May 12, 2022

If you die at the top of a water slide, the park employees will probably debate how to properly move your body.

Clowns are the pegs on which the circus is hung.
P. T. Barnum

my world and welcome to it

May 12, 2021
Finally got the art up in my office, furniture bought, and things more or less arranged. (Predictably, I moved from "don't find a place for stuff you don't want, get rid of it" to "just find a place for it, declutter later" fairly quickly, sigh.)

I really wish I had documented all the spaces I've lived in better, and maybe worked in as well. (That's advice I'd give anyone!) Like here's the Alleyoop office in 2011, and the inlaw apartment I had in 2008

So, the interesting (to me) bits, from left-to-right, top-to-bottom: The room has a strong Animal Crossing energy, so full of random stuff and in a kind of square-ish arrangement... it's a little weird how I've put as much thought into what looks good behind me in a webcam as to what I look at as I work.

I know it seems a little self-indulgent, but I think everyone with the resources to should consider making a single space for themselves that makes them happy.

May 12, 2020

Interesting ads on FB for Litiholo, make your own holographic plates at home.

Holograms are amazing - a flat plate can totally capture all this 3D information. Of course they aren't dynamic or projected like R2D2 beaming the image of Princess Leia, and they were fiddly to light properly for best viewing, and you so you don't see them that often. Way back when there would be popup stores at malls selling 'em, but like Magic-Eye (another interesting way of getting 3Dness out of a 2D medium) culture has kind of moved on. (Hey, remember when 3D TVs were gonna be the next big thing?)

When I was in sixth grade I took a class that made holograms! Besides the plates and a laser I think you needed a darkish room but most importantly something like a sand table to damp vibrations.

I was (surprise) a little pretentious, and when it came time for the final project, I decided to go for an austere minimalism, just like a sphere or two and a cylinder (marbles and a stack of round flat magnets). Other kids loaded up there final hologram prints with like chess pieces and toy cars and what not. I learned a good lesson that day, minimalism often sucks.
If you always do what interests you, at least one person is pleased.
Katharine Hepburn

via Daniel Klein's "Every Time I Find the Meaning of Life, They Change It"

May 12, 2019
The world is a den of thieves, and night is falling. Evil breaks its chains and runs through the world like a mad dog. The poison affect us all. No one escapes. Therefore let us be happy while we are happy. Let us be kind, generous, affectionate, and good. It is necessary and not at all shameful to take pleasure in the little world.
Uncle Gustav, "Fanny and Alexander"
Sasha goes up to another man and says, "Don't I know you?"
The other man says, "No. We've never met."
"Just a minute," Sasha says, "Have you ever been to Minske?"
"No," the other man says.
"Neither have I," says Sasha, "Must have been two other fellows."
Consider the fact that, in a few years, I shall be dead. This fact can seem depressing. But the reality is only this. After a certain time, none of the thoughts and experiences that occur will be directly causally related to this brain, or be connected in certain ways to these present experiences. This is all this fact involves. And, in that description, my death seems to disappear.
Derek Parfit
It isn't just that I don't believe in God and, naturally, hope that I'm right in my belief. It's that I hope there is no God! I don't want there to be a God; I don't want the universe to be like that.
Thomas Nagel
Common sense and a sense of humor are the same thing, moving at different speeds. A sense of humor is just common sense, dancing.
William James

It's weird when little bits of your childhood come together- I was first amused by the concept of "Go-Faster Stripes" as a collectable motorcycle accessory in "Action Biker", a Mastertronic computer game from the UK. Also, as a kid I had a book of "Old Boot's Private Papers", UK comic strips about a sheepdog and the kids he runs around with. Anyway, today I found out that book was from a comic called The Perishers, and that book either invented or popularized "Go-Faster Stripes" as a term.

Another bit of UK ignorance: the two UK football teams I have an extremely mild and vague fandom for are Arsenal (thanks to Nick Hornby's "Fever Pitch") and Tottenham Spurs (thanks to a fan of the club I went on a few dates with.) Yesterday I was informed this is a bit of an embarrassing combination to appreciate because they are rivals - sort of like someone from another country saying "I like the Browns and the Steelers" or "I dig the Lakers, and the Celtics".

