March 28, 2020

"After I Turn Sixty-Nine"

I don't imagine that a chariot is hurrying near but that a sleek car is speeding up
I have started a list of the costumes I want to be buried in, beginning with horny centaur
I try to put aside obituaries but I am unable to do so for very long (maybe ten minutes)
I eat the same meal every night while reading recipes of dishes I have never tasted
I shudder nearly every time I read the phrase "Lifetime Guarantee or Your Money Back."
I no longer find it necessary to stop and look at what is going on at a construction site
I decide I won't tell people to stop sending me books even if I will never read them
I stop and watch ambulances trying to get past cars that don't want to move aside
I begin thinking about different methods I might use to remove myself from the story
I know what my friend meant when he said his dog would take his place on the couch
I think about the cities I will never return to, including Cadaqués and Caracas
I wonder when I will no longer begin a sentence with the words "if" and "when"
I dream that my ashes will be scattered in a remote spot in Ireland that no one visits
I admit that shrinking into myself is not as unpleasant as I once thought
John Yau
It reminds me a little bit of the conclusion of Anne Sexton's "Courage"

less than an eyeblink

March 28, 2019

Man. And keeping in mind the doubling of time in the movie (and that old joke about the guy who asked for payment of a grains of rice on a chess board - 1 on the first, 2 on the second, then 4, then 8.... until finally he's asking for more rice than the planet has) I mean all the potential future disasters for the earth - hopefully not for many generations, but still, asteroid strikes and supervolcanoes are gonna be the menu sometime, not to mention how many pleasant ways of life we're gonna be washing away with our love of burning carbon - but all that future-for-me happens in something that by halfway through the movie is less than the tiniest bit of an instant I could possibly imagine.

I suppose to someone who doesn't buy into the scientific method and its current belief about the most likely state and future of things, this is all as unbelievable and unwieldy and wacky as any of the other competing faith systems.

I think of that old line in Woody Allen's Annie Hall where Dr. Flicker tries to console Alvy: "It won't be expanding for billions of years yet, Alvy. And we've gotta try and enjoy ourselves while we're here. Huh? Huh? Huh?"

via kottke

You put a plug in the jug, mister, because if you ever hit Sharon I'll f***ing kill you.
Carrie Fisher's character in Catastrophe
(showing no sympathy for her son starting to drink again, because of her own time experiencing alcohol-fueled abuse.)

This show has given me a great appreciation for Springfield! Springfield! - a collection of transcripts of various television shows and movies. I'm pretty sure they are ripping the closed caption text - so if you don't want the text on screen (whenever I can read what the character is about to say before they say it, it always takes me out of the fiction of the show) but still want to check "what did they say?" it's pretty great. (A little odd to browse, since unlike a script there is no stage direction or even indication of who is speaking.)
How old were you when you realized "thicc" is a typographical pun about butts? I was today years old. (For a guy who longs for the return of old-school, punctuation-based emojis you think I'd be a bit faster with that ;-)

UDPATE: I put a tightened version of this ('The "cc" in "thicc" is a visual pun about butts.') on reddit's showerthoughts channel and it was one of my more successful ones in a while. (There's a theory that says "thicc" comes from avoiding a "ck" which would otherwise mean "Crip Killer", i.e. standing in opposition to the gang.)
Just a reminder that while the electoral college is in the constitution, the way most states are winner take all is an artifact of all the extra-constitutional political party crap- yeah it's "up to the states, then" but they can't back out of this without giving up their voters influence in the election. More gist for the mill of "the popular vote being overturned by the electoral college is immoral, crudely discounting the vote of people in more populated areas" and the "BUT THE CONSTITUTION" defense is weak-ass sauce.

But, who knows, maybe we'll have a year like 1988 again, where a Republican non-incumbent will win the popular vote.

March 28, 2018

conference call limbo
I gathered some links about the UI in the Blade Runner remake... dealing with the past's view of the future is such an interesting design probem, and if the path from skeumorphism to flat deisgn is followed by "fuzzy 80s future look" I would be ok with that.

March 28, 2017

What you were playing was not Soul! Soul solos are part of the song - they have corners. You were spiraling – that's jazz!
Jimmy "The Lips" Fagan in "The Commitments".
(Of course the manager Jimmy Rabbitte has another verb for jazz solos.)

