March 27, 2020

Near-work photo from a more relaxed time, by Lloyd Park

(It's funny, at first I captioned this as 'from a simpler time', but the beauty of then was that it was more complex, but in enjoyable ways.)
I don't believe you need 40,000 or 30,000 ventilators. You know, at a major hospital sometimes they'll have two ventilators. All of a sudden they're saying, 'Can we order 30,000 ventilators?'
Hey, here's a fun quarantine game we can play online.... lets brainstorm all the wacky fun repurposings for ventilators, that must be New York's REAL reason for wanting so many. I'll start: use one to make an air-powered fidget spinner that spins one way than the other.

just a reminder that if your fellow self quarantining neighbors are being too loud you might be able to connect to their Bluetooth speaker

— Matt O'Brien (@matt_obrien) March 24, 2020
is pretty good online Codenames, for use with Zoom or what not...

the art of computer designing

March 27, 2019
The other week I went to a "Boston Tech Poetics" meetup. One of the speakers was Zach Lieberman, who quoted this:
The work of past ages accumulates, and is remade again.
Osamu Sato, "The Art of Computer Designing"
I don't think the book resonated as deeply for me as for him, but I could see it hitting the sweet spot if some creative person encountered it at the right age or in the right frame of mind. Used copies on amazon are like $600, but has a good copy online

Apparently my birthday (last day of the month) is also "World Backup Day"... back up that data people! Maybe even printouts of the emotionally important stuff.

March 27, 2018

Two little good girls
Watchful and wise --
Clever little hands
And big kind eyes --
Look for signs that the world is good,
Comport themselves as good folk should.
They wonder at a father
Who is sad and funny strong,
And they wonder at a mother
Like a childhood song.
And what, and what
Do the two think of?
Of the sun
And the moon
And the earth
And love.
Kurt Vonnegut (Untitled Poem in a 1961 to his friend Knox Burger)

Would any of my friends named Robert please let me call them "Broccoli Rob"? I just learned how to pronounce "Broccoli Rabe" last night and I'm afraid I'll forget otherwise.

Bitrot almost claimed Stephen Hawking's voice before his death, but some devoted engineers saved it.

March 27, 2017

Surprised and a little bummed that I google up any trace of this one poem... The narrator sees a little scared frog, tries not to scare him further, feels kind of a kinship with him (something like "I'm frightened too") but then it ends "too green, he had to leap"

Sound familiar to anyone? (Super long shot I know)

March 27, 2016

Guy in a suit: I'm an idea man.

Guy on mushrooms: I'm an idea, man.
The nice thing about Twitter is 100 tweets isn't that much of a time commitment... good stuff.
I was kind of worried that my new wireless headphones would make me look like Lando Calrissian's buddy Lobot. Now I'm more worried it took me this long to realize this taciturn cyborg's name is probably a reference to "lobotomy".

March 27, 2015

...let us keep in mind the basic governing philosophy of The Brotherhood, as handsomely summarized in these words: we believe in healthy, hearty laughter -- at the expense of the whole human race, if needs be. Needs be.
H. Allen Smith, Rude Jokes, 1970

March 27, 2014

Last night in a dream, I was being shown sheet music with a new symbol in the musical notation, crudely shown below-- it was supposed to echo the look of something lifting up from the measure/page, and represented a time of improvisation of indeterminate length... - with my birthday looming I was looking ahead at what I had written on my birthday over the past years. Just realized how weird it is to say "I've been doing this blog thing since I was 26" -- I think that it's telling that that sounds longer than "for almost a decade and a half", but I'm not sure I understand why.
I mean, doesn't 'Fracking a supervolcano' already sound like the last thing a civilization ever did?

March 27, 2013

DREAM: (WARNING, PG-13) I was naked in some kind of dorm building, running around with friends. I ask one of the guys:
"Can I borrow a towel?"
"Ok, but I'm going to plead the fifth if anybody asks me how you got it."
"The fifth amendment... is that the one where it doesn't count as cheating if you're not in the same zip code? Or is that the one where they explained to us where the clitoris was?"

mass to the chusetts

March 27, 2012

via the Boston Indies Group
27 Degrees F. Guess it's good I gave up the sandals today.
We watch movies not to see if the main character dies but to find out if it's the kind of movie where the main characters can die. A lot of life, then, is waiting around and figuring out what kind of movie life is. (Spoiler: the main character dies at the end.)

soccer and water don't mix, except when they did

March 27, 2011

--Kjersten showed us this exquisitely inspirational video the other night
Big thumbs up to 2 Porter area places: Darulkabab was really nice, and The Bicycle Exchange got me a great replacement for my stolen bike...

fool me once

March 27, 2010
--via failblog
A MAD Magazine compilation is my current bathroom reading - usually it's not so funny, but it was formative to me as I grew up- taught me not to take the grownup world so seriously. When I said that to Amber, she joked "maybe THAT'S my problem, no MAD growing up" - then she realized, maybe there was some truth there.
Woo-doubly nifty day: picked out a sweet apartment w/ Amber, then early birthday gift: helicopter flying lesson (!!!) <3 amber, helicopters.


