notre dame is burning

April 16, 2019
notre dame is burning.

this is ok.

it has happened before. it will happen again. it has been lost before. it will be lost again. and again. and again. and again. art and architecture are transient, and temporary, and 850 years may seem like a lot to the individual, who will live maybe 100 if they are very lucky and very healthy, but even the pyramids at saqqara have only existed for about 6000 years and that's still not all that much, if you consider the grand scheme of things.

yes, this is terrible. as someone who is deeply religious and literally a professional historian with a focus on art and architecture, this is terrible. im mourning. im gutted. im horrified and upset and miserable. but.

it's not over.

victor hugo wrote hunchback because notre dame du paris was in the process of collapsing and falling apart, and revitalized the entire world's focus and love for this church, and that was not even 200 years ago. it led to it being renovated.

the roof has fallen in. the scars of fires are on its buttresses. the rose window has fallen out. the beams and piers have collapsed. the spire has toppled. the stones have suffered, and will suffer again, but it is not gone.

renovation work is essential. sometimes things collapse and burn and break and have to come back. it's not a terrorist attack, it's renovation, an accident, but we have so much evidence, history, carefully documented everything on one of the most studied places in the world.

it's not the end.
Hey so, French person here. And also an ex History student. I'm here to say: Please listen to o.p. above.

Obviously everyone is shocked but here's a few important key facts:

The roof is completely gone. Part of it dated back from the 13th century but the rest was from the 19th. The stone arch roof under the top roof is fine.
One of the three main stained glass rose windows has fallen out. Most of the other stained glass windows are okay.
The spire has fallen down and that's the saddest part. BUT! It was in the process of being restored and the 16 statues that were there were removed just four days ago! So they're fine.
The main structure is still here and nothing has "burned down" unlike what some people have been saying.
The "treasure" (sacred objects) is safe.

Notre Dame is still there. It's just damaged. Almost nothing was lost today, and nobody was wounded either. It's scary, but it's gonna be okay.

The only thing that should follow "i'm not racist, but..." is "I do live in a system of institutionalized racism that I absorb & actively benefit from"

a means with no end

April 16, 2018
Arun and Melissa have been indulging me with letting me sound off about some my philosophical ramblings, and comparing and contrasting to their views.

In general I haven't yet figured out how to succinctly and clearly describe my current view that Universal Truth exists (not just an objective description of the facts of the universe, but a model of what "should" be) and is somewhat knowable - or at least guessable, but - and this is the critical bit- you can NEVER be certain that you know it. Never ever. (And claiming that you have full and complete knowledge is as definitely close to "original sin" as this system gets.)

My faith is: faith is broken. At best it's a means to an end. I share Vonnegut's view "Say what you will about the sweet miracle of unquestioning faith, I consider a capacity for it terrifying and absolutely vile."

This is different, in ways subtle and coarse, from views that say "well, since Truth is unknowable, everyone has to make up their own, and also be sympathetic to other views you disagree with." In practice my view is similar: both reject brash self-assuredness, but for very different reasons- in my view, observing other people's is just a means to end. Or rather, a means with no end- because you will never know if you get there.

There's something taoist in this, which I dig, but also Plato's formsish, which is troubling me.
TIL: 'The term "wedding soup" comes from the Italian language phrase "minestra maritata" ("married soup"), which is a reference to the flavor produced by the combination/"marriage" of greens and the meat'

And here I had been thinking it was, like, originally for weddings. Sort of like having birthday cake any time of year.
One of the adventures of making websites for porchfests is dealing with quirky tech things generated by non- and semi-technical musicians.

It's easy to come up with little petty gripes like "c'mon, people, it's a BAND DESCRIPTION not your frickin' album press release blurb"!

But here: some folks uploaded 2 versions of the same image (a simple "two headshots pasted side by side into a new image" with no attempt at photoshopping, just two non-matching-background squares) One file in TIFF and then a JPG version of the same thing. And resizing it with ImageMagick for some reason converts the JPG to a photonegative.

