Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Bob Dylan's Interactive Like A Rolling Stone Video

Execution, idea, interaction, everything about this is just wonderful. Having shared it on fb, twitter, tumblr, g+ and pinterest, I now want to call everyone I know. Sort of idea that I would have, love, then shelve because it's too ambitious and couldn't imagine anyone getting behind it. It's the sort of idea that gives you faith in ideas. I could not love this more. No, I could love this more if they kept adding channels after it blows up the internet. Love that Marc Maron and Danny Brown lend it an air of believability, but now I want Brian Williams and the Real Housewives of Who Gives A Fuck to be added.

Watch here.

Monday, September 16, 2013

News from 12 years ago

31/10/01 – Hallowe’en News

Tony Blair goes East – an end to terrorism. Metal doors on planes. Good times coming to an end? No more dumped cars, though.

Tony Blair was not stunned in Damascus when the bombs weren’t going down well. If the smiles look uneasy, that’s not surprising. Syria doesn’t support Israel and isn’t happy. “It is difficult to come here and do anything, but let’s at least try”. The NY attacks are changing things – new relationships, one small bridge built. Tony’s odyssey. Blessed are the peacemakers – not around here they’re not. Syria is vital – it’s hard-line, an enemy of Israel. We have a common interest in peace. They all stand clapping Assad, but little really changes. Syria is linked to terrorism with infographics. Syria will stick to a removal from the occupied territories. We join our friend in Jerusalem. What will he achieve? Two messages: support for the “coalition”, stop the drama. Hoping for a historic declaration in Saudi Arabia. Remember the prize.

Warplanes keep dropping bombs – on a “stronghold of the Taliban”. The Muslims would like the war to stop for Ramadan, festive peace. Relentless bombings continue. Over the past few years, we’ve always fought during Ramadan, say the Northern Alliance. They cheer the bombs. Inflammation of public outrage. Thank you.

American people should stay calm. Bush throws a ball to represent life continuing. Ministers are losing the battle for the hearts of mind for the British people. Duncan-Smith is talking about a confusing war, confusing messages. You need to sing from the same hymn sheet. The government says thank you, but fuck off. Thank you very much. Bulletproof doors that have locked doors. A man on a plane points at the door – BA and Virgin point out the hinges. A repeat of the incidents of September 11. Richard Branson says its great, experts say it’s dangerous. Pilots are against the doors – they are a marketing device. But the airlines are convinced.

No new cases of foot and mouth. The government wants rights to kill any animal with the passing of the “Animal Health Act”. What will the government kill? Sheep farmers may have the most to worry about. Or sheep. Empty fields, ovine holocaust. A farmer speaks of vaccination, cutting vet’s wages, contractors back and forth, tourists. A cool reception.

Confidence has dropped to its lowest level. A woman in Bluewater tells us that people are pessimistic about the economy but reckon they’ll be alright. An uneven picture “They want to buy!” “People were devastated”. People have more money because they’re not going on holiday. Manufacturers are having a horrible time. 2 million letters don’t get there on time every day. Beta interferon for all. Dumped cars are big magnets for arsonists. Watch out if you’ve got a shit car. Woman in a green jacket shouting over the sound of crushing metal. Sir Peter will receive one and a half million pounds. Farmers are taking advantage of climate change. Global warming supplying the pickle industry with walnuts. Climate change. Obviously.

Party leaders have portraits. Anna Ford half-smiles. Charles Kennedy makes people laugh.

Cafe (2003)

So, the cafe seems empty, but isn’t. A few anthropomorphic shadows fill the difficult voids. I sit, with slight discomfort from attempting to ascertain my place in the room. I am customer, young, perhaps waiting. I try and break my mould by removing a book from my pocket. I have decided to be alone but my self consciousness betrays my waiting. I want to tell each individual that I am not waiting for anyone, merely passing some time, in from the cold. I look around me and the cafe still seems empty. I readjust in my seat. Try to read the first paragraph, acutely aware that it is the first page, and would feel so much more comfortable midway through. Try again, but the phrases mix with my thoughts, each time sub-consciously returning to the first words. An octopus? Return again to them.

My attention is waning for the book, my mind straying. “Hi, there.”

“Hi. Could I get a coffee. Just filter. Cheers”


The exchange is forgotten. - “It was a dream. No, it wasn’t.” My mind skims the words fast, the implications faster. Style, pace, double meaning. Pretensions, translation. Again the paragraph is lost and my eyes track back to the beginning. While my vacant stare feels along the words in a mockery of myself, I feel another imaginary stare taking me in. Waiting. Tense. I am neither of these things. Now both. Again the words elude me, my focus lost. As an exercise, I read the paragraph again, taking no meaning, just a sense. A feeling from the choice of words, resenting anything more. Great beads of blood? Sweat? A sense of heaviness and penance. The octopus is a dream. No, perhaps not.

