November 23, 2023

Oh man Nov 14 was Unix timestamp 1700000000 and I missed it?

Ah well catch you Jan 15 2027 I guess!

(reminds me I should update the UI of that is pretty good at figuring out this kind of milestone day)

November 23, 2022

Bit of semi-local lore; The Tough Pie Crusts of Old New England - didn't realize fat or grease was in a piecrust to soften it up...

November 23, 2021


"hi Norm dont know if you will read this, my mom passed away nd was wondering if you could give me some words of wisdom. You are the funniest ever!"

"Take all the love you have for her, Pablo, and give it freely to all that you meet. Your mom will look down upon you, happy and proud."
Pablo Fernandez and Norm Macdonald

I put some thoughts on the Oculus 2 on my devblog.

November 23, 2020

roses are red, violence is money

physical conflict is just the frothy peak of a wave on a sea of mammalian rage & fear, honey

high school photos

Final day of photos scanned from my mom's collection... after high school I was more on my own for documenting my life in photos....

Open Photo Gallery

Aunt Susan and Uncle Bill smooching over my inflatable T-rex named Sir. (Variation of an old joke ala What would YOU call a Dinosaur in real life?)

I had Chicken Pox at a fairly old age... not a great look but yow, those collar bones.

Jeff Kropf, whom we called "sahib" when he was our marching band squad leader, here shown in front of 222 Street Jazz. (Must have been a photo nabbed from the yearbook project.)

Me and Toni Y!

Me Mike Wendy and Lynn...


Veronika Kirk Heidi Mike Maria and Ellen.... EHS cafeteria. Wonder why Mike and I are in ties...

Sometimes, magazines hid their best 'Huh?' moments deep inside stories that were otherwise utterly normal. I was drowsing through a Newsweek cover story called 'Clinton Now' when suddenly a comment by Julia Payne, the ex-president's spokeswoman, made me laugh out loud. 'One night last year he called about 1 a.m, ranting and raving about something,' Payne recalled. 'And I said, "Sir, are you watching Fox again?"'
Peter Carlson in a Washington Post article in 2003.
These days.... that's just how the presidency works! Fox tells Trump what to think. The relationship can be a little adversarial, but it's pretty clear Trump trusts fellow television personalities more than diligent people in the government.

November 23, 2018


November 23, 2017

On the brilliantly funny "My Dad Wrote a Porno" Alice Levine used the phrase "as mad as a box of frogs!". What a delightful bit of mental imagery!

November 23, 2016

I liked this cover, don't know if it's an photo overlay or what...

November 23, 2015

Found my keys that had been missing for a day or two. Feel like I should make a list of "places to check when you lose something" but I can't remember what should should be on it besides "the pants you were wearing the other day".

Re: yesterday's giant tuba video... on FB Major Schenk told my mom it should be on my Christmas Wishlist... I wrote "Just thinking how I would get that back up from the family homestead in NJ... I have a Scion xA, my sousaphone fits comfortably inside, but this... I think I would have to strap it to the roof, like a christmas tree...." - Sign a petition to add an "art" category in Apple's app store!
This has been a bad week for the United States, folks. France was directly attacked by terrorists and its response was to promise to house 30,000 Syrian refugees; we weren't and one branch of our government fell over itself to put the brakes on accepting a third of that number. France is defying the very organization that attacked it while we, on the other hand, are doing exactly what that organization hoped we would do. We're being the cowardly bigots they hoped we would be, and as loudly as possible.
These republican governors are chickenshit. So much of conservatism's engine is based on "fear of others".

November 23, 2014

Sometimes, it seems so weird that Waze loves to get me from my place to 93 via my alma mater Tufts University... Curtis Street ahoy!


God: All right, you two, don't do the one thing. Other than that, have fun.

Adam & Eve: Okay.

Satan: You should do the thing.

Adam & Eve: Okay.

God: What happened!?

Adam & Eve: We did the thing.

God: Guys


God: You are my people, and you should not do the things.

People: We won't do the things.

