Welcome to the Halfman newsletter. Just don’t ask. I don’t know. I’m Jim and I will be your host for the next, about eleven minutes of heavenly fulfilment that will envelope you as you read this here newsletter.

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In response to, or perhaps more appropriately in spite of the doom you will find here as much as anywhere talking about technology’s unhindered inhuman march onwards with or without us as a species, I leave you with the words of 1948 essay by C. S. Lewis:

“If we are all going to be destroyed by an atomic bomb, let that bomb when it comes find us doing sensible and human things—praying, working, teaching, reading, listening to music, bathing the children, playing tennis, chatting to our friends over a pint and a game of darts—not huddled together like frightened sheep.”

Read all of this

I finally got around to writing some fiction, and improbably, fiction I’m happy with. Which you of course will be because it will knock your socks off. Of course I couldn’t come up with a better title than “Ghosts vs AI” but don’t let that deter you.

This month, as always, there’s the Top10-Mar2024.

Scents Are So Now refers to London and therefore means I’m not just signalling but grasping for whatever shred of credibility I might have left.

Two, count ‘em two, bits about everyone’s new magic goggles, VisionPro or No Go Who Knows and this Extended dumb fun which got weirdly emo at the end but will change your life likely regardless.

The rest of it


How can one summarise March? How about the melange of disappointment with the state of the world combined with a lingering hope, sprouting up against the odds like those tiny yellow flowers I can’t identify. Something like that. Anyhow, spring is here, which means it’s time for tons of ACDC I guess. As the days get longer and warmer, we need a paragon, a lighthouse in the storm of our troubled lives to show the way to hope like only ACDC can provide us. To a place of booze, party and double entendres.

Here in Slovenia, spring is historically welcomed with Gregorjevo, or St Gregory’s day, 12 March, when kids across the country make house boats with candles inside and set them down a river where they invariably end up going up in flames. There is symbolism here but it sure as hell doesn’t have anything to do with the amount of non-biodegradable materials these damn kids keep on using no matter who tells them not to. I’m calling Brussels to have them sort it.

There is another awesome bit about St Gregory’s day, which is also some ancient Slavic belief, namely that of this is the day that birds get married, which is undeniably sweet. Kids love this. Well the one’s whose parents aren’t divorced I suppose. And I’m not sure if the EU is tracking bird divorce at all at this point.

Hark! Spring! That bittersweet time when the Zamboni man realises his time is coming to a close and we all say a tearful goodbye to accursed ice halls across the land. The time when the fake ice inside will melt like all of it did outside ages ago and one reflects on their own mortality and the frailty of conviction. Ah, the Zamboni, its concentric dance around the ice, making smooth the chopped and shredded ice for another period of hockey, are like our efforts in life. It is pristine and shiny, the heat applied to smooth out the edges and make smooth what was once rough. Yet in mere minutes it will all be undone in a cacophony of blades, sticks and youthful fury battering it all away. Yet he will come again to make his rounds, knowing it will all be undone. There is some sort of point here, but you know, it’s early, you sort it.

Three best Guns n Roses songs in order, but number three I could be talked out of maybe, however, one one and two are nowhere near negotiable

  1. “My Michelle”
  2. “Rocket Queen”
  3. “You’re Crazy”


“We like lists because we don’t want to die.” (Umberto Eco)

This month’s shots at the culture of technology swathed in despondency

TasmanAI is a riff, but a really good riff, on the whole doing what AI does, but with humans thing. It’s uplifting, because real people making real pictures is uplifting. Also, these people could barbecue like mad I bet, and whatever LLM came out in the past five minutes for sure can’t.

I don’t know how to describe World Running by @thejaymo V0.2.0 besides it’s a doc, not a website, but a doc about worlds and online things. It’s for sure not a websites and uncomfortably so, but that’s what I like about it. Format counts.

Things We Do While Waiting to Die note a speck of hope in the coming Creative End Times I didn’t see coming, which is literature magazines will survive and thrive. Somehow.

Years from now, when humanity is wandering the wasteland of the internet, suspicious of anything moving through the trees, lit mags will be those weird little safe havens guarded by those quacks, those doomsday-preppers of the written word. From time to time, a zombie will get in, and some people will freak out. A few of us might eat each other. But I, for one, am kind of looking forward to it. link

On AI art, Nia sees a visual fatigue beginning to set in with viewers. - the key word is boredom here.

“AI images tend to have a recognisable unhuman style, and after you’ve seen hundreds of them, it becomes easy to spot AI-generated pieces,” she says. “Viewers might become saturated as our brains crave variety and freshness, something that the current AI artwork struggles to offer. That’s why focusing on individuality and infusing greater storytelling and emotion into our art, which is difficult for AI to replicate, might be a wise approach.”