It raises interesting questions!
1. Who uses tiff? I feel like it used to be more popular in the 90s or something? Is it probably just some old tech being used, or does it have some niche use I'm unaware of?
2. What on earth would cause a simple ImageMagick "convert {} -resize 240x240" to flip it to a freaky photo negative?

This isn't meant to be snarky - I think every band that comes together for a Porchfest is awesome, and there's no "you must be this technical to ride this ride", but I really am curious as to the background story.

April 16, 2017

"I mean." Uberman cleared his throat, adjusted his necktie, and began delivering his morning whine, which is clearly what he'd been intending to do all along. "This is, what? The third network outage this year?"

I stopped. "We're having some problems porting your database to our server, sir." I edged one step closer to the exit.

"I mean," Uberman scowled, "if I can't depend on your network, I'm screwed. Just totally screwed, you know?"

Then how come you're not smiling? is what I thought, but "We'll have it back up as soon as possible," is what I said.

"I mean," Uberman whacked his PC with his newspaper again, "we never had problems like this before MDE acquired us. Dammit, our old Applied Photonics network never crashed! Not once!"

"So I've heard." And heard, and heard, and heard! And if you gave me just sixteen users in a one-floor office, I could make this network look pretty good, too.
Bruce Bethke, "Headcrash", kind of a no-account cyberpunk-y book from the mid-90s... the technobabble is pretty clumsy, but for some reason this passage has stuck with me for 20 years so I thought I'd post it - from time to time, its reminder that little toy systems can get away with things that projects you want to scale can't is useful.

You never know what worse luck your bad luck has saved you from.
Cormac McCarthy, "No Country for Old Men"

Blender of Love

Can't believe how strange it is to be anything at all

April 16, 2016

God and I are fine.
Janis Donaldson Roihl (Mo's mom). Went to a remembrance celebration for her today.

April 16, 2015

On FB someone was asking about the rational behind this IndieGogo kosherwitch, that would seem to be some kind of technicality-wielding not-switch-in-religion-only lightswitch.... I offered the following sense of the justification for this kind of thing:
(Usual 'pretty much a goy despite the name and some family background' disclaimers apply) - in terms of the rationalization, I've heard some concept of humbleness before the divine on the Sabbath - in effect, you're giving up your role as an effective creature in the universe. So some of the gimmicks are an attempt to move things from 'changes I would have to affect' to 'the way the universe is' (which happens to be the way I want it)'. To me it seems analogous to accounting reshuffling... to quote Monty Python, "Ah, I see you have the machine that goes 'ping!'. This is my favourite. You see, we lease this back from the company we sold it to - that way it comes under the monthly current budget and not the capital account."

April 16, 2014

Aerial view of Manhattan in 1944:

Haha, I remember having my dad (or actually, the janitor who worked for the church my parents were assigning) "helping" with my pinewood derby car (aka doing everything)... nice to hear there's some science behind it!

I wanted to smile like an adult-- understated and careful, like I knew what was going on and had decided to smile anyway.
Victoria Loustalot in "This is How You Say Goodbye", her memoir about her gay father who died of AIDS.

April 16, 2013

How do I keep finding myself talking to programmers who think *more* code and *more* levels of indirection is 'simpler'?

I just typed "me bawling as a baby" as "be bawling as a maybe". Which is kind of poetic but man, my whole m/b mixup is so weird.
I like calorie counts at restaurants- never would have thought a Panera PB-dream cookie has the same calories as a large Thai Chopped Salad.

what a man

April 16, 2012

Lena - What A Man by Sm1rn

--Lena Meyer-Landrut (of "Satellite" Eurovision fame. This song is similar to but distinct from the Salt-n-Pepa version my Aunt digs... I like all the old 60s dance references.

