Monday, May 31, 2004

Better than the hemp victrola

Okay, I know I should stop picking apart spelling in blog comments when I'm no better, but a music-playing jute box would be pretty cool. We could revitalize the Bangladeshi economy! Yow!

I know the bug, his wire running down into the hole

The bug, a crude coloring from a crude sketch from last week.

Teaching myself how to use The Gimp would be easier with a tablet.

Sunday, May 30, 2004

Uh, is this thing on?

A test of posting pictures; why buck a trend?

Friday, May 28, 2004

I always forget to shave

You can not see, but I just did a little dance. I have license plates and stickers and pieces of paper and reciepts and a new shiny laminated plastic rectangle with my name on it to replace the older, less shiny laminated rectangle. I am also a few hundred dollars poorer, BUT!

Today I will go the repair store place and give them some more hundreds of dollars, and I will put the new plates and stickers on, and then I will DRIVE HOME. Well, I'll probably stop at the grocery store right accross the street first, but after that I will DRIVE HOME.


I always forget to shave the day I get a license/passport/photo ID/etc. Always. I mean what, did I not expect to be at the DMV? "Oh, how'd I get here? Where did my birth certificate come from? I didn't mean to bring these papers here, but I might as well..."

Then again, at least the picture is more accurate this way.


Stardust: Our instincts usually calculate odds poorly. For example:

On the game show "Let's Make a Deal", Montey Hall asks you to pick between three doors. Each is equally likely of hiding a prize. You pick door #1. Montey shows you that door #3 didn't contain the prize, and asks if you want to pick door #2 or stay with door #1.

The kicker is that knowing what's behind door #3 doesn't change the probability that door #1 is right. When you picked door #1, you had a one-in-three chance of picking correctly, and you still have a one-in-three chance after door #3 is revealed ... unless you switch.

Some time back I also heard game theory experts analyze Millionaire. The verdict: no one takes enough risk.

Also, the bit about fear reminds me of the movie Defending Your Life. I'm not a fan of Albert Brooks, but I liked part of the premise: your life (at least this time around) is evaluated based on fear. Whether or not you overcame your fear to do the right thing is pretty much the only basis for deciding if you get to go to a better place when you die.

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Cicada Concerto

The sound of a swarm of 17-year cicadas in person is pretty cool. It needs to be mandatory, in-person listing for anyone who designs sounds and timbres for a living.

These cicadas sound like the nice whirring sound a Foxtail nunchucks make when you spin it. There’s a pulsing to it that doesn’t very much in pitch, but not a pulse with nay rhythm or order. You can’t count the beats of a thousand buzzing insects.

I thought the whirring was mostly lots of beating wings. Maybe because I was closer to the middle of them yesterday, or because there’s fewer now that many have done their business, but it’s easier to pick out that the sound is the composite of a thousand ugly screams.

I thought it was cute the day before. Inspired by a Mac Hall comic, I let a few land and crawl around. One little bugger crawled up my on shoulder, sang his little two-note song, and flew off.

Now they screech binotonous as they whack themselves the window next to my bed.


The normal summer cicadas haven't gone anywhere. (The usual local variety apparentlyallegedly sound the same as in Japan — a movie I saw on UHF last year and some Anime — can't remember which — have used the sound as shorthand for "it's now summer".) The regulars were aurally fighting it out with the tourists Monday afternoon. I was rooting for the annual home team with their raspy “ssseeeep-ssseeeep”; they're not any less ugly, but at least they don’t sound like hundreds of faint recordings of "The Torment of Alvin, Simon, and Theodore" played simultaneously.

Friday, May 21, 2004

Running away vs. giving in

My main home computer went down last week. It hadn't been set up for productive stuff — I was mostly using it to play games and screw around.

I was writing a few blog posts at home and then taking them via sneakernet to somewhere with a better network connection. This past week I took out an old composition book, but I keep on forgetting to bring it with me anywhere. From what I last wrote, all I remember is:

Waves' constant crashing

Burnt sand or salt water drenched?
Even gulls wet their feet

Friday, May 07, 2004


This is a post I started writing a month ago, hence the Passover reference. I still haven't said what I want in the last few lines, so I'm just going to post this now and try to rehash that last part later.

In Friday's post, the ̣H is supposed to be a guttural (like the German 'ch'). What's weird is that I need to enter the dot before the H for it to appear correctly in the web interface when I edit blog posts, but I need to have it after the H for it to look right when it's pushed out to the web page.

I'll be honest: in the last few years I've been wavering about my own Judaism. Part of the reason why I was happy to be moving back in 2001 was because I'd be somewhere with an actual sizable Jewish community (by dint of population density and averages if nothing else). But I'm questioning my faith even more now that I did then.

For one thing, I haven't really done anything to involve myself in the local community. Sure, I went to the informal study classes that I really, really liked, but with a thirty- to forty-minute trip each way every Monday evening and with me having enough problems as it is getting up on time the next morning, I've let that go. I thought where I was moving to would be close enough to a shul, but honestly I'm farther than practical walking distance, especially on a hot, humid summer day. And even when I do go, I usually don't bother to fight my own recent tendency to remove myself from people and hide in the corner.

I'm also trying to educate myself in being more reasoned, rational, and empirical. Everywhere I look the reasoning and empirically based folks are anti-religion if not atheists. How can I believe in the Gd of my fathers who, in this Passover season, "rescued us [from Egypt] with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm"? The plagues? The parting of the sea? The earth opening up and swallowing Korach? "Let there be light"? But despite my doubts, I still want to believe there is something — some overarching thing, a deity. And even if I have trouble believing, I still want to sit down and pray, and I still want to study Talmud and its millennia of wisdom. Maybe I just need to pick up Critique of Pure Reason.

I always liked the story of Jacob wrestling with an angel, because it always struck me as representing a man trying to come to terms with his own faith. Neither truly wins: Jacob wins because time runs out, but gets a dislocated hip that never completely heals. The Rabbis say that this battle lasts the one night, but it also lasts all of Jacob's life in a way.

I like thinking we should wrestle with our beliefs and try to come to terms; we should take all our lives and search for answers only to never find them.

Wednesday, May 05, 2004


Ah, a return. In case you care, the car is still in the shop. I have to get new tags, and I can't do that without the car passing inspection, and I was just told today it needs $200+ worth of parts and labor to get it up to spec. So it's going to be a little while longer.

I really haven't wanted to use this blog to moan and whinge. I don't want to sensor myself, but it's as much as a disservice to myself is the reader. Taking time here to wallow in the doldrums makes it that much harder to pull myself out. If I start whining, please hit me or something. At least let me know.

Hello, me. It's me again.

I feel demoralized every time I walk out the door. It's like there's two of me, and every time I go anywhere the smart H has to the stupid H, "Now, H, do you have your keys with you?" The dumb side feels a blow to his pride from being talked down to, and the smart side feels frustrated because the dumb side never seems to learn. And both sides feel lower and more frustrated because I know the times I forget to ask are the times I lose my keys.