November 20, 2023

Are sleeping dreams "creative"? Like should you get credit for a creative process for what you dream?

A. Obviously! It's all in your head after all.
B. Obviously Not! It's just your brain scrambling to make narrative from random sparks.
C. Mixed... the initial generation is unintentional and might not really count, but the weirdness of the narrative your brain makes for it correlates to your imagination in waking life.

Open Photo Gallery

Red Rebels against the Weymouth Compressor Station
Mens Room at the Midway Cafe
Big clouds behind School of Honk percussionists

Ran into Google's idea for shared 'notes' on webpages - my friend SpindleyQ helped me realize just how much it had been done before but Third Voice was probably the one I was thinking of, he dug up this website railing against it
another set of free covid tests!

I found out a guy I gave a lift to on Monday was testing positive Sunday... so I think the timing works out ok for me but still it was a stark reminder that it still makes sense to be cautious. (The headliner comedian we saw Saturday was like "yeah I have COVID really bad!" - I was happy we were halfway back in a big auditorium and had put on masks as the place filled in...)

Also I can't believe people are being so lame about not getting this year's vaccine! Yes, the variants are probably getting less harmful (especially now that most people have been exposed) and yes it's not 100% proof, but damn it sure is better than nothing - there are still some mysteries around Long COVID...

November 20, 2022

Melissa and I went to the MFA yesterday.

Open Photo Gallery

It's weird how easy it is to take for granted, you know? Like Boston gets lots and lots of tourists and I'm sure tons of them come to this museum, and it's crammed full of amazing stuff. But how often do you go?
If you love comic sans, you don't know much about typography. But if you hate comic sans you really don't know much about typography either.
Vincent Connare
via this great struthless video on fonts and typefaces
RIP Fred "Mythical Man Month" Brooks. Letting engineers have a reference for explaining to managers that adding people to a late project makes it later. (ala you can't get 9 women to make a baby in one month)

November 20, 2021

From a military legal worker:

I'm seeing a lot of ignorance and misinformation flying around about what happened in Kenosha, and I'm going to set the record straight from a professional legal position... as well as from a former military position. I'm going to explain some things from a more technical angle derived from my many years as a paralegal and from my experience working in federal criminal justice and prosecution.

Legally, if you are in the process of a commission of a crime, it negates your ability to claim self defense if you kill someone. As in, it can't even be entered as your official defense in court. It is similar to getting rear-ended at a red light through zero fault of your own, but you were driving without a license or insurance. It automatically makes you at fault because you weren't even legally allowed to be driving.

That 17 year old in Kenosha had committed two crimes and was not even legally allowed to open carry the rifle he used to shoot three people. This means that he legally cannot claim self defense.

Another key discussion is the Castle Doctrine. Some of you may be vaguely familiar with it, as it is what allows you to use deadly force when someone comes into your house unlawfully, etc. But there are some finer points most people don't realize that you generally have to do some formal legal studies to know.

First, as soon as someone sets foot inside the threshold of your home uninvited that you believe intends to commit a crime, you can legally use deadly force and it is immediately considered self defense, even if they haven't made any violent threats or actions towards harming you.

This is because in every instance outside your home, you are required to retreat and extricate yourself from a dangerous situation if possible. It is a legal mandate, not a suggestion. Your home is considered the final retreat point, and legally you should be safe in your "Castle." There is nowhere else to retreat to, etc. This is why you are able to immediately use deadly force.

However, it is NOT to protect your property, it is for protecting your LIFE. And once the burglar, for instance, has left your home... the threat to your life is considered neutralized, and deadly force is no longer authorized. So if a burglar runs out the door and down the street with your TV, you are no longer allowed to shoot after them because they are not threatening your life. You call the police, you file a claim with your insurance, and you get a new TV. If you shoot a burglar in the back down the street, you can and should be charged with murder.

