August 5, 2022

August 5, 2021

Last year or so I learned that hot or warm water running from the tap sounds different than cold - you can use your ears rather than your fingers to keep tabs on if the water has warmed up.

(I mentioned this once to my 7 year old niece Cora, hoping to surprise her, but she said it was something she already knew.)

Survey time! (email me a kirkjerk at gmail dot com if we aren't in contact by some faster method)

A. I already knew warm water sounds different than cold
B. I did not know this
C. Duh you mentioned this last year
D. I still don't believe this is true
nuts, maybe i was bamboozled by that whole "planing a lot of male trees was an example of law of unintended consequences, allergy wise" thing

August 5, 2020

Trump on the death toll (boosted greatly by Trump and Kushner's decision not to make a national plan, assuming this was a "blue state" problem):

"it is what it is."

That's such a classic reality television show line! Maybe next he can be part of a montage and say "I didn't come here to make friends."
Oof, Beirut.
Two thoughts on WFH life:
1. Remember Sniglets? Words for phenomenon that many people encounter but don't have a single term for? I need one for when you get 3-4 notifications for the same damn event at the same time, button on different devices or from different programs. Like I have my Outlook calendar events mirrored in Apple Calendar, but then both fire alerts, along with maybe Microsoft Teams separately for the video call, the phone and maybe even an iPad I keep at hand. Same for phone calls! Phone, laptop, iPad... all suddenly clamoring to let me pick up an incoming call. Probably I could shut off some of these that are always redundant...

2. Thinking again about the challenge of staying focused during meetings, how it helps to think of it as a form of mindfulness. Same for dealing with coder angst during the workday, actually... (hopping up to get a drink of water or whatever... then realizing it's already chugged by the time I sit down again...) Social media's the most obvious ever present temptation, though I know always present Internet has been an all-too-easy escape hatch since my first job. I've learned to control it but still.

I think about what I was doing before always-there Internet... like in high school and college. I was a doodler, and many of my class notes are decorated with doodles or sometimes even back-and-forth margin notes conversations from those times - analog text messaging! So not being fully engaged has always been a challenge for me, probably some kind of shadow-ADD. (I suspect that so many syndromes might be spectrums - which shouldn't be a tool for people with rather mild presentations to excuse and not work on their bad traits. But still, I do wonder what my behavior and cognition with Adderall would be like.)
Watched Sam Jay's Netflix special "3 in the Morning" last night. Really good! For the recording she's sporting a shirt with a Roxbury Zip+4 number on it.

a wonk down memory lane

August 5, 2019
Memory is so wonky. (Or is it just me?) Sometimes recalled details are so cursory that it's as if remembering an event - a fine meal, a musical performance that hits a moment of transcendence, an adventurous vacation, a first kiss (or more than a kiss) - has more in common with anticipating that event or imagining something similar happening than it does with experiencing it in the moment.

Over the course of our lifetimes, rather few events have the emotional power to get seared into our brain in exacting detail. In fact, neuroscientists say remembering an event is more a reconstruction than anything else. The act of remembering builds the memory, which is why eyewitness testimony is so strangely unreliable.

Suddenly, the sci-fi conceit of "Total Recall", people paying to have memories of otherwise impractical vacations implanted, doesn't seem so ridiculous!

Maybe some of the things in life I desire but might never get I should just imagine the hell out of...

(there's a certain pathos to that, or the risk of diluting the willpower to actually achieve these things... and any offer to ignore objective reality should be considered suspect, but still... is it any more pathetic than a life of unfulfilled longing?)

