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⚡️ Logs | February 2022

154 posts

Michael Dean
Michael Dean
77 min read

Systems with no maintenance
@February 28, 2022 11:04 AM (EDT)

Tools for thoughts for the mainstream need to work for the laziest person. With near zero maintenance or process, how can someone benefit from capturing all of their fleeting thoughts?

SWIFT alternatives
@February 27, 2022 9:05 AM (EDT)

“Russia will still be able to trade even without the SWIFT payment network. This will make things more complex and will slow down its commercial exchanges, but it will turn to its SPFS system, which will be interconnected to CIPS, the Chinese system, more quickly than expected.

In the end, there is a great risk that we will realize that it is possible for Russia to continue to maintain its exchanges without SWIFT. What would the other countries realize then? That the SWIFT system is not an absolute obligation if we go through the Russian and Chinese systems.

This would end up weakening SWIFT and thus the American domination of the world monetary and financial system. This is the scenario that the Chinese are dreaming of. This is why the SWIFT nuclear weapon will only be used as a last resort. I don't know if we have reached that point yet.”

Redditor's thoughts on BTC during financial uncertainty
@February 27, 2022 8:58 AM (EDT)

“It seems like everyday something insane is happening in our space. The problem with this is that in the speed of the moment, we sometimes not clearly see how significant certain events are until we can reflect on it and call it history.

Most of us are already used to the fact that El Salvador, a country, made BTC legal tender, Canadian's freedom uprise is till getting funded even though the goverment has activated the most strict financial laws most of us have ever seen a goverment do in our lives. The Ukrain war is getting millions of dollars funded via the most trustless and secure network in the world. Large hedgefunds all over the world are not hiding their interest for the hardest form of money either. And let's also not forget the dreadfull global inflation that will most certainly not stop anytime soon.

Today the EU announced that Russia will be thrown out of the backbone of legacy finance system SWIFT. Never ever had Bitcoin in it's short lifetime seen a chance of a major economic power risking a bankrun like this. Let that just sink in.

The internet is getting flooded with reports of people already trying to get their share of wealth out of the system, and the biggest bank of Russia already capped the max withdraw to 20 bucks a day to not risk insolvency.

These type of events, as we all know, was the reason Bitcoin was created. The people who will eventually take biggest hit by this will (as always) be the ordinary man and woman. Keep that in mind. Whatever scenario will play out, it will take a long time to play out and will probably someday be taught to kids in school.

Just take a moment to appreciatie Bitcoin and what kind of good things it has brought the world. No matter what your political colour is. The beauty is that Bitcoin doesn't have a political bias either.

Stay safe folks.”

Modern warfare
@February 27, 2022 8:28 AM (EDT)

It’s strange to imagine what a global escalation could like with minimal physical combat:

  • Cyber attacks on logistics companies
  • Fleeing of USD into cryptocurrency
  • Mining/hash rate wars
  • Assassinations, poisonings, kidnappings
  • Disinformation, media overwhelm, leaks

“Still processing the implications. This is a financial neutron bomb. Bankrupts people without blowing up buildings. Hits all 145M Russians at once, every ruble holder. In a maximalist scenario, possible collapse of the Russian economy. Btw, Russia is a nuclear weapons state.” Balaji

Crypto in Ukraine & Russia
@February 27, 2022 8:17 AM (EDT)

Last year I heard news about Russia building up a Bitcoin reserve; maybe it's related. Several of these cryptocurrencies have been promoted as a replacement for SWIFT (which Russia was banned from yesterday). On the counter, Ukraine is also leading Europe in crypto adoption. They’re crowdfunding to raise weapons to defend themselves.

At this point, it might be too early for crypto to help either side:

  • Ukraine might raise $5-20 million in crypto, which is small compared to aid from larger countries ($350 million from the US)
  • BTC could work as a reserve currency, and for large infrequent transactions, but might not be nimble enough to support the full needs of an isolated economy. It would also require partners to have infrastructure setup for BTC/crypto.

Muddy thoughts
@February 27, 2022 7:52 AM (EDT)

A phrase for a thought that takes up bandwidth, but isn’t clear enough to be articulated into words.

Only things made public are worth preserving
@February 26, 2022 11:59 PM (EDT)

Just because you can hoard digital information doesn’t mean you should. A new perspective is that anything that doesn’t make it onto my website is bound to vanish. It actually changes where I draw the public/private line.

27 loose piano ideas
@February 26, 2022 11:37 AM (EDT)

Since I got my piano, I wrote 27 songs (seeds) in 13 days (accidentally, as I took breaks).. I have a leaky system. I should be capturing a shareable version before I stop. Instead, I have an audio backlog of messy files of the writing process itself. It requires me to re-listen and re-learn the chords. Going to try to knock out 5 or so demos today.. we’ll see. In the future, Ableton should be permanently on. I want to get into a habit of shipping immediately after things are conceived.

Notes from the preface of Cyberia
@February 26, 2022 7:13 AM (EDT)

Written by Douglas Rushkoff, New York City, 2001

  • ”Cyberia is about a very special moment in our recent history— a moment when anything seemed possible. When an entire subculture— like a kid at a rave trying virtual reality for the first time— saw the wild potentials of marrying the latest computer technologies with the most intimately held dreams and the most ancient spiritual truths. It is a moment that predates Windows 95, Internet Explorer, laptop computers, a hundred million Internet subscribers, Wired magazine, Bill Clinton, the Information Superhighway, e-commerce, and the World Wide Web.”
  • “.. the first few people who realized that our culture was about to take a leap into the unknown.
  • “.. Back in the 1980s, computers and anyone who got near them were decidedly uncool. So were science-fiction, fantasy role-playing, and psychedelic drugs. America had plummeted into the depths of conservative thinking, and in conservative times, intellectuals don’t dare well. Freaks fare even worse. And futurists aren’t even heard from.”
  • “As you’ll see, they were all groping towards the same thing: a sense of authorship over reality itself. Technology empowered these many uniquely different fringe and counterculture members to build, project, and just simply record their visions. For example, computers allowed scientists to model strange attractors; Xerox machines allowed teenagers to publish subversive magazines; online bulletin boards let underground psych-pharmacologists share recipes for new psychedelics. In each case and many more, these low-cost and highly accessible technologies gave people a chance to realize their dreams on a level unimaginable to them before. And the people who felt the greatest need to take advantage of this opportunity were those who felt their needs were not being addressed by a mainstream culture that resisted anything new.”
  • “Until 1992, you had to sign an agreement promising not to conduct any business online just to get access to the Internet. It was a business-free zone.
  • “The Internet’s unexpected social side-effect turned out to be its incontrovertible main feature. Its other functions fall by the wayside. The Internet’s ability to network human beings is its very life’s blood. It fosters communications, collaboration, sharing, helpfulness, and community.” #Matchmaking
  • “It’s no wonder so many people compared the 1990s Internet to the psychedelic 1960s. It seemed all we needed to do was get a person online and he or she would be changed forever. And people were. A 60-year-old Midwestern businessman I know found himself logging on every night to engage in a conversation about Jungian archetypes. It lasted for four weeks before he even realized the person with whom he was conversing was a 16-year-old boy from Tokyo.”
  • “Out there, the do-it-yourself mentality dominated. We called it “cyber-punk.” Why watch packaged programming on TV when you can make your own online? And once you’re doing it online, other sorts of vision quests seem entirely more within your reach. Who needs corporate content when you can ‘be’ the content? This was a whole new world we could design ourselves, on our own terms. It felt like a revolution.”
  • “As more and more people got online, they spent less and less time watching TV. Studies showed a direct correlation between time spent on the Internet and time not spent consuming television programs and commercials. Something had to be done. Thus began the long march to turn the Internet into a profitable enterprise. It started with content. Dozens, then hundreds of online magazines sprang up. But since the Internet had always been free, no one wanted to pay subscription or charge for content. It just wasn’t something one did online. So most of the magazines went out of business. The others, well, they invented the next great Internet catastrophe: the banned ad. Web publishers figured they could sell a little strip on top of each web page to an advertiser, who’d use it as a billboard for commercials. But everyone hated them. They got in the way. It was like scuba diving with someone putting bumper stickers over your mask.. So advertising gave way to e-commerce. The Internet would be turned into a direct marketing platform. An interactive mail-order catalog! This little scheme seemed to hold more promise. So much promise, in fact, that Wall Street investors took notice. Not that many of these e-commerce businesses actually made money. But they looked like someday they could.“
  • “The Internet wasn’t born to support the kind of global economic boom that venture capitalist were envisioning. And by turning the Internet’s principle use from socializing towards monetizing, business went against the Internet’s very functionality, and against the core ethos of Cyberia.. Less collaboration, more consumption.. Sites were designed to be “sticky” so people wouldn’t leave. Couldn’t leave. And “information architecture,” turned into the science of getting people to click on the ‘buy’ button.”
  • By 1999, a person logging on for the first time was encountering something very different from the Cyberia I’ve described in this book. Browsers and search engines alike were designed to keep users either buying products or consuming commercial content. Most of those helpful hackers were now vested employees of companies. And most visions of the electronic future had dollar signs before them.”
  • “Businesses attacked the Internet like a set of chainsaws. Or, better, a parasitic fungus. It needed to be rejected. The inevitable collapse of the pyramid was not some sort of regular business cycle. And it was most certainly was not the collapse of anything having to do with the Internet. No, what we just witnessed was the Internet fending off an attack.”
  • “In this book, I compare the early Internet to the Wild West— an anarchic realm where a lone hacker could topple any empire. That spirit is not gone. Any group or individual, however disenfranchised, can serve as the trigger point for an extraordinarily widespread phenomenon.”
  • “A networked culture has the means to resist the kinds of fundamentalism threatening to stunt human evolution in its tracks. The Internet teaches us to see the value of diversity and plurality. All the opinions of all the people matter. Fundamentalism teaches that there is only one path, one story, and one author. For Cyberia is a collective enterprise. A team sport. Instead of living by decree, we delight in writing the human story together. It is social, collaborative, occasionally scary and usually fun.”
  • “I like to think the moment of history— inadequately, inaccurately, but enthusiastically described on these pages— marked a genuine step forward in our ability to engage meaningfully and playfully with one another, for real. The people in this book, and thousands of others like them around the world, understood the implications of our technologies on our culture, thought systems, spiritual beliefs, and even our biological evolution. They still stand as some of the most optimistic and forward thinking appraisers of our civilization’s fate. As we draw ever nearer to the consensually hallucinatory reality for which these Cyberians drew the blueprints, their impressions of life on the edge become even more relevant for the rest of us. And they make more sense.”

The printing press killed architecture
@February 24, 2022 9:26 PM (EDT)

In The Hunchback of Notre Dame (published in 1831 but set in the 15th century), Victor Hugo wrote that the printing press would “kill” architecture— books would relieve cathedrals, statues, and bas-reliefs of their collective role as a medium of mass communication, leaving buildings to perform their more prosaic functions, such as shelter and defense.

The start of the Ukraine crisis
@February 23, 2022 11:27 PM (EDT)

ukraine, ukraine, ukraine
When a headline breaks and grips you, there’s this impulsive need to try to enter the story from dozens of angles. So many sources just report the same exact thing. There’s almost this quest to find the implications. It’s a potentially endless quest to find a nugget of information that is more novel or alarming than the last. It’s not worth it.

Accessing the chills
@February 23, 2022 6:44 PM (EDT)

A phrase for the ability to tap into the chills at will while harvesting the imagination. Signals come in like surreal blasts of feeling. They hold serious potency, but the second you try to logically reconstruct the signal, it dissipates. In the act of analysis, a bastard signal spawns, with the intention to deceive. It tricks you into thinking, “maybe that idea wasn’t actually strong,” but the truth is it was lost in translation. Surges from the imagination are essentially a different language, and different mediums (writing, art, music) act as a codex to decipher them. The challenge is when signals are synesthetic. Part of the potency is the fact that a single impulse comes through in two or more mediums (typically, sound and vision). [bench press thoughts]

The fear of thought
@February 23, 2022 4:52 PM (EDT)

“I’m still mystified by the realization that so many people are afraid of their own thoughts.” -Visa

The smartphone as imagined in 1988
@February 23, 2022 3:47 PM (EDT)

A conceptual video of the smart phone on a British news segment from 1988. .. It’s fascinating to think that by understanding the perception of old technologies as they emerged, you’re in a position to predict how current emerging tech will unfold.

