kirk's favoritest video games

May 24, 2020
I've found that we sometimes outgrow our hobbies and yet because we feel attachment to them we try to find things that are not there.
Nana Komatsu
As I get older, I don't enjoy the same things I once enjoyed.
But I enjoy new and different things!

I just don't enjoy them as much as I used to enjoy the things I no longer enjoy.
Arlo, of "Arlo and Janis"
After a 20 year hiatus, I updated Kirk's Bestof Series - my favorite games across most of the video game consoles I've had.

I think the pleasure of the list was mostly in the making... I might come back to it for a quick stroll down memory lane, and I suppose other people might find some obscure gems I'd like to advocate for, but overall it's just a subjective list of stuff I liked.
Remember when we said 'No Future'? Well, this is it.
A friend hosted an online viewing party using Metastream - it supports more streaming services and seemed more stable than Netflixparty...
CHAOS IS NOT HELPFUL.
(One of the viewers thought this was a good slogan in general.)

May 24, 2019

The spirit of liberty is the spirit which is not too sure that it is right; the spirit of liberty is the spirit which seeks to understand the minds of other men and women;

I'm not saying I make idiosyncratic nutrition decisions but my shopping for the weekend was a carton of cherry coke zero 4 boxes of Chill Cow brand popsicles (excited they had the caramel flavor) and bananas.

descriptivist morality

May 24, 2018
Harper’s Magazine’s end page is “Findings”, 3 paragraphs of 1 sentence summaries of research studies. One in December was “People tend to think common behavior is moral behavior”. For some reason that unlocked a view for me of the parallel between my linguistic descriptivism and moral descriptivism, one I shoulda thought of before. Just like language is not invented as a set of rules that then makes it way to the populous, but an attempt to codify language when people believe they are speaking properly, maybe morality could be seen as a large scale description of how people behave when they believe they are behaving morally.

Fleshing it out, it raises the question is this possibly contributing to a single universal morality, or like with languages are we forever trapped in different mutually incomprehensible languages and dialects? If there is a universality, is it like Esperanto? An attempt to take bits and pieces of some of the more dominant language and find consistency? Or maybe a universal morality would have to be like Chomsky’s Universal Grammar - which is not a grammar in the common sense, but the lower level “hardwired” sense of primitives like nouns vs verbs that make learning actual grammar possible. (Given my previous recognition of how I have a strong sense of "should", an anxious compulsion to never be out of alignment with knowable-but-not-fully universal morality, driven by a subconscious fear of eternal punishment if I screw up too badly, it's kind of weird to think through the universal morality / universal language parallels)


I've always been rather ambivalent about meritocracy--and not just because I'm a beneficiary of England's class system. During my spell in New York I enjoyed shocking people by telling them that the word "meritocracy" had originally been coined for the purposes of damnation rather than praise. They would always dispute this until I played my trump card: my father, Michael Young, invented it.

He coined it to describe a nightmarish society of the future in his 1958 bestseller The Rise of the Meritocracy. In my father's view, equality of opportunity is a snare and a delusion since it makes it less likely that equality of outcome, the "hard" form of equality he believed in, will ever come about. If everyone starts out on a level playing field than the resulting distribution of wealth, however unequal, will be regarded as legitimate. According to him, a meritocratic society is no better than an aristocratic one since it is just as hierarchical. Indeed, it is considerably worse since the richest segment of the population don't suffer feelings of guilt. Unlike those who have inherited their wealth, they think their good fortune is thoroughly deserved. In my father's book, a work of fiction that purports to be a Ph.D. thesis written by a sociology student in 2030, the absence of noblesse oblige in the meritocratic society of the future eventually results in a bloody revolution in which the workers overthrow their new masters.

Interesting take given the whole Atlantic The 9.9% is the new American Aristocracy article making the rounds, and making me rethink some of my assumptions. I guess I'll be back to the correct answer is "it's complicated". You can never fully evaluate merit, you can never remove chance and circumstance on the path from merit to reward, you never want to fully disregard talent in terms of providing opportunity.
This is pretty awesome:

Worth checking out the 20 minute "making of" on the artist's page - I remember making spaceships and what not on graph paper way back when, and his idiosyncratic way of doing the vectors reminds me a lot of some the DIY 3D I used to play with (and aRTSeroids, while 2D, used some of the same "fake looking like a vector screen" effect.)
Was talking about me not understanding the popularity of streaming - having to always pay rent for your songs, and relying on a good constant internet connection - when we live in a wonderland of being able to buy nearly any music as a single w/ EB, who pointed out "Music collections cost thousands and takes time, renting music costs you a pizza, and gives you a larger selection". Which I guess makes sense.

