| < retrospect: 13 oct >


  ...of the moment  

october blender of love

"[Christopher Columbus] discovered the New World much like a meteorite discovered the dinosaurs."
--The Oatmeal, suggesting we celebrate Bartolomé Day instead.


  ...of the moment  
On the one hand, Columbus was a big slave owning jerk who missed judge the size of the world and got lucky. On the other hand, I kind of wish I had the day off too, dammit.
Picture of our group from yesterday's Honk Fest Parade... that's Chris, leader of the kids who joined us from the Conservatory Lab Charter School. Check out this Oral History of the Honk Festival, or this set of photos

Sweetgreen's "Roasted Turkey + Fall Vegetables Salad" is AMAZING. Brussel sporuts and sweet potatoes and I was worried cranberry vinaigrette would be too sweet but it's kind of perfect.
"From a gardening book: Don't plant an oak tree or you'll break some gardener's heart in 350 years."
--Tom P.
A buddy - giant horror fan and radio show runner - is kickstarting a genderswap'd take on Dracula. Should be fun!


  ...of the moment  
Interesting Times! Marching in the Honk! Parade today, then tonight I fly to the UK for work for a week. I don't feel like i should be a nervous traveller, but one thing I've learned in the past few years is that I am, that the days before a big trip I'm all wound up. I think it's just the sheer number of known unknowns, unknown unknowns, and little chances to be hosed by own lack of competence, slash familiarity with wherever the hell I'm going: from missing a damn plane to forgetting a passport (got that one covered at least) to not realizing I need a Visa (I don't) to just screwing up Customs or the customs.
I've decided to nickname my tuba "Beauty"

Honk! Parade went well.

Is imperturbability to bad news something you are born with, or can you will and practice it into being? And would it come at the cost of other, more positive strong reactions?
"I said to Aaron, upset, why are they all so angry here? & he took my hand gently and said, that's just how they talk in Boston."
"Life is meaningless, but you can customize the meaninglessness."


  ...of the moment  
"There are many decent, honorable men on the Yankees who truly have no idea they are doing the devil's work."
The show Dr. Katz's Bar scenes use a pinball sample that is the same as my iPhone ringtone. Very distracting.

(1) tea not love

  ...of the moment  
RIP Dennis Ritchie; hooray for the C language.

(1) 2010.10.13

--Love this Chris Ware cover for the New Yorker

  ...of the moment  

(2) would you believe, there's not a man on the moon

--Primitive and Beautiful model of the lunar lander, from Life Magazine.

But, damn it, I can't come to terms with the fact that the last person on the moon was there before I was born.

  ...of the moment  
I like how everyone is always calling their pets the best pets and i constantly yell at my cats THAT THEY ARE THE WORST CATS EVER
"But most archaeologists, astronomers and Maya say the only thing likely to hit Earth is a meteor shower of New Age philosophy, pop astronomy, Internet doomsday rumors and TV specials"

(6) at the topsfield fair
So, like I suggested yesterday, EB and EBSO and EBB and I went to the Topsfield Fair...

EBM and Mac, faithful canine, seeing us off.

It is getting to be foliage season. (Sigh, nature's beautiful coma.) I like the layer effect and motion in this photo.

One of the other rides they had there was the "Earthquake"... I loved the art on the side...

But you know, if you were really trying to survive during a major geological upheaval and resulting catastrophe, maybe it would be better NOT TO HAVE A LIT STICK OF DYNAMITE IN YOUR HAND. Just sayin'.

I guess a more recent variant on "Calvin peeing on a [Chevy|Ford] Symbol" is "Calvin kneeling at the Cross".

EBSO+EBB, nice mother/daughter photo.

So we saw us some agriculture and livestock... Topsfield is the oldest agricultural fair in the USA (since 1818!)

They had big pumpkins...

REALLY BIG pumpkins.

I tried to capture the stately dignity of a cow.


Of course one of the best parts of any fair are those giant turkey legs...

O jeez this is awkward.


