Logs | 2023-05-May

May 31st, 2023

8:39 pm — Avatar: The Last Airbender = Lord of the Rings x Hey Arnold. Throw in some Pokemon. Also hints of Star Wars, Buddhism, Dragonball Z, the Matrix, and Nazi Germany. Feels like a kids cartoon embodying myths and archetypes. Has a 97-100% on Rotten Tomatoes. Some reviews say it’s the “best show ever created by Nickelodeon.”

6:46 pm — Another profound, but obvious, and hard to embody truth: thoughts are like wind gusts. Each thought is bound to evaporate, but it’s your subconscious choice to stay lodged in it.

5:40 pm — Surprised to learn that all of the Beatles (besides Paul), had negative memories of recording Sgt. Peppers.

May 30th, 2023

12:49 pm — If you tell someone meditating to ‘focus on your breathing’ for a minute, chances are, their thoughts will wander. Zoom in on the instructions. Focus on just 1 inhale, from the moment you start to tue moment you end. Good. Now again. Notice how both the scope is specific and interval is shortened? This is an exercise lesson that can apply to other domains too.

12:42 pm — Open attention, undistracted attention, malleable attention.

12:36 pm —

“I think you’ll find that it’s worth it.”

This is the last line of the Start Here recording in the Waking Up app. A copywriter would cut the “I think.” Be direct! But this subtlety adds a lot for me personally. It shows nuance and care. An app creator who isn’t 100% sure you’ll gain value is honest, realistic, and maybe even open to feedback on how to make it more worthwhile for more people. A writer who is 100% sure of everything they’re saying likely isn’t self-aware enough to find and move past blind spots. Hedges, to me, show signs of honesty and rigor. Someone who is dubious of their own claims is a critical thinker.

May 29th, 2023

10:12 am — WIRED on Douglas Rushkoff

”For as long as I’d followed Rushkoff’s work, I had seen circling within it the twin wolves of criticism and hope, kept apart and alive in a way no other writers in the tech world have managed. Now the lupine duel has finally resolved, and the cyberwolf of techno-optimism registers its final processes as it lies twitching in a pool of its own coolant.”

9:41 am — “Real moron shit” as a coined phrase.

9:36 am — These logs are going to help train a chatbot. There’s a paranoia that says “paywall the logs.” Anything public will get devoured by bot scrapers.

9:34 am — The beauty of a log is that you don’t need to worry about context. There’s no one to bring up to peed. They’re notes to self, shared.

9:14 pm — I want to try the “log everything you think experiment” for one day.” I wonder if June 1 is the genesis. The start of a new yuga.

1:06 pm — How long has it been since I wrote a great string of sentences? I’ve been distracted and sick.

11:16 am — Attention is a beam, which can also focus on itself and short-circuit. Reminds me of the time when I first learned meditation, and suddenly I felt the need to consciously control every breathe.

1:47 am — Write through good times and bad times.

1:39 am — Drafts even has a typewriter mode, we can keep the text cursor in the center, and everything flows up the page.

1:34 am — Thanks Garrett for the Drafts app recommendation. It feels like a power-app for mobile note-taking. You can fully customize little things like the visuals of the text editor. It’s probably the best mobile text composer out of any of the popular apps (Evernote, Notion, etc). You can even drag and drop to arrange bullets in a simple way.

May 28th, 2023

9:04 am — Bandwidth! This should be starting point of any system or lifestyle change. How much time do you really have? It’s a critical nuance, that’s never captured in the simple meme. But it’s an important filter for relevance. So many ideas sound good as meme, but only makes sense if you already have X experience, or Y hours of free time per week. The 2nd Brain system for someone with 3 hours a week to spare should like totally different than someone with 30 hours a week.

9:03 am — While I don’t like the idea of using Zettlekasten as my general purpose note-taking system, I think it could be valuable for specific, deep research projects. Thinking of starting an Obsidian for my reading on the origins of Christianity.

6:45 am — Maybe I need a dream journal. Another complete assault of clear and specific dreams: a cafeteria full of creatures, a debate on blogs, prepping for presentations, lucid plant visuals, a safari. Also noticed odd vibrations in the head. Break this down.

