On capturing family history in writing
@December 29, 2021 10:06 PM (EDT)
Considering creating a pseudonym “Pearl” for my mother-in-law based on my Otter transcriptions of her life stories... “Where did you learn to make meatballs?” led to a story that involved a criminal, her alcoholic husband, mink farms, a beach trip with a brother-in-law with down syndrome, a fake Elizabeth Taylor with a nose job, and the real life Strega Nona.
The four kinds of stories
@December 29, 2021 6:13 PM (EDT)
inquiry - a mystery to be solved
character - the fulfillment of a desire
milleu - a place, alice in wonderland
event - an event, armageddon
Marco vs. micro writing
@December 29, 2021 6:08 PM (EDT)
macro - structure, storytelling, suspense, logic, etc.
micro - voice, imagery, sound, sarcasm, etc.
A framework for monthly goals
@December 29, 2021 3:12 PM (EDT)
What’s the ONE thing you want to do this month that’s not urgent, but perhaps the most important? It’s an interesting frame. Urgent things find a way to get done, almost automatically. But you can procrastinate on something really important for years if there isn’t any pressure associated with it.
Video game idea– a 2D platform with parallel dimensions
@December 29, 2021 10:59 AM (EDT)
A 2D platformer, but with portals that go forward and back, which teleport you to different dimensions. each dimension can be the same level (spatially), but with different styles, characters ... the goal is to go in and out of dimensions .. you can perform actions that affect other dimensions ... you can bring objects between dimensions to unlock things
So in Super Mario Maker, each level can have 2 “sub-maps.” What if each sub-map were, spatially, exactly the same. However, each one can have different styles, characters, and enemies. Usually in Mario, when you go down into a tube, you go down into some mini-game, in a small subterranean pocket. What if the tubes represented a descent into the underworld? Into an alternate dimension? The underworld can have a distinct theme. It’s the same world, but dark, populated with ghosts.
Mario can’t beat any level linearly. He has has to navigate between each world to find objects that unlock obstacles in the other dimension.
The basic concept to start is to have an A/B language. ie:
- Flowers exist in the top realm (A), but never in the underworld (B).
- Ghosts can only exist in the underworld (B)
- (A) world is light. (B) world is dark.
- Object pairs / shadows - koopa (a), dry bones (b)
- An action that helps you in one world kills you in the other
Comparing AI and the subconscious
@December 29, 2021 9:00 AM (EDT)
The subconscious & AI Similar in the sense that they can each reference a whole backlog of experience, and then output one thing at a time
A reply to a newsletter on Santa
@December 28, 2021 11:15 AM (EDT)
Hey Charlie - I'm stressed out about Santa too. He's an inherently magical character, and I wonder if the whole myth about a cookie fiend in a red suit breaking into your house after hours to give you exactly what you want is even necessary. I'm leaning towards treating Santa as a mystery instead of a definitive lie. Maybe most presents come from the parents, but there's one mystery "Santa" present every year. Maybe the kid writes a letter about what they've done and what they want (aka, an annual review). Then, the parents use their "telepathic abilities" (and writing skills) to connect with the elusive Christmas spirit. The parents "channel," 1) a gift idea, and 2) a letter in return for the kid. It's a weird idea, but a family connecting with Santa through meditation, visualization, and imagination seems more honest, more interactive, and less bubble-bursting... Just some Santa musings... Merry Christmas!
The VR content space is in early 1990s Nintendo territory
@December 28, 2021 10:15 AM (EDT)
I’ve been playing some old Super Nintendo games from 1992-1995. It was incredible how bad the market of games were (with few exceptions). It’s incredible to see the leap from that to Zelda: Breathe of the Wild in 25 years. It gives me hope for the VR space. The game market might be undercooked now, but we’re underestimating how robust the VR game & application space will be in the 2030s and 2040s.
On daily habits vs. coaxing the muse
@December 28, 2021 10:06 AM (EDT)
I believe in the idea of a daily writing routine and not waiting for the genie. That said, the genie doesn’t go away, and can strike at the most random times. At 3pm during a meeting, or a 11pm when you’re ready to go to sleep. “The genie” might simply be, an inexplainable alignment of conditions that lets you create work at the edge of your ability. For example, yesterday morning, during my planned writing time, I felt stuck in outliner mode, but last night, starting at 10:30 am, I wrote for 4 hours and felt like I could write through voice. Maybe there’s a skill in cultivating the genie on-demand, or maybe it’a always elusive, and you just need to show up enough times for a high probability of visitation.
An unfinished annual review
@December 28, 2021 2:14 AM (EDT)
I’ve always remembered December to be a strange and quiet month, where everyone I know retreats, just for a week or two, from the frantic pace of modern life. Even my new writer friends on the Internet partake in this ritual. The difference? These word-slingers return from hibernation with more than a hangover and a list of resolutions. They emerge with an “annual review.” It’s a sacred little artifact. Both a record of their past and a map of their future, bound in words, and sealed by the pressure of blasting their dreams in an email to everyone they know. It takes courage and I think it’s a beautiful tradition.
I haven’t ever written an annual review. Historically, I usually compile a list of unattainable goals, flail around until I lose the list, and then start over when I regain consciousness.
But this last year was different. I tried a different approach around goal-setting, and for the first time ever, I exceeded my expectations. This is suspicious, and warrants a proper investigation. I feel obligated to freeze 2021 in words while I still remember it. It’s been a whirlwind. But this essay won’t be a month by month recollection of what went down. It won’t be a series of journal prompts. I’m not writing this because I need to reflect, or because I need to set goals. I’ve actually finished that already.
What did I do this year? Write.
What will I do next year? Write.
This is a feat in compression if I’ve ever seen one.
I don’t want to complicate what could be simple, so why even do this?
Documenting a Curveball
2021 was the year when I became an “architect-turned-writer.” It was a career transition that looked unpredictable to those closest to me, but it was over a decade in the making.
I made some drastic and irreversible decisions out in the woods last January, triggering a chain reaction of events, leading me to change my name, leave my job, and start a company teaching a skill that I have no credentials in, all which seem fine and perfectly explainable to me, but utterly mysterious, and even batshit crazy, to just about everyone who knows me in flesh world, leading several family members to suspect I’m wrapped up in some kind of ponzi scheme that’s too good to be true, bound to vanish once the pandemic wraps up.
Jokes aside, I’m writing this essay because I made some simple decisions at the beginning of last year that shot my life into an alternate reality, one that I always felt was possible, but I thought it was reserved for those with more talent, taste, and courage.
The truth is, I’ve always had the talent, the taste, and the courage I needed, perhaps multiples over. But, I had a few screws loose that kept me looping in place for over a decade. I always thought the answer was to work harder. But a simple twist in tactics and perspective set me on a new path. I’m doing the best work I’ve ever done, with the best thinkers I’ve ever known, and I get the chills when I imagine where this could all go.
I THINK I’m able to articulate the missing screws that could’ve saved me years of toil. I express uncertainty here, because not only am I, the advice-giver, potentially clueless to what worked for me, but I’m without a doubt blind to the circumstances of your life. That said, I feel compelled to share advice into the void. I want to share what I did differently this year. It’s tragic to think that all of us with sublime dreams and talents might be missing just ONE screw required for liftoff. I’m sure I’m missing a few, and I don’t know anyone who isn’t. If even 1 of my 10 principles in this essay can un-fuck 1 of your 10 blocks, then this whole ritual is time well spent.
This essay is dedicated to anyone who feels like their job isn’t aligned with the kind of work that fires them up. This was extremely difficulty to achieve in the past, but the Internet is making it more possible than ever for those who approach it in the right way.
Aligning Passion with Income
For over a decade, I’ve led a split-existence. My life, which potentially looked something like yours, was split into two halves. One half was my creative self, obsessed with designs and dreams, music and drawings and words, sacrificing leisure in the pursuit of curiosity and mastery and meaning. The other half was my day-job.
I shouldn’t complain, because:
1) I’m extremely fortunate to have had a job, unlike my grandfather, who was literally his uncle’s slave in the 1950’s, and
2) because my day job at the start of 2021 was unconventional.
On paper, my last job might have been cooler than my existence as Michael Dean the writer. I was a virtual reality specialist for an international architecture firm, traveling around the world to administer digital hallucinations on billion dollar projects. I was on the cutting edge of a communication medium. People who know me online probably don’t know that I’ve introduced over 2,000 people to their first “immersive” VR experience. One time I made a senior citizen cry by accidentally sending her to a moon-simulation instead of a condo-simulation. It was her childhood dream.
It was fascinating to be at the front-edge of a technology that I think will take over the world in the way that computers did, BUT, it didn’t nurture a very primal urge within me to be creative. My 6 years as a VR specialist in AEC was 90% focused on technical work in Unreal Engine and project management. I was helping other people communicate the designs of their buildings, but I wasn’t designing my own buildings.
