| < retrospect: 29 jul >

July 29, 2016

Best of 2008... highlight was a 2-week trip Japan

Josh took me to see the Kamakura Daibutsu, "The Giant Buddha of Kamakura". It's a bit reminiscent of the Statue of Liberty, albeit not quite as tall - but you can go inside of it and look around.

This image is my current Desktop wallpaper. Originally oddly cropped in order to get the moon and a hawk in the frame at once, I call it "Peek-a-Buddha"

Weekends were stuff close to Tokyo with Josh, but during the week days I would travel on my own. This is the "A-Bomb Dome" in Hiroshima; originally "The Product Exhibition Hall building" and one of the few structures not to be flattened by the blast and ensuing fires.

Back in Tokyo; Shinjuku district, I believe.

View from the bullet train. (There's a great national rail pass that only tourists can get, and the adherence to the posted arrival times was remarkable. Also remarkable was the weather variation you could see as you travelled; most of time it was very Spring-like March, but then I caught this scene out of the window.) I like it's soft focus and happenstance composition.

Back in Boston; my friend JZ. We met at Enpocket/Nokia (the Refresh job only lasted a year because of budgetary reasons.) These were enjoyable "bachelor boy" days, spending a lot of time walking around and playing video games.

I had dinner at Legal Seafoods with my Uncle Bill and a server was walking around showing this behemoth.

Family reunion in Ocean Grove, New Jersey.

The cousins did some boogie boarding at the shore.

Sarah throws an annual Jack-O-Lantern making party. Mine is the Astronaut helmet one, fifth from the left... maybe a little too abstract?

Miller threw a halloween party, here's Ariana doing her best "Wicked" pose.

Nice family shot of EB and his family as I helped them select a Christmas tree.

"Nothing in the world is as old as what was futuristic in the past."
--Ben Lerner (in his 2014 novel 10:04)
The Freewright is a uni-tasking, distraction free, mechanical keyboard, don't go back and edit just keep writing word processor that also synchs up to the cloud. Very cool concept, it appeals to me in the same way scratching out things on the original Palm Pilot I bought a few months ago does.

July 29, 2015

I'm going to operate on the assumption that there's a decent chance your day will be improved by an image of Katharine Hepburn on a skateboard.


July 29, 2014


"3D printing is the macrame of the 2010s."
"It could be said that, in many ways, the trombone is the Village People of musical instruments."
"'Obama thinks he's king. He's so arrogant. Everything is about him. Please subscribe to the TV channel I named after myself' - Sarah Palin"

July 29, 2013

Trigger warnings galore, this is one of the most disgusting local abuses of power I've ever seen... Thank God there was a video record of it, and that the broken system at least kept the tape undeleted.

"Sousaphonic Cityscape" from JP Honk Band @ Figment 2013

(Someone else's photo, but my horn!)

ww2 survey

July 29, 2012
I've been following WW2 Tweets from 1940, following WW2 events in "real time but tape-delayed" by 62 years. (There's a related Facebook Page) Today they republished some survey results that were in Life magazine. They summarized it as "56% think Germany will win the war - against 24% for Allies. 70% for immediate draft." but the question I liked best was the final one:
That seems like a lot of optimism to me, considering! But we muddled through.
I liked how the London Olympics opening had a tribute to the National Health, but I wondered if they were showing off to the Americans

the yooper doopers

July 29, 2011

4/6 of my team "The Yooper Doopers" at the Boston waterfront, during the Cashunt photo scavenger hunt part of Alleyoop's Summer Fun Day.