  ...of the moment  
Not only working today but there's the regular all-division townhall meeting at 8:30... Nokia Finnish overlords know not from Columbus!
<<we've got a long way to go / it's beyond Martin Luther, upgrade computer>>
Listening to MP3 playlist versions of R+B mixtapes I made for my car in 1996. The 90s were a good decade for mixtapes.
"Now lets take it on home! 'Cause ummm.... we gotta go home!" --Marge Simpson, "Springfield Soul Stew"

(4) octobrrr
Rockport again, Rockport again, Jiggity Jig.

Man, it's getting cold again. Why do non-snowsport-enthusiasts live this far north again. Is it, like, mostly habit?

Link of the Moment
While I've never actually rolled a meaningful D20 'round the gaming table, I liked reading the RPG rules and sourcebooks when I was a kid. This Literary Sources of D&D page was intriguing, seeing where in literary fantasy the designers of the game cribbed from.

Cartoon of the Moment
--Basic Instructions, how to write haiku. I've never seen my vague sense of disappointment with "funny" haiku called out like that.

(11) buffasnow
Sweet Jimminy Crickets, Buffalo under 2 feet of snow. Not a promising start to a winter they're saying could be a doozy.

Then again they say that most years, but still.

Cartooning of the Moment
Oh, nifty, Gabe of Penny Arcade has his own art blog, including this video (WARNING: he threw a soundtrack with its fair share of cussing, so turn down the volume if your not so inclined) of him inking Boba Fett:

I find it interesting (in small doses at least) because I'm trying to get my own PC/comic mojo working. I do need to get the software working for the variable width linestrokes.

Anecdote of the Moment
"'Promise me solemnly,' I said to her as she lay on what I believed to be her death bed, 'if you find in the world beyond the grave that you can communicate with me--that there is some way in which you can make me aware of your continued existence--promise me solemnly that you will never, never avail yourself of it.' She recovered and never, never forgave me."
--Samuel Butler

(2) this site was made for ramblin'
Thought of the Moment
Can you make an Impressionist game? A game where the formal system conveys the following?
  • The object you seek to understand is not visible or depicted.
  • Negative space is more important than shape.
  • Repetition with variation is central to understanding.
The answer is, of course you can. It's called Minesweeper.

--Raph Koster, "A Theory of Fun for Game Design", talking about Impressionist art in different media and how Games could follow some of the same ideas.

Ramble of the Moment
I've been thinking about the conventional wisdom concerning the similarities between Apple and Nintendo. (Heh, back in 1988 then Apple-president identified "Nintendo!" as Apple's biggest threat.) Neither is the market leader in their fields, but both are well-respected, with a rabid fanbase (plus a few naysayers), and producing some really striking design work.

It was when I was temporarily unable to recall the name of the iPod "Shuffle" that it hit me how many products Apple has churned out lately. I suppose many companies churn out wide product lines, but no one combines the innovation and sense of design of Apple. (The effect may be exaggerated by my personal sense of "time speeding up"...I couldn't find a complete product timeline.) Consider the online Apple Store... desktop-wise there were those old fruity iMacs (which of course harkened back to the original Macintosh, which was probably the most innovative thing of all!) and that was it for a while (except for the brilliant but ill-fated silent Mac cube...) but more recently there was that one with the swinging arm (no longer sold I guess), the other one where the CPU, DVD etc are built into the back of the screen (an idea I saw on a few PCs in the 90s, but crappily done), and the Mini. Laptop-wise, less distinction but great execution, and I admire their realization that some people prefer smaller, more lappable laptops (and shouldn't pay hugely inflated prices for it, ala Sony's pintsized models.)

iPod-wise, it was that one for a long while, then came the Mini (now totally eclipsed by the Nano, which is probably why Ksenia was able to get a 100% rebate on one when she bought her powerbook), the screenless "stick of gum" Shuffle, the impressive Nano, and then newer models with screens and, finally, video.

