April 7, 2021

gimme the peat boys and free my loam i wanna get lost in your rock and stone and sift away

As together they staggered toward the bed, fell heavily onto the bed. The physical reality of another's body is always a shock--size, density, heat.
Joyce Carol Oates, from "Detour" (via Harper's Magazine)

April 7, 2020

I really gotta up my game...

Wisconsin Republicans are fucking evil, and the 5 if the 9 on the Supreme Court has got their back. "Oh does little snowflake want an absentee ballot? GUESS YOU SHOULDA THOUGHT OF THAT BEFORE A WORLDWIDE PANDEMIC, HUH CHUMP?"

from the article:
"Wisconsin has long been scheduled to hold an election on April 7. There are more than 3,800 seats on the ballot, and a crucial state Supreme Court race. But the state's ability to conduct in-person voting is imperiled by COVID-19. Thousands of poll workers have dropped out for fear of contracting the virus, forcing cities to shutter dozens of polling places. Milwaukee, for example, consolidated its polling locations from 182 to five, while Green Bay consolidated its polling locations from 31 to two. Gov. Tony Evers asked the Republican-controlled Legislature to postpone the election, but it refused. So he tried to delay it himself with an executive order on Monday. But the Republican-dominated state Supreme Court reinstated the election, thereby forcing voters to choose between protecting their health and exercising their right to vote."
Seriously, what kind of brazen bullshit is this?

We will not see diseases like the coronavirus come here..and isn't that refreshing when contrasting it with the awful presidency of President Obama.
Kayleigh McEnany, Trump's new Press Secretary
Well, it's not like Trump uses a press secretary (see Stephanie Grisham's 9 month reign sans an actual press conference) but still... these people make good ol' Baghdad Bob look like reliable sources.

the good of the many, the few, the one

April 7, 2019
I've been thinking about Spock lately.

As a child watching original Star Trek (and on a black and white TV for many of those years - come to think of it, these days many of the effects and makeup look bad when seen in HD - but considering only between 25-50% of TVs were color when the show was being broadcast, it holds up pretty well - I wonder how many design choices were made because they would read ok in black and white as well as showing off the new color capabilities.)

Ok, back to my point - growing up watch Star Trek at an impressionable age, I took the Vulcans' party line of "Vulcans don't HAVE emotions" at face value- assuming the aliens were somehow *physiologically* rational, and that it was just Spock's human half that was adding the drama. Now of course I see that the writers were showing a more nuanced picture, that Vulcan itself was a planet with a history of deep emotion, now rigidly controlled by training, philosophy, and cultural norms, and you could see signs of that in the few "pure" Vulcans the series provided.

I think about the old "I Grok Spock" campaign, and while it was a bit of a early fandom shibboleth it also reflected the fans' own working through their own dualities - how we have this emotional core that might be providing all the raw motive energy, but that needs to be tempered by logic and rationality. (Some of that is speculation, since that movement was before my time.)

Later came the movies. In "Wrath of Khan", Kirk and Spock return to the phrase "the good of the many outweigh the good of the few, or the one." (Though looking at the script I see the first time through it's "the needs". probably close enough to synonyms, but interesting.) Depending on how you draw the venn diagram of many/few/one, the result can be monstrous -

if the three sets don't come together and you are still playing a utilitarian "many vs few" game then you are deep in tyrany of the majority territory, where minority rights will be ignored.

Logically, Spock was probably implying nested sets:

What's slightly non-obvious about this diagram, and how it serves as the model for Spock's sacrifice that saves the ship, is that the good of the one is *still a component* of the good of the few, and the same for the few of the many. But sometimes what looks like "playing the martyr" to an outsider, or "masochism" (to use my therapist's term for it) misses the fact that it's not sacrifice for its own sake that is the pleasure, but logically aligning oneself with a kind of logical, group utilitarianism.

(Arguably you could see Spock's sacrifice as lessened since he was doomed along with the rest of the crew anyway, but his fight through the radiation in the reactor room entailed a radically painful death. )

In general, I think it's human and ok to add a bonus modifier in the "one" and "few" vs the "many" calculation when there's a conflict, but unlike the Ayn Randians I think that multiplier needs to be modest.

(Incidentally, I recently refreshed my memory of every episode in ST:TOS with the podcast Gimme That Star Trek's TOS Full Series Review - recommended)
next weeks finish line for the marathon this weeks viewing stand for the greek parade:

i'm gonna miss this shirt. For Old Navy it was a surprisingly authentic seeming Aloha shirt, with the vibrant print on the inside and the outside more muted. Like Kondo suggests I thank it for its service.

