October 11, 2019

Happy HONK weekend! Here's an old but a goodie, an oral history of HONK...
winter hat and sandals. do i contradict myself? very well, then i contradict myself

original photo album part 1: the young years

October 11, 2018
Sometime during college or shortly thereafter I assembled my own photo album.

A long time ago I scanned it all and put it on my website, but at a relatively low resolution (see here)
so I decided to scan it all again. I reused all the old filenames I used as caption back then - sometimes carrying information I would have forgotten in the mean while.

When I scanned it, I broke it into 9 sections. Starting with "The Young Years" - including shots of my folks before I was around.

"masculinity is violence on the horizon"

October 11, 2017

On "Shower Thoughts" I saw "Trailers would be so much more appreciated if they didn't reveal most of the plot of movies/series..." Also last night Liz and Melissa and I watched "The I.T. Crowd" including the episode where Roy is trying to find a nice big screen to watch a "Tarantino South Korean zombie movie" but frustrated because his would-be watching companion keeps trying to guess or spoil that there will be a twist at the end.

There's probably a spectrum - and possibly a bathtub-shape curve with most people on one side or the other- of how much people care about plots being "spoiled" by trailers or online discussion. I know I'm at the far end of not caring, at all - maybe even liking them.... the slow reveal is absolutely not what I'm watching the movie for.

Being the indefatigable naval gazer I am, I'm trying to figure how and if that fits into other things I know about how I tend to view with the world -

It sort of ties into how I'm a shallow/skimmer. If I think about I realize I don't closely watch most movies, don't have much facility for keeping labyrinthine plots in my head, and when I really lose track, I just let go and enjoy the ride. (This happened a bit during the new Blade Runner.)

Also I probably have a preference for knowing where a story is going rather than being in suspense, because I like paying attention to how they do what they do, and not what they do. Maybe that suggests a new descriptor for that interactionalist and anti-essentialist vibe I've talked about before, where I care about how something is interacting now and now what you think it is: I'm a Why and How person, now a What or Who person.

Or- I'm very much about transparency, and err on the side of too much information (like this post, say!) I don't want to keep something to myself in case it turns out keeping it withheld was a mistake, and I'm solely on the moral hook for acting on that information. And I hate, hate, hate not knowing - almost any bit of not knowing feels potentially more threatening than any known issue. Hell, in some of my breakups, it wasn't the infidelity so much as the secrecy that killed me. So I like knowing things, like spoilers, but I also enjoy seeing how they make their broad strokes happen along the way.

How about you - do you hate spoilers, or don't mind them, or like them? And do you think the reason why someone is on that spectrum is an interesting question?

Latest diet thought (proven effective for at least one day...) -

I should eat so that a casual spy on my life, like someone reviewing a video of my day but no special insight to my intentions and inner-monologue - would know that I was dieting / trying to eat well. Or at least not be surprised to hear about it after!

Appearances are important - even appearances to ourselves.

Religions know this, and a lot of religious education I've seen emphasizes how God Is Watching. The Islamic salat has a part that acknowledges ever-present angels recording every deed.

For people who have their doubts about supernatural witnesses, everpresent or otherwise, maybe we can be our own witness.

In fact there's psychological research that says a displayed image of a pair of watching eyes can lead to better behavior... so this might all represent a kind of self-hack to take us out of the maelstrom of id and let the super-ego hold more sway in a way that is good for our longer term goals.
Dance like there's nobody watching, but diet like there is.

October 11, 2016

mid-Honk subway micro-jam; bassline is "Chas Jammer":

Quando pensei que o HONK tinha acabo, entro no trem pra ir embora e...pá!#honkneverends#honk2016#honk

A video posted by Rafaella Marinho (@rafabellam) on

Go Pro Hot Wheels are pretty keen!

October 11, 2015

On the escalator at Davis Square T, I have an epiphany: tubas are kind of ridiculous.

(that yellow strip is a cheat sheet to "Seven Nation Army" I put on a long time ago....)

October 11, 2014

Jp honk banner in progress...

October 11, 2013

Art class. The second one with the lighter marks was widely regarded as being better than the other, and I agree, composition wise it's pretty decent, and it was a good balance after the instructor said I had taken his admonition for "fewer marks" too much to heart (I had first tried the rendering the same pose with like 5 or 6 curves, the almond shape of the face echoed in the breast and belly and knee.) He did (kindly) point out that I still tend to pick pretty pedestrian locations to make marks, and recommended studying Matisse of the 50s as the pinnacle of this direction. (Though I'm not 100% sure I like it better than some of my old, more detailed directions)

There was a time in my life where if you'd have said the word 'agile' to me, I would have thought of Spiderman... I miss that time.