Forum jams
@February 23, 2022 10:08 AM (EDT)

Note to community stewards and Write of Passage students. Answering questions in the forum can easily balloon into essays, accidentally. It’s a great way to get the juice flowing on writing outside of the official course prompts. It’s also a great example of “social writing,” it’s directed at a person, instead of to a faceless audience.

WOP replies on pseudonyms
@February 23, 2022 10:05 AM (EDT)

Thanks for sharing @James.

@John, so glad you shared a link from the WELL. I've been researching early Internet communities, trying to understand what online publishing was like in the early days. I've heard some neat stories on the WELL (in 1985, people would write on forums, build real connections, then meet up at parties in person, where no one could pair a name to a face). I wonder when this post on "You Own Your Own Words" was written.

Something to consider about pseudonymity and the early Internet: so few people were on the web that you were basically shielded from the majority of society. You could express your thoughts unfiltered. Compare that today, where search engines can surface everything you've ever said in the past. Writing online in the WELL era had a very different psychology than writing online in the Google era. I think the name you write under depends on circumstance, and for new writers, pseudonyms could potentially make a lot of sense.

If you're looking to distribute ideas among an existing audience or professional network, then write under your own name. This was my premise when I joined WOP (July 2020). But I under-estimated how reserved my writing would be under my own name, when shared with an existing audience. Writing in public is naturally tangled with expectations and identity. There were all sorts of subconscious hesitancies that clamped the power of writing for me. I switched to a pseudonym in December of 2020. It basically acted as a clean slate. I noticed two things:

  1. I could follow my curiosities and experiment with voice, in public, with a new, smaller network of online friends, who were also writing and engaged with the creative process. Writing just became way more fun, and I was more willing to publish works in progress.
  2. Instead of accelerating the career I built around my professional name, I used writing to build a new career around my online name, and switched jobs in under 6 months.

It all really depends on your situation, and I'm happy to answer any context-specific questions. My estimate is that 25% of students in Write of Passage publish under a name that's different than their own. It could be an entirely different name (Ted Rorshach), a username (fredonline6969), a titled blog (Distant Futures), or a half-pseudonym (Michael Dean).. I call it a half-pseudonym because it's not a fabricated name. I just dropped my last name and use my middle name. It provides some level of privacy, while still feeling true to myself. (Plus, my last name is Greek and hard to pronounce).


  • I started in WOP only writing about virtual reality + architecture (that was my career). I found myself interested in writing about a huge range of other things, but it didn't fit the niche I was going for. So I wrote privately in a feedback group around other ideas, and they got great feedback. So I decided to re-brand under a pseudonym, and since I've rejected the idea of putting myself into any conceptual filter. Niches are definitely the fastest way to grow, but I think it's also possible to grow on the Internet by thinking in public.
  • My profile picture is me. I don't have the exact same Michael Dean photos tied to my real name, but if someone from real-life were to find my Twitter or site, they would know it's me. It's not a fool-proof system of identity security (I've had some bizarre Web3 ideas that would require a tight system). But at the very least, it's not searchable. I find myself even gradually pointing IRL people to my site, and it's possible one day I'll merge the two.

Rabbit Soup draft
@February 22, 2022 10:53 PM (EDT)

  • I finished a second draft of Rabbit Soup. It’s the second one in my Delirious Dean series, and much shorter. Tried to keep it under 1,000 words (a 3-4 minute read). Feel free to leave some feedback in Google Docs. I’m considering submitting this to a competition in Longleaf Review (due 2/28), maybe even under the Pseudonym “Delirious Dean.”
  • My wife just cracked up for a solid minute after I finished reading her my Delirious Dean story out loud. Good sign.
  • All Delirious Dean stories have happy endings in the face of dire circumstances.

A calendar is an expression of intent
@February 22, 2022 6:07 PM (EDT)

Measuring ADHD
@February 22, 2022 9:46 AM (EDT)

Is it possible measure the strength of your attention/focus among the population? (Assuming, yes). I haven’t read anything on ADD. I’m pretty sure I don’t have it. I feel like there are so many factors at play: the environment, habits, and genetics. The design of your environment and an awareness of habits can have huge effects on how attention is allocated.

From a different hand
@February 22, 2022 8:39 AM (EDT)

One day in architecture school I had a pin-up with my teacher where I showed him my process work for the week. He made a comment like, "this set of drawings looks stale, corporate, and conventional, but this set looks like Picasso, Le Corbusier, or someone with schizophrenia... it's like these two drawings were made by a completely different hand. What happened?" Weed, lol.

@February 21, 2022 9:14 PM (EDT)

Getting caught in reactivity loops is like playing defense all day.

The importance of memorized keyboard shortcuts
@February 21, 2022 12:08 PM (EDT)

2nd Brain as a Radio Flyer Wagon
@February 21, 2022 9:31 AM (EDT)

Building a second brain is about how you detail your radio flyer wagon. Does the wagon need wheels or treads? One junk heap or tight compartments? Is there a food-processor, or do old things fall out the sides? Is it self-transforming? How often do you grease the wheels? If you stop moving, does it have Roomba powers? Does it have a cannon?

Control Freaks
@February 20, 2022 10:42 AM (EDT)

A control-freak doesn’t have the perspective to know what’s worth controlling.

Pseudonym types
@February 20, 2022 10:38 AM (EDT)

Interesting to note the different types of pseudonyms. Full Fake Names. Usernames. Concepts. I consider mine a half-pseudonym. I tried out Dean Dukelis, but it felt weird to be called by something that wasn’t my real name. In my case, I just dropped my last name and emphasized my middle name. That’s a fairly common thing. I also hesitate when I reveal that I’m a pseudonym. I opt to be honest, and I hope that it might encourage others to do the same if they’re on the fence. But I also recognize some people might feel deceived.

Abundance of thought
@February 20, 2022 10:29 AM (EDT)

Logging everything you think removes the problem of idea scarcity.. you have the opposite problem.. an endless stream of ideas. The decision then becomes, “which ones are worth refining into essays?”

Paul Town
@February 20, 2022 12:21 AM (EDT)

Just discovered Paul Town on Justin Murphy’s podcast. Looking forward to dive into his writing at some point.

Niche celebrities in the Grove
@February 19, 2022 5:24 AM (PDT)

Walking around the Grove with my cousin, she guaranteed we would see a celebrity. We did. Therapy gecko: a guy who live streams on Reddit, dresses up in a Gecko suit, and has people call in with their problems. He was just walking around with a selfie stick talking to people. We tapped into his livestream and saw ourselves in the background. It was a weird Internet > Real-Life > Internet moment. To me, this was more significant than seeing any movie star; this is my Tom Cruise.

Sunsets vs. Eclipses
@February 18, 2022 5:42 PM (PDT)

I’d imagine the difference between a good marijuana experience and a psychedelic experience is on par with the difference between a good sunset and a full solar eclipse. Sunsets slightly change the environment, but totality rapidly warps the landscape into a shadow world.

Images from Santa Monica
@February 18, 2022 5:12 PM (PDT)

  • The sky is a gradient, pale pink to deep blue, pierced by thousands of drunk seagulls.
  • Walking a tight rope with the setting sun as his halo.
  • Hooligans howl at the setting sun.

Rollover Beethoven
@February 18, 2022 5:07 PM (PDT)

A 2-man street band breaks out Roll Over Beethoven and 3 people breakout into a hillbilly dance rave. One guy is so good, he must be a plant (cowboy hat, tank-top, leather skin, smooth moves, an initiator). Roll Over Beethoven could make for a wonky cover (since it’s such an overheard blues song).

The history of carny equipment
@February 18, 2022 5:01 PM (PDT)

I would read a book on the engineering failures of carnival equipment.

People watching on the pier
@February 18, 2022 4:48 PM (PDT)

Touristy places are traditionally avoided at all costs. But if you’re not in a rush, and have no agenda, getting consumed by a mass of transients is a mysterious experience. You don’t know who is a local, and who is simply there for a one-day stand. No one can be trusted. Languages and secret slang trickle past your ears. You can imagine that every stranger you come across has a least one private dimension, that if revealed, would instantly connect with one of your own; regardless of age, gender, or class. It’s a meat space Internet; a global super-collider, where everyone is a stranger only on the surface, but propping a front of busy-ness.

Have a few small goals and execute them extraordinarily.
@February 18, 2022 4:35 PM (PDT)

The HTML days of blogging
@February 18, 2022 1:49 PM (PDT)

HTML online writers from 1993-98 probably feel salty that VC backed-startups stole their edge. There was an era where only coders could express their ideas online.

Zuck's innocence
@February 18, 2022 1:48 PM (PDT)

Zuckerberg isn’t to blame. He though he grabbed a puppy by the ears and instead got a wolf. Internet energy is young and rabid. Dumping money into software companies that want to ride a tidal wave as fast as a possible is how you accidentally build monsters. The things broken in the “Build fast and break things” mantra go beyond invisible code. It breaks invisible cultures.

Scaling writing principles to groups
@February 18, 2022 1:24 PM (PDT)

You can scale Write of Passage models up to companies. Build, Write, Share is the single-player process. Ambient Capture, Editing, Share is a multi-player process.

Re: WOP frameworks. The whole “build, write, share” linear sequence is tactics. Write is craft (at the enter), and perspective is a meta understanding of tactics. The metaphor of mountains and skiing works here. The whole online writing enterprise is a mountain. You start at the top and there are dozens of slopes, each one is tactics. Perspective is like a tour guide, some who knows all the slopes, can answers your questions, and guide you down the right slope.

Ideas vs. solutions
@February 18, 2022 11:21 AM (PDT)

It’s too easy to confuse an idea with a solution. Problems never exist in isolation, but at a systems level. Often an “idea” fails to synthesize (or even comprehend) all of the constraints of a system. Ideas often take the form of, “If X existed, it would solve Y problem.” But when you follow the implications X has on the system, it can very easily create more problems than it solves.”

Mucha was not a sell-out
@February 18, 2022 9:38 AM (PDT)

Mucha is a fascinating case-study that goes against the narrative of “selling out.” He was commissioned by major companies to bring his Art Noveau style to advertise their products. His organic, natural style sold cigarettes & rum; baffling. Yet, this financial success enabled him to explore esoteric projects on his own time (ie: his version of The Lord’s Prayer.. gives me the chills). And finally, the last decades of his life were dedicated to a pure-passion project about his Slavic roots.

Our definition of selling out is dated. An artists doesn’t need to have a rigid spine; a consistent, conceptual tone. The real danger is in the creator becoming unaware of the forces that influence them. The real danger is confusing the work that triggers wonder within from the work that drives metrics and personal advancement. There’s nothing wrong with shaping a portion of your content to a market with the goal of converting it into financial security. If anything, it’s beautiful how the Internet is enabling and accelerating that. But this dream is becoming so virally possible, that it’s clouding the real opportunity in front of 21st century artists.

7 ways to niche down (by Nicholas Cole)
@February 18, 2022 9:27 AM (PDT)

  • By industry (X for healthcare startups)
  • By demographic (X for middle-aged women)
  • By physical location (X for Chicago)
  • By digital platform (X for Twitter)
  • By price (X for free)
  • By distribution (X but delivery)
  • By problem (X but w/o Y)

Interested in forming a niche around niche-dodging.
How can creative people thrive on the Internet without a niche?

Books on the Internet
@February 18, 2022 9:18 AM (PDT)

Think Twice: Michael J Mauboussin
Lewis Mumford: Donald L. Miller
The Spatial Web: Gabriel Rene, Dan Mapes
Elephant in the Brain: Robin Hanson
Nihilism and Technology: Geertz
The Inevitable: Kevin Kelly
The Artist in the Machine: Arthur I. Miller
More from Less: Andrew McAfee
The Future and its Enemies: Virginia Postrel
Thinking in Systems: Donella H. Meadows
The 4th Revolution: Luciano Floridi

Internet as matchmaker
@February 18, 2022 8:56 AM (PDT)

The Internet is the greatest matchmaker in history. It’s an obvious statement, but it’s also filled with unobserved and awe-striking nuances. If what it is a profound “matchmaker,” then it’s less interesting as a technology and more interesting as a vessel that unearths dimensions of humanity that were previously hidden. It’s revealing dormant power and yearnings. I’m going to get hippy for five seconds. “Planetary consciousness.” Fuck, that word is charred with cringe, but there is some accuracy to it. It describes a shift in perception from local to non-local (define). Planetary consciousness is a world that typically glows with love, but it’s way more terrifying than that. A global brain is fragile. The Internet has turned us into a billion-headed Siamese twin, where one person’s thoughts can dilute a clear stream. Yes, you can flood the Internet with love. You can also flood it with rage, lust, irony, brilliance, or mischief. The Internet can’t be confused for any one thing. It’s everything and anything. Anything can be found and in corners, but the average of everything bubbles to the surface and pours out yer screen if you aren’t careful. Back to match-making.. maybe later.