April 7, 2018

Hey I brought my famous one layer dip, it's mostly salsa.

On my devblog: good ux for print maps for porchfests and other many-performances events
I'm slowly getting better at acting on knowing that "it's ok to leave some bits and disclaimers and 'why I think I know this' out in order to have clearer and easier to follow conversations and email." If a topic is worth pursuing in more depth, there will be time for that after! But man, living this takes a lot of concentration and deliberate empathy.

The urge to either show off how well I know the situation, or acknowledge the validity of other view points, or just cram in every nuance on the off chance it will be useful - so forceful.
she ate the ears!!!

march 2017 new music playlist

April 7, 2017
Pretty good month! Starting with one the relatively rare 5 star songs, and going down from there...

5 Star:

4 Star: 3 Star

April 7, 2016

all-day meeting notes...


April 7, 2015

Click to play -- this is a collaboration I made with EBB1 (EB's Baby 1 - now in third grade....) Trying to get these gals interested in programming! It's fun making little interactive things with them.

April 7, 2014

via spikefetish

playlist march 2013

April 7, 2013
March was a very solid month for music... I'm wondering if I'm too stingy with the 4 and 5 stars, because "So Fast, So Maybe" is so near a 5, and some of the other ones are close to a 4. Maybe I should start using 1/2 stars like people tell me I can now... (UPDATE: I decided to be a little less stingy. "So Fast" is 5 stars, and a few other 4 stars are marked in red.)

As always exclamation marks point out videos that are more than just static images.

Hiphopish Modern Stuff with Retro Forms Spoken Word and Misc 90sish Brass and Marching Band Related Covers

the kirktopus

April 7, 2012
I received a birthday card from my buddy Sawers! This was the front.

(I case it wasn't clear the card was homemade.)


Very nice! The "little thing" mentioned was a tin of mints in the shape of the classic Atari Joystick, like I put into pixel form for pixeltime...

No joke: We've reached Peak Helium. The price was kept artificially low by Congressional mismanagement. Helium prices are soaring. (Ok, one joke.) That makes me said; floating balloons are a bit magical.

the fabric of soviet life

April 7, 2011
From Soviet Fabrics Of The 20s - 30s, via daphaknee:

Clearly we need more tractor-based textiles in our lives!
All programmers are playwrights and all computers are lousy actors.

the end is nearer

The visual design of the iPhone app icon communicates that it is like a little physical pebble. Unlike other platforms, iPhone icons have no negative space. Every icon has the same solid shape. They can optionally have a gloss, which is applied by UIkit and on by default for developers, and the uniformity of this lighting effect across many icons further reinforces the effect.

I feel like I could take all my apps and put them in a little bag and carry them around. Just like the collection of marbles I had as a kid. There is something viscerally satisfying about the physicality of those little app icons.

You may be thinking you're too sophisticated to be influenced by this, but I'm pretty sure we humans haven't evolved as fast as our technology over the last few decades.
Some astute analysis. It's just one aspect of physicality and kinetic feel that Apple is doing so well with these devices...

cleveland filler day 3

April 7, 2010

Yours 'Til Niagara Falls of the Moment
After we took in the falls we headed over to Clifton Hill, which is a crazy mashup of glitzy and lowbrow rides and attractions. Amber consented to go on the big old ferris wheel the Sky...
It's humbling, actually. When you devote your entire life to the endless, selfless quest to improve the lives of others; when you live a monk-like existence, and focus all of your power and genius on the singular goal of creating objects that nourish souls and transform people's lives with magic and wonder; and when people tell you that this is, indeed, what you've done -- well, it's gratifying. Namaste, entire population of Spaceship Earth. I honor the place where your desire to consume becomes one with my desire to create.

http://www.metafilter.com/90762/LADYGAGA-for-14-points#3028153 - alternate rules for board games (in honor of the "dumbing down" of Scrabble) - I wonder if Candyland could be fun with those rules?
You know what I think will really revolutionize comics? People making better f*cking comics.

pow kapow pew pew pew

April 7, 2009
--Horklog said it best: "Pow Kapow Pew Pew Pew!" Fun site, sometimes NSFW.

Ronald Reagan is our man
The leader of our nation
The only problem with him
Is mental retardation
Childhood "Yankee Doodle" variant.
Doesn't quite scan, and seems a bit mean now.
http://b3ta.com/questions/unemployed/ - makes me wonder what I'd be doing if it wasn't programming. At one point I thought teaching English.
UI FAIL: Outlook for Windows client, compose an email, copy a URL from an address bar, paste it... font for it changes to Times New Roman.

poplocking for freedom

April 7, 2008
So, one thing I noted about Josh and Tomomi's life with lil' Erin in a small Japanese apartment was the attention to daily (and nightly) routine. Stuff like wiping moisture off the windows (to prevent mold etc), folding up the tatami futons ("Thank You and OK!" had one character using the other character's failure to do so a a sign of moral failure and general depravity; Josh said at one point in his life he was failing to do so, 'til his friends asked "err, what's this discoloration on the bottom of your futon?"), general tidying of up, etc. It reminded me a bit of Zen ritual.