Appearance: Eleven men playing rugby while dressed as robots above the waist and ballet dancers below it.

playlist september 2012

October 11, 2012
Amber pointed out that it might be more convenient if I did my "music I've found lately list" monthly rather than seasonal-y, that three month's worth of my music would be a bit much for anyone to run into all at once.

Seems like a worthy experiment! Turned out to be a lot easier to put together.

No 4- or 5- start stuff, just 3s all around though I bolded 1 or 2 videos I think are especially noteworthy.

Shouty Gals (is that a category? I think it should be.) Indie and Pop Brass Retro Novelty
Make love, not war. But also, if at all possible, make money.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xP5-iIeKXE8 - the Conway's Game of Life, run on a big copy of Conway's Game of Life
Everything is vague to a degree you do not realize till you have tried to make it precise.
Bertrand Russell

A friend of my family's, David Knickerbocker, is a Christian pastor who runs a thoughtful little blog. I disagree with a lot of things with him, but I think he really is on the more compassionate and humane side of Christianity, so I feel a little bad for getting a bit snarky when he wrote about 42 and the Answer to Life the Universe and Everything
Fun topic!

I was gonna say 42 now performs the function of "geek shibboleth", a buzzword that shows you you're "in" the community.

And then I wikipedia'd up "shibboleth" and they quote Judges 12:5-6, where the Lord's army of Gilead (under Jephthah-- another funny word to say!) invented the use of the term:

And the Gileadites captured the fords of the Jordan against the Ephraimites. And when any of the fugitives of Ephraim said, "Let me go over," the men of Gilead said to him, "Are you an Ephraimite?" When he said, "No," they said to him, "Then say Shibboleth," and he said, "Sibboleth," for he could not pronounce it right. Then they seized him and slaughtered him at the fords of the Jordan. At that time 42,000 of the Ephraimites fell.

42 thousand killed-- I almost fell out of my chair. God works in mysterious ways.
Again, I'm being a little disingenuous here, but the coincidence of it really did startle me.
For fun I did some music math... from 1992-2007, i.e. when I was buying CDs mostly, I added about 100 good songs a year, from 2007 on, when I started buying mostly MP3s, about 150. So now 2/3 of my good music is older, 1/3 newer - but that ignores the filler I leave off of my devices...


October 11, 2011

--via 22w
The nice thing about coming from filling replacement at the dentist is that there's decent odds that it's all up from there...

lyte funky ones: an analysis of "summer girls"

October 11, 2010
So I admit, I hadn't thought of LFO (err.. yeesh, "Lyte Funky Ones") for a long time, but then news of their lead singer Rich Cronin (who, yikes, was about half a year younger than me) dying from leukemia was around the memepool, and I remembered how catchy I thought their song "Summer Girls" (or "Abercrombie + Fitch" as I remembered it) was, a I tracked it down. Here's the video for it, nubile gals and all:

This song is infuriating, because it is maddeningly catchy, with lyrical references aimed right at the heart of Gen-Xers like so many nostalgia harpoons -- but lyrically, it is the biggest crock imaginable. You just want to smack the lyricist for having such good source material to work with (the late80s/early 90s memorabilia, this insanely catchy high gloss music) and then just fumbling it up. I've been jonesing to dissect it for a few weeks now, so here goes:

Yeah...I like it when the girls stop by.. In the summer
Do you remember, Do you remember?
...when we met..That summer??
So, especially given the video, kind of a nice framing device here, setting up an excuse to drop a blend of romantic nostalgia..

New Kids On The block had a bunch of hits
Chinese food makes me sick.
And I think it's fly when girls stop by for the summer,for the summer
I like girls that wear Abercrombie and Fitch,
I'd take her if I had one wish,
But she's been gone since that summer..
Since that summer
Ok, wait, what? A shout out to New Kids on the Block I guess is only fair, given that this is a pop boyband singing. But what is up with the Chinese food? Like, is he saying the Chinese food back then was worse than it is now, or does he have like a present-day MSG sensitivity or something? This confusion about "back in the day" and "these days" seems to predominate -- Abercrombie and Fitch has been around for a long while, but I don't think it was prominent on the pop-culture radar 'til the late 90s, especially for the models it became famous for later.

