October 20, 2020
The body is a nation I have not known.Via the Poetry Unbound podast. This one really spoke to me; I conflate the body with the subconscious part of the brain; the mind/heart split can be so pronounced that the mind can challenge the legitimacy of the heart; almost its existence. But what a thought: "For years I said that: the body is a savage. / As if this safety of the mind were virtue / not cowardice. For years I have snubbed / the dark rub of it, said, ‘I am better, Lord, I am better'" For someone like me, who as a child gulped drank from two vials, one "I am super smart" and the other "I have to control myself or I am going to spend eternity in Hell"... pointing out the dialog of virtue and cowardice that represents is a crucial reminder.
The pure joy of air: the moment between leaping
from a cliff into the wall of blue below. Like that.
Or to feel the rub of tired lungs against skin-
covered bone, like a hand against the rough of bark.
Like that. 'The body is a savage,' I said.
For years I said that: the body is a savage.
As if this safety of the mind were virtue
not cowardice. For years I have snubbed
the dark rub of it, said, 'I am better, Lord,
I am better,' but sometimes, in an unguarded
moment of sun, I remember the cowdung-scent
of my childhood skin thick with dirt and sweat
and the screaming grass.
But this distance I keep is not divine,
for what was Christ if not God's desire
to smell his own armpit? And when I
see him, I know he will smile,
fingers glued to his nose, and say, 'Next time
I will send you down as a dog
to taste this pure hunger.'
Just thought of the old Arabica Coffeehouse in Cleveland (at least in the late-80s and still there by the looks of it.) They were generally pronounced "air-uh-BEE-kuh", not like the coffe bean. But I remember someone mentioning nicknames for a few of them - Freak-abica for the bohemian neighborhood in Coventry, Geek-abica for the one near Case Western Reserve University, Chic-abica for one in an upscale neighborhood, and then there was some other coffee place the coffee cognizati called "Wanna-bica".
Today I am marching in solidarity with the spooky skeletons that are inside us all, waiting to get out. #justwait
A purpose of human life, no matter who is controlling it, is to love whoever is around to be loved.
Huh - Google's Pixel 2 does Shazam/Soundhound style audio fingerprinting locally? And that db for that is only half a GB? I never would have suspected the numbers were like that (even knowing factoids how like a simple formula "does the subsequent note in series go up or down, note by note makes a unique key for melodies in a surprisingly small number of notes")
A while back Winnie Gong sketched me as the mythical Unicorn full-stack developer...
Martin Amis is an English novelist. One of the very strangest bits of his career, the most out of character for him as an author, was a guide to video games (with a weird, jaded "streetwise" view of culture around the arcades, then in its prime) called Invasion of the Space Invaders. The author generally won't talk about the book, and as The Million's 2012 review of it quotes Sam Leith:
October 20, 2015
Anything a writer disowns is of interest, particularly if it’s a frivolous thing and particularly if, like Amis, you take seriousness seriously.On a whim I bought a copy of this hard to find book (I think I paid a bit over $100 for it a few years ago; currently the one copy listed on Amazon is going for north of $500) Recently I undid the binding of my copy and scanned it in and sent it to Anna Anthropy for Annarchive, her repository of old shareware and other video game historical artifacts- you can download the full copy there, and it's kind of an amazing piece, though as Anna points out full of casual homophobia, racism, and a surprising amount of references to child prostitution.
But there's also overwrought gameplay advice prose like this for Pac-Man:
Do I take risks in order to gobble up the fruit symbol in the middle of the screen? I do not, and neither should you. Like the fat and harmless saucer in Missile Command (q.v.), the fruit symbol is there simply to tempt you into hubristic sorties. Bag itand
PacMan player, be not proud, nor too macho, and you will prosper on the dotted screen.There was another great quote:
"That seems to be the psychology behind Atari. You can never win, and you always can get better."Besides the prose (and referring to Steve Jobs as "Atari's Steve Jobs") what I find most striking about the book are the obviously reconstructed screenshots. I guess in an era where video games were tough to photograph (presumably in smoky arcades with cranky owners) it made sense to hire graphic artists to recreate the shots... sometimes that can be done for artistic effect (like all those Activision boxart screenshots) but my feeling is these were made to look relatively authentic (and I left out a few actual screenshots they included, like for Frogger and Turbo.)
