November 24, 2023


November 24, 2022

Cracked has a pretty good reminder about the dumb-ass myths we have about white folks moving into the Americas.
Tappy Hanksgiving One and All!

November 24, 2021

Interesting thoughts on progressive liberals vs conservatives; on how a liberal says they might be willing to sacrifice the statue of liberty to save a human life, and a conservative might view that as ridiculous; but if you asked them if they would sacrifice a spouse or personal loved one, the conservative might change their answer. And then into interesting thoughts on how Conservative view is fundamentally you can't make the world better, but you can punish people for being bad, and so that deeply informs their inability to make good, useful government.
I wrote up about a microreview of Pixelmator Pro on my devblog - just kind of goofing / recrecreating an effect I've seen around:

Fractals as a way of thinking about grief

I dunno, maybe it's too loose with the metaphor?

Like I've had similar thoughts that maybe life has that fractal aspect, in the sense of there's more detail the more you go in. But "detail" isn't enough, it has to have that self-similarity. So I dunno.
JEREMY ROBARD: Hi, I'm Jeremy Robard! Entrepreneur, VIP and founder of the revolutionary program "Think your way to success". It's a 3 step program that's been changing lives and my income for the last 2 years! 5 Years ago, I was a nobody, just like you! After my "Think Your Way To Success" program, I spend the entire weekend in my Jacuzzi, or engaging in the exciting sport of domino toppling! Hey! If you can think it, you can do it! One of my award winning courses is sure to be perfect for you. The first course, I call "Think - Hold That Thought - Complete", because that's what you do. Step 2 is known as "Learn - Start - Doing", where I explain the mysteries of starting. Or take the new accelerator course, which will have you laughing at ugly strangers, "Motivate, Demonstrate, Then Motivate Again". Just listen to these, endorsements and remember these people volunteered, they aren't being paid much.

MALE #1: I've been on the "Think - Hold That Thought - Complete" program and I have to say, I'm going to start my career in being a well-paid, rich person!

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JEREMY ROBARD: Call now, and sign up for my "Think Your Way To Success" program. And if you want to think really fast, try my "Crank It Out" program. Call 1-866-434-SELF. Hey! Don't just do it, think about it!
Just played GTA:VC (again) now that it's on Switch. It was my first GTA, and has a sweet spot between the over-simplicity of 3 (namely by having copters and motorcycles) and the huge scope of San Andreas.

This spot stuck with me this play through, especially since these days I'm thinking about "thoughts vs feelings" as motivational force, and "Don't just do it, think about it!" seems like great advice. (What's weird about this ad are the course titles... I don't know, they seem sort of plausible and not very jokey, especially given GTA's usual hamfisted parody standards.)

from "Dreams from my Father"

I finished Barack Obama's "Dreams from my Father", published when he was the Junior Senator from Illinois. I was kind of hoping to find the secret to his equanimity, how he got the nickname "No Drama Obama". Not sure I found that but it was still a good read. I definitely got more admiration for his work as community organizer, and a suggestion of how few opportunities present themselves in the tougher urban districts of Chicago.

Guilt is a luxury only foreigners can afford. Like saying whatever pops into your head.
Lolo Soetoro (Obama's stepfather)
I fell back on the couch and lit a cigarette, watching the match burn down until it tickled my fingertips, then feeling the prick on the skin as I pinched the flame dead. What's the trick? the man asks. The trick is not caring that it hurts. I tried to remember where I'd heard the line, but it was lost to me now, like a forgotten face. No matter. Billie [Holiday] knew the same trick; it was in that torn-up, trembling voice of hers. And I had learned it, too; that's what my last two years in high school had been about, after Ray went off to junior college somewhere and I had set the books aside; after I had stopped writing to my father and he'd stopped writing back. I had grown tired of trying to untangle a mess that wasn't of my making.

I had learned not to care.
Barack Obama, "Dreams from my Father"
(That might be where the book comes closest to his equanimity, but I don't think this quote on how to deal with a potentially endless series of racial insults put against the feeling of never being able to do enough for his family, community and race. On FB, a friend points out this might be a reference to the movie Lawrence of Arabia)
But power was patient and knew what it wanted; power could out-wait slogans and prayers and candlelight vigils.
Barack Obama, "Dreams from my Father"
From the politics after the death of Chicago's iconic powerful black mayor Harold Washington. Sometimes when I'm out there with my horn trying to add musical energy to some good cause my thoughts fit in that same groove.
Once upon a time, Jesus spoke to an angry crowd that wanted to kill a guilty woman. "Of all of you, he who can say he has never done anything wrong can come forward and kill her."

