April 6, 2024

Civilization and science fight against the natural mistakes of our brains. It's a wonder of our species that we're learning to use our brains to fight our brains. If you feel it, but it isn't right, don't do it and don't believe it. We can be better than natural -- we're human.
Penn Jillette

The Dinosaur Park, Cedar Creek TX

Open Photo Gallery

April 6, 2023

This month's new music. (I admit I'm tired of the old song and dance I used to put into this...)

4 star:
Mercedes Benz (Janis Joplin)
Simply Irresistible (feat. Brad Davis) (Pickin' On Series)
Follow the Leader (7" Edit) (Eric B. & Rakim)
Otis (feat. Otis Redding) (JAY-Z & Kanye West)
Mercedes Benz I had all the way back in college, but weirdly didn't make the cut when I ripped my DVDs (also does she change the key halfway through?) Simply Irresistible is a fun bluegrass-y cover. The other two are just good sounding hiphop.

3 star:
We Shall Win (Euphonium Multi-Track) (Jorijn van Hese)
Just a Girl (feat. Loah) (Wyvern Lingo)
I See a Darkness (Johnny Cash)
Tina (La Integracion)
Break Through It All (feat. Kellin Quinn) (SEGA / Tomoya Ohtani)
1985 (Bowling for Soup)
Toujours gai (From "Shinbone Alley") (Eartha Kitt)
Goodbye Earl (The Chicks)
You're Gonna Go Far, Kid (The Offspring)
Play Ball (Kenny Mason)
Jumpin' Jack Flash (7" Mix) (Aretha Franklin)
Gritty Man (.45 Soundtrack) (Timothy Sean Fitzpatrick)
Survivor (2WEI & Edda Hayes)
Mad About the Boy (From "Words and Music") (The Piccadilly Dance Orchestra)
A 9-year-old girl didn't want her goat slaughtered. California fair officials sent deputies after it JFC, maybe ACAB after all.

April 6, 2022

Some deep lore - this rant about the (un-)wisdom of parsing html via regex (a bit more of an explanation here)

April 6, 2021

When little people are overwhelmed by big emotions, it's our job to share our calm, not join their chaos.
L.R. Knost.
Just ran across the image of this quote Chas posted a few years ago. It has stuck with me ever since - not just in terms of dealing with toddlers, but just folks in general.

Like I dunno. I curate my emotions; try to live in a garden where I cultivate the things I like and snip out things that don't seem useful while they're still barely seedlings. To switch metaphors, I don't think it's good to let emotions snowball and then gain their own subjective momentum, only loosely connected to the objective reality of the circumstance.

But people are very romantic about emotions. They point out that maybe I'm missing out on certain forms of pleasures in life by being in the habit of being even-tempered (the flareups of frustration that still burst through not withstanding)... that I can't throw out the bathwater of stupid feelings without losing the baby of the good ones - ecstatic pleasure, say, or useful righteous anger. And of course I can't use this "it's my job to share my calm" thought in terms of grownups without risking sounding like a condescending jerk.
Certain forms of perplexity – for example, about freedom, knowledge, and the meaning of life – seem to me to embody more insight than any of the supposed solutions to those problems.
Thomas Nagel

I've been dabbling with Noom, a CBTish weight management program, though honestly it's not too different than what I'd been doing the months before.

Anyway, one lesson they have is, only slightly paraphrasing "we aren't born with a sweet tooth, our taste for sweets is learned over time. However, we are predisposed to like sugary treats."

To me that's a distinction without a difference. Like if our wiring is such that in developing in a typical environment we invariably develop a sweet tooth, then saying "we aren't born with it, yet are predisposed to it" makes little sense.

Some friends of mine are interested, or concerned, with my skepticism about personal growth / change. This is a decent instance of something I was trying to explain to them before; like the potential for everything that's part of us (a sweet tooth, say, or even the ability to manage a sweet tooth) is there from the beginning. We have some limited potential to mold that expression and develop some parts and diminish others, but it's all curation of the same base material we are born with, and our striving for personal development are set against a host of environmental factors, some positive some negative, that we don't have control over either.
Just downloaded Van Morrison's "Into the Mystic", since in a week we'll be moving a few blocks from the mystic river.

But the foghorn sound reference(actually pretty artsy!) in the song makes me realize he's probably not singing about the river.

