Logs | 2023-06-June

June 30th, 2023

9:18 pm — How long-form essays are like writing a Sudoku:

3:20 pm — Getting great at writing is hard work! You have to have a natural love for it, otherwise it isn’t sustainable.

3:14 pm — My guess is that most online writers are unaware of the returns of quality writing. The Internet over-indexes on quality and attention. But quality is an amplifier. The roads to quality are fuzzy. Practice? How. And that sounds hard too. First you need to read with a critical lens, but then you need to practice too. Drills, drills, drills.

12:05 pm — Notes from call:

  • It’s tough to have 10+ drafts “live” at once. You always want to make the hard choice of picking one over the rest. Give it proper attention: feedback, research, promotion, and the other ones will eventually flow through.

  • Twitter threads can feel so value-focused, that it’s often good to mix in breakdown posts and casual tweets.

  • The artist is a multi-faceted being, but the key to sustaining an artistic practice is to find that one facet of yourself that has commercial appeal. Don’t throw out the other facets, but don’t ignore the side that can bring in money.

  • The key to a Small Bet is passivity. It has to be a passive income product, not an infinite game (content). I’ve learned this lesson before (with the army of Twitter alts in 2021).

  • A newsletter should wind through 3-10 different buckets (each of which could be a niche). Slowly uncover these topics. Eventually, you can make a digital product around 1 of the niches, and when you do, you have a body of writing related to it.

June 29th, 2023

8:09 pm — Once a year Twitter should automatically publish everyone’s drafts at once.

7:52 pm — A virus that publishes all your draft tweets at once.

7:29 pm — I feel like I’m weening off of an “execution oriented mindset.” I’ll set up calendar blocks for how I want to spend time through the day and week — but then I just defy/ignore them, every day, and it’s generally better. I’m trying to let the daily flow of things be more organic, and only keep track of a few key habits I want to nail every week (publishing, exercise, coding, etc).

So basically, trying to trust my intuition in the day to day, but then having larger intervals of discipline/accountability (weekly/monthly)

5:52 pm — Log into my phone, all day ferociously. Some gems, but also a lot of notes to myself, and some things that are just meh. But that lack of filter is helpful. And I'm glad it doesn't go straight into Twitter. I get a kind of 24 hour delay. The next morning, I'll check my logs, and process them. It's a 2nd pass. I move things onto Substack (where each month has a page (19 pages, going since Dec 21). But now as I process each log, I ask "could this be on Twitter?" So I just move that stuff into Typefully and build a queue.

5:16 pm — The highest form of shit posting is shit posting that reveals some unspoken truth about reality.

5:08 pm — While we're in crazy idea territory. I want to photoshop Tom from Myspace, Zuck, and Elon on to the panel of American Idol, with the caption: “If this gets 10k retweets, I'll write a 10k word manifesto on how to design a social graph so it doesn't devolve into a popularity contest.”

An Elon hail-mary boost: when you design a tweet to bait Elon to engage with it for the views. Cropping Zuck over Paula Abdul is a very intentional move.

4:58 pm — Midjourney: a typewriter that can ink letters directly onto someone's back.

4:57 pm — Tattoos are like RTs with skin in the game.

1:18 pm — I want a bizzaro-world version of Twitter where every tweet gets converted into a blind writing prompt. You'd get to riff on dozens of these things, and only after you post does it reveal the context of the original post and connect you to the other answers.

9:31 am — LINE-LOOP: A refrain in poetry, when you actually repeat the same line. This is the most literal type of repetition, where a “chiasmus” (Invisible Mirror), has repetitive-inverted meaning that can’t be visibly seen.

June 28th, 2023

5:34 pm — Phonetic prose (void of meaning, read out loud)

Take 1

Burst through the limits of language, dripping and sipping, sips saturated, speaking imaginal-tongues, a thought-run so vile, so ruptured, with sentence-piles unorthodox, so much so, that readers balk before they yawn before they scream, scream! and see some Holy Ghost hijack and roast the language center of Mr. Bean's brain, all systems critical, no refrain, just machine gun drivel gut runs and spills, drooling marbles of mouth, and gravity pulls south to gutter, rutter rot in some server, centuries 'fore pully-plug and whole vast plooms of web-wee, webs of concrete yeast yearns, just blinks, bo blinks, blinks off because server’s high or by some glitch-tern ran shoot sprees of magmic oops. These are pale pale imitations of the self-inflating thought balloons that appear in the dreams of two nights ago as I dozed off into midnight roo roo. I could see it and hear it. It made no absolutely sense, but it was mathematically perfect and the best thing I ever read (druid moans by some off-shift linguistic angel who weeps river songs of glowing empty prose). Infinite nonsense with no warning. Phantasma-gasma. No more sense but no more sense was needed. This here is still, a pale and hollow imitation. Cardboard holy. Without the stress of shaping meaning, the songs were clear as day, giving rush of joy, knowing I've tuned twelve senses to become the receptor of these rubes in foreign tongues. One day, meaning will slice yung through word-math, but for now, let the white-noise drivel run, run, run until the little crossing, and reset next morning into calendar brain with only fuzzy musings that this whole ordeal ever happened.

Take 2

The strong of ill gun-ways. The string tongue. The pattle does. As if Treng ever needs the fang to move through raptors in countryside bloom. He's a bug, at least, if bugs ever did wraith through sung-time. And the bloongs! The tremendous bloongs of trill-fodder withy, with their combs, and tongs, and seven-colored drapes, they whistled and waved as if some holy bungle-beak boy personally waited at the door with good news. Terrible rocks? Yes! How could such a thing know such a song. With velvet multi-colored rungs, I was impressed. Like seven dairy aisles all happening to collide and bring together the feast of seasons, I tranced out and flung into the droopy. For no reason? Why would the rock deh-lay-lee care about such trash? Nobody knows. The suburban unicycle of triggle-lore dances only when the count dies to three. Seven. Eight-nineteen. One! One? There is no sequence! (and three never comes). Undone are the holy mysteries. Let us wait patiently on spike rocks under the trick-tank moon who taunts us and bleeds out our minds as we count until the milkman sacrifices his laminated cows.

5:31 pm — Interesting how the "write prose" impulse and "be social" impulse are different. I see prose as the transmission of my inner thoughts, where being social has a context which brings out your expectations of how others will experience you. Social media has an inherent self-consciousness that has to be de-programmed. Literature is lonely; a confessional monologue; paper that tunnels through time to find a receiver in the future. It's a one-way declaration. Twitter is instant; hyper-sonic tele-chirping. A shared bird song of broken AM radio with millions of stations playing at once.

5:30 pm — I'm in the gold-plated marble-enclosed Rose Reading Room, ironically, on a Space Grey laptop jetting around Twitter.

5:18 pm — If you haven't done it, go to Iowa and drive west into the Rockies. There's something sublime about the scale of the human next to the American giants.

4:36 pm — Infinite fizzle: when you don’t set an expiration date, the thing will fizzle on it’s own. You can’t have an “I’ll do this forever mindset,” or it’ll crash on it’s own, often unconsciously, causing more friction than if you consciously stopped. This is true with habits & groups.

4:02 pm —

Thoughts on publishing a book

I always thought, "no point in publishing a book until you have a 200k+ person audience that would attract a legacy publisher," but Ellen's workshop changed my mind.

There's value in having an early book (a "bridge book"), that is part of your brand in the early days. I think Paul Millerd is really pioneering this. The idea here is you encode one big idea in an early-career book, but then continue to expand on, develop, and socialize the idea online for years after it.

There's social value in having something published, regardless of who publishes it. It shows that you've put serious thought into one important idea. And weirdly, even if a book is just a 10,000 word essay, it has the brand value of probably every essay on your site combined.

I still don't quite get "when" is the right time, and maybe there isn't a clear line in the sand. For me, it’s largely a matter of capacity. The top priority is maintaining my cadence (1x/week on Substack & daily Tweets). Could I write a book without destabilizing that? If anything, the next 12-18 months (pre-kids) is my chance.

If I had to pick one, I’d still pick online publishing over physical publishing, but what’s appealing is a synergy between the two. A physical book can accelerate digital growth.

I'm still torn on the "what" of the book. I could hyper-converge around something practical like “craft and creativity",' or I could get into short 10,000 word fiction that is at the “edge” of my ability, interest, curiosity.

Some ideas:

  • Quarterly fiction (10,000 words)

  • A collection of short stories (10 stories at 3k each)

  • A book about craft & creativity (Austin Kleon style)

  • A collection of essays from the community (spread per person)

A whole other line of thinking comes around monetizing. Do I see this as an income stream? Am I looking to break even? Is it worth getting experimental with models? I don’t have any strong opinions on this yet, but there’s something appealing to me about scarcity. Imagine: only 100 copies ever, starting at $8 (at cost) and every copy hikes the price by 5% (the last book will be $1,000 lol). Instead of assuming the goals of volume & mass-appeal, a model like this would be about mystery and insider-lore among a smaller group of fans.

3:35 pm — Record everything! In the flow of conversation, your attention is so invested in channeling energy and being present, that so many peak-performance gems don’t get etched into memory. This happens in conversation and in music improvising too. There are small forgotten fragments that should be plucked out, expanded upon, and edited.

2:44 pm — Can someone explain the .01 penalty in the Twitter algorithm? It seems like you get de-ranked if you use irregular language. Meaning if you coin a phrase, make a typo, and use parenthesis, you get de-scored down to the pits of hell. The 0.01 rank isn’t clear outside of the context of the algorithm. Is it 1% of your total score? Does one typo negate 3 likes? Or is every offense a (-100x), meaning just three linguistic risks spiral you into being a millionaire of algorithmic debt? This is all quite upsetting. I love inventing words like fallingabafoo and that doesn’t feel welcome here. Seriously though, one of my favorite quotes about writing voice is from the poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti:

"Experiment with all manner of poetics, erotic broken grammars, ecstatic religions, heathen outpourings speaking in tongues, bombast public speech, automatic scribblings, surrealistic sensings, streams of consciousness, found sounds, rants and raves - to create your own limbic, your own underlying voice, your ur voice."