Watched this last night with JP Honk, nice inspiration. (Also RIP Johnny Murphy who played Fagan but died last year.)

from erica jong's 'fear of flying'

March 28, 2016
I know some good marriages. Second marriages mostly. Marriages where both people have outgrown the bullshit of me-Tarzan, you-Jane and are just trying to get through their days by helping each other, being good to each other, doing the chores as they come up and not worrying too much about who does what. Some men reach that delightfully relaxed state of affairs about age forty or after a couple of divorces. Maybe marriages are best in middle age. When all the nonsense falls away and you realize you have to love one another because you're going to die anyway.
Bennett goes into long silences too. I'd almost rather he contradicted himself, but he's too perfect. He won't commit himself to a statement unless he's sure it's definitive. You can't live that way-- trying to be definitive all the time-- death's definitive.
Then I really began to cry. In long awful sobs. "Please, please, forgive me," I pleaded. (Executioner asks condemned's forgiveness before the ax falls.)

"You don't need forgiveness," he snapped. He began throwing his things into a suitcase we had gotten as a wedding present from the friend who'd introduced us. A long and happy marriage. Many travels down the road of life.

Had I engineered this whole scene just for the intensity of it? Never had I loved him more. Never had I longed to stay with him more. Was that why I had to go? Why didn't he say "Stay, stay-- I love you"? He didn't.

"I can't stay in this room anymore without you," he said, dumping guidebooks and all sorts of junk into his suitcase. We went downstairs together, lugging our suitcases. At the desk, we lingered, paying the bill. Adrian was waiting outside. If only he'd go! But he waited. Bennett wanted to know if I had traveler's checks and my American Express card. Was I all right? He was trying to say "Stay, I love you." This was his way of saying it, but I was so bewitched that I read it to mean "Go!"

But then the fantasy exploded. It burst like the bubble it was. I thought of all those mornings in New York when I had wakened with my husband and felt just as lonely. All those lonely mornings we stared at each other across the orange juice and across the coffee cups. All those lonely moments measured out in coffee spoons, in laundry bills, in used toilet paper rolls, in dirty dishes, in broken plates, in canceled checks, in empty Scotch bottles. Marriage could be lonely too. Marriage could be desolate.
"Life has no plot" is one of my favorite lines.
--It's been a while since I've enjoyed a novel as much as I enjoyed this one. There was so much emotion that seemed familiar to me, or at least having witnessed, but other parts seemed weird and removed as well, the distance in the eras. Also, with my newfound interesting in learning what "existentialism" means in practice; here for the main character and her lover it seems more conflated with a kind of nihilism than I would have expected.

March 28, 2015

Remember how you used to be able to get a new game, plug it into the cartridge slot, and play? And not like wait for a 20 Gb install to disk and another 18 Gb download? Because Xbox sure don't.

March 28, 2014

This morning's links for moderates and liberals to cluck their tongues - why is it the Republicans who are against the "chilling effect" requesting parties disclose possible financial conflicts in the data they're relying on to help make policy decisions?
And one more reason to be against the death penalty is that we do is so badly and inhumanely. (The execution of our executions leaves much to be desired.)
It's this kind of thing that always made me think most religions are pretty arbitrary... with so many faiths, with mutually incompatible explanations of what's Out There -- it's more of a problem if you think one has to be literally true, and not just poetically so.

I don't understand why people have audible ring tones. If I can't feel the phone vibrate, I'm not wearing pants. If I'm not wearing pants, I'm not taking calls.

March 28, 2013

outside paxeast

Apple AirPlay is kind of amazing. Letting people be a dj and "throw" their music to a shared device, no setup being on the same wifi - brilliant. Gives Apple TV an edge over Roku, I think.


March 28, 2012

--I took part in the Zefrank kickstarter.... part of the delay for the relaunch is all the shwag he has to send out, because the kickstarter was such a success. This is shwag for somebody else but I think it's a good reminder.
The Supreme Court defending our freedom from health care - I want to see this. The core premise sounds a lot my idea for an afterlife... what if it was THIS moment, forever?


