Some of the nonsense from my old loaf

I had no idea how much nonsense it was, but nonsense it all is.
— Anna Scott, Notting Hill

This is my nonsense, the corner of my website where I preserve my least worthy thoughts with as much diligence as I do any worthier ones. This is a bit like twitter, only it’s just me here. There’s no dialogue, no foment, just me chatting shit to myself, and you… watching me, apparently.

Dieter Rams gave us less, but better and the world is a better place for it. Here I’m giving the world more, but worse and no doubt the world is poorer for it.

Nought but hokum to be found here, proceed with caution

The Advent of a Demon, unknown artist

Pick yourself up and get over it.

The goal of this chapter of my life is work less, walk more.

The only antidote for fear is to do the thing that you’re afraid of.

Watching An Autumn Afternoon (1962) by Yasujirō Ozu

A still from Yasujirō Ozu’s ‘An Autumn Afternoon’ (1962)

There is this pervasive myth that success will make a person happy. I believe it is the reverse — that happiness will make you successful.

To love is to commit our whole being to the understanding of someone or something, for ”understanding is love’s other name”.

By this we can know where our love lies, by looking to where we commit ourselves, sincerely, to understanding.

Break the rules. If there are no rules, behave so badly as to compel someone to make rules, and then break those.

I do my best walking in the morning, I do most of my walking in the afternoon.

And that’s fine I guess . Sometimes walking/working is a grind and you just have to put the time in, sometimes excellence doesn’t move the needle.

The people who design public toilets don’t use public toilets.

So many crucified Jesus’ in this forest. Imagine trying to explain that to someone who’d never heard of the guy.

If it takes more than fifteen minutes it takes an hour.

My kingdom for a table. To have a table at camp is the holy grail of ease, comfort, and refinement.

None of the good parts of life are efficient. Stop trying to make them so.

We need a space program for earth.

We all have to answer to our ego.

Love does not lessen by miles

If you haven’t found what you’re looking for, look somewhere else.

So often we’re like the drunk looking for his keys under the street lamp. Let go of the lamp. Step out into the dark. Dare to look for your purpose in places you haven’t looked before.

I think this will be the last big trip I do alone. It’s harder to endure loneliness, having known — twice now — what it is to feel that true joy, love.

There’s something beautiful about old computer magazines/brochures. Here’s one from Texas Instruments about their groundbreaking (then… ish) Explorer Computer System.

The cover of it is a work of art and has aged far better than the Explorer System. Naturally, the article opens with a breathless word on Artificial Intelligence and how it will extend “the boundaries of knowledge”.

Texas Instruments brochure cover

Artificial intelligence promises to open new dimensions in the ways that machines serve people. The Explorer computer system from Texas Instruments will play a vital part both in extending the boundaries of knowledge and in delivering the products emerging from AI research.

Written nearly 40 years ago but it could just as easily have been written yesterday, with the frenetic announcements in the ‘AI’ space of late. I wonder from what dizzy technological heights we’ll be looking back in another 40 years.

Here’s a few pages of it. Retro, but more typographically sound and visually respectful than its contemporary equivalents.

The Explorer Computer System, Page 1/2 The Explorer Computer System, Page 3/4

Came across this gem at R. Stricklin’s spectacular Typewritten Software: retrotechnology research lab.

click here to download the original

If you can’t do it all, do what you can.

Some people say you’ll remember what’s important, and I think that’s bullshit. I have very little control over what I remember, and what I do remember has no discernible correlation with what’s important, to me or anyone else. I remember that Howard Hughes lent his name, as a cover, to a secret CIA operation to recover the Soviet submarine K-129 that sank in 1968. The project took six years and still to this day very little is known about what was recovered. But without a prompt I couldn’t tell you more than a handful of my closest friends birthdays. I would gladly forget everything I know about any clandestine salvage beneath the Pacific to remember those birthdays, to remember to send a postcard to my Grandma from time to time, to remember that I’ve run out of onions when I’m at the market, not after I’ve started cooking.

But my mind is filled with the like of the former and I don’t remember any of the latter, and sometimes that makes me want to scream.

I’ve heard myself say before that “a camera is just a tool”, usually in response to someone commenting on the seemingly careless way I use mine (perching it in precarious places, bombing down scree slopes with it in my hand, shoving it in a bag with other things, using it in the rain), but I realise I don’t think that’s quite true. My camera isn’t just a tool, it has a personality all its own, it brings with it a set of constraints that serve to both limit certain efforts and liberate others. I like these constraints, this character, I’m not interested in the relentless pursuit of optically perfect lenses, they seem to me to kill photography. That’s why I sold all my Sony kit, it was so clinical.

A pure tool is as unobtrusive as possible, tries to get completely out of your way, but that’s not what I want. I want a tool that is fun, that has quirks, faults. There’s a pleasure in using a tool like that, a pleasure that you wont find in just any tool. Not just a tool, a medium.

And perhaps this seems like pointless semantics, but I really do think that the relationship that emerges between artist and tool — the ways in which we anthropomorphise our tools — have a significant effect on how effectively we can use them.

A period is no substitute for a pause.

Pity no one, least of all yourself.

We each have many voices. I have a highly active cynical voice. When the cynical voice speaks loudest, I should remember that every voice is wrong most of the time.

We can’t wait for the world to change but, at the same time, we can’t wait for the world to change.

The future is a place where some people will suffer more than they should, as is the past, as is the present.

Don’t mistake someone else needs for your own, and vice versa.

Truth can be spoken without honesty, and we can speak honestly without speaking truth.

Forgetting can be just as important as remembering.

We are all fallible observers of the world, our place in it, our influence on it, and of others. Some days it seems that from that there are two conflicting conclusions:

Trust no one, including ourselves.
Trust everyone, including ourselves.

Perhaps a good life emerges in the reconciliation of the two. Understanding that everything we do is wrong by some measure, but finding the courage to act anyway, balanced by the humility to admit fault when we err, and the compassion to forgive when others do likewise.

People and Ideas.
Mortal and Immortal.

Everything that is worth doing is worth doing with kindness.

Sometimes I think that if I can’t make myself understood then I’m probably not saying anything worthwhile anyway, while other times I think that if people understand what I’m saying that it is then that I must be saying nothing at all.

If you don’t have the courage to say what you want, you won’t have the strength to live how you want.

In the tree outside the window just now there was quite an interesting flock of birds. About a dozen magpies, 2 pigeons, and several black birds, all grouped together. By all appearances they’re having a meeting. Perhaps gerrymandering territory, or discussing recent encounters with local cats.