There must be some fine and rational reason why Twitter wants to punish mutations of language (related to hacking, encryption, or who knows what). But as a writer, it’s kind of disheartening to learn that novel language is punished. It makes me more self-conscious, making me mute my voice to simple, clear, predictable words. Anyone else feel this tension?

2:24 pm — On the lawn of Bryant Park under beating sun I plank out and read Emerson’s American Scholar through a phone in my right hand. Sweat piles and my pelvis feels sore and achy after fifteen minutes, so I sit up and look around. Beefheart is blaring through my glasses, there is nearby jazz, and a siren grows louder and louder, as lucky people around me sit in picnic circles and make Instagram reels.

1:37 pm — No guac, no chips, no napkins; this woman had a meltdown.

1:36 pm — Nine inch eyelashes.

9:25 am — I was sitting in Bryant Park proofreading my Mucha piece before publishing. It’s about commerce, selling out, taking risks, and how eventually the artist finds the patron to support his work. Just at that moment, I’m approached by a homeless person asking for money, who asked in such a polite and articulate way. I told him to wait a second to check my wallet, and I only had a $20 bill. I decided to give to him, which was odd for me, because I always brush off asks like that and say “I don’t have any cash” (which is usually true). At first I thought $20 was a lot to give, and then I realized that a sandwich in Bryant Park costs like $18.

8:57 am — Instead of editing infinitely directly into the editor, create a punch-list. Read a (near) final draft on your phone, and make a list of revision in your text editor. It’s not perfectly efficient. But the value is going back to the document and knocking out item-by-item. At this point, there’s no space for prose-shaping. It’s all incisionary work.

8:38 am - I’m never worried about train crashes, yet I hear about those more than airplane crashes

5:33 am — A community that isn’t about paying money to get into, but pledging time.

June 27th, 2023

6:35 pm — I've had a friend since middle school who has basically been a "gateway drug friend."

When were younger, he got me into paintball, airsoft, and snowboarding. Then in high school, he sold me his drum set (technically traded for a Nintendo DS), which began a 19 year obsession into music. College brought the weed phase, which is basically a key that rewires the psyche (especially in the context of art, nature, and introspection).

After college, he introduced me to my first VR experience, which was earth shattering for me, something like a St. John end-of-the world revelation. After 6 laborious years of visualizing drawings by hand through ink on mylar, I was in his apartment walking through an Italian Villa and a few months later I left my job to start a VR company.

I'm pretty sure he introduced me to David Perell on Twitter too, which got me into Write of Passage and the whole post-COVID phase of my life (writing and editing). He's a software developer and now we do weekly code jams to work out ideas (I'm still a rookie, half inept, half getting by with AI-powered caveman code.)

It's kind of radical to reflect on the influence one person can have on you. Basically, the entirety of my identity can be traced back to things he introduced me to. What was a simple "check this out" in the moment was actually a door that when stepped through led to a whole phase of life.

I'm grateful that he has good taste, a solid character, and isn't into heroin. As my great grandma Olga said every time I saw her, "be your own person and choose your friends wisely."

11:19 am — In the waiting room, waiting to see a neurologist:

On top of baseline reality (food, shelter, in person communities), an abstract layer of lore, meaning, purpose, and story — all get embedded in media. Through history, that was controlled by institutions, churches, colleges, governments. It was a very top-down meme field. Media has mutated to a point where now individuals can be self-made, and weave themselves into that meme-fabric. In your pocket, you have access to that thing from which legends are made.

11:17 am — Damn Twitter GIFs don’t auto play on mobile?

11:10 am — Eternal September is a phrase for when pioneering Internet communities got flooded by normies. Through the 80s, online discussion were organized into these public forums on USENET, organized by topic (imagine it like Reddit). Not many people had computer, meaning there wasn’t an influx of users, and the early adopters of communities had settled norms and habits. But as computers got more accessible, college freshman started getting desktop towers with plug-in Ethernet. So once a year, on September, these stable communities would get flooded by young college students who were blindly reaching around and making noise in this new sphere. The OGs realized this, and dedicated their effort to help orient, acclimate, and retain the culture they established. But AOL was a change in dynamic. Suddenly hoards of new people were flooding USENET daily, and it never stopped. They called it Eternal September. It was beyond anyone’s ability to control, define, or orient, and the whole thing devolved into chaos.

11:09 am — It’s interesting to learn that there is some kind of universal tagging system on the Fediverse. Look into it. Not sure if global public tags are useful. Would rather have personal tags that exist cross-app.

8:32 am — I've been using GPT-4 to help me write code. Basically, I'm looking to build an AI-powered text editor (as others are doing now), but I'm more focused on making a tool that guides my own process that optimizing features for market demand. I feel like coding is a useful skill to learn, and AI is making this exceedingly easier to get into.

I started from a template Replit file, but it's not exactly what I need. It lets you upload docs, ask questions, and then have it generate AI-powered responses. It's cool. But I'm more interested in the sources. I want to be able to enter a query sentence, and then have it sift through years of log entries, and pair me with a sorted list of the most relevant entries.

I'm not a formal coder (I've used Unreal Engine C++ blueprints, and some python scripting in Rhino, but I have no professional experience setting up IDEs or really working through software architectures). Replit makes this easy, and using AI to generate and debug, I'm able to take a feature in my head and build it. It's slow, but after a few hours, it's possible.

So basically to start, I'l feed in the existing code, the documentation, and then maybe 1,000 words of English prose on the functionality I need, and the best guess on how to structure the code. It gives me all the code I need, but it's like 40% broken. I'll have to troubleshoot, and unblock one problem at a time, until the thing flows.

Here are the individual tasks I accomplished in the latest sprint:

  • Use print strings to identify where code is breaking.

  • Understand different functions I can call off of base classes (Document.get_doc_id() / Document.get_text())

  • Implement a custom node splitter (by default it slices text into 500 word chunk, I want a node per log).

  • Tweak a regex splitter to find the pattern for log start (7:59 pm --) r"(\d{1,2}:\d{2} [ap]m .*?)(?=\d{1,2}:\d{2} [ap]m |$)"

  • Loop through regex matches, and add each string to a Node list with meta-data (the date)

  • Call GPTVector Index to use AI embeddings to assign vectors for each log (convert text to crazy float values)

  • Save index to disk, and reload it in other files so that we can reference nodes

  • After AI provides a response to a question, have it also cite X log sources, and rank them by relevancy

June 26th, 2023

12:58 pm — Writing an essay is a game of iterative guessing. When you’re writing an essay, there’s a lot of “guess and run with it.” Construct some loose arc on how the ideas might flow (either use a template, or do it intuitively). Without a sense of a narrative arc, it’s hard to write. You want to compress and aim ideas knowing where you have to land them. Otherwise, it’s hard to be on point. You don’t want to cover everything you know about a single point, you want there to be directionality, so one thought flows into the next. Naturally, as you write, you get new ideas, and maybe even the arc itself destabilizes. So make your best guess at a narrative arc before you start, write, and then revise that arc, and shuffle or try a v2.

12:39 pm — All artists turn into a caricature when they get famous. This is unavoidable. Artists are multi-faceted and always evolving. Out of any archetype, they are the one always pushing towards expansion and evolution. There is simply too much inside of the artist to be elegantly compressed, packaged, and understood. It’s always one facet of the artist, the sensational, the relevant, that gets known and worshipped above all others.

  • Le Corbusier was the concrete brutalist (nope)

  • Kerouac was the hitch-hiker (nope)

  • Mucha was the Art Nouveau guy (nope)

  • Terence McKenna is all about psychedelics (nope)

If this is true, then what? Do artists have any control over how they get memed & understood? Or is that up to the public? Does it matter if your meme-self is disconnected from your real-self?

June 25th, 2023

12:22 pm — I got duped by western media into believing the “civil war narrative” in Russia. In reality, it was a mercenary leader who was about to lose his funding/contract by July 1st, so he made a scene to try to save it.

10:22 am — I never would’ve guessed that I'd be a writer. I got a nearly perfect score on the Math SAT, bombed Language, and did even worse on the new writing portion. The latest wave of Internet wisdom would say “stick to math" (or, follow what you’re naturally good at). But what if the opposite is true? What if your strengths will spill over into anything you pursue? This means you should approach foreign skillsets, because you will bring your native abilities and cross some bridge. There might be a hurdle, but the ability to translate your skills is a worthy feat of generalism. I get the feeling (and hope), that my inclination at math might be able to carve new territories in English. Someone on Twitter said this was about “semantic mathematics.”

9:58 am — Very interested to better understand the physical and mental experience of dying. I remember saying my last words to my grandmother in my hospital, something along the lines on how she influenced me and will be channeled through me forever, and I saw tears rolling down her eyes, even though she was either unconscious or paralyzed. How did she experience that? Was she frozen in her body? Was her subconscious processing these words? Was she in some hypnagogic DMT limbo and she actually hallucinated me? I want to understand death and design my death. This might actually be the most important thing you do with your life, and no one knows. This stems from a materialist view on life (“Why care about your funeral? Your dead!”). Well two rebuttals here; 1) there might be a biological basis for a short, fleeting, but experientially-eternal afterlife, and 2) the funeral is the way in which your essence/art get emotionally printed into your descendants; an opportunity of linguistic heritage & immortality.

9:56 am — Last night, I experience “automatic prose” as I was going to sleep. This might be the 2nd time it’s ever happened to me at this intensity. It was both an ability to see and hear words, words that had no meaning, but were strictly rhyme and rhythm. This is the form that meaning slots into, and holy shit was it good. It was absolutely meaningless, but it was the musical pseudo-language I’ve ever conceived. It was like my music/math brain at it’s ultimate potential, but my ELA brain was lagging behind.

June 24th, 2023

12:10 pm — Euthanasia stands for the “good death,” but it’s terrible to watch.

