| < retrospect: 26 sep >

September 26, 2016

Thoughts about Romeo and Juliet. It's a *lot* more complex than "wait, just two kids whose dumb romance gets everyone killed".
"when you push a pull door and the person behind says 'you need to pull' aye cheers lad sure next plan was to start lifting from the bottom"
-- Why does everything sound better written in UK English?

September 26, 2015

Big E, Big E, Can't you see, somehow fried martini petrifies me.

September 26, 2014

I was almost persuaded to buy a PS4 last night, but couldn't justify it - still no killer app, though my buddy tried to pitch their "Playstation Plus" program as a way of getting exposed to some neat indie-ish stuff. Any thoughts? I think the new Saints Row 4 expansion is going to be on 360 too, so...

September 26, 2013

(2 comments) - my dev blog has been quiet for a bit but a little bit more interesting these days.
"being a programmer is fucked up because a real person shouldn't be skeptical when things just work"
When did Justin Timberlake start looking like Michael Stipe?

September 26, 2012


Benjamin Franklin Acquires Electricity, via 22words

"Having all the answers just means you've been asking boring questions."
--e horne and j comeau,
"He wrote to tell me about Krishnamurti, a spiritual leader who died in 1986. Krishnamurti was once asked what is the most appropriate thing to say to a friend who was about to die. He answered 'Tell your friend that in his death, a part of you dies and goes with him. Wherever he goes, you also go. He will not be alone."
--Randy Pausch
"But superstition, like belief, must die,
And what remains when disbelief has gone?
Grass, weedy pavement, brambles, buttress, sky,"
--Philip Larkin, from "Church Going"
"People with the best self-control aren't the ones who use it all day long. They're the people who structure their lives so they conserve it."
--John Tierney

something beyond dancing

(1 comment)
September 26, 2011

I swear this guy moves like he's blue screened on the background, and then...
Weird, scary dreams of a family manor haunted by ghosts, but mostly the just moved my shoes, and I couldn't be sure it wasn't just me.
Lately I've become a little obsessed with that hairless patch in front of the ear, behind the sideburn. Guess it keeps hearing unmuffled, an evolutionary advantage...
Wolfram Alpha: it's like Wikipedia for all the crap you don't actually care about.

making the rounds...

(1 comment)
September 26, 2010

After seeing some guy on a bike on an empty baseball diamond scoop up a football, I wondered if there's "bicycle polo" out there- why yes there is!
Just found out the secret to hooking up my old (240p??) N64 and new 1080p projector - ye olde "TVBOX", VGA out - 4player Dr Mario ahoy!
"Twenty-two astronauts were born in Ohio. What is it about your state that makes people want to flee the Earth?"
--Stephen Colbert

portugal: berardo museum / aqueduct / bica

September 26, 2009

--from a Series of Video Game makeovers. Would be fun to use graphics like this in a real game.

Photoblog of the Moment
My antepenultimate morning in Portugal! That pretty much stretched right into my penultimate morning in Portugal...
Breakfast, rolls with cheese and/or nutella-

I guess Marcos' street can be pretty quiet...

So Marcos and I set out for the "Berardo Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art". Here is an action shot of a tram he liked...

I think this is the monastary--

Amber-- DISASTER FILM! (I actually have little idea what that's about.)

Marcos thought the architecture blended in with the area well - actually this is kind of across the street from the Bethlehem Tower.

Abstract work of green glass outside the museum,

or rather, of many wine bottles-

A call to arms to create!

"Google Plane" had a sky painte underneath and aeriel shots of the ground painted on top. This is where a helpful guy told us that while the area is littered with banners mentioning the free ticket nature of Berardo, it's not actually, you know, available as they switch stuff around over this month.

Its ok though - one of the exhibits they did have was "quick, quick, slow" (and a right sexy name for an exhibit that is), a part of a multi-site "EXD'09 Experimental Design" set of exhibits. "quick, quick, slow", subtitled "word, image, and time" had some cool historical bits as well as some web- and java-based things not unlike some of the Java processing stuff I do. You can see this Calendar that John Maeda made for Shiseido in 1997. (I need to check out the rest of his site)

One of the historical pieces, this one was showing the divorce rate in German in the first part of the 20th century.