Don’t let the aesthetic tail wag the ergonomic dog.

Exercise keeps me fit and healthy, but it’s literacy that keeps me thin.

If we keep doing what we’re doing, we’re never going to get there.

Where ‘we’ is this country and ‘there’ is simply better.

Semantics are fascinating to me. By semantics here I mean in essence, the attachment of labels to anything. Culture emerges in the expression of, and prior and subsequent discussion of, semantics. The things we say, about the world we see.

But semantics are also an abstraction, at once they both connect us to the world, to our understanding of the world, and they separate us from it.

Platonic Idealism is rooted in this. Here in the world we are limited to abstractions, we can only glimpse at the extraordinary durability of ideas, which so far exceeds our own as to be almost incomprehensible.

Some days I feel like my brain is short staffed.

I saw an artist wearing a head piece made of magnetic tape pulled from a VHS cassette. My first thought was that it seemed a shame to destroy an old tape, even a blank one. But as I thought about it more, eventually I came all the way to thinking that the destruction/use of that VHS tape in that way did more to preserve the tape than it did to destroy it. At the very least, the transformation brought it to my attention in a way that an untouched tape could not have.

Things that are not in a state of transformation are in a state of decay.

Transformations permits the making of new memories about an object (or an individual).

The act of transformation is an act of preservation then, expending effort to slow the relentless effort of the universes entropy towards the destruction of all things is a beautiful, tymeful act.

I like the Middle English word tymeful meaning ‘at the due time.’

In contrast with timelessness, it reflects the beauty of transience. It captures a quality of being within a moment, bound to it. We are only alive in time, truly timeless things are, necessarily, dead.

Why the Middle English spelling, why not timeful? Because rooting it in the spelling of a bygone era draws more attention to the beauty of this idea that everything that is alive or ever was alive, was alive at the due time.

Words, like ideas, are kept alive in our minds, in our memories. They live not just through transformation, they live by transformation.

Put another way, tymeful transmits a lightly different idea for me than timeful, and I like the feeling of that earlier form.

from Tymeful

A great teacher is not great for their speaking most convincingly, but for their listening most carefully.

Ephemerata, meaning short lived, that’s a good word.

I can eat cake!

Paddy and Val, two humans who I very much admire, have a phrase that they use between themselves. Here’s the short version of how it came to be and what it means (disclaimer: I’m probably misremembering it badly:

They were both working hospo at a lodge, one night a guest ordered cake after dinner. Paddy looked at the guest, raised an eyebrow and said, “you don’t look like a cake kind of person”, to which the guest responded quite aggressively with “I CAN EAT CAKE!”.

And now that emphatic phrase lives on in the house of Paddy and Val, brought out any time one of them presumes to tell the other that they’re doing something out of character. Might we all eat cake, that our characters may grow fat.

If there’s enough time in the day to record all that you do, you’re not doing enough.

And I say that as someone who aspires to capture ever more of what I do.

But journaling is an inherently oscillatory exercise, we try hardest to capture the highs and the lows. While I do regularly make entries in service of the mundane, that isn’t where my heart is.

MikeRun, CC BY-SA 4.0

Anhedonia : deficits in hedonic function

Scary. I’d never heard of the word before. Sure, I think in a transient sense it’s probably something most can relate to, myself included, but learning a word that basically means the lack of feeling has unnerved me a little, because for ten years I did lack feeling. In some ways that all feels so distant now, but it isn’t really all that long gone.

Came across it reading Issa Rice’s site.

After living on the far side of the earth for more than 5 years I’m now back in England. I was never intending to stay long but I will take some time to see folks I haven’t seen for 60+ months, but I’m also turning my attention to the next adventure as a means of keeping myself sane. There is an idea emerging, the beginnings of a plan to walk from Britain to India. I don’t intend to rush, I’d hope to be walking for at least a year before I even reach India, perhaps much more.

I’m going to walk to from home to home
From this side to the far side

The best questions are the ones you have to answer for yourself.

Constraints liberate and liberties constrain.

I have a vision of the community I aim to be a part of, but there are things I must do before I can be a part of such a community, and that above all I must go out in search of more of the incredible luck that has continuously befallen me these last few years in bringing me so much closer to that goal. Because half-blind/half-sighted ambition and a great deal of luck together is the only path to the life I imagine. Once achieved it will be a thing to behold, an uncommon thing indeed. But there is much more to do and learn before that dream can come fully to life and I can’t do all of that here.

I hope to achieve in a year what most would be glad to have done within a decade.

The people who leave a country should not be assumed to represent those who stay, and vice versa.

I’m scattered. It’s been two days of that. Get started with something, be interrupted by someone, follow that interruption, lose all focus, try and return to what I was doing, fail.

The collapse of all focus. 31 days left with the woman I love and she’s at work. I make dreary progress on my packing but lord above, what am I doing? Who leaves a life like this behind? It’s hard because it’s absurd! This life, here, with this woman, is incredible in every dimension and yet, in a month of days I shall fly away.

No wonder I’m in a struggle.

I don’t believe strongly in either self-determination or inevitability. I think both are easy to get wrong and where it concerns anything that matters, the truth is both too complicated to discern and impossible to verify.

Experience has shown me that our ability to determine what brought us to a given point is deeply lacking. The natural and helpful1 instinct of the mind to create a plausible, comfortable, and simple explanation for any given (or perceived) reality is fantastically fallible and we are never likely to reliably overcome it. Moreover, if we were to overcome it, life may well cease to be worth living.

This belief shares a theme with my beliefs (touched on here) that it is with emotions and entropy (randomness, disorder), not without, that we find meaning.

  1. Without this instinct. I believe that anxiety occurs where the mind cannot reconcile itself to an explanation that is plausible, comfortable, and simple.↩︎︎

I believe that wherever we attach emotion we are vulnerable, especially if we are not self aware about that emotion. I don’t take this to the conclusion that rationalists do in attempting to be less/non emotional, rather I aim to understand where my emotions come from and how I can interpret and respond to them in order that my acts in life reflect the confluence of my values and emotions. I believe the rationalists attempts to segregate beliefs and emotions represents a kind of death of the soul, a profound loss of what makes us human.

Just came across Rozzi Roomian’s paintings. I find The Mask particularly striking. A provocative look at how we look at the world.