“Aesthetics,” in the internet sense, have been around for a while, as has my disintegrating body, hip pain and sinus issues. But I can’t decide if they are bullshit or maybe I’m old too. In any case, here is a good examination of kids these days not having to go through much effort to try to have a not-quite-a-scene scene.

I think we can update Eco’s quote to something about we make spreadsheets because we think we can control our lives.

How about someone trying to make a good thing for once, namely Fairphone?

In the Studio

This month I spent largely in the throes of wildly engaging conversation. It’s almost been burdensome the amount of bright ideas and solid solutions I’ve come up with alongside all my collaborators practically beating down my door to create the future with me. There I sat, the light pouring in through the almost three metre high windows in the studio, working on a new commission for the best place ever and then it just came to me. I’ve been buried in French cultural theory from the 60’s, I mean who isn’t these days and these are all obvious lies because this is the internet among other things.

Chaos Affinity

If there’s one thing that can send me on an emotional rollercoaster in milliseconds, besides regional youth hockey, it’s software. As it’s my job and hockey is a family thing, it’s much worse. Add to that some sort of malingering punk rock attitudes about selling out combined with a long history of corporate butchery of creative tools on which I’ve depended, well, you can imagine the consternation about Affinity being swallowed by Canva. It’s sort of like McDonalds acquiring Chipotle, but worse, because in this metaphor there would be no other option for making your own damn burrito. You have a tool for making graphics for the masses which can’t do much which is now in charge of a properly impressive and up until now totally indie tool. But indie software tools that are actually powerful and usable are about as rare as a well written blog post or a clear point in this newsletter. I would love to think that this particular selling out would be like Sepultura’s going to a major label. As we all know this resulted in 1993’s phenomenal release “Chaos AD.” So who knows. I suppose the real question is where is the Blender of 2d? And why isn’t there and indie 2d graphics which is about a million times less complex that what Blender is doing?

Regular people can pretend to save humanity too

I had the misfortune of listening to a podcast the other day where some famous chef is saving the world because of the age of cheese and of course some equally famous scientist from Harvard is helping him, when I had a thought. Why don’t these people ever team up with the middling and the mediocre? Why aren’t I or my neighbour Boris who’s cool as fuck ever teamed up with anyone famous to sort out humanity? Oh and that dude upstairs with the massive dog who is always smiling and always says hi? Him too. I seriously bet he has some pretty good ideas about things.


My favourite art historian lately (and how many times do you read that phrase huh?) is quite possibly Ted Barrow. I became aware of his groundbreaking work like everyone else through Thrasher’s This Old Ledge where he goes to famous skate spots, so far largely in San Francisco and New York City, and then talks through not just the skate history, but the place, it’s origins, it’s architectural and urban design intent and how it all comes together. So damn intellectually refreshing.

One day waking up with the Rocky Theme Song stuck in my head, I kept on thinking about the court house steps and how linked the are to this anthem. I didn’t manage to do shit with that day, whereas one would imagine I would at least win a raffle or conquer some great fear or whatever.

I learned recently about Agloe, New York which was (initially) a fictional place and ‘geographic trap’ a mapmaker put in to see if he was being ripped off, actually became a real place.

Somehow the notion of domicide, or otherwise people killing their own homes has come up a couple times in reading and listening. Which is weird sure, but that’s how it goes. But this idea of either burying places on purpose or burning your village every 80 years is a fascinating approach to how we used to not just think of home but express it. While there were clear religious functions in this, it could have just been fun somehow. The practice reminds me of going to We Lost Our Deposit parties in the college town of Kent, Ohio, where as you can imagine, the levels of wanton booze fueled destruction, a partial domicide really, took place. Since the deposit money was already lost, the stovetop and most other appliances were sacrificed by being thrown out of a fifth story window. There is for sure some architectural term for creating new doors through walls, which is what happened as well.

On this episode of The Rest is History I learned there was a guy named Humanity Dick and there was a society for the prevention of cruelty against animals before there was one for children

Spatial Fun

I went to a VR workshop, AKA “Spatial Jam” and it was pretty fun. Okay, Vision Pro is cool, but that’s because I had a very targeted experience. When it becomes a desktop polluted with mediocrity then what? Think of your phone and when it was new and empty filled with promise and then look at the grid of good intentions and lingering disappointment. But there is something I discovered of multitudes of greater importance I discovered that day, namely that there exists a Coming Home Drunk Game Simulator. I can’t even find this anymore or was ever able to run it, but it doesn’t matter because it is quite possibly the best thing ever.

Also, we made this prototype which was something about using VR to get kids off of their phone through engaging with critical thought by talking to philosophers of the past. I think this was supposed to be Plato here.


What does one do when they have a shit LinkedIn profile photo which is not only not even taken in the last five years but can’t bear the thought of putting another one because you can’t take it seriously at all?

Thanks for your time. I know this can’t be easy for you. Ride. Shoot Straight. Speak the truth.

Credits: Header flower photo by John-Mark Smith