After I graduated from architecture school (2014), I had the grandeur and naivety to think I could become the Frank Lloyd Wright of my generation. I dominated all of the architecture competitions I entered as a student. At the very least, I was led to believe I would have a successful career as a designer. But I was shocked to learn how little design opportunity there was in the industry, how much of the game was about the delivery of construction documents, and how the whole thing will soon be automated by artificial intelligence.
I would bet this career dilemma sounds familiar to many of you reading this.
What’s going on?
We enter jobs that are tangentially related to our interests, but in practice, are far from it. Being an architect, from an outsider, sounds like it could be creatively fulfilling. But from my experience, it involves working insane hours as a CAD monkey, with the faint hope that one day you’ll get to design your building. Replace <building> with < film, novel, app, product, dress, etc>. The creative industries tasked with distributing creations at scale require so much operations, that young creative people get caught up in logistics instead of the original art that brought them into the field.
Is there another route?
The Internet, in some weird psychedelic way, takes all the departments once hoarded by institutions, and makes them accessible to the average person. There are many different kinds of businesses you can build on the Internet, most of which I have no qualifications to write about. But, the one thing I do know is that it’s possible to build some kind of digital enterprise that is entirely formed from the passions and talents within you. Everyone and their parents are probably familiar with using something like LinkedIn to find available jobs through the Internet. What still seems like a secret, is how to use the Internet to build a whole career that has no precedent, and one that you are uniquely qualified to excel in.
[missing a paragraph on how I closed the gap between passion and income this year through writing and the writing studio]
One Year in One Paragraph
- I changed my name and published over 100 essays to my website
- I partnered with Write of Passage to launch The Writing Studio and ran 5 courses
- I left my full-time job and replaced it with a comparable income through teaching
- I edited over 500 essays, and am developing a framework for writing, editing, and creativity
- I grew my newsletter list to 119, and Twitter following to 411, without posting anything
- I found a synergy between teaching & creating - one improves the other
Here is my best effort to make sense of the perspectives and tactics I adopted in 2021 to make my year unfold in the way it did.
(to expand on)
- Find a center of gravity
- Stop chasing whales
- Short-circuit identity
- Build a digital “home”
- Resist conceptual clarity
- Evolve with the situation
- Find the others
- Listen to strangers
- Pioneer a medium
- Prove yourself
- Plug-in to a scene
- Think for yourself
- Expect failure
(to expand on)
Nurture: The Writing Studio
Fix: The Psychology of Distribution
Explore: Experimental Writing Projects
- How would Kerouac write on the Internet?
Real-time stream of ideas, unedited
- How would Pessoa write on the Internet?
An army of alt-accounts on Twitter
- How would Vonnegut write on the Internet?
Delirious short-stories and fake micro-blogs
The Passion Economy (level 3)
@December 27, 2021 11:24 PM (EDT)
level 1 - making a living to support your interests
level 2 - making a living through 1 of your interests
level 3 - making a living through all of your interests
The Arecibo message
@December 27, 2021 9:02 PM (EDT)
Medium-arbitrage: an opportunity to write about video games
@December 27, 2021 8:28 PM (EDT)
Gaming and writing are totally different mediums. One is director-controlled and requires mental translation. The other is user-controlled through real-time graphics (120 fps)... If you look at the content gamers create, it’s almost entirely video. That’s natural. It’s gameplay footage, sometimes live, sometimes with the gamer stitched in... You rarely see gamers writing about gaming. It’s an opportunity for arbitrage. It requires both a love for gaming and a love of words.
Morning breakfast routine initiated
@December 27, 2021 9:12 AM (EDT)
last Monday after Christmas was the day I started a morning writing routine - I had a streak from Dec 28 through February - I didn’t maintain the “publish every day” streak, but I did publish over 100 times in 2021. as opportunities arose, I switched my publishing cadence and goals, maybe every 2 months
this year, the first Monday after xmas, I started with a detailed breakfast routine. it’s been around an hour, and might go for another. the routine idea is inspired by hunter s. thompson (excluding the alcohol and drugs). just caffeine. but, the idea is to take care of “business affairs” very predictably, in a ritualistic way - it will enable me to get lost on 15-hour Delirious Dean writing sprees (if inspiration arises, and I have a lightweight day), without losing track of the world. It was also is a way to have a “shock resistant” system during the times when my attention is focused on running an online course.
in my past system designs, I always had the confidence that I would have the bandwidth to check into a system multiple times per day. it’s true during light-weight seasons, and near impossible during others. so here’s an attempt to design a system that, 1) works if you only check it 1x per day, 2) also enables you to pull information from it as needed during the day.
the one thing I’m missing?... a more extravagant breakfast
Designing a video game as a 4-5 year old
@December 26, 2021 9:20 PM (EDT)
level design might be one of the first hobbies I can remember. as a 4-5 years old, I wanted a console but my parents were hesitant to get me one. since my dad knew computers, he offered to build a video game with me. it was called “inside the monster human.” he programmed the logic, and gave me graph paper to draw top-down 2D levels.
Symbols and Christmas
@December 25, 2021 8:48 AM (EDT)
Christmas is symbolically primed to be a visionary holiday.
Santa, Jesus, elves, nutcrackers, reindeer, snowmen.
An abundance of shared cultural symbols.
The pendulum of (de)centralization
@December 24, 2021 9:10 AM (EDT)
I don’t like the web2/web3 framework. I don’t believe in a web4. I think it’s more accurate to describe our situation as a pendulum.
Left side: decentralization, anarchy, pure democracy, libertarianism
Right side: centralization, power, pure tyranny, dictatorship
The sweet spot exists somewhere in the middle. It fuses the best of both worlds. But given the nature of a pendulum, it always overshoots the center. The ethos of decentralized “purism” might be an over-reaction to consolidated power regarding web technologies.
Images from getting boosted
@December 23, 2021 12:49 PM (EDT)
Synth harp of angels,
The waiting room for the Pfizer booster,
Paperwork and check marks,
The death flashes,
The toys on the shelves,
Chess and checker sets,
A vaccine passport sleeve with motorcycles, sunflowers, windmills, and sky
Looping on a sentence to refine it
@December 23, 2021 12:27 PM (EDT)
Loop a sentence until it rings, and then move on… this could make a neat example. An essay like a blockchain. If I can’t delete, then I’ll be able to map out and see the process of thought refinement.
1) On line for the booster.
2) In frigid air, the booster line lingers.
3) Suspended in cool air, the booster line lingers.
4) 13 bodies deep, the line lingers, suspended in cool air.
5) Suspended in the linger-line, 13 slots-back, I wonder if any boosters are left.
A consistent thread through each decade
@December 23, 2021 10:33 AM (EDT)
a thread, a slinky, the collapse of time
50s, kerouac’s on the road
60s, grateful dead live sessions
80s, terence mckenna live lectures
90s, cartoon marination & digital fantasy
00s, internet, the thing prophecized
10s, mobile phone, the new typewriter
20s, virtual reality nomad
@December 23, 2021 10:10 AM (EDT)
Pittsburgh, Indianapolis, Springfield, Oklahoma City, Albequerque, Scottsdale & Phoenix for 6 days, Arizona desert 2x, Roswell, Marfa, Texas desert, Austin for 2 days, Arkansas, Memphis, Nashville, 5 days, West Virginia, and back to New York. A potential future, most likely a daydream
Perspective is a pre-requisite for tactics and craft
@December 23, 2021 12:11 AM (EDT)
Perspective > tactics > craft
Wrong perspective can lock you up for months or years, even if tactics and craft are strong.
Woo-woo thoughts on creation
@December 23, 2021 12:08 AM (EDT)
Creation as a universal force. All things push towards novelty. Contrast towards tribe species. Artist is aligned with nature, but is a mutation from the perspective of a tribe. Important to create and share objects. Introduce to culture. Rejection = keep going. Acceptance = keep going. Both overcome the crisis of self-consciousness.
Powers of 10
@December 23, 2021 12:06 AM (EDT)
300 logs =
30 atomic essays =
@December 23, 2021 12:05 AM (EDT)
Maybe identity is an aggregate of dozens of small binary decisions related to your permission to do certain things.
The value of delay
@December 23, 2021 12:03 AM (EDT)
In many systems, it’s helpful to have a delay after certain actions.
- Capture > read
- Log > tweet
- Publish > distibute
The space of time gives you a new perspective when you return to something a second time.
Even though Streams are captured here in a lo-fi analog journal kind of way, you can always copy chunks from a meeting into a proper “note” if you want access to it from a folders/notebook in the future. Everything defaults to “lost forever,” but with a 10m review, and the delay of time (and added perspective), your long-term 2nd brain is only populated with the stuff you really need (vs. everything). Aha.
