| < retrospect: 20 dec >

animal advent ala emberley day 20


advent day 19

  ...of the moment  
"How can we expect righteousness to prevail when there is hardly anyone willing to offer themselves up individually for a righteous cause? Such a fine, sunny day, and I have to go."
--last words of Sophie Scholl, German woman executed for distributing anti-Nazi pamphlets, via 22words' most pinned historical photos

I enjoyed this:

"*affixes a second leash to a hot babes dog while shes tying her shoe* would you look at that. we have the exact same dog. this is incredible"
"Boston is an oasis in the desert, a place where the larger proportion of people are loving, rational and happy."
--Julia Ward Howe


advent day 20

  ...of the moment  

ThisIsMyJam: A Long December Sometimes you dig a song, and try to apply it to your life, then it REALLY seems to describe the situation...
Thus starts the holiday vacation, just managing to get "Todo List: Zero"

(2) javadvent day 20

  ...of the moment  
"To be a nerd is often to live with a nagging feeling of one's own incurable heartlessness."
--Benjamin Nugent, "American Nerd"

comin' rougher

--I think the DREAM act is a good idea.

Reminds me of being in Cleveland and that truck with two Irish flag decals then an American flag sticker with "No Vacancy" over it.

  ...of the moment  
With latest flash mob video, wanted to hear Alan Sherman's "Hal+Lulu Chorus"- couldn't find it. 'Cause duh, he did "Harvey+Sheila"/Hava Nagila. Both very cheesy but fun songs.

Played "Pac-Man Party". Is it so hard for party game devs to get "Time watching boardgame BS to playing minigames" ratio right?
Some games offer minigame only modes, but too often it's as joyless as "select your next game off this menu".
The first Mario Party got it just right with its minigame stadium; just enough boardgame randomness to give excuses- haven't seen that since.
Party Games have so much potential- a great way to do retrogaming but w/ prettier graphics and more 4 player action than back then. Sigh.
Of course it's a bit moot, my core gaming buddy group dispersed to the winds. Double Sigh.

And thatís where spirituality really lost its way. When it became a stick to beat people with. "Do this or youíll burn in hell."

You wonít burn in hell. But be nice anyway.
--Ricky Gervais, Why I'm an Atheist. A kindly written bit of Atheism 101. -- nice gallery of old company holiday party photos
Geared up for my first snow bike commute. And by geared up I mean I brought the new gloves Amber gave me as an early Xmas gift.

(3) javadvent calendar day 20

  ...of the moment  
Nightmare fighting w/ fat canibal w/ knife wearing pig mask. Also Amber says I told her about dream method of making unix commands harder.

(1) so fully packed
I get the feeling this Christmas week is going to have a lot of "Video of the Moment" and not much else.

Video of the Moment

--YIKES! Did not witness anything like this in Japan, personally. (Though given their commitment to the train schedule, things are probably even more urgent.)

Quote of the Moment
"Machines take me by surprise with great frequency."
--Alan Turing, math genius and computer pioneer.

  ...of the moment  
Following Youtube "Related Videos" can be like running your own Dawkins' "Blind Watchmaker" program.

(6) haggling on price
One joke they drop in the "Plato and a Platypus Walk into a Bar" book I've been snippeting this week is the old "'Would you sleep with me for a million bucks?' 'Yeah, probably!' 'How about twenty?' 'No way! What kind of gal do you think I am?' 'Well, we've already determined that, now we're just haggling on price.'"

Man, I hate that joke. Besides its misogynistic tone, it's a representation of moral absolutism extended to an absurd degree. To imply that the difference between a lifestyle-changing windfall and cabfare is merely quantitative is just plain dumb.

Image of the Moment
--This image makes me very happy. From, but there is a LOT of NSFW stuff there...

(12) job jibba jabba
Gosh, I'm living at such a transitional time.

I really don't want to jump with both feet into the job hunt, but of course recruiters (and even one potential business partner) feel otherwise.

First step: I want to get everything else in my life together. I want to act on my impulse to divest myself of extraneous possessions, get my financial life settled, put in good habits in life-maintenance stuff where currently chaos reigns.

I think I also want to play a few videogames.

