Archives for: 2006

At least I'm good at something.

posted by ben on 06.05.21 at 01:31, null, boulder, 1 comment Permalink

I drove way too fast up the canyon, then sat under the stars at Barker until my absurdly fluffy jacket could no longer make up for my linen pants... sang along to the Pogues... got briefly excited when I saw a white Volvo parked in front of my dad's house... before I remember that I was in reality and not the world I inhabit while sleeping... and then I fixed the blog in one instant of genius realization. David Taylor be damned. Hurrah.

The blog is hosted at godaddy now, so I suspect uptime will actually be reasonable.

Comment from: graham [Member] ·

Permalink 05/21/06 @ 04:57

It's art.

posted by ben on 06.05.05 at 14:42, null, art, music, art, music, Leave a comment Permalink
-Hamster MIDI

Why is this on DVD?

Comment from: Christian [Visitor] ·
Are you kidding? I love that show. I'm thrilled it's finally being released.
Permalink 05/01/06 @ 22:00
Comment from: Alex [Visitor] ·
I was involved in two separate conversations last week about how great this show was.
Permalink 05/02/06 @ 10:13
Comment from: Jo [Visitor]
ahh, I loved that show! I'm not sure that I could watch it now, though..
Permalink 05/03/06 @ 18:23

Respectable Citizen

posted by ben on 06.04.27 at 01:45, null, music, seattle, Leave a comment Permalink

I wandered around tonight and it felt like walking down the mall... until I ran into several men with dying arms selling drugs in the International District... and that was depressing. So, then I was wondering around, quite angry... fantasizing about cops chasing drug dealers away from anywhere that it's nice to walk at night...

So I went to Collin's Pub, got a Hale's and listened to a band called Respectable Citizen that seems to have no web presence... not even on myspace... One of the two keyboardists said they were influenced by King Crimson and Frank Zappa, but they sound like New Order and Information Society... and the keyboardist looks like he came from Flock of Seagulls... not that that's a bad thing...

plowman's stilton

posted by ben on 06.04.26 at 00:28, null, null, food, pictures, Leave a comment Permalink

A new pastiche... I'm going to be Ramanujan to New New American. I found a copy of Larousse in Colorado and then developed new recipes living in a vacuum...

When I was in Liverpool, oh how I love writing that... when I was in Liverpool I stopped at a cafe and had a Plowman's Stilton: a plate with a crust of bread, a pot of chutney, several slices of beefsteak tomato, some redleaf and a big slice of greasy stilton.

Of course, I didn't have any chutney so I used mustard.

It's amazing how the tomato complements the cheese.

blueberry hazelnut chocolate tart things

posted by ben on 06.04.25 at 23:55, null, null, food, pictures, Leave a comment Permalink

See... see... I make art.

Fear of turning into boingboing

posted by ben on 06.04.25 at 23:51, null, null, Leave a comment Permalink
by wave of flipfloperotic (I was hitting next blog quite a bit)

Stupid ass interwebs

posted by ben on 06.04.24 at 03:59, null, rant, rant, rave, Leave a comment Permalink

The spambots are inexorably turning nonplatonic into a bonified link farm and the blogging world is tedious as all hell. It doesn't seem that I'll be going to Italy anytime soon, regardless of the number of dueling pistols I purchase... and things generally look grim. If only I could create beautiful things... then I wouldn't be in the company of those who talk about making art while failing to do so... and then everything would be ok... not that I believe that for a moment... clearly that's not all that's going on... at least that's what I continue to repeat to myself... building to a new mantra... a new religion... a new... oh... I give up... So?

So what? What are you going to do? Any suggestions? How's your life going? Why are you so happy with it? Because you don't think about it? Or, are you somehow genuinely better off? Well, fine... fuck you then...

And this is supposed to turn me on how?

Fucking and reading? Yeah, I could do that.... for a while at least.

End of Days

posted by graham on 06.04.21 at 01:15, Rants, rant, null, 2 comments Permalink

Is it just me, or did the blogoshpere run out of gas recently? Boingboing is basically played-out, JWZ has given up and become a Mac screensaver discussion board, MAKE is all LED flashlights and cutesy turd-shaped crochet iPod cozies, the uber-hot-blog-chicks' egos have enveloped most of southeast asia, and everybody else has more or less stopped blogging altogether.

Comment from: graham [Member] ·
Maybe that's it... maybe the boingboings and jwzs have a much more limited focus than I always thought.
Permalink 04/22/06 @ 23:23
Comment from: ben [Member] ·
It's the end of everything. One email in the last two days... the blogs I read are all dead... an alarming lack of phone calls. It's not looking good.
Permalink 04/23/06 @ 16:02

Do spambots use a context free grammar?

posted by collin on 06.04.19 at 06:55, null, math, nonsense, math, random, 1 comment Permalink

Thanks for the special work and information! bed bug prevention exquisite image photography raymond chandler 22 inch wheels name database dandy don football hairless slit produce blue book

"raymond chandler"?

I guess there aren't any conjunctions or propositions so the answer to my question is probably no. Anybody know what statistical measures would show whether or not it's just a random sampling from some lexicon? Also, anybody know where I could get nice downloadable well formatted lexicon that tells you what part of speech the words are?

Comment from: marco [Member] ·
My guess is spambots use Markov models to generate text, trained on samples of real text. Probably second-order (bigram) models, or maybe third-order (trigram).

There are some standard corpora that NLP people use for testing. I don't know where to get them off the top of my head, but one of them is the "Brown corpus" (from the university, presumably) and you can probably find it courtesy of Google. It's a tagged corpus, as are some of the other well-known ones I don't remember the names of.
Permalink 04/20/06 @ 13:43

hush duckie with tabasco aioli

posted by ben on 06.04.13 at 02:28, null, null, food, Leave a comment Permalink

by Graham

in case anyone was entertaining the thought that Kurzweil isn't a moron...

posted by ben on 06.04.13 at 02:28, null, null, Leave a comment Permalink

"Biology would be a lot more stable if we moved away from regulation-which is extremely irrational and onerous and doesn’t appropriately balance risks. Many medications are not available today even though they should be. The FDA always wants to know what happens if we approve this and will it turn into a thalidomide situation that embarrasses us on CNN?"

-Ray Kurzweil, Interview

Build me a bike trail

posted by graham on 06.04.13 at 01:14, null, seattle, Bicycles, 2 comments Permalink

While trail building may not be one of the official good deeds, I would sure appreciate anyone who helped build this for me.

Comment from: ben [Member] ·
Yes, the soothing sounds of I-5. It truly is wonderful to get out and go cycling...
Permalink 04/13/06 @ 01:22
Comment from: graham [Member] ·
Yes, it is soothing isn't it. It sounds like a river rushing down a mountain. I am somewhat concerned that once the trail is finished, people might be lulled to sleep and ride off the trail into one of those big concrete pillars.
Permalink 04/22/06 @ 23:27

I want to be a heroic coward.

The man who admits to himself that he is a coward has made a step towards conquering his fear; but the man who frankly admits it to everyone, who asks that you recognize it in him and make allowance for it in dealing with him, is on the way to becoming a hero. Such a man is often surprised, when the crucial test comes, to find that he knows no fear. Having lost the fear of regarding himself as a coward he is one no longer; only the demonstration is needed to prove the metamorphosis. It is the same in love. The man who admits not only to himself but to his fellow men, and even to the woman he adores, that he can be twisted around a woman's finger, that he is helpless where the other sex is concerned, usually discovers that he is the more powerful of the two. Nothing breaks a woman down more quickly than complete surrender. A woman is prepared to resist, to be laid siege to: she has been trained to behave that way. When she meets no resistance she falls headlong into the trap. To be able to give oneself wholly and completely is the greatest luxury that life affords. Real love only begins at this point of dissolution.

-Henry Miller, Sexus, pg. 229

... Having satisfied herself to her heart's content, she had probably realized for the first time that it was useless to harbor a grudge against the other woman. If, she may have told herself, if it were possible to be fucked like that whenever she wished, it wouldn't matter what claims the other one had on me. Perhaps it entered her mind for the first time that possession is nothing if you can't surrender yourself. Perhaps she even went so far as to think that it might be better this way-- having me protect her and fuck her and not having to get angry with me because of jealous fears... fucked without the fear of being betrayed...

-Henry Miller, Sexus, pg. 241-242

The Troubadour Show

posted by ben on 06.04.12 at 22:40, null, music, music, seattle, Leave a comment Permalink

So, I, uh, met this guy named Emery, which I thought was emory, last night... and he was alright... and he knows Gary, who lives upstairs... and they sometimes play music, so that was amusing...

It was outside the Bauhaus (which serves Zeitgeist Coffee (back right)), of course.

I also bought a piece of jewelry that involves a blue glass bead and a piece of "ti rebar wire," assuming such a thing even exists... from a man wearing black, who was black and had black dreadlocks... but despite all the disparate shades of black... had smiling eyes.

He was named Carl... but otherwise he seemed ok.

at least matt will love me

posted by ben on 06.04.12 at 22:32, null, coffee, coffee, 1 comment Permalink

Don't sample the product.

Comment from: graham [Member] ·
Boy, who suggested all of those coffees? What a bunch of crap, if I may say so myself. You know there's a reason most people prefer Folgers. It's because it's freeze dried, that's why. Freeze dried coffee tastes better, plain and simple.
And what the hell is with those names, anyway? All those V's and Z's. C'mon people, get with the program.
Permalink 04/22/06 @ 23:45

promise me poems

All afternoon cutting bramble blackberries off a tottering brown fence
under a low branch with its rotten apricots miscellaneous under the leaves,
fixing the drip in the intricate gut machinery of a new toilet;
found a good coffeepot in the vines by the porch, rolled a big tire out of the scarlet bushes, hid my marijuana;
wet the flowers, playing the sunlit water each to each, returning for godly extra drops for the stringbeans and daisies;
three times walked round the grass and sighed absently:
my reward, when the garden fed me its plums from the form of a small tree in the corner,
an angel thoughtful of my stomach, and my dry and lovelorn tongue.
-Allen Ginsberg, "A Strange New Cottage in Berkeley"

farscape and the melodrama

posted by ben on 06.04.10 at 20:02, null, music, music, Leave a comment Permalink

Eating all the right food, taking all the right pills, turning on the TV,
Just trying to make the days a little shorter so the night comes quicker when I see you.

But the food doesn’t work,
and the pills don’t work and the silence hurts,
Can’t make myself fitter for you no matter how I try.

And the science fiction helps just a little,
numbs a little piece of me,
And the noise from the neighbours helps just a little,
Stops me from missing you.
And the stabbing in my heart it starts once too often,
why won’t you soften those blows?

Cause what you do to me stays with me,
Oh Honey I can’t wait till you're with me,
I need your body underneath me, every single night.

All my soul record spin on the Hifi, make me feel like god is within me, but he’s not, it’s a lie, I am empty.

When you’re gone, it’s all wrong, need your hips in my hands,
Need your lips on my neck right now.

-Hefner, "The Science Fiction"


posted by devin on 06.04.10 at 07:24, Absurdities, coffee, null, Leave a comment Permalink
As cool as the pale wet leaves 
    of lily-of-the-valley 
She lay beside me in the dawn.


posted by collin on 06.04.10 at 06:50, null, nonsense, random, technology, tech, Leave a comment Permalink

Koolstof is een scheikundig element met symbool C en atoomnummer 6. Het is een kleurloos niet-metaal.

Carbon is a chemical element with symbol C and nuclear number 6. it is colourlessly nonmetal.

[idea via kolstof surfboards, dutch via wikipedia, english via babelfish]

somebody post... now.

posted by ben on 06.04.10 at 06:11, null, coffee, coffee, seattle, Leave a comment Permalink

El Diablo, Seattle. I ought to go here... there... whatever.

posted by ben on 06.04.10 at 05:29, null, null, Leave a comment Permalink

It's a hundred billion degrees under this blanket and you're all asleep... so you can't stop me.

some day english literature majors will study my allusions.

posted by ben on 06.04.10 at 05:19, null, null, Leave a comment Permalink

...cleared the table off and there were 20 people eating pasta and no one was lonely. Everything was as it should be for a few hours, but then it faded.