Lessons in creativity from Beatles history:
@December 22, 2021 1:05 PM (EDT)
- single session completion, and, perfectionists (single session publishing)
- early live shows, 3 sets a night, 1 minute songs, repetition (practice)
- covers, innovation in voice (templates)
- feedback, would take songs 70% of the way there, let others invent (social)
- repetition, ear worms (repetition)
- major shifts in constraints > live-studio, innovation (flexibility) (210 She Love You, 3 Hey Jude)
- phenomenon across multiple mediums: music, image, attitude (medium)
- collaborating with the producers (George Martin), define songs (collaborations)
- easter eggs, perfecting arbitrary, near absurd details (marketing)
- return to old work (Let It Be)
- White Album, get weird, characters (experiment)
- white album vs. let it be - chaos vs. teamwork (x)
- goofing around, spirit, accidents, experimentation
Idea for an object-oriented capture-first OS
@December 21, 2021 10:36 PM (EDT)
a capture app that shoots data into two places:
- captain’s log (daily feed)
- synced desktop storage (dropbox)
flexibility and power comes from adding custom parameters, 3 options:
- unlimited custom fields upon blocks
- block-types (an object-oriented system)
- a fixed “stream” field (for simplicity)
Maybe Web3 has nothing to do with blockchain
@December 21, 2021 10:17 PM (EDT)
the creation of rich standalone applications
anyone can create a picture app
cross integration of data & identity
transit layer for mixed media (hyper-web)
need not be on a blockchain / decentralized
Link your outputs, not your inputs
@December 21, 2021 5:14 PM (EDT)
low-leverage to categorize and link half-baked ideas if we’re talking “link your thinking” might as well linked public micro-essays
Sitting on a decade of demos
@December 21, 2021 11:16 AM (EDT)
I have 1,000s of music demos from the last few years. It ranges from rehearsals, to live takes, to demos, to proper recordings, to cell phone recordings, to endless jams. My songs, songs of friends. Not sure what to do with it. Not sure if anyone cares to hear the messy process work of musicians. But in any case, having a public outlet for this stuff is kind of like a gravity-center to 1) go through archive, and 2) make new stuff
Unspoken principles of rabbit hole surfing
@December 20, 2021 11:21 AM (EDT)
I got an interesting question at the beginning of the Writing Studio. It was along the lines of, “how do I actively research?” The Second Brain system is more about “ambiently” capturing information as you come across it. But there might be a separate skill of “rabbit-hole surfing” that could be fun to teach writers. I think naturally obsessed people have all sorts of tactics they’re not even consciously aware of. And I bet there are some who don’t go beyond the first page of Google search results. The Internet is a psychedelic universe, expanding exponentially. It’s possibly the greatest resource in human history. Is there a framework on how to dive into it without drowning?
- How do you guide your explorations?
- How do you organize potential leads?
- How do you back and forth between synthesis and search?
These principles of “active” research go counter to “ambient research.” My gut says this isn’t an either/or question. It’s both. Sure, you could totally write an essay from either philosophy alone. But the best work might come from a back and forth between the two opposites.
Ambient research is no doubt the “passive” style of research. It doesn’t require effort. It’s basically the discipline to record your stories, ideas, links, and whatever you come across, into a digital memex so that you can retrieve it later.
If I had to pick one, I’d pick “ambient research” for sure. It’s always-on, and it also has a bias towards you, your lifestyle, and your experiences. Looking at what you’ve passively captured might be the best way to decide what to work on. “Huh, looks like I’m obsessed with this.” Looking at your ambient research shows you your constellations of interest. Once I realized I was obsessed with Fernando Pessoa, and I accidentally built a mountain of ammo, I began to surf specific rabbit holes. I didn’t need to. I could’ve went straight to the essay. But I learned the weirdest things when I actively searched for gold. I knew he had 73 pseudonyms, but without the effort, I might’ve never learned Pessoa was an occultist practicing “automatic writing.”
Ambient research shows you where to dive, and active research helps fill in the holes of your thinking.
The whites in the eyes of The Laughing Messiah
@December 20, 2021 9:44 AM (EDT)
Flash back to Mount Shasta, and those weird meditation sessions in the holy land of Panther Grove. I remember opening my eyes and looking around. You could tell who knew what they were doing by the expressions on their faces. The tourists, like myself, had their eyes closed. They looked to be a deep trance state. The locals of Shasta, four of which joined us, were also in a trance state, except their eyes were rolled up into the top of their head. Their eyelids were rapidly fluttering, and you could only see the whites of their eyes, as if their pupils just disappeared. It was haunting. It looked like they were possessed. Later in the day, I asked one of them what happened. The guy I asked was known as the, “The Laughing Messiah,” and lived in his Tesla under the stars. Apparently, it’s a learned technique. Eyes upwards, lashes fluttering - with practice, can trigger closed-eye dream-visuals on-command.
Thoughts on accessing a stream of images
@December 20, 2021 9:37 AM (EDT)
I welcomed a rapid succession of images (half-second flashes, back to back). It might be the best way to “warm up” the image-generating center of the subconscious. From this, almost always, something effortless and fully-formed arrives. It’s almost like the visual density of the stream overwhelms the conscious mind into submission. I stumbled across a cool opening line for a short-story. It went something like, “Despite my family history of schizophrenia, I was mesmerized by the marijuana odysseys, which sometimes were only triggered by a single hit,” and the story opened in Even Frigenti’s driveway. I can’t remember the exact phrasing of the line, which is what made it special. When the conscious mind turns back-on, the whole scene from the subconscious deflates like a balloon. You have to record it as it’s collapsing. Perhaps this is a muscle to grow or an art to cultivate.
Imagery of a bug
@December 20, 2021 9:36 AM (EDT)
Imagine the bug. Conjure it and coax it into something grotesque. At first, the conscious mind can’t visualize something truly horrifying. You see a cartoon bug. But with each evolution, it goes through phase-changes, and gets weirder and weirder. It eventually arrived as a skeleton on all fours, in a spider pose, but belly up, with pincers for a head, and a cat tail, leaking something brown on my parents driveway. Now that’s a bug.
Thoughts on standardized social media profiles
@December 19, 2021 12:23 AM (EDT)
On Twitter, I have no control over how I display my “body of work.” It’s just a reverse-chronological infinite bleed into your past, until the day you signed up. What’s nice about Notion is that there is flexibility in how you bucket & curate. 10 days in, my endless feed, which got to 21,000 words was too long to manage (it was crashing), so I grouped them into daily buckets. Now, all stream posts are grouped by day - pretty nifty, value into the future. each day is like this container, holding all thoughts for the day. it even has a “title,” a kind of daily summary, so I can easily skim through and remember my past. so much more valuable than a flat Twitter timeline. all the work I’m doing compounds and accrues.
The outdated view of "writer as novelist"
@December 19, 2021 4:11 PM (EDT)
The standing view of a writer is dated, but it’s held by people of all ages. To grandparents, younger cousins, and gym trainers alike, the writer is a writer of novels. Locked away. Bleeding reams. A faint hope to make it. If not the romantic view of the writer, the only other route must be a route of function. In college, words are nothing else than a bounty demanded by an indifferent gatekeeper. When is the paper due? How long does it have to be? When is the semester over? Why else would you write the dreaded “essay?” Five paragraphs. MLA Citations. It’s impossible to count how many literary generations have been squandered by the 11th grade. Creative writing, or, an art in the medium of words, is a strange underground craft, reserved for rogue-dreamers and criminals. To those who cringe at the idea of painting images in words, it’s unimaginable that writing can advance your career, bring in income, or worse, be a preferred form of leisure.
Thoughts after transcribing a full Terence McKenna lecture
@December 18, 2021 7:02 PM (EDT)
Geez. 8 hours later, all my laundry is washed, dried, and folded. I skipped lunch and devoured dinner. The whole day evaporated, but I didn’t notice. I was completely immersed in the ideas of Terence McKenna. I listened to his two-hour video called, Walking Out of the Ordinary, 75% of which was a Q&A guided by the audience. His encyclopedic knowledge, his ability to weave stories in real-time, and the strangeness of his psychedelic experience, all keep me completely hooked.
McKenna is like a spoken-word Grateful Dead. Beyond the “psychedelic” brand, is a similarity in medium. Each have a core body of work, through albums and books, but the live experience is different from night to night. McKenna has 100s of hours of live talks.
Now, I’m excited at the idea of diving through his whole biography of audio. It might take me 2-3 years. The idea for this project is to live-transcribe his most interesting ideas as I listen. I want to act as Terence McKenna’s editor. He’s basically writing essays off-the-cuff. From my ears, the content itself is ground-breaking, and a quick-edit from my end can slice his rant into polished, atomic, spreadable memes.
