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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in Ken's LiveJournal:

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Monday, March 24th, 2008
7:26 pm
So close....
  • Charlie Rose:Check
  • Lost:Check
  • South Park:Check

    Once The Daily Show finally becomes available for viewing online the last reason for ever wanting cable will go away...
  • Tuesday, October 30th, 2007
    3:18 am
    Everything I needed to know I learned from the side of a Celestial Seasonings box
    "When is a Man Educated? When he can look out upon the universe, now lucid and lovely, now dark and terrible, with a sense of his own littleness in the great scheme of things, and yet have faith and courage. When he knows how to make friends and keep them, and above all, when he can keep friends with himself. When he can be happy alone and high-minded amid the drudgeries of life. When he can look into a wayside puddle and see something besides mud, and into the face of the most forlorn mortal and see divine. When he knows how to live, how to love, how to hope, how to pray - is glad to live...and has in his heart a bit of a song." -Joseph Fort Newton
    Tuesday, May 31st, 2005
    3:50 pm
    The benefits of inconspicuous consumption
    From Robert H. Frank's "How not to buy happiness":
      "Considerable evidence suggests that if we use an increase in our incomes, as many of us do, simply to buy bigger houses and more expensive cars, then we do not end up any happier than before. But if we use an increase in our incomes to buy more of certain inconspicuous goods–such as freedom from a long commute or a stressful job–then the evidence paints a very different picture. The less we spend on conspicuous consumption goods, the better we can afford to alleviate congestion; and the more time we can devote to family and friends, to exercise, sleep, travel, and other restorative activities. On the best available evidence, reallocating our time and money in these and similar ways would result in healthier, longer– and happier–lives."
    Thursday, February 24th, 2005
    4:27 am
    The revolution will be available on Game Boy this fall
    I felt like a kid on Christmas morning when I found out yesterday that the new Kleptones bonus winter collection "From Detroit To J.A." was now available for download. Needless to say, I've been listening to it nonstop ever since. This time they've gone a little further back in time musically, mostly focusing on Funk, Motown, and R&B. I wasn't too into this collection at first, but it really picks up for me about halfway through. Check out "Bowified Revolution", "Really Rappin' Something", & especially "Revolverlution".

    I've been on a serious Kool-Aid kick lately. Favorite flavor: Ice Blue Raspberry Lemonade. They've got various neat Kool-Aid "Aguas Frescas" flavors at the grocery stores around here (stuff like that is a nice benefit to living in a big city). One of them is my second favorite flavor: Mandarina-Tangerine. Mango was okay, but nothing to write home about. Haven't tried Jamaica yet. Tamarindo was the weirdest drink flavor I've ever encountered (and I've had many Japanese drinks!) -- kind of like drinking liquified burnt caramel.

    Saw Bodyworlds at the Museum of Science and Industry recently. Hands down the most fascinating and nauseating thing I've ever seen. It's worth the price of admission just to see the entire circulatory system in 3D. After seeing that I'll never look at a tree the same way again -- the similarities between how our circulatory system and trees grow are overwhelming.
    Tuesday, February 8th, 2005
    2:28 pm
    Deep Thoughts
    On the side of my Starbucks cup:

    "The world bursts at the seams with people ready to tell you you’re not good enough. On occasion, some may be correct. But do not do their work for them. Seek any job; ask anyone out; pursue any goal. Don’t take it personally when they say 'no' – they may not be smart enough to say 'yes.'" -- Keith Olbermann

    Speaking of Starbucks. I'm sitting at the Starbucks on Michigan avenue. Across the street is the Apple Store. The Apple Store likely contains Mac Minis. Mac Minis for sale. Likely a Mac Mini that I could buy on impulse and take home tonight. Something tells me they take Mastercard.

    On the other hand, for twice as much money I could buy a dual AMD Opteron box to use for for some research I want to do. A machine that is probably 4-6 times as fast for what I want to do with it.

    Yet the Mini across the street calls to me. Let's hope they're backordered...
    Saturday, October 16th, 2004
    2:27 am
    Jon Stewart is my new hero.