Whoa. As I was writing this I just remembered a comic I made ten years ago or so - Of The Moments - it captured some of this kind of moment, as well as I could remember them. Man, I'm glad I made that! Rereading it now, some of those events are even more washed away.
If that pun was intentional then you are a villain. If it was not then you are a fool.
Alexis Hall, "The Affair of the Mysterious Letter"

Vice, Virtue. It's best not to be too moral. You cheat yourself out of too much *life.*
Maude, in Harold & Maude
Melissa and I watched that last night, hadn't seen it before but it's come up a few times lately so serendipity moved it to the top of the queue. Interesting seeing a senior citizen instance of the "Manic Pixie Dream Girl" type, and thinking about how this film influenced stuff like Wes Anderson's films, and maybe books like Pinkwater's "The Snarkout Boys and the Avocado of Death"
Julia Wertz Things You May Not Know About Miscarriage. I've enjoyed her autobiographical comics for a long time. This one is very heartfelt and personal, mournful without being overly self-pitying, with good advice on how to deal with other people who are giving terrible feedback.

August 5, 2018

Don't wait. The time will never be just right. Start where you are, and work with the tools you have and better tools will be found as you go along.
Napoleon Hill
It might be good advice but man, that guy's history as a classic American huckster is amazing
Two related pieces: one is Alex Singh's tweethread on the transition of the web from independent hangouts to the walled-gardens most of us hang out in today:
Over the past 25 years, the web appears to have transitioned from a primarily nomadic culture to a mostly agrarian one, mirroring the Neolithic Revolution 10,000 years ago.
(The whole thing is just like five tweets)

The second is Nick Heer on The Bullshit Web, where a 1998 modem-based system might download a basic news article in ten to twenty seconds, and a 2018 article over a blazing fast connection might take about the same amount of time - and how Google is offering AMP as a system, but it's getting a huge benefit of keeping eyeballs in Googlespace merely by offering a forced respite form the extraneous file crap.

I take pride in keeping up my idiosyncratic blog over almost two decades, and how the side projects I'm on are largely clear of the BS. I know I tend to build too much from scratch, and other developers get some amazing results using Ruby-on-Rails-style packages, but that is kind of the path to the BS Web as well... the people who are on the "Buy, Always" side of "Make vs Buy" may or may not have good understanding of the tech they employ... I'm too uptight about being left stranded if I make a bug in the infrastructure and don't really get how the magic is working to diagnose it well.
On my devblog I wrote up an improvement to my photo gallery initial displays, most steadily applied against those best photos of the year series I did a while back. I really like seeing all those photos together in thumbnail form, not sure I've seen that before.

August 5, 2017

I was reading "100 Ideas That Changed Graphic Design" and the section "Red With Black" had El Lissitzky's "Beat the Whites with the Red Wedge"...

I remember seeing that as a kid in the book to accompany the BBC/PBS special "The Shock of the New". But what made more of an impression on my young mind was Nikolai Kolli's "Red Wedge":

Leaving the politics aside, the imagery is so striking.
Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation? The title is a bit hyperbolic, but the concept is important, and a bit terrifying. But I think it's weird that there's this quote:
The survey asks teens how happy they are and also how much of their leisure time they spend on various activities, including nonscreen activities such as in-person social interaction and exercise, and, in recent years, screen activities such as using social media, texting, and browsing the web. The results could not be clearer: Teens who spend more time than average on screen activities are more likely to be unhappy, and those who spend more time than average on nonscreen activities are more likely to be happy.

There's not a single exception. All screen activities are linked to less happiness, and all nonscreen activities are linked to more happiness
But not a single mention of the word "game" anywhere in the article... aren't videogames a big part of this for some part of the populations the author is talking about? I feel like "All screen activities" is misleading, or video games are MUCH less a player than I would have thought - but given other articles I've seen about young men who may be less inclined to get out and get a bad job because living at home playing games provides a much crisper effort/reward cycle, I don't think that's the case.

2011 photo bonus: scenes from europe (paris, germany, and london)

August 5, 2016
There's a more detailed day by day photo journal at

Spooning is out, spatulaing is the next big trend. Slide up behind your partner and then launch them out of bed

August 5, 2015

I liked Buzz Aldrin's travel voucher including the trip to the moon. Hope he saved his receipts!

