Monthly Archives: February 2009


Cory from BoingBoing wrote a great article last month on “Writing in the Age of Distraction“. It’s all good advice. For now though, I’m getting distracted by the most recent season of Survivor… and then Hell’s Kitchen… I have such a weakness for reality TV. Other than that, Saira and Leila came over today for a couple hours of Rock Band — it’s a whole different game with a group.


The Man From Earth

Caitlin and I went to the bookstore a few days ago and I picked up a book called “Discarded Science” on the discount rack for a couple dollars. Subtitled “ideas that seemed good at the time”, I’ve read it over the last couple days cover to cover and greatly enjoyed it. In the same general realm, I watched a great movie this weekend called “The Man From Earth“, a sci-fi story that’s basically a full-movie-length conversation about/with a Cro-Magnon man who still hasn’t died after 14,000 years. The producer of the movie seems to be supportive of p2p distribution of the movie, so if you click the thumbnail you can download a torrent of it. Definitely recommended.

When we get our new studio space — it’s looking like April 1st — I want to start doing some sculptural works (let me know if you see a free kiln or other interesting gear locally on Craigslist), as well as working on a new car, so I enjoyed reading this interview with Chris Ryniak about his sculptures. In more online reading, I liked these musings about converting oil rigs into hotels, possibly self-sufficient ones. Hello, Waterworld!

Twisted Knee Day

I busted up my knee today and walking was no fun so instead of heading to the park after school, Nefarious and I spent an hour in the pool which was fun as always, although because the problem in my knee was with motion rather than weight I probably could have run around just as easily. Ouch. I’m sure it’ll be better after a night’s rest. At the pool an old lady was getting dubious swimming lessons… There’s a guy that “teaches” at the pool we go to and I don’t think he has any qualifications and his teaching style is lacking to say the least. He basically just yelled half-assed instructions to her as she walked/swam lengths along the shallow pool. There’s no way she learned anything — she’d have been better off learning to swim from a book.

I was a little disturbed to find out that a picture of Ari and my paintings made it into an anti-Islam video (at 2 minutes in) — on one hand it’s a little disturbing and creepy, but on the other hand, such is the power of Google Images… I know I’ve randomly plucked an image many a time. I think the video may also be making fun of my home’s tidiness. Anyway, I’m no friend of Islam, or any religion, so I suppose I don’t care that much… I was more interested in reading about how — as I had said, “best ghost town ever” — Dubai is collapsing and real estate sales have dropped to zero and people are fleeing the country, abandoning their cars at the airport as they go, hoping to avoid debtor’s prison.

Dubai is a place for the shallow and fickle. Tabloid celebrities and worn out sports stars are sponsored by swollen faced, botox injected, perma-tanned European property developers to encourage the type of people who are impressed by fame itself, rather than what originated it, to inhabit pastiche Mediterranean villas on fake islands. Its a grotesquely leveraged version of time-share where people are sold a life in the same way as being peddled a set of steak knives.

Speaking of things going bad, 2009 Will Be a Year of Panic by Bruce Sterling is a good read.

Continuing in the Arab world, I saw the video above of a “sand geyser” today after watching some sand storm videos — I liked the quote from the Koran, “and the earth throws up her burdens from within,” that accompanied it. I’ve never heard of this phenomena before… If I had to guess I’d say that it’s actually mud. But I don’t know.

Other than that, I’m teaching myself to write Firefox extensions.


Game of Life

I was bored and fiddled with some cellular automata this afternoon (feel free to download the 32k program that I wrote in a few minutes, but you’re probably better off with Mirek’s java version which is far more refined). I like the idea that you can get order and pattern out of chaos with the simplest of rules.

One of the fun things you can do with mine though is press “X” while you’re running it to generate random automata rules, and then try them out with various random seeds… Like I said, it really is amazing how much pattern and “life” you can get from the simplest rules.

zencell-1 zencell-2 zencell-3 zencell-4

Edit/update — I quickly tossed together a new version of this that uses a mouse-controlled interface. It’s fun to play with and it’s really quick and easy to fiddle with the rules. No keyboard controls; just click. Download here: zencell2.exe (win32, about 40k).


What Shannon Ate

I really haven’t decided what I’m going to do with my cooking blog, but I posted one of my favorite meals to it, a really simple veggies in lime and garlic butter. Caitlin and I also went to T&T yesterday (the big Chinese supermarket down by Cherry Beach) where I picked up this giant bag of peas for $1.94 (it weighs a pound). I ate half of it yesterday and will eat the other half today I imagine.