    Who knew Bertrand Russel was so on it:
      "There are men who, through ownership of land, are able to make others pay for the privilege of being allowed to exist and to work. These landowners are idle, and I might therefore be expected to praise them. Unfortunately, their idleness is only rendered possible by the industry of others. Indeed it is these people's desire for comfortable idleness which is historically the source of the whole gospel of work. The last thing they have ever wished for is that others should follow their example."

    Saw The Legendary Shack Shakers at the Double Door (not a bad venue. can't argue with $10 shows within walking distance) tonight. The Saps opened for them and stole the show for me. They just played their freakin hearts out. Truly inspiring. Not to take anything away from the Shack Shakers though -- they make Reverend Horton Heat look tame. About 20' away from the stage was just about right, since Colonel J.D could only heave the aluminum wash bucket he threw from the stage about 15'. Yup, these guys put the psycho in psychobilly...

    Hmmm. This is turning into music month. Saw Devo a couple weeks back (they're total geezers but it was totally worth it and now I'm 2/3's through my "see before I die" list of Devo, Gary Numan, & The Talking Heads). Interpol is this Sunday (Can't wait -- they played an incredibly tight show last year just before I moved here, and I really like the new CD), & The Cramps are next saturday (MattG mentioned there was close to a riot at last years show and I'm always one for a little adventure...)
    Monday, October 11th, 2004
    3:45 pm
    More chewable mind nuggets from Bhante G


    Buddha, the original slacker. (From Going Upstream):

      'Everyone has so many things to do. You have to have a space to grow, to improve your spiritual practice. That is why the Buddha said, "Have few duties." When you have few duties, you have time to practice, you are not all the time tense, uptight, and nervous, worrying and destroying your health.'


    And on death (From The Buddhist View of Death):

      'The final death is the death of the enlightened person. An enlightened person has these thoughts. First, he thinks, "Well, I have done what was to be done. There's nothing more to do.'


    So, instead of the standard "afterlife as a reward" of other religions, in Buddhism the reward is that instead of rebirth after rebirth after rebirth the reward is you finally get to die. There's something really charming about this idea, if nothing else than for its wonderfully contrarian perspective.
    Thursday, September 23rd, 2004
    10:24 pm
    The Kleptones invite you to...
    A Night At The Hip-Hopera

    Don't miss "Fuck", "Play", "Work"

    And especially "Question"
    Wednesday, September 15th, 2004
    9:42 am
    So I haven't blogged much in a while. I'm not entirely sure why. I'm no longer interested in almost-daily blogging on all sorts of things like I did with Trampolined Style back in 2002. However, I do think having a personal space like LiveJournal to keep in touch with friends and such makes a lot of sense (especially as we all move about the globe), as does a professional weblog (when I was blogging about programming languages a few years back it surprised me how many people read my blog -- I can totally see how people have ended up with jobs as a result of blogging).

    But I've noticed over the last several months that It's hard for me to sit down and write much text anymore, either for blog posts or for long emails. I think part of it might have been that I stopped journaling a while back and shredded/deleted all my old journal entries. I've noticed that doing that has drastically cut down my monkey-mind internal monolog (which I like), but it would make sense that all that writing before was keeping me in more of a writing zone or something.

    Random Thoughts:

    Just finished "The Da Vinci Code". Took a while to get into it, but the middle part of the book is a compelling read. Ended pretty blah for my tastes though. But now that I've actually read two fiction books in the last year ("Childhood's End" was the other. Highly recommended) I think it might be time for me to finally tackle "Cryptonomicon".

    I think I'm going to pick up a Linode

    Digging the new "The Killers" CD. "Indie Rock And Roll" is tedious, but most of the other tracks are catchy as all get out.

    Spending massive amounts of time with the Objective Caml language. On one hand I feel like I haven't made much progress. On the other hand, I did find myself building an abstracted opengl thread-safe graphics operation queue in Starbucks two nights ago and enjoying it, so who knows. In any case programming has become fun again, and I can't argue with that.

    It's interesting to see the "Getting Things Done" time management system hit the tipping point. Matt clued me into it back in 2001 (and I took the book down to the Keys over vacation and couldn't get done... reading getting things done...). I go back and forth on the time management thing. When I need to be an automaton it undeniably makes me a much much much more effective automaton. Thing is, I really do prefer to be a slacker as much as possible.
    Tuesday, May 18th, 2004
    4:05 pm
    Wednesday, May 12th, 2004
    6:30 am
    High weirdness by morning
    For various reasons (drinking coffee after midnite, finally starting to grok OCaml, stuff like that) I found myself wide awake and restless at 5:30am this morning. Taking a walk around my neighborhood reminded me how sleep deprivation can put me in a mild altered state.