August 5, 2014

Fun, low-key-raunchy music video I found looking for the "I could eat a peach for hours" Nicholas Cage clip - but I can't find the MP3 anywhere (except for a crap island remix someone made) Any suggestions? I hate it when I can't find someone to "shut up and take my money!"

Fun Fact: Saying 'I SUMMON ENTROPY' actually creates entropy.

FOLLOWUP: A FB friend Josh pointed me to a kind of metasite with links to various "grab file from streaming" services. was able to make an MP3 from the video, and then was able to grab a different youtube movie that I had previously updated but the OSX app Grappler was choking on. (Grappler wasn't able to do the Peach MP3 because "video not available on mobile").

thoughts on video games

August 5, 2013
I had forgotten what a superlative multiplayer game Super Monkey Ball 2 was; the quintessence of kart racing + sumo-ish fighting, and "Target" gliding was superb. (There was also a fun as hell dogfight game.) A shame it buries half of its multiplayer behind grinding the inexecrable single player mode.

Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz was a rushed-feeling Wii launch title with dozens of brave and brilliant controller experiments; about half failed though. I wonder if the "Motion Plus" feature would have helped, a lot of the minigames feel like they were based on what a designer thought the Wiimote should do before actually using one. (Holding the thing upright like a plane's control stick seems especially brilliant, and underused in flight games on the system.)

It also reminds me of how much I loved the first Mario Parties, and how later iterations lost their way, putting aside an emphasis on "retro-in-modern clothing" to focus on luck based board games. The first game had a stadium mode that understood the board game is useful to randomly select games and teams and give some meaning to someone playing well (as well as their being a little luck involved), the other games in the series I saw lost that, assuming letting players pick from a jukebox was about as much fun.

Anyway, playing with the old system with a young cousin reminds me how much I miss having quarterly-ish gaming get-togethers. I gotta come to terms with how the N64/GC era may be the zenith of my couch-gaming days.

For a wanna-be gamemaker, I don't usually have a good answer for "what's the dream game I'd like to make", but one thought is a framework for people to write their own Mario Party-like games would be awesome. (In practice, one big drawback is how difficult it can be to right good-but-not-great computer opponents for things.)

They say Time exists to stop everything from happening all at once. I'm not sure it's working.

meow *hic*

August 5, 2012

--via Bill the Splut - I was just thinking a Lego Builder reality show would be pretty sweet, and somebody had the same idea... did anything come of it?
Not sure what equestrian event I'm watching but it looks like it's on a giant London-themed minigolf course.
North Carolina decides it doesn't need that fancy "science" stuff in making policy. Dear lord!

a real-life easter egg at the cleveland museum of natural history

August 5, 2011
In the basement of the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, Sam directed us to a nicely arranged display "A World of Beetles"... but then invited us to look more closely...

Beautifully, there is no hint of anything amiss on the exhibit's placard, it's played totally straight, a lovely bit of scientist humor for the attentive to discover or the gregarious to have pointed out to them... Amazing aircraft that made it to prototype!

whoa! slow down, edison!

August 5, 2010
--via The Comic Curmudgeon. It is a nice turn of phrase. You know, visually, Blondie is something kind of special, relative to a lot of the other comics out there these days.

'[M]oral disapproval, without any other asserted state interest,' has never been a rational basis for legislation

fast font

August 5, 2009

a bit more info, along with the font... I love how it's a smartcar (or something very much like it) - a canadian speaks of nationalized health care, and against the negative BS... - ha Dunkies over McDonalds over Starbucks when it comes to coffee... - 12x12 guesses about how America might end. Choose Your Own Apocalypse!
But hard fiscal realities can put a strain on any marriage, and the new governor, Jan Brewer, is finding that life with the Legislature and a $3.4 billion budget deficit is several feathers shy of paradise.

the art of war

August 5, 2008
A while back I wrote about my ideal ToDo app and I have to say, Appigo's ToDo comes pretty darn close, with great support for categories, a neat summary Outlook-like view, a section for showing completed tasks (which I always find rewarding) and most notably great support for recurring tasks.