Also I learned how the Champions league semi-final matches are actually two games - a home game for each club and then they add the points up. (The final is a single game, at a neutral or at least pre-selected location, similar to the Super Bowl.)
YOU CAN'T type "Mos Eisley" without the space bar.

This made me laugh:

I'm not saying Melissa hasn't watched Game of Thrones in a while but she was distraught when I told her hunky Khal Drogo / Jason Momoa died many seasons ago (in her defense he shows up a lot on social media quizlet type stuff still)

May 12, 2018

Just finished Zelda: Breath of the Wild.

The scope of it is amazing. Here's a GIF showing how its map compares to other games, older and newer. There is just so much landscape with so much in it - it's probably hard for someone who hasn't played this kind of genre how much there is, just what an expansive bit of world building it represents.

And just to think of it as an engineering project - 300 devs, 4 years - it's so much larger than almost anything else I can think of! It's almost amazing that it makes a profit.

You're only enjoying a little sweet sadness

May 12, 2017
The past doesn't go away. It keeps calling to us from the woods, and at vulnerable moments, at twilight on a fall day with a Chopin étude playing, it can be almost overwhelming. Those old voices weeping and whispering. I have my ghosts and you have yours. Tell me about it. Meanwhile, the day passes, we eat dinner, we put the dishes in the dishwasher, we clean up the kitchen, we pick up a book, life goes on. I believe that
All of the lovers and the love they made --
Nothing that was between them was a mistake.
All that we did for love's sake
Was not wasted and will never fade.
A friend of mine told me a few weeks ago: "You can't regret all of the things you went through in order to get to the happiness where you are now." The old love prepared you for this new one. The tortured and exhausting 10 years with him is a crucial part of your education and can't be separated from the rest and burned. It's quite reasonable to still miss him after only two years. You're not imprinted with him, though, and you know that. You've moved on. You're only enjoying a little sweet sadness. What would an autumn night be like without it? What an inhuman life a person must lead to never experience such feelings.
Garrison Keillor, writing as Mr. Blue on Salon.

100 Lessons from the masters of street photography. Apple's how to shoot great photos with iPhones is good too.

May 12, 2016

Last night a typeface saved my life.

(well, not really.)
If you stand back to back with someone, you're standing face to face, only as far away as possible (on Earth).

I think it must be Luke - your guess is every bit as good as mine
John Williams on Rey's Father's Identity, 2016-05-12.
Got to see him and Keith Lockhart conduct the Boston Pop for movie night - great seeing the composer conduct Star Wars...

May 12, 2015

Darling, here's the thing: Most of the interesting people died. That's all there is to it.
friend to Justin Sayre, on what the AIDS crisis did to the gay community.
The source, a long Slate piece about the difference between homosexuality and gay culture is some terrific and thoughtful reading.
the best way to solve problems is to create more problems until you are dead

The Cage: A Young Children’s Guide to the Biblical Teaching on Hell – McMahon, A Puritan's Mind I remember how much thoughts of hell scared me as a youth.

May 12, 2014

More rambling and griping about Angular on my devblog. I guess it's a good thing that I've been posting so much there... usually that's a sign that I'm learning more at work.
I got 99 problems and they're all red balloons.

On Mother's Day, the extended family conversation got around to the concept and tradition of "passive aggression". The canonical example for my family was my grandmother's "You've got me so worried and frustrated I'm back to smoking again!" My mom reminded me of engaging in that by exercising my disinterest in going to grad school right after college in the form of doing nothing and letting the deadline for applications slip by. I had forgotten all about that.

Sometimes I think it would be nice to have under my belt, other times I'm hard pressed to think of a justification of the expense in terms of money and time and focus.

May 12, 2013

In the words of my father (who would look forward to this day every year just so he could peer down from the pulpit and say it:) "Good Morning to All You Mothers out there."
Slate on Japan's "Abenomics" So, Japan shakes itself from its stupor with stimulus, and Europe trudges through austerity. I think the USA could learn something.