After they heard this, the crowd stopped.

When the crowd retreated, Jesus raised a stone and killed the woman, and said, "I am also a sinner, but if the law can only be executed by a spotless person, then the law will die."
An account of John 8:3-11 in a law-and-ethics textbook published by the Chinese Communist Party, translated from the Chinese by Annie Geng, via "Harper's Magazine".
Whoa. I'm struck by how the Americans who might find this retelling the most blasphemous... kind of act like they agree with this Jesus' point?

November 24, 2019

I like these engravings of the founders of the Salvation Army, William and Catherine Booth... in British Heritage Travel Magazine's The Story of the Salvation Army.

Usborne Computer Books of the 80s were pretty dope. If outlining some rather overwhelmingly ambitious hardware projects...

November 24, 2018

donkey kong being a villain in industrial settings and a hero in jungle settings is a perfect illustration of what the unabomber was talking about

Trump dumping climate change reports on Black Friday is some serious bullshit.
Most significantly, the National Climate Assessment--which is endorsed by nasa, noaa, the Department of Defense, and 10 other federal scientific agencies--contradicts nearly every position taken on the issue by President Donald Trump. Where the president has insisted that fighting global warming will harm the economy, the report responds: Climate change, if left unchecked, could eventually cost the economy hundreds of billions of dollars per year, and kill thousands of Americans to boot. Where the president has said that the climate will "probably" "change back," the report replies: Many consequences of climate change will last for millennia, and some (such as the extinction of plant and animal species) will be permanent.

November 24, 2017

hey rocky watch her pull a rabbit out of this hat

November 24, 2016

Texas A+M Gymnastics Team wins the Mannequin Challenge.
"Be so good they can't ignore you."
Steve Martin's advice for aspiring entertainers
via Quit Social Media. Your Career May Depend on It. I'm planning on disabling FB on my work laptop.

November 24, 2015

The other week I had a bit of sleepy genius - a new product idea: Kitten Scented Air! I figure we can just put a little kitten in a air-filter looking box, with fans and stuff. Man, wouldn't people love that, to have their whole space smell like an adorable little kitten?

Of course, it might be considered a little mean to box up a kitten like that. (Heh, reminds me of the old "The Atlantic Puppy-Grinding Company slogan: "it may be cruel, but think of the jobs!") So maybe we could just keep the kittens at a central happy kitten farm, and bottle the air, put it into spray bottles.

I think Melissa pointed out it would be a nightmare for people with allergies, so they would have to be those hypoallergenic cats.

Or if we can't get enough of those, I think we could safely offer a homeopathic product: just the air from some dude who was THINKING about kittens. Brilliant, right?

Who's with me?

November 24, 2014

Somehow, 18-odd years (!) of amateur digital photography has netted me northwards of 40,000 (!!!) photos. Mixed feelings watching a duplicate-removing program scan through thumbnails of them all... such a lot of of life! But so much of it so poorly remembered.
We saw the most amazing catch in the Giants / Cowboys game last night... real glue on his gloves type stuff!

The New Yorker: The Group That Rules The Web - awesome piece on the slow contentious slog to html5.
The 85 Funniest Tweets Of All Time - funny stuff

November 24, 2013

@ alewife:

November 24, 2012

A poor dancer is impeded by his own balls.
Russian Saying (akin to a poor workman blames his tools)

Looking for references to that joke I found the Wikipedia page about Russian Jokes including this one:
A Frenchman, a Japanese and a Russian were trapped by Tzar. He locked them in a closed chamber and asked to surprise him using three steel balls ... the winner will be released, the others will be executed. In a week the Frenchman demonstrates a juggle with the balls. The Japanese has created a rock garden. The Russian sits sad in his chamber with only one ball in his hands. The Tzar asks him: "Why are you so sad and where are the other balls?". The Russian answers: "One broken, one lost".

Also, this old kisrael entry has some jokes I heard from actual Russians.
Mark Sanchez, QB of the Jets, running into his teammate at full fumble speed:

His dejected look at the end... via

happy givethanksing!

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Now that was a thanksgiving spread

"Don't wear those pants, there's a weird spot."
"Did you smell it?"
"...sorry, it's not in my DNA to smell stains."
"You're missing out! It smells like cotton candy. Seriously."

