October 27, 2020

Bummed, along with most left-leaning folk, by the new SCOTUS justice, and Republicans able to do their own form of court packing by skipping approval of Merrick Garland for the better part of a year, then brazenly jamming in their own choice in the final hour.

One of the core pillars the justices lean on in their unevenly applied "strict constructionism" is states' rights. For years, I've always had federalist instincts, in part because I think it's too easy for extremists to gain power at the state level.

And we fought a whole damn Civil War over this. Slavery is a permanent mark on our nation's founding and one that has forceful echoes of injustice that are renewed every generation. As a nation, we had to fight a bloody war to tell certain states no - People cannot be property, you assholes, and an economy built on that kind of suffering and inhumanity cannot be suffered to persist.

States get nuts. As happy as I am to live in a moderately liberal commonwealth (and just look at all these Republican governors in MA - we certainly have our own political divisions) I am an American before I am a Massachussetian. The USA is a unique political entity and while I might disagree with folks on the right on the balance of Personal Freedom vs Personal Justice (or rather, Freedom To vs Freedom From) these issues are about our nation, not a bunch of states where gerrymandered districts (and voting shenanigans that weirdly always lean red) keep pushing us to more fringe candidates, since the campaign threats only happen during primaries, not in general elections.

Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away.
Philip K. Dick
Surprised I hadn't grabbed that quote before... (like when I grabbed (this passage on mortality).... more here.
the human stress response seems so maladaptive!

To be fair 99% of our evolutionary stress response was meant to deal with far more immediately conclusive scenarios than the tedious bullshit we put up with these days.

very very slow tigers are chasing me

not to leave a serious comment on a silly post but one of the best pieces of advice I ever got about stress was to SLEEP but secondly, when overwhelmed, lay in a bed and intentionally hold all your muscles clenched. clench EVERYTHING. hold it for a few seconds, then let go. It tricks your animal fight-or-flight monkey brain into thinking it had, and won, a fight, and some of the stress response will leave you

#turn a slow tiger into a fast tiger with this fucked up trick

top 10 influential recordings challenge

October 27, 2019
On FB, Don Mitchell tagged me on one day of his challenge -
"i nominate Kirk to do the 10 influential recordings challenge in whatever way he wants if he wants to pick up the challenge"

I made up a list without realizing his approach was more album-centric. But I tend to be much more single-song minded. And I thought I'd especially emphasize works that influenced my own musicianship, such as it is - so there's some overlap with my "best songs ever" but not quite. And since they're just singles I decided to take advantage of "in whatever way he wants" and do it in one go...

Atari 2600 Moon Patrol - This little riff... I stole it and called it "Space Cadet" - it is JP Honk's default warm up tune, and I have played on my tuba behind so many different sets of musicians, who are generally able to easily pick up on its 12 bar B-flat blues goodness, and so much musical pleasure has resulted.

Maynard Ferguson's cover of Chameleon - props to Herbie Hancock for the original, but this brassy super funk version was a huge influence - probably as a staple of high school stage bands in the 80s, and now deep in the HONK repertoire. (The CD was one of the first 3 I bought when my family got a CD player)

Dvorak New World Symphony, Movement 4 - Kind of a cheat, I had a recording of this but it was probably playing it in Orchestra class that stuck it. When I listen to https://kirk.is/features/92bluesandbass/ I realized I was throwing the opening bit (right after the "Jaws" opening) in like every other jazz solo I played.

Blues Brothers' Peter Gunn Theme - Such a thumping bassline. And I remember when Euclid High Stage Band rebranded itself 222nd Street Jazz, we looked to Belushi and Aykroyd's rip off of the African American bluesman as our sartorial guide.

Canadian Brass' St. James Infirmary - I remember listening to his tape over and over in the basement writing a middle school essay on Charles Babbage. I got the sheet music for this song, and in college did an extremely misguided attempt to audition for a college a cappella group with it

The Dirty Dozen Brass Band's Inside Straight - The New Orleans album was also one of the first 3 CDs I got. I brought it to Portugal, visiting the guy my mom and I hosted, and this album was an obscure bit of Americana there - their artsy director friend used this song for the opener for a fashion show / poetry reading they put together. Years later I'd be joining in with a rough version of this kind of music w/ various HONK bands...