It doesn't do "date done" or "subtasks" or a few other details, but it really gets all the important stuff- the recurring events alone probably makes it worth the small $10 fee, relative to the free stuff. Plus it has some nice touches, like a goofy-but-satisfying selection of a strikeout for completed things (ranging from a simple line, to color footprints or treadmarks, to a big red inkstamp-y DONE) and a count of items due today on the main app menu.

Map of the Moment

--from Dogs of War, a collection of WWI anthropomorphic(and caninepomorphic) maps of Europe about to go to war. I love the Escher-like quality of this one by Louis Raemaekers, it's less cluttered and free-er in terms of boundaries than most of the others. Plus, that leaping highlander for the British Isles is pretty great.

Quote of the Moment
If we really want world peace -- we should put up mountain ranges and oceans between everyone. Start digging the trenches, use the dirt for the mountains.
Steve Katz, a coworker of mine at Nokia.
Nice tie in to that map!
Starbucks coffee cup: "Careful, the beverage you're about to enjoy is extremely hot."--then I'm not gonna enjoy it! (Hence, iced coffee)
Dear makers of the Tide Pen: I'm going back to frickin' shout wipes 'til you figure out how to make a cap that stays on in a pen bag. Ciao.
Breathing is sexy, and not just in a "not breathing is not sexy" kind of way.

on stuff

August 5, 2007
Still in Rockport, perhaps.

Essay and Response of the Moment
Mr. Ibis forwarded on a good Paul Graham Essay on "stuff"

Here's what I wrote on his comment board, though it got pretty buried:

Hmm. I wonder if books are that different.
Though they stack neatly on a shelf, unlike "random objects"
(Which ties in well with the "builds a mental model" theory, that if it's neatly on a shelf, you're more able to "chunk" it and consider it as a "full bookshelf" instead of "book a, book b, book c" etc. That said, I'm still skeptical about that theory, I think human attention tends to be more focused than that, that even cluttered surroundings can "fade out"... but a cluttered environment is more likely to throw random distractions at you.)

Do other media count get a pass as well? Video Games? DVDs?
(personally, I think at least one factor in the success of DVDs is how nice they look on a bookshelf)

Having just bought yet more bookshelves, I'm wondering. My (loosely applied) criteria is that a book must be at least one of the following:
  1. be something I'd actively recommend to someone else
  2. have a reasonable expectation of reading again, or at least refer to a specific bit of
  3. is by a favorite author, so it gets a pass
It's definitely harder to get rid of a just-read book... even after thinking that it needs a bit of head time to ripen. If you were to quickly discard books, you'd start to wonder why you weren't just getting them from the library... though a satisfactory answer to that might be "buying books is voting with my dollars".

stays heroic in milk!

August 5, 2006
I found out I'm going to San Francisco for work next week. For a day. I was trying to figure out why people at work were double checking to make sure it was ok with me 'til both FoSO and my mom pointed out it's a lot of flying in a short time. In fact I guess it's the "red eye" back, arriving at 7am Boston time. And turn around time in SF is less than 24 hours.

At least I'll get to say I've been to California (and Vegas, for an hour stopover) and might be able to read a bit.

Art of the Moment

click for fullsize

"May", by Timna Woollard
from Where The Heart Is.

Slogan of the Moment
JUSTICE is a DISH best serve PIPING HOT!
Miller's breakfast themed legion of heroes in the online game City of Heroes. Some of the identities the players made are really clever.... "Belgian Waffler", "Eggs Benedict Arnold", "Southern Grits", "Huevos Rancheros"...

Project of the Moment

I remember the (at the time, seemingly weird) affection for the game some of my high school friends expressed. We've played it at a family reunion or two since then, and it is a lot of fun.

It also had an appearance in my favorite movie Henry & June.

arc de technologie

August 5, 2005
Computer Art of the Moment

--"Arch" by Sandy Smith. This and more at


(1 comment)
August 5, 2004
It has almost slipped from the frontpage but LAN3 who was very fond of the Hating America link mentioned the " showing as ? issue can be fixed in IE by going to View|Encoding -- I had best results by making sure "Auto-Select" was checked.