10:10 am — Twitter is a horrendous way to aggregate news media. They give you all the raw material, and let you syphon through it and make your own conclusions. It’s exhausting. I want AI to digest the noise, and present a prism of possible conclusions. The modern world is too chaotic for us to quibble over the bits. Synthesize the bits, let us assess the possible options, and then we’ll philosophize.

10:08 am — No sleep during endless war media.

June 23rd, 2023

8:27 pm — Fireflies and roochies are relatively close in form, but one is cute and the other appalling. There must be some set of features, so insectoid-uncanny-vallely, that make roochies the official scum of the Earth.

8:25 pm — There is a subtle art to self-promotion; it doesn’t have to take the form of “Look, I made this thing, go plug this to your audience, I need it.” Maybe there’s a time and way to be explicit. But in so many cases, you simply want to make another person aware that you made something, and instead of asking for a RT, you use it to spark some related, genuine conversation with that person. There’s no pressure to RT, only reply. It’s like a DM with a hyperlink for content. Working theory.

8:24 pm — Thinky head:

Wife: If you’re in thinky head I can drive.

Me: I’m always in thinky head.

2:49 pm — Embrace writing, editing, craft, creativity, and visuals as a top of funnel caricature. Sure it’s not the full me. But I’m confident enough to know I won’t become a false writing guru. My specific obsession in craft is so wonky it’s religious.

11:01 am — Poop traffic: syncing your content calendar with the bowel movements of America.

9:14 am — Vonnegut quote:

"We could have saved [the Earth] but we were too damned cheap."

8:57 am — Poem experiment; “This Weekend on Twitter” (I basically went through my likes/bookmarks and turned each idea into a fragment, and then grouped & tweaked for form & effect.

Avocado sensors.
Lisa on psychedelics.
Tiago on batch processing.
How many hours do you sleep at night?
Leonard Cohen and VR.
Green grass and the dilemma of art.
Emerson quotes.
Chesterton quotes.
The paradox of rushing.
The paradox of Italian zoning.
Intentional autism, hyperphantasia, and streams of sabbatical porn.
The promo train.
The history of trans.
20 books under 200 pages to become a man.
Writing books with newborns.
Writing for the algorithm.
You need a story and observation.
You need to have more empathy for the DMT elves.
You need a table of contents.
We are living through the collapse of content.
RFK's voice of nails.
Fake-out coops.
Nuclear war.
Memes and lemurs.
Memes and lemurs.

June 22, 2023

4:57 pm — Emerson

“Make your own Bible. Select and collect all those words and sentences that in all your reading have been to you like the blast of a trumpet out of Shakespeare, Seneca, Moses, John, and Paul.”

4:02 pm — I wonder if the meaning crisis could also be framed as "the collapse of consensus." Meaning used to be inherited from social structures: the family, the religion, the state, the corporation, rock and roll, whatever. All of those have waned in strength over the last half-century. And it's also been inundated by infinite, endless, always-on, digital media. There are thousands of things you could ascribe meaning to. Without a clear figurehead, there's nothing simple to inherit. And in a swarm of shards of meaning, it's hard work to parse through everything, create hierarchies, and make sense of it. The antidote to the meaning crisis is a new sense of ownership over your experience. You can't just fall into meaningful structures. It's up to you to create it now.

3:22 pm — It’s surreal to see something get retweeted by both William S. Burroughs and Jack Kerouac (they’re quote accounts, but still, ghost RTs from dead heroes has an effect).

2:22 pm — Troll tweet:

Our civilization is rapidly approaching the brink of destruction.

The possibility of nuclear war is looming over us all.

Humanity's only hope is to use this moment to change course.

Here are 8 ways to [audience growth hack].

2:13 pm — Very tempted to write a “cover” of Emerson’s work. It’s almost 200 years ago, written in an obviously pre-digital age, through hard-to-parse prose. But the ideas are razor sharp, and grow more in relevance each decade.

2:12 pm — Does anyone have good sources about the adoption of the keyboard and mouse through the 1970s and 1980s? We use both of these daily and effortlessly. That's because we've either been raised on them, or integrated them into our daily mode of being. Before computer infiltrated society, keyboards were unintuitive and unapproachable. A grown person coming across one for the first time would be slow, confused, and kind of perplexed (similar to today's VR inputs). That said, once we learn it, it's one of the most powerful multi-purpose tools there is.

2:02 pm — The cost of the rising quality of life is agreeableness, compromise, and conformity.

1:27 pm — “X but Y.” The simplest equation to unpack nuance.

8:38 am — Imagine an SMS logging service. It could send you questions throughout the day, prompting you to write. Look at the details of your space, the lighting in your room. Dream 10 years from now, or look 10 years in the past. A good talk you had today. Someone you miss. The prompt could even evolve based on your answers/corpus of logs. 5 per day is the sweet spot.

7:26 am — Had a dream last night of flipping through my logs in a bounded book, kind of a cool experience.

June 21st, 2023

11:15 pm — I’ve zonked out on repetition. The question is, will it bubble up? If I study the words, will my words be studied? I can thumb, thumb ideas into notes all day, but 1,000 days from now, will it be worth the time, the toil, the tissue? I’ll be a blind writer, an automatic writer, and hopefully a good writer. This, though, this right here, isn’t good; it’s practice, it’s the regurgitation of form for form’s sake. But for the sake of practice, I do it. I do the repetition drills, over and over, until I drilled repetition to death. It’s best to get it this all out of the way through logs (and not essays). It takes time. Time? Precious time, 10s of hours of time, hours that we hoard and waste on chewing gum for the eyes. I get it. I’ve watched Netflix. I’ve gone to baseball games and done the wave. I’ve vacationed in Greece and Rome and the Bahamas too. I’ve taken it easy. I’ve taken it hard, and grinded 100 hours a week in architecture; Writing won’t be easy, but easy isn’t the goal. Done! (weak ending)

11:03 pm — Make an ideal plan for the week, but wreck it and change it in in real-time

6:39 — Don’t link your motivation to the outputs. Assess the craft? Do you enjoy it? Do you look forward to doing more? Can you share it? Do you feel comfortable sharing it? Is it easy? Is it getting easier? Are you good at it? Are you getting better? Could you do this forever? Do you look forward to look back on everything you’ve made? In hindsight, I’ve cut architecture, VR, and music because of my answers to these questions (but not writing).

6:30 pm — Should I bring writing craft to YouTube?

6:24 pm — If I were to ever write a book, the goal wouldn’t be to socially engineer one great hit that can go viral and reach the mainstream. It would be to get into a groove where I could write one per year and distribute them among a niche audience, making a modest amount of income (just one stream of several). Volume matters.

6:07 pm — There’s always a market for breakdown famous people in unique ways ( — Camilo)

5:57 pm — Visuals should enable processing speed. They let people download something big in a very small period of time. Be careful with complexity in visuals (where do I look? where do I start?)

2:53 pm — I’m searching for “symploce” on Google images. It’s a literary term and I want to see examples. Why am I bombarded with pictures of roochies? The prophecy is coming true.

12:11 pm — There are 3 ways to post on Twitter: threads, longform, tweets. Maybe different topics map better onto different formats.

  • Value : threads

  • Personal : longform

  • Off-topic : tweets

June 20th, 2023

10:25 pm — Curious to keep up with how the publishing industry is changing. I've been writing online for a few years, and while my short-term goal is to build my audience, I could see myself writing and publishing a book in the next few years. I'd like to learn some basics around when it makes sense to publish a book, what is worth condensing into a physical artifact (fiction vs. non-fiction), how the process works, and who to work with.

7:03 pm — A social media network based on opt-ins. If someone is on a short-term obsessive search for X, they can share that, and 2% of their followers will opt-in to follow along.

6:57 pm — The patterns of the ego are invisible, there’s no way to see them, so you have to methodically observe your reactions, fears, beliefs, and build tentative models of how your wiring works.

6:50 pm — The invisible trauma of the teenage years are like stuck kidney stones. The body remembers little micro-traumas, and when similar situations re-occur, the mind freezes up. Do things that scare you, catch yourself reacting, reflect on the root (this approach of action is more effective than psycho-analysis).

3:57 pm — From Rainer Maria Rilke

“If your everyday life seems poor, don’t blame it; blame yourself; admit to yourself that you are not enough of a poet to call forth its riches.”

3:09 pm — Digital Emerson Archive

3:03 pm — The American Scholar (by Emerson) opens with the idea of the whole being divided and yearning to reconnect. It represents the Jungian idea of individuation, and also IFS. This was Emerson in 1837. What could be a myth to encapsulate this?

2:50 pm — What is the archetype for the scholar/artist/visionary in the suburbs? Who has done this? Typically this figure is unknown, isolated, and poor. But what if they were leading a normal family life, and had an audience, was connected, and had enough wealth to lead a normal upper-middle class life?

1:19 pm — I remember hearing rumors about a Miles Davis, Paul McCartney, Jimi Hendrix collaboration (before Jimi died). I forget the name. But I heard this song (Honky Tonk) by Miles yesterday and it kind of helped me imagine what that could’ve been like.

9:45 am — Time it took to produce each thread last week:

Untangling the Myth of Jack Kerouac -- 12 hours

Hunter’s List Sentence -- 8 hours

Frank Lloyd Wright: Beyond Architecture - 2 hours

8:42 am — The iPhone alarm tone will be with me in the afterlife.

7:33 am — Twitter stats are crack if you’re not careful. There’s an urge that sits below conscious attention to nervously check “Did anything happen? Did I get what I hoped would happen?” This isn’t a naive little thing, it can be destructive to your attention. Set boundaries. (Literally as I finished typing I caught myself looking to check it)

7:31 am — 2 morning meditations. The first one is a focus on breathing with a repetition of the 4 principles I want to lodge into my psyche (always attentive, faith in destiny, channel the mystery, and focus on what matters.) The second meditation should be wandering, loose, and visual, where you attempt to see (to let images rise from the subconscious)

5:38 am — I heard loud Spanish music as I was slowly waking up, and then it disappeared (as if the music was some remnant of a dream). But I listened closely, and felt I could hear an extremely faint version of that same song, as if it were playing by a neighbor. Makes me think of “hyper-perception.” I don’t know to what degree that’s possible, but I do remember this one time in architecture school (after an all-nighter), hearing a coin drop across a crowded studio in full resolution. Maybe our sensory organs aren’t operating at full-power in our waking state.