My coffee arrives and for the first time I get a real sense of outside involvement in my activity. It is only a glance, but reminds me, beyond my perception of events, I am still on this page. If anyone cares or has noticed, they know I am involved in unrelated thought or suspect me of serious study. Strangely, I am neither. Now both. Adding sugar and laughing at myself, the situation, the pettiness, I glance around at the empty cafe, nodding a vague hello at the occupant of another table. Through carelessness, through absent-mindedness, I have spilled some coffee into the saucer. It is a large cup, I notice, with too small a handle, as I mop the spillage with a tissue. Again I laugh, but more through discomfort than actual amusement, though this amuses me.

Relaxing, the book is making stabs at sense. “Everywhere the same catastrophe.” “The very air was in a fever.” I put the book back in my pocket, its sense not welcome. I arrange my hands deliberately, sipping my coffee. I look around the empty cafe, expecting too much. Then rise. I guess I don’t feel like a cup of coffee right now.

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Stay put a thousand times.

It's healthy to write. I'm sure it is. I can feel myself get into a near panic. Is it the caffeine? The procrastination or the low self-esteem? Is it stir-craziness? I respond to this state regularly with the most unhealthy of looping futile habits and distractions. I have thought recently that a great route to a more positive mental state, a more peaceful level of thought, perception and increased productivity would be to time myself - set timers for all my activity. Spend 25 minutes on this, 10 minutes on that.

Also I keep coming back to the idea of a long list on both problems and topics. Problems like - wanting to punch my own face, feeling overwhelmed. Topics like - self-esteem, self-hatred, procrastination, perspective, fearlessness. Googling these things or collecting my thoughts on them into neat categories in Evernote.

Technological solutions for organic problems. Maybe that's the problem.

There's something hugely powerful about "return to your breath". Your mind will wander a thousand times, bring yourself back to your breath a thousand times. Come back to the present. If you wander into the future or amble back into the past a thousand times, then come back to the present moment a thousand times. Once you know an impulse or a habit will keep knocking at the door, then resolve to acknowledge it and stay put. Stay put a thousand times. Then a thousand more. It's very comforting to know that each time it may well take less willpower as the benefits of refusing to answer that knocking make themselves clear.

The flurry of thoughts that hold me back and hold me down is a constant assault on peace, productivity and change. I'll try to describe the timeline of the most recent instance of such a flurry. Habits and impulses force an internal dialogue - I need the loo and literally have to consciously assess whether following that urge is a good plan. I need to drink some water, the urge to have coffee seems wrong, what with my state of almost-panic. I briefly hate myself for my seeming inability to drink enough water. While in the bathroom, I consider the tension in my back and think to myself that there is not enough time somehow to deal with that, remembering the other day writing that "things that clear your head and make you better don't take time, they make time." I think how I should organise this simple things I've learned in some new fashion in order that I might recall them when they might be useful. I think how I should move from the sofa to my desk to be in a better posture then feel fear that sitting at my desk will make my head clear enough to feel my panic, worry and critical thoughts too intensely. I am, at this point, fighting clarity.

By this stage, I've already lost track of many of my little worries, lost track of the little jabs I've had at myself. Losing track of my thoughts on how to change makes me feel insane. "There's no way", I think "no way I can affect change when this is my mental landscape." I think to Epic Win and how I seem never to complete the basic items of life that I have set out for myself. Tony Schwartz wrote, in the Harvard Business Review that "the proper role for your pre-frontal cortex is to decide what behavior you want to change, design the ritual you'll undertake, and then get out of the way." It seems wonderful and I have sought, over the past few months to truly understand how much of my experience is living out habits and how I might change them. It's so hard for someone so deeply pessimistic in their interpretative style as I am not to hate themselves for relenting to the unforgiving force of habit, familiarity and repetition. Associated calming releases of dopamine bring you back to the screen, the endless repetition of clicks, familiar apps and keystrokes creating your destiny as Lao Tse predicts. Destiny follows character follows habit follows action follows word follows thought. You are what you do is more accurately expressed as you will become what you think.

Each habitual urge needs a proper response. The desire to have a healthy response to an unhealthy or unproductive urge is fraught with self-criticism. I berate myself for procrastinating, then think of hitting myself in the arm, then am in the blink of an eye berating myself for not stretching more as a more healthy response to delusion, distraction and confusion.