Leaving NY for the summer..
@February 18, 2022 8:54 AM (PDT)

Allured to the idea of not living in New York this summer. Imagining 1 month in Greece. 1 month in Austin. 1 month in Los Angeles. 1 month in Mount Shasta. Something, somewhere, sometime.

Books Recommendations from Will
@February 18, 2022 6:31 AM (PDT)

Upstream - Mary Oliver
Psycho-cybernetics - Maxwell Maltz
The Hidden Story of Every Person - Robert Pantano
How Proust Can Change Your Life - Alain de Botton
The Plague - Albert Camus

@February 18, 2022 5:12 AM (PDT)

Clichés are profound truths that ran out of dopamine. - Mitch

The Santa Monica Ferris Wheel
@February 17, 2022 9:48 PM (PDT)

The Santa Monica Ferris wheel,
A seizure of lights,
A sideways neon plate,
A tower-turned kaleidoscope,
A carnival lighthouse,
A hypnotic Greek spiral,
An electric pinwheel,
A laser-light billboard,
With fluorescent sharks and spinning hearts,

Mary Oliver on regret
@February 17, 2022 5:37 PM (PDT)

“The most regretful people on earth are those who felt the call to creative work, who felt their own creative power restive and uprising, and gave to it neither power nor time.” - Mary Oliver

Looping to develop ideas
@February 17, 2022 5:22 PM (PDT)

The video of McCartney creating the Get Back verse melody on the spot is an amazing example of how creation happens through loops. High-interval cycles lets you get the thing out of your mind, hear it, and then tweak it, in real-time.

Scope balloon
@February 17, 2022 4:47 PM (PDT)

Scope balloon:
Small ideas made real become snowballs that require maintenance

Digital Speakeasy
@February 17, 2022 4:39 PM (PDT)

Digital speakeasy: an element of a cohort-based course that is designed, and carries value, but isn’t overly-presented, so that it doesn’t overwhelmed. It’s there for those who want it.

You can tell the size of a man by what makes him angry.
@February 17, 2022 3:19 PM (PDT)

Alphas and midwits
@February 17, 2022 3:18 PM (PDT)

The alpha-mindset can easily become a mid-wit mindset. Rather than imposing frame on others, be able to co-create a frame with anyone.

Never Say Sorry
@February 17, 2022 3:16 PM (PDT)

There’s rarely a case to apologize for a Tweet drought. There’s rarely a case to apologize for anything. Relevant story: I remember walking out of a hippy crystal shop in Mt. Shasta (where they were selling Lemurian Quartz for upwards of $7,000 a gram for it’s religious significance), and I bumped into a guy and apologized; he looked me straight in the eye and said, quite seriously, “don’t apologize for anything for the rest of your life.” I would call that aggressive empathy.

The Merit Revolution
@February 17, 2022 3:15 PM (PDT)

The Merit Revolution.. In most old-school industries, you have these old gatekeepers who protect scarce opportunities. In social Internet communities, opportunities are everywhere, and you don’t need permission to play.

Tweeting without inhibition
@February 17, 2022 3:14 PM (PDT)

Just tweeted "Preparation is distillation" midway through a conversation.

Paralysis to post my thoughts to Twitter might come from an echo-chamber of self-awareness in my own head. Just found how effortless it is to take some nugget from an IRL conversation and just ship it without even thinking. Literally just takes one other person to get you out of your own head.

Santa Monica
@February 16, 2022 9:53 PM (PDT)

I’ve experienced Santa Monica as a 13, 26, 29 and 31 year old. Each time, new layers of it open up. Santa Monica, or any place, isn’t a static concept. Place is the resonance between a context and an individual. Places owe you nothing. It’s you’re responsibility to learn how to slice in.

The History of the Internet
@February 16, 2022 8:14 PM (PDT)

The “History of the Internet” could be it’s own discipline of study (if not already). It’s currently unfolding, and it’s easy to forget that it’s still being shaped. Many of the tools we have are still in their adolesecnce.

Reflecting on New Years Eve in VR Chat
@February 16, 2022 10:44 AM (PDT)

My New Years Eve was low-key for the most part, but it was also the weirdest way I’ve ever celebrated. Omicron raged New York, everyone in my family had COVID, and my wife and I resorted to Hibachi takeout. We needed something to do, and luckily, I’m tapped into some underground VR communities. I heard rumors that someone modeled Time Square in VR Chat, full scale, and thousands of people were attending virtually. For anyone unfamiliar with what Time Square is like on New Years Eve, it’s shoulder to shoulder, millions of people, and takes 7 hours to get home. Now with VR, I could slice into the center of the action, maybe see the ball drop, and just slide off my headset into my living room. I learned that they didn’t model the ball in VR, and the Time Square party I was stumbling into barely resembles meatspace parties.

As soon as my wife and I spawned into Time Square, we were approached by random avatars. It was like if Halloween and meme-culture mutated into each other. I saw a storm trooper repping a Mountain Dew logo, a Teletubby with a photo-realistic face, a frog-man, Jeff the Skeleton, Master Chief, a floating Mario head that could stretch its own face, and a 50-foot-tall Kermit the frog. I looked around and saw Taco Trucks, cyberpunk graffiti, art galleries for “furries,” and of course virtual sex shops (perhaps a nod to OG Times Square). As weird as this all may sound, it only gets weirder.

I eventually looked across Times Square to notice that there was an electronic rave happening inside of a “zero-gravity” zone, inhabited by midgets, three two-hundred foot tall velociraptors, and at least one UFO. This sounds like science-fiction. This sounds like Ready Player One. Isn’t that twenty years away? Well, it’s here, just in a Nintendo 64 version. The graphics suck, it’s awkward, and if you don’t have the right gear (like my wife), you’ll lag out if you glance at the wrong direction into a cluster-fuck of unoptimized polygons. Basically, it’s a wild-west, it’s crude, but it’s happening.

The whole scene reminded me of a Hieronymus Bosch painting, a chaotic scene of hundreds of beings, some human, some absurd-monsters. A cacaphony in the purest sense. This isn’t a painting though, it’s a new social scene; it’s interactive, and YOU are at the center of it. It's like if the consciousness, sexuality, and imagination of a teenage culture exploded inside of a Nintendo 64. It’s the polar opposite of the family-friendly Pixar vibe that Facebook’s Metaverse parrots. This is different. It feels like a Digital Punk revolution (but not a revolution, not political, and potentially, completely aimless).

We were only 15 minutes into the night until it got so weird that my wife and I had to stop. We were approached by a shape shifter, who turned from midget into a fox, and then asked us, “Do you want to see my final form?” Before we could even reply, he turned into a Kardashian-looking pregnant woman. “Reach into my belly.” My wife did, and she transformed into a fetus, inside of this avatar’s belly. The dude ran away with my wife and that was that. Kidnapped. Weirdest New Years Eve ever.

Cramped flight
@February 16, 2022 6:52 AM (PDT)

I was on a flight yesterday to LA; the good news is I got an Economy ticket for only $216, but the shit-news was that it was pretty cramped. The guy in front of me fully reclined, meaning I could only use my laptop with the screen tilted open at a 45 degree angle. Not worth it. I opted in to sketch-mode for the full 6 hours, and without realizing I worked on Captain's Log for the full 6 hours (with one 30 minute nap). I made a lot of "progress," at least in the sense of a theoretical v1. It's fun to do, and may be useful.

Sacrificing old dreams
@February 16, 2022 6:09 AM (PDT)

Thoughts on “sacrifice:” when you give up on old dreams, you drop your ego, and learn to see the present for what it actually is. So sacrifice isn’t as much as “giving up something you wanted,” as much as it is, “gaining more clear vision.”

Logging as pressure release
@February 16, 2022 6:06 AM (PDT)

Compounding is real. The more thoughts that spill into prose, the easier it is to log a continuous train of thought. But if you go try for too long a period, say 12+ hours, then the thoughts start to build in your head; you get clogged; you’ve had so much experience, and you don’t know where to start. Do I log what happened? Do I just start from what’s present? (yes).

My barber
@February 15, 2022 12:01 PM (EDT)

My latest barber is Edward Scissorhands in real life.. The way he twists the scissor around his fingers, alternating between “cut mode” and “hold mode,” is so automatic, that it feels like an extension of his nervous system; if you blink, you might miss it. I used to be nervous as his blades were spinning just an inch in front of my eye, but now I just marvel at it. There’s no small talk (I’m not sure if he speaks English), but it’s incredible to watch him focus and zone in.

Love markets
@February 15, 2022 5:46 AM (EDT)

Expand on thoughts from talk with Danielle last night:

  • 50% vs. 95% matches, the over-emphasis on discovery
  • The process of change & growth
  • How everything is turning into a market

Assuming your 95% compatible with your partner, there are still 1.85 million people your age who you’re more compatible with.

The feedback loop of subconscious noise
@February 14, 2022 7:46 PM (EDT)

  1. Chaotic culture draws more subconscious noise to consciousness
  2. Lack of education in psychology leads to misinterpretation of signal
  3. Web culture increases the proliferation of noise response strategies
  4. Exposure to the existence of noise creates a more chaotic culture

Handling subconscious noise
@February 14, 2022 7:36 PM (EDT)

The art of learning how to react to noise from the subconscious. How much unnecessary chaos could be avoided if people could lessen the need to unify all thoughts into a coherent identity.

Predictive design
@February 14, 2022 7:29 PM (EDT)

@syslog: I had an observation on UI. I hid my browser bookmarks, thinking that I only need to see them when I'm opening up a new tab (in Brave, they pop up when you open a new tab, even if you hide them by deafult). But in reality, when I want to click into Captain's Log, I'm automatically trained to zap to a specific spatial point on my monitor. Clicking a new tab to enter that context is actually friction. There are some instances where it's helpful to over-display what's needed for a task; in addition to what's essential, the design anticipates what contexts the user might want to switch to next. An example: when browsing the social feed, there should be a quick way to "create personal note," without first having to switch to the "my notes" mode. A potential parallel is "mise en place," the French art of cooking, and how they run their kitchens with military precision. Basically, chefs have one fixed, unchangeable interface, but since it's unchanging, they have automaticity: the ability to blindly reach for and find anything they need. I'm not arguing for a monolithic fixed UI, but I wonder if pure "essentialist" UIs could accidentally create more friction. I'm also not arguing to model any app off of "Mise en Place" style processes; this should work for the laziest person.

Radiohead vs. Coldplay
@February 14, 2022 3:30 PM (EDT)

Interesting to reflect on how Radiohead, Coldplay, and Muse all started out in similar places in the 1990’s, but then converged down completely different paths.

There’s a comparison between Coldplay & Radiohead and being a creator on the Internet. The lesson is in how you don’t need to shape yourself for the masses, and you can find a following by doing something authentically, consistently, with talent.

Facebook's Foo Fighters in VR stunt
@February 14, 2022 10:46 AM (EDT)

Catching up on the after-math of last night’s “Foo Fighters in VR” concert. From Kent Bye’s thread, you really get the sense that Facebook is under-prioritizing live events in VR. This is basically 8-year old tech. I had this same under-whelming reaction when I checked out a live event in Venues 1-2 years ago. It’s just so flat compared to the weird and exhilarating things happening in other social VR apps (even if unpolished and weird). Anyone who is serious about live-VR production could have done a way better job.

If you watch this 2D video of the Facebook stream, you can tell how the show was really just a standard high-quality live shoot. 2 minutes and 30 seconds in, they flash a 15-second clip of some avatars dancing, and then they’re never seen again. This whole think stinks of “look, we’re doing concerts in the Metaverse.” It’s the kind of smoke and mirrors that can probably fool the public, but it’s cringed at by anyone who was there, or who knows a thing about VR. Kent’s thread has just above 100 likes, and chances are, the majority of people just know of this event by the headline it made.

Avoiding expectations on essay length
@February 14, 2022 10:38 AM (EDT)

Redefining your conception on how long a specific piece needs to be can be a game-changer. A shortcut around writer’s block. That piece that you thought was going to be 3,600 words can actually be told in 900, and it will be way better for it.

Gorey dreams
@February 14, 2022 7:09 AM (EDT)

It’s crazy how a brief and accidental exposure to something shocking can completely change the nature of your dreams. (I saw a gorey scene from Law in Order in passing yesterday.)