He pointed to the article Subscriptions for the 1%, which is bit more focused on news, and paywalls, and how the law of "you get what you pay for" may create an ugly divide.

I guess there's a parallel with news and music in the 80s: individual articles are like the catching singles on the radio. Paying for a news source is like investing in an LP. Google and Facebook are the record companies playing kingmaker and getting rich themselves.

Honestly I'd love a bundled deal for, like, NY Times, WaPo, WSJ, and Boston Globe...

May 24, 2017

May 24, 2016

Been back on the diet path, starting a few weeks ago, having coming dangerously near the "200" mark that's my self-appointed trigger for action.

So the plan is what tends to work for me: nerdy calorie counting (See: The Hacker's Diet, the book "Chubster"), carefully monitored yet still almost daily small indulgences (Hello, free Good Humor freezer at work! Talk about a "Frenemy"), lots of salads, gum and atomic fireballs. If I have an early enough lunch, I'm ok with just having iced coffee for breakfast, and that gives me another 200-400 calories to play with.

Also, semidaily weigh-ins are crucial for me. I know they aren't for everyone, but I find it much easier to cope with the frustration of the noisy data, spikes and dips and all, than to be rudely awakened when a week hasn't been nearly as close to plan as I had imagined; it's SO much tougher to claw back from that week than it is to buckle down for a day or two.

So it's going well, albeit slowly, one 1900-calorie day at a time. I guess some social event days become inadvertent "cheat days", but I try to be more strict in the daytime when an uncountable meal is coming in the evening. (And a few times I really impressed myself with sticking to a single slice of pizza...)

diet.kirk.is/ is my 16 year graph - Actually I'm proud that I haven't been above 200 since mid-2013; its taken mindfulness to keep me there.

I've been wondering what could keep me in the 180-190 range (or even sub-180, though that might be a pipedream) - I'm starting to wonder if I should be calorie counting every day, like forever, except again on those social days when I don't. I've actually come up with a kind of stupid mantra, "Every Day I'm Dietin'" (sung in the stile of LMFAO's shuffling refrain )



At the moment the "Every Day (Forever)" seems encouraging and empowering, rather than miserable, I suppose in a kind of "eating disorder / sense of control" way, but (I'm trusting) significantly less intense / problematic.
Yarr.... kids, remember: the sea is a cruel mistress. But Medford is worse, so you'll be fine.
The Old Sea Captain from the Simpsons...
Tufts had Hank Azaria as its 2016 commencement speaker, he ended channelling advice from some of his better known Simpsons voices.
[The Copernican Principle is] sometimes badly stated. A lot of history and philosophy of science covering the Middle Ages gets the Middle Ages very wrong. For instance, you'll find most astronomy books stating that before Copernicus, people thought the Earth was the center of the universe; then Copernicus showed it was just another planet, as if this was a demotion. And that's completely wrong. In Middle Age cosmology, the Earth wasn't the center; it was the bottom, the worst place. All the other planets were exalted above it. So when Copernicus said it was just another planet, this was in fact a promotion.

May 24, 2015

GAH TICKS - like I didn't distrust nature enough!

May 24, 2014

THE HOUND
That's not going to get better.
DYING MAN
Doesn't seem so.
THE HOUND
Bad way to go. Haven't you had enough?
DYING MAN
Of what? ...I know. Time to go. Take matters into me own hands. The thought has occurred to me.
ARYA
So why go on?
DYING MAN
Habit.
ARYA
Nothing could be worse than this.
DYING MAN
Maybe nothing is worse than this.
ARYA
Nothing isn't better, or worse, than anything. Nothing is just nothing.
Game of Thrones, "Mockingbird", when Arya and The Hound meet an older man, griveously wounded and bleeding out through his belly

May 24, 2013

http://www.xkcd.com/1216/ :

Reason is a machete in a bullshit forest.

hello computer

May 24, 2012

When life gives you lemons, just say 'Fuck the lemons,' and bail!
Kunu, "Forgetting Sarah Marshall". Terrific movie!