May 27th, 2023

11:48 — Great precession at the New Jersey Botanical Gardens. The first zone has low-to-the-ground flower species, and it’s filled with bees and insects. Then you walk across a long plane, within a clean axis of trees, under the canopy of the sky. The axis resolves in a semi-circle, including 4 epic (deteriorating) statues, with benches in between, all under the canopy of 60’ trees, where birds live within. 3 zones, each one articulated and differentiated according to the function: welcome, walk, rest. (Bonus: next to the rest zone is the swamp world with frogs, turtles, and loose snakes).

11:34 am — This swamp has been on loop for 50 million years.

11:22 am — Thinking of landscape architecture as SML objects within a plane. Small: flower. Medium: bush. Large: Tree. Each SML object is a vertical object, and there are two horizontal planes, each which have a binary state. Below you: paving/grass (manmade/natural). Above you: sky/cover. These are the tools of composition that you can use to detail the program (the intended use of the space).

11:19 am — You don’t have to do any work to appreciate a botanical garden. You can just park and roll in. Trails requires labor. The uphill hike makes the overlook better (at a chemical level). Imagine an oasis (a masterfully designed garden) that’s only accessible through an extreme, rugged, untamed hike.

11:18 am — That high-pitched shrieking machine outside the botanical garden really kills the vibe.

11:14 am — Landscaping moves (Picture This app):

  • Bridalwreath at the sides of a bench

  • Dogweed trees in the center of a courtyard

  • Cypress bush (10’ tall) behind a bench

  • Boxwood shrubs as a natural fence

  • Purple bearded iris

  • Small camas

  • Venus dogwood

10:11 am — Forgiveness is both a selfish and selfless act.

10:10 am — Psychic constitution = wisdom acrued into a shape.

May 26th, 2022

7:12 pm — All you can do is steer the kayak and enjoy the view.

3:02 pm — Meditation, marijuana, and psychedelics exist on the same spectrum; they have varying intensities, but share a goal. They are language de-conditioning agents. Meditation is the most gentle. Through shifting attention from language to the body, our calcified thought structures weaken, so new constellations can form. Psychedelics function as an instant-purge, a chemical erasure. Marijuana loosens without wiping.

3:01 pm — Why does our language tend to guide us into invisible thought prisons? Because the brain latches. It’s easy to conceive something, hard to get it right, and even harder to unlatch.

3:00 pm — Language hijacked the monkey mind. Out of the millions of species, we were both the benefactor and victim of language. Hand-picked from the Animal Kingdom, and propelled away from our cousins and nature, and into a world of abstraction.

1:46 pm — The overlook hits because the eye suddenly sees hundreds of times further. From the compression of woods to the expansion of horizon. Also taking in the view: a territorial bee, a salamander chewing on a fly, ants, and a hidden bug making a loud weird sound. This is it. Most of life on Earth was this exact situation. A vista unappreciated. The game of survival, not knowing anything else exists.

12:07 pm — Jump off things when you can.

12:06 pm — Nature is immersive, chaotic, infinite art. Sensory stimuli is all around you, in all directions, and sometimes the randomness & patterns coagulate into something awe-striking.

12:05 pm — Sound bath.

11:56 am — How can you sustain the glow of an epiphany? Slogans have half-lives.

11:51 am — So much anxiety comes from trying to anticipate. Whether it’s worry about your health, your career, or an essay you’re stuck on. It’s a subtle, sometimes invisible worry, that can be as simple as, “what will I do on vacation?” Handle things when they come. Have faith in your destiny. Silence anticipation. Anticipation is the root problem. How can I frame this in a positive? What’s the opposite of “stop anticipating?” Be here now?

Isn’t it funny how my crystallization of the problem feels like an epiphany, but the solution feels like a loaded and tired cliche? (“Be here now.”) What does this say? Syntax is cursed. Behind the meme, which carries all sorts of baggage and caricatures, is a profound lesson. We judge the meme without embodying it ourselves.

11:50 am — After a meditation sessions, open your eyes, but remain completely still for a minute.

11:39 am — An AI-powered app that can read through a Reddit post with 1.9k comments, find the unique perspectives within them, and summarize each.

11:38 am — Playing in the dirt is better than having an iPhone.

