| < retrospect: 20 jan >

January 20, 2017

GIFCities brings you back to those animated GIFs of yesteryear...

Such a funny little art form. Reminds me of the little bestiary I assembled on my old compsci server homepage

January 20, 2016

The Weird Way That Standing (Not Walking) on Escalators Helps Move People More Quickly Been arguing with a friend about politics and stuff. I think he tends to oversimplify, he thinks I am too dodgy and hide behind "well it's complicated". I think this news story is a fascinating study on how even a simple system like people walking on an escalator quickly devolves into a counter-intuitive result and reality defies oversimplified "common sense" reasoning to it.

just listen. with your heart.

January 20, 2015
My drummer friend Tom says "Just listen. With your heart."

"I think probably kindness is my number one attribute in a human being. I'll put it before any of the things like courage or bravery or generosity or anything else."

"Or brains even?"

"Oh gosh, yes, brains is one of the least. You can be a lovely person without brains, absolutely lovely. Kindness - that simple word. To be kind - it covers everything, to my mind. If you're kind that's it."
--Roald Dahl (and Brian Sibley)
I kind of dig "Do Your Job" as this year's Patriots' slogan. (There's also "We're on to [Team City Name]" which is important as well).

It seems like a lot of successful teams have a kind of theme, like "The Idiots" for The Red Sox, which one a year after "Cowboy Up" didn't quite get it done.

I wonder if the Seahawks have something like that this year, besides their usual "12th Man" shtick and this year a lot of talk about God and the usual "everyone doubted us" BS talk.

January 20, 2014

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January 20, 2013

Day 3 (end of week 1) of the Galloway Easy 5K program. It was the "long run" but it if stays this easy I should have no problem (PROTIP: it's not likely to stay quite this easy...) Still, I've always enjoyed my body's ability to jump and move around a bit-- the walk/run/walk nature of this (plus the musical pace setting) really is making a world of difference.

by Ted McCagg

warhol buying campbell's soup

January 20, 2012

"I thought gunpoint and knifepoint were real places. I promised myself I'd never go near them since it seemed like everyone who went there got robbed. I was about 14 or 15 when it clicked.

"God, why did we buy a house in gunpoint? This was a terrible decision!"
--radiomonkey20 and maninthehighcastle, from a AskReddit on 'What insanely obvious thing did you not realize for much of your life?'
"I thought gunpoint and knifepoint were real places. I promised myself I'd never go near them since it seemed like everyone who went there got robbed. I was about 14 or 15 when it clicked.

"God, why did we buy a house in gunpoint? This was a terrible decision!"
--radiomonkey20 and maninthehighcastle, from a AskReddit on 'What insanely obvious thing did you not realize for much of your life?'

chasing outside the box

(1 comment)
January 20, 2011

via Bill the Splut. The video is a commercial, but a fun one, and a bit of thinking outside the box...

all your high tech thrills

(1 comment)
January 20, 2010

Where a calculator on the ENIAC is equipped with 18,000 vacuum tubes and weighs 30 tons, computers in the future may have only 1,000 vaccuum tubes and perhaps weigh 1.5 tons.
--unknown, Popular Mechanics, March 1949

washington d.c. 1916

January 20, 2009

--from Shorpy's Page All but the man on the right are former slaves, 100 years old or more, reuniting in 1916.

Today shouldn't be all about race, just like it shouldn't be all about politics. But: for the first part of these lives, these people were considered non-people. Thinking of that transition, from property to citizen, is mind-blowing. I know when this picture was taken, there was still decades until the Civil Rights Movement got into full gear, and more decades until a black man could hold the highest office in the land. And I know that we still have a society with a lot of racism both obvious and subtle.

But still: this is a great day for the United States.

Greenline drivers are goddamn liars. Disregard the sweet pearls of "there's another _-line car right behind this one." FFS.
Hey, new president today!
"I wish you had, but I'm glad you didn't." --Sandra Bernhard (that - a chapter from her book - is my favorite bit of nanofiction ever)
"For Sale: Baby shoes, never worn" --Ernest Hemingway (probably the canonical example of nanofiction)
Come to think of it, I grabbed some of the best of Wired's 6 words contest:
I love how MA governor Deval Patrick was *totally* the practice round for Obama. He's like our own Obama mini-me!
Great "presidential approval rating" graphs - - funny how it's as much about events as the person.
"Democracy is a harsh employer." --Herbert Hoover
:-( Amazon's MP3 only has Nigel Tomm's cover of Cage's 4'33", not the original. (And track 9 is more like porn - )
Digging the prominence of sousaphone/tubas at the inaugaration!
Happy that Obama made rhetorical space for non-believers along with believers.
Are all those "Count down 'til Bush is Out of Office" tickers showing negative now, or what?
Good: Use of the economical term "Black" instead of "African-American". Bad: Damn it, Dow, stand up with a little support here, jerkies.
Seriously, screw you Wall Street.
The Mission Hill public elevator is missing a few teeth at the top. You kind of hope there's not a painful story behind that.
I do not reccomend Orbit's Maui Melon Mint flavor.