Epitaph of the Moment
"If, after I depart this vale, you ever remember me and have thought to please my ghost, forgive some sinner and wink your eye at some homely girl."
--H.L. Mencken

Photo of the Moment

--Subway map at Porter Square, with Central helpfully labeled "Crack City". But it looks like some meta-graffiti erased a word in between, I wonder what it was? Something hateful?

(4) and an unooked brassiere was as close as you ever hoped to get to paradise
Quote and Personal Observation of the Moment
"You're inches away from death every time you go on a mission. How much older can you be at your age? A half minute before that you were stepping into high school, and an unooked brassiere was as close as you ever hoped to get to Paradise. Only a fifth of a second before that you were a small kid with a ten-week summer vacation that lasted a hundred thousand years and still ended too soon. Zip! They go rocketing by so fast.""
--Dunbar in "Catch 22"... lately I've been thinking about how he he liked this other character Clevinger "because Clevinger annoyed him and made the time go slow" It also said he loved shooting skeet, because "He had figured out that a single hour on the skeet-shooting range with people like Havermeyer and Appleby could be woth as much as eleven-times-seventeen years."

I definately don't hate my new job, but I'm working a lot harder than I have for a while. And the funny thing is, it is kind of stretching time...especially the begining of the week. It feels like it should be Wednesday or Thursday already. I'm not sure what's up with that, actually. But I appreciate that aspect of my job.

I still wish I could retire...well, nowish. I have this personal myth that my little projects would be the perfect way to fill the hours and have a meaningful life outside of work and family.

Service of the Moment
Boingboing mentioned a free 411 service, 1-800-FREE-411. I tried it last night! Worked very well, and the sponsor ad wasn' too bad at all. It was kind of cool, I've never used that much Voice Recognition software, it seems to do well at doing speech-to-text without any training. ("Cambridge Massachusetts" and "Fedex-Kinkos", in my case.) And then it dials...sure beats paying Sprint a buck and a half.

(6) fridge id
Toy of the Movement
Heh...collaborative (or competitive) virtual fridge magnets...not the poetry that was oh-so-cool in the 90s, the old school colorful letters. Nifty!

Poem of the Moment
Empty-handed I entered the world
Barefoot I leave it.
My coming, my going --
Two simple happenings
That got entangled.
--Kozan Ichikyo, on the morning of his death (February 12, 1360, at the age of 77.) From this old Salon article on Japanese Death Poems.

Query of the Moment
Does anyone have any idea where the phrase "Let's blow this popsicle stand!" comes from? It seems so oddly specific...

(5) no one can stop the alien bill invasion
Went to Locke-Ober with my Aunt, Uncle, and Mom last night. Fancy-shmancy! Lots of dark wood panelling. At first I was surprised how little web presence they had but when I got there I realized I was spelling it wrong. Though my websearch with the incorrect spelling taught me two things: the place is in the script for "Good Will Hunting" (albeit not spelled correctly) and they didn't let women in the main dining room until the mid-80s. Even now, they have a pretty strict dress code, but it can be kind of fun to dress up every once in a while.

Toy of the Moment
--"Alien Bill Horde". (You can make 'em run the other way with the mouse...but you might need a recent Java plugin installed.) In meetings, sometimes I'd draw a huge swarm of Alien Bills, but the computer is so much better at it...(source)

AIM chat of the Moment
kirk: So I'm watching the 60s Batman movie
kirk: man, modern day Ronald McDonald looks a lot like oldschool Joker
LAN3: hahah.
kirk: of course, Ronald is pretty scary these days
kirk: his commercials imply he has fantastic magical powers
kirk: he's moved way beyond visual tricks like outlining goldenarches with his two index fingers
kirk: in one, he can freeze time for like, the entire world except for him and some minion kids
LAN3: One can only hope the Hamburgler doesn't get this power.
kirk: or else, entires cities would be flattened into "rubble, rubble"...
kirk: get it??
LAN3: hahaha, awful!

Link of the Moment
A geeky cataloging of almost 200 particles of Star Trek. (Includes energy waves and the like as well.) "So tiny, you can't tell it's a deus ex machina!" It's not just all dilithium any more!

(1) backlog flush #10
Great, we're going to war, but at least it's not immediate or anything. Slate's Saddameter puts the chance of war at 72%.

