| < retrospect: 19 feb >

February 19, 2016

Rightwingers reminding Democrats that Republicans are the "The Party of Lincoln" should be reminded that Reagan was a Democrat in the 50s.
A nice tour of the evolution of webdesign, 1991-2015, showing one NASA site evolving to match the trends in web design over the years.


February 19, 2015

The ($4,000 if rumors are true) Apple Watch Gold edition reminds me of that $999 "I Am Rich" app you could get that did nothing but demonstrated your wealth and willingness to pay to flaunt it.
Haiku by a Robot
Seven hundred ten
Seven hundred eleven
Seven hundred twelve
--Nathan Beifuss, Age 9. from plated jeans' Kids Say the Darndest Things

thoughts on binge gaming

February 19, 2014
Some of my thoughts of a super-productive staycation have been thwarted by the arrival of the video game "Earth Defense Force 2025", a solid sequel to my (previous) favorite B-movie game "EDF 2017". I am enjoying the heck out of it, honestly- it mashes together two of my favorite things in video games: gun battles with simple tactical decisions to be made (what the earlier game had in spades) and flying and gliding over a city's landscape. (thanks to the addition of a Valkyrie-like character with a jet pack.) Plus, Spoiler: flame throwing dragons. They're done quite beautifully, often set against a moody twilight time... pity you have to shoot them!

"Binge gaming" seems to be my preferred way of consuming games these days... but it makes me ponder why this type of gaming is so appealing in general- it certainly has its tedious moments! And it's a bit hard to defend as a cerebral exercise. I think it's a combination of two things: a viscerally appealing simulation of exciting things I can't do in the real world (flying, saving the earth from endless hoards of homicidal robots and giant insects) along with an environment were dogged persistence guarantees success, and where it doesn't, these days that's probably a "fault" of the game designer and not the player.

I think overall I'm more relaxed playing the game all Tuesday and Wednesday night than I was coding up my own game all day Monday; no angst eating, almost no ducking over to twitter or Facebook to get away.

I do wish I had a gaming buddy... it has an excellent splitscreen mode. I played the earlier title with my Jonathan and it was a great bonding time... alas he's a family guy now and I am on my own.

February 19, 2013

"An 'uphill struggle' is bad. But 'going downhill' is also bad. You can't win with hills."

our astronauts

February 19, 2012

They were corny as heck, I love it! via BoingBoing
Deep thought: there are profound similarities between the Super Mario Theme and Star Wars Cantina Band Song.


February 19, 2011
To view this content, you need to install Java from
snakedrive - source - built with processing

My entry for Klik of the Month Klub #44. I was inspired by that "snake" game cellphones sometimes had, but I wanted a curvier, less blocky motion for it. Once I got going, I remembered this one C=64 game that had the snakes eating moving mice, which I thought might be more fun than static apples.

Moderately pleased with the results. Might try a 2-player sequel.

liberty and justice for all

February 19, 2010

--Snuck this on the art magazine in Portugal...dig it.

Is, like, an iPhone more powerful than any computer I actually used during college in the early 90s?

buildings and boston sky

February 19, 2009

 - On Obama's sentences... "This may be the essential Obama gift: making complexity and caution sound bold and active, even masculine... "

hungry hungry eagles!

February 19, 2008

To view this content, you need to install Java from
virtual prometheus bound
source - built in processing

florida filler day 4

February 19, 2007
Ahh, Florida.

The weather is very decent here, especially compared to what Boston seems to be slogging through, but I seem to have a knack for making warm places less warm. August 1992 in Portugal was freakishly cold (in a Mark Twain sense of "weather which will melt a brass door-knob and weather which will only make it mushy") during my three week stay. Similar winter trips to Bermuda and Florida have had similar results. Nothing you can really get upset about, it is winter after all, but still.

(Mr.Ibis and Felisdemens and I had actually been toying with the idea of attending a naturist festival, a new experience for us all, but the weather put a damper on that, much to everyone's quiet relief I think.)

But a larger block to this trip living up to its full potential is me getting socked with a big old cold, with some kind of cause and effect relationship with the most gruesome fever blister I've had in a long while, making me feel like a diseased pariah despite everyone politely ignoring it. Whether it's just the culmination of months and months of a mild case of whatever's going around that week, or that evil airplane recirculated crispy-dry air germfest thing, running into a whole new cold virus ecosystem down here, or getting a bit more sun walking around some outdoor parks, I don't know. Probably some combination.

SQUICK ALERT: I'm going to get slightly more personal than usual, though nothing too major, about Fever Blisters. Those wishing to avoid such discussion should skip down to the Links of the Moment.

