November 21, 2023


November 21, 2022

Random images from the previous week...

Open Photo Gallery

Struthless talking about how we set up our spaces... I dunno. The other day I was just personal project stuff on my desktop setup (2 monitors, etc) and I noticed how great it felt to be doing my own stuff in that layout (like vs a single laptop screen while reclining on a couch)...

So it sort of bummed me out how my job now kind of owns my main workspace, though I guess its a fair tradeoff for not having to commute... and it suddenly struck me as weird that prior to this, I've always kept up a desk workspace just for my own stuff. But then again, from 1992-2010 I didn't really have a laptop alternative - any serious work using a computer was chained to a desk. (I guess the switch to laptops as the default parallels the rise of smartphones that are the information hub for so many, though it's obviously not quite as much of a sea change..)

November 21, 2021

Who the fuck in their right mind
would want everlasting life?
The endless conversation.
The film was dark, and not as much of a dark comedy as the trailers promised, still pretty good though. And a reminder as bad as our culture and government has been and is, it could be a lot worse.

November 21, 2020

Sometimes when I think about death
I remember to cherish each breath.
But most of the time
I forget and then I'm...
Willing to pretend it won't happen*

* very few English words rhyme with death
Derrick Te Paske
He's a local artist who ran a session of the Unitarian Universalist Science + Spirituality group I run, we talked about his work making Reliquaries, and the history of those, Ossiaries, and our mind's (in)ability to think of its death.

the young kirks


Open Photo Gallery

that last one of my dad and Grandpa doesn't have me in per se, but if I combine the caption on the back (Reunion 1973) together with family lore, I think it is very likely taken on the day I was conceived...

November 21, 2018

Going over old blog entries, I'm a little surprised at how many youtube embeds are now dysfunctional. Not quite sure if that represents copyright claims, technological shifts, or what. Kind of disheartening, but then again my preference for "forever URLs" is probably an anachronism anyway.

November 21, 2017

Is this a narcissist/psychopath thing, or?

malaysia 2016:kuala lumpur twin towers mall


November 21, 2015

When firefighters show up we don't care how your car got 20 feet off the road, managed to go airborne for 30 feet, and land in the middle of someone's roof. We just want to get everyone out safely. We already know you're not the sharpest tool in the shed; you don't need to explain that to us.

RIP Seattle's Pike Place Market's Gum Wall.. more photos

I'm kind of proud of this deep dive of a 33-line, 24-year-old Computer Game...

November 21, 2014

Reza Aslan vs Biblical Literalism. Last night at my UU Science and Spirtuality I went on kind of a minirant, about how Literalism and Fundamentalism is just one of the most self-centered, unempathetic, pig-headed ways of being; you're so convinced of your truth/Truth that you totally dismiss (at best! Too often you get violent or at least condescending) the equally fervently held truth/Truth of all the other religions and doctrines. And not only that, according to Aslan, not even your own church's founders were so intent and insisting Truth = truth.

I was counseled to try and be less harshly judgemental, that Us vs Them Rah-Rahism is such a human and historically recurrent thing, but it's tough. I still think Fundamentalism, whether Christian, Moslem, Atheist, Communist, Anarcho-Capitalist, whatever, when you grab onto ideas with such ferocity that the humanity and empathy and kindness is scrunched out, is the biggest block to human progress. It's why I want to be such an Extremist Moderate. (And I am not unaware of the rhetorical risks of contradiction of this stance.)
I enjoyed the wheelbarrow full of air.

iPhone 6 finally arrived! I think as a an object of design, it's probably the most boring iPhone yet; just a big video billboard with rounded edges. The good part is that it's thinness makes a case less unpleasant, so on a whim months ago I had a custom case made with my old James Harvey Alien Bill commission. (This is only the plain 6; it might look larger so close to the mirror...)

i put the ':/' in 'http://'.

on Fixed vs Growth "MindSet"

tl;dr: Challenge for its own sake *is* probably pointless; but challenge for the sake of getting better at meeting challenges is good, because life is challenging.