The Mask by Rosalind Roomian

Rozzi Roomian

Sometimes I feel like an implicit person in an explicit world. Which really sounds like a whole lot of bullshit but hey

It can be hard to be satisfied with anything less than a bit too much.

I struggle with computers. I don’t struggle with them in the sense that they don’t make sense to me, rather they feel all too natural, or maybe not exactly natural but very very interesting. For as long as I’ve known about computers they have appealed to me, for lots of reasons, but perhaps most of all because I love order. Computers are ordered. Sure, disorder can be imposed on them or perpetuated with them, they’re not perfect, after all they’re just meticulously refined rocks that we’ve some how filled with lightning and tricked into doing maths, but they facilitate a purity of order that can’t be touched by any other medium. Any other medium. Computers are a medium, and that I think is where I’ve gotten lost. My relationship with computers has morphed into computing as the goal. Computers are the medium, and as a medium they exist only to help me discover and express. A means, not an end.

Every action is a reflection of the actor.

Take only what you need, and give half of it away.

I just watched the world population clock tick past 8,000,000,000 on the worldometer.

Of course the number is just an estimate and almost meaningless as a ticking counter – we might actually have crossed that threshold months ago, or perhaps we still haven’t – but there it went, momentous somehow, nothing somehow.

Eight billion of us here on this earth. The few humans we might meet in our lifetimes are less than a rounding error against the total eclipse of that figure.

I heard someone say that there will never be more children alive on earth than there are today. That fact, be it a true fact or not, made me wonder how many children are born each day.

385,000 children born today. Today.

Just imagine all the experiences that this lot will have. How many of the people born today will I meet? Perhaps none. Yet each of them will inhabit this earth, they along with the next 385,000 to be born tomorrow. Their lives will share all the same essential components as mine.

We will experience joys, and pains, feel love, taste hate; think and see and touch; wonder at the world as we wander out in the world. We share all that and more, yet I will never know you outside of the arbitrary provocation of this made up clock that has counted you into the world.

The most durable things are those that can be replicated easily and therefore transmitted widely, kept whole and undivided, and both near and far. The most durable things therefore, are ideas.

The extraordinary durability of ideas is such that an idea could theoretically be completely extinguished from the earth, all trace of it wiped out, every mind it had ever inhabited passed on, and still reappear at some later date.

Photographs are not as durable as ideas. Nor indeed are words, mere semantics in comparison. The durability of ideas is such that I think they are subordinate only to the entropic durability of the universe. In that hierarchy, it is inescapable that we/humans are ourselves subordinate to Ideas. This echoes of Nadia’s writing in The tyranny of ideas

When do I do my best thinking? When I’m moving. Walking lifts my spirits immensely. Craig calls it locomotion. It’s generative. Motion is my thinking. Motion of the legs over the earth, followed by motion of the pen over the page.

What do I want to do? That’s the other big one isn’t it. I’m getting pretty good at answering it mind, and growing better at putting the answers into practice, y’know, doing the stuff that feels good.

So thinking and doing, thinking and building, thinking and creating.

Motion and creation. ha. I want to live the kind of life where MOTION AND CREATION would be an apt title to a memoir. Move and create. Move and make. yada yada.

The ability I have, that we all have, to affect people with words scares me sometimes.

A long time ago, in my teens, I remember being asked about my ‘type’ by a girl in our friend group. What kind of women was I attracted to? I was a bit thrown off because I hadn’t really thought about it much, so I just said something like “I like dark hair, not really into blonde” and didn’t think anything of it.

The next time I saw that group of friends, one of them had died their hair dark, she was naturally blonde. Even then I didn’t really put it together. It wasn’t until much later that I found out she was attracted to me and connected the two things.

On the one hand, of course we can change the way we look in order to try and attract those who attract us, it might not be a universally bad thing… but that experience haunts me still and, for better or for worse, I try to be more cautious about revealing things like that, for fear that it might catch someone where they’re vulnerable.

I’ve recently started using a Garmin smartatch/fitness tracker. I was mostly interested in it as a backup GPS navigation device when in the backcountry but have been pleasantly surprised by its other features, so much so that I haven’t taken it off (except to charge) since. Each morning it gives me a sleep score for the nights rest, and I’ve found it completely spot on. To begin with I doubted it, when it would say I got a ‘fair’ sleep I might have thought, “nah I feel great” but sure enough within a few hours I’d be losing sharpness.

Likewise, camping at the top of Anapai beach on the Abel Tasman on Saturday night, I woke up the following morning feeling about as fresh as I ever have, and sure enough I had a sleep score of 96, ‘Excellent’.

It is important to be lucky. Above all else, try to be lucky.

Rice is good, life is good.
— Mizuki

A mind which is not crippled by memory has real freedom.
J. Krishnamurti, Freedom from the Known

A situated study of salience, of self.

Omit needless words.
— Strunk and White, 1918

Hal, delete the blog.

I sat at a tram stop reading The Alchemist, waiting for the 109. Two 86’s went by before I realised I was waiting at the wrong stop, on the wrong line. It’s howling today. As I walked from Spring to Gisborne, a red hat came tumbling towards me on the wind.

Being here in Melbourne – days spent roving the streets of the only city I’ve ever loved, nights spent in the company of the coolest couple I’ve yet met – has been a joy I could not have imagined. There has been something missing, I have fooled myself my whole life long, and I fool myself still. So slowly does the veil lift.

There’s a page in the front of my passport. THIS PAGE IS RESERVED FOR OFFICIAL OBSERVATIONS it reads. Immediately below, printed in a faux stamp style, THERE ARE NO OFFICAL OBSERVATIONS.

Though quite the opposite of its intent, I thought that a poetic comment on the frailty of appeals to authority. There are no official observations like, only observations.

Who made May May, may I ask?

Half of life is trauma, the other half is boring, but there are little slivers of exquisite joy in-between that make it more than worth it.

Found someone’s groceries forgotten on a bench in a park, had clearly been there over night, the tins and packaging were all wet. Stumbled upon a food pantry beside Fitzroy town hall and left them on the shelf.

Reflecting on the pandemic which, apart from the masks we still wear, feels strangely distant. Thinking back to that time where life seemed to hang in the orbit of a single choice, six feet apart or six feet under.

Don’t exaggerate your failings, don’t diminish your strengths.

You don’t have to say everything, stop trying – just say something.

It hardly matters what’s true, only that you believe in something.

Why is it so much easier to smile at dogs than people?

Had a pain in my soul so I ate a bunch of chocolate.

Now I have a pain in my stomach.