In the Casino Royale remake they play poker not baccarat. Brendan suggests Go Fish woulda been good. "Do you have a 6, Mr. Bond?"
The Red Lobster ad says prices higher in Hawaii and Times Square- "In the city that never sleeps I'm takin' ya where the breadsticks never stop baby!"
My iPhone thinks it's in Moscow not New Hampshire (and 4 in the morning not 7 at night) Happy Thanksgiving everybody!


click to play

scrib1 - source - built with processing
Very simple doodle program, made to celebrate me noticing that Processing finally added support for some of the newer Java syntax features. A bit Action painting-ish if I do say so myself, especially if you let it run for a while.
Oddly chipper. Wanna be motivational speaker to the world. The trick is getting off the treadmill of wanting more- appreciate what's there!
Oh man, how long has processing supported the new Java foreach and typed collections? I've been doing it the old way for WAY too long.
Yeesh. Despite working there for 7 months it took Amber to point out that the street # of my work address is the first 3 of my phone #.
Wow. Not only has Apple annoyed a big % of iPad owners by making the physical screen lock button to "mute"- the mute doesn't work! #ipadfail

a long time ago (the 70s) in a galaxy far far away (u of i, chicago)


Everybody lies, but it doesn't matter because nobody listens.
Nick Diamos - funny designer war stories -- too bad the archive feature sucks! - more Star Wars Hilarity (via JZ)
I really wish I knew why today feels like a Friday.
Rats -- though adept at scurrying furtively -- are actually quite vocal: they squeak, shriek and hiss. They also emit a series of high-pitched chirps inaudible to humans, which scientists believe may be the equivalent of laughter.
MAN, that sounds evil.

legoing going gone

Power outages in Back Bay, manhole fires, no work for me.

The city seemed to be doing a good job keeping things running as well as possible, cops directing traffic, T-stations still open. Still it was disturbing exiting the train into Arlington Station and seeing it lit by a few emergency floodlights powered by generators.

Followup of the Moment
Heh, yesterday I was talking about Youtube but I forgot to mention one of my core points-- last month Youtube may have surpassed Yahoo as the #2 search engine. (Which, of course means that the #1 search engine is Google, and the #2 engine is Also Google-- scary!)

Online video is so common now (mostly google but some other sources) it's almost easy to forget what a revelation it was, I was flabbergasted that they could have the bandwidth for that. And it's so popular... I guess we really are visual creatures.

Lego of the Moment

Boingboing had a link to Peter "legoloverman" Reid's awe-inspiring Flickr stream.

I'm so jealous... both of the two fiddly bits that have come out since I was so dedicated to collecting and thinking about Legos, and how well he uses them.

I guess the technoscavenger I made back around 1990 or so is in this mold, taking advantage of new, small pieces as functional ornamentation rather than trying to make square bricks look cool, so I shouldn't begrudge him all the awesome part he now has. Especially with his neoclassic space stuff that respects the blue/gray bricks and yellow windows of the stuff from the 80s.

I'm tempted by the new Lego Mindstorms. It looks like, unlike prior generations (some of which is sitting in a closet at home) they may have finally given tools with enough precision that I could make that typing bot I've always dreamed of... though I'm still very inexperienced at that kind of "Technic" construction.

Power out in Back Bay + Theater District because of a manhole fire. Last night in Chinatown they were doing water stuff-related? (Day off!)
"BOOM BOOM that's all you hear when MY cannon bust" --Overheard in Mission Hill
I wish I could figure out if someone makes a tilt and swivel platform for a projector that's already sitting ona damn shelf.

attack of the speedbitch

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For over half a decade EB and I have been playing head-to-head Tetris Attack. (With a recent trend towards 3-player Dr. Mario when his wife wants to join in, a game also favored by my Aunt and Mom.)

EB and I have noted a difference in our approaches to this kind of game. EB is a more deliberate planner, aiming to set up longer combos and chains and then sending over many damaging "garbage" blocks all at once. In recognition of my approach's humbler yet annoyingly effective nature, I've taking to calling what I do "being the speedbitch". I favor speed over cleverness. Over the years, as our Tetris Attack arms race increased (at this point we're both past our primes, not sinking quite as much relaxation time into the pursuit of rising blocks) I would of course add in new "types" of move to my arsenal, but at its core I'm all about process efficiency. (I'm also oddly blind to certain clear-outs, especially horizontal ones.)

It might not be too much of a stretch to see an echo of the speedbitch vs. the planner in how EB and I live our respective lives. I tend to shun most long-range plans-- which can go wrong, after all-- and seek to maximize short- to medium-term contentment. And I'm good at recognizing and optimizing for that. (A parallel ability to refactor and re-engineer to increase usability and efficiency is also one of my programming and UI strengths.) EB is more of a planner. There have been times (when Mo and I seemed to have found something stable and pleasant and possibly edging him out salary wise despite his equivalent smarts and having stuck around for his Masters degree) where my pseudo-Dao-ist, aimless approach irked him. Now that I'm a single guy, in a bit of a pleasant career rut, and he's accomplishing life goals in family-making as well as moving up to management (which, for an engineer, isn't all peaches and rainbows, but still) the strategic comparison has a different tone.

