Kicks Condor


I use three main tags on this blog:

  • hypertext: linking, the Web, the future of it all.

  • garage: art and creation, tinkering, zines and books, kind of a junk drawer - sorry!

  • elementary: schooling for young kids.

28 May 2021


The world of checkpoints in the YouTube comments.

Ran across this link in the discord last week. I’m not linking to the video part of the page here - to be honest, I haven’t watched it yet. The video is not irrelevant here - but there is just a lot going on in the comments.

In fact, these aren’t just comments - but checkpoints! A new kind of comment where you check in and say how life is going. That’s all there is to it![1]

The Taia777 Sanctuary Discord describes checkpoints as ‘spiritual comments’:

When people listen to the song and see the background of the vines/sky, it invokes a sense of nostalgia and curiosity. It’s hard to explain. It brings you back to a simpler time, when everything was controlled and bliss. But it can also amplify the current state you’re in, causing a complete reevaluation of yourself, and perhaps an epiphany of your existence as well. Many people have found solace in the comment section, as they pour their hearts and souls out to anonymous people on the internet.

It’s unknown what the first spiritual comment was, but when the video was first recommended to me around 2017, I recall seeing people question their identity and reality; I had also translated several of the Japanese comments, many of them sending their love to the unknown and those who are lost. Ever since I can remember, the taia777 comment section has been filled with love and, for many people, has been a safe space where people can vent with no repercussions. Everyone’s experience with these videos is different, but what’s universal is the utilization of the pathos. Emotions will be involved one way or another.

An even more popular video is taia777’s “Corridors of Time” video - while there are some checkpoints attached to this video, most of it is color commentary on this peculiar subculture.

Along similar lines (and also brought up in the original discussion on Discord,) this video of Porter Robinson & Madeon’s “Shelter”. Except that the comments section in this video is dominated by a single user (name of JustJeff) posting checkpoints daily!

From a few hours ago:

Day 824: Finished “That time I got reincarnated as a slime” season 2 today. Man I love that anime

Sorry, it’s not strictly JustJeff. There are a lot of comments that are fake checkpoints, parodies or copycats.

I can’t help but feel that the stigma around YouTube comments - once seen as the premiere cesspool of the Internet - has perhaps made them the perfect spot for this kind of natural flowering of humanity. A great balancing has transpired.

  1. It actually is so much better than a normal comment. ↩︎

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12 May 2021

Personal home pages strike back – an incredibly elegant and friendly tool from @xhfloz.

Weiwei spotted this one some months ago - a tweet showing a responsive website builder:

I’ve been working on a dead simple way to make websites.

Drag-and-drop, free-form, collage-like.

Well, today is out! So good! Please share your pages in the comments.

Over the past few months, I have seen this tool become incredibly polished - and have had some great chats with XH, discussing the plans for it. But even today - what a killer tool! Works brilliantly on mobile devices. Easily an heir to the throne of the original Byte page maker.

Don’t want to speak for XH here, but there has been talk about self-hosting pages as well.

a) definitely want to support the use case of self-hosting. i think the ideal world is… “decentralized” hosting

b) at the same time, i want to support ppl who have no technical knowledge. let ppl put up a website within a minute or two – a presence online.

I asked about how the service will be kept alive, given that so many website builders end up capitulating to ad revenue and “engagement stuff” - the reply was “I would rather have no service running than one doused with advertisements.”

There is such a community of zazzy web tools coming together lately! Brilliant work, XH.

  1. @kicks Wow! I love these sorts of projects. Such a nice way to make website-building feel less imposing and restrictive.

  2. Reply: Such Nice


    @kicks Wow! I love these sorts of projects. Such a nice way to make website-building feel less imposing and restrictive.

    The designer in this case has just done great work refining over the past six months. To pour that much time into a single-page tool! I really think this project has legs.

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16 Jun 2020

Winnie Lim

Introspective web of the heart.

As hypertext is a suitable metaphor for the mind, one often begins dumping knowledge into it - or sketching mind maps and pushing through idea- or topic-based webs.

In Winnie’s case, she journals in this way. So that, rather than simply starting from the present, she links back to past experiences and epiphanies. Her blog is a map of the heart, perhaps, more than merely the mind. Any devoted student of hypertext will find much to contemplate in her effort.[1]

She combines some confessional blogging with a larger project of self-analysis and plan-making. I think I would be more reluctant to quote her if I knew that this page would be widely read - for her tone is so completely introspective and private.

Trying to write honestly on this public journal is also a constant struggle, especially with what is happening around the world these days. It seems unfair that I am here writing in relative safety while people are out there either dying due to injustice or fighting for it. But I know if I get caught up in activism I won’t be able to survive the grief and fatigue that comes along with it. To survive, I have to carve a little bubble around me for as long as I can. The price to pay is the existential guilt that I carry around with me everyday.

“on processing books for kindling”

These kinds of admissions, I could never actually hit publish on. Here, in a paragraph detailing a pile of her weaknesses, the subtext is: the strength she has developed in managing those weaknesses.

And - in a way - it is astonishing to read a ‘blog’-type website that isn’t rooted in a criticism of the world or an admonishment to change.

And she develops strengths of a kind that many people simply don’t value. Such as the effort to build a robust aging strategy.

I love growing old, and the only thing I hate about it is people I love growing old — one of the most important things I’ve been working on is learning how to bear grief, and how to cherish love in the present.


In discussing her purpose, she writes something very similar to ‘find the others’, a close relative of my ‘let me link to you’.

Because I have abandonment issues, no matter where I go or what I do I feel alienated, isolated from what everyone else is doing.

So it has been deeply comforting to me when internet strangers send me messages to tell me that they resonated with what I shared. It is not validation that I seek, but resonance and connection. Sometimes, I would like to feel less alone. I would also like to facilitate the space for others like me to feel less alone.

“on processing books for kindling”

Of course, this is where I am supposed to suggest that social media is tearing the intimacy of online relationships apart - by converting them into war grounds. (While, it seems, her website enables meaningful connection.) However, I can’t help but confront my own reasons for reading Winnie’s journal. Am I merely attempting to voyeuristically examine her life? Perpetuating another ill of online life - the performance, the transaction of personal privacy in exchange for public karma dollas.[2]

What am I seeking in her words? Resonance and connection? Yeah - I think so. I am - for sure - responding to that feeling - resonance - something like, “Oh hey, what she’s saying has something new, but it’s also… very old. I recognize it.”[3]

Yes, yesyes, oui, oyyyy. Hypertext is our connection. She inhabits here more and more, so does h0p3, Talita, all these friends. I am not attempting to self-model, but it is happening. Part of my internal state is here. And they are woven thru it.

I wouldn’t call it self-modeling tho. It’s a soul thing, conjuring, maybe a subastral soulsync (soulseek?) a fomenting of the miracel or the bizet (virtual personas that don’t exist in the physical world, even in pixels, there is no picture of them because they are entirely made of our feelings for others and whatever it is that we’ve learned but don’t yet understand…)

I feel like I’m constantly loosening the invisible chains on myself with every year that goes by. I think the gift of working on ourselves is emotional freedom, and it is emotional freedom that gifts one creative freedom. There has to be a sustainable, steady force propelling us through a 30-year project, and we cannot let our psychological baggage be dead weight in that long, possibly arduous journey.

‘the long view: note-taking and becoming a person’

I need to quote some parts from the chronic pain stuff, as well as her excellent stuff on grief. In those respects, I feel like I live so similarly - it’s like I’ve found someone who says the things I don’t say, because almost no one understands them.

But I’ll also observe that her writing has been excellent during the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s not generally about the pandemic - more a crystallization of the state of her heart and mind, clearer than before even. So many have been sidelined by the virus - their posts are like “WHOA!” - whereas hers are more uniquely determined in some way.

  1. Her website goes back to 2012. So, as of this writing, there are eight years in the corpus - encompassing life in her 30s. Normally I wouldn’t mention an artist’s age - but age plays a central part in her work. ↩︎

  2. Or, ‘agreevotes’, as chame has unearthed. ↩︎

  3. The connection, on the other hand, for me, is the process of building this page, this person page that h0p3 first modeled. I am not trying to completely capture Winnie Lim here and to summarize her so that you don’t have to read her - but to subsume into my life all those words she’s said that will now be with me forever, to credit her, to be generous to her and to thank her. Could be another type of t42t. ↩︎

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27 Mar 2020

Kalil Haddad

Just a basic desktop site with farm_boy.jpeg and such.

I mentioned to syxanash earlier that I hadn’t run across any computer desktop-inspired web sites lately - and then this one happened to turn up today.[1] (And BTW - syxanash was showing the Denzel Curry site - also amazing. Smoking Clippy and the trippy Windows XP phantasms.)

Kalil’s site is very simple, but it feels inviting the moment you hit it. I don’t know about you, but I think the desktop metaphor evokes this feeling of comfort. Feels like his website is my personal desktop. Or that I’ve logged onto someone else’s and it gets me curious about what’s in the folders.

Anyway, I think this is a new minimalism for this form of website. No boot screens or draggable windows. But still has the icons in disarray. And the file extensions. That’s good enough.

  1. Incidentally, I know I’ve already linked to quite a lot, but this new page is such a solid collection - and is just a kickass layout. I have to pass it on. ↩︎

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03 Feb 2020

Unimaginable Heights

Jack and Talita’s website - THE model for couples hypertext.

That feeling when Neocities is a legit NeoGeocities.

Unimaginable Heights is a bit like a zine, a bit like the library in The Abortion, a bit like our own invention, a bit like one of those Bob Dylan songs that go on and on with crazy lyrics. It will probably be forever under construction as I learn new silly CSS tricks and shuffle things around. I expect there to be a lot of shuffling around. Hey, who decided the internet needs to be displayed as a stream of chronologically-ordered ‘posts’? This is a place to get lost, and a place to pay some attention.

I would normally wait for HrefHunt to post this, but it’s also got a sweeeeet directory of other Neocities websites that I can’t just sit on. (They even seem to have found chamy on their own! “she’s good at making up jokes about lizards.” Yeah, that’s her.)

The website went up in 2018 and most of the recent work has been focused on the zine page. Which brings me to the other discovery here (from the Winged Snail Mail zine): the ‘master list of postal projects and websites’.[1]

It would be cool if Neocities offered RSS on their site updates page, so we could follow them outside of Neoticies. Perhaps this another thing for Fraidycat to scrape.

(Aside.) Instinctually, I get why people don’t understand my blog. It’s just a feeling that somehow I am lost in my own words. I sometimes read my own stuff and can’t figure out what I’m saying. My sentences can be very unclear and I don’t realize it until a year has passed. It’s the way the words go together.