Maybe that's overstating the case, it's just a coping strategy for a small pace, and Josh might be a neat guy on his own, but still.

I guess what I lack is a sense of dissatisfaction when things aren't put right before bed. If I could get that I'd be a neater person. I wonder if I can somehow leverage moving into a smaller place (hopefully with significantly less clutter) to get myself to change in that regard.

In some ways this is yet another instantiation of "not enough time"; it would be better to always make sure all the daily laundry was carefully sorted in terms of wear again v. laundry, to make sure that all half completed projects were put away, to not let there be any mail I angst-fully set aside to get at later, but it's so tempting at night to drop into bed, in part because I'd prefer to stay up too late and extract the maximum value from a day.

Video of the Moment

--"Run DMZ"! North vs South Korea in a dancing duel! Though I wonder if South Koreans appreciate the implication that George Bush is to South Korea what Kim Jong-il is to the North.

Quote of the Moment
The other day I had an experience so startling and unexpected that it made me spill a soft drink down my shirt. (Though, having said that, I don't actually need an unexpected event to achieve this. All I need is a soft drink.)
Bill Bryson, "I'm a Stranger Here Myself"

kungfu party

April 7, 2007
Gotta go get ready for my delayed birthday party today. It's a small little thing but I kind of liked the Kung-Fu theme I came up with for the party, and the drawings of Me and Miller:

I still can't draw reliable caricatures (except of myself) for crap, but still, it was fun.

Gotta get busy...

running away to see the circus

April 7, 2006
It turns out that it's harder than you might expect to give away tickets to the Circus, at least on a Thursday. But in the end I'm glad Ksenia decided to go... her class got cancelled anyway, and all I had to do was duck out a tad early from Prof. Schmolze's memorial service (I guess I could try to rationalize it as fitting in the "celebrating life" mandate for the service, though that's pretty transparent.)


April 7, 2005
Art Toy of the Moment

--Whee! I finally finished a public (perpetual) beta of k/stencil, a Java toy that lets people upload their own images and overlay text. You can upload images, tweak to your heart's content, and then share in a public gallery. Give it a shot! Eventually I'd like to run a contest on loveblender with this... feedback on the interface is welcome, though I know it's a little clunky, and that's probably not going to change.

Thought of the Moment
People are the only animals to voluntarily ignore their sleep needs, according to Van Cauter. They stay up to play, work, socialize, or watch television. However, she adds, "We're overstepping the boundaries of our biology because we are not wired for sleep deprivation."
The article (pointed out by Bill) had some points about the biological differences between very heavy people and people of healthier weights...I guess the trick is acknowledging the challenges obese people face while still acknowledging their responsibility to at work at their health.

Anyway, I'm not sure how proven it is, but I love that idea that humans are the only animals to want to stay up late...it's a semi-defintion of humanity that goes well with my notions of how stuff that's "interesting" is axiomatically good in my value system. (Especially since now that it looks like that line about "Man is the only animal that laughs" probably ain't true.) Seeking out "interesting" stuff is at the root of our humanity.

Congressional Idea of the Moment
2 months more of DST every year? Sign me up! I don't care if it's like .05% of our daily energy needs...I want more light in the evenings!

In Cleveland, pretty far west in the Eastern time zone, we had lovely long, light evenings. Yeah, in the winter I had to trudge to school before it was light out, but it was worth it.

the best mac and cheese like dish in the history of bachelorkind

April 7, 2004

It started, as these things always do, when I was looking for a bite to eat. Now, I keep a pretty bare fridge and pantry. This isn't even mostly a bachelor boy laziness thing; I am trying to lose some weight, and I find available interesting food can be an issue for me. But, I found some cans of tuna, and I knew I did have the ingredients for Tuna ala Kirk...but, Mo took the can opener. And she didn't just take the can opener...she left the can opener originally, then came back for it. I think under the "Mo gets everything made out of stainless steel" principle (garbage cans, bathroom accessories, kitchen untensils etc) which of course is the obvious outgrowth of "Mo likes stuff made out of stainless steel" principle.

