatic, be desolate, but don't be an expert about you and the people you love and why it happened. With love, the pleasure is in the details, not in the theory. Love has to do with her eyes, the touch of her hand, her voice, her laughter, how it felt to stand next to her and feel her brush against you, how it felt to see her after a long absence. Love isn't a Problem to sit around and discuss. If your heart still longs for her, then you are in love, and her idea about why it didn't work out is something that may give her consolation but it doesn't mean anything to you or me.  
--Mr. Blue
Been sick and working hard, and playing Mario Party et al at night.  I feel really wiped out.