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december 2022

december time is here, happiness and cheer - 24/12/22

I've been working a lot slower recently, but that's not due to anything much, to be honest. I'm falling behind in the things that I shouldn't be doing as well as the pieces of work that I'm supposed to be doing. I'm hiding from it all, to be perfectly honest. I am sick of hiding from work, I will be done in life where there doesn't feel like there is any responsibility that feels like a pointless chore pointed in some sort of random, aimless direction. The problem is that I feel that there is some kind of thing that keeps dragging me back to these thursdays that I've been having. They used to be the worries of my week, the only day where I was obliged by some superior external force (ie. work) to actually go out and do something. But, to be honest, I now relish in them. I wish I could have gone to work thursday of this week, but I was actually obliged to go out and then spend the day in with my parents while we installed a new door.

It's not that I've been uninspired, it's just that I've had a series of conversations with a few people that have made me think of the pointlessness of this kind of writing. If I'm not really trying to say anything broader in my writing, them what the hell is the point of some weird, grandiose statement like Eight Hours anyway? Perhaps it's something that's more akin to a diary. In fact, I have to say that Standing... is actually more similar to a diary, a warped diary admittedly, but a diary nonetheless, one that allows me to catalog and condense a story into something shorter than the actual experience itself, with the added filter of having experienced it already once. In fact, I've literally just now noticed that I have very little interest in writing about times of my life where there are already diaries. 2016-2018, and early-mid 2020. I suppose the former is too cringeworthy, retrospectively, and the latter is too boring, because of the whole pandemic thing and whatnot. But I did but a fair amount of effort into writing these things. In fact, they're really insightful into my own life. They give me a microscope over which to pore and peer. But I must say that they're not total. They're often inaccurate, and I can see the discrepancies. I can see the things that I didn't want to write about in the strange negative imprints and the words I purposely avoid. I've seen all sorts of horrible things that I wrote about people back then, I saw the utter incredulousness of my very pretentious little self going about and pretending to understand everything by treating it as some sort of childhood game. But I really don't think that's what I'm about now. I've changed, so much. So, so much.

This is sort of the closest thing I have to an actual diary, and I suppose I write in it whenever I feel like it, rather than obsessively trying to catalog every single day. I suppose my theory of 'you only write in your diary when things in the outside world are (ironically enough) boring' is sort of wrong. My life circa this time last year was boring as all hell, even thought when I write this, I was having what was shaping up to be the best christmas eve of my life. Well, actually no, but it was going to be a good christmas eve for reasons other than just some Santa Claus watching thing. It was just three guys who hadn't seen each other in a long time getting very drunk and passing out on the sofa. It's a weird place, that place. I suppose if I look into the amount of words I wrote for each day that day was within the top 8 of the longest days of the diary. [1] Anyway, back to the main point, which is that this time last year, I was in a bit of a bad spot. Maybe it's seasonal affective disorder or something, but I'm just not quite convinced yet. I think it was certainly not good last year, what with the living situation and all, feeling quite alone in my room and spending days at a time hardly leaving for anything. It definitely wasn't a good time, especially the whole 60-plus-hour period where you 1. Played Minecraft for 12 hours straight on a voice call with a friend 2. Didn't leave the house once, not even for food, scavenging the cupboards for dried and canned foods, which were already low when you began 3. Took a tab and a half of reasonably strong acid and still didn't leave the house at all, which honestly was probably a good idea. [2] It would have been a pretty awful thing to have become one of those idiots who looks at cars as they're about to hit him, especially because all the jackets I had at the time were quite dark and unreflective, so the driver wouldn't really have had any time to even give your skull a reprieve at it slams into the head of their Prius and they're still somehow accelerating despite the many anti-pedestrian-slamming measures that the car supposedly has 'built in'.

Also it's probably worth mentioning now that you can mouse over the [X] things and presumably do that in all future blog posts because it's kind of a cool feature.

So back to the point, which, I think may have been something to do with diary-writing which was initially to do with... Eight Hours, right, of course, nice. I think that initial point of this thing was to go off on some kind of tangent on how film is an inherently supplanting medium rather than an augmenting one. It does not seek to induce anything in the viewer, it wants to plug directly in to their visual cortex. Think about how you feel when you're watching a film. Think about how the correct place to watch films is in a large room with the characters scaled up massively, the emotions and everything scaled up massively in some kind of visual overdrama. You are forced to go along with the fact that what you are seeing is taking up all of your visual cortex, therefore what you are seeing is real. Even if the film is very bad, it is hard not to a tthe very least suspend your disbelief a little. It is impossible to watch a film without getting at the least a little bit sucked into it. But I will save this rant for another day when I have more fully developed the ideas behind it.

the wins and the losses - 1/12/22

I've mainly been working on Eight Hours recently, but I've been concocting a wide variety of side projects, one of which is the thematically linked anthology-thing, "Great 'O' In The Sky". It's going to basically be a collection of things that I might not have been able to otherwise flesh out into entire stories. One of these short stories, which has gained significant attnetion from the people who know about it, is called "The Wins And The Losses", which features a character who, outwardly, is implausibly imbecilic at every turn, but actually has a rich inner monologue, with masterfully-crafted reasons behind his every move. People have drawn comparisons to Christopher John Francis Boone from The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, as in a story written from the perspective of someone who has a very different way of looking at the world.

It should be quite interesting, seeing that the character is heavily based on someone these people know in reality. It would be nice to think that actually there are these intricate worlds behind everyone's eyes. And, I suppose, in a way, there are these worlds. They might not be articulate, they might not even be right most of the time, but they're there. And that's one of the points that I've been making in Eight Hours - that people are worlds unto themselves, and perhaps it's worth thinking about that sometimes. The inner depth, rather than some kind of outer showmanship. Realising that everything that's on the outside is necessarily constructed, every persona some kind of facade. Of course, facades are useful, but they only have use when contrasted with something else. A facade that doesn't know it is one is dangerous - it can lead to all sorts of things. People thinking what they do is 'real' or 'inherent' is dangerous. It leads to money-accumulation, power-abuse, and all sorts of other, horrible things. It happens to everyone to some degree, we all want to be something. Because if you're not something, what are you?

The point behind all this is that we have to run a fine balance between being (acting in the real world, having interactions, confrontations, exchanges) and thinking (realising all of the former is a charade). We've come too far to see ourselves as anything other than beings that are supposed to think deeper about these sorts of things. We're not pack animals, wolves are only wolves because they lack the capacity to be anything more. We are more. There is more. We've lost sight of what it is to be human, to be different, to be distant from the world that we are a part of, yes, nature preservation, deep ecology, it's all well and good, but we are more, we are higher, stewards, whatever you wanna call it, we are not merely what made us, we are more than the sum of our parts.

But then, you realise that there's always further to fall. Yes, I've just had to interact with a member of the public. Sometimes (well, almost all of the time) it's very easy, most people are agreeable, and quite easy to talk to. But others, well, not so much. This man came in, he'd been speaking to one of the other guys at work for a good hour or so, and then I happened to step in to the point of the conversation where the man was talking about the poor quality of our photos on our website, and he'd said that he could do the job better. But, as per usual with these slightly-non-neurologically-standard types, he kept repeating himself when he had already fully made his point. Also, his 'professional photography' was like a toddler had ham-fistedly cut out a picture of one of our products from a catalog and stuck it against a gaudy, glittery backdrop. His pictures were of far, far worse quality than ours, despite his complaints about 'megapixels'. As my colleague said, the whole interaction felt like one big trial on conflict management.

It is incredible how much pity one can feel. A man, who is clearly mentally unwell, complaining to you about something that you can do far better than him with the earnestness of an innocent child, is just pitiable. It's not his fault. Apparently he shoots rats down at the bottom of his garden and his neighbours are scared of him. His son photographs buses. We are not talking about normal people. And I don't think that overly normal people are something to aspire towards, not in the slightest. But this is the other side of the golden mean of 'normal/odd'. This was an extremely strange experience.

It was completely... I spent about half an hour recounting the tale last night to anyone who would listen. If only I could remember some of the incisiveness that I had cut through this man with. He was just that fascinating. The sort of endearing charm of someone who is trying to convince you whole heartedly that they are right, but seem utterly, completely unaware of the fact that they are wrong, deeply, deeply wrong.

november 2022

thinking & doing - 19/11/22

The other day, I dropped my copy of The Pale King on the ground in a club. I am such a pretentious idiot that I allowed something like that to happen. I am such a clumsy fool that I allowed one of my most recent purchases to slip out of my bag, and onto the sticky floor in front of the cloakroom deposit counter. I smiled and thought "Oh, oh God, I wonder if anyone's ever dropped their copy of The Pale King on the floor in the club before." I am such a pretentious idiot that I allowed myself to think of something like that. Later on, I was asked how I was doing because I was sort of blankly staring off into the middle distance. I said that I was just thinking and my friend said, "That's so pretentious." I then proceeded to spout purple prose at him about the evening so far, and he said that I should brnge a notebook, perhaps. "You're like a Parisian in the 30s'," he says, "You need a notebook." "But I've already got one." I protest. "Then bring it." "But it will get ruined." "That's even more pretentious."

I wonder if self-understanding is pretentious. I wonder if all this self-analysis makes me pretentious in some way. Does the acknowledgement of pretentiousness actually make oneself more pretentious in the process? Does the use of 'oneself' worsen the whole thing? What the hell am I even doing anymore? Should I bring a notbook to the club? I think it could be a good idea. It would be very odd, though. I don't think I'd be able to write the same amount, either. I love floating around in the middle of the place sometimes, people flowing from room to room, wondering where the tide of people will take me next. I've written about this before. It's so nice to float and to watch. I saw people I know. I saw more people I don't know. It's hard to dance. He could not dance to anything.

Am I doomed to be something like an outsider when it comes to this sort of thing? Well, no, because you're there, but yes, because you don't seem to want to participate either. Either way, I think that a lot more 'doing' on your part should be required. To go, to throw oneself (ah ha) into more and more situations, then finally you might not feel like everything's on the cusp of everything, living in a large city that sometimes feels very empty, wondering if life would have been better if you'd gone to some sort of uni town or something, where things seem to be designed around people like you. But then again, people say that London is designed around people your age. It just doesn't seem to be much. It is hard to get an 'in', it's hard to be in the inner circle.

Earlier in that night, I'd had a coversation with my friend about relations. About people who were 'more', and wanting to find someone who actually had all of their hit figured out in the way that I think is actually meaningful. Not people who are successful, or famous, or wealthy, but people who seem sagely. And I think that there are a few of those people around now, but I don't think they're very easy to find. I think they make it hard. I think I want to become one of those people. I want to have done things. I want to have seen thnigs and been places. But not in a silly little jet-setter kind of way, not in an overly scholarly way, in which the sum total of my experience could be summarised in a large bookcase, in a way that refines the two. To turn living into something that happens, rather than something which I feel that I have to look for.

To both think and to do.

lucky there's a man who... positively improves... the tv show that makes us... - 17/11/22

I've been meaning to write something about the reductionism of characters in TV shows recently. Having conversations with friends about how lifeless recent series of some long-lived TV shows have been. One show of note (for better or for worse) has been Family Guy. The characters do not seem like themselves to such a degree, in other shows this would mean the end of the humour of the show - but it is somehow different for these characters in these situations. Because of the absurdity of the show, entire episodes where characters act more like slightly typecast actors in some meta-episode. Take, for example, the episode where the entire thing is - without external context - set in a 1920s' thriller/noir setting. The episode works, and the characters feel like themselves, but just playing a role.