I just read Carol Dweck's "MindSet"... in all the books I've reading during this self-help kick, I think its identification of Fixed Mindsets vs Growth Mindsets is the most useful concept.

Precocious kids are prone to developed a Fixed Mindset, feeling that their intelligence and abilities are intrinsic, critical to why they are special, maybe even why they are loved. While that's not a sure recipe for unaccomplished lives, the tendency to seek only those activities that will validate their self-image, and also to lash out with anger at the external "causes" of their failures, is painful and ultimately self-limiting.

Describing the core of the Growth Mindset is trickier... and I don't think that's just because it's not my native outlook (for most things, anyway) -- its a more nuanced belief. It holds that the value of life is in the process, that abilities and intelligence are plastic and that constant growth and striving are the hallmarks of a life well-lived. In some ways, it's the opposite of a "goal-oriented" outlook; rather than apply a cost/benefit ratio like I always do, favoring low-hanging fruit, a person with a good Growth Mindset will reject things that are too easy as unworthy of their time and attention; much better to get a good challenge that can teach, even if the "good" results are less assured.

(One of the implications of a Growth Mindset is that maybe a bit of masochism is a good thing! And I can certainly see traces of my own Fixed Mindset in stuff like exercise... huffing and puffing during an activity that someone more fit would find easy is humiliating, and that's what I would focus on, rather than believing in a capacity for physical development.)

For a long time, I thought Challenge for Its Own Sake was borderline psychotic. But now I can see that challenge for the sake of being better at rising up to meet future challenges is probably crucial, because LIFE IS CHALLENGING. No matter where we are with intrinsic or developed abilities, whatever accomplishments dot our portfolios, the world can provide interesting challenges that we shouldn't shirk from for the sake of our precious egos.

So, changing my mindset is going to be... a challenge, Meta-ly enough. But I might be well placed; I've always disliked "trusting my gut instinct", and learning that my gut-instinct fear of having my ego bruised is masquerading behind an intellectual mask of "cost/benefit ratio" is empowering.

It's also a mindset I'd like to help instill in the brains of my friends' kids. Most of my friends are pretty smart, and their kids have lots of potential, and are probably already ahead of their peers in a lot of ways. Instilling the love of the struggle is tough; it isn't as easy to admire a struggle as it is to just say "you're smart!" and "you're so talented!" but I think the end result would be worth it.
Why I make Terrible Decisions; or, Poverty Thoughts Simply and clearly written and eye-opening. ( actually has some similar pieces, thoughtful but in a more juvenile style: ) I've got friends going through the muck of this and I don't know how to help them find an exit.
'Embarrassment is ignorance leaving your body.'

November 21, 2012

Whenever a jacket zipper splits from the bottom, my first thought is always 'I'm never going to get out of this.'

Found on the internets:

will this joke EVER stop being funny?

(2019 UPDATE I'm not sure what" actually was :-( )
When stalwart Republicans think the party is out of touch with reality, they are most likely out of touch with reality. "Very Unique" not considered harmful. Hush, you would be pedants.

2020's ipad via 1995's wired

In October 1995, Wired maazine had an interesting special issue: "Wired Scenarios 1.01: the Future of the the Future." Besides the nightmarish semi-apocalyptic scenario "The Plague Years: 1996-2020" (with its (at times badly) photoshopped yet evocative images of a 747 being torched at Signapore airport (to try to contain the "Mao Flu"), corpses floating in a bay ala Katrina, and United Colors of Benetton ad sporting a rainbow of gas-mask/hazmat ensembles) and the real ads for Windows 95, the part that really stuck in my mind was "A Day in the Life", four two-page spreads with first person perspectives of people looking at October 19, 2020's news on their distinctly iPad-like tablet devices.

The article says "Industrial Design and Alias work by Lunar Design" and attributes photos to James Porto. I can't find too much information on this article, or in fact, the entire issue --it seems like the thing was made when Wired was still uneven about getting its material online. (and Amber's library resources came up blank as well.) The design work is pretty cool though -- with the exception of the "Porsche Cortex" they're not quite as grindingly minimalistic as the iPad. The Swatch one seems to be designed for bicycling, and the "SonyShack" device has a custom button for the wagering/betting that all the models support.

