October 15, 2020

*Overheard conversation between 2nd grade boys*
"Do you think you'll ever fall in love?"
"I don't know. I think if she likes pancakes, then probably."

The human understanding is no dry light, but receives infusion from the will and affections; whence proceeds sciences which may be called "sciences as one would." For what a man had rather were true he more readily believes. Therefore he rejects difficult things from impatience of research; sober things, because they narrow hope; the deeper things of nature, from superstition; the light of experience, from arrogance and pride; things not commonly believed, out of deference to the opinion of the vulgar. Numberless in short are the ways, and sometimes imperceptible, in which the affections color and infect the understanding.
Francis Bacon, Novum Organon (1620)
via Carl Sagan's "Baloney Detection Kit"
Blast from the past:
"Truly [the small-town residents] were the salt of the earth."
"And why does one salt the earth? To keep anything new from growing."
Great comic - it ended but is on a long reprint stretch that should last a few years.
Worst photoshop I've seen in the wild:

October 15, 2019

Nice piece from Slate, The 36 Bits of Software That Changed Our Lives (Of course, a casual geek might wonder if that should be 32-Bit, but 18- and 36-bit machines were a thing back in the day...)
Pumpkin Carving at Millers!


Melissa's is the top left, mine is a custom design in the top middle... I tried to use the stem as an elephant's trunk, but I think the result was more "monstrous owl"....


Miller was totally on brand tho...

original photo album part 5: prom and graduation

October 15, 2018
Ah, the midwest prom. In retrospect kind of weird "the garter dance" was a thing for high school dances...
Wins at Fenway and Foxboro - nothing to be overconfident about at either but still, it's good to win when you gotta win. Interestingly the 43-40 score was a Scorigami, a score never previously achieved at the end of an NFL game. (I guess there's more opportunities with high scores.)
On my devblog: the stupid-idea-buddies buddy.

October 15, 2017

Yesterday at the MFA...


Also I found out there's a book called "Oral Sadism and the Vegetarian Personality"
[Nazi Germany] gave us a nightmare from which, in my opinion, there can never be an awakening.
Kurt Vonnegut to the American Psychiatric Association in 1988

High school is closer to the core of the American experience than anything else I can think of.
Kurt Vonnegut

I am enchanted by the Sermon on the Mount. Being merciful, it seems to me, is the only good idea we have received so far. Perhaps we will get another good idea by and by--and then we will have two good ideas.
Kurt Vonnegut, from the pulpit of St. Clement's Episcopal Church in NY (Palm Sunday 1980)

(these are all from the intro of "Letters", collected by Dan Wakefield)

October 15, 2016

I admit I was bummed Toyota was given up on its youth-oriented "Scion" marque, especially since my beloved '04 Scion xA is still doing pretty well. And now, when the Trump "brand" has become so tarnished that his kids aren't going to use it for the branding of a new batch of hotels, that's the name they chose to use, "Scion"? Very mixed feelings :-D

October 15, 2015

Whoa, people whoa are the opposite of face blind!
I'm there - or at least, my tuba bell - bobbing around in the back row on the right side:

wherefore art thou kirkjerk?

October 15, 2014
So, recently I was (again) asked about the actual "jerk" aspect implied by my once preferred nomme de web "kirkjerk". For the record, no, I do not view myself as a jerk (or at least feel I'm near the center of the bell curve of jerkness). But why that name? Just because of the rhyme?

Not quite! Back in the mid-90s there was a game for PCs called "Death Rally"... it was a fun overhead car-racing-with-guns game, kind of like that old board game Car Wars / Autoduel come to life. In action it looked like this:


The game had a lot of character - and specifically it had 20 characters, enemies you'd race against. Here's a leader board; I think "D3ATH" is probably the name selected by the person playing th game:


Those names were BOGUS BILL, FARMER TED, LIZ ARDEN, DIESEL JOE, MIC DAIR, MORI SATO, SUZY STOCK, IRON JOHN, CHER STONE, LEE VICE, DARK RYDER, GREG PECK, MAD MAC, MOTOR MARY, MATT MILER, CLINT WEST, NASTY NICK, JANE HONDA, SAM SPEED & DUKE NUKEM. (Yes, that Duke Nukem.... kind of a crossover. I further acknowledge this naming scheme would also work for Garbage Pail Kids.)