"Part of growing up is learning to be alone." No.

Growing up is the ability to surround yourself with the people you love. I hope I grow up soon. Lonesome no more.

a horse is like an alligator.

posted by ben on 06.04.10 at 05:10, null, null, pictures, Leave a comment Permalink

Cursh with Eyeliner was prescient.

from the earlier works of genius, the ones responsible for this mess

posted by ben on 06.04.10 at 04:34, null, null, puppies, Leave a comment Permalink

Imagine her standing upright. Her new posture transforms her into a different person. Imagine that man smiling at the passerby, maybe he’ll learn how to make friends. Imagine nothing.

I’m concerned about the hairs on my toes. There’re less of them than there used to be. I may be dying.

mellowship slinky

posted by ben on 06.04.10 at 04:27, null, null, Leave a comment Permalink

To quote Crosby, "this feels like deja vu all over again." The misery, the crepe pans, Portland... it's all familiar... and I don't know why or when it could have happened... is this the eternal recurrence? I'll have none of it then.

I have completely lost the alligator.

posted by ben on 06.04.10 at 04:08, null, null, pictures, Leave a comment Permalink

I have completely lost the alligator, but the fact that I am concerned about it makes me both cute and romantic, right? right? please be right...

Also, I need more mirrors...

Chili Peppers over and over until it goes away... I should be older and younger... I'm not the right age.

Find me a hat with an alligator and I'll love you forever... Let's move to Guadalajara.

another one of those nights... come back...

posted by ben on 06.04.10 at 03:42, null, null, Leave a comment Permalink

Let's have a duel... let's have a brawl... Welsh something... I'll be Irish today... long live Dylan Thomas and Behan... another Guinness for the crowd... my ancestors knew what communes were while yours were busy raping... fuck it all... let's live on the coast with clouds and peace and lettuce... we can eat kale and salmon... where have all the people wearing sandals gone? My only method of transportation involves a paddle and blisters... bring me the sunshine and a wetsuit... let's never get out of bed again... anywhere it's soft and red... I want to kill some people responsible for my misery... fuck pacifism... fuck you. fucker. fuck.

posted by ben on 06.04.09 at 03:56, null, null, Leave a comment Permalink

How many lonely people have to get together for none of them to be lonely?

If a lonely person finds a group of non-lonely people are they no longer lonely? If a lonely person finds a single other person who is somehow not lonely by themselves, can the two become un-lonely?

Assuming collecting lonely people together can transmute them into non-lonely people, is there an optimal number? Clearly too few lonely people remain lonely... but if you get too many lonely people together, do they collapse under the weight of their despair?

inexpicably bland artichoke gnocchi

posted by ben on 06.04.07 at 18:02, null, null, food, pictures, 2 comments Permalink
Comment from: Alex [Visitor] ·
It's the blue plate that is making your food bland! It makes it all look sort of melancholy, like Picasso's painting of the old guitarist.
Permalink 04/08/06 @ 18:55
Comment from: ben [Member] ·
The plate's white... so, it's the light that's making my food sad... which is to say that Seattle is making my food sad.
Permalink 04/09/06 @ 03:45


posted by marco on 06.04.07 at 13:51, funny, in the news, random, null, Leave a comment Permalink

You knew it was coming...the RIAA and MPAA finally joined forces.

posted by ben on 06.04.04 at 04:36, null, null, 2 comments Permalink

People on myspace are less perfect than in reality. It's making me feel better.

Comment from: collin [Member] ·
Huh? Am I parsing this correctly? Since xx your sentence is equivalent to:
"People in reality are more perfect than on myspace."
Permalink 04/06/06 @ 20:15
Comment from: collin [Member] ·
WTF? If my comment is getting turned into xml it should escape certain characters. That's supposed to read: "x less than y iff y greater then x"
Permalink 04/06/06 @ 20:20

new favorite crap indie band

posted by ben on 06.04.04 at 02:21, null, music, music, 1 comment Permalink

when he's holding then the streetlights seem an awful lot like spotlites. sometimes charlemagne gets uptight. running numbers between bars. running girls between the cars. and sometimes charlemagne feels all right. all right.

charlemagne had eyes like a lover. but last winter there was weather and his eyes they iced right over. cassanova's in the corner and he's asking for a dance. speedshooters driving round and coming down and tryna hook up with an exit ramp.

tramps like us and we like tramps. charlemagne's got something in his sweatpants.

holly was supposed to be at ccd but she was down on shady streets. she was looking round for something she could take up to a party. and it's not like she's enslaved. it's more like she's enthralled. she don't need it but she likes it. so she always makes that call. first it makes her feel tall then it makes her feel small and it's all a sweet fleeting feeling. they did the "been caught stealing" into "dancing on the ceiling." and you're damn right we danced. charlemagne's got something in his sweatpants.

do you want me to tell it like boy meets girl and the rest is history? or do you want it like a murder mystery? i'm gonna tell it like a comeback story. 'cause we when we left we were defeated and depressed. and when we arrived we were ripping high. we had a gun in the glovebox. we had some sweet stuff tucked into our socks. we had jesus christ in all his glory.

-The Hold Steady, "Charlemagne in Sweatpants"
Comment from: scott [Member] ·
Ah, junkie rockers...

Am I wrong?
Permalink 05/01/06 @ 21:39

paste itch: impulsive naming

posted by ben on 06.04.04 at 02:12, null, null, on writing, Leave a comment Permalink

Pat Benatar eats mussels with Chopin in a carriage by the sea.

George Michael breaks his leg canyoneering in a snowstorm and is saved by Billy Collins and Buddah.

Patrick Lawler peels the melted glasses off the corpse of Buddy Holly.

posted by ben on 06.04.04 at 02:10, null, null, on writing, Leave a comment Permalink
late at night
i want to ask you
do you love me

yes, but not enough
no, but i could
do i know you?

The French Laundry Knives

posted by graham on 06.04.02 at 22:20, Rants, books, technology, rant, Toys, Other, null, 1 comment Permalink

Comment from: ben [Member] ·
Something really bothers me about this. The knives look nice, but Thomas Keller is supposed to be different from Emeril in every way.

Since I believe everything Bourdain says as though it were axiomatic, I've now dismissed Keller through this superficial similarity to Emeril in favor of what's his name at Veritas... of course I would never eat any of the food at Veritas since I'm a fish eating foodie... so this is all very academic.
Permalink 04/07/06 @ 17:48

posted by ben on 06.04.01 at 14:03, null, null, 1 comment Permalink

Poetry, novels... I don't care. Somebody tell me what to read.

Comment from: graham [Member] ·
Warren Ellis' "Transmetropolitan" perhaps.
Permalink 04/01/06 @ 17:37


posted by ben on 06.03.31 at 03:14, null, food, technology, 2 comments Permalink
Comment from: graham [Member] ·
$1,300? I think I'd be more than happy with an $80 Le Creuset pan.
Permalink 04/01/06 @ 18:07
Comment from: graham [Member] ·
Permalink 04/01/06 @ 18:11

pellegrino and grillers

posted by ben on 06.03.30 at 00:48, null, null, Leave a comment Permalink

Making a woman love me... It just doesn't work that way... does it...

There are lots of things I'm realizing don't matter. Money will not make women love me.

"If I wanted to I could marry a millionaire tomorrow; I've had several offers already."
-Mara... Henry Miller, Sexus, pg 80

The things that are important are beyond my control. I've been told at least three times that your face is the most important thing in finding love at first sight... not that I have a whole lot of faith in that idea anymore... well, once anyway.

The problem is, there isn't much I can do about my face. I buy nice soap and I shave. I have no idea what else I am supposed to do.

Beyond that, I apparently need artistic hands. I cut and burn my hands quite a bit cooking. Is that sort of the same? I'm going to start baking... but I'm not convinced that matters either. I think I ought to start buying great piles of red flowers.

Apparently nice shoes are good too... my birkenstocks have long been a liability it seems. I strongly suspect carbon fiber sidis do not count as nice shoes... but the wooden soled brooks brothers are hard to walk around in... so I've compromised on the deck shoes with a staple sticking out the side that I really ought to remove. I guess I could do that right now, but it feels like it belongs there.

I assume the only thing left is to be interesting... but that's very hard in the intellectual vacuum of the Bauahus... where are all the people? Why do they not talk? Why can't they even smile?

sleep to dream

posted by ben on 06.03.28 at 15:26, null, places, Leave a comment Permalink

why I love seattle

posted by ben on 06.03.28 at 15:23, null, seattle, Leave a comment Permalink

Kevin's downstairs talking about how All City needs to get a double boiler to melt the chocolate for their mochas so it doesn't cool the espresso too much.

breakfast in seattle

posted by ben on 06.03.28 at 14:13, null, seattle, 1 comment Permalink
-Cafe Campagne
Comment from: graham [Member] ·
That first one looks like pizza. I thought you were vehemently apposed to pizza for breakfast.
Permalink 04/03/06 @ 04:01

new low end theory

posted by ben on 06.03.27 at 11:43, null, books, books, Leave a comment Permalink

I said to myself over and over that if a man, a sincere and desperate man like myself, loves a woman with all his heart, if he is ready to cut off his ears and mail them to her, if he will take his heart's blood and pump it out on paper, saturate her with his need and longing, beseige her everlastingly, she cannot possibly refuse him. The homeleist man, the weakest man, the most undeserving man must triumph if he is willing to surrender his last drop of blood. No woman can hold out against the gift of absolute love.

-Henry Miller, Sexus, pg. 11

I'm in love with a monster, the most gorgeous monster imaginable... I should quit her now, immediately, without a word of explanation... otherwise I'm doomed... she's fathomless, impenetrable... I might have known that the one woman in the world whom I can't live without is marked with mystery... get out at once... jump... save yourself!

-Henry Miller, Sexus, pg. 14


posted by ben on 06.03.23 at 18:46, null, movies, movies, seattle, 1 comment Permalink

I'm pretty sure this is the movie they were filming in the rat infested basement below my home: Cthulu. I only got to talk to one of the grips though.

Comment from: graham [Member] ·
Sounds like a "Must See" to me. I bet they put the stars up in the Best Western down the street.
Permalink 03/26/06 @ 19:08

everything goes on the blog

posted by ben on 06.03.21 at 03:17, null, null, puppies, pictures, seattle, Leave a comment Permalink

Danielle along with me look very dumb... asleep, reading, paralyzed?

shenni shenni shenni

posted by ben on 06.03.21 at 03:12, null, books, books, Leave a comment Permalink
The cry I bring down from the hills
belongs to a girl still burning
inside my head. At daybreak
     she burns like a piece of paper. 
She burns like foxfire
in a thigh-shaped valley.
A skirt of flames
dances around her
at dusk.
     We stand with our hands
hanging at our sides,
while she burns 
     like a sack of dry ice. 
She burns like oil on water.
She burns like a cattail torch
dipped in gasoline.
She glows like the fat tip
of a banker's cigar,
     silent as quicksilver. 
A tiger under a rainbow
    at nightfall.
She burns like a shot glass of vodka.
She burns like a field of poppies
at the edge of a rain forest.
She rises like dragonsmoke 
    to my nostrils.
She burns like a burning bush
driven by a godawful wind. 
-Yusek Komunyakaa, "You and I are Disappearing"

D.I.Y. Espresso Machine

posted by graham on 06.03.21 at 03:02, coffee, Ideas, technology, 1 comment Permalink

In my quest to fix my espresso machine I've come across many people describing the major components found in commercial espresso machines, and how to repair or modify them. Realizing that a wide variety of parts are availabe, I naturally wondered if it would be feasible to assemble them to create my own ideal espresso machine.
Aparrently it may, because this man seems to have done just that.

