September 1, 2009 Header
Smorgasborg - Random Objects

February 2010 Thirty-two posts

The Sky Above The Port

The sky above the port was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel.

(image via suddenly and crossposted to Nueva Ciudad)

Measuring weight loss with a belt

I don’t have a scale handy that is capable of giving my weight, but I’m skeptical about whether that number is meaningful anyway.

What is meaningful is the amount of belt I could be using. It looks like about 6 inches (a little more than 15 cm) of loss on my waist in the past year or so.

Belt positions, Feb 27, 2010

MAS, has a post about his skepticism of Body Mass Index. Hugh Jackman and Mike Tyson at his peak would measure as “Obese” according to the BMI, basically. In that post he cites The Frankie Method for measuring leanness. Frankie was a trainer at a former gym of MAS, and his measure was: “Can you see your abs? If no, then you are too fat.” My answer to that is still no, but I can see the outlines of where they will be.

I made a diagram:

The Frankie Method for measuring leanness

TPM Barnett on social networking technology

It’s about the people and relationships first, technology second:

I think one of the reasons why such connecting technologies get underappreciated or underused is that we manage to cast the whole process as some revolutionary new mode of behavior, when it’s not. The same interpersonal skills apply, it’s merely the scope and speed that changes.

I learned that on the blog: you don’t adapt yourself to the medium, you adapt the medium to yourself, because nothing else really works and the creation of false fronts loses out over the long term to authenticity in all its glorious forms.

From If the Internet doesn’t change the way our minds think, then why do we assume social networks change the way we communicate?, responding to A world of connections: Online social networks are changing the way people communicate, work and play, and mostly for the better, says Martin Giles, in The Economist.

Paul M Bowers

In this post from 8 years ago, I mention Paul M Bowers, a photographer that was around the corner from us at AVENCOM in San Diego. He took many of our photos.

I thought I’d check out his site,, and see how it had changed. I’m actually sort of delighted that it is the same as it was. It’s a pretty good looking site, and works pretty well. The design of this site was mostly mine. I think he came to us with a static image of the top part of the site (the 4 top images) and I was tasked with making it “active” using “DHTML” — which is a fancy way of saying I added JavaScript and animated GIFs. screenshot

The JavaScript, while being 8 years old, is actually not all that bad. I think, no, I’m pretty much sure, I could write it in about a quarter of the amount of code.

function WM_preloadImages() {

// WM_preloadImages()
// Usage: WM_preloadImages('image 1 URL', 'image 2 URL', 'image 3 URL', ...);

  if (document.images) {
    if (typeof(document.WM) == 'undefined'){
      document.WM = new Object();
    document.WM.loadedImages = new Array();
    var argLength = WM_preloadImages.arguments.length;
    for(arg=0;arg array_control-1)
    {w=0} else {w=w+1};
if ((x+1) > array_control-1)
    {x=0} else {x=x+1};
if ((y+1) > control_array-1)
    {y=0} else {y=y+1};
if ((z+1) > control_array-1)
    {z=0} else {z=z+1};

// then we do it again, because
// we want to change two at a time
if ((w+1) > array_control-1)
    {w=0} else {w=w+1};
if ((x+1) > array_control-1)
    {x=0} else {x=x+1};
if ((y+1) > control_array-1)
    {y=0} else {y=y+1};
if ((z+1) > control_array-1)
    {z=0} else {z=z+1};

    // now, we do the four rollovers!




    // time to change the four links!




function initiateLinks() {




I am very pleased that it all seems to work correctly, still, in Firefox, Safari, and Chrome.

I’m further very proud of the “See Me” and “Touch Me” icons I made using Illustrator and PhotoShop.

His photos are great too, though I bet he has newer ones now. 🙂

A Movie About Chatroulette

I have not used it. This movie encapsulates why Chatroulette is cool, and also why I probably won’t ever use it. Waxy pointed to this video first, I think. Danah Boyd writes about what is extraordinary about the Chatroulette. There are a few curse words in the video.

