August 15, 2019

There's one thing computing teaches you, and that's that there's no point to remembering *everything*.
Douglas Coupland
I recorded that 17 years ago, with the comment "I'm trying to utilize this statement as encouragement to discard all these old files that are only slightly interesting in a 'passing interests and random activities of Kirk in the late 1990s'". I'm still not sure I got the knack of that.
I feel I can tell I am becoming an old by my lack of enthusiasm for unisex one-piece-looking rompers a few folks at my company's shore side outing are wearing.

roger screws up

August 15, 2018

--an old favorite Far Side of mine. I know the feel.
I'm having a pretty severe case of "why is there no time during a week"?

I feel like there was a time where there was an ok balance for, say, reading, projects, and video games, as well as some quality time with an SO.

I guess the main culprit is band tuba stuff. It's at least 2 chunks of time a week, usually a bit more. And it's a highly rewarding activity, but not cheap.

It seems like if you work you kind of have to pick a single free time activity (like "kids", for some people!) and everything else goes around the edges. (Maybe even if you're not working) Maybe with intense discipline you could get 2 or 3 big things juggle at once, but man. It's not easy.

August 15, 2017

Blender of Love

There's a line from a Russian poem. It says: 'We love just once in a lifetime. And spend the rest of our lives looking for something similar.'
Man from St. Petersburg, Russia
(via humans of New York -- he has a super crazy sad tale)
No Nazis - No KKK - No Fascists USA -

You can't be anti-participation trophies and pro Confederate statues. They are the world's biggest participation trophies.

In the past, empires were ruled by emperors, then kingdoms were ruled by kings. Now we have countries.

second best photos of 2015

August 15, 2016
So this marked 20 years worth of photos, posted! Thanks to everyone who took time to comment, its been a great stroll down memory lane.

August 15, 2015

Some cuts from the original short story (and I'm surprised at how detailed I remember the original), but so cool and quirky...


August 15, 2014
Over the past few years I've realized that I use an idiosyncratic visualization for certain kinds of time; I see the cyclic nature of the twelve months of a year and the seven days of a week in the form of a circle, both going counter-clockwise. I spent some time today generating images reflecting this view. Here's a reflection of what a week is like for me:

I guess the specific rotation and counter-clockwise direction reflects a dash of synesthesia, and also how important physical layout is to my sense of recall -- if I'm trying to do a week-based day calculation, I'll often use my hand to as an arrow to mark my place in the week, in the same way I'll still unconsciously shape an "L" with my left hand to recall which direction is which.

I'm less certain why I place the weekend down. My best guess is see that as the start and stop of a week, and is either "heavier" or "where the week meets the road" (to stretch the physical metaphor, since I view myself as moving in the fixed week-wheel rather than it moving to accommodate me.) The counter-clockwise motion then springs from that - I read left-to-right, so the Saturday-Sunday "start" to the week is in that "forward" direction, and thus drives the rest of the loop.

Years are even more strongly laid out in my mind's eye:
Here the calendar starts at the top, as one might expect, but I think that's because I view a year as progressing from school year to school year, with the loveliness of summer vacation anchoring as the base (though a separate desire to have the numeric transition be straight up tilts the thing a bit.)

Neither visual is strongly color-coded for me, but week vs weekend and the various seasons have a different ephemeral feel, here color-coded for grins.

As a side note, I used a new technology for this, p5.js -- the same processing.js I've used for years, but now as pure javascript, rather than going through some weird java-to-js convertor. Highly recommended! You can check out the working page and source code if so inclined.
It would be fair to say that the concept of a forest is simpler than the concept of a tree.
Ray Kurzweil, "How to Create a Mind"

August 15, 2013

You will displace about 2 buckets of water, regardless (of how dense you think you are)
Riana, speaking about the hot tub on Shelter Island.

Japanese Robots in space: Great Thing, the Greatest Thing, or a Scary Astroboy from Your Worst Nightmares?

Every person is beautiful until proven otherwise. Then they are still beautiful; I just can't be around them.
Angel in Sabine Heinlein's "Among Murderers: Life after Prison"


August 15, 2012

--from the shooting of the movie "Metropolis", via 45 Behind The Scenes Photos That You've Probably Never Seen Before

owl you doin'

August 15, 2011

--via 22words. Man, that's kinda freaky.
The only true currency in this bankrupt world is what we share with someone else when we're uncool.
Lester Bangs, "Almost Famous" - intelligent hatin' on the classics
"if there's one thing i've learned how to do in this life, it's disappoint women"
And, really, who blindfolds an owl??
Samantha S. on today's video


August 15, 2010

--Supercharming Lego CubeDudes by Pixar Animator Angus MacLane. Doing the heads at a 45-degree angle is so sure to click the link for more.
The forceps of our minds are clumsy forceps, and crush the truth a little in taking hold of it.
H. G. Wells