May 12, 2012
Today I captained team "Barkin' Aura Rainmaker" (an anagram of Amber, Arun, Ariana, and Kirk-- I thought it sounded more clever than my first idea AAAK but it was harder to remember) in the 2012 Hub Crawl, a photo scavenger hunt with puzzles... this year the rally point was near Faneuil Hall and the main areas were from there up to the tip of the North End.

my house

May 12, 2011

Man I dig Pomplamoose... I dig Nataly Dawn's nervous, corner of her eye look at the camera.

I found this song after link from their cover of the "Angry Birds" theme which is also worth a watch, even if you don't know the game. - the corniest tourist photos!
I'm always a little nervous about people who actively describe themselves as "foodies" I wonder if they've REALLY paid their foody dues.
The arts put man at the center of the universe, whether he belongs there or not.

It had to be intentional. We live in a world of scientific miracles. Burger King knows the chemical formula to get corporate spies to taste like expired beef. My antiperspirant is "Sport Scented," and that's not even a thing.

robocops, roborobbers

May 12, 2010

--from If Pop-Culture's Greatest Characters Wrote Tell All Books. Man, Robocop references will never get old for me. To prove it, here's this:

--from Bad Gods (for those note in the know it's a parody of a poster for this movie)
Lawn sprinklers? Really? On a day that's supposed to have rain anyway? - a coworker is talking about how flash trading = front running; this automated sneaky algorithm crap should be illegal.
The Alewife T stop is kind of broken. Maybe they should put a crude cardboard sign telling people the parking garage is on the other side at the BOTTOM of the escalator as well as the top.

i like elephants

May 12, 2009

--Gotta show this one to EBB... - The Republicans' Fight Against Empathy. Next up: Their War on Puppies and Flowers.
Apple: love how your anti-piracy crap + bad UI makes transferring my music miserable. Kirk: grateful for the alt. of Amazon's MP3 store.
Does Vista going 64 bit help my life in any way, or just make various bits of hardware and some fun old software not work?

death is no different whined at than withstood

May 12, 2008
Cyclones in Burma! Volcanoes in South America! Tornadoes in Oklahoma! Earthquakes in China!

I guess I should let all that help get a perspective on my own problems and pile of stress that leaped on me as of late (Laid off friends who could use resume help! Deadlines at work! Former mentors who need side projects done! Investments gone bad! Apartment moves that need to be established!)

Probably some of the stage for the current AAAAAAHH!!! was also set by Bill the Splut's link to our planet's maybe-already-too-late need for CO2 350, tickling my old nuclear war/Y2K-ish anxieties that are generally well-coated by existential bravado but might be still lurking underneath.

So lets cheer myself up with some poetry!

Poem of the Moment
I work all day, and get half-drunk at night.
Waking at four to soundless dark, I stare.
In time the curtain-edges will grow light.
Till then I see what's really always there:
Unresting death, a whole day nearer now,
Making all thought impossible but how
And where and when I shall myself die.
Arid interrogation: yet the dread
Of dying, and being dead,
Flashes afresh to hold and horrify.

The mind blanks at the glare. Not in remorse
-- The good not done, the love not given, time
Torn off unused -- nor wretchedly because
An only life can take so long to climb
Clear of its wrong beginnings, and may never;
But at the total emptiness for ever,
The sure extinction that we travel to
And shall be lost in always. Not to be here,
Not to be anywhere,
And soon; nothing more terrible, nothing more true.

This is a special way of being afraid
No trick dispels. Religion used to try,
That vast moth-eaten musical brocade
Created to pretend we never die,
And specious stuff that says No rational being
Can fear a thing it will not feel
, not seeing
That this is what we fear -- no sight, no sound,
No touch or taste or smell, nothing to think with,
Nothing to love or link with,
The anaesthetic from which none come round.

And so it stays just on the edge of vision,
A small unfocused blur, a standing chill
That slows each impulse down to indecision.
Most things may never happen: this one will,
And realisation of it rages out
In furnace-fear when we are caught without
People or drink. Courage is no good:
It means not scaring others. Being brave
Lets no one off the grave.
Death is no different whined at than withstood.

