Timers vs. hourglasses
April 29, 2022 7:37 AM
The difference between a timer and an hour glass— an hour glass doesn’t interrupt flow.
Various retreat notes
April 27, 2022 6:20 PM
- Capitalism & free speech vs. socialism & listener-focused
- The Italian Renaissance was funded by $150-500m in today’s value
- Hemingway— 1-syllable words
- Food Lab (latest book)
April 25, 2022 2:10 PM
“Mastery-based” learning is when you’re not allowed to proceed to the next grade until you’ve perfected the one you’re in. In our system, all you need is 65% mastery to continue. Having these gaps in early grades means that our fundamentals are shaky, and we’re in a worse position to make sense of more advanced concepts. A “time-based” system is more efficient at scale, but it’s not good for students. The median high-school graduate in America is as educated as the best-educated and highest-achieving second-grader.
Writing for high schoolers
April 25, 2022 2:05 PM
Writing can be a way for young adults in high-school to “leap into independence.” For most of early life, you’re on a track that’s setup for you, by your school, your church, your team, your parents. There’s often a convergence on “getting into college.” That’s often the primary goal, with social life absorbing free-time.
For me, it was only once I got past that threshold of going to college did I have any space to think. Everything clicked for me with my first paper in a Freshman writing class. We had a paper to write, I didn’t do it, and the night before, I wrote a detailed essay on why I didn’t like writing essays. The teacher loved it, and gave me permission to write whatever I wanted the rest of the semester. Turns out— I love writing.
Writing for me was one of the first crafts where I had control to follow any direction, while mastering the craft of something. I wonder if mastery-focused creative writing in high school could change the entire approach to college admissions.
VR is in it's pre-mouse phase
April 25, 2022 12:05 PM
When I say VR is in it’s “pre-mouse” phase, I don’t mean that we’re just one invention away from having intuitive human-computer-interactions in VR. The UI/UX paradigm that will reach mainstream appeal might not center around a single form of input. The paradigm might be “ambient.” Since you can be sitting, standing, or walking, different interfaces will appeal to you at different times. You’ll use your hands, controllers, mouses, eyeballs, and thumbs on glass screens— all within a day.
Reflecting on my past and future with VR
April 25, 2022 11:58 AM
From 2015-2021, my career was focused on virtual reality in the architecture industry. All the “simulations” we built were for real buildings, ones that would be built— we just were able to render if in VR 1-10 years in advance— so owners and buyers could walk around understand spaces true to scale.
I thought my career was going to shift to a kind of “virtual architecture”— designing spaces that never had the intention to be build. With the rise of social networks, there would be a huge demand for spaces to host VR festivals, meet-ups, etc. From the spaces I’ve seen, there’s a huge lack of architectural design talent.
Maybe one day I’ll get back to architecture, but in this current life, I’m a writer. As a writer, I still want to plunge into VR communities. It’s still so early, weird, and worth writing about. In terms of the Internet’s history and maturity, we’re still barely in 1992— maybe earlier. We don’t even the mouse yet. An elegant way of engaging with the new medium.
I specifically want to write about 2 VR communities I’ve come across. One of them is currently alive in an app called “Neos” (at least, as of 2020-2021). It’s a society of 100(?) people practically living in VR. From what I’ve seen, these people are artists, coders, and 3D-specialists— they’re live-coding their own VR-engine from within VR— basically making them digital-Shamans. The whole experience is hallucinogenic & surreal. There’s a friendly, but counter-cultural ethos to it. It’s not a product, it’s free, it’s from the heart. The whole thing is created by a single guy in the Czech Republic through Kickstart. It’s the polar opposite of Facebook’s Horizon, a Metaverse that’s safe-for-your kids, trying to bring VR mainstream, being shaped by product managers.
I’d love to immerse myself in both communities and write about the differences in how they see the future.
When to mimic native pronunciation
April 25, 2022 10:50 AM
When Australians pronounce Melbourne, without the “r,” it sounds smooth, but when American do, it always throws me off. Does an American who pronounces it “Melbun” signal that he’s aware of the pronounciation, or, is it just funny that they’re carrying a word across accents without the tongue to deliver it?
Similar scenario— the word “gyro” in Greek is pronounced “gah-ee’—row.” By pronouncing a silent G instead of a hard G, you signal that you’re familiar with the Greek language. If you look Greek, and you pronounce Gyro in the right way to a Greek-speaking-native, it’s an invitation for them to trigger a full-blown Greek-conversation, which I’m never prepared for. I can read and write it, but can’t have conversations in it.
Visual vs. instrument flying
April 25, 2022 9:17 AM (CDT)
There are two kinds of flying: through instruments or visuals. In visual training, you’re looking out the window, assessing the situation, and reacting. In instrument flying, you’re only using radar and other computer-aided systems. To train for instrument training, they effectively blind you (like a dog with a cone on its head)— to force you to depend on your interfaces. It’s as if the plane has its own perceptual systems, which are far more accurate than a humans. Visual flying becomes dangerous in bad/cloudy weather, where you can’t distinguish up from down.
Greek time signatures
April 24, 2022 3:11 PM
Greek music has wonderful time signatures. Lots of alternating between 6s and 7s. Even the goat butcher is tapping along with his knife.
1 x x x 5 x
1 x x 4 x x x
B x S S B x S x
Using Notion to stamp the date
April 24, 2022 8:29 AM
Hey Alexandre-- so my website is run in Notion, and then I render it through something called Super (super.so), which helps it feel like a modern website. Logloglog is just a Notion page that's public and rendered through Super. I use a "template button" to stamp the date [ now() ]-- and then I just type under it. I have logloglog as a favorited page, so I always see it on the left bar-- it's also an icon on my phone background-- so it's easy to enter thoughts as soon as they come up.
The subtle art of seeing
April 23, 2022 8:14 PM
There is a subtle art to seeing. Sight is the dominant sense, and often not the object of our study. Most meditation practices are done with eyes closed. But there’s a way to be more self-aware of the sense itself. You can be more perceptive of objects, or of the visual characteristics of object, or, of the emotional significance of objects (whether it be the history of something, or the uncanny feeling that you see something everyday but never quite “look” at it)..
April 23, 2022 10:31 AM
“Because the text of "Liber Novus" (as Jung formally titled his "Red Book") is really more important than the art. Jung experienced and recorded his visions and then composed his draft manuscript of Liber Novus before beginning on the art. The art and calligraphy came later, they were composed over the following 16 years or so. The text - compiled principally between 1914 and 1915, with a last section added in 1917 - is Jung's primary record of his extraordinary odyssey across the threshold of consciousness, and into the heart of mythopoetic vision. As he said: "This inner world is truly infinite, in no way poorer than the outer one. Man lives in two worlds." This is the journal of Jung's exploration of the inner world - and it ranks as one of the most important journeys of exploration in the record of human exploration. Dr. Shamdasani, who spent thirteen years editing Liber Novus for publication, has strongly suggested that one should read the text before even looking at the images. I agree.”