Also, the inane nature of the Chinese Food line points out the laziness of the rhymes... hits/sick, fitch/wish? It's a testament to the instrumental section that this isn't even more grating.
Hip Hop Marmalade spic And span,
Met you one summer and it all began
You're the best girl that I ever did see,
The great Larry Bird Jersey 33
When you take a sip you buzz like a hornet
Billy Shakespeare wrote a whole bunch of sonnets

So, reading it now, I wonder if the implication is she's the Larry Bird of Summer Girls? Which I guess is something. "Billy Shakespeare" is a bit of faux-familiarity with the playwright, though maybe I should for the first time give benefit of the doubt, and give half-credit for a reference to the sonnets being about the Summer Girl.
Call me Willy Whistle cause I can't speak baby
Something in your eyes went and drove me crazy
Now I can't forget you and it makes me mad,
Left one day and never came back
Stayed all summer then went back home,
Macauly Culkin wasn't Home Alone
Fell deep in love,but now we ain't speaking
Michael J Fox was Alex P Keaton
When I met you I said my name was Rich
You look like a girl from Abercrombie and Fitch
I'm not sure if "Willy Whistle" is a reference back to the Shakespeare bit, or just looking for a bit of internal rhyme. By the time we get to the repetition of the chorus, though, it has partially devolved into random nostalgic shotouts, devoid of context. (Which makes me think, if they're that lazy with the tie-ins, they could at least have more of them...)
Cherry Pez,cold crush,rock star boogie
Used to hate school so I had to play hookie,
Always been hip to the B-boY Style
Known to act wild and make girls smile,
Love New Edition and the Candy Girl
Remind me of you because you rock my world
Credit for the Beastie Boys reference here, though the "New Edition / Candy Girl" reference seems a bit early? The Beastie Boys License to Ill came out in 1986, but that "Candy Girl" song is 1983, when the main singer would be in third grade -- a bit early, I'd say, but I might be biased because I hadn't heard the song much since.
You come from Georgia where the peaches grow
They drink lemonade and speak real slow
I'd give about 20 extra points of credit if he said "sweet tea" rather than lemonade.
You love hip hop and rock n roll
Dad took off when you were 4 years old
There was a good man named Paul Revere
I feel much better baby when you're near
Paul Revere? The man? Or is it supposed to be the horse from the Beastie Boys song?
You love fun dip and cherry Coke,
I like the way you laugh when I tell a joke
When I met you I said my name was Rich
You look like a girl from Abercrombie and Fitch


In the summertime girls got it going on,
Shake and wiggle to a hip hop song
Summertime girls are the kind I like,
I'll steal your honey like I stole your bike
Fun Dip and Cherry Coke are good references... at this point though a third possible Beastie Boys line reference (the honey/bike stealing) seems to be overdoing it.
Bugaloo Shrimp and pogo sticks
My mind takes me back there oh so quick
Let you off the hook like my man Mr. Limpet
Think about that summer and I bug, cause I miss it
Like the color purple,macaroni and cheese,
I had to look up Bugaloo Shrimp but I kind of dig it. Kind of iffy about the "Mr. Limpet" reference, but I appreciate the hook joke, and have some empathy for the missing of this kind of time.
Ruby red slippers and a bunch of trees
Call you up but whats the use
I like Kevin Bacon,but I hate Footloose
Again, I think I'd believe this guy more if he liked Footloose but hated Kevin Bacon. Maybe it's just me.
Came in the door I said it before,I think I'm over you
but I'm really not sure
When I met you I said my name was Rich
You look like a girl from Abercrombie and Fitch
Man, they need to mix up the endings to these verses a bit more. Maybe it's more properly a bridge to the Chorus.
In the summer girls come and summer girls go
Some are worth while and some are so so,
Summer girls come and summer girls go
Some are worth while and some are so so,
Summertime girls got it going on
Shake and wiggle to a hip hop song
Summertime girls are the kind I like
I'll steal your honey like I stole your bike
Alright, besides the kind of dimissive "some are so-so" bit, here the song is clearly just winding down.

Sigh. Ok. Having gotten my criticism down onscreen, I can now enjoy this song for what it is, and what it isn't, as it keeps coming back up my seasonal play list. (I would point out that video, while nice for all the torso and skin etc, also gets a deduction for how weird his baggy pants look when he squats down, like in the freezeframe still from youtube there.)

let me google that for you

October 11, 2009

Google Image Music Video "Lisztomania" from fleshforks on Vimeo.