Most of McKenna transcriptions are exact. I see value in editing, expanding upon, and hyper-linking his body of live audio. The idea of expanding upon is half-the-fun. I’ve absorbed so much McKenna throughout my life, that I think I can pull off a half decent impression. I might even host a microblog called “St. Terence,” where I fuse my ideas in with his own. I’ll internalize his voice, his concepts, and use them to reflect on our current situation.
Terence McKenna on psychedelic escapism
@December 18, 2021 6:14 PM (EDT)
“When you take psilocybin [in the Amazon], you discover something you never knew before: you can walk out. [It’s] very unsettling, because you don’t know [if] it’s true or not. [You’re] loaded, [and it’s telling you].. [this] is.. paradise. [This] is.. where [you] belong. [This is], in fact, the entire completion of [your] being. [I know] people [who] walk into it, and I don’t have the faintest idea what happens to them. It was never presented to me squarely.. [and I only saw it at the periphery of my vision].. [but I sensed] an arboreal human lifestyle. A lifestyle in the canopy that was erotic, athletic, and [unitary].. Oneness, complete oneness. [There’s an issue though].. I have a mortgage, two kids, and all kinds of obligations. If you want [permission] from me [to] go as far as you want to go, [you] certainly [can]. You can go further than I’m presently willing to go. I know [where] this stuff [leads].. [You’ll become] a Daoist sage.. a completely transformed human being.. [and everyone will wonder].. oh my goodness, is he still alive [out] there?
[But most of the people in this room, including Roy, and me, and probably you, we can’t be that] person who chops wood and hauls water on cold mountains.. We glimpse [that life] through the fog.. I know what can happen if you go into nature with this stuff. You need not come back.. It’s a decision people have to make..
I assume eventually it will take me and I will walk out on history. I have friends with less responsibility than me, and perhaps more courage, who tell me stories about what it’s like.. to do 8 grams on a glacier, on a lava floor, or at Mount Shasta. I know that lifestyles are possible that could never be realized in [Los Angeles].. There is no end to it, but you say goodbye to a lot.. If you’re not [ready to leave it all behind], you should probably move at your own speed.. You can leave anytime you want, you just [better be damn sure], because.. it’s fairly final.
Terence McKenna on the archaic revival
@December 18, 2021 1:59 PM (EDT)
Terence speaks of the massive cultural shifts starting in the 1990’s, and claims it will only get more and more intense. Someone from the crowd asks, “Is this a historical inevitability? Or, is it something that [revolutionaries, like McKenna and Leary] are trying to make happen?”
“It seems to me that what’s happening is part of [a] cultural crisis.. We’re exploring all avenues out of this mess..” I read an essay by Guy Davenport, in a book called “The Geography of the Imagination,” and he’s made a point that I’ve adapted and made my own, because I think it’s so important, [The Archaic Revival].
[Davenport] believes the [turbulence of] the 20th century (from Auschwitz, to LSD, to punk rock, to psychoanalysis), is .. an effort to [return] to an archaic, [forgotten, but once present] cultural model. [Think about how the neoclassicists in 13th-15th century Italy returned to the forgotten values of antiquity.] .. There was a tremendous crisis in European societies ... so Renaissance society became obsessed with classic.. law, painting, and architecture. They [essentially] sought to re-invent Hellenism.. This is a valid response to a culture in crisis.
Our [global] culture is in much, much deeper trouble than 14th century Italy was. And, consequently, our response is much more radical. We’re actually reaching back 15,000 - 20,000 years for our cultural anchoring point. That’s why [Jackson Pollack] so resembles [cave art]. It’s why shamanism.. after 2,000 years after being [gone, has made a comeback]. It’s why these drugs are being brought forward. It’s why all this polymorphic sexual experimentation is going on. It’s [all] because we’re trying to anchor ourselves in this earlier cultural model [one based on primal immediacy, but also fused with a sublime, near religious nature]. I think that it signifies.. the closure of [a full historical] cycle..
What is needed.. is the creation of a shamanic class.. whose task is to do what the shamans [have always done]: to go into the hidden dimension, and return with numinous culture constellating material. [Meaning, members of a shamanic class would regain contact with the religious imagination, and transform their experiences into writing, into art, into companies, into any external vehicle that can take on a life of it’s own, and slowly steer the cultural ship away from destruction, and towards a society with balanced harmony, a society with more noble values, and a society that prioritizes, above ideology, an immersion into the mysteries of mind and soul.]
I think that this obsession with the late-Neolithic [is] yet to peak. You can see [it] in the phenomenon of the new wave [punk], a new barbarism.. that is very conscious and self-mocking. As we move on towards the end of the century, the theme of anarchy, which is very strong in the punk-thing.. will begin to build, because we are locked in an impossible cultural bind between a completely exhausted and materialistic Marxism, and a completely cancerous and value-dark kind of capitalism. Neither of these systems is tolerable actually, and each feeds off the other, as its reason for being.
As W.C. Fields [the comedian] said.. the problem with anarchy is, “the people are no damn good”.. [What’s missing is a] sense of social responsibility.. It isn’t the kind.. as preached from a pulpit. It has to be from the gut. It has to be REAL social responsibility. And then, low and behold, the withering away of the state, and all these highly unlikely things, [can] actually come into view.
But it will take almost a sub-telepathic or proto-telepathic society for this to happen. Computer networking.. can provide the hardwiring for the basic data (the statistical data, the real unconscious of the machine [side] of humanity), but the human being still needs to make this leap [towards action].
Free-association poem where each line is linked
@December 18, 2021 9:00 AM (EDT)
A delirious writing game that might turn into a Twitter riot: Write a free-association sentence, where the next phrase is generated by the last word of the last phrase. Example:
Pur like a saber tooth tiger
Tiger woods family-feud
Feud with your mother
Hunting in the spring time
Time ticking-bomb marathon
Surprise on your birthday
Suit up, investors coming in on Tuesday
Tuesday Trivia, this is America
America, dream of the perfect one
One, two, three, four, five, six
A failure of the poets
@December 18, 2021 8:31 AM (EDT)
“It’s a failure of the poets.” I remember McKenna placing blame on the poets in one talk. Emerson did too in the essay I just read. Maybe it’s a timeless thing to blame the poets, to feel the wordsmiths of the day aren’t living up to their potential to steer and orient culture. To establish a shared ethic and purpose. It’s such an ideal. The idea of “poets” (writers in general) having any universal relevancy might be long dead. They’re up against markets and marketeers, each empowered by hydra-like technology, with algorithmic brains that never have and never will dwell for even an hour in a human soul.
On waking up in the morning
@December 18, 2021 8:10 AM (EDT)
I find value in waking up into “perception mode” instead of “thinking mode.” The idea isn’t to cease all thought, but to look outward, and have the environment generate thought. It helps me avoid booting into stale thought patterns, checking email, and planning the day. Any thoughts that bubble up from the planner’s mindset get IMMEDIATELY discarded into my public stream of consciousness log.
Goal for 2022 - a proper breakfast routine - instead of splitting it into day & night routines - or a series of calendar blocks - it’s simply, prepare an epic breakfast - a 2 hour ordeal, take care of all your business, and then launch into the mystery of the day
What is the starting point for fiction?
@December 17, 2021 4:17 PM (EDT)
character-first = harry potter
world-first = dune
language-first = lord of the rings
concept-first = the matrix
The value of experimenting with pseudonyms
@December 17, 2021 2:11 PM (EDT)
i wonder if there’s value in everyone trying a pseudonym experiment, especially if it’s among a community of writers. not saying you need to drop your whole identity. but there’s value in seeing how it feels to write without your baggage from the real world. for me, temporarily dropping the concept of audience made writing insanely fun. i could say whatever I want. when I shared it with some writing friends, they said, “whoa - this is way better than all the stuff you wrote under your real name.” it didn’t make sense to go back. the writing journey is already hard enough in a vacuum, why carry the weight of your IRL identity that doesn’t serve you?