Ah, Fever Blisters... (which I guess is synonymous with "Cold Sore" but for me sounds somehow marginally less disgusting) blight of my existence for, what, two and a half decades now? Factoids like
An estimated 80 percent of Americans are infected with the virus that causes cold sores and 20 percent of American adults experience recurring cold sores two to 12 times per year.
are small comfort, just because I don't seem to see many afflicted people in day to day life.

I keep a log of outbreaks. 2000 and 2002 featured problems every few months; 2001 and 2005 were free of incidents. (Wow, has Abreva been on the market since 2002? (It must be effective because it costs five times the other stuff! Well, not this time, brother.))

It may well be time to start looking for some heavier artillery. In previous years I took a regular preventative dose of the antiviral Zovirax or Valtrex, but I'm instinctively not crazy about that kind of big barrel approach, especially since it's usually reserved for other forms of the virus. Another interesting product that I just sent away for is dermaseptic, a little device that zaps a prelude-area to inject silver under the skin, silver thought to have some great antiviral properties. Anecdotally I've heard some good things about it, and there even seems to be some fair amount of clinical backing. So, I guess that's where my hopes for the future rest.

Bleh. At least there's a chance I'll be recovered before my new job.

Links of the Moment
Todays theme is...books! Again. I guess.

I dig fan stuff like The Nit Picker's Guide to the Lord of the Rings, talking about the movies. So much tough love! Personally I thought they were pretty respectable versions.

The History of the Universe in 200 Words or Less. So, a small book.

Finally, is like "Where's George?" for books, where people are encouraged to leave books in the wild but chart them as they make their way around.

Quote of the Moment
"A truly great book should be read in youth, again in maturity and once more in old age, as a fine building should be seen by morning light, at noon and by moonlight"
--Robertson Davies


February 19, 2006
Riddle of the Moment
"How can you tell a girl ghost from a boy ghost?"
--My half-awake mind came up with that this morning. It's pretty obvious but I don't remember hearing it before.

Animation of the Moment
--Ksenia's sister found this online...I think it's the Ali G character Borat Sagdiyev, "Kazakhstan's sixth most famous man". I find it strangely hypnotic. Borat quotes from the MTV Europe Music Awards.

Essay of the Moment
FoSO sent along a Globe editorial, Don't sweat the small stuff when so much else matters. It's well-tread territory, but pretty good. A few random thoughts: One, I think its dead on in pointing out often we rage at the small stuff when it's the big stuff that has really got us worried. Two, I hate to think that some of the truisms from the small stuff book might not hold up, like "Remember, One Hundred Years from Now, All New People" if there's some new longevity treatment that only some rich bastards can afford. Three, while I like the idea of "Ask yourself, will this matter in a year?" in priciple, for an information packrat like me, who just made it easier to review what was going on this date for the last 6 or 7 years in both my public and private journal, there's a chance to let these slights recur years later. Or...maybe I'll read it and think "gosh, I don't even remember that."

So there you go.

wholesale hilarity

February 19, 2005
Copy of the Moment
If you're in the market for what The Detroit News called "a lively comic adventure," Clerks delivers with wholesale hilarity! It's one wild day in the life of a pair of overworked counter-jockeys whose razor-sharp wit and on-the-job antics give a whole new meaning to customer service! Even while braving a nonstop parade of unpredictable shoppers, the clerks manage to play hockey on the roof, visit a funeral home, and straighten out their offbeat love lives. The boss is nowhere in sight, so you can bet anything can - and will - happen when these guys are left to run the store!
--Back of the box Copy for "Clerks"...Ivan and I thought it was such amazing bad copy, completely out of the mood of the movie, unless it was meant ironically, and it doesn't quite pull that off.

atari music mojo

February 19, 2004
I got my Atari music mojo working in my upcoming 2600 game. Instructions for running it in an emulator are on that page, though if I can figure out a way to record an mp3 or something I'll post it.

ChatBot of the Moment
I just found out out about a new AIM chatbot, ZolaOnAOL. Kind of like SmarterChild, but doesn't want you to pay money...some useful stuff like news headlines, movie times, etc.

Diagrams of the Moment
More comprehensive yet somehow less satisfying than Lore's famous Geek Hierarchy Chart, it's the Pagan Who-Looks-Down-on-Whom diagram.

Article of the Moment
Slashdot linked to a Fast Company group of articles, What We Learned In The New Economy. Man, I really miss the old new economy. This new new economy sucks.

Game of the Moment
Odd little puzzle game, GROW. Items attached to the sphere level-up other items previously attached, and the goal is to try and max everything out. I'm half tempted to geekily learn how to get the 20K max solution, but alas, more pressing needs...err, press.