In trying to dig up information on this article I found a 1998 Digital Systems Research Center report on The Virtual Book, that reminded me the concept wasn't entirely new: the movie and novel 2001 had the "Newspad" (Commentators in February of 2010 loved pointing this "ripoff" out, making fun of the name 'iPad', and generally predicting it would be a big flop) and there was also Alan Kay's 1968 Dynabook concept - that link quotes an interesting exchange between Jobs and Kay. "Multiplayer gaming in a nutshell." via

i loved it. it was much better than "cats". i'm going to watch it again and again


--Man... those eyes on fire...

ah the good liblub blub blub

Ah, the (temporary) joy of looking at my iPhone's datebook and seeing nothing for Friday, nothing for Saturday, nothing for Sunday. Especially seeing as how I want to spruce up the apartment for the Thanksgiving houseguests we'll be having...

Commercial of the Moment

--this commercial celebrates the opening of Terminal 5 at Heathrow by British Airways. I guess it's supposed to be soothing and lovely, but to me it also reads "post-apocalyptic" and "drown-y". (It probably didn't help that I heard some roughly similar music used ironically in the opening to the post-apocalyptic game "Fallout".)

Quote of the Moment
There are two essential rules to management. One, the customer is always right; and two, they must be punished for their arrogance.
Dogbert again.
The thing is, this is funny on the surface, but even funnier as you think about it more deeply.

Link of the Moment
Probably should have posted this a few weeks ago, Slate's sideshow on the best fictional presidential candidates.

So sick of doing year subtraction to figure which previous economic downturn's milestone we've reached-17 yr low = early 90s recession etc
I hear "more text mesages are sent daily than the population of the planet"... I'd like a cite for that.
I probably have to hand in my greek street cred card 'cause I think the new Trek trailer looks kinda cool. (Still, they might screw it up)
Sweet, just got a comp'd a copy of Reklaw's "The Night of Your Life" w/ two of my dreams turned into 4 panel comics -
floccinaucinihilipilification beats antidisestablishmentarianism since its meaning ("act of describing something as worthless") is useful

citation so damn needed

I was thinking about Wikipedia's No Original Research policy, the rule that launched a thousand [citation needed]s.

I remember some science fiction book where history and archeology had devolved into a mere meta-research, collating and analyzing former historical studies to synthesize the truth. That was considered true scholarship, not actually going and digging up things yourself. (Wish I could remember the title.)

I understand Wikipedia's need to not be a sounding board for every Internet yahoo with an axe to grind, but in some ways it seems to be a ducking of responsibly. I mean, it has the right to determine just what its role is and firmly stake out a place low on the pantheon of "real" academics and actual discovery.

Quote of the Moment
Now here we are in the age of too much information. The landscape lined with guardrails. Warnings on everything: "Do not touch when hot." "Sharp: may penetrate skin if pressed." "Open with an extreme sense of foreboding."
Garrison Keillor

Menu of the Moment
--The Gail Ann Coffee Shop, right across the street from me. Great donuts, but this sign made me think of that Monty Python skit. "Err... do you have something without cheese in it?"

if this is tuesday, this must be the grand canyon

Bleh. Crushed at work, not much time to ramble... in a regular blog-read of mine:

Link of a Moment
A while back LAN3 emailed me with this:
The blogger writes for the Economist and appears to be visiting the home office in London instead of her home in NYC. The conversation drifts slightly, but it's not merely about how foreigners misperceive America (as we do them, of course) but how so many of them are so confident of their knowledge of the US that they will reject any contradiction by a native. E.g. Canadians insisting that there are 52 US states now that we have Alaska and Hawaii....Plus the usual stuff about Europeans thinking they'll take an afternoon drive out of New York to visit the Grand Canyon.