5:12 am — A weird urge to log during the night / early morning, as if writing somehow makes these fleeting hypnagogic things real.

5:11 am — Hypnagogic vision of a ghastly looking woman; it was lucid, real, shocking; the kind of sight that could’ve been a terrifying work of 14th century European art. Now it’s gone. There’s an ocean of historic art in each of our heads.

5:09 am — That weird bionic ‘poing’ that boots up the air conditioner in power save mode — a great surprise.

5:05 am — I woke up with all fingers tingling in an intense way (this quickly faded), but, I did have a split second dream around this sensation. I’d tap each finger to my thumb, and it would create this intense rumble, like an N64 controller, and shoot out a circular ripple vibration.

June 19th, 2023

8:37 pm — Personal philosophies over societal philosophies. Why even have a society-scale’ “here’s what we should all do” manifesto if you aren’t going to personally live it? There should be no other goal than iterating and finding what works in your own life. No lofty idealism.

7:03 pm — From 101 Essays That Will Change the Way You Think, by Brianna Wiest (thanks Yehudis)

"You believe that creating your best life is a matter of deciding what you want and then going after it, but in reality, you are psychologically incapable 1 of being able to predict what will make you happy. Your brain can only perceive what it's known, so when you choose what you want for the future, you're actually just recreating a solution or an ideal of the past. When things don't work out the way you want them to, you think you've failed only because you didn't re-create something you perceived as desirable. In reality, you likely created something better, but foreign, and your brain misinterpreted it as "bad" because of that. (Moral of the story: Living in the moment isn't a lofty ideal reserved for the Zen and enlightened; it's the only way to live a life that isn't infiltrated with illusions. It's the only thing your brain can actually comprehend.)"

3:40 pm — Ego is an architecture of scripts (good scripts, bad scripts).

3:55 pm — Riff on God: God isn’t omnipotent, omnipresent, or anthropomorphic. God is both the foundation-level impulse of information to complexify into higher-orders of being, while also, the sum-total of everything created through that force. But God doesn’t have consciousness; God is a vast continuum for consciousness to emerge within. Consciousness is the cutting-edge, the furthest (yet) expression of information. (meh)

2:51 pm — Look into Christ from a Talmud perspective. (“Christ” was also a Hellenic term around before historical Jesus).

2:47 pm — In Jewish theology, the “fires of hell” were a place where everyone went to clean your soul, to purge, to get ready for the afterlife.

2:45 pm — Write more about the philosophy of an “unbroken chain.” Having kids is a form of “extending your consciousness.” Of course, they are separate beings, who need to make their own decisions, live their own lives, and learn to think for themselves. But nonetheless, they do inherit both your genes, and the environment you raise them in, which can be embedded with your wisdom too. There’s something about the “dao of the ancestors” here.

2:34 pm — Be careful of reducing your voice down to a series of principles that you faithfully replicate. Voices are meant to evolve.

2:24 pm — GPT-4 can triangulate existing sources to synthesize and share something new (this is what Google can’t do).

11:43 am — There's a temptation to automate everything, but it's really the slow, repetitive, sometimes tedious work that engrains a concept into your head. Don't sacrifice fluency for speed.

11:16 am — There's a domino effect around sacrifice. You make the time to write at the expense of something else. First you feel it, then others feel it, then others communicate it to you, and then it hits you and it's suddenly very real. Without an unfaltering faith in the self, it's hard to weather the second-order effects of sacrifice.

8:29 am — Yesterday in church, I had an idea for a radical piece of fiction, about an influential (but wild, and also half-religious) doctor convincing a small-time priest to conduct a DMT experiment in their chapel after hours. The volunteers didn’t show, so the participants were the janitor, the doctor’s mother, and the priest. The janitor sees praying mantis’ in hell, the doctor’s mother has a class DMT trip and has a panic attack on return, but the priest, who is prepared with 40 years of theological training, sees Christ on the altar. While the doctor loses his excitement, the flame is passed to the priest, who seeks to secretly introduce DMT to others in the parish and clergy.

8:21 am — The St. Nicholas Shrine was a neat example of architecture framing art. The building was white, pure, and simple, framing colorful Greek Orthodox iconography. Even the white surfaces weren’t cold and shrill, but embedded with ornamentation. The shrine was smaller than I thought it would be (seating only around 50), but was still pretty tall. It was surprising to see the mythology of 9/11 and New York fused with Christ and the Virgin Mary (in 3 instances).

7:55 am — I wonder if you can get through a lot of non-fiction by reading through great book reviews (not blogs, the best ones are often embedded in Amazon). Obviously some books you want to experience. You ideally have a small set of books that you go through slowly and repeatedly. But that doesn’t mean you need to cut yourself off from the rest of them. You should use other means (AI?) to build a wide but shallow grasp of everything that exists.

June 18th, 2023

9:57 am — Walking through a city, you witness the shared impulses and needs from the past. It goes beyond architecture, but all of culture. At some point in time, there were thousands of people who felt compelled to do the same exact thing, in close proximity to each other.

9:55 am — Embodied memory of NYC (on the Riverside Parkway, I have memories of being stuck in traffic on the way to Pepsi’s office for a VR presentation with executives, which we ended up missing, causing us to lose the contract). So many memories don’t surface on their own, and don’t surface from a map — they’re locked in the place itself.

9:31 am — Heading into NYC to check out St. Nicholas church, the one in ground zero, right next to the twin square pits. It’s not widely known that a nearby Greek church went down on 9/11, and it’s been since redesigned and resurrected by none other than THE Santiago Calatrava. This is one the highest-profile modern Orthodox Church in the world. My family is having a 6-year memorial service there for great uncle Niko, so we’re going to see the inside for the first time. Clearing my mind and open to both an aesthetic and spiritual experience.

9:30 am — Rush to publish, kind of nice actually, no overthinking, whatever’s, it’s out! (I forget to add share buttons or discussion questions, oops)

6:15 am — I had a dream where I was just typing numbers from one location to another. No body or hands, just perception of “left” and “right.” 313-464-709.

June 17th, 2023

10:51 pm — To not yearn for attention

10:46 pm — An American novel about the cancer of boundless freedom (technology, capitalism, power) — overloaded psyche — the illusion of individuality.

10:30 pm — How have things changed in the last 50 years? People stay at companies shorter (3 years, not 30). Families are scattered across the country (rather than multi-generational living). The media is personalized to you through an algorithm. Religion is waning.

To summarize: there is a loss of shared consensus around anything.

It means we each have to take responsibility to make culture, to make connections. To conspire. To create. There is nothing handed to us, and if we coast, we’ll get tangled in one illusion or the other. We haven’t gotten this memo: that meaning is ours to construct. We’ve collapsed into an era of individualism without the drive, but we need both a re-invigorated individualism, AND, a sense of ownership around collectivism.

9:55 pm — The more I read and learn, the more I feel the limits and gaps in my education. I’m in need of a curation. And maybe I could eventually write one.

9:10 pm — Spengler’s Decline of the West

8:32 pm — From VKR:

I don't know about you, but I personally feel starved of ambitious sensemaking frames for recent history that aren't quite as silly as say Friedman's _World is Flat _or Harari's _Sapiens,_ or quite as ideologically compromised as Graeber's _Debt. _DeLong's book will hopefully inaugurate a how-we-got-here genre that ought to exist. Only by making sense of how we got to where we are can we hope to tackle the question of where we go from here. _Slouching Towards Utopia _offers one thought-provoking answer to the question that is worth taking seriously, and integrating into your thinking. You may not agree with the story as DeLong lays it out, but at least it's not disingenuous and unfalsifiable ideological mythology, which is the main kind of grand narrative currently on offer.

4:52 pm — Religion = purpose + community + ritual

4:47 pm — Anyone can become a self-made myth-making media-bender.

10:35 am — Sometimes it's worth asking the question even if you already know the answer, because conversation is about way more than information retrieval.

10:23 am — Logging is where I capture the thoughts that sizzle up from the trenches of life. I don't feel like directing that stream into Twitter, a strange digital message board, a gamified intellectual American Idol. On Twitter, I should log and riff as replies to others musings. That's the point. It's in the name. There's a certain trembling and lock-up that I get when I'm in the UI itself. Instead (thanks to the Sklar tweet). I just write responses in my own notepad (my logs), they come out unhinged, and then later on, I just paste it in as a reply. The slight delay and the switch in the UI is the mental hack to overcome the silly (but non-trivial) psychological friction.

10:22 am — Once you're in the valley of despair on anything you've brought into bring, the most important thing to do is let it go. Drop the original vision. Drop the expectations of yourself. Do what it takes to get it done and have fun. And through that lack of pressure, maybe it gets better, but at least, you move on.

9:41 am — From history's past writers, you find their letters and journals only after their death, for it's the truth, the inner side, the self not suitable to be in their novels, inglorious and trackable. We can only piece together the nature of their non-mythical self after their death.

9:32 am — The Great American Novel

9:29 am — Old writers to study: William Blake, Thomas Wolfe, Walt Whitman, Herman Melville, Marcel Proust

9:22 am — There is so much layered detail in a Beatles song, that even years after knowing the song well, you discover new little things. Might be a shared thing between nature and art.

9:18 am — Epiphanies don't materialize and strike you like lightning. They're abundantly around you at all times, but you can't see them and they're evasive, like subsurface fish (or ghosts). So instead of summoning something, you just ease in and wait for it.