    It was in this state that I experienced the weirdest money request from a stranger yet. I've been in Chicago long enough that I'm used to the trend of people explaining that they are in unusual situations and in need of $5-$20. Previously, it's always happened in predictable places, like riding the El or walking around downtown. But this morning as I was crossing the street that I live on, a car suddenly stopped right by me, and a young man jumped out and explained that he needed "$4 to get to Kankakee". In the car were an older man and woman, about the right age to be his parents. I usually assume that these situations are various ploys to keep people from going into their normal anti-panhandler mode, but this one was strange enough that I think it might have actually been true. Maybe.

    On the way back from the walk I saw a store that had closed down and papered the inside of its windows with newspapers. I was curious when they were from and it turns out they were dated August 30th and Sept 6th 2001. Looking over them, I was surprised at how wistful I found myself being for those days before the world changed. As if to drive the point home, the headline on the newspaper machine at the end of the block read "American Beheaded On Video".
    1:33 am
    Thursday, May 6th, 2004
    11:04 pm
    War is Hell
    Robert Fisk's article and the video he references.
    Tuesday, April 27th, 2004
    4:30 pm
    Things I Like
    * Cast Iron Skillets
    * George Foreman Grills (wish they weren't made of aluminum though)
    * Real Half & Half (as opposed to Fat Free Half & Half, a concept which makes zero sense)
    * The Chicago Plus card (which automatically charges my credit card for bus and el rides so I never have to worry how much I have on a card)
    * Overstock.com (lets me indulge my book addiction more cheaply)
    * Deodorant(which isn't an OTC medicine) instead of Antiperspirant (which is).
    * Republic of Tea "Honey Ginseng" green tea, Stash "Chai Spice" black tea, and Tazo "Lotus" decaf green tea.
    * The concept of "if there's something that needs to be done that takes less than five minutes then do it right now" from the book "Getting Things Done"
    * WikidPad (http://www.jhorman.org/wikidPad/) (rapidly changing the way I take notes on all sorts of things)
    * The book "Creation" by Steve Grand, which takes a very pragmatic approach to artificial life.
    * The Northwestern University campus (it's like a cross between Indiana University and University of Wisconsin)
    * Panera Bread (free wireless and free refills on coffee. so, why, exactly do I ever want to go to a Starbucks again?)
    Tuesday, April 6th, 2004
    7:58 pm
    Living in a van down by the river
    Kristyna loaned me a book a while back called "Writing From The Inside Out" which mentioned a guru saying the secret to happiness was absorption.

    Based on that I spent a while trying to figure out what I'm truly interested in and realized the closest thing was Artificial Life research (more on that later). I've spent most of my free time over the last month or so immersing myself in the subject, waiting for the novelty to wear off, and thankfully so far it hasn't.

    Anyway, I can vouch that there really is something to this absorption thing. But the unexpected aspect is an interesting insight into commitment. While driving back from a vacation recently I saw a family living out of a van. And it hit me that I'm enjoying working on this stuff so much that I'd be willing to live out of a van if I had to in order to continue doing it.

    Admittedly, that's pretty unlikely (then again maybe not, believe it or not, while I was sitting in a Panera Bread writing this a guy came up to me who it turns out is an out of work tech guy who is walking dogs to get by!), but it does make it easier during those neurotic "do I have any hope of ever making a living doing this" moments.
    Friday, February 27th, 2004
    12:26 am
    Dharma and Ken
    I've become enamored of the non-dogmatic aspects of Buddhist Philosophy (Buddhism as a several thousand year old science of the mind) over the last couple of years. I like source texts like The Dhammapada and the Kalama Sutta but Bhante Gunaratana's Mindfulness In Plain English and his other writings have been particularly helpful as they get to the heart of the matter in a way that really resonates and is written in a modern, more accessible-to-the-western-mind style than translations of the original Pali texts. All signs point to Lama Yeshe being a similarly valuable source. Check out his articles on attachment and being your own therapist.
    Thursday, February 26th, 2004
    11:43 pm
    Field Trip
    I found out Tuesday was the last free day until June at the Field Museum & Shedd Aquarium so of course I had a moral obligation to go check them out. A few highlights:

    • There are big banners out front for Sue, a huge, amazingly well preserved T. rex. After standing in front of it with my jaw gaping for about 20 minutes I understood why. Seeing a T. Rex in person as an adult had a different impact than it did on me as a kid -- I was just overwhelmed by the idea that something that awe-and-terror-inspiring used to roam the very Earth that I now do. My brain kept trying to put it in the "science-fiction" category.
    • I found it amusing that there was faux porn-style music playing in the Hall Of Gems
    • The Field has an amazing array of preserved mammals, including many lemurs and monkeys (but sadly no vervet monkeys). As I was walking away from one monkey exhibit I heard someone from a nearby family looking at the exhibit yell, "I love monkeys!". Me too.
    • It's worth a trip to the Shedd just to see the Giant Japanese Spider Crabs (how can you not love something with that name?!) and the Moon Jellies. Seeing the Moon Jellies reminded me of the Jellyfish I saw when snorkeling with a bunch of friends at the Dry Tortugas a couple years back. Must. Visit. Florida. Keys. Again. Soon.

    I have to admit, there's something to be said for a city where I was able to experience all of the above for the sum total of $4.00 in public transportation (plus $1.85 for coffee at the museum cafe which was more than reasonable considering it gave me the chance to kick back for an hour or two and read Scheme & The Art Of Computer Programming while occasionally looking out the window over lake Michigan).

    Friday, February 13th, 2004
    2:06 am
    It's the little "remember" icon that really seals it for me
    I don't want to ruin this by saying much at all. Whether or not you have any interest in Buddhist Philosophy or not, trust me, follow this link:

    Realizing the Four Stages on the Path to Nirvana
    Friday, February 6th, 2004
    3:59 pm
    Groundhog Ken
    Finally dusted off my desktop computer (on which resides my news aggregator software) that has been gathering dust since the move and low and behold, managed to catch up on all sorts of great stuff friends of mine have been up to. Journals and blogs are a great way to keep in touch, especially with comment systems like LiveJournal's.

    These last 3 months have been a blur. Decided to move to Chicago on October 27th and moved into my new apartment on November 16th. Those two weeks were a period of almost constant action, something I'm not exactly known for.

    The Chicago adventure has been great so far, except for the cold of course, which sucks. But I knew I was moving here right before winter, so I'm taking it in stride for the most part -- I don't start seriously complaining until the windchill gets below 0. Even in the cold, it's been a great city for exploring -- I live near the el and there's a major street for buses just a couple blocks south of me -- a bus ride to the magnificent mile is only about 10 minutes. And it turns out there's a great park nearby with a decent, and pretty cheap, fitness center in it. (Speaking of fitness places, I was going to sign up for Crunch until I started seeing their ads. They're selling something, but it sure isn't health and fitness).

    Needless to say, it's a very different town from Bloomington. I can see how large cities can be very isolating to people if they don't find some sort of group to meet people through. Luckily Chicago came preinstalled with a bunch of great friends and I've become more outgoing over the years, so I've gotten out of the house quite a bit.

    And, now that my car has been broken into not once, but twice (with even a smashed window one of the times!) according to Kristyna & Dave I'm officially a Chicagoan. I like thinking of going to my car to discover its current state as an exercise in nonattachment. :-)
    Tuesday, September 9th, 2003
    9:27 pm
    Connectedness
    I was having coffee at the Runcible Spoon with my friend Jack tonight when a man named Robert stopped by our table and invited us to participate in his "conversation group". We took him up on it and it turns out Robert's outlook is that part of the problem in the world is that we don't talk to each other enough and therefore don't understand each other.

    I agree, and even if it doesn't help with world peace, connectedness to others will at the very least improve one's satisfaction with life. Sounds like a win-win to me.

    So if you live in or near Bloomington, and are free some Tuesday between 8:00pm-10:00pm stop by the Runcible Spoon and look for the table with a little "Conversation Group" sign on it. I can't go next week, but will be checking it out again the week after.
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