Comment from: ben [Member] ·
Do it... Do it... you must do it. Ben needs coffee.
Permalink 03/21/06 @ 03:40

I should join the Porsche club.

posted by ben on 06.03.20 at 21:29, null, pictures, seattle, Leave a comment Permalink

I got the thumbs up from a 70 year old man in a 5 year old carrera. Then some guy in a boxster glared at me as if I were satan.


posted by ben on 06.03.20 at 03:09, null, pictures, seattle, Leave a comment Permalink

"No jaywalking... No walking on the red there smart guy."

-cop on the megaphone in his fucking cruiser a 1:04am, performing a public service... yay

Sunday night wine and cheese...

posted by ben on 06.03.20 at 01:59, null, pictures, seattle, Leave a comment Permalink

If I even sort of know you, then you should really come next week. Even if you don't live in Seattle.... you should fly out here.

the many narcissistic heads of ben (part II in a series)

posted by ben on 06.03.20 at 01:49, null, null, puppies, pictures, 1 comment Permalink

An Alex(tm) pastiche...

Comment from: Ben Lackey [Visitor]
What an idiot
Permalink 04/05/06 @ 18:22

from Billy Collin's crap collection

posted by ben on 06.03.18 at 19:15, null, books, books, Leave a comment Permalink

First, I would have her be beautiful,
and walking carefully up on my poetry
at the loneliest moment of an afternoon,
her hair still damp at the neck
from washing it. She should be wearing
a raincoat, an old one, dirty
from not having money enough for the cleaners.
She will take out her glasses, and there
in the bookstore, she will thumb
over my poems, then put the book back
up on its shelf. She will say to herself,
"For that kind of money, I can get
my raincoat cleaned." And she will.

-Ted Kooser, "Selecting a Reader"

I superficially like this, but something is very wrong with the sentiment here... especially for a program seeking to spread poetry. I'm not convinced the idea behind poetry 180 is right. I like simple poems that don't intentionally obfuscate their meaning with allusions to long dead literature no one is familiar with, but these poems are all missing something. I suspect it's because he edited all the poems for sexual content. At least he appears to have.


posted by ben on 06.03.18 at 18:53, null, null, pictures, Leave a comment Permalink

every sad cafe

...most of us would rather love than be loved. Almost everyone wants to be the lover. And the curt truth is that, in a deep secret way, the state of being beloved is intolerable to many. The beloved fears and hates the lover, and with the best of reasons. For the lover is forever trying to strip bare his beloved, even if this experience can cause him only pain.

-Carson McCullers, The Ballad of the Sad Cafe, pg 418.


posted by ben on 06.03.15 at 02:51, null, food, seattle, Leave a comment Permalink

"Cooking is like love - it should be entered into with abandon or not at all."


with an 85% approval rating

posted by ben on 06.03.13 at 13:44, null, politics, 4 comments Permalink

Since no one seemed to believe me about this...

"Torture, plain and simple:" Amnesty International reports abuse in women's prisons

Arizona criminals find jail too in -"tents"

Ill-treatment of inmates in Maricopa County jails

I'm almost certain this is what they were talking about when they wrote that stuff about cruel and unusual.

Comment from: Other Graham [Visitor]
Who's that with an 85 percent approval rating?
Permalink 03/13/06 @ 15:02
Comment from: ben [Member] ·

... Joe Arpaio is the sheriff responsible for this stupidity.

"Arpaio is among the state's most popular office-holders. He enjoys an 85 percent approval rating among voters in the county, which at 9,200 square miles is larger than some states, and includes the city of Phoenix."

-Arizona criminals find jail too in -"tents"
Permalink 03/13/06 @ 15:17
Comment from: Other Graham [Visitor]
ah i didn't see that in my fast read of the story. charming.
Permalink 03/14/06 @ 01:38
Comment from: Ben [Visitor]
You are a fucking moron.
Permalink 03/14/06 @ 21:51

posted by ben on 06.03.08 at 15:50, null, seattle, Leave a comment Permalink

I hand the dreadlocked homeless man a blood orange. He catches it with the palm of his hand, inspects it briefly… and then takes a bite out of it like its an apple. A look of shock briefly crosses his face as the bloody juice drips off his chin… before he realizes it tastes good and smiles.

late night rant

posted by ben on 06.03.07 at 18:33, null, rant, rave, Leave a comment Permalink

I still suffer from the hilariously misbegotten notion that people are generally good, generally do good and have some sort of consensus on the nature of good that is fundamental to the human condition.

Clearly there is no limit of evidence to the contrary, ranging in scale from genocidal maniacs to my disastrous personal relationships, yet I continue to cling to this hopelessly antiquated notion, that may have some justification in biology, but nothing firm enough to warrant the level of altruistic behavior I’d like to see in my fellow man… and sure, I’m a hypocrite, but only through hypocrisy can we achieve greater morality…

posted by ben on 06.03.07 at 15:12, null, seattle, Leave a comment Permalink

The People's Republik is a coffee shop on 12th ave, not that far from the Richard Hugo House. The walls are all painted red, with communist stars and pictures of Lenin.

"What's with the communist motif?"
"The owner's a comedian and..."

Later she told me that the workers get half the take for the night, but it makes me sad that communism has gone the way of "The owner's a comedian and he thought it would be funny..."

useless shit (book binder)

posted by ben on 06.03.06 at 01:51, null, null, 1 comment Permalink
Comment from: collin [Member] ·
Of course, it's obvious. Follow this simple syllogism: books are useless, this is a tool for making books, therefore it is useless.
Permalink 03/06/06 @ 21:19

thoughts from my morning walk... I should carry a camera instead.

posted by ben on 06.03.03 at 16:42, art, art, Leave a comment Permalink

Art is a means of communicating beauty. Artists communicate beauty.

Art which is not beautiful is not art... and not everything is beautiful. Art which is willfully obscure isn't art either.

I'm willing to forgive the double negative in this case.

posted by ben on 06.03.03 at 16:39, null, seattle, Leave a comment Permalink

"I don't got no dress shoes without taps."

-Wearing a pair of dress shoes, holding a pair of dress shoes

still won't take the fucking bread

posted by ben on 06.03.02 at 03:27, null, seattle, Leave a comment Permalink

3 for 3 on the bread now. This time no sob story about allergies at least...

"Can you help a brother out with some food?"
"I have some bread."
"Any meat?"
"I'm a vegetarian."
"Come on, a few dollars?"
"You want the bread?"
"Come on man, just a few bucks..."
"If you don't want the bread, I'm going."
... begin tedious story about murdered sister, dead mother, the desire to reform, etc.

Is there a simple explanation for this I'm missing, or does being homeless mean you have something against bread?

I really think that stuff people say about how there are people starving in the US is a bunch of shit. If any of these people were actually hungry, they would take the fucking bread. Sure, if you're homeless you might die of exposure, be beaten to death by your fellow downtrodden dolts, or die as the result of any number of kinds of substance abuse... but if none of these supposedly desperate people want any fucking bread, then I have a hard time believing that they are particularly hungry.

Money for a hot dog? Sorry, I can smell the fucking 40 on your breath.

On the other hand, I have no doubt that most of the homeless are slowly dying of malnutrition. One need look no further than hipsters for evidence of this.

Hipsters have enough money to buy iPods, but one look at their spindly legs gives irrefutable evidence of malnutrition. The legs, thighs and asses of men and women should not look the same. If they do, it probably means the people you are looking at are either anemic or hipsters... maybe they're even anemic hipsters...

So, if the idiot monkey children can't feed themselves properly, it's not much of a stretch to think that the mentally ill man following me around Pioneer Square can't either.

And this concludes tonight's rant. I'm going to eat some nutritious burritos now.


posted by ben on 06.02.28 at 23:49, null, null, Leave a comment Permalink

By analogy to the coupling mechanism under anaerobic conditions, it would be useful from a biological perspective if this electron transport from NADH to dioxygen, a thermodynamically favorable reaction (as you calculated in the last study guide - a value of about -55 kcal/mol), were coupled to ATP synthesis. It is! For years scientist tried to find a high energy phosphorylated intermediate, similar to that formed by glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase in glycolysis, which could drive ATP synthesis (which likewise occurs in the mitochondria). None could be found. A startling hypothesis was put forward by Peter Mitchell, which was proven correct and for which he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1978. The immediate source of energy to drive ATP synthesis was shown to come not from a phosphorylated intermediate, but a proton gradient across the mitochondrial inner membrane. All the enzymes complexes in electron transport are in the inner membrane of the mitochondria, as opposed to the cytoplasmic enzymes of glycolysis. A pH gradient is formed across the inner membrane occurs in respiring mitochondria. In electron transport, electrons are passed from mobile electron carriers through membrane complexes back to another mobile carrier. Initially, NADH shuttles electrons (2 electron oxidation, characteristic of NAD+/NADH), to a flavin derivative, FMN, covalently attached to Complex I. The reduced form of FMN then passes electrons in single electron steps (characteristic of FAD-like molecules, which can undergo 1 or 2 electrons transfers) through the complex to the lipophilic electron carrier, ubiquinone, UQ.

-Biochemistry Online, Chapter 8

baristas of the world stop playing cat power

posted by ben on 06.02.28 at 23:43, null, books, books, seattle, Leave a comment Permalink

So, I go to see G.C. Waldrep read from his new book of derivative poetry about the Marin Headlands and how war and nature something and I intentionally don't read anything about him because I don't want to see that because then I won't go. I wouldn't have gone to Menkiti in Boston if I'd known anything about him, but since he turned out to be a great smiling man with a pleasant way of speaking it didn't matter that he wrote some stupid poem about mitochondria.

Waldrep is no Menkiti. He has a great big beard, no hair, and his fat body doesn't suit the emaciated smacking of his lips. His lips make odd clicking sounds and his voice walks randomly from high pitched to slightly pubescent 14 year old.

And he talked shit about Marin. Behind me, some pathetic lonely man laughed loudly at every line Waldrep spoke. I think he felt the need to actively participate in the reading and this was the only way he knew how.

I'm pretty sure Larry Levis (the guy smoking) was sitting behind me, next to the laughing man. Maybe he's ok. Oh, wait, google says he's dead. Must have been someone else... I see dead poets...

And I'm wondering, if the friendly guy at Open Books saw this, would I be allowed to come back?

Eat the fucking bread.

posted by ben on 06.02.28 at 03:15, null, seattle, Leave a comment Permalink

A sample of two of Seattle's homeless seems to indicate that they are, as a population, allergic to bread. I realize the sample is both small and non-random, so I will conduct further research before making any more general statements.

Apparently the homeless here don't die, at least not quickly. After freestyling for $2, but before refusing a piece of bread, Tony was kind enough to tell me what an improvement I am over the riot provoking crack dealer who used to live where I do now.

what a fucking asshole... oh, he's great...

posted by ben on 06.02.24 at 02:45, null, null, fetishizing intellect and beauty, Leave a comment Permalink

People like to say that faith and science can live together side by side. But, I don't think they can.

-Richard Dawkins, "The Root of All Evil, Episode 1"

The heart of new testament theology, invented after Jesus' death, is St. Paul's nasty sadomasochistic doctorine of atonement for original sin.

-Richard Dawkins, "The Root of All Evil, Episode 2"

The god of the old testament has got to be the most unpleasant character in all of fiction.

-Richard Dawkins, "The Root of All Evil, Episode 2"

posted by ben on 06.02.21 at 15:24, null, null, on writing, 1 comment Permalink

Maugham (or maybe it was Huxley, I can't remember) says Proust is a monster, but he's talking about the size of the thing. The real problem with it is the lack of immediacy. I know that's the point, but it's not why I read a book. If I wanted to relive the past 10 years, I'd go to sleep and let my subconscious come up with something... it usually does.

It's not unlike my issue with metaphor. The gimmick of remembrance is another way of diluting the story. That dilution could be a gripe with characterization. To the Lighthouse is entirely characterization with a plot that couldn't fill a Ziggy cartoon. The Foundation books are at the other end. They have no characters and lots of plot. Some great books balance in the middle, a perfect mix of the two. Atonement is an excellent example of this.