Shifting frames
@February 13, 2022 12:43 PM (EDT)

Being able to re-associate your frameworks (ie: in an essay or a presentation), is required for refinement. That said, it’s often worth defending your initial frames through debate just to test and better understand its logic.

Rheingold's web warnings
@February 13, 2022 8:25 AM (EDT)

@elliot - It's confusing because it's simultaneously a dark age and an enlightenment. I agree though. I remember reading some Howard Rheingold stuff from the late 80s, and he was riffing on all of these utopian possibilities of the Internet, but at the end gave a disclaimer, something like: "But if we let venture capital and advertisers take over this space, well then it's going to turn into some weird kind of hell.”

"The odds are always good that big power and big money will find a way to control access to virtual communities; big power and big money always found ways to control new communications media when they emerged in the past. The Net is still out of control in fundamental ways, but it might not stay that way for long. What we know and do now is important because it is still possible for people around the world to make sure this new sphere of vital human discourse remains open to the citizens of the planet before the political and economic big boys seize it, censor it, meter it, and sell it back to us." - Howard Rheingold, 1993?

Memorized archives
@February 13, 2022 7:46 AM (EDT)

Reaching into a “Resources” folder should be as automatic as reaching for the drawers that contains the forks and knives.

Reviving old hobbies
@February 13, 2022 7:42 AM (EDT)

It feels good to revive old hobbies from earlier in life, but with a way more mature perspective. (It’s been over a decade since I’ve practiced piano, and now I do it daily).

Attention theft
@February 13, 2022 7:25 AM (EDT)

Just picked up my phone to do something, and then got sucked into other apps from a flurry of notifications. I forgot the original intention until I went back to my PC and found the trigger.

Chandelier Haircut (scrap lyrics)
@February 12, 2022 2:00 PM (EDT)

eric gonna wear his big boy boots to the
function, celebrating nothin but toot-hoot
porcupine suits and wine from the cellar,
knows he better go soon, if he wants the chance to tell her, get your
hair combed, nail cut, beard shave, shirt-tucked
impressions are rare, doesn’t matter if the night sucks
chandelier haircuts, the room better wobble, or he’s
glued to the chair, with the host drooling marbles

"Shit" as a prefix
@February 12, 2022 1:36 PM (EDT)

“Shit” works as a universal adjective to denote sub-standard quality. Example: “I was battling Calamity Gannon and they gave me the shit-horse.”

Flash Fiction publications
@February 12, 2022 12:43 PM (EDT)

I spent a few hours this morning looking through the publications on (thanks Salman). First I skimmed them all, making note of the ones that matched the mood I’m going for (weird, genre-bending, imaginative).. Then I looked into each one for submission dates, and organized them into a simple calendar. The idea here is to pick 2-3 publications per month to check out in more detail, and to submit to at least one of them.. I think having strict deadlines (vs. a general prompt) will help push stories towards getting finished.

I was originally thinking to submit “Delirious Dean” stories, but I’d rather approach these new prompts with a blank slate. I can continue to develop the Delirious Dean stories on the side, maybe one per month, and perhaps mention them as a side-note to certain publications that may be a fit. I think I’m looking to pitch Delirious Dean as a “series” rather than a one-off.

Jellyfish Review - 1-2 sentence submissions through February
Fractured Lit - $250 prize, Due: 2/20, 2 stories, 1k each
Longleaf Review - Due: 2/28, 3 <500 words or 1 @ 1.5k words

Wrongdoing, due 3/31, mystical, entrancing, seductive

Alien Magazine, fiction reading-period typically April-July
Montreal Poetry Prize 2022 - $20 entry prior to May 1 (due 5/15)

Lost Balloon - first week of the month - flash, CNF, prose-poetry <1k
Empty House - story about the basement?

Degenerate Art - April to July 10, 2nd issue, about the visual arts
Black Stone / White Stone - a series of 5-8 poems + author interview

Gigantic Sequins - 3 works of poetry/flash fiction, due Aug 1st
A Velvet Giant - “genre-less,” a place to experiment with formatting

Hobart After Dark - competitions posted on Twitter, 24 hour sprint
Taco Bell Quarterly - keep an eye out for Issue 6 submissions
The Lives of Writers - a podcast on writers published by Autofocus
Pank / Noema / X-R-A-Y - larger publications, focus for H2 2022

Finding the others in VR
@February 11, 2022 8:23 PM (EDT)

I don’t know if I can explain why we meet up in VR Chat every once in a while. It’s mostly just to observe chaos in a strange new world. Even though it’s digital and aimless, it is a form of shared experience (we live in different states). What I don’t really get is how to “find the others,” in VR networks like this. We basically just meander through public spaces, and it’s always a shit-show. Occasionally you can strike-up a decent conversation with someone random, but usually it’s just a spectacle of chaos. Anyway, we decided to do VR poker next week.

VR is at 1991 levels of Internet maturity
@February 11, 2022 8:17 PM (EDT)

I asked the room, “If you compare VRChat to the early Internet, what year would you say we’re in?” Dylan said 1997, since more and more people we know are getting VR headsets. I feel like it’s earlier. I’d plant my flag in 1991. There still isn’t really a “VR-Internet” where multiple browsers can render public worlds off a shared standard. Right now, each VR app is a siloed network of user-created levels. People are working on “OpenXR” but it’s not where the activity is right now. Even though VR/AR tech is pushing grounds in human-computer interaction, it’s helpful to understand a technology’s “relative maturity.”

Puzzles in a desert
@February 11, 2022 8:01 PM (EDT)

The last space of the night featured a massive obelisk in the middle of a purple desert that you had to climb up through a spiral staircase. There were also these weird pyramids scattered around, each one shooting a beam of light into the sky. We couldn’t get the puzzle, but it was neat to just wander around a vast space together, escaping the noise of those crowded public spaces. The ambient music was soothing too. At one point I did separate from the group, and ran across a strange in the middle of the desert, cloaked as some kind of monster. I tried to strike up friendly conversation, but learned he was a mute. I’ve come to realize there’s a whole culture of mutes in VRChat that are too shy to speak (even though you can cloak yourself as 6’ banana, and say whatever you want with zero repercussions). He seemed to initiate conversation through sign language, so I played along, but must’ve said something wrong since the whole thing resorted to fake violence.

At some point, a rando in the room solved the puzzle, and a firework shot into the sky, but it never fizzled; it just endlessly erupted inward on itself like a contained Aurora Borealis. I decided to lay down on my wooden office floor (which later caused me some back problems). I just looked up for a few minutes and starred up at this beautiful digital thing as if it were nature itself.

VR House Party
@February 11, 2022 7:47 PM (EDT)

We left the pillow-room and spawned into a modern-looking living-room house-party scene. Maybe 20 people. I saw four people on a massage-train who eventually all merged into one. More kids here, it was a crayon-fest. Dylan almost figured out how to operate the TV, but we couldn’t get past the white static, nor did we have any video URLs memorized.

The squeakers
@February 11, 2022 7:40 PM (EDT)

We all re-grouped in a small room, which was basically a modern bedroom with recessed lighting coves (it was later dubbed a “sex chamber” by one of the guests). It had pillows that you could pick-up, but since the level-designer hadn’t built in physics, they would stay suspended in mid-air when you let go of them.

Suddenly, an 8” character named Tatterbaum appeared in our room, right on the shelf. He started speaking in a squealing high-voice. Dylan assumed it was voice modulation, but as soon as he continued talking for the next 10-seconds, we realized he was probably somewhere between 3-5 years old. He could barely form sentences. “Gimme that piggy skin!” he yelled, as he saw another rando across the room cloaked as a Kirby avatar. It’s hard to conceive how someone so young could have a VR headset and wander into the weirdest social network in VR. My guess is his parents set him up with it, you could almost hear them through his mic. Still. It’s strange to think a generation of kids might grow up with VRChat as a primary form of communication (similar to how we had AIM in elementary school). In another room, I overheard some others talking and I learned some VR lingo: young kids with high-pitched voices who make scenes in public spaces are called, “squeakers.” It must happen often. WTF.

VR Obstacle Course
@February 11, 2022 7:27 PM (EDT)

The first level we spawned into was a “featured” obstacle course. No offense, but it was a shit level in almost every respect. You couldn’t even holo-port 2 feet in front of you without your avatar having a seizure. We couldn’t even create an escape portal since we were too close to the spawn point. The obstacle became “escape the room,” which took some finagling.. We escaped into some kind of duck sanctuary, but the room reached capacity and half our party got locked out. Dylan and I only spent 2 minutes in there. It was a strange digital hell. Kids yelling, role-playing with digital ducks. I started smashing my real-life digital piano in meat-space, because dissonant noise was the vibe of the room, and nobody noticed or reacted.

Digital pens
@February 11, 2022 7:23 PM (EDT)

We found virtual pencils in the lobby, and of course the first thing anyone does with simulated pencils is test if they can draw the good’ol dick and balls. It worked. (Duck did it, not me) VR

The floating meditator
@February 11, 2022 7:18 PM (EDT)

When Dylan’s headset goes into standby mode, his avatar enters “meditation mode”— you see his hotdog close his eyes, levitate off the group, cross his legs, hold out his palms, and calmly rotate left and right.

Self-rambles in VR
@February 11, 2022 7:16 PM (EDT)

I mentioned to Duck that I record all my VR experiences in Otter and speak out loud so that I can transcribe them into logloglog later. I’ve gotten into the habit of just speaking my thoughts out loud in prose. I used to go into mute so others in the room wouldn’t hear my private thoughts. But I soon realized that riffing ideas out loud in public is one of the least weird things that people do in VR.

Synthetic Depth
@February 11, 2022 7:15 PM (EDT)

At one point I was standing at the edge of a level, looking out into a sky-sphere. Of course, it was rasterized AF, with pixelated bands of color and blurry stars, but I did get this sense of depth and scale, as if I were looking into a sky, or even, out at an ocean at Torrey Pines. Regardless of how bad the graphics are, VR does, automatically, convince the mind about space, scale, and depth.

Wonky VR Chat avatars
@February 11, 2022 7:14 PM (EDT)

Today, I am a pixelated butler with a gold vest and curly mustache. Duck is a six foot cactus with red boots and a red speedo. Dylan is a hotdog. Rockhead is some sort of metallic whale that stands on his tippy-toes. At least, this is how we started. Unlike some other VR social networks, VRChat lets you clone avatars you come across in the wild.

The frontier of VR UX
@February 11, 2022 7:13 PM (EDT)

The UI in VRChat is a pain. It’s confusing even for someone who has jumped in a handful of times (although, it’s not nearly as bad as the VR poker application). VRUX is tricky. It’s so novel, and if you don’t have a sense of psychology or user-research, the whole experience is clunky. Sadly, this is the default in a lot of VR games. I considered applying for a design role at VRChat early last year, but I was too busy writing.

@February 11, 2022 7:02 PM (EDT)

In VRChat people use “holo-porting” to get around. You use a laser-pointer to aim in front of you, and then your avatar “leaves your body” to walk to that point. As you flick your wrist around, the avatar moves around like a marionette. As soon as you release your thumb, you zap forward, and re-merge with your avatars perspective.

Oculus onboarding friction
@February 11, 2022 7:01 PM (EDT)

It’s still a pain to boot-up Oculus and get into an experience with friends. But, it still is neat when you enter the main-menu in pass-through mode. Basically, after you put on your headset, the cameras on your face reconstruct the room around you in black and white, and then Oculus renders digital objects in your room. It’s like a UI overlaid on the real world.

Blind contour drawings
@February 11, 2022 6:40 PM (EDT)

Check out blind contour drawings. Try it.

Arthur's experience keeping a log
@February 11, 2022 6:35 PM (EDT)

”The feedback loop between your perception in logloglog (the notes you capture) and your perception in the real world is fascinating. With a log of 10k+ words, you can identify what did you capture that is rich for creation. What Stories? What details? What observations? Then do more of that. Soon as you look for more of that in the world, you experience more of it. Logloglog encourages you to live like an artist.”

Piano excitement
@February 11, 2022 2:45 PM (EDT)

Composing on piano with an eruption in excitement. I remember what this feels like. During true outbursts of expression, no more than 50% of notes should be correct. It’s not about polish. It’s a kind of madness in expression that only happens at the edge. It’s almost like following the impulse of the imagination happens at a rate faster than your musical ability to keep up with.