Weird Al's Another One Rides the Bus - I was a pretentious kid who fancied himself smart, and got the idea that smart people liked classical and jazz and had disdain for pop. So I tried to like only classical and jazz and cultivated disdain for pop. Weird Al can be a critical gateway drug in such cases - at first you like it because he's mocking pop music, but then you realize you like pop music...

Madonna's Hanky Panky - My high school marching band did a great cover of this, and I loved its big rollicking percussion. Later I got the single from the dollar store - it's playful take on light kink is kind of naughty fun.

Salt-N-Pepa's Shake Yo Thang - Borrowing heavily from "It's Your Thing" (but with arguably better percussion) this song introduced me to the Isley Brothers and great crossover music in general

Deee-Lite's Groove is in the Heart - My one secular religious ritual is, when I hear this song, I have to dance, even if just a little bit... and it sits at the very tiptop of my personal "best songs ever". The chance to play this in School of Honk cemented my relationship with the ensemble. (I mean I'd probably be there anyway but still.)
BONUS! Found this - Weird Al doing Another One Rides the Bus live on The Tomorrow Show with Tom Snyder.

Impressed by Jon "Bermuda" Schwartz' alternate percussion... and Weird Al puts so much heart into it...

October 27, 2018

Since it's the Halloween season, I'll give you a treat. Put your hand to your chest. Feel your heartbeat? That's your ghost chipping away at its cell.

Attention: Fresca's Black Cherry Citrus is a lot like OK Soda was, back in the 90s. (I noticed that, and then was incredibly validated by the Google first hit preview saying "OK Soda had a more "citric" taste than traditional colas, almost like a fruit punch version of Coke's Fresca. ")

PS OK Soda was a very odd creature of marketing.

October 27, 2017

Librarian Twitter Rant Par Excellence. Why in holy hell would that dipshit he's responding to say "close the libraries" in the first place? (via, with a few followups)

October 27, 2016

I do suspect my sight-reading skills aren't as sharp as they once were, but my by-ear is better than it was in my previous tuba life.

October 27, 2015

--PETSCII (like the C64 used) graphics via textmode tumblr I wish I understood face/caricature/art better in general.
http://pc.textmod.es/pack/galza-23/ - even more of that great PETSCII

October 27, 2014

There wouldn't be a forest if it wasn't for the forest fires.
From a dream last night.
I think I was also told not to trust people who espouse this philosophy, they're dangerous, even if the idea is true from a conservationist point of view.

tuba'ing at overlook ruins

October 27, 2013

October 27, 2012

fooling around with garageband... I have a lot to learn.

Apropos of that last video, a song I learned about from my mom and aunt yesterday:

I'm not sure if I dig the genre, but Assassin Creed III's detailed portrayal of Colonial Boston might be worth the risk.

jack o'lantern self-portrait(ish)

tap o'lantern
Rape is 'God's will' but homosexuality is my 'choice.' Talk about making shit up as you go along.

God doesn't make you get raped or die in childbirth, just decides you get pregnant? Sounds less like God and more like the Aquaman of sperm.


October 27, 2011

An interactive animation of alien bill -- mouse to treat him like a marionette, mousedrag up and down to change his size. (probably won't work in IE) I might start making better title screens on games I decide to polish a bit...
http://twolivesleft.com/Codify/ -- programming iPad on the iPad. This excites me. (Lua, a language I would know if I had taken this one other job...)
According to reviews of Codify, though, maybe they haven't got the "share your work" thing down- that might run afoul of Apple's VM policies.
You can tell a lot about people by what books they use to prop up their monitors.

"Walking in this weather is like being hit in the face with a cold wet steak. But not in the good way"
"OK, that last part was weird."


(1 comment)
October 27, 2010

--viznut did a demo on the old VIC-20 (precusor to the Commodore 64) for something called the PWP altparty which I haven't heard too much about... still I like the economical use of iconography and concepts here.