The explanation isn't that simple though. It'd be nice, in a boring and derivative way, if everything could be explained as x parts plot, y parts characterization. The great books transcend this limitation. The plot is characterization and the characterization is plot. You get to know the narrator in this sort of book. I can't think of any examples to the contrary anyway. The Master and Margarita, Sophie's Choice (I might change my mind about this one, Herzog, Sexus, Journey to the End of Night, Fear of Flying, others not immediately obvious on my shelf...

Comment from: Mom [Visitor]

Regarding the lack of plot in To the Lighthouse, I find that this is a strength in many texts by women--not a weakness. It hangs together beautifully and never feels contrived. Also, I'm not sure that McEwan could have pulled off Atonement without "thinking back through" (to use Woolf's own words) Woolf.
Permalink 02/23/06 @ 19:00

for next sunday, this is tasty!

posted by graham on 06.02.20 at 01:31, Raves, random, 1 comment Permalink
Alary Daniel Et Denis

(picture of winery)

Cotes Du Rhone
Comment from: graham [Member] ·
yeah, this isn't a real post
Permalink 02/20/06 @ 01:34

Functioning Transformers!!!

posted by graham on 06.02.18 at 21:10, Raves, art, technology, Toys, Leave a comment Permalink
This is about the coolest thing evar, or at least since the last time I said that about something.
Via Make by way of Vestal Design.

Concept Art:

posted by ben on 06.02.17 at 12:09, null, null, Leave a comment Permalink

The Angry bibliophile's Book Club. I put up a sign in ever-deserted All City Coffee for a book club at 10:00pm every four days. Then I read the book at my normal pace, underlining with a ruler... if I can find one.

Then, I go to All City and wait for the one person who managed to get through the book in four days, or even bothered trying, assuming there even is such a person. I buy them a coffee and explain why it is pretentious to think about the book in any way other than how I think about the book. I'll give them an unreasonably long list of books they need to read to be a decent human being and then I'll be disappointed when they never read them.

It's concept art because it's guaranteed to fail.

posted by ben on 06.02.16 at 21:35, null, null, 2 comments Permalink

Dear lazyweb,

Having read every worthwhile novel ever written in the English language, I am now reduced to reading poetry. What should I get? Come on lazyweb, help me out here...

Comment from: Shenandoah [Visitor]
David Kirby.
Todd Colby.
Matthew Wascovich.
Robert Creeley.
Edwin Torres.
Permalink 02/17/06 @ 15:20
Comment from: ben [Member] ·
Oh lazyweb, you're the greatest...
Permalink 02/17/06 @ 17:56

It's a WOOT OFF!

posted by graham on 06.02.16 at 17:58, Missleaneus, null, 1 comment Permalink
Comment from: graham [Member] ·
Geez, sorry I mentioned it...
Permalink 02/18/06 @ 20:44

decades too late

posted by ben on 06.02.16 at 17:03, null, books, books, Leave a comment Permalink

Kenneth Rexroth described a snob as a person who imitates the manners of the class above him, probably inaccurately. Rexroth himself, a poet, critic, translator, professor, revolutionary, father to the beatniks and then would-be executioner, inventor and reinventor of his own life-- a hardworking loafer who never rested-- led the traditional Bohemian chieftain’s life in Chicago, New York, and San Francisco. World-famous but unappreciated, overflowing with Zen peace and mad at everybody, he kept his books in crates, scavenged money from rich men and indulgent women, served spaghetti and wine on red-checked tablecloths (stained ones) to an artistic circle (hub: Kenneth Rexroth). He attacked Henry James for his aristocratic pretensions. With nice symmetry, Rexroth had proletarian pretensions. His Bohemianism imitated the manners of the class below him.

Sometimes I stood with him in his kitchen while he decanted California beach-party jug wine into French bottles, all the while lecturing about the need to be authentic.

-Herbert Gold, Bohemia, pg 63.

posted by ben on 06.02.15 at 14:39, null, null, Leave a comment Permalink

The people in pornography are real. No, really. I'm in shock. Remember the Darth Vader porn? Well, I ranted, and the pornographer's subject read... and responded. She's real. A real person.

I should narcissistically check the referer hits more often.

Update: I guess this isn't really pornography, but I wish it were. It almost is. It's obscene in some sense, that makes it profane... and then there's some minor further transmutation or transmigration and it's pornography... right?

Her blog is kind of amusing... and sad. I'm going to be her biggest fanboy evar!!! I have a bunch of Sisters of Mercy and Cradle of Filth and VNV Nation and 3 black turtle necks that have been hanging unused in my closet for too long...

This other photo just makes me happy. It's almost foot fetishism... but it's funny... and not in that "my god, everyone is a crazy pervert" sense... you can almost picture her laughing at how absurd the pose is... I'm reading way too much into this... must write something useful instead.

Where is my eyeliner?

making friends everywhere I go

posted by ben on 06.02.15 at 14:24, null, null, 10 comments Permalink

It's that guy... and he got slashdotted (in the non dead server sense). Can someone explain to me why this is more impressive than those paper climber things you clipped onto a kite string as a child? This sounds like an elementary school science project so far.

Only 12 years, 58 days, 10 hours, 37 minutes, and 31 seconds to go... until it's midnight April 12, 2018.

Comment from: Graham [Visitor]
Great comments, as usual:
Permalink 02/15/06 @ 14:44
Comment from: Brian [Visitor] ·
No one is asking you to be impressed. If you're not then (shrug) so be it.
Permalink 02/16/06 @ 07:15
Comment from: ben [Member] ·

But, you're trying to build a space elevator... and doing that ought to be impressive simply by the nature of what it is. The problem, as Slashdot seems to agree (god help me, I agree with the slashdot dorks), is that you're going about it the wrong way.

As I'm sure you've heard, the elevator isn't the hard part. Stick solar panels on a thing with a bunch of redundant motors... Power it off the difference in electric potential between the top and the bottom... whatever... Hell, build a space crane instead where the motor is at the top and you can hang out and perform maintenance on it from your orbital super genius platform...

Regardless, the problem is the cable. There isn't anything that's nearly strong enough. One analogy from slashdot, was building the moon lander without a rocket to take it there.

As much as I enjoy laughing at people blundering stupidly, it would be really cool if you could pull this off. Sadly, you don't have a plan that's going to get it done.

Permalink 02/16/06 @ 12:01
Comment from: Brian [Visitor] ·
Slashdot is what it is. As a source of authoratative engineering wisdom ... it's a good place for geeks to snark.

Before I joined Liftport I agreed with you - the elevator is the easy part. It is not. Making stuff go up-down on a reliable basis is easy. Doing so in weather is hard and doing it under a variety of environmental regimes is harder yet.

I am not being confrontaional when I say this - if you can build a lifter that works as you desribe, come on down. We have a job for you.

What we're after is this; the CNT composite has many applications more practical than an SE. If the requisite strength is possible it will be done and commercially available. And to, a startup does not have the assets to develop in that area. What we're up to is to do research around the idea in areas that are just as important.

Going to analogy - what is more important to Burlington Northern - the alloy in the rails or having reliable engines and cars and the organization to use them? Go back to the beginning of steam engines in the 1820s - you might see that those folks were more concerned with a steam engine that could perform to spec than the rails they would run on.

One analogy from slashdot, was building the moon lander without a rocket to take it there.

Flawed analogy. The contract to build the LEM was awarded to Grumman at the same time they awarded the contract to built Saturn V and the command module. The LEM was built, if not before, then at the same time as the 'moon rocket'.

But please be a skeptic. We appreciate it and ... more ... need the reality check.
Permalink 02/16/06 @ 13:40
Comment from: ben [Member] ·
Collin? Graham? Someone get this man a tiny mile high string climbing thing... I have books to read and work I must pretend to do...
Permalink 02/16/06 @ 14:18
Comment from: ben [Member] ·

if you can build a lifter that works as you desribe, come on down. We have a job for you.

I shouldn't do this, right?

Permalink 02/16/06 @ 21:49
Comment from: ben [Member] ·

Or, I guess you could just attach this to a piece of string and see what happens...

Permalink 02/16/06 @ 22:00
Comment from: Brian [Visitor] ·
Much eye rolling on this end of the internets. But I appreciate the time you spent finding the imagery.
Permalink 02/17/06 @ 01:26
Comment from: ben [Member] ·
You don't think the little car could climb a piece of string (maybe with a gearing change)? I don't get it. What's so hard about this? Am I missing something?
Permalink 02/17/06 @ 01:29
Comment from: Brian [Visitor] ·
I don't doubt that it could. I was expressing my appreciation for the time you spent finding the images, s'all.
Permalink 02/17/06 @ 18:34

begin sexist Valentine's Day rant

posted by ben on 06.02.15 at 01:11, null, rant, rave, Leave a comment Permalink

Girls like to tell me, as a form of consolation, that girls like shy boys... that is to say, real girls like to tell me that hypothetical girls like shy boys.

This is shit. An utter and total lie. Girls... oh girls, when was the last time you dated a shy boy, made out with a shy boy, talked to a shy boy? Never. Because if he were being shy, there is no way he could have: said he liked/loved/felt vague affection for you, no way he could have kissed you, he probably couldn't have even looked at any part of your head... because shy boys can't do that. They can't because they're shy. Instead, they make an earnest effort to look at your face rather than your shoes, but their shyness forces an unfortunate compromise where they stare at your chest... and that never turns out well... and as for speaking... no a shy boy is certainly not going to speak to you... certainly not in an even vaguely coherent manner.

You don't like shy boys. No one does.

You make think you do. It may seem charming in principle after listening to too much Bright Eyes or Belle and Sebastian, but you don't like shy boys. You may like boys who pretend to be shy, who pretend to be artistic and kind, but they're probably worse than the outright assholes. They're practiced liars, excellent at appearing compassionate while harboring calculating souls... No, no... you don't like the shy boys. No one does.

And no one will ever notice the really shy boys... I stand up as one of the borderline ones... too shy to speak in public... too shy to speak to strangers... too shy... too shy... but not too shy to speak out for great justice...

No one loves the shy boys and there is nothing to be done for them. Cursed are the meek for theirs is a life of solitary misery and agony.

In summary, some indicators that your beloved is not in fact shy:
He looks at your face when speaking.
He has a nickname.
He plays music in public.
He can dance in public (he may dance wildly to Missing Persons in the comfort of his own loft and retain shyness).
He willingly subjects himself to situations where he might be forced to amuse others by dancing, singing, whistling, drawing, writing, performing various acts of physical prowess, or otherwise demonstrate characteristics that make him a desirable mate.


posted by ben on 06.02.15 at 01:10, null, pictures, seattle, Leave a comment Permalink

Overheard at the Bauhaus

posted by ben on 06.02.14 at 22:05, null, coffee, coffee, seattle, Leave a comment Permalink

"I don't have any money for a tip."
"Can I give you a blowjob instead?"
"Um... sure."
"Ok." (Looks expectantly at barista)
"Not here, not now."
"Give me your number."

just like programming

posted by ben on 06.02.12 at 12:34, null, books, books, Leave a comment Permalink

"... A workman is planting stakes to make a fence. He plants them at such a distance from each other that the bucket of tar, in which he dips their lower ends to a depth of 30 centimetres, is empty at the end of 3 hours. Given that the quantity of tar which remains on the stake equals 10 cubic centimetres, that the bucket is a cyclinder whose radius at the base is 0.15 metres and whose height is 0.75 metres and is three-quarters full, that the workman dips 40 stakes an hour and takes about 8 minutes' rest during that time, what is the number of stakes and what is the area of the property which is in the form of a perfect square? State also what would be the number of stakes necessary if they were planted 10 centimetres further apart. State also the cost of this operation in both cases, if the stakes cost 3 francs a hundred and if the workman is paid 50 centimes an hour."

