Well, well, well. Just where have we found ourselves? You may find yourself bewildered and disconcerted, but rest assured, this newsletter is as much of a safe space as it is a sovereign time and place. It’s otherwise where a bunch of words and the odd image find themselves once a month about everything from the state of snacking today to the moral implications of AI. It’s all here for you Dear Reader.
It is the last day of December, the last day of the year of 2022. It’s been a doozy for everyone, myself included. Thankfully I’m half in the bag. Hopefully you will soon be. Actually if you’re reading this on this fateful night, you actually aren’t. In any case, I wish you awesome things on this day no matter whatever calendar you follow.
Things I wrote you will read
The onslaught continues with not one, but two sort of coherent pieces about Artificial Intelligence.
Don’t worry, there’s some other random cultural musings that thankfully don’t relate it AI, namely “Selfie Sticks: A Solution.”, where I solve it all for you. You’re welcome.
If you were hoping for a concise, bulleted roundup of the past year of our lives, you’re not going to get it in the December Top 10
I have no idea if this thing or my typing into nothingness is part of the Creator Economy, but there is one thing I know for sure about this crock of malarkey and that is the following: The only people who make money, the top of the pyramid scheme, are the people talking about the Creator Economy. Consider this pointing every cannon I have at the pyramid and queuing ACDC.
In case you were wondering further about this, I recently stumbled onto Clive Thompson’s thought about the value of blogging:
“Even if I was publishing it to no one, it’s just the threat of an audience.”
The threat of an audience. I would have killed to have come up with that myself, as it surmises this whole endeavour.
Design of the Month
Here is some design in case you were wondering what it might look like.
Imagine if you will a place of potentially erudite and likely misguided criticism of that field to which I hold dear, that which is design. As dear as a farmer holds a chicken to his/her/their breast, to calm it right before unceremoniously decapitating it. That is what you will find in this likely short-lived heap of words about how the things we make suck or don’t.
Solid state hard drives
You have one. You probably have more than one. I have a couple at this point. I should probably label them and so should you. They are all roughly the size of a small notebook, and most importantly sort of function like one. Since the advent of Solid State Hard Drives (SSDs), which seems to have at least in part correspond with the drop in price of storage volume, unending cloud storage capacity seems to have met it’s match with limitless storage for photos you will never sort and twelve year old copies of pirated Photoshop.
The SSD is a thing to behold though, because like the book the form they liken to, they make no noise. There are no moving parts, and so break way less if at all. They are quiet like books and solid like them in more ways than one. You can put them on the shelf, or in a drawer to be forgotten, just like those books, until you panic and need it. But you will plug it in and it will work. It is one of the few things in our technical lives you can count on in the swirl of non-stop upgrades and file system changes and cloud startups being scuttled. There are files, in folders and they are yours on a thing that is solid, still and quiet.
The Prosek/Prosecco Stoner Rock Scene
Just outside of Trieste (Trst) in the eastern reaches of where Italy meets Slovenia and the Adriatic Sea drops out before the Julian Alps, the most damn beautifully unlikely thing to ever happen has. Sure enough, the town of Prosek/Prosecco, that’s right where they make the bubbly Saturday night fuel for the majority of Britain’s divorcees, somehow now has a thriving stoner rock and psychedelic scene. They’ve even had stoner rock gods Nebula to show up at a fairly random and nondescript community cultural centre to rock the beautiful north Adriatic landscape. To make things ever more obscure, as the region is largely Slovenian speaking, but within Italy, they have to include basically every language they can, but largely go with Slovenian. None of this makes sense. Which makes it amazing. Also stoner rock.
Daily Rituals to Power Up Your Maximum Potential
I’ve heard from more than a couple of people in the past few weeks about an amazing productivity practice common in Southern and Central Europe that is ready for you. It’s called “Schnapps First Thing In The Morning with Your Coffee,” and already it’s hitting the Anglo Self-Improvement World by storm. Mark Wahlberg does it right after his 4 hour 03:00 workout, and I’m pretty sure Tim Ferris is totally into it, but you read it first here.
“You have to live,” they say, and this is one great way of grasping life by the horns right out of the day’s gate and riding it all the way into dust and mess of your life. It’s especially recommended by Serbian pensioners who used to do manual labour, so perfect for your internet life.
I don’t want to be a “Director of Change.” I want to be an “Architect of Shit not Getting Worse if We Can Help It.”
To think that you give someone a title and someone is in charge of an undefinable and constant state is about as accurate as saying “Director of Gravity.”
Notes from the trials and travails of a middle aged, cis-gender, European-heritage, middle class male
My life as a father is largely about changing batteries. This is apparently my role in the propagation of our species. Most weeks next to what used to be my desk I have a pile of probably broken toys and batteries that need to be recharged. This is the sum total of my worth to this world. This is my struggle.
Super Serious Forwards
David Heinemeier Hanson has some questionable views on things for sure, as well as an unhealthy obsession with Joe Rogan, but this take down of the EU standing up the Valley in European Digital Sovereignty is terribly interesting, poignant and razor sharp.
I’m a bit of a Germanophile. I maintain a level of the language that one could describe as “tourist,” “kindergartener,” or “idiot American.” But, if there’s one thing I, like you, love is the ability of the language to just keep on piling words together to meticulously describe an otherwise unnameable concept. So take a gander at German wordcraziness rules and see if you can come up with one I was discussing here in Berlin with an actual, real life German to see if there was a word for “the state of self employment where you need to take a break but can’t because of overwhelming guilt combined with fear.”
In the spirit of AI ambivalence, you can see if yo’ve been unwittingly fed into their training models, you can “Search 5.8 billion images used to train popular AI art models”.
That’s all I got. Not much, or maybe too much. You decide. I hope your holidays whatever they might be for you and yours are jolly and all that other good stuff. Have a hot chocolate. I know I will. Eat a bunch of ham. It’s the season. Drink tons because, you know winter and it just might all end tomorrow. Everyone loves Iceland for sure, but once you find out that most people there give nothing but books for Christmas you’ll love them even more. Thanks. Ride. Speak the truth. Shoot straight.