http://london2012.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/05/21/longing-for-the-return-of-dueling-pistol/ -- Olympic sports they should bring back ASAP!
The toilets at work are delayed autoflush- I love hearing it go while I'm washing my hands at the sinks, makes me feel like an action movie hero not looking back at the fire-y explosion.
The big trouble with dumb bastards is that they are too dumb to believe there is such a thing as being smart.
Kurt Vonnegut

"I don't like your lesbian music."
"Ani Difranco isn't a lesbian."
"You don't have to be a lesbian to make lesbian music."
"..."
"Am I right? Am I right? Don't tweet that."
Amber and Me

eurotrip day 10 - germany

May 24, 2011


Click for fullsize... it was on a new system where I was having a Bad Chrome Day.
http://www.slate.com/id/2295128/ The GOP: once the party of Lincoln. Then realism. Now, utter delusion and denial.

who watches the (hawk) watchmen

May 24, 2010
There's a hawk nest with a family on a building near the roadway at Fresh Pond, near Alewife... here's a quick photo Amber took from the car:


The thing is, there are all kinds of birdwatchers with crazy telephoto lenses. But Amber was mostly amused by the guy who turned his camera around to take a picture of the birdwatchers
I'm not sure if anyone took a picture of Amber taking a picture of the guy taking a picture of the people taking the pictures of the hawk.
A woman's voice on the radio can convince you you're in love. A woman's voice on the telephone can convince you you're alone.

I don't believe in a lot of things. But I believe in duct tape.
--Miles, "Lost" finale.

I respect faith, but doubt is what gets you an education.
Wilson Mizner


The Apple Store "Genius Bar" is itself kinda genius-y. Where else to go to get the bellybutton lint scraped out of an iPhone's headphone jack? (It was messing with the mic.) It definitely adds to the power of the brand.
http://boyslife.org/features/4560/olympic-mascots-through-the-years/ - there really needs to be an Olympic Mascot Fighting Game.
So odd to see ads around for "The Sportsman's Guide". I ported their website once upon a time... http://kisrael.com/2008/05/06/

horses snorting fire? is that possible?

(3 comments)
May 24, 2009

--Johnny Ginger lipsynchs, twice, to Spike Jones' cover of "Ghost Riders in the Sky". This version squelches the original's punchline which was "...sung by Vaughn Monroe / I can do with out his singing /but I wish I had his dough" - I guess by the point this was made, too few people would get the joke (Monroe was one of the first big singers of this song, dunno if he was over-exposed or what.)
I've got to stop getting obsessed with human beings and fall in love with a chair. Chairs have everything human beings have to offer, and less, which is obviously what I need. Less emotional and intellectual feedback, less warmth, less approval, less patience and less response. The less the merrier. Chairs it is. I must furnish my heart with feelings for furniture.
Carrie Fischer's Journal, struggling with an on-set crush on Harrison Ford

Resentment is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die.
Carrie Fisher

Very nice quiche-centric making and picnicking outing yesterday with Miller et al. Though I learned the Japanese grocery store at Porter Exchange is leaving... grr! Stupid expanding Lesley U--where am I going to go for rice balls now?

the incomparable privilege of existence

May 24, 2008
Rock-rock-rockin' up in Rockport... (hey, hey, hey hey)


Passage of the Moment
Take a moment from time to time to remember that you are alive. I know this sounds a trifle obvious, but it is amazing how little time we take to remark upon this singular and gratifying fact. By the most astounding stroke of luck an infinitesimal portion of all the matter in the universe came together to create you and for the tiniest moment in the great span of eternity you have the incomparable privilege to exist.

For endless eons there was no you. Before you know it, you will cease to be again. And in between you have this wonderful opportunity to see and feel and think and do. Whatever else you do with your life, nothing will remotely compare with the incredible accomplishment of having been born. Congratulations. Well done. You really are special.

But not that special. There are five billion other people on this planet, everyone of them just as important, just as central to the great scheme of things, as you are. Don't ever make the horrible, unworthy mistake of thinking yourself more vital and significant than anyone else. Nearly all the people you will encounter in life merit your consideration. Many of them will be there to help you--to deliver your pizza, bag your groceries, clean up the motel room you have made such a lavish mess of. If you are not in the habit of being extremely nice to these people, then get in the habit now.