geon and on and on and on

July 29, 2010
In Pinker's "How The Mind Works" he touches on "Geons" -- a theory that the brain uses a smallish set of basic visual/structural elements (akin to atoms, but on a larger level) to remember what things look like, and identify them later, even if the image we're looking at is at a funny angle, in different colors, etc. Here's an example, showing 5 Geons and some common objects that could be described with them:
I am very bummed that I can't find a "complete" list with all 24 Geons anywhere online. It's an intriguing idea though, complete with some nice testable implications. (It's not 100% complete in terms of describing how we identify things in theworld, but -- as Pinker argues at length -- the brain may also have a set of additional task-specific subsystems, for example, a different way of identifying and "reading" faces, and that would not destroy the basic theory.
"Sith. What kind of a word is that? Sith. It sounds to me like the noise that emerges when you block one nostril and blow through the other, but to George Lucas it is a name that trumpets evil."
--Anthony Lane, "Space Case"
"Evolutionary speaking, there is seldom any mystery in why we seek the goals we seek--why, for example, people would rather make love with an attractive partner then get a slap on the belly with a wet fish."
-- Steven Pinker, "How the Mind Works"
"There are three possible parts to a date, of which at least two must be offered: entertainment, food, and affection. It is customary to begin a series of dates with a great deal of entertainment, a moderate amount of food, and the merest suggestion of affection. As the amount of affection increases, the entertainment can be reduced proportionately. When the affection IS the entertainment, we no longer call it dating. Under no circumstances can the food be omitted."
--Miss Manners' Guide to Excruciatingly Correct Behaviour
"If men could only know each other, they would neither idolize nor hate."
--Elbert Hubbard
Panasonic RP-HJE 130: Cleverest earbud packaging ever?

The "Golden Record" on the Voyager probes has an hour of Carl Sagan's wife's brainwaves, including a bit on what it's like to be in love.
Weird iOS 4 bug- when music is playing, but you get the music controls on the lock screen, the play triangle never becomes a pause icon? Odd
"The only thing for which they should have used wood-grained plastic was the coffin of the man who invented wood-grained plastic."
--James Lileks
Daniel Shore died? Nuts!


July 29, 2009

--Animation by Antonio Linhares. Been thinking about Raymond Scott lately. It's too bad his quintet's version of his "Powerhouse" doesn't have the- well, power- of Carl Stalling's Loony Tunes version, which the first minute of this is based on. (Maybe I should rip this as an MP3...I purchased a Carl Stalling mp3 from Amazon, but this cut wasn't stand alone, just mashed in with all the rest.) - learn the term "rescission", and question if a gov't agency is gonna be worse than a for-profit HMO. - "like BattleBots, but with money". I always suspected greedier, smarter people than me were running my stock market ideas...
Dave Sim's Tangent vs Valerie Solanas SCUM manifesto - FIGHT! Lets see who can be the most screwed up about the other gender. (Still like Solanas' "zestfully, lustfully, tearing off a piece" description of good sex.) - When Pigs Fly flash game by dessgeega, I get a playtester credit in the ingame credits. Neat!!!

he's a brainiac, brainiac, on the flo-o-or

July 29, 2008
One final note on Hawkins' "On Intelligence"... he describes the neocortex as being a 6 or so level hierarchy of neurons, with each layer providing another level of abstraction and pattern recognition.

This reminded me of the description of Superman's foe Brainiac as possessing a "12th level intellect". That would make total sense in this model, 6 more levels of neurons (or whatever) could grant him superhuman abilities to analyze, pick out patterns, etc etc. (Of course the blinking lights attached to head probably help as well.)

It's a minor "life imitating art" moment, like how Star Trek's computers draining enough power to dim the lights seemed like silly fiction to me when I was comparing it to my Commodore 64, which seemed to operate at a steady state, but now I'm all too aware that running computationally expensive things like movies and fancy games on modern laptops and smartphones will drain battery life and make things run hotter.

Quote of the Moment
"Money comes and money goes. The days just go."
--"J sub D" quoting some young punk on Carpe Dieming... sure, it's a bit of the folly of youth, and money doesn't generally arrive unless asked, but it's a good point.

I feel... I dunno, malleable? After reading the Hawkins book on the mind maybe. F Scott Fitzgerald Tender is the Night is great or terrible
Still a bursting-at-the-seams with stuff I need to get rid of work in progress, but got my apt. settled enough to vacuum. Yay Guest Prep!

this july in photographs

July 29, 2007
Nice advice from a bumper sticker:

One thing it's easy to miss with fireworks
is how they light up the faces of your fellow watchers.

And they were some mighty fireworks!

Am I missing something, or is this like
the world's least ambitious helicopter?

I was impressed that this syrup
(declining to be more labled more specifically than "breakfast")
managed to have not its top but
TOP TWO ingredients be corn syrup.

Jersey shore. It seems you get a lot of sunset shots
facing over the water, but not as many going the other way.

Best shot I took at Six Flags.


July 29, 2006
So Ksenia's been watching the hell out of the complete set of Ally McBeal we got.

One thing about that show: lots of great shots of Boston.

Quote of the Moment
"I guess that's the story of life: what you most fear never happens, but what you most yearn for never happens either. This is the difference between life and fiction. I suppose it's a good trade-off. But I'm not sure."
--Philip K. Dick, in some author's notes on "The Days of Perky Pat".

