July 22, 2022

In June 1943, The United States Army Band was ordered overseas to provide musical support; first in North Africa and then in battle-weary Europe, not returning to U.S. soil until June 1945.

Here you can see John L. Latwas (tuba) and Henry Weichler (piccolo) sitting in a slit trench. When The U.S. Army Band was shipped out for deployment in WWII, there were ten Soldiers who were in the original 1922 formation of the band, all of whom were WWI veterans (including Latwas).


July 22, 2021

The common shorthand in psychology circles for the tension between emotion and cognition--between what we feel and what we think--is to use the Star Trek characters of Captain Kirk and Officer Spock. Kirk is all heart, a man of intense and compelling emotions. He's fire. By contrast, Spock, that lovable, pointy-eared half human half Vulcan, is all head; he's a cerebral problem solver unencumbered by the distractions of feelings. He's ice.

The key to avoid rumination is to combine the two Starship Enterprise crew members. When supporting others, we need to offer the comfort of Kirk and the intellect of Spock.
Ethan Kross, Chatter.
This book on our internal voices was more self-help than philosophical, but still pretty decent. I think I was most interested in his advice on advising others. He goes into say how listening to others but ONLY empathizing with their negative feelings can reinforce their own negative chatter. Learning to subtly reframe and contextualize a negative experience, without denying the validity of what they're saying, is a delicate operation!

I probably need some less heavy-handed ramp up to "well, it's all the heat death at the end of the universe anyway, and this problem clearly doesn't rise to that level, so why worry about it?"

I would say, I think the more interesting analysis of old Star Trek is not a duality but tripartite: Spock as Brain, McCoy as Heart, Kirk as mediating Guts and Spirit.
Lego GBC - beautiful engineering just to shove tiny Lego basketballs and soccer balls around.

July 22, 2020

A disturbing lesson in sexism. I think about all those offers who use initials rather than gender-associated names.
Motto last year: do one thing each day that scares you

Motto now: do one thing each day

It's very important in life to know when to shut up.
Alex Trebek

I suggest we talk about vice-signaling [...] How not caring about injustices is the appropriate position to take, in their world, if you want to be taken seriously. Only losers care about stuff.
The context was journalism, but it applies so well to people who are so loud about how they ain't gonna wear a mask.
The essential message of a vice signal is that it's never you that needs to change -- the world needs to change around you.

July 22, 2019

Once, in an exuberant state, feeling filled with the muse, I told another writer: When I write, I know everything. Everything about the characters? she asked. No, I said, everything about the world, the universe. Every. Fucking. Thing. I was being preposterous, of course, but I was also trying to explain the feeling I got, deep inside writing a first draft, that I was listening and receiving, listening some more and receiving, from a place that was far enough away from my daily life, from all of my reading, from everything.
It made me think about my usual excuse for not pushing myself to write fiction: on some level I see fiction as a selected window in a constructed alternate reality - but that fictionality reality has to be like an entirety, it shouldn't just be this tiny world where the only thing happening is what the author wants to talk about, free from cause and effects outside the narrative window. And man, that's just too much responsibility! (Also, some podcast said, yeah, everyone has that idea in the back of the head for a movie or show or comic or game whatever... and I really don't, and as someone who would like to think of himself as creative that seems a little sad.)
Form is all we have
to help us cope
with fundamentally chaotic
facts and assaults.
Formulating something
is a great start.
I trust form,
trust my feeling
or capacity
to find the right form
for something.
Even if that is only by being
well organized.
That too is form.
David Means, "What I Learned from Gerhard Richter" - he found it in a New York Times interview and turned it into a poem, though I'm not sure I am convinced it benefits from the rhythm of the linebreaks. Though I like the last one.

The Real ID Act - in October 2020 you're gonna need a specially verified driver's license to get on a plane or enter a federal building. Looks like in MA, it's considered an option to get a license with "Real ID"-ness included, and see my own license would otherwise not need to be renewed for a few years after the October 2020 deadline. So, countdown til lots of people, worried either about their personal inconvenience or for another tool for big brother, notice this and start complaining.

July 22, 2018

Besides having a kickin' opening theme, Barney Miller was one of the staples of my youthful TV watching. This one guy from the episode The Blizzard stuck with me- he was convinced a new ice age was upon us, and was arrested for assaulting people to try and get their attention...