So, when it came time to pick my own username for the intraoffice online game play (4 players at once) I tried to match the scheme, and ended up with KIRKJERK (I also think it was constrained to 8 letters, so I was pleased to just fit it in under the wire).

I tend to prefer usernames based on "Kirk", rather than being cut from whole cloth; Kirkjerk, Kirkamundo, TheGreatKirkini. And "Kirkles" is probably one of my oldest lasting nicknames, bestowed in high school (when my teasing friends envisioned the romantic exchange "Oh Kirkles" "Oh, Lynnie-Poo") and still used by my best college buddy and his family.

Anyway, like I said, "Death Rally" had a ton of character. Some of it was in the form of "flavor text", these little evocative prose passages, narrated by "TRUE TOM":


THIS IS HOW IT GOES. YOU ARE DRIVING. YOU ARE SAYING 'HANG ON BABY, THIS IS WHAT I DO." IT'S DOABLE, ALL RIGHT? WINNABLE. AND THE BULLETS TAKE THE SKY, LIKE CLOUDS OF LOCUSTS. THE END IS NIGH. RACE OVER. GET IT? BUDDA BUDDA BUDDA. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.

and another example:

BODY AND SOUL; YIN AND TANG. YOU, MY ROADWARD APPRENTICE, ARE THE SOUL IN THIS EXPONENTIALLY ACCELERATING EQUATION. YOUR VEHICLE IS THE BODY. CAN YOU FEEL THE PRECIOUS EQUILIBRIUM SLIPPING AND TAIL-SLIDING FROM YOUR CONTROL? DON'T LOSE IT NOW. STAY TUNED: RACE TIME!

I'm not able to dig up the evidence, but I have vague memories of corresponding with the guy who gave voice to "TRUE TOM"; he said it was kind of an independent effort they threw in, rather than being part of the design from the outset, and there were all kinds of character constraints they were dealing with.

Once upon a time I dug up this Lore of Geek's usernames. Back before FB and Google's emphasis on "real names", online handles were even more important (I guess they still have a big role in tumblr and twitter.) Of course, we've also seen how pseudo-anonymity can be abused, and jerk-enabling.
"ANI/CLI -- I know CLI is Calling Line Identification, what's ANI again?"
"Absolutely no idea."
"Hey, that works!"
Today at CaféX, in Cardiff Wales

I know I've grumbled about this before, but I wish systems were smarter about time zones for future events. If I have a 3PM doctor appointment waiting for me when I get back, it shouldn't be shown as 8PM just because I'm in Wales right now. If I wanted to have a 10AM meeting when I was in Wales, I shouldn't have had to have set it for 5AM if I had wanted to plan it when i was still in Boston. There needs to be a flag that says "this time local to wherever the hell I am"
http://www.upworthy.com/congress-did-something-so-spectacularly-creepy-that-its-too-unbelievable-to-make-up?g=2&c=bl3 Sometimes I think about my old coworker Tim's opinion that democrats are about as bad as republicans, and i laugh ruefully. this is some grade a machivillian bullshit right here.
(3 comments)
October 15, 2012
"That day I understood that this heart scares easily. You have to trick it, however big the problem is. Tell your heart, 'Pal, all is well. All is well.'"

"Does that solve the problem?"

"No, but you gain courage to face it."