I feel rather jaunty biking home, a bunch of flowers from Alewife for Amber tucked under the flap of my courier bag...
"The Social Network"', soundtrack by Trent Reznor? "...I want to friend you from the inside..."

king kat

October 27, 2009

--King Kat by cmg. Dignity, who needs it, amirite cat owners?
So, Penny Arcade is mostly about the comic, and the blog, right? Like that's their day job. Is it so hard to keep the 2 in synch?
While I've watched next to no Dr. Who, there's something about the usefulness of a Sonic Screwdriver that makes me a bit dizzy.
BoingBoing's new navigation is kind of broken. I'd really like a richer view of stuff that's old, but not old enough for "Earlier Posts"

je suis malade avec un couteau!

October 27, 2008
Hey, the Phillies might win this thing!

I have a general rule that after Boston, cities I've lived in or near get the nod for sports loyalties. (Hence a bit of a soft spot for the Indians and the Browns.) And, lo and behold, I was born in Philly and lived there for like 3 months. So thtat trumps any "American League" or AL East loyalty I might otherwise feel.

Quote of the Moment
We conversed in French, a language alien to both of us, but more alien to me than to him. He said "gauche" for both "right" and "left" when he was upset, but when I was upset I was capable of flights that put the French people on their guard, wide-eyed and wary. Once, for instance, when I cut my wrist on a piece of glass I ran into the lobby of a hotel shouting in French, "I am sick with a knife!"

Olympy would have known what say (except that it would have been his left wrist in any case) but he wouldn't have shouted.

James Thurber, My World and Welcome To It.
Thinking about yelling "I AM SICK WITH A KNIFE!" in a terrible Clouseau accent is something I do with surprising frequency, but just the thinking, not the yelling. So that, plus the "on their guard, wide-eyed and wary" image makes this one of my favorite Thurber passages.

Link of the Moment
Famous Synth Sounds, those that became the mainstay of 80s and 90s pop. The page has lots of samples, unfortunately a mishmash of isolated samples and the use of the sound in famous songs.

<<I'm feeling very still / And I think my spaceship knows which way to go>>
Top 3 ToDos I've been angstily procrastinating on: * get "stem engine" project wrapped * try match.com and/or nerve * make apt. presentable
Guidebook to Zen and the Art of M'cycle Maint.'s survey of phil. analysis splits has widened my mind, lets me see other folks assumptions.


October 27, 2007
Rockport! Or, as Evil B puts it after this post, the Evil B Life Extension Service.

Mandate of the Moment
The meaning of poetry is to give courage. A poem is not a puzzle that you the dutiful reader are obliged to solve. It is meant to poke you, get you to buck up, pay attention, rise and shine, look alive, get a grip, get the picture, pull up your socks, wake up and die right. Poets have many motives for writing (to be published on expensive paper, to show up others in your M.F.A. program, to flaunt your sensitive nature and thereby impress someone who might then go to bed with you, to win valuable prizes and fellowships and maybe a year in Rome or Provence, to have a plausible excuse for making a mess of your life), but what really matters about poetry and what distinguishes poets from, say, fashion models or ad salesmen is the miracle of incantation in rendering the gravity and grace and beauty of the ordinary world and thereby lending courage to strangers, This is a necessary thing.
Garrison Keillor, introduction to "Good Poems for Hard Times"

Quote of the Moment
You need the scroll function for that poem to work. Isn't it kick that scrolls and icons are back??? I love the lingo.
Heather McHugh of spondee.com, quoted in "Good Poems for Hard Times"


October 27, 2006
Heh. My sixth grade class room had a powerstrip mounted on the edge of this metal-fronted shelving and if you touched the shelving and the radiator a tingling charge would build up and up 'til finally you let go. I could stay there and hold it the longest of all the kids in my class.

Soon after that I started doing really well on standardized tests.

Draw your own conclusions.

Rube Goldberg Setup of the Moment

--Two guys build up their own contraption at the office. They claim 6 out of the 8 runs worked (I guess the filming wasn't as great for the first 5.)