February 19, 2003
Blogrolling of the Moment
So the other week Ross wrote the following in his blog (look for the giant math cartoon):

So I was thinking today about my life as I carried my physics book, my calculus book, my saxophone, music for three ensembles, and of course my calculator... I am really a geek! All this time, I thought I was just a cool guy, and joked around about being dorky. But hell, I am like the epitome of a nerd! I play three instruments in seven ensembles, I direct the marching band, I take pride in learning calculus, I am taking several AP tests this year and am interested in Quantum Physics, I drive this car...

And I could kind of feel his pain...I went to the same high school, actually, went through a lot of the same things, so I added the following reassuring note to his guestbook:

Don't be so hard on your self.

Why...I can think of another nerdy teenager...unlucky in love, socially awkward, clumsy, with glasses. Good at school, but involved in decidedly uncool school activities. Sometimes even picked on by jocks and other idiots.

But it turned out ok, for you see...that teenager became spiderman.

Article of the Moment
Business 2.0 argues maybe we aren't as bad off as all that, economically. The comparison of numbers to the Reagan years is interesting...though more of the general bad mood is justifiable if you think that a getting blown up my a terrorist is worse than getting nuked by the Soviet Union. (The former is more likely to have an event, the latter had a lot more potential for total global catastrophe.)


February 19, 2002
Slang of the Moment
I've been thinking a bit about Cockney Rhyming Slang, where the speaker substitutes some common word with a word or phrase that rhymes with it, like "he hit him right in his Chevy Chase" instead of "right in his face". You can hear a bit of it in Guy Ritchie's movies, Snatch and Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels. I found a pretty interesting English/Cockney Rhyming Slang glossary. (click on "View Dictionary") It's interesting trying to see which ones are just rhymes and which ones might have another layer of meaning.

Reminds me of my old boss who would sometimes say farewell with "esca-lator". Later I realized a lot of phrases would fit that pattern: "mashed-p'tater", "some ice skater", "that Ralph Nader", etc etc.

Dialog of the Moment
"They're armed."
"Armed, armed with what?"
"Err, bad breath, colorful language, feather duster... what do you think they're gonna be armed with? Guns, you tit!"
--Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels


February 19, 2001
Last night Mo and I watched House on Haunted Hill, a film with an ending that no where lives up to the wonderfully nightmarish visuals that lead up to it. Or as one guy on the Internet Movie Database put it, "HAVE LARGE UNCONVINCING BALLS OF CGI EFFECTS EVER BEEN SCARY??"

The movie takes place in an old asylum, and one of the motifs is the use of Electroshock therapy. Watching the film reminded me of this one passage from Prozac Highway, a book I've been reading off and on. Much of the book is in the form of e-mail from participants in a mental illness support mailing list.

Spoken like a woman who's never worked night-shift. But the next one's bad. I went down to the drop-in centre and got in a fight about shock treatment with this old guy. He was saying how great it was and how it had really helped him. He had this voice, this voice you get to recognize. I told him, "Man, they have fucked up your brain. I can hear the damage when you talk." And he looked at me and said, "I've had a hundred shock treatments, I have to believe it was for something." I felt so fucking bad. What am I doing, rubbing this guy's face in it just to make my point.
I find that really sad, a moving example of how people are forced to cope with some of the awful things in life.

Funny Dirty Link of the Moment
Ok, you have to be a bit of a geek to get this one. It's from a site for Adult Interactive Fiction. (Interactive Fiction is an old form of computer game, Zork and Adventure being the most famous examples, where the computer describes where your character is in words, and you type in what you want the character to do. I once reviewed an innovative piece of Interactive Fiction that describes the genre a bit more.) Anyway, This is the page that I find so funny. It's a set of instructions on what to type in to win one of the adult games. (I believe 'g' is the command for 'aGain', i.e. repeat the last command.) Without the supporting descriptions, it's just randomly lewd and goofy.

KHftCEA 2000-02.1 February

KHftCEA 2000-02.1 February

"I'm the opposite of hypochondriacal. I'm not entirely enamored of the idea of living forever."
--Edward Gorey
We are here for no purpose, unless we can invent one.
--Kurt Vonnegut, Jailbird
You have not lived until you hear Wes Montgomery's version of Round Midnight on at least the album, Pretty Blue.... Do that at once!!!
--David Altschuler
It was pity stayed his hand.

"Pity I don't have any more bullets," thought Frito.
--Bored of the Rings
Off to Tiffany's buy a ring for Mo.

< retrospect: 19 feb >