Slowly light strengthens, and the room takes shape.
It stands plain as a wardrobe, what we know,
Have always known, know that we can't escape,
Yet can't accept. One side will have to go.
Meanwhile telephones crouch, getting ready to ring
In locked-up offices, and all the uncaring
Intricate rented world begins to rouse.
The sky is white as clay, with no sun.
Work has to be done.
Postmen like doctors go from house to house.

Philip Larkin, Aubade

sigh. so disillusioning when you work to crank up your work ethic and it's not as big a difference as you expected.
so, advil is like a blood thinner, right? so is a headache, like, 'jeez the blood in my head is too thick'?
why does it feel easier to take the 77 from harvard than the 79 from alewife?


May 12, 2007
One of the final entries in "What Is Your Dangerous Idea" is Leo Chalupa's A 24-hour period of absolute solitude, that that period of "no verbal interactions of any kind (written or spoken, live or recorded) with another human being" might be of benefit, and that only people in monasteries or solitary confinement are likely to have experienced it.

An intriguing thought. I know I've kind of come to embrace my novelty-seeking behavior, in fact, built an ad-hoc personal morality justification for it. But I can see the appeal of being otherwise, at least for a while. (I get a measure of solitude walking to work, though the path is rarely empty... and sometimes I elect to just have it be me and my thoughts, and not me and a book, or me and an ipod.)

It makes me wonder about the monks. "The Sixteen Pleasures" talks about an outsider who gets some refuge in a nunnery (she's helping them preserve flood-damaged books,) though that was only silence for certain parts of the day. But the idea of being among people, probably interacting to some degree, but never talking... beyond the spiritual goals you're pursuing, what kind of emotional community life develops there? When you go to get served your bowl of monk chow, do you waggle your eyebrows in gratitude? Do you get some form of the usual power plays and social dynamics, specific friendships and bitter rivalries, but all in silence? Or is it qualitatively different, and is the outer silence just a manifestation of a tranquil inner life? Do you keep up an inner-monologue, or does that too start to fade, until your mental landscape is made of purer, more obtuse structures than words or sentences?

(Of course, I'm lapsing back into my old way of assuming my "inner monologue" is more or less "me", and more or less there all the time, when in reality I know it's often little more than the post-facto rationalization that I come up with every once in a while.)

Photo of the Moment
--UT cheerleader via CHFF's cheerleader thread. Obviously there are different aspects to appreciate in this photo, but mostly I like the sense of flying.

dj sleepy

May 12, 2006
Captions of the Moment
S'funny... people say that the older you get, the less you sleep...

but I gotta tell ya... the exact opposite is happening with me...

the older I get the longer I sleep.. & I'm perfectly fine with that...

with the rate I'm going, I figure to be up to 17 hours a day by the time I'm fifty...

I'm hoping to reach about 23 1/2 hours a day, just before I croak...

that way I'll be perfectly use to being dead.

Keith Knight, "The K Chronicles"

Windows Tool of the Moment
Max remembered me griping about Outlook's mismanagement of the Windows taskbar, and recently sent me a link for Taskbar Shuffle, a small little app that adds a trivial and intuitive ability to drag taskbar buttons to wherever on the taskbar you want them. Nice! (The only problem is I've gotten a little use to "Group Similar Items", which supposedly doesn't play so well with this app. But still I think I'll go back to not grouping.)


(1 comment)
May 12, 2005
News Blurb of the Moment
Small news item: Birth Month Could Determine When Menopause Hits. It reminds me that lately I've been thinking there might be a little something to astrology, though not for the reasons generally given. It doesn't seem completely unlikely that seasonal differences during pregnancy -- nutrition, light, temperature, etc -- could have an effect on people's discernable traits later on. (Which means potentially you might be able to virtually change your baby's sign with careful application of diet and sunlamps!)

I've been trying to curb my rampant skepticism lately, though without believing every fool idea to come down the pike. And things that seem to work empirically carry a lot of weight, though there's always the risk of being fooled by a placebo effect...