This should prove that Family Guy has the potential to overcome its initial mundaneness and save itself from the tedium of having to make more and more jokes about how bad apps are or something, despite the fact that it's 2022, not 2012. Family Guy needs to embrace the fact that no one likes the family of Family Guy for their being a family any more. Most of their viewers are there for the specific moments within the show that show them doing pretty much anything but be a family. A lot of the people watching the show are literally only ever watching partial episodes or unfinished clips. Family Guy needs to realise that this is a strength of the show, not a weakness. We're not looking for plot consistency of a really dull episode which explores the origins of Mayor Quimby (wait, is that the name of the mayor? no, that's the simpsons) - we're looking for what makes the show watchable to so many people! Something different. Which is why, I think, forthcoming, Family Guy should not strive to be a consistent show, but one that is willing to throw literally anything at the wall and see what sticks. Perhaps, in an episode, every character could be covered in blood, and it is never explained nor discussed until right at the very end. Or an episode where the characters can only communicate via gestures (and the episode is just the foley team working overtime). Or perhaps an episode in a slightly different animation style where they wonder what caused the difference. Or an episode about the making of an episode. Or one where it's just a single-shot, cutaway-free take of Stewie going to a therapist and the therapist is played by Ian McKellen... No, no, actually they did that last one. Wow, huh. More ideas:

Lois goes away from the family for a day and meets loads of completely unrelated characters who are never mentioned or seen again.
Stewie develops a sociological experiment from his classmates.
Every single character is Peter and acts exactly like Peter.
A parody of "1917" that's also done in one shot.
Stewie explains the source of power behind his various machines - cutaway gags.
Everyone is really drunk except Meg. Even in the cutaways.
An episode which constantly gets sidetracked to a comical degree.
An entire normal episode in iambic pentameter.
Peter gets fired from his job, and becomes a writer on a show called "Family Guy". He then lobbies to have Peter reinstated at work, where he meets the hand of his own doing and falls into a paradox, eventually meeting God and then going back to work at his normal job.
Peter's cutaway gags reference different realities to our own. Pop culture has massively changed. Lois and Peter complain that their children don't understand the references they're coming up with.
Peter gets tapped inside a series of cutaway gags, the quality of which worsen the further he gets. Eventually, he returns home to his family, but they don't quite seem the same. The episode ends with, "And that was the time I freaked out about losing my family."

I feel that the problem with a lot of extended jokes in Family Guy is that they don't have enough faith in their own material. There are just too many people working on each episode to have any sort of cohesion within them. There are episodes which start out going one way and then go another, for no reason. They can feel a little disjointed, like there's not a lot of co-operation between different writing departments. I think they just need to be bolder and take more risks. Actual risks, not hiding behind the veneer of a culturally-outdated cartoon to poke fun at aging celebrities. Leave that to South Park (even though they're sort of falling off these days as well).

thoughts (on thoughts) while ill - 14/11/22

Alright, I've finally done it. I've been ill (not alcohol-related) for two times in the last six months! Incredible! It feels like far too many times, to be honest. As someone who went to a small primary school and didn't tend to hang out with a massive amount of kids outside of that small primary school, I guess I never had too much exposure to the germs of others. Not to say that I didn't have exposure to germs outright - but there were many kids there who had somehow decomposed into obsession about hygiene before they turned 12. I guess I got by by... playing outside? Is that how that works?

So yes, I was ill, and I still am a little ill even now. I hurt, and I am not used to it. It is sad. I am sad, but not nearly as sad as the illness itself is. I mean, illness sucks, christ, it really does. But previously, the worst thing about being ill for me was the threat of sitting on the toilet for hours, or even the dreaded oesophagal outburst. I remember basically clamping my mouth shut in fear. Nothing could possibly be worse than throwing up. But, after plenty of ethanol-induced emetic events, throwing up is no longer the worst thing. The worst thing, this time, was sleeping.

Yeah, it's weird, right? Surely, after a horrible day of feeling like shit, maybe even coming close to passing out because your own stupid fucking dipshit ass didn't EAT ANYTHING (looking at you, past me) - you'd think that sleep would be a sweet release? Well, no. Night one began with a horrible feeling, a sort of twisting visualisation of the world around me, everything completely restless and formless. Night two was much worse, every time I got up was because my throat had pasted itself shut with a drying secretion that looked more like mud and froth than anything that is supposed to exit a mouth (unless someone is currently attempting to heimlich a chocolate cake out of you). The discomfort was not merely physical, thought, it was a serious effort to keep myself from moving. Everything felt like it had to be in a way. I could visualise my blanket in a carefully ordered grid which kept slipping away. I kicked and flailed and nothing could ever make it perfect. I saw my body as two shimmering, disconnected, morpho-iridescent circles of heat, one for the torso, another for the legs. I had to literally convince myself to not kick the blankets. Everything was alright. But no, every time I went back to sleep, the thoughts took back over.

Night three was not too much better. Sounder sleep, but still a noticeable lack of dreams and a lot of horrifying real-unconscious blending imagery. Nothing specific, again, formless. But it was like it was all poisonous, like going to sleep was to somehow be avoided. It was fucked up, for real. I could not believe the whole experience. I feel like tonight will be better. I feel like I am going to get a good night's sleep. Mainly because my first lecture is at 4pm tomorrow. Should be fun.

october 2022

one sixteenth, eight hours, four jokes, two pints, and... - 29/10/22

I have been up to quite a lot of shenanigans recently, and since I don't have a diary at the moment to write stuff down in, I think that I should probably write some of them down here. It's been a good long while since my last update, and since then I have: moved in - argued - drank - bought a huge fucking 20L bag of cider - been to Falmouth on a sort of road trip style thing - dug a huge hole - been to loads of places in london - met and spoken to two of the members of Black Country, New Road - been to New Cross Inn yet again - squares crisps (apologies for keeping it vague) - and just a whole lot of other little things. I have also been working on Eight Hours quite a lot, and I am happy to say that itseems to be going quite well, for the most part. I feel like I am practicing the arguments put forth in the essay a lot more in real life, as well. Just the other night I was able to have a reasonably nuanced conversation with one of my flatmates about the ethics fo the world at large now. He understood a lot of my points, and vice versa, but I feel where we fundamentally differed is the fact that he thinks that these good things that we both agree should happen can only arise, or are 'naturally required' to arise out of capitalism.

Now, that was only some of the point. The main debate surrounding this argument that we had is the debate between the external and the internal. The external being objective, physical, scientific, measurable, observable. The internal being subjective, mental, psychological, unquantifiable, phenomenological, unobservable. I feel that capitalism is necessarily external to humans, it relies on a thing (capital) which is entirely external to humans, and does not necessarily need humans to function either. I feel this is an interesting idea because rather than putting capitalism as some black-heart unremovable root cause of everything that is wrong with the world, it is a symptom of something more fundamental, which is a shift towards the external rather than the internal. Of course, you have to strike a balance between the two, but I feel that it is plainly obvious to anyone living in the 21st century that things have shifted far too far. For a society that claims to, in some way, care about mental health, we do not do a lot to shift thnigs back to the internal. In fact, it is almost necessary for capitalism to denote the existence of mental health problems as almost entirely external things, chemical imbalances rather than just complex internal psychological reactions to a world that we are simply not meant for and is moving further and further away from us. But where is this 'ideal world'? Is it little cottages in quaint woodlands? Maybe. But one of the objections to that is that you can always take it further back. You could always say that the state of nature goes further and further back. Living in caves migth be the way that humans are meant to live. But how come we have the capability for so much more? Clearly, the ideal world should be defined in terms of our capabilities, not things that happen to have happened. You wouldn't design a racetrack based solely on what you've seen the cars do before. You'd need to understand the feel of the car, how it works round certain corners, to design something that would truly fit the car, testing it to the limit.

I think that is what the great writers of the last generation or so have struggled with. Not a pious jaunt towards atheism, nor the postpostmodern reactionary swing back to 'traditional' ways of life, but an actual appreciation of the introspectiveness of man. Of realising that we are not just what we do. The great existentialist sermon, 'I am my own highest purpose' is correct, but only by semantic error. It is not an outwards focused 'I', not one that is defined by the actuality of the world, but a deeper 'I', one that can be identified with at a deeper level. Acting in accordance with one's self is the only thing that we can do in this world. If you do something that is wrong, you will know it. You migth recieve repirimands for it, but the only way in which you will feel anything genuinely lasting and horrifying, that is through your own head. It is so easy to get stuck in loops of thought, thinking, 'why can't I be a better person'? I have done bad things. I can only ask for some sort of forgiveness, externally and internally. Only someone with no interal conflict, no 'I should or shouldn't have done this or that'. Regret is a truly powerful tool. And regretting anything, to fall out of harmony with the subconscious, to repeatedly go against what is good for some external gratification, that is wrong as well. Some people will spend half their lives trying to figure themselves out, and then, when the realisation is had and the pure materialist habits shunned, the only response is to don the materialist clothes once more, to put back on the tattered remains of what you just freed yourself from, because you have strayed so far out into the external that there is nothing else. Finding himself with nothing but chains, man will inevitably put them back on. For comfort, consistency, or just out of pure psychological boredom. To lose the chains and have reasons to keep them off is the real thing.

Belinda Carlisle was right when she said that heaven really is a place on earth. To act in accordance with yourself. That is heaven.

august 2022

garfield - 10/8/22

Garfield is something of a modern, and, arguably, a postmodern phenomenon. When I ask someone about Garfield, "what do you know Garfield to be?" (kind of like the Jehova's Witnesses but for fat cartoon cats) they often reply, "Well, he's orange, he likes lasagna, he hates mondays. Oh, and there's a dog there." Some even mention Jon or Nermal or Arlene or hell, even Pooky, but they often forget that none of these things are Garfield himself, they are mere extraneities. So all that is Garfield is him, his hatred, his loves, what else do we know about most people we love? Well, we love their normality. And Jon and Garfield are extremely normal. They are almost painfully normal, in fact, most of their interactions are easily one of the most interesting things to happen to someone if they were to happen over the course of a regular day. But, note, this is a regular day. Not a cartoon day.

We should take the example of the Pipe Strip (the classic 1978 one) as an example of something that is just beyond ordinary. A cat, picking up a pipe, and actually smoking it! Wow, haha, what innocent-seeming fun. Garfield, in this suburban-pastoral sense, represents the continuation of the ideas of normality from our more rural lifestyles - things happening which aren't life-changing, but rather life-enhancing. They simply are, with no need for analysis. They exist as individual moments.

So why is Garfield so ripe for extrapolation, for wondering what could be if Jim Davis just let loose with the character? Something so ubiquitously dry and normal, turned into Garfielf, Gorefield, Lasagna Cat, whatever you want to call it. Garfield is a framework, a blank canvas, a series of ideas. It's something that's a cultural cornerstone, and in this modern age of copyright and things being iconised as untouchable things where only licenced artists (and a few unpaid fan-fiction writers) contribute anything to the development of cultural icons. It's sad. But those aforementioned types of Garfield-rethink really add something to the work as a whole. I've just been revisiting the comics myself, and they're not actually all that bad. All of them have discernible jokes.

Well, at least it's not fucking Heathcliff. That shit sucks.

july 2022

back with something newer - 7/7/22

Right, so in the last month or so since we last spoke, a lot of things have happened. I've been drunk, sober, been to beer tastings, rum-drunk, punch-drunk, driving, driving while hung over, aching to see what's behind the telephone pole, the face of a woman who I think might be interesting but I'm walking behind her so I have to gauge how interesting her face is by intently studying the reactions of people as they walk past her, she looks very much like an extra from Men In Black fron the back, but then I'm still standing behind her, no idea of what she looks like, she is a total enigma, and she turns down a sideroad after hesitating more than I at a crossing. I never get to ee her face, not even a thrown reflection, not a side-on silhouette, just the idea of other people and their reactions.

I've talked about how one of my friends is dealing with a breakup, childish retreats into hedonistic game-playing, living out childish fantasies of finally being 'allowed' to play games that were deemed too harsh or too expensive by coddling, PEGI-influenced parents, thinking that this is an act of rebellion - well, in fact, this modern affliction towards ports of mediocre horror games for the Wii is still rebellion, but in a different way, you see - the child would have rebelled out of a naive idea that they were "mature enough" or whatever immature phrasing they would have used to describe that feeling, but the general idea within the parent's minds is that once a child is old enough to understand the games that are locked behind scary looking Eighteens, they no longer need to be satiated with gore and violence.

Another thing I talked about was the idea of gore and violence in memes and games this aforementioned person was pursuing, the idea that all of this cosmic horror (frequently, the memes describe the death of huge (non-specific, specifically, there is no genocidal or racial bent to this, they are merely purely misanthropic) groups of people, earths being swallowed, always comically underscored by the Wojak or MS-Paint stylings) is genuinely going on inside this person's head - this surely can't happen! I wish that there was a way to get through properly, to metaphorically, and on a very meta-level (as I am so prone to nowadays) slap some sense into the motherfucker, it's been three months, things come and go, love is fickle, love is hard to understand, love is not just between a woman and a man, love is something uncategorisable and yet they feel that it is worth pushing into self-imposed boxes which ultimately make the goal of true love both semantically impossible (the classic Zizek "If you can give a reason for loving something, you don't truly love it." paraphrased, bastardised quote)

I've been very drunk, I've realised that I can drink a lot more than previously expected, I've blended the truth while telling stories, I met Rag N' Bone man and failed to either A) make him sign my beloved, already war-torn copy of Infinte Jest (I assure you it's the only one that's ever been on a quadbike) or B) take his picture with me and my Black Country, New Road shirt - again, I'm sure it would have been the only picture of this man with someone with a BC,NR related thing. His music is not bad, but it is not good. He is not bad, his speaking voice is almost deliberately non-resonant, like he wants everyone around him (me, the other guy delivering to him, his wife/girlfriend with equally weird tattoos, and finally a contractor who seemed to know him very well) to think that he isn't the same person that's capable of belting out the admittedly anthemic chorus to "I'm Only Human". Or is that "Human", now that I think of the title.