While you are out in PUBLIC, this means a lot of things obviously. It means that there is far more scrutiny and boxes that must be checked in order to claim self defense. You must be in IMMINENT danger of losing life and limb. Getting into an argument and feeling scared of being punched by an unarmed person? Not likely to be a situation where deadly force is authorized. You MUST retreat.

If someone shoots at you or pulls a knife on you in the street, that is deadly force and can be met with deadly force. But if the person is unarmed, you cannot shoot them because you're afraid of a little scuffle. That is why Rittenhouse illegally shot the first protester, and it is one of the many reasons it cannot be considered self defense. The man threw a plastic bag with trash in it at him AND MISSED, and Rittenhouse shot him. He chased his victim and instigated a fight by brandishing and flagging people with his rifle, because he is an untrained idiot with a gun. The protester was not a threat, and even if he was, all he had to do was retreat back to the police line. He rushed at protesters with a gun drawn to pick a fight, and people are acting as if he were just there to keep the peace.

He fired INTO A CROWD, and it's a miracle he didn't hit more people. More people that hadn't thrown a plastic bag. More people that were just trying to protest police brutality, which is a real issue in this country.

And then when he did finally run away, some more protesters attempted to subdue him after he had already murdered someone, he tripped, and shot two people trying to stop him from shooting others.

The fact that the police didn't arrest him and take him into custody right then and there, even if they suspected it could be self defense, is a grave issue with that police department.

I could further dissect this situation, but for now I'm going to end with people passing around misinformation about the victims being "criminals so they deserved it."

First, there are no actual records of Jacob Blake or the people shot by Rittenhouse being in the official sex offender's registry. None of them raped a 14 year old girl years ago, that is complete fabrication being purposely spread by right wing extremist sites in order to try and justify the shootings.

Jacob Blake was indeed awaiting trial for sexual assault and trespassing, and did have a warrant for his arrest. It was not assault on a child, because that is a different charge with a different title. On the charging document, it would literally say that it was against a child. From what is publicly known, he allegedly broke into an ex girlfriend's house and allegedly assaulted HER, but he is innocent until proven guilty, and still deserves his day in court. He could truly be innocent.

Rittenhouse's victims do not appear to have had any record, and even if they did, he couldn't have known that at the time. You cannot insist a shoot was justified AFTER the fact because "that person was a criminal." Criminals have rights too, whether you like it or not, and it is enshrined in the very documents that built our country. If you don't like the constitution and bill of rights, I don't know what to tell you.

This is also not MY OPINION, this is literally how the criminal justice system and our laws work. I hold a degree in paralegal studies and served 8 years as an Army paralegal. I've worked for the criminal division in the Chicago US Attorney's Office, and currently work in federal law enforcement. This is what I do for a living, and I am not pulling this out of my ass, and my knowlege is a culmination of working in the field and being passionate about justice for 16 years. I'd be happy to send you sources and opines and case law and statutes if you need it. I did not get this from "mainstream media," and I am not brainwashed by the left. I'm an independent progressive.

May he face justice for what he did, and may we find a way to get on common ground before more fuses to this powder keg are lit.

This has been my Ted Talk.
Larry Knight

November 20, 2020

A few weeks ago I got a cheap bright yellow silicone case for my phone. (easier to find when placed down on a surface!) I decided to use black tape to make it more bumblebee like:
I already mentioned how I stole a bumblebee design (but bought these earrings) and made a lock screen :
(I lowered the Bee so it wasn't obscured by the currently playing podcast or music widget.) Anyway I added these two charming bees as well:
At first they were facing outwards, but the way it zooms out when you swipe up from an app made it look like they were flying backwards... this is much cuter.

Incidentally I had a heck of an irritating time in both Acorn and Pixelmator trying to do some basic pixel-centric layer clipping and rearrangement... maybe I should try sticking with Piskel online...


All but the first one (my mom and her posse) are my Mom and my Aunt...

Open Photo Gallery

My mom looks like she's seen some stuff go down... (but their names are inscribed on their PJs which is a nice touch.)

With these next to I swear my Aunt shoulda been cast in a live-action Studio Ghibli remake...