Must one also say if the workman is happily married? Oh, what unwholesome imagination, what depraved brain incubates those revolting problems with which they torture us? I detest them! And the workmen who band together to complicate the amount of work of which they are capable, who divide themselves into two squads, one of which uses one-third more strength than the other, while the other, by way of compensation, works two hours longer! And the number of needles a seamstress uses in twenty-five years when she uses needles at 50 centimes a packet for eleven years, and needles at 75 centimes for the rest of the time but if the one at 75 centimes are ... etc., etc. ... And the locomotives that diabolically complicate their speeds, their time of departure and the state of health of their drivers! Odious suppositions, improbably hypotheses that have made me refractory to arithmetic for the rest of my life!

-Colette, Claudine At School, pg 25

posted by ben on 06.02.10 at 21:45, null, seattle, Leave a comment Permalink

There's a hipster I've been seeing around town. He was at that loft party. He goes to the Bauhaus. He walks down the street. He puts some sort of goo in his hair so it sticks straight up. He always wears blocky black sunglasses and he's comically short. He's amusing to look at and I've finally realized why. He's a joke.

posted by ben on 06.02.09 at 16:09, null, seattle, minneapolis, 1 comment Permalink

There's a hipster here shaped like a pear. He has a drum and a suitcase made out of wood. I know he doesn't belong here and I wish he didn't belong in Seattle. I'd be willing to admit him to the city if he weren't shaped like a pear.

When I go back to the city, everyone should be young, beautiful and erudite. No one will wear sweat pants.

Everyone in Seattle will sit in coffee shops working on their pet art projects and falling in love. That's the way Seattle is. The people shaped like pears stay in where I don't have to look at them. It's so much better than Minneapolis. Oh, it will be so great to be back.

Comment from: Graham [Visitor]
Seattle may have hipsters with inconceivably tight pants, but Woodinville has greasers. Real ones. And they even like Rockabilly music and rat-rods. So there.
Permalink 02/11/06 @ 23:23

Fixed with Vertical Dropouts

posted by graham on 06.02.08 at 20:16, math, Bicycles, 9 comments Permalink

So I've been meaning for some time now to figure out a method for finding properly fitting chainring combinations to use on a fixed gear with vertical dropouts. This guy from the point83 forums claims to have one. Does this look reasonable to all you math/bike types?

OK, basic math...
Add the number of teeth on your chainring and on the rear cog. Take the total, and look it up.

40 = 0"+/- 1/2"
41 = 1/8" +/- 1/2"
42 = 1/4" +/- 1/2"
43 = 3/8" +/- 1/2"
44 = 0"+/- 1/2"
45 = 1/8" +/- 1/2"
46 = 1/4" +/- 1/2"
47 = 3/8" +/- 1/2"
48 = 0"+/- 1/2"
49 = 1/8" +/- 1/2"
50 = 1/4" +/- 1/2"
51 = 3/8" +/- 1/2"
52 = 0"+/- 1/2"
53 = 1/8" +/- 1/2"
54 = 1/4" +/- 1/2"
55 = 3/8" +/- 1/2"
56 = 0"+/- 1/2"
57 = 1/8" +/- 1/2"
58 = 1/4" +/- 1/2"
59 = 3/8" +/- 1/2"
60 = 0"+/- 1/2"
61 = 1/8" +/- 1/2"
62 = 1/4" +/- 1/2"
63 = 3/8" +/- 1/2"
64 = 0"+/- 1/2"
65 = 1/8" +/- 1/2"
66 = 1/4" +/- 1/2"
67 = 3/8" +/- 1/2"
68 = 0"+/- 1/2"
69 = 1/8" +/- 1/2"
70 = 1/4" +/- 1/2"
71 = 3/8" +/- 1/2"

As you can see, it repeats. Here's the notion, For each tooth you add, you "remove" a 1/4 of a link of chain (assuming you don't change the chain length and could actually remove 1/4 of a link). So if you add 4 teeth, you need to add a link to your chain. Pin to pin is 1/2", averaged out on both top and bottom is 1/8" and there you go.

So, if you know your dropout to BB is 14.5" center to center (BMX in this case), you can run a gear combination where the total number of teeth equals 40, 44, 48, 52, 56, 60, etc. The difference in length due to the chainring being larger than the cog is not worth calculating. Besides, chains wear.

Comment from: ben [Member] ·
I'm skeptical about this:

"The difference in length due to the chainring being larger than the cog is not worth calculating."

I'd just try whatever combinations you can with whatever you have around. And no brakes. Safety is for the weak.
Permalink 02/09/06 @ 16:03
Comment from: graham [Member] ·
That's the part that caught my attention also.

Yes, brakes are for girly-men. If there's ever a really steep hill I'll ride around it or walk my bike down.
Permalink 02/10/06 @ 13:31
Comment from: admin [Member] ·
That took me longer than it should have to figure out what the hell he was talking about. Ugh, "40=0+/- 1/2" meaning "40=0 mod .5". Whatever. Since pin-to-pin on a regular chain is 1/2" the number of teeth on a ring/cog is half the circumference in inches. Took me a while to figure that out too. Sigh.

I agree with ben that the difference between cog and ring should make a difference. I wrote something to compute total chain length, it's in ~/vertdrop/. Sample output:

Enter stay length in inches (c-to-c): 14.5
Enter number of cog teeth: 14
Enter smallest ring size (even number): 30
Enter largest ring size (even number): 54

cog: 14 ring: 30 chain length: 74.7368
cog: 14 ring: 32 chain length: 77.1819
cog: 14 ring: 34 chain length: 79.672
cog: 14 ring: 36 chain length: 82.2049
cog: 14 ring: 38 chain length: 84.7787
cog: 14 ring: 40 chain length: 87.3912
cog: 14 ring: 42 chain length: 90.0403
cog: 14 ring: 44 chain length: 92.724
cog: 14 ring: 46 chain length: 95.4403
cog: 14 ring: 48 chain length: 98.1871
cog: 14 ring: 50 chain length: 100.963
cog: 14 ring: 52 chain length: 103.765
cog: 14 ring: 54 chain length: 106.593

So, unless I'm retarded, the total length has to be slightly bigger than an integer so you can actually put the chain together... My numbers don't match up with his, ie 14+30=44 -> 74.7368 inches, which doesn't sound like it would work at all.

[edit: this was collin]
Permalink 02/10/06 @ 15:02
Comment from: Rodrigo Hernando de la Sosa [Visitor]
I think your chain length got messed up somewhere. That's one hell of a long chain.

For 50x16 gearing with a 14.5" stay, i get a ~45.65" chain. That's about 1/10" off from the chart (which has completely lost me by now) if I read it correctly.
Permalink 02/10/06 @ 18:02
Comment from: ben [Member] ·
I almost made it down the hill without walking. There were cobblestones. It doesn't count.
Permalink 02/10/06 @ 19:52
Comment from: graham [Member] ·
Permalink 02/10/06 @ 20:15
Comment from: ben [Member] ·
Ha ha. Let's see you do it...
Permalink 02/10/06 @ 21:13
Comment from: ben [Member] ·
It looks like the Bianchi is about 49.5" with a 50-18 and 15.5" for the stay. It's so depressing that a random stranger is riding something bigger than me. I hope you live somewhere flat Rodrigo Hernando de la Sosa... if you're from San Francisco, I'm going to be extremely depressed.
Permalink 02/11/06 @ 10:53
Comment from: collin [Member] ·
Ok, mea culpa, I screwed up with the chainlength thing. But I can't see where I screwed up.

chainlength+=2*(sqrt( pow(staylength, 2) + pow((rteeth/pi)-(cogteeth/pi), 2) ) );

So, where am I wrong... If pin-to-pin is 1/2", then for an n tooth ring/cog the circumference is 2*n. Hence, half the circumference is n, lines 2&3.

Which gives 2*n=2*pi*r => 2*n / 2*pi = n/pi = r. And then the last line is just the pythagorean thm. And yeah, this assumes the chain leaves the ring/cog at theta=0, I'll fix this and then try a more complicated version.
Permalink 02/16/06 @ 07:19
posted by graham on 06.02.07 at 23:57, Raves, null, Leave a comment Permalink

Graham bought an oyster knife.

posted by ben on 06.02.05 at 07:18, null, food, pictures, seattle, Leave a comment Permalink

new tom

posted by ben on 06.02.05 at 07:14, null, null, admin, Leave a comment Permalink

I'm just going to copy the old blog up to the new server for now. Porting to the new b2evolution alpha (by which they apparently mean release version) is an incredible pain. I'm still trying to get the pictures up from old tom, so until that happens there are going to be a lot of posts with missing pictures. Check the admin blog for further goings on.

In the meantime, it's safe to post again.

new tom (and dev below)

posted by ben on 06.02.05 at 07:12, null, pictures, minneapolis, 2 comments Permalink

Comment from: devin [Member] ·
Oooh, pretty.
Permalink 02/05/06 @ 12:15
Comment from: ben [Member] ·
That's a pair of miserable 10/100 switches at the bottom there. Why? I don't know. I'm so glad I bought modern servers to go in an antiquated data center...
Permalink 02/10/06 @ 19:56

21st Century Austin Healey?

posted by graham on 06.01.30 at 09:12, null, Cars, Leave a comment Permalink


posted by collin on 06.01.23 at 15:06, nonsense, news, random, Leave a comment Permalink


University of Florida employees have to pledge that they're having sex with their domestic partners before qualifying for benefits under a new health care plan at the university.

The partners of homosexual and heterosexual employees are eligible for coverage under UF's plan, which will take effect in February. The enrollment process began this month, and some employees have expressed concern about an affidavit that requires a pledge of sexual activity.

...In addition to declaring joint financial obligations, prospective enrollees must "have been in a non-platonic relationship for the preceding 12 months," according to the affidavit.

Three Cheeses

posted by ben on 06.01.22 at 16:30, null, food, 1 comment Permalink

Junpier Grove Farm, Buche (has a piece of straw sticking out of it and smells amazing) from Redmond Oregon
Rollingstone Chevre (goat cheese wrapped in grape leaves, soaked in brandy) from Parma Idaho
Delice de France Grand Camembert (from that country that's bad at killing people)

Comment from: graham [Member] ·
Buche: Tasty, despite my initial impression that it was bland. I suggest taking out the piece of straw when you serve it. It's much easier to cut that way.
Chevre: Good with my yummy Rosette de Lyon salami. Grape leaves and brandy don't seem to add much IMHO.
Camembert: Good with salmon and pepper. Pretty brie-like. What's the difference? I dunno.
Permalink 01/23/06 @ 00:28

iPAQ not so useless after all

posted by graham on 06.01.22 at 04:54, music, Toys, 5 comments Permalink

As I struggle to write this from an HP iPaq 6515, I am listening to KEXP's 32k mobile stream.
Now who's idea was it to leave out a headphone jack in this thing's design?

Comment from: ben [Member] ·
I think it has one on the bottom.
Permalink 01/22/06 @ 06:42
Comment from: collin [Member] ·
I want a Newton.
Permalink 01/22/06 @ 09:17
Comment from: graham [Member] ·
I'm not sure what the jack on the bottom is, but it's not 1/8".
Permalink 01/22/06 @ 16:54
Comment from: graham [Member] ·
Newton? OK... sure.

So I have the HP headset headphones now (the nicer Samsungs didn't play in both ears, which I don't understand), and the max volume is a 3 or 4 out of 10, but being able to listen to KEXP 24/7 is the sort of thing I could get used to.
Permalink 01/23/06 @ 02:02
Comment from: graham [Member] ·
Fixed the volume... I'm a moron.
Permalink 01/30/06 @ 09:15

Which Frame Should I Use?

posted by graham on 06.01.21 at 00:07, random, Bicycles, 1 comment Permalink

It's definately a better frame, but is the LeMond too regular, do you think?