May 12, 2004
Ramble of the Moment
So, in this book (Terrence Real's "How Can I Get Through to You?") at one point the author starts talking about "the Patriarchy". And I have to admit, for some reason that language starts a low level alert on my BS-detector. For some reason I associate it with immoderate and excessively-PC viewpoints...but then I think, why does it set off that reaction in me? I mean, to a probably large extent, "the patriarchy" is a fact: we're not likely to have a woman president in the next few years, there ain't that many women CEOs overall, and look at the structure of the most dominant religions in this country.

I think what I find troubling is the implication that the Patriarchy is some kind of conspiracy, some kind of deliberate ploy. To the extent that it does exist or is dominant, that would indicate that its a strong player in some kind of societal darwinian struggle. Which doesn't mean it's superior overall; the ability to survive in darwinian terms is indicative ability to survive, that's it. Inedible weeds thrive over other many other more useful (to us) and/or beautiful (again, to us) species.

Maybe subsocieties that had that kind of male-dominated structure did do better than some that didn't, but that doesn't mean that it's a better way for us to live, that some other system might not be healthier for us emotionally and mentally and spirtually and all that. I think the point of this book is that it's more or less an established thing; we can fight against it or make our peace with it, but if we live in denial of it being there and how it has likely affected us, it probably won't be good for us in the long run.

made of meat

(1 comment)
May 12, 2003
Line of the Moment
Jasoco wrote:
> Oh, and Meat is good. Meat is to be eaten and
> by God, I will eat it.

And I guess we are all what we eat. But I already knew I was meat. Guess I should avoid fruit, nuts, and vegetables...
Jasoco liked my response so much he started using it as his tagline.

Game of the Moment
Not online, alas, but worth the time to down and install, Spheres of Chaos is an Asteroids-derived game, with huge amounts of pixel particle action. Pretty cool overall, bordering on the psychadelic at times.

Tech Tool of the Moment
At first I thought that DENIM, a tool that lets webdesigners sketch out a site almost as if they were drawing it on pieces of paper (but linked) was some kind of a joke, about according to this Wired article it seems to be a useful tool.

Quote of the Moment
In three words I can sum up everything I've learned in life: It goes on.
Robert Frost.
I was surprised to see this quote wasn't already somewhere on this site.

welcome to flatland

May 12, 2002
Got myself a great big 18" flat panel, it's like having a billboard to work with. (I think flat panels are measured on the actual viewing surface, unlike regular monitors that kind of futz with the front part of the unit.) Thanks to Peterman for guiding me to a larger lesser known brand rather than the one I was going for.

News of the Moment
Wow. It's pretty weird to think that Sugar Pills are better than Antidepressents. Part of me wants to wonder if it at all matters what the placebo is made of.

Quote of the Moment
I called up Wes, and we took a look under the hood. It's not like Wes is any good at fixing cars, but he's good at other important things, like starting her up, giving her gas, and getting me another beer. Plus, he cusses like a sailor when the occasion requires it, so he's good to have around for that, since my car usually needs more swears than I got stored up in me.
A surpisingly Twain-ian quote actually.

r.i.p. d.n.a.

May 12, 2001
Aw man, Douglas Adams of Hitchiker's Guide fame died. So young...

Posting from Ocean Grove, New Jersey. My mom's new laptop froze... is it AOL 5, WinME, or the hardware? Aargh, I really hate when fresh OS's have such problems.

Quote of the Moment
Oh, t'was ever thus, Boot, ever thus.
We men of vision dream dreams an' visions, while the rest of the world--(what the...?)
You might at least stay awake whilst I'm doing a bit of bemoanin'

from Old Boot's Private Papers
A cute little cartoon book in my pile of books from when I was a kid that my mom keeps here. (2019 UPDATE I guess it comes from a UK strip The Perishers)

This site was made possible by a grant from Atlantic Puppy-Grinding Company. "It may  be cruel, but think of the jobs!"
"The voters are not always smart. They're not always intelligent about the issues."
--Jesse "The Governer" Ventura
"You cannot move mountains if you believe them to be mountains. You must think of them as collections of small stones, which can be moved one at a time, and then reassembled."
--The Tao of Meow
A slight bit of hope for our culture: we still have and use old-fashioned newspaper vending machines.
Family neigborhood, lots of kids, but the adults are the unsmilingest bunch of mother fuckers I've seen.