I've been down in places with the very man who blasts that song extremely loudly (after my father's own choice of IGOR'S THEME, of all songs), I've been in places no man should find themselves, rolling around drunkenly on a golf course, sliding down dew-wet and night-stiff edges to manicured, sprinklered greens, all the while wondering if the sprinklers are being sequentially turned on to coax us off the golf course. I'm very aware of things now, I'm aware of the run-on sentences, of the self-interruptions, of the concrete which waits to be mixed in our front garden to form a solid platform, I'm aware of the fact that the new black midi album is fucking fantastic, and it's just... well... it's just great honestly, I'm going to have to resort to my old rambling style of thought in order to put this month together. My diary faltered and stopped, but progress is being made with the Original Dreamscape (yes, that one, all those torrid years ago begun!) and turning it into more of a metaphorical tale.

One of the things that I've realised, as well, is that my entire writing career seems to be focused on producing convincing conversation between two people. My favourite parts of Ducc are the solo/duo character development parts, the entire plot of LVE is about two guys talking, and the most important aspect of Standing... is when the two main characters talk about their problems while on acid. I've been questioned by my dad's friends about whether or not I've done acid. One of them (who is in the middle of perfecting a play about suicidal thoughts) asked me if I was in the same boat as him, having to ask others for external reference as they had not massively experienced/been able to capture those sorts of thoughts in any meaningful way. And I had to say no. I've done acid. I talk about this far too much, but honestly I do feel as if it was a pivotal moment. A stepping back, a realising that there is more. And there is more, and I've realised this time and time again, conversations which start as bitter disagreements on whether or not there are enough bike lanes in Enfield always turn into conversations about the nature of human consciousness, and the limits of scientific knowledge, and what is beautiful about the world. Every moment is worth going over and analysing. I've missed this sort of introspective writing. I think it's come out in Buddhist-esque calm in conversation, the month or so of not writing a lot has given me time to read, to soak, to be less of a smug cunt and assuming people know what the fuck I'm trying to say, of actually knowing what I'm trying to say. I think it's uphill from here. I gained and lost a girlfriend (although she did go by they/them, but let's be real) and I'm applying for a house with some of my best friends in the whole world. It's good.

Things are good.

june 2022

back with something new - 9/6/22

Yeah, it's actually been a while since I've written any real sort of blog post, and that's probably because I haven't had a lot of days at work where nothing much has happened. In fact, I haven't had a lot of days at work at all recently. But that is fine. There's just less demand. Which is sort of a good thing. Speaking to sometone else though, they might have argued that because this job of mine ostensibly 'puts food on my table' (a very abstract idea) it is somehow inherently worth saving. If your argument against me saying you should not do your job is just "Because it contributes to the economy" or "Because people need things to buy", then that's... that's not really a counterargument, is it? One of my friend's dads' said "buy shit or we're all fucked", and my God, he didn't mean it ironically. That man was past irony with that statement. He thought that the way in which we could all move forward was to just buy more shit. And he didn't even say what shit. Just buy it. Honestly, the idea of inflation forcing people to spend so that the economy is 'healthy' is really stupid. It just keeps people down. Another concept within capitalism forcing a sort of self-perpetuating hedonic treadmill, where every laboured footstep rolls the wheels faster.

This disdain that I have for most modern 'work' is being put together on PRICELIST.XSLX right now. However, I've just forgotten to save my work properly, so the most up-to-date copy of it is the one that's been saved in HTML, and therefore uneditable. Which is nice. But the actual point of the writing itself is this series of little fragmentary dialogue things which take place inside the sprawl of a spreadsheet. I ideally wanted to use the nevada church spreadsheet for this but it's... not real? I wish it was, for my purposes at least. I think the reason why I like this sort of thing is that it's a neat blend of the creations of others, with their personal intricacies and partial obtruseness, but also some order. It's externally controlled by the way in which the products themselves are formatted (at least in the case of PRICELIST.XSLX)

A lot of what I look for in other people, what I hope to outwardly show myself as, too, is the creation of intricate personal mythos. I want to know about the characters you had. I want to know about all these things that you made, and I want you to keep making them. I suppose this is why I still love Miller, because arguably, the story of making it has become more of a story than the show itself. I don't know how personal to get here. This is still public, but probably very few people read it.

Nervous and nothing-y, I write to no one, and every blog post falls flat. I relish in the crying out rather than the echo.

may 2022

a lesson in symbal 2 - 28/5/22

Right, with the M, A and = symbols under our belt, let's go to the next lot we're going to be talking a look at - the personal/being symbols, :, O and i.

: is used for 'being' in general. I tend to use this where other/i can be specified (such as in :M, which could be replaced by oM or iM). Aside from that, it can be used to refer to something non-physical, like a 'soul' or 'consciousness' (depending on your beliefs) and perhaps differentiate between types of beings (humans vs. non-human animals)

O is used to mean 'other'. It can be used as a substitute for a singular (O|) or plural (O||) word for he/she/they (sg.) or they (pl.) It can be used to refer to concepts that are 'other'.

i is used as a first-person pronoun, and also combines with > to make i>x (i do x). Yeah, this is a pretty short lesson.

tube line names - 28/5/22

I'd say that most of the tube line names are pretty good. They tend to evoke the thought of how the line actually is. The Central line being very utilitarian and no frills, heading straight through the centre of London. The Bakerloo line is older, more regal, slower, semantically very similar to Waterloo. But that's no coincidence! The Bakerloo really is just a portmanteau of Baker Street and Waterloo! It's much less 'regal' when you know that. It feels more comical. But lots of the tube lines have names which are actually just either lazy man's portmanteaus (Waterloo & City, Hammersmith & City), old names for suburbia (District, Metropolitan), old people (Victoria, Jubilee, Elizabeth), specific station names (Piccadilly), or just literally where they go (Central, Northern, Overground, Docklands Light Railway, Circle).

I just think that a few of the alternate names suggested for the tube lines work very well - my favourite of which is the Jubilee line's alternate name, the Fleet line. How wonderful - but it only follows the fleet until it gets to Westminster, which would have made sense when the line actually stopped there. But now, as we know, it goes all the way to Canary Wharf, so it would have to be the... Fleet & Thames line? How horrid. Plus, a line under/alongside the Thames isn't really necessary.

Also, the Liz Line is finally open! Such joy... right? Well, I still haven't been on it. I've been on TFL Rail a few times now, but the Lizzy remains ungraced by my presence. I might be able to write something interesting about it soon. Probably not.

a lesson in symbal - 20/5/22

Previously, I've talked about making words in symbal. But I haven't talked about how the process should work in detail. Also, I've decided to swap the symbols out for common symbols that you can just type. The letters will be replaced as follows:

. [existence]
T [time / tense]
+ [space]
t [true]
- [thought]
M [matter]
A [property]
o [information]
: [being]
O [other]
i [self / i]
H [size]

& [conjunction]
= [equivalence]
! [limit]
^ [very]
v [less]
x [not / negation]
c [of]
> [to / causation]
k [subset]
| [singular]
w [vague]

The structure is kind of its own thing. [ ] [structure]

This means that 1. it will be aeasier to type and 2. it will be so much fucking easier to type, oh my lord. Anyway, as you might have been able to tell from the previous Symbal post, the [┼v]⫯[☐I[☐◒]⊂[☐→☐x]⫯[△→[⌽[◒=☐] = ⌽^[◒=☐] is much less immediately readable than. [+v]-o[MH[Mi]c[M->Mx]-o[A->[T[i=M] = T^[i=M] well, i mean, not 'readable' but the symbols lend themselves to something beyond pure abstractness. In fact, I'm sure you can have Symbal (with the English characters) as the 'default type' but Symbal with proper symbols as the 'true' version of the language. Also there's also the idea of verticality within the characters in Symbal. For example, the + symbol can be used to spatially relate two objects if placed on opposite ends of the symbol. M+M is two things that are spatially related - you can use it to specify left-right relations.

Most of the symbols can be used and changed in this format depending on the relations between them. But, for now, those specific uses are a little too... uh, specific. We can rattle through the symbols one by one, and we'll start with some of the simpler concepts and modifiers.

First up, we have M, for Matter. This is an easy thing to understand, as it (barring deeper philosophical implications) refers to things in the physical world. Whether there is or is not a physical world, that remains to be said - it is important to note that existence (.) does not mean something that is material, but the opposite is more likely to be true for most sentences. Again, stating all of your assumptions is useful when trying to probe deep into the nature of existence, but much less so when trying to describe a particular physical object. M can mean 'matter', 'physical objects', 'a specific thing'. When used in conjunction with 'i' or 'o', it can mean 'body' or 'person', depending on your definition of person. Also, the basic structure of Mi or Mo (hahaha, i've just realised that Mi could be translated as Me in english) is required to describe body parts without trying to describe their function. Plus, can you really pinpoint the definition of what an arm is? Not really.

Next, we have A, for Property. Now, this is essentially your adjectiv-ising tool. Put it next to anything and it becomes an adjective. H^AM means 'big matter'. A is fairly simple in its uses, but does not always need to be included when making something adjectiv-ised. There is a difference between fundamental properties of a thing and the adjectives which make it different. So while a car could be described using a series of adjectives like 'metal', 'curved', 'wheeled', the ones that describe a specific aspect of the car might be 'red' or 'black'. Nouns are just adjectives in disguise, and Symbal forces you to reveal that fact. Nouns are just loose clusters of adjectives. Most adjectives are pretty simple, so they're easier to describe in Symbal.

The final symbol I'm going to go over today is equivalence, =. This is used to show two things that are the same. For example, x=y would mean that x is the same as y. But sometimes you want to say that two objects have the same value of an attribute. Rather than say Hcx=Hcy, you can just say Hx=Hy - this would mean the size of x is the same as the size of y, or put simply, x and y are the same size. The equivalence thing can also stack, so x=y=z is valid as well.

previews of things - 17/5/22

I've got a few things that I'm working on right now that might be of interest to your more seasoned Unication blog visitor. The Museum is underway, with real stories and anecdotes being concocted as we speak. I'm just wondering how to structure the damn thing. I think that there should be a sort of 'science museum main hall' kinda vibe to it, objects shown in chronological order right up until the present day. Although to be perfectly honest, I think I will leave things that are too recent out of it, since this museum needs to have an air of disaffectation about it. Self-analysis isn't as meaningful when you're the same person as the person that you're analysing. I'm sure this blog will feature on some timeline, somewhere, at some point.

Also coming are a few shorter works, namely "The Train That Came", "Futures", "Untitled Artwork", "Post-Post" and also Ferry Simulator, which I have spoken about before. The Train That Came is a short story about the passing of time, Futures is a series of vignettes about possible futures, heavily inspired by a post on donotresearch.net. Untitled Artwork is about fictional works of art and the stories behind them, Post-Post is likely going to be unfinished and my latest 'I hate the world as it is' rant (Overanalytic Demeanour hasn't even had time to fail, for god's sake!), and you can already play Ferry Simulator right here.

Uh, aside from that, really nothing much worth writing about has happened to me. I might write something about love, but then again, it might be a little cringe. Then again, there's Standing for that. Well, sort of. But I think that a more actual-love based thing might be worth writing. Maybe something that expands on the ideas on Islandium - but different. Like about the kinds of Greek love. Like the 'agape' stuff vs the 'eros' stuff. I think they had it right when it came to differentiating different kinds of love. Then again, they had lots of things quite right, I suppose. (insert joke about homosexual relationships) (haha, insert joke?) (no.)

some words in symbal - 13/5/22

I've been wondering for a while how Symbal deals with real world objects. It deals with concepts quite easily, but as soon as you try and translate it into something more physical, it struggles. Take, for example, the word 'building'. It could be translated as [☐I[☐◒]]. Or, back into english, 'structure which exists and is the size of the material self that contains the material self', which simplifies to 'building', kinda? But what about if you wanted to say 'brick'? Iv⫯[☐I[☐◒], or 'smaller subset of the structure which exists and is the size of the material self that contains the material self', which could mean any subset of a building's construction. I mean, room? But then that would probably be denoted as [┼v]⫯[☐I[☐◒], referring to a room as a smaller structured spatial subset of a building is a good (and alliterative!) description.