Math should advertise more.
(after I kinda geeked out on how Chipotle's "over 60,000" combinations was probably 2^16) - How To Be a Programmer - notes of a Japanese Soldier in a USSR prison camp. Sweetly human.
Things I wish I knew how to google: the tracklists for McDonalds 80s "Shake Burger and Fries" (I think) giveaway tapes - great 50s-60s music - good points on UI design and when "less (flexibility) is more (power)", though I still miss having some basic options on iDevices, like "open this link in the background"
August 15, 2009
Mr. Ibis posted the following recently, his comments below:

I found this arresting image online somewhere and I just had to save it. It captures so many facets of existence in one image. Overall, it has a very Wabi-sabi (侘寂) feel, which is an aesthetic I'm particularly drawn to -- impermanence, natural decay, the sorrow of the ephemeral. At the same time as this photo is pointing helplessly at sun-faded childhood dreams, it also affirms the power of nature to triumph over the works of man. And that, in the end, is a comforting thought. Not only for the health of the planet, but for the health of my soul. My impermanence is part of the natural order, and my own passing, and the passing of things that I love, is not to be mourned.
Fantastic thought, it really gave me pause. I'm not intuitively drawn to nature enough to have previously thought of the possibility of applying a satisfaction with the impermanence of all things to humanity in general, even though I'm a bit down on our long term chances. And by down, I kind of mean for the interesting idea of civilization that I so cherish, rather than our species as a whole. Or even an idea like "mammals".
A woman on the subway had a "Piggly Wiggly" plastic bag. Odd, probably aren't any around here. In fact once I iPhoned Amber noted that the list of states with Piggly Wigglys has a near 1-to-1 correspodence with her mental list of states she doesn't want to live.
August 15, 2008
I was thinking about aliases I've used over the years... (warning, some of this preadolescent stuff is cringe-inducingly dorky. And this whole entry is a bit overly self-centered...)

When I was a kid and got a high score in an arcade game I'd enter a single "Z" in lieu of initials. It seemed Cool and was easier to enter. (In the years since I've decided it's moderately cooler to leverage having a short name and will enter "KRK" on the few games that still have the option.)

I also had a few pen names, as well as names I'd use if I were making video games. "Lord Logan" (Logan being my middle name) comes to mind, an alliterative nod to "Lord British" who made the Ultima games. Also I vaguely remember a "Troll" character... I think I remember making up sprites for it (a version shown here as well as I remember it now) and going so far as to scratch the name into my desk and getting yelled at by my mom. Also, the name "SPAZZ" comes to mind though I don't remember for what.

Probably the biggest experiment was going by "Logan" in middle school. I was unhappy about moving after sixth grade, and I think the name change was an expression of that, also the usual teenage self-dissatisfaction (around the same time my dad was sick.) I changed school districts during high school and quietly went back to Kirk, though this created some confusion at my church, where they decided to split the difference and call me Butch. (Or, in full, "Kirk Logan Brother Butch Israel Brother")

Also in high school I picked up "Kirkles", the alleged term of endearment "Lynnie-Poo" had for me, according to our mutual friends. And in Spanish class my name resisted Spanishization so I went by the (allegedly an actual nickname) "Nacho"

Later in high school I do remember enjoying picking callsigns in the game Wing Commander... I think "Metropolis" and "Whiplash" were my favorites.

It was around this time I also used signature characters, signing highschool notes with characters who would sometimes hold up signs of commentary ala Wile E Coyote. Zinger the clown, shown here, was first, but he was quick supplement by Alien Bill who has been with me ever since. Alien Bill Productions was also my default company for games or programs I'd make in college, marginally classier than "Barking Spider Productions" that I used in high school. Neither Zinger and Alien Bill are actual aliases, though sometimes people get confused about the latter.

In college I picked up "kisrael" in the classic Unix tradition of "first initial and last name" -- I was just pleased that since my last name starts with a vowel it makes a nice name in all. "Kirkjerk" was when I was looking for an appropriately menacing, at-most-8-character name for when people were playing the game Death Rally at work. I also went through a series of AOL Instant Messenger names before remember my kirkjerk password, including kirkamundo and thegreatkirkini.

I guess for the most part I'm pleased with my first name and like variations on it. Also I'm never compelled to do much role changing online, or that whole projective AOL-ish "HotStuff74" or whatever (and isn't it odd how so many people, some of whom might otherwise be a little coy about their age, tag on their birth year?)

Video of the Moment

--Since today's ramble was kind of dull and kirkcentric, here's something pretty cool...
August 15, 2007
I had a dentist appointment this morning.