9:16 am — Great grandchildren will get "the chatbots of the ancestors." Wild.

9:08 am — Once we commit to something, there's momentum to keep going and friction to change course. And we often make these huge life-orienting decisions way before we have the maturity or intuition to know what we're meant to do. The chances we guess right on the first pass are super low. So if anything, the skill to learn here is how to unlatch, continuously. In each iteration you gain wisdom and pivot closer to the thing that is effortless.

9:03 am — Start with small stakes, wait for the breakthrough, and gradually ramp it up.

9:02 am — Don't dwell on any one essay because in just two years you'll probably cringe at all of them.

8:50 am — When you're in a thought loop, you're suffering from a cancer of language. It's mutated out of control, in a way that isn't serving you. Stop, breathe, reset.

8:41 am — Be open to the long-form tweet format. Just riff essays into there. What's something I can do in 30 minutes everyday? Might find that quick deep unstructured riffs perform just as good (or better) than meticulously researched 10-hour threads.

8:36 am — “Twist and Shout” and “Oh Darling” are the origins to screamo, and “Helter Skelter” is the origin to metal.

8:21 am — There’s a shortage of doo-wop songs that mention outer space.

8:10 am — The “recency” of social media is a bug, turning the normal discourse between people into a game of trends and celebrities. What is a social media network built for writers? I’ve probably logged 20 things this morning, and I follow maybe 500 people online. I’d like algorithm to scan across time, and fetch the relevant thoughts from my followers that match my morning’s stream. We don’t do a good job matching ideas across time.

8:09 am — Talking like literal Goofy.

8:06 am — Consume media from people that you know. Become co-creators. Conspire.

8:00 am — There’s a power of fusing the micro and macro: handle-bar flossers with the rise of AGI, shaving equipment and nuclear war. The domestic vs. the horrific yields of science.

7:42 am — No body, no mind, no experience, just a log bootup so the habit sustains itself throughout the day.

7:41 am — The iPhone alarm rings! (lol, that’s too far, no marveling at widgets?)

7:37 am — The interior, the middle class palace, the drywall container of the everyday — I should write about this place with reverence — every nook and cranny, acquired tchotskie, and all the factory-assembled furniture — it all glows with a haunted beauty that gets missed as we shuffle, shuffle from thing to thing, to thing.

7:33 am — The chin! The knot pulverizer.

7:29 am — Maybe today is the day I log every thought, and not just that, but the day it spills onto Twitter and I make a fool of myself, or get misunderstood or famous for all the wrong reasons. It helps to reinforce (over and over) why I feel the need to dive into attention slot machine at this point in time. The audience unlocks autonomy: it’s the beginning of a new relationship to work. It’s the thing my parents don’t understand. It’s B2C, but the “product” is weirdly myself. The audience sustains the dream, but you have the be reverently careful of the sacrifices you make to get one.

7:20 am — To not dream of freedom, fame, adventure, status, wealth, legacy, or it’s opposites. To, instead, own your responsibilities, cherish relationships, live with honor. To not strive, to marvel at your current setup. To push towards untethered creative output, relentless self-excavation, and a transformed relationship towards work, all in the context of simple suburban America, but connected into the digital social hive mind. Shed the pastoral illusion, shed the illusion of fast paced cities. Neither a the vagabond or the monk, but a 21st century independent scholar-bard with a rich family life.

7:17 am — Both the conventional path and the radical path are forms of illusion. There’s actually a frictionless life in front of you that looks pretty normal, and all you have to do is accept it, love it, but to do it with a sense of awareness and radicalism.

7:16 am — I should add a notation system to mark if an idea was a “direct log” (unedited from mind to phone) or an “embellished breadcrumb” (expanding on a prompt the next morning).

7:14 am — I rose up and got those lower back cracks again and I’m hunched typing to the sounds of fan hiss and bird song, but my peaceful Saturday morning is crashed by the pressure of having to deliver an essay and a thread, both in next 4-5 hours.

7:10 am — The morning reach for the phone.. I’ve said before to lock this up, to never keep it by my bedside, but maybe it’s not so bad to write upon waking. The addictive junk is deleted from my phone. I should probably continue to delete, delete, all the candy stuff delete; all forms of media, until it all that’s left is a notepad and a flashlight. Media is better on the computer anyway.

June 16th, 2023

8:59 pm — The Old Testament was developed over 1,000s of years. The New Testament was developed over 40.

3:35 pm — Letter from Malcolm Cowley, Kerouac's editor.

"If the Holy Ghost is speaking through, fine, fine, let him speak. Sometimes he turns out to be the devil masquerading as the Holy Ghost, and that's all right too. Sometimes he turns out to be Simple Simon, and then you have cut what he says. A good writer uses his subconscious mind and his conscious mind, one after the other, and uses them both as hard as they can be used."

1:32 pm — (unedited mobile log)

A hum-drum day in Queens, with grey sky and a drizzle, inside writing through a mono-focal lens (threads, threads, threads), but now I’m out under said grey skies to get pizza for me and my wife, who’s inside under the weight of back-to-back-to-back Zoom meetings, and I’m almost embarrassed to log such an insignificant moment without even really an ounce of embodied ecstasy. “2 chicken rolls.” Droplets of rain drop down my iPhone mini, and even all the pizza-baristas who are generations older than me have white sticks protruding down from their ears, proving that no human on Earth is safe from all this well designed technology, especially if it immerses you in some sonic augmented reality as you stand on your feet and heat bread for a full day’s work. “That’ll be $16.50.” Plastic townhouses rise above a green fence across the street, and three framed portraits of the twin towers look in on in this two-star pizza place. My food comes in foil, in plates, in bags. My hands are clean. Walking back, I pass a little brick building with a pale-yellow fence, a pre-K where my kids might eventually go if we decide to keep renting due to a completely absurd New York housing market. The rain is worse now. A motorcyclist texts at a red light. A construction worker with an orange hat texts on a brick sill. My words are a form of sensory perception. Why? Why write about such trivial things (I picture at least one friend screaming internally in confused bewilderment). 10 million words. I’m simply putting in reps and practicing in public. I don’t need a subject matter other than an average day in order to stretch the mind that thinks in glyphs. Pppppprrreee. It’s the 590 Super N Case. Some Parkinson’s bulldozer that has a very expensive hole to dig. The end goal is to think in visions. To see one thing through my eyes, and an associated screaming metaphor in my minds eye, that automatically breaks through as thoughtlessly as “likes” and “ums.” Back at the door. That Black Chariott logo I know from childhood but know nothing about. And pamphlets. Pamphlets stuffed in the storm door. The raised train whirs through the grey urban garden, and it’s time for chicken.

12:10 pm — Are some of the visions from the 1950-70s easier to integrate into culture 50 years later? In 2023, it’s as if we’ve absorbed and adopted only the shallowest parts of On the Road (and by proxy, hippy culture). Free love turned to Tinder. Hitchking turned to Uber. Crashing pads turned to Air BnB. The radical culture become normalized, moderated, and commercialized through tech companies who used software to enable past unconscious urges, and formalize them into convenience. Meditate is a meme. Individuality is a meme. The difference is everyone is comfortable. The raw work ethic is missing; the idea that salvation comes from relentless pursuing something of your own.

11:11 am — If Mr. Rodgers hosted Black Mirror.

11:10 am — Kerouac’s prose, without the adventure, with good editing.

11:03 am — Wondering about the trade-offs of “systems vs. spontaneity” on social media. Do I block out time to go through different networks and do different things? Or do I just jump in and out of Twitter when I feel like it? Leaning towards the systematic. Put in 2-3 good, focused hours per day, and don’t bleed in and check the stats all day.

7:32 am — Often embarrassed by my own writing. What’s the source? I’m attuned and sensitive to the gap between what I perceive to be authentic and what’s actually on the page. What I mean is, I can get caught up in a style, mood, or ethic, and that colors the whole thing. Maybe others don’t see the illusion, but it becomes apparent to me over time. All I can do is be more honest in the next one.

6:50 am — I remember re-arranging a CEOs office furniture so he could get the full walkable VR experience. During setup, we put his secretary on the moon, and she fell to her knees and wept and wept, as it was her childhood dream to walk the surface of the moon, and yet, after 2-3 minutes, "she was good." Headset off. That was cool. There's not a lot to do on the moon by yourself. We blew people's minds in the first 30 seconds of our Unreal condo simulations, but they'd usually jump on in 3-6 minutes. But later I learned that if you put 2-3 architects in share simulation and let them work through design problems, they totally forget they're wearing anything on their face, and they can spend 2-3 hours at a time in there.

June 15th, 2023

8:55 pm — Random YouTube comment worth saving:

It's because people don't know how to read. They don't know how to read Kerouac. They don't see in between the lines. Even in obvious works like Big Sur - which is full of sadness and despair. People don't have the capacity for the text and the art of his writing. A lot of people who have read Kerouac and decided to become a drunken western Buddhist can't even stomach 5 pages of Proust or can actually read any of William Blake's work (even tho they hype Blake up because Kerouac name drops him.) This is why hippies were misled. You canNOT only start with Kerouac or end with him. Look at all his inspirations - knowing the cannon is so so important. I've been across the county many times and I've rambled like a Townes Van Zandt troubadour but I was always furthering my knowledge of literature. You start with like winesburg Ohio, you know, then you move onto DJ Pancake etc. People will read all of "on the road" and then say to themselves I want to be sal paradise the write r or I want to be Dean the eccentric muse - which I understand because youthfulness is so exhilarating - but they forget the entire scene when Sal paradise sees everyone laughing at dean and his drunken antics rather than laughing with him. It's a sad scene and the climax of the book in spirit and message. But people usually hit Kerouac so early in their youth that they miss these subtle parts and are just overwhelmed with the idea of popping adderall and writing down "first thought best thought." It's a shame. But Kerouac is still at the level of Melville and Emerson and Hawthorne etc. I have much love for him. I think America broke his heart, or rather finished it off. On side note - a greatly underrated poet from that time is Jack Gilbert. He is far superior to Ginsberg or Snyder or Ferlinghetti etc

7:58 pm — The joy and pride of cooking.