Comment from: collin [Member] ·
I kinda like the Lotus. Doesn't the LeMond have big brazed on deraileur cable tensioner doohickies on the down tube? Kinda breaks up the clean lines of a fixy. Maybe a 1x8 setup? Or... You could make little led blinkers that fit in the tensioners. You might be able to turn the threaded tensioner part into a switch. And blue led's. That would be cool. And you should paint it, red glitter.
Permalink 01/21/06 @ 10:33

Comment from: Brian [Visitor] ·
Implausible but entertaining.
Permalink 01/21/06 @ 17:42
Comment from: ben [Member] ·

"I say implausible because the narrator commits at least two glaring errors building a space elevator. One hopes the real deal would have had such errors excised by sanity check."

-Brian Dunbar

Since engineers never make hilariously disastrous mistakes ... I thought the unrealistic part was Blue Origin building a viable interplanetary space ship.

Permalink 01/21/06 @ 18:09
Comment from: Brian [Visitor] ·
I didn't say that engineers never make mistakes, only that your character made some that would not make their way into a finished design.
Permalink 01/21/06 @ 22:50
Comment from: ben [Member] ·
you seem like a nice fellow, but this is the part where I chant "Tacoma Narrows Tacoma Narrows Tacoma Narows Tacoma Narows Tacoma Narows Tacoma Narows Tacoma Narows..."

or maybe that stuff about Oppenheimer and friends wondering if the first atomic bomb would start the Earth's atmosphere on fire... yeah, engineers are characteristally moral sorts...
Permalink 01/22/06 @ 02:25
Comment from: graham [Member] ·
I can't really find the designers of the Tacoma Narrows at fault for not checking the bridge's natural frequency in a crosswind. It always seemed like such a freak occurrence to me.
If we're talking about hilariously disastrous, I'm sure the French deserve at least an honorable mention.
Permalink 01/22/06 @ 05:15
Comment from: ben [Member] ·

Here you go:

Honorable Mention: The French for the Maginot Line, possibly the most inept military structure ever devised (Which I guess is in many ways a good thing. Hooray for a culture that's better at getting drunk and making baguettes and art than killing people).

Permalink 01/22/06 @ 05:55
Comment from: collin [Member] ·
Oppenheimer an engineer? I wouldn't call Oppenheimer an engineer. Not to disparage the work engineers do, but fundamental research isn't engineering even if it does result in a "device." And you mention the "igniting the atomosphere" possibility. From wikipedia:
When Teller put forward the remote possibility that the bomb would generate enough heat to ignite the atmosphere (an event that was soon shown to be impossible by Bethe), Oppenheimer nevertheless was concerned enough to meet up with Arthur Compton in Michigan to discuss the situation.

Which really isn't a case of "Let's build this thing and not think about the consiquences." Case in point is the famous Vishnu [I always thought it was Shiva] quote [same wikipedia article]:
"We knew the world would not be the same. A few people laughed, a few people cried, most people were silent. I remembered the line from the Hindu scripture, the Bhagavad-Gita. Vishnu is trying to persuade the Prince that he should do his duty and to impress him takes on his multi-armed form and says, 'I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.' I suppose we all thought that one way or another."

A little less poetic than if he just said it...
Permalink 01/22/06 @ 09:44
Comment from: Brian [Visitor] ·
you seem like a nice fellow

I think I am. I have my days.

but this is the part where I chant "Tacoma Narrows

Duly noted. Things happen and stuff breaks - we know this. The trick is to not get so full of yourself (from an institutional perspective).

engineers are characteristally moral sorts.

What does morality have to do with making sure your bridge doesn't fall down? You might be confusing technical competence with morality. Or are you saying that people have a moral obligation to prevent their creations from harming others? I'll agree with that.

The French for the Maginot Line, possibly the most inept military structure ever devised

The Maginot Line wasn't a structure but a series of border forts and redoubts; a way of thinking if you will. The French did a wonderful job of preparing to re-fight WW I. Note that the line did it's job - it wasn't defeated in battle, but had to be abandond when those wily Germans prepared to fight WW II and drove around it.

(Which I guess is in many ways a good thing. Hooray for a culture that's better at getting drunk and making baguettes and art than killing people).

Well yes - until a culture that is good at applying force shows up. Creating art and making wine is important - so is having the ability to protect your wine makers and artists from those who would kill them. Takes all kinds.
Permalink 01/22/06 @ 10:58
Comment from: Joe Julian [Visitor] ·
Let's give the french some credit. They didn't just roll over and die during WWII. They fought fiercely and were even given credit in letters to Berlin by the Germans. Their leadership and strategists were to blame, not the men on the ground.
Permalink 01/22/06 @ 11:25
Comment from: ben [Member] ·
With regard to Tacoma Narrows... Anticipating things like your bridge becoming a wing and attempting to take off is exactly what engineering is about. If you don't do that, you aren't really doing engineering, but just kind of building stuff.

Oppenheimer starting the world on fire... so, yeah, he was a physicist doing engineering. I'd say that makes him an engineer. The point is that they knew the world starting on fire was a possibility and they set the damn thing off anyway. Doesn't that astound you?

What does morality have with making sure your bridge doesn't fall down? This is where that miserable ethics in engineering class comes in... The O rings and the shuttle... they knew they were leaky. But, the engineers working on the part of the project didn't think it was a problem if they leaked some. So, instead of fixing their problem they ignored it. Yes, there was some paperwork filed, but nothing came of it until pieces of Challenger were falling from the sky. So morality is very important. To be a good engineer, you must tirelessly eliminate any mistakes from your work and try to anticipate how it might interact with the work of others to cause other problems.

About the killing... it does not take all kinds. If there were none of the killing kind then there wouldn't have been a world war.

But, assuming that killing people with guns is a laudable thing, a moment for the brave French resistance of WWII... the brave French resistance who waited until the Americans had landing at Normandy, and then waited a little longer to make sure the Americans were staying in France before emerging from their Paris sewers to fight bravely in a war that was already won. Ah, let's remember the noble Vichy regime and their tireless human rights work. And if all that doesn't warm your heart, remember warmly that at least the French didn't string up a bunch of concentration camp escapees... possibly because they never had the opportunity.

People aren't evil exactly, but they are cowards... and continental europe during the 30s and 40s is a largely undiluted example of that. People were very good at not seeing the evil things going on around them and not speaking out against them. I only hope we haven't developed that same skill here and now.

The solution to the problems then and the problems now is not death, but the exercise of free speech. Speak out against those things you consider wrong and steadfastly refuse to participate in any act which you consider wrong.
Permalink 01/22/06 @ 15:03
Comment from: collin [Member] ·
So is engineering any time you create a physical device? Or does it only have to have a use outside the lab? Or is it defined by the intent of the builder/designer [more generic terms]? Is it engineering if the device is created with an intended use outside of the lab? Is it determined by economics? After writing these nonrhetorical questions [come on somebody, give me an answer] I'm less sure of which definition I would support. Which one are you using?

My point about Oppenheimer was that he seems to have been acutely aware of the consequences of his actions, or at least the ones he could imagine. You mention "burning the world" as you have before, which really begs the question: When do you trust that your model of the physical world is accurate enough for the application to place your faith in the cold hard purity of mathematical proof? Or when is the model not trustworthy?

I know that wikipedia isn't the greatest source but, "showing it was impossible" says to me: "Given this well-tested model of thermodynamics, the energy densities produced by an uncontrolled fission reaction and other conditions are not sufficient to ignite the atmosphere." I freely admit that my argument isn't well supported by good sources, but yours isn't either. Show me a paper, maybe I'll understand it though probably not.

And for those that don't know Ben [I should start charging you for PR work], he is some what of a francophile. So his viewpoint is a little more complicated than "teh French 5uX0r." For whatever that's worth.

Does anyone find it amusing that this fairly long discussion started with a little piece of science fiction? And come on, grey goo? Not that it's not an entertaining story.
Permalink 01/22/06 @ 22:55
Comment from: ben [Member] ·
He thought the world might start on fire. He might not have believed it likely, but he though it possible and lit the bomb up anyway. And people say I'm sociopathic.
Permalink 01/23/06 @ 00:29
Comment from: Brian [Visitor] ·
Oppenheimer starting the world on fire... so, yeah, he was a physicist doing engineering. I'd say that makes him an engineer

No - it make Oppenheimer was what he was - the director. The head cheese. The guy in charge. But not an engineer.

The point is that they knew the world starting on fire was a possibility and they set the damn thing off anyway. Doesn't that astound you?

Did you read the bit that said "an event that was soon shown to be impossible by Bethe" ?

But, assuming that killing people with guns is a laudable thing

The situation is rather more complex than that, of course. But yes - killing people with guns (or swords, slingshots or arrows) is a laudable thing if the alternative is extinction of your race, culture or country.
Permalink 01/23/06 @ 06:42
Comment from: marco [Member] ·
Ben wrote:

People were very good at not seeing the evil things going on around them and not speaking out against them. I only hope we haven't developed that same skill here and now.

Some possibly evil things:
1) Torturing people to try to get information out of them.
2) Laying waste to an entire city to try to clear it of insurgents.
3) Secretly listening in on conversations of innocent people in the hopes that they might be talking to terrorists, without any regard for its legality or independent oversight.
4) Bombing houses with civilians in them in the hopes of also killing a high-level terrorist.
5) Detaining a person indefinitely and denying him/her the right to defend himself/herself in a trial.
Permalink 01/25/06 @ 12:18


posted by ben on 06.01.19 at 22:14, null, pictures, seattle, Leave a comment Permalink

Cafe Paloma. 8pm ish. 93 Yesler. Free jazz, cheap wine, coffee and it's more fun than you.

Edit: Thursdays... forgot that part.

touch you touch you

posted by ben on 06.01.18 at 23:23, art, art, Leave a comment Permalink
-Henry Miller, "Bubu"

posted by ben on 06.01.18 at 03:19, null, null, Leave a comment Permalink

Critique of Any Sort of Reason

posted by ben on 06.01.18 at 00:07, kittens, random, Leave a comment Permalink

The measure of a man is not how quickly he can dig himself out of a hole his words have gotten him into, but how thinly he can slice a ripe beefsteak tomato while singing along to "Working Class Hero." I am a great man.


One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws.

-Martin Luther King Jr.
Letter from a Birmingham Jail

Steven Pinker is an ass.

posted by ben on 06.01.15 at 20:20, rant, rave, Leave a comment Permalink

I've had this argument for a long time that there may be differences between the way men and women think, but that those differences are so insignificant that they don't account for the lack of women in the sciences and we certainly shouldn't model our society (or education) on them regardless of their statistical significance. So, reading this made me happy.

jerry springer in print

posted by ben on 06.01.15 at 19:48, books, books, Leave a comment Permalink

This appears to be the equivalent of Avi for destitute black youth. At least, I hope it's for the youth. God help us if it's for adults, because the writing reminds me of Avi and Gary Paulsen with lots of drugs, hoes, car and a very blunt allusion to Rakim. Yay. Steal this book... Pulp it and use the result to print Wright, Baldwin and Hurston and give that to the young black youth. And maybe through some Avi and a few copies of Hatchet in the pulper while you're at it.

via gothamist (which I realize there is no good reason for me to read)

part II: the other half of the species

posted by ben on 06.01.15 at 17:59, null, fetishizing intellect and beauty, Leave a comment Permalink

Left to right: Ezra Pound, Martin Amis, Langston Hughes and Spalding Gray alias Gary Spalding

There's a Welsh pub in St. Louis called Dressel's (think chips and rarebit) with walls covered in portraits of great writers. The walls look like the blog does right now. These people all have a certain look about them. I almost miss St. Louis.

the beautiful people, the beautiful people

posted by ben on 06.01.15 at 17:37, null, fetishizing intellect and beauty, Leave a comment Permalink

From left to right: Dame Jean Iris Murdoch, Louise Erdrich, Hannah Arendt, Doroth Parker, Virginia Woolf, Colette

Notice how Dorothy Parker's the only one smiling.

You're so pretty when you don't smile.

posted by ben on 06.01.15 at 17:10, books, books, Leave a comment Permalink

Bearded men often have cuntlike mouths; perhaps that is why they so love to eat pussy; it is like kissing themselves in a mirror.