Another one of those things you could see online - it had a potentially interesting study in historical and comissioned screensavers, but as soon as you wiggled the mouse it just went back to this not so interesting page, with some links.

They also had a collection of great movie opening credits, from "North by Northwest" to "Lost in Translation". Back in the lobby, I liked how they showed what you can and can't do in the place.

Then we had lunch with Marcos' best friend Diogo... the riverside restaurant had a great setting.

Man, rental scooters - you'd have to be a bit brave to take one of those around town I think.

We happened to see his kids heading home with the sitter so we gave them a lift... sleepy family moment.

Then Marcos and I set out to see the aqueduct from the top--

It's kind of nice how it curves along. There were just too sleepy park guard types at one end, I'm sort of surprised its not more popular, but then again, maybe not.

At one point because of some construction you have to duck inside and go across.

Overlooking the town

Nice views.

Looked like a model trainset...

Coming back the sky looked threatening, but you know, I've never seen rain in Portugal.

Door art.

Dunno what kind of berries these are--

Ahh, beautiful time to lay back and watch the planes...

Ok, enough of that, time for futebol!

So for dinner, 10ish (it is striking how much more night-oriented life is here) we went to the restaurants and bars riverside. They had fish--

Marcos and Eliane--

It was under the bridge - the howl of the traffic was something. As were the fish...

These fish are the river's equivalent of scroungy pigeons or rats--

So we came home, then around midnight it was time to head out. We met up with his older brother Manuel and HIS friend Diogo, and then we went to Bica-- I think this is the "Elevador da Bica" for the long and steep-ish street. Most of the life seems to be spilled out on the street, as you can kind of see behind the trolley.

Marcos, Diogo.

In one of the bars, they had one of those claw machines, but it was crumpled up, original signed and numbered artwork.


Working the crowd was a guy selling veggie burgers...

Alright, time to look for another bar.

Entrance to the next place was kind of under the bridge--

Not many worthwhile shots from inside, where it some kind of book launch party was wrapping up, but by the time we were done it was - yees, 4?

We had to go walk for Marcos' car--

but we'd have to rush back / to the towns best baker / to get the first bread of the morning / there's more to life than this...

...for example, at the other bakers, there are those super tasty Berliner-type dounts.

Marcos family has an apartment right next to brilliant poet Fernando Pessoa, he of the Heteronyms... - Marcos set this up, with his role in the Council of Europe (sort of a non-defunct European League of Nations)

rainy friday

September 26, 2008
Sometimes I think that the main thing I miss by getting my news online is access to really good weather reports. There really isn't a report in any of the websites on my regular schedule, if I go to I usually can't be bothered to actually watch the video, and sometimes I forget to listen to the right bits of public radio. So this pseudo-tropical storm was almost a complete surprise to me when I heard about some flood warnings last night.

Links of the Moment
A parade of reviews for iPhone apps along with a Top 10 "Top 10 iPhone flaws metalist. And the Computer Error Message Hall of Fame.

Quote of the Moment
"You must realize that the computer has it in for you. The irrefutable proof of this is that the computer always does what you tell it to do."
--Silicon Wisdom

"This is my skeleton / This is the skin its in / That is, according to light / And gravity"
"The Postman Always Rings Twice" -- nice, taut read, but... no postmen! Wonder if I should even bother with "The Iceman Cometh".
"lost a game I didn't even know I was playing... not the first time in my life for that"-- on being "tricked" into first beer for beer:30

it's bidness time!

September 26, 2007
I'm such a fair-weather fan. Sure, I gotta root for the Red Sox, but man, going from 14 ahead to barely keeping the division title is disheartening. But Cleveland is this year's little engine that could. And frankly, the city needs it more, in part because of the awful awful Browns and also... it's Cleveland. (OK, cheap shot, but the city is muddling through tough times.) If either team won it all I'd be pretty happy.