March 28, 2011
via kimmok:

I need to try it out sometime! "Charles Schulz's Peanuts comics often conceal the existential despair of their world with a closing joke at the characters' expense. With the last panel omitted, despair pervades all." It makes me wonder how the missing panels could bring these back from the brink!
It's a 'library' if you call it from main(). It's a 'framework' if main() calls you.
I hate frameworks.
iMadeGhostzilla on

Sometimes I think "is IE8 all that bad"? Then: - IE feels free to ignore the 32nd CSS file you try to load (and all thereafter.) '640K oughta be enough for anyone' anyone?
Continuing the MS hate explicates a long held view of mine

jz eb + me: pax east

(1 comment)
March 28, 2010
JZ, EB, and I went to PAX East, a great big fun video game thing kind of sponsored/founded by the online comic strip Penny Arcade.

At PAX- heh, it's Curt Schilling on a panel on the future of MMORPGs....

a little more action please

March 28, 2009

Ah, the unemployed's "did one big thing" satisfaction: yesterday it was a trip from Good Will to the MIT lunch truck to Micro Center to Staples to Best Buy to the Post Office, in roughly increasing level of annoyance. But you know, for working life, many days that one big thing is just "going to work"...
Friends help friends move. Dumb friends help JZ move into a 4th floor walkup.
It's a little weird how many NPR shows are using Twitter, but it probably is a near ideal real time question screening tool.

japan observation ramble wrapup extravaganza!

March 28, 2008
So during my trip I kept a list of "Japan Topics" on my iPhone, a few words to remind me of a topic I wanted to mention in the travelog... the thing was my daily updates were often done for speed, so most days I just selected, picked, and captioned the photos without so much verbiage.

On the plane ride back I decided to type up what I had to say while Japan was still fresh in my mind. It got pretty wordy though (also some if it reads as if I was typing on a tiny laptop keyboard while sleep deprived on a plane) so rather than taking up all the space here (or breaking it up over a course of days...) I made each iPhone note a link to display/hide what I wrote about that on the plane. Or just hit "Show All" and see just how wordy I got... there are a few last photos lurking in there to.


"biggest/ seems like land w.o. enough to do"
"there is a lot of language to ignore people don't read anyway - also USA fairly multilingual"
"land of cell ringtones"
"josh on students consulting each other"
"point cards / loyalty programs"
"internet cafe / overnight"
"frission of earthquake"
"thankful for robot"
"Einstein letter to FDR / military police committee minutes"
"little sense of big cities small when talking tickets"
"ask showing fingers over five"
"doorways step up over"
"use of please"
"rr pass envy and reserve seats"
"Japanese foreplay = 'brace yourself!'"
"formula at register / and tray / seasonal foods"
"green spot / eyelids Japanese"
"build boat on lake water?"
"kabuki description"
"fedora and alex"
"libraries in museums"
"tipping, lack thereof.. sales tax wired in / most coins clearly labled... big bills ok"
"rice balls are neither, sort of"
"stairs more for disembarking"
"trains and naps, warm... plus heated seats"
"conductor and cart ladies on train always bow"
"train timing makes up for not knowing Japanese"
"loyalty to objects I travel with"

So thanks again Josh and Tomomi and Erin... I had a fantastic great neat time there and it was all over way too soon...

lucky 13 x 2

March 28, 2007
The other day on the radio, I swear I heard some factoid that if the Pentagon were an independent nation, it would rank, like eleventh or so in terms of wealth, beating out even India. Could that possibly be true? That's astounding if so.

(I couldn't quite Google the fact up, but India's 2005 GDP was $785 billion, and the Pentagon just requested $622 billion budget, so it's in the ballpark at least.)


Personal Story of the Moment
Once upon a time, in a land far far away, a little girl was born.
The time, actually, was the 13th of March, 1975.
And the place, actually, was the #13 hospital in St. Petersburg.
When this little girl turned 13 (there's that number again!)
she was taken out of that cold and far away place to see the world....
Austria, and Italy, and then finally, the city of Boston.
Still cold! But much less far away.
So the little girl grew up in Boston and experienced
So Much of the world around her: yoga, and the beaches,
and music, and crazy diets, and, of course... boys.

After carefully considering boys from many countries,
she finally chose a wonderful Dutch fellow,
for Dutch fellows have many wonderful qualities.
For instance, this boy agreed to color his hair for her.
And he made the cutest kitty-like "Mwaaaa" sounds when happy.
And he even moved all the way to the United States to be with that girl.
And so the girl and the Dutch boy got married,
and decided to have a baby....
The other day Lena enlisted my help polishing this story. But the odd thing is... it's her story, but as it's told here, in all its particulars, it's also the story of her friend Ina! (Whose wedding Lena was writing it for.) They share a birthday, birth hospital, and have lived an uncanny amount of parallels since.

