| archive | last weeks

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Sometimes, it seems so weird that Waze loves to get me from my place to 93 via my alma mater Tufts University... Curtis Street ahoy!


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It's a shame they end this with a kid looking so dazed and skeptical, because some of these seniors are dancing great and having a blast. People need to get over the "old people aren't really people and shouldn't do things."


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Reza Aslan vs Biblical Literalism. Last night at my UU Science and Spirtuality I went on kind of a minirant, about how Literalism and Fundamentalism is just one of the most self-centered, unempathetic, pig-headed ways of being; you're so convinced of your truth/Truth that you totally dismiss (at best! Too often you get violent or at least condescending) the equally fervently held truth/Truth of all the other religions and doctrines. And not only that, according to Aslan, not even your own church's founders were so intent and insisting Truth = truth.

I was counseled to try and be less harshly judgemental, that Us vs Them Rah-Rahism is such a human and historically recurrent thing, but it's tough. I still think Fundamentalism, whether Christian, Moslem, Atheist, Communist, Anarcho-Capitalist, whatever, when you grab onto ideas with such ferocity that the humanity and empathy and kindness is scrunched out, is the biggest block to human progress. It's why I want to be such an Extremist Moderate. (And I am not unaware of the rhetorical risks of contradiction of this stance.)
I enjoyed the wheelbarrow full of air.

iPhone 6 finally arrived! I think as a an object of design, it's probably the most boring iPhone yet; just a big video billboard with rounded edges. The good part is that it's thinness makes a case less unpleasant, so on a whim months ago I had a custom case made with my old James Harvey Alien Bill commission. (This is only the plain 6; it might look larger so close to the mirror...)

"i put the ':/' in 'http://'."


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"And compare 'this is the way the world ends, not with a bang but whimper'--incidentally, one of the least likely scientific prophecies ever made--"
--C.P.Snow, "The Two Cultures and The Scientific Revolution"
"But there is more to passwords than their annoyance. In our authorship of them, in the fact that we construct them so that we (and only we) will remember them, they take on secret lives. Many of our passwords are suffused with pathos, mischief, sometimes even poetry. Often they have rich back stories. A motivational mantra, a swipe at the boss, a hidden shrine to a lost love, an inside joke with ourselves, a defining emotional scar -- these keepsake passwords, as I came to call them, are like tchotchkes of our inner lives. They derive from anything: Scripture, horoscopes, nicknames, lyrics, book passages. Like a tattoo on a private part of the body, they tend to be intimate, compact and expressive."
--Ian Urbina, The Secret Life of Passwords. My go-to "less secure" passwords have a highschool tinge, and my "more secure" is based on a typing test.


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"If my life wasn't funny it would just be true, and that is unacceptable."
--Carrie Fisher
The fact of the matter is, Greg was a lot of fun-- especially for a Republican, and he had great stories. I mean, this is a guy who had shared an office with Bush. But a long time ago. When Dubya was just George Sr.'s son. So they shared this little office and Greg once told me, "You know what Bush has as one of his many gifts? He can fart on command (in keeping with his jolly-college-good-old-frat-boy persona.)" And Greg said that what Bush used to do -- when Greg would be expecting people for a meeting -- W. would come in and fart in the office and then run, leaving Greg in the midst of it. Like someone in a cloud of marijuana smoke. And then the people Greg was meeting with would come in and, of course, they would find Greg surrounded by this awful smell. It's not dissimilar to what President Bush has done to the country.
--Carrie Fisher, "Wishful Drinking"
The snow in Buffalo is kind of making me nervous.


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So, a few weeks late, here's what the costume for me and my tuba looked like on Dunster Rd Halloween night... I'm not sure if my makeup actually looked "skull-like" as was its intention, but overall it kind of added to the effect. Or maybe the affect.

Even though it was reviled as being inconsistent and unpredictable, I preferred the old OSX "zoom" button behavior, where it (kinda sorta) maximized the window within the context of the current set of windows over the new "take over the whole screen world" pattern it has in Yosemite. I often want a bit more real estate for a given window, and rarely am I thinking "boy I wish I was looking at this window AND NOTHING ELSE MATTERS IN MY COMPUTER'S WORLD".