Lyrics of the Day; Dialogue of the Day

Don’t Forget Your Old Shipmates:

Safe and sound at home again, let the waters roar, Jack.
Safe and sound at home again, let the waters roar, Jack.
Long we’ve tossed on the rolling main, now we’re safe ashore, Jack.
Don’t forget yer old shipmates, faldee raldee raldee raldee rye-eye-doe!
We have worked the self-same gun, quarterdeck division.
Sponger I and loader you, through the whole commission.
Long we’ve tossed on the rolling main, now we’re safe ashore, Jack.
Don’t forget yer old shipmates, faldee raldee raldee raldee rye-eye-doe!

via Master & Commander: The Far Side of the World

Quote of the Day:

Capt. Jack Aubrey: Do you want to see a guillotine in Piccadilly?
Crew: No!
Capt. Jack Aubrey: Want to call that raggedy-ass Napoleon your king?
Crew: No!
Capt. Jack Aubrey: You want your children to sing the “La Marseillaise?”
Crew: NO!

Jesse Schell: Beyond Facebook

Making the rounds today is a talk by Jesse Schell, of Schell Games who is an instructor at the Entertainment Technology Center at Carnegie Mellon University. He also has a blog called Things I Finished.

His talk is full of insights that are very vivid. Here is the video of his talk from DICE, and the slide deck.

Beyond Facebook from Jesse Schell

Stupid Relentless Cancer

I have written about my Mom and her struggle with cancer before, starting in 2007: here and here and here and here and here and here.

Here we are, in 2010, two and a half years later and my Mom keeps moving forward. All the energy on display in those prior blog posts is there pretty much all the time. She’s a whirling dervish of activity. She plays bridge, she learns mahjong, she lunches, she goes to Adoration. She seems to know everyone and everyone seems to know her.

Leah and I are here day in and day out, now. While Mom has her ups and downs, she manages to keep her sun-shiny attitude pretty well intact. She’s happier and more fully actualized than most people I know.

I’ve not written anything about how she’s doing. Her regimen for many many months has been to take the drug Sutent for two weeks on, one week off. It takes a toll–sometimes she can’t complete a full 14 day cycle before taking a break. It seems to be working though, we think it’s the Sutent that shrinks the existing tumors.

She came back from her main cancer doc today, and it looks like it’s time for more radiation. The most recent MRI and CT scans showed some new growths, but also shrinkages of the existing growths, in both her brain and lungs. The new growths are in bad enough spots that her main doctor seems to think it’s time to do Gamma Knife again. That means a trip to Pittsburgh.

It’s frustrating how relentless cancer is. It simply will not sleep and my Mom is doing a pretty great job battling it. She watches what she eats–she tried being vegan and vegetarian for a while–with mixed results. She continues to moderate her diet and habits to try and stay healthy. She’s gotten lucky. Some would say that prayer has played a big role. She certainly has many people praying for her: Catholic, Christian, New Age, Jewish, Agnostic, Mormon, and even Atheists. (Probably more than that even). Her prognosis is mixed, Stage IV is plenty serious.

I’m really glad Leah and I decided to stay here in Roanoke for a while. It’s been a great chance for me and leah to get to know my folks better. It seems for about 15 years I have only seen them maybe 4 or 5 days a year.

I don’t have an ending for this post, that’s the update. Despite the title being “Stupid Relentless Cancer” — I don’t think cancer is an irresistible force. And if it is, I think my Mom might be an immovable object. So the outcome is not predetermined.

Zappa Plays Zappa

Zappa Plays Zappa

On Saturday, December 13, 2008, I had the pleasure to see Zappa Plays Zappa. I failed to write extensively about it, I only mentioned it. I had a wonderful time.

You can see other writings where I mention Mr. Zappa by viewing blog posts tagged “frank-zappa”.

And of course there is my old short piece I am a Frank Zappa fan.

I will say the performance of the epic, wonderful, funny, silly, Billy The Mountain had me weeping about the fact that I never saw Frank Zappa perform live.

You can see ZPZ if you want, or check out some video snippets and related material. There’s a video you can buy of course, but see it live if you can.

I would also be remiss if I didn’t mention my favorite Zappa blogger and twitterer: Kill Ugly Radio · @killuglyradio.

Pinguino made a duct tape dress

Designer, cartoonist, cool person Pinguino made a dress out of duct tape. That is awesome.

pinguino duct tape dress

More photos.

←January 2010March 2010→