Life with the dentist... well, the dental hygenist... has gotten better since I figured out I can kind of cooperate with her, think about what part of my mouth she's working on and try to angle things appropriately. It's much less painful than just trying to keep my mouth open as wide as possible the entire time.

I amused myself my trying to think of a story with a main character who found a dental checkup the most relaxing thing in the world and would try to generate excuses to go. But then I realized the only way that would seem realistic to me is if the character had such a screwed up and stressful life that having someone scrape and prod around the teeth and gums with sharp instruments was a nice distraction.

Quote of the Moment
One of the best things to come out of the home computer revolution could be the general and widespread understanding of how severely limited logic really is.
Frank Herbert
Link of the Moment
I was amused by Slate's glossary of Hedge-Fund-ese.

Photo of the Moment
--Slightly odd thing to see out your window, planes refueling over Back Bay... I also posted a brief video on Youtube that shows the whole scene.
August 15, 2006
I've been carpooling with Tim since I started my new job. The conversations during the trip make it worthwhile... often techie, sometimes political, almost always geeky...

This morning we were talking about the popularity and feature set of various OSes. (Random side note... I've noticed a lot of Russians who say that's short for "Operational System". Funny how I notice that "ing" to "ional" change so much, even though it barely makes a difference in meaning.) He's a strong Linux advocate on many fronts, using Windows because he has to for work (though even there he uses OpenOffice instead of Microsoft's offering, and is delighted that no one ever seems to notice) and for games, while I'm kind of a Windows guy, sort of coasting on the way Windows really was a superior alternative in 1995.

I consider myself a bit of poweruser with OSes, very deft in several areas, from commandline quick-and-dirty scripts in Unix and Windows to setting up shortcuts in ways that let me start most of my favorite applications in 2 keystrokes (but without relying on 3rd party installs), from using Windows without a mouse (a skill honed from when I was leaning wayback in a papasan chair and couldn't reach the mouse easily) to just generally flying around the various folders throughout my harddrives.

When it comes to UIs in general, I tend to be intensely conservative. I dial back Windows XP so it looks the way 95 did. OSX and various flavor os Linux GUI have never really clicked for me. I still use this ancient version of Paint Shop Pro that I've been using for a decade, despite some limitations and irritations with it. You would think I would have the skills to pick up these new systems fairly easily, but I realize there's a single underlying theme in all of this... I'm good at the UI I use not because it's a good UI, or I like UIs, but because the UI of the OS is intensely uninteresting to me, strictly a means to an end, and any time I notice or think too much about the UI, it's probably a bad thing. Similarly, I don't like Mr. Ibis' route of customizing Windows desktop to "powerize" them, because then I'd be more dependent on those modifications, and my skillset less transferable to other people's PCs, as well as uppping what it takes to feel comfortable in a new workspace of my own.

Quote of the Moment
[On Billy Beane realizing that many good baseball players are discarded by the major leagues because they don't look like good players] The latter discovery in particular struck a chord with me because my football career has been blighted by exactly that sort of prejudice. English scouts visiting my Friday morning five-a-side game have (presumably) discounted me on peripheral grounds of age, weight, speed, amount of time spent lying on the ground weeping with exhaustion, etc.; what they're not looking at is performance, which is of course is the only thing that counts. They'd have made a film called Head It Like Hornby by now if Billy Beane were working over here. (And if I were any good at heading, another overrated and peripheral skill.)
Nick Hornby, "The Polysyllabic Spree"
(1 comment)
August 15, 2005
I don't think anyone was holding their breath for this but I added my 3 favorite angles of that Rockport seasnail to the desktop wallpaper page so you can download them in their full 1600*1200 glory...pretty decent background I think.
(1 comment)
August 15, 2004
Quote of the Moment
Life is no way to treat an animal, not even a mouse.
Link of the Moment
Wow...Arlington's street signs are so bad they're worthy of their own website...which I found linked to on that site about designs that are just Messed Up, This Is Broken.

Videos of the Moment
This page of Skating Videos had some pretty amazing footage, including Matrix-esque shots. If you're in a hurry I'd suggest just going for "Bennihana" Quicktime Video. (There are also some less exciting tutorial static pages in the links there.)

Weather of the Moment
I was about to write this but then I realized how small-potatoes a complaint it was compared to thousands and thousands of people in Florida...but, what is the point of a blog if not to magnify our petty issues out of all proportion?

Anyway: this weather has be stymied. It's chilly, but extremely humid. Damp. Clammy, even. What clothes do you wear for that??
August 15, 2003
Everyone knew that young Abe Scheinfeldt was destined to find a vocation in religious work. Many thought he would become a cantor at the temple in his native Boston. His parents held a secret hope that he would become a rabbi.

But then, at 17, Abe encountered a street preacher who led him to faith in Jesus Christ.