Besides predictability (especially when resizing browsers; some people found it odd that it didn't always try to be as wide as possible) I suppose Apple is trying to catch an iOS-like sense of "focus on this one thing" monotasking, and so they hide the dock and title bar. Personally, I think this is a UX misthink; a flavor of multitasking (or at least quick task switching) is fundamental to many people's use of a laptop or desktop.

(I like how Windows 7 did it; the window still takes up the full screen, but then you can reposition it)

Anyway, you can hold "option" when you click the green circle, and then gets the old zoom behavior; I just wish there was a way to switch which one was the default.

November Blender of Love!

So, New Orleans changed its basketball team name to "Pelicans"?
They're bitter about Utah hogging the name "Jazz", but somehow passed on the name "Krewe" or "Brass". Too bad!
Ah, Inbox + Todo List Zero! It has been a while.


  ...of the moment - awesome posters for never made sequels. I love how this one lets a terrible artist like me really think about what signifies male and female in sketch forms, without resorting to my usual "boobs and eyelashes" style of doodling women. (I have a plastic Iron Giant on my desk at work, actually, despite only barely having seen the film, I just dig the design.)


  ...of the moment - The song of the comet fits Flight of the Bumbleebee... (though to be picky, just like the lander, I'm not quite sure it sticks the landing)
Not sure if this photo montage captures it, but sometimes I really love the clouds around the seaport district.

What the heck 7. Everything else under 11 is cool with just being one syllable. Go over there and stand with W.

busy busy busy


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Oh man, Morning Edition is talking about this medical worker going off to fight Ebola, and keeping an audio diary. Hasn't he played, like, Bioshock? Having an audio diary for the player to come across later is a kiss of death!
But imagine if marriage didn't exist- and you're a guy, and you ask a woman to get married. Imagine what that conversation would be like. You'd be like:
'Hey, so, y'know, we been hanging out together, spending a lot of time together and everything--"
'Ya ya, I know!'
'I wanna keep doin' that 'til your DEAD.'
'I wanna keep hangin' out with you 'til one of use DIES. Put this ring on your finger so people know we have an arrangement.'
'Wha- Wha--- Who's that guy?'
'It's a priest. I want you to swear to God you won't back out of this deal.'
'Wha- What's he wheeling in?'
'It's a cake with two tiny dolls that look like us. EAT A SLICE... now feed a little bit to me [CHOMP]'
'Uh-h-uh this is really strange, why are we doing this?'
-Aziz Ansari, from his special "Buried Alive" (I posted it last year.)
Sometimes I think I'm weirdly boolean in my thinking. A friend posts about a week being "frustratingly annoying" (and yet only Monday) and you know, rather than assuming a reasonable "sub-optimal, but readily survivable and there will be better weeks ahead" somehow I go 0-100 and figure things are gloom and doom and terrible. It's hard to grasp how many shades of gray (we need to not give up that phrase despite unfortunate literary reference) there are just in what things ARE.

Every tool is a weapon if you hold it right. And every Designed Thing is a compromise in competing priorities - I mean, it's not all relative, some designs and ideas are better on so many important fronts that it would be silly to not think of them as objectively "better overall", but sometimes - not so much.

This comes up in programming. Its sometimes difficult for me to have enough faith in a given toolkit to accept not knowing it 100%, just enough to get by. It's a knack. There are some lousy programmers who are always content with the 10% knowledge, but the quest for knowing ALL about something before you can use it is hopeless.

I imagine parenting would have some of the same pitfalls, at even greater stakes.


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"And if these pictures have anything important to say to future generations, it's this: I was here. I existed. I was young, I was happy, and someone cared enough about me in this world to take my picture."
--Robin William's character in "One Hour Photo". I think about this quote as I read Internet K-Hole, now a tumblr; photos from the 70s, 80s, 90s. (Occasionally women flashing their boobs, or people otherwise not dressed, so a little NSFW.) I really dig the reminder of there was goofy fun life way back when, even if we didn't make records of it quite as often as we do now...


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Cora @ 4 months + 6 months; Great Baby, or Greatest Baby?