Open Photo GalleryCentipede probably first made me think about how odd the "screenshots" were, because Centipede seems to have been travelling back up, something that can never happen in the game:
Other shots had distinctive tells, like the wall-eyed enemies in its take on Pac-Man:
Actually, Pac-Man is especially jolting because he (semi-charmingly) calls the enemies "The PacMen" and the player's character "The Lemon", or more specifically "the dot-munching Lemon that goes whackawhackawhackawhacka". (To be fair, there has long been some confusion if the enemies are "monsters", "ghosts" or "ghost monsters".)
Their Donkey Kong interpretation has the Jumpman bald and sans cap.
The book has a lot of other incidental art as well...
That's kind of an early example of a long tradition of "Donkey Kong not looking quite like he does on the arcade game itself".
The remaining examples are all space shooters or similar:
Other random art... I sort of like how this one implies the spaceship pilot might be longing for a home planet, or maybe just bringing forth the idea the space station IS home:
And to end with the beginning, we'd be amiss not mention the Amis cover:
The amount of snark in that guy's stance is impressive (PS: Introduction by Steven Spielberg! Strange times.)
Do women hate beards? Dang.
Two haiku from the British Museum's exhibit "Shunga: sex and pleasure in Japanes art":
Onto his silent lap
her eloquent hips
unable to know your true heart
I give my body to you
--Onakatomi no Yoshinobu
October 20, 2012
--A little toy for Glorious Trainwreck's Kackling Korpse of the Monster Klaw Playful ghosts play tag, and you can bounce them around with your ectoplasmpuck. Or press mouse button to call them to you.
October 20, 2011
Open Photo GalleryRecently at my job we changed workspaces. Our new space is these kind of odd angled semicubes (all triangles and hexagons) Here's mine!
One neat bit of furniture in the new space is this round table...
Except it's not just a table, it's has a pad of (also round) paper embedded into the top! I drew some Alien Bills....
In my dream, "Cornflower Blue" seemed like the ultimate band name, but "Testing Testing 123" came in a close second.
But if you want forgiveness for being a computer, don't put rocks in the snowballs.
October 20, 2010
--via Miller, found here
All you need is a dodgy priest
October 20, 2009
I apologize for the recent New England snow- I had raised the odds by tempting Murphy and His Law by not putting shovel in car- fixed!
Not a very deep sports thinker, but I wonder if its the Ass't Coaching that was the old boon, now bust for Patriots? We keep losing 'em...
http://www.slate.com/id/2232914/ - Slate on the magic behind the iPhone app "Shazam"-for me it's one of those "wow they can DO that?" things
http://www.visibone.com/colorlab/big.html - decent little web colors thing. Its name for Brown seems to be "Obscure Dull Orange"
Ack, the Red Sox.
October 20, 2008
Boston is no longer long-suffering sports-wise (except maybe for hockey fans) but it would be nice if our teams continue to show long-term strength.
Ah, civic pride. "Our millionaire manchildren can totally kick your millionaire manchildren's butts!". Or maybe "Our coaches and business men make better use of their large sports market financing than nearly anyone!" which is better, but not much.
Young Astronauts in Love
The setup on GHIBAL 3 was kind of odd
There was so much we didn't know about the anomaly, it really kept the scientists busy, and some of the lawyers
sometimes they had to do research the outposts. there was a minilab for them, with its own coffee maker.
then, one day...
lydia showed up
lydia was one of the lab-scouts. THE fastest jetter i had ever seen
the scientist-scouts were the elite of the elite.
and lydia in the lab... her specialty was this unspace stuff i could just barely get the outlines of
didn't stop me from trying though!
techs are supposed to ask questions, and she was pretty patient
and so it rolled on... lab-scouts came and lab-scouts went.
my own work was pretty interesting, and i had a few side projects
for a while i had a theory she was showing up more often than her research demanded
it was tough to tell. her stuff was pretty obstruse. and it wasn't like i was the only lab she stopped at.
probably i was just projecting
women! or maybe just people.
compared to them, circuits were cake.
maybe her research was about the kind of complexity i'm thinking of
circuits:on, off, mu. you don't understand something, you set up testcases, you can isolate your assumptions and test them...
i've always been pretty easy to read
one time it was near the holiday break. we were talking schedules.
"had you noticed how often i'm here? i've virtually had to make up a new branch of anomaly wave dynamic to justify my trips here."
"i'll bet you say that to all the techs!" i said
no, she hadn't
When I write Josh, who lives in Japan, I oddly switch to more Japanese english stylings.. "please enjoy this book" for "I hope you enjoy"..