I can't think of any company that has matched, though Nintendo comes close. Most famously they're known for the terrible flop of the Virtual Boy (strain your neck peering through the binocular-like, ugly red goggles, and just generally feel like a total tool even further removed from the real world...) but they've done a lot of industry-advancing things...cross pad arrangement of buttons and shoulder buttons on the SNES controller, analog stick with 4 built-in ports on the N64, the cool clamshell of the GBA SP, and the twinscreen / touchscreen of the DS.

Nintendo seems to be taking another gamble with the "Revolution" and its controllers. Initial images of the remote-control looking controllers are almost alarmingly reminiscent of the Phillips CDi system. (My Aunt enjoyed the Backgammon game, but that's about it.) Supposedly, though, they're very good at tracking position and rotation. They used similar gimmicks on certain GBA titles (most notably "WarioWare Twisted") and the responsiveness of the new "in space" controllers should be much better than similar gadgets in the past.

These should allow for some unique and distinctive gameplay forms, ones that might have an appeal to a huge swath of gamers. Nintendo is fighting against the "elitism" of games (described by Raph Koster in his "Theory of Fun" book) where game designers start catering to their hardcore fan-base 'til finally the barriers to entry are surprisingly high. Anyone could step-up to Pac-Man or Space Invaders and start interacting, but not so much for, say, Halo or Mario Sunshine. It's a gamble, but it's refreshing--especially since Microsoft's Xbox 360 and Sony's PS3 seem geared around "more of the same, but prettier."

Hmm. I'm not sure if I have much of a point with all this, except...Hooray for scrappy companies doing good design!

(1) "Lisa, I've had it with you and your stories. 'Bart's a vampire.' 'Beer kills brain cells.' Now let's go back to that... building thingy... where our beds and TV... is."
Thought of the Moment
Today on the way to work I thought I saw a headline that read "Beer Recall." It was actually "Beef Recall," and the story explained the discovery of mad cow disease in the United States. Mad cow disease is a condition that causes wasting away of the brain, leading to dementia, loss of coordination, and death.

Now, will somebody explain to me why they're -not- recalling beer?
--David Hinerman, rec.humor.funny

Congratulationss of the Moment
Over my mom's three year stay in London she did some plays with the Beckenham Theatre Centre...she was Miss Daisy in "Driving Miss Daisy", she played Katharine Hepburn's role in "On Golden Pond", and she played the mother character in "Butterflies Are Free". She found out she was nominated for a new annual Beckenham Theatre award, the Beatties, (and her name is Betty, oddly enough) so she flew back there for the ceremony this weekend, and she got the award for Best Leading Actress for what she did in "On Golden Pond". How cool is that? Unfortunately I didn't get to see her in any of her roles, but other members of our extended family did...

Site of the Moment (nothing to do with the browser plugin as far as I can tell) is Phillip Torrone's site with tons of cool gadget hackery...once again I find myself longing to be better at that kind of thing. Alas, I seem to be an almost 100% software kind of guy.

(2) and on and on
Sometimes I'm startled by how much time I've been working on some of my online projects, but mostly I'm amazed at how they aren't much older than some other well-established things in my life. For instance, it seems like I've been doing the LoveBlender digest forever, and it surprises me to realize that the Blender took its new form (and got mentioned in The New Yorker) August/September of 1997, and I started going out with Mo just a few months after that...and that I started the PalmPilot journal, the journal from which this blog springs, in the Spring of that same year. (And of course, all of that was only like a year out of college!) And I started the blog version of my journal late 2000 (I probably should've just waited for the new year, but I liked the idea of at some point being able to say it started in 2000), and that seems like an eternity ago...but my wedding (6 months later) and WTC (9 months later) seem much closer than that. (It somehow seems odd to me that I'd only been doing the blog for 6 months before getting married, and that there's so much more blog "after" than "before".)

So what's it all mean? I dunno!