11:35 am — How intricate would it be to set up a 3D soundscape in my apartment? Imagine 5 speakers and a digital floor plan of your place. By dropping a ‘sound object’ on the plan, it plays that sounds through all the speakers, but the volume is determined on each one based on the distance. I’m sure this exists.

10:35 am — No phone at the breakfast table. Nature is a better distraction. Out the window you see glimmering water, majestic birds, and Babe Ruth’s favorite retreat bar. The eye pings from sight to sight instead of app to app. Attention always wants an outlet. While natural stimuli rejuvenate, synthetic stimuli confine.

10:12 am — Better Than Faith

8:40 am — This morning I had an ability to slip in and out of dreams. Not sure why. Maybe this is the effect of a brain winding down, or maybe it’s because I’m in a new place in a new bed. I must’ve had 10+ intricate detailed dreams; each woke me, and then I slipped right back into a different scene. There were shared themes of graduation though — and of course, the classic: it’s the last week of school and I totally forgot about this one class and have nothing to show for it.

6:20 am — Through the morning bird songs, a motorcycle from Manhattan pierces through. Light comes through floral sheen curtains into a Victorian bed & breakfast (a 5-bedroom residential converted and passed down to the family’s kids).

6:18 am — You read Mrs. Dalloway, and you feel — wow — such a resolution was captured. It makes you think how much of your own experience never goes through the phase change of language. It’s this book that proves to me how pictures and videos are pale next to the word. It motivates me to want to capture my own life. 

6:15 am — Mrs. Dalloway is a book of Jazz.

May 25th, 2023

3:40 pm — A weekend of rest, 2 weeks of setup, and then a new publishing habit begins.

3:39 pm — Don’t nervously and prematurely plot a detailed future. Have an ounce of self trust.

3:38 pm — Greenwood Lake. 9 miles long (as big as the smallest finger lake). A little known town 80 minutes west of NYC. It’s peaceful here. Could I imagine living here? It’s an alternate to Long Island. What’s the reality of living here though? It’s easy to get seduced by a 10-minute impression on a perfect day. Why would it suck to live here? (Probably the harsh winters). What’s the benefit of actually living here vs. just visiting here frequently?

10:47 am — Almost nothing is in the foreseeable future. A new era of hyper logging begins!

May 24th, 2023

7:40 pm — Write a vision for your future self that you can unlock through publishing (prompt)

  • The bandwidth to pursue what I want

  • High-quality audience of collaborators

  • Honest, passive income from creative work

  • Space for family, friends, and nature excursions

  • Endless path on self-actualization

  • A body of work that cuts through time

4:37 pm — Bandwidth matters. Practical advice for “how to write online” changes radically depending on your time availability. 5 hours, 15 hours, 30 hours, and 60 hours are completely different games.

9:58 pm — Copywriters are the real estate agents of the written word.

May 23rd, 2023

8:00pm — Feta cheese poisoning (when you eat two 6” blocks in under 10 minutes).

May 22nd, 2023

8:00 pm — John Lennon (as retold by Bowie)

“Say what you mean, make it rhyme, put a backbeat to it.”

10:13 am — Worth understanding the feedback loops of a hypochondriac before taking psychedelics.

9:12 am — I feel excitement brewing for a big project. I want to write about the ‘historicity’ of Christ. Historicity is a branch that separates real events from myth, legend, and fiction. This is all downstream of providing a better interpretation of the Dead Sea Scrolls (and St. Paul’s role with the Essenes). It’s a sensitive subject, considering a hefty chunk of their world builds their identity around a supernatural event. I want to de-emphasize the ‘supernatural’ side of Christ, but revive the ‘mythic’ or ‘psychic’ relevance of Christ. It’s not a debunk / tear-down piece. It’s a new avenue for a kind of Jungian Christianity. 

12:25 am — I’ve noticed a marketing trend. Promo reels often live in this generic cloud of “why,” leaving us with no idea on what the actual product is. We’ve overcorrected on the slogan “don’t sell the features, sell the effects,” and now simple software products are branding themselves as low-grade psychedelics. Tell me what the thing does! If I can’t grasp one critical feature worth upgrading for, I’m not going to sign up to “cure my loneliness forever.” Sometimes these videos assault the ‘marketing intelligence’ of the general public, as if we solely operate from our Reptilian brain, or as if we’re a swarm of lust-seeking mosquitos, solely navigating life by following bright objects in the dark depths of a feed.