"Jazz is about taking risks... it's the only way you get better!"
"At jazz?"
"At life! Jazz is LIKE life! It goes on for longer than you think, and as soon as you're like, '...oh I get it' - it ends!"
The Ghost of Duke Ellington on "Big Mouth"

Oh, I'm becoming so sensible! We've got to be reasonable about everything we do here. Studying, listening, holding our tongues, helping others, being kind, making compromises, and I don't know what else! I'm afraid my common sense, which was in short supply to begin with, will be used up too quickly and I won't have any left by the time the war is over.
Anne Frank's Diary
I just read Anne Frank's Diary: The Graphic Adaption. I don't recall if I read the original in school or not, but so much more of the day to day life - the banality of it - came through in comic form. And the elegance of her self-awareness is always so moving.

Another quote I liked:
Every child has to raise itself.
Otto Frank, Anne Frank's father

November 20, 2018

I would recommend these wholesome memes if you need some feels this morning.

November 20, 2017

There was a lot I learned from my estranged discussion partner EB. One point of emphasis he made in terms of personal development was the importance of muscle memory, of extreme repetition until the conscious act becomes unconscious. One example he liked was the book "Zen in the Art of Archery" where the student rehearses the same motions again and again and again over months, just the most basic part of correct form, like drawing the string without releasing it, in painstaking detail. Examples of that kind of learning in life are hard to come by.

When my Aunt Susan visited last week and she and Melissa and I picked up my family's traditional pastime of Dr. Mario - or specifically as I tried to describe techniques and things to watch to Melissa who is new to the game and playing with a giant handicap - it hit me that Dr. Mario has some of that. I have distant, decade-old memories of what the game used to feel like: epic struggles, and I even have shadow-memories (or more exactly, meta-memories) of specific in-game board situations, like say where I was feverishly trying to deal with two situations on either side of a block tower, or had to build way up to some junk above when there was no room to slide pieces over it as they fell. Now everything is very business-like, and while I can generally give voice to the rationales for my various little techniques (especially "piece diversity", where you try to keep the top of your piles well-mixed so that every 2-color falling pill has a place to go) most of it is well ingrained and under my fingers, even though some attention is still needed to play well, and if I get frustrated with losing I usually have a higher gear of focus I can engage.

I suppose I have some of the same with performing music, but only at low levels. If my facilities start to decline thanks to age and alzheimer's, I suspect one of the last things to go will be the pattern for playing a basic scale on a brass instrument:
Open, 1-3, 1-2, 1, Open, 1-2, 2, Open.
And I suppose pro musicians who've all done a MUCH better job of practicing than I have have more fully internalized much deeper musical concepts and tropes.

There are probably broad patterns to programming that are the same way, even though I feel like I'm more reliant on quick-lookups for specific function names than ever.

Of course, "Zen and the Art of Archery" also emphasizes intense repetition under the guidance of a master teacher. I suppose that's to mitigate the risk many of these pursuits share, where you might just end up deeply engraving how to do the thing suboptimally. There are even fewer examples of that in my life, I'd say. In part, it's a weird matter of faith - how do you know someone is that kind of expert? Not just an expert at the skill, but also in the pedagogy to get other people there? Between healthy skepticism and less healthy pride and ego, it's tough to find...

malaysia 2016: langkawi waterfalls and farewell


My dad accidentally texted me with voice recognition...while playing the tuba...

montreal photos 3


November 20, 2014

And compare 'this is the way the world ends, not with a bang but whimper'--incidentally, one of the least likely scientific prophecies ever made--
C.P.Snow, "The Two Cultures and The Scientific Revolution"

"But there is more to passwords than their annoyance. In our authorship of them, in the fact that we construct them so that we (and only we) will remember them, they take on secret lives. Many of our passwords are suffused with pathos, mischief, sometimes even poetry. Often they have rich back stories. A motivational mantra, a swipe at the boss, a hidden shrine to a lost love, an inside joke with ourselves, a defining emotional scar -- these keepsake passwords, as I came to call them, are like tchotchkes of our inner lives. They derive from anything: Scripture, horoscopes, nicknames, lyrics, book passages. Like a tattoo on a private part of the body, they tend to be intimate, compact and expressive."
My go-to "less secure" passwords have a highschool tinge, and my "more secure" is based on a typing test.