The hallucination generation
April 23, 2022 9:49 AM
The hallucination generation (kids born in the 2030s) – relating to the rise of AR/VR– the normalization of strange non-physical images (now digital)
April 22, 2022 7:53 PM (MDT)
The art of returning to a state of childhood innocence (cessation of ego)— regardless of circumstance and self-image (which is a reflection of your circumstance)
The original resurrection
April 22, 2022 7:47 PM (MDT)
An essay that starts outside of a Greek Orthodox Church, with everyone chanting “Xristos Anesti” (“Christ has risen”)— then it hints that the whole structure of Easter is pre-Christian.. 40-day fast, structured build, Holy Week, and a resurrection at the end— this was Ancient Greek; this was found in the Eleusinian mysteries. How did the resurrection work then? Implications on Christianity
Notion vs. Miro
April 22, 2022 6:41 PM (MDT)
- I personally use Notion as my long-term knowledge base (second brain)-- Miro is for quick "exercises." It's great to visualize essay structure, form strategies, make diagrams, etc. But my file system in there is kind of messay & chaotic-- and not great for retrieval. Both tools can be used in a variety of ways-- it's really about how you use them, and the systems you build around them. I have so much momentum around checking Notion daily-- but Miro, I dip in to for very specific things.
- Miro is a tool for divergent thinking, where you don’t want to be confined by arbitrary structure. Notion/Monday are tools for convergent thinking. You won’t to narrow your ideas into a simple structure so that they’re easily retrievable in the future. (4/25)
Another Autodesk acquisition
April 22, 2022 6:26 PM (MDT)
Two VR apps for AEC collaboration (The Wild & IrisVR) were acquired by Autodesk last month— just found out today. It could be fun to write a long-form piece on Autodesk, software acquisitions, and the architecture industry. I remember the phrase “software pimp” used back in the day.
April 22, 2022 2:58 PM (MDT)
Zweigg— the formality of old dress..
Walking around Denver
April 21, 2022 6:05 PM (MDT)
- Nature.org on Mall St in Denver– had a conversation with a sidewalk activist who followed me for a block or two.
- Based on the reaction of the psyched-out group walking past me, the guy in front of me on his phone is TikTok famous.
A skit with tech metaphors interpreted literally
April 21, 2022 5:59 PM (MDT)
Vonnegut's simple shapes vs. Slaughterhouse Five
April 21, 2022 6:28 AM (MDT)
There’s an amazing tension between Kurt Vonnegut’s “the shape of stories” video and his novel Slaughter House Five.. One is about imitating simple forms— the other is about completely abandoning form.
Our perception of time depends on our goal posts
April 21, 2022 5:44 AM (MDT)
Our perception of time is directly related to our goals posts. When you think, “that year flew!” it might be because you’re comparing two events that are a year apart, and you have amnesia on what happened in between. If you reflect on the day-to-day events of what happened in a month— time is molasses.
Dinner with Simone
April 21, 2022 5:36 AM (MDT)
- Impressions of Denver— reconciling old stereotypes
- Online relationships rarely have spontaneous circumstances
- The 3-dimensional nature of people in person
- Gorgonzola cheese fries plus an ahi tuna salad (sans the ginger)
- “Trust falling into the Internet”— a net of people to help you
- Observational writing is about making associations/seeing patterns
- How do concepts for solo-writers scale to teams?
- We often fail to realize we grew up with rare/singular experiences
- (ie: growing up on a “competitive” Christmas tree farm)
- Textbooks vs. stories
- The power of a team— each one brings in a superpower in 1-dimension
Niche or anti-niche, depending on context
April 20, 2022 5:43 PM (MDT)
Funny how Newsletter Junkyard is all anti-niche, and now I’m approaching Twitter with a niche mindset. My latest thinking is that it might be platform dependent. My website & newsletter represent the full range of my interests— but Twitter just represents one of them. There is a natural synergy between them. Twitter is where you learn to write form me, but my Newsletter is where I actually write. If I played the meta-game (writing about writing) everywhere, I’d get bored.
Notes from a Denver Uber ride
April 20, 2022 5:37 PM (MDT)
Notes on Denver from Thomas, my Uber Driver. He was born and raised in Queens, New York, but moved here 31 years ago:
- He’d take Denver snow over New York Snow. A big difference is in how fast it melts in Denver.. The higher altitude brings stronger radiation and faster meltage. 30 inches of snow can melt in a week in Denver, but could linger for a month in New York. There are around 3 serious snowfall events in Denver that require shoveling, but the sun usually handles the rest. Even though Colorado, to outsiders, has a “snow and mountains” vibe, it’s actually an arid climate. Summers are in the mid-90s, but with little humidity— it rarely, if even, gets above 20%. NY summers are rough with humidity.
- He referred to driving drunk passengers as “blood work,” and prefers passengers who are stoned. Today is the Mile High 420 Festival in the Town Square, featuring Lil John. Since it was legalized in Denver ~10 years ago, he’d notice an influx in tourists at this time of year, and saw the city slowly grow each year.
- State capital— gold plated roof— from the 1800s. The town was a financial center around the gold-rush. Another example of how cities almost automatically arise based on pre-existing geography, geology, and resources (ie: Manhattan’s skyline is related to the ancient bedrock below it).
- High altitude has interesting implications for baseball. They used to play at the Bronco’s stadium, which was generally small. In higher altitudes, the ball travels further, and games were ridiculously highly scored (ie: 15-11). Coors Field in 1995 featured the deepest outfield. I knew that already, but what I didn’t know is that they humidify the balls before game to add a slight water-weight to the ball. It’s a way to counter-balance the altitude.
A free fall of visuals
April 20, 2022 5:34 PM (MDT)
Arthur said my Newsletter Junkyard was a fun “free fall of visuals.” This is exactly what I’m going for. A friend called my Wilbur Doyle story an “acid trip.” I want to figure out how to wrangle a subconscious eruption of imagery as I orbit around a single idea. The sentence-to-sentence flow and the “shiny dime” should be simple, clear, and easy— yet the bombardment of non-linear imagery should leave a strong emotional impact.
$10 vs. $10k editing
April 20, 2022 5:26 PM
$10 editing helps improve sentences. $10k editing determines which paragraphs should exist. The core idea is like a source of gravity that bends every sentence towards it.
Gratitude towards Internet friends
April 20, 2022 2:33 PM (MDT)
Another huge takeaway from going semi-viral on Twitter for the first time— the power of having friends also writing in public. The thread could have easily sat there, but some friends came in to retweet and reply— giving it a boost, showing it to more friends.
