The worst of it is the three posts in my Drafts folder that I can’t seem to move forward. They sit there, woefully incomplete, mocking me while other posts spring forth, quietly get dressed, and move on out the virtual door.
They’re stuck, in part, by a need for diagrams, and I’ve been stuck between whether to load my increasingly obsolete graphics app onto my new-ish laptop or invest (time, money, effort) in something new.
And life keeps happening, and that leads to another edition of Friday Notes.
There are more than three posts in my Drafts folder, of course. A handful are just templates I use for starting a post; another handful likely will never see the light of day. But there are five — three in particular — that I really want to push out that virtual door.
The most frustrating one is the follow-up to the last Sidebands post, Electronic Shortcuts. That was back in November. Have to publish the sequel before I can publish other Sidebands posts, so it tops the list. But it needs diagrams. I may go with hand-drawn just to finish it.
[My sense of production values makes me want diagrams that look more professional and polished (and, I tend to think, clearer). But the hand-drawn stuff seems almost trendy these days, so maybe it’s fine.]
There’s another about the notion of time-reversal in physics. It’s stuck because it needs diagrams and because I’m not sure it’s saying anything I haven’t said before (in the context of free will or determinism). A possible new angle is the part about convergence versus divergence of causality. Every event is due to a converging light cone, but every event is also the start of a diverging one.
The third is a piece about remakes, reboots, sequels, and adaptations. That one’s stuck because it’s such a big topic, and I don’t have clarity or a gestalt. I have several pages of notes, so it’s probably a multi-post series that’ll take some elbow grease.
But life keeps happening.
Normally, when my pal Bentley is part of a post, I find a cute picture of her for the lede. But the poor thing broke her left ear last month and has to wear a compression band around her head now, so she’s feeling, in her words, “Arful!” and has requested no pictures.
So, don’t tell her about these. (Fortunately, she’s a dog, so she’s more of a YouTuber than a blog reader.)
She was doing that vigorous head-shaking thing dogs do and banged it on a coffee table hard enough to break a blood vessel. I hematoma developed, and her ear swelled up with fluid. Hopefully time, immobilizing and compressing, and the prednisone, will let her dodge a bit of ear surgery.
Hope so! She’s already bumming about the restrictions. Surgery would mean more of the same. She’s an angel about it all (for the most part). It’s tough, because they don’t understand why this is happening. (I hope she gets from the apologies that we regret this, too!)
It’s tough on BentleyMom, too. Her job and family life can be demanding. Normally, things tick along smoothly, but dealing with a busted ear and hosting parents-in-town was a bit much, so I got to dog-sit my pal.
Which I love, but poor Bentley would have been happier without the extra gear. I have to say I’m impressed by the advances from the old plastic cones dogs used to be subjected to. Soft donuts and also soft collapsible cones, both designed to integrate with the dog’s collar. Kinda slick.
[Don’t get whiplash on this topic change.] Watched Top Gun (1986) again for the first time in, I’m sure, decades. It holds up very well.
But then it comes from an era of better movies. Before we became besotted with CGI eye-candy, superhero absurdities, and science fiction silliness. That was when movies often told careful, thoughtful stories rather than taking you on a colorful amusement park ride high on action and absent of sense.
I wanted to see it again before seeing the new one that came out this year, Top Gun: Maverick. It’s gotten good reviews, and The Critical Drinker’s video about it got me interested. I very much agree with his take on practical effects versus greenscreen CGI.
I haven’t gotten around to renting the new one, yet. Maybe tonight!
Speaking of the other shoe not dropping yet, recently I watched Life of Crime (2013), which stars Jennifer Aniston, Yasiin Bey, and John Hawkes. It also features Tim Robbins, Isla Fisher, and Will Forte.
The plot is vaguely reminiscent of Ruthless People (1986), where Judge Reinhold and Helen Slater kidnap Bette Midler to ransom her to husband Danny DeVito. Who hates her and doesn’t want her back.
That one seems an original work by the Abrahams, Zucker, Zucker team, yet it did come out eight years after the 1978 Elmore Leonard book, The Switch. On the other hand, Life of Crime, is definitely an adaptation.