Rancho and Raju in the fun Bollywood film "3 Idiots"

Life does not cease to be funny when people die any more than it ceases to be serious when people laugh.
George Bernard Shaw

Whoa Shots of the Space Shuttle rolling through LA.
lego retelling of the red bull jump

I try to get through life without judging people much, but when the casual game you're playing on the subway is "Bejewled" it's tough not to.
October 15, 2011

--via mightygodking (2019: think this was the muller wonderful stuff ad wBujoJpDxo0 was talking about...)
Is there a bodywash that smells like sunblock? 'Cause I'd totally buy that.
October 15, 2010
So I was reading TV Tropes page on Loophole Abuse when I found this gem:
Apparently, the official rules of chess once had a loophole that rendered the game 1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 Nc6 3.Qxf7 mate a victory for White. Although the White Queen cannot move this way legally, checkmate ended the game. The other side could only claim an illegal move while the game was in play. After a checkmate, legal move or not, it was too late. This is just the most famous example of how this major flaw in the rules could be exploited.
So I like the deviousness of it, but didn't know Chess notation enough to understand the moves. Joseph Larson (of Cymon's Games, a site I haven't paid nearly enough attention to, check out his well-thought-out and history-aware video homage to the original Star Control) was kind enough to get some diagrams worked up for me...



e4


e5


Bc4


Nc6


Qxf7


So thanks Joe! The engineer in me kind of doesn't dig chess notation. It has so many assumptions about which piece made the move built into it... I guess it's optimized for people who really know the game. (It reminds me how grandmaster chess players aren't nearly so grand if you put them on a board with pieces arranged randomly, in a way that would never show up during a real game.)

I just love how the "game is over, so you can protest the blatant cheating" offends my sensibilities (but without really mattering, especially now that they've changed the rules.)


http://blogof.francescomugnai.com/2010/10/35-of-the-most-incredible-and-creative-bookshelves-ever/ - need something for my desk at work...
How inappropriate to call this planet Earth when it is clearly Ocean.
Arthur C. Clarke
October 15, 2009
I like music to come into my life my happenstance. I tend to dislike importing other people's musical collections all at once, I think you should take more time and get to know new music.

I prefer interesting singles to full albums.

I've started making smart playlists in iTunes of recently added music, starting a new one every season. And I thought I'd jot down what was in the music here, in case anyone wants me to send them an mp3 or two, and as notes to my future self if I ever wonder "how did I get into THAT"?...
Well, that's it. I wasn't expecting to be able to find Youtube videos for all of that! (Well, I didn't try for the TV themes -- either you know them or you don't want to.) Some of the links will probably be taken down, but for now it's a fun way to share.

For the record, I make an honest effort to pay for a (DRM-free) MP3 version of every song, but after that I have little compunction about ripping the music straight out.

It's kind of reassuring that I'm still discovering new music at a fair clip. For a while after college, I felt kind of disconnected, since college is such a good way of hearing new stuff. Now thanks to the Internet (often, background music for unrelated Youtube clips) I hear new stuff, plus have a way to get to buy singles for songs I liked in the 90s but not enough to buy a whole album.

Any new music discoveries for you?
Never go to bed mad. Stay up and fight.
Phyllis Diller

http://www.boingboing.net/2009/10/14/farewell-captain-lou.html - RIP Captain Lou Albano
http://www.wififreespot.com/mass.html - the free wifi spots around Boston
In Elizabethan slang, "something" and "nothing" were sometimes used to refer, respectively, to male and female genitalia. The title of Much Ado About Nothing is thus not simply a reference to the illusory conflict at the heart of the plot, but also a nifty dirty pun.
(1 comment)
October 15, 2008
Oh, Red Sox. The curse is twicefold over yet you're on the verge of breaking our hearts again.