Knowing that listening to music would help you is not the same as listening to some music. The map is not the territory.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

The truth of inaccuracy.

I tried the Dragon dictation app today to see how accurate it would be. The results were so jarring and so surreally poignant that I punctuated them (as well as I could) and posted them here.


You would think that thinking was a good thing. Reason how, great friend, which made us John's Shoney, must be a good thing, to bring into Togo precious eternity. Board-game enjoying the attention, respect. Dante isn't the money, think I, think he and customary. My desk on the television, offering inspiration for two ends on my new, my festive, to the bank.

Conscience make enough to thought of a bucket. Tonic makes me feel - cannot collect that the thoughts come. Transfer them to... what's that? The suicide ligation of the NEH pot today? "At-ish to the laptop station" he said "I might be more noncommittal without having to fill the program for additional authority into squiggly redlined of correction dome. Are not to be to Kevin of sushi?" which I've never had (he has) experiencing a treat. It's called outside. My left shoulder, receiving up against the Gospel teaching, comes on the inspector's debt and spending.

I know a car. I'll call it, anymore than I'm stood, heroin addict, every thought the points toward Caesar. Reason found this against rookie memories. Black girl, I punish myself - refill Kijiji. I've had much myself, because washing up my kidney pores and often negative rumination. The codification of depressive mental activity hotline from positive psychology and he's estimate my consideration of self, more Panadol. The semi of quinine taste reminds me of finding a sucker and drinks, free and far too costly, consumed in the life committed to running, hiding. She can metaphor of assignment fair S side when watching his response to Foltz. "Would mind, just can you delineate your man?"

"I did Coke what is" my guys' Bostons, eating in Dominica, said. No reservations bring they. Can I say, readily seeing a pleasant emptiness, "Comes this ballgame, you're vacated citizen"? They've boy and I have nothing to add my thoughts. Wife also, expensive indulgence, the practice of thought to text is having its intended effect of stunning the mind. Around nothing to Linda. Meditation is a skill, bending, and by the noble monks and David Lynch, I like the CDs and apps!

That guy committed to practicing my pasta dissections... I enjoy food and have paroxysms of joy of my favorite restaurants, trying to pin down or express (compete me) the genius of the simple on the pretentious, but do I want to compare myself to practice cost and enter? Enter Christina BDP. Competitive world culinary nuts choking for price positions were gone. I love to see the well, the north glories, but do I want to be for information on Memphis toll?

Questioning my ability to perceive honestly and directly from the back of destruction bites again and my wondering sorts of like insecurities and worries, my stinks (possibly entirely misguided) tell me that I need many to follow plan policies and they will need me when I need to. Guy keeping my shape and you will come across entry points. The possible county to safety desperation and that hang around my every split second of indecision agitating reasons
power, going out to lost, well for guidance will. Am to my want it more and more?

There, too many lessons to learn of credence, strength in the face. Habit - two basic results. I find some comfort in my tendency to stuff, to the talk list. Methodically process it. Beat e-mails. File shows. A watch! Late today activity is, but the strength and weakness. I stopped my e-mails of the Boston refund friends.

Link to a half avid, yet I'm stuck by the worry that the video will not take my attention. Family leave room for self hating. Mine talk to my perch comes to me, a taxi. Fifth and semi-purge comes to its familiar obstacle without strict format, uses its effects. If I pick jeans, I would choose not to retreat and Tiki and effective habits of failing self-confidence for Dana pizzas touched you to dinner me cat for that so that the test this particular jump is pretty good. I believe this crap, this effect, extremely satisfying and I needs my faith in his assignments and differentiations. I wish I could keep talking and film. I am too diced onions.

Version comes. I wish you could apply somehow to my failings. I must pick up that book about how smart you are not. Every idea is a heaven sent, blessings. You try to put yourself into idealized picture. I'm so sure that I could race the paste, the bike tune up. A piece about state to video happiness was on as I can remember that picture myself. So far above! My man (my hope is full of talented vocalist) isn't able in my Jenna jeans, but already started - nothing fishy.

Sleep himself and on, television, on! My skills and abilities and pronunciation, so the mentalist isn't suitable for cost identity. Construct myself… It into me today so well, I cannot break down some of my best aspects that describes problems. Cognitive dissonance as reality. Corrections and sans precepts and conceptions. Okay again with the popular. To yourself as planned maintenance, teaching and fitness, forward motion with gone focus, floors thinking to access. The space has to come, so like an infinite experiencing! Every person puts it in the morning, turning every social network, connecting every other one. Is the knowledge that there is judgment (if he imagining) that pathetic?