Machine mediated consciousness
@December 17, 2021 11:53 AM (EDT)
it’s easy to under-estimate to raw power of “machine-mediated-consciousness” - what I’m really saying is - pinning yourself to adaptive digital systems might actually bring the best out of you - the danger comes when you’re addicted to a social network, or if you have no organization and you’re attention is spinning between tabs. design makes all the difference. good design isn’t easy. it’s almost like you need to have the persistence to work through many poorly designed systems to arrive at one that actually helps you
David Perell's take on gift giving
@December 17, 2021 11:44 AM (EDT)
something they want +
something they wouldn’t get themselves +
something only you could give
A cranky rant on newsletters & email
@December 17, 2021 10:52 AM (EDT)
interesting how Revue built a newsletter media clipper. seems like you can use a browser & mobile extension to save nuggets you come across, and then easily inject them into your newsletter. interesting how a tool is going to inspire a generation of formatting (newsletter as a menu of content). there’s a weird “feedification” going on. to escape social media feeds, we got to email, which is a private feed, and then half of my messages, after I open them, are a micro-feed.
micro-feeds, inside of feeds, while escaping from other feeds ...
all you have to do it not be a feed and you’re singular ... to be clear - i have no gripes with link-sharing / links as content. Maybe I’m just skeptical around the idea of delivering my links at a consistent interval as a touch-point. I don’t think I’m the only one who feels this, but the amount of information I consuming is numbing. Even newsletters that I REALLY enjoyed the first 10-times, I find myself ignoring, not because of the person, or the content, but because as I scroll my Inbox, I’m not in the CONTEXT to absorb information. in fact, whenever I check my Inbox, it’s from a mindset of “let me archive what isn’t urgent, reply to what is, as fast as possible, so I can return to deep work.” a few thoughts to conclude on this:
1) Maybe I need some kind of ritual/reader to make space to read slow
2) I wish newsletter nuggets were hyper-linked and lived on a site
3) Voice, taste, transparency, courage These are the key differentiators in a land of information abundance
- why am I still getting newsletters from Webster Hall and AdAge? fighting email marketers from brands feels like fighting a hydra. for every unsubscribe, you get on 3 more lists
- please forgive me for my ramblings and grumps as I wade through the swamp of my Gmail inbox. i remembering hearing a vague and hopeful plea one day last year that the email inbox is a safe-haven compared to social media. neither are places I approach with joy and excitement. it’s possibly my fault. should I not be giving my email address away like Halloween candy?
- stupid simple solution to my woes. I just need multiple @michaeldean.site accounts.. This is email-101 shit and I’m embarrassed:
email@example.com - for humans
firstname.lastname@example.org - for newsletters
email@example.com - for automated bullshit
There are some challenges though: ie: Google Docs comments, Amazon, Flight notifications.
- feeling like the grinch of email. the simon cowell of newsletters. perhaps this is just a temporary phase you pass through right before you’re about to start your own
How practice leads to fluid expression from the subconscious
@December 17, 2021 10:46 AM (EDT)
"I thought of myself as like the jazz musician: someone who practices and practices and practices in order to be able to invent and to make his art look effortless and graceful. I was always conscious of the constructed aspect of the writing process, and that art appears natural and elegant only as a result of constant practice and awareness of its formal structures.” - Toni Morrison
Yet, also - as with jazz musicians - deliberate conscious practice leads to an automatic and effortless outpouring from the subconscious. while the weird thing that emerges will be goopy, it will have an alien dimension your rational mind couldn’t have created. once it’s out, in a pile on the floor, you put your structure-hat back on to give it it’s form. but then you put your brain away again as you detail. let the subconscious seep out in the creation of the “jewelry” (the finishing touches). then edit relentlessly. it’s a constant back and forth between craft and gut.
A reliable morning ritual
@December 17, 2021 10:34 AM (EDT)
what i’m missing right now is a ritual to reliably re-engage with the world. this is what hunter s. thompson’s breakfast ritual was about. for an hour or two, he’d engage in a massive feast, read the paper, and reply to letter. after that point, he was off-the-radar, until next breakfast (at least, we can imagine he had this kind of chaotic persistency).
Writing sentences in reverse
@December 17, 2021 10:21 AM (EDT)
Poets can write sentences in reverse. They know how a line needs to end, and then conjure an appetizer to get us there. While all writing is linear, the best writers are unstuck from time.
The difficulty of keeping up with COVID research
@December 17, 2021 9:36 AM (EDT)
i try to limit COVID research and synthesis to once a week. it’s always a terrible time. basically, I understand the opposing angles, assume each can be true, and then sort out incoming information. it’s exhausting, and it rarely gives me a route to action. but i’d rather feel overwhelmed then blanket follow national regulations. some context, omicron spreads 70x faster than delta. holy shit. the real question: is it worth getting boosted for a new variant where, 1) protection odds are low/uncertain, 2) variant seems to be not that severe, 3) unknown repercussion of an “antibody cocktail” in face of future variants.
Pessoa– a dreamer at an office job
@December 17, 2021 8:35 AM (EDT)
"...when I don't have to speak to anyone or enter a door ahead, then I launch once more like a paper boat on to the waters of sleep, and once more I return to the fading illusion that cuddles my hazy consciousness of the morning now emerging amid the sounds of the vegetable carts. And it is then, in the middle of life's bustle, thaty dream big becomes a marvelous film... When it's time, I show up at the office like everyone else. When it's not time, I go to the river to gaze at the river, like everyone else. I'm no different. And behind all this "O sky my sky," I secretly cinstellate and have my infinity." To Pessoa, the imagination beats nature.
The vintage Internet
@December 16, 2021 6:31 PM (EDT)
"Vintage internet" - thanks Simone for the term. I did go through a phase where I was obsessed with Justin Hall and Gus Mueller recently (90s bloggers). "logloglog" has a Xanga feel. You can't click into individual posts. It's just an endless reverse-chrono feed, and includes writing of different lengths, styles, topics, etc.
What literary movements will emerge out of the 2020s?
@December 16, 2021 2:28 PM (EDT)
what's the next literary movement on the Internet? i write this at the risk of sounding nostalgic, romantic, and political, but whatever. in addition to solo-bloggers accelerating their lives and transforming careers (which is amazing BTW), how could writers of a similar ethic band together?
what that ethic is, I don't know. it could be around radical transparency (process), identity fluidity (voice), or institutional reform (subject matter). who knows. these reactions aren't even novel. what good did the beats or any literary movement ever do? maybe literary movements are hopeless. especially in the face of tiktok.
but it just feels like our cultural "now" is so historically weird, and keeping with the "mold of mimesis" just doesn't make sense. novelty is in full-on eruption mode. we need to be genuine and fearless. it's okay to come out and say what you mean now, we're in meltdown mode anyway. a bigger meltdown than in the 1960s. psychedelic culture seemed to pierce old barriers of conformity. the overall mission was a failure, but there were reverberations. it's almost like the raw rate of acceleration and chaos, the turbulence of progress, is forcing a level-2-meltdown. it's not drug-induced, and that might make it even more terrifying. it's persistent. the 2030 tsunami will be nuts. i saw some podcast title last week about "the internet turning schizophrenic." if not schizophrenic, definitely fractured. the others are there, but drowned out in noise. not sure where I'm landing with this...
basically, I think it could be neat for writers to band together, have some shared topics they cover within a year, and then put out a publication. if not daring writers free from influence, i don't know who else would better make sense of weird times. regardless if a publication ever does or changes anything, i don't think that's the point. i'd rather my friends and I be at the center of a conspiracy, thinking our words are shifting tides. i'd rather be lost in a delusional dream with all cylinders firing than get stampeded in slippers by the leisure parade.
@December 16, 2021 1:31 PM (EDT)
if Pessoa had the Internet = 75 twitter alts
if Kerouac had the Internet = log, log, log
if Vonnegut had the Internet = Delirious Dean short stories
On failing forward, over and over
@December 16, 2021 1:28 PM (EDT)
i need to write an essay on the failure map I laid out in Miro. i did one for my whole career, and one specifically for writing. in both cases, it shows how I attempted something, failed according to several metrics, but succeeded in one little way. that one small success opened a new door. in stepping through it, I tragically failed again, but a silver lining appeared. i'm on my 4th or 5th phase since Write of Passage 5 (July 2020). [persistence x talent] affects the rate & scale of your phase acceleration.
The "reset theory" of emerging technologies:
@December 16, 2021 12:16 PM (EDT)
Facebook's target audience for VR might be 8-18 year old kids in 2030. Meaning, they're only 1-9 years old today. This generation will never use Facebook's social network, nor will they know, care, or be able to comprehend their business model and data scandals.
I remember being a kid in 1996 or so, and I was completely enthralled with Yahoo, and the Internet, not knowing a thing about the battles against commercialization and advertising. I didn't know who Justin Hall was. I didn't know why an open-internet mattered. The "Meta" re-brand distances this next generation even further from the company's past.
With the resources Facebook is dedicating, they're going to have experiences that are borderline magic, pretty soon. They'll be years ahead of competitors and open-platforms (unfortunately). Kids will choose magic over politics, 100 times out of 100.
With technologies that will take decades to develop, companies are realizing that their target markets are yet to be born. It's an opportunity to reset. Their decisions seems random and pointless to grumps on a livestream, but they're basically reaching into the future and shaping the minds of the unborn.