random photos

January 20, 2008

Picture to show a friend those new Eye Q sunglasses.

I made a big deal about Kermit hitting 50K, so my Scion deserves similar treatment. Despite its nickname not really sticking.

When he was but a young lad, this Stilson artwork set something racing in Evil B's youthful fevered brow, even as he espied it in a gallery while accompanied by his grandmother on his way to church. But then only sweet memories remained as it was removed from that gallery...

...evidently, because it had been purchased and brought to My Ever Lovin' Aunt Susan's place, where Evil B would be reunited with this lovely hair-brushing beauty two decades or so after the fact. Small world!

Finally, I'm not saying things tend to stick around my Aunt and Uncle's place, but I think its been a while since they've been running promotional campaigns for the movie "Gremlins"...

the odd thing is, this was just right there in their pantry along with other miscellaneous food storage bits, like foil and what not. So either they haven't been wrapping many sandwiches over the past 24 years, or this box has done a great job of hiding out.

leading a retahded symphony

January 20, 2007
The job interview went ok. The place was downtown. Man, It's a little strange being surrounded by all these well-dressed people, though I think I was looking pretty dapper myself in an electric blue shirt and dark blazer. (One thing I learned from business travel is that you can get away without a tie if you have a good shirt and blazer or suitjacket.)

Exchange of the Moment
"Women think they know by the way, which always astonishes me... women will always say 'uh, we look at guys sexually too.'"
"Well uh, they do, they do..."
"Women have NO IDEA."
"They have no clue whatsoever. It's like the difference between shooting a bullet and throwing it. If women had any idea, even for a second, of how we really looked at them, they would never stop slapping us."
--Larry Miller and Jonathan Katz, on "Dr. Katz Professional Therapist". I really dig that lowkey, goofy humor, like a more tranquil Steve Martin

Teaser of the Moment
--This is likely the penultimate photo of my middle school years. Questions abound! Why the brooding pose? Why the half-tint glasses? And what's the print on that shirt? What's a Star Hop? And for the love of pete, what could the 'ultimate' photo possibly then be?
Stay tuned!

Football of the Moment
Its great that I can have a discussion in Dublin about the fortunes of the Sox, they're universal, the fan base is worldwide. The Celtics are the Celtics. The Bruins are part of the original six. But the Pats are ours. Nobody gave a rats arse about these guys before and truth be told once this run is over no one from Texas or California or Pennsylvania ever will again. But if you've sat in Schaefer/Sullivan/Foxboro and had to wonder whether you were doing your reproductive system permanent harm by sitting on those god awful, freezing cold aluminum bleachers, watching Tony Eason hitch up his skirt, the championships seem to have a surreal quality to them. It's like we're not only beating these other teams, we're putting one over on them.
--Sheamonu, from this thread of lowlights of Patriots' history. Makes for some great reading, especially the first five pages. What a mess this franchise has been.

If you're half as amused by townie accents, extended belches, lowbrow humor, foul language, and the love of the Patriots as I am Fitzy's Wicked Pissah Webcast 1/19/07 is for you. ("Come on, Payton Mannin', 'Sir Chokes-a-lot'? This guy drives me f***ing nuts! What's with all the handsignals and doodads at the line of scrimmage? It looks like you're leading a retahded symphony!")

travellin' man day 6

January 20, 2006
Heading back to Boston tonight.

Yesterday was a real Worst of Times, Best of Times kind of affair. The day of work was really emotionally gruelling, with me feeling a bit like a duck out of water at times, and bearing some of the brunt of a mismatch between what a person at the client's was expecting and what we had prepared to do. But then after I had the greatest time...Aparajita from the Loveblender heard I was in Dallas, where she was working for a week, and so last night we met and went out for a drink. And cheese. Actually it's funny, I felt like a bit more of a local knowing where there was a good Tapas place..."De Tapas", not as deliberately funky as Dali's but good. And, most importantly...Sangria. I really needed some after today.