Passage of the Moment
The Internation Express man couldn't understand it. I mean, in the old days, and it wasn't that long ago really, there had been an angler every dozen years along the bank; courting couples had come to listen to the splish and gurgle of the river, and to hold hands, and to get all lovey-dovey in the Sussex sunset. He'd done that with Maud, his missus, before they were married. They'd come here to spoon, and on one memorable occasion, fork.
--Neil Gaiman/Terry Pratchett, "Good Omens"

Article of the Moment
I've always been a fan of Thurber, this Slate review of a book of his letters had some nice high-level analysis of his life and times.

(Solved) Nintendo Mystery of the Moment
Planet Nintendo talked about a very odd little tune that was showing up hidden in various Nintendo games...pretty cool and mysterious, though a relatively prosaic explanation exists, alas. But the whole idea of it was very provocative...

Headline of the Moment
CNN really does have the best headlines... Researchers: Monkeys use mind to move objects...I knew the research it was referring to (which seems a little behind what other folks are doing with artifical vision systems) but for a split second, I had to think "Oh my monkeys are using the Force!" This might be how "Planet of the Apes" really gets started, you know.

(1) the march of progress, with fries
Technology of the Moment
Some McDonalds now have little ATM-like machines where you can place your order. On the one hand, I'm not crazy about one of the canonical sources of low end jobs becoming fully automated...on the other hand, I loved using this machine. I wanted one of those Salad Shakers, and all my options for "in stock" salads and dressings were right there, same for beverages. The touch screen was very responsive, it took credit cards, and even though it annoying plugged its apple pies, all in all it was a better experience. It wasn't totally devoid of human contact, everything is still people based where you go to pick up your food, but it just made things easier. (And to think I had been impressed by another McD's that had flat panels up above the counter where the menus are...seeing videos of coffee and what not feels very Blade Runnerish.)

Funny of the Moment
"Son...your mother tells me that you don't believe in Santa Claus. Is that true?"
"That's right. I'm not going to pretend I believe in that junk, just because it makes you and mom happy."
"Welcome to adulthood, son. Hope you enjoy playing with pants and socks, because that's all you'll be getting as presents from now on."
--A Red Meat Cartoon. Wish I could find the "Chill out, Spartacus" one online.

(3) thoughts of the produce section 4
Hey, my high school best friend Mike's in town, with his friend Dave. I feel like I'm a pretty bad host when it comes to knowing how to show off a city, though.

Thoughts of the Produce Section 4

Notes: The pumpkin is kind of at the intersection of a few fairy tale ideas. The apple is a bit lovelorn. The potato is a reformed hippy, and the asparagus (tough to draw those) is spouting what I think sounds like old European wisdom. These four conclude my Palm-based Thoughts of the Produce section, though I still have some pixeltime ones to go.(More on the history of Thoughts of the Produce Section)

KHftCEA 1998-10 October CB KHftCEA 1999-10.2 October

KHftCEA 1999-10.2 October

"Exceptional my ass!"
-Something About Mary, on "special" population
Looked up "Derek Doyle Superman" on dejanews. Besides learning that Rebekah's beau has refered to himself as "The Surfer", I came to the realisation that his fascination with Superman seems to come from a desire for pure absolutes in his heroes, something I find rather destructive.
I'm seriously thinking about seeing if my dad's companion Tracy would consent to a taped conversation about my dad. I'd be willing to drive out to upstate New York- hmm, maybe on the way to Syracuse?
KHftCEA 1998-10 October CB

SALAMANCA, NY--Captain and Mrs. James Israel were adopted into the Seneca Nation of Indians recently.  Mrs. Israel was adopted by George Heron of the "Hawk Clan" and Captain Israel was adopted by Mrs. Harriett Pierce of the "Bear Clan." Pictured are Mr. Heron, Mrs. Captain Israel, Kirk Logan Israel, Mrs. Helen Harris, representing the Hawk Clan Mother; Mrs. Pierce; and Captain Israel
          --The War Cry / March 27,1982
Falling in love happens like multiplication. Unfortunately, broken hearts heal only at the slow pace of addition.

< retrospect: 13 oct >