028 :: A strange sort of collapse

Let nothing disturb you,
Let nothing frighten you,
All things are passing away:
God never changes.
Patience obtains all things
Whoever has God lacks nothing;
God alone suffices.

— St. Teresa of Avila

Narrative

I walk from Bank down Bishopsgate.

A man shouts ‘Standard’ over and over. I wonder if he’s an NPC: street dressing in the simulation.

Though the new Spitalfields, past chain stores and expensive second hand furniture stores.

Cut across Brick Lane to the Co-working space.

So fancy, but at the same time just shabby enough to raise the rent. Dosa World next door seems utopian in comparison. We talk about designing Blockchain protocols as the sun goes down.

It’s all End of Empires stuff.

The background societal ennui comes from our cultures core problems. Ignore the buzzing, stick to the mission: Escape from Prison, Save the world.

-0-

Another freezing cold morning.

I follow an hour behind Eves commute. We met for a quick kiss at 3pm.

The building is next door to the Red Cross Office. Co-located but different views of the city and the world.

Blockchain talk again.

Nearly 6 hours of technical presentations. ZK-Snarks are discussed, the speaker assumed that audience knows WTF they are.

The MC is obsessed with alt coins. I shout out a fake ‘ASS coin’ and people around me nod and write it down.

A UK lawyer speaks: TLDR if you are in the UK and want to start a blockchain biz: Don’t bother.

I sat with someone from a Slack I’m in. I enjoyed his company.

The sun went down.

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I decide to drink way too much free Prosecco and watched the sunset to cope. Later, I wound up in full rant mode to a stranger about how despite everything we’re all fucked. “Gallows are platforms too”.

Inspired, I drunk call one of my oldest friends and demand he drinks with me in Moorgate after work.

He obliges.

Turns out he’s working out his notice.

Stress levels at the biotech startup he works at was getting to him. I told him he had a nice haircut – that made him happy.

I get back to the HQ in Zone 6 and drink even more with a different friend. We talk about his recent job interview and the state of high end electronics market in retail.

-0-

Skype call with a total stranger.

He tells me he liked my short fiction I sent him. “Don’t edit it down into a short story. Make it 3 times as long.”

We discuss grass roots democracy in the US. Watershed management in Arizona.

We discuss the merits of Cooking vs Polyphony as appropriate metaphors for ways of navigating online spaces.

We talk about intellectual pursuits and how some cultural figures preoccupations aren’t the ones I always want to be devoting my intellectual and moral energies to sorting out.

-0-

On a back channel I talk at length about Curation Markets and Token inflation curves with people who are inveting the stuff.

-0-

I remember that it’s always the End of Empires. And for now I’ll keep buying out of season fruit whilst it lasts.

Dipping the stacks

  • #Theassistance
  • Doesn’t matter what the hell you say there’s still 21 trillion dollars missing
  • I forget what we are arguing about but i’m going to argue anyway
  • Youtube launched a patreon thingy
  • Anthems good, Cops good (Apparently)

The Ministry

See the above Narrative. It’s been a weird week.

My new accountants terrified me by sending me a pdf of my old companies accountancy firm’s HMRC case from last year.  “Within the law, but not its spirit”. I might end up owing hella taxes. But hey ho, thats life I suppose, It’ll impact people in their early 20’s far more than it will impact me if it comes down to that. I’m holding on to my butt.

I wrote an essay for myself. Kinda like it.

I sent of nearly 1k words of critique to a blockchain startup on their go to market strategy having read their white paper and watched a few live Q&As with their founder they were super receptive which was really cool

I haven’t finished anything substantial that I thought I would do this week but there is always the weekend.

Reading

I put down 12 rules for life an antidote to chaos for now and decided to re-read the Papyrus of Ani instead.

Ma’at is good and its worth is lasting.It has not been disturbed since the day of its creator,whereas he who transgresses its ordinances is punished.It lies as a path in front even of him who knows nothing.Wrongdoing has never yet brought its venture to port.It is true that evil may gain wealth but the strength of truth is that it lasts;a man can say: “It was the property of my father.