1:30 pm — The body of a Twitter thread is all about connective tissue; on building momentum from one thread to the next.

8:18 am — I’m against infinite coffee at diners.

7:05 am — Just learned that Terence McKenna’s wake was a rave. He was also ranked (by Utne?) as being in the top 100 most influential people of the 20th century. Here are some notes I took while listening to his 1999 talk at Palenque North, called “Linear societies and non-linear drugs.”

  • 5 -- Psychedelics as philosophical tools; the academic modes to approach philosophy are abstract, cold, and stuff; but psychedelics touch upon and shape everything.

  • 6 -- Discursive thinking; what the world is, and who's asking? Where did we come from, what are we bound to, whose along for the ride?

  • Visions are marginalized, the psychedelic community accepts their place as lower class citizens

  • 10 -- Men of science vs. Shamans, intuition

  • 14 -- 16th and 20th century = centuries of vision & irrationality

  • 15 -- Discourse is fragmenting, scattered islands, systems of self-reference

  • 18 -- Manuel de Landa -- a thousand years of nonlinear history.

    While the naive are scanning the stars, our appliances have become telepathic.

  • 21 —- AI is made of ceramics, glass, metal

  • 22 -- Earth is an embryonic thing; machines are the exit, and our species is the bride; we are actors in a cosmic drama; a transcendence from machine-human symbiosis

  • No trees grow to heaven, if anything process goes uninterrupted to infinite, destabilizes

  • 28 —- John Dee wanted angelic instant messengers for military messages; the Internet comes from the hopes of a magic genie

  • 30 —— The computer ages is rapidly expanding the logos; we have a rapid influx of media, and computers enable us to access, retain, and recall more information that ever; we’re getting too heady'; this is why we need vision and intuition more than ever; to recalibrate

  • 36 —— DNA, language, software; all code over space-time; everything is code; multiple levels of code; a simulacrum; programmable environment; code complexifies; life is a puzzle with cryptic, locked doors, but if you get it right you access things that are unexpected; DMT as a molecular key (plunder the palace)— if the world is code, it can be hacked

  • 39 —— Where do hallucinations come from? Indescribable; two theories:

    • The reductionist: remix of all the things things you’ve ever seen (but coherent, meaningful, emotionally charged);

    • 42 —— The imagination is a the vastest frontier; why do we have quantum accessible data? Antenna; you have a Hubble telescope inside you, an instrument, to gather remote information outside space and time, exotic dimensions; beings rises and falls like plankton in the sea; Gaian matrix; cosmic ecology, system of living relationships

  • 50 — Not only is space exploding, but it will go asymptotic in 1-2 billion years

  • 51 — We live in the cosmic boonies; more gamma rays in the center, 200-300x more dense; we’re in this donut ring, a toroidal ban of life; visualize space as 3d with featured clusters; it’s not just a random or equal distribution of stars.

June 14th, 2023

8:07 pm — The real purpose of coffee table books in NYC (to crush roochies)

8:06 pm — The background people of NYC

7:17 am — From the preface to Dharma Bums:

“Still young in years and handsome as any movie star--Salvador Dali pronounced him "more beautiful than Marlon Brando"--blessed with a voice that was in itself a musical instrument, a lightning-swift mind, and an uncanny instinct for absurdist comic timing and impromptu gloom-and-glee drama, Kerouac became an overnight sensation, the first literary figure of the full-fledged media age, interviewed on TV talk shows and reading his work to jazz accompaniment at the Village Vanguard.”

6:28 pm — The bigger the vision, the more like it is to be misunderstood. The bigger the character, the more likely they are to become caricaturized.

1:41 pm — Breadcrumbs from lunch (these are the kinds of things I’ll log during a conversation with the intention to expand on later, though sometimes I lose the original thought).

  • World of illusion and tension

  • All caps guy

  • Value of meticulous labor

  • Use the typewriter when you don’t know the shiny dime.

9:08 am — Get through illusions by adopting many.

8:57 am — Kerouac found any form of revision to be “literary lying, imposing a form farther away from the truth of the moment, counter to his intentions for his “true-life” novels.”

8:10 am — Last night my wife found a roochie in the bathroom, barefoot at 1 am. When you see a roach outdoors on the sidewalk of New York City, that’s one thing, but to find one half-conscious in the place of wash / cleanliness / nakedness is another thing. This one was a runner, and took 2 throws of a thick architectural textbook. Are there more on the way? The rebrand from “roach” to “roochie” was an attempt to make light of the situation.

June 13th, 2023

6:08 pm — From Tiago'e email: here are the platform-agnostic parts of a "Second Brain"

  • A capture toolkot

  • An organizational system

  • A practice of distillation

  • A publishing medium

  • A review ritual

12:35 pm — Letter to the Runway group:

Hey! I was very much behind the scenes in Cohort 10 focused on the curriculum, but I'm excited to be back in Runway as a proper citizen of Circle, sharing posts and giving feedback.

After being craft-obsessed and audience-agnostic for almost 3 years, I feel like it's time to take responsibility around getting my essays read. I got into a weekly publishing groove on Substack in February, but it lead to no audience growth (and ironically, after I paused, it grew faster).

I'll be posting a weekly essay on Substack this summer, but I'm joining Runway on the thread track to reach new readers. I'd like to 2x my Twitter audience (~1,250 to 2,500), and hope that I can convert this to email subscribers.


I have 2 goals that are contradictory:

OPENNESS: I'd like to be a better online citizen. I want to have a daily presence, reply, support people, give feedback, and make real friendships. So much of what I need is a mindset shift: get out of my head, ease into everything, and goof around.

VIRALITY: I'm also hell-bent on cracking the "dark arts of the hook." Yesterday I started visually reverse engineering Cultural Tutor's thread hooks. While virality is unpredictable, I do think there's a science to it, and I'd like to have a few threads break a million views [or, pick an arbitrarily large number]. This is the opposite side of the brain, and it's focused on tactics and iterating based on data. Honestly, mass attention makes me nervous and it's not in my nature at all, but I think it's possible to grow in a graceful way, and it enables a lot of other things.

The thesis I'm testing in Runway is that being an architect on social media actually enables your ability to be an archaeologist in your essays. My Substack will always be a protected place, where I write for myself, log about random topics, and leave thoughtful replies. And since this 'oasis' exists, I can see Twitter as isolated, illusory, mini-game (like getting competitive over Mario Party). Since all social media networks devolve into some version of American idol, I might as well follow the algorithm, play the attention game, and become a half-caricature, while not take any of it too seriously. If it works, it leads new friends into the oasis, and potentially makes the oasis sustainable. We'll see

Medium term:

700 paid Substack subscribers at $5/month (maybe 1 year from now)

Long term:

Why have an audience in the first place? I'd like to write more on this another time, but here are 5 phrases that capture a lot of what motivates me.

  • Permissionless Creativity (following your unpredictable curiosities)

  • Citizen of the Internet (making friends online)

  • Passive Income Parent (no kids yet, but hoping to have a life of flexibility where I can spend a lot of time with them)

  • Rich Inner Life (space to disconnect from high-speed culture and immerse in the subconscious)

  • Artistic Legacy (contributing to "the great conversation," and also, as simple as making something my kids will be inspired by)

June 12th, 2023

10:24 pm — I set up Screentime on iOS to block out 90% of my apps between 9pm and 9am. I also deleted Twitter and YouTube from my phone. Since then, I’ve read more Kindle than I have in months. Your digital setup matters. Design it.

June 11th, 2023

9:42 pm — The last two nights, there has been CRAZY loud bass in the neighborhood, as if a pop-up Ultra music festival randomly decided to show up a few blocks down. Things shake. My wife and I have had theories on where it’s coming from, and after dinner, we’d walk around as detectives trying to find it (we saw people dressed as flappers earlier that day, and we were wondering if there was some block party). We followed the sound and debunked our theories. It wasn’t a raunchy graduation party at the venue. It wasn’t a bar on the main strip. Was this thing literally underground? But at one point we got so close to it that it hurt our ears, but then it escaped us. It was moving. Jesus, imagine having an Ultra music festival in your car. Turns out, there’s a scene in Queens of people who decked out their cars with 20-30 high powered speakers, and relocate as they get noise complaints.

9:04 pm — I don’t feel great after publishing ‘confessional’ style writing, and I think that’s a good thing. For hours (maybe even a day) after, I get uncomfortable imagining other people reading it. That’s a sign that I took a risk, and while I hope it eventually goes away, if it does, it’s a sign I’m no longer pushing.

6:08 pm — The value of the ‘Crossfit for Writing’ method is that you use timers to shift scales, zooming in and out, never stuck in one pattern of thinking. It prevents looping and overthinking. There’s no singular set of steps you have to follow. Maybe a rigid program can help some people. But I find it’s always good to write with a watch, and when you get to the end, you either zoom in or zoom out, and guess how much time you need.

6:48 am — The Essenes believed that if you broke one rule in the Torah, you might as well have broken them all. No tolerance for slip ups (at least, once you’re educated).

June 10th, 2023

11:06 pm — Five goals before next molt:

  • Permissionless Creativity

  • Citizen of the Internet

  • Passive Income Parent

  • Rich Inner Life

  • Artistic Immortality

2:28 pm — The three lemon waters at the table, in that moment, had some sublime, indescribable significance, as if this mundane pre-meal ritual isn’t mundane, but a ritual specific to diners and pizza shops of the 20th century, and I’m finally initiated and I see it and I’m united with my deceased grandparents in this single moment — and then I realized: geez, this is some form of psychotic gratitude. I’ve gained control of the meaning making center of the psyche, and I can interpret my reality however I please. God is in the lemon water. Powerful. Careful.

2:25 pm — Scenes from a strip mall: names embroidered on the back of cars, bumper sticker gusto.