So then what becomes a specific room? Bathroom? Well, first let us build up the idea of using the bathroom up, which requires building the idea of bodily functions up. Bathroom is going to be a long, long phrase. First, humans exist [◒=☐], 'body'. Perhaps we can explain the body's functions by saying they avoid ●[◒=☐]→x, 'death', or maybe we say that these functions make the body remain the same. △→[⌽[◒=☐] = ⌽^[◒=☐], 'a property that causes the body to remain the same even in the future', or 'homeostasis'. So then we can get [☐→☐x]⫯[△→[⌽[◒=☐] = ⌽^[◒=☐]], 'a property that causes the body to remain the same even in the future, specifically the subset that concerns the removal of matter'. Finally! A word for excretion. I'm not going to try to specify any specific type of excretion, and I'm sure any of you that are acquainted with bathrooms fully understand their potential for the removal of any excretive matter.

Right, now we have the idea of a room, and we have the idea of excretion. Uh! Excretion room. A room of excretion. [┼v]⫯[☐I[☐◒]⊂[☐→☐x]⫯[△→[⌽[◒=☐] = ⌽^[◒=☐]]. Oh, oh god. Oh no. Oh my god, no. That is a horrid thing to have to translate. A smaller subset of the structure which exists and is the size of the material self that contains the material self for the facilitation of a property that causes the body to remain the same even in the future, specifically the subset that concerns the removal of matter.

That is a monstrosity, and I wouldn't have it any other way. It's just wonderful to think that it's so easy to talk about abstracts, but you wanna say 'I'd like to go the bathroom' and you have to be like oh yeah where's the [┼v]⫯[☐I[☐◒]⊂[☐→☐x]⫯[△→[⌽[◒=☐] = ⌽^[◒=☐].

In fact, how do names work? I suppose you'd have to go for their meanings rather than the words themselves. Alexander means 'leader of men', so we would have to translate that as the leader of a group. [◒△^]⊂⫯[◎||] , or 'the self that is greatly more properterial than a group and is contained within that group'. Names that don't really mean anything, or names that are spelt differently do not fare well. Alex vs Alexander is indifferentiable. I suppose that's... a good thing? Symbal doesn't make you focus on the pointless things, like names. But even an introduction! How do you say, 'Hi, I'm Alex.'? With great difficulty.

In fact, I don't think greetings really work at all in Symbal. You could say, I am here with you, and I am called Alex, which kinda works, but it feels clunky. ┼[◒+◎], ◒⊂[[◒△^]⊂⫯[◎||]]. 'We are in the same area of space, and I am a leader of men.' What clunk. Imagine trying to write Ducc in this shit. Ok, now on second thought, even philosophical concepts aren't that easy. Actually, on third thought, they kinda are... 'I think therefore I am' becomes ◒─→◒●. Neat.

meta-thought as everything - 13/5/22

The other day, I was not in a Wetherspoons, but instead somewhere a little quieter. I was able to think about things without the company of friends, which is both a good and a bad thing. It allows you to think about more personal things, but thought that acts unmediated by others can spiral out of control in different ways. But then I got to thinking about the fact that I was thinking, and suddenly, I became aware of... well... a lot of things. Being aware of being aware of things is an interesting feeling, because most of the time you're not really aware that you're 'sensing' at all. It's just taken for granted.

One of the most interesting things that I've just put together is the fact that I have noticed this 'awareness of sense' from a young age, I just didn't think about it very hard. I remember there was a hall where I used to go to Cubs (the one before Scouts) which was quite large and echoey. Because of the constant barrage of noise caused by running and shouting children, it was both loud and washed out. But a way of making this more interesting for myself was to rapidly cover and uncover my ears - hands flat, slapping the sides of my head and making the noise weird. But the weirdness of the noise changing around changed my phenomenological experience. It made me feel somewhat disassociated. This feeling was one that I could replicate fairly on command, but the loud hall was the best place to do it.

So years passed, and I began drinking, and I thought that perhaps these two states were linked. It was quite interesting to think that maybe both were states of delirium caused by manipulation of sensory processing. Alcohol inhibited receptors of something or other and caused me to feel funny, covering and uncovering my ears in loud places made me feel funny too. Were they the same thing? Probably not.

So only very recently have I come to understand that feeling of slight disassociation as something that comes about through thought rather than any external experience. One of the weirdest experiences in this vein that I have had is one that concerns thought about experience. When I feel the beginning of one of these slightly disassociative states coming on, I think about it, and that appears to cause the thing itself. If I think about the experience of experiencing, I immediately stop being in a 'normal' state of mind. When I think more about the concept of my own experience of the world, the world briefly snaps into focus. This is especially apparent when I have just been reading from a screen or book, as those feel very 'Meta-0' in a sense. They are Meta-0 whether I am writing in a sort of flow state or watching a funny video on youtube.

It's an extremely strange thing to think about, your own experience. It's fascinating to the nth degree, and I think it is the reason why psychedelic drugs are so interesting. They seem to make you aware of your own experience of the world. They force a Meta-1 or above way of thinking, if accepted properly.

Anyway, back to the main point, which is that all of these states seem to arise through thought and conscious acceptance of the fact that your perception is being altered in some way, and that then leads to the realisation that your own experience is a strange thing which is taken for granted most of the time, which causes you to think about your own experience more. Thus, the state of disassociation which comes as a result of thought and existing being mutually exclusive. You're thinking, so you have less time as such to 'be'. Thinking isn't doing, and doing isn't thinking. But they create a mutual loop, like I said before.

I'm still ranting about a weird thing I've experienced my whole life but only recently properly put together. I just appreciate the idea that I'm not in control the entire time. Actually, another weird thing that I've noticed is that I've looked through a lot of my old songs from 2019/2020, and the lyrics to quite a lot of them are... really, really good. Even the ones which aren't good at all musically usually have something lyrically wonderful. And they're all, practically without exception, improvised. Where do these lyrics come from that makes them as they are? The unconscious. Put simply, they come from somewhere else. It is not perfect, but sometimes I go back and see depth in these lyrics, which is not something that I'm really used to when going back and reading my creative work.

clever writing (for a pub) - 6/5/22

The other day, I was in a Wetherspoons, believe it or not. Something that draws me towards these places is not just the absurdly low prices, but also the sense that there's some continuity between them. Like how people might find solace in a McDonald's abroad, they know that they're going to serve largely the same things. I mean, sure, there's solace to be had in comfort, but if comfort merely comforts and doesn't enlighten, then it's just a little blanket. But a lot of this continuity is offered by the Wetherspoons News, a publication which finds its way onto every (larger) table in every single Spoons in the country. In the Spring 2022 edition, there's a segment on 'Spencer the Poet', a Yorkshire man in his late twenties who has written a handful of novels (remind you of anyone?) and some poetry. I thought "well, I could do this..." since the poetry on offer was rather matter-of-fact, while it may have been funny and poignant in its message, it didn't feel like there was too much underneath it. And I get that, sometimes that sort of thing works very well. But regardless of my specific critique of his rather blunt poem (but blunt doesn't have to mean it wasn't powerful, mind you!), this whole thing got me thinking of how I could write for 'Spoons News'. Would it be a good idea? Absolutely. Could I do it properly? Probably not. I just don't know what they want.

I mean, I could write a gritty comedy sketch set in a Spoons, or try and play off the fact that I have only ever seen people leaf through the magazine. In fact, I'm pretty sure you could replace the last half of every article with a code to get a free unlimited pints and I'm pretty sure no one would ever redeem it. I just think what Spoons News needs is a section on humour, or at the very least something more than self-serving PR. You know, I don't disagree with a lot of the stuff they put in, but a lot of their articles feel... 'After Life-y'. If you've seen even one episode of the show, you probably know what I mean. Going around talking to people who aren't particularly interesting, but because they're the only people who seem to call the newspapers to get their stories published, they end up getting the most publicity. Well, I say, speak to people rather than waiting for people to come to you with drivel. Find people who want to tell a meaningful story. Well, I suppose this is more a criticism levied at all modern print media, but it still stands. I think that the news used to have a job to broaden people's horizons by exposing them to new things, but now that people have been exposed to so many new things it seems that a lot of it overlaps and conflicts. I think that Wetherspoon News is a fairly straight-talking publication. I just think they need to give people a reason to pick it up other than when they're waiting for their mates to get back from the bar with a pint.

Plus, I'm pretty sure if I was able to show my friends my name in Spoons News, they'd have a right laugh.

myrtle review - 5/5/22

Following on from the unparalleled success of my previous review, I have decided to write another review for a London-based restaurant that I have been to recently. Namely, Myrtle. The building face is a little confusing (as the entrance door is almost indistinguishable from the unusable side door) and the interior a little dark, but that was probably because it was overcast, as is so typical for a May evening before sunset. My chair was also slightly uncomfortable, since the middle of the chair (where my back did not touch it) was plush and soft, but considering my poor posture and height, my back rested against a thin metal bar which provided the structure for the chair. I must state that these are very minor complaints. And also not restaurant reviwing. But we can see how these things all add up - fortunately for Myrtle, the food made up for the seating a million times over.

We sat down and were greeted, and being the low-fuss people we are, decided to all go for the tasting menu with the wine pairing. The full "Myrtle" experience as such. And the first thing that arrived was some soda bread, served in immaculate little circles out of customised paper bags, and with butter that was both the right shape and consistency - cylindrical, so a small, even section could be taken at a time and the consistency afforded good spreading. Not to mention it actually tasted good, as well. But it's bread and butter, and without using too heavy-handed a metaphor, it is the bread and butter of food in general. If a restaurant can impress me on the basics, then they have everywhere to go from there!

So we begin at the soup. Just wonderful, and had enough flavour for a full bowl, despite the fact that it was only a spoonful. I could have easily eaten five or six of those bowls, complete with the almost sour cheeses. Plus, the temperature worked to its advantage - not overly warm like most soups, just a perfectly edible temperature and a thick but smooth texture. Next was the asparagus tart, with its extremely intricately presented garlic flowers and other garni. The arrangement of the herbs and flowers seemed to be so precise that each individual crumb has been placed down by itself. It was something to behold visually, and one of the more off-kilter dishes once I'd actually had some. The tart itself was smooth, with a variety of flavours, all of which were complememented by the pastry, which gave the dish an almost sweet edge. I would say that the delicate arrangements of the flowers were somewhat marred by the fact that they were launched off the plate when I had to press down quite hard to break the pastry edge. I would say that everything about the dish was perfect apart from the edibility of the pastry - good for biting, but quite brittle when cutting. One of the people with me managed to launch a small stream of crumbs into the middle of the table this way. But nothing detracted from the experience of the flavour, that's for sure.

Then came the chicken. I will immediately praise this dish for one thing - the plate. It just looked like a normal ceramic plate that had been extruded. That is all. I enjoyed the lightness of the plate when compared to its volume. It was just a little comical. Another implement that I have yet to mention is the cups, or should I say goblets. They were metal, and when filled with water, they became cold. It was just really nice. I can't really give too much reason to say that I enjoyed it for any reason other than novelty, but I shall try anyway. They were adorned with what looked like a Norman battlefield, and that certainly gave off some sort of vibe. Look, I don't know, I think what this analysis of the cup is trying to show is that they tried where most other restaurants don't see it fit to try. They experimented.

So, that out of the way, back to the chicken. It was delightful, and the sauce was so good that all of us regretted that we didn't save our bread in order to mop up the sauce. However, I don't think that the soda bread that we recieved would have been a good match for such a powerfully salty sauce. I think that the most basic white bread possible would have been the best match for this sauce. With thick plates taken away and sauce lamented, we moved on to the seabass. And I must say, despite the fairly plain presentation, this was one of the best pieces of seabass that I've ever had. It had a smooth richness that only fish like monkfish can really replicate, but without any of the stringiness. Just pure unadulterated fish and some of the best butter sauce in the world.

Next was arguably the centrepiece of the meal, the lamb. I have to say that the sauce was unlike any other sauce in terms of its tar-ish-ness, it was thick and dark to a degree unmatched by any (except, of course, the Jus Parisienne at Fischer's) and it paired perfectly well with the small amount of lamb that we were given. Despite the small size of the dish (it was a seven course ordeal, mind you) it was rich enough that it felt like a full culinary journey. I realise that I have spent a lot of my time in this review talking about how things were very filling, so let me say that I do not mean this in the 'it merely filled me up' kind of way. Anyone can make food that can fill you up physiologically. It takes something to have a true and deep psychological fullness. No, this is a different beast entirely. But that isn't to say that I wasn't already quite full, and the pairing wines had gone a way to helping that fullness along.

