March 26, 2024

Baltimore Bridge Collapses, YIKES

from "Ask Iwata"

Read Satoru Iwata (of HAL/Nintendo fame) posthumous autobiographical collection "Ask Iwata" (A play on his famous series that offers the most insight into Nintendo, "Iwata Asks"...)
Lots of people flick on the television without any thought the second they get home. The reason they turn on the television even when they don't have any specific show in mind is the confidence that once they're home, as long as they press the power button on the remote, something will happen, which feels better than doing nothing. I think this is the main reason why television assumed such a presence in our lives.
Satoru Iwata

Sometimes in a game, you'll find a stone just sitting there for no reason. Ask whoever made it "Why did you put this here?" and they're liable to say "Why not?" But "why not" is the worst reason imaginable.
Satoru Iwata

On my business card, I am a corporate president. In my mind, I am a game developer. But in my heart, I am a gamer.
Satoru Iwata

No part of my experience has turned out to be a waste of time.
Satoru Iwata

Open Photo Gallery

March 26, 2022

The world is too big for love to be real. There are too many people in the world to ever know, beyond everything, that you are with the right person. That your heart is as swollen as it can be. Think of all the people in China. It is unlikely anyone will ever meet all of them. How can we know for certain, that trapped inside a foreign language and thumping in a foreign heart there isn't a love that is meant for us. The infinite possibility of existence, its limitless potential, is the proof that we need that love is nothing more than an imagination, a human folly, friendship swollen with self-importance, a final retreat from the storm of possibility. The love of our life could so easily have been someone else. It is random and accidental, haphazard and unsystematic. That which we feel for one person, clinging on to the delusion of destiny, could so easily be felt for a million people should the timing and the meetings and the mutual readiness have coalesced at some other time in some other place. Should someone else have accepted us or rejected us then everything would have been different. And once we know this, we know that all love is a lie. Not honesty but deception. Not heroism but cowardice. An unspoken agreement of mutual consolidation and compromise, a shield from possibility and a bed in which to sleep, nothing more than that. But I do still miss her.
Daniel Kitson

March 26, 2021

RIP Beverly Cleary! May we all be a little Ramona the Brave today.
As predicted by RBG, Georgia is becoming a cesspool of voter suppression. Closing polling places, especially focused on Black neighborhoods, and then making it illegal to pass out food and water? Really, you fuckheads, if you can't win elections honestly than change your god damn policies.

"Actually it's about election integrity" is the new "Actually it's about ethics in gaming journalism". These fuckers have power, they're worried about losing it, and so they change the rules of the game.

March 26, 2020

By the way, it's not just South Korea who got much better control of this than us thanks to testing - so did Germany.

Yet the partisan people are letting Trump et al off the hook. We wasted months. Innocent people will be dying by the thousands, needlessly.

But I have advice. This is the advice that I hope you'll leave with, alright? This is it. You just need to learn to do one thing really well. And it's this: You Need to Learn to Manage Your Expectations. It's not an innate thing you're born with. It's a skill. If you work at it, you'll get good at it. The more you manage your expectations, you'll feel more fulfilled, less depressed, happier overall.
Tom Segura

March 26, 2019

Notes to my future self about my Todo list (which may interest exactly no one else, though I'm always a bit interested in how other people keep track of their stuff):

Still using "2Do" for iOS, but things were getting clogged up and stressful. The app was one of the first I'd seen with sterling support for category sublists where you could still see all tasks on a single big scrollable panel (without clicking), but with clear UI for good (but optional) date-specific and repeating reminder support.

Prior to this, I had the first category of "Importantish" and then a series of sorted categories, ("Porchfest", "Home", "Work", "Waiting", "Online", "Band", "Store", "Someday", with "Someday" being the "Someday, Maybe" lower-priority GTD recommends)

An early mistake was putting everything in "Importanish" until it got sorted. Adding an explicit default "Sort-Me" category as second on the list (a while back) made that better -saying it was "important" to sort everything was false, and diluting the urgency of the "Importantish" pool.

The most important recent mental change is saying everything "Sort-Me" is more just "normal priority", and all the categories under it are decreased priority - they were usually "under the fold" anyway.

I added a new "Google this" category after noticing "Sort-Me" was getting clogged with a bunch of potentially quick "someone mentioned this, go see if it's interesting" items... but I think in general, I will be deleting several of the other categories, the aspect of "where am I when I can do this" (like "Home") is less important than the relative implied priority.