For the next five years he sailed the world as a freight deckhand, reading the Bible and growing in faith, even though he had no human mentor to guide him.

When his ship finally returned to Boston, Abe chanced upon a Salvation Army open-air meeting. Almost immediately he decide to join the "salvation war." Within a year he became a cadet at the Army's School for Officer Training in New York, and in November 1901, he was commissioned as an officer and appointed to the Men's Social Service Department.

Following service in New York and New England, Captain Scheinfeldt was transferred to Grand Rapids, Mich., where he met and married another officer, newly commissioned Lieutenant Inez Witherington.

Less than six months later, when they were serving in Bloomington, Ind., the young couple's zeal put them at the center of a full-blown riot. The Bloomington Journal of Sept. 7, 1914, reported that Captain Abe was arrested for "holding a religious service on the streets of Bloomington."

"The police used their clubs on the heads of both men and women," the newspaper reported. Some 500 townspeople protested, but the authorities were adamant.

Three citizens posted bond for the captain, and he was released. Immediately he returned to his troops and began preaching again, only to be arrested once more. "By this time," the paper reported, "the crowd had swelled to at least 1,000 people and most of these followed him back to the jail."

Again local citizens posted bond, but this time Scheinfeldt, on advice of legal counsel, went into a nearby drugstore for refreshments while the crowd outside grew to "at least 1,500 to 2,000 people." The newspaper reported, "Every man, woman, and child in the crowd was protesting against the action of Mayor Harris and the police and deploring the arrest and disturbance of the Salvation Army leader when he was attempting to hold an outdoor religious service."

Abe Scheinfeldt's promising career was cut short by his untimely death from tuberculosis in 1927. His wife passed away in 1961, but the legacy of these two stalwart soldiers lives on in the lives of their daughter, Mrs. Brigadier Mary Moody, and a granddaughter, Major Betty Israel, now serving at The Salvation Army's International Headquarters in London, England.
Last page of the Spring 2003 edition of Priority!
Priority is one of the print publication of the Eastern Territory of the Salvation Army. (Though check out that site, it's interesting how modeled it seems to be on People magazine.) Abe Scheinfeldt was my great-grandfather.
August 15, 2002
Phew, I was worried I had lost all of the old correspondance between me and Mo, but luckily it's all still there on the hard drive, squirreled away. Time to start thinking about a good plan for making backups...

Links of the Moment
One of the biggest conversation topics on Slashdot lately is this article asking about alternatives to engagement diamonds. Interesting seeing the geek reaction to them, generally negative. At the risk of swimming in stereotypes, it makes sense, guys who are less concerned about social niceties and more about things that are purely functional, and people with historically so-so track records. By hook or by crook, diamonds are a part of the cultural landscape, though I think that "two month salary guideline" is a bit silly. One of the posters pointed to an Atlantic piece on the diamond trade, and how artificial much of that situation is.

'Course, Mo sort of ended up footing the bill for her own diamond, at least temporarily, thanks to embarrassing bank card failure (I had just switched bank accounts, and the card wasn't working the way I expected.)

You know, I never noticed "niceties" is spelled "nice ties".

Quote of the Moment
I tell men, if you want to impress a woman don't send her flowers, send her a maid. Because if you're going to spend $55 on a dozen roses, they're dead the next day. A maid costs about $40 and you still have $15 left to get Chinese food and one rose. By the time you come over we haven't cleaned, and you have food, a rose, and you. Baby, we'll do you all night long.
Luda Vika.
Interesting idea, I wonder how it would work in practice.
August 15, 2001
Warning, pretty much every link today is rated R or at least PG-13. Don't look at it if you're not supposed to.

Link of the Book
Wow, remember Madonna's 1992 Sex book? I really respect what she was trying to do with this book, it was really daring, and talked about things that many people feel but far fewer admit to. Sure it was a skin book, but that was half the point!

That 'Sex book' link seems to an amazingly comprehensive web reproduction of it (down to closeups of collages, and HTML-text versions of some of the wordier pages) though I wonder if it's missing a page or two.

Below is my favorite image from it but this one is also pretty amazing and I never thought I'd so wish that I was Vanilla Ice...

Quote of the Book
The best way to seduce someone is by making yourself unavailable. You just have to be busy all the time and they'll be craving to see you.
Image of the Book
I love the feeling of fatigue and "what have I gotten myself into" this picture has, especially in the context of the pictures that seem to be from earlier in the same session. (Hint: the slack rope over her legs.)

I told Mrs. McL that I felt I'm pretty much a craftsman, and while that has a certain dignity, it doesn't touch people the way, say, being a teacher would. She agreed, but pointed out I'm probably not a great teacher since I'm impatient when people don't 'get it' as quickly as I think I would.