I hadn't heard much of this technique before (google image search each word pf they lyrics, glue the results together). Also, a good song (Amber got kind of obsessed with it and its album for a week.)

um, go celtics?

got plenty?

October 11, 2008
Watched the Sox win last night. Tropicana field looks like such a grungy little place...

Video of the Moment

Tilt-shift time lapse by Keith Loutit, via boingboing. I wish I had a better intuition for what makes Tilt-shift miniature faking so convincing, if I just read a description of it I would never suspect it of being so evocative of tiny models as it is. (2019 UPDATE: might be different video.)

Quote of the Moment
For perfect happiness, remember two things: (1) Be content with what you've got. (2) Be sure you've got plenty.

I propose that the Klondike "choco-taco" is the finest ice cream novelty known to all 7-11kind.
Tropicana Field looks like such a toy.
<<a change would do you good / chasing dragons with plastic swords>>
I am alarmed and irritated at the # of "Kirk Israel"s (1 vice-versa) on facebook. Thank goodness I have as much google juice as I do.
Panflute guy at Topsfield Fair playing a cover of Abba's "Dancing Queen"... whatever happened to the Andean Pipers at Harvard Square?

may fuel of psychotic intensity - special collector's edition

(1 comment)
October 11, 2007
So, uh, hi -- this is the commentary track for the special collector's edition of yesterday's kisrael. I'm Kirk, I write and make and arrange pretty much all of the site-- so here we go.

Announcement: I will never be able to spell "seperately" correctly on the first try. The problem may be phonetic.

That was just a little thing from my backlog, I didn't really have a lot to say, but I like starting off with a comment in my own voice, instead of diving into the links or whatever. Maybe I should've talked about Joe Torre. I probably wouldn't even notice how often I get that word wrong if it wasn't for the spellcheck Firefox throws in there.

That is all.

Just trying to make the pointlessness of it into self-conscious joke.

Inexplicable Objects of the Moment
You know, not to long before I wrote this I was talking about how few injokes the site has, but this is one of them. I steal links from Bill the Splut all the time. He used to do the "InExOb", or Inexplicable Object of the Week, so this was kind of a shout out to that. Actually, if you Google on "InExOb" my name shows up on the first page of results, where he thanks me for some online poll script I had written for him.

Hmm. When did fire alarms start spouting sideburns? Oh, and: ewww. (Taken in the Arlington Street Station hallway.)
Yeah, that was pretty gross. I kind of like "Oh, and: ewww", as if it took a second for a visceral reaction of disgust to set in. Still: the sideburns were pretty cool.

USE THIS PRODUCT MAY MAKE ENGLISH NOT TO SO GOOD! (Taken at the South End 7-11 magazine rack.)
I was on a sort of kind of not-really double date with Jonathan at the time, and this one gal he's gone out with, and her friend from back in Texas. I guess more hanging out. We did a lousy job buying drinks. That whole "go dutch? offer to pay?" is such a potential minefield of miscommunication.

I think of the whole "parody of the idiots around us" shtick here as kind of a Bill the Splut homage, he does it really well.

Special Deleted Scenes of the Moment

So, making fun of badly written signs, the "WRAPER" thing. But it seems a little mean spirited, and wasn't that funny, so I left it out.

This was a photo I took for my Photo Composition class, trying to think about light, and exposure, stuff like that. The teacher seemed to dig it, the negative space of the buildings, but I've posted pictures like it before that I like better, like this summer at Davis Square, and in Chicago. Plus I kind of had a "square cropping" theme going with the other photos, and so it didn't make the cut.

Music of the Moment
All of the Beatles' LPs condensed into an hour of extremely weird and fast music.
This is a BoingBoing link, but frankly I still so many links from there that sometimes I get shy about the proper attribution, lest people think I'm just a BoingBoingFilter. It was a good link though, I also liked the other soundclips of what happens if you reverse the speedup, a lot of the information gets dropped and so it sounds really funky.

Anyway, that wraps it up. Hope you enjoyed a little behind-the-scenes look at kisrael, and maybe we'll see you on tomorrow's entry!

when you're really bad, they call you cracker jack

October 11, 2006
I know it's been an "easy" snark for a while but when did Cracker Jack prizes get so lame?