-Erica Jong, Any Woman's Blues, pg. 60

I found that wonderful picture of her here. It's actually a fairly interesting blog too.

Ira just said...

posted by collin on 06.01.14 at 12:38, math, nonsense, math, random, Leave a comment Permalink
"Because when math fails, what do you have left but pure faith?"

-Ira Glass on This American Life [that is on the radio right now]

holding your damned salmon baskin robbins cone

posted by ben on 06.01.13 at 22:49, null, food, books, Leave a comment Permalink

The crepe is a lost art in America. Thought it may not be an art on the high order of puff pastry, it's a great vehicle for all kinds of ingredients nevertheless, and it is an excellent way to make leftovers elegant. We seem to have completely abandoned it, which to me is a culinary sin.

-Thomas Keller, Bouchon, pg 199

There is a god.

posted by ben on 06.01.12 at 23:43, coffee, coffee, rant, food, seattle, 6 comments Permalink

The other night I walked up to Capitol Hill wearing my fluffy locally manufactured jacket in the never ending rain, intending to go to Victrola, sort of hoping to find Nate and duel, but not really, and mostly to go to the nice little Boulderesque grocery next to Victrola... and I found something more satisfying than brutally killing an old friend of mine: enchilada sauce.

Comment from: Toy Vano [Visitor]
I enjoy wasting valuable time reading your blog.
Permalink 01/13/06 @ 15:26
Comment from: ben [Member] ·
That's very kind of you, whoever you are.
Permalink 01/14/06 @ 02:47
Comment from: collin [Member] ·
Oooo, I had no idea they made that. I am very hungry. I just found out they have an online store, but it's a little pricey. Fine, I can't add.
Permalink 01/14/06 @ 12:40
Comment from: ben [Member] ·
$56.95/12 = $4.75 a bottle with shipping.

I think that's about right for a bottle of the best salsa ever.
Permalink 01/14/06 @ 15:57
Comment from: nate [Member] ·
Permalink 01/17/06 @ 15:07
Comment from: ben [Member] ·
I just ordered two dozen bottles of goodness...
Permalink 01/18/06 @ 00:16

posted by ben on 06.01.12 at 23:23, null, on writing, 3 comments Permalink

In a doomed effort to be more like JWZ:

Dear Lazyweb,

What makes a Romantic a Romantic? Are they romantic? Is there something concise to be said? And don't tell me it has something to do with the date because it can't be the defining trait of a movement. This is where all you people with formal liberal arts educations get to gloat...

Comment from: collin [Member] ·
I thought that to be a Romantic you had to champion the beauty and importance human nature. The movement started as a reaction to the enlightenment of the French Revolution, which valued scientific progress and man's reason above all else. King's dead (good) but everything spiraled into the bloodbath of the French Revolution (bad).
Percy Shelley (ugly man in portrait) wrote Prometheus Unbound. Prometheus is released and creates some Utopia with his light of humanity. Mary Shelley (ugly woman in portrait) wrote Frankestein. See Dr. Frankenstein ignored some sort of natural human essence when he used science to make his creature so bad stuff has to happen.
Maybe I'm wrong. They were all into bigamy and incest too, if you find that Romantic.

Who's the guy in the center?
Permalink 01/14/06 @ 15:55
Comment from: ben [Member] ·
Clearly, Mary Shelley looks like a ghoul, but I think Percy looks reasonably handsome. Keats is in the middle. He's a Romantic, I think...

I had some rambling, incoherent argument about the quality of human souls and the Romantic's objectification of great souls. Shenni had enough sense to tell me I made no sense. One of my neighbors has been carrying around some Tennyson, but he couldn't enlighten me.

I'm not sure you're allowed to respond to this post as math is only technically in the liberal arts.

I want Romantics to be romanticizing something... surely the name came from their romantic notions about humanity or nature or something.

Whitman's an Existentialist, not a Romantic, right? But he championed beauty and the importance of human nature or something vaguely like that. So what's the difference?
Permalink 01/14/06 @ 16:05
Comment from: Shenni [Visitor] ·
Prometheus got himself into trouble for showing the humans how to make fire, he taught them the alphabet, invented art as far as they were concerned, et cetera, essentially creating a culture and a more advanced model of society for them to live in. This was in direct defiance of Zeus, who called the humans a primitive species (which they were, pre-Prometheus) and wanted to wait out their extinction by way of wild boar or blowing themselves up.

Existentialism = philosophy.
Romanticism = time period. Historical movement.
Whitman = both. He called himself a Romantic realist, which is what Ayn Rand ended up calling herself too, although that was a while later.

Romanticism was mostly about getting away from society and the church (which was corrupt and bad) and going into nature, where God was. Savage people in unexploited countries being better humans than us for not understanding how civilization works. Innocence, nature, bla bla bla.
Victorianism is much more fun.
Permalink 01/17/06 @ 14:15

Cafe Paloma

posted by ben on 06.01.12 at 22:56, coffee, coffee, art, food, seattle, Leave a comment Permalink

Cafe Paloma, the odd Turkish cafe or wine bar below me, has a jazz duo on Thursdays that covers a bunch of Davis and Coltrane classics. They're really pretty good. If you have the means, I highly recommend it.

Next week I'll take a picture.

Cafe Paloma. Jazz. 8-10PM. Thursday. 93 Yesler, Seattle.

posted by ben on 06.01.12 at 12:17, rant, on writing, seattle, Leave a comment Permalink

Outside my local coffee shop, they’re cutting a hole in the sidewalk with one of those saws for cement. As this is a civil engineering project requiring an enormous degree of oversight, there are five people in neon suits involved.

So, an insane homeless person wanders by… well several actually… but one was twitching his hands in the way the insane homeless people here do and for some reason this particular man elicited the sympathy of one of the workers… no doubt a kind man.

And he took him inside, sat him down, and asked the barista to help him. Not too surprisingly, she didn’t want any of it. What’s she going to do? Nurse him back to health? Find him a home? She called him an ambulance. So, an ambulance is going to pick up the homeless man and… what? What’s the point? …one act of hypocritical concern and then what? The EMTs will show up and? Take him to the hospital where they will nurse him back to health? Sure, I believe that.

So I left, not wanting to see this dreadful farce play out. I am hypocritical in the good sense: I have ideals I cannot possibly live up to. I admit that and sometimes I try. When I perform a kind act, it is because it is right, not out of selfish motivation or fear of how others will perceive me. Today I saw the other kind of hypocrisy: seemingly kind acts performed solely to mollify public opinion. I hate it. The vanity of it… the lack of feeling or humanity.

Walking home, with this tirade forming, it turned on me. They always do. Books. I read books. Great piles of books. When I hear one of those well intentioned rants against pornography (as opposed to the eww, it’s profane variety), it usually has something about how the pornographer's subject is dehumanized. So, pornography takes the human and makes it less human. Novels take personal experience and attempt to construct something human from a pile of vague recollections. They both arrive at the same place, a construction that is almost real, but is missing something crucial.

what a name

posted by ben on 06.01.12 at 00:43, books, books, Leave a comment Permalink

My life--my real life--started when a man walked into it, a handsome stranger in a perfectly cut suit, and, yes, I know how that sounds. My friend Linny would snort and convey the kind of multipronged disgust I rely on her to convey. One prong of feminist disgust at the whole idea of changing a woman's life, even though, as things turned out, the man himself was more the harbinger of change than the change itself. Another prong of disgust for the inaccuracy of saying my life begain after thirty-one years of living it. And the final prong being a kind of general disgust for the way people turn moments in their lives into movie moments.

-Marisa de los Santos, Love Walked In, pg 1

beautiful people tied to the floor

posted by ben on 06.01.12 at 00:13, television, television, Leave a comment Permalink

The last few episodes of Battlestar have been horribly disturbing, but the writing and acting just get better.

I had an argument with Anwar and Collin when we in high school that those spots of light in eyes are necessary, sufficient indicators of intellect, humor and beauty.

...and everyone goes to EXT2

posted by ben on 06.01.11 at 23:59, null, technology, Leave a comment Permalink

"Pricing for this license is $0.25 per unit with a cap on total royalties of $250,000 per licensee. Pricing for other device types can be negotiated with Microsoft."

-FAT File System Technology License

I know real news sources are covering this, but wow.

For all your unreasonable cooling needs...

posted by ben on 06.01.11 at 23:22, null, technology, Leave a comment Permalink

I know Zalman has a new gigantic fan (CNPS9500 LED), but this Thermaltake one is vastly superior... I mean. I mean... I mean it looks like a beetle.

Thermaltake Beetle

If only Timmie suffered for another 200 pages...

posted by ben on 06.01.10 at 23:38, books, books, Leave a comment Permalink
In relation to Daisy this arrangement worked as follows, and here his inability to imagine the future was of discreet assistance. If Gertrude abandoned him there would have been no need to tell her about Daisy. Indeed all sorts of things, such as his own death, might intervene to make the revelation superfluous.
-Iris Murdoch, Nuns and Soldiers, pg 202
'Oh Daisy, I've been so unhappy, it's been so awful.'
'Do you want me to console you because Gertie saw what a little rat you were? Poor little Timmie. Put your head there then. Women are for consolation, they're always the safe house. You come back to the woman you left and ask her to console you because your caper went wrong. God, we're fools. I wish I could find a better man.'
'I wish I were a better man.'
'Poor Tim, poor sinner. There, put your arms around me. Don't grieve, you're safe here.'
-Iris Murdoch, Nuns and Soldiers, pg 269

I live down there (it's very wet)

posted by ben on 06.01.10 at 23:36, pictures, seattle, 1 comment Permalink
Comment from: graham [Member] ·
The same could be said about my room, though I'm sure you realized that already.
Permalink 01/11/06 @ 01:10

I have now lost my mind...

posted by collin on 06.01.10 at 17:11, nonsense, random, 1 comment Permalink

It is January 10th. I just tried to bring a Christmas tree into my aparment. I found it on the street. I quickly gave up.

Comment from: ben [Member] ·
Is there a backstory? You were going to... add it to your canoe, make it into skis, burn it in your nonfunctional gas fireplace?
Permalink 01/10/06 @ 23:29
posted by ben on 06.01.10 at 05:18, null, rant, Leave a comment Permalink

"Though it looks like one of my firends has lost his mind, so just ignore what's actually on the page."


Star Trek: The Great Society

posted by ben on 06.01.10 at 03:59, art, television, television, Leave a comment Permalink

I am contemplating the death of an old friend.

-Gary Mitchell, Star Trek Episode 2, Season 1

The Great Society

posted by ben on 06.01.10 at 03:57, null, politics, Leave a comment Permalink

...The purpose of protecting the life of our nation and preserving the liberty of our citizens is to pursue the happiness of our people. Our success in that pursuit is the test of our success as a nation.

For a century we labored to settle and to subdue a continent. For half a century we called upon unbounded invention and untiring industry to create an order of plenty for all of our people.

The challenge of the next half century is whether we have the wisdom to use that wealth to enrich and elevate our national life, and to advance the quality of our American civilization.

Your imagination, your initiative and your indignation will determine whether we build a society where progress is the servant of our needs, or a society where old values and new visions are buried under unbridled growth. For in your time we have the opportunity to move not only toward the rich society and the powerful society, but upward to the Great Society.

The Great Society rests on abundance and liberty for all. It demands an end to poverty and racial injustice, to which we are totally committed in our time. But that is just the beginning.

The Great Society is a place where every child can find knowledge to enrich his mind and to enlarge his talents. It is a place where leisure is a welcome chance to build and reflect, not a feared cause of boredom and restlessness. It is a place where the city of man serves not only the needs of the body and the demands of commerce but the desire for beauty and the hunger for community.

It is a place where man can renew contact with nature. It is a place which honors creation for its own sake and for what it adds to the understanding of the race. It is a place where men are more concerned with the quality of their goals than the quantity of their goods.