May 21st, 2023

10:32 pm — Social media is “performative.”

This is in the marketing for Airchat, and I think it’s the perfect word to describe the problem with social media. The problem isn’t the business model, the advertisers, the content moderation policies, the algorithm, or Elon Musk. The problem is every network devolves into a game of American Idol — the normal person has a shot to be a mini-celebrity. Why does this happen? What’s going on? 

It’s a problem with the architecture of the social graph. There hasn’t been any serious innovation (to my knowledge) in the social graph since the dawn. The friend request, the follow — these concepts have been foundational since the late 1990s. Why? Could these be the problem?

To put it simple, a 1:1 social graph destroys the context and nuance we have in our in-person social lives. Any person has a range of contexts — their family, their bandmates, their church, their school, their Dungeons and Dragons fanclub. Whatever that looks like for you, the contexts you’re in alter the things you share with this people. But you lose all sense of segmentation on social media. Everyone is a 1:1 follow — so now that when you post something, it gets seen by everyone, across all your groups. This is highly unnatural. It forces 3 hands, 1) you write bland things that appeal to everyone, 2) you go the Kanye route and share hot takes regardless of the audience, 3) you become a lurker (99% of people do this).

The highest leverage fix of social media would be to change how people connect. I don’t just subscribe to Tucker — I subscribe to Tucker’s streams. After I click “follow,” I get a pop up with checkboxes. “Here’s what Tucker’s into.” Maybe there’s 24 checkboxes, and I opt-in for 6 of them. My feed is amazing. Tucker has no self-consciousness. It’s a win-win.

This requires people to categorize their content, which is a new behavior. It would be tricky to kickstart it. But the company’s success metric should be “Weekly Active Posters.” The fact that current social media compare measure success by “users” and not “posters” is revealing. It leads to an American Idol culture, where an upper tier of creators become objects of addiction for the 99%. What does a society look like when more than 50% of people actually post? How would society feel if you’re actually in meaningful contact with 3rd cousins and acquaintances?

However it happens, the main shift needed is a shift from “performative” to (actual) connection.

9:44 pm — Qualities of a good title:

  • It’s lean, not long-winded — it’s a short adaptable term you can use in a sentence: The gossip trap by Erik Hoel

  • It’s visual, not vague — it lets you make sense of an idea through an existing metaphor: The Waluigi Effect by Cleo Nardo

  • It’s phonetic, not flat — it rings when you say it out loud (from alliteration, rhyme, syllabic patterns): The Casino and the Genie by The Generalist

  • It’s mysterious, not mundane — it’s unresolved, making you curious to click in: The End of Organizing by Dan Shipper

May 19th, 2023

12:39 pm — (practicing the dark art of Twitter)

I rewrote the best 10% of Cat’s Cradle.

Here are 73 diagrams to help you see the magic behind Kurt Vonnegut’s writing:

10:12 am — Grogged-out: a phrase for someone who is at their max level of grogginess.

May 18th, 2023

4:52 pm — Always be an 8/10. If you think you’re a 10/10, you’re complacent, and have no vision on how to improve. If you’re under a 5/10, you’re wildly off the mark. An 8/10 with the drive to improve builds momentum. The last 2/10 is hard! (Probably harder than the base 8/10). In that pursuit of perfection, you have to learn a lot of new things, and as you do, your taste accelerates. Your taste almost always accelerates faster than your ability to execute. It’s easy to have a vision, but hard to execute it across every facet of a system. So the 10/10 you aim for is actually an invisible, moving target. By the time you actually hit your original sense of a ’10’ — you now have a clear idea of how to make it a ’13.’ So if you’re a 10/13, you’re basically back at an 8/10. Always be an 8/10 with the urge to improve.

12:32 pm — The consequence of adventure: a story about shy, polite kid with Jack Kerouac as his role model. He goes on a roadtrip, and through the Butterfly effect, his well-intentioned actions end up killing millions of people. A dark comedy.