draggin' ballz

(1 comment)
April 16, 2011

play online
dbz -
original java version
built with processing

My entry for Klik of the Month #46. Didn't quite come together as a fun game, but I kind of like the weird "ravenous mouth" of the dragon.
Ah, taxes are done. $112 to the feds, $144 to our fair commonwealth, $114 to TurboTax.

we are bathed in what can be called love

April 16, 2010
I had an epiphany once that I wish I could stimulate in everyone else. The plausibility of our human world, the fact that the buildings don't all fall down and you can eat unpoisoned food that someone grew, is immediate palpable evidence of an ocean of goodwill and good behavior from almost everyone, living or dead. We are bathed in what can be called love.
Jaron Lanier, from "You Are Not a Gadget: A Manifesto" -- excellent choice of birthday gift from Amber!

Why do I keep hearing about Justin Bieber? It's like Paris Hilton circa 2003, hopefully minus the sex tape.
Funny how so many sites don't bother to set the color of the page background and assume it's white. Changing your browser default color breaks many of 'em..
Twitter is not a triumph of technology-- it's a triumph of humanity.
Biz Stone, Creative Director of Twitter. Hubristic Creative Director is Hubristic! - decent JPEG rotator - sQuinceañera, 15th bday of my college a cappella group sQ - fun CSS hacks, # before CSS property names and IE looks at it and other browsers don't? Yeesh.
When the girl with two forks met the boy with two knives at the Greek place on the corner... that's romance!

the world don't move to the beat of just one drum...

(1 comment)
April 16, 2009

--"Disturbin Strokes" --- Hard to remember how much I loved this show growing up...
"I agree with everything you say, but I would attack to the death your right to say it."
Tom Stoppard

Laughter and tears are both responses to frustration and exhaustion. I myself prefer to laugh, since there is less cleaning up to do afterward.
Kurt Vonnegut. My family seems pretty big into the laughing choice. - MC Frontalot's "stop smoking guide for the D+D gamer" - interactive nationwide unemployment tool.

muppets raw and uncensored!!!

April 16, 2008
I'm surprised stitches are still the primary way of keeping skin together so it can heal. It seems pretty barbaric, especially with that big curved needle. Kind of Frankensteinish.

Ad of the Moment
Muppet Family Christmas
This is the Uncut Version!
Buy this DVD now only $16.95
Given that I tend to think of "Uncut" (like "Directors Edition") as code for "maybe with a little more skin", this Google Ad took me a bit by surprise.
Quote of the Moment
Never mind that many of [my computer's 102] keys duplicate the functions of other keys, while others apparently do nothing at all (my favorite in this respect is one marked "Pause" which when pressed does absolutely nothing, raising the interesting metaphysical question of whether it is therefore doing its job)
Bill Bryson, I'm a Stranger Here Myself
Link of the Moment
The misadventures of driving naked in Texas. (via Bill)

i blame john cusack

April 16, 2007
So in what I'm retroactively branding an act of solidarity with the Marathoners, I kept up my ideal of walking to and from the T-station, rain or shine. Err, today, that would "rain".

It's only my pants that got damp in an annoying way, especially the top part. maybe I should start wearing a trench coat or something on days like this.

Quote and Ramble of the Moment
But whenever I meet dynamic, nonretarded Americans, I notice that they all seem to share a single unifying characteristic: the inability to experience the kind of mind-blowing transcendent romantic relationship they perceive to be a normal part of living. And someone needs to take the fall for this. So instead of blaming no one for this (which is kind of cowardly) or blaming everyone (which is meaningless), I'm going to blame John Cusack.
Chuck Klosterman, "Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs"
He also blames "When Harry Met Sally" for making everyone think that, typically, you have two friends who refuse to admit they're in love with each other, when usually it's not symmetrical person, and the one person who doesn't feel the spark is either oblivious or wracked with guilt and pressure.

He also says "Every relationship is fundamentally a power struggle, and the individual in power is whoever likes the other person less." There's probably some level of truth to that, though I don't think it's absolute.