And I wish both of them the best in the "now they live happily ever after!" part that comes next!

Doodle of the Moment

--Snuck in between taking notes during a meeting. Yay for Tablet PCs!


March 28, 2006
Personal Obervation of the Moment
According to this, I'm not a very good Aries." Of all the signs of the Zodiac, Aries is probably the biggest go-getter and the most motivated employee."??? Oy.

Geek Links of the Moment
How to write unmaintainable code.

Also in geek news, Apple is turning 30, and Wired has a good gallery of Apple screenshots thorugh the years with a few comments on each.

Oh, and I was over at FoSO and FoSOSO's place last night, and we discovered that I'm the number one google hit for "antihippopotamus", thanks to the Paul Blair haiku I quoted a while back.

javawesome, baby

March 28, 2005
Site Update of the Moment
A few times now I've caught myself saying "Yeah! Go see my java toys! Err...just go to the search page and enter "<applet" and..." which really is a bit too much, so I made a stylish (if I do say so myself) java toy webpage with uniform screenshots and links.

I also rearranged the sidebar, adding a dumb coffe pun icon for the java page, and demoting Flap-Ping and Small Gif Cinema to "other things" from "features".

You're all on the edge of your seats awaiting my next site structure update, I'm sure.

Mundane Life Update of the Moment
I got one of those DVD/VCR combos to replace my beloved but ailing VCR, the one I've had since college. (Panasonic and 'til recently reliable...also the first time I saw a scroll wheel, years before they showed up on mainstream computer mice.) I mostly need a VCR in lieu of a proper cable box, and though I'm not crazy about the two-things-break-for-the-price-of-one aspect of dual units, it made my AV stack less precarious, and jived better with the inputs of my receiver.

Anyway, I was surprised to find out that they must be sticking more data in the vertical blank of a television image...I think that's where they've been putting in closed captioning for a while, but now many stations identify themselves there, and some even list the current program, which is nice when you don't have an online guide. And it was likely there all this time, and I just didn't realize because of my aging VCR.

Similarly, for us non-digital-cable, non-Tivo-enabled people is the best online tv guide I've seen since the now defunct

Article of the Moment on the differences between America and Europe's approaches to E-mail, the former seemingly evolved from how people use the phone, the latter from how people use business letters. The author says he's coming round to the Euro point of view, finishing with "I'm fed up with an inbox cluttered with rambling, barely cogent missives from friends and colleagues. If the alternative is a few stiffly written, politely worded bits of Euromail, then I say -- bring it on." Maybe he needs friends and colleagues with better writing skills? (Or more likely, needs to sound like a bit less of a snob.) I personally am fed up with the spam...the missives from friends and colleagues are generally always welcome, cogent or no.

who is that middle aged man in the lobster hat?

March 28, 2004

My 3-part birthday party went well yesterday. The afternoon gaming attracted a good crowd. I showed off JoustPong, and we bounced from system to system, though the definite hit of the afternoon were the EyeToy camera games... watching everyone take a turn making a goofball of themselves warding off waves of tiny ninjas or keeping UFOs spinning was irresistible.

Dinner at Summer Shack was great as well, a large group, 20-odd people. That's me hoisting a mojito and wearing a birthday-boy lobster hat. Great food, I had a tuna steak with Kim Chee and Jasmine rice, but I felt a little bad because the place ended up being a bit pricey...for everyone but me that is! Thank goodness for the birthday-boy-doesn't-pay rule...suckers! (I kid, I kid.)

Finally we headed back to my place for the booze and shmooze...probably this was the least energetic part, I think the restaurant tapped out a bit of the usual shmooze aspect, but still. There was more Eye Toy played, but then when I attempted to spark the dancing with some music and a background video (to stop the TV/sound system from shutting off) the video I picked proved too interesting, so the dancing got short-circuited. Ah well. We ended the evening with some Karaoke. We also had tasty strawberries in fudge dip and anise pizzelles.

Small Gif Cinema of the Moment
Oddly enough, we later caught the very same guy responsible for putting me in a lobster hat flailing wildly for the Eye Toy. This was sometime after he insisted on flinging a couch pillow about to help him clear the foam in the virtual window washing game. The virtual window washing game was about as much fun as it sounds, but most of the other games were great.