12:31 pm — Delirious at the diner. The ketchup bottle is vibrating in place. What’s going on? Is there some rattling AC in the basement? Am I the one vibrating? Or, maybe all matters consists of electrons vibrating in place and for the first time I’m veering into the truth through a Heinz logo.

10:01 am — Project idea: An auto-biography for paid subscribers. The goal here isn’t to make money off it. I just simply want to write this, and yet, don’t want it visible to the whole Internet. I basically want to write a detailed history of my life and family history, so that my chatbot has context around my life experiences. 

10:00 am — At the baby showers of defense contractors, they gift little spoons shaped like military planes.

8:28 am — Could Reddit be a tool for audience growth? Of course, it’s not about blind machine gun link posting. But if you can find some communities you actually like, be active there, and make a presence — could it lead to growth?

May 16th, 2023

7:11 pm — Is there an opportunity to leave awesome YouTube comments or write long-form responses to podcasts?

9:24 am — It is a privilege to have any sort of control over your life. Be grateful in those stretches. You can savor them, without expecting or plotting for them to last forever. A life that is maximized for ‘total freedom’ is free from commitment, and while that sounds appealing in some respects, it also misses out on lots of the meaning and satisfaction that comes from commitment. Yet, a life that is totally tangled in commitment can lead to the suffocation of the self. I wonder if the middle road is ‘intermittent freedom.’ There are cycles of on-time and off-time. 

9:16 am — Get the thorns on the page.

9:14 am — Be careful when the mind turns into a chamber of thorns. Even if you dip in with good intentions, it gets rattled and spirals, and before you know it you’re fully immersed in some paranoid daydream. Weird to say, but in conditions like this, introspection isn’t the best cure — it’s distraction. I get why people want to mute or dampen their consciousness — because the inner landscape isn’t always a great place to be. I’m fortunate that my mind rarely gets like this (once every X years?) — but damn, imagine if that’s the default state? … Not sure where I’m going with this — maybe it’s the value of spiraling into a hole? (Assuming you have the ability to get out). If you fall in and come back, you return with empathy for others who are struggling. It’s not some abstract funk. It’s a real, tangible, hell.

May 15th, 2023

10:04 pm — A scene is a device to make a point. You can’t just “show” a scene, it needs to reveal something. The advice “show, don’t tell,” is a bit of a misnomer. You need to tell! Sure, there are times when new writers *only* tell, and you need to nudge them to pour some vision onto the page. But in reality, you need [tell>show>tell] loops, otherwise, your stories lack context or implications. They fall into the “so what?” field.

May 14th, 2023

10:45 am — Make amazing work, and make sure people see it.

May 13th, 2023

4:31 pm — Victor Hugo

“No force on earth can stop an idea whose time has come”

2:08 am — I’ve heard some people nonchalantly say, “seems like open-source AI is the way things are moving.” Aren’t open-source AI models a serious problem? Do we trust the average person to train their own LLM and then release them as autonomous agents with no tuning or tweaking? This feels like the disaster vector. 

9:22 am — How would you compress the entire history of western civilization through memes?

May 10th, 2023

11:09 am — When publishing cost blood — (stories from the East Village in the 1960s).

10:49 am — Writing exercise: write a descriptive paragraph where the last sentence is an absurd twist. Use the next paragraph to expand on the twist, and then end on another twist. (At a diner > I realize I’m a lizard) — (I’m not just a lizard > I’m a violent lizard) — (I’m not just a violent lizard > I’m etc.)

10:08 am — The song “Electricity” by Captain Beefheart is chilling. Especially the clip of him playing it on a beach in LA, where a crowd lines up along a boardwalk, single-file, to watch from a distance.

May 9th, 2023

6:16 pm — Lyrically, starting with ‘gather round’ has been cliche. It’s an old folk thing, and then Dylan used in The Times Are Changing. When you hear the Byrds do it, you think, these guys too? So how do you invert a cliche like that? When you hear that opener, you expect to dive into some Americana story about ‘old boy Floyd.’ What could you do instead? Some weirdly specific details about the speaker?