It's still a decent snack, a bag is like 150 calories, 20 of fat, and satisfies a sweet tooth so long as it isn't craving chocolate. But the "prizes"... ugh. I bought a carton at Cosctco, so not only are the prizes irretrievably lame (Hey kids, push a pencil through this decorative piece of paper to make a pencil topper! Here's a picture of an American historical figure as a boy, fold it around to see them as a grownup! Bend and tear this to make a very sad little puppet mouth!) but they're also repetitive, the same 5 or 6 things again and again.

Part of the problem might be that the FDA has a thing against toys "hiding" in food, as demonstrated by this "Won't Somebody Think of the CHILDREN????" quote from Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal:
"Historically, we have identified Disney characters with happy endings. But there is no happy ending to a child choking on a tiny plastic rendering of 'Simba' or 'Nala' from 'The Lion King' "
(Italics mine, because you know, it's an important point. Seriously, there is no happy ending to a child choking on a tiny plastic rendering of 'Simba' or 'Nala' from 'The Lion King.' Unless you make the kid cough it up, and he or she stops choking.) Incidentally, this is why Kindereggs are an import-only item.

So in trying to pin down when Cracker Jack might have last been cool, I went to the official history page. I like how the only item of note since 2000 is:
2002 Frito Lay redesigns crackerjack.com to keep up with changing technologies on the Internet.
Remember, people, don't let your web designer decide what's important enough to put on your company history page.

But still, the last time I remember being happy with a Cracker Jack prize must've been around 1996 or so... they had some very decent Looney Tune stickers, reflective silver, I got two Marvin the Martians to put on a portable CD player. And even then I recognized that Cracker Jack prizes had been "flat" for some time, but at least stickers and temporary tattoos actually have a chance of being "fun", unlike sad little "put this on top of your pencil" scraps of paper. I'm not sure, but my personal conspiracy theory is that the prizes might have gotten further downgraded when Frito Lay bought the brand.

So in retribution, I'm going try to spread this dumbass meme that has been kicking around my head for decades:
How does one potato chip proposition another one?
Are you 'Frito Lay'?
Ha! Take that you damn chipmongers!

pocket veto

October 11, 2005
This is the third entry that I wrote on Sunday, originally planning a single moster update, then decided that would be a bit much... Speaking of TODOs...I just Ebay-ed a combination cellphone/Palm that Samsung made. (Apparently they're the only ones who figured out how nifty clamshell designs can be for this kind of thing, though sadly they discontinued the line.)

Anyway, I wanted to mention I'm reluctantly calling the whole omnipresent courier bag instead of loaded pockets idea a bit of failure, because I'm just not carrying the bag everywhere, and sometimes I'm caught short sans camera or Palm at (semi-)crucial moments. But I don't want to cram my pockets as much as I use to, so combining cell and Palm will be a good first step, and maybe getting an even smaller camera. I notice more people danging cellphones from a belt or waistband holster...apparently that doesn't have the stigma that "fanny packs" (stop sniggering, UKers) do. Other alternatives include: Sorry the site has been so Kirk-minutiae-centric as of late. I'll try to get back to more links and quotes.

Articles of the Moment
I'm not a big fan of anti-PC sentiment (mostly because I think efforts to get people to be polite in public should be applauded, in general) -- especially when the only links I can find seem to be of rightwingers, but is it true that Piglet figurines (and all other pig paraphenalia) have been banned from a UK Council office, in order to avoid offending Moslems? And ditto for the UK flag, with its Crusades tie-in? Yeesh.

Obviously, some Moslems seem to have a more relaxed view about all things swine. And then there's that idea where Pigs could be Kryptonite for Moslem Terrorists, though I suspect this would be a gimmick of limited practical use in the long run.

Schadenfreude of the Moment
NYah NYah Yankees! That $85 million more you spent than the Red Sox (a difference that's actually greater than the entire payroll of 2/3 of all MLB teams) bought you a net difference of 2 wins in the postseason. Now you get to go play some golf! This after your historic, world-beater, record setting choke last year. Neener-neener!

do you guys want some shots? I'm buyin'!

October 11, 2004
Dialog of the Moment
"What is wrong with you?"
"I don't know. I just didn't wanna win like this. "
"You stop right there. You are a good person. Good things happen to good people."
"No. It's pure bullshit, sweetie. You're lucky as hell, so you might as well enjoy it."
"Do you guys want some shots? I'm buyin'!"
Loretta and Amber Atkins, Drop Dead Gorgeous, a great spoof on smalltown beauty pagents.