Image of the Moment
From CNN, "A man cleans a poster of Hezbollah chief Nasrallah." At the risk of being completely culturally insensitive, I'd say one thing I like about the West currently is that we DON'T have giant-head posters of political and group leaders up and about for the most part. Even the most numbskulled George W. supporter limits it to a "W" bumpersticker, or in the most extreme cases a small portrait on top of the TV.

Which reminds me of this other quote from the author's commentary of the Philip K. Dick anthology I just finished:
Hitler had once said that the true victory of the Nazis would be to force its enemies, the United States in particular, to become like the Third Reich--i.e. a totalitarian society--in order to win. Hitler, then, expected to win even in losing.
I wonder how that quote fits into the often asymmetric "war against terror." "We" can't quite ever look like "them", because we're a society, and they're a small group. But their power to guess our responses and then work horrific misdeeds to shape those responses gives one pause.


July 29, 2005
Yeesh, most of this week has been pretty lame for this site. Sorry about that. I guess I'm just not up to being my cool self as usual.

Funny of the Moment
Heisenberg may have slept here.
--Fortune file
Actually, we have scientifically determined that Heisenberg did indeed sleep exactly here. However, we have no idea whatsoever just how fast asleep he was.
--Dave Aronson, alt.sysadmin.recovery

Observation of the Moment
This is probably too geek pseudo-deep for many kisraelites to get, but if you wanted a single, shining example of the fundamental difference in outlook between DOS/Windows and Unix, I'd say it can be condensed into the single fact that in a DOS Window you can type "cd.." without the space and it works.

To someone with more of a Microsoftish approach to life, it's a good example of a UI accomodating the user, but to someone steeped in the Unix tradition it violates the principle of doing that which surprises the (knowledgable) user least, breaking the guidelines set for using small sets of simple rules to do great things.

you must be mistaken

(1 comment)
July 29, 2004
Quote of the Moment
"If I had to live my life again, I'd make the same mistakes, only sooner."
--Tallulah Bankhead

Offer of the Moment
Anyone want a pair of tickets to Cirque de Soleil on August 7, $150 for both? Great seats, says my coworker...

Wrongness of the Moment
As he entered the room within which so many a wild night of their sweltering love affair had been spent, the White Rabbit regarded her with benevolent eyes, her posture such that he suspected something was wrong, but before he could speak Alice unburied her face from her trembling hands and between her intense sobs he made out the words, "I'm late . . . I'm late."
--Cory Gano, this year's Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest. Some good stuff, but there's too much of it to get through without starting to think "I've seen this before..."

yorkshire bank plc are fascist bastards

July 29, 2003
Wacky News of the Moment
Also from The Guardian, news of a certain Michael Howard of Leeds, who, outraged at being charged £20 for a £10 overdraft, legally changed his name to "Yorkshire Bank PLC Are Fascist Bastards." When the bank asked him to close his account, Mr. Bastards demanded that they pay out the 69-pence balance by a cheque made out in his new name.
--via Planet Proctor in The Funny Times, the funniest collection of cartoons and articles in a monthly newspaper I've ever seen. (It's the only paper I get delivered.)

Philisophical BS of the Moment
The first proposed title for the TV show "Married With Children" was "Not the Cosbys". They were setting themselves up the opposite of The Cosby Show, so to speak. White instead of black, way lower middle class instead of borderline wealthy, mean instead of supportive, bawdy humor instead of Cosby's more family friendly fare. For a second, though, I wondered if "Good Times" (the one with J.J.Walker going "Dyn-o-mite!") would have been an anti-Cosby, since it was also about black life.

I dithered a moment about which one was the better "Not the Cosbys", a comedy with mainly white people or a comedy with mainly black people, but then I thought, what about a drama with white people? Isn't comedy the opposite of drama? But I'm still thinking of TV shows. What's the opposite of a TV series? A radio series? How far do we need to go with this?

It hit me; there can never be any such thing as a "total opposite" for anything, because otherwise there'd be no basis for comparison. Black/White? Both races. Or colors. (Well, not really colors, but you know what I mean.) Tall/Short? Both heights. Both words. Both concepts. You have to find out how things are the same before you're able to see there on opposite ends of a spectrum. And some spectrums don't have opposites, as far as I can tell...what's the opposite of a human? (Other than my fourth grade math teacher, I mean.)