I miss the desert.

My bike standing at the edge of the road, which sometimes felt like the edge of the world, somewhere near Mundabullangana, Western Australia.

I decided to look up some coping strategies for ADHD, anyway, turns out that Sweden’s Iore iron ore hauling freight trains produce enough power from regenerative braking to power the empty trains back up to the national border.

The beginning of knowing
Is not knowing

What is the purpose of revenge? To consume us, to occupy us in our grief.

There’s something so captivating about the future. We all just want to see what’s coming, that’s why we go on living.

The Road Not Taken
by Robert Frost

  • Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,

  • And sorry I could not travel both

  • And be one traveler, long I stood

  • And looked down one as far as I could

  • To where it bent in the undergrowth;

  • Then took the other, as just as fair,

  • And having perhaps the better claim,

  • Because it was grassy and wanted wear;

  • Though as for that the passing there

  • Had worn them really about the same,

  • And both that morning equally lay

  • In leaves no step had trodden black.

  • Oh, I kept the first for another day!

  • Yet knowing how way leads on to way,

  • I doubted if I should ever come back.

  • I shall be telling this with a sigh

  • Somewhere ages and ages hence:

  • Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—

  • I took the one less traveled by,

  • And that has made all the difference.

I just re-read The Road Not Taken, and then an exchange between Frost and Edward Thomas, for whom he probably wrote the poem, and realised that I had it wrong all this time.

  • Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
  • I took the one less traveled by,
  • And that has made all the difference.

The poem is a mocking one. There is no difference, except for that which we manufacture. Looking back we tell ourselves that it was our choices that made the difference, that we shaped our destiny. But Frost doesn’t think so. Maybe Frost is wrong, but still it comes as a shock to finally realise that those words in which I have taken great comfort, that have meant much to me, meant in fact quite the opposite.

  • Though as for that the passing there
  • Had worn them really about the same,

But then it’s a relief too, to think that it doesn’t really matter which path we take.

Best not to conflate what is habitual with what is natural.

Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:

Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.
— Mattew 7:13–14

We want certainties, security. The broader road feels more secure. The narrow way is fraught and precarious.

And in all that mighty sweep of earth he saw no sign of man nor of the handiwork of man
All Gold Canyon by Jack London, 1904

I want to be back in that mighty sweep.

I think there can never be a perfect chair. Bugger

I’ve always wanted a perfect chair. But of course, how could there be one? More fool me for ever thinking there would be one. A chair dictates our form, but we cannot get through life in one sitting form, nor one standing form, nor one supine form.

The perfect chair would have to be a constant, while also changing from moment to moment. No. There can be no perfect chair. Plato was wrong. I was wrong.

But can a moment have a chair perfectly suited to it? If it can, then maybe there are many perfect chairs, each perfect in a given moment with a given purpose, for a given person. Maybe that’s even better than a single perfect chair. Not one chair to rule them all, but many chairs, for one and all.

Goodbye perfect chair, I probably wouldn’t have recognised you anyway.

I almost never regret green purchases.

I’m not talking about “let’s save the planet” green purchases, though those are good too, but rather things that I buy that are green in colour tend to bring me more satisfaction and less regret.

Imagine if hiccups were extremely contagious

As I re-evaluate my media diet I’ve come to the beginning of a conclusion.

If it isn’t worth writing about, it wasn’t worth reading.

“But it’s junk!”

Yeah… but it’s better than the junk that I’ve got.

“So you’ll get rid of the bit of junk that it’s better than, will you?”

The greatest failure is to do nothing

A few snippets from Design Principles Behind Smalltalk. I have skipped those maxims that apply only to programming language design, and focused instead on the principles that are broad enough to prove useful in all fields of design.

  • If a system is to serve the creative spirit, it must be entirely comprehensible to a single individual.
  • A system should be built with a minimum set of unchangeable parts; those parts should be as general as possible; and all parts of the system should be held in a uniform framework.
  • [Languages exist] to provide a framework for communication.
  • Languages and systems that are of sound design will persist, to be supplanted only by better ones.

There are things that we just can’t change.

Things happen. Not for any particular reason. They just happen. For Mizuki, things happen for a reason. Both are true I suppose.

Alistair is going blind, he also thinks things happen for a reason. I wonder if that gives him comfort. I hope that it does.

What if I designed a tent that was supported by a tripod? That way I could have a tripod for my camera without doubling up on pole weight.

Dates on this website
I date things when I write them. Like a letter. Though I am often offline for extended periods. You wouldn’t date a letter for the day when you think it will be received, would you?

The glass is half full, yet there are no good pillows, only less bad pillows. Most pillows are worse than no pillows.

At any given time I am likely to have no idea where my passport is. This is despite the fact that I have been abroad for the last five years.

The glass is half full, then it’s empty

I wonder if my life would be better or worse if, all else being equal, we had no means of speaking of time, of situating things in time. No millenia. No months. No Mondays. Time yes, but just as a feeling.

Imagine not being able to say “just a sec” or “in a minute”. We could still say “see you tomorrow”, pissing about with words won’t halt the solar system, but there’d be no “let’s pencil that in for Tuesday July 12th at 2.50pm if that works for you?”. It doesn’t! It really doesn’t work for me.

This is one of those times I’m reminded that it’s a Very Good Thing™ that I’m not in charge of anything big, like time, or the world

Do drugs, stay out of school, talk to strangers

Advertisers, they truly are The Devil incarnate Incorporate.

Been coming across Franz Kafka a fair bit of late. The last two places I heard him mentioned were in Kev Watters excellent Why Did why the lucky stiff Quit? and Erich Grunewald’s The Atemporal Franz Kafka.

I’m most interested in the ethics of Kafka’s alleged desire for all his unpublished works to be burned following his death, and Max Brod’s posthumous refusal.

Qualifications are generally quantitative rather than qualitative, but we are not quantitative beings. Focusing on qualities over quantities seems like a more sustainable posture but maybe I’m just shaking my fist at the sky because I don’t have any ‘qualifications’.

Meaning is made in the making of meaning.

If the phrase “modal editor” means nothing to you, count yourself lucky and ignore everything that follows. For the rest of you clowns, leave your vitriol at the door.

I love vim, but the fact that I feel the need to tell you I actually use neovim is proof enough that everyone who talks about vim sounds exactly the fucking same – me included – which is why I’ve tried not to. But I love vim so I have to. I’ll keep it brief.

Vim is a special class of philosophy, in that everyone takes the same path through it. To leave the path is to leave vim. Vim is a cult.