In viewing the episode I was surprised how little he shows up in the episode, relative to how much he stuck in my head. Later two of the detectives, Nick Yemana and Dietrich are talking about him:
"Hey Dietrich - it's snowing heavier than ever. You don't think he's right, do ya?"
"Well a new ice age can't happen overnight. However, scientists have been detecting disturbing changes in weather conditions, which theoretically could lead to a calamity, such as an ice age in our lifetime."
"I didn't know that."
And then later, Nick, Grodin, and Barney are talking, as Grodin is being released:
"It stopped snowing, Barney."
"You're not serious?? [...] I don't understand went wrong - there was research and study, measurements and observations. Could it be all wrong?"
"Maybe it's just premature, Mr. Grodin."
"It's turning to rain."
"A flood! Maybe that was it. It does make sense from a theological point of view."
"Never say die, Mr. Grodin..."
Interesting to see climate fears back then. I know some deniers are like "huhr huhr we used to think it was an ice age and now we think it's gonna heat up?" but for decades we'd known that adding energy and gasses to our climate system was going to add to some big things to the mix...

July 22, 2017

Looking at old Herbie Hancock on Soul Train clips, I really wish that show was still around.

best photos of 2001

July 22, 2016
My Dozen Best Photos of 2001.

Open Photo Gallery

Camera-wise, I think this year I started my long relationship with Canon PowerShots. They were truly pocketable cameras that took nice shots, and I kept one with me all the time for years (PalmPilot, Camera, Wallet, Keys, Sunglasses) - in fact there's still usually one in my courier bag, but it doesn't get much action.

Though actually, I think this is the only "Best of" photo taken with the Kodak PalmPix, a clip-on camera for the PalmPilot. Not a good camera in general, but has an interesting winter wonderland effect here.

Again, Brooke threw some good parties, like this Angel/Devil themed one.

Angel from the Angel/Devil party.

I've always loved this picture of Greg's kid, the whole "stop fooling around with a camera and get me more to drink" of it.

One of the few photos here not taken with my equipment; our wedding was professionally photographed, but this shot of the dancing after was done with a plastic toy camera. Two young people who didn't know what they were doing, but were trying to look cool doing it, I guess. We had a giant framed print of this one on the wall for a while.

Honeymoon in Mexico. It was a photogenic place, but I had surprisingly few great shots.

Aunt Susan and Uncle Bill on the stoop at Wigglesworth.

Mo and I and the Tufts band lemmings went Apple Picking...

Goddess of Apples.

Jen the Juggler.

Apple Strongman.

My best highschool buddy Mike was fond of road trips, including this one to Boston with his pal Dave. I guess this was pre-Big Dig, when there was still an elevated highway there.

The crime and violence that today afflicts our nation will soon -- and I mean very soon -- come to an end. Beginning on January 20th 2017, safety will be restored.
Donald Trump.
Besides the fact this is a spooky authoritarian tyrant kind of line, how the HELL could he promise this unless he was like, ordering the crime and violence himself?

July 22, 2015

The eyes might be the window to the soul but the nose is the front door to the brain.

Kind of old news now, but I love this "Everything's a Product" parody in the Honest Trailer for The Lego Movie:

New glasses!

July 22, 2014

This is a very simple concept, and I was quite surprised when I realized that English has no word for it (or even a simple way to phrase it). The word எத்தனாவது (roughly etthanaavadhu) in Tamil is hard to translate into English. The closest you could get, if you took some liberties with English is "which-th".

This is a "question word" like "what", "who", "where", "how" etc. Let me illustrate its usage with an example. Suppose A is B's son. The information you want to get from A is:
If A is B's n'th son, what is the value of n?

That isn't really English, of course, and there is really no direct and concise way of asking A a question in English that would elicit the information you want. You'd have to get this information in some roundabout way. Maybe you could ask: How many older brothers do you have, (who were also born to B?)? or How many sons did B have before you? and then add one to whatever answer you got.

If English had this "which-th" word, you could phrase the question thus:
Which-th son of B are you?

July 22, 2013

I call my son at his room in college. From what I can hear in the background, it sounds like he and his roommate are majoring in laughing and shouting.

"Hey, son, miss me?" I greet.

