Context collapse 

For context, this was written about YouTube vloggers, but I don’t think that’s all that relevant here.

The problem is not lack of context. It is context collapse: an infinite number of contexts collapsing upon one another into that single moment of recording. The images, actions, and words captured by the lens at any moment can be transported to anywhere on the planet and preserved (the performer must assume) for all time. The little glass lens becomes the gateway to a blackhole sucking all of time and space – virtually all possible contexts – in upon itself.


Luke’s Cantrip

The first spell I really mastered was Luke’s cantrip. While on the road from Halrventon to Freesebon, Gera realized that Krashin was too busy being a demigod to actually teach me anything, so he took pity on me.

I was busy being a Very Competent Assassin. The kind who was able to take all of these adventures in stride, and so I didn’t realize quite how special Gera was and ignored most of his lessons.

But Luke’s cantrip caught my interest. Gera described it as : “Bringing part of the background into the foreground by focusing on it in the right way. Using your mind this way will create some tension that can function as useful first step for many of the more complex magics.”

Which is all true as far as it goes. Most use it as a sort of palette cleanser at the start of a big spell. But here’s why I love Luke’s cantrip: You touch the part of the universe that is raw and undefined and embrace that chaos. It opens the mind to the uncertainty that is always available to us.

Or, if you want to get mystical about it – the heart of existence is utterly indifferent to us. It does what it will by rules that we find unfathomable, no matter what the cost to those of us trying to scratch out an all too temporary life within it.

Mostly this strikes me as a problem. But Lukes cantrip makes it an asset in situations where you want a seemingly random number without using dice.

I most commonly use it when I need to make a decision.

This world gives us so little.

Immune to symbols 

When you are blind you do not see blackness. 

Find an object just at the outer edge of your vision, now turn your head away from it slightly.

The way in which you can no longer see it, is what Remo was contemplating.

He was at the periphery of a party wearing a jaunty purple felt hat he had chosen precisely because it did not suit him.

The music’s tempo increased. The lights seemed to pulse rhythmically. A heightened reality swirled, implying potentialities he dared not engage with.

He sat in a darkened corner with his eyes closed, trying to protect his consciousness from visions it couldn’t comprehend.

Remo had set out to slay the gods of his world, only to find that most of them were obsolete. Replaced by impersonal systems, they were highly evolved, highly adaptive. Yes they were fueled by human misery, but that was only incidental to their own survival. Now he was numb to the disappointment, with occasional pangs of fear at the degradation of his ambition.

When Jal-tok finally passed by, Remo felt the hidden dagger pulse, and prayed it would not give him away. Such aggression could not harm a god.

When Jal-tok fell to his knees, poisoned by tainted fruit and over-reaching ambition, Remo did not smile, and felt mostly sadness.

But he noted, not even gods were immune to symbols, when backed by the right dagger.

I want to find some new way to shine a light on the importance of love.

I started out with an incredible sense that the world had rules. That somewhere, someone wise had a plan, and was watching over things. All I needed to do was intuit these rules.

I am still a little surprised to discover that nobody is in charge. Its all just us.


Growing up all my favorite musicians agreed that Bob Dylan was fantastic. Eric Clapton, the Grateful Dead etc.., even people I didn’t like agreed Bob Dylan was awesome. I didn’t get it for awhile, he was boring and writing about nothing I could relate to.

But eventually, I learned that they were correct. This only reinforced my belief that music could be decoded into hero’s and villains. It had ideals beyond simple taste.

I am still a little surprised to discover that nobody is in charge. Its all just us.

But we do have Bob Dylan, and that’s not nothing.

ugly things

A novelist and memoirist is famous for his deeply personal confessional novels that speak to our shared fears. The pains of our bodies, the dark thoughts we have about ourselves and how that makes us lash out at the ones we love, the terrible nightmares that we know are real but forget and pretend have gone away until we can no longer hide from them.

They also makes stock horror films on the side.

They are critical failures but popular in the way of Hostel.

His latest: ugly things

“Martin kills a lot of people in this movie, in addition to sewing others together…

The film is reprehensible, dismaying, ugly, artless and an affront to any notion, however remote, of human decency.”


Some time ago I began to let go of the compulsion to find the perfect (or even a great) way to phrase my thoughts.

So how is this category of posts any differant?  

Other posts sacrifice clarity for my personal satisfaction at your expense (sorry). 
For this, I just want to document my predilections without letting that become too much of a project. 

An analogy: When a food critic posts about a meal they had, or an artist posts a painting of their dream, you may be interested because their description tells you something about how you experiance your own world.  My other posts are low production, self indulgent attempts at that sort of thing.

When your friend tells you about their nightmare or what they had for lunch, you may be interested because you care about them and their life. This is what social networks (the social construct) are for, to connect people.

Only this is not a social network, or a memoir, or anything else that will give my predilections meaningful context. 
These posts are my predilections. Nothing more. The UR-predilection is my own life. The details of my life are in many ways the least important, least interesting, thing about me, even to me. But these details will be what I post here.

The things that matter are the deep truths we all share.

Also on the list of reasons not to do this: Writing about myself is a trap, that recreates the illusion of my own importance.

Yet, these same details are what distinguish me from everyone else. They are all I have unique access to.

So, I propose a compromise. I will share some personal reflections about my life, and even some opinions. We’ll see if something more compelling comes from it. Perhaps I will even gain some additional insight as to why I want to do this. (I don’t want to die).

1st order of business. To make explicit that there is no objective truth intended or desired. Biography is self mythologizing. I’ll be honest about my own memory, but it’s faulty in profound ways. If that’s not bad enough, I’ll be carefully selecting from the details I remember for a wide variety of self serving purposes. Not more than I have to, but that’s enough.

If I am not careful, this will just be a list of things I once thought were important, and later realized aren’t (preview: You can still be a good person if you like different music than I do).

What does that amount to? The illusion of depth.

I am drowning in thoughts and opinions that want to be polished and turned into something with some emotional heft.

A song that evokes a simpler, timeless past. On the surface, it’s about the power of love.

A tinge of pathos in the music, combines with an implied contrast between the song and the harsh reality around us. Your stomach drops. Like a faded picture of a couple who never had a chance.

What does that amount to? The illusion of depth. But my feelings are made of the same stuff.

Maybe all we can do is resonate off each other. So be it.