But the company was really's only the second time I've met "IRL" with a Blender (or fan. Internet nano-(not even micro-)celebritydom is so funny... fans of sites are amazed that the creators would deign to meet with the "common folk", while the site makers are just so flattered by the attention... and often attenion is why they do it in the first place.

But even beyond comparing notes on the Blender and what not, it was a genuinely fun and relaxing time. Thanks Aparajita! (I found out her name is borrowed from India, "woman with indomitable spirit", which is a lot better than the "uhhh, I dunno, Spanish maybe?" I had categorized under all these years.)

Lyrics of the Moment
It's the wrong time, and the wrong place
Though your face is charming, it's the wrong face
It's not her face, but such a charming face
That it's all right with me

It's the wrong song, in the wrong style
Though your smile is lovely, it's the wrong smile
It's not her smile, but such a lovely smile
That it's all right with me

You can't know how happy I am that we met
I'm strangely attracted to you
There's someone I'm trying so hard to forget
Don't you want to forget someone, too?

It's the wrong game, with the wrong chips
Though your lips are tempting, they're the wrong lips
They're not her lips, but they're such tempting lips
That, if some night, you are free
Then it's all right, yes, it's all right with me

--Cole Porter, "It's Alright With Me". What a lyric! Melancholy yet with a hint of lust.

Oh, and FWIW, I picked this poem as the closer for my week away a week ago, not as some weird coded message about some strange sordid affair with Aparajita... our time was filled with a cheese plate, rounded out by Sangria and laughs, and was totally innocent.

hunk in sex

January 20, 2005
After yoga I dropped by my mom's place for some Chinese food. She mentioned she was very mildly bummed that I never got around to adding more content to yesterday's entry. I knew my mom read my site here but I was surprised to find out sometimes she'll check it a few times a day...I feel like I've created an addict!

Random thought: the other day it was amazingly foggy. Whenever it gets that foggy I always think of old video games, that would make a foggy land just so the computer wouldn't have to draw nearly as much stuff in the distance. Anyway, since it was so foggy, I decided to try out my highbeams. That worked great...bright fog, just what I needed. Do real "foglights" work any better?

Link of the Moment
Hunkin's Experiments are some really nifty one-panel cartoon science novelties to try. Very cool stuff. (Slightly Amusing URL note: I tend to see as HunkInSexperiments and not HunkinsExperiments...)

the constipated mathematician

January 20, 2004
Joke of the Moment
"What do you get when you cross a skunk and a squirrel?"
"Dirty looks from the squirrel"
--I liked this joke a lot when I was a kid. I think my dad sometimes piped in with "a squirrel that believes in birth control for the rest of its life".

Actually, looking around, I can't believe I never put the favorite joke that he and I would do as a micro-routine: "Did you hear the one about the constipated mathematician?" "Yeah, he worked it out with a pencil!". Man, in fifth grade or so, that joke was DA BOMB.

Read of the Moment
A recent Cruel Site of the Day was Mystic Microsoft: Spiritual Transformation in the Halls of High Technology. As Cruel Site puts it, "Kraig Brockschmidt goes [...] explaining the 'profound spiritual significance' of Microsoft's COM/OLE object protocols." You get the feeling that the guys a little too eager to "drink the kool-aid", whether its his lutheranism, the Microsoft way, or later a brand of eastern mysticism. Still, it's interesting, even if only for the first half's insight into early Microsoft.

Online Art of the Moment
Click your way through all of the animations of Spin. I love the visual style.

backlog flush #16

(1 comment)
January 20, 2003
  • Online World Timeline. Well-researched. I'm still kind of glad I never got into this kind of gaming, though I've always liked the idea of these big shared online worlds.
  • For a while I was really pineing for a GPS, and wanted to see if any of the ones that plugged into my Palm would worthwhile. here's a page with some articles and reviews. Instead, I decided to get a Playstation 2 for Christmas. I might regret that next time I'm lost while driving.
  • "Take me to bed or lose me forever."
    --Top Gun. I think 'Rosetta' once quoted this to me, and I thought it was a really sexy thing to say, completely missing that it was a movie quote.
  • Salon piece on Urban legends and the snopes archive.
  • The "First actual case of [a computer] bug being found", in 1946 or so. I think the consesus is that the term "bug" was around before this time, which is why the log keeper made the joke.
  • Speaking of urban legends, I think some of the user reviews for that vibrating Harry Potter broomstick toy were faked and some of the funnier ones were removed--this article give an idea of what was there. Still pretty funny though.
  • The past doesn't go away. It keeps calling to us from the woods, and at vulnerable moments, at twilight on a fall day with a Chopin étude playing, it can be almost overwhelming. Those old voices weeping and whispering. I have my ghosts and you have yours. Tell me about it. Meanwhile, the day passes, we eat dinner, we put the dishes in the dishwasher, we clean up the kitchen, we pick up a book, life goes on. I believe that

