recently noted observations, including some of mine

"this has caused me the greatest trouble, and still causes me the greatest trouble: to realize that what things are called is unspeakably more important than what they are." -- Friedrich Nietzsche

there has not been a *single* good thing that followed the phrase “the trump administration” in any sentence. it’s like the world political equivalent of the black plague.

phrase of the day: “high velocity minimalism”

"In my office today I discussed smoking cessation, weight loss, exercise, and nutrition with various patients. I guess that makes me an integrative holistic trauma surgeon*." -- doc bastard
*conscientious physician

considering how much damage an illiterate megalomaniacal sociopath dumbass already inflicted on american institutions, one should have nightmares about accidentally electing an evil genius...

"the american abolitionist Wendell Phillips did in fact say that "eternal vigilance is the price of liberty." he added that "the manna of popular liberty must be gathered each day or it is rotten." -- Timothy D. Snyder ["on tyranny"]

phrase of the day: "vanguard of unreality" -- esquire

kid came up with a new word: *retroflection*
[upon googling, we find it is not a new word. means "a turning or tilting backward of an organ or body part"

There have been really few science fiction movies. They have mostly been fantasies, with spaceships.” -- ursula le guin

"The notion of affirmative consent did not fall from space in October 2017 to confound well-meaning but bumbling men; it was built, loudly and painstakingly and in public, at great personal cost to its proponents, over decades." -- lindy west

An unspecified time after the impostor syndrome goes away, over-the-hill syndrome moves in: the irrational conviction that you're a burned-out has-been, phoning it in, best days behind you, a broken-down hack whose audience is losing interest rapidly.” — charlie stross  

i really look forward to a day where instagram and facebook are just quaint memories...

"Many oriental cultures make a distinction between two ways of looking – ‘hard eyes’ and ‘soft eyes’. When we look with hard eyes, we see specific details with sharp focus, but we don’t see the relationships between different details as well. When we look with soft eyes we see the relationships between everything in our field of vision, but with this softer focus, we don’t see all the details as clearly. It’s possible to look in two ways at once.” – John Paul Caponigro

History doesn't repeat. 
But sometimes it echoes.
--- joanne freeman [historian]


a good time to repost this quote from my good friend.

"Seeing, in the finest and broadest sense, means using your senses, your intellect, and your emotions. It means encountering your subject matter with your whole being. It means looking beyond the labels of things and discovering the remarkable world around you." -- Freeman Patterson


searching for a lost aha moment...

I once had a powerful AHA moment about clarity, accuracy and availability of technical communication in development/it environments. I often thought about this issue because I passionately hate the multiplicity and sloppiness of technical communication that ends up in emails, issue tickets and sometimes in a corporate-wide wiki, in multiple forms, cut-and-pasted-edited from each other. if you're really lucky, wiki is often the slightly more authoritative location, but usually subject to unexpected edits: "we had a meeting on that, and but looks like we neglected to update the wiki from the meeting minutes." [you know you are really lucky, because there were meeting minutes.]

unfortunately I have no idea where i made a note of this insight. i know some pieces were locked into place with a big clunk, and I'm sure I made a note of the details. as I go through collected papers, folders and notebooks, I still look for it. clearly I should have thought about availability of my communication to my future self.

pro tip: all epiphanies should go into dedicated notebooks, and kept in someplace safe.


recently found pieces of wisdom

“Courage is the most important of all the virtues because without courage, you can't practice any other virtue consistently.” ― Maya Angelou 

"You don’t need to be brilliant to be a danger to democracy; quite literally, an idiot could do it." -- yonatan zunger ["when villains aren't super"] 

"it took a day and night of hard drinking to do some hard thinking about the implications."  [from greg benford's "reasons not to publish"]

"Vote because you can. Speak because you can. March because you can. Rights not exercised are quickly forgotten and lost." -- garry kasparov

"Dystopia and utopia are both *literary categories*. To the relatively rich, naturalistic description of the lives of the poor seem dystopian." -- william gibson

'And all those exclamation marks, you notice? Five? A sure sign of someone who wears his underpants on his head.' -- terry pratchett ["Maskerade"]

"I can see this is going to be an Extra-Strength Monday The block button, it's the Excedrin of Twitter" -- stonekettle

"What can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence" - Christopher Hitchens (Hitchens's Razor)

"The same people who claim everyone is entitled to their own facts, abandon that belief when those facts don't accord with their experiences." -- Peter Boghossian

 "Any leader who justifies an action by invoking 'the will of the people' is about to do something very nasty to their people." -- alain de botton

“Zen pretty much comes down to three things -- everything changes; everything is connected; pay attention.” -- Jane Hirshfield 

"Ever wonder what it'd be like to go back in time and help fight nazis? Support Civil Rights Era? Resist Native genocide? Now's your chance" -- xeni jardin

Am feeling very grateful to all the people who took their time to explain to me what communism is really like. Truly appreciate it:)" -- martina navratilova 


recently noted thoughts

"The supposedly dystopian aspect of my work has never been that, but rather the application of literary naturalism to imagined futures." -- william gibson

"make visible, what without you, might perhaps never have been seen." -- robert bresson

"Duality can breed insight but it can also breed delusions." -- Tressie McMillan Cottom

"The math of time is simple: you have less than you think and need more than you know." -- kevin ashton ["how to fly a horse"]

 "where egotism is not made the measure of reality and value, we are citizens of this vast world beyond ourselves, and any intense realization of its presence with and in us brings a particularly satisfying sense of unity in itself and with ourselves" -- john dewey [art and experience]

"Fall in love with some activity, and do it! Nobody ever figures out what life is all about, and it doesn't matter. Explore the world. Nearly everything is really interesting if you go into it deeply enough. Work as hard and as much as you want to on the things you like to do the best. Don't think about what you want to be, but what you want to do. Keep up some kind of a minimum with other things so that society doesn't stop you from doing anything at all." ~Richard Feynman

it is truly horrifying how little we learn from history and how quickly we throw away what little we had learned. 