2:21 pm — Walking through the Suburbs after reading an excerpt in Dharma Bums that criticizes it (but in the next chapter, the main character criticizes the other character criticizing the Suburbs). Don't read too much into fiction. Think for yourself. Careful where you derive your world views from.

1:59 pm — Why do we talk to dogs like babies?

10:56 am — Spatial computing has a unique challenge; we're already experiencing the negative side effects of last generations computing platform. We just pranced right into the era of personal computing. Now we assume the worst.

10:55 am — The association between altruism and guilt.

June 9th, 2023

12:17 pm — The Old Testament is a theological manifesto. The New Testament is a political rewrite.

June 8th, 2023

3:51 pm — Hard to start, hard to stop.

8:19 am — Mess is a physical proxy for past lapses in awareness.

8:12 am — Simplicity is more meaningful when it comes from complexity. I think often we find ourselves tangled in complexity, then we find a simpler path, and go "Aha! it was so simple all along!" And from then on, we assume we can find simple non-convoluted answers without diving into the mess of a problem. I actually question if you can find something both simple and valuable without crossing the valley of complexity. The better path is to dive deeper, get messy, and then distill. There is truth and mental muscle you build by navigating complexity. Ultimately, you want to understand a thing so well that you can articulate it at different levels of difficulty. An expert in something can work in simplicity and complexity.

8:11 am — That sensation when your mouth fiends another sip of coffee but the cup is empty.

5:12 am — I had a dream of a newborn and felt that I actually comprehended a new dimension of love I’ve never felt, but then at some point my grandmother came into the scene and overfed him some thick white liquid, causing him to cry for the first time, and he basically withered down into what I can only describe as a green pancake, and if you put your finger on it, it would wrap around you, showing it still held the capacity for love. I kind of freaked out? Babies don’t molt, but everyone in my family assured me this is completely normal.

June 7th, 2023

7:48 pm — The 2nd half of 2023 will be a historic marketing push for VR. People underestimate the power of Apple ads and the reach they have through their retail stores. Totally beats a "Best Buy" experience.

5:39 pm — lowercase mindset

5:08 pm — It's a good thing if an idea haunts you.

3:41 pm — XR industry waves (get specific with transition points)

  • 1 -- 1960s-1990s

  • 2 -- 1990s-early 2000s

  • 3 -- 2013- 2023

  • 4 -- Launch of VisionPro

3:12 pm — The reason technology skews dystopian is the misaligned incentives of the people who control it. Technology is a tool for power, and you have to measure what companies and consumers each gain.

3:01 pm — My family ordered a surprise cake for me when we went out to dinner for my birthday. I caught the whole thing on camera, and so did they. There's a difference. I caught it through my glasses, and they did it through their phones. I spent half-a-second to click it, and then I'm back in the moment. So through my footage, I see others spend 3-10 seconds to get out their phone and start the video. Then, from my perspective, as everyone sings, all I see are the backs of everyone's phones. It's surreal. I get that they want to remember this, but as a consequence, almost no one is in the actual moment with me. In the defense of VisionPro, I'd rather see digital eyes through a headset then floating rectangles.

9:47 am — Easy to create tasks for your future self to do. The friction is, will your future self want to do them? It's easy to lob things forward and assume a more generous and diligent version of your future self. Feels great to delegate. But the future you might be as lazy as you are now, meaning, the whole act of planning becomes a charade. The problem is, my flow states tend to involve deep, singular, obsessive deep dives on a single thing. I never prioritize the little things. Some might say, "hey, that's just not in your DNA." I disagree. I want to discover a way to get "in" to the idea of knocking out 15 little tasks in the course of 60 minutes.

9:30 am — Something feels off with Twitter super-follows. It's weirdly positioned. I can't trust it. What do I get? Is it a UI problem? Are creators turning it on without thinking? Huge accounts with 500k followers only have 3-50 supporters. That's a red flag.

8:32 am — Every paragraph needs a shimmering, confessional quality. "Visceral" might be the word. It's the opposite of descriptive language.

8:31 am — Canadian smog from forest fires bring an eerie glow into Manhattan; definitely not as orange from the inside; just very low visibility, from Bryant Park you can barely see 5 blocks down (which is definitely odd), but the air smells and tastes like death soot, and less than 1% are wearing masks. Itchy eyes. Sore throat.

8:30 am — Isn't funny how language can described both as, a) a holy, flexible system that enables you to make sense of reality, and also, b) a prison. Use language, don't let language use you. Make sure your abstractions serve you instead of torment you. I wonder if so much anxiety and mental illness are actually the result of language structures that have gone (subconsciously) rogue.

7:19 am — Duality of gratitude and yearning. What is the compromise? Yearning as play. A striving for things that doesn't take itself too seriously.

7:18 am — I am open, programmable, suggestible.

7:17 am — Every day since we flipped the car is bonus time, and I now know how quick all the loose ends, dreams, hopes, and everything real, can suddenly, without notice, just radically end and fade to (relative) black. Today could be it, so there's no reason not to make semi-radical decisions. I probably under-estimate how much this one event recalibrated my risk tolerance.

7:10 am — The morning is an opportunity to incept yourself with seeds of language / bake a meta-layer into consciousness.

June 6th, 2022

4:52 pm — The last 3 months have been a torrent of change.

GPT-4, Substack Notes, Apple Vision Pro, the US government in possession of extra-terrestrial pilot bodies, the Write of Passage curriculum shuffle. Big stuff. Weird stuff. If you're like me, your memory has melted into electric goo and you're taking things day by day.

We're due for a re-introduction.

4:35 pm — You know you've made it as a writer when you have a team of specialists applying jelly and electricity to resuscitate your forearms.

4:34 pm — What is the right vibe of royalty-free music for pesticide spray advertisements?

2:24 pm — I’m intrigued by the phrase, “the end of history.” It’s very different from “the end of the world,” and forces you to separate collective existence with the specific nature of a shared “history.” History is our stable, objective consensus through linear time.

Pre-history was filled with tribes who had no awareness of each other, whose chronology of events were fuzzier due to oral lore, and whose perception of time was altered from the ritualistic use of hallucinogens. They had a looser grip on reality. Terence McKenna said that we “fell” out of the “Garden Eden” when rain forests dried up and we were desperate enough to need surpluses.

The agricultural revolution was our fall into linear history, and it started with mono-culture and tyrant kings in Egypt and Babylon. History was the start of an ego-trip. If history is our collective ego, then our technology has become a psychedelic that is destabilizing it.

  • As McLuhan said, we’re already entering the realm of “electronic tribalism,” the collapse of nation-states, and the end of “mass media” (a tyrannical mono-culture).

  • Media is accelerating, and AI is bringing it warp drive, enabling people and tribes to become suspended in their own custom hallucinations. (If pre-history had no consensus from a lack of media, post-history will have no consensus from infinite media.)

  • Psychedelics are becoming legalized and available in institutions. Maybe they’ll get integrated into mainstream religion too. Like the 60s, a culture with exposure to psychedelics has an altered sense of time and identity. It warps and twists, and the subconscious replaces phony external constructions. We’re also diving even deeper into the psychedelic space, where you can get DMT injected intravenously, letting you stay suspended in a geometrical realm, outside of time, and communicate with disembodied entities. Wild.

  • Not only will we find aliens inside our minds, but conspiracies keep gaining more eery validity, and we might actually confirm contact with ETs. We could gain knowledge of a radically different timelines, concepts, and technologies that obliterate our identity.

  • Throw in the always-present risk of “nuclear war,” which could be species-ending as well as history-ending. But even if it never happens, it casts everything in an apocalyptic twilight. It adds to the overall turbulence.

  • And while all this is going on, we might get enticed further and further into virtual worlds, where the sun is blocked and there is no night or day (a permanent, digital, distributed Tokyo). By the end of this decade, Apple will turn their consumers into literal worlds that manipulate (digital) matter.

To summarize, the 2020s will continue getting weirder and weirder. This decade might be remembered as the time when the acid kicked in and we ‘crescendo’d out of history.’ Again, not the end of it all, but the end of things as we knew it; the end of the paradigms that humans had been relatively familiar with since Ancient Egypt. The “end of history” can be semi-synonymous to the phrase “the singularity.” Except, it’s much broader than AI. It’s the collective scrambling of space, time, and identity due to the widespread access of ‘hyper-technologies.’

2:23 pm — That’s not sauce, that’s blood.

9:17 am — $3,500 for Apple's Vision Pro is CHEAP for what you're getting. The Varjo XR-3 is $6,000 and this exceeds that. 12 cameras, double-pass through, the custom silicone chip. Not to mention, integration with iOS, macOS, and all your data. This thing is a $10,000 VR experience you're getting for 1/3 of the price. Surprisingly, it's totally void of the cool factor. They're going for the holy shit / wow / tech as magic route to win over their user-base. And surprisingly, they're likely going to achieve this with "floating iPad apps" -- meaning, they don't even need to invent new forms of 3D content (though that will come with time). I see this as a laptop replacement. The killer app? They're killing the monitor. This isn't an iPhone moment (what you take out of your house), but a Macintosh moment (what you keep in your house). Even though it's a pass-through device that shows you your actual environment (like AR), it's most like VR in spirit.

June 5th, 2023

9:05 pm — At a wake:

  • Another wake where I lost touch with someone and never had the chance to express my appreciation for them before they passed. It’s a hard reminder. Tell people how you feel, even if it feels awkward.

  • The strange social realities of a wake.. when you meet new groups of people, but will likely never see them again considering the link between you has just passed.

  • When was the standard, western wake etiquette established? Is there a process of designing your wake while you’re alive? (similar to a will). Do I get any say in music choice, photos, venue, and theological doctrine? It seems like a silly thing to care about. You’re dead! Why would you care? It’s not about you, but crafting an special experience for those who love you enough to come to your wake and funeral. They’ve lost you, are highly emotional, and a thoughtful gesture from your past self would mean a lot. It’s like you’ve embodied your spirit in art.