<<this is not Ibiza / this is not Cologne / this is not Osaka / this is not Lisbon>>
Hofstadter points out a thing that makes me say English is a bit broken; in most other languages conscious is the same word as conscience.
Filled with a kind of weary melancholy. Maybe I'm just tired.
Max points out something Bill Simmons points out in his ESPN column:
October 20, 2007
Speaking of fan bases, the fans from a certain New England college are outraged that I refuse to acknowledge a particular undefeated college season that's happening right now and resulted in an especially high ranking last weekend. And you know what? You're right. I need to be the bigger man here. So let's acknowledge it ... congratulations to the Tufts Jumbos on your 4-0 start!So, um, Yay Jumbos. But are 4-0 starts that rare in college? I guess the one thing you can say about a team like Tufts is unlike football factories it can't really pad its schedule with creampuff opponents, because if anything, it would be one of the creampuffs...
Drawing of the Moment
In helping Evil B up in Rockport, we came across this sketch for the layout of a bedroom. We believe it was done by Alice Cox:
Click here for a larger version.
Cool stuff! I admire the technical skill as well as sense of design that went into this arrangement.
Instructions You Didn't Know You Needed of the Moment
I liked wikiHow's instructions on How to Become a Hobo, but its How to Be a Hobo with a Web Based Income is even more up my alley.
On the road!
October 20, 2006
Wrong lessons learned thus far:
- Trains are a decent way of travelling but a bit bumpy. If you're using a laptop consider disabling that "tap on pad = click" feature.
- People in Delaware seem to have a hard time making change. I only had 3 bucks in small bills because the Acela folk requests passengers not to use twenties. The cab driver couldn't break a twenty for a 4 dollar fare. The hotel bar was closing, and could only give me two tens. The front desk could give me a 5 and 4 ones.
Anecdote of the Moment
President Coolidge had a group of guests on the presidential yacht cruising the Potomac. As he stood alone at the rail, looking out at the expanse of water, someone exclaimed, 'Look at that slight and slender figure! Look at that head, bowed over the rail! What thoughts are in the mind of this man, burdened by the problems of the nation?' Finally, Coolidge turned around, and joined the others, saying, `See that sea gull over there? Been watching it for twenty minutes. Hasn't moved. I think he's dead!'Though it was funny (+ suspicious) when I looked in the back and saw the story attributed to "A. Krock"... somehow reassuring to know that inane presidential remarks are nothing new.
Photo of the Moment
-"-A UPS-owned B767 departs Des Moines Int'l and turns south", via cellar.org Image of the Day, who got it from airliners.net. Almost makes me regret travelling by train this time!
Doodles of the Moment
October 20, 2005
The top left might be the server at the same place the booze glasses were doodled in yesterday's set. There's an attempt at a sketch of Mo there, and as for the last two...errr. Well. Isn't it interesting, my friend Erica taught me that it's much simpler to write in cursive with a low-fidelity sketch pad such as this than with my usual printing.
Film of the Moment
Last night Evil B got me to go see the film MirrorMask...pretty decent, and it's too bad there's not more publicity for it. It's a collaboration between Henson Studios (the similarities with Labyrinth and I've heard The Dark Crystal are pretty strong) and author Neil Gaiman...visually, it's incredibly rich, though the story is thin, surprising given the Gaiman influence. I was going to say that it's kind of lile "Through The Looking Glass" meets Salvador Dali, but it turns out that the overarching art influence is Dave McKean...I'd recommend his page (have to click...they're playing some stupid games preventing a direct link) over the official Sony pictures one.
Unfortunately, it might be a "wait for the DVD" kind of thing, given its poor distribution...here in Boston it seems like only the artsy cinema is showing it.
Article of the Moment
Slate on the inverse relationship between an institutions health and its tendency to make interesting architecture, the logic being that companies that are still enganged deeply in doing cool work don't have time to make the perfect HQ. I've seen this in action, in a small way, with my dear departed dotcom Event Zero; moving to the new offices (with a conference room sharing the oval shape of the company's logo and with the late-90's cliché blue/orange color scheme) was one of the death knells...a big capital suck that any company hoping to ride out the dotbomb crash of 2000 couldn't afford.
Stupid Internet connection was down yesterday...man that bugs the heck out of me. Electricity, Water, 'Net...it's really a close third.