Kev Watters lays bare all our culty, modal bullshit much better than I can in This is Your Brain on Vim.

  • If you love vim and this makes you laugh, you’re going to be fine
  • If you love vim and this doesn’t make you laugh, you hate yourself
  • If you love emacs, you hate your operating system

A reminder that if you have two arms, you have more than the average number of arms.

Opportunities go to the opportunists.

Ma and I’s regular Sunday morning phone call (Saturday evenings for her) yielded a neat little bite.

Decrying my own recency bias and the broader recency bias of society at large I said that life is reduced to “the loud and the recent”. Ma reflected/reframed/refined this as “the loud and the now”.

I imagine it like a venn-diagram, only at the overlap of the LOUD & NOW can society see. Everything else is either too quiet or too distant. Any sufficiently large group becomes blind to anything but THE LOUD AND THE NOW.

Why are my beliefs back on the brain? My beliefs govern my life, any thinking about them or attempts to refactor them is certain to ripple through my life, so what am I seeking to change in my life?

What is life?

Is it just what we see and do?

What would non-life be? Death? Perhaps not, death is a part of life so might be inaccessible to anything that is not alive. Inaccessible? Can we have death? Can we possess it? Is death inside or outside of life?

Is death the last chapter, or the infinite after?

Venkatesh Rao treads similar ground in What is a life?, looking at a life as an accumulation of experiences, while stressing the need for a life to have a stable, “recognizable” core identity around which this accumulation happens.

I like accumulation as a metaphor for looking closely at life, at a life, at my life.

But belief in something greater than all that we can perceive, something like God, surely yields a more convincing and complete lens for a believer, “You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it rests in you.”, St. Augustine in his Confessions. Believing this life to be a part of a journey toward God grants the believer a firm existential setting. But I do not believe. I was not raised in a faith, I do not wish that I had been. I do not believe in GOD, poly-Gods, talking snakes, or corporeal unicorns.

And even the faithful have still to wrestle with this question, and also with the far more pernicious, “is this life that I have lived enough for this GOD under whom I have lived?”, so I don’t know if faith really salves.

Where faith probably does help is in the depth of philosophical study carried out inside the walls of the house(s) of GOD. More has been thought and done in the service of GOD than not. The corpus of theology has touched, inspired, and expanded every school and avenue of thought and gives the believer such a rich and storied thread on which to draw as can hardly be compared to any other.

A life without GOD is a life in which our own ego takes to the stage, for good and for ill. Without GOD I am free to explore (and indulge) my ego, but I must also teach my ego to inhibit itself for no GOD exists (to me) that will do that for me.

So perhaps a life is simply what accumulates around our own ego. People, ideas, trinkets & treasures, name, and fortune. All enter into the orbit of our ego and our ego too is pulled into the orbit of other egos & ideas. The result is a chaos of forces akin to that of the Three Body Problem. The result is a life.

What do I believe? PART 1

All creatures are dignified, worthy of honour and respect.

I believe that life’s purpose lies in the making of meaning. Or more fully, meaning is made in the making of meaning. I do not need a discrete purpose or focus in my life, though I recognise and respect that many people do.

I know myself to be self-divided, that I grow by confronting my own inconsistencies, in the knowledge that I will never overcome them all. I believe this to be true of all people and think this ability, to believe in things that can’t be certain or that may be wrong, is essential to achieving (or even really attempting) anything in our lives, but is also a weakness through which our worst fears may become the ugliest of prejudices. An inability to act in the shadow of conflicting ideas is anxiety.

“We are, I know not how, double in ourselves, so that what we believe, we disbelieve, and cannot rid ourselves of what we condemn.”
― Michel de Montaigne

Nothing has to be done. This belief governs my attitude to deadlines, my feelings about life’s ultimate purpose, my approach to work and my desire to avoid having a career, my relationships (it is the starkest difference between myself and most of the people I adore), and many other aspects of my life.

Prefer specifics to generalities.

I have a habit of trying to draw the things I think, and learn, and believe into ever larger contexts. I do so in part because of an innocent sort of eagerness, but also, in part, out of a desire to legitimise my thinking within some greater, profounder conclusion. But forced conclusions are often poor conclusions, and often speak most to our prejudices. Trying to apply order where order has not been asked for is selfish, fraught, and almost doomed to fail. I would do better to contain the scope of my thoughts closer to the things I understand, or at least to avoid projecting imagined answers onto unasked questions.

All this isn’t to say that every effort to apply ideas across disciplines or contexts should be forestalled, only that such efforts should be undertaken with care – especially when that other context is another person – and a ready willingness to admit folly and boneheadedness.

I suppose it is tempting, if the only tool you have is a hammer, to treat everything as if it were a nail.
— Abraham Maslow, The Psychology of Science, 1966

The hammer is perhaps an overused tool in my (thinking) toolkit. Developing a preference for specifics rather than generalities is likely to help me in my efforts to become a kinder person.

I don’t know which is more true, that I HAVE NO AMBITION or that MY AMBITION IS TO DO NOTHING.

Emotions are a bit like an ocean. They have depths we can hardly fathom, and breadth that we cannot imagine. Like our own oceans we must surface from time to time, we cannot breathe our emotions. Unlike our own oceans, some of our emotions grow hotter the deeper we go.

I’m interested in anchors. Not real ones, not the kind that peg ships to the ocean floor, but all our sort of metaphysical anchors that peg our hearts to an emotional floor. The tethers that ground and surround us, that inhabit, inhibit, and delimit us.

What are my anchors?

You, me, ma, money. I’m letting go of you, hard though it is. That leaves me, ma, and money. I can’t let go of ma, I won’t let go of money just yet, can I let go of myself?

Why am I trying to let go of my tethers anyway?

Our lives stretch out before us and behind us. What lies ahead, lies in shadow. What stands behind, stands in ever changing light.

Everything is negotiable.

Something better than Nattō

I love Nattō, a Japanese food of fermented soybeans. Trouble is, it’s expensive, can be hard to find in New Zealand if you’re not in Auckland, Christchurch, or Wellington, and – like a lot Japanese products – comes packaged in heaps of unnecessary plastic which spoils just a little of the pleasure of the eating.

I also love barley and today, in a moment of supine inspiration, I combined cooked barley with tahini, sesame oil, and a little salt and found it gets pretty close to the texture and pleasure of Nattō. Of course, it isn’t Nattō, it foregoes all of the fermentation that gives Nattō much of its unique (and divisive) essence. But it’s bloody good, and fills the need for me without all the palaver and plastic of the real thing.