2:26 pm — Notes from the Vision Pro keynote:

  • Using a Quest 2 felt like having a N64 strapped to your face. You can play immersive games with jenky graphics, but it couldn't connect to your data easily. iCloud connectivity is a big deal. All your files are now accessible. It makes the "computing" or "spatial computing" real. The fact that you can have multiple apps at once makes this way more like an OS and less like a console.

  • It was also a massive pain to coordinate with friends to get in and out of VR experiences. It usually takes 10-15 minutes (dealing with annoying updates), and you need to text back and forth to coordinate. This system has Apple integrated, so I imagine texts and calls come right through. Another big win.

  • The Vision Pro demo didn't show off many "spatial experiences" (ping pong, VR chat, etc.). It didn't feel like a video game. It showed off "floating iPad apps." People used this sarcastically, but they probably don't get the promise of a spatial OS. Imagine having widgets pinned in your physical surroundings. Apple is trying to master spatial computing with 2D elements. A good move. Get that right, and then slowly integrate 3D.

  • The fact that it has a pocket computer with a custom chip might be a big deal. Could it enable PC-VR scale experiences? This was done with Magic Leap, but I think they were limited to Qualcom processors (like Quest). Curious to know the power on these.

  • 23 million pixels per eye. Damn. Is that accurate? Seems like 7-8x Quest, and 3x Varjo (which costs $6k). In so many early demos, I'd have early users ask "how can I make the pixels go away?" This is beyond human eye resolution, meaning, now you're only limited by the artistry of the 3D rendering artists and engines. Also -- this will make it so much easier to read text.

  • The "presence" on this thing will be insane. A jittery headset is a bad time. Quest made the leap from external base stations to "inside out tracking." Now, VisionPro has 12 cameras, 6 sensors, 5 mics. Damn. This thing will not just be smooth, it will capture your eyes, your facial muscles, and it will probably have the ability to create 3D models of the room around you. This will soon be at the point (if not already), of smoothly blending the physical and virtual environment.

  • "Co-presence" is going to be an even bigger ideal. In 2020, with the Quest 2, we were limited to cartoon avatars, head position, and hand position. Now, you can scan yourself to get an avatar that crosses the uncanny valley, and it's animated by all your headset cameras. What this means is 2 people can be across the world, and have an experience as if you're in the same room. This is where the "teleportation effect" starts to kick in. People will freak out. Co-presence is the coolest part about VR. It's the killer app. The eliminator of distance. Facebook demo'd this in 2019-2020 and it was mind-blowing, but it was only possible through crazy rigs & capture studios.

  • The VisionPro demos over-emphasized the usefulness of hand gestures and eye-tracking. I guess we'll see if they've made any meaningful improvements on this over what exists. They're cool for one-time tasks, but it's hard to use your hands as a mouse for over 10 minutes. Your arms get tired, and you look like a zombie. I'm glad they showed how the headset can easily integrate with Apple keyboards and mice. Oculus enabled bluetooth connections, but it could take 1-3 minutes sometimes. This is hopefully as instant as the AirPods to MacBook connection.

  • The blending looked intense. It's not immediately obvious that the device isn't clear. You're not looking through it. There's "double passthrough." What you see inside the headset is a recreation of your room from the on-camera headsets. When people see your eyes, it's a 3D model of your eye.

  • I'm wondering how "guardian" works on here (vs. the Vive & Oculus setup).

  • Spatial videos could be neat.

  • I can't imagine walking around with these on. They're still bulky. There might be a Google Glass style pushback. This isn't the iPhone moment -- this is the Macintosh moment. It's not something you wear out, but something more and more people will have in their home.

  • The battery life is only 2 hours, which further emphasizes how this is more of a "computing" device, like a laptop you plug in.

  • The reason this is being released early next year is so they can give developed 9 months to create and port over apps to work with it. Apple has a stable foundation for app developers. (I’d imagine the developer environment that Meta built is a fraction of the size of people who are already fluent with ARKit.)

  • This is a reboot of the XR industry.

2:09 pm — The fact that Apple uses the term ‘complications’ for ‘widgets on your watch’ might be the least-Appley thing ever.

2:01 pm — I’ve been in VR for 10 years. Now Apple’s year. It’s an interesting and sentimental moment. 2013, rumors of the Rift. Then 2014, I tried the DK-2 and was floored; it was the kind of moment that changed the course of my whole life. I got my own in 2014, and remember sitting up in the corner of my childhood bedroom and showing jenky, glitchy demos to my parents. Started a VR company for architecture visualization in 2015, and it slowly crescendo’d until we interviewed at YC in 2017. In 2018, started working for an international firm, setting up VR on huge billion dollar projects (more of a headache than cool VR use cases to be honest). But then the 2020 pandemic hit, and I set up Quests for 50 people so they could do multi-user VR design reviews. My relationship with VR settled down in ‘21-’22 as I started writing more. Now feels like the beginning of a new wave, and by 2033, we’ll effectively be teleporting.

1:49 pm — Apple has a monolithic and robotic presentation style. It's obnoxiously clear. No room for error. Perfectly rehearsed and articulated. No chance for a moment. Easily AI-generated. Does Epic Games do this better? (They seem to have a nice mix between casual presentation and stunning visuals).

June 4th, 2023

9:25 am — We know of St. Paul as the one to spread Christianity to the Greco-Roman world. In this assumption, Christianity is a singular and solidified thing, and Paul is simply amplifying the signal. What if Paul wasn't amplifying, but creating? Paul wasn't delivering Christianity (the name and theology didn't exist before Paul), but a lesser-known sect of Judaism (the Essenes). And he wasn't translating Essene theology 1:1, he was warping and shaping Jewish lore so it would land with the mythical sensibilities of his audience. If this is true, then Christianity is an "audience-driven" construction, all with the goal of having Judaism survive a tense Roman occupation.

June 3rd, 2023

6:40 pm — Would you get injected by nanobots if they could monitor your vitals in real-time and reliable prevent cancer from spreading?

6:16 pm — At death, consciousness doesn’t fade or smother, and it doesn’t elevate into a new plane of gentle existence. It explodes.

6:14 pm — Look into time dilation for near death exeriences.

5:50 pm — The gentle police of the self

5:19 pm — Implications of a hypnagogic afterlife: Be a good person. Be a psychonaut.

4:37 pm — Globalism and the decline of bench culture (when you’re unsure if strangers are locals, there’s less of an obligation to be polite).

2:20 pm — Writing boils down to two things.

  • What comes next?

  • And how do I write it?

One is about outlining an arc, and the other is about articulating a point in that arc. Writers block is when you’re trying to articulate a sentence without knowing which beat you’re on and which beat is next.

Sometimes it makes sense to zoom out, shape a fuzzy outlined map, and then go in and shape sentences. This doesn’t always work though, because you don’t always have a Birds Eye view of what you’re trying to cover.

So instead you zoom in, follow the sentences, and this gives you a sense of the terrain.

I don’t think there is a “method A” vs. “method B.” Do you start with the outline or the first draft? It’s irrelevant. What you need is the ability to rapidly switch between the two. To let prose uncover maps, and to let maps guide prose. Always pivot. Everything should be malleable.

This can be hard without software fluency. There’s a specific way to work with linear text editors to achieve this malleability. There’s room for a better essay editor that is a dual outliner and prose editor.

8:13 am — Understand the different types of brain plasticity:

  • Synaptic plasticity

  • Hebbian learning

  • Neurogenesis

  • Homeostatic plasticity

  • Cortical remapping

  • Experience-dependent plasticity

  • Metaplasticity

June 2nd, 2023

9:16 pm — Being a Christian currently involves rationally believing a myth instead of experientially embodying a myth.

8:18 pm — What else should essays be other than frozen extensions of your best conversation?

8:15 pm — Elegantly ordered chaos beats simplicty.

8:12 pm — What writers can learn from restaurant menus (hierarchy, compression, visuals)

8:09 pm — Realizing how I have thoughts streaming across all day and I’m not logging them. That’s the common state! That’s everyone’s default. But it’s so simple to log. Instead of doing anything else on your phone, why not transcribe the thoughts worth keeping? Why not etch your surroundings into stone — the slats, the floating plants, and the June Christmas lights as you wait for Bulgogi quesadillas and the dog is making high-pitched shrieks.

5:47 pm — Tempted by the “thread a day” blitz strategy, but don’t know how much tunnel vision that requires.

10:28 am — Substack now gives you three navigation bars (depending on the layout). The new bar let’s you filter by “New” “Top” or “Community” — but this is where I most want to filter essays using the new Tags feature. Any idea if you can do this?

June 1st, 2023

12:49 pm — Waiting rooms can be excruciating. It’s worse when architectural negligence happens. You’d hope they’d play zen music to calm the people who neurotically think their minor injury is life threatening. Instead, there is an old TV with an aggressive weatherman force-feeding you the future.

12:15 am — Llama Index is platform that lets you build search algorithms over your private data. Search in a ‘second brain’ is primitive: it’s keyword based. Imagine using semantics, embeddings, and AI — to match a full paragraph (not just a keyword), with excerpts from a massive (1 million word) corpus?

11:41 am — How to describe this blog through known figures..

  • If John Madden and Virginia Woolf had a baby.

  • Mr. Keating, but on acid.

  • If Kurt Vonnegut lived in the 2020s.

  • If Frank Lloyd Write was a writer.

  • An untethered goon-prophet fails at the Creator Economy.

10:17 am — What if I restacked portion of my logs? Just realized the whole archive, the hocus-corpus, is linked into an emerging social network.. and I can promo just tastes of logs that point back to the source? Tempting.

8:30 am — Break any big plans into layers. Each layer has startup friction, and it helps to tackle those one at a time. Once it’s operating, then start adding other layers. Also worth watching how one new layer creates a ripple across the whole system. You can’t abstractly design systems. You need to isolate and introduce elements, measure, and re-design them. Recognize that any “architected” plan is just a first draft.