@February 11, 2022 8:31 AM (EDT)

Identity: A constellation of emotionally-charged symbols that shape a self-narrative

Artists on the Internet
@February 11, 2022 8:27 AM (EDT)

There's been all this talk about artists getting screwed by the Internet (think Spotify). Then there's all these things that promise to revive artists (NFTs) which don't. Maybe there's a paradigm of "artists distribute their work" that's very different from "marketers make content.”

Paul Lecrone on self-awareness
@February 10, 2022 2:57 PM (EDT)

“What separates creators – the writers, builders, innovators, entrepreneurs of the world – from cynics – the nameless quasi-anonymous folks on social media – isn’t a lack of fear, but a far higher degree of self-awareness. Creators know they’re afraid. They know it’s very likely that their book will sell only 16 copies. They know that just because they’ve put in the work doesn’t mean they’re entitled to success. This crystalline self-awareness is the creators most powerful tool. Creators must convince themselves that regret for never having begun is a much worse outcome than embarrassment for having begun at all.”

A revamped browser history
@February 10, 2022 2:35 PM (EDT)

What if we replaced browser tabs with a sleek browsing history panel?

  • A trail of tabs is basically an externalized and accessible web history (except they linger, usually past the point of usefulness).
  • Chrome/Brave browsing histories do NOT update in real-time. (You have to hit refresh)
  • One reason why browsing history is better than tabs: time stamps.
  • Syslog had an idea to hold a key (Tab) to have a bar slide in on the left, and then release to have it disappear.
  • There could be a favoriting system.
  • Instead of tabs, there could be “pinned” windows for fixed things (Calendar, Email, logloglog)
  • Where current browsers are top heavy, this browser could be about panels that expand from the left and right.

Resonance with Twitter paralysis
@February 10, 2022 2:05 PM (EDT)

A log around self-consciousness on Twitter might resonate with the masses of lurkers

The lonely sock club
@February 10, 2022 1:27 PM (EDT)

"Artists" vs. content-creators
@February 10, 2022 12:01 PM (EDT)

How artists can survive (thrive?) in the digital age.

Funny request for stories
@February 10, 2022 11:45 AM (EDT)

”We want stories that are sprawling, that grow and grow and grow, that are an invasive species, that you can’t bring on international flights to any island nation because they will overtake all native vegetation and prompt an international bioethical investigation that could literally put you in jail.”

“We want stories that remind us of our father. Oh, he was a gentle man: big bushy beard; kind blue eyes; an affable, easy-going personality that could charm even the most guarded heart. Indeed, we can picture the many mornings out at the old creek, catching trout, the tiny green fishes waggling on the end of our lines like branches in the summer breeze. How proud our father must have been of us; how great his glistening gaze shone down, like sun’s rays cutting through cumulus clouds. When we buried him – father no longer so burly, the cancer reducing him to a toothpick of a man – we looked ahead at our life and saw that it was hazy. Where was our protector? Where were those bluish, kindly eyes? Oh, crawling existence: how can one persist when persistence is plagued by torment, when the anguish of life is nothing but perpetual torsion? To see his cherubic face again: to see him, casting his fishing line off of our boat, and, when that meager trout bit the sharp end of his wormed hook, give a brief cough of amazement; a tiny, smiling gasp of wonder.”

Lo-fi note-taking
@February 10, 2022 11:12 AM (EDT)
Lo-fi note-taking is the new zeitgeist

The cardinal sins of note-taking: Linking notes to other notes

The 3x rule
@February 10, 2022 10:56 AM (EDT)

  • It’s important to remember the 3x rule. Things will often take 3x longer than you budget. Though, it would be a superpower to be able to precisely budget future time. This can only be calibrated through measurement.
  • Instead of estimating time for each task individually, estimate it’s “relative potential time” in context to other tasks in the task-stack.

Lyric analysis
@February 10, 2022 8:50 AM (EDT)

Thinking about starting to a practice where I listen to albums in full, and write lyrics as I listen. In some cases I’ll re-write what I hear. In other cases I’ll mishear. I’ll also modify and write my own ideas based on instrumental sections. I could see value in having a physical book where I do this in. Why physical? I’ve just never had a good digital capture system for lyric fragments. A specific notebook makes it simple. And, a physical notebook is something I can prop up near my guitars and piano. Rarely do I read from a screen when I’m composing anything good.

Leak-proof systems
@February 9, 2022 11:50 PM (EDT)

I shifted my Notion database from one account to another (so that I'm mostly under the Michael Dean email now). It was an opportunity to archive lots of old stuff. And now, for the stuff that I decided to port over, I'm brutally deleting. I'm making systems across the board as lo-fi as possible (project management, resources, etc.).

There's an interesting pattern I'm seeing across many areas: the importance of deleting.

Tasks aren't forever associated to projects and archived. They're deleted at the end of the week. The task dB should always be around 100. Projects aren't safe either. Once projects are done, they're deleted, and I make a one-line of what I accomplished in an Area card. This system looks at Notes, Tasks, and Projects as temporary vessels that you should discard ASAP. But things squeeze out of them into Essays, Resources, and Areas.

  • Essays are public proofs-of-thought.
  • Resources are long-term internal notes (ie: what did I get my wife for her birthday last year?).
  • Areas are a progress-log on the major areas of your life (FWIW, I slashed those down.. from 20 down to 5).

What Essays, Resources, and Areas have in common are that they're useful into the future. Notes, Tasks, and Projects rot.

Inputs are useless when hoarded
@February 9, 2022 8:58 PM (EDT)

Looking through my private notes database from August 21’ through logloglog. What a mess. Most of this isn’t useful. There is a place for private notes. But what I’m realizing is how useless inputs are if they’re just collected and hoarded. Basically, inputs can coagulate around a few key topics. You want to quickly scrape your inputs, form them into durable long-term resources, and then burn the notes. Burn the notes.

“Live a good page today” - Tim Coil
@February 9, 2022 8:28 PM (EDT)

Truncated Feeds
@February 9, 2022 4:59 PM (EDT)

An idea for a truncated feed. What if it only showed.

  • Things you’re tagged in
  • Streams you are subscribed to
  • An expandable block showing "tangent-thoughts" of a friend.

That last point is so that "super-posters" don't completely own the feed. Let's say I wake up with a 20-tweet rampage. Maybe I tag you in 3 of 20, and there's another 5 posts related to streams you follow me for (ie: Bitcoin). So you'd basically see 8 posts in your feed, put a block that says "Michael Dean (12)."

It's a way to show that someone's been posting, without all their thoughts crowding the feed.

Tactics vs. perspective
@February 9, 2022 12:55 PM (EDT)

What is the difference between tactics and perspective? Tactics are pre-defined solutions. Perspective is knowing which tactics are worth encompassing based on your unique situation. Tactics are like memes, they are replicable. But someone without perspective will imitate tactics that don’t serve them. Imitate, but with caution.

Running a CBC in Miro
@February 9, 2022 12:28 PM (EDT)

(An email reply about running a course in Miro)

The last version of The Writing Studio had 20 students doing live exercises. I've done up to 50 before during training sessions at my last job. I've seen cases of 200-300 people on a board, but that seemed like a tech-demo (not an exercise).

Overall, the shift from presenting in Miro to facilitating exercises in Miro was a big win. The latest round of the Studio was the most engaging, and had the best results (improvements in writing + publishing rate).

It's worth thinking about your training strategy for the course: One lesson I learned is that I should host my 1:1 intro-calls in Miro instead of Zoom. In addition to meeting them and answering questions about the course, it's a chance for them to ask questions about the Miro interface. Some people pick up Miro instantly, but some just have less experience with visual software (meaning basic navigation can be tricky, and even hold-up a session). I thought that group training could be effective, but I found one of two things: 1) it's either too broad and doesn't prepare them for exercises, or 2) it's too specific, and the gap in user ability means that questions aren't relevant to everyone. Another option would be to create some self-paced training modules; it could work, but there's no guarantee everyone would watch. For the Writing Studio, we mostly did text entry & arranging pre-built objects, which lowered the technical bar and allowed everyone to participate. If I wanted to include diagramming, I would have to include a more thorough training program.

Christin points on mindfulness
@February 9, 2022 11:22 AM (EDT)

Link from Christin:

Mindfulness = attention in the present / awareness of a wave of thoughts.. Jhanas = sustaining a single thought into the future (for hours/days).. Is this the essence of it?


  1. ”When.. Burmese Buddhist reformists.. promoted meditation, they consciously emphasized vipassana / insight techniques, and they de-emphasized samatha / calming-and-concentration techniques. They felt the latter practices were not.. necessary for.. spiritual practice and that they [were].. too difficult for many persons in lay life to achieve, namely, the practice of jhāna.. They wanted to promote practices that everyone could do and.. experience benefits from right away.”
  2. “The jhānas are states of concentrated absorption.. they’re fairly remarkable. In the basic approach of a vipassana practice, you look to appreciate.. conscious [experiences] through noting.. [their] inherent transiency. Thoughts come and go. Sensations come and go. And, ultimately, our own sense of ourselves as any enduring, substantive, “something” also comes and goes.”
  3. ”The jhānas are generated modes of rather markedly altered consciousness. They include an element of quite vivid synesthesia, and they unfold in a set sequence. I practiced jhānas fairly intensively for several years.. You begin by adopting a set meditation object, a fixed thing to focus on, like the breath as it occurs in a particular location, such as just outside the nostrils. You attend to that and to nothing else, in session after session of seated meditation, as well as during breaks and also during any walking meditations between sittings.. you do that for days. You may then eventually begin to get a kind of focal synesthesia to occur.. your mind begins to “see” the breath. For most persons the image that arises appears as something bright or white, like a pearl, or a ball of cotton, or a light, just outside the nose.”
  4. “Another thing most researchers are not aware of is that the word “mindfulness” is a bit of a mistranslation.. “Mindfulness” in the original Buddhist Pāli is sati; in Sanskrit it’s smrti. A more straightforward meaning of sati is “remembering..” Overall, I think a useful translation for sati is “remembering the present.” There can be different applications and emphases, but by and large “remembering the present” .. [suggests] that it is our here-and-now present [experience] that is of central significance.. [It is an] appreciation of the constructed nature of our thoughts and perceptions.”

@February 9, 2022 9:44 AM (EDT)

The benefit of blocking out your whole day right when you wake up is that you get all your decision making out of the way. All the “manager thinking” is done up-front. Then, throughout the day, appointments just pop-up, and it’s as simple as, “oh yeah, that’s what I’m going to do now.” Ideally, it lets you slip faster, if not directly, into creator/artist mode. However this is a dance of temporarily booting back into manager mode and reshuffle the blocks as new information comes in.

Growth vs. social connection
@February 9, 2022 7:39 AM (EDT)

One noble reason to rampage up to 200k followers (and to do it my own way), is to serve as an example that you can find social meaning and traction online without being obsessed with growth. Every thread that says, “I got to 200k, and here’s how I did it 👇,” and then proceeds to give advice that is appropriate for marketing soda bottles, will continue to create an online culture that veers further away from authentic self-expression, and further away from connecting people along vectors that actually matter.

Note: In a past draft of this post, I used the phrase, “soul-sucking metric-obsessed slang-parrot jerk-chamber.” This isn’t fair, because in some situations, marketing and self-promotion as first-premise is a completely rational decision to make. I think my frustration is a natural reaction, but I shouldn’t aim anger at people. Anger should be directed at the architecture of public platforms that incentivize people to behave in certain ways. I might just be a raving idealist, but I think there’s an opportunity for a “Game-B style” social network, where everyone can express all sides of themselves, and doing that is actually an advantage for growth and financial success.

Changelogs in software development
@February 9, 2022 12:56 AM (EDT)

Here is a SenorSyslog link that shares the value of keeping a detailed change-log in software development. It helps you understand why certain decisions in the past were made. I see a similar value for writers. If I want to travel back in time to a day in December to recall an experience, I not only find the note I need, but all adjacent modes, allowing me to “reboot” into the mood from that day.

Architecture Decision Records (ADR) as a LOG that answers “WHY?”
Is the decision still relevant for the current context? What was the context when the decision was made? A lot of this is institutional knowledge that is lost, leaving you guessing. Instead, capture Architecture Decision Records along with your code in the same repository. It’s a log of all the decisions made along the course of a project/product.

Twitter Blue
@February 8, 2022 6:18 PM (EDT)

Forgot to mention this, I signed up for Twitter Blue a few weeks ago. Completely forgot about it, and can't even tell the difference (wtf). But, I noticed that you have the ability to create "Bookmark folders." It's kind of an odd feature. You can create private "Streams" to filter other people's content into. What is the value of this kind of categorization? It's an example of "tinkering with inputs" that doesn't translate to output or a better social dimension.