November 20, 2013

Holy Video Compilations...

What you don't realize is that the abyss gazes into you even when you're not looking.

Becoming is better than being.
Carol Dweck

"Herodotus, writing in the fifth century B.C., reported that the ancient Persians used a version of Sloan's techniques [of breaking overnight for reconsideration if consensus was reach easily] to prevent groupthink. Whenever a group reached a decision while sober, they later reconsidered it while intoxicated."
Carol Dweck, "Midset: The New Psychology of Success"
I had heard this fact in college but had forgotten who it was about.
Current favorite lifehack: open a recalcitrant pistachio by insert the edge of another shell as a wedge, and twisting. (Note: the lottery ticket store on the corner sells 100 calorie packs of pistachios.)

November 20, 2012

2012.11.20 - new on my devblog, introducing - a simple workaround to a common visual design problem...
Boingboing writes about a new Tarzan books and includes this terrific image:

Imma eat so much Turkey on Thursday, it's gone back in time and made me sleepy now.

galaxy high


The other week I posted on Facebook and Google+ about something a friend had claimed, that the night sky was mostly full of distant but visible galaxies, not local stars. This is incorrect. One of my buddies confirm the error of his thinking pointed to the photo above. It's also posted here with some deeper explanation. The photo is a composite, i.e. the sky never quite looks like that even with a great telescope, but it gets the idea of what we're missing with our naked eyes.

Man, that galaxy is huge! Or close. Or both!

I'm chagrined at how long it took me to confirm my friend was wrong (I was realizing the components of constellations were mostly talked about as stars, not galaxies) but I guess it's hard to have a first-hand intuition about this scale of thing!
Bananas are shaped like penises because God was bored of making fruit shaped like tits.

Great New Yorker bit on breeding apples... man, honeycrisps really are super great, need to try sweeTango...

hanson blues


--Decent enough song, and I dig the tribute to the Blues Brothers...
I have learned
To spell hors d'oeuvres
Which still grates on
Some people's n'oeuvres.

At Jordan's IMAX ("Buttkickas. That's right, Buttkickas") waiting for Harry Potter they need to get over Cherry Poppin' Daddies.


To view this content, you need to install Java from
joustpong3d - source built with processing
left and right mousebutton flaps for player 1. player 2 can take over the computer at any time by using z and x to flap. first to 10 wins.

The long-awaited 3D follow up to my original unoriginal original Atari 2600 JoustPong/FlapPing, an early entry to Glorious Trainwrecks' Klik of the Month Klub #29 It's not too well tuned gameplay-wise, or maybe it's just not a great idea at its core - still it's nice to have finally made it after 2 or 3 false starts in previous KotMKs.
Nice sea smell to rain in Boston. But the Walgreens automatic door was not working- confused by heavy rain? I mean people are 72% water...
Things I learned at work today: there is an entire product category of "Bag Flatteners, Vibratory"- just what it says on the tin I suspect!
Last night at "Science + Spirituality" a guy was rockin' a reverse-Hitler 'stache- did he shave it like that or just have a very bare philtrum?
Many authors should not read for their own audiobooks-Augusten Burroughs' over-enunciated drawl is only tolerable with the 2x speed feature.
I kind of like how the opening to "The Andy Griffith Show" had almost nothing to do with the show itself. - heh, anyone who played the original Prince of Persia will dig this video...
Education is what survives when what has been learned has been forgotten.
B. F. Skinner
Now I don't feel so bad about forgetting so much stuff!
Weird that "hot" can mean "too spicy" or "too warm"- a form of synesthesia/dyslexia? They can both mean "painful to eat" but not in the same way "Cap'N Crunch" can be... I wonder if other languages mix that up. - exercise = less anxious, or, I dunno, just used to feeling bad?

you gotta compile like you'll never get hurt

I recognize that this is me fighting a fight that no one else cares about, or even thinks of as a fight, but... I dunno. Somehow mulling over the similarities of my iPhone and the Palm of days of yore, I got to thinking about the whole "PDA is dead" thing that was such a mantra a few years ago. And as much disbelief as I had about it back then, they were right, the standalone PDA has pretty much gone the way of the Dodo.