God: Good.

People: We did the things.

God: Guys


Jesus: I am the Son of God, and even though you have done the things, the Father and I still love you and want you to live. Don't do the things anymore.

Healed people: Okay! Thank you!

Other people: We've never seen him do the things, but he probably does the things when no one is looking.

Jesus: I have never done the things.

Other people: We're going to put you on trial for doing the things.

Pilate: Did you do the things?

Jesus: No.

Pilate: He didn't do the things.

Other people: Kill him anyway.

Pilate: Okay.

Jesus: Guys


People: We did the things.

Paul: Jesus still loves you, and because you love Him, you have to stop doing the things.

People: Okay.


People: We did the things again.

Paul: Guys


John: When Jesus comes back, there will be no more people who do the things. In the meantime, stop doing the things.


November 23, 2013

I'm worried how much this memory foam mattress already knows.

The more intelligent, the more faithful men tend to be.

Terrifying cellphone video from inside a home being demolished by a tornado. This video is TREMENDOUSLY scary but worthwhile, but hopefully in terms of finding empathy, and not just a "disaster porn" kind of way. Surviving is one thing; coping with your home absolutely gutted by a force of nature and a sudden realization that life in the short- to medium- term at least will be much, much harder is another.

I can recognize some of the feeling her through dreams I'll get on rare (or at least, rare that I remember) occasions, the ones where my dreamself looks out the window and sees the mushroom cloud in the distance, or block after city block being consumed by some great elemental force. I guess that kind of thing is not uncommon, but I hope it doesn't end up being rehearsal for responding to some future event!
the 10,000-foot view from the trenches of software development A friend of a friend was interested in a lateral move into software development, so I'm trying to make this guide... feedback from pros and newbies welcome!

branches and trees

"It's like a tree. You know, some of the branches get old and die and it's more ok if they break off because they're dried out and dusty. But our branch was still kind of young and fresh. And maybe that's why I feel so sappy."

"Hee. That's pretty complex. Did you just think of all of that?"

"For a little bit. At first I thought the metaphor was a young tree, but then I realized it was just branches. The tree lives on. The tree lives on."

takin' care of business

--Amber helped me lay out what are clearly my best personal business cards ever.

My goal was to make a card people might actually enjoy looking at, and I think the Alien Bill art by Harvey James helped me to reach that goal. (Even if it holds a crease...)

Interesting comparing this one to the designs Dylan, Ranjit, and I came up with almost a decade ago. (Also there was Sarah's take and one I did 5 years before that. And the haiku ones from 2007.)

Don't hate the Plato, hate the Cave.

"Happy to see the debug buttons survived your code change."
"Oh, really, sorry about that? ...Wait you were being sincere?"
"Well duh! Don't you think irony and sarcasm are getting kinda old and- ...crap, now I don't know if I'm being sincere or not."
Ben and Me

Cookie Monster explains Occupy. Giant wage inequality and zero value add capitalism are the problems.
No hyperbole to rename Pepper Spray "Chemical Pain Spray" or better: "Torture in a Can". No excuse for use on passive folk.
Does Yiddish have a term for a day when you can't seem to do anything quite right? it seems like it should. ("Yes, for you Kirk, we're calling it 'Wednesday'")

chinese stamps

I bought a random Lego minifig (Robot from Series 1) and it happened to come from China, and so I got to see some interesting stamps:
The surfer stamp was good too:

Our JIRA bug numbering/tracking system at work is in the high 1000s/low 2000s, so there are a lot of "ah, a fine year" type jokes.



--Same playground as yesterday, but just a traditional swing set. Forgot how cool it was to just lean way back and look at the ground rush by just a few inches "over" your head as you swing...