The movie takes place in Detroit, in 1978, when two bumbling ex-cons, Ordell Robbie (Bey) and Louis Gara (Hawkes), hoping to get rich quick, enact a half-witted, poorly planned kidnapping of Mickey Dawson (Anniston). They hope for a big payoff from her husband Frank Dawson (Robbins), but he doesn’t want her back.
You see the similarities. Both movies involve an epiphany or awakening of the kidnapped wife due to the ordeal. This being Elmore Leonard source material, the character studies are pretty good, too. The movie was okay; a fine way to pass 99 minutes.
I’ve got the book, The Switch, on hold at the library, but it hasn’t come around yet. Maybe next week.
Speaking of movies, I liked The Adam Project (2022) a lot better than I did the other recent Netflix movie starring Ryan Reynolds.
I couldn’t get through Red Notice; bailed after 20 minutes. Just a string of thought-free cliches. Really boring. This one kept me watching, but… Eh!
It’s a time-travel movie, so the plot is fantastic despite the SF wrapper. And I’m just a bit tired of Ryan Reynolds. As with many modern actors, we get the actor not the acting.
And can movie “heroes” please stop tossing stuff they’re done with aside? I’m really fucking sick of this supposed macho toss your empties bullshit. Fuck off with your littering and disdain for others, ya wankers.
When we get a good hailstorm, I like to grab a few hailstones and save them in my freezer. I’ve had some decent ones over the years (see here and here) but no baseball-sized hail (let alone larger) so far. Not that I’m complaining. Hail that large is scary and destructive.
These hailstones are from back in May. They aren’t huge, but the lozenge-like shape intrigued me. That one in the upper left almost looks like some kind of cool mint candy.
Anyway, I wait for a cloudless, sunny day, and then I take the hailstones from the freezer and toss them out on the lawn. Surprise!
My little revenge for all the damage hail does.
I doubt many remember the 8-inch floppy disks from the very early days of computing, but a few may recall the first common ones, the 5.25-inch disks that we all used in our first IBM PCs back in the very early 1980s.
In their first incarnation, they held a paltry 360,000 bytes of data. That’s an amount that seems like a joke these days. I have log files many times that size, not to mention image and audio files.
And here it is, the 360,000 bytes you could fit on a 5.25″ floppy:
The image uses eight-bits for each pixel, so each pixel represents one byte. The image is 750×480 pixels, which is 360,000 pixels. Click on it to expand it, and you’ll have an old floppy’s worth of data right there in one image.
The 3.5-inch floppies were better in many ways. They weren’t so floppy and prone to damage. (Those 5.25″ ones got folded sometimes!) And they held a bit more — up to 1.44 megabytes in their most popular format.
Which still makes for a manageable image:
Same eight-bit pixels, but 1600×900 pixels, which is 1,440,000 pixels. Again, click on the image to see it full-size.
We’ve come a long way, baby. Some people may not even know what floppy disks even were anymore. Even CD-ROMS seem a thing of the past. My last two laptops have had no disk slots, just USB ports (and some other fancy ports).
That viral video of mine now has over 83K hits. Astonishing. I may have to return to doing some other videos along those lines. I’ve been asked to unfold a 5D hypercube into tesseracts, or to continue unfolding the tesseract into squares (which indeed can be done).
But for now I’ve returned to the pool balls simulations. These continue a series of “Entropy” videos I did using particles. Now that I have a better collision algorithm (one that handles glancing contact), I’m doing pool balls.
And moving into 3D:
I’m just working the kinks out now, but I’m hoping to create some interesting videos. I want to return to the idea of running a simulation for a while, then stopping it and reversing the momentum of all the balls, then running it the same amount of time to see if it returns to the starting state.
That was something I tried with the particle animations:
But the system only returned to roughly the original state. Still, it’s pretty cool to see the movement coalesce after all the random motion. It seems like a film running backwards, but it’s not.
With a better collision algorithm, I’m hoping for better results.
Stay noteworthy, my friends! Go forth and spread beauty and light.