In good news, I'm halfway through 2003 in terms of the backlog now...
  • The Rosetta Project is a cool mission to make a modern hugely-multilingual rosetta stone, the multitranslation archaeological find that let us start to understand Egyptian hieroglyphics. By the same guy who brought you The Long Now.
  • Geekness: I'd previously posted about OO-skeptics, and here's another one.
  • "The true subject of poetry is the loss of the beloved."
    --the Urdu poet Faiz
  • The Toy Robots Initiative. How cool is that?
  • Old Wired article on how different cultures prefer different kinds of user manuals.
  • "When I was first asked to write an article about how women get over a broken heart I figured it would be the easiest money I ever made. Are you ready? We don't."
    --Stephanie Miller
  • "I do, believe it or not, consider myself to be a Christian--and I'm sorry, but you just don't go shooting doctors. If a judgement's to be made, God gets to make it. Not you. Him. You are Barney Fife. Keep your bullet in your shirt pocket. All right?"
    --Dennis Miller
  • I thought I liked the Fran Liebowitz line "Sleep is death, without the responsibility" but then I realized I only liked it because I was reading it wrong... I thought that it was saying it was death that had no responsibility, which really is one of the few cool thing about dying...
  • "This linguistic oddity stemmed from the fact that educated people used to learn Latin. This is no longer the case. In Latin, data is the plural, and datum is the singular. So it sort of bled over. I was delighted when reading early Roman texts that they considered Etruscan a "better" language and used it for religious purposes for quite some time. Sound familar? Apparently, "Roman Numerals" were borrowed from the Etruscans as well." I think this quote ties into this link on the Etruscan laguage but I'm not sure how, exactly.
  • Mark Twain on Fenimore Cooper's Literary Offenses. This classic essay pretty much stick Cooper in a big old ghetto, though I'll always remember how "Last of the Mohicans" was set in Glens Falls, New York where Dylan (of pointless sidebar fame) and I used to live.

(1) stone age
Quote of the Moment
"The United States of America has just succeeded in bombing a country back out of the Stone Age."
--Christopher Hitchens, via photodude. Maybe a little overly optimistic, but an interesting point.

Link of the Moment
In California at least, the right to wear pants shall not be infringed. Ok, not quite as wacky as it may first appear. (thanks, he's been a veritable fount of interesting stuff lately.)

Geekness of the Moment
Yes, I am a geek. A bit of a video game geek. That's why the other night I typed in all of Electronic Gaming Monthly's "Best 100 Games of All Time" (for their 150th issue) into my homebrew database. I've always been interested in lists like that. But the scary thing is, it's not the first time I've done this...I did the same thing with their "100 Best" list they made for issue 100. So I was able to compare the two lists, you can see the results here. (You can also see the older list that a bit more analysis on it.) I think it's interesting to see what games slipped, as well as what older games have seemed to improve with time.

KHftCEA 1998-12.1 December CB KHftCEA 1999-12.1 December

KHftCEA 1999-12.1 December

"For a long time it puzzled me how something so expensive, so leading edge, could be so useless, and then it occurred to me that a computer is a stupid machine with the ability to do incredibly smart things, while computer programmers are smart people with the ability to do incredibly stupid things. They are, in short, a perfect match."
--Bill Bryson, "Notes from a Big Country"
Crows are *so* sinister looking, even more so than black cats. (Also, based on Carla's Film Series and Aunt Susan's Isis, I've been wondering if black cats are more likely to be silent than other cats- which might've helped the "witches in disguise" theory (was that a belief?) since to speak would reveal their human voice.)
Game idea: advent calendar with a minigame for each day.

Also simple fighter (up/down for shield/sword location, thrust button) with Ivan/Kayla's heads
KHftCEA 1998-12.1 December CB

Is nothing holy/sacred for me? (Just heard about my grandfather's rejection of the comparison of the museum at Seneca Falls (for Susan) with the Boston Masonic Temple (for him)) Made me wonder what would have a similar effect on me.
Going around with my mom with her arm in a sling makes me realize I still have some "helplessness ishoos"...
I want to be rich enough to know I could hire a personal assistant if I were ever in some similar (albeit more serious) circumstance

< retrospect: 20 dec >