Logging brings you back to center
April 20, 2022 11:47 AM (MDT)
Having a log forces you to be mindful of your awareness. Sometime I remember I haven’t logged and the epiphany makes me realize I’m in a thought loop. Instead of people- watching, architecture-gazing, or reality-pondering, I’m simulating a situation over and over in an attempt to resolve the details and find clarity. Thought looping can be a game changer in some situations, but hell if it’s always on and you’re unaware of it.
Thoughts on going viral
April 20, 2022 11:03 AM
My daily organic impressions on Twitter jumped from 12 to 78,000 lol. Eventually hit 117k.
A brief glimpse of relative virality can easily hi-jack the mind. I’m trying to resist. I’m watch all sorts of “parts” jump into converge-mode, and even time-to-build-out-a-strategy mode. But the beauty in this last thread is how anti-strategic it was.
These were just notes from an almost daily feedback gym I’ve run since September. I decided to post them on Geneva (to make Geneva more valuable for WOP-alum)— and based on the reaction (17 flame emojis)— I thought, why not make this a thread?
I owe the reach of this thread to David, as well as some friends from Write of Passage— both for giving me feedback on it (huge s/o to Louie Bacaj who created the threadx.app), and for replying to and re-tweeting it.
The key thing I’m learning (first-hand now) is the potential danger of high-scale positive feedback. Of course, it feels great, but that’s precisely why it’s dangerous. As soon as the attention fades— there begins the plot for the “next move.” For the first time in a long-time, I’m looking at Twitter through the lens of quantities, influence, and opportunity. If my primary goal were personal audience building— then this is the right mindset— but it’s not! (I want an audience to be an emergent property of my primary goal).. The danger of [niche] fame is the subtle reprioritizing of goals. It’s a case study in “adaptive preferences.”
My real goal is mastering the craft of writing & editing. It’s the thing I’d do in jail. I can play the Twitter game, but I shouldn’t be too strategic about it (trying to be strategic about Twitter is exactly what locked me up in the last months/years).
Twitter is where I’ll share the “burnt-ends” from my pursuit of craft. If anything, it’s actually liberating to have some limitations:
- Twitter is where I write about writing. On Twitter, I’m a niche. Twitter isn’t meant to capture all of the dimensions of myself— it’s strictly a place to share the process along my writing journey.
- Logloglog (on my website), is where I’ll share all of my unfiltered thoughts. If you’re interested to check them out, it’s there— but I won’t push them on you.
- My newsletter (tentatively titled Dean’s List) is where I write. There are no constraints here. It’s goblin town. I can write about anything, I can write in prose, I can be delirious, and it doesn’t have to appeal to everyone.
Nonetheless, I still need to get down the basics of Twitter etiquette. I suddenly have people to thank and reply to, at the most inconvenient time. I posted this thread right before I ran to a family party— got home, passed out, packed a suitcase, and then left for the airport at 7am. I’m the plane right now scrolling through the carnage and making sense of how I feel.
To date, most of my attention has been on being a member of a low-scale, high-quality private WOP community— now there’s a pressure to engage with a larger public community as a “citizen of the Internet.” My favorite kind of interaction is 1:1, collaborating deeply on an essay for 60 minutes... Twitter is the opposite, engaging with 60 people for 1 minute each. There’s probably an art to managing both.
April 19, 2022 7:48 PM
“Better off being deaf than 6 feet underground.” My 84-year old grandpa at a birthday dinner.
Feed the algorithm
April 19, 2022 5:28 PM
Lesson learned on the Twitter algorithm. If you skip a day in posting, you’ll have less reach. The machine is unforgiving!
Governor's Ball and the death of rock
April 19, 2022 12:22 PM
Worth going to Governor’s Ball and writing about “the death of rock.” I went to this festival in 2013— it was filled with bands I loved. When I initially saw the lineup, I passed. But now I’m realizing that it’s an opportunity to write about culture.
Realistic ape art as an NFT
April 19, 2022 11:12 AM
- I wonder how paintings of realistic apes would fare in the NFT market.
- My thought was to have a realistic ape painting on a shitty looking pixelated island with pixelated apes looking at it likes an alien
- Kind of like those monolith obelisks from 2001: A Space Odyssey
April 19, 2022 7:51 AM
An old writing project of mine that I’d like to revive is about documenting my family history. The project is called KIN. The idea is to interview everyone in my family and extended family, and figure out ONE key thing that happened to them each year. Imagine a kind of longevity-focused “social network,” where everyone gets one editable post per year. I’d set this up in Notion, and there would be 3 views:
- Focusing on a single person, seeing year by year what they did
- Seeing what your whole family did in a given year (ie: 2003)
- Comparing what everyone was up to at 8 y.o. (across generations)
A weird BASB dream
April 19, 2022 6:40 AM
I had a bizarro-world dream about the Building a Second Brain book launch. At one point Tiago’s head (first brain) was amorphous and changing sizes. Later on, we were all packed in a high school gym and there was a football-game vibe, where everyone was amped up that no one could hear the speeches. (For context, I skimmed the book’s landing page yesterday).
A proper decompression
April 17, 2022 11:00 PM
The last few days have felt like a proper decompression:
- Picked Danielle up from the Bayside train station and hung out there for the night. We got cookies first— and spotted some teenagers shoplifting. Pizza second (unexpected, but drawn in by bizarre flavors— surprisingly good). Closed off the night at a bar with Moscow Mules (the same spot and drink as that night in December, except this time they weren’t in copper cups).
- Friday was a work binge— but a fulfilling one. I got done as much as I could knowing that I’d be trying to take time off on Monday and Tuesday.
- At night I was a chauffer for Danielle and her friend Christin, who wanted Peruvian food but didn’t want to deal with the nightmare of parking. I wasn’t invited, and grilled them for it. Enjoyed the car talk. Christin is moving to Seattle this summer. My fare on the way back was over-the-edge humor.
- Went clothes shopping on Saturday morning— something I rarely do or enjoy. I like to think my wardrobe is 70% a product of gifts I receive on holidays. I’ll admit thought— it was fun to completely shift gears away from heady-matters, and instead, focus on something relatively mindless.
- Spontaneously decided to go to a Honda dealer in the afternoon (our 2001 Jeep is a decade past it’s best years). Tried out an Accord, a CRV, and a Civic. The deal-breaker with the Civic was the manual seat adjustments. The deal-breaker with the CRV is that the windshield made my wife nauseous. The interiors of the higher-end Accord (EXL) were nice, and I made note of what I liked about. Ultimately, it didn’t have 4-wheel drive, which is a bummer. It seems like our only other option is a Tesla. /s
- Watched a few episodes of Severance with Danielle this week. It’s a cool concept— employees undergo a brain surgery so that they have no memory or awareness of their work-life.. It’s cool, very surreal, but the pacing is slow— and given we never started an episode before 10:30pm, I doze in and out of each episode, only half conscious of what’s happening— in hindsight, this might be the exactly how you’re supposed to watch Severance.
