Just a couple days of reading books

Over the last three days, I have been reading a paperback copy of The Dark Fields (Limitless) by Alan Glynn (2001). It was something that I picked up on eBay. It appears that somebody sold me a book they got from the clearance bin at Half Priced Books. Overall the book was in fantastic condition. Only one dogged eared page separated it from basically being brand new. For some oddly peculiar reason, I had wanted to read the book in paperback version. That had been important to me at the time of the purchase. Alan Glynn had a great story idea. It translated to a pretty entertaining movie (Limitless) featuring Bradley Cooper (2011). The book did not really hold my attention very well, but some parts of it were engaging enough to keep me going.

During the course of reading the book I was listening a recently released Dream Theater album called New Millennium (Live) which was released in 2017. It may very well be my favorite Dream Theater recording. I’m not sure why exactly, but over the last month or so I have been listening to a lot of Dream Theater. Listening to albums and reading books is pretty much the way things are going these days. It has been awhile since writing with a single minded purpose drove me forward. Maybe something will spark that single minded purpose and help me drive into the deep end of writing. My writing habits tend to be highly extreme. I either produce a ton of prose or no prose at all.

My nightstand holds a stack of books that will be read at some point before coming to rest on a shelf in my office. We have a library in our house. It resides in my office. Some of the classic are collecting dust and other books that I have come across are simply resting on a shelf. Having a home library of books is probably an inherently good thing. Reading, learning, exploring, and enhancing understanding help you to strive forward.

This post has not yet reached the minimum cutoff of 500 words. That should be easy to fix assuming the right amount of effort and time get mixed together.

Spending time engaging in the act of writing generally begets more writing. Rain is rarely if ever described or categorized as a single drop that fell and was gone. Writers tend to write like rain. It would be strange to read prose like the following…

Clouds pulled across the sky throughout the afternoon. A certain amount of darkness had come before nightfall. Gloomy and frightful weather influenced everything anyway had planned. Overcast and threatening the clouds reminded everyone of what was coming. A small amount of thunder even rolled along to ensure anyone who had not looked up was aware of the impending storm. All of the wind and lack of sun and forced a dramatic drop in the temperature. It was a lot of backdrop for the one drop of rain that fell harmlessly in a open field. Nobody was around to even take note that it had happened. That was the only precipitation that occurred.

A simple trip to the Denver Botanical Garden

Utterances have grown exponentially. So much remains unsaid. Shouting into the digital commons has become easier, but engaging in meaningful conversation feels harder. Social media allows for engagement without any meaningful effort toward interpersonal interactions. My goal for the rest of the year returning to my original writing style. That style produces prose that resonates with me. That style remains less detached and more focused on moments and thoughts.

We could rush through the moment.

Remembering everything that happened changes things. It is the subtle details that really set the stage for memory. Walking into the botanical garden it was not the two sets of doors or the change in temperature between the inside and outside. It was looking at a poster on the wall about upcoming events and taking that first strong smell of the botanical garden that caught my attention.

I could write about the moment in more detail.

We had decided to go to the botanical garden. The weather seemed ok for the trip. It was the weekend. A trip of some type was about to happen. Today it was going to be a trip to a garden. A short 20 minute drive was easy enough. Parking in the underground structure always makes our botanical garden visits interesting. We generally arrive early enough to park in the first main area. That makes leaving very easy. The entrance and the exit are in the same place on the same floor of the garage.

Getting to the botanical garden involves a simple elevator ride with a stoller or wagon up a level. Taking a wagon up the stairs never seems practical. It is a quick elevator and the door opens right up to facing the actual entrance of the garden. It involves a short walk and crossing the street. Traffic has to stop. The crosswalk is just in the middle of a busy street. The lights flash and traffic stops for about 30 seconds. You make your way across the street to the glass doors of the entrance.

During the summer the temperature between the ticket office entrance and the garden is striking. You walk in and get tickets. Things seem colder and then you walk out through another set of glass doors to see the actual garden. After you open the door you still have to walk a few feet to see the actual garden, but the smells and sounds of the botanical garden catch your senses and remind you what nature smells like. Walking from a parking garage in the middle of a city to a botanical garden really does introduce you to very striking smells.

Naturally, i could take that writing about the moment even deeper.

During our weekends the kids need an outing. Staying around the house all day never turns out well. This weekend our adventure would be a trip to the botanical garden. It always involves a lot of walking and you have a lot to see and experience. The twenty minute drive is ok. Nobody really minds those short drives. It is the really long ones that cause cabin fever in a car. Shorter drives don’t even involve car snacks. Today was a red rider wagon day. The wagon has seen better days and one of the canopy poles needed a slight repair before we could begin our journey. Electrical tape and a long screw were enough to make the repair. It only took about 5 minutes and we were ready to go.

Parking for the botanical garden is always on the left of the one way road. The garage is much large than it appears from the outside. It is a mountain of concrete. Early in the day parking is pretty easy. You do not really have to venture very far into the garage. The entrance and the exit are in the same spot. The first ring of parking is pretty easy to navigate it really only involves one loop. The stairs would be easy enough to take without the red rider wagon. An elevator ride up one floor takes a moment. On really crowded and busy days waiting for the elevator can be a difficult end to an adventure. Kids do not really handle waiting very well when they are tired.

As the elevator door opens you can see the glass doors of the entrance to the botanical garden. It is a short walk to the crosswalk for the one way street. A simple button push starts the light cycle. Soon enough traffic on that busy one way street will stop long enough for people to cross. This the perfect example of where an architectural feature could have allowed people to go over or under without cross the street. That design was never put in place. After a quick wait the walk to the glass doors is pretty easy.