Bill Bryson, I'm a Stranger Here Myself

it is odd sleeping two or three places on a weekly basis. you half-wake and guess wrong about where you are

i m pei we all r pei

(1 comment)
May 24, 2007
The "Plywood Palace" Days, from Wikipedia
You know, I've known about the John Hancock Tower for a long while. But it's only lately that I've started thinking about how lovely it is.

I guess that's one of the differences between kids and grownups. When I was a kid, all I could think of was how funny the story about glass getting blown off of it was. And even now, it seems a little incongruous next to Trinity Church, but still it's a really nice work. (I posted a few photos last month.)

Sigh. Maybe I should wait a while after finishing "The Fountainhead" to post stuff like this.


Quote of the Moment
Time spent laughing is time spent with the gods.
Japanese Proverb on a birthday card I got from Matt and Jess.
It seems a little trite at first, but an interesting concept to think about.

technolusted in my heart

(16 comments)
May 24, 2006
I have technolust in my heart for the Fujitsu Lifebook P1510D. I have mixed feelings about such dinky laptops, this one is about the size of one of those "portable DVD viewers" (ironically they leave the DVD drive external), but combined with the way the screen pivots around and is a touchscreen... oh mama! I've always dreamed of being able to doodle on something like that. The Palm has that a bit, but the canvas is too small (and the touchscreen too jittery.)

The trouble is, it's really hard to justify especially since the main justification seems to be "well maybe this will get be back into doodling on kisrael.com" (I was also considering getting a new Palm TX with wifi, so getting doodles onto the site might be that much easier...IF there was the right software for it, but I'm not sure that there is) It would be 2 or 3 times more than the desktop I just got, and twice my current laptop. (And it costs less than that review states) All that for what is basically a gimmick, though it also seems more stowable...

I knew I was in trouble when I caught myself thinking "well who could benefit from my old laptop if I got this new one", meaning my brain was starting the gearworks of justification. My current thought is this: I'm getting really concerned about my weight. Could something like this be a suitable motivation for losing 20-25 pounds?

Bleh. Given that I'm so on the fence with it, and that its cost seems pretty steep for what it offers, I should probably not give in on this. I should try to lose the weight though.

(Or what about that sub-$100 3rd world laptop? Some folks are trying to get them to sell them to folks in richer countries for $300, which would then buy 2 for the target audience...)


Toy of the Moment
Remember those Photomosaics that took over the "Magic Eye" throne in the late-90s? Here's a neat toy using that idea for infinite zoom-in. It's too bad it doesn't use a variety of photos for each pixel color though.

yet another star wars fan

May 24, 2005
Photo of the Moment
--from a CNN.com sidebar gallery... I'm just amused by Leia with a Really Big Gun. Pistol Packin' Whoa Mama!



Misread of the Moment
"In E1 the Jedi are at the height of their power spiritually. For a thousand generations and all that...

They're quite able to see the future and deal with the occasional uppity bounty hunter. The sith, however, are quite a danger to them.

By E2, the force is waning for the Jedi. They're ambushed and killed by /droids/! Granted they're droids with the psi backing of both Dooku and possibly Sidious, so that's better than your average droid by far.

And in E3 they're decapitating themselves while trying to shave. Further sign that the force is /not/ with them."
Now, when I went back to reread this I saw there was the word "practically" before "decapitating", but I think my misread was much funnier... I just have this image of a Jedi in robes in front of the mirror, face covered with lather, firing up the old light saber...

dear diary

(9 comments)
May 24, 2004
A lot of people who know me know my concern with the passage of time, and my dismay at how quickly weeks and months can slip by if you're not disciplined about paying attention to them. One thing I've been doing since around Memorial Day 2000 is writing down each day's events in my "mundane journal". I like the idea that each day leaves a little footprint. Admittedly it's been kind of a "write only" activity...I've never gone back to read them en masse, though they have been useful for reference every now and then.

But lately I've been wondering "where did 2002 and 2003 go?" Sometimes it seemed like they went by in a blurred rush...it might be due to the relative longevity of my current job (2 years, another half year and it ties my personal record.)