How absurd is it that by GPS knows the speed limit everywhere, even has some idea of traffic, yet plots routes like stoplights don't exist, or are somehow magically always green? So dumb, almost unforgivably so.
Newton's Cradle when you pull 2 spheres on 1 side and 1 on the other, and it goes 2/1 1/2 2/1 1/2? I'm sad I don't really see how that works

video and ramble of the moment


--Aurora ft. Naimee Coleman's cover of Duran Duran's Ordinary World

I encountered this cover in Dance Dance Revolution Max. In fact, it was annoying, because a few years ago I paid import prices for the "DDR Max soundtrack", mostly for this song, and it only had an abbreviated version of this track. I don't think it even made the artist clear, so I couldn't easily seek this longer version. So, youtube for the win.

In general I'll try to pay for a song from Amazon's MP3 feature, but if that fails, I'll rip it myself off of Youtube. And it's surprising how many songs are lurking there... it's kind of a stealth Napster in the works, though I don't know how many people know about it. (And somehow ripping from youtube feels less pirate-y than using BitTorrent.)

So in general, I prefer this kind of cover to the original. For a while I assumed it was because of the "high contrast" electronic beats, but I'm realizing a lot of the covers I like (like that Jan Wayne "Mad World" cover) have a female vocalist, and I guess I prefer listening to women sing over listening to men.

More rambling... I've been trying to isolate and classify the type of beat I like. There might be a parallel to saturation in visual imagery... I like big thumping bassdrums and tight high snares, doing interesting funk-tinged rhythms. Sometimes when I try to pick apart a drumtrack that doesn't interest me, I can hear what a boring, repetitive, acoustic muddle it is.

(Side note: previously I talked about the music service Pandora that uses the Music Genome project, an attempt to classify music on a variety of scales and properties. Wikipedia has a nifty list of Music Genome Project attributes.)

Anyway, I hope I know what I'm talking about with recognizing "highly saturated" images. Like there was this one from a suicide girls set:

I think that's the quality of image I'm thinking of, those nice intense blues and greens. Can someone confirm that it's "saturation" I'm looking at here?

You know, last night's energy boost might have been rooted in listening to loudish music I like in the car. Self-medicating with MP3s?
Do you think Lisa Loeb thinks that in a better world she'd be a romantic interest for Superman?
Helped a friend move. I have a strange affinity for landings at the top or middle of stairs; lying back on the landing, feet over the stairs

physics, chemistry, and rhetoric

(1 comment)
For a while my Gtalk status was "pi^2=~10". Which is true, pi times itself is roughly ten. But of course I was probably hoping someone would ask what that was all about, and JZ obliged. This was my response.
it comes from a physics class
walking us through a problem, the teacher rhetorically asked permission to replace pi^2 with 10
we were aghast, because in most of the problems, you keep the pi in there and it cancels out later
and also it seemed like a crude approximation
but he showed us that since we use "10" for the force of gravity instead of the more typically correct 9.8, just because it makes the math easier, that pi^2 was even closer to ten than that
Mr. Reno was one of those "been around the block" science teachers and I admired how obviously (in restrospect) he was totally prepared for our objection, even though he played it innocent.

Similarly Mr. Von Banken, our chemistry teacher, would develop a reputation for entertaining demos in class, often explosive (but fun with liquid nitrogen, from shattering things to sending a little puddle of flaming liquid natural gas across the highway floor was memorable too) and had his class management well in hand as well:
"Blow something up, Von!" we'd cry.
[Von pulls out and inflates balloon]
"OK, I blew something up. Now can we go on?"
"No! Make something explode!"
[Von pops balloon]
"OK, now can we go on?"
Good teachers. I was blessed with a high school that, while struggling in a lot of ways, had made in an effort to keep a top-notch "honors" track.

Article of the Moment
Clearly written with a fans love and affection, Lore went over Original Star Trek's 10 Cheesiest Creatures for

better living through careful ui arrangement

Last recommendation for making Windows better: forget that taskbar rearrangement program I talked about earlier: right click, uncheck "lock the taskbar", and then drag it to the right hand side of the screen:

I started doing this with my work laptop. Like a lot of new laptops, its screen is in "widescreen" format. It turns out this screen is nearly as wide as my desktop's, but about 3/4 the height. Since my documents are longer than they are wide, and I usually don't do much side-by-side windowing, this makes things feel a bit cramped... making the taskbar a sidebar is a big improvement. Other benefits: I decided I like the bar on the right rather than the left, because I don't like the way it shoves around the desktop icons when on the left.