the old phedinkus

Literary Bit of the Moment
If I have all the tears that are shed on Broadway by guys in love, I will have enough salt water to start an opposition ocean to the Atlantic and Pacific, with enough left over to run the Great Salt Lake out of business. But I wish to say I never shed any of these tears personally, because I am never in love, and furthermore, barring a bad break, I never expect to be in love, for the way I look at it love is strictly the old phedinkus, and I tell the little guy as much.
Damon Runyon, "Tobias the Terrible"

Literary Bit of the Moment
Today is the day that the world will know my anger. Today the world will feel my pain. Today is the day I will be heard!
Txt msg from (alleged?)Tacoma mall gunmen Dominick Maldonado to his ex-girlfriend minutes before the shooting.
The cellphone txt interface renders this faintly ridiculous, however. It strikes me that there is some comic pathos in this guy frantically tapping "8 - T! 6,6,6 - O! 3 - D! 2 - A! 9,9,9 - Y!" before picking up an asasult rifle to vent his rage. (Only one of his 6 victims was seriously hurt, thankfully.)

roshambo rambo

Geekness of the Moment
The "R" pentomino linked to this piece on Rock Paper Scissors dice....Dice with number arrangements different than the usual one through six, where Die A statistically beats Die B, and Die B beats Die C, but Die C goes ahead and beats Die A. It's a deeper idea than it first sounds, and the article talks about some of the implications.

Image of the Moment
--Color Photos from WWI. Interesting to see proof that challenges that old "Calvin's Dad" argument that the world just wasn't in color back then...

Literary Bit of the Moment
"How do you make love stay? Take love out onto a distant hilltop on a cloudless night. When love falls asleep, replace love's glasses with glow in the dark stars spelling "This Is It". As Love starts to stir, swap the original glasses back. Love will stay."
I wrote that a while back, trying to emulate the Tom Robbins I kisrael'd the other day.

silent but deadly jokes

Quotes of the Moment
" " -- Charlie Chaplin

" " -- Harpo Marx

" " -- Marcel Marceau

Interactive Site of the Moment
Kind of akin to those amihotornot sites, it's a tool to vote on the gender of objects. Other languages seem to make a big deal of the masculine/feminine of certain words and things, now here's our turn.

Gallery of the Moment
People useing their mad photoshop skillz to Envision the Victorian era Inter-Net. Cool steampunk, retrofuture stuff.

upward spiral

Quote of the Moment
Sometimes, I think Trent just needs a cup of hot chocolate and a blankie.
Tori Amos on Nine Inch Nails.

Former Celebrity of the Moment
The Atlantic reports that Bobby Fischer is nuts and spinning R+B in the Phillipines. Anti-semitic to boot. I wonder how is chess game is these days. (Well except now he just thinks it's all "mental masturbation" as well as a crooked sport now.)

Movie Reviews of the Moment
Bill the Splut pointed out the great fun that can be had reading old Roger Ebert movie reviews--especially if you follow this link to a search for the lowest ratings...he really knows how to rip into a flick. "'Charlie's Angels' is like the trailer for a video game movie, lacking only the video game, and the movie."

News of the Story
So that guy went ahead with the public autopsy in England. Y'know, it seems odd to be that you need a license to cut into a body in public. I really don't grok what the big deal is.

kirk, hero of the rebel alliance

Stayed up 'til 1 last night finishing Star Wars: Rogue Leader. B-yoo-tiful game, I'm amazed at how well the penultimate missions captures the feeling of the final battle over Endor from Return of the Jedi-- and it's that scene (plus Leia's slavegirl metal bikini) that make it my favorite of all the Star Wars flicks, though I know it's not the "best" of the series. (X-wing from

Link of the Moment
Speaking of all things new video game systemy, both John and Bill the Splut have pointed out the Brunching Shuttlecocks' Videogame Console FAQK. You might have to be a bit of a gamer to get some of it though.

Dream Quote of the Moment
If there's one even a first year chem student knows, it's how to shove a table to make room for a party.
From a dream this morning

"Wham, Bam, Thank You Flan"
--idea for a dessert

Note to self: look up "Jenny Holzer" (truisms)
You must always distribute and consume Tic TacsŪ in twos, otherwise you're just dealing with Tics.