"Who's this?" he wants to know.

"Very funny. Hey I thought it would be fun for you to come home this weekend. You and I can hang out, maybe go to the grocery store."


"Why wouldn't you want to come home and visit your father?"

"I don't know, Dad, let me guess: college women?"
Bruce Cameron, "Driving Mr. Daddy" (As a carbon-reducing cheapskate he's trying to sweet talk his children into driving him around.)

Realized that I'm still living in the past - even in Windows, I put in an underscore instead of a space when naming directories.

When procrastinating, take a minute to laugh at future you. Ha ha, enjoy the work, loser.

Life is unfair, but that's a good thing. If it were fair things would go even worse for you.

I'm sure religious conservatives had a hunch that they were losing young people long before this polling data confirmed it, just by looking at the people sitting in their pews. Evangelical leaders have been fretting about this loss for a couple of years now, and it's an open secret that the youngest generation finds the reactionary politics and hostility toward science that marks religious conservatism to be repulsive. Some of the kids fleeing the flock just end up having no religious beliefs at all, but some clearly want to retain a connection to faith without having to sign off on the anti-feminism, homophobia, and creationism that comes with the more conservative churches."
I'm still worried about faith, and its ability to cling to a theory no matter what the facts turn out to be (which when turned on full blast becomes fundamentalism, some of the very worst of what humanity has to offer) but still, I can dig this.

diet: die with a t

July 22, 2012
6 years ago I gathered up all the old personal weight data that I could and made a program to graph it... this is the updated version.

Since my last weight loss in 2010, my weight has been surprising stable (it looks extra jagged here because I have more data points to plug in)

I had kind of forgotten that I had been as low as 180 as recently as 2001. That's both encouraging and discouraging... encouraging that it's not the super-distant-past (though I was younger then), discouraging that it puts my recent loss in perspective, and without a coherent exercise plan it's kind of a dicey proposition.
http://kirkdev.blogspot.com/2012/07/the-alleyoop-ignite-hackathon.html My company Alleyoop's "Hackathon", and the fun search engine me and my team came up with!

so lazy

(1 comment)
July 22, 2011
via llara. MOM WARNING: boxers. and hands down pants in an al bundy kinda way.

can't face it

July 22, 2010
--via Kotaku's When Video Games Go Wrong which is mostly taken from the site I Get Your Fail, about weird bugs that show up in game development.
Holy shit. It's 20-fuckin-10 and this laptop cannot install a god damn Microsoft ergonomic keyboard. What. The. Fuck. (Especially because the laptop's pre-windows boot menu has NO GODDAMN PROBLEM understanding that hey- it's a fucking keyboard, the kind people type on.)
And now endless bluescreens. SON OF A FUCKING BITCH. It is a mother fucking KEYBOARD. It is not god damn rocket science. Now I look like an asshole for wanting a better keyboard. Fuck Fuck FUCK. It's like Windows 95 era USB all the fuck over again.

http://people.howstuffworks.com/swearing.htm - I like that swearing is distinct in the brain. Oddly I didn't learn to cuss 'til highschool.
http://www.paulgraham.com/top.html - "The Top Idea in your Mind". I'm kind of annoyed that right now it seems to be "losing weight". (Also, for me it's less "shower" thinking and more what comes to mind while walking down the hall to the men's room)
That free #Tron game for iPhone is awesome- like Vindicators meets the spider level of the old Tron arcade game- damn I love tank games! Control scheme is dual 360 like Robotron, a bit like this one Mac tank game I saw way back when....

can you jump it?

(1 comment)
July 22, 2009

--Meant to post this Saturday, the date of the last Klik of the Month Klub. This is a "Let's Play" video from one of the best games of the previous KotMK. (Let's Play videos are where someone narrates their experience finding out about a new game... usually not so over the top as this one. They are good ways of finding out about new games without the stress of finding and downloading and getting into them yourself, kind of like less judgmental game reviews.)