Quote of the Moment
People are stupider than anybody.
Tom Lehrer (May 2000 Onion A.V.Club interview)

Songs of the Moment
A study in contrasts: Gloomy Sunday was said to have led to a number of suicides in the first part of the 1900s. (The 3rd verse that basically says "oh it was all a dream!" was added later, probably to try to counteract it or something.) Maybe that was mostly an Urban Legend, however.

And then we have Dennis Learly's "A**HOLE" song well-set to scenes from the game Halo. Goes on a bit, but the song is still amusing in parts and the way they match up the in-game action to the lyrics is funny as well.

Political Observation of the Moment
And it's true; both candidates are for the corporation, and I do agree with Nader that ultimately the corporation is the major evil. But in my mind, Bush is the immediate obstacle. He is a collection of disasters for America. What he does to the English language is a species of catastrophe all by itself. Bush learned a long time ago that certain key words, 'evil, patriotism, stand-firm, flag, our-fight-against-terrorism,' will get half the people in America stirred up. That's all he works with. Kerry will be better in many ways, no question.
He also said
"It could be that the most incisive personal crime committed by George Bush is that he probably never said to himself, 'I don't deserve to be president.' You just can't trust a man who's never been embarrassed by himself. The vanity of George W. stands out with every smirk. He literally cannot control that vanity. It seeps out of every movement of his lips, it squeezes through every tight-lipped grimace. Every grin is a study in smugsmanship."
Right on. When Bush talks about "humble" anything, he's talking out of his ass.

2019 UPDATE: looking back... I think about how Obama's detractors thought he was the arrogant one. It has a different flavor, though. And of course Trump somehow transcends mere smugness to become a monument to, of, by, and for himself.

hot and wet and cold and clammy

August 5, 2003
Man is it humid these days. Such terrible sleeping weather, the bedclothes just get so damp...Ugh.

Metaphor of the Moment
Give a rat a piece of cheese every time it performs an unpleasant task. Pretty soon it will learn to appreciate that desk task. Or grow to despise its dependency on cheese.
Heh, talk about your Freudian slips, at first I wrote "desk" for "task", thanks for noticing bozo and Craig.

Link of the Moment
Awesome Illustrated Catalog Of ACME Products from the old Loony Tunes...lots of screenshots. I didn't realize they were into the service industry as well!

Quote of the Moment
I don't deserve this award, but I have arthritis and I don't deserve that either.
Jack Benny


August 5, 2002
Another month, another loveblender...

Link of the Moment
The last pre-9-11 entry from my backlog: laughlab, an effort to scientifically find the funniest joke. The link was iffy for a while, which is probably why it sat around for so long. At least it's a chance to read some jokes

Question and Answer of the Moment
Were you squeamish when you were a kid or did you like things that were bizarre and creepy?
Well, I really liked insects as a kid, so where I came from that immediately meant that you were weird. But I thought that was ridiculous because insects are amazing. I mean, people want to go to other planets to see alien life forms and we've got them right here. They're incredible.
It's a good point...applies to sealife like lobsters and crabs too.

boom chikka boom

August 5, 2001
Wow, one things about deadlines (like the loveblender that I should be doing right now) is that they allow you can use them to be very productive (doing other things).

The Things That Make You Go "BOOM"
Hey, remember that "successful missile defense test"? The media hasn't playing up the fact that the test was more rigged than the last election. Well, maybe not. I suppose a "rogue state" might attach a homing beacon to their missile, and only release a shiny balloon as a decoy. Maybe they'll call us up and tell us what city they're thinking of blowing up to, that would be thoughtful. Oh, and of course they'd never just smuggle in a suitcase nuke or a bomb-in-a-boat. (via Bill the Splut's news)

Quote of the Moment
I've never seen 'It's A Wonderful Life.' I could never get past that title.
from the T-shirt Archive: #12 of a Series
"Fuddruckers". An interesting retrologo design, from the restaurant of the same name. My family always enjoyed Mother Fuddruckers' Mustard. (Sigh, this series is creeping into the mundane. Ah well, it adds a bit of color to the place.)