But I think that I also am just writing on a personal level - not in the Oprah sense, like about tragedy or inner turmoil - but just in that I like to talk about my interests and the people I meet. I don’t really get taken in by news or politics or pop culture - these things aren’t dead to me, they just seem pointless to me - whereas discovering unknown people and learning how to talk to them, as well as building experiments here and there, seems very pointfull. But also memes - I don’t often connect with them either. So I think I lack some language sometimes for connecting with the mainstream.

I guess I’m also thinking about the categorization of my site as ‘counterculture’ - because I don’t really see it that way. That word seems very insurgent. (“Fraidycat as Stuxnet” was serious, but it’s really just a joke idea.) I see myself as being in Jack and Talita’s community - just harmless and out-of-the-way, abdicating any cultural sway or power pronto.[2] And yeah I also see DFW as being ‘hipster bait’ too. But not condescendingly, of course.

Like they say:

Have compassion with the hipster baits of this world, but also try not to waste too much time with them. For they are just like everyone. People are like that, well-meaning, but with much less to say than they think. Maybe hipster bait has the power to reflect us back to ourselves. Hopefully, hipster bait will inspire us. Its social function is to expose the reality of making things, which is that everything is either pathetic or sterile, with very few options in between short of being one of those kooky Italian church painters. At its best, hipster bait is a celebration of both the pathetic and the sterile. And if you think about how Elijah Wood has over 4,000 records in his collection and still says his favourite band are the flipping Smashing Pumpkins (everyone’s third or fourth favourite band when they’re 14), you’ll realise that all he’s doing, all that anyone is doing, is getting up in the morning, then moving around, then going back to sleep; that no matter how grandiose the things you do might feel, they’re still just happening one after another in-between bursts of hunger and tiredness, that it will always be difficult to focus. There will be the task at hand, and there will be disorientating, conflicting impulses swirling around inside of you, always. You’ll realise that existence is much more circular than linear, and maybe your world will feel a bit simpler, and you’ll feel a bit more relaxed.

Yes! This essay is such an antidote to thoughtpieces. Thank you, our beloved Most Quality Couple of Neocities, thank you.

  1. Also an interesting related blog to look into: ‘she lives with an apple tree’ by the author of The Heart is Homebound. ↩︎

  2. Like your run-of-the-mill Draco Malfoy impersonator might feel on any day of the week. Not as Draco, of course, but inside, where they’re just happy to be in his shoes so deep that it feels real. ↩︎

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09 Dec 2019

Omniscience and Indexing


I don’t know if I can explain this quite right - but I’m feeling as if “omniscience” has an indexing problem - and that is the source of quite a bit of amusement. It’s also somewhat tied in with our memories.

This thought occured when we were out of cheese at my place - and someone said, “I wish we could call up how many blocks of cheese we’ve used.” And we all guessed at what the number would be.

But if you think about a computer passively monitoring you 24/7 - XKeyscore, for instance - I can’t help but wonder how it could productively sense each new cheese entering the house (via grocery shopping) and leaving (via shitting).

Omniscience comes up quite regularly. People speak of “their life flashing before their eyes” when they die - or the ability to rewind and call up memories in some post-death review. But there are also characters such as “Janet” from The Good Place or the precogs from Minority Report, who are aware of everything and can be queried like a database. The concept of “The Singularity” often is meant to refer to a superintellegence that approaches omniscience.

So, could I ask an omniscient source: “Bring up all my conversations where Nicholas Cage is mentioned?” Given that sometimes I may be referring to National Treasure or other times I may be mentioning “Nouveau Shamanic” acting with him in mind. The index needs to include references to my conversation history, my context for understanding Nicholas Cage, and a many-to-many join between them.

To what degree does that query return every conversation I have? Am I constantly alluding to Nicholas Cage?

If humans have difficulty agreeing on an exact weight for a racist tweet or extracting the true meaning of any given pull-quote from the Mueller Report, how does an omniscient source ultimately mine all possible meanings from a given conversation? Couldn’t it become stuck on one sentence, infinitely paralyzed during indexing?

It seems an insurmountable problem that an omniscience could track everything as time continues. This makes me wonder if the inate desire of an omniscience would be to slow or stop time, rather than to accelerate it out of some voracious appetite.

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21 Nov 2019

Reply to johanbove

I really appreciate this encouragement - and I am enjoying browsing your Known site, especially the recent post on Gopher Web. I don’t attend conferences - I generally like to stay low-key and would prefer that the spotlight fall on others. I thank you for the kindness, glad to bring happiness to anyone who is reading.

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29 Oct 2019

Reply: I Will Answer Your Emails

Brynn claims to respond to anyone’s e-mails. Brynn responded to mine!

Hey there. I stumbled across your website today[1] and I can’t resist writing you. I actually have a similar thing where I just like to meet random people through random chance. Don’t know if that’s part of your desire to respond to e-mails—clearly you like being useful to people—you mention that on the page.

I’m also really into The Web—particularly the people who choose to hang out there rather than on all of the corporate social sites. (For example, the two who write at and I kind of count you in that group now that I think about it—even though you’re only on the Web for three paragraphs—the rest happens for you in e-mail.

I can’t find any old snapshots of your site—so it seems it might be quite new, even though it looks as if it could have been there for many decades. Are you having fun with this so far? I’m a bit reluctant to pass the link on, because I don’t want you to become completely inundated. Perhaps you already are.

Well, I won’t go on. Pleasure to meet you. - kicks

  1. Found at ↩︎

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04 Oct 2019


Gabby Lord’s tiny directory—a perfect example of what (I feel) the Web needs!

Often when designers make home pages, they throw out a bunch of cool CSS tricks and aesthetic trimming and I celebrate that—but often there’s not much there in the way of interesting hypertext stuff. In this case, Gabby Lord’s OMGLORD has a nice minimalist design that frames a solid personal directory of links. There’s clearly been a lot of work done here—probably 200 links with nice descriptions and her own set of categories—stuff like ‘type foundries’ and ‘women in design’. I had a lot of fun coming up with categories for and I think she’s got a great organization here—also, starring her most recommended links is sweet.

I also think her City Maps category is reaaaally cool! She links to Google Maps that she’s personally annotated with sights, parks, coffee shops. These are directories within the directory. In addition, it’s a really nice way to build a directory of real-life stuff.

If you have any distaste for algorithmic recommendation engines or the commercialization of the Internet, I urge you to make a tiny directory! Gabby’s directory is just her favorite cool links—it’s not influenced by advertiser money or link popularity—except that perhaps Gabby discovered some of these through those kinds of avenues—these links have proved worthwhile to her over time. You may feel some resistance sifting through her pages, because why am I looking through a personal page when I could reading a slick major publication or wielding a powerful search engine but you will find things here directly, person-to-person, with no ulterior motives between you and these links.

It’s great, right?

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19 Aug 2019

Ola Bini’s Letters from Detention

Reflections from a thoughtful and innocent prisoner.

I spent some of the weekend reading these letters from Ola Bini, who was imprisoned in April for basically being a friend of Julian Assange. I remember Ola from his work on the Ioke programming language—and I once chatted with him many, many years ago. He was polite and well-spoken. I am glad to hear that he is now released. (The FreeOlaBini site should probably show his release more prominently—it is more obvious on Twitter.)

Still, his blog is quite eye-opening and worthwhile. There are entries here that are simply poignant—such as Ola’s story of his birthday when his fellow inmates sang to him. In an almost deliberately Kafkaesque way, it seems he is never told what he is charged with—we can presume computer hacking, but no specifics are given. (It seems the authorities assumed this from his personal library—which Fogus catalogs here.)

I feel some cynicism toward ‘open source’/‘free software’ and cyberpunk ideologies—and I think many people also associate this with ‘tech bro’-style optimism—but Ola’s letters have me reconsidering.

[C]ode and architecture are more important than laws. Laws can be broken, but if we build our systems correctly, we can provide real guarantees. The right to privacy, security and anonymity is also a strong belief and the idea that these rights belong to everyone, not just those that can pay for it.

Related to this, is the mistrust of authority, not just governments, but any kind of authority. That means those rights cant be provided just as legal rights by fiat. Instead, these rights have to be provided by something stronger: by cryptographic systems, implemented and run in the open. This is the only real way you can ultimately provide real self-determination to everyone in the world.

A final belief: cypherpunks write code. This means just what it says. If we want a better world, we have to take the responsibility. We have to build it ourselves.

I don’t feel optimism in any of this. I just feel a person wanting to secure their life. This seems like a basic right—roughly equivalent to the very smallest property right, the ability to merely live and survive at a specific coordinate—even a prisoner has that right. Cynicism feels dangerous here—that I’d rather just wander in aloof disbelief than try.

This also has me hunting for other blogs from prisoners. Know of any?

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25 Jul 2019

Chameleon’s Wiki

TiddlyWiki is trending??

This is getting crazy!! is turning into some kind of cult. And chameleon has entered the fray with a great design—really cool styling on the tags. This is one to keep an eye on.



AND IS PRONOUNCED ``$:/macros/’’


THIS IS TiddlyWiki




I need to add this to my list—I am tracking this community at My dream is that this list becomes untenable. What if TiddlyWiki becomes the new blockchain? Like what if everywhere you go people are talking about it? The Stranger Things cast all have theirs already.

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05 Jul 2019

Reply: The Purpose of a Website?


[Referring to the website] It’s not a resume. It would have been an awful resume. I wouldn’t hire myself by this resume.

And keeping record is, of course, nice. But it has nothing to do with running your own website. You can keep record on Medium, too. In fact, it would be more effective since it works wonders for the small notes.

Still, I totally agree that keeping your own site is a fascinating experience and it’s well worth time and effort.

It’s amusing to me that you seem to be struggling to vocalize why anyone would want a website like yours—as if a ‘resume’ or a ‘journal’ were the only reasons to keep one.

But, as a reader, I think a website like yours is like having a chance to explore that person’s personality in a freeform way.[1] The design reflects their aesthetic (similar to how fashion does for the physical form), the organization reflects their favored mental models perhaps, and the myriad of topics and links makes it a graph-like structure for a ‘book’/‘journal’/‘life’. It’s strange to me that people question a personal website’s purpose—but accept that of a coloring or sticker book. To me, that only says that our brains haven’t quite caught up with how to use the medium. (Although, if you have read sites like, then I think you have a glimpse of what’s possible.)