Full, we headed into our first dessert, expecting something wonderful. And yes, it was wonderful. Of course, we're not allowed to say 'wonderful' or 'delightful' (thanks to the suggestions of our waiter for that one...) or anything that doesn't fully explain the dish. But this really was delightful, in the slightly-grounded, slightly-whimsical sense of the word. It was just qutie lovely. Something that could be enjoyed at the bottom end of a long afternoon spent drinking tea and watching the lawn. So we're full of our first dessert, and we were very much ready to recieve the bill. Unfortunately, we had to have a second dessert, and we were forced (very much against our will, mind you) to polish off every last morsel of the richest chocolate tart we'd ever had. I mean, it was so rich every bite had to be washed down with a sip of the accompanying Tokaji. Oh, such horror. It was a fight to the last bite, desire versus stomach capacity, and when we were presented with our after-dinner nibbles, well, that just about finished us off.

Overall, a truly sublime meal, with every dish a microcosm of the best of any dish like it. Such power in such small, intricately presented packages without so much as a feeling of despair. It could have left us wanting more, but each dish satisfied deeply. A wonderful restaurant that I would recommend to anyone in the area. However, I do have to comment on the presentation of the 'irishness' in the meal. I do not understand what is meant by 'Modern British' at the best of times, so I don't think I would have very much hope trying to identify 'Modern Irish'. The most obviously irish things on the menu were the names for the dishes and the guinness at the top of the list - not that guinness would have paired particularly well with any of the dishes, maybe with the exception of the chicken. But despite the lack of clarity on what or wasn't Irish, I can whole heartedly say that this is a place worth its salt.

It pains me to give a score, but it's a 9/10 from me.

april 2022

how doth make a game - 28/4/22

Over the years, I have made a lot of games. A lot to the point that I don't believe that this will be a comprehensive list. I don't think I'd even have time to talk about them. Most of them, I will quickly add, are not really games as such. Unfinished, boring, broken, or just ideas for games rather than games in and of themselves. And if I've learned one thing, it's... well, I don't really think I've learned anything meaningful while making games. Maybe, with the (friends and family based) success of SPASMS (a reaction-recognition based card game) I have learned that maybe simplicity is key. Well, not key, but it ties in with what I said yesterday. I don't think there's anything to be had in having three stat bars and a million things to constantly track and worry about. *cough* Elden Ring *cough*

Choices in games are one of the easiest things to create. A branching-path story, like Ferry Simulator or Escaping The Prison. Ferry Sim is a game that stems from the concept of one player trying to cross the English Channel on a ferry in order to get back home, and the other player's job is to improvise counterexamples to explain why they cannot cross the channel today. Situations quickly get out of hand, and I remember one particular game ending in the annihilation of the sun. Well, more recently, I decided to try and make something tanglible out of that. Thus, Ferry Simulator. And Escaping The Prison is a blatant ripoff of the classic Henry Stickmin game (still can't believe it's the same people that made Amogus).

The idea of Ferry Simulator is simple. Take the idea that the game can and will evolve into anything (much like a game of Mao) and run with it. The game is still in its early stages, but the ideas that we have are truly astonishing. A revolution in gameplay. Anything could happen. If you flirt enough, the game becomes a dating sim. If you decide to go on a bit of a rampage, well, you're in luck! The Twine engine can make it all happen. It could probably run Doom if we wanted it to. Perhaps we'll have an ending where all you do is play Doom in your hotel room while the ferry sinks over and over again in the backdrop.

I suppose there is actually quite a lot of similarity between The Stanley Parable and Ferry Simulator. Both take place in liminal, eerie spaces, both play with the idea of what it is to be a game, and both are a little bit absurd. The only real difference between them is that I can't code for shit. And so The Stanley Parable gets remade and reimagined in the Unity engine, while I'm still stuck using what is essentially a glorified html line. Don't get me wrong, it's easy to use, far easier than I thought, and it's reasonably slick and fast, but there's just something about being able to actually walk the corridors of the office that gives it its charm.

In fact, it's quite difficult to make something in Twine with a lot of play potential. You really have to make sure that everything is, in fact, written cleanly and tightly. It's not the the Infocom Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy games, in which your every movement is described in detail, or Zork or whatever.

Anyway, I have to go for now, so uh, yeah, hopefully, Ferry Simulator (in its early stages) will be available on this site soon. Soon (TM).

edit from later on...

I think that there's a real opportunity to be had with Ferry Simulator. It's a story in which literally anything can happen, so why not... outsource the development to other people? Well, not in a 'pay other people to write the code' kind of way, but just have it as a game in which the system feeds you a response, and you respond to it with why they can't cross the channel. Too forward thinking. Where would the ideas come from? We'd have to write them, and there'd be no guarantee of the quality of the responses. Well, I have to say, Ferry Simulator really is something. It should be a broken mess. It should have all sorts of time-related shenanigans. It is... Ferry Simulator.

I should really stop ranting on now.

what doth make a game - 27/4/22

With "The Stanley Parable: Ultra Deluxe" coming out today, and considering that it's been three years in development and that Crows Crows Crows has put out next to nothing since then, I'm pretty goddamned excited. One of my favourite games of all time recieving a total makeover. I mean, considering the first game took about a year and a bit to make, how much more stuff are we going to get for three more years of work? I mean, they;ve said that there are going to be around double the amount of endings as the original, but something tells me the folks at CCC / Galactic Cafe are underselling their product a whole lot. At least, that's what I want to believe. Their promotional stuff that they do has been wonderful. It's one of the only email things that I've actually gone out of my way to sign up for. Every email is a treasure, and somewhat inspired the creation of Unication, which somewhat inspired the creation of this website. So I suppose you can thank them and their boundless creativity for these words I am typing now - in more ways than one!

So the SP:UD (a, hahaha...) arrives within a few hours. Things are looking up. But why do I like this sort of game? Walking simulators - the really sterotypical kind - are some of my favourite pieces of media I've ever experienced. That Dragon, Cancer. The Beginner's Guide. (a true favourite) A Short Hike. That game that I can't remember the name of but is essentially just you walking around a field which is procedurally generated. welcome to heaven. I think there's a theme here... three word titles... walking as the only thing you can do... story over pretty much everything else... yeah, that fits. I guess I just like games with one well-executed core mechanic, one that links everything up seamlessly. It's why I prefer Mario Kart Wii over Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing - everything just interacts with each other more cleanly, the physics and hitboxes are much tighter.

And there's more that makes a good videogame - a novel concept, a good atmosphere and attention to detail! Splatoon's main mechanics of ink as bullets/territory control are just wonderful, and despite the somewhat weird idea of them being squids (something which was chosen quite late into the development of the concept) it just works. Kerbal Space Program's blend of serious orbital mechanics with real life applications, Factorio's polish and crack-like addictiveness, Minecraft's boundless potential and multiplayer hilarity (to be honest, I could write an entire section on games which are more about playing other people than playing the game itself, but we shall move on) and the quiet solitude of Super Mario Galaxy (and SMG2, even more).

So that is why I like these games, and, heading in to the SP:UD with no expectations, I shall have probably the best experience of my entire life. One can only hope.

edit from the next day...

So uh, yeah, it's pretty fucking incredible, not going to lie. Yesterday's post was a bit rant-y, so I'm going to keep this one brief to avoid being skipped by the button. Well, I mean, do I really have to cut this review short? There were a whole host of reasons why I thought it was a wonderful game. The ide of the bucket as something akin to a companion cube that has no in-game discernible purpose except driving the story - and that's because that's all there is to the Stanley Parable. I was enthralled by the fact that the 'New Content' as such wasn't just interspersed with the old stuff, they went out of their way to make a retrospective of their own game. I do believe that this wave of reflection and introspection is a broder thing in society - and I hope it continues. From everything like The Matrix, and now, The Stanley Parable. Not that The Stanley Parable would have done anything different, anyway...

But yes, the game is wonderful, and I don't think that it deserves any-

Stanley! You pressed the skip button! In the middle of a piece of narration describing itself existing in a universe in which the Stanley Parable is a video game, and not the true reality as such. Because the game half-refers to itself as a game, and half-treats itself as reality, it is stuck in an-

Oh, that was harsh. I had barely gotten into it at all, and yet you decide to just leave? You weren't interested at all? Well, I can talk for hours and hours about how much the narrator really talks. I really wanted to sit and wait for the entire thing to play out every time, so I didn't have to skip everything. Perhaps Mumbletown is real. Perhaps the adveritising was right after all. Perhaps most of the game's content lies beyond the wall. I suppose, in a way, it's similar to the Baby Game ending. I really liked the idea of an almost unachievable task in a game, something so tedious that it would be borderline insanity to complete the entire thing. It's not even so simple you could automate it. Well, I mean, you could, but it wouldn't be worth the effort. Best to just look the results up on youtube or something like that. Do you capitalise youtube? I th-


Ah, you saw a rant coming. You wanted to pre-emptively kill any flow that this narration had - well good luck to you. I'm not speaking to you any more. No more blog posts. No more anything. Just more of you, sitting, waiting for me to say something, and me, forever not saying anything.

I have all the time in the world, Stanley.

Do you?

edit from after i'd actually finished the game

Yeah, uh, this was not as long as I had hoped for. I think I had literally gotten to the button bit when I wrote that review, and the reason why I was so excited about it was because I was at work and not playing it, thus not allowing me to realise that pretty much all there was was a bucket. I mean, it was the very last thing that I found in the Expo Centre, thankfully, but it just seems... unfinished? It seemed that it was quite bold of a game to poke fun at half-thought out sequels and then become a half-thought out sequel. It was very anticlimactic to see that, after four years of work, pretty much nothing had happened. Well, of course I don't mean nothing, but... for a game that showed so much promise, maybe? Maybe I got into it because the first half of the game was a literal ripping into itself, a poignant self-analysis on a horrible scale. Plus, it was quite funny. And also quite visually interesting compared to the boxed-in hallways of the regular Stanley Parable. But I can't say that the idea of mid-game changing the very idea of an Ultra Deluxe into a fully fledged sequel has to raise expectations in the people playing the game, right? The Stanley Parable 2 really was what it said on the tin. A few silly balloons, a bucket, and some additional content, some of which was locked behind a wall which was very obviously a cover for them not being bothered to add new bucket-based endings to the Red & Blue Door segment. I mean... it's just one of those things. Oh, how I love thee, Stanley Parable 2. Also, the very lack of information from Crows Crows Crows on the days after the game's release had me thinking 'is this really all there is? are they going to release the floodgates on some new hidden content that we've never seen before? are they going to drip feed us bits of updates for the next few months?' Well, no. The answer was bugfixes and not much else. I can't... it's alright? Do I think that it's worth paying £20 for if you already have the Stanley Parable? No. Is it worth £20 in its own right if you're getting it for the first time? Yes. It's tricky. And I hope their next project is something a little more interesting. Whatever it is.

a blank canvas for interpretation? - 18/4/22

"What the actual fuck?" Were the only thoughts that could escape my mouth after my friend plopped the 'Take That: Ultimate Collection' into his car CD player and let the first song play. Never mind the fact that I didn't think that Take That had amassed enough 'hits' to create an Ultimate Collection, never mind the fact that this man's CD collection was so mediocre it almost made me weep (as two Ed Sheeran albums and A Head Full Of Dreams completed the collection).

This song is one of the weirdest pop-friendly, mum-friendly, shitty-wedding-music songs. It is so neutral in its addressing of its subject that it allows you to project almost anything onto it. The spastic interjections of orchestra into the latter half of the song just make it seem strange, almost deconstructed, totally contradicting the overly cheery song.

Never forget where you've come here from
Never pretend that it's all real

Pretend what isn't real exactly, Take That? The nature of reality? The idea that the relationship between two people is inherently unknowable due to the utter separateness of conscious minds, and the fact that despite that the singer has "Been on this path of life for so long", he still can get no closer to saying anything is permanent? What the fuck sort of place does this sort of talk have in a discography that can otherwise be boiled down to the words 'let's get it on baby'?

We're not invincible, we're not invincible, no
We're only people, we're only people

These images seem to contradict everything else that their own calibre of love songs say. They recognise the impermanency of love, and it's... terrifying to see this mixed in with Relight My Fire. It's not trying to force words to rhyme with 'lovin'. It's not trying to say, 'hey, why don't we stay inside tonight and perhaps we can make sweet, sweet love', it's trying to tell you that one day, it will all end.