The biggest downside, then, is the Start button... the annoying thing is that the little arrows indicating a lurking submenu are always pointing to the right, even when its obvious the submenu is going to have to pop up on the left...


So, yesterday I handed in my resignation at dear ol' Taxware. I really am grateful for the time I spent there...besides all the opportunites to learn new stuff and work on interesting projects, it was also a nice "safe harbor" after a pair of dotcom-ish layoffs a year apart. The first year (when there were a few problems at Taxware) I was just hoping not to have two layoffs in one calendar year; the second year I was all about having employment that straddled a calendar year on my résumé, the next year was the breakup with Mo, and lately it's been about coasting. I'm still young enough in my career that I think it makes sense to try new things; my position at Refresh Software has elements of travel and teaching, and also I think the small group feel of it will be good. Historically I do better work in high-visibility situations. It can be kind of a character flaw at that, the urge for recognition, but still I yam what I yam...

Over my time there, I interviewed elsewhere every once in a while, 1-3 times a year. (Usually at the end of the half year, not sure if that's significant.) Since the dot com crash, I've landed 3 jobs out of 14 or so interviews. I guess that's not too bad of a record, given the hightech landscape for most of that time. Still, it's a bit humbling. I remember those heady days of 1996, where I was a hot thang out of a good college, cheap, and eager, and landed about 8 or 9 offers.

I also have mixed feelings how 4 out of my 6 jobs have been through personal contacts. On the one hand, it's positive that coworkers want to work with me again. On the other hand, it makes me worry I'm attached too much to this geographical area, and that a significant shift would be that much harder.

wear sunscreen

(1 comment)
Wear sunscreen.

If I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be it. The long-term benefits of sunscreen have been proved by scientists, whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable than my own meandering experience. I will dispense this advice now.

Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth. Oh, never mind. You will not understand the power and beauty of your youth until they've faded. But trust me, in 20 years, you'll look back at photos of yourself and recall in a way you can't grasp now how much possibility lay before you and how fabulous you really looked. You are not as fat as you imagine.

Don't worry about the future. Or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubble gum. The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind, the kind that blindside you at 4 p.m. on some idle Tuesday.

Do one thing every day that scares you.


Don't be reckless with other people's hearts. Don't put up with people who are reckless with yours.


Don't waste your time on jealousy. Sometimes you're ahead, sometimes you're behind. The race is long and, in the end, it's only with yourself.

Remember compliments you receive. Forget the insults. If you succeed in doing this, tell me how.

Keep your old love letters. Throw away your old bank statements.


Don't feel guilty if you don't know what you want to do with your life. The most interesting people I know didn't know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives. Some of the most interesting 40-year-olds I know still don't.

Get plenty of calcium. Be kind to your knees. You'll miss them when they're gone.

Maybe you'll marry, maybe you won't. Maybe you'll have children, maybe you won't. Maybe you'll divorce at 40, maybe you'll dance the funky chicken on your 75th wedding anniversary. Whatever you do, don't congratulate yourself too much, or berate yourself either. Your choices are half chance. So are everybody else's.

Enjoy your body. Use it every way you can. Don't be afraid of it or of what other people think of it. It's the greatest instrument you'll ever own.

Dance, even if you have nowhere to do it but your living room.

Read the directions, even if you don't follow them.

Do not read beauty magazines. They will only make you feel ugly.

Get to know your parents. You never know when they'll be gone for good. Be nice to your siblings. They're your best link to your past and the people most likely to stick with you in the future.

Understand that friends come and go, but with a precious few you should hold on. Work hard to bridge the gaps in geography and lifestyle, because the older you get, the more you need the people who knew you when you were young.

Live in New York City once, but leave before it makes you hard. Live in Northern California once, but leave before it makes you soft. Travel.