Yamaha P-125
@February 8, 2022 6:13 PM (EDT)

Ordered a new P-125 Yamaha piano today. It's so big and the stand didn't come, so it's taking up all 3 seats on the living room couch. Danielle sighed. It's white, but the white body is slightly off from the colors of the keys, which pisses Danielle off even more. For 10+ minutes I played out-of-key over-dramatic synth-pad noise, within an earshot of my wife (who was trying to focus on real, adult things; like construction documents, noble work, with lives at stake). She snapped and we got into a fake fight.

The mind watching itself
@February 8, 2022 6:07 PM (EDT)

“An intellectual is someone whose mind watches itself.” - Albert Camus

The idea of "the mind watching the mind," seems like the core thing around capturing thoughts.

Sasha Chapin on commonplace books
@February 8, 2022 5:03 PM (EDT)

“It’s not that I advocate for no note-taking. I just strongly believe in keeping it as elementary as possible, such that the note-taking itself doesn’t become the thrust of the endeavor. Leonardo da Vinci kept all of his notes in one big book. If he liked something he put it down. This is known as a commonplace book, and it is about how detailed your note-taking system should be unless you plan on thinking more elaborately than Leonardo da Vinci. Taping a bunch of cryptic phrases to the walls is also acceptable, or keeping a shoebox full of striking phrases on a jumble of papers, as Eminem did.”

Marine logs
@February 8, 2022 4:51 PM (EDT)

Syslog: "Actual literal marine logs vary in type, purpose and content. They capture relevant information, e.g. for the purpose of navigation or maintenance. Computer systems logs serve a similar purpose, for making the current and historical activity of the system visible (and analyzable over time) for purposes of understanding, operations/maintainance, debugging. The primary question for personal collection is which."

Me: It's neat how both marines & computer systems have the same purpose: capturing the present so it's available for various purposes in the future.

Bad tab habits
@February 8, 2022 12:01 PM (EDT)

I notice I've had terrible tab patterns the last 2 days. 3 windows open, each with 30+ tabs. AWARENESS.. Hoping that pinned tabs & tab groups can help with tab management. Even if it's placebo, I'm in.

Jung's Red Book
@February 8, 2022 12:00 PM (EDT)

Syslog: “I wonder if Jung's Red Book is a good point of comparison for lo-fi loglog. Like my understanding is that he put elaborate works of art in there, but that it's still like, intensely personal, weird and raw. So I'm curious if there's still something to understand about what makes a piece of mixed media "real" instead of "sales.”

Me: Interesting idea to compare logloglog to Jung's Red Book. One huge difference is that Jung was insanely protective and private about it. No one got to see it during his life. He probably feared the weirdness of it would have freaked out his psychiatry clients. If I remember correctly, it was even in his will that no one should ever be allowed to see the Red Book lol. But I think his children & grandchildren agreed that it’s a work of historical importance, and agreed to release it to the world in 2000s (I may need to be fact checked on this). FWIW - I think culture is way less conservative now then it was in the 1940s, and I think a modern-day Jung could get away with a public Red Book.

The multi-faceted character of cities
@February 8, 2022 8:59 AM (EDT)

Cities don't have singular character. Any one person's impression is entirely formed by the way they choose to slice into it.

Write of Passage as an oasis on the Internet
@February 8, 2022 8:58 AM (EDT)

I see Write of Passage as one of several forces that are helping revive the original vision of the Internet from the early 90s. It's like an oasis; a secret salon in a sprawling city, carrying a forgotten torch around self-expression and "finding the others." I'm interested in diving deep into the history of online self-publishing (1985-1998), curating it, and bridging it with what's happening now. There are so many parallels. Triangulating the present with scattered historical movements helps charge whatever you're doing with purpose.

Context from adjacent notes
@February 8, 2022 8:26 AM (EDT)

I think it’s important to capture within something that feels like a notepad. It’s like an apple note, or a physical journal, where you see context. It’s one loose text field, and you can click anywhere to move the cursor. But, each idea has a timestamp title, and acts as it’s own intelligent block.

Finite feeds!
@February 8, 2022 8:08 AM (EDT)

The feed doesn’t need to be endless. It feels good to scroll through ~12 blocks in 2 minutes, and realize, that’s all that’s new in the last 8 hours.

Me: It's interesting when your main Twitter source is a small 19-person list. I went maybe 2 hours between checking, and there was NO no content when I returned. It was liberating AF. It's funny how we've come to expect a never-ending river of shit through the Home algorithm. Maybe infinite content isn't better? But when there is a definable number of posts per day, it actually gives you room to think, reflect, and form an idea for a response.

Syslog: Infinite content is the drug they want to keep selling you, so you keep consuming their ads. The users' content is ads for their shit, which Twitter facilitates serving so that Twitter can intersperse Twitter's ads in between the users' ads. Only in silence do we face the question of actually creating anything of meaning ourselves.

No ambiguity when capturing
@February 7, 2022 9:27 PM (EDT)

It’s important to not have any ambiguity on the moment of capture

Capture, Categorize, Connect
@February 7, 2022 9:11 PM (EDT)

Capture - lightning fast, and pleasurable
Categorize - simple, low overhead, gamified
Connect - social, specific, authentic

Fear is an invitation for courage
@February 7, 2022 6:16 PM (EDT)

Courage is the piercing of inhibition. It isn’t just boldness or ballsiness. It’s the conscious defiance of fear. Fear is an invitation to become courageous.

The American Scholar
@February 7, 2022 5:17 PM (EDT)

The “American Scholar” by Emerson is America’s declaration of intellectual independence.

Insta-stories but in written form
@February 7, 2022 4:55 PM (EDT)

Our culture is familiar with creating multiple Instagram Stories or Snaps throughout the day. It’s a kind of interstitial journal (although it disappears). You can build that same habit through writing, and ironically, event though “video is king,” words can reveal more at an emotional level. It’s a better form of capture.

Leary-esque quote
@February 7, 2022 12:14 PM (EDT)

“Admit it. You aren’t satisfied. You’re not entirely sure why or how, but you aren’t. A vague sense of lack, a question — is this it? — gnaws at you, keeps you up some nights. You should be happy, you tell yourself. You’re living the dream, aren’t you? Hip, classy wardrobe. Respectable career path. Connoisseur of TV. Internet extraordinaire. Sarcastic, detached personality. Gets a bit wild on weekends. Success, right? So they said, but you aren’t sure anymore. The “right”, “safe” things feel so… obvious, boxed-in, dinky.  Some days you wish you could just burst into song on the street or make animal noises in a professional setting. You hear faint whispers calling you to the dangerous, the different, the bold, and the unknown. The half-buried dream. The maybe-someday travels. The secret project. The un-slain dragon. Follow the whispers. The hardest thing is to love who you really are and be that person but you must. Courage is rewarded, and life is a tenacious quest or nothing at all. Question everything. Startle yourself. Make somebody’s day. Ask her name. Bare your naked soul to all between land and sky and disregard the naysayers. You’re never alone. Find the others.” Jordan Bates, rephrasing Tim Leary

Separating publishing from distribution
@February 7, 2022 11:21 AM (EDT)

  • What if you separated publishing and distribution? Meaning, all posts are featured on your profile for someone who wants to go look, but not everything is distributed.
  • Important thought on public/private posts on Captain’s Log. I’m not sure if “secret” thoughts have any value in this system. I think the better model is push/pull. I think all thoughts should be visible IF someone wants to some scroll through your profile, but maybe you the author decides to only push (distribute) certain thoughts.

To the Captain’s Log team: For capture to be of the self, I think it's important for it not to be directed to any one person. For example:

In a group Twitter message, I intentionally only include thoughts that I think would be relevant to us.

When posting to a public Twitter feed, most people shape their thoughts so that they make sense to the public (strangers).. This leads to a vague, general, and often impersonal style of writing

In a log, you write to yourself, for yourself. I think there's something powerful about solving this paradox. How do you promote a “This is for me” vibe among all-users, while simultaneously allowing others to peak into it? I think it has to something with nuanced design tweaks around the feed and notification system.

This might tie back to my point of unbundling publishing from distribution. I wonder if creating undistributed logs gives you a kind of ammunition that allows the thoughts you want to distribute to have farther reach. The question is, who the hell wants gamified social media? Seems popular in the Web3 space, but I don’t know if tokens or “gas” are concepts that would jive with the average user/logger.`

Twitter to test ideas
@February 7, 2022 10:25 AM (EDT)

Use Twitter as a way to start exploring ideas that you eventually want to write essays on. It doesn’t make sense to have a “Tweets dB” and an “Essays dB.” Don’t create a systematic process for Tweets, just reference your essays pipeline as material.

The note-taking rebellion
@February 7, 2022 9:44 AM (EDT)

Stew Fortier on the note-taking rebellion

It almost seems as if a “meme” around the importance of being a librarian has infected the Internet, everyone’s tried it, and most have grown sour about it. Seems like a ripe time for a lo-fi option.

Rewards other than validation
@February 7, 2022 9:17 AM (EDT)

The fact that I’ve posted near 1,000 “blurb-style” thoughts to logloglog instead of Twitter tells me something important. It’s possible to feel satisfaction in posting my thoughts in public, even without the dopamine of external validation. It’s an internally rewarding practice. I wonder if this is universal, or if I’m just an introvert. Someone who is extroverted might have no patience for a practice like this. Maybe to some people, every act is inherently social, and not getting feedback on something causes tension.

Twitter as a decentralized advice column
@February 7, 2022 8:43 AM (EDT)

What’s the difference between an old-school “advice column,” and the modern “value tweets” on Twitter? It’s weird to think of Twitter as a digital decentralized advice column (basically, hell). Maybe this was the worst-case scenario of the early web pioneers. They warned of venture-capital and advertising entering the space, and they were right.

Delete old tasks and notes
@February 7, 2022 12:30 AM (EDT)

What if Tasks and Notes databases make sense as “transient” databases in Notion? I noticed it valuable to flat out delete tasks when they were done. When you archive endlessly, you get bloat. Tasks are useless into the future. What’s worth archiving is the Projects (the larger things that Tasks chip away at). In a similar fashion, what if notes were transient? Once a week, they can absorbed into resources, essays, or projects. The idea is to not let the Note database grow past a current size. My current “Notes dB” is 1,500 or so. Past Notes databases grew up to 4,500, and now they’re lost in an archive somewhere.

Goal-process mismatch
@February 6, 2022 7:11 PM (EDT)

A goal-process mismatch: when you set a goal before even starting the process to understand what is realistic.

The need to consciously create circumstance
@February 6, 2022 3:14 PM (EDT)

I’ve been pondering how “circumstance” has evolved through life, and how it suddenly feels very different as an adult, through a pandemic, and through existing online. Through most of life, you find yourself lodged right in the middle of a circumstance, almost as if you’re in a dream (high school, college, church, work, roommates). You develop relationships within each, until the circumstance collapses. Usually, new circumstances form, and you make an effort to stay in touch with a small percent of people from old ones. But what happens when new circumstances stop forming automatically? Or whatever happens in online communities, where circumstances can be temporary or fleeting? It seems more important than ever to learn how to actively create circumstances with people that matter, to sustain meaning outside of the ebbs & flows of holidays, re-unions, and online culture.

Twitter as a social game
@February 6, 2022 2:25 PM (EDT)

“Twitter is like a game that you learn the rules by watching others play. It takes a bit of time to learn how to play, how you want to show up, and who you want to play with. That means what you see might not make complete sense at first – so don’t worry if most of the tweets that you see at first don’t make sense, or feel uninteresting or irrelevant. Think of every tweet as an invitation to play a game. Each game has different rules, and you can choose to play or not. You can watch how others engage with different tweets to figure out what games work and what doesn’t, what you like and what you don’t.”