(By a curious bit of synchronicity, recently I've found out that a parallel "supply chain efficiency" is one of the things Nokia does really well, and has helped it achieve an international market percentage in the high-30s. They make beloved-high-end equipment too, but they're able to retail some of their bread-and-butter phones for less than some companies can make 'em.)

Like I've rambled about before, I'm increasingly of the opinion that I'm not that smart, just a very quick and somewhat tangential thinker with a fragile ego and poor memory for disconnected detail.


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Ugh, I'm that I finally have some time, I don't feel like writing all that much...

Ok, so, I'll get too things out of my backlog. Today's theme is things that are NSFW, Not Safe For Work... I figure a day when most of my audience is on vacation should be good for that.

"MOM"-Filter Warning... all of today's entry can possibly be given a miss by the conservative-minded...

Overall, the tenor of today's entry might be billed as "Adolescent".

Passage of the Moment
"My name's Prag Titmouse," I say, "and my poem is called 'what the hell is wrong with lesbians, because cock is awesome.' I hope you like it." I pause, and clear my throat. Michelle is there at the edge of the stage, the only face that's laughing. I smile at her. "What the hell is wrong with lesbians?" I say. "Because cock is awesome. The end."

I jump off the stage and grab Richard's hand. Michelle is right there, and says something that I can't hear. I grab her hand too. Richard's eyes are wide, but he's smiling as he runs beside me. We all take a path that lands us some kicks and punches from the girls we pass, but which takes us to the door and avoids the bouncers.

It's been a while since I've read it... I remember it being a bit nihilistic, my note on it is "indy generbenderiffic mayhem and fun"

Link of the Moment
Annie Sprinkle's Bosom Ballet... I think I first saw a reference to this in A History of the Breast. Reading that description, her Ballet has really gotten around...

Small Gif Cinema of the Moment

Watched "Boys on the Side" with Ksenia the other day. Drew Barrymore flashing her breasts to her abusive (but now, clubbed and tied up) boyfriend, along with a cameo by the Indigo Girls, were about the only redeeming features of this hamfisted chickflick of a tearjerker. (Ksenia hated it even more than I did.) But Barrymore's little neener-neener dance seemed like it would make a good looping Small Gif Cinema... or fans of Ms. Barrymore and her breasts can consult a less diminutive version.

as it happens

Sophomoric Philisophical Bull Session of the Moment
Somewhere inside the digits of pi is a representation for all of us -- the atomic coordinates of all our atoms, our genetic code, all our thoughts, all our memories. Given this fact, all of us are alive, and hopefully happy, in pi. Pi makes us live forever. We all lead virtual lives in pi. We are immortal.
Cliff Pickover
The quote comes from the page We are in Digits of Pi and Live Forever. It's an intriguing idea, but I liked the note of caution attributed to a "retired physicist":
People will believe in anything if it promises immortality.
It reminds me of a thought I had a for poem, or at least a prose piece, but haven't been able to bring together. There's this idea floating about that you can inscribe the entire Encyclopedia Brittanica onto a pin...simply encode the book into a series of digits, then use that series as a single measurement and place a mark exactly at the point along the side of the pin. I suspect that Quantum effects would too soon raise their ugly heads and hamper the process, but still, it seemed an interesting complement to this thought from a poem by a friend of mine:
At that moment he met her eyes and it occured to him that we live only in moments, arranged as it happens. Someday we shall live entirely in nothing but a single kiss.
Maybe an entire romance, maybe an entire life, is inscribed in the nuance of each kiss, if only we could measure accurately enough.


I've been thinking more about "equanimity around success or failure", something I also kisrael'd a month ago. There's a friend of my family named Robbert (yes, with two "b"s), a European guy who makes big money doing SAP stuff. (I think he once mentioned some huge financial rewards if I wanted to work in Kuwait for a while...this was back when I was just out of school '96 or so.) Anyway, at Sunday family pub night my Uncle Bill mentioned one anecdote, where because of some scheduling mixup he had to leave some luggage outside of someone's apartment, and when he got back, a nice camera had been stolen, and he took it totally in stride: "ah well, easy come, easy go." It's been on my mind ever since, what an amazingly phenomenal attitude that is to have. I mean I know I would be really upset and ranting against the world in that scenario. Must that kind of tranquility be innate, or can it be learned? Maybe it does have some genetic component, Uncle Bill also mentioned a time when Robbert's son wouldn't pick up his toys, Robbert calmly played the "well you have too many toys, so we will trash these" card, the son calmly removed them from the trash a bit later, put them away, and that was the end of the problem.