But most of all, the Great Society is not a safe harbor, a resting place, a final objective, a finished work. It is a challenge constantly renewed, beckoning us toward a destiny where the meaning of our lives matches the marvelous products of our labor...

-Lyndon B. Johnson, May 22, 1964

It's cold out there.

posted by ben on 06.01.10 at 03:23, rant, pictures, seattle, Leave a comment Permalink

I've been watching a homeless man die. It's been going on for a few weeks. He's new here, sitting in the rain. I'm not sure anyone lasts too long. I give him money, but it's not enough for anything. He just struggled by the Pho restaurant in the never ending rain, looking a little more hobbled than yesterday. I guess it's possible he'll make it through winter and live another year.

This loft is for sale for $825,000 in the alley where he often sleeps. The front door often opens to a view of him completely covered with a perennially damp blanket.

If we actually cared, poverty wouldn't be a problem.

Guar Gum and Brian York

posted by ben on 06.01.10 at 02:45, null, null, kittens, food, Leave a comment Permalink
-Jam Designs and Nestle

I get nostalgic late at night... especially if I've been in bed for a few hours, unable to sleep, listening to New Order that makes me remember being 6.

When we lived in Colorado Springs, a special treat was something called a Banana Frost. It was a packet of God knows what that you would buy in the produce section. I'm pretty sure it was mostly sugar and an unholy amount of vanilla. The back of the packet instructed you to mix it with a banana, some milk and some ice cubes in a blender. The result was quite tasty.

At some point, it occurred to me that the packet was superfluous. Well, not superfluous entirely, but since the company that made it seems to have dropped of the face of the earth (like almost all the food I used to enjoy) it could be done without. ... You need 2 frozen bananas (it's very important to take the skins off before freezing... I found this out the hard way and ended up wasting most of several bananas trying to remove the skins with a pairing knife), milk, an unholy amount of vanilla and some blending...


posted by ben on 06.01.09 at 21:17, null, food, Leave a comment Permalink

Suppose for a moment, completely hypothetically, that you were extremely bored... bored enough to take pictures of cheese... and that you left a pound of very nice Double Gloucester (what the hell is single?) in your fridge for the better part of a month. Suppose that it grew a fine mold that left it tasting like brie… cheddar like brie that is… very good cheddar like brie… Would it poison me if I were to eat it plain? Would it poison me if I placed it on rye bread with tomatoes and baked it? Would it poison me on a boat? Would it poison me if it were instead the cheese of a goat?

All City Coffee

posted by ben on 06.01.09 at 20:31, coffee, coffee, seattle, Leave a comment Permalink

posted by ben on 06.01.09 at 20:23, null, null, puppies, rant, Leave a comment Permalink

I remember the day I bought this pair of pants at the army surplus store. I had dinner in Denver with my dad and someone who knew my grandparents. Then we were going to watch a movie. At the last moment you changed your mind and I spent the night drinking coffee alone. I’m not complaining… it’s just odd to remember it now.


posted by ben on 06.01.09 at 18:05, null, food, Leave a comment Permalink

posted by ben on 06.01.08 at 16:08, null, on writing, Leave a comment Permalink

A new kind of writing: method writing. An autobiography is somehow different from fiction. What if I change myself into the character I’m writing about.

Today he goes to the market to buy flowers like Mrs. Dalloway. Tomorrow, I go do that and then get drunk. When I get home I’m taking on a bit to my book where Mrs. Dalloway drinks a bottle of Scapa and attacks a fishmonger with goat cheese wrapped in grape leaves and soaked in brandy. Tomorrow I go out and attack a fishmonger with goat cheese wrapped in grape leaves and soaked in brandy until a man hits me over the head with a bag of oysters. The oysters make their way into the novel while I’m recuperating, but I leave out the part about the bump on the top of my head because it isn’t quite picturesque and move on… writing the next part where I fall in love… and Mrs. Dalloway goes out and falls in love.

God damn it!

posted by collin on 06.01.06 at 11:05, news, news, rant, rant, Leave a comment Permalink

This just got posted to /., from the Chicago Sun-Times:

The Chicago Police Department is warning officers their cell phone records are available to anyone -- for a price. Dozens of online services are selling lists of cell phone calls, raising security concerns among law enforcement and privacy experts.

To test the service, the FBI paid $160 to buy the records for an agent's cell phone and received the list within three hours, the police bulletin said.

Apparently this isn't brand new news, and while I find the FBI part ironically amusing, I don't really like it.


posted by collin on 06.01.05 at 19:17, nonsense, random, 2 comments Permalink

He’s been training with gators nearly as long, and is in charge of Colorado Gators’ instruction program. No fooling: Colorado Gators is certainly the only place in the U.S.—and Mather claims the world—where you can take lessons in gator wrestling. All you need is to be of sound physical condition, a stout heart, and $50 to qualify for 3+ hrs. of one-on-one training. Oh, and there’s the little matter of the legal waiver wherein the signer waives legal rights to sue and declares, “I, ____, do hereby admit that if I’m crazy enough to willingly put my hands on an alligator, I deserve to get bit. Furthermore, I promise not to whine too much if I do get a few bumps and scrapes or even a flesh wound.”

[via boingboing?]

Comment from: ben [Member] ·

The instant I saw the words gator and Colorado, I remembered that sign along some long and straight South Park highway... Alligator Farm - 10 miles. Then I started remembering other things. The $7 Dave and I had to get from Boulder to Sand Dunes on our bikes... "Round here we haven't had much call for bicycles since God gave us knowledge of the infernal combustion engine." The 40 cent tip on a $40 three course greasy spoon breakfast... Running down rather hot sand dunes bare foot...

Here's the link.

Permalink 01/05/06 @ 20:07
Comment from: collin [Member] ·
It's the same place. And you forgot the Doritos. That was a good trip, kinda insane, but a good trip. I think the only thing that could have made it crazier is if we stopped to wrestle gators.
Permalink 01/06/06 @ 10:56

Cool blogs I've started reading...

posted by collin on 06.01.05 at 19:14, nonsense, random, Leave a comment Permalink

Notes from the Technology Underground

Positive Ape Index



posted by collin on 06.01.05 at 19:10, technology, tech, Leave a comment Permalink

It combines an algorithm in this paper from U Washington with flickr. Pretty cool, but a little rough. [via boingboing]


posted by collin on 06.01.05 at 19:05, nonsense, art, random, technology, rave, tech, Leave a comment Permalink

This is the best book I've ever seen from Project Gutenberg, The Boy Mechanic: Volume I 700 Things For Boys To Do. Ok, let's go through a short list of just some of the wonders inside:

  • p.151 How to Make a Pilot Balloon [and inflate it with hydrogen]
  • p.188 How to Make a a Non-Polarizing Battery
  • p.190 A Fish Bait [minnow in a glass tube]
  • p.195 Attaching Runners to a Bicycle for Winter Use
  • p.213 How to Make Glider [pic above]
  • p.242 How to Make an Electrolytic Rectifier [it just looks like 4 caps to me]
  • p.268 Driving a Washing Machine with Motorcycle Power
  • p.292 Taking Button from a Child's Nostril
  • p.313 Saving an Engine: Turning the water on before starting the gas engine may prevent breaking a cylinder on a cold day. [that's it?]
  • p.330 Rubber Bands in Kite Balancing Strings
  • p.357 An Illuminated Target [to shoot at]
  • p.376 How to Build an Ice-Yacht
  • p.401 How to Make a Sailomobile
  • p.440 Electric Rat Exterminator [scary]
  • p.453 Right Handed Engine: Standing at the cylinder end and looking toward the flywheel of an engine, the wheel will be at the right if the engine is right-hand. [?]
  • p.470 The Winged Skater
  • p.475 The Norwegian Ski: You have often read of the ski, the snowshoe used by the Norwegians and other people living in the far north... Any boy with a little mechanical ingenuity can make a pair of skis (pronounced skees).
  • p.507 An Emergency Glass Funnel
  • p.516 Glass Blowing and Forming
  • p.523 How to Attach a Sail to a Bicycle [pic below]
  • p.524 Piercing Glass Plates with a Spark Coil

Edit: I forgot this, it's from the PG preamble:

Another class of projects illustrate the caviler attitude toward environment and health in 1913. These projects involve items such as gunpowder, acetylene, hydrogen, lead, mercury, sulfuric acid, nitric acid, cadmium, potassium sulfate, potassium cyanide, potassium ferrocyanide, copper sulfate, and hydrochloric acid. Several involve the construction of hazardous electrical devices. Please view these as snapshots of culture and attitude, not as suggestions for contemporary activity.

But those are the best projects!

How many convicted felons do you know?

posted by collin on 06.01.05 at 16:43, nonsense, rant, random, Leave a comment Permalink

I "know" two. Not really more than acquaintances, Alexander Pring-Wilson and William "Billy" Cottrell, convicted of murder and arson respectively. Although it seems that Alexander has been released, is under house arrest and is receiving a retrial. But I don't really want to talk about him for various reasons.

I met Billy a few times at UChicago, and heard some crazy stories about him from my friend Mike Schmitt. I knew that Billy was a genius, he was taking upper level graduate courses at Chicago and may have been trying to prove the Poincare Conjecture. [I remember Mike saying he was trying to solve some big topology problem, and it think it was the P.C.] And so it's no suprise that he was going to CalTech as a gradstudent in physics.

I'm not going to get into all the details of what he did, google his name if you want more info, but involved an SUV dealership, the ELF, and Molotov cocktails. Billy said he didn't set anything on fire. But the prosecution made a large point of him not leaving immediately when he realized what was going on.

And that's the rub. The defense tried to use the fact that Billy has been diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome, and from the little contact I had with Billy I wouldn't doubt that that's true. So if Billy wasn't able to quickly asses what the conciquences of the situation would be, that would explain him not fleeing.

But, like everything, it's more complicated than that. I talked the the court reporter for judge Klausner for the central California federal district in LA where the trial took place about getting a copy of the trial transcript. Apparently it would cost me "about $1000 for the whole transcript, or $100-$200 for the closing arguments." So that idea is out.

I hadn't thought about Billy in a while and was doing some googleing this week. One thing I found pissed me off: [from here]

Earlier this week, William "Billy" Cottrell testified that he had been present at the scene of an Earth Liberation Front action. He admitted to painting ELF slogans and to causing criminal damage. However he then went onto say that he did not start any fires and named two people, Tyler Johnson and Michie Oe, who he claims were responsible for the fires.

It should be noted that, as has been proven time and time again, you can not trust the word of a police informant, as they will happily name innocent people to get themselves off the hook and no charges have ever been bought against Tyler or Michie, although the FBI have now named them as "fugitive co-conspirators".

However as of now Cottrell is regarded as a police informant and will
receive no more support from ELP.

ELP would like to apologise to all those who have supported Cottrell and we would remind everyone that although Cottrell has turned traitor there are many other good prisoners who need our support and we hope this will not put you off supporting them.

Screw you. Yeah, Billy named innocent people who then fled the country. And calling him a traitor? Looking into this I also found an interesting blog about radical environment/animal-rights written by a retired research physician who used animals in his research.

posted by ben on 06.01.05 at 00:16, movies, movies, Leave a comment Permalink

I've always hated Cronenberg... ever since watching Crash at 4am. So, I can't really say what possessed me to watch Scanners, other than the lack of other things to watch. The movies actually get worse without Cronenberg... which I guess says something good for him. The first movies have exploding heads. The third has an exploding pigeon.

If you watch more, Scanners III has gratuitous nudity, monks, a Buddhist ascetic riding a motorcycle, The Blues Brothers, a sexy nurse, underwater exploding heads, a terribly motivated love interest and a sexy woman with a terrible Russian accent. I still like Lifeforce better though.

posted by ben on 06.01.04 at 23:32, books, books, Leave a comment Permalink

"When we got to New York we'd spend the whole day in the book warehouse, browsing in what was essentially a giant library. We would get lost in the aisles of books, only to meet by chance to share ideas and information instead of kisses."

-Spalding Gray, Impossible Vacation, pg. 36