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March 27, 2009

--Lore Sjöberg, Bad Gods

JZ's superpower: an uncanny knack for pairing friends with new songs they'll dig. (Seriously, most people are lousy at this.)
Regaling your adversary with vague threats will make them uncertain, or fill them with an ill-defined sense of doom:
"IT IS GO TIME! FOR YOU!! And DOWN is the direction you will be GOING!!"
"Indeed, but I'll only be going to visit you, who I will have sent down first."
"...You win this round." - slacktivist on what if it was a "work" section rather than "business" in the newspaper.

It brings me back to a thought I had a few weeks ago... what the word "Capitalist" means. Over the years, its come to be synonymous with "freedom", which is a little weird when you think about it. (I'm not sure if I'm on etymology thin ice here, but--) It suggest that capital is the core of society -- there seems to be a fundamental assumption that you can't succeed unless you're getting external funding, and that being able to fund other endeavors is the central key to achieving wealth.

I don't want to sound like a flaming commie, but I think it's important to recognize how language and culture might be interacting in stuff like this.
Paraphrase from Last Night, me and my Aunt, about my apartment in their brownstone:
"No, I wouldn't move for a job. Probably the most likely would be some personal thing, like a new relationship. But there's nothing on the radar so..."
"Is there any chance you might be bisexual?"
"No, I... wait, WHAT? How did...I mean, yeesh--"
"Just trying to figure out how many people I might have to alienate you from..."
For way too long on my todo I meant to mention that one kind of hokey, faux-American Indian story, about someone who has two wolves that are fighting... the way I heard it first is one is hope, the other fear, and the question is, if they're fighting, which one wins, and the answer is "the one you feed".
EB was musing on the differences in style and self-assuredness among him, me, and JZ. He sits to code, he hears Queen's "Under Pressure.". I sit to code, I hear the same song but with a kazoo. JZ just kind of hears "We are the Champions"--it's about not sweating past mistakes or fretting about future ones.

home again home again

March 27, 2008
Prepublishing this from Japan, since I'm probably going to be pretty out of it for a bit as I actually return to good ol' Boston...

Snark of the Moment
"This book," he says, further, "is a study of American literature from an economic point of view. It takes our living writers, and turns their pockets inside out, asking 'Where did you get it?' and 'What did you do for it?'"

Fired by Mr. Sinclair's example, I tried turning inside out the pockets of a living writer of my acquaintance, a writer considered successful in his work, and one who appears often in the wealthier magazines. The gross receipts were one nail file; one rubberized tobacco pouch; one fountain pen without a top; one Western Union envelope (empty); one folded bit of paper upon which was written "Endicott 6281--about eleven o'clock"; one card bearing the names Tony, Gus, and Joe, and a West Forty-eight street address; one small rubber band (broken); one office clip (bent S-shaped); one half-dollar, one dime, and four pennies; one twenty-five centimes piece; and several unpleasantly mouselike formations of gray fluff. I had no heart to ask, "Where did you get it?" much less, "What did you do for it?"
Dorothy Parker reviewing Upton Sinclair's "Money Writes!"

struts sucks. tapestry sucks. gwt sucks. they all suck, so there, nyah.

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March 27, 2007
Techie disagreements at work. I'm supposed to be scouting various UI packages, but I can't shake the conviction that the MVC plumbing is the wrong place to be adding complexity, that writing Servlets and JSPs is easy, and few packages buy you more in functionality and getting people to do things "right" than they cost you in complexity.

Bums me out, that I'm either gonna have to try to press the case or just grin and bear it. It also worries me that I'm too conservative about embracing new platforms.

Webshow of the Moment
Slate on Zefrank, who has ended his daily 3-minute show after a brilliant one year run. His main site,, has been on my backlog since 2003. Seriously! I kept meaning to get to it, go through all the cool toys (that's when the toys, and a few little videos, were all there was there) and link to just the best ones, but you know? 3 or 4 years on, I'm gonna call it a wash.

