022 :: Minister of My Own Labor

It’s been a strange week thats for sure but I’m not going to talk about that here.

Narrative

I’m now twelve days into my new social media diet. The essay “Avoid News, Towards a Healthy News Diet” by Rolf Dobelli has been a big influence on me since I read it back in 2012/13 ish.

We are so well informed and yet we know so little. Why?

We are in this sad condition because 200 years ago we invented a toxic form of knowledge called news. The time has come to recognize the detrimental effects that news has on individuals and societies, and to take the necessary steps to shield us from its dangers.

“Avoid News, Towards a Healthy News Diet” – Dobelli

I return to it every now and again when everything is getting a bit much on the socials. So much so, that when I was sorting out the huge pile of papers on / under / around my desk before Christmas I found THREE copies of it printed out in various stacks & states of decay. I suppose that says it all.

In experiments in disconnecting last year, I spent two separate months ‘Off’ social media, cold turkey. The main problem i experienced was I missed too many DM’s and notifications about people being in town etc. Not being on Facebook or Whatsapp (and I jealously guard my phone number / personal email) these people and some friends were just ignored – So that didn’t work out. This month i’ve been checking my DM’s and notifications 2-3 times a day and just do an in-depth read in the mornings before I get up (but i may replace this with reading). It’s been working well so far for me and I feel a lot better for it.

Some bullet points on observations from me feed this week

  • Remainers have literally invented team follow back 10 years after it turned out to be a disastrous echo chamber the first time around – it’s an echo chamber they are after I suppose.
  • The royals slow manoeuvrings continue  – its so interesting to watch
  • The US is going quiet on Russia hacking and swivel eyed collusion finger pointing over the election – I suspect because it’s run out of steam
  • The US still has bad book cover design
  • “Doing a journalist” is something that happens to people I suppose.

The Ministry

I’ve been working on a lot of work related things this week tying to get myself in a position to earn some income this year – mostly websites.

I haven’t touched any kind of self hosted WordPress system in at least 7 years and this week I have been working on three simultaneously. I’m about 1/3 thought the total amount of work i need to get done so far and next week should be a big sprint. But webdesign even within WordPress has moved on a lot since I last dusted off nascent web design skills and the learning curve has been quite steep. It also occurs to me that I should finish reading the book recommended to me by Sjef – The Elements of Content Strategy by Erin Kissane before I write any copy for the bigger websites. I’ll post a review when I’m done reading it, but I’m thinking i might need to engage/pay a copy editor to help me out once the first draft is written.

I did finish one website this week though.

After Flavours.me died during the summer last year, my personal website had been a 404 (which Is the perfect metaphor for last year in general). So in an effort to decentralise, I now have a quick single page with minimal information about me up and running. I cant imagine it’ll change anytime soon unless I get some new headshots in the spring and then I’ll change the GIF – I might randomise it.

Another web related task this week was updating the solarpunks tumblr to become solarpunks.net ‘all very simple’ I hear you say, *unless* you also want to host wordpress on a subdomain. It took me nearly two days of on and off DNS fuckery to sort it out, with a lot of help from my hosting provider. I’m modifying a custom theme next week probably . It’ll be the first theme update since the tumblr started in 2012.

Reading

In addition to the content book, I started reading The Hidden Half of Nature which continues my Soil science binge from last year which I’m about 1/3 of the way though already and, I’m about 1/2 though A Monk’s Guide to a Clean House and Mind  – a book about buddhist house keeping.

Music

I’m trying to listen to more music this year too.

So I’m going to write about that it here to. Last year was full of some fantastic stuff, mostly listened to in between financial forecasting, salesforce administration, employee utilisation reporting and data pack wrangling at my former place of employment.

This week I’ve been listening to the new Charlie XCX album – Pop 2 which is really good. I mentioned to an acquaintance the other day that it’s the first PC Music produced album that seems to go beyond their typical ‘Production Shtick’. I presume this is Charlie XCX’s influence..

Have a good week and remember:

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014 :: #Asperity

I completely forgot to blog about this when it went up:

I wrote a piece last year for the 5 Viridian Years collection curated by Tim Maly over on Medium. ‘Viridian Design was an avant-garde bright green design movement engineered by Bruce Sterling and intended to address climate change. It ran from 1998-2008. Five years later, we reflect’

The piece was called the ‘The Coming Asperity‘. Asperity is something I’ve been thinking about for a while and it was great to finally write down/out. A definition is below:

Asperity

1. A policy of cutting resource use and consumption via a reduction in carbon dioxide (or equivalent emissions) and resources that are available/provided to a population. Asperity policies are often used by governments to try to reduce the emissions of a defined population, system or activity.

In the piece i put forward #asperity as a possible political reaction to climate change, similar to the way austerity was deployed by governments after the financial crisis.

Dougald Hine was kind enough to mention the concept in his talk ‘Making Ourselves Scarce’ at FSCONS 13 he also referenced Charlie Stross and Kevin Carson in the same breath – so I feel the idea is in good company.

You can read the whole piece at https://medium.com/5-viridian-years/5bf9407bd010

009 : viewer discretion cannot be advised

on thursday i was luckly enough to give a talk at london’s worst artist-run space lima zulu‘s fourth #LZPKBYOBRSVP pecha-kucha night.

topics on the night included bootstrapping, northern ireland prison protests, max stirner, and my talk ‘Cheap Gadgets in the hands of EVERYBODY’. i had a great time, and it was good to see lots of friends i havent seen AFK in too long.

the talk wasn’t recorded. but for posterity before i forget, i just sat down and gave the pecha kucha in one take to my laptop and empty flat. i embedded it at the bottom of this post. a big thanks to huw for inviting me to talk