It's amazing to think about this... a carefully constructed system full of potential energy, and then the same little bit of kinetic energy (for many of the parts) travelling down it like a fuse...

Quote of the Moment
Happiness is always a by-product. It is probably a matter of temperament, and for anything I know it may be glandular. But it is not something that can be demanded from life, and if you are not happy you had better stop worrying about it and see what treasures you can pluck from your own brand of unhappiness.
Robertson Davies
(today's Quote of the Day at Google...just trying to get Lex on one of his 'what is everyone so against happiness' minirants.)

wun ate-un-hed fit-ee-oh AI-ent

October 27, 2005
Ads of the Moment
There's a line of radio copy for "Giant Glass" that I've heard a few announcers read, something like "because if you're ever in an auto accident, your windhshield is the one thing between you and the open road"...I've never quite been able to wrap my head around that line (no pun intended.) I guess I think of "the road" as "the asphault", and generally it's the body of the car that's keeping me from that. So does "open road" mean..."the air"? The threat of other cars leaping at my car? I dunno, but I guess it sounds better than "because you don't want your windshield splintering into a thousand pieces and chopping your body and face".

Of course these are the same ads with that way too catchy for the good of humanity "Who you gonna call when your windshield's busted" / "1-800-54-GIant" tune. Sometime when I get angry at how much it's stuck in my head I enjoy singing along to the spot with grunty imbecilic monosyllables..."wun ate-un-hed fit-ee-oh AI-ent".

Trivia: Giant Glass is named after the NY Giants Football Team, the owner was a fan before the Patriots were added into the New England mix. (You know, I have a tremendous memory for factoids I find "interesting", and a terrible memory for anything my head brands as "mundane". Is everyone like that?)

Article of the Moment
The ChiSox win brings up the thought is GWB the new LBJ? and other thoughts about the possible Curses of Texas.

Geekular Essay of the Moment
Slashdot linked to Petzold on Does Visual Studio Rot the Mind?.

I remember the good ol' Petzold Win32 programming book back at Tufts' Curricular Software Studio. Around that time I also dabbled on my own with VB (version 3, getting into 4) and I designed and taught a for-credit class in it with Tufts' "Experiment College".

My life is Java and Perl based but I see some of the elements he's talking about, at least with the Java. And I feel some of the same conservatism he describes, and I'm never sure if I'm becoming a crusty old coot coder or if a longing for simplicity and opacity in the system we result in is a hallmark of how good programmers think.

Looking at some of the stuff Ksenia is doing for her Graphics Design major...a lot of seems pretty dull, like Typography class and it's kind of fetishistic view of fonts, but sometimes it seems really appealing. I still love fooling around with logos and branding and what not. I think no matter what I'd always program "for love" but sometimes I wish the "for money" part wasn't so much more lucrative than other paths I toy with following.

politics...for me to poop on!

October 27, 2004
Videos of the Moment
How painful was it when the doctor removed your sense of shame?
Great stuff...offensive to the easily offended, but really really funny. More Triumph Videos!

Image and Link of the Moment
Cluster Ballooning... magical-looking, but it sounds like it's a bit dangerous, especially the part about not hitting any powerlines on your way down.

Quote of the Moment
It is up to us to hallow creation, to respond to life with the fullness of our lives. It is up to us to meet the world, to embrace the whole even as we wrestle with its parts. It is up to us to repair the world and to bind our lives to truth. Therefore we bend the knee and shake off the stiffness that keeps us from the subtle graces of life and the supple gestures of love. With reverence and thanksgiving, we accept our destiny and set for ourselves the task of redemption.
Rabbi Rami Shapiro.
They used this reading to close out last night's meeting of my UU church "Science and Spirituality" group.

we read metafilter so you don't have to

October 27, 2003
Art of the Moment
If you're really into online toys like yesterday's "Sand", this Metafilter post has a whole alphabet of 'em. People on the message board really seemed to dig "Y", which reminded me of this one old videogame...

tnemoM eht fo kniL
?sdrawkcab etis siht ees ot tnaW

Site of the Moment
The Sound of Eating is a guide to the Pac-Man universe. Well, mostly just the arcade games (not the cartoon and all of that.) The Ghost Psychology page was one of the more interesting ones; amazing how much thought went into the personalities of those ghosts. I wonder how much that aided the popularity of the game, I've played some clones that I'm pretty sure had less complex ghost psychology and I don't think I notice a difference while playing.