Pleasure is not measured in grams.

I was eating a crumpet this morning – a square crumpet, which is relevant I promise – and it got me thinking about my relationship with food. At the supermarket I instinctively, often unconsciously, compare food in terms of cost to weight. I only buy fruits and vegetables that are in season because they cost a small fraction of what shoulder-season or out-of-season produce costs, or if I’m deciding between two kinds of biscuit I’ll almost always favour the option that costs less by weight and, almost paradoxically, will sometimes even spend a little more to satisfy that instinct (eg. buying a bigger bag of biscuits than I need).

The supermarket has two options for crumpets: round, or square. Either option entails six crumpets. For reasons unknown square crumpets cost $3 and round crumpets cost $2.50, but square crumpets offer up 425 glutenful grams, 42% more than the lowly 300g in the round pouch.

Now I’m no mathematician but even I can figure out that with the round crumpets I get 120 grams of crumpety goodness for my dollar, but the square crumpets offer up a lip-smacking 141.6g per dollar. That’s 17.5% more crumpet per dollar people!

But! Eating my second crumpet this morning I had an epiphany… it’s six crumpets either way! I won’t bother making generalisations about the wider population, I’m not a public health expert, but I know for a fact that the shape of my crumpets has no impact on how many crumpets I consume. So taking what we know from my ‘studies’ carried out above, I’m paying 50 cents per crumpet for squares when I could be paying just 42 cents for rounds.

They got me! Big Crumpet™ has tricked me into paying more per crumpet, and eating more crumpet-calories, for the same crumpet pleasure.

But it gets worse, it’s not the same pleasure, the square crumpets aren’t even as good. They have too much edge, and the edge crisps up too early in the toaster, so you’re forced to choose between over-crisp-crumpet-crimps or much-too-soft crumpet centres. The round crumpet is much more reliable. What a fool I’ve been

Note to self: don’t try to measure pleasure in grams (unless cocaine…), and buy round crumpets.

I’d like to be able to create meta-series’ of posts. Like a table of contents that sticks to the page, but instead of linking to internal anchors it crosslinks to other pages. This would need to be established in the document metadata in order to sidestep the brittleness of doing it in markup.

More figuring out what it all means, how it all streams.

I have my journal, and I have my nonsense. Ever since I birthed nonsense, I’ve had a much easier time getting words out, it’s been a relief to have that ‘default home’, a place for proto-thinking, unvarnished ideas. But I’ve struggled with what my ‘journal’ should be in this new context. Am I just observing that I needed to lower the bar? Did I just need permission to pollute my journal with these fitful ramblings? Why do I think they need to be separate?

Because they are different. This is really quite different from this. The former is a single line, an atomic thought, 16 words, that’s it. The second is more than 1500 words accompanied by 9 photographs. Situating those two things together would feel wrong, which is why they’re not… but my journal isn’t feeling quite right either.

Maybe I just need a set of rules. I liken my nonsense to a sort of private twitter, maybe I should have christened it with similar constraints, a character limit might clear up my confusion. Twitter isn’t the place for a 1500 word spiel, neither is nonsense. So where to draw the line? After all, this is emerging in my nonsense right now, but it’s getting a little long…

Yet it belongs here

If Nonsense is thinking-out-loud and this other part is recording my experiences then maybe my journal needs a new name. Here’s the long-list of ideas so far:

anamnesia echoes hindsight journal logbook memory memories memoirs nostalgia retrospect retrograde

Good artists copy, great artists steal.

Fed into the canon of art as a quote by Picasso, though he probably never said it. I’m not even an artist – good, bad, or ugly – so it doesn’t matter to me, but I’ll try my hand at copying anyhow. Here’s a bad copy of something by Theo Eble (1899–1974).

My bad copy of half of a Theo Able piece.

Here I was mimicking one of his lithographs, though I just used a biro.

Theo Eble never ‘made it’ as an artist, never found much success. He probably isn’t even a great example of his own style. Still, I like his style, at least his abstract pieces. His still life’s don’t resonate for me, but then still life’s rarely resonate for me.

UPDATE: I’ve decided to do a few more of these in Eble’s style. Here is attempt #2

Obviously: a word I would like to eject from my everyday vocabulary

Haste makes waste

What should the structure of this site achieve?

Chiefly, it should allow me to group rather than filter. I don’t want to filter out my rubbish, it has a home in my nonsense; I don’t wish to fret over whether someone doesn’t care for links to other places, they’re all in my pearls and that guy doesn’t need to look at them; likewise, people who aren’t interested in travel need not delve into my journeys, but I can still write them.

There should be a place on this site for everything I might wish for it to contain. That isn’t to say that everyone who pays a visit should have to wade through all those streams. Like any good resource it should be composable, discoverable, adaptable to the desires of each reader.

I make use of distinct streams for me and for you. They give me permission, freedom. They give you choice.

Eventually the contents of this site should become unknowable, even to me. Not by being obtuse but by being vast, prolific. This site should permit and indulge that desire. It should have folds, so that the stale can sink and the salient can surface. The parts of this body should migrate in and out of these folds with the seasons.

I have a hot and cold relationship with dates in URLs. For a while I took an absolute stance against them. Took a while before I realised that they’re well suited to some things. And now, most of the fragments of my site are located in time via their URL. What changed?

I can’t consume and emit at the same time.

As I stood eating a biscuit, looking around at the mess of my packing for an urgent, unplanned, week-long getaway starting in the early hours of tomorrow morning, this occurred to me. I ate one biscuit, then another, still my head was empty. No thoughts came, only calories.

There are different kinds of consumption: eating things, buying things, watching things, destroying things. Consumption doesn’t just consume the object of our desire, it consumes us too. Consumption is an antidote to thinking. This rings true with those periods when I do my richest thinking, they always coincide with eating little or nothing at all. I say coincide with my tongue in my cheek, because it is causation not coincidence at play I think.

Consumption feeds creativity, I could do nothing without consuming food and other people’s ideas, but consumption also has a tremendous power to placate.