I also got rid of a lot of "daily nags"... some are useful (especially tasks that accumulate if I skip a day) but in general they were just clogging the system.

Finally, my one complaint about 2Do was that I never did figure out how to get its icon "badge" count to be quite what I wanted, and the number was just cranking up my ambient stress level without really getting me to do anything, so I removed that badge, and also the badge for gmail, even though I'm trying to be vigilant about keeping my "Important and Unread" to zero (Gmail's "Important" guess automation is really pretty decent.)

(Overall 2Do is pretty grand -- yeah, it suffers from that "more features than you actually want" (since they say everyone uses a small percentage of the features of complex programs, but often not the same things within that percentage) but still manages to make a decent UI that doesn't get overwhelming.)

TIL Rihanna's Umbrella is built from GarageBand's royalty-free "Vintage Funk Kit 03" drum loop.

I really want to work up my composing-for-street-bands mojo. I just ordered a book a elementary school music teacher recommended - it might be a bit too basic. I'm wondering if I should look for some kind of private lessons, or just buckle down and do it. (Basically, I know bass lines, and have some idea of an existing melody, but have little idea of what to tell other parts to do that aren't basic chords...)

the objective unknowable truth

Maybe the strongest but weirdest thing my Evangelical Christian upbringing left me with is a sense that there IS an objective, absolute Truth that transcends all creeds and other preconceptions and can even make value judgements - potentially bridging the chasm between "Ought" (How Things Should Be) and "Is" (How Things Are) - but that this Truth is ultimately unknowable, and so any group's claim to perfected, or even superior, insight into it is unverifiable and suspect - especially insight via special revelation and not skeptical enquiry.

And to cling to such a claim (of perfected knowledge of the Truth) and end up being Wrong would be an unforgivable sin.

"Keep the company of those who seek the truth- run from those who have found it" --Vaclav Havel (or more likely André Gide.)

This also drives my pseudo-martyrdom, my typical willingness to sacrifice bits of my own comfort and resources if a best guess of The Truth says that a greater good would be served by my doing so. So I am compelled to sacrifice up until the point that says a best guess would say hey, I'm worth something too, and what I'm giving up might be (Objective Truthfully) of more value to the collective world with me than meeting that other need.

I suspect that this driving force has been with me since my teenage years, but only in the past few am I so aware of it. (Also, I'm reviewing as another, even more long-winded exploration of some of these topics.)

(I think it's telling that Grammarly urges me to say "the best" and not "a best". No way man. There's no single best because life has too many spectrums to measure stuff on.)

As a left leaning person, what do you like about conservatives? I thought this was gentler and more thoughtful than many things I've seen on Quora and FB.
CNN: Where fat goes when you lose weight - spoiler: it's not converted straight into energy (i.e. we don't have a Fusion or Fission reactor in us...), it's not just pee'd or poo'd out, it's not converted into muscle... instead it's turned into CO2 and water! 10 lbs of fat turns into 8.4 lbs of CO2 (and I admit it's always weird to think of the weight of a gas...) and 1.6 of water.

This is kind of a delightful fact, and a nice mirror image of what I learned in 2013, how trees build themselves out of air (and some minerals from the ground, and I think water.) In both cases, the conversion back and from of air with more solidish stuff defies our intuitions.
Janelle C Shane uses a neural net to generate new Dungeons and Dragons monsters: I love the subtle nerdness of the noun, adjective format- really brings the "Monster Manual" aspect home for me.
Because I believe in giving back, I have put the Knux' 1974 on Wikipedia's List of songs named after dates. (I'm partial to 1974 for obvious reasons, so when I thought of Smashing Pumpkin's 1979 and Prince's 1999 I figured there's gotta be a list...)
They're both better after a couple of beers.
Carrie Fisher, on similarities between Paul Simon and Harrison Ford

I love some of the old NES video game music, like Mega Man series and of course the Mario stuff they explore "what makes it sound fun" here...
SPOILER: it can have a lot to do with the same stuff that makes New Orleans Street Band music fun. (Insert wistful dream to get more competent about arranging music here... I think videos like this might help a little bit)

March 26, 2017

"I can't believe I'm moving in with someone who sang in a college a cappella group."
"We all have our hidden shames."
"...but you don't hide it."
Melissa and Me, 2017/3/26

March 26, 2016

The overarching point is that Sam Simon deserves more credit than he gets, but authorship is more involved than who had what idea, who wrote what joke, and who drew which character. As a wise magazine editor once explained to me, 'idea is spelled with a small "i".'
John Ortved, "The Simpsons: An Uncensored, Unauthorized History"

Nice guys finish first. If you don't know that, then you don't know where the finish line is.