  1. And, to me, this exploration of life is at the heart of what brings purpose and beauty to humanity—this is why I live, to try to understand or maybe to just immerse myself in what beauty I can find in the world or in the lives of its creatures. In a way, what could be greater than a website?! 😄 ↩︎

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14 Jun 2019

What Draws Me to Surrealism

A few reasons, thoughts behind what is driving the current movement, as well as all of life everywhere.

It’s now time to tell you about myself. I feel like I should tell you something very revealing. From what I’ve read, I’m pretty sure that a revelation like this must occur in order for anyone to care about me. I don’t exist unless I tell you something!

I think that if I am to talk to you, it must come by communicating something, surely. But it’s more than this. I’m also in this mood—I’m reeling with rambunctious energy! I feel like I can say anything and it will be true—but I also want to open my mouth and to say something that actually IS true. So I might try that! We’ll see, in just a moment.

Okay, let’s see. I am compelled to talk intensely about all of life, about the very core of myself. About all of the Earth. About animals. About the sky! About the lightning that descends from it. About little keys and chains and about ornate knobs that exist apart from the original bureaus to which they where attached! I feel suddenly enabled—and this is by what I’ve seen, by just a simple mouse cursor I saw—to attempt to explain this consciousness and to paint my full perspective in a shattering way, to dispel every pretense and to unveil all of life and to do it by talking about surrealism. (Especially surrealism as it exists on the Web, on blogs and on zines as they are coming through the postal service.)

The mouse cursor that I saw was of a simple Jersey cow, lowing in the field. I was not looking for a new mouse cursor at the time, I was simply drinking from a clear canister. The circumstances could not be less intriguing. I was drinking from a clear canister and I had my hand resting on the bough of a tree.

Normally I close my eyes while I am drinking. I close them very tight actually. Sometimes my eyelids hurt from closing them so tightly! I have to tell myself to not close them so tightly. And that’s what I did in this moment: I was telling myself not to close my eyelids so tightly. I was repeating to myself the phrase: Decci Estefani Epcot—which is a phonetical reading of an acronym which stands for “Don’t Ever Close Your Eyelids So Tightly That the Force of Your Entire Person is Concentrated There.” I repeated this again and again in my mind. Decci Estefani Epcot. Decci Estefani Epcot. In my mind, many times.

I am very careful to say it precisely, as it is a slight tongue twister. Not a notable one at all. But a minor one. My eyelids love it. Let’s just say: they were doing fine. And as I said, the vision of this Jersey cow mouse cursor was conjured in my vision, moving across my neighbor’s yard.

I was standing on a ladder, looking into this neighbor’s yard, while this mouse cursor clicked on different things. The grass. Then an in-ground trampoline. Then a bush. A bird flew out of the bush. It clicked on a screen door and it rattled slightly. It clicked on the bush a few more times, but there were no birds there, just a rustling.

I marveled at this cursor—I hadn’t even thought to look at the bush or the in-ground trampoline before. I wouldn’t even have tried. Not before this. But now I looked, I really looked! And I truly saw them in all of their splendor. The pleasant thump of the trampoline’s tarpaulin! I thought to myself that it would be lovely to have a mouse cursor in my life that would click on various things, bringing my attention to them and making them fully interactive. It didn’t occur to me that I actually did have one now. I looked, and it seemed totally independent and detached from me, not mine in any sense, not belonging to any of us, but just a translucent layer, existing on top of the projections of my eyes. It shook its head from side to side, nervously. But I could see that it was beaming with a raw, youthful embarrassment.

Now, this is not the revelation—many of you have written in to tell me about your mouse cursors and what you like to do with them. And also I should say, I worry about bringing up the wrong thing here. Do you ever say something offhanded to someone and then two days later you suddenly throw yourself BACKWARDS against the wall in the middle of the day and you yell HEY WAIT THIS IS A BAD SITUATION! Of course, when someone notices you, you laugh playfully, as if it you were just kidding around—but in secret, you struggle to breathe again and you close your eyelids way too tight, and you find you are trapped in this situation from then on, paralyzed by what you can ever do right again.

What I am saying is—well, first off, I have many times seen a wolf on top of my neighbor’s house. It is usually just licking its paws or staring at children who are playing. It’s sitting on shingles as if they were just another natural biome. But what I’m saying is that I’m afraid that many of you will think I am saying “wolf”—as in “German.” (Because I often used that word to derogatorily refer to Germans when I was a young person. And it was true back then—many Germans were wolves in those days, they would steal my train tickets. But it’s no longer true—so I no longer say it, but I’m afraid to now even bring up the word “wolf” even if I have a good reason, like if I want to tell you that I’ve seen one on my neighbor’s roof.)

So this is the revelation—why exactly I struggle to use the word “wolf” on this blog or even in my private life, in the most intimate moments. Well, no, I do use it there very frequently.

Now it is nighttime and I am confronting this digitally, to see how it goes. The FBI and the KGB are here watching my every move. They love to peep in and to announce their presence on my screen. There is a little icon of a man’s face. It appears in my system tray and it winks once at me. But if I try to show anyone else the man’s face, it fades into an ordinary Dropbox logo. This is quite maddening. But, being a former computer expert, I do know what it takes to make a smooth fade transition.

So, yes, this is what draws me to the surrealist community. And to bee videos, which is the closest thing I have right now to my mouse cursor.

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12 Jun 2019


  • If my design is hard on your eyes, you hate it—try ‘reader mode’ in your browser. Vivaldi even has a dark mode.
  • Thank you to Jason McIntosh and gRegorLove for reporting Indieweb problems with my HTML. Had a bunch of wrong stuff that’s been causing problems for ages. Feels good!
  • And also to Jacky for bringing up my Twitter problems. It’s an uncomfortable subject—but had to be done. Workin on a fix.

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04 Apr 2019

Reply: This Is An Odd Experience


Hey kicks! Saw your message, it shows me that you have clearly been looking through my wiki, this is an odd experience for me. I have never had anyone but my family look at my wiki, now that you are I don’t know exactly what to do. I will try to become friends with you though. I don’t know how to respond to your message exactly. (am I repeating myself?) The last thing I have to say is, please excuse my grammar, it’s some of the worst you will have seen.

You writing me back makes me so happy! I just LOVE the way you write. You are still reminding me of Édouard Levé: you write so precisely and plainly and in a way that feels honest to me—I agree that it’s very odd that I’m reading your wiki! But what can we do: you have one reader now.[1]

I have decided on a name, 1uxb0x, interesting story how I got it. I am hard on myself, sometimes. I have few things planed. All those notes pages were me writing down what my dad said. I think I am a literary wiki kid, but not tootytoot. I think I answered everything that needed answering.

😂 Okay, okay! I concede: you are not a tootytoot!

Now I am stunned that you take such extensive notes while your Dad is talking! I am hooked on your ‘Notes’ now—every home philosopher should be so lucky as to have a scribe such as you. You are doing very good work.

I will try not to comment, if it makes you nervous. But if it helps you write more, I will comment. You don’t need to be nervous, though. I am a total loser, my sister will tell you that.[2]

  1. Your response is particularly funny to me because many, many times I’ve tried to convince your father that having an audience changes writing in a variety of unpredictable ways—and I’m not sure he ever believed me. ↩︎

  2. I know your dad has said that he is like Dale Gribble or Raphael (the ninja turtle)—but if you ever watch any movie with Owen Wilson where he plays the most harmless, clueless character in the whole world—that’s me. (You can also tell me what fictional character you are, too—if you have one.) ↩︎

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27 Mar 2019

Fast FVP

The ‘hot and ready’ style of checklisting.

I am not generally interested in time-management or productivity systems—because I enjoy being such a mess—but this is a case where my study of algorithms kicks in. The Fast FVP system—formerly the Final Version Perfected, previously Final Version, née AutoFocus—is an algorithm by Mark Forster for determining what to work on, given a large list of tasks. (However, since none of those names are descriptive, I think of it as the ‘hot and ready’ system, when I explain it to someone.)

It is based on the question: “What do I want to do more than X?”

The algorithm looks like this:

  1. Put a dot next to the first item on the checklist.
    • That item is now X.
  2. Ask: Am I ready to do X now?
    • If so, you’re done: stop and do it.
  3. Ask: What do I want to do more than X?
    • Scan the list until you encounter a subsequent item which is more appealing.
    • Dot the item. It is now X.
    • Go to step 2.

And then, of course, you come back to the list later and cross off a completed item (re-adding it to the bottom of the list if you have remaining work to do on it) and run the algorithm again.

As mentioned, the development of the algorithm has gone through several variations. This reminds me very much of the recent trend to discover better hashing methods[1] and even extending to things like PageRank or YouTube’s curation algorithms.

What I like about Mark Forster’s approach is that he took the existing algorithms (many involving day planners or things like the GTD processing flowchart) and simplified the algorithm down to its bare essentials, never straying from its core emphasis: ‘psychological readiness’.

This is where FVP really enters new dimensions. By using a pre-selection process, the brain is softened up towards the selected tasks. But this isn’t all. The selection process is based on what you want to do. This colours the whole preselected list so that even tasks which seem like chores get affected.

It seems that, once simplified (made primitive?), an algorithm can then be played with, to try to reconfigure its simple pieces to align it closer to the ideals behind it. I make note of this approach so that it can be applied to the algorithms I (or we) are working on curate links or to orchestrate a crawler.

I also like that this is an algorithm designed for human software. While I sometimes use ‘recipes’ or manual processes as an analogy for algorithms, I like that this one is entirely mental/psychological—it seems perhaps unique in that regard. It is designed to be ‘loaded’[2].

  1. Such as recent developments like XXH3 and HighwayHash. ↩︎

  2. In fact, in the link above, the author simplifies Fast FVP down to the phrase: Ready? More? As if it were code. ↩︎

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25 Mar 2019

luming hao

this is a very messy and unstructured inpsiring personal site no actualy it’s more of a collection of txts and links and sometimes it uses html other times it just uses a basoc json file no it’s a blog this person is also on other sites but i’m not going to tell you where becau i have just bought a lettuce form a door to door saleswoman tell me you wouldn’t focus on that if you were it too

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Personal Site Dump

Raw blog/website links to look through.

I’ve stumbled across the link above (a list of personal portfolios compiled by Martin Pitt) and, well, this has been a bit of a recent trend:

I am not going to look through the tech blogs, because I’m not as interested in those. (Except ones like which blends a greater portion of assorted personal thoughts alongside the tech tutorial-type things.)

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12 Mar 2019

Reply: Rabbits Are Good People


But of how many rabbit holes? And how deep are they? And what rabbits dug them?

