Friday, December 13, 2019

Friday Links!

This has been a long-term problem in this country that no one wants to talk about: At War With the Truth.

This is magnificent: Chili's Menu, by Cormac McCarthy. This is excellent: Short documentary about famous live concert bootlegger.

Just so many, and more to come: Five charged in alleged $722 million cryptocurrency Ponzi scheme.

From Geoff Engelstein, and uh-oh: When a DNA Test Says You’re a Younger Man, Who Lives 5,000 Miles Away.

From Wally, and it's a good way to enjoy a short but happy life: MotoBASE jump. This is both fascinating and strange in every conceivable way: Inside the outrageously prestigious world of falcon influencers. These are amazing: Sci-Fi Inspired Cardboard Sculptures by Greg Olijnyk Feature Fully Articulated Limbs and Working Motors. Here are some terrific solar system pictures that give you a sense of scale: 27 Pictures That Will Make You Reevaluate Your Entire Existence. This is unquestionably niche and strangely mesmerizing: 1929 Air Compressor Restoration - Restored to New Condition.

From Ken Piper, and it's a terrific read: Why the ‘Queen of Shitty Robots’ Renounced Her Crown. This is an incredible story: The Influencer and the Hit Man.

From Guy Byars, and it's a lovely, touching story: Lovers in Auschwitz, Reunited 72 Years Later. He Had One Question.

A load of quality links from C. Lee. First, and it's a great read, it's How William Gibson Keeps His Science Fiction Real. This is a wonderful and delightful story: The Lie That Helped Build Nintendo. This is pretty damned alarming: Only 9% of 15-year-olds can tell the difference between fact and opinion.

Thursday, December 12, 2019

I Am Freddy Mercury, Destroyer Of Worlds

Just click on that screenshot for a larger image. It's uncanny.


I'm burnin' through the sky, yeah
Two hundred degrees
That's why they call me Mister Fahrenheit
I'm traveling at the speed of light.

Ideally, I would have named my captain Mr. Fahrenheit, but Enormous Bottoms is still my go-to character name, because it's never not funny. 

In ironic conjunction theater, I'm also having a colonoscopy today (routine). 

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Star Citizen and the Curse of Abundance

I occasionally read about Star Citizen "development."

Development began in 2011. I wouldn't be surprised at all if the game still isn't complete in 2026. No one else would be, either.

I started thinking about Star Citizen's fundamental problem, and it's abundance. That sounds strange, right? Well, stick with me, and I'll explain.

Creating anything involves making decisions. Lots of them. And many of those decisions are based on constraints. Haiku is an obvious example. Those constraints are part of the process that creates art, whether it's writing or music or art.

Or games, which have some of all three in them.

Star Citizen, though, has no constraints. They've already blown through $250M, and there's always more pouring in. "Joe, we need two million dollars by Friday. Make a JPEG of a spaceship shaped liked a Funyon and sell the hell out of it."

If someone is going to pay you to make a computer game for an unlimited length of time, why not just continue making it? Add any feature you want, as long as it's cool. Don't worry about it being necessary, because the whales will pay.

If somebody was paying me $100,000 a year to write The Man You Trust, I can guarantee you that I would never finish it. There would be no constraints to force me to make decisions. It would just keep getting longer and longer and longer. I'd really enjoy the lack of creative stress, but the finished product (if I ever finished it) wouldn't be very good. It would be bloated and incredibly indulgent.

In other words, it would be a lot like Star Citizen.

As long as adequate funding is available, Star Citizen is going to exist in some strange paradox where the funding that makes development possible also makes it impossible to complete.   

An Interesting Work Environment

For some reason, the Christmas music is playing at death metal volume today.

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

A Question

Has anyone ever been to the National Hobo Museum in Britt, Iowa? If so, please email and share your impressions. Thanks.

Parking Lots

I got lost in a parking lot last week, for a while.

I do that all the time. I get distracted, I'm thinking about ten different things, and I wind up with only the vaguest notion of where I parked.

In a normal place, that's not a problem. In MichiCanada, though, it's a big mistake this time of year.

So I started thinking about it, and I came up with a solution. For me, at least, and if you have the same problem, maybe for you.

When I'm in a big parking lot, I never leave the car and angle to my location. I either walk across the rows, or down a row, but it's always a straight path. I've always done this, but I realized that could lead to a very simple method.

There are two different approaches.

If I walk down a row, when I reach the end of the row, I do a row count. When I come out, I just count to the row and walk up. It doesn't matter where my car is along the row, because I'll get to it eventually.

If I'm walking across rows, I count how many spaces I am from the end of the row. When I leave, I just count to that number, then start walking across. I'll run into it at some point.

Depending on what direction I exit, there's only one piece of information I need to remember. The other piece is really not important. I'm not finding an intersection anymore, I'm just finding a line. Somehow that's much less likely to fall out of my head, no matter what else is rattling around in there.

Yes, This Is My Gaming News Holiday Cheer

Nintendo announced a sequel to Golf Story on the Switch.

Golf Story was bonkers in absolutely the best way, one of my favorite games of 2017. It was a solid golf game with character progression and a charming and wacky story, and all I wanted was more of it.

Enter Sports Story. The same framework, but more sports, and the trailer is predictably crazy (hit the link). At least six different sports, combined in unlikely ways, as well as a "Decathasportathon" or something like that.

Mid-2020, allegedly.