I guess this is similar to how people who insist "more unique" is not a valid construction are so full of it...nothing is absolutely unique (everything falls in some kind of category), or everything is (no two things are exactly the same.) So therefore, it's logical and useful to think of "uniqueness" as a spectrum.

I don't know how "deep" this idea is (probably not very) but Beer Philosopher 101 is always a fun game to play.

Quote of the Moment
"No matter what the shrinks, or the pundits, or the self-help books tell you, when it comes to love, it's luck."
--Woody Allen, Celebrity. I think we saw this film and afterwards Mo said "you know, that felt a lot like Woody Allen flick". (Allen is not actually in it, but Kenneth Branagh does a darn fine impersonation.)

grout to the masses

July 29, 2002
Went to my Great Uncle Frank's 90th birthday celebration yesterday...saw the side of my family that I don't see enough of. Plus over the weekend I actually helped Mo with grouting in the bathroom shower. Actually, with the cleanup, getting rid of a great deal of excess grout on the tiles. And despite Mo's best attempts, I'm not learning to love it. (Hmm, the next to bits involve glue and dust...isn't that kind of what grout is?)

Link of the Moment
I saw this around a while back. Cool in a DIY-geek way, it's ThisToThat, chock full of advice on gluing things to...other things. Mostly focused on common household materials, such as paper, wood, metal, etc.

Quote of the Moment
Everyone must have two pockets, so that he can reach into the one or the other, according to his needs. In his right pocket are to be the words: "For my sake was the world created," and in his left: "I am dust and ashes."
--Hasidic Saying, via Zach

just some links

July 29, 2001
Quote of the Moment
"The male has a negative Midas touch--everything he touches turns to shit."
Valerie Solanas, SCUM (Society for Cutting Up Men) Manifesto. This is the woman who Shot Andy Warhol. Interesting diatribe. Never heard of receiving the sexual favor of a woman described as "zestfully, lustfully, tearing off a piece". Also, "groovy" seems to have had a deeper meaning than the little campy phrase we use now it as now.

News of the Moment
Man, some Golf Officials are real jerks. A potentially amazing breakthrough for an autistic child being set aside for some niggling little rule. Using a "Slippery Slope" argument is, amusingly enough, a slippery slope.

Geek Link of the Moment
I've been meaning to post this for a while, a study on the psychology of people's passwords. Though since one of the cardinal words of passwords is don't tell yours to random people, you wonder how they conducted the survey. (via this slashdot article, with some interesting if long-winded conversation about it.)
KHftCEA 1997-07.3 July KHftCEA 1998-07.2 July CB KHftCEA 1999-07.5 July KHftCEA 1999-07.6 July KHftCEA 2000-07.2 July

KHftCEA 2000-07.2 July

Be cheerful while you are alive.
--Phathotep, 24th Century B.C.
So, if there is a God, I think most reasonable people might agree that he's at least incompetent, and maybe, just maybe, doesn't give a shit. Doesn't give a shit, which I admire in a person, and which would explain a lot of these bad results.
--George Carlin
All programmers are playwrights and all computers are lousy actors.
My car has 39999.8 miles... .9... 40k
KHftCEA 1999-07.6 July

Read in the news about how in 10 years power consumption may well exceed supply (wonder if that includes electric car ambitions?) Suddenly, visions of a grungy cyberpunk future seem that much more plausible.
KHftCEA 1999-07.5 July

Two Belgrade residents are having coffee together. One says, "How do you feel about the bombing last night?" The other takes a long sip of coffee and replies, "Well, I feel I was missed."
--Joke from the Former Yugoslavia
Jim Thorpe- athlete of the century?
"Good looks aren't everything.  It's also important to have loose morals."
--Culture Time: 20 Pat Midnight 99-7-28
"If all else fails, immortality can always be assured by spectacular error."
--John Kenneth Galbraith
"I thought I wanted a career, turns out I just wanted paychecks."
--net.humor: "Sarcastic Remarks"
KHftCEA 1998-07.2 July CB

It's the ones who resist that we most want to kiss
Wouldn't you say?
          --George Michael, "Cowboys and Angels"
Questioning the Religous System = MetaSin = Medicine.  Heh.
KHftCEA 1997-07.3 July

i fear going to a foriegn country 'cause i'm going to fall for EVERYBODY who has an accent...

< retrospect: 29 jul >