The voice is a bit goofy but that is mostly just mirroring the amazing old-time goofiness of the original game.
Volvo in front of me on way to work with round white pseudo-EU stickers...
"I <3 WTM" and "<3 MV". Yay incomprehensible but supportive messaging, I guess!
I'm not sure if I'd ever order "mint flavored coffee", but drinking iced coffee around Orbit "Mint Mojito" gum is surprisingly tasty.
Starting a sentence in the subject and completing in the message body is a bit wrong headed, some readers break the flow of how it was typed.
Smugness in getting a 5 pack of GE low-watt bulbs is mitigated by them being a box of 5- with each in its own box- each inside another box.

an open-ish letter on indy gaming

July 22, 2008
So this is a letter I wrote my friend SpindleyQ, who set up the Glorious Trainwrecks site that is at the core of my current game making efforts. Every once in a while I pester him with thoughts about my game-making delusions of grandeur...

Anyway, he mentioned the Poppenkast 10800 seconds open compo... that's 3 hours, one hour more than I used for manspider the other day, so I updated the game with sounds, wing animations, and a title screen.

Hey man

Thanks for pointing out the poppenkast compo. I actually was pimping GT a little too much, realized that's not a neighborly first post, so I retracted a bit.

Guess I'm back to my usual pondering the indie games community, such as it is!

I suppose it's like a lot of indy scenes, art or music or all that... always people around who seem more dedicated and/or talented but are still totally obscure, so you realize you gotta just take pleasure in what you do for its own sake...

There's so much volume out there! Like reading about TOJam, which I hadn't even heard of, but there's so much out there on a bigger scale than I usually play in -- people who work on teams, semi-serious music and art, tools that run at a different gear than Java Processing... (plus my age old fear that I'm missing the spirit of GT) Probably the biggest issue is that I don't do anything out side these little 2 and 3 hour boxes... and kind of lack the drive to, in some ways.

(See, some of us don't seem to be on the having offspring trail so we have to time to fret about these things -- probably a lot easier to be unka kirky than a bona fide daddy!)

Sigh. Am I actually looking to indy gaming for help with meaning and purpose in life? :->

Game of the Moment
Speaking of games, I spent a number of hours on Fantastic Contraption last night, a great Flash based building puzzle game (kind of like sodaplay back in the day but with more of a goal-oriented structure) With FC, I like how part of the reward is seeing how other people solved it. It's humbling though... I probably wouldn't believe fancy walkers and catapults were possible within the system if other people weren't building them!

Now that I keep track of my reading over the course of a year, sometimes I fear I'm reading to add to a score...
Searle's Chinese Room thought experiment is making me angry! I want to argue with someone about it, it's so smug in its delusion!

who are the people in your neighorhood?

(1 comment)
July 22, 2007
Personal History of the Moment
BoingBoing was (I guess) amused by the swearing and poor composition skills of a Councilman writing to a convicted drug seller. What caught my eye was how near it was my old street and church.

My main counter to people who assume I went to some kind of hick school in Cleveland is pointing out how they installed metal detectors there a year or so after I left.


July 22, 2006
So yesterday morning I'm in my company's kitchen/pantry where they have lots of free junkfood. Actually I was there with the guy who had just restocked it from a run to BJ's Wholesale Club. And the amazing thing was, I had already accidentally memorized the calorie count of pretty much every snack in there, from the Poptarts (400 for a pack) to Pretzels (110 for 3) to Pringles (140 for the snacksize) to Swedish Fish (200) to the supermarket bakery cookies (amazingly, 250, like around a Snickers bar!) to the "breakfast bars" (130). And about 4 or 5 other snack types besides.

Yeah, I might be a little obsessed. That's why calorie monitoring is so important to me these days, so I can balance my pathological interest in these foods with my weight loss goals. The other day I got sick of thinking about Poptarts so I had a pack. They were..eh, ok, but I get more enjoyment out of my Lean Cuisines.

Hero of the Moment
This is Samus Aran of the Metroid series, cribbed from this Wikipedia graphic, which includes the various powered up modes, including when she loses her armor. The armorless version is slated to be a character in the new Smash Bros. game, a bit to the dismay of gamers who would like to have her as evidence that you can have a tough video game heroine without it being about her looks. Of course, even the first game had a (rather non-titillating) "Samus in a bathing suit" reward for completing the game... but back then, part of it was the turnabout of realizing that the character you'd been controlling the entire time was a woman.