Conspicuous Consumption, Symbolic Consumption, Addictive Consumption, Compulsive Consumption and Sacred Consumption are five main categories defining distinctive consumption styles. Basic characteristics of consumer culture can be summarized in the transforming of needs to desires, utilitarian/hedonic needs-values, commodity fetishism, conspicuous leisure and consumption, cultural values, aestheticization, alienation, differentiation and speed. A consumer society is one in which the entire society is organized around the consumption and display of commodities through which individuals gain prestige, identity, and standing.
Kutucuoglu, Arikan Saltik, Firat & Tuncel, 2013

I’m imagining a computing paradigm where the first interaction – every time you wish to use the computer – is a declaration of how long you intend your task to take. As you wake/power-on/unlock the device, you’re greeted with a question: how much time do you need? Not how much time do you have, not how much time do you want. How much time do you need?

This task that has brought you to the computer, for which you have interrupted all else that you might have done with this time, how long must it take? How fast can you get it done and get off this inhuman, infinite arcade and return to the real?

I want to draw. Learn by doing and all that. Get over the fear of it.

It’s not much, just the wood burner here at Locking Street. I didn’t have the guts to try and add flames, maybe next time.

For now I’ll scan any drawings I do and convert them to SVGs for displaying them here, see how it feels/looks/works.

A sketch of the stove at Locking Street

I came across Simon Griffee a long time ago, filed his site away somewhere in my catalogue, and just returned to it as I hunt through sites that I have admired looking for taxonomical inspiration.

Only this time I caught site of a link to imgtlk, a meta-art project that he stewards. There’s something special (to me) about Simon’s style of design, particularly web design, he walks a fine line between almost claustrophobic and a little inscrutable on the one side and precisely balanced, simple, and elegant on the other.

Are we flesh full of ideas, or ideas wrapped in flesh?

journal chafes a bit. I’m happy with chronology, I want that. Still journal feels a little rigid, impersonal. Ironic, because of course it is very personal.

But it seems so obvious, and I like that, interfaces should be obvious, reasonable, discoverable. So why don’t I like ‘journal’? Why don’t I like obvious here? I think because it isn’t obvious to me what the relationship is. Where does it fit? There’s indirection involved, some amount of shearing exists between my real, private journal and the one I publish here.

nonsense has no indirection, no shearing. It is unabashedly low signal, high noise. It’s purpose is obvious to me: close noisy loops, record them, but get them out of my head.

I want that clarity for my journal here. Maybe I can’t have it, maybe that tension is inherent to the pretence of public fragments of a private whole. Need to look for prior art

No resolution here, just preserving some more of my taxonomical self-torment.

I enjoy breaking this little website of mine. Like I’ll miss some syntactical error in a template, or put a question mark in a page title, and all of a sudden my bespoke, scrappy little build scripts will shit the bed and spit out a broken feed. I don’t notice for a week, when finally I do, I implement a fix and now my site is a little more robust – anti-fragile even.

Thank murphy no one else reads this though, imagine the pressure that such a pressure would imbue!

holy heck, I’m just churning out the nonsense this evening

capital letters are SUFFOCATING

It’s bad to steal… according to the people who’ve stolen more than you can imagine and really don’t want you to steal any of it back

maybe don’t turn over a new leaf. maybe leave it on the poor bloody plant, it’s not yours, he made it. make something of your own

What would be a sensible thing to do with someone who had committed a crime? assuming we wanted them to not commit more crimes in the future

Send them to a big house full of other people who have committed crimes and hope they don’t learn any new and interesting ways to do crimes?

I am definitely not a domain expert, but something is telling that perhaps that’s really fucking stupid.

more, but worse

It has been absolutely pouring with weather these last couple weeks. May it will end soon. Perhaps I just need taking outside of the environment for a bit.

Conversations don’t scale as far as we might like.

Involving more people in a conversation can be a great way to canvas a broader set of opinions and surface a superset of possible solutions, but as the number of voices in a dialog grows we approach a near certainty of breakdown.

Godwin’s Law/reductio ad Hitlerum speak to this phenomena.

Insanity is opening the fridge over and over again and expecting different results.

Trust is pretty wild. I just sent 2100 dollars to a stranger on the internet. In return he agrees to send me a camera. I don’t know this person, I don’t know if the (used) camera is in the condition he claims. I won’t know if I’ve been defrauded until it does or doesn’t arrive here in Nelson. If I have been defrauded I will have no avenue for recourse.

When I read a list, I start from the middle.

I was at dinner with friends recently and hit upon that while trying to convey how my brain works – and how it doesn’t. I’m scattered by nature, my attention is hard to arrest and harder to restrain. I love reading but have terrible trouble doing it. I flit from one thing to the next. I yearn to finish things, but acknowledge that I suck at it.

I spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about A system of urls. Hierarchies, taxonomies, ontologies. How can they best be expressed in this medium.

A large fraction of the writing on this site is of the chronological kind.

At the moment my nonsense locates itself in the form $YEAR/$MONTH/$DAY/$TIME where my journal takes the form $YEAR/$MONTH/$DAY.

I quite like the form of Dave Winer’s hierarchy at though. Every node in the chronology is timestamped, and the page at $YEAR/$MONTH/$DAY is simply an automatic collection of every entry from that day.

I wear your affection close to my heart.

You made me a necklace. I wear it close to my heart, I don’t want to take it off. You say it looks like my eyes, this shard of west coast greenstone, brown at the top, drifting into a dark sea green, tapered on the left edge so that it looks a little like a tooth. I hold it close in more ways than one.

I’m sort of looking forward to this site calcifying. Not the writing, nor the habit, I hope to keep that alive and fresh, but the wrapping, the glitter, the skeleton that holds the guts all together. Perhaps when I stop caring so much about what this all looks like it’ll be because I’ve found something more important than the trappings – something of real substance. That’s worth looking forward to. Brittleness and decay will be welcome if they mark the arrival of that too.

Mizuki and I watched Rope (1948) tonight. One of my all time favourite films. It is about as close as it gets to watching theatre on the silver screen.

Watching it again, coupled with a certain amount of tension at work, has put me in a loop thinking about conformity, about how we all batter each other into the shapes that our culture allows. We’re all complicit.

Rupert, Brandon, Phillip, and the chest in the closing scene of Rope (1948)

In the end Rupert feels only shame at the sight of his ideas taken to their end. Brandon is perhaps more hurt by his mentors shame than by the puncturing of his ‘superiority’ or the end of his freedom. Phillip’s agony at the realisation of what his love for Brandon blinded him too finds some relief in the justice of his approaching punishment.

I want to marry my nonsense from each day to the journal entry from that day (if one exists) such that each nonsense item shows up at the bottom of said journal page.