But I guess you have to specify, "the standalone PDA", because I'm thinking that form-factor-wise (which is hyper-important, as some of the early success of the Palm points to) smartphones are MUCH more like PDAs circa 1998 than cellphones circa...well, ever. For me it's mostly about the touchscreen. I love me devices w/ touchscreens, it's such a fun and more direct way of interacting with a gadget. (Though I think Nokia makes some decent smartphones that make do without... and some Blackberries. Though of course that Storm seems kind of interesting. But googling up this pretty blatant bit of shilling was amusing.) The phone part really is secondary to the other ways it helps me organize my life. (Maybe I'm a freak; iPhone lets you pick 4 functions/programs for the icon bar that appears on every page of icons of the home menu, and for me that's Todo, Datebook, Browser and iPod... not the icon that actually let's me use it as a phone.)

I know the argument "look people! It's much better to think of these gizmos as PDAs that do cellphone stuff than cellphones that do PDA stuff!" is a descent into faux-Aspergers-y geekdom, but still.

Advice of the Moment
--referenced in the Scot "Dilbert" Adams book, panel via here... an obvious take on "You gotta sing like you don't need the money / Love like you'll never get hurt / You gotta dance like there's nobody watching / It's gotta come from the heart If you want it to work"... though I prefer the first version of that I encountered somewhere in cyberspace that replaced sing, love, dance with program, compile, run...

laptop on lap, top chef on projector, baileys on ice. there are worse ways to cocoon...
A donut on a plate acquired a seriousness and dignity that it would not have without that plate.
This whole "market boom or bust starting in the last hour" is getting might old. What, are those guys sleeping until 3?
Angsty about the Dow. Skipping UU sci+spirituality group after EB calls. Purposefully spending a bit at Rodney's used books at Central.
5 year low for the Dow. Good news: well we haven't suffered through a recent giant terrorist attack. Bad news: so what's our excuse? (Bush?)
masukomi Is that all 4 player and stuff? Should we try to get a group together?

robotic life on mars

Quote of the Moment
While you can, do.
Charles J. Peterman Jr., 1934-2007, RIP.
(That is the sadness I've been obliquely referring to as of late.)

Link of the Moment
Interview with a Mars Robot driver, the "best job on 2 worlds". Amazing how cautious they have to be, like walking on interplanetary eggshells.

It made me realize that Spirit and Opportunity are bigger ("the size of a golf cart") than I realized. I found this page of specs with this photo that illustrated how I was probably thinking of them as "Sojourner" sized, but the earlier probe was quite a bit smaller.

the sweet taste of delicious bulldozers

(1 comment)
So Friday Ksenia got a late birthday gift of a Cuisinart, which was a tremendous help in the making of Borscht. I helped her set it up... I admired its determination in making it very difficult to chop off your own fingers (though I suppose you could give yourself a nasty cut removing the blade.) I also helped her use it a bit, and dropping a bit of cabbage into the feedtube and see it chopped into bits is viscerally satisfying.

The other thing I appreciated was that it has two settings: on and off, with a "pulse" function. High-end blenders are the same thing, on, off, with a pulse function. I find it appealing that high-endish equipment is so elegant and to the point while the middle-brow stuff throws in like 7 or 8 in between buttons.