Accept certain inalienable truths: Prices will rise. Politicians will philander. You, too, will get old. And when you do, you'll fantasize that when you were young, prices were reasonable, politicians were noble and children respected their elders.

Respect your elders.

Don't expect anyone else to support you. Maybe you have a trust fund. Maybe you'll have a wealthy spouse. But you never know when either one might run out.

Don't mess too much with your hair or by the time you're 40 it will look 85.

Be careful whose advice you buy, but be patient with those who supply it. Advice is a form of nostalgia. Dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it's worth.

But trust me on the sunscreen.

Mary Schmich, in the late 1990s it was being falsely attributed to Kurt Vonnegut.
It's really brilliant, I love the Baz Luhrmann musical version of it.

Also odd note...I'm not very into scents, but one of Ksenia's that I really dig is when she wears Nivea skin cream, which smells just like summer sunblock. Summer Sunblock has this certain smell, a few different brands have it, that totally bring me back to high school summers, trips to the amusment park and fun summer romances.

more digital introspection

Just because I've always been curious about what pages other than the frontpage are getting so many hits, I made up a simple log scanner that goes through yesterday's logs and divides the hits into html/directories, images, cgi, and other (mostly cgi or images that the thing couldn't parse correctly), sorted then by number of hits. It wasn't too too informative, though my mortality guide and gamebuttons get a fair amount of their own traffic.

Toy of the Moment
The National Gallery of Art website has a cool online construction toy called Collage Machine. You can select from three sheets of images to drag and drop, resize, rotate, set transparency, flip, bring to front/back, etc. Virtual arts and crafts fun...too bad they couldn't work up a save mechanism.

Interview of the Moment
--MSNBC interview Opus, though I'm not sure if Breathed was involved. Still, he made is re-debut in the funny papers today.

the problem of moral clarity

Quote and Link of the Moment
So let America increase the pace of this conflict or decrease it, and we will respond in kind.
Osama bin Laden
Part of that recent audiotape...but the part you probably hadn't heard. This article explains how by seeing Osama as evil, and only evil, we are putting ourselves in more danger that we would be in otherwise. Bush's "you're either good or evil" viewpoint is so, so, so tragically stupid. Osama sees himself as good, and so do a lot of Arabs. He uses tactics that we find reprehensible, but targeting civilians is the strongest way he has of getting our attention, and he feels that we've (accidentally or on purpose...I don't think it matters that much to him) been responsible for the deaths of enough Arab civilians that there's a justification there.

Counterpoints: I think this articles idea of promoting a mutual standdown misses the way that there's been so much water under the bridge, they might feel that any 'spectacular attack' going into the future is 'justified'. Plus, the logic is if you seem to be able to be pressured by terrorism, that might lead to terrorism being seen as more of a useful, and therefore more widely used, tool.

Backlog Flush #3
Still from the end of last year...


Toni Yafanaro signed my guestbook yesterday! She was my fellow tuba-bud in high school...Toni, e-mail me, I have a really amusing picture of us to scan in...meanwhile here is a different picture, this one with the band KISS joining a marching band. (via this site)

Speaking of yesterday's Attack of the Fluffy Bears, I was thinking about the old cartoon The Gummi Bears. The theme song always bothered me, there seemed to be a lyric "the fight for what's right is whatever they do" which seemed to me to be a weirdly self-fulfilling prophecy of a morality. But that link says the lyric is "they fight for what's right in whatever they do", so maybe it wasn't so bad.

Funny of the Moment
Kirk: Phew, all this computer hacking *is* making me thirsty...
John: Hmm, me too I guess. In fact I think I just had this pudding cup trying to quench thirst, but it didn't work.
Kirk:...err, John? When you start thinking of puddin' as a beverage, you might be on the verge of having serious food issues...

Link of the Moment
A little bit long, it's the Canonical List of Famous Last Words (from Role Playing Games).

Just saw a subaru outback (the kind of car dave coveted) It struck me as odd, how long I hadn't thought of one.