I also want to add a build-step that populates index pages throughout the hierarchy of my journal so that the breadcrumbs can be traversed at will, rather than (as currently) depending on the too-brittle hand of the author to supply those indexes.

Why oh why does the Atom specification require a title element? As a feed markup I like Atom better than RSS 0.9, 1.0, 2.0 etc etc but I struggle to forgive the insistence on a title element, it’s just a clumsy and inflexible oversight for an otherwise elegant specification.

Twitter brought the unit of discourse down to 140 characters with some interesting results, Atom missed the boat as a markup optimally suited to this age.

And before you say “just use the title element for short content” let me just say ahhhhhh, thats a sucky solution, go away. We could have had better.

Update 2024-03-03: Chris Coyier on titles in feeds

Time is a hierarchy and we’re all headed for the bottom.

Really I’m obsessing over structure. I’ve long been preoccupied with structure, often looking for it, or trying to establish it, prematurely. As an example, in my conception of my site there has emerged a tension between my ‘journal’ and my ‘nonsense’. What belongs in each? How should they (inter)relate? The journal lowered the friction to writing, to thinking, having my ‘nonsense’ as an outlet has lowered that friction further still, but I reintroduce friction by constantly trying to contort all the elements of me and of this site into some sort of cohesive order.

I’m not writing nearly as much as I would like, instead I keep tinkering with code on the backend. I enjoy the tinkering a lot, but it’s mostly a distraction from what I’m trying to do here. The breadcrumb style navigation I just added is a prime example: useful yes, but not necessary or important if there isn’t anything worth navigating to.

Can our goals exceed our goals?

I’ve never been very good at following rules.

How much of life can truly be transmitted on ports 80 and 443? Painfully little perhaps.

Trying to give shape to a pair of tattoos I would like to get to represent my trips in Australia and New Zealand. Something to do with a bicycle for Oz, and walking/Te Araroa for NZ, but what exactly… and I’d like to capture some detail of each country that I love: deserts in Oz, beech forests and Kea’s in NZ.


Knolling is the process of arranging related objects in parallel or 90-degree angles as a method of organization. The term knolling was coined in 1987 by a janitor name Andrew Kromelow who was working at Frank Gehry’s furniture making shop.

(of a bell) ring solemnly; knell.

a low hill with gentle slopes and a rounded top

Sent does not mean received.

The earth spins. Isn’t that wild?

The billable hour is a trap into which more and more of us are falling A bad week at work has made Tim Harford’s latest feel more prescient than it might have two weeks ago. Even I, someone who has spent most of the last five years not working, have begun to fall victim to the incessant rhythm of work. Anti-work, may you come again soon.

Work was better today. Still glad the week is over though.

This collection of nonsense/tumblelog/whatever is not nearly as good as Bill Wurtz’s, so go read that instead.

Do I enjoy the work? Fuck the work. Do I enjoy it? I did enjoy it. I don’t know. I liked it. And then I loved it. Fuck the work this week. Better luck next week. Don’t let the bastards under your skin. Remember that it was good. Welcome to nonsense.

The internet is the single greatest tragedy of the commons.

Socrates felt that he didn’t have enough knowledge to write, so why the shit do I think I know enough to?

Only we can harm our own soul.

If you don’t smile at the world, don’t be offended if the world doesn’t smile back.

If you walk around bare foot and don’t wash your feet, you’ll have dirty sheets.

Notes as a forest, developed in cycles (seasons), self pruning (shed leaves and even branches), self seeding too: sure occasionally a lone tree will establish itself, carried far by the wind, but the forest grows outwards from established trees.

Discarding all other connotations of the word reasonable, a reasonable system is one that can be understood, if not intuitively, then at least readily.

Tools and systems ought to be reasonable.

He who travels the fastest, travels alone.

Let go of your goals. At the end of my life, be that at the turn of the next century or tomorrow, I want to be able to say that I achieved what I set out to achieve. But perhaps I have already done that. All I want is to live well, and I am living well.

I remember Rose and I being frustrated by the kayak people’s insistence on pronouncing Whanganui with a ‘wa’ sound rather than its proper ‘fa’ sound. It wasn’t until some time after finishing Te Araroa that I learned that the Iwi of the area pronounced it that way and my self-righteousness sheepishly evaporated.

They have stories too

I think I’m not alone in this but, when I take a dislike to someone, I am often guilty of attaching to them a simplicity of character that doesn’t recognise the depth of humanity that we all posses.

I want to make sure I’m not doing that.

Benn just observed that this time around, everyone switched into lockdown mode nearly instantly. I remember when we all went into lockdown the first time, everyone one was flailing about, ransacking the shops for a ten year supply of toilet paper and flour, never mind that they’d have nothing else besides.

Watching Fernando Meirelles’ The Two Popes I was struck by how the high station granted to bishops, cardinals, popes, etc on the basis of hearing God’s voice in their heads, contrasts with the very low status afforded to others who claim to hear God’s voice in their heads.

“But remember, truth may be vital, but without love it is also unbearable.”

There’s something close to the essence of life in that. Altogether a very moving film, certainly one of last years best, a film that didn’t let truth obscure love.

The first thought that goes through your mind is what you’ve been conditioned to think. What you think next is what will come to define you.

Random with your name on it…

The venerable Spotify unloaded it’s next round of Only You ‘personalised recommendations’ on me this morning. They bear no resemblance to my listening habits. Naturally there were a few good songs/artists in there that I was glad to discover but I couldn’t help wondering if their hugely complex algorithms actually move the needle compared to a simple random assortment of music from the platform.

Rose and I are talking about modern novels, 21st century archetypes, novels like Hot Milk and Netherland. Rose remarked that they – and we in the real – are ”in an era of existential dread”. As ever, The Great Gatsby is my touch stone to which all of reality and fantasy is compared, and I wondered how our contemporary dread compares with that of Fitzgerald’s characters. Are we more fatal and forlorn than Daisy? More performative than Tom? More wilfully out of it even than Gatsby? Maybe we are, or maybe we’re all just sharing more.

Oh, and if you’re reading this and you haven’t read Hot Milk by Deborah Levy, please do. It is a novel fit to define our time, not in a grand epic sort of way, but in a this is how we lived in this era sort of way. It’s beautiful, read it.

It wasn’t wisdom that carried me 10,000 miles from England to Australia at 21. It wasn’t prescience, it was a naive hope.

Our minds like to draw neat linear conclusions - from cause to consequence. We like to rationalise the world, do away with its entropy, but sometimes naivety beats sense.