- Aunt Susan from Florida is in town. She’s not blood-related to my wife in any way, but she’s her mothers long-time partner in crime. She’s here for Passover, and we got Mexican food for lunch on her way out of town. I feel guilty because my mom’s cousin owns the restaurant next door— but this Mexican place is literally our favorite. Very guilty.
- Discovered a local Barnes & Nobles I didn’t know existed— it has a working cafe open from 9-9.. Will be frequenting there. They had a section of “local interest,” and found a book of our town that showed our exact street and plot of land from over 100 years ago. It was a dirt road and woods. Cool to see. Bought 2 of these local history books. Also got “Consider the Lobster” by David Foster Wallace” and “The White Album” by Joan Didion.
- Ended up binging the first 50 pages of Consider the Lobster. It’s his piece called “Big Red Son” on the porn industry— focused on his reporting at their awards show in Las Vegas. I’ve underlined over 60 “Wallacisms” and plan to write an essay to reverse-engineer his prose.
The Beatles Guide to Writing
April 17, 2022 11:46 AM
The Beatles Guide to Writing. A chronological account through their history, but, each chapter is centered on a lesson that applies to writers. Could imagine atomic essays, a long-form essay, and finally a thread.
Roosevelt Field Mall
April 16, 2022 11:42 AM
- Funny paranoid thought.. wondering if the Interior designers at Macy’s use Patterns that intentionally disorient you as you move. It subconsciously causes you to stay still and shop.
- Department stores are a full on sensory assault— disorienting patterns, cologne stench, and strobe lights. Do not make eye contact.
12 Favorite Paradoxes (from September 2021)
April 16, 2022 10:57 AM
- 1— How can the cyborg have heart?
- 2— How do we trust the blind pilot?
- 3— How do we live naked in a glass house?
- 4— How do you smuggle an elephant into a wedding?
- 5— How can we learn to believe in Santa again?
- 6— What if Paul McCartney died in 1966?
- 7— How would a lunatic give a TED Talk?
- 8— How would a poet run a business?
- 9— How can you embark on a whale hunt without starving?
- 10— How would librarians categorize books on acid?
- 11— How can greed lead us all to paradise?
- 12— How can the experts benefit from amnesia?
Kent Bye curation
April 16, 2022 9:58 AM
Potential epic project— curate Kent Bye’s podcast
Frequenting social VR events
April 16, 2022 9:56 AM
Would love to make a habit to attend one awesome Social VR experience per month and write about it. This technology is so nascent, and could be so fundamental to the future. There’s this fleeting moment where you can capture people and culture as technology is growing through it’s weird and awkward stage.
Leak-proof systems 2
April 16, 2022 9:24 AM
I think something FINALLY clicked in terms of creating a leak-proof digital system for notes... A core idea in BASB is that “the note” is the most important unit. When the note is the atomic unit, your system is SO granular. In Roam or Notion, these note databases can scale up into the thousands. I’ve had Notion databases with 5,000+ notes. My key thing now is to focus on the “Resource” for long-term storage. This isn’t a resource in the PARA sense. But here me out:
- Any note goes in a global note database (notes go in here)
- Each note is tied to a “Resource”— there are only ever ~100 of these
- Every week/month— you archive notes out of the global Note dB, and into the local Resource. When I say a system is “leak-proof” I mean that the total number of notes in my Global notes database never exceeds ~200.
TLDR: Delete, Archive, or Synthesize more than you blindly add
Waking up with a fresh head
April 16, 2022 7:56 AM
It’s a skill to wake up and defend your blank mind from ideas, obligations, and impulses. Sometimes it take a Saturday morning to help you remember that.
Greek Orthodox calendars
April 15, 2022 12:42 PM
The Greek Orthodox church is on the Julian calendar, while the Catholic Church is on the Gregorian calendar (I think). It's usually off by a few weeks each year, but they happen to align once every ~5 years.
DALL-E 2 reactions
April 15, 2022 9:42 AM
- If we’re in the age of abundance, we’re about to enter the “Era of Reckless Abundance.” This doesn’t mean AI-generated content will be any good or better than human created content.
- With an infinite amount of content, and an infinite amount of monkeys, one of them will eventually write something better than Shakespeare. There will be a whole industry around mining AI-generated art, literature, and music.
- The serious excitement and potential here is AI-assisted art. AI will help us fill in our weaknesses. Any craft (music, art, architecture) requires excellence across many domains. We naturally have sublime strength in one facet, yet we’re held back in another. A musician has to be a lyricist, an instrumentalist, and a composer. What if someone is a genius lyricist, but can’t do anything else? They can use software to arrange a song through blocks— then they can tweak AI-filters to alter how the idea is rendered. Is this a sin?
- I think I have Kadinsky-grade composition skills (maybe that’s a stretch), yet almost all my other skills around fine art are pretty shit (ie: color, technique, blending). AI could leverage one of my skills & fill in the rest for me.
I have 29 house plants upstairs
April 15, 2022 7:50 AM
Poets, saints, and accountants
April 15, 2022 6:54 AM
“I have before me, on the slated surface of the old desk, the two large pages of the ledger, from which I lift my tired eyes and an even more tired soul. Beyond the nothing that represents, there’s the warehouse with its uniform rows of shelves, uniform employees, human order, and tranquil banality— all the way to the wall that fronts the Rua dos Douradores. Through the window the sound of another reality arrives, and the sound is banal, like the tranquility around the shelves.
I lower new eyes to the two white pages, on which my careful numbers have entered the firm’s results. And smiling to myself I remember that life, which contains these pages with fabric types, prices and sales, blank spaces, letters and ruled lines, also includes the great navigators, the great saints, and the poets of every age, not one of whom enters the books— a vast progeny banished from those who determine the world’s worth.
In the very act of entering the name of an unfamiliar cloth, the doors of the Indus and of Samarkand open up, and Persian poetry (which is from yet another place), with its quatrains whose third lines don’t rhyme, is a distant anchor for me in my disquiet. But I make no mistake: I write, I add, and the bookkeeping goes on, performed as usual by an employee of this office.”
— Fernando Pessoa, pg.26
Filtering your thoughts
April 15, 2022 6:42 AM
It’s hard to know signal from noise when ideas occur— but it’s easy if you give it time.
An idea around filtering your thoughts:
- Write down all your thoughts in one place (20 ideas a day)
- At the end of the day, copy your best ones into a new place (3 of 20)
- At the beginning of a week, pick 5 ideas worth developing (5 of 21)
So you have two filtration processes: One at the end of each day, and one at the beginning of each week. It helps you cut out 95% of your ideas. Only sit down to work on ideas from the week before that make it through your filters.
There's this rush of urgency when new ideas come in-- but time is the best arbiter of quality (better than another person)-- You can look back and see if it holds that same excitement.
April 14, 2022 11:58 AM
Domain Hunters.. harpoons.. door-to-door.. blackmail— the makings of an Internet-Age action movie.. there must be some wild stories around high-traffic domains & domains with common names.