Also, I understand his frustration with the past year or so in terms of live music and the impact on musicians, but can't really get behind his anti-Lockdown songs...
She had curves in all the wrong places - some of them cast a 3-dimensional shadows, still others hummed a low, discordant note as they flitted about like flies. She was nothing like other girls - she was an abomination from the 6th plane of torment

Kids these days will never know the beautiful sounds of dial up internet. It was like listening to a chorus of angels getting hit by a garbage truck

April 6, 2020

Straightened up the stand under the TV a bit yesterday, it's been a chaotic mess for a while.

Got sad about my tendency to have old video game systems around, ready to play, and then hardly ever doing so. A fair number of foolhardy purchases, a system I spend big-ish on, play a bit, and then not much again. (Like, the PS4 VR Helmet, where the only memorable thing I've done with it is a single X-wing mission in Battlefront - though in that case I was kind of goaded by my erstwhile buddy for not practicing what I preach in terms of neophilia.)

Or the older systems, stacks and stacks of games for some of those. Of course, it's extra melancholy... in the Aughts I'd run quarterly or so gaming get togethers, and now my pipe dreams of getting some like that again (or even adjacent to my birthday party) seems even more pathetic in the shadow of COVID. (Never been a big fan of online play - as with music streaming, I think the tech is moving away from my preferences.)

There's so much interesting stuff in games. So weird to think about how many programmer and designer hours went into so many of these, and how forgotten so many will be. I suppose that's true for other big media things, like movies. And when I think about culling my collection... I dunno... Should old a-game-ance be forgot, and ne'er brought to mind?

Finally, as I rejiggered the tv connections, sometimes it would lapse to broadcast TV. I don't watch much live TV, so commercials already seem a bit odd... and now, all the ones remade under COVID times are truly bizarre feeling. Toyota talking about how they will still keep their repair centers staffed in a socially distanced way, Taco Bell making some offer of free Doritos Locos on some specific day... "family" and "safety" seemed to be a big point of emphasis in a lot of them.
Oddly whimsical Soviet "There is No God" poster.

I suppose this is subject to "and now there is no Soviet Union" retorts...
YIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIKES - Big Bird was slated to be on the Space Shuttle Challenger, the one that exploded. Good lord, I never thought the death of teacher Christa McAuliffe and the other astronauts could be the less-bad scenario.

April 6, 2019

casually saying "you can't squeeze hummus out of a baby" instead of "you can't get blood from a stone"

parade by patrick johnson

Amazing assemblage of School of Honk footage:

Parade from Patrick Johnson on Vimeo.

I think that's me doing a tuba solo at 2:35-2:50, in the footage second row left...

April 6, 2017

If Russia's response to our Tomahawk missile attacks is muted, Trump's popularity will rebound; he looks tougher than Obama on an important WMD/civilian-children-saving way, and he counters suspicion that he is unduly in Putin's pocket.

Of course, is Russia's response is not so muted, his popularity goes up, since we always rally around the Commander-in-Chief when the war drums beat.

So likely a win for Trump in the rating sweeps either way, I guess, which is how he gauges success.

scenes from around the edges of HONK!TX


April 6, 2015

The literary references of Archer... (PG13)

April 6, 2014


blender of love

April 6, 2013


Blender of Love



-Miller's Google plus feed had this "Pac-Man The Movie [Fan Film]" perfect for the first day of Pax East!
Switching to an e-ink reader for a while. Physio-poetically, depending on reflected light is less isolating from the local environment than using a backlit screen is. Also it's delightfully minimalistic.

the pope and the b-boy


Years ago I posted a photo of the Pope and the Breakdancer, but now there's footage!

I'd like to see a CGI version of this where the pope gets up and gets his turn. Aw well, we live in hope.
I like tablesaw's observation that a videogame is art without audience, because the player is collaborator or performer, not observer.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=txaUPwC1EyE - whoa Bangai-O sequel... still sad I couldn't quite get into the DS version.
According to cemetary industry statistics, the average grave receives just TWO visits in its lifetime--TOTAL, by ANY friend of family member--after the initial flurry of visits that immediately follows the burial.
Jane McGonigal, "Reality is Broken".
Man, that's kind of sad -- I think Mexico with its Dia de los Muertos has the right idea...
"A house phone? A phone for the house? Who would want to talk to a house?"

cleveland filler day 2


"live Webcast Fail"

Yours 'Til Niagara Falls of the Moment

--WON'T SOMEBODY THINK OF THE WATER? (Man, I need a haircut. It looks like I'm trying to hide the hairline!)
If nothing else, OH beats MA in having gas pumps where you don't have to constantly hold the handle...

good god


Woo, onsite for my new contracting gig. New jobs have so many unknown unknowns, and the tech challenges for this one are looking hefty.
Sigh. Once again I'm in the situation of having mutually incompatible sets of friends, and so invites by me and to me get stifled. That sucks, "why can't we all just get along?"
"The average man, who does not know what to do with his life, wants another one which will last forever."
Anatole France

01010100 01110010 01101001 01110101 01101101 01110000 01101000 <3 (translation: Triumph)

A dying man can do nothing easy.