In a first draft, you're looking for a center of gravity
@December 16, 2021 11:58 AM (EDT)
generate a mosaic of ideas - pre-writing find a center of gravity - analysis, look for the "nucleus" pick the best supporting points - arrange & sequence your "electrons" (or, chisel the iceberg)
The "release valve" season– or, how to keep hobbies going
@December 16, 2021 11:48 AM (EDT)
The "release valve" season - in a time where you have no capacity to do something in full, what's the lowest effort way to keep something alive? in the month of December, I'm building systems for my newsletter, twitter, and website are in good shape for 2022. I'm less focused on crafting essays, but, this "logloglog" is a release vale. At the bare minimum, I'm getting ideas onto paper, and sharing them with whoever cares enough to sift through this.
The value of an audience
@December 16, 2021 11:38 AM (EDT)
audience-first products speak to the importance to build social networks from scratch, regardless if your building software, writing essays, or performing music
The Quest 2 blends your IRL hands into VR space
@December 16, 2021 9:54 AM (EDT)
Oculus Quest 2 observation: when I first put the headset on, my "hands" felt different. I'm in passthrough mode, but my real arms blend near perfectly into digital hands. These digital hands have a white border at the edges, so you know they're digital, but, they move exactly how your nervous system tells them to move. We might under-estimate how fast and accurately our bodies will be translated into digital space.
VR Pong with Dylan Janes Derby
@December 16, 2021 9:53 AM (EDT)
I played a game of VR pong with Dylan James Derby last night. It's been a while since either of us have played pong. Dylan has since switched to fatherhood, chess, and piano. It's incredible how natural pong feels in VR. Over the course of a conversation, you almost forget that your playing. Score is automatically kept, and there's no ball-chasing.
Write for a small group
@December 15, 2021 12:34 PM (EDT)
broadcast @ the entire world = paralysis
dribble @ the void = pointless
communicate @ the tribe = purpose
@December 15, 2021 12:18 PM (EDT)
INTJ - intuitive, but structural ... intuition leads to sprawl, but then an architect categorizes ... no fixed constraints around quality, length, topic, voice ... constraints aren't bad, they just shouldn't be singular ... create chaotically, and then sort the mess into piles that make sense all chaos will eventually find a home
A full list of ways the Internet can be detrimental
@December 15, 2021 9:05 AM (EDT)
there should be a comprehensive list on all the ways that the internet can suck the life out of your day if you have poor attention management skills: an always on social media stream, recommendation algorithms, bogged down in random tasks, not separating planning from execution modes
It's liberating to not have a length constraint
@December 15, 2021 12:01 AM (EDT)
There's a real beauty to posting without a length constraint. I don't need to carve my thinking into artificial boundaries. Imagine an artist who was only allowed to paint into post-its, and there's no guarantee the end-viewer would see all of them at once in the right arrangement. The real beauty of not having a length constraint is that I accidentally write full posts from time to time. I start by sharing what's top of mind. Sometime it stays there, as a sentence, and sometimes a 500 word thought emerges. I'm even surprising myself in my own ability to write long form from my phone. Mobile input seems to encourage stream of consciousness writing since it's easy to input and hard to edit.
The changing effects of weed through life
@December 14, 2021 11:51 PM (EDT)
These logs could get very interesting with the assistance of marijuana. I say "could" because I haven't had a session where weed led to a creative breakthrough in a long time. It's been years actually, and I don't know how to feel about it. I'm having breakthroughs sober, so I shouldn't be complaining. It's just that weed used to be this reliable source of creative ecstasy that led to noticeable changes in my work, to the point that my architecture professors would notice the difference. "This is from a different hand." These days, I just get angsty and uncomfortable for the most part. I could speculate on the reasons for that. I'm at a point where I should either, a) intentfully experiment with set/setting/dose/strain/matrix to find conditions where weed can help with the writing process, b) accept that weed is no longer part of my process. It held near "religious" importance to me from 18-28 years old, it did it's job, and it's okay to move on
The darkness of Kafka and Pessoa
@December 14, 2021 11:43 PM (EDT)
It's fun diving into literature from Pessoa and Kafka. One is an astral pessimist of the sublime. The other is existential and grotesque. There's so much to learn from their writing and thinking, but I want be conscious not to blanket-mimic them. I think my general outlook on things might be more in line with the Hermertics, the Rosucrucians, and the Neoplatonists. These are just names of movements, and their full meaning currently escapes me. But I get a sense that they share an outlook that's drenched in optimism, mystery, hope, and creativity. Borderline magic. Reality is ours to shape. Based on the way some of my Delirious Dean stories end (spontaneous tragedy), maybe there is a worldview of positivity and rebirth that can be expressed in response to dire circumstances.
Originality in public can be uncomfortable
@December 14, 2021 11:14 PM (EDT)
I wonder how much unoriginality comes from undiscovered shyness. It's inherently uncomfortable to be the only one doing something and then parade it to others, especially if there isn't a clear shared context. Originality in a vacuum is a good step, but if done for long stretches, it's a symptom of an insecurity, or a lack of courage (did this for a decade). Sometimes temporary privacy can usher in extreme originality. An escape from any spotlight can lead to creative explosions, but it's important to bring those things back into the light once they've been nourished and grown.
@December 14, 2021 11:04 PM (EDT)
How to clean your place before you go to bed every night: turn on one song, make sure it has rhythm, make sure you stop when the music’s over.. [Two nights later, a friend reached out and confirmed this approach works. The power of the Internet.]
Why interstitial journals between morning journaling prompts
@December 14, 2021 10:34 PM (EDT)
morning journaling and meditations are a way to carve out time for reflection in a busy schedule. but when i do this, i find that I can lose total sight of my morning just an hour into the day. the value of "real-time" journaling is that you sustain mindfulness throughout the day. the momentum and excitement of your blitz-blog causes you to frequently check-in, and then spend 30 seconds - 2 minutes to articulate where you're at. this kind of exercises gives you an accurate map of where your baseline head is at. maybe journaling in a vacuum let's you explore a realm of self that is real, but in a way, severed from your day-to-day
Quantity vs. quality
@December 14, 2021 4:19 PM (EDT)
the demons of quantity (scale, fame, speed, immediacy) ...
the pillars of quality (intimacy, privacy, velocity, longevity) ...
shot out to isabel
Instead of finishing books, I'll read many to observe writing styles
@December 14, 2021 4:12 PM (EDT)
last night I got kafka's short-story book delivered by amazon drones. i read the first 26 pages of Metamorphosis and that's all I need. as soon as I finished, I ordered "self-reliance," by emerson. by Wednesday afternoon, I'll be done with emerson and i'll order proust. with a book a day, from a 20 page dip, i'll have absorbed everything i need. i won't know plots or endings or character arcs, but i'll know way more than if I let the title linger on in my peripherals for the next few decades. what i'm looking for is voice & feeling. it's something I can immediately implement and test in my own writing. plus, it might be the only way to make it through the western canon.
Some reasons why I prefer logloglog over Twitter
@December 14, 2021 4:10 PM (EDT)
I've found the creation/thinking experience on Twitter to be far less enjoyable than in "logloglog." The pros are obvious (my friends ideas are visible to me + we can interact and cross post). 👇Cons
- Bloat - My profile is interrupted with "Who to follow" and "Topics of Interests" modules. Kill me. In between my stream of thinking are the avatars of Joe Biden, Barack Obama, and New York City itself. I can turn this off on the feed, but not on my own profile.
- De-emphasized timestamps - Scrolling through my own profile - I see my name/username over and over and over. The TIME is the crucial thing to see here. It's small, and secondary. I want to visualize how thoughts unfolded over time. I shouldn't have to see my name AT ALL below the fold.
- Thread rendering - I hate the way threads are rendered. Everything is in reverse chronological order, including threads. Threads of different lengths are displayed differently. It's a cognitive load to try and understand the boundaries of my own thinking. I wish threads were collapsible.
- No editing - No ability to edit tweets. Often I want to jot down an idea, move on to another, and then come back to expand on it later (without necessarily initiating a thread)
- Drafts are a half-solution - I was thinking that drafts could be a useful way to manage in-progress thinking, but you can't save drafts of threads. It takes 2 clicks to save (1 click to publish), and the UI isn't that helpful (you can't even see the date of the draft)
Kafka quote on books
@December 14, 2021 2:31 PM (EDT)
“I think we ought to read only the kind of books that wound or stab us. If the book we're reading doesn't wake us up with a blow to the head, what are we reading for? So that it will make us happy, as you write? Good Lord, we would be happy precisely if we had no books, and the kind of books that make us happy are the kind we could write ourselves if we had to. But we need books that affect us like a disaster, that grieve us deeply, like the death of someone we loved more than ourselves, like being banished into forests far from everyone, like a suicide. A book must be the axe for the frozen sea within us. That is my belief.”