Reverse engineering HTS
April 14, 2022 9:44 AM
“There are some things nobody needs in this world.. and a bright-red hunchback warp-speed 900CC cafe racer is one of them.. But I want one anyways. And on some days I actually believe I need on. That is why they are dangerous.” — HTS
- “There are some [unnecessary]”.. (cliffhanger)
- “[detailed description] is one of them”.. (resolution)
- [Character confesses they want it].. (tension)
Notes on music
April 14, 2022 9:23 AM
- Covers let you focus on other things..
- The way you pronounce every word is an opportunity to distinguish your singing voice.
Industry City shooting
April 13, 2022 10:21 AM
Just got an emergency alert in NY— a high-pitch fax machine siren— out of the mouth of an analog synth.. It’s been a long time since we’ve got any alerts here. Definitely since before the Russia fiasco. My first thought: “duck and cover!” In reality: “WANTED for Brooklyn Subway Shooting: Frank James, Black male, 62 years old. Any information can be directed to NYPD Tips..” Seems like the manhunt is ongoing.. Yesterday was scary. I know people in Industry City, and used to commute into that station, at that time, every morning, for 1-2 years. The whole situation is surreal. From the details I put together, he filled a subway cart with a smoke bomb [when it stopped in between stations], and then started shooting into the fog. From what I currently know, no one was killed. How? How is that possible on a rush-hour subway? I’m left wondering, was he trying to kill anyone? Did the fog force him to aim blindly into mist— or, did he intentionally aim low, only looking to cause city-wide panic? Is this the psychologically traumatizing shooting in NYC history?
April 12, 2022 6:08 PM
I wrote “omw” to my trainer since I was late for our session, and my phone auto-corrected it to “On my way!” and I sent it by accident. An AI made the executive decision to twist my tone. It assumes “omw” to be an error, not an intentional use of casual slang. “On my way” would’ve been fine, but the exclamation mark is a symbol that should be used with great responsibility and tact. /s
Trusting our curators
April 12, 2022 9:53 AM
Reaction to a draft from Charlie Becker:
- As a culture, we're becoming overwhelmed with information-- we're numb and lazy. So we rely on writers & feeds to curate things for us. When we trust these curations (who have incentives to exaggerate and shock) without verifying-- it can slowly warp our worldview. As this trend accelerates-- it becomes important to remember "active research.” We need to get our hands dirty in the source material.
- In an age of information abundance-- we find ourselves having to trust our curators. There's too many rabbit holes to get lost in. So we trust writers and curators. But what happens when these curators have incentives other than truth?
April 12, 2022 8:54 AM
Tipsy— Uh Oh! (2001)
I remember first hearing this laying on the carpet of Colin’s living room some time in 2016. It sounds like psychedelic lounge music.
April 11, 2022 10:49 AM
, to subdivide a single thought
-- to expand upon a thought
: to unpack an implication
/ to show an alternate
. to end a thought paragraph break to shift to the next idea
Music for writing
April 11, 2022 7:26 AM
- Pink Floyd, live in San Diego 1971
- Olivia Tremor Control-- explanations II (1990s)
- Brian Eno -- Apollo (1983)
- Khrungbin -- Mordechai (2020)
- Tipsy - Uh Oh! (2001)
- Bill Evans- live 1965
- (Mother Earth's) Plantasia -- 1976
- Grateful Dead - Dark Star, Veneta OR 8/27/72
On keeping details private
April 11, 2022 6:31 AM
Sometimes there’s a tension around logging personal experience. I can’t mention certain people or situations without permission. But I wonder if I can encrypt everything with alter-egos and pseudonyms so that it makes sense to me, but nobody else.
Starting from a blank page
April 10, 2022 4:20 PM
From a blank page, you can start in two ways: 1) creating blocks and arranging them.. this gives you a blurry sense of the whole, but it’s often void of voice.. and 2) diving straight into the details.. this is writing with life, but there’s no sense of the whole.. I find that excitement in an essay arrives after oscillating between both approaches. Once I get a glimpse of the full shape, and once even a few of my blocks are in high resolution— I have motivation to finish.
April 10, 2022 3:15 PM
The courage to be disliked is something that has to be learned through experience.
Rapport before criticism
April 10, 2022 9:58 AM
The parallels between feedback and persuasion. It’s critical to establish early on that you’re on the same team. If you open with anger, it’s hard to trust your editor.
The value in analog libraries
April 10, 2022 9:35 AM
A personal library is a reflection of your curiosity. One of the reasons I buy physical books is so that there will be a place in the house where my kids can look at my curiosities externalized. I’m always fascinated to look through my late-grandpas book shelf.
April 9, 2022 9:35 AM
Universal incompetence.. In a world of specialization and automation, we’re all incompetent at most things.
April 9, 2022 9:07 AM
When the waitress steals your plate without asking.. there’s this baked-in assumption that it’s unnecessary to devour the crumbs like a savage.
Robots in the supermarket
April 9, 2022 9:01 AM
Robots have infiltrated the local supermarket. In addition to the dysfunctional self checkout machines, there is an R2-D2 who roams the aisles with an unclear purpose.
April 9, 2022 7:22 AM
An essay about the psychology of my Doberman.. He looks scary, and if you project fear, he gets insecure and becomes frightening. He’s actually insecure and dopey in his norm state. I wonder where else fear-based feedback loop occurs.
April 8, 2022 10:32 AM
Dark Roast Coffee, London Fog, Salmon Benedict, Omelettes, Bananas, Orange Juice, Sparkling Water, Cashew Queso, Pepper Jack Cheese, Sliced Jalapenos, Grilled Chicken Salad, Sushi (spicy tuna, spicy salmon, eel), Seared Ahi Tuna Steak, Swordfish, Steak (medium rare), Chocolate Lava Cake, IPAs, Moscow Mules
April 8, 2022 8:23 AM
the power of pausing before starting anything
April 7, 2022 6:51 PM
- Deciding to run Otter as I meditate so I can dictate what’s happening. I confirm that I’m muted on Zoom, and state out loud 3x that “I feel comfortable dictating whatever arises.”
- 3 deep breathes. I notice my balance shifting.
- I’m at the Christmas Tree Farm in the summer. Sky is the deepest blue. Greens. Then it shifts to reds, yellows, and oranges— a stale dessert.. A sequences of paintings of western landscapes.. And, then a cactus of surreal character.. Mental noise. Fade to black.
- I’m scaling inwards, but than have this “start-stop” kind of effect. It’s as if my environment is scaling down, but my perspective is staying the same, and then I reset. I figure out how to scale both my “environment” and “perception” down at the same time, and it feels as if I shrink to the point where I’m microscopic.
- Inside of a subway car.. an old man.. I see his hand on the pole.. and the brown blemishes on his white skin.. his face is a cartoon. My mind tries to figure out who he is, and I realize— it doesn’t matter: this is mental noise.