UI fail: maybe it's me, but it seems ornery how iTunes has the one+only "Import CD" button tucked way down at the lower right of the window


Whoosh. You know, this might be my first full day at home since I returned from Japan. Better get on those damn taxes! And that credit card bill...

Art Project of the Moment

--via designboom, all made of hulahoops and zipties... cool! I wonder about the math/geometry of it, if you just have to be sure to get the right number of connecting hoops per hoop or if it's tricker than that.

Quote of the Moment
"It's good to be alive. There are so many things you can't do when you're dead."
Mel Brooks, "Life Stinks"

Link of the Moment
Fictional but still entertaining, a mock court transcript of the man who stole 40,000 hangers

nothing but civil

Last night FoSO and I went to The Butcher Shop, had some good food (their Hot Dog de la Maison is kind of amusing... though more of a sausage on great crusty bread) and very good wine. Then we headed to AIB's senior exhibit where Ksenia was showing some pieces. And they had, you know, red wine that was about par for the course for receptions like that.

And I could tell the difference, the stuff at the reception was rather harsher, but if it had been poured for me at The Butcher Shop I probably would have thought that it was better than it was. I guess for me wine enjoyment is context sensitive, and also I take other people's word for the quality of things.

That said, after a great bottle of "La Crema" Chardonnay at Legal Seafood's, I know the characteristic that I'm looking for in white wine, which is "creaminess". Back in the day there was a vintage of Bogle Chardonnay we were fond of with a bottle description that specifically noted that quality.

Man. I make a pretty mediocre "foody" I'm afraid.

Also... why am I overusing quote marks so much?

Quote of the Moment
There seems to be an inordinate number of movies about mankind going to war with machines (Terminator, A.I., that Stephen King flick with all the AC/DC songs, etc.) That plot device always struck me as something of a cheap shot; as far as I can tell, machines have been nothing but completely civil to us.
Chuck Klosterman, "Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs".
It's a decent book, but... I dunno, when a guy is so pop-culture obsessed that it leaves even me a little shell-shocked, well, it might not be for everybody.

Video of the Moment

--A Mandelbrot the size of the known universe..."If the final frame were the size of your screen, the full set would be larger than the known universe." (more about the Mandelbrot set)


Tool of the Moment
Another specialty tool, k/grep is a primitive version of grep functionality. (Print only the lines from a bunch of text containing a specific substring.)

Exchange of the Moment
"Tranquility Base, you're cleared for liftoff."
"Roger, we're number one on the runway."
NASA's "Houston" and Buzz Aldrin
...that's a pretty funny thing for an astronaut to say.

Update of the Moment
At the moment I'm on the Tufts campus, a little time to spare before the memorial service for Prof. Schmolze, so I thought I'd check out a few things that are usually closed during the evenings and weekends I'm usually back here.

Like Eaton Computer Lab...different use of the space, though it's still a huge room, guess they never acted on the idea of adding a second level. They've moved the Macs here as well, rather than the old PC/VT100 split. I was actually student manager of the PC labs when I was here, and the people manning the counter are pretty indulgent of some silly questions "is it still like that?" and "you know, I was on the team that helped bring Internet to all the dorms! For most of my time here I had to use a modem!"

Funny to think about how much richer the 'net is these days in terms of interesting things, in particular the web. Hell I was here through the school's teething pains as students decided to get on this e-mail thing en masse, and saw the first few web browsers we had up. That Mosaic...whew! Pictures and text...too bad we only have it on these big ol' Sun X-terminals.

I still have to ask what's substituting for those boisterous washing-machine size line printers all the Stats students would print out reams and reams of data with.

Phew, I'm gettin' old. Better than the alternative, as attending the memorial service of a former teacher who didn't make it to his mid-50s brings home.

UPDATE: actually, they did add a second level after all, but wisely decided to renovate the classrooms that were lurking underneath the lab into additional PC space, and then build stairs going down into that.

Exchange of a Far Past Moment
She's immortal!"
"You're amoral?"
"You're a mural??"
"You're a moray eel???
Dining Hall silliness between Rick H. and myself in like 1994, though I'm not 100% sure who had which line.

bug bug debug banana fanna fo fug

Huh. I feel really blue today. Not sure why. I'm definately happier about the weather and DST, but...I dunno.