Video of the Moment
--Flight of the Conchords, "It's Business Time". A little raunchy in the most droll way imaginable. I was introduced to this by some gal at a party who really, really loved it and was duly impressed by my ability to find and play the video on my iPhone. Actually it's partially the memory of her Ethel Merman-ing "It's BIDNESS TIME!" that leads me to post it here.

Quote of the Moment
"Politics -- the gentle art of getting votes from the poor and campaign funds from the rich by promising to protect each from the other."
--Oscar Ameringer

Article of the Moment
Disturbingly captivating tale of hanging out with real life pirates in South Asia from National Geographic.

"billy, you're cheating yourself, if there's 25% divided among the five of you, that's 14% a piece!"

September 26, 2006
So widescreen seems to be all the rage for laptops these days, including the one I use for work. Actually that has inspired me to start putting my Windows task tray on the side, at least when using a screen with that 16x9 proportion or something like it. And I tend to put it on the right side, so it's not in contention with my default "My Computer" icon and what not, pushing those icons around.

<geek>It's weird to say but the distinctive placement has actually helped me to start to bond with this laptop. Also, I isolated why it was running its hard drive all the time: something to do with running Apache. S'funny, I wouldn't think it would provoke that much disk activity on its own, nor does it seem like the "tipping point" of triggering swapping to the hard disk.</geek>

Video of the Moment

--How 25% split among 5 people adds up to 14% each, demonstrated via division, multiplication, and even addition. Clever! (Thanks Nick B!)

The division notation is interesting, but I think the version I learned (with the "work in progress" answer on top) probably makes it easier to keep your place.

Currency of the Moment
Wow... the Yap Islands actually use giant stone disks-- like up to 8 feet tall-- as currency... I thought that that was just something Douglas Adams made up! Cool! The Everything2 page has a bit more information as well.

c'mon feel the noise

September 26, 2005
Quote of the Moment
"Nowadays men lead lives of noisy desperation."
--James Thurber

HOWTO of the Moment
Speaking of noisy desperation...I don't know if this will be useful to anyone else, but I was at a site that was generating some CSV (comma seperated value) data...IE kept opening the content up in an embedded excel spreadsheet, but we wanted it as a downloadable file. Unfortunately we had to edit some Windows settings, here's the procedure: How to make sure windows offers to download CSV not open up Excel in same window...
  1. In Explorer, Select Tools|Folder Options from menu
  2. Go to "File Types" Tab
  3. Select "XLS" from long list
  4. Click "Advanced"
  5. Check "Confirm open after download" and "Always show extension",
  6. unclick "Browse in same window"
Now you know! Maybe this will be useful to someone, possibly my future self if it comes up again.

lord of the plbbbbt

September 26, 2004
Juvenile Humor of the Moment
Ok, this is funny in the tweleve-year-oldest sense of the word possible...the Good Lord How That Stinks! Was That You? of the Rings video. It did make me giggle out loud, so it gets a link...

Helpful Web Hint of the Moment
So yesterday's grumble about typing "www." inspired some interesting conversation, including the rosser pointing out that in IE, you can type just the "unique" part of a .com URL and it fills in the http://www. and .com for you when you type ctrl-enter.

Makes me wonder if the UK version defaults to .com or ...

like a cheetah but different

September 26, 2003
Photo of the Moment
--Mo went to an acupuncturist the other day, and also had some "cupping" done. Mo now has spots! Actually, they're kind of like giant hickeys...

I'm almost suprised that my inner-skeptic isn't dismissive of acupuncture. I'm not sure I buy into all the explanations about why it works, but (even though I haven't researched it much) there does seem to be some empirical, or at the very least strong anecodatal, evidence for what it claims to be able to do.

Dialog of the Moment
"I learned a lot from that encounter group you sent me to."
"Everyone was totally honest. We told each other what we really thought of each other. No one was allowed to get away with any falsehood or insincerity"
"You must've learned a lot about yourself."
"Yes, I learned how valuable self-deception can be."
--Stuart Hample's 'Inside Woody Allen' comicstrip.