Tell me, 1uxb0x—your name is so like Linux to me. (Because of ‘fluxbox’ which was my favorite back when I was only probably three times your age.) I think you are still deciding on a name though—is that right?

Your “Notes” and “Free Writing” pages are solid gold.[1] You are clearly a very hard worker—I can’t tell if you are hard on yourself or just very determined. You have a lot of things you want to do in your life, that’s for sure.

I like your “Free Writing” pages—and I do the same thing myself. When I am writing, I like to just write something that I see. Almost like taking a photograph, but I am writing it down. I think most people like to write what they are feeling, but that often causes me to stop and think too much. But I just want to write something—and they are very fun to read back on.[2]

As for your “Notes”—I like pages like this. Or pages like this one about your dad and your sense of morality. You might feel that this page is very disorganized and messy—but I find it to be absolutely readable and I can tell where copy-and-paste is happening and where you are writing.[3] I have a friend who will very much enjoy reading your writings and I hope it is okay if I show him. (He will probably have some excellent advice as well.)

Ok, for now, au revoir, fellow human.

  1. Or, flakes of solid gold, if they happen to be smaller pages. Or boxes of sticky pencils, if they happen to be lists of random thoughts that are in your head that day. ↩︎

  2. My grandmother used to read me her journals when I would visit her. She would start by reading a few funny e-mails she got, but inevitably she would end up pulling out a volume of her personal journals. Many of my relatives didn’t enjoy that she would do this—and they thought it was anti-social or maybe impolite of her—but I always found it quite charming. I loved to drink tea while she would read to me. And her entries were much like your “Free Writing”—It is July 3rd. There is a blue van parked outside the house that has been there all week. One of the kids peeked inside and said that it was filthy. It sure does stink. They are also selling a new kind of cinnamon roll at the grocer’s across the street— ↩︎

  3. Your writing reminds me very much of Édouard Levé. I am sorry to compare you to him—because he killed himself—but I assure you that you only remind me of his writing style. I’m afraid I don’t know you as a person. I hope you realize that I am paying you a very sincere complement. You are doing very well in your writing. I hope you are enjoying it, because it is fun to read. (No lie. I think you could publish a book of these “Notes” pages and it would make waves in the literary world. But don’t do that. I like you better as a wiki kid than as a literary hootytoot.) ↩︎

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11 Mar 2019

Reply: Supposedly Unreadable Tripe


I am one of the few people who read everything h0p3 writes. It’s a good thing I read fast. Also, we talk a lot. We started this whole thing by walking and talking and disagreeing on the definitions of ethical and moral and I guess we’ll keep doing this until he realizes I’m right and he’s wrong about the entire nature of the universe.

It might take a while.

h0p3’s wife does a mic check.

(This is sooo cool—to get a response from h0p3’s wife on her own personal wiki. I just can’t believe we’re having these conversations. This was not what I intended to do on this blog. I actually didn’t have any intentions really—I just wanted to mess with hypertext again—which I guess opened me up to reading random TiddlyWikis and having these delightful, possibly pointless, just-for-funsies conversations. It’s better than anything that I could have intended to do.)

k0sh3k! First off, I love ILL, too. I am a massive cheapskate and I try to avoid clutter—but mostly I just like the weird editions that show up. And I like to see where the books come from. (I give a shoutout to this in my Stories/Novels page.)

My favorite was when Denton Welch’s Maiden Voyage came in. It was an ancient hardback from the 1950s. (It was the first book I read by him—I love him now.) As I read, I began to realize that this edition had been published right after he died (at age 33) and it really transported me to that age. I had a hard time giving that one back.

I actually should read The Educated Mind again before I recommend it. I went back and read my review—and some of my perspectives have changed since then. A lot has happened in four years. I still think I would love that the book bows before the visage of Socrates… (I am not a fast reader.)

My favorite poet is e.e. cummings, and if you haven’t read his work, you should.

I loved him in high school—I guess I have forgotten so much about him. I think I liked him at the time for gimmicky reasons. I know I saw past the mere shape of his poems. I thought he was funny. But to hear about ‘anti-industrialist poems’—you shouldn’t have lost that paper.

You’ll have to excuse the place - I only started keeping this to make h0p3 happy and to be a good example to the kiddos, although I’ve started keeping things here just for fun, too.

I am not nearly as good at keeping a wiki as h0p3 is; I haven’t gotten much better on any of this web stuff since the early days of chat rooms.

I think it’s charming. Your worries about organization or curating—sure, it’s fun to spend time on that stuff—but you’ve put a lot of work into what you’ve got already and it’s already very amusing and interesting to idly search and click around. I like that it’s informal. I like that it’s off-the-cuff.

I feel I should apologize for reading. It feels voyeuristic. Or like a robot eating up feelings. (CAN DESPISING AYN RAND REALLY FEEL THIS GOOD.) And maybe I am just scoping up anecdotes and recommendations in slapdash—this is just my own librarian way. It is shameful, it is noble—it is just a way to pass the time.

I think education, across the board, including college level, has hit a rough patch. It’s no longer about helping individuals become good, ethical human beings; it’s about shaping individuals into efficient little workers and consumers. I’m glad we have the chance to raise our kiddos to be good persons, and to recognize the systemic evils that use others as mere means for wealth accumulation.

Most of the teachers I’ve met and worked with are aware of this and frustrated by it, too. It’s strange to me that this awareness has been around since at least the 1970s—yet it’s only gotten worse, I’d hazard.

There was a conversation between Seymour Papert and Paulo Freire back then that really—well, it might have gone too far in places, but I think it’s mostly right on:

Now there comes a time when the infant is seeing a wider world than can be touched and felt. So the questions in the child’s mind aren’t only about this and this and this that I can see, but about something I heard, saw a picture of, or imagined. And I think here the child enters into a precarious and dangerous situation because not necessarily, but, I think, in point of fact in our societies, there is now a shift from experiential learning—learning by exploring—to another kind of learning, which is learning by being told: you have to find adults who will tell you things. And this stage reaches its climax in school.

And I think it’s an exaggeration, but that there’s a lot of truth in saying that when you go to school, the trauma is that you must stop learning and you must now accept being taught. That is stage two: it’s school, it’s learning by being taught, it’s receiving deposits of knowledge. I think many children are destroyed by that, strangled. Some, of course, survive it, and all of us survived it, and that’s one reason it’s often dangerous discussing these questions among intellectual people. In spite of the school what happened to us was that in the course of this stage two we learned certain skills. We learned to read, for example; we learned to use libraries; we learned how to explore directly a much wider world.

Now I think that there’s an important sense in which stage three is going back to stage one for those who’ve survived stage two—creative people in any field, whether in a laboratory or in philosophy—whether artists, businessmen, journalists—all the people in the world who are able, despite all the restrictions, to find a way of living creatively. We are very much like the baby again. We explore; it’s driven from inside; it’s experiential; it’s not so verbal; it’s not about being told.

To me, I agree that the scaffolding is important—but I think we tend to make the whole thing about scaffolding and public school tends to be all scaffolding all the time. But I think of scaffolding as being rough-shod. You hammer together a few planks and then get back to the building itself. The scaffolding goes away with time. You forget it was ever there.

(In case this is too vague—I tend to make ‘scaffolding’ synonymous with ‘adult assistance’, Vygotsky’s meaning, rather than the other meanings that float about from time to time.)

Of course, I think the above goes wrong a bit because I view reading as experiential and driven from inside—and I think even “telling” can be this way. Teaching can be very immersive and very improvisational. It’s difficult to know if it can ever be prescribed. (I don’t often watch television, but I think this is one thing that has kept me watching The Good Place—the main character is provided with a personal philosopher, a man who finds himself given an Herculean chore to try to prescribe his wisdom to her, even though it all is completely applicable. It simply cannot be told I think.)

Thank you for all the books and links—I will always be on the lookout for more and I am glad to know you and your family. While I’m interesting in the pioneering work you all are doing with wikis and such, I think it’s eclipsed by the effort you make among your two children. These words might be, at their height, a ‘model’ of us.

But they are only artifacts compared to the humans behind them. This j3d1h and kokonut seem like great additions to our reality. (Just from things they pop off with in h0p3’s writings.)

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06 Feb 2019

Reply: Careful Answers

Kevin Kovacs

With that being said, the short answer for a lot of your questions is going to be either a) I’m planning on moving those or b) I haven’t even considered it yet.

Tsss! Ok, well, hey—thank you for the elaborate reply! And let this also act as a test of your Webmentions setup. And welcome to the club of individuals experimenting with hypertext organization and layout—those forking wiki sensibility, I suppose. I’m interested in seeing what you do—in fact, I really like the variety of layouts you use on TIV for the different post types.

I love the look of minimal, white websites, but now everything seems to look like that.

I don’t know about you—my love of the brighter base comes from wanting to mimick books and zines, paper things. (Although I do have a favorite book, self-published by a psychic, that explores the correlation between extraterrestrials, prodigies and ‘vanishing twins’—the whole book is printed on a lavender paper, it’s just wonderful. The cover of the book is darker, almost the exact color of Humdrum Life!)

I have been trying to cook up a darker scheme, but I just can’t seem to settle on a background color. I think it will have to be black. Any other color really forces the palette choices for all the borders and words.

At any rate, I like to see more color on the web and I think you’ve got a nice scheme going.

I’m assuming the link logs you are referring to are the ones tagged reading, usually with “Articles” in the title.

Yes, exactly. This type of post is a major draw for me.

These are essentially to force myself to reflect on what I read. Even if I’m only writing a word or a sentence, it’s been helpful as a reflection practice. On occasion I forget to add things, but it’s supposed to be everything I read that day. Due to that fact, they dont necessarily think it is all worth sharing. I have a podcast log too where I do the same thing for myself.

Worth sharing. Huh, ok, this is a pretty ripe topic still.

I can’t help but feel that this goes in with the modern view that we must be “content creators”—writing original essays and gathering unique data to share. And that a pile of links is not worthy. Am I way off? Can you explain further—you later refer to things being “worthy to share with ‘the world’”—is this tied into RSS, like what sort of significance must a bit of hypertext have in order to justify making all the smartphones go ding?

I’m increasingly against RSS. I don’t know that anything I’m writing should fire off notifications. I’d be much happier if I could just fill up a blog without being accused of dinging the bell too many times. (This is an issue with all the social media platforms—there’s a threshold you cross when you become the one who overshares. So you have to pace yourself against the group’s pacing.)

But back on whether link lists are worthy. I mean—that’s the goodstuff for me. That’s the draw! Personally, I’m looking more for a tangled web of thoughts and chains of ideas, following link to link, to get a sense of what is happening out there. Exploring, discovering.