Giveaway of the Moment

--Zaks...an old building toy by Ohio Arts, I got this pile of 'em in high school. Kind of interesting, mostly just triangles and squares that connected with a kind of hinge on their edges, you could try your hand at building various -ahedrons. Also some funny bits like eyes and antennas. And they came in a "Zaks Sak". (This was before Lego's famous "Zack the Lego Maniac" campaign I think.) As part of my decluttering effort, they're going to the Salvation Army--or if you want them, drop me a line.

Sad News of the Moment
So, LAN3 IM'd me with "Superman died." last night. And, not to sound disrespectful, life isn't without its ironies; At the end of his life, Christopher Reeve, who in pop-culture terms was Superman, ended up looking more like the classic version of Lex Luthor.

I think he might be a posthoumous politcal pawn, though given his strong beliefs, I think he'd be ok with that if it advances the cause of more research.

Windows Gripe of the Moment
Why doesn't Add/Remove Programs dialog tell you the DATE IT WAS INSTALLED? That would be a LOT more useful than "Size", "Date last Used" or its guesstimate of "Frequency of Use"...and a much easier to pin down bit of data than the other date-related fields.

on strawberries and the paths taken

(1 comment)
October 11, 2003
Yesterday was the 15th anniversary of my dad's death...I think I've said most of the things I needed to in what I wrote on the day when I had been without him for as long as I had been with him, but here are two things I'd like to post, a recent anecdote from my mom and an essay I wrote over ten years ago, that I just rekeyed in.

Anecdote of the Moment
"Had a funny incident too, that I think Dad would have enjoyed. I had my friend Wendy over for dinner last Saturday, and mentioned about Friday being the 15th anniversary of Dad's death. Wendy and I sit usually sit with a group of about eight for lunch in the canteen. On Friday the subject of October birthdays had come up, and Wendy just looked across the table at me, and in a very kind voice said, 'I really did mean to get you a card.' I knew what she was talking about, but the rest of the group immediately started wishing me 'Happy Birthday!'. Wendy look horrified for a moment, and then the two of us just burst out laughing. We did explain it once we got our breath back."
Heheheh - an e-mailed anecdote from my mom is just a lovely bit of macabre humor.

On Strawberries and the Paths Taken
I walk down the dark path at my great uncle's farm with Dad. The path is deeply ridged with tractor treads and covered with armies of rocks. There is a storage building hugging a hill, and on the hill side the roof is so low I can climb to the top and survey the strawberry fields. I don't, though. Dad and I come to a small brook and cross the wooden bridge. A sign here reads "CAUTION - STEEP BANKS, DEEP WATER". Dad warns me not to get too close. We turn right and walk past the storage house, next to the now brown fields. We pause in the chilly November night and look west. An airplane is rising, though all we can see are the three lights on the bottom. To my hyperactive eight-year-old imagination, it's a UFO riding into the inky cold of space.I tell Dad my theory. We look into the sky a little bit longer then slowly walk back to the welcoming farmhouse.
I walked down the sterile path of the hospital corridor with m mom. She had prepared me for what I was going to see. Dad had experienced seizures, and he had been diagnosed as having spinal meningitis. My mom said we were lucky; it hadn't touched his mind. However, he had lost almost all of his hand-eye coordination. He couldn't even feed himself. He was almost blind. He couldn't really see me, or my mom, but he knew our voices. His speech was slurred, almost incomprehensible. We both struggled so that I could understand him. The shock of seeing him this way banged against my mind. I really didn't feel that this was my dad, this unshaven man who needed assistance in completing the most essential tasks of life.