Large glass doors open up to the ticket office and gift shop. All sorts of things are for sale to the left and the ticket folks are sitting on the right. At this point, it is a simple scan and go operation for members of the botanical garden. Every time walking through the entrance involves during the summer involves a sudden temperature change. It is striking enough to remember. Your sense of smell gets used to the the gift shop and the conditioned air just long enough for the surprise that is waiting on the other side ot the second set of doors.

Nature jumps out at you and your senses pull in all sorts of memories related to plants, flowers, and the outdoors. Going from a parking garage to the botanical garden triggers a frenzy of memories for me and it revitalizes me for the day.

The process of writing about the moment is influenced by both the passion you bring to the writing session and the time you have to write.

Getting used to writing on a Chromebook

Today may be a day full of writing. Part of this week was spent traveling to Table Rock Lake. I’m not really one for enjoying the full lake experience. That is probably not going to change any time soon. It took me a long time to get used to writing on a Chromebook.

I’m pretty comfortable writing on my ASUS Flip C100PA Chromebook. It is possible that at some point I’ll make the switch up to the ASUS Flip C302CA. For a couple of weeks it seemed like I was going to end up buying the Samsung Chromebook Pro. The purchase was very close to happening. I actually got one preordered on on Amazon. Strangely, it did not ship and during the delay I elected to actually just stay with my C100PA for a little bit longer.

The keyboard has a little bit of travel. Typing for a long period of time can work out ok, but the keyboard does not have any backlights. I do not really need lights on my keyboard, but it always does seem to be something that I look for as a feature.

Today was the first day I gave streaming video no my cell phone a try. The YouTube gaming application allows streaming in 720P. It was pretty easy to accomplish. My first effort did not have enough bandwidth to work correctly. The stream kept freezing and was pretty much unwatchable. However, the second attempt at a live stream worked out ok. I must have had enough bandwidth to make it happen.

Streaming video is interesting. Without question the written word will stand the test of time. Our video quality today will probably be obsolete within a few years. Things will probably be changing significantly over the next 5 years. Both video and images will end up being an immersive experience. It could end up having a certain degree of depth, a higher quality level, and views that span from 360 degree to spherical.

Within the next 5 years the experience will probably still be from a single point of view. It will be from a single point in time and from a single place. The big push would be to have an immersive experience that does not conform to a fixed point in time or where the point of view can be moved around.

Imagine taking a hike and being able to record video in a way that somebody can retrace your steps within the video, but elect to look a different way or change the progression of time to accelerate a sunset.

Working on a new publishing plan

My thoughts have drifted toward doing a daily or weekly top five topic vlog. Over the last couple weeks, I have been aggregating artificial intelligence and other news links on my Twitter account. It would be pretty easy to just do a daily or weekly show that covered my Twitter feed. That would give me an opportunity to talk about things that have caught and held my attention. It could be a good way to go to produce some interesting content. Overall, my vlog experience has been interesting. It is something that helped me learn a lot about the process and a lot about how to edit video. At some point, I’m going to convert my notes on the matter to a more long form piece of writing.

That is always the goal at this point. I have so many false start or never starts that need to be flushed out into full on prose. Even the best intentioned writer has a hard time keeping up with the tidal waves of creativity. That is a much better situation than having to break through a never ending writer’s block. Finding the topics that can compel you to write for hours a time is the key to capturing passion and using it help push things forward.

Some issues are so engrossing that you almost feel compelled to write about them. Those are the issues you have to seize on. Those are the ones you have to push forward. Finding the spark that kicks off a writing session becomes key. It becomes about converting passion into action. That speaks to one of the central questions in how things get organized. It takes a community to push some things forward. It could be a community of place, circumstance, or issues. It takes a spark to help the community move forward toward a common goal. Given the current state of civility and the broader social fabric of the nation only a truly focused community could make progress. That type of focus cannot be discounted and it certainly cannot be sustained without a common spark that was shared between the members of the community trying to work together.

People cared deeply about chlorofluorocarbons and took action to help protect the ozone layer. That type of focus has to be nurtured and encouraged to help solve the grand problems of our time.

Wondering where all my old laptops went

It seems like a long time ago that I wrote on a Sony VAIO Laptop VGN-T250P. Some of that writing happened back in Boulder, Colorado. That seems like a long time ago. It was a much simpler time. That little laptop worked well enough. Processing power did not really stand out. Portability and the oddly cramped keyboard are the things that I remember most about it. The device was not revolutionary, but I do remember it. Over the years I have had a few laptops. Both cell phones and laptops are something that seems to get updated every few years. My latest writing system happens to be an ASUS Flip C100P. The keyboard does not have enough travel, but you get used to using it after some time.

I’m gearing up for the 4th of July tomorrow. You could probably say that I have been slightly under the weather recently. It seems to be a rare summer cold or maybe just a bug of some type. Things like that tend to wipe me out for a little bit.

Learning how to use Twitter took me longer than I expected. For the last couple of weeks, I have been using Twitter to share links to articles that I enjoyed reading. That seems to be a great use of Twitter. It has been working out pretty well. Sharing links is pretty easy to do and is something that I will continue to do moving forward.

My research interests have pivoted almost exclusively to artificial intelligence. That may be a topic that is still developing, but it has enough occuring to keep me busy for years. I have contemplated developing a weekly artificial intelligence recap show on YouTube. That may be something that I give a try here soon. Sometime in the next few weeks I’ll give it a shot.

Keeping up with observations

I actually got to see a Samsung Chromebook Plus at Best Buy the other day. The 3:2 screen ratio is different from what I expected. My ASUS Flip has worked fine, but I really want to move to a USB Type C system. The ASUS proprietary charging cable for the flip does not support mobile charging. We will see if I can