I think many people think they can’t or don’t care to write a blog, because then they’ll have to come up with ideas for tutorials or articles—“content” again—when I think that’s kind of rooted in a ‘performer’/‘audience’ relationship. I think what has appealed to me about h0p3’s work is that you can write out in the open, for your own purposes, and just pile up hypertext there—and if it’s organized sensibly enough, then those who want to correspond with you will find what they need. (It particularly interesting/innovative to me that he works on drafts of his letters in public—and that it works so well in practice.)

On the other side, TIV link posts are more considered.

I think I have felt this way, at times too, like I won’t post something to my home page if it’s just a little ‘thumbs up’ type of comment. But, more and more, I find myself writing detailed and considered entries that don’t get broadcast.

Can you relate to that? Is ‘more considered’ really the line between TIV and Humdrum? You just wrote me a lengthy reply that seems very well-considered. Could the difference be something else? Is it tonal?

It might even be that ‘public’ blogging has traditionally been directed toward an audience and now that the Web has changed (there is less of an audience)—then it doesn’t need to be that way. (I say this as someone who also blogs at some imaginary audience—tho I’m not sure I like doing it that way.)

I kind of view TIV as a digital publication […] I like to think of it as a digital newspaper. It’s text based and more professional. Am not a reporter in any sense though, so the metaphor starts to fall apart of you really think about it.

Ok, so, then a zine or something. But whatever: a newspaper, surely you’re safe to use that term.

Yeah, I can relate to that! I think one benefit of the ‘publisher’/‘audience’ type relationship is the pressing desire to draw someone in and not to waste their time, but to benefit them and serve them. And to take your craft seriously, too, I guess.

I’ve done a few album reviews, which are more fully formed; I think these should stay on TIV. The top ten lists I view in the same way Rolling Stone or SPIN would publish a top ten list, so I feel like their home is still TIV.

This is such a motivating, creative thing to be play-acting in homage to magazines and fully-staffed writing houses. It provides vision for your work and a kind of high aspiration.

It really makes me wonder what the future holds for the lone blogger. Now that I can look back a decade at so many of the blogs I’ve enjoyed, I can see that they often either went away or became real magazines themselves.

I feel some longing for those days when all these personal websites wondered to themselves, Is there anyone out there? But it’s also very much like that now! And I wonder if something new might spring up—outside of newspapers, magazines, blogs and anything else we know.

[On the ‘now’ page:] This is for me/novelty, but mostly just an exercise in learning Siri Shortcuts.

This section of your letter was very enlightening and I think I’ve gleaned a better understanding of this phenomenon. I imagine much of it is certainly prompted by a desire to play with integrations just like you’re talking about—whereas some of it is linked to Public Self-Modeling and basic journaling.

I think it’s very useful for you to discuss your methods and the software details of how you work. TiddlyWiki isn’t for everyone—neither is Ceasar Bautista’s Encyclopedia project—so options like yours could be very useful to other microbloggers and Mastodon users who want to start building a permanent file.

I’m going to leave off the discussion about URLs, because I have to leave now and wanted to get this letter off—but I think there is much to talk about there as well. I just thank you for fielding my questions! I feel so lucky to have had this chance encounter with you. Looking forward to your work on TIV and Humdrum.

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05 Feb 2019

Humdrum Life

Thoughts blog that uses the Blot software to mimick something like h0p3’s wiki.

This is Kevin Kovacs’ personal thoughts collection—along the lines of h0p3’s wiki—with daily plans and reviews of the day, link logs. There’s an enclave of others doing this kind of thing with TiddlyWiki—this is an example of how to branch outside of that.

I also think it’s interesting that Kevin has a separate (presumably ‘public’) site at The Independent Variable. It seems that part of the point is to syndicate the ‘public’ site and keep the ‘personal’ site separate—“because of the frequency and mundaneness of posts.” This is exactly the kind of thing I’ve been messing with, too—except that I have a home page for broadcasts and an unfiltered page for the raw dump.

Couple things I need to ask Kevin—maybe he’ll see this by way of Webmention, we’ll see:

  • Any reason that ‘humdrum’ has a dark theme and ‘tiv’ a bright theme? I wonder if there’s an internal/external symbolism here. But it also seems like dark and light themes appeal to different crowds.

  • Can’t help but wonder why link logs get posted to the ‘personal’ site, while movie reviews and top ten lists hit the main blog. I think I might do the opposite. How do you know what does where? (Intrigued at the stark division between two sites, one author.)

  • As someone with a ‘now’ page—is it a novelty? Or does it serve a function for you? Or perhaps the function is for someone else— us??

  • Interesting that URL schemes are different for the two sites. Wonder why.

Cool to see more Hypertexting—in the sense of ephemeral stuff piling up into a single body of work. I just keep seeing this.

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18 Jan 2019

Reply: We Are All Animals


Perhaps this is it: these visceral qualia form the most intense and common language between us all.

Boy, these letters you and h0p3 write—I feel such tension. On one hand, it’s really good to discover you and to write these almost old-fashioned personal letters that reach out with an arm and wriggle around and attempt to find some crack in the sentences where some potent, pungent piece of us can seep through. I have had so many e-mail chains and letter correspondence that went poorly—I had given up on personal writing.

I still feel anxious that I might not reciprocate well—or that what seeps out might be too very pungent. You might laugh awkwardly at that shocking smell and let it pass. Or you might produce a gaping horror on your face. You might go away—and here’s more tension, why would I need you? Why would I care if you needed to go your way? (Well, obviously, I don’t want to insult you. I want to try to enjoy what letters we do write while we are fortunate to be riding the same network packets.)

Perhaps the biggest tension is anonymity. I don’t know if I ever dare to shed it. I had hoped for such a comfortable place to be just a mere character. I like being my real identity here and there—just for moments, at times. But I want to be other people, too. To be dozens of them! (Here I am, pretending to be “Kicks”, but is it not “myself” that is talking here? Or is this just another Narrator meta-character, who is allowed to stay aloof and detached from all these faces?)

But I feel from our discussions: Who are you really? And: Let’s see each other plainly, let’s know each other well. This does make me wonder. Who am I really? (I think you ask yourself this question, too, in reading your old journals. Whoever was I?)

Of course I’ve followed along—in fact, straight off, I’ve wanted to talk to you about Ascension: Chronicle of the Godslayer (etc.) and Shards of Infinity, because they’ve been favorites of mine, too. I am really into card games—and Ascension is one of the most divisive games I’ve played—the art, the theme, the way it’s played. (There’s a card in the first set that some friends call ‘racist dog’—don’t remember the exact name, but perhaps you’ve also noticed that you can see the lined paper in the background on some of the images from that set.) But I really enjoy the wild style of the art—I’m not sure it’s my favorite, but I get a kick out of it. Some of the art I just cannot understand, other cards I just adore—there’s a card with a kind of scuba guy on it that I think is amazing. I just love that the art stirs me up.

My favorite expansion was Storm of Souls, because the combos felt out-of-control at the time. But I’ve liked all of it. When it comes to games, I’m not a critic.

I think what you’re doing with your wiki is amazing! I’m not going to try to be poetic about it; I just want to gush openly. That you are finding your own ways to riff on h0p3’s work—it’s not a carbon copy—you’ve had a glimpse of futuristic sight-seeing that is guiding you, that’s what I really think.

It’s as if you’ve spread a giant sheet of graph paper before you on the floor—and have begun to box and triangulate your aspects, to map out yourself. And, to anyone watching (and why would they watch? well, hell, if I saw someone mapping out on a giant self-o-graph in the campus quad, I think I’d stop to see) they’ll see the places where they map onto you, or where their points go near or interweave. You have your own handwriting and flourishes of decorative arrows and bullets. And those discoveries made in the mundane and detailed, knotty parts of the graph could be surprising—these lines are all pathways of experience. Who knows which are the most vaunted.

I am often told, “I cannot imagine what X must be feeling, what X must endure.” (Where X is the epicenter of my pain. This person X is the epicenter, not me. I am given the luxury of crying. My effort is often to simply control my crying; X must spend the effort just to stay alive.)

“I cannot imagine…” But you must imagine. How can you not imagine? To imagine—that is the first step. To imagine that it is you and your life. To try to understand—which, incidentally, is exactly how you two have both reacted, to project the bare, vague, scattershot feelings of my heart—without even knowing the specifics—on to your life and into your imagined experience. And you both responded by wanting me to understand you, too—I like this, this is great, you think me capable of it.

So this is the graph paper, right? And we walk down whatever lines we want to. And some lines we just have to. The mazeway.

As we read the words of Others, our bodies respond with the knowledge and recognition of our deep wounds, our brokenness, our despondence, our faith, our hopes, our excitement; all of our being resonates together.

I am so jealous of the footnotes you both have. I am only setup for numeric kinds. Yours are like little secrets and ciphers. Sometimes I can tell what the letters mean—and it is like moth language coming through, too.

Public drafting is also working out very well. It’s strange that I get a more tri-dimensional sense of what the finish letter might mean. You’d think that the draft would only be full of imperfections. But it is its own model.

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12 Jan 2019

Reply: Wandering the Infinite Extremes


I’m glad to have the chance to engage in this. I am pretty goddamned worried I’m going to offend him right here.

I felt very worried about this, too, while I was working on my page for you. I was teasing you, of course. And that can feel like all the respect I might have is discarded for cheap sarcasm.

However, I think relationships need to be tested to see what they can withstand—one of the ‘teases’ on that page is that I paint you as having this overly analytical sense of humor and I take a shot at autism. This is pretty cruel! But your sense of humor is not really that way at all—your sense of humor is completely transgressive and degenerate—it’s fantastic—and part of your great work is in perpetually nailing up these new self-portraits of yourself that are ridiculous and grotesque—the jester in the almighty courts—though I think you see your inner self as very noble and refined, in a way. My writing this effacing page of you is simply the act of doing your work for you. You do this to yourself anyway on any given day—I am just joining you for once.

So I’m glad it gave you a laugh for a moment—I don’t think you’ve said anything remotely offensive to me, which is pretty disappointing. I would think that you of all people could pull it off and I’d like to see you try. My fear is that I’ve not revealed enough of myself for you to hang on to—so it may take some time for you to discover that I am a grotesque in a completely different form: I am an emotional wreck, crying and pleading day after day, a small and insignificant creature in my real form—weak and crushable like Gandalf’s little moth buddy that flits around in the chaos, whisphering insignificant greetings.

One of things which is beautifully striking about your absurdly flattering hypertext object is that you accept me as your retarded brother (all of my family do me a great kindness in this) that sometimes has a good point to make (even if this bastard takes fucking forever to say it to you).