Mark my words, I will make a cover of this one day without the pastiche 80's instrumentals and the cheesy child choir bookends. Mark my fucking words.

a speech for a 60th birthday - 13/4/22

Alright. You're probably all wondering why you're here. You're here, because, in some way or another, this man has managed to imprint himself on you enough for you to travel several hours by car to a charming Welsh village in order to have a... well, let's be honest, a bit of a piss-up. Well, congratulations. You're the ones that passed the test. And, I must say, after all these years, the 'Ian Test' has been refined to something of an art. Something that feels like second nature when you're around him. And the latest version of the list has been given to me by his agent - *drop prop scroll on floor* ah, well, I mean, we can't go through the whole list, but why not start with... oh, well, you can't be religious. Or a vegan - now, previously, subrule 235 specified 'smug vegan', but he felt that was redundant. Well... now here it says you can't have a political opinion too different from his. Or be louder. Or from a too much of a different area. Or too much of a fussy eater, or too much of a faffer with a jetski, or too jovial, not jovial enough, doesn't understand his references (I could easily spend an entire evening going over the references section), doesn't understand his style of humour, doesn't understand his style of anger, too tight when it comes to getting another round, or someone who drives one of those 'Big Fiats' or the 'Big Minis'. And at the bottom there's a big, red, underlined angry scrawl that's even worse than his regular handwriting, clearly written in a blind fit of passion, that simply says, 'NO SOCKS AND SLIDERS'. After scouring the entire document, it's in fact, clear, that none of you are actually allowed to be here. But, unfortunately, science has yet to perfect the art of genetic cloning, so until that comes along, you lot will have to do.

the matrix, resurrected, reanalysed, and other such things - 8/4/22

What the fuck is this fucking film. This is totally nuts. This is utterly perfect. It's a weird blend of the Wachowskis talking through their characters and it genuinely fucking feels like this is just... what even is this. This is a wonderful simultaneous analysis of the Matrix as a franchise, 'The Matrix' as a culturally percieved thing, and also the ideas of identity and memes in the 21st century. This shit, minus all the bullshit fighting parts, really is the best thing ever. A truly strong finish to an end.

It's strange, it keeps going, there's a strange bit of self-understanding. A real 20 years (well, in the film they explain it as 60 years) has passed since the last one. But it's just nuts. There is really a sense of this self-analysis of the film by the Wachowskis. I think that's probably a part of making things like this. You have to reflect on them some way or another, and what better way to do so than by talking about the things you've made while making other things? This is essentially the film version of me writing Twelve Feet Under, Ten Years On. It's just totally fucking nuts. Usually when films reference other films as 'just pieces of media' it's outside of the franchise, but because of the very nature of the Matrix, they could weave the idea that 'The Matrix' is a piece of fiction within the universe of The Matrix itself. A video game simulating true reality in what could be a video game simulating a reality. I mean, this shit is nuts. I'm not high writing this or anything. I'm just saying that literally having a section where the 'game developers' for 'The Matrix' talk about the different meanings for 'The Matrix' which is literally just people talking about the Matrix (the actual real life one). It's extremely meta, and I'm there for it.

It's the sort of film that I don't quite get, and I wish they tried a little harder to make it a little bit more obscure, a bit less pop-friendly (well, it did bomb at the box office, but only because of the ludicrous budget, $190 million!). It's just perfect. It really does go back and understand why it goes back. I mean, there are a few too many 'oh, I've been here before' moments, but to be honest, I get that. The idea that literally no one understands what is real. It's all conflict. Weaponising of every dream, of every idea.

I just think this is not a film. You can see where the dialogue really is. A self-dialogue. The directors really did run this roost. Fuck me. This is a much better film when experienced from outside of the cultural bubble of the Matrix. You have to just see this as people doing things. Be a deconstructionist. Get stoned and watch the matrix. Get sober and watch the matrix 4. Fuck this shit.

sucre london review - 7/4/22

Well, I was given the pleasure of visiting the restaurant Sucre last night, after having not eaten out in a while. Having watched the film 'Boiling Point' a day or so before, I was ready to go into a dining environment with at least some semblance of knowledge on how a kitchen is. Not that I didn't know anything before, it's just that the film had made me more aware of the strange pseudosocial relationships between diners and servers. It's a strange one. But this is more about the food. Hopefully.

So, we got in, and the place opens up into this unexpected double-height room adorned with chandeliers made of decanters. We wondered how they had got so many, and if the metal that was holding them up would stay clamped around their delicate necks. After all, they looked like cut crystal, but unless that's where Sucre has most of their deposit, I'm going to hedge my bets and say they're Ratner quality... Anyway, the cocktails arrived, and I must say that the foam on the Spuma De Campari I had was almost stiff. After polishing the lot off, the foam remained in the glass, almost unmoved. Every cocktail I had was nice (and I do not use nice in the overused, Year 5 essay sense of the word, they were just... 'nice'. Not amazing, just 'nice'...)

But the real pleasure (as it should be) was in the food. Of course, the drinks are supposed to pair with a meal, and those of us who vaguely understood Sucre as an Argentine restaurant assumed red wine would be the best thing to go with whatever we were getting. Well, all I can say is that we were right in some ways, and wrong in others. Wanting to sample as much of the menu as possible, we went for everything on the 'small dishes' part of the menu (which, I believe, was 9 dishes total) and one singular 'large dish'. The restaurant was a sharing restaurant, with small plates of food to be offloaded onto larger plates. Unfortunately, the table had a lamp in the middle of it, which meant if you were a hungry bastard and wanted to actually try it all, you had to pass plates around. I had originally intended for us to shuffle plates round, almost christmas cracker-style, but alas, our coordination was not good enough, one cocktail and a glass of red in.

As a frequent traveller to Borough Market's Portena, I was slightly disappointed at both the quantity and the taste of the empanadas - but this is not to say they were bad in any regard. It's just that I feel that the bar has been set so high by them. The cheese had a balanced texture somewhere between gooey and liquid, and I must say the oil within the empanada itself imbued flavour into the onions and peppers without scalding me. The prawns (carabineros, unfortunately no etymological link to carabiner clip. i mean, come on! they're literally shrimp-shaped when you open them!) were excellent, if a little sparse, and I felt that even though the salsa-esque sauce at the bottom was incredible, there was no way to see it was available until we'd made our way through most of the prawns (it was put to good use, trust me). But from the appetisers, there was a clear loser. The torilla de papas was just very normal. It had a twinge of flavour to the outside section, now that I think about it, and the residual chilli flavour was quite good as well. But there's something about this sort of food that doesn't sit right with me. The other dishes on the appetisers list were warm, I'm not saying that this is a reason to serve the other one warm as well, but I mean... it's sort of an obvious decision. The insides had a good texture, admittedly, but this is only in comparison to other versions of the same dish I've had in the past. Thankfully for Sucre, this is as low as it got. And it wasn't all that low, either.

To rattle off a few more dishes, the winter tomatoes were nice, with the raddichio providing a crunchy antithesis and the anchovies just being the smoothest ones I think i'd ever had (I am overly accustomed to eating Lidl anchovies at 38p a tin). The asparagus was cooked to perfection despite not looking (or, to be honest, tasting) that much like asparagus. But the chilli flakes were crunchy, meaty, almost salty in their imparting of the chilli taste, and no matter how many I had, it always gave me the right amount of heat. Absolutely worth it. The causa and aubergine sat at the other side of the table for most of the meal, and so I only got a residual amount of both - but I wasn't too worried, because of the bass and the beef. Oh, both of those were wonderful. Beef with the tenderness of nothing I've ever seen before. Looking at the strips on the plate, I was wondering whether or not they would be stringy (as so much lightly cooked beef is) but instead found myself going back for more, asking the others for the plate to be returned to my end of the table as soon as they had had their samples. And as for the stone bass tostada, well, I can say that while I enjoyed it, I was always conscious of how milennial I felt. Lime? Avocado? Difficult to eat either with fingers (the tostada was at the bottom of a dish with a similar diameter) or with a knife and fork (try neatly cutting a taco). It felt like it had to be good. I thought 'this looks good, is made from ingredients I know I like regardless of their quality, and regardless of the specific way they're put together'. It's too easy. If we hadn't got everything on the menu for starters, this would have been the one which would have drawn my attention first. But it still tasted wonderful - and I know I use that word too much in terms of when I describe things to waiters/waitresses after they ask us 'how was the food?' while I'm sitting there with a licked-clean plate and avocado stains on my lips.

We only had one main dish, to my sadness, but it was a good one. A simple dish, a whole bream. The fish was buttery in both texture and taste, but it still had flair in the form of a subtle taste and the occasional bits of flaky but still wet skin that broke off onto a piece you'd taken off. It was topped with some seaweed, which almost seemed to visually bury the fish to begin with, but eventually we chopped and stirred it into a mixed pile of good taste which we all took turns with. Oh, and someone on my table got chips, which got me thinking about Boiling Point again. Now two bottles of wine in, we ordered dessert, which was fantastic. I would pay good money just to see them set up a stand that just sold alfajors - oh, wait, I just remembered that Portena do them as well. Well, I suppose the main takeaway from this place is that the only thing truly worth ordering that you can't get better anywhere else is the seared beef. And I guess that makes sense. Of course, we still haven't had a lot of things on the menu, and there might be something else there which is truly exceptional. But now, Sucre has a single standout dish to its name.

I feel giving a score would be childish. 8/10.

sucre's logo with a doodle i found on their website

some fundamental things - 6/4/22

After writing the essay below (Clubification & The Dance Of The Hyperreal) I decided to see if I could actually pin down those 'fundamental human problems' which seem to pop up in my writing quite a lot nowadays. I mean, they can be considered problems, but they should really be considered factualities of human existence. And, as a broader concept, existence as a human consciousness. But they're one and the same. Human tends to imply consciousness, at least in my eyes.

Fundamental Human Problems (v0.1)
1 : Point-source experience
   1.1 : Irreconcilability of those experiences
   1.2 : Not being able to know whether other consciousnesses exist
2 : Balance between thinking and experiencing
   2.1 : The circularity of thinking and experiencing
3 : Experience is filtered through sense
   3.1 : Sense is not consistent with 'true reality'
      3.1.1 : Sense itself is self-consistent
      3.1.2 : Self-consistent sense gives rise to egoic pattern recognition
   3.2 : Thought is filtered based on experience
   3.3 : Language expresses thought
      3.3.1 : Language is any inter-consciousness attempt at communication
      3.3.2 : Language is deeply imperfect and logically cannot describe true reality
4 : The unconscious psyche exists as a part of our consciousness
   4.1 : The unconscious psyche mediates thought
      4.1.2 : Therefore, it can be considered omnipotent and omnipresent
   4.2 : The unconscious psyche is a shred concept between humans
      4.2.1 : It is akin to 'true reality' in that humans attempt to experience it, but cannot
      4.2.2 : This is why the unconscious psyche cannot be used to bridge the gap described in 1.1
   4.3 : The unconscious psyche is unknowable in its entirety, since it is part of 'true reality', not the self
5 : The unconscious psyche is God

i cba to properly make a diagram

return of the return - 4/4/22

Alright, so, I was away for about a week, but that doesn't excuse the gap in this little blog thing. I mean, it's been over two weeks since my last update. I'm sure people are just begging for me to keep making this stuff. I really think they beg. They grovel for more. Well, look no further than... this! I wrote a few little rant-essays in my notebook while I was away, and I think that they should be refined for consumption in this here bloggé. But, the question is, do I keep them as horrid scrawly handwriting, or do I try and - no, actually, fuck typing all of that up. Pictures it is.

[the images]

march 2022

*insert joke about ted kaczynski being right* - 17/3/22

I've been reading a lot of essays from various people recently, and one of the more... 'provocative' ones that I have seen is Theodore J. Kaczynski's Industrial Society And Its Future. Infamous to the level of memery, it contains a scatching critique of industrial society and the direction in which it is headed. And arguably, as anyone with any sense at all can tell, he is (broadly) right. The pressures which our modern technology-driven societies force upon us are immense. People live entirely arbitrary lives, subject to the whims of corporations, governments and other such entities of enforcement. They find outlets in pointless technicianship, everything from golf to the study of a specific chemical molecule are all impulses that are not natural, but instead have been driven into us by society. But where would we get these impulses from if not a larger group of people? Well, as Kaczynski argues, these natural impulses would manifest themselves in a more positive way if people were not subjugated by these power structures.