Machine of the Moment
2 years ago I posted about this giant excavator...turns out this gigundous machine has developed a taste for bulldozers. Mmm-mmm good! (via trunkbutt)



--A crude attempt by me to emulate this really cool series of sketches by my cousin River. The thing is, River is like 8 years old...quite a prodigy! He used a very fine pen (and this is a reduced scan from the one I made, making it look more detailed than it is) and the level of detail and texture was *amazing*.

on multiple intelligences

(1 comment)
I wrote this to someone last January, not sure who, but grabbed it for future use here:
It's a kind of self-evident idea: most people know that you can be smart at one thing (like taking standardized tests ;-) and dumb at other things, but we still tend to measure smarts on one scale and call that "intelligence". The theory of multiple intelligences just says that there are different ways of being smart, emotional and what not...

Actually I just realized I've been using the term loosely... A google search came up with which lists 8 specific ones:
Linguistic intelligence ("word smart"):
Logical-mathematical intelligence ("number/reasoning smart")
Spatial intelligence ("picture smart")
Bodily-Kinesthetic intelligence ("body smart")
Musical intelligence ("music smart")
Interpersonal intelligence ("people smart")
Intrapersonal intelligence ("self smart")
Naturalist intelligence ("nature smart")

At one point back in school, when I was still using the term loosely, I thought there should be a similar concept for art and literature. It was in an early black literature class, and I was noticing the circles some of the academics were running in to justify studying some of these novels that really weren't "very good"; schlocky and corny, knockoffs of the white novels written at the same time. But they were worth reading, because of who wrote them and when they were written. I realized a "theory of multiple intelligences" would do well to analyze what makes a given work worthwhile.

And what I thought is it doesn't have to preclude pointing to some things as "great works", it doesn't have to be some egalitarian equality of all books; even a dimestore trashy romance is "good" at provoking a certain response in its audience, via titillation and/or something emotional; it just is more likely to be bad on the other fronts. Something like Shakespeare, on the other hand, is much more likely to be effective on a bunch of these hypothetical levels, and that's why we consider it great.

I think people forget that there is hardly ever a single axis of "good" for anything, there are almost always tradeoffs between different alternatives.

leave those deckchairs alone

Quote of the Moment
I look at life as being cruise director on the Titanic. I may not get there, but I'm going first class.
Art Buchwald

Q+A of the Moment
What kinds of things keep you visually interested in a strip?
Emotion. Raw visible emotion. It's virtually absent from most comics today. It flared warmly with "Calvin and Hobbes" and has mostly disappeared again. That and nudity.

Link of the Moment
David Cortesi has an interesting book, Secular Wholeness, "A skeptic's paths to a richer life". The content of the whole book is online, though I think I might order the deadtree edition, for the usual reasons.

backlog flush #2

Company meeting today. But, seems to be one of the regularly scheduled ones. Hopefully no bad news.

Another in my ongoing attempt to plow through my backlog from the past year...I guess "Flush #2" isn't the most fortunate of titles, but hey.

99 (deadly) luftballoons

Fox News of the Moment
Ok, ok, maybe there can be a serious risk for the children of unwary parents, a kid playing with a balloon can get it jammed down the windpipe, but people don't think of them as a danger, etc etc, but Fox's feature "BALLOONS: Why are they so DEADLY" on last night's 10pm news is one of funniest headlines I've seen outside of The Onion.

Flash Video of the Moment
A take on the granddaddy of home video gaming: Pong: Not Just A Game.

Quote of the Moment
Tiger got to hunt,
Bird got to fly;
Man got to sit and wonder, "Why, why, why?"
Tiger got to sleep,
Bird got to land,
Man got to tell himself he understand.

Lee's coming back early from the desert. That's good news.

Found out yesterday that pixeltime is defunct. E-mailed and ICQ'd with Ranjit, that was pretty cool.

I wonder if this will be the month KHftCEA only takes up one memo?
"Man Prone To Lying Beds Woman Prone To Lying Prone"
          --The Onion headline, Nov 18 1998
My pilot now has a new memory card, thanks to my Mom's upcoming christmas gift. Like the heirloom axe that's had the handle replace twice and the blade replaced three times- but in this case it's the content that remains constent.