"To a man devoid of blinders, there is no finer sight than that of the intelligence at grips with a reality that transcends it." -- Albert Camus

"most peasants want nothing more than the illusion of a voice. father says that's what democracies are for." -- from "the capture of benedict arnold" episode, Timeless.

facebook: where news comes to die a horrible death of a thousand fake links.

FUN FACT: "Internet of Things" is the colloquial short form of the longer term "Internet of Things that should not be on the Internet". -- fabian giesen

"you're a giant chunk of spinach in the teeth of the universe." -- the good place

 “be-careful for what you wish for it may be seeking you as well...”
― Master Golden Wizard "Luxas Aureaum"

"Only when the past ceases to trouble and the anticipations of the future are not perturbing is a being wholly united with his environment and therefore fully alive. Art celebrates with particular intensity the moments in which the past reinforces the present and in which the future is a quickening of what now is." -- john dewey ["art as experience"]

"We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. Sometimes we must interfere." -- Elie Wiesel [1986 Nobel peace prize speech]

all that you touch
you change

all that you change
changes you.

-- octavia e butler

"My newest horror story: Once upon a time there was a man named Donald Trump, and he ran for president. Some people wanted him to win." -- stephen king

"Oh! Suspense! Democracy's going to end with cliffhanger! I guess we're all just gonna have to wait until November 9th to find out if we still have a country! If Donald J. Trump is in the mood for a peaceful transfer of power.
Or if he's just going to wipe his fat ass with the Constitution."" -- stephen colbert

"Counter to the internet isn't censorship, it's misinformation & information glut. Counter to dissident politics is destruction of privacy." -- zeynep tufekci

"My favorite English professor was primarily concerned with the mass psychology of fascism. Wish I weren't finding that all so handy now" --william gibson
"a word of advice: stop searching. forget vision, forget personal style, forget unique voice; these are not goals, they are byproducts. the most meaningful art you can make is not about a particular look, subject matter or visual effect, but about the way you respond to and interpret the world." -- guy tal

"working under a deadline is endlessly rich in opportunities for self-discovery." — andré kukla

"humor is a far more potent crowbar than statistics for wrenching people from their preconceptions." -- p z myers ["happy atheist"]

"you're over 40? you don't even remember what your dreams were..." -- anonymous comic ["whitney cummins' bleep show"]

"i'm 18! ...
la la la la la la
I don't hear you!!!" -- the kid

"some things you teach yourself to remember to forget." -- william gibson ["count zero"]

To those who wish to become better artists, and better people, my best advice can be summed up in one word: read. And to those who wish for their work to make a difference to others, my best advice can also be summed up in one word: write." -- guy tal

"If you are talking about humans and you use terms like 'half breed' seriously you're racist, an idiot, or a racist idiot."
-- peter da silva

sake for the body, haiku for the heart;

sake is the haiku of the body,
haiku is the sake of the heart.
-- santōka taneda

"Sometimes you can only find Heaven by slowly backing away from Hell." -- carrie fisher [wishful drinking]


blue shutters

revisiting an old favorite for a touch of color and dynamic range. this one is from new orleans french quarter, february 1999. i'm out very early, sun just coming up. walked quickly to ursulines and chartres to visit the old french colonial ursulines convent. it is closed, and there is not much to photograph from the outside. i turn around to leave, and see this across the street. [fuji velvia at iso 40] i should rescan and re-process this slide, but this original scan made for a limited edition print is workable with modern image processing tools.

google street view of the corner of ursulines and chartres shows that (as is the case with everything in the french quarter) the colors are the same, and the tree is still there.



head full
of light and
white water

gleaming stones

I have become
a river running
to you

and time

the canoe


george swede [from "I want to lasso time"]


recently noted thoughts

imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery, but continuous flattery, however sincere, is extremely irritating. -- me

"People are very protective about the "things they know" especially if they've had to fight hard to get that information. The greater the effort, the harder it is to let it go." -- Kim Taylor

"If we were all given by magic the power to read each other’s thoughts, I suppose the first effect would be almost all friendships would be dissolved; the second effect, however, might be excellent, for a world without any friends would be felt to be intolerable, and we should learn to like each other without needing a veil of illusion to conceal from ourselves that we did not think each other absolutely perfect.” ― Bertrand Russell, ["The Conquest of Happiness"]

"There is a vast gulf between impossible, and impossible to imagine" -- sherlock ["elementary"]

"In all affairs it's a healthy thing now and then to hang a question mark on the things you have long taken for granted." -- bertrand russell

"Each closure is an awakening, and every awakening settles something. This state of affairs defines organization of energy." -- John Dewey ["art as experience"]

"To come to a place with preconceived notions and expectations of what you will get from it, is a very dangerous thing. Because you might actually succeed in accomplishing exactly what you came there to find." -- guy tal

"Form follows function doesn't mean all objects have to look the same." -- Tonfisk [Finnish design company web page]

"There are at least six or seven individual apps all buried inside the guts of iTunes whimpering to get out. It is a perfect example of how not to write an application, and if someone were to release an app like this today, we’d laugh at it and it’d die of shame." -- chuq von rospach

"You live a life, Sherlock. if you're not a fool, it changes you." -- morland holmes ["elementary"]