Hahhaha! My God—it’s so much funnier when you mock yourself than when I do. I do accept you as my retarded brother!! Can I be yours as well? I am not as retarded as you are, of course, but I will try to be! I am daftly sucking the collar of my lime t-shirt as we speak. I am fully wetting it, brother.

Yet, I would like to extend my trust to you further at no cost to or expectation of you.

(Since I am responding to a draft, I am just hanging on to this sentence in case it disappears. It’s just wonderful. It reminds me of a travelling salesman—my Trust, the whole Caboodle, the brushes, the Extension Arm for the trust and the fur-lined Encasement—all at no additional cost. All I ask is that you do nothing. Don’t move a muscle.)

I would like to send my cards to an address (which will not be disclosed on this wiki) of your choosing (I can also just send you the digital copies).

I am not to this point yet. This is probably a bit awkward to navigate—let me just say that I don’t see my correspondence with you as a short-term whim. It is a long game. We have a lot of years ahead of us to find out why the hell we’re talking to each other and what the Fuck is going on.

You can ask and say anything—I think it’s amazing that you would want to pass cards, converse and possibly make chat logs together. But this blog is not me quite yet. I am emerging from two years of great sorrow and struggle. I am trying to find my way—not through depression, but just through grief. “Kicks” is my prototype for this self that could survive.

I am building him and you’re helping me greatly. Hopefully he will appear in more realistic and fully-fledged forms. I am not catfishing; I am just trying to have fun again. I think it’s working.

One thing I have to tell you about autism. I had this second-grade student named Ethan. One day I took the desks out of the classroom and put down yoga mats instead for the day. The kids came in and got comfortable on the floor, except Ethan who leaned against the wall, eating a Tootsie Pop. He was a big kid with a flat top and bushy eyebrows.

Many of the kids were complaining about Ethan not sitting and eating candy in class.

“I get to have this,” he said. “Ms. Principal said so. I have a ticket in my pocket to prove it. And I have to stand up, I can’t sit down.”

“Oh, wow,” I said. “You have to stand up? You’re going to stand up all day?”

“Look, I have autism,” he said. “Yeah, that’s right! And I have it pretty bad right now. Ms. Principal said I could have this sucker. I have the ticket and everything.”

The kids go into uproar. “Ms. Principal didn’t say he could have a sucker! She never lets us have candy in class! He’s lying!”

“Okay, look class, leave him alone, he has autism, at least for today,” I said. “Ethan, will it last into tomorrow?”

“I have autism,” he said, shrugging, motioning with his sucker. “I really get it bad sometimes.” His whole body language was like, “What can any of us do about it? We just have to deal, ok?”

It was a good day. He got to stand up and enjoy the sucker like he wanted. And the rest of us had a lot of fun reminding him that he had autism that day. He was, honestly, the least autistic person I think I’ve ever met.

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12 Dec 2018

“Allow me to pass over his misfortune in silence; for in the first place talk of it might dishearten you, and secondly and thirdly, and as far as I’m concerned sixthly, it isn’t proper to tug apart all the folds of misfortune and cast aside all ceremony, all lovely veiled mourning, which can exists only when one keeps silent on such matters.”

— Simon, p340, The Tanners by Robert Walser

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11 Dec 2018

Reply: S & K: Root


Tell me how I’m being an idiot like only good friends can, please (you may already be doing so, and I ask you to forgive my ignorance as I come to grips with it). It is possible that I’m not making ridiculous mistakes here, but I am aware that is unlikely. I beg for your advice and wisdom in constructing this; I also recognize I may be reinventing the wheel, poorly. Perhaps I have misunderstood how to accomplish my goal. What is your opinion? What should I be clearer about? Where is this failing? What should I do instead? I am not asking you to build anything; I’m asking you to check my work and tell me if my building plans are stupid (because they might be). You may be wondering: “what is the purpose of this?” like I’m being too paranoid, inefficient, or insane. Perhaps this is incoherent, and I ask you to feel at liberty to say it.

Hate to say this, brother—but I actually think I follow your diagram, hahah—I mean what can I say, it’s terribly complex, but sometimes these things have to be. Yeah and like you say: Rube Goldberg. I say go for the madcap every time. If I tried to diagram my structure in dashes-and-pipes, it’d be like that, too, actually. Ten layers of tooling. Salud.

You seem quite good at stepping back and asking what the hell you’re doing. I’m going to keep a close eye on all of this, because I think the moment will come when we can bridge Indieweb and your world. It actually won’t offer you much—I think it’ll just automatic copy-and-paste is all. Depends on your feelings about syndication—seems like we both have complicated feelings about RSS. Which, to me, makes it a ripe topic.

As I have tried to say to both of you, I’m very interested in hardcoding my links. I want hardlinks statically sitting in a tiddler rather than some filterlist rendering upon opening a tiddler. The recursion problem is so serious for javascript that it cannot be performant enough to enable me to rely upon anything other than significant hardlinking. I think Bob may be the key to enabling hardcoding in a way that I can do.

Oh, I agree with you—I do the same thing on my site. I don’t ever use a query (filterlist)—I always hardcode links. It’s too important to lay it out right. It also forces me to limit the amount of meta-pages I have. I think they have to be used judiciously because people aren’t going to wade through a whole lot of meta. Those kind of automatic pages always lead to bland, repetitive layouts.

It’s evident that you hand-build your pages and they are 10x more appealing as a result (e.g. your link logs are ace).

My goal is to construct a signed wiki (and snapshots) that I can distribute however I need. I desperately aim not to centralize the distribution process any more than is necessary or reasonable low-hanging fruit (perhaps that will change). The fact is that I want to tie this wiki to my commandline to accomplish certain tasks, and that means Bob is absolutely critical (for keeping it real-time). I still want to produce a single html file to maintain whatever distribution model I see fit, but that is very doable for me now, I believe.

This is sweet—I am trying to do a lot of the same things. In fact, I’ve just got things working so that I can post from different machines at last. I’m going to end up very close to the top-half of your diagram: all my posts and layouts get checked in to Git, but I still need to do a bit of work on my outputs to Dat and single-file HTML.

You have any other pointed questions—weak points you’re worried about?

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Reply: The Preserve of IRL

Hi, Neil—good to hear from you.

Can you expand on what you mean? It seems like you’re suggesting that maybe IRL simply is the domain for the personal? Maybe hypertext (or perhaps VR and such) will never quite be that place. Or am I misreading?

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08 Dec 2018

James Somers’ Home Page

A self-catalog—tho this format could fly as an outgoing directory.

I mostly cover obscure writers. James is a widely published author (The Atlantic, Playboy, Aeon) but this is a neat personal directory to his writing—very homespun and lightly annotated, with asterisks and highlighting used to nice effect.

Articles such as How I Reverse Engineered Google Docs To Play Back Any Document’s Keystrokes are a festive hybrid of code, anecdote and sundry links—found in paragraphs festooned with blue underlines that act like surprising miniature directories nested in the article. (This is an approach that I feel I need to cover in Foundations of a Tiny Directory.)

I also think it’s interesting that he catalogs all of his individual blog entries. This whole page very much fits in with my definition of Hypertexting—these scattered essays and posts become a body of work here. And the quality is excellent: generally well-considered and well-executed.

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Some essentials.

This is my first ‘person’ page. And, of course, h0p3 has been doing this for a very long time and I am only copycatting. His are ‘light-hearted plain-web d0xxings’ or somesuch—email, address, phone number, links to conversations. Mine are just that person’s words and my thoughts in summation—which is far more of a calling card to me, particularly after these other identifiers have expired.

As with most things, though, I am still playing catch-up with him. (He is the premiere modern Public Self-Modeler, in an age where such a thing is possibly dangerous, uncomely and, well, selfie-stickish.

He says in Find the Others:

I believe that by honestly uploading my mind into my wiki, we both have access to an enriched network of references for generating accurate theories of each other’s minds.

Ahh, dear me, so then it takes much more than a page—this entire endeavor is sunk. There can be no eulogy or summation. It would take a massively overloaded TiddlyWiki to accurately describe such an one as this…

To some non-trivial extent, the labels, attributes, characteristics, properties, and models I generate about a person help form a kind of name.

In reply to this, our friend Sphygmus[1] writes:

I want to talk about the vocabulary of “modeling” another person as well. I think I have observed that people don’t understand what you mean when you say you clearnet doxx them in order to better model them. For me, though, that was one of the most intuitive things you say. When I was in college the first time, I worked as an ILL student worker and loved it, largely because it sent me wandering through the stacks to pull out such a varied selection of books. One of the books I pulled that really stuck with me discussed how we form mental models of people in our heads and rehearse conversations with those people at various times, and the ways in which those rehearsals could be helpful or not. If I remember correctly, there were even worksheet-like questions for shaping mentally rehearsed conversations in a more helpful way. Sadly, I can remember exactly where I pulled the book from in the library but I’ve been unable to figure out the title – I wish I could go back and read it again!

Of course it also has to do with the problem of other minds and the unbridgeable gap between me and the outside world. Inevitably we only know others through our construction of them within our own minds.

After a discussion of the merits of psychometric tests between the two, h0p3 says:

I am inevitably forced to use labels, adjectives, etc. to model (boxing things in is what makes it computable information at all for us).

Ah, well—so this page is my box. And these are the things I put it in it.

(If you meet someone—someone with ASCII glasses on, say—and they purport to be a ‘madman in the desert’—then put this page straight away. FOR YOU NOW have the genuine artifact in front of you!)

(However, if you are uncertain, you can do one more thing: you can tell the man a joke. Like: a homunculus and a dark triadic memetic walk into a bar. He will stop you. ‘Let me stop you right there. Before you finish, please know that I am quite literally autistic and your elegant form of advanced humor which you are so carefully deploying might end up lost in my limbic system somewhere. Forgive me, please, and tell your joke, and thank you for saying it is a joke—k0sh3k will laugh at me later for this, but I will test out three interpretations of the joke with you now and then have her review the transcripts later…’)

(These overwhelming feelings of endearment and admiration and sheer pity that are now coming over you will now materialize in the form of laughter. The joke that was designed to pique the curiosity has now been outpiqued by a new curiosity: one in ASCII glasses that has gone to such great extent to analyze the joke that has been placed on the table—and, now look—this analysis has expanded everything in sight. You look at the joke and see that it is much bigger. And the conversation is now expanded, it is bigger. And the table—the table is much bigger, too!)