Cool Star Wars theory of the week: Rey is a Palpatine. Be sure to check the link for exploring the John Williams element.
Feeling crafty...making some polka dot wear for School of HONK's trip to Austin...

March 26, 2015

Yesterday JP Honk was at the head of a march to the statehouse because Arts Matter

March 26, 2014

"Is your claim limited to sensitive materials like contraceptives or does it include items like blood transfusion, vaccines?" asks Sotomayor. Clement replies that contraception is unlike transfusions and vaccines because it is "so religiously sensitive, so fraught with religious controversy." Which is, I suspect, code for "sex."
Great point. Either a Christian Scientist / Jehovah's Witness owned business could skip out on any coverage at will, or this is all about Your Employer in Your Bedroom. Corporations shouldn't have it both ways, protecting the owners by being a fake person, but also following the religious beliefs of those owner at the expense of the rules that govern everyone else.

March 26, 2013

For every yes there must be a no. Decisions are so expensive. They cost you everything else.
Irwin Yalom, "Existential Psychotherapy"

Anyone else you there have the most recent xkcd open in some out of the way window, just letting it run?

be ye not proud

Brian Christian in The Most Human Human:
Micromanagement and out-of-control executive compensation are odd in a way that dovetails precisely with what's odd about our rationalist, disembodied, brain-in-a-vat ideas about ourselves. When I fight off a disease bent on my cellular destruction, when I marvelously distribute energy and collect waste with astonishing alacrity even in my most seemingly fatigued moments, when I slip on ice and gyrate crazily but do not fall, when I unconsciously counter-steer my way into a sharp bicycle turn, taking advantage of physics I do not understand using a technique I am not even aware of using, when I somehow catch the dropped oranges before I know I've dropped them, when my wounds heal in my ignorance, I realize how much bigger I am than I think I am. And how much more important, nine times out of ten, those lower-level processes are to my overall well-being than the higher-level ones that tend to be the ones getting me bent out of shape or making me feel disappointed or proud.
So whenever you have an "unproductive" day, think of all the things you've been digesting! Did you know one "food calorie" is actually 1000 "small calories"? And one small calorie "approximates the energy needed to increase the temperature of 1 gram of water by 1 C"? That's crazy energy and you don't even know it!
Gold Bond Ultimate Healing w/ Aloe, applied daily after shower, has made my elbows lickably soft! (Good stuff, hate scratchy elbows.)
At least I assume lickably soft. it's really hard to lick your own elbows.
"Draw Something" is the first online game with social obligation I've been drawn to- tough to leave someone who drew for you hanging! The UI not having an "ignore request" button reinforces that.
I can't complain, but sometimes I still do.
Joe Walsh

Observations on getting older: decades can kind of slip by. Make sure you do something big every decade, something milestone worthy.
Whoa. Just accepted a Linked In request from Lady Miss Kier. (Sigh, probably just because of this: )


(1 comment)
This guy was taking a photograph from the Boston Common, and I took his picture. Funky light!

So the rest of these shots are from my converted groupon helicopter ride with the East Coast Aero Club...Amber gave me a copter flying intro lesson last year, but I wussed out on the study needed and had a nice tour instead.

keep on truckin'


--I just kinda liked this, but then the transition at 0:29 made it all worthwhile... it might be a mockup, but still, excellent.

Sometimes I really miss the Boston Computer Museum. - I am all for MoMA's "acquisition" of "@" - it's a great bit of design work. "Outside of the inarguably violent missions, it is not what GTA IV asks you to do that is so morally alarming. It is what it allows you to do."

warp whistle, windy city


Warp Whistle by MatthewDominick

Watched more "Time Warp" last night. Didn't know that Tazers shoot a bit of confetti out (with the serial # of the device) along with the electrodes. Festive!
You should have seen how excited I was last week that I actually caught Flood Awareness Week, during Flood Awareness Week. Usually, I'm a week late! And then, it flooded a lot in the West this week! How convenient! I hope they were aware!