Syslog's thought on tweets & threads
@December 14, 2021 11:57 AM (EDT)
It really bugs me the way threads are presented on profiles & feeds. Basically, each tweet in a thread needs to work as a standalone Tweet, because at the zoomed out "context level," you really lose the thread as a whole. I'd prefer the whole thread be collapsed ... Syslog's response: "Tweets are designed as context-free soundbites, with barely a linear structure — not a progressive arc from introduction to conclusion, nor a hierarchical outline, nor a spiraling elaboration, nor a graph or spatial concept map ... Tweets are the bottom of the barrel, the conceptual minimum of possible informational thought coherence."
Reading Kafka for the first time
@December 14, 2021 7:41 AM (EDT)
"Kafka spoke for millions in their new unease; a century after his birth, he seems the last holy writer, and the supreme fabulist of modern man's cosmic predicament." Read through 2 of Kafka's lesser known short stories this morning. One was bad. The other was pretty good. Now I'm 3 paragraphs into Metamorphosis (his famous one), and I'm giddy with that "holy shit" excitement. It's like hearing the Beatles for the first time, except a very twisted bad-dream version. I wonder what the ration of On/Off is for history's best writers.
What are the origins of the word "content?"
@December 13, 2021 3:16 PM (EDT)
when did the term "content" arise? is it from the social media era? 2004? it's a super-broad word, basically: an idea, crafted through a medium, to be shared socially. that could be applied to artists that are century old, but something about "content creator" seems super modern. the word triggers a sense of obligation. "content" can be created with relatively little sacrifice (a gram). and it's often done to "feed a machine." some sort of external purpose triggers the existence of art. it's the old school facebook "poke" gone mainstream. it's the reminder of your existence. it's an impure & tainted first premise. and it often shows. it all stems from insecurity, and i can make that claim, because my absence from twitter is nothing short of insecurity (of a different kind). i feel like we've woken up into Andy Warhol's nightmare, and the creation of flash-art is a new social currency.
Pre-war vs. post-war psychology
@December 13, 2021 1:19 PM (EDT)
vienna in 1910 vs. 1920... a decade apart, but with a cultural shock ... it's about pre vs. post war psychology... an idyllic culture of art, and actors, and figurines, and the promise of voices through wires - it shattered in war - lives and currencies disintegrated - a golden age in ruins ... it all relates to kafka's beetle story, a true post-war story, that has nothing to do with war ... the whole twisting can be captured through the memoir of Stefan Zweig, a romantic who got crushed with Europe, and ended in his own personal kabootz
Description of the strip mall near my house
@December 13, 2021 8:07 AM (EDT)
Big Finger Square, a parking nightmare. But at 8am it's peaceful. Close your eyes and lull into a meditation induced by the drone of 18-wheelers from the parkway, only pierced by the shouts of bright neon construction works. At this time of day, the shadows are steep. The sun imprints the senior citizen home, the gas station, and the apartment towers onto a small triangular patch, the only relic of nature in Big Finger. It's where the birds sing.
AI-generated text about VR
@December 12, 2021 9:27 AM (EDT)
See the clouds? What a wonderful, beautiful, and beautiful world. Virtual reality does not need to be black or dark. The virtual plane is a dreamy greenish glow, a trance-like state in the illusion of a new world. Blockbuster in space, also know as, the Flying Serpent Time Machine. In the words of "Vanity Fair" host David Brat, we're going to "bring down a few barriers so you're less likely to lose your mind." This anti-gravity magic carpet simulates your favorite novels. You can be married to any woman or man. Pop right into the studio of your personal hair stylist, Jayi Lassen, or, the mountains, deserts, and forests. It's addictive. It's free. The sky is your guide in the Renaissance up-high. The clouds in the clouds are waiting. Hold your wings. Hold your nose. You haven't spent a day in hell yet. This movie is a living, breathing, powerful, thrilling dream, a time spent gazing into the abyss. This is the dream that filmmakers can't dream. Now, do you really want to know what an airplane feels like?
On using AI-text generation
@December 12, 2021 9:23 AM (EDT)
Created an entry for my "Googl Googl Voodoo Jet" blog. So I start with an AI-generated image (that I've created). Then I throw some words into a GPT-text generator. I string some sentences together, and then throw that back into the text generator. It's a recursive process. In the end, I got mostly mangled and delirious sentences, BUT, with some brilliant phrases nested with them. Sifting through AI-generated text is like sifting for the needle in a haystack. But, I take all the needles, bend them, and fit them together, into a story that is at least half-coherent.
The days of the master architect are gone
@December 11, 2021 5:00 PM (EDT)
The dilemma of architecture: the education of the architect is wasted on buildings. these programs breed polymaths, and then funnel them into specialized roles around detailing, drawing, technology, construction, or management. buildings are too-complex and law-driven for the romantic "master-architect" to emerge.
A strictly phonetic poem (or, rhythmically tight non-sense)
@December 11, 2021 4:14 PM (EDT)
Spotlight not right
On tarantula-bourbon with foundation finger fried rice
Truth's out man
Quick-sand land in Zoom-goop
Face prisms lodged in left hole of fruit-loop
Half Tazmanian winter in stretched-out moleskin-underwear
Press-dressed in red trees
Like rigwash gone fumble-tak in tractorine dreams
Too-gone sly guy
Back-door window slam
The dice are loose-goose trampoline in lemon slice
On distorting the truth through fiction
@December 11, 2021 10:06 AM (EDT)
One the most important writing demons to slay is the truth. In some roundabout way, when you slay details and nuances, and give your self permission to slice two truths into a false, your page glows into some quasi-reality that rings brighter. A step away from peer-review and a step towards a council that thinks only in dream-logic.
Logging your thoughts changes how you experience life
@December 10, 2021 12:27 PM (EDT)
Waiting at Gravity Pizza. Having this weird real-time blog changes how I perceive my day. I'm mindful and aware of my surroundings. I'm not scheming a new project. My sensors are all tuned in, waiting to be struck by something peculiar. I just watched a 2-year old girl named Caroline grab a green and silver rope before her mother told her it's called "tinsil." WTF is tinsil actually?
Lame joke on Impossible meat
@December 10, 2021 11:31 AM (EDT)
"Impossible" sandwiches are not that unbelievable. I want the experience of a cheeseburger injected through mRNA. Thats impossible.
Reflecting on Pearl's hospital visit & my 15-hour writing binge
@December 10, 2021 11:00 AM (EDT)
Pearl's all good. At the pharmacy picking up some drugs for her. Turns out she has some un-indentified virus (COVID negative). While I'm here, I'm looking for some kind of eye cure. Ever since my 15 hour binge to write my Wilbur Doyle story, my left eyelid has puffed up like a balloon. I look insane. The pharmacist prescribed me an eye patch and told me to soak it in hot water.
The link between architects and mystics
@December 10, 2021 8:19 AM (EDT)
I don't see how good architects can't be mystics. The imagination has the Spatial fluidity of 30 ninjas. A team of 30 3D-co-modelers using their software of choice can't compete. The tragedy is that a cosmic art is wasted on shit rock and stucco. Daydream 2 involved some telekenetic wall warping.
A daydream in the car of spiders and flies
@December 10, 2021 8:12 AM (EDT)
Looking up at a storm, through a deck-lit spiderweb, I can see the wind bending, and chaotic rain splashing off the web. I'm a fly. I don't see king spider, but I don't need to. I hear him with my sonar. I'm not the typical fly. I'm the one who gets away. A bohemian fly who writes in slang-jazz novels about my unfortunate bretherins who get feasted on by the town beast. Day dream 1.
13 customers in a Starbucks
@December 10, 2021 7:47 AM (EDT)
The scene at the Big Finger coffee shop is as ordinary as it gets. But behind the dazed and droopy eyes of the 13 customers, including myself, are back stories of death and love, orgasms, failed dreams, perhaps an animal, a computer, and a sight seen in the corner of their eye that spooked them sleepless. Bacon Gouda Ranch Misto.
@December 10, 2021 7:25 AM (EDT)
The stories you can't share are always the best ones
The subconscious makes better associations than a 2nd brain
@December 10, 2021 4:05 AM (EDT)
Questioning some of my pillars of PKM. Ultimately it depends on what you're going for I guess. There's something exciting about constantly blazing forward and never feeling like you need to look back. For project management and organizations, that's not the case. I think I can put my finger on it. I'm not saying, "first brain" is all you need. I'm saying the subconscious has the ability to handle most of what you need. It draws from the past, it makes associations, and it synthesizes in a way no app machine can dream of. Artists throughout history have grown through cultivating their relationship with their subconscious. Our digital tools can't substitute that.
The urge to log before events fade into the black hole of memory
@December 10, 2021 3:59 AM (EDT)
Approaching a weird state where expressing experiences through words is as important as the experience itself. Otherwise, the whole spectrum of life evaporates into fuzzy memories. My words are lossless, and cryogenically frozen in highly reliable Notion servers that crash only once every 60 days.