Obscure References, Vol. 4

NFC East Division games are like watching 22 men on Ambien run around in full pads.

Monday, December 09, 2019

More Than You Expect From A Matinee

[I'm using "*" in an attempt to avoid setting off work filters. You'll see why.]

We went to see Knives Out yesterday.

This is a default holiday movie for the olds, obviously, so I had certain expectations. One of those expectations was definitely not to hear a woman arguing with someone about fifteen minutes into the film. That person walked out, and the woman continued to berate him as he left, then she stood up, smoker's voice full of fury, and began berating the rest of us. "Enjoy your piece of shit racist, anti-Semitic movie," she shouted. She walked across the theater, then yelled, "He*l H*tler, motherf*ckers," and gave the Naz* salute on her way out.

"I didn't see that coming at all from the preview," I said.

As far as I can tell, there were no Jewish characters in the movie and no references to Jews or Jewish tropes of any kind. She also appeared to be the only person in a 100+ person audience to take offense,  and no one knows what actually offended her, so I'm still a little baffled as to what was going on. Deep in her cups, perhaps. Very deep.

Two hours later, the movie ended and we walked out. "The people next to me were talking the whole time," Gloria said.

"Of course they were," I said. "They couldn't hear half the dialogue. This is a known issue with the olds. Look around." She did, and almost everyone was even older than us. "This is why movies made by people should be enjoyed away from people."

I believe this is sound advice.

Friday, December 06, 2019

Friday Links!

It's been a struggle this week, but my elbow has about 90% of movement back (not strength, but I don't need strength for keyboarding), so I should be back to normal on Monday.

How amazing is this? Aerial radar turns up a Viking ship in a farmer’s field.

I always thought this made sense: give money to the people who will actually spend it. What would happen if we randomly gave $1,000 to poor families? Now we know.

From Matt Teets, and it's a terrific listen: The Punchline | Radiolab (John Scott in the NHL All-Star Game).

From Mark H., and somehow it's always the Russians: Migrating Russian eagles run up huge data roaming charges.

From Wally, and it's eye-opening (sorry): The Great American Eye-Exam Scam. This is delicious: The Case of the Felonious Bread. A fascinating companion piece: A Conversation With the Team That Made Bread With Ancient Egyptian Yeast. This is disturbing: John Barnett on Why He Won’t Fly on a Boeing 787 Dreamliner. And then it all went terribly wrong: Crane Operator Fails At Doing His Job So Terribly That It's Actually Glorious. Seems reasonable: I ditched Google for DuckDuckGo. Here's why you should too. An excellent read: What Japan’s love of nostalgia says about its economy.

From C. Lee, and it's a disgrace: Ford workers break their silence on faulty transmissions: 'Everybody knew'. An interesting read: Japan youth sinks in reading skills on global aptitude index.

Thursday, December 05, 2019

A Savvy Use of Alliteration


Could this possibly be about a Hanukkah-observant hamster? I would like to live in such a world.

To find out, all I needed to do was open the book.

I didn't, of course. I just couldn't kill Schrödinger's hamster.

"Party Cloudy" Means Cloudy In Varying Densities

A local meteorologist said that we've had 18 minutes of sunshine in the last week.

Unlike many weather-related claims, this one is 99.82% accurate. It's only off by 18 minutes. 

Wednesday, December 04, 2019

More Pictures As My Arm Stubbornly Remains Attached

It really is beautiful at times:



It's even more beautiful when it melts.

Gloria made these before Thanksgiving for Eli 18.3. Next level:



That's right: cinnamon roll bacon turkeys, with candy noses.

A true Minnesota fan:



He looks like a character out of a lumberjack adaptation of A Midsummer Night's Dream.

Tuesday, December 03, 2019

The Holidays Have Officially Begun


Hi, Evan!

When "Partly" Just Never Occurs To You

Resolute In Winter, A Small Horse

Monday, December 02, 2019

Breaking News

Macy's has men's slippers on sale for Cyber Monday. Please stagger your arrival times accordingly.

I Still Have Two Arms

The procedure went fine, but my keyboarding time is still pretty low, so there will be a couple of picture days this week.

If you're wondering how PRP therapy works, here's a quick overview. A surprisingly large amount of blood is withdrawn from your arm, then its spun down until the platelets are concentrated. A local anesthetic (via injection) will be applied to your injured area, then the platelets will be injected into the injury site.

The cool part is that you can watch it on the ultrasound, so I was able to see both the damaged parts of the tendon and the needle as it headed for the area. Super cool.

From start to finish, it only took slightly more than an hour. 

Also, there was no pain during the procedure, other than a tiny bit of pain when they injected the local anesthetic.

That blissful period without pain lasted about thirty minutes after the completion of the procedure. Then it began to spike, and fairly quickly. It felt like I had a big heart in my arm, and it had a steady beat.

I did wind up taking two Vicodin over the course of the rest of the day (my doctor demanded it), but I didn't take any after that. Extra Strength Tylenol worked well enough, along with a little gritting of teeth.

Six days after the procedure, my arm definitely still hurts, but my range of motion is getting noticeably better each day.

I start doing a set of rehab exercises after two weeks, then an additional set at four. Full effect takes up to twelve weeks. In the meantime, I'm supposed to use it as normally as possible, excluding lifting anything that weighs more than a few pounds.

I'll keep you posted. I'm sure plenty of you have various busted bits, so this might be useful.

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