- I ask myself, “Where to aim?” There is one form of “active imagination,” where you get sucked into random images. Yet, there’s another form, where you intentionally guide your consciousness. You give a conscious frame for your subconscious to fill in.. Again— “where to aim?”
- Realizing the stress I’ve felt today is so insignificant to the big picture... I see May through September as a key season for me. Embrace any turbulence and relaxation in April. A season is coming of razor focus, output, collaboration, and creativity.
- What is a way to “wrap” my May-September insight into a symbol? Maybe something about creating “gates” so that attention is protected.
- That thought suddenly put me in a suit of armor on a horse. We’re stationary. I can feel the rope in my hand. I move my hand left and right to feel the texture of the rope.. We start riding forward. I feel the shake up and down.
- Then a flash of white. Pinks and yellows. A field of simple colors and happy circles turns into intimidating mathematical complexity. Compositions with angles, and patterns, and fractals. Sensing a kind of warning in getting immersed in detail.
- Shifting from the visual field to self-reflective thought. I wonder if meditation can be used to ponder the scope of work for the day. Sometimes I only have 30 seconds to determine what to do, and then just rush into it. I get lost in the first task. But if you meditate on the nature of the project, you can feel the tension. You can articulate the one task worth doing, or, conceive a shift in how you shape the whole project.. Don’t be a victim of thoughtlessness.
- Certain things can take on complexity and spontaneity. ie: Personal writing and editing. But “project—focused” work should be anticipated and gated. Pick one high-leverage thing for the day and get into a flow with it.. Other than that— set one hour to batch process all of the micro tasks.
- The visual field is shimmering with static.. A fuzzy image of the Vatican emerges.. high ceilings.. flying gargoyles.. Just for a split second.. It’s heavy.. I try to focus on it, but it’s gone.. Then suddenly, I’m in the backyard of one of my high school friends.
- “Okay Google, stop.” (15 minutes is up)
Daily meditation group
April 7, 2022 6:17 PM
I see the potential in a daily group that focuses on journaling and meditation. Accountability groups can be extremely effective. They don’t inherently work. I’ll admit to having joined a daily writing group for 100 days without publishing anything (end of 2020). But, these groups can be extremely powerful if shaped properly.
My big open question is on timing. Right now it’s 6pm. I have open-loops from the day tugging at me. I have to pick my wife up from the train in under an hour. This feels like a time where I want to be in a detail-oriented manager mode. There are two paths here: 1) Try to develop this habit at a different time (7am ET or 9pm ET).. 1a) on my own, 1b) with a partner who prefers that time).. or, 2) Use this group as a FORCING FUNCTION to wrap up my days by 6pm (that sounds beautiful).
A whole separate point is the value in dedicating a solid 20 minutes each day to “active imagination.” It’s a very specific type of meditation, inspired by Carl Jung. I committed to this on and off in 2021. I was un-reliable with it, but when I stuck to it, the results were insane. It involves a few minutes of breathe-work, then some warm-up visualizations, followed by a full plunge into subconscious terrains (almost like a lucid dream). My results have gone from completely underwhelming, to, feeling like I made contact with some kind of entity. Self-suggestibility and hypnosis probably play a role in this, but it feels like a discipline that lets you explore and “edit” parts of your psyche.. I probably sound nuts trying to explain this stuff. The more I write about this realm, the more articulate I’ll get.
April 7, 2022 8:55 AM
Realizing how much better my songwriting could be if I compose over loops. The patterns and technical details are better suited for melodies. Once I have a few patterns that interlock over something that is DEAD simple— only then does it make sense to mess with progressions and modulations.. Of course, this is just one style, but it’s a style that I think would play into my strengths.
Feedback is a mirror
April 6, 2022 8:35 PM
When we write we have blindspots. We’re so close to the idea that we can’t see it in its full nature. Editors and friends come in like a mirror, to give us a full three-dimensional sense of what we’re doing.
In the short-game: feedback uncovers ideas
In the long-game: feedback uncovers identity
Public vs. private feedback
April 6, 2022 6:48 PM
There are two ends of “privacy” to the feedback spectrum. One side is high-volume public analytics. The other is private 1:1 high-density interactions. Both are important, but in the early days, 1:1 is way more valuable.
April 6, 2022 11:04 AM
I have a ludacris idea for a story about me turning into a pencil. I think of it like a cover on Kafka’s Metamorphosis. This one is called “Eraser Head.” (unrelated to the David Lynch film)
“As Michael Dean awoke one morning from the dream of becoming a “real” writer, he found himself transformed in his bed into a gigantic HB #2 pencil.” [mimic the first line, but then deviate]
Explained to a friend:
- I have this idea for a short-story where I wake up as a #2 pencil and my wife freaks out
- The idea is my wife doesn’t read my writing and she wants to have kids— but I turn into a pencil— kids aren’t an option— She’s devastated— I learn that I can hop around as a pencil but I leave marks on the floor— she’s pissed, but then realizes the markings on floor are actually genius writing— she appreciates how good I am.. So she becomes my typist and publishes a wildly successful Substack for me (since I don’t have hands).. but with each edition I get shorter and shorter.. This gives her hope, she thinks by the end I’ll turn back into a human, but in the end I’m just an Eraser Head. I accept my new destiny as an editor— and she’s devastated again. The last paragraph will be a dry promotional paragraph for the writing studio lol
- The premise is ridiculously stupid— but I think I can make something of it
April 6, 2022 10:12 AM
Shamanism is a form of religious practice independent from the use of ayahuasca. Think of consciousness-altering plants as a biological shortcut to enter into these realms without years of training.
On learning skills
April 6, 2022 9:52 AM
1— Unconscious incompetence
2— Conscious incompetence
3— Conscious competence
4— Unconscious competence
April 6, 2022 7:35 AM
- Read like a writer. Instead of reading entire books, find a section that emotionally resonates with you, and read it over and over. It’s less about finishing or collecting facts. Looping lets you analyze, dissect, and reverse engineer something that you want to recreate yourself. I see Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf is a book that influenced my writing. In reality, I only read the first 10 pages, but I’ve re-read it over 5 times, and I’ve underlined, highlighted, and written about why it’s so good.
- Looping is a huge part of editing too. I get the feeling that some writers don't feel comfortable re-reading what they write more than once. (Similar to how it can be weird watching yourself on video). But solid writing comes from being willing to re-read and tweak a paragraph 5-10 times.
- I'm going to start looking for examples of looping outside of writing
- Looping is how a lot of songwriters write the melody of a chorus. They’ll loop a 10 second clip over and over, humming something each time, always tweaking it, until they find the right one.