Link of the Moment
The Sneeze is a pretty funny blog, with a very special feature: Steve, Don't Eat It! Latest entry: his wife's breast milk. Odd that as a culture we're pretty squeamish about that...especially considering he is mixing it up with Hershey's syrup. That page is laugh-out-loud funny in parts, or at least, giggle.

Article of the Moment
The archives of Stanley Kubrick. "Attention to detail" doesn't even begin to describe it.

pursuing happiness, and sometimes catching it

March 28, 2003
Passage of the Moment
I suggest that if we, through force of imagination, were to dilate time to experience it as the Pac-Man does, and increase the resolution to allow us to read as much into each pixel as the Pac-Man must, we would not see the identical dots as identical at all. When the microscopic differences in each pixel are made large, each dot will possess a snowflake's uniqueness, and the acquisiion of each--no, the experience of each--will bring the Pac-Man a very specific and distinct joy or sorrow. The dots all rack up points equally, of course, in retrospect, however, some are revealed as wrong choices, links in a chain of wrong choices that trace out a wrong path leading to a withering demise beneath the adorable and utterly unforgiving eyes of Blinky, Inky, Pinky, or Clyde.
D. B. Weiss, "Lucky Wander Boy".
An interesting Douglas Coupland-ish novel, but with a focus on classic video games, and a side in the dot com world. I posted a review of it on

Book Review of the Moment
I just finished Dan Savage's Skipping Towards Gomorrah. It was really terrific, I thoughtful but fun romp through each of the seven deadly sins and an attack on the ridiculous and hupocritical "morality" of commentators like Bork and Buchanan: but he points out some of the idiocies of the left as well. One of his central ideas is that as adults, we can choose our own course, that we can choose to take some risks, and dabbling in drugs or gambling or sex is not the inevitable slippery slope that our culture tries to tell us it is. He also points out how these commentators who so often go back to the founding documents of our nation so often ignore the "pursuit of happiness" bit, especially when it's not a path to happiness that they like for themselves. A really good read.

Toy of the Moment
CNN has some Rotateable 3D Models of some of our armed forces' tanks, planes, etc. You need to load a plugin but it's pretty painless.

Comment of the Moment
"I don't see Saddam Hussein capitulating. He's come to the conclusion he's not going to make it out alive, and now he wants a larger chapter in the history book. He'll fight until the bitter end."
Patrick Garrett, senior fellow at
You know it might sound stupid or somehow unpatriotic to say but I don't think that this war is going all that well. They weren't shocked, they weren't awed. The bombs came and they find themselves still standing. The fight is gonna be for Baghdad. We'll win the battle but lose the war...or rather, win the war but loose the larger war. In the desert, we can kick ass and take names. In the cities, it might look more like Vietnam or Soviet-era Afghanistan. Just a guess.

i wanna live a life of leisure

March 28, 2002
Link of the Moment
Ranjit pointed me to Leisure Town [PG13 link]... pretty funny, twisted stuff. I like the little taglines that appear at various places throughout the site "BOSTON WAGES WAR AGAINST CANCER: BOSTON 0, CANCER 80,000,000,000,000" and "OKAY VERY FUNNY: WHO WROTE 'SEX BOAT' ON MY CAR WITH SOAP THAT DOESN'T COME OFF" If you're in a hurry or want to learn a brilliant magic trick, just check out The Chinese Sticks. I've never seen a better use for those plasticky bendy dolls.

Quote of the Moment
I'm just a O(n) person in a O(log n) world.
I guess it's a bit of a computer science / math geek joke.

wild wild west west

March 28, 2001
Media of the Moment
I was watching Wild Wild West on some movie channel the other day. You know, that wasn't as bad a flick as people seem to think, at least for being a summer blockbuster. Visually it was beautifully shot, and a lot of the "retrofuture" stuff, the giant machinery of war, was really neat. When I finished "The Difference Engine", a more down to earth piece that asked "what would 19th century England have been like had Babbage's mechanical computers worked", I was trying to think of other examples of "steampunk", a nickname for the genre. (The term combines 'cyberpunk', a dystopic scifi genre of the 80s and 90s, with the idea of engines powered by steam.) Anyway, Wild Wild West was it, albeit in a goofy summer blockbuster kind of way.

Quote of the Moment
"What? You're back again again already?"
"Hey, be nice to me. I've just been through a near-death experience."
"Really? When did this happen?"
"Well, it was kind of spread out over the last 15 years or so..."

"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?