The 6 virtues of Maat 

Truth, balance, order, law, morality, and justice.

The 42 laws of Maat

I have not committed sin.
I have not committed robbery with violence.
I have not stolen.
I have not slain men and women.
I have not stolen grain.
I have not purloined offerings.
I have not stolen the property of the gods.
I have not uttered lies.
I have not carried away food.
I have not uttered curses.
I have not committed adultery.
I have made none to weep.
I have not eaten the heart [i.e., I have not grieved uselessly, or felt remorse].
I have not attacked any man.
I am not a man of deceit.
I have not stolen cultivated land.
I have not been an eavesdropper.
I have slandered [no man].
I have not been angry without just cause.
I have not debauched the wife of any man.
I have not debauched the wife of [any] man. (repeats the previous affirmation but addressed to a different god).
I have not polluted myself.
I have terrorized none.
I have not transgressed [the Law].
I have not been wroth.
I have not shut my ears to the words of truth.
I have not blasphemed.
I am not a man of violence.
I am not a stirrer up of strife (or a disturber of the peace).
I have not acted (or judged) with undue haste.
I have not pried into matters.
I have not multiplied my words in speaking.
I have wronged none, I have done no evil.
I have not worked witchcraft against the King (or blasphemed against the King).
I have never stopped [the flow of] water.
I have never raised my voice (spoken arrogantly, or in anger).
I have not cursed (or blasphemed) God.
I have not acted with evil rage.
I have not stolen the bread of the gods.
I have not carried away the khenfu cakes from the spirits of the dead.
I have not snatched away the bread of the child, nor treated with contempt the god of my city.
I have not slain the cattle belonging to the god.

Music

Queen of K-pop BoA released a new single this week. Its the title track from the new EP of the same name. Its a reminder to everyone why she’s the queen. I think she’s in the 18th year of her career or something. Her 2003 album Valenti used to be on repeat in my kitchen at university. My housemate at the time Mari was obsessed with it, and we all loved it for its Britney vibes.

Remember kids:

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021 :: I used to bother to post things here

I’m aware that I lament almost every time I bother to login to wordpress to post something… I used to write a round up of all the things that happened during the previous year but stopped in jan 2016.

That was back even when a blog with a total of 21 posts (including this one) would get thousands of views because of strong social ties and network effects. Not so much anymore – But as I will explain, I’m going to be writing a little something here more often. Writing more in general really. If you find this blog. Let me know on twitter here.

2017: unrelated + unordered observations

2017 was a fucking horrible year for me. A year totally consumed by stress, health problems and work. The former two things all fell out from the later.

Quitting my job at the startup I’d been working at for the previous two years was possibly one of the best decisions i have ever made in my life. When i finally quit I was suffering from Hypertensive stress: causing anxiety in social situations, muscle locking in my legs that left me in agony at night and unable to walk properly, I was grinding my teeth – it also began affecting my Crohn’s Disease. I blew up relationships with friends and generally was an unbearable human being to be around – even myself. I should have quit sooner, and I should admit and publicly state again to my friends, family and my partner that all told me to do so well in advance of actually pulling the trigger I’m so sorry i didn’t do it sooner.

My partner and I went to Portugal for a spa holiday the week after I left work and a lot of the stress immediately melted away in the Sun. Pithy idioms like ‘a weight of your shoulders’ really contain truth once you experience them in effect.