4:38 pm — Songwriting tip to self: Verses are visual, strange, and specific. The chorus is flipped and simple (ie: who do you love?). The phrase on its own is flat and lifeless, but it can be brought to life through the specificity of the verses.

4:12 pm — The idea of co-writing essay with other creators. Back and forth through text and zoom calls, then co-publish together. 

4:11 pm — The pleasure of “rehearing” an old song you used to love. Norwegian Wood comes on. Of course. Beatles, sitar, yes. At a certain point, it becomes obvious, and you forget that wonder of hearing it. Then it comes back years later — in a different environment, in a different life circumstance, and whoa! You notice the slightest things (the bass in Norwegian intro is neat, the lyrics hit differently, etc.).

3:56 pm — Look into the cultural influence of Tomorrow Never Knows. It’s the closing of Revolver; the last song of the “early Beatles.” The opening lyrics are “turn off your mind, relax and float downstream, it is not dying.” This is from the Tibetan Book of the Dead, and also general advice for easing into psychedelic experiences. Reminds of me of a girl in the freshman year of college who took shrooms (accidentally?) and thought she was dying.

2:08 pm — A god meme is true, useful, and viral. Think of how “pineal gland” doesn’t stick the same way that “third eye” sticks. The idea of it being an “eye” is untrue, but it’s equally useful, and more viral.

1:01 pm — The idea to “resist an urge” is a misnomer. If you have to prevent yourself from doing something, you might’ve already lost. You’re catching the issue downstream, and now you’re trying to suck yourself out of some temptation. The trick is to keep your consciousness upstream. Exist in a clear state, where unconscious urges don’t have the space to bubble up. This idea of “Christ consciousness” is an always-on presence. 

12:50 pm — Is it useful for a writer have tagged and organized information? 2 years ago I would’ve said yes. I’m a compulsive organizer and it can be debilitating. But with AI powered note-taking systems that seem to be telepathic, are tags useful? Basically, I can write a paragraph, and then it can scan millions of words and connect me with the good stuff (this is called semantic search). If you have this kind of matchmaking ability, why tag? Like I could write a script to read each log and automatically generate a knowledge graph, but what good is that graph anymore? I’m tempted to get into “knowledge visualization,” but matchmaking feels more immediately useful to aid the writing process.

10:43 am — A slinky-bug with nearly 10,000 legs sprinted towards my bare feet on the kitchen floor. It was faster than Roomba, but slow enough that I could squash it with a paper towel before it could retreat under a crevice. I looked into my paper towel. You always have to look, otherwise you don’t know if it somehow escaped. The guts were invisible. Legs disintegrated. Surprising, since this thing was built to run. All that remained was the brown smut of a job done. 

10:41 am — — Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Self-Reliance”

“Speak your latent conviction . . . Else tomorrow a stranger will say with masterly good sense precisely what we have thought and felt all the time, and we shall be forced to take with shame our own opinion from another.”

May 8th, 2023

11:22 pm — A Doom virus is “paradigm-ending” panic that spreads. Nuclear war. The death of banks. Whatever the trending apocalypse is, when someone gets the “this is the end of the way things used to be,” there’s a weird compulsion to share that message. The doom seizes the mind in a host:client relationship. A suddenly normal person now warns everyone of an impending collapse, and seems to derive some twisted satisfaction of being a messenger.

11:18 pm — Be careful of audio apps that summarize your ideas and disarm your voice. Could be useful to remember and plot the beats of a winding ramble. But don’t trust summarization tools for your sentences. It’s computer prose. Use computers, use AI, but always be critical of the output. Don’t succumb to the wonder of instant AI output (the Eliza effect).

4:01 pm — Good product is subtlety compounded. But drop “product.” EVERYTHING around you is subtlety compounded. We take trains without knowing the decades of small engineering decisions that made this commute possible. The awe of a mountain range comes from millions of years of imperceivable growth. There isn’t a thing in the man-made or natural-world you can look at that doesn’t have a deep and mysterious backstory. It infuses the mundane with a dose of respect and humility. I’m a borrower and moocher of everything.

4:00 pm — Maybe you walk by the same spot everyday.  It’s always there, like a persistent background visual. But one day your circumstance changes, and you never see that spot again. Maybe you move. It’s gone, and what was once a stable thing falls into the unreliability of you memory.