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Attention, please.

People often make the point that they feel like a child and everyone else is a grown up. I feel like that all the time. In actuality, I am immature in so many ways, primarily those relating to responsibility, sense of humour and relationships. It is in the basics of life - brushing my teeth, planning meals, washing up without getting bored or letting my thoughts wander - that I feel this the most. Has everyone else been honing their skills while I've been smoking weed and watching movies? Did I miss the opportunity for quotidian proficiency while getting better at Fifa 06?
My mind escapes my control.

Csikszentmihalyi writes that the trick is controlling attention, that, if I remember correctly, consciousness itself is a point of attention and to master where our attention goes and what it does when it gets there is to become a master of consciousness. It sounds brilliant. It's so hard, when caught in the obviousness of determinism to actually believe that there is any power within to direct attention. I need to randomly believe, to have faith that there can be change, that I can enact my will upon myself, shape myself. I want to believe something that I do not. Is there a word for that or at least a popular concept I can cling to? It makes no sense to understand human beings, or at least the conscious part of them, as stories - cosmic justice, equilibrium, happy endings are the stuff of fairy tales. And yet, we glimpse magic here and there. The forces just beyond our comprehension are beguiling and become the repositories of our grandest narratives. Love! Oh, love, you are the saviour of mankind, the last words on our lips, the absolute, the meaning of life. Though we all pay lip service to the Enlightenment giants on whose shoulders we lazily recline, few can cram the wonder and enormity of love into a little box marked "an evolutionary construct useful for familial bonding and reproductive instincts". Few would want to take the soaring grandeur of their personal musical ecstasies and dissect them with science into anything more mechanical. So how to grab on to wonder while still clutching treasured reason with both hands?

Surrender. Let go. No-one taught you how to use your omnivorous teeth to eat meat by tearing with canines, cleaving with incisors and to chew and grind tough legumes with your molars. You were just hungry, so you ate. Let the mind go quiet, do not seek to put your wits about every thing that comes to your attention. Instinct will guide if you can make a meditation of these things. Guide yourself as well as you can, then check your progress once in a while. For god's sake, enjoy the journey for that is all there is. Do not seek too quickly to find joy or you will be relentlessly tripped by realisations of how fleeting it is. Ride out bad weather because it is a near certainty that summer will come.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Input, Stephanie, input.

I begin the day in a familiar way. I scroll through my RSS feeds, alighting first at the most important categories, marked by a jutting underscore - _Files, _Games, _TV. In this way I can be up to date with all available illegal media; if it is not already in my torrent queue, then The Pirate Bay is my next port of call, replacing the recently euthanised Megaupload and Filesonic. I am satisfying an unexplained completism, a desire, born of youth spent in video shops, to have all desired media immediately available, even as time limitations shuffle the unwatched DivX ephemera onto drives, only to languish until new formats make it all as undesirable as dusty VHS stacks.

Am I trawling this information glut for inspiration? If I am, I find scant satisfaction. Stephen Fry has some new Windows phones; art galleries continue to host impenetrably described shows of one kind and another; Bing has added some new features; a friend’s video is getting blog traction; Urkel is on Dancing with the Stars; US politics continues to be absurd and difficult to comprehend; Tumblr continues a pissing contest of obscurity and elegance. I glance at the clock. Twenty minutes has passed without any information of note resonating with anything soulful, human, emotional or worthy in me. I am more informed, but one could hardly say better informed. My only victory is in chipping away at those numbers, written in bold, to the left of my screen. Art and Design - 797. Media - 413. I imagine myself as Stephen Fry did in the Fry Chronicles, as a fleshy Johnny-5, endlessly demanding and devouring Input. INPUT, Stephanie, INPUT. Blessed, however, with the wonder of the bottomless glass from the well of knowledge that Google Reader, Byline and the like provide, I find myself not flipping the pages of encyclopaediae and digitally impressing the world’s facts and figures into some military-grade solid state storage, but repeating the same hypnagogic routine of parading diverting information snippets before my glazed eyes, allowing only trickles of reality through to my conscious mind. The compulsive process of starred items, adding videos to Watch Later, pinning to Pinterest, reblogging on three Tumblrs, tweeting half an opinion and sharing the least fascinating to Google+ occupies the remaining dregs of my brain, repurposing the best of what I find into a series of self-branded feeds - creating feedback into the system to stand in for my steadily dissipating identity.