Link of the Moment
Hey Kids! WIN BIG! With REAL! SUPER MARKETING: Ads From The Comic Books! Great for a Quick Browse! Or a Good Long Read!!

News of the Moment
Europe is about to launch their first moon probe. "Despite decades of research, we have never fully discovered what the Moon is made of," says Manuel Grande at UK's Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, who built the spacecraft's X-ray spectrometer. Haha! So my cheese theory has not yet been disproven!

Update of the Moment
Dang, I was wondering if someone would have something (hopefully nice!) to say about a slightly risque picture of Mo...then again I've always found jeans sexy. And Mo sexy. Despite the acu-hickeys.


September 26, 2002
It's a darkening time.

For starters, of course, there's literally less daylight. I think we've officially turned the corner where it seems to get dark "early", like 7. Most assuredly I live too far north for my own good. And the weather's still holding, but there are some hints that winter is on its cold and ice-laden way.

Then there's the war. Yet again, we are really going to war. Maybe it'll go ok, modulo a spike in oil prices, a worse recession, ever-deepening hatred of the United States, future terrorism, all that, but we don't know what we're gonna do with it after. You know, Iraq is not stupid, once you factor out Saddam's thuggish worldview. Sometimes they play us and International Opinion like a violin. (And you know, I haven't heard much about the fact that Iraq stopped the inspections when it was clearly proven that the inspectors were spies for the US. We're convinced we can get away with anything.)

And the economy...gak. My company had some minor layoffs a few weeks ago. Mostly "junior developers" who had earlier been working on the product that was replaced with a new acquisition and had been retrained for work on our grand march Java product, management thought they weren't pulling their weight or something. But a big core piece of that project is now in the hands of one of them consulting firms from India...never a good sign. My bet is hedged a little bit, I'm the one developer on a conversion bit for the old legacy systems and the new acquisition, but y'know, I'm very jumpy. I dunno what to do. Haven't voluntarily looked for work since the downturn. And I'd even feel guilty, some developers don't even have jobs in the first place. (Ooh, maybe I shouldn't be posting this in public; ah well. I do like it ok there, but I no longer feel I can relax about it. I want to be able to take having a job for granted for a while.)


I'm off to Florida with Mo, for her 10 Year High School Reunion, so there will be filler for the next couple of days.

One Bright Note
Spirited Away is a bit of a bright point. We saw it with Peterman and Leslee the other day, arguably the best movie I've seen all year, a cross between Alice in Wonderland and...well, a lot of things. One of the characters (the first one to show up in the flash animation on that link, actually) is "No-Face" who wears a simple stylized mask. Peterman pointed out that this is a clever little pun, because the mask is from "Noh", a Japanese performance art. Noh masks are known for their ability to have different expressions depending on the viewing angle, as shown here if you look closely. (I guess the ability to have both happiness and sadness is a pretty obvious metaphor for how I feel right now.)

andre the giant has a posse

September 26, 2001
Phenomenology of the Moment
Andre the Giant has a Posse, baby. Stickers and Stencils with this theme used to show up all around Cambridge and Somerville, I think you can still see his visage on lamp posts near Porter Square. There's a really interesting story behind it. And now it's gone even farther. I printed out a poster of this original image and have it in my cubicle. I'm stickin' it to the man!

Quote of the Moment
My goal in life: Make it as close to a wacky sitcom as possible. So right now I've got the unfinished house, the crazy British girl, the actor/Reservist roommate, and the unseen character of Tom. Close.
--Dylan Murray (Hi Dylan), September 25, 2001. If I remember correctly this has been a long term goal of his.

Links of the Moment
A February 1999 interview with bin Laden. Has a seriously ominous close. Contrast this with an essay by Yusuf Islam, the artist formerly known as "Cat Stevens". True Islam is actually one of the better religions, in terms of peace and's almost like it's being misused as a rough form of cultural glue. Finally, it's the face of evil as a geeky lanky teen.

< retrospect: 26 sep >