Geekery of the Moment
Log-based-debuggerers stuck on Windows rejoice! There's a port of "tail -f" or Windows. Much nice than Textpad constantly asking me "File has changed on disk. Reload?"

Sports Cheering of the Moment
The other day Slate had some interesting reads on the history of cheerleading and J.J. Jumper, largely unbeloved generic frog mascot of all NCAA basketball.


Is it just me, or does Apple iTunes kind of suck when it comes to actually having the random tune you want? Red Nex (or whatever) cover of Cotton Eye Joe, George Michael's cover of Papa Was A Rolling Stone, like 2 or 3 other things I thought of, no chance. That really sucks: that's why Napster was terrific, it just Had Every Song. iTune's 30 second preview is great (once I realized double clicking on a title activated it, it wasn't obvious); I'd buy a ton of music after a 30 second sample if they just had the selection.

Frickin' music publishers.

More Music of the Moment
Making the rounds was this video of "Japanese guitar virtuoso KeiicHi" doing the theme from Super Mario Bros on electric guitar, including some great sound effects. To me, the rhythm sounds a little strained at parts, but still pretty cool. The same page links to a more pedestrian piano version (that really chokes on the sound effects) but it was cool to see it in sheet music form.

I remember Martin Witczak in highschool did a great version of the gameboy "Super Mario Land"...a remix of that and a lot of other old videogame music as always is at Overclocked Remix...seems a bit popup heavy, so be warned.

It's amazing how catchy some of those tunes were...8-bit Nintendo was an interesting time for video game music, where the composers had more tools but still had to synthesize the music, couldn't just record it in a studio.

Cartoon of the Moment
--This has been sitting in my harddrive for a few PCs now. I don't know where it's from. I think of the punchline often at work, though for some reason I always misremember the boss as saying "work harder or your fired" which I think is somehow a little snappier.

Provocative Thought of the Moment
Report: Blix Says Iraq Worse Off After War. And I think he might be right. Despite our probably more or less good intentions, there are a lot of reasonable Iraqis who ain't gonna see us as the good guys in this one.

I still think it comes back to Saddam screwing up w/ Kuwait; yeah, it's probably part and parcel with him being a somewhat powermad dictator and all, but if he hadn't done that, we would probably hold our noses and count ourselves lucky to have a secular strongman ally in the region. And pretty much everyone but dissidents in Iraq would be living in a safer world.

Milestone of the Moment
gulp -- just put in the call to my family trust's "Real Estate Guy" and put the wheels in motion for selling the house. Friday (after the court date with Mo) his team comes over and away we go...hopefully just under the "interest rate increase" wire.

spring forward baby!

So all this week, I've done basically nothing in the evening but play through the new "Legend of Zelda" game, The Wind Waker, the one with the new cool cartoony style. Peterman, who got it for me for my birthday, asked if I was like that because it was such a compelling game or my borderline obsessive-compulsive disorder. Some of each.

It was fun to get through, but still, I think after the Grand Theft Auto series, this kind of game seems very linear, you're more or less guided from one puzzle to another, and once you've finished the story, there's not much to do, except for some of the sidequests you may have skipped...but GTA3, you go through a story overlayed on a rich world with a cool physics model, so there's always more to do. And the whole lawless morality free mayhem is kind of fun too.

Oh yeah--time to set your clocks forwards! Yay! Long evenings are here again!

Flash Toys of the Moment
Pull My Finger, Popping Clouds, Ikindemix, and some other Flash Toys from Rafael Rozendaal.

Ad of the Moment
Almost hypnotic real life Rube Goldberg contraption commercial from Honda of the UK; a slow download here, but worth it.


Funny of the Moment
Erin sent in the following, saying "The following is note my brother sent me. He lives in Atlanta and Spring is in full season down there, which means the forests, all pine trees, produce copious amounts of yellow dust: "
Atlanta is nice and warm but very pollen-y right now. As one person put it, I understand the trees need to mate, but why do they have to try to mate with my car?

Link of the Moment
Ok, a bit late, but still pretty good, a collection of the Best April Fool's Pranks of all time. Some of the runners-up were really funny as well.

fun with tablets


15 Megabytes of Fame 15 Megabytes of Fame

"Don't matter how gorgeous she is, some guy's tired of (fucking) her."
--alibaba@Hawaii.edu's grandpaw
Driving + ranting, then completely disarmed by the older asian man waggling moose ears at me.