I can close my eyes and see sights of the U. Miami campus or my dad’s old second floor office. The vision is somewhat based on what I experienced, but so much of the details are filled in by the imagination.

Each time, the memory deteriorates. You start having memories of memories of memories. One day you go back to that original spot from a decade ago, and it’s unrecognizable. Knowing this — everything you see has a paradoxical beauty. The mundane can awe-striking, yet also so insignificant that it won’t survive through the compression of your memory.

10:18 am — Intelligence is your ability to win a game, but wisdom is your ability to know which games are worth playing.

May 7th, 2023

10:21 am — Best practices for writing Replit code through GPT-4:

  • State template & import the ReadMe and .replit files.

  • Ask to provide full code instead of steps.

  • Start with the hello world (get the simplest version working)

  • After source code is in — ask for upgrades to specific files. 

9:02 am — I’m working on a split-screen text editor demo — the left side is “live text” and the right side is “symbolic text.”

Live editor is what the user sees. Symbolic is in a kind of pseudo-HTML. It should show tags at the end of each sentence, and tags at the end of each paragraph. It should also recognize the “line number” for the text editor (like in coding).

For each object, it should be able to determine the starting and ending lines for each paragraph, so it can render reverse outlines on the side.

May 6th, 2023

6:57 pm — Writing online makes you discoverable.

9:22 am — Don’t be elusive.

8:52 am — If you’re going to watch short-form video, at least log your reflections as you do it. Otherwise, nothing is retained.

8:17 am — Dreams of dreams logging into phone.

May 5th, 2023

6:40 pm — I wonder what the unraveling of Epstein’s story has done to the world’s stance on conspiracies. There’s probably a higher tolerance to it. If someone shills out some theory on secret power structures, the answer shifted from “this guys nuts” to “who knows.” 

6:39 pm — Someone’s philosophy of ‘leftovers’ might tie to their childhood. If you were always encouraged to finish your plate, and take seconds, then you’re probably used to just licking the plate clean. This isn’t useful when you’re eating out and the portions are 2-3x a proper serving size.

5:30 pm — We refer to our original creative works as “content.” This proves we’re living in the paradigm of the software developer. In a UI mockup, “content” is a design spec. It’s a programmatic feature of the app. It has to be designed to accommodate whatever the user is uploading. Content is featureless. It’s blank, it has an aspect ratio, and maybe a hover state. This kind of language expresses the differing incentives between those who create and use apps. The “content creator” isn’t a working artist, they’re being used.

It’s tough for an app creator to align a vision of society with a business model. They’re defining the rules for the content that artists create. They want quick addictive quips. That’s what sucks attention and sells ads. 

The goal of an artist is to spread the goosebumps. The goosebumps don’t scale. Once you get them, your nervous system is overloaded, and you exit the app to reflect on it. It’s a win for the creator and consumer, but not the platform. Instead, apps are designed to incentive content that isn’t too intense, and part of a revolving, forgettable carousel, giving the users an Endless Tickle.

5:24 pm — The value of taking notes on post-its is that they cause physical clutter and inconvenience. You want them in your way. It forces you to deal with shit. I’ll put post its on my keyboard, on my mouse, and sometimes on the monitor itself. When you make your to-dos physical, you have a visual representation of how slammed your mind is. Purging posts has a real cleansing effect. A clean desk means there’s nothing to remember and nothing to do.

5:20 pm — Poetry stings with meaning.

3:40 pm — Creatively disgusting (my description of the AI-generated pizza apocalypse video).

1:09 pm — Dreaming of a social media feed that’s generated through writing. As in, the main UI is a text editor, and as you post paragraphs, it pulls up old posts from Twitter & Substack that are related to your current thought stream. This doesn’t optimize for recency, but semantic relevance (yes!). It would be even better if you can’t access the feed until you post! When you make a post, the feed unlocks, and they’re all semi-related to the thing you just wrote. 

9:24 am — New York City is a noise barrage after being in beveled slide land.

9:23 am — I don’t want to publish and that’s fine. I’m at 13% and charging; building potential energy for next chapter.