    All of the lovers and the love they made --
    Nothing that was between them was a mistake.
    All that we did for love's sake
    Was not wasted and will never fade.

    A friend of mine told me a few weeks ago: "You can't regret all of the things you went through in order to get to the happiness where you are now." The old love prepared you for this new one. The tortured and exhausting 10 years with him is a crucial part of your education and can't be separated from the rest and burned. It's quite reasonable to still miss him after only two years. You're not imprinted with him, though, and you know that. You've moved on. You're only enjoying a little sweet sadness. What would an autumn night be like without it? What an inhuman life a person must lead to never experience such feelings.
    --Garrison Keillor, writing as Mr. Blue on Salon. Man, I miss that column, though Salon still has the archive available... including some advice in a response back to me on getting hitched with Mo. ("Concerned About My Calm", about 3/4 of the way down).
  • Slashdot played 10 Questions with Larry Wall, inventor of the geek's friend computer language Perl. Includes some talk on his Christian faith.
  • If you think you are in love, go to a restaurant called The Greenhouse in Harvard Square in Cambridge. Order some fries to go. They cost two dollars and five cents with tax and come in a wax cup with foil over the top and may be the best french fries in the world. Tell the object of your affection that your religion prohibits you from sharing fries except with people who are in love with you. If they cannot admit to being in love with you at least you still have the fries. They are that good. These french fries can overcome heartbreak.
    --Fries With That, a prose poem I wrote and put on the loveblender a long time ago.
  • I had this backlogged as videogame's the oddest videogame review I've ever seen.

tile over substance

(1 comment)
January 20, 2002
Online Toy of the Moment
Ranjit directed me to the tilemachine 1.0, a tool for creating tiling backdrops and the like. I remember trying to do the same thing in VB way back when, to help make Windows wallpaper.

The Tile Machine scratches some of the same itch as his much mourned pixeltime, but lacks the Pixel Master and the monthly themed galleries. Also, I thought a better name than Tile Machine (but one that has been used) would be "Escher-Sketch"...

Quote of the Moment
"It is white."
--George W., after being asked by London child what the White House was like. Found this in an old New Yorker, from back when it was more ok to make fun of the president. Today is his one year president-a-versary!

another attempt at the meaning of life

(1 comment)
January 20, 2001
Bath of the Moment
Stayed home sick and angsty Friday. After at least a year of nothing but showers, I took a hot bath. Man, what a treat. Like a return to the womb or something. In a good way. And then peeking open the shower curtain, letting just a brush of the chilly air behind come in and cool me off... ahhh.

Sometime when I'm feeling mortal and scared, maybe I can relax and think 'yeah, but at least I had some nice hot baths.'

Spam of the Moment
Hooting Owl, some kind of search engine, sent me a message that said:

Congratulation someone has just performed a "web search" at the HootingOwl Search Engine using the search term
and your web site
is being displayed on the first page of search results.

Which is kind of funny, considering I don't think my site has anything to do with VBScript in any form. But ooh, wouldn't I like to put down a deposit of $100, to be doled out to them a few pennies per click at a time, to make sure my site shows up near the top more often?

Quote of the Moment
"Long run is a misleading guide to current affairs. In the long run we are all dead."
-- John Maynard Keynes, A Tract On Monetary Reform, 1923.

KHftCEA 2000-01.2 January

KHftCEA 2000-01.2 January

Around twenty years ago. I used to play against a program that had an interesting view of legality of moves.  Normally, it played the best legal move that it could find (not that it was much good, but I think this is what it was trying to do).  But if you stalemated it, it couldn't find a legal move, so it played the best illegal move that it could find.  Typically, this was picking up my queen, converting it to its colour, and capturing my rook with it.,
Wow!  An 80K offer from EventZero.  Mo's new job anxiety damps a little of the excitement, still it's pretty cool.  Had a good talk with my Aunt at Chili's.

< retrospect: 20 jan >