Video of the Moment

--Not for those squeamish about our beloved, legless reptile friends

Politics of the Moment
FACT! Barack Obama and sixties radical Bill Ayers were both associated with the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, a radical education foundation whose radical goal is to radically educate black children by educating them... while they are still black.
LOTS OF FACTS YOU NEED TO KNOW.
Wakefield preparing a wake for the Red Sox.
<<I almost ran over an angel / he had a nice big fat cigar>>
My impression of a Wall Street trader... "I WAS SO EXCITED ABOUT THE BANKS I PLUM FORGOT THERE WAS A RECESSION GOING ON!!! MY BAD!"
(7 comments)
October 15, 2007
The other day I was sitting on the stoop of my Aunt and Uncle's place, and I caught myself kind of ogling a woman who was walking past, all curves and harmonic motions. I suddenly worried I was somehow living out this old cartoon by Booth I saw in this big New Yorker Cartoon coffeetable book my family had when I was growing up:




Article of the Moment
Tolerated lawbreaking is almost always a response to a political failure [...] This political failure can happen for many reasons. Sometimes a law was passed by another generation with different ideas of right and wrong, but the political will necessary to repeal the law does not exist. Sometimes, as we'll see with polygamy or obscenity, the issue is too sensitive to discuss in rational terms. And sometimes the law as written is a symbol of some behavior to which we may aspire, which nevertheless remains wholly out of touch with reality. Whatever the reason, when politics fails, institutional tolerance of lawbreaking takes over.
Speeding is always the one that comes first to my mind.

The aspirational aspect of ignored laws is troublesome. All in all, it's a compelling argument for a more libertarian stance, or at least a minimalist approach to the making of laws.
October 15, 2006
Oh, Sunday Morning already. Weekends where I have a lot of office work to catch up on make me long for a few months off more than ever.


Advice of the Moment
"How, for example, could I make a fat lady, walking down Fifth Avenue, slip on a banana peel and still get a laugh. It's been done a million times. What's the best way to get the laugh? Do I show first the banana peel, than the fat lady approaching: then she slips? Or do I show the fat lady first, then the banana peel, and then she slips?"
"Neither. You show the fat lady approaching; then you show the fat lady approaching; then you show the banana peel; then you show the fat lady and the banana peel together; then she steps over the banana peel and disappears down a manhole."
Playwright Charles MacArthur seeking advice from Charlie Chaplin.

Video of the Moment

--"Model to Billboard" is a longer road than you might have thought. It's odd that this kind of manipulation doesn't set off our "fake" detectors; sometimes I think we're not much different than that one kind of fish I read about, where researchers were easily able to make a fake fish that was "sexier" to the guy fishes than any real femal fish, even though it was just kind of a parody of color and fins.

October 15, 2005
Office Antics of the Moment
--I took a sickday Thursday after hurting my neck in yoga. My coworkers made up a "Virtual Kirk" which I then enhanced on my return Friday VK with a printout of a headshot for his face rather than the hand-drawn cartoon. (In defense of my coworkers, it didn't take quite as long as it looked in all, and there's a bit of a mid-release lull in the workload at the moment.)


(5 comments)
October 15, 2004
Photos of the Moment
Not much in terms of new material, but I finally got to relabeling the first section of my photoalbum scan based on some notes I asked my mom to send me. So people interested in what I looked like up to about third or fourth grade, you're all set. You could even see the rest of my photo album if you like, going to a little after the end of college.

Like I mentioned before, I'm still a little amused that I didn't realize that this part of my photo album is made up of rescued rejects from my mom's collection.


Quote of the Moment
I want to live the way I type; fast, with a lot of mistakes.
Attribution unknown...
I've been quoting it for a long time though. Briefly, after some failed googling on newsgroups I thought I might've coined it, but no, I must've heard it somewhere.


Article of the Moment
Good little read on people who play sweepstakes as a hobby, or sometimes a compulsion...

I guess I can see the appeal...ties in with the lottery. In search of the ever-elusive "one big win"...

(3 comments)
October 15, 2003
Wistful Thought of the Moment
Heh...20 years ago I would've wanted this job so bad...though I guess it's not the role that builds the sets, just the big stuff, which I find less interesting.


News of the Moment
I know there's the Kobe case to get all excited about and the Red Sox in the postseason and all, but does anyone else agree that China putting a guy in space isn't getting enough attention?


Joke of the Moment from Two Weeks Ago
A midget, a bodybuilder and a porn star walk into a bar. The bartender looks up and says, "What is this, an election?"