When my dad's seizures had first started, I had visited him in the hospital, and he was still basically well. Then, reassured that everything was going to be right, I took my planned trip to New York to visit friends. But then, after the grand-mal seizures, I did not know how to act. I hugged him stiffly, and he hugged me back, as best he could. We began to cry. I did not know how to act. What he missed most, he explained through half-spoken words and rough hand motions, were the kinds of things his father had done for him that he wanted to do for me, like giving me money out of his wallet when I needed it, with no assistance. Only now do I realize what he meant. He felt so helpless, and I was so unable to do anything to make it better. After this first visit, I went to the waiting room, trying to forget and ignore.
Finally, my dad, though still essentially bed-ridden, was able to come back home. We moved his bed into the dining room, next to the kitchen. It was my habit to pick a path downstairs to the kitchen in the dark before school every morning. One morning, as I hunted for breakfast, my dad, a very light sleeper, asked me to make him a bologna sandwich (by this time his speech had become clearer and we had become more adept at understanding him). It was a simple task. Just toast the bread and get a piece of bologna out of the fridge. Dad, although he was now able to walk with a walker, still was not able to do this himself. So every morning for a few weeks, I would offer him a bologna sandwich, a favorite of his ever since he was a boy. And then, for a reason that I cannot fully remember, I stopped. I would try to be very quiet when making my breakfast and would not offer to make his. If he asked me to make his sandwich, I would, of course, but only if he asked. Maybe I was just so stupidly lazy that I thought I couldn't wait for the time it took to make the toast. Or maybe I didn't like the constant reminder of his vulnerability, and therefore my own. I wonder if he noticed the change.
It has been eight years since we walked down the path at my great uncle's farm and two years since my dad's death. I think back to the year of slow recovery. He learned to walk with a walker, then a cane, and then unassisted. People could now understand his speech and his phone with the giant push-buttons was a prized possession. Near the end, he had relearned to read via large-print books and supermagnifying glasses. But then, tumor treatments plus pneumonia proved to be too much for him. Maybe it was too much for my mom and me, too.

At the farm, the dangerous brooks is still there. On my way down to it, I see the storage building with the low roof. Now I feel that I'm much too mature for climbing buildings. An interesting rock catches my attention. I dust it and put it in my pocket. After the bridge, I turn right instead of left and follow the brook to its other end, a small pond with ducks. Then I retrace the path we took that night eight years ago, and I squint at the setting sun. A lone strawberry lies waiting in the twilight covered path for me. On my way back, I'll throw it into the brook as a sacrifice for me and for Dad.
(An essay that I wrote during eleventh grade in high school, for Mrs. McLaughlin's class. (Later it was part of what got me recognition in the NCTE writing competition.) The writing seems clumsy to me now, but at least it is pretty forthright about what sometimes strikes me as one my bigger moral failings. )

t.g.i.almost the damn weekend already

October 11, 2002
Geek Quote of the Moment
I like Java because you can tell generally tell what a program does by look at it. They run an obfuscated-C competition every year, with some amazing results. They don't even bother running an obfuscated-C++ competition...
Your Brain Is Lazy
The square labeled 'A' and the one labeled 'B' are literally the exact same shade of grey. Honest. See it fullsize and then play with some perception toys that are cool but play like a third rate magic show.

Wacky News of the Moment
Zookeepers Fired for Eating Animals. Hee hee hee. "And this is the Tibetan Mountain Chicken. Note the beautiful plumage and generally friendly demeanor. It is also quite delicious."

when popcultures collide

October 11, 2001
So, I've been able to lose some weight, which led to this exchange with Ranjit:

Chat Excerpt of the Moment
kirk: time to stairmaster...with good eatin' and exercise I'm back down to the 170s! Haven't been their til sometime right after highschool. Of course, I'm monitoring my weight like a teenage girl, but you know.
ranjit: Monitoring your weight like two teenage girls!
ranjit: Sorry, couldn't resist...

It's good to have friends who can knock softballs like that out of the park. (Previous prize went to Peterman...way back when I had been experimenting with having a Slimfast for breakfast he said "damn bitch, better drink two, that shit ain't working!")

Web Culture of the Moment
Currently making the rounds is the tale of how an image of Bert (of Bert and Ernie fame...my parent's remembered which one is which via the phrase "Ernie is Er-range") got onto posters carried by protesters in the Middle East. A while back (possibly before September 11?) someone added an image of Bert to one of Osama bin Laden. (This was a continuation of an earlier to a general Bert is Evil web meme.) And it seems that somehow the photo of the two of them made it into a collage carried by the protesters! The photos of the posters seem legit, although it seems like a later batch was made sans Muppet. The best investigation seems to be the lindqvist.com but Wired and FOX are both reporting on it. And here's another example of the poster in action from Reuters.

Man, that's really funny.

Wasting time is an important part of living.
--Slashdot quote
"Just because there's a cup on it doesn't make it a coaster."
"You put the uck back in suck"
"Yeah, well you put the cunt back into stupid cunt[-ass] bitch"