Jeez. Flood unawarenes. "Does somethin' seem funny to you?" "You mean the way water is covering the street and yard and making a dangerous current?" "Yah! Whaddya guess that is?" "I dunno, you s'pose Uncle Steve left the water on again?"
Candi and me this morning - literally, fashion's worst crimes against humanity (via Bill)
Interview went well, will have a 2nd round.

On way back, at Storrow drive, people in soldier outfits were poking around the jogger paths there, with a sign saying "MILITARY EXERCISE" or something. ROTC or National Guard stuff?
Oh man... light sprinkles TOTALLY smelled like a Spring Rain... what is that earthy smell? Whatever it is, I love it.

sayonara japan! (backlog flush #77 and travelog)


Travelog of the Moment
So today, back to Tokyo. Kind of melancholy, I can feel a part of myself working to say good-bye to Japan, knowing that while a return trip isn't out of the question, it's not assured either.

what's green, hangs on a wall and whistles?

So here's a joke:
Q. What gets wetter the more it dries?
A. A towel!
This joke has bugged me ever since I was a kid. It took me a while to "get" it, and even then, something rang false. And now I know what that is: it's not specific enough.

The whole joke hinges on how the verb "to dry" has a transitive sense of "drying something else" beyond the expected intransitive sense of "becoming more dry". OK, cute, haha, you got me, I was thinking of the wrong meaning.

BUT! - this property hold true for anything that absorbs water and that you can use to dry something else. Napkins, sponge, an old shirt... it's not like plain old towels have a monopoly on drying other things through absorption.

Now that I have this off my chest, I feel so much better.

Photo of the Moment

--And so I begin baby steps towards cooking. This happens to be slices of Trader Joe's Roasted Garlic Chicken Sausage over Trader Joe's Vegetable Fried Rice. Not a microwave nor a pot of boiling water were involved, and yet... hot food! Remarkable! (for me.)

Miller and I agree; very tasty. Obviously not rocket science but I intuited a good combination at the grocery store.

I think it's likely that pre-seasoned stuff from Trader Joe's will be a good middle ground for a while, before going full out on doing stuff from scratch.

the designers of diabolical dumbth

So, I felt as if I'm at a bit of a loss for content today... nothing wallowing in my backlog jumped out at me.

Here's something that was near the top of my backlog, but was more there for convenience than something I meant to post: The Designers of Diabolical Dumbth List. A bit like This Is Broken or We Hates Software, but more personal, a list maybe I'll just keep editing in place in this entry, like my Project Todo list.

I want to focus on things that just seem stupid, for which the mitigating factors are weak or non-existent, and that have made my life worse in some small fashion. Alright, that's it for now. Feel free to chip in with anything you've seen that drives you nuts....

three thoughts

For email that it has picked up as spam, Gmail will keep it for 30 days and then delete it. So the size of that "virtual folder" shows you how much spam you received...the total used to be about 14,000 or so, about 450 a day, but it's been dropping fairly steadily...currently to the mid-8,000s. I wasn't expecting that. Though if I redirect my old Computer Science Tufts account, the one that is awash in Spam from years of Usenet posting, to Gmail I'm sure the total would go way up.
Shameful admission: when I first read this boingboing post about the trouble in Kyrgyzstan I had to double check to make sure it wasn't one of those made up countries made to trip people up, like when Spy Magazine asked American Politicians "What are you going to do about the ethnic-cleansing in Freedonia?", the fictional country from the Marx Brothers' "Duck Soup". Maybe sometime I should see if I could ebay some old Spy...that was a great magazine, the epitome of snark.
In the comments for Wednesday's Entry, FdS rightly chided me for painting a simplistic idea of religion, that great theologians have a terrific sense of "mystery". And the picture is more complex on both sides, religion and science, than I described there. Actually, I think one the main problems for me is the assumptions of inerrency that the Abrahamic faiths have. I love science's built-in correction mechanism (And also, that whole "unfathomable mystery" thing seems like a bit of a cop-out...we should at least give it the old college try.)

gadgets ahoy

Cool...JoustPong is now for sale at the AtariAge store. Seems to be selling pretty well, so if you want to get a version with the T-shirt, you better move quickly! It's kind of cool how you can type the name "JoustPong" into the AtariAge frontpage Title Search and...boom, there I am!