Frank Lloyd Wright quotes
@February 6, 2022 1:15 PM (EDT)

  • Architecture is the triumph of human imagination over materials, methods, and men to put man into possession of his own earth.
  • There is no architecture without a philosophy. There is no art of any kind without its own philosophy.
  • Architecture is the frame of life. It is the nature and substance of whatever is.
  • Architecture is basic to culture. Music is an attribute of culture, so is painting, so would sculpture be. But architecture you experience; the other things you accede to. So without architecture you cannot have a culture.
  • The cardinal sin or architecture is overdoing anything.
  • When Jesus said “The Kingdom of God is within you”— within you there is the basis of organic thought, in architecture too. The reality of the thing is the within, and it is within, and it radiates, and you feel it, and if you feel it strong enough, you can build it.
  • Simplicity is a clean, direct expression of that thing which is itself.
  • Nature if your book of reference and in it you study and learn.
  • The [Welsh] definition of genius was very simple, very true, and very good: A man who can see nature; a man who has a heart for nature (that is, who loves nature), and a man who had the courage to follow nature.
  • Good reading of the great poets is just as essential to the spiritual life as sitting down at the table and eating when you are hungry.
  • There is a deadly tendency towards conformity which in the human spirit is something like gangrene in the human flesh.
  • Really to believe in something is the greatest boon, I think, and to believe wholeheartedly in it and to serve it with all your strength and your might is salvation.
  • The greatest harm that man can do in life is to spoil the faith, the trust, and the fresh vision of the child.
  • I do not think we should be too content, too satisfied, with anything, at anytime, whatsoever.
  • The uncommon man is the man who can fall in love with an idea, the man who can subscribe to an idea and who realizes the nature of an idea.
  • The fresh mind sees with a seeing eye and is likely to see truth. But the more you are educated and the more you are conditioned, the less able you become to see straight.
  • Emerson today is the strongest, purest, finest mind this country has ever produced, and everybody should read him daily.
  • Cultivate the poet. The poet is the unacknowledged legislator of this universe and the sooner we knock under to that the better. Get Emerson’s essay on the American scholar and read it once a year.
  • An idea is salvation by imagination.
  • When you become a pencil in the hand of the infinite, when you are truly creative in your attempt to design, the thing that we call good design begins and never has an end. Once you are aware of the importance of this spirit in living nature, you will never have to copy nature.
  • The song, the masterpiece, the edifice are a warm outpouring of the heart of man— human delight in life triumphant: we glimpse the infinite.
  • I have never wanted to be finished. I have never wanted to feel that what I have done was the best I could do. I have to be careful of that because that is poison to the creative spirit.
  • I believe that Emerson was right when he said, “Beauty is the highest and finest kind of morality.” If you are attuned— and you love sincerely— harmony, rhythm, and what we call beauty, instinctively what is ugly will become offensive to you. It will come into the realm of spirit also. You will see how certain actions of your own are ugly, how certain others are beautiful.
  • The artist himself, of course, is of his time, or he is not an artist. He is the prophet of his time and of his day; he is the seeing-eye of his people. He can see a little further and more clearly than his people see. This is why he is an artist. That is why the prophetic poet is the greater of all the members of his civilization.
  • Quality and quantity are not on speaking terms— never can be.
  • If you were to deduct Froebel, Goethe, Beethoven, and Nietzche from my education, I should be very much the poorer.
  • I had to choose early in my life between an honest arrogance and a hypocritical humility, and I deliberately chose an honest arrogance.
  • I am not a “masterpiece man”— the next one I am going to do is always the best. When a man points to his masterpiece, he is finished. Do not look for much from him.

Effects of outliner-culture
@February 6, 2022 10:38 AM (EDT)

I’m wondering what the downstream effects of an “outliner” are. In Roam, every bullet point is an atomic unit of thought. There isn’t a form of thinking that’s outside of a bullet point. I think treating bullets as a block makes sense, but it’s strange to think it’s the “root” block. You could imagine a system that’s more prose-oriented, that contains several block types: [bullets, words, sentences, paragraphs, sections, essays]. All these block types could co-exist, but what is the reason to take one type (a bullet), and make that the entirety of the system?

Writing drum fills
@February 6, 2022 1:19 AM (EDT)

Drums might be the last element in a song to write fills for. At first, it’s a backbone for other top-layers to find each other. Some genres never even refine the drums at all, they just have a drum-machine looping through the whole song. Drums might be my strongest instrument, and I’m definitely interested to write fills, have solos, and develop an organic rhythmic language, BUT, in the context of a one-man band, that has to come relatively late in the process.

Magnetic calendars for couples
@February 5, 2022 10:16 PM (EDT)

The last week has felt like a refreshing reset: creative, productive, organized.. potentially all stemming from a magnetic calendar leaning on our refrigerator. Lo-fi for the win, again.

Basement cleaning
@February 5, 2022 6:51 PM (EDT)

Danielle and I were supposed to “nuke” the basement this morning, but she had a headache. Basically, we have a 150 square foot room filled with junk: old models from architecture school, rusty music equipment, and tennis racquets that are far too small. The strategy was simple. Anything we want to keep, we remove from the room. Whatever’s left will be raided by professional junk-men. Having a 3-hour time limit to clean is like a slow-motion and safe, “house is on fire, what do I keep?” She had a headache so we skipped today, but maybe tomorrow.

Logging makes essays easier
@February 5, 2022 6:48 PM (EDT)

I’m writing my first long-form essay in a while, and it feels basically effortless. It’s likely an outcome of writing so much prose through logloglog in the last 50 days, as well as doing impressions of various other authors. Putting prose on the page, independent of context, might have extreme benefits.

Abletoon re-boot
@February 5, 2022 4:44 PM (EDT)

It’s been insanely satisfying to get re-acquainted with Ableton and set up a ready-to-go recording process. Recording 3-4 music demos in the last 24 hours. A demo can be done in 15-60 minutes, and it feels great. Having done this now, it reminds me to not commit to any head-in-the-sky music projects for 2022. That’s not the focus. It’s just something that runs in the background, for fun, as a break, like the Nintendo Switch, or reading, or going on a walk. It’s a release valve. Make quick, shitty demos, and you might as well put them in public. Think of your website not as a polished and professional facade of the self, but as a time capsule for yourself, and one that happens to be interesting enough for others to peak into.

Twitter Paralysis
@February 5, 2022 4:44 PM (EDT)

Paralysis on Twitter, psychological blocks.. I have this thought that I need to be “On,” fully, in order to participate. As in, if I’m not in a regular sharing cadence, I can’t even like something. The act of liking something brings more traffic to your own page, and if you haven’t been posting,  you don’t want to bring people there. It’s a vicious loop, and it’s a block. I need to get over myself. Ultimately though, I think a several day streak of heavy momentum is enough to burst out of bad habits. The trick is to maintain that self-awareness even as the streak wears off.

Peterson on music patterns
@February 5, 2022 4:44 PM (EDT)

Jordan Peterson has a viral clip recently that explains music as a series of overlapping patterns. I’d love to find some reading that gets into the specifics on that. From the little exposure I’ve had to music theory, it’s a less traveled form of study. It’s strange, because I think it’s the one that most translates to good songwriting.

YouTube celebrities
@February 5, 2022 12:24 PM (EDT)

When YouTube stars break into the media circuit (Miranda Sings has 10m views and is on Fallon and Seinfeld’s show)

The finished work is a lie
@February 5, 2022 11:41 AM (EDT)

“As Adorno famously said, the finished work is, in our times and climate of anguish, a lie.” Steiner, on Pessoa

The tension in your old writing
@February 5, 2022 10:06 AM (EDT)

A phrase for the tension in reading your old work
Is it worth going back to your best essays from 2021 and improving them? Or, let them be, and instead, focus your effort on your 2022 writing?

Pessoa Excerpts
@February 5, 2022 8:51 AM (EDT)

“Should someone point out that the pleasure of enduring is nil after one ceases to exist, I would first of all respond that I’m not sure if it is, because I don’t know the truth about human survival. Secondly, the pleasure of future fame is a present pleasure— the fame is what’s future. And it’s the pleasure of feeling proud, equal to no pleasure that material wealth can bring. It may be illusory, but it is in any case far greater than the pleasure of enjoying only what’s here. The American millionaire can’t believe that posterity will appreciate his poems, given that he didn’t write any. The sales representative can’t imagine that the future will admire his pictures, since he never painted any. I, however, who in this transitory life am nothing, can enjoy the thought of the future reading this very page, since I do actually write it; I can take pride— like a father in his son— in the fame I will have since at least I have something that could bring me fame. And as I think this, rising from the table, my invisible and inwardly majestic stature rises above Detroit, Michigan, and over all the commercial districts of Lisbon.” FERNANDO PESSOA on legacy

“I’ve never forgotten that phrase from Haeckel, the biologist, whom I read in the childhood of my intelligence, that period when we’re attracted to popular science and writings that attack religions. The phrase is more or less the following: The distance between the superior man (a Kant or a Goethe, I believe he says) and the common man is much greater than the distance between the common man and the ape.” FERNANDO PESSOA

“None of us, from the cat on up to me, is really in charge of the life imposed on us or of the destiny we’ve been given; we are all equally derived from no one knows what; we’re shadows of gestures performed by someone else, embodied effects, consequences that feel. But between me and the farmer there’s a difference of quality, due to the presence in me of abstract thought and disinterested emotion; whereas between him and the cat, intellectually and psychologically, there is only a difference of degree.

The superior man differs from the inferior man and his animal brothers by the simple trait of irony. Irony is the first sign that our consciousness has become conscious, and it passes through two stages: the one represented by Socrates, when he says, ‘All I know is that I know nothing,’ and the other represented by Sanches, when he says, ‘I don’t even know if I know nothing.’ In the first stage we dogmatically doubt ourselves, and every superior man arrives there. In the second stage we come to doubt not only ourselves but also our own doubt, and a few men have reached that point in the already so long yet short span of time that the human race has beheld the sun and night over the earth’s variegated surface..

To know oneself is to err, and the oracle that said ‘Know thyself’ proposed a task more difficult than the labours of Hercules and a riddle murkier than the Sphinx’s. To consciously not know ourselves— that’s the way! And to conscientiously not know ourselves is the active task of irony. I know nothing greater, nor more worthy of truly great man, than the patient and expressive analysis of the ways in which we don’t know ourselves, the conscious recording of the unconsciousness of our conscious states, the metaphysics of autonomous shadows, the poetry of the twilight of disillusion.” FERNANDO PESSOA

The decline in the relevance of music:
@February 4, 2022 7:31 PM (EDT)

The Age of Merit
@February 4, 2022 6:47 PM (EDT)

Ralph Waldo Emerson was poor in the 1840’s.. compare that with Internet intellectuals.. “Merit will be rewarded like never before.”

Marijuana writers
@February 4, 2022 5:08 PM (EDT)

Look for marijuana writers.. not activism.. but on the affects on psyche, art, and creativity.. the endo-cannabanoid system is complex..

I wonder what role marijuana could have on voice modulation

The original vision of the Internet
@February 4, 2022 2:25 PM (EDT)

Since I’ve been writing online, I’ve been intrigued by the question: “who were the first online writers?” How far back to do we go? Through some rabbit holes, I found a whole scene around self-publishing that developed between 1993-1998. This is before Xanga and LiveDiary. It’s a lost era of online writing. I’ve been obsessed with trying to triangulate these early writers and figure out what they believed in.

Turns out, a lot of their ethos goes back to the 1960’s counter-culture. Self-publishing was seen as a liberation movement. These writers were all-in on the “Personal” dimension of POP. Justin Hall’s blog was an undiscovered “On the Road” of the Internet age, where he’d document every detail of his life, holding back nothing. Similar to how Write of Passage has it’s own language, there was some shared language between the 60s and 90s, particularly, “find the others.”

Tim Leary’s meme took on a whole new dimension with the Internet. Back in the 60s, it was hard to find the others. You had to travel, know the anti-establishment places to hang out in, and keep an eye out for symbolic-triggers, like exotic fashion, music, or graffiti. But with the Internet, from your own room, you could make contact with others from anyone else who was online.

It’s crazy to think that there were writers in the 1990’s who were having the Write of Passage experience. I found a story from this era where Howard Rheingold walks through the front-door of a Silicon Valley, and realized that he doesn’t recognizing a single face in the crowd, yet, he knew the intimate details of everyone through what they’d written online. Back then, this kind of experience was reserved for the technophiles, the ones who could write in HTML and set up their own site. Remember, this was in an era where web-browsers themselves were cutting-edge.

I find it so odd that I grew up as a kid with the Internet (since I was 4 years old in the early 1990s), yet, I never used it as a way to “find the others.” I used the Internet to bridge distance. As a 5th grader, I used AIM to chat with my friends. But even through college, until 2 years ago really, I never approached it as a way to find the others: to cure intellectual and creative isolation.

Write of Passage is this strange, unknown oasis, like a hidden gem in a metropolis, that draws smart people who have a passion for ideas and writing. Each cohort I come across dozens (if not hundreds) of new faces, and it’s uncanny how in so many of the people I meet, I see a kind of mirror to myself. That kind of resonance with another human can be so rare to come across in the real-world, yet in Write of Passage, it sometimes feels like a routine interaction.