But she did leave behind an opened bag of organic Fussilini pasta. And from my recent party, I had half a jar of salsa con queso...which is more queso than salsa, but anyway. (Actually, most of this sprung from trying to find something decent to put the salsa con queso on.) I also had a container of salsa...Santa Fe salsa, or something...more nicely diced vegetable bits than glop, the good stuff that's sold cold in a plastic container rather than room temperature in a jar. So I cook the pasta, then pour the cheese directly on the pasta...(cold...it chills out the pasta nicely, I hate super hot food) and then some of the salsa.

Man...it was so good. I mean, I've always liked salsa on mac and cheese, and-- ...but pasta is kind of like, tortilla-like...no seriously! It's great. You gotta try it! Well, whatever, maybe you think it's an abomination, but I was the one who had a crazy italian mexican fiesta in my mouth last night and loved it!

Please don't quote the "had a crazy italian mexican fiesta in my mouth last night and loved it!" line out of context. Thanks.

Odd Tax Laws of the Moment
--from this year's version of the annual press release, Taxware Announces the "Top Ten Most Unusual Sales Tax Laws For 2004". Aside from some geek-cool-technology stuff, I'm afraid that's about as amusing as my job gets, folks. And such odd little laws are what keep companies like mine in business!

if at second you don't succeed, give up

(1 comment)
April 7, 2003
Quote of the Moment
It is better to have tried and failed than to have failed to try, but the result's the same.
Mike Dennison.
I think I disagree with this statement; the result is the same only in the context of yes/no, did the thing get completed. Much of the surrunding situation can be very different based on whether the thing was attempted and what form the failure took.
And whether it's better to try or not to try...I dunno, I think one of my bigger personality flaws is that I'd rather not give something a whirl and know I'm bad at it then give it a shot and know that it's beyond me.

Encyclopedia Brown of the Moment
A guys blog prevented him getting taken in by a relationship based on baldfaced lies and manipulation. What's interesting is the geekiness of the final "trick question" he pulls on her. Kind of scary that there are people out there like that woman. (busted link, try Wayback Machine Archive)

Link of the Moment
A pretty big page with a bunch of optical illusions.

Tribute of the Moment
Brief salon.com piece on Seasame Street as it begins its 34th season. Huh, kind of odd to think it's only 5 years older than I am, that it's not one of those eternal things.

Article of the Moment
Some background and information on that most lovely and rewarding habit of ours, Daylight Saving Time. I wish it was all year 'round! The interactive flash on the Rationale & Original Idea page is especially cool, and even informative. Benjamin Franklin really was a genius.

spring forward

April 7, 2002
Spring forward! Finally. Though it seems odd to think that we're halfway to the longest days of the year already...

Funny of the Moment
We felt we ought to take at least one ride that has earned a yellow international warning triangle ("might be intense for children and some adults"), and that's how we chose The Haunted Mansion, in which people travel around in chairs through--you know, an upmarket haunted house. This, in fact, produced a moment of intensity, a holiday from confusion, in which I had the following clear thoughts: People die, sometimes suddenly. Suppose I did here. That would be such an irresistibly amusing anecdote for my survivors that what little dignity had accompanied this life would be gone forever. I was very glad to get out of The Haunted Mansion alive.
Richard Todd, "Lost in the Magic Kingdom" from May's The Atlantic

Link of the Moment
Stressed out? Layoff rumors abounding? Then maybe you need a Moment of Simplicity...kind of goofy, and ultimately an advertisement, but kind of neat.

swing batter batter

April 7, 2001
Things looking pretty bright on the jobhunt. More later.... (yeah I'm probably totally leaving my massive audience in suspense.)

She Blinded Me With Science
New materials doing wacky things with light.

Story of the Moment
Did I ever tell you about the time I almost killed a gym teacher? Seventh or Eighth grade. We were playing T-ball, where you whack a softball off of a pole. I always had trouble with my stance, and how I held the bat, so the teacher helped me a bit and then backed away, telling me to swing. I did. Did I mention I tended to throw the bat? (It just seems so natural to make that part of the swing!) Anyway, I threw the bat directly into the gym teacher's gut. She was down, though I got to third before I realized there was a problem back at home plate. She had trouble breathing, I took off my shirt to put under her head (later she thanked me for that, I guess she knew that could be pretty traumatic for a chubby middle schooler), by the time the ambulance got there she was feeling ok but the ambulance took her off anyway. She was back the next day-- not even a bruise. I brought her balloons and a card-- I felt terrible. Half the school said "why'd you do that, man?" the other half said "Shoulda swung harder".

The Sportsman's Guide makeover is looking even uglier than I expected. Makes it tough not to try to run away. What kind of loyalty do I have?