The First Church of Pac-Man may also be worth a browse through, seems to all be on one page for easy scrollability.

If you're really intereted in this stuff, you can always see some previous Pac entries here on kisrael.

daylight losing time

October 27, 2002
Dang it, we all push the clocks back today. Welcome to the dark winter wonderland.

Image of the Moment
--I was the "Pied Piper of Hamelin" for Brooke's Halloween Bash. This is a closeup of one of my fearsome (if squeaky) rats.

Quote of the Moment
In human stupidity, when it is not malicious, there is something very touching, even beautiful... There always is.
Leo Tolstoy

Online Comic of the Moment
Ranjit pointed out "Boy on a Stick and Slither", a somewhat surreal comic that I hadn't seen before. At its best a bit like Life in Hell, otherwise just a little random. It's worth reading through the archive, but if you're in a hurry, I really liked the first one, this view on cowboys 'n' indians, and this one on mints.

News Quote of the Moment
A double-dip recession is not like a roller coaster -- in these recessions the second dip is usually worse than the first.
Was googling on "consumer confidence" after hearing an NPR promo for an interview with a guy who thinks that with slipping consumer confidence, the consumers might be on to something. The Idaho article doesn't cast the double dip as foregone conclusion, but why do I have this urge to start stockpiling water and canned goods?

soooo cute

October 27, 2001
Last night I went with Peterman (my main videogame buddy) and Sawers (the guy I'm cobuying a Gamecube with) to a Nintendo Gamecube Launch event. It was in a warehouse kind of place near where I used to work in Cambridge. They had a DJ with a lot of music (one remix firmly planted the Super Mario Bros theme in my head), colored stage lights, and a bunch of systems with all the release games and a few more. They also had contests and giveaways (I won a too cute Pikmin hat for Mo, with three of those little guys like that little blue one.) Kind of weird to see an event like this, though I guess it's not as bad as that Fred Savage movie they made as a big old advertisement for Super Mario Brothers 3...

Game of the Moment
Come see your life as a hungry spider. A very pretty game, I love the animation of the Spider's legs, though those fireflies are very annoying. The slingshot effect to launch the spider is terrific as well.

Quote of the Moment
Somewhere around the place I've got an unfinished short story about Schrodinger's Dog; it was mostly moaning about all the attention the cat was getting.
Terry Pratchett, alt.fan.pratchett

It's a shallow life that doesn't give a person a few scars.
--Mr. Blue, 99-10-26
"Man, as we know him, is a poor creature; but he is halfway between an ape and a god and he is travelling in the right direction."
--Dean William R. Inge
"And some rin up hill and down dale, knapping the chucky stanes to pieces wi' hammers, like sae mony road-makers run daft -- they say it is to see how the warld was made!"
--Sir Walter Scott, St. Ronan's Well (1832)
Keith Haring- artist with monocolor heavily lined outline characters
You may be damned if you do.

You may be damned if you don't.

You are unquestionably damned if you try to do both.
--Greg Owen, 99-10-26
This corner of Harvard Square has insider jokes: the 'happy face' yellow traffic lights, the office window of "Dewey, Cheetham, and Howe"
Rebekah once showed me a way of tying Converse Chucks so they wouldn't come undone. I wish I remembered the trick but I'm not sure I'd use it if I did.
I didn't mean to demand perfection from V-it's just that she used to BE perfection- hard to explain unless you've been there
fin-de-siecle blues:
indians lose
market's going down
article says microsoft wins

and it's dark
...and I have to return a video that'll probably be late anway.  And it just started raining.  Yeesh.
Love is holding your breath and diving for pearls, only to get your leg clamped on by a giant clam that won't let go.  At night, the sludge eels come.
          --Matt Groening, Life In Hell
they had this understanding
knock-In her dark dorm room, her in bed  him sitting on floor knees to chest