Besides the cleverness of his stuff, the other thing is the remarkable amount of polish in it, from the interface of the toys, to the quality of the editing of the video, to just the overall experience.

If you're in a hurry, just check out the episode complicated... the idea of "just start playin' with it" is a great one. Way too often my fear of not doing something optimally, or getting stuck in some kind of dead end, leads me to do a lot less than I think I theoretically could.

Gotta say though, while it didn't have the manic energy or pace of Zefrank, in terms of foreshadowing the whole video blogging thing, computer stew is looking more and more amazing. (Same guy who did and all the pranks to come from there.) And sad, how the archive are all these slow-to-download-yet-still-tiny-screened Real media things.

blarg blarg

March 27, 2006
Monster of the Moment
--Paul Robertson LJ has some pretty cool cartoony zombie work...

Links of the Moment
Bill points to an article that says getting even might be the best medicine, or at least that putting up a happyhappy front to customers might be bad for your health.

I guess in contrast to that headline, Slate's Dahlia Lithwick writes that the Death Penalty isn't a magic bridge to "closure" no matter how many blood-hungry prosecutors would have you think otherwise. (I'm disgusted about hearing how "The survivors of the Oklahoma City bombings who didn't want to see Timothy McVeigh executed were not permitted to offer victim-impact statements at his sentencing")

Finally, Slate had an article with some amazing video about Quick-Change artists David & Dania (Unfortunately, the videos on their own site are marred by a completely unsuable interface. Brilliant!)

Weighty Thoughts of the Moment
For me, it's interesting what my site's retrospect feature comes up with, what forgotten lore this date on the site and my Palm journal holds. Today I saw that it was 7 years ago today that I noticed by weight hitting 210, and if memory serves that was the start of a reasonably succesful weight loss effort. I'm a few pounds above that point now, but it's a bit reassuring to know this weight isn't quite as singular in my personal history as I would have assumed. Still, I haven't done enough to restart another change in my way of eating, especially now that I've pinpointed the way I'm kind of distracted eater.

I've gone through about 10 sessions with a personal trainer... it's pretty pricey though, and I need to wean myself off of it but onto something sustainable for myself. Trainers have a few advantages, mostly in pushing me harder than I would push myself and in showing me some new things, making sure there's more variety in exercises, correcting my form and just keeping count, but they're pretty frickin' expensive when you get down to it. (Also I was kind of hoping he'd take a more holistic approach in terms of my diet and what not, but I've been at my status quo for that stuff over the interval.)

The trainer took measurements for me before the program started, I'm curious to see what a difference a month might've weight's the same, though hopefully the muscle/fat ratio has gone slighly more in my favor during that time. I think I feel a little better, but...I dunno, between a general... forgetfulness? about how I am doing physically, along with the daily variation in how I feel (based on getting enough sleep, how stressed I am, etc) being larger than short-term increases in well-being-- it's tough. I don't know if it's all classifiable as "being out of touch with my body", or if it's denial, or what.

a humble little toy

March 27, 2005
Work in Progress of the Moment
Been working on a "art toy" version of that snark, boojum applet, where text is used as a stencil to see the image behind. Here's the latest version, currently at version "0.5". The java applet itself (what you click on) is largely complete, except for some work with fonts, but I haven't yet set up the infrastructure to let people upload their own images, so for now they're stuck with Bush waving a little flag. You can change the text though, along with a bunch of other settings.

Feedback welcome, especially on the interface. This is never going to be a super-serious tool, but I would like to make it so people might find it actually useful (because it's not that much fun as a toy). It still require some graphics knowledge to take full advantage of it, like making, cropping, and resizing screenshots for use elsewhere. I used a development version of the program for's new header image. Reaction has been mixed, since it's a little nifty (if "trying to hard" according to Ksenia) but might not go with the site's beloved stark look. So the new header might not last, but we'll see.

Also I'm open to suggestions for the name of the toy...internally it's still called "wordcut". I wasn't sure if that was very descriptive, so I also thought about "photoword" or "wordstencil". Then I remembered my old tradition of prefixing things I wrote with "k/", so maybe the current choice of "k/stencil" isn't too bad. If a bit egotistical. What do you think, go with the "k/" or something more universal and descriptive?