Write of Passage timeline
April 5, 2022 8:10 PM
Months 1-6: Deciding if I should do the thing
Months 7-9: Doing the thing seriously, v1, but flawed strategy
Month 10-12: Failure and burnout
Months 13-23: Starting from scratch on a simplified v2
Months 24-28: Rogue experimentation
Month 28: Embarking upon v3
Thoughts during a teeth cleaning
April 5, 2022 8:52 AM
I like to conduct my bi-annual reviews when my mouth is full of blood. The dentist’s office is a great place for strategic thinking. The act of deep reflection is enough of a mental load to distract me from the gum pricks and the high-pitched drills...
“Short, Medium, Long.” That's my takeaway. It's a fully functioning writing system that can have logs, atomic essays, and newsletters all happening at once. In the past, I could only focus on one scale at a time. The goal now is for all the scales to feed into one another.
My writing system has 3 “scales” to it— small, medium, and large.
- logloglog is where I log my daily thoughts throughout the day
- The benefits:
- A journal of my thoughts and experience
- Everything is all in one place (searchable)
- Experiment with language (prose practice)
- There’s a daily process (15-30 minutes) of:
- Creating “daily blocks” (see archive)
- Moving old thoughts from the main log into the archive
- Posting day blocks on Twitter
- Preserving the most promising logs:
- Copying them into “essay blocks” in Notion
- Sharing the best logs as Tweets or Threads
Atomic Essays (medium):
- I’d like to post short (300-600 word) essays every day
- This shouldn’t take more than 45-60 minutes
- Knock this out during a daily writing gym
- The goal here is to create a “colosseum of ideas”
- Writing doesn’t need to be perfect
- Writing doesn’t even need feedback
- What matter is taking the best logs & rendering them at a slightly higher quality
- On weekends, I can do “meal prep for writing” - 60 minutes
- Select 5 ideas to knock out on week days
- Gather notes & work out an outline
- This lets you show up and start writing immediately later in the week
- Might as well share screenshots of these on Twitter
- I’ve decided that I want to distribute my best writing through email (instead of treating it as a post-card or link aggregator).
- I can publish an edition roughly every 2 weeks, at 2,000 words.
- Note: not tied to a word length, cadence, or topic
- The Feedback Gym is my mechanism to keep momentum on these.
- 60 minutes each day in the Feedback Gym
- Another 60-90 minutes each day to incorporate changes & write
- I can write a thread through ThreadX to promote each edition
- 1-2 days before
- Daily— 180-240— 3-4 hours of writing
- 1-2 hours of solo writing (knock out in the early morning)
- 2 hours of social writing (writing & feedback gyms)
- 1 hour - Atomic essay meal prep
- 1 hour - Thread to promote newsletter
- Everything exists on my website
- Twitter (~3/day)
- Daily block— a running Twitter thread linking to my logs
- Best logs— as a Tweet or Thread
- Daily atomic essay— Typeshare or Screenshot
- Newsletter promo— as a thread, feedback tested
- Newsletter (2-4 per month)
April 4, 2022 5:04 PM
The good, the true, and the beautiful.. A Platonic framework.. If I had to rank them in importance: 1) The beautiful, 2) The good, 3) The true.. If something has aesthetic or emotional power, and if it is shaped with good intentions, then it doesn’t matter if it’s true.
Flexible personal monopolies
April 4, 2022 11:18 AM
When it comes to building an online presence, it’s important to think about how “flexible” your differentiator is. If you say, I’m the X guy, focusing on a, b, c— you are bound to those constraints. Yet, if your differentiator is around voice or format— and those things are built off your personality, then you have flexibility to follow your curiosities and write about whatever you want.
Jack Dorsey on the early Internet
April 4, 2022 7:13 AM
“The days of usenet, irc, the web... even email (with PGP)... were amazing. centralizing discovery and identity into corporations really damaged the internet. I realize I’m partially to blame, and regret it.” - Jack Dorsey
Notes from a call with someone living in Russia:
April 3, 2022 11:05 AM
- McDonald's in Russia— the corporate branches have shut down, but local franchises are still running.. They were asked to shut down, but aren’t, and with no consequences.
- Hershey’s Chocolate— by Europeans, Hershey’s is seen as sour and acidic.
- Artichokes are more expensive than caviar
- The bananas are shaped differently since they’re coming from Indonesia instead of Latin America
- It will soon be hard to get US-banded electronics— Something as simple as printer ink will have to be ordered from China.
- Streaming services are gone, but torrents are back in style
- Western media isn’t covering any aggression by Ukrainians towards Russian civilians— ie: kidnapping a mayor’s daughter.. or sending bomb threats to civilian Russian airports
- Russia is retreating on their ground invasion, but the fear is that it could lead to a new phase of their “strategic operation.”
- Russian propaganda is saying that US sanctions will back-fire and cause the collapse of the US dollar
- Germany has warned of a potential heating crisis next winter. They’re relatively landlocked from where they usually receive oil from. Because of prices and shortages, port countries (Italy) are going to use most of it for themselves.
Ability x circumstance
April 3, 2022 8:11 AM
I wonder if attaining your dream can be boiled down to [ability] x [circumstance]. Ability is something both natural and trainable, but the harder of the two variables is circumstance. If you go from 1>10 in ability, but the circumstance is 0.1 or 0, then the ability you’ve nurtured has no leverage. As important as fostering your ability is the discovery of circumstances that can multiply your ability. In so many cases, your hometown, parents, or college will lead you down a circumstance that has no correlation with your ability. Without rebelling against your circumstance, you’ll always assume your ability has some kind of local-cap, or that your dreams are worth abandoning completely. Early in life, when responsibilities are lighter, there is the opportunity to make radical shifts in circumstance, to see how your abilities fare in different cases. Once you find a domain with traction instead of friction, stick with it. Later in life, the pivots in circumstance are slighter.
Heading home form NYC
April 2, 2022 7:41 PM
walking up from Union Square after a mindless stroll through Barnes and Noble.. Trap music beams from a speaker in a push cart, while a vested man baby talks to his dog.. The Subway roars through vents.. I have an 8:18 train to catch.. I could take the subway, but I prefer the above ground swarm of memes, genes, laughter, and bicycles.. Everyone is executing some kind of script, including me.. The empire state building ahead.. Enjoying a normal walk.. the brights of oncoming traffic and the shadows on the construction tarp to my right are weirdly peaceful.. pondering how my impressions of New York City over the last decade were inseparable from my circumstances and personality.. Even though I've lived in New York my whole life, the city feels like a blank state with the new circumstance I see ahead.. I'm skeptical when someome tries to blanket categorize a city.. People watching again— it's interesting to look at each passing group or person and make a very specific guess on the scripts they're running.. Even if I'm completely wrong, it reveals two things— 1) the sheer range of possible activity happening in any given area, and 2) the limitations of what you think a “script” can be.. You realize how your flash assumptions about your world are just caricatures based on your past experience.. I'm starting to get light headed— every passing person generates a visual field of imagined experience— and while fake, is causing some weird tingling sensations.. Even if the specifics of the ecstasy and tragedy are completely wrong— the range and power are true in the average— and that experience in the aggregate is like a surge of empathy.. And in some strange coincidence, most people in public are strangely put together, while at odd moments that youll never see, they too were struck with ineffable experience.. And here comes the motorcycle gang.. 30 bandits doing wheelies with 36” wide tires.. Finally on the escalator down into Penn.. Train leaves in 3.. passing the fancy escalator in a demo zone.. Going down on the track 15 escalators reminds me of the times I'd commute all the way back to Wyandanch. I made it.