Manners of the Moment
Slate presents the Marine Corps' Quick Reference to Iraqi Etiquette. Eight pages are listed, but you can see all 16 in the large PDF download. (Including interesting bits like how the color of the male headcovering encodes if the man has made the hajj, and then if his country is ruled by a president or king.) I always dig this kind of high level analysis, I've always had an interest in the small (and sometimes large) differences among various cultures.

this...is cnn

July 22, 2005
Gripe of the Moment
To some fanfare, CNN.com has made its website videos free. In general, that's not a big plus for me...you can't skim a video spot and it certainly has a lower information/time ratio than any written article. My gripe is that they don't have a special icon for video links, just the word "Watch:" which isn't much of an indicator, especially for the second link on the line it applies to. If I'm expecting an article, the video popup is a disapointment. (Plus, I tend to shift-click stories to get a new window, and that breaks their javascript. You would think a site like CNN would get someone who knew something about web UI.)

CNN is my default news source online. Google News just seems a bit hit or miss for me.

Quote of the Moment
It takes a Long time to count to '2' in Binary.

Article of the Moment
Slate's Fred Kaplan on the motivation of terrorists. It has more to do with classic struggle for homeland liberation. The implication at the end is interesting...the uprising in Iraq isn't just "Insurgents vs the USA", it's "Sunni Insurgents vs the Shiite government / USA partnership".

Dang, I just read a reference that 3 months before the latest Iraq war, Bush didn't know about the whole Sunni/Shiite thing. He just knows that they hate us because they hate freedom.

Hail to the chief.

Israel of the Moment
Bush appoints Chris Israel as "Piracy Czar" I gotta say, this is the first time I remember reading about a guy with the last name of "Israel" in the news. Heheheh...wonder if he's jewish. ("Not that it matters.")

dozens of stick-figure people running amok in a donkey kong style universe

July 22, 2004
Animation of the Moment
Pretty cool animation, huh? (I like the guy who's sitting there like 'the thinker'.) What's really cool is that you can tile a bunch of them, creating this giant ongoing universe of mayhem and motion...check it out.

The image was posted on a discussion board at b3ta that has a few more, though this one is the coolest. The artist has his own webpage that has a lot of cool animations in Java, Flash, etc, worth checking out.

Today's title comes from the boingboing link, a link that later pointed out that the tiled image makes a great sterogram. (You know, onfocus your eyes and see a 3D sailboat out of the background noise...in this case the whole stickfigure universe just gains a bit of depth in your monitor...)

The artist's site reminds me: question on my mind, for the webhead geeks out there; I have an idea for a Mega-Man themed interactive project, basically capturing a lot of the animations of characters and creatures in the game for human- or computer- control. Should I do it in Java (maybe in processing?) or use it to try learning Flash, or something else?

Quote of the Moment
Civilization is a stream with banks. The stream is sometimes filled with blood from people killing, stealing, shouting, and doing things historians usually record--while, on the banks, unnoticed, people build homes, write poetry, whittle statues. The story of civilization is the story of what happens on the banks.
Will Durant, "The Story of Civilzation", via Mr. Rogers

Comic of the Moment
Sweet Jimmy Durante on a Breakfast at Tiffany's Crutch, a softer world might just be the Best. Webcomic. Ever. And I don't use that Simpsons' reference lightly. 3 Panels w/ some great photography, and brilliant overlayed captions...thoughtful, wistful, funny. READ THEM ALL but if you're in a hurry check out April 30th 2004 (melancholy) and Jun 4th 2004 (funny as heck.)

pretty colors. pretty, pretty colors.

July 22, 2003
Hey Harry, thanks for the kind words on yesterday's comment section. It's always great to hear about regular readers whom I don't know personally already...

Old News of the Moment
Back from the end of March, a Slate.com Explainer talks about Why Is Iraqi Anti-Aircraft Fire Visible on TV?...the answer is, of course, tracers put in to make aiming easier, but mentions that during the Cold War, they've started color coding 'em, so people know who's shooting at whom: "In Vietnam, North Vietnamese Army and Viet Cong tracers were designed to leave green trails while American and South Vietnamese tracers were designed to leave red ones. The New York Times reports that the color scheme is similar in Gulf War II: Americans, red; Iraqis, green."

Why I find that amusing is because on the G.I. Joe cartoon, good guys shot red lasers and bad guys shot blue. I had NO idea that there was any basis in reality for that kind of color coding!