It was quite the day for electronics in general yesterday. Not only was JoustPong released, but on my way home I picked up this nifty thing for the PlayStation 2 called the EyeToy--a little camera that sits on top of the TV and lets you play goofy little games using your image, like fighting off all these little ninjas or keeping a virtual soccer ball from hitting the floor. I wanted to get one in time for my party, and the camera plus the disk of minigames was only the cost of a fullpriced game.

The othe thing I got was a Garmin StreetPilot 2610--a high-end-ish road GPS, so it has maps for everywhere around here, knows where you are, and even has a voice to tell you when and where to turn. We used one on the way down to Philly and is so soothing to have one in the car if you're driving in unfamiliar territory. I think just the stress reduction alone is worth it.

Obviously I don't want to make spending like that a habit, but what the heck. (Heh, and I got informed of a smallish raise yesterday, 2-3% or so, come to think of it.) Like I said before (about the iPod, ahem) "consumer electronics are the balm for this divorce stricken soul"...that's a weak excuse and I know it, but everyting I'm getting should have a positive impact on my life I think. The only other post-divorce splurge I'm thinking of is teeth whitening...

Popculture of the Moment
I think it's been around before, but 10 worst album covers of all time is yet another 'worst of' with a few giggles included.

Army Life of the Moment
The 213 Things Skippy is No Longer Allowed to Do in the U.S. Army is long but good. The paragraph at the top mentions a few of the best, just check that out if you're in a hurry. (Actually, that site, "Avalanche Company" has some other cool stuff, so you might want to start clicking through if you have the time)

ham it up

(1 comment)
Image of the Moment
Something's not quite kosher at the local elementary school...

Quote of the Moment
I'm a neurotic mess. I'm really basically just like a 260-pound Woody Allen.
James "Tony Soprano" Gandolfini

Link of the Moment
I've linked to it before, but I'm thinking I should spend some more time at Yesterdayland. They have so much well-illustrated coverage of all the fun stuff you grew up with, from toys to music to cartoons, and then you can even click on previous decades to get a historical perspective.

News Link of the Moment has an article featuring war coverage from around the world: UK, Pakistan, Turkey, China, Qatar, and Indonesia. Well worth the read.

Link of the Moment
Oh, those crazy urban--or is it rural?--hipsters; it's time for Freestyle Wheelbarrow.

i scream she screams we all scream

Trivia Question of the Moment
I don't know how many classic video game fans read this site, but I'll send $10 to the first person who can tell me what video game this appears in:

This was an arcade game we had in the recroom at Euclid High School, I always loved the randomness of this billboard...maybe something about how the ice cream code doesn't identify itself until after the girl reacts.

Current Events of the Moment
John pointed out's Oscars 2002: Somebody make it stop!, a pretty funny but hard-hitting look at the last Academy Awards.

Quote of the Moment
This is the kind of movie that actors discuss in long, sad talks with their agents.
There was from a copy of his I Hated, Hated, Hated This Movie, his reviews of the biggest turkeys out there. He's a pretty decent reviewer, actually.


Syncronicity of the Moment
"Here I am; I'm here-- in my mind, and yours, it seems. Please don't hold me too dear. Some dreams are unrealized."
This note popped up in my .sigfile rotation. It was written by my big college crush, on-again-mostly-off-again romance. I think it's one of the most beautiful things I've ever personally received. The day after it popped up, the grapevine was vibrating with news that the person may well have recently gotten engaged. Funny the timing of all that.

Quote of the Moment
Kind of funny being the keeper of the Love Blender-- right now I'm not sure I know that much about either.
Me to Mo
(After a discussion with Mo about all those Blender settings, as well as some wedding related rambling. I just got a 9 year renewal on the domain name.)

Occam's eraser: The philosophical principle that even the simplest solution is bound to have something wrong with it.
Today at the Arlington Street Church they had a man translating into signlanguage. It's amazing to watch. Although I don't know the language it seems like it might be making up for in emotional content what it misses in raw vocabulary.

Now at the Starbucks counter, Mo and I have a front row view of a man who seems to be (re)learning to walk. His friend pushed up his wheelchair, and he's been taking steps relying on a railing. Two women join the pair with some goodies from Starbucks. It reminds me of my dad.