At any rate, yesterday I finally figured out how to leverage my daily recording discipline in a readable form...I'm going back and summarizing every month in a pseudo-bulletitem form, a metajournal of sorts. The result is a lot more browsable...I focus on anecdotes and events where I say "oh yeah...I remember that" and overall I think it's going to be a great way of reclaiming that "lost time".

Also, it's amazing to go back and see events as signs and portents. With Mo of course, but also the path of my career, and even the lives of my friends. I recommend private journal keeping as a discipline for everyone.


Design Advice of the Moment
Design Eye for the Usability Guy...five designers ("the Design Fab Five") offer advice to Jakob Nielsen's famous useit.com.


Photo of the Moment
--I must've walked by this bit of plantlife alley off of Derby Street in Salem hundreds of times without seeing it. Weird how easy it is to be blind to this stuff...I used to think NYC was unique in how you could walk down the same stretch of upper Broadway and see new stuff each time, but then I realized it's just a concentrated form of what happens everywhere.

vacation filler day 3 (backlog flush #22)

(1 comment)
May 24, 2003

looking a little flush

May 24, 2002
You know, when you're starting a new job, it's always weird thinking about how hundreds and hundreds of times you're going to be visiting whatever bathroom they have there.


Link of the Moment
"Lets go on NASA's zero-G plane!"
"Ok, what should we do on it?"
"I dunno, play waterballoons?"

Joke of the Moment
There is this French couple, sitting up talking, when the wife says to the husband that it was time he had a conversation with their thirteen year old son about the birds and the bees.

So the father goes to his son's room and says, "Son, do you remember that session I arranged for you with mademoiselle Ginette?"

"Oh yes papa, I remember very well," says the son.

"Well son, it is time you knew that the birds and the bees do the same thing."

ancient chinese secret huh

May 24, 2001
On many occasions Liu Ling, under the influence of wine, would be completely free and uninhibited, sometimes taking off his clothes and sitting naked in his room. Once when some scholars saw him and chided him for it, Liu retorted, 'I take heaven and earth for my pillars and roof, and the rooms of my house for my pants and coat... What are you gentlemen doing in my pants?'
"Wen xin diao long" (The Literary Mind and the Carving of Dragons), from Kate Lingley via 15 Megabytes of Fame

Political Quiz
Which headlines did not appear in an American newspaper?
(a) "E.P.A. TO KILL NEW ARSENIC LIMITS FOR WATER"
(b) "U.S. PROPOSES TO END TESTING FOR SALMONELLA IN BEEF"
(c) "BUSHES REVERSES CLINTON POLICY ON FEDERAL AID FOR ABORTION COUNSELLING OVERSEAS"
(d) "BUSH, IN REVERSAL, WON'T SEEK CUT IN EMISSIONS OF CARBON DIOXIDE"
(e) "BUSH TO CLOSES OFFICES ON AIDS, RACE"
(f) "BUSH HALTS PROTECTION ORDER FOR HABITAT OF ENDAGERED SHEEP"
(g) "WHITE HOUSE ENDS BAR ASSOCIATION'S ROLE IN SCREENING FEDERAL JUDGES"
(h) "BUSH'S BUDGET WOULD CUT THREE PROGRAMS TO AID CHILDREN"
(i) "MORATORIUM ASKED ON SUITS THAT SEEK TO PROTECT SPECIES"
(j) "BUSH BUDGET ON HEALTH CARE WOULD CUT AID TO THE UNINSURED"
(k) "BUSH TEAM URGES REPEAL OF MINING RULE"
(l) "ADMINISTRATIONS PROMISES BUSINESS-FRIENDLY WORKPLACE SAFETY REGULATIONS"
(m) "NADER SAYS THERE MAY BE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN BUSH AND GORE AFTER ALL"
Paul Slansky, "The First Hundred Days: The Quiz" from The New Yorker (Answer:m)

You know, Cable TV has a lot of evil, but watching a Woody Allen flick on a Wednesday night while writing e-mail makes up for a lot of that.  
00-5-24
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Ringo: Really nice apartment, Chris.
Chris: Thanks.  Uh, I know you guys know him-- what do you think of Mick Jagger?
John: Turrific lips.
Paul: Gives me an erection joost watchin' 'im chew goom.
          --from Beat the Meatles, Chris Miller
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getting boulder- you must gravel
                     --me, date unknown
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kirk's moving rule no. 381:
don't lose your damn keys
(wallet either)
97-5-24
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