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I’m still suffering from anxiety and really don’t like the idea of busy social situations. In fact last week, I was dreading going for drinks with some of my oldest and closest friends on Christmas Eve whilst back at my hometown. As usual though, when I actually got there it was 100% fine and i was honest and talked to them about how my prior concerns before i walked down the seafront had now melted away, it turns out several friends also had had anxiety about going out too – It seems that it’s a low level collective emotion, almost all of it driven by over work and guilt at not having time for socialising. The whole work thing was all back in September with at least a six month build up and I haven’t really done anything in the four months since except sit at home and slowly try to pull different bits of myself back together…

2017 was the year that twitter went to 240 characters – I like it. It’s made for a much clearer space. Slightly more room for nuance – but only just. There is however still no time and space allowed to be convinced under the logic of the modern social network. You have to have a position immediately to keep the whole machine running. Long threads of 240 characters however are annoying and are better served by other mediums/platforms. 1 tweet is a microblog. A chain of ten 240 character tweets is just a short blog write it somewhere else. I commented a while back on twitter that we should all go back to writing blogs and I think this is an extremely good idea Warren Ellis made a comment in his newsletter about that and added “It would be fucking funny to see everyone go back to Tumblr and dance in the ruins as the sun went down.”. This is a good place to start as i mean to go on in 2018.

I made a resolution in Jan of 2017 to write more. At least 500 words a day / At least 5 days a week for the entire year. With a few exceptions i managed it. In addition I also won nanowrimo again. It was quite a lot of words put down into a word document. None of it is likely to ever see the light of day, but it did provide me some discipline during the worst parts of the year, a space to vent, and has been been good practice which was it’s intention. I really like the 500-1500 word writing length and for perhaps the first time in my life i enjoy writing. As a result i got to join the rejection club, an upshot of all this writing was i submitted a short story to a solarpunk anthology. The editor gave me some fantastic feedback and i hope to write more this year maybe one of ‘em might even be accepted ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

2017 was also the year we moved again. After three years in a cramped and damp basement flat we now have a wonderful ground floor flat with a garden. I’m hoping to make the most of it in 2018. With work stress last year the idea of doing anything beyond a little weeding and buying some garden furniture was a write off. This year i think we’ll be planting a edible container garden plated in polycultures. We also have a south facing balcony so i’m excited for plenty of tomatoes in the summer.

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Our garden is the back one with two apple trees in need of some TLC

I read A LOT. The full list of completed books is on my Goodreads. I also consumed more academic papers in the last 18 months than at any other point in my life perhaps since university. I’ve changed my mind about how many things truly work in the world, and that has had an impact on how i see it. I’ve been blown away by amazing thinkers in fields like ethnobotany, anthropology and straight up biology (soil science is amazing) even economic thinkers. I might write about a few of these someday. I am also extremely grateful to Gordon White for inventing the term ‘The Anthropogreen’ and for being introduced to the work of Ethan Roland Soloviev and his 8 Forms of Capital.

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On the Solarpunk front, the Tumblr I have run with Adam Flynn for the last few years has doubled its followers in 2017 and interest in the genre is accelerating all over the web. The decentralised P2P social network scuttlebutt community has embraced the term and some fantastic writing has been coming from them. I wanted to start a solarpunk podcast in 2017 but 2018 will be the year that this actually happens. Mainly it’s going to be an excuse for me to talk to amazing people about the amazing work they are doing. Do watch this space because it IS coming. I also pulled together the solarpunk reference guide this year which was more work than i was expecting but im glad i’ve done it and it’s uptodate. there are some page improvements that i’ll be making to it by hacking mediums HTML.

2018 is the year i need to find an income. After the last 4 months of sitting at home reading, writing and watching a lot of star trek I’m not sure exactly how it’s all going to work out but i need to do so as my position as someone who is privileged to be able to take a few months of work can’t last forever…

But as a first step – I’m starting a company called The Ruderal

“A Ruderal species is a plant species that is first to colonise disturbed lands”

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I’m not sure exactly what form the company will take, but I’m envisioning something like the a DIY record label/zine publisher I ran as a teenager. Housing and storing the things I’m putting energy and effort into. Things like the solarpunk podcast i’m starting, #stacktivism, potentially a rebooted thought menu of some kind, and any consulting / strategy work and speaking (which I have a number of engagements coming up).

Here’s a preview of that:

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I am hugely grateful to all the friends, family and people who supported me in 2017.

I hope 2018 treats you well.

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