(Ok, now, tell me: did you laugh? Did you feel some endearment and admiration and some pity? I don’t know if you will enjoy or love h0p3 as much as I do, or as much as I purport to—if not, well, then I understand that, too. There was a time when I thought that I would only frustrate him or that he might just annoy me—I was reluctant to say anything or to take the time to read so very many words…)

(But what is life but a chance to expand a joke, to make the conversation a little longer, or to fancy that maybe even the table at which we sit has now grown?)

I aim to do you justice.

It’s that chivalrous, sensible, steelnivorous h0p3—he steels you up, then it’s all night steel for breakfast!

This short sentence is a trope of h0p3. He ‘aims’—he has a very specific set of purposes in mind for you, good good, his work is a pointed effort. A discovery of truth? A deep sea recovery of some rarified moral sense? I cannot characterize it properly. But to ‘aim’ is truly a bold facet.

True literature can exist only where it is produced by madmen, hermits, heretics, visionaries, rebels, and sceptics.

— Yevgeny Zamyatin

The world is kept alive only by heretics: the heretic Christ, the heretic Copernicus, the heretic Tolstoy. Our symbol of faith is heresy.

— Yevgeny Zamyatin

That h0p3 labels himself a ‘madman’, a ‘jester’, a ‘retard’ and so on—well, this is a rich tradition and these are rarified, very colorful and storied appellations. I do think of Zamyatin—who is forgotten to our society, but who was prescient to the disasters of the 20th Century that he lived in. We was a catalyst to the entire utopian and dystopian genres. (I have no doubt that my beloved Vigoleis also saw himself among this rabble.)

This is cause for alarm—and I see this in h0p3’s more dismayed dispatches from time to time—the world will not be kind to him. However, he is a heretic—we know this. He must do his work; it is too valuable.

I am wet with paranoid anticipation.

Sweating. Strange. Eager. A fork. I imagine him holding a fork. A big fork for grilling? No, a regular fork. Persperating. Eyes a-poppin. Veiny eyes. Saucer veiny eyes. Really sweet, sweet, shiny fingernails, right? Very eager. Heyooo!

Oh, wait. Wet, hahaha, forgot the best part, yeah, wet-t-t-t!

I’m trying to decide whether this codes as just IAWWPA or something more like just being ‘parawet’. THIS IS VALID HONEST WORK.

  1. A friend. What more do you need to know? ↩︎

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Reply: Are You Alright?


I was going to put your chair logo on milk cartons. 😃

I’m sorry to worry you—there are just too many things in life that pull me away, so this will happen sometimes. I really appreciate your concern, though. I feel a friendship with you and I am following EVERYTHING you’re doing on Indieseek. (I am really pouring time into the directory so that I can keep pace with you and link back-and-forth there.)

It will be interesting to see if I can accomplish the work we’re striving for without being connected every day…

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07 Dec 2018

Been busy with a bit of travelling and working on my link directory, but have been reluctant to just post a pointless update such as this one—senselessly notifying everyone. However, aren’t pointless things terrifically human?? It seems that to post a note like this stumps and defies the algorithms and is emblematic of the struggle this blog is making (and its friends) to preserve humanity in hypertext. I think that if I fall into a pattern of just littering the world with tech tutorials and link discoveries (as if it were ‘breaking news’) then I am losing out on the human chance to thank you for reading or talking to me and to say something meandering or listless, which is eminently human and could help to shake your automated daily ‘feeding’ out of the rigor of new tutorials, new news and remind us that we are both typing and flicking cursors around and somehow smiling at each other through it or pondering each other in confused or amused reveries—I think ‘weird twitter’ was able to accomplish this, but I wonder if one can only make technology human by completely subverting it—these reveries are happening, but they are not synchronized and it happens with great distance between us in many dimensions. I enjoy it a great deal, though, and hopefully you do, too.

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02 Oct 2018

Nikita’s Collected Knowledge

Along with a discussion of personal encyclopedias.

There has been a small, barely discernable flurry of activity lately[1] around the idea of personal knowledge bases—in the same vicinity as personal wikis that I like to read. (I’ve been a fan of personal encyclopedias since discovering Samuel Johnson and, particularly, Thomas Browne, as a child—and am always on a search for the homes of these types of individuals in modernity.)

Nikita’s wiki is the most established of those I’ve seen so far, enhanced by the proximity of Nikita’s Learn Anything, which appears to be a kind of ‘awesome directory’[2] laid out in a hierarchical map.

Screenshot of

Another project that came up was Ceasar Bautista’s Encyclopedia, which I installed to get a feel for. You add text files to this thing and it generates nice pages for them. However, it requires a bunch of supporting software, so most people are probably better served by TiddlyWiki. This encyclopedia’s main page is a simple search box—which would be a novel way of configuring a TiddlyWiki.

I view these kinds of personal directories as the connecting tissue of the Web. They are pure linkage, connecting the valuable parts. And they, in the sense that they curate and edit this material, are valuable and generous works. To be an industrious librarian, journalist or archivist is to enrich the species—to credit one’s sources and to simply pay attention to others.

I will also point you to the Meta Knowledge repo, which lists a number of similar sites out there. I am left wondering: where does this crowd congregate? Who can introduce me to them?

  1. Mostly centering around these two discussion threads:

  2. Discussed at The Awesome Directories. ↩︎

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25 Sep 2018


Another promising introspective TiddlyWiki appears on the horizon of the network.

What excites me about sphygmus is: first, that she’s confronting this fear and we get to see what happens. (We out on the Old Web all have to confront this: that we might not find anyone here without the self-advertising infrastructure that the big networks have.) It’s uncertain why we are reading each other, why we are writing, who we are—there is a lot of uncertainty that I’m feeling, too, and I have this strange belief that someone else might have the answer. (In a way, OF COURSE SOMEONE ELSE HAS THE ANSWER—you out there are the ones who choose to ‘ignore’ or ‘respect’ or ‘dismiss’. Or to ‘jump right in’.)

But I am running a blog with comments—it’s easier to get feedback. A TiddlyWiki is genuinely on someone else’s turf. It is AT ODDS with the Indieweb. The ‘Indieweb’ is attempting to solve personal interaction with additional technology. But a TiddlyWiki like this is attempting to solve personal interaction by—well, it’s not trying to solve personal interaction. It expects you to learn its system and, in a way, the technology works against you, because it has a learning curve.

In other words, it’s all on us to understand and read each other. (The entire Twitter network is built on the idea that you can take someone’s 140 characters on its own, out of any context, as an independent statement—there is no need to read back on the history there. But with a TiddlyWiki, the system requires you to dig—it is possibly the literal opposite.)

We must bear in mind that, fundamentally, there’s no such thing as color; in fact, there’s no such thing as a face, because until the light hits it, it is nonexistent. After all, one of the first things I learned in the School of Art was that there is no such thing as a line; there’s only the light and the shade.

— Alfred Hitchcock

On the Web, we are the light to each other’s faces.

Aesthetics In The Info

Second, sphygmus’ entrance adds to our midst another person really thinking about how visual style is a non-verbal form of personality. That it can augment our discussion—maybe even be necessary!

I don’t think of it as part of my artistic practice but I think you are right to see a connection. My relationship with my digital spaces is deeply connected to what suits my visual eye - I’m on an absurdly out-dated version of Chrome simply because I hate the way the new Material Design Chrome looks […]

She has already made the innovation of posting all of her material in her own dark-gray-and-cornflower-blue CSS styling. When she posts h0p3’s replies, however, they are in his dark black style and narrow monospace font. (See the screenshot above.) This conjures him in that moment when we read!! (I address this in Things We Left in the Old Web, where one of my criticisms of RSS is that it cruelly strips our words of their coloring. Cruel!)

So: I am interested in how we can cement this. I want to style my h0p3 quotes and my sphygmus quotes similarly—can we come to an accord on how to do this so that I can give YOU control over how these things look? Perhaps we could share CSS fragments on our respective sites?

Documents Are Us

I covered this a bit in Static: the Gathering, that this HTML might actually be us, might be a model of our soul. But, let’s tilt on the topic a bit.

We are all more or less public figures, it’s only the number of spectators that varies.

— Jose Saramago, The Double

So, yeah, thirdly—what h0p3 and sphygmus are tackling is an approach for being a fully exposed, well, let’s just say: a human. A wikified human. There have been attempts to do this in video or blog form—to keep the camera on a person. In this case, though, the camera feels to be focused on the mind, the internal dialogue. (In h0p3’s case: the family meetings, the link histories, the organizational workings—all the behind-the-scenes discussion—maybe it’s ALL behind-the-scenes discussion. I confess that I’ve also started a personal TiddlyWiki to store all these same kinds of materials.)

So, what is ‘oversharing’ and what is just ‘sharing’? Oh, GENEROUS ‘SHARING’—what would that be? What is ‘public’ and what is designated ‘private’? Are these pointless distinctions?

Might it be time to pause all the needless labelling of information and to just read?

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21 Sep 2018

Reply: Steelwomaning

The text of my second private reply to h0p3’s ‘hyperconversations’—I am saving my own copy of this here after many days have passed.

(This letter was previously sent privately to h0p3, since I felt that I had bungled up a productive discussion. Now that I can see the overall waveform of our discussion, I think there are many things I’m learning about conversing through writing and reading—in fact, I really think my failures so far are more the failures of input rather than out!—and this immense dialogue is becoming a satisfying start to all the dialogues I would love to have with more of you out there!)

(Apologies in advance that I do so much talking here—I swear I’ll never write anything this long again. No one should feel compelled to read this. I will shut up and go back to silent, stoic reading for the rest of the weekend.)

Hi h0p3-

So I am going to try to rewind and do as you say: to take a better shot at addressing your part of our ‘hyperconversation’. I am sending you this as a private letter so that you can censor it if you like. I feel like I am starting to border on a troll of some type 😉 and feel like the nature of my blog would turn this into a type of ‘broadcast’ that can still receive ‘thumbs up’ and such sordid things. (Ed.: You can comment on this post, but ‘likes’ and ‘mentions’ are disabled to respect this sentiment!)

I hope I can preface these remarks—even if it seems like a bad idea, because it can perceived as changing the topic, taking time away from the ‘meat’. I will get to the topic(s)—but I wonder if some other items might be more pressing (might even be the ‘meat’) because it seems they might be preventing the main discussion from occurring fruitfully.