I was going to say there's also a financial component, if you don't want to worry about losing an expensive camera it helps to be comfortable financially. Though I think unless I managed to make "I could retire right now" dough, I'd never be able to achieve that kind of balance, even though I'm doing pretty ok for myself right now.

Do people who are that calm have everything worked out? Like they know what they want out of life, and that they're working their way towards that, and so these little hiccups just ain't a big problem? Or are they just calm by their general nature? To what extent could I will myself to further calmness?

Sometimes I think I was happier and more generally relaxed before I started sweating Y2K. Seriously. It's like it broke something in me, or at least bent it. And before that I was neurotic about nuclear war; I guess there was this brief time after 1992 and before 1998 where I could just chill out. Post-9/11, who knows if I'll ever see that again...

Bad News of the Moment
Speaking of anxiety producing things, Economic `Armageddon' predicted by Stephen Roach, chief economist at Morgan Stanley. "In a nutshell, Roach's argument is that America's record trade deficit means the dollar will keep falling. To keep foreigners buying T-bills and prevent a resulting rise in inflation, Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan will be forced to raise interest rates further and faster than he wants. [...] The result: U.S. consumers, who are in debt up to their eyeballs, will get pounded." One odd factoid from the article: "Nearly half of new mortgage borrowing is at flexible interest rates" Seriously? With rates so low weren't all sane people going fixed rate? Am I missing something? Do people think this guy is onto something?

As a guy who has managed to get out of debt and has some savings, is there something I can do to brighten my own prospects? Buy Euros or precious metals? (Hey LAN3, what do you think of this slate bit on those wacky Bush claims of supporting a strong dollar?)

welcome to thanksgiving week

Watched a bit of "A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving" and that newer Winnie-the-Pooh special last night, while helping my Aunt out with a digital arts-and-crafts project. The latter is kind of odd, after reading "Tao of Pooh" recently I keep asking, "huh, is Pooh exemplifying Taoist principles right now?" I guess thinking such thoughts so often kind of runs against Taoism's "let it flow" ideas, hence my mind kind of has to sputter through the paradox.

Quote of the Moment
All I can say about life is, oh god, enjoy it!
Bob Newhart

Article of the Moment
Slate prsents an evolutionary explanation for Us Weekly magazine.

Flash of the Moment
Haunting Russian Movie with subtitles. Has a cool vibe for a while, though not all that satisfying in the end. Still worth a quick click I think.

metroid metroid metroid

Today's entry will be pretty minimal, except for this giant honking graphic, 'cause Peterman and I are in the midst of working our way through Metroid Prime, a brilliant 3D update to an old school Ninentdo classic. This here is the hero of the game, Samus Aran.

Kirk History Flush of the Moment
My earliest Usenet posts, I liked the idea of signature files, or actually snappy original one liners added to the end of messages. Here are some I found when Google opened up its Usenet Archive:
"My life: it's not a job, it's an adventure. If it were a job I'd want to be paid better."
"Quote?? We doan' *need* no steenkin' quote!"
"Jeez, we've been crawling through this desert for days! Take it easy on that water, man! There's no telling how long we're gonna need it, and you're going through it like it was- oh, never mind."
"I'd rather be rich than stupid."
"There's no situation so bad that it can't get better."
"But it won't."
"It never rains but it pours."
"Now what the hell is *that* supposed to mean?"
"hello world. it's 5:00 am, the sun is rising, birds are singing, and i am hating spanish 2 with a hate that would shake the foundations of the earth."

Quote of the Moment
"Amatuers discuss Tactics, Professionals discuss Logistics"

rollin' rollin' rollin'

I had the most amazing coin experience yesterday morning. I was picking up a pair of jeans, some change fell out of the pocket, and one penny fully circumnavigated the 13x13 room...under the bed, out the other side, and around, at one point going through an 8 inch gap between a pile of dirty laundry and the was really amazing. There was no way I could have done that on purpose if I had wanted to.

Phone Sex of the Moment
"Oh! Nnnnnnnn! Nnn! Nnn! Nnn! Nnn! Nnn! Nnn!"
"It's spurting out! I can't help it! Ah! Ah! Oooooo."
There was a pause.
"Oh, man," she said. "Wow. You there?"
"I think so." He swallowed. "Let me catch my breath."
"That was--that was--man," she said. "I saw the great seal of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts when I came."
Nicholson Baker, "Vox".

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