It is very rare nowadays to see people get into something purely out of interest. Usually there is some exterior motive to it. The promise of fame, power, money, sexual gratification, etc. allows us to buy into a lot of the things that we think are valuable. There appears to be a difference which Kacsynski doesn't highlught especially well at first, which is the difference between natural impulses and modern impulses. Is it possible to have a non-modern impuls in this modern time? Even Kaczynski's impulses to act like he did could arguably be called modern, as they were only brought about into being by him reacting against the situation of modernity. They would not have arisen if modernity had not been the way it is, and therefore could be considered arbitrary. Of course, I don't think this a particularly good argument.

One of the most disappointing things that I noticed when reading this essay is that a lot of the time, he appeals to nature as if it were some perfect thing, and that everything that humans do in order to interact with it is a gross manipulation of it. Of course, we run into the hose argument. Kaczynski laments the creation of fast and long-range telecommunication networks, and says that we would probably be better off without them. But what about the predecessor to that, letters? Is the postal service a bad thing? What about the idea of writing? Of technological manipulation of any kind? Surely, at some point, we must admit that the argument runs dry. But where? It would be silly to draw a line between 'acceptable technologies' and 'unacceptable ones'. But Kaczynski seems to have a system for determining which ones are good and which ones are bad. Ones which subjugate people rather than empowering them. Take genetic engineering. It empowers in that it frees people from the horrors of genetically inhereited conditions, but it subjugates future generations in that it will create a division between those who have been modified and those who have not. Endless pieces of science fiction have been created about this sort of thing. I know that appealing to science fiction is probably not the best way to go about proving a point, but I'll be damned if you haven't read any piece of science fiction before and gone 'well, they kind of hit the nail on the head with this one...'

Even simpler things like cars both empower (people can move wherever they like) and subjugate (the road-motorway complex dominates our entire lives and where we can travel). Of course, roads are not an inherently good thing. It is strange to think that a lot of the things that you see every day are not, in fact, used for humans. We've accidentally built a society for cars that just happen to have humans in them. And the idea of self-driving cars will further frustrate and remove the human element of this.

Perhaps one of the most psychologically striking points that Kaczynski makes is that a lot of the problems of today's world stem from frustration. A deep sense of purposelessness amongst people of the middle and upper classes, those who have found themselves a source of income and perhaps find a shallow sense of purpose in that, but cannot make any more progress outside of that self-made bubble. It is disheartening when someone tells me that they're only doing a job 'for the money', since that is using labour (something which takes up a good proportion of your life) as a means to an end. This 'end' isn't even an inherently good one either, money is far from perfect, but like with all religions, people who believe in a symbolic concept will always find a way to make it real. God originated as a model for the unconscious part of the psyche, and was molded into a form of societal control thousands of years down the line. Money, a model for worth, ended up being worth more than the things it represented. Progress, a model for the development of the minds of humans, went outside itself and began to turn by itself, spinning the wheels of unregulated growth economies and pointless science.

This is a problem that I've had with many things that I've learnt about in the past. Cell biology, while factually understood, and a cornerstone of a lot of other things, means very little. The actual process of the chemicals moving in and out of membranes, and understanding the physics behind those processes, are largely meaningless to even the most dedicated human. Does it matter? Well, no, it doesn't inherently matter, no one studies cell biology as an end in and of itself. Even if there's no fame or money to be found in doing so, the idea of the attainment of meaningless, ego-friendly knowledge is not a 'good' end. We can see this sort of thing happening more and more. People are very happy to stuff themselves full with facts, part numbers, dates, scores, meaningless data, but if you tell them to think about what they're actually doing, they always have the rebuttal of, 'I'm learning something.'

Well, yes, you are learning something. The chess player learns a strategy, but it ultimately does not affect the amount of things they really know. Even the best chess players in the world are just that, people who have spent their time doing something which society deems 'intelligent' purely out of a lack of other things to do. It may be interesting, it may be deep, but that deepness doesn't come from actual depth. Chess, for all intents and purposes, is the same as beer pong. It is concievable to imagine a world where the statuses of those two activities are flipped, where chess is the frat-boy favourite and beer pong is practiced by the intellectually respected. It is possible to see a reversal of roles in this way. But for things like wondering about the deeper, sub-ego questions in life, there appears to be no such possibility. Philosophical questions, despite their modern association with 'stoner culture' can only be regarded as trivial pursuits by a society that lacks the depth to see anything in it. There is 'depth' in beer pong. There is 'depth' in chess. But there is depth in thinking about both of those things. There is depth in philosophy and its related disciplines.

People get attached to all sorts of things. Your average football fan is no less informed or depth-aware than a seasoned political commentator. If neither of them are able to step back and look at the structures on which they and their favourite teams stand, then both are as blind as each other. You can fall in love with fascism, funny memes, Felpham FC, frat parties, fucking anything at all, but without the necessary depth to understand it, it is all worthless. And that is where a lot of people stand right now. Kaczynski is right in that a lot of people lack the awareness of themselves, of their own oversocialisation, but what he perhaps overemphasises is a return to nature rather than simply more understanding of the processes which we use to understand things. But there are pitfalls. It is no use standing atop the tower and looking at it from up there. You have to look at it as if you were totally alien to it. To deconstruct a lot of things. And I'm sure this would have similar effects to Kaczynski's ideas about the 'killing of the sick man'. But what good would killing the sick man be if we ourselves would grow to the same comforts and afflictions? We have to understand what our enemy does before we conquer them, so we do not become them. That is likely what we would end up doing without understanding. We'd bulldoze our concrete wastelands to make... more concrete wastelands?

In short, Kaczynski is right about a lot of things, I just think his actual motivations seem more about revenge to a society which, admittedly, messed him up a little bit (seriously, the guy was involved in a lot of shit.)

the history of my codes - 14/3/22

So, I've always liked writing codes. and there's a serious history behind it. Well, when I say 'serious' I mean 'seriously long' - and by that I mean 'seriously long in terms of my life'. Which means very little, if we're being honest. But anyway, what I'm trying to say is that my obsession with hiding what I write from other people goes back a long way.


When I was in Year 1, there was a small library outside our classroom which has mny books to read in it. I think the centre table was also covered in other books as well. But one of these books caught my attention as a little 7 year old, namely, The Spy's Guidebook. This was the 2007 edition of a work first published in 1978, which partially explains the art style. Older, 70s'/80s' drawing styles with updated colours. Impressed upon my young mind. It's strange to think that some of the tricks that are in this book are real tricks that people used. It's... almost useful? Probably not.

Anyway, the point of this is to show that this book gave me the inspiration to make codes. The book (from what I can remember) details things like pigpen ciphers. Another book that relates to this is The Secrets of Codes: Understanding the World of Hidden Messages by Paul Lunde. The end of the book goes into detail about a lot of these sorts of simple letter-replacement codes. At least one of these aforementioned books also had a section on homeless codes. And another book from the British Museum gave me more of an interest in hieroglyphics - but! - I was angered by the complexity of the hieroglyphs themselves. Every letter (simple, quarter-of-a-second glyphs for us English writers) was intricate. I couldn't draw an eagle every single time I wanted to write 'A'. And how would I differentiate it from the owl of 'M'? Pretty silly, if you ask me.

So, what I did instead was to make the system 'better'. To have seven different types of symbols, one for ABCD, another for EFGH, and so on and so forth. But how could you tell which of A, B, C or D a given glyph was? By colour. Yes, that's right, four different colours at the absolute minimum would be required to write in this code. Black, blue, green, red. There are a few other issues as well. 1 is a single black line. 2 is two blue lines. But why have a different colour if they're not the same symbol? And to make things even worse, when you get to 5, you stop adding lines and add a circle around the four already present lines. And then 6? Totally fucking different. And then, without even exhausting all the colours (yes, that's right, 6, 7 and 8 are only distinguished by colour) I move on to a hideous symbol for 9 and 0. Oh, and space is four black lines (taking up most of the space on the page) and stop is a little... well... a stick figure. Wow. Just... amazing.

I believe that there is only one such text written in this code. It's a little thing it is about how great it is to be 8. And thus, that lets us date this piece much more clearly than other pieces in a similar style. God, this is fucking weird, right? Self-anthropology? Hahahaha.


After this, there's a big gap in the records. I mean, there was probably an attempt to make a pig latin clone after I read 'Diary Of A Wimpy Kid', but to be honest, I can't find anything there. It's unlikely it was written down, anyway. So we jump forward from 2009 to 2016 - which is definitely too big of a jump to have nothing in the middle, but we move on. In 2016, the Common Entrance exams happened. And in my old school, they happened in our gym hall. It was a strange room. And something annoying about it was that in order to stop us from being outside while the exams were happening (even in our mocks) they said we all had to wait the full length of the extra time exam before leaving. On the longest exams, this left us at the back of the room with a literal hour to kill, not even provided with anything to do during that time. Of course, apart from the paper that you kept from the exam (sneakily) and your stationery. So, obviously, even in the maths exam, people would ask for paper in the knowledge that we'd be able to draw or do whatever in the extra time.

But here's where boredom sets in. Paper planes tossed gently across a classroom were just not accurate enough. Notes were being stuck to this one basketball we had in the gym and rolled gently across the floor. Most of the time, the basketball was just a message enough. Until, of course, the on-duty examiner came to take it away. But, in this time, between doodling new Splatoon weapons, I came up with another code. One which used the same sort of principle as the last one. But instead of symbol/colour being the two attributes, I used shape/fill.

This information was initially presented on a long ruler with a removable paper strip inside. I cut myself a little slip of paper roughly the same size as the already-existing 'Planet Facts' strip inside, and wrote the letters to my code on one side. The other side was eventually filled out with flags and capitals of countries (all in black and white, for easy identification!)

There was also another idea I had which came later. Writing common words like 'and' took up most of my time, so I decided to make another 6 by 6 grid, with 6 new fills, in order to flesh out the language some more. I can't remember which words I chose to be in the 36 extra ones, but I remember some situation-specific vocab like 'teacher' coming into play. It wasn't just listing off the most common words - not that I knew what those were anyway.

This code would return about a year and a half later in a history class I had in Year 9 (according to my diary, 5/10/16) - but since it's a simple character replacement code, with complicated symbols to draw, it was neither secure nor easy to write. It was probably easier to decode than a rotational cypher.


So, up until now, I'd only ever ventured into the realm of simple substitution ciphers. One letter -> one symbol. Simple as. And so you know what I thought the best thing to make for my next code was? That's right, another one. But this time, instead of a grid of shape/fill, it would be a grid of direction/pattern! Yes, that's right, each letter corresponded to a direction and a certain pattern. ABCDEFG would take the main line left, and HIJKLMN would take it upwards. AHOV would be a blank line, and BIPW would have a single dot above the line. For a (buggy and unfinished) demo, click here.

This script was nearly used as a sort of Runic Duccian circa December 2017, before Duccian was a language in its own right. There's a decent amount of folder scribbles written in this format. But it's an absolute pain to translate - and can be translated wrong if you're looking at it from the wrong angle. Of course, it's quite easy to figure out. But anyway, this code is a horror to translate. But at least it's secure that way, since if you don't understand how it works, it's quite hard to figure out. There's also a few other errors with it, which is that long words absolutely suck with this code. They can loop in on themselves (the demo accurately (sort of) represents this) and often you have to chop words in half. Also, it takes up acres of space to write one word. But in its defense, I had made cool little cards explaining the language rather succinctly. But clearly, there is lots of room for improvement. 6/10.

Around at the same time was Utopian Language, a latin-clone conlang (rather than code) that got rid of the horror and complexity of latin cases by trading them all in for one system that was admittedly quite easy to read. Of course, this legibility was thanks to the fact that every word was basically just a mangling of a synonym that already existed in english. For an example, 'day' went to 'røt', and therefore, every time word was based on that word. There are some real offenders, like 'fractos' for divide, and 'billona' for billion. Oh, and 'freze' for still. But the idea of having tense be denoted by a single letter at the end of a word is still an interesting idea to me. I wonder how simple I could make a comprehensive tense system. But that's for another time. Oh, and Utopian (relating to TUFOC) was eventually turned into Duccian (relating to Ducc).


And here we are, at the stage where I finally thought that single letter codes themselves weren't good enough. Enter the dawn of the insurmountable task, to represent human experience in as few symbols as possible. It's possible to do it in just one, of course, and you can just have every experience represented by a different number of said symbol. But that would absolutely suck. Of course, you could also have one symbol for every experience, but there's a pointlessness to that too. How would you be able to relate the symbols together if they all represented entirely different things? I think that language gives us vague enough tools so that we can relate them together. If we all knew exactly what we were talking about, all of the time, language would lose a lot of its mediative power.