Family reunion. Nana died kinda young. You know, I really can deal with mortality so  long as I think there isn't a better alternative that I'm missing by bad decisions. Do the cyros have a chance in hell? Of course if I believed that I wouldn't make good use of extra centuries maybe it doesn't matter. You have to be so optimistic about humanity and the longterm viability of the planet to plan for hyperlongevity.

Some of this thinking came from the life extensions in Larry Niven's "Neutron Star" collection. It was interesting seeing all the ideas that I remembered seeing duplicated in the PC game Star Control- especially the mysterious answers-for-cash aliens that charge an unimaginable price for answers about themselves.

"Broken heart, huh?"
        "Does it show?"
"Listen, when you've been tickling the ivories for as long as I have, you see a broken heart for every drop of rain, a shattered dream for every falling star..."
--Rowlf and Kermit, The Muppet Movie
run away with me
        and then what
be with me

And our kisses were like chewing dynamite.
I turn the set back on and close my eyes.  "I want to understand you," a woman is saying to The Fugitive.  "You will in time," The Fugitive tells her.  "May I use your car?"
--Jay Gummerman, "We Find Ourselves in Moontown"
It's very hard to get your head and heart to work together in life.  In my case, they're not even friendly.
--Woody Allen, Crimes and Misdemeanors
"The helicopter on the computer screen has to be spinning- otherwise it just wouldn't work."
--Rick Hanson on The Matrix and pretty much every computer mockup in movieland
Read a Dan Savage article about a widely ignored study that gay men have larger dicks on average, possibly relating to neonatal hormone levels.  Well, my some accounts my dad was well hung, I'm not particularly, so maybe it follows? (from The Relation Between Sexual Orientation And Penile Size, Bogaert and Hershberger, June 1999 issue, Volume 28, Number 3 of Archives Of Sexual Behavior)
here i am, i'm here
in my mind -- and yours, it seems.
don't hold me too dear,
many dreams
are unrealized.
"Why you're about as 'fatale' as an after-dinner mint."
[the excerpt from "In The Bath"]
Uma Thurman on a Hog Harley: now *that's* heaven.
This life is like an Atomic Fire Ball (r) - once you get past the stuff that hurts it's pretty sweet.
"[life is like chocolate covered espresso beans...] once you get past the stuff that's sweet, it's really dark and bitter and keeps you up at night."
[shiek of araby]
"She moved so easily / All I could think of was sunlight"
--Paul Simon
"Double integral is also the shape of lovers curled asleep."  Pynchon
Paul D sits down in the rocking chair and examines the quilt patched in carnival colors.  His hands are limp between his knees.  There are too many things to feel about this woman.  His head hurts.  Suddenly he remembers Sixo trying to describe what he felt about the Thirty-Mile Woman.  "She is a friend of my mind.  She gather me, man.  The pieces I am, she gather them and give them back to me in all the right order.  It's good, you know, when you got a woman who is a friend of your mind."
--Toni Morrison
(i do not know what it is about you that closes and opens,
   only something in me understands the voice of your eyes is
   deeper than all roses)
--e.e. cummings
[don marquis, life is not all jazz and joy]
I see friends shaking hands
saying 'how do you do?'
they're really saying
'I love you'
and I think to myself
What a wonderful world"
--Louis Armstrong
"I think it's kind of funny
you think I'm the boy to make you cry
I can make you happy...
if only for a while"
--George Michael
"Would not a rose, by any other name, have so many ?$^ thorns????"
The autumn leaves are falling like rain.
Although my neighbors are all barbarians,
And you, you are a thousand miles away,
There are always two cups at my table.
--Author Unknown, dated from the T'ang Dynasty