The power of constraints
@December 10, 2021 3:23 AM (EDT)
Constraints hold religious fire. Constraints awaken monsters and shadows and poets.
Sensory details of a late-night creeks from a 1940's house
@December 10, 2021 12:43 AM (EDT)
The rattling pipes, the orchestra of fax machines, the mouse cities in the walls, electric plumes no admission. After dark, the inner guts of the house come alive. Only masked by tinnitus
@December 10, 2021 12:39 AM (EDT)
Lie down, eyes down and closed, white flashes and swirls in a black canvas, can't escape, eruption follows my nose, even in places of dark repose, best graces, appreciation, place of sleep, a drive-in screen, blacks and whites and colors roll and shoot upwards to the sky before they flash and dazzle never to be seen again unless a schmo scribe hiding in the bushes can render 24,000 words a second
Flashback as a kid, to when I used to count for recreation
@December 10, 2021 12:35 AM (EDT)
Memories of being a child in Macy's and hiding in the clothing racks, counting to 100,000
@December 10, 2021 12:31 AM (EDT)
Warm bodies, cold night, no concept of time other than winter, deaf to days of week, routine is pudding, it's calming, I've accepted and embraced a short chapter of "emptiness." Funny word choice, because it's feeling like one of the most fruitful times of my life. Merry fucking Christmas Charlie brown.
The chills: artistic inspiration vs. fear of ghosts
@December 10, 2021 12:26 AM (EDT)
Chills from ghost spooks, vs the chills from good art. Same? Opposite? Feel similar, but fear vs beauty. Both are sublime. Bigger than human. Both expand our concept of reality.
Musings on automatic writing
@December 9, 2021 10:17 PM (EDT)
i wonder what the world record is for # of tweets in 30 days. i'm sure that would be a marathon, and a psychedelic experience in itself. no doubt, you'd start dreaming in words. i actually think some surreal stuff could come of it, on par with automatic writing. i actually realize how I might be on the verge of a "breakthrough" in terms of what pure-automatic writing is. it's a mystical, freaky kind of thing. it's been coated in different ways throughout history. but I think i can explain the psychology behind it. okay, so there's the "kerouacian" style, which has this heir of artistry, no filter, no editing to it. but then there's automatic writing in regards to the occult. it can take on this paranormal dimension to it, where it's not like "i'm just riffing man," it's more like "i'm possessed by a being and my arm itself is moving beyond my control." when I visited Mt. Shasta last summer, there were some local legends of that happening to people. it happened to Pessoa too apparently. it hasn't happened to me. but something interesting HAS happened to me this year. it's related to write of passage/writing studio too, which isn't quite "mystical." but, think of it, i've looked at around 400-500 essays this year, from an editors perspective. i've absorbed so many words, and not as a reader, but as an editor and a writer. my consciousness is wrapping itself around words in a way I haven't before, and it's affected my dreams. i don't get this that often, but sometimes when I'm laying in bed, either in morning or at night, words are basically flashed in front of me (eyes closed), it's not like i'm consciously imagining words in front of me. they just appear, and I read them. i'm not able to process their meaning at all, but i have this strange ability to read strings of sentences that are fully formed as if they were shaped by someone else. it's not me doing it, they kind of just, manifest. so it's almost like, my brain has been fed so much source data, and it's processed that source data in some peculiar way, to a point that it's starting to automatically shit out writing in hypnogogic states, without any conscious intervention. so this only happens with eyes closed. "automatic writing" might be this phenomenon when it happens, eyes open, and even overtakes your motor functions.
Terrible jokes on fortune cookies
@December 9, 2021 9:56 PM (EDT)
- if i were a fortune cookie, i'd rather be the cookie than the fortune. at least getting smashed around through some water-park digestive system is more entertaining than being crucified on a bulletin board
- i should make a blog called "Fortune Cookie Wisdom." it focuses on a fake history of the the people, places, and events involved with industrial-scale production of micro-philosophy hidden inside of over-sweetened bendy crackers
Apophatic theology– applied to Creator Economy "value"
@December 9, 2021 9:52 PM (EDT)
wtf is value - it's a mythical beast. we all chase it, but can't define it. perhaps there's a lesson in value we could learn from "apophatic theology," the idea that you can only know something through negation. we can only know God by describing what God is not. similarly, we can only know what value isn't by understanding the newsletters we ignore (this feels like a fortune cookie in the making)
Free-association rambling, followed by an excuse
@December 9, 2021 9:32 PM (EDT)
slif griffer tug tug in the boat of shao nitza. the googala branches swing with truffle tuck monkey pockets. ooze and booze and come banana rocket coin. an economy of shifters, and the clearings make structures for King Orangapussy to make his decrees - from this moment on, i declare one thing, ten things, three. make your bed, spend your coin, and move swiftly for the weed-people slither through shrubs at 9:35 pm and before you know it they're steal your wealth, and sacrifice it to mermaids for sport
let's deconstruct what just happened. it starts off with rhythm riffs. rhymes, repetition, and syllable variation. logic and signifiers aren't even a constraint in the first two sentences. all of a sudden, the theme of monkeys emerge, and we're talking banana economies, and a fearless leader called "King Oragnapussy." An image forms. Alright now there's a monkey king. What does a monkey king do? They make a speech. So he makes some warning that the weed-people are coming (all kings say their land is at risk of invasion). so what you're witnessing below is a mix of word experimentation, plus following a flowing train of undisciplined images. this to me, is the equivalent of stretching. i'd never share this with anyone. good writing comes from when you intentionally wrangle images and rhythm within the constraints of structure and storytelling
Rules for "Delirious Dean" essays
@December 9, 2021 9:10 PM (EDT)
- based on a real-life, autobiographical event
- some sort of "ponderable" idea - a thunker
- he's a delusional writer - always spinning up schemes, characters, and micro-blogs. with every essay, comes a link to a real micro-blog, maybe populated with 5-50 posts, it may or may not be upkept. he's always "almost famous"
- he dies every episode, but is able to find some strange silver-lining it (and somehow, still writes, even though he's dead)
The demons of guilt, anxiety, and boredom
@December 9, 2021 9:06 PM (EDT)
demonic guilt = regret, denied opportunity (past)
demonic anxiety = potential futures are overbearing (future)
demonic boredom = addictinggames.com (present)
When you shed the demons of guilt, boredom, and anxiety, you leap out from the past, present, and future, and into the twilight of a waking dream. If you exist in a waking dream, but don't write, your soul might leak out your ears.
How social anxiety and politeness translate to social VR
@December 9, 2021 9:02 PM (EDT)
there's a holiday party in AltspaceVR tomorrow night, smells like an opportunity for a DUke story - i secretly wish duke was a raging drunk. i'm too nice of a person to disrupt an event that i know people care about. i saw someone else do that, at a BRCvr event last summer. wasn't really a troll, just a drunk philosopher storming into a hippy orgy and critiquing their worldviews, he got all held up on the term "Radical inclusivity" - in any case - VR's weird, because, two things are true - 1) it's all a simulation, so you can be WHOEVER You want to be, with basically 0 consequences, 2) the people, and events, and social context are real, so if you have any sort of conscious, it's hard to be a monster. if I were a monster, i'd potentially have great VR content to right about, but i'm not. mostly a shy observer when I got to random events in VR (unless there are people i know) - but it's a strange thing to just penetrate some weird virtual society and project whatever you are impulsively feeling
Numb to crypto bleed-outs
@December 9, 2021 8:59 PM (EDT)
kind of concerned that i feel no emotional pain as crypto bleeds out infinitely. just totally numb and/or delusional, and at this point, i just want to sit on it until 2030 because i think the future is weireder than we can suppose
Anti-mimetic social networks
@December 9, 2021 8:58 PM (EDT)
imagine a social network where every time you mimic a thread template you get electric shocked
Will anyone take you seriously if you experiment with voice?
@December 9, 2021 8:55 PM (EDT)
the idea of fronting as a vulgar information architect called Tango Borte sounds like too much fun. it's fun in a vacuum though. if i ever actually want to engage with a Notion community (which exists), or sell Notion products (which I can, and which is done), i don't know if people want to hang or buy from a slang-hissing jogo monkey who crassly unfucks your hierarchical-tendencies
@December 9, 2021 6:45 PM (EDT)
walked Dobe in the dark, he took a shit and it sucked. literally right next to the place in the woods where Danielle brings him to do his deed. i haven't developed anything near a telepathic connection to this beast. in any case, walking around Big Finger is cool at night, people leave their blinds open and lights on, so you can see inside and get some strange glimpses, saw some dinners going down
Logloglog began by turning down Jungle Cruise with my wife
@December 9, 2021 8:34 PM (EDT)
decided not to watch jungle cruise with danielle. it got a 62% on rotten tomatoes, and i don't trust the rock.
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