I found that screenshot at this amazing site called qktheatre.com (named after Quick Kick, a popular martial artist 'Joe.) The Episode Summaries are incredibly detailed, three or four pages with dozens and dozens of screen captures. And it reminded me--even back in like fifth and sixth grade, I thought Lady Jaye was hawt--my preference for short-haired kinda butch women was formed even then.

Ramble of the Moment
There's something cool about listening to far off lightning over AM radio...can't see the lightning, can't hear the thunder, but it can make its presence known. I guess it's not all that impressive, if the station's signal isn't very strong then my blinkers and even the engine itself can make their electromagnetic presence audible through the stupid radio. Conceptually, it is kind of cool though.

And think about it...man, every radio station's signal your car radio can pull in, and every tv station your tv can use an antenna to pick up, and then some, is passing through you right now. An entire cacophony of possible sound and potential image is flooding over us all the time, but we're completely blind and deaf to it.

UPDATE: Louis Nick III sent in an NPR link of a guy who listens to the radio sounds of the Nothern Lights. (Ties in nicely with today's title theme of "pretty colors" as well!)

Bad News of the Moment
I know I posted something on this story last January, but wow, this is really nightmarish in a goofy kind of way: there's a good chance that bananas will vanish from store shelves in the next few years. How weird is it to think that our children might not know what a banana tastes like? How convenient fun they are (were?) to peel and eat, how good they taste, alone, or with peanut butter or nutella? Bizarre. Something tells me "they" will figure something out, but I dunno. In the meanwhile, expect about a billion jokes along the lines of "yes we have no bananas".

i'll take kirk trivia for $400, alex

July 22, 2002
I'm hacking together a "whitelist" system for my homebrew webmail, where e-mail with certain Subject and From lines (namely, ones corresponding to Subjects I've sent mail about and people I've sent mail to) get highlighted as being much less likely to be SPAM. So here are the top ten (well, eleven) Subject lines in mail I've sent over the past year and a half. (Except, of course, for the 5-6 months of data from the second half of last year that got wiped out when my webhost's server got hacked.)
hey man19
HTML: wrapping tables?10
Except for that "HTML:" one which was a specific technical conversation, all of them are general terms I tend to use when I'm not feeling very imaginative.

In terms of to whom I've sent mail, Mo tops the list at over 500, over 5 times the next runner up, my mom.

Link of the Moment
Dang, guess Google isn't as perfectly cool in every respect as everyone thought. Their lawyers sent a cease and desist note to this site, which had made a very Google-looking interface to Amazon, both as a bit of a gag and as a statement on web usability. (They still have a screenshot here.) I guess I can kind of see Google's point, it was similar to the point of possible confusion that it was really Google making the site, and the redone look and feel is still much cleaner than Amazon itself.

Quote of the Moment
Some people see things that are and ask, Why?
Some people dream of things that never were and ask, Why not?
Some people have to go to work and don't have time for all that shit.
George Carlin

playing photographer

July 22, 2001
Quote of the Moment
Photography isn't about the pictures. Pictures never come out right. It's about the adventure.
Jason the Australian, as we climbed up and over fences on the roof of my mom's 17-story apartment building in NYC.

Photo Gallery 1
So I got that new Canon Digital Elph, and I'm loving it. I've actually started carrying with me everywhere, the same way I do my Pilot and cellphone, and started playing at being a photographer. These are some of my favorite post-honeymoon pictures (shrunk down from the originals which were five times times the size seen here):

There's a brilliant commercial for the VW Cabrio, a convertible. 4 people are driving on a moonlit road in the country, enjoying the night air, looking up at the moon, trying to catch the magical looking pollen as it blows past, all to this wonderful mellow folksy song 'Pink Moon'. They finally arrive at the destination, a party- through the windshield you see many cars, strings of big festive lights, people talking... it seems very pleasant but the foursome look at each other and silently decide to keep driving into the night. It's a beautifully shot piece, the convertible nature of the car permitting intimate shots from many angles in the moonlight, not just the typical headon from the front view. Even though I find the decision to ditch the party unbelievable and just the wrong choice, as a whole the spot really resonates with me. I'm seriously tempted to look into one when I get my next car. (Then again I've always liked the compact boxiness of VW convertbles.)