April 2, 2022 6:55 PM
Consider how the point-of-purchase medium in book stores affected the art of the book cover (big obnoxious letters)
April 2, 2022 6:52 PM
Beautiful Spanish music in Union Square.. Low BPM with crooning horns and desperate poetry in a jagged tone
Perspective on death are an indicator
April 2, 2022 5:26 PM
Attitudes around death, frames behavior in other aspects of life.. this is basically the ultimate fear.. If you can sit with ideas around it, you’re likely to be able to approach other ideas that induce fear.. fear as the ultimate blocker
April 2, 2022 4:57 PM
Relentless muting— an alternate to the strategy of the feed vs. the list.
Art as an outlet for aggression.
April 2, 2022 4:41 PM
Notes from NYC jaywalking
April 2, 2022 1:32 PM
The red-vested Jesus parade cries for heaven through megaphones on a sidewalk lined with rags.. 2 for $5..sirens, kebab smoke, and cold air fill my nostrils.. New York feels normal, upgraded even, with scaffolding made to look like a church.. “Urban Umbrella” is the brand of scaffolding.. I stroll through it like a two-legged mitochondria, sifting through the densest heap of human capital ever accrued.. all these buildings were uncoordinated, maybe even accidental..if there ever was an architect of this city, it was likely a demon in a tornado of colossal power.. regardless, the end-result is a beautiful mess.. excuse my non-sense I’m typing while jaywalking.. On 38th street.. outside a gift shop with New York stereotypes, there are two radios within earshot— one speaking of Gordon Ramsey, and the other on the Kremlin.. I see a Diva, a wheel-chaired construction worker, and a man who looks like a taxi cab.. a street vendor selling Native American Dreamcatchers and playing elevator flute music reminds me of the original purchase of Manhattan for $26 USD.. I can walk by coughers on the sidewalk without paranoia because I’m triple vaxx’d now.. we’re two years out, the virus is hibernating, and summer is near.. “marijuana, pre-rolls, any edibles ladies?” Street deals in broad daylight within eyeshot of the west’s Mecca.. I’m assuming these are synthetic replicas.. I see a man, sitting crossed legged against a building, bearded, cigarette smoking like he could be an album cover.. I can’t comprehend the vast ranges of past experience behind the swarms of people I see every 10 seconds.. out of every 100 people here, one could’ve been a Persian princess, and another Hitler, if dealt a different circumstance.. spray painters and caricature artists outside of Ruby Tuesdays, and a five year old in a stroller.. I look west at an intersection and see Port Authority and the edges of 8th Street, where I used to have a recording space.. the man in front of me is growling incoherently.. a woman on the corner with a short red polka dotted skirt, and big Minnie Mouse ears.. we are in Mascot territory.. the first billboard I see in Time Square is a marquee that says, “gay, bisexual, transgender, queer,” on loop over and over, finally resolving every 15 seconds with the logo of a meditation app.. the graphic designers at Taco Bell are obviously on psychedelics..as I look east a woman walking next to me look west and we exchange a direct glance in a crowd where no one is speaking English anymore.. I catch a glance of myself in a glass storefront and notice how strange my toothpick legs look like in contrast to my clunky shoes.. A Woman in her 50s with long aging hair looks up at a skyscraper, smiling in genuine wonder.. I look down as I type this log, stationary, and part the sea of an approaching mass of pedestrians.. Plastic surgery face.. I arrive at Time Square— at that iconic perspective, and everyone is here: Elmo, Batman, Cyborgs, an 11’ Statue of Liberty on stilts, wedding photographers.. it’s my first time here since all the Russia paranoia and nuclear dick-waving.. the flash is a slim chance, but for just a second I consider that I could be here painting the peak of civilization into my phone at the very moment before it all evaporates.. a black teenager sits alone at a chess table, waiting for an opponent, playing digital chess on his phone in the mean-time.. it’s games all the way up and down.. a kaleidoscope of social life, with varying shades of casualness.. I sit for a second to look around and see if there are any other people-watchers.. there are, I’d say 15% of us here are un-lodged from this hypnotic place, paying no credence to Mandy Moore’s glowing skin on her 50-foot-face.. she is the Goddess of Time Square today, but she has handlers.. I look at the street signs and realize I overshot my destination by 5 blocks.. On the walk back I confront another 3 synthetic weed dealers spaced 10 feet apart.. “sour, haze, kush, pre-roll.” Then I see a TikTok video in the making.. Spotify ads show a man in a cowboy hat and space suit. Minnie Mouse took her mask off and she looks sad.. I lean to my right to avoid an aggressively low pigeon.. A fight breaks out among a group selling mixtapes but it looks like they were just joking. Bryant Park is in sight. I came here every day for two years to work a corporate gig, but I mostly forgot all the spots in the area.. A kid with long wavy hair is sprinting. Horns, wind, chatter, and the neurons of 127 soon to blossom trees.. I see a face that looks identical to my ex-girlfriend from high school.. I step foot into the park.. portraits, more chess, so many screens, a rare sketchbook, grins, selfies, a defeated napper, Mexicali music, salads, ping pong.. The Lawn is closed, and I find my way to my spot on the steps in front of the Library. I'm an hour and a half early to meet Isabel. Going to put on some music and take a break from logging. Excited to read this all back: an ordinary walk from Penn Station to Bryant Park.
An unpredictable newsletter
April 2, 2022 9:08 AM
The most important thing I can do with my newsletter in the early stages is set the expectation that each edition will be wildly different. Create a cadence that is unexpected and fun to follow along. Some editions I might be an asshole, some editions I might be technical, some editions I might be vulnerable. An inherent part of this approach is to be misunderstood by anyone who can only dip in for a single edition.
April 2, 2022 9:06 AM
From December-January— I was immersed in concepts around “fluid identity.” In February-March, I naturally got absorbed into a professional identity. I almost lost sight of many of the insights I came to from that winter state of exploration.
April 2, 2022 9:05 AM
Artificially-generated photos of your future children on the wall (x)
The identical twin convention
April 1, 2022 7:29 PM
April 1, 2022 6:55 PM
Flying nuclear jets over NATO countries is a weird April Fool’s joke
Owning the frame
April 1, 2022 4:54 PM
To build trust, comedians start their set by making an observation about themselves that the audience likely already sees. It proves that they’re self-aware.
April 1, 2022 1:19 PM
The merits of a daily task beats the spasmodic efforts of Hercules—
A quote from Will.
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