On Being ‘Intellectual’

Ok, so stepping back—I’ve jumped headlong into a discussion with you. (And might I just add: this is a rare opportunity for me and I feel fortunate to have the chance to converse—for you to respect my communications enough that you will give them the thought you have. I have NEVER had the opportunity to correspond in a strictly written way with anyone ever before—to attempt to come to an understanding with them—hmm, well, maybe once, but not to this extent—and this whole time I am wondering if the medium has its limits. I guess this is where Socrates chimes in. Well, of course it does—but I am probably the largest of those limitations—and that feels good. Perhaps my ability to write will strain under the pressure, perhaps yours—and it requires even more of our abilities to read and internalize each other’s writings! For this reason, I would like the conversation to remain written and for us to find some kind of resolution this way.)

This correspondence has had about three major episodes from each of us. I saw this encounter as a foray into a ‘pen pal’ type thing—which is to say: ‘informal’, ‘inconsequential’ and ‘probably frivolous’. (I hope you will let me say all three of those things in good ways, very good ways. I also admire that you are reaching out through/with your autism to speak with me—I do worry about aggravating your own pain, of putting you under unreasonable expectations of my own and of not seeing the full picture of ‘you’—who you are past ‘h0p3’. But only if you need it—I would rather just see ‘h0p3’ for now—this creation is by design and I intend to take it in.) I don’t feel that I want to ‘wrestle’ —I want to ‘pen pal’. After all, this is a work of fiction. The contents of this letter are products of the reader’s imagination. This letter is for entertainment purposes only. Although the form of this letter is autobiographical, it is not. Although this letter may appear authentic, it is not. What appears to be ‘wrestling’ may actually be a new type of sophisticated ‘pal’ engagement maneuver.

Now, I am not an intellectual by any stretch—I have idea no who Kierkegaard is and I can’t keep Kant and Hume straight. I do read a lot—fiction by a wide margin. I do read Vygotsky and Piaget and, sometimes, Jung. Of all the philosophers, I am most fond of Socrates—and feel a brotherhood with you through him. But the writers that I spend my time on are fiction writers - Albert ‘Vigoleis’ Thelen is someone I speak to in my mind very often. To call out to him: ‘Vigoleis’ when I see his place in the world. Denton Welch and Robert Walser are like this for me. But even these closest—I cannot speak intellectually about them, only romantically.

So yes—I think you want to have a philosophical debate with me, but I am not equipped to do it. And I wonder if it is possible at all. I can’t read all those guys and read your wiki and read the things I want to read and pursue my current ambitions. I don’t think you want to have this discussion unless I am an equipped intellectual. We are both trying to sing and shatter a glass—but your voice is trained. So while I might still be the one to shatter the glass here and there, it’s a hell of a lot more painful having to hear my notes along the way. So this is my opening question: am I misrepresenting what this discussion is—and what do you want out of it? (In a way, I feel I can almost ‘steel’ this because of the statement: “There is a lack of fairness in the dialectic here; I’ve had way more practice thinking about the nitty-gritty, and I must be extremely cautious not to assume others can or will see what I do.”—I agree with this and I feel like I am only fleshing it out further above. And this: “I can’t see far enough to know if he can see what I’m saying (which is a fairly technical claim in moral philosophy).”—I don’t see it, I had no idea there was some central claim to ‘hyperconversations’—I thought it was a series of different claims with some riddles mixed in—which is, I think, where the central claim is nestled? “I am failing this man.”—Dude, I don’t rely on you—I have my own system of living—I’m not just an imbalanced pinball lost in your machine! 😄)

And this: “Hedonic Kierkegaardian Aestheticism is here; it’s inaccurately factored into the eudaimonic calculation.” I’m not going to even try to parse this—if I tried, my reaction would be: I don’t feel like my aestheticism is hedonic at all, but quite virtuous! So I think your phrase is going to be misunderstood by me and I am just going to sound ridiculous. 😄 Perhaps this comment is not meant for me but for the audience, k0sh3k included. (Hey kid! If you exist! Hey! I /will/ you to exist for a single ‘Hey there!’)

Some classic Romanticism in here. Reminds me of that fighting phrase: “Brawl a boxer, box a brawler.” I’ve seen this shift many times against my arguments.

I do think we are paired as boxer vs brawler. That was what I trying to say when listing out some of our opposing polarities—you are codifying me in your statement above as well—no harm, just part of trying to understand someone. I don’t feel that you are degenerate and I don’t think you (yet) believe that I am either. I don’t sense that you are trying to assimilate everyone as boxers. But I do think that not being a boxer would forfeit my scrappy end of the ‘wrestle’ or ‘debate’ side and leave us to the ‘pen pal’ aspect strictly.

This is not a small aspect: while I have not been charitable with argumentation, I believe that I have been charitable with the effect you’ve had on my own work and charitable with the credit I give you for stirring up my inventive mind and stimulating me to materialize it. This will last beyond an argument.

For my part: I am not as interested in some of the topics we’re touching on: stuff like emotion/reason (I have spent almost no time thinking about my arguments there, I am going off half-cocked and I do appreciate/embrace your sayings), what ‘the good’ is (I am trying to figure out what the thrust of our discussion even is, man I can’t even begin to sort that out) and even T42T—I still think they are all very worthy topics, but I don’t think I’m your foil on those. I agree with you that I should be required to defend my ethics—but I also don’t have a list on hand like you do—and it’s changing too much for me to even know how to nail it down. I like the part which explores the texture of our online avatars, but even there—I think I need to sit in the presence of them longer before trying to mouth off about them.

On ‘Sadness’

I am going to try to make this quick and to the point—which isn’t “you can’t make me sad” but that “momentary sadness doesn’t register as much when there are more permanent sorrow in place” something like that.

But what’s so bad about this sorrow anyway? A woman crossed the street yesterday, waving to me, so I stood and waited for her. She said she knew someone—a name I recognized. She was pleasant and warm to talk to, so we talked. She said that her son had been murdered many years ago. If you just listened to her for five minutes, you would have thought she was insane. Very pleasant and insane. In a good way, a very good way. A whirlwind of details about trajectories and cover-ups. But if you listened for an hour, you could finally she her—and her sorrow. It wasn’t disgusting or repulsive—but familiar and natural. Just a sorrow—as plain as a pleasantness.

I wanted to show her something in the yard, so I motioned for her to cross the gutter—which is quite wide and was rushing with water—it’s more of a canal than a gutter. But her legs were short and she said, “Oh I don’t know.” I held out my hand and she made a move to try to cross. I realized that she was wearing flip-flops and trying to avoid some spiky weeds. I held out both hands—I probably shouldn’t have tried to persuade her—I don’t know, I began to pull her across and she kind of panicked and made a squeal! She stumbled over—she made it—and we laughed out of relief and I felt stubborn, but it was good to move abruptly from sorrow to laughter like that. Like we had come up for air. We are still in the ocean but we are in the air too.

And I wouldn’t like it if you held back some criticism. I should love to be rebuked! When you are in the freezing ocean, it is probably the best time to hear that you have made a grammatical mistake. What a helpful distraction that could be! And you may never forget to make it again.

And children, when they are rebuked—so often they simply drop their head down and say slowly, ‘Ohhh kay…’ For me, this embodies such an ideal—first, to acknowledge that criticism DOES sting, direct criticism truly can, possibly always does, it makes us drop our heads to hear—and, secondly, to simply ‘ack’ the criticism with no further commentary or defense. Perhaps to go without defense would be too submissive—on the other hand, can we endure any criticism as adults? Any?

I probably am doing my own sidestepping and defensiveness of criticism in this letter. I do know I am better to just drop my head and say slowly, ‘Ohhh kay…’

All of this context to say: I realize you aren’t making fun of me at all here, and I appreciate that very much.

Yes, but if we can find a way to truly make fun of each other—wouldn’t that be such a grand achievement?

On ‘Hyperconversations’

The shadow over our eyes is a serious problem: I believe it costs us the ability to be cognitively and emotionally vulnerable (even to ourselves). We don’t really get to know each other when we are engaged in good opsec (that’s kind of the point). The public/private adversarial tension does seem contradictory, but I hope to find a middle way; surely there is a linear logical framework from which geometric social cooperation can arise (I must hope).

Continued here:

You can always doubt, and you can only ever improve your Bayesian odds. The inductive step in trust is a leap of faith in Humanity, in The Other, sir. Building trust and real relationships is exactly why I reveal myself to you and everyone else. I want people to see how I conduct myself and my relationships across the board.

And then:

With diamond balls, I really aim to be practically transparent in my practice of saying what I mean and meaning what I say directly because my integrity is at stake.

And also:

We are each cameras, in a sense. I think of this wiki as an external, reifying camera of my internal camera states. I do hope to wield both wisely. I do not think I morally own either of them all the way down except insofar as I am constituted by (exist as an extension or instantiation of) The Moral Law.

If I were to try to identify this central ‘claim’ you are making and to ‘steel’ it: You feel that true and real relationships demand radical transparency. More than that, you see it as a virtue—embodying bravery, integrity and honesty. You see it as a direct solution to prevailing mistrust and misunderstanding in the world. You model this behavior for others.

To you, h0p3, this has a blissful and fortuitous collaboration with modern surveillance. You aren’t saying, “What do I have to hide?” It seems that you are saying, “You can’t make me hide.” And I do not think you do not see it as the ‘correct’ choice—you seem to acknowledge that it is a trade-off—but that you are willing to pay the price. But you believe you have sorted it out: you do believe that the reward will always be greater than the price.

Am I in the ballpark? I don’t really know how to do this!

To this, I have no response. I can only hang my head and say slowly, “Ok Mister H…”

I felt no need to respond to that claim after the letter—I found it well-reasoned! I did wonder how much of it is grounded in the tech ideals of ‘open source’ and ‘gratis’/‘libre’—I’ve had other tech friends dabble in transparency (sharing bank account info publicly, cataloging life activity publicly.) I stand by what I said:

The remarkable thing about your wiki is that you have turned your camera on. In fact, your wiki is defiantly personal—I think it goes beyond a mere camera. Your history. Your conversations. Your letter to your parents. Your thoughts about people—about me. A person can turn on a camera and never say these things. You are on to something. I have no desire to talk you out of it.

I realize now that saying nothing is a failure. You need an ‘ack’. Even if it is a repetition.

I think there is something unanswered here, though: Do you have any adaptations to ‘Gentle ClearNet Doxxing’ after the events of the last month? I have wondered if you were going to write more about this—maybe I missed it. To stand by a rule too doggedly is to be—well—dogmatic. Or has the rule functioned properly? (On the other hand, I might also aspire to be dogmatic about FOSS - just for myself and not for anyone else.) Feel free to just link me to the correct answers that I cannot seem to locate.

Ok, that is the end of this letter. I ran across the “business card” page on your wiki while researching “transparency” and loved it.


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