It occurs to me what that there are some very crass ways of thinking about online dating. it's been said the secret to happy romance is for both people to feel that they're at about the same level in terms of desirability, that unhappiness comes from the stress of dating out of your league. Maybe one secret to bliss is 2 people who both secretly think the other person is out of their league, but not so much so that they're wracked with insecurity.

Or, maybe I'm just full of crap and half-baked theories.

Image of the Moment

--I just liked this image of "The Health Fairy" from this Slate photo essay on the use of animal (and magical) mascots for educational purposes.

for all your century old needs

April 16, 2006
Link of the Moment
The 1902 Sears Roebuck Catalog makes for some mighty fine blogging.

Kid Art of the Moment
--as BoingBoing points out, the MC Escher winner of the Worth1000 contest of great artists works as children has elements from Concave And Convex, Waterfall, and Belvedere. "D- SEE ME", heheh.

saturday / what a day / rockin all week with you

April 16, 2005
Thinking about cleaning today.

At my recent party, Erin (I think) who hadn't seen my most recent apartment (btw: speakers of Her Majesty's an apartment with more than one floor in it still a "flat"?) but who had seen some of my old places mentioned that I manage to make most places that I live in look kind of the same. At first I thought she meant "messy", but no, this was right after a vigorous pre-party straightening-up.

So I appreciate that. It goes along with my intuitive feeling, probably born from moving around every couple years when I was a kid, and then around every year or two since college, that home is where your stuff is, and that's about it. As an introvert with showoff tendencies, after a long day I long to come home to my sanctuary, but it's not some kind of pseudo-sacred aspect of it being "my place", it's just where I can relax, touch base with my online communities and projects, and be around my interesting stuff...follow my own agenda and interests for a bit, rather than following a path made up by someone else.

In other news...the Dow is tanking again. So the economy follows in what, 6-9 months? Not that it seemed like a gangbusters of a recovery anyway. Useful for Bush that the time worked out the way it did, election-wise.

Reassurance from Bush-backers that this pessimism is premature (not that the economy is fully the responsibility of the government, but still those tax breaks had a lot of promises behind them) is welcome.

Quote of the Moment
"It would be difficult to come up with a better symbol for romantic love than roses. Because it is beautiful and smells lovely, yes, and because the petals feel like soft skin, but mostly because they hurt like hell if you're not careful. This is why I am completely opposed to thornless roses. Roses without thorns are the floral equivalent of the word 'luv'."
Lore Sjöberg, "The Book of Ratings"


(1 comment)
April 16, 2004
Sorry for yesterday's entry, it was a bit content-lite and self-indulgent. (I know, completely unprecedented for this site.)

Somehow that sign I took the photo of went away...I've got to call the Real Estate folks, I know they were sending someone to put it more firmly in place, maybe something went wrong...

Here's one thing I was working on, a little teaching program for 2600 Cookbook called "milquetoast the ghost". I think he's one of the cutest 8x8 monochrome sprites I've ever seen, especially when you press the button to make him go boo...

Political Quote and Article of the Moment
And the credibility of the United States is incredibly important
Bush Jr...
in Trust, Don't Verify William Saletan cuts him a little slack for his frequent misuse of "incredible" ("illiterate, is harmless", as when paired with "credibility") but then rips into him for the contradictions inherent in his outlook. Did you hear that clip of Bush stammering when asked if he's made any mistakes? Not being able to admit mistakes, even in the "mistakes were made" dodging-sense, is a huge character flaw.