October 20, 2004
Kinda Feeble Fable of the Moment
BRUNO: Like, why did we come to this cave?
VALK: Yeah, why?
MARCUS: Listen, you wanted the gold, right?
BRUNO AND VALK: Yeah.
MARCUS: And you wanted fun and wild adventure?
BRUNO AND VALK: Yeah.
MARCUS: And you were both bored out of your minds vegging out in front of TV which neither of you have because it hasn't been invented yet, right?
BRUNO AND VALK: Huh?
MARCUS: Never mind. Anyway, understand?
MARCUS: Good, cause neither do I.
(Blackout, enter Narrator)
NARRATOR: Ok, now time for another feeble moral: Slow and steady wins the race. (Exits, pauses, reenters)
NARRATOR: Ok, ok, it doesn't make much sense, but neither will a lot of this play.
--Those who can write, do. Those who can't, get self-referential.
I think that's a vague Hitchhiker's Guide "Excitement, adventure and really wild things" reference there
Coverup of the Moment
Looks like The Bush administration is suppressing a CIA report on 9/11 until after the election. Nice. Too bad Bush isn't a democrat, maybe they'd sick Ken Starr on him.
Sci-Fi Thought of the Moment
If any wants a recommendation for some good...nay, terrific short sci-fi, I heartily recommend "The Collected Stories of Vernor Vinge", currently being lent to me by the EB. I'm only about halfway through but MAN is that good some stuff.
I don't have time to think about it now, and I'm sure cleverer minds than mine have thought about this, but one throwaway line in one of the stories, "That [image is] from a camera aboard the Vengeance. It's transmitting by gravitic means, so we'll be able to see everything up to the detonation" made me think about the idea of somehow using Gravity as a form of communication, and what the speed of that communication could be. I probably should read this paper, which seems to indicate the answer to "what's the speed of gravity?" is somewhere between "lightspeed" and "instanteous", inclusive, so the next question is, could we make a communications device from that? I suppose one problem is that gravity is blunt...I think that it tends to be a single vector at any point, the "sum" of all the gravitation forces at that point. But still, if you could move a mass around quickly enough, a sensitive and highly tuned meter might be able to detect it's movement from an arbitrary distance away? I dunno. There's got a be a reason why you can't do this, or why if you could do this it wouldn't violate the idea in relativity that information can't travel faster than the speed of light... (is that the case? Man, it's been why too long since I've read up on and thought about this stuff.)
People less muddle-headed about these high-falutin' ideas, feel free to chime in...
Heh. Nothing like waking up to six copies of e-mail with a subject "Put a bullet in SPAM!shenanigan" in a row. (All to the same e-mail address...usually multiple Spams at least our targetting different e-mail for the same account.) And to think they say irony is dead.
October 20, 2003
Quote of the Moment
If you took all the students that fell asleep in class and laid them end to end, they'd be a lot more comfortable.
Game Link of the Moment
"Elite" was one of the awesomest games of the early 1980s...you flew a spaceship around a wireframe universe, fighting off pirates (or being a bounty hunter yourself!), trying to make a living trading goods from planet to planet. (Actually, one of the coolest things was your path wasn't set, you had many alternatives to try to make your way.) Years ahead of its time, I remember playing it on Todd Beecher's C=64. Slashdot posted to an Guardian article on the history of the game, or you can check out the author's Elite homepage...including information on Elite: The Musical.
The article goes into some detail about how they auto-generated their galaxies; rather than coming up with the memory needed to store the details of a handcrafted universe, they came up with some pseudo-random formulae to generate a huge number of planets. From there, it was a matter of 'gardening' to find the sequences that would make a good gamer experience. (I remember being very impressed with the game's sequel called "Frontier"--the universe it created was even more rich and impressive, yet it still all fit on a 1.4 meg floppy.)
Software of the Moment
Feh. I probably won't have time to play with this 3D modeling and motion program 'Juice' but it looks like fun...
Political Cartoon of the Moment
October 20, 2002
|--Tom Toles. I would've just linked to the online version, but the UComics site is slow to the point of death. Anyway, this cartoon is one of the likelier scenarios I've seen...|
Quote of the Moment
In this great and creatorless universe, where so much beautiful has come to be out of the chance interactions of the basic properties of matter, it seems so important that we love one another.
October 20, 2001
--via Stileproject, obviously (raunchy site) I've seen this idea before but never done so well...
some comparisons can't be compared to comparing apples + oranges