Animation of the Moment
--This has been bouncing around my C: drive for a while, it's some proof-of-concept animations for the wonderfully brilliant old game Lemmings.
October 15, 2002
Quote of the Moment
'Know thyself,' the Greek sage advised. But of course this is nonsense. Truly happy people live by the maxim 'Overrate thyself.' [...] Each of these people is a god of self-esteem, dwelling on a private Olympus.
David Brooks in an Atlantic commentary "Superiority Complex"
The article is about how we're all masters of these little things. The "classes" society ideal in the USA allows each person to be a little snob in their own small domain...


Link of the Moment
Interesting little Fast Company article on The Art of Multiasking, best uses of technology to help with personal overworking.


Link of a Future Moment
It's easy to forget that an easy military victory in Iraq is not a sure thing.


Ramble of the Moment
Thinking about the Maryland sniper..makes me wonder about the use of surveillance technology. (I've never really been a big privacy rights advocate, and that's been even truer since 9/11.) I'm almost surprised that we don't have the technology to do 24-hour realtime satellite surveillance of a limited geographical area, so that once the ballistic work has been done to get the rough location of the shooter, visually trace all vehicles from that spot and find out where the hell he went. We have geosynchronous satellites, right? I don't know how long it takes for them to take and beam one picture...(so great, now I'd produce the "cloudy day sniper" who only strikes when there's a good cloudcover.) Oy. That shooter is such a limpdick dork...it's not that he's talented, it's that the system is open. "Cracker"-style hackers have the same mentality. If they can make people miserable, they must be powerful.


Article of the Moment
Intriguing New Yorker piece on the USA as the only superpower. That's why we're called in over stuff like "the island of parsley", where Spain and Morocco almost came to blows over a stupid little island that had nothing but goats and garnishes. Too bad we have such a singleminded manchild at the helm.


Sig of the Moment
Seven Deadly Sins? I thought it was a to-do list!
October 15, 2001
Mike and Dave
Mike and Dave from this weekend. In the background is that neat building with big arch, between 93 and the harbor.

We went on the subway this weekend. I've always been struck by these two signs:
PASSENGER EMERGENCY INTERCOM
UNIT AT END OF CAR.



SISTEMA DE INTERCOMUNICACION
PARA PASAJEROS EN CASO DE EMERGENCIA
SITUADO AL EXTREMO DEL TREN.



They say basically the same thing, but it always struck me how much more concise the English version was than the Spanish. On the other hand, certain other phrases, especially involving verbs and recipients of action, are much tighter in Spanish. That plus the smaller selection of word ending sounds probably is what makes for better poetry. But English seems good at the nouns.


Link of the Moment
There has been 4 of 5 cartoons in the What The Drugs Taught Me series up for a while, don't know if the fifth one is ever going to show up. (UPDATE: Here's the Final Cartoon) I like the narrator's mom's rule, a two year statute of limitations, after that you can admit anything and she can't get bad. (Other favorite quote: "Maybe everything I've been told is bad... is good!" Such a goofy sophomoric way of looking at the world.)

kisrael.com is on the air, let the introspection begin!
99-10-15
---
Walking the tufts campus at night, for an sQ parents/alums mini-concert. Nostalgia. Concern for the slipping of Tufts' reputation.
sQ injokes: the meta injoke "mueller hall", reeling it in.
99-10-15
---
"It is amazing how complete is the delusion that beauty is goodness."
          --Tolstoy
---
Geek Code v3.1
GCS/L d(--) s:+ a-- C++ US+ P+++ L+ E W+++ N++ o+ K+ w++ !O !M+ V PS+ PE+ Y PGP t 5 X R- tv- b++ DI++ D++ G- e++ h- r++ y+
---
Had a dream Tuesday night- flying in a car launched from this airport, that turned into a flying lounge chair. Had to nimbly fly over telephone wires. Turned left at Ocean Grove to head for Boston.
98-10-15
---