So being a mentor, and especially a “specialized” mentor (one focused on a specific side of the craft), is really an incredible opportunity. When students come in, they’re bounced around at random, and through enough exposure, they’ll find the others. But each mentor is like a light-house, broadcasting a signal, and attracting a whole tribe of others who are bound to share similar passions.

What really happens twice a year is an opportunity to spawn digital culture. That’s what’s happening when you look at it. So many mentor groups and organic writing groups maintain their Zoom meetings for months, sometimes years after the course.

I write all this just to share context, and to place what’s happening here within a larger historical movement (the still nascent growth of the Internet). From one angle, we’re just running a small 30-person group once a week. From another angle, we’re gatekeepers of the original vision of the Internet, one that is about connection, expression, and liberation.

@February 4, 2022 9:33 AM (EDT)

  • Excel (ledger) +
  • public Dropbox (synced) +
  • a chaos generator (SHA-256) +
  • Chucky Cheese (tokens)

Mimetic rivalry
@February 4, 2022 8:50 AM (EDT)

The phrase mimetic rivalry: when two people are competing to coin the same language.

The Jimmy Buffet sound collage
@February 4, 2022 8:46 AM (EDT)

Lmao, for a second I thought, “whoa jimmy buffet sounds pretty experimental and avant-garde in this song,” but I was just accidentally playing two songs at the same time, and they happened to line-up in a trippy way.

Fractured writing projects
@February 4, 2022 8:38 AM (EDT)

Even when you say “I’m going to focus on writing,” that one discipline fractures into so many types of writing:

  • 30 Imitations in Voice (a series I started on Twitter)
  • Mini-essay series (generating 2-3 starts per day accidentally)
  • Delirious Dean fiction (the most fun to write)
  • Writing for my website (to orient you through my work)
  • Memo-writing (for work, big-picture vision thinking)
  • logloglog jamming (small fragments throughout the day)
  • Tweet writing (haven’t even started this)
  • Journal summaries of each day

It’s a lot to keep track of. When you just say “I’m going to show and write,” it’s simple. But once you start adding constraints and goals to your writing, it becomes more important to have a stricter system of execution.

Messaging App Overload
@February 4, 2022 8:28 AM (EDT)

Currently have 6 different messaging apps active.. that’s probably normal.. I used to use an aggregator like Shift - it could be worth trying out again. Ultimately, what really sucks is that each app has it’s own notification system. A shared protocol would be Dandy. I guess iOS solves some of that.. just need to re-assess this. A persistent notification hub would be helpful.

Adaptive preferences
@February 4, 2022 7:52 AM (EDT)

Adaptive preferences: learning to like whatever situation you are in.. A life in a boring suburb adds friction to certain city amenities, making it easier to focus

The calendar heat-map
@February 3, 2022 6:04 PM (EDT)

Visualizing your time spent in a 2D grid might be an unknown superpower. Knowing numerical values isn’t that useful in understanding your behavior/lifestyle. A color-coded heat map lets you understand your focus work, creative work, side project work, meals, sleep, and meta-planning, all in one view, instantly. It’s information dense, and is a canvas to intercept principles to test next week.

Go for a walk
@February 3, 2022 1:34 PM (EDT)

Nietzsche: "Sit as little as possible; give credence to no thought that is not born in the open air and accompanied by free movement -- in which the muscles do not also celebrate a feast.”

A range of covers in a single genre
@February 3, 2022 11:42 AM (EDT)

Realized this morning that I could be covering songs from a whole range of genres, but then uniting them a new, singular voice. Two songs, from two independent genres, can be rendered in a common style to show the similarities between them (ie: a 1952 Johnny Cash song and a 2012 Deerhunter song).

The challenge of parallel deliverables
@February 2, 2022 7:10 PM (EDT)

My morning routine has been unsuccessful this week. The theory is that I can do a quick boot-up, go through task-stacks, and then boot into writing. Hasn’t worked yet. There’s some weird avoidance or kink in the pipeline. To my credit, I probably did write over 1,000 words this morning, but my challenge is in expanding and having “expression cycles” run concurrently. How can I post a daily log, a daily essay, an imitation, a sketch, and a demo, EVERY day? Is that possible? Is that insane? (yes).. Perhaps it’s possible, but only by layering on one thing at a time, and only once a system is shock-resistant.

Assigning work for your future self
@February 2, 2022 7:09 PM (EDT)

One skill is having the discipline to write things down for your future self to do, but another skill is learning how to ignore and defy instructions between your past self.

Kerouac quotes
@February 2, 2022 3:38 PM (EDT)

“I'm writing this book because we're all going to die.” Kerouac
“My life is a vast and insane legend reaching everywhere without beginning or ending...“ - Jack Kerouac

The logloglog rabbit hole
@February 2, 2022 12:10 PM (EDT)

“I got sucked down your logloglog rabbit hole. just ordered the Red Book for my ski trip this weekend...” Pretty neat. It’s shows how opening up your head, unfiltered, online, can be a social act.

Peak experiences
@February 2, 2022 12:06 PM (EDT)

Post-it capture: Explaining “capture” to Danielle. Throughout the day, there are certain “peaks” of interest, motivation, emotion, or awe. It’s worth catching this stuff before it fades and gets forgotten. It’s powerful when you can look back on a day or week, and remember all of the things that bubbled up and triggered an “I-should-remember-that” moment. This is powerful fuel for a kind of vision/planning session. Shaping actions based on the things you capture is the kind of process that can change the direction of your life (in subtle but significant ways).

Rising standards in video quality
@February 2, 2022 10:43 AM (EDT)

What will the average video quality be in 15 years from now? and better question: will photo-realistic avatars become normal in remote communication? I’ve signed into Google Hangouts as a Nintendo-64 looking avatar, and it threw the others off. It’s abnormal. It’s a point for conversation. But in 15 years, these avatars could be indistinguishable from ourselves. When the difference is negligible, will there be reasons for it to be normalized?

Inspiration is perishable
@February 2, 2022 10:41 AM (EDT)

At one point two weeks, I was doing a David Whyte impression for 30 minute straight while driving. Now, I sort of dread showing up to do this impression. Catch it while it’s hot.

Everything gets meme'd
@February 2, 2022 9:29 AM (EDT)

Culture and amnesia collaborate to turn works of peak human achievement into Spongebob memes.. Sorry Simon and Garfunkle

Active imagination
@February 2, 2022 8:43 AM (EDT)

It’s worth getting back into the practice of “active imagination,” a type of meditation that goes beyond breathe focus. It really reminds me of a kind of biological virtual reality. You feel like your “presence” is transported to a place. The neat part about the Own Your Magic course was understanding that these environments are actually a field for you to “summon” symbols from the subconscious, interact with them, and “edit” them.

That’s some ninja shit and I’m rusty. But what did I try just now? (worth documenting the process of rebooting):

  • 3 deep breathes, sink into darkness, block incoming thoughts
  • Engage touch; imagine moving your hand over a cold railing
  • Engage sound; you’re on a beach and you hear the ocean
  • Engage perspective; turn your “astral” head left/right, close/far
  • Move your “astral” toes, within your shoes, so you can feel your socks

All these micro-moves, when mastered, basically trick the mind into thinking it’s actually in another place. Carl Jung mastered this. He did it for 30 years, and wrote much of it in his “Red Book.” It got intense for him, he’d encounter recurring “entities,” and it pushed him to the edge of his sanity. But in the end he found it massively rewarding, and even argued that active imagination is one of the best methods towards “individuation: the process of surfacing complexes within the subconscious and synthesizing them into a harmonic whole.

The challenge of specific constraints
@February 2, 2022 8:39 AM (EDT)

Momentum on “specific constraints” is harder to maintain than momentum to just show up and publish.

Delayed publishing
@February 2, 2022 8:37 AM (EDT)

What if a thought needs to be private for 24 hours before you post it? So basically you have a capture flow, and your dumping as much as you can throughout the day; but then these ideas re-emerge on the carousal tomorrow, where you decide [archive, edit, share]

Ambient community capture
@February 2, 2022 8:13 AM (EDT)

“Ambient capture” is the process of taking note of ideas, thoughts, or conversations that are already happening. This is a Write of Passage principle taught at the scale of the individual. It’s about scribbling down shower thoughts, or saving a link when you happen to come across it.

But what does this look like at the community scale?

Within a Write of Passage cohort, there is an ocean of valuable thinking across many mediums that basically disappears when the cohort is over. Think of all of the original ideas that are emerging: within Circle, the Mentors, the Community Stewards, in breakout rooms, through the live session chat.. What would it look like if we captured everything?

The whole thing could be organized in Notion. Is it possible to refine these captured insights into short essays around the writing process that are valuable to current and future students?

The spectrum of capturing
@February 2, 2022 8:13 AM (EDT)

  1. Dump: it feels good to write things down and never look at them. It's cathartic. (ie: Julia Cameron's Artists Way)
  2. Reflect: it feels good to look back to the past and remember what happened (ie: a 3-year journal)
  3. Share: it feels good to share my inputs with others and have conversations around them (ie: Twitter)
  4. Create: it feels good to synthesize my inputs into a polished output (ie: writing essays)

Meditation + note-taking
@February 1, 2022 11:06 PM (EDT)

Imagine a meditation feature within a note-taking app. It could support breathing and inward reflection, yet immediately after, you have tools to log what came up.

The Recirculator
@February 1, 2022 11:03 PM (EDT)

Capture might just be part 1 of a 2-part process.. at a minimum, each block capture should be looked at, at least once, and at least 1-2 days after the point of capture.. at a minimum, there are 3 actions:

  • archive
  • preserve (save/edit)
  • share

The act of reviewing your notes often feels like maintenance. “Inbox Zero” thinking feels like work, and only PKM-heads and organized people will be diligent enough to stay on top of a growing pile of thoughts.

What if it were an “carousel” instead of an “Inbox.” What if we gamified the process of reviewing and processing original ideas? What would it feel like to use Tinder or TikTok, but for your own original thoughts? That kind of UI is proven to hack the psyche. If the psyche is hacked to create a recursive loop on your own ideas, is it sleezy or transcendental?

sensorsyslog wrote out the benefits of a “recirculator” after our conversation:

”A few things that do seem pretty good about the recirculator:

  1. It is useful to repeatedly remind yourself with practices for it's good for habit forming, especially if it's combined with notifications.
  2. It is useful to repeatedly remind yourself with information for spaced repetition memorization.
  3. It is useful to repeatedly prompt yourself with ideas for reflection.
  4. It would be pretty interesting to see what other people are prompting themselves to think about or practice.
  5. Good reminder/habit/prompt/reflection packs are presumably useful to optimize and share with other people.”

The mutation of language
@February 1, 2022 7:56 PM (EDT)

The Internet is a new frontier of language mutation.. there are incentives to warp, cut, abbreviate, and combine; all for the purpose of creating novel phrases. These words are memetic/viral, but sometimes they can point back to the original founder of the phrase. It would be fascinating to see a graph of the 20th and 21st century (once it’s over) that measures “innovation” in language.

Huxley's dystopia, but with peer-to-peer brainwashing
@February 1, 2022 7:45 PM (EDT)

We each harness the tools for mass-hypnosis and we’re aiming them against each other.

This is where Orwell and Huxley were wrong. Orwell predicted government brute-force. Huxley predicated top-down propaganda, leisure, and entertainment. But a step beyond Huxley’s dystopia (which some corners of Twitter are in), is a landscape where each individual is a hypnosis machine. Every person has tools of mass-distribution in their pockets, and they’re being used to shape language, value, culture, and ethics, so that others remain in their orbit.

The utility of templates
@February 1, 2022 7:14 PM (EDT)

Are templates a way to understand the principles of composition? Or are they a cheap way to automate craft and hack psychology?

Emerson translated for Internet Culture
@February 1, 2022 2:40 PM (EDT)

How does Emerson’s essay “Self-Reliance” relate to the Internet? It has to do with combatting mimesis. The Internet presents this new opportunity for creators, and the bulk who are starting out approach it by emulating strategies that have worked for others. But the courage do things your own way, in a manner that hasn’t been tested before, is more likely to work for you, and take you where you need to be. This is where the phrase “trust falling into the Internet” comes into play. It’s about trusting the self to exist as you should despite the fact that you’re the only one doing it

Initiating logloglog
@February 1, 2022 8:19 AM (EDT)

How you boot up in the morning will affect how you capture throughout the day.



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