9:08 am — Strangers melt away like imaginary ghosts. “Melt away.” Cliche line. I hate this sentence, but the feeling is real. I’d like to see a graph of all the people I’ve ever seen, and the # of times I’ve ever seen them. I’ve probably seen my wife a million times, but seen another million people only 1 time (let’s not count people seen at stadiums).

9:06 am — Writers — be careful of your conceptual limitations! Most people probably don’t even sense it. I’ve held myself to a high bar of a “platonic essay,” and yet, no one else probably feels the difference between essays, newsletters, and logs. We’re often in our own head with this. 

8:37 am — Content is cigarettes, art is a psychedelic. Dopamine vs goosebumps. Addictive and forgetful, vs. seer into your memory and reflect on it for weeks. 

May 4th, 2023

3:10 pm — These AI-generated advertisements are nightmarish. Write them out. Naked Lunch style.

12:42 pm - Simple philosophy for building out features in code:

  • Get it working

  • Get it right

  • Get it to scale

  • Get it integrated

10:06 am — Idea: imagine if your 2nd brain was simply your social graph — so when you sign up you connect your Twitter and Substack — and all the content from all your followers is scraped.

8:23 am — CSV is 2D, JSON is 3D.

May 3rd, 2023

9:16 pm — Robert Caro has very high quality standards. He’d rather die than rush a book that’s below his quality bar.

9:09 pm — Blues Clues moment: in a cohort-based course, when you ask a question to the audience, pause, and give them space to reflect.

4:02 pm — Unlike any other medium, music has the ability to put you in a trance possession state, where you find yourself moving and speaking without even being conscious of it.

4:01 pm — Standup comedy is the corpse of spoken poetry. (Dramatic statement). I’d be curious to trace the lineage. Seems like the comedy we know today is a single dimension of what used to be a broader field. I’m basing this off an Ed Sanders fictional story of what a Beat poetry night was like in the East Village. It had a wide-range, that featured laugh out loud comedy, esoteric religious rambles, and compressed literature.

12:12 pm — My 5 favorite problems for coding.

  • Web scraping and APIs
    How can I get real-time access to Substack, Twitter, Readwise, and websites?

  • Databases & Indexing
    How can I store this massive amount so that a chatbot can receive it?

  • Semantic Search
    What parameters help match user requests with relevant excerpts from the database?

  • Prompts for Organic Writing

    What are the prompts I need so that AI can generate prose that is useful, creative, and human?

  • UI in React

    How can I build a text-editor with a UX that is usable for my own writing practice?

11:53 am — Ask AI not just for the code, but for an explanation on why it wrote it that way. I can’t necessarily make sense of all the technical details, but I can smell BS in the explanation. I can say “this feel wrong, and here’s why.” Then it goes “you’re right,” and generates a whole new page based on my natural-language-logic. I don’t know programming syntax fluently, but I can reason with symbolic language, and that seems to be enough.

11:33 am — Start with small tasks and progressively make them harder.

  • Step 1: Get me all Titles & URLs from Marginal Revolution in Oct 2020

  • Step 2: Okay, now let’s print the text from a month’s article into .txt file.

  • Step 3: Now, let’s build a full index, 18 years of URL + Title.

  • Step 4: Build a database that contains all this text (millions of words)

  • Step 5: Zoom into a single text file, create .txt file for each external reference

  • Step 6: Create a ‘2nd degree’ database that contains all of Tyler’s sources

May 2nd, 2023

10:35 am — To set up good breakout rooms in a CBC, you want to model not just a discussion question, but the way to response. If you just throw out a question, people will just go in a Circle and answer it. Instead, you want to model 1-3 ways the listeners can respond. By modeling the response, usually the original speaker can then reply to that. This is the Ping Pong effect. Help the 2nd person, and then real conversations get initiated.

May 1st, 2023

8:59 am — The phrase ‘sloth’ means slow — but the phrase ‘paralyzed sloth’ takes on a different level of meaning.  It’s a combination of a friendly insight with something pretty offensive. Probably unnecessary.

8:57 am —

"Guard well your spare moments. They are like uncut diamonds. Discard them, and their value will never be known. Improve them, and they will become the brightest gems in a useful life."

8:03 am - Animal Collective = the African Beach Boys with synthesizers on acid.