Car of the Moment
So Scion showed off a new concept car recently -- the "t2B", for "Tall Two-Box". I don't know how much of that is going into production, but it's even has a video projector for the rear window. The looks are very distinctive, another "look at me" car like the xB. Autoblog already wrote up R2-D2 versus the Scion t2B. Also, the banner on the side here is from my entry to their Show us your Scion for swag contest...I was a little shameless in my entry writeup, but I think it shows a lot more enthusiasm than the other posts so far.

me show

March 27, 2004
AIM Dialog of the Moment
albert: you.
kirk: me?
albert: yes, you.
kirk: me!
kirk: what about me
albert: not much.
albert: just you.
kirk: i can't hear enough about me
kirk: me, me, me
Albert: no comment
kirk: it's the me show!
kirk: starring: me!
kirk: guest-starring: albert!
albert: haha

--Albert of AtariAge and myself. I thought this was a very appropriate dialog to have on the day of my birthday party. Any comments about the further appropriateness of this dialog to my entire life will be politely ignored.

sing sing sing

March 27, 2003
The other day my "How To Draw a Radish" daily calendar suggested writing funny things people say in your rolodex, dated, and quoting it back years later. I've been doing that all along, first in my Palm Pilot quote journal KHftCEA, and now on my my site. But it hits me that I've been doing less quoting of people I know. Am I just not listening closely enough? Are my cow-orkers (a fine buncha folks) less quick on their rhetorical feet? It doesn't help that some of my favorite sarcastic people have moved to California... (Hi Dylan, Hi Sarah.)

News of the Moment
We've been hearing a lot about these frequent attacks by small groups of Iraqi fighters as our troops head inexorably north...with their machine guns and pickup trucks they tend to ping off the side of our armoured columns with guys using IR and night goggles like pebbles off the side of a canyon wall. More so than anything else in the war it sounds like a video game, one of those late-80s/early-90s ones, where your guy just keeps walking, usually right to left, past screens and screens of hapless badguys who are quickly dispatched. Except in real life they don't just blink blink blink disappear once they're taken out. It's amazing to think of someone's entire life culminating in such a suicidal moment. Ah, the wonder of the concept of "martyrdom". (Just like we tend to have "heroes" instead of "victims", they have "martyrs" instead of "casualties".)

And now they're saying months, not weeks. Ugh. It's going to get hot there, in more ways than one.

Just to be a selfish jerk about it: I was really hoping this would be over by the time Mo and I headed to Germany and England.

Quote of the Moment
All pop music is about sex: rock is about wanting to do it, jazz is about doing it, and country and western is about feeling guilty after you've done it.

Link of the Moment
Digital Photography Tips from O'Reilly.

Other News of the Moment
Huh, hadn't heard much about the current slow motion earthquakes in the Northwest...

do the mario

March 27, 2002
Birthday Party of the Year
I already sent out an evite for my video-game-centric birthday party this weekend...if you didn't get one, think you qualify as a friend of Kirk and would like to come along, drop me a note...

Link of the Moment
Speaking of video games, I'm always a sucker for a well-illustrated Best Video Games Ever list (Ok, "Most Influential" in this case, and with a UK bend).

Advetising Cathphrase of the Moment
No Reason
Coke Classic slogan in Japan the New York Times article I'd Like to Buy the World a Shelf-Stable Children's Lactic Drink says: "When Coke focus-grouped teenagers in Tokyo and asked why they drink Coke Classic, the response was often, 'No reason'". I think it's the most brilliant slogan I've heard this month. Another good line from the article: "it's not milk; it's 'milk'".

sick with a knife

March 27, 2001
Why is it when I have all the time in the world I have a harder time getting motivated to do a good update?

Guess I'm kind of bipolar when it comes to the jobsearch. Talked with the headhunter yesterday. Sometimes it seems like there's still plenty of opportunities for a good techie. Other times, it just seems like the whole online world is shriveling up. Sometimes it seems like I should take my time and relax getting a new position, other times it seems like I should go go go because who knows how long it will take, even once you've found the company.

Passage of the Moment
We conversed in French, a language alien to both of us, but more alien to me than to him. He said "gauche" for both "right" and "left" when he was upset, but when I was upset I was capable of flights that put the French people on their guard, wide-eyed and wary. Once, for instance, when I cut my wrist on a piece of glass I ran into the lobby of a hotel shouting in French, "I am sick with a knife!" Olympy would have known what to say (except it would have been his left wrist in any case) but he wouldn't have shouted: his words ran softly together and sounded something like the burbling of water over stones.
from James Thurber's "A Ride With Olympy"

"Forget her, Stanely... That girl will tear your heart out, put it in a blender, and hit frappe"
--The Mask
"Life is a 3-D movie without the glasses."
--Ronnie Shakes
210? Yikes!  How'd that happen? Guess I gotta diet now, according to my own rules. Makes me want to put off any kind of physical. I wonder how helpful the treadmill will be?