Philosophical questions aside, let's begin our hunt for fundamental concepts! Originally, I made a list of quite a few concepts, starting with physical, numerical and mental ideas. Then, from there, each symbol would build on those tenets, making more and more specific symbols which would eventually branch out into every sort of 'thing'. Of course, this task would be hard. And it was. And I didn't even finish it. No, come late 2020, little progress had been made.

Of course, with every single conlang (because this is more of a conlang than a code - actually, it's both?) the first thing I did was to try and translate the opening passage of Ducc. And this caused me to have to double the vocab list. It was evident that I was going to run out of symbols for things at some point. Plus, the amount of simple symbols were really already running low. I mean, we're talking a paragraph in, everyone. It's kind of writable, but if you translate something into this, there is no fucking chance of getting it back. Symbols scattered everywhere and very little way of finding them easily.

Something had to be done about this.


Oh yes, there's a climax to this bit. I think I've found two codes which I'm happy with. One being the sort of 'symbolic representation of everything' thing which I really just felt was a good thing to do (to force me to think simply, logically, clinically even) and the other being a simple, quick and readable letter-replacement code. But I'll lead you through them both at the same time. They both arise from their predecessors, there's a lot of similarity there.

My latest letter-replacement code came from the idea that some letters have a line going through the middle. A, B, E, F, G, H, P, R, S and Z all have this to some extent. It's not the full extent of the alphabet, and there's probably a few more if you include lowercase letters. So imagine writing along a skewer that goes through the middle of the letters. Now, flip that skewer until it's facing downwards - oh, but babe, don't let the letters slide off. That centre line is for readability. Now remove certain aspects of the letters until they're simplified. It was at this point that I realised that the centre-lines were A) hard to draw small and B) actually decreasing readability. So they went, and suddenly, I was left with a load of random squiggles on the page. So then some minor adjustments had to be made. Rather than 'E' being represented by a 'downwards box' so to speak, I substituted it for a single line. And more and more simplifications were made to distinguish between S and M, & Z and W. And various other simplifications and shortenings. Making everything fit on one line. It's fast to write, dense, can be read reasonably easily (by me, at least) and quite good-looking. The only thing is is that it flows downwards, so line lengths are limited by the tradtional horizontal movement of latin script.

But the real project lies in Symbal. Now, it might be a bit early to declare it the best code/conlang I've ever created (there's not much competition, to be honest) but it is the best code/conlang I've created. It really, really strips things back. I'm not entirely sure how muc practical it use has for actually translating texts, but it does something else important. It makes you get to the point. It makes you say 'this is what I believe' because everything is expressed in terms of fundamental ideas. There's no need to write essays in Symbal, because it's literally right there, baked into the idea of the language itself. Of course, the idea behind the language could, in and of itself, be flawed, but surely, every argument like that also applies to arguments in any language? We think that English is based on something fundamental, that the words we say describe the things that are actually around us, but they don't. But, let's be real, it's a fucking lot easier if we pretend they do.

Symbal has just 25 different symbols (one less than english!) that express most things.

● [existence]
⌽ [time / tense]
┼ [space]
┐ [true]
─ [thought]
⼌ [structure]
☐ [matter]
△ [property]
○ [information]
·· [being]
◎ [other]
◒ [self / i]
I [size]

+ [conjunction]
= [equivalence]
! [limit]
^ [very]
v [less]
x [not / negation]
⊂ [of]
→ [to / causation]
⫯ [subset]
⎸ [singular]
║ [plural]
w [vague]

Yes, that's the lot. They combine together in various ways, the positions of the symbols and nesting of the [structure] concept to provide structure within the words themselves. Some very simple examples would be:
[[other] + [plural]] = [◎║] = group
[to] + [existence] = →● = create

That's all I have time for tonight, everyone. And Symbal is still absolutely being worked on, trying to make things more streamlined. But one thing's for sure, and that is that it's a lot easier to draw than type!

scribbles from 21.104 one - 7/3/22

scribbles from 21.104 is (probably only a 2 or 3 part) series that details the mini essays that i write during my logic lectures. the numbered sections are because the snippets of text are literally all over the page.

(1) we have a predisposition to messing with language. looking at the modern understandings of words like 'shoppe' it makes more sense why 'p' is pronounced the way it is in modern english.

(2) but this doesn't explain the addition of the term "é". accented letters are not a feautre in modern english unless we borrow from other languages. but even then, often the accents are ommitted. cafe. deja vu. we have simply grown past their use. so why have they come to convery a sense of seriouslessness, perhaps even a silliness or playfulness? well, most people my age understand words like 'shoppe' through the lens of things like Horrible Histories.

(3) HH shaped us by presenting 'old timey' spellings as comical and it's true that there is an element of humour in deliberately adding letters to somethinggé. it doesn't change the pronounciation. it changes the semantic stress. "don't focus on the word" it says -

(4) "focus on the fact that there's a humourous add-on". Frogge is a good example of this. we're supposed to understand that 'Frog' is funny, but the idea itself can be played either in a humourous or non-humourous way. it could be relevant to the joke that the character is a frog. but where there is less humourous context (such as a punchline) the word 'Frog' has been altered in such a way that demonstrates it is a punchline. 'Frog' is not a one-liner. 'Frogge' is.

(5) think of Rowan Atkinson's deliberate emphasis of a normal name like 'Bob'. when the sounds are emphasised in an unconventional manner, they seem new to us again, and we can see them as funny again. there's a difference that is shown to us.

new words from the cambridge dictionary - 7/3/22

So, today I was looking at something on the internet, and I don't... well, I do know what I was doing. I had looked up the lyrics to Concorde by Black Country, New Road in order to find out whether anyone had interpreted them as an allegory for illness, but alas, no. But someone had linked to a phrase called 'Concorde fallacy'. Despite what I think about the term 'economic viability' meaning absolutely jack shit, it was a throughly disappointing read, seemingly created by Americans who couldn't believe that Europeans had created something that beats the ever loving shit out of literally anything else that's ever been made as a plane. I mean, it's literally a million times better than anythng else that could fly at its speed. Yet, its presence languished going into the 21st century, I only experience it as sort of a shell of itself. I mean, New York in 3 and a half hours? What... what the FUCK?

But I'm getting ahead of myself.

I then, dismayed by the idea of 'Concorde fallacy' decided to look on the dictionary site to see what other new words they were coming up with. So I found a list, and my god, some of these are just utterly awful. Most of them are portmanteaus, at best. There's also hackneyed, overplayed acronyms - like FONO for 'fear of normality' as in, fear of returning to normality. Honestly. Did they even try? Or how about 'dial artist', which is someone whose job it is to 'alter a watch by painting or engraving it in a unique design'. God fucking dammit. The whole thing reeks of control. And everyone's like (in their polls) "Oh boy what a great word and valued addition to the english dictionary."

There's also an abundance of cringeworthy pet-related words. "Carbon pawprint" is a pun, not a fucking dictionary entry. After about ten minutes of scrolling, I found one good word. "Holistorexia". Now, I get it. I sort of understand the mangled etymology of using 'holistic' and '-rexia', presumably lifted from 'anorexia'. I mean, it's... not good. But then it goes right back to "vaccine envy". Just piss off. You can add any word before envy and we know what it means. Because that's the definition of envy. Nothing changes when 'vaccine' is put in front of it. It still just means envy relating to vaccines. Fuck off.

What about this absolute atrocity of a word: silvfluencer. As in like 'silver' (older woman) 'influencer' (idiot). I mean, it's just... an absolute car crash of a word. How do you pronounce it? It seems like no one would actually ever say this word in real life, just because it's a horrible mess of sounds that just don't fit. 'vfl' in the middle of a word. end me.

Ok, then there's just ones like 'blue food'. I'm going to give you five seconds to figure out what that means.

Yeah, it means, and this is ripped right from the article, "food that comes from the sea, such as fish, shellfish and seaweed" JUST CALL IT FOOD THAT COMES FROM THE SEA OR JUST MAYBE REDESIGNATE THE PHRASE SEAFOOD I MEAN IT LITERALLY COMES FROM THE GODDAMNED SEA AUGH

"Energy island" to mean 'wind turbine platform'
"Soonicorn" to mean 'soon to become a $1B valued company'
"Vitamin S" to mean 'the positive benefits of social contact'
"Vertical drinking" to mean 'drinking while standing up' - i mean what the fuck right?

Regardless of the word, it seems to be that people just don't understand that words just come about. They're not made. It's not a production process. It's survival of the catchiest, the most poignant. I mean, just look a the dictionary of obscure sorrows. The way in which their (admittedly manufactured) words work is just utterly wonderful. Sonder. It's meaningful. It evokes thoughts of solitude, wonder, rather than just feeling like the two things ham-fistedly mashed together. I just want people to be able to think of words that just work. It's a lot harder now, because the use can't spread without it becoming popularised immediately by the internet. That's why I think a slowing down of the rate of communication is crucial for the survival of a society. To impose a 'speed of talk', perhaps. To give things time to be created in their own world and then spread to others. Not to feel like every new piece of terminology has to immediately compete on a global scale. To reintroduce the charm of specific areas, of dialects, languages, of the ingenuity and horror that goes to them. I mean, it seems to be only recently that we've thought about things that we have to come up with a new word for. A new things arises, a new word has to be made for it. I think it's the same sort of plague of terminal overthinking that affects us all. We think about things so much we've forgotten how to do. Perhaps it's that the whole of society can be seen as a child, now reaching the end of their teenage years, and critically thinking about the things they've done before. It's a painful process at times. It's not healthy if it's done too much. But the unexamined life is not worth living, right?

the origins of the origins of the - 5/3/22

I'm sure the last thing anyone wants on this tiny, piece of crap website is something explaining the origin of said tiny, piece of crap website. It feels wrong. The fact that we have a clear and precise definition of how this came into being and we can't even properly figure out how any of the dinosaurs looked like? I mean, come on! It's just interesting to me how things get recorded. It's interesting how the progression of the record of history now involves events where historical events are involved. We're talking metahistory here, folks, and it's a concept that you're going to have to get used to.

So the 'thing' which most of this blog covers is my life. And the events in it are recorded in diary entries, pieces of art, et cetera. But then, along comes the critical reflection on my own works. The analysis of work. Things like a chart that I made categorising days into ratings from 0.0 to 10.0. There's a bit of analysis going on there. But now, this website is part of the next generation of that. It's analysing the analysis. It's looking at the snarky, well-educated 2022 narrator of Twelve Feet Under, Ten Years On and realising - hey, there's more to be said here about me than the thing I wrote about. Which would be the same for everything I write. There's probably more value in analysing me through the things I write rather than the things that I write about (ie. the actual events which happened).

But what is analysis, if not an event? Thus, the cycle can continue forever, analysis of analysis of analysis of analysis of analysis, and so on and so forth. It feels good to think about what we've done, what we've achieved in days past, but thinking about where we're going is... actually just as debilitating. Living in the now, no matter how 'not cool' the diea seems, is what we have to do if we are to avoid falling into the trap of either not analysing our own lives or overanalysing them. I mean, even Kant agrees on this, for fuck's sake! Kant! A person who is usually so associated with scholarship and rigidity actually said 'yeah, uh, ignorance really is bliss'. Goddamn.

'cover letter' to Secret London - 4/3/22

To whom it may concern,

I'm not going to wax lyrical about the experience that I've had writing things for London Speed - it's a powersports dealership, and I will be the first to admit that it doesn't have all that much in common with the work that Secret London puts out. But what I do have is a passion for writing, and a passion for living (specifically, for living in London). So if this application is thrown out for not containing enough 'key words' or 'analytic markers', well, so be it.

I'm not interested in working for a company that just lists out things. I love to explain why these events are valuable to Londoners, why these things are really worth seeing. And equally, when they're not worth it. And I hope you can see that in this cover letter. It might seem like the worthless drivel of someone who doesn't actually have a proper cover letter prepared, but believe me, this is more than just drivel. It's drivel that a new generation of social media entrants love to see. A bit of cynicism. A bit of irony. A heaping of post-irony. And a boatload of self-awareness. Because in today's age, it seems like that is the way forward. No longer are things being advertised for their own good - no! The advertisers seem to reflect on the world their adverts have created. An example you might remember is KFC's satirical campaign about their imitators - "AFC through ZFC".

The point is, is that total sincerity on the behalf of the media producer isn't the standard any more. More and more people have a feeling that unabashed sincerity doesn't feel 'right' and that post-ironic self-awareness is much more engaging in a world of faceless brands. Think of the potential! Secret London as the face of a new London. One that understands what makes it good, and what makes it bad.

That is what I intend to bring to the table.

(this is the oldest post on this blog)