Poem of the Moment
And then there's the one you write
that makes even you laugh.
You never want to see her again.
You don't want to see her handwriting
on a letter. You don't want to come home
and see the little yellow light
flashing messages of regret.
You don't want to pick up the phone
and hear how much she's been missing you.
Couldn't you meet for a drink?
Not any more. Maybe in a year or two.
All you want to do now
is draw a line under your life
and get on with the past.
Do you make yourself perfectly clear?
You sign with just your name,
a businesslike touch
which makes even you laugh.
Hugo Williams, "All That". Modulo gender and technology choices, I'm thinking that's about what Mo's feeling now.
Link of the Moment
I was going to post this around Valentine's Day, but it was down, maybe it got swamped with traffic...The Kiss "is a place to talk about kisses. Specifically, it's a place to talk about those kisses that mattered - the kiss that made an impression that stuck with you long after the kiss itself was over, the kiss that you still remember all the details of, the kiss that you still think about sometimes." Cool reading.

Q+A of the Moment
Brooke followed my instructions and has answered some question trios of her own, including ones I asked. I know the "copy this into your journal" instruction works better on LJ, since everyone there has their own journal, but did any other question askers follow suit somewhere?


(1 comment)
April 16, 2003
Quote of the Moment
"The most horrible sound in the world is that of a hand smacking the bottom of a ketchup bottle..."
Alfred Hitchcock
Image and Link of the Moment
This image is from an article on MRI imaging of sex. They're making some interesting physiological discoveries, missionary and rear-entry positions have things arranged quite differently. I like this pic, and wish I could see more, and not just for the usual voyeuristic reasons... I take back everything I've sad bad about the French! (Like: "We can count on the French to be there when they need us.")
MetaFilter had a more technical article with more pictures, all of them rather clinical--plus, there's this interview with one of the participants.

thru zee power of zee mind

April 16, 2002
Hey, would Bozo13 from my guestbook drop me a line?

Link of the Moment
In the mood for a brain teaser or two? Interesting attempt to build a little community around them.

Quote of the Moment
"If I could have a magic power, I'd choose to be able to read minds. That way I could differentiate between who's mentally undressing me and who's been stealing my chocolate bars."
Jennifer Taylor, via Kim on

on the nature of time

April 16, 2001
So the month is half over, and taxes are due. Yikes! Mo's amazing and she did them for me. She rocks so much.

Anyways, I was always trying to figure out why the first part of a month would slip away so quickly, but then I realized it was part of the nature of weeks and two digit numbers... the first few days of the months slip by, you're busy thinking "hey, new month." And then a week starts (Sunday or Monday depending on how you count) and it goes by, right? And it's a decent length of a week, probably, maybe it goes slow, maybe it goes fast. But then... it's the tenth already! You're in the double digits... and if you're not careful, it can freak you out, and make you think time (and by extension life) is going faster than it is.

Anyway, Mo's dad is running the Boston Marathon, like his fifth or something... but this time he'll probably take it easy, enjoy the high-fiving and the like.

Information Toy of the Moment
So... another little toy to go along with yesterdays date-distance-mapper-- this one tells you what day of the week any given date is. (I was reading "Bridget Jone's Diary" and I realized I could figure out what year it took place in just by correlating the date and the day of the week, with checking the 'current events' of the book to get it in the ballpark. 1995, for the record, where Christmas is on a Monday.)

from date
Link of the Moment
Today Suck had a really cool pointed article on the economy.

Maybe having kids is a way of feeling like you're extending your lifespan. I could see that. The genetics makes it seem like something more than, say, just impacting lives as a teacher could be.

Last night going for my writeable cd-rom- realized for the first time in a while how close I was to the HoJo's where 222nd Jazz stayed in 1991. (and how close I'll be to it at the Big Yellow House.) Looked at where the bus pulled up, the dining room we ate brunch at.  Thought of looking into the humid small poolroom, racing through the stairwells, looking at our reflection (and of Veronika's odd red shirt with the doo-dads attached) in the window at the end of the hall. Veronika was my first big love, and 'you never forget your first.'
...And poor Llara with the passing of pumpkin. Though mostly I hear her yelling "pumpkin" in that loud high disapointed voice.
north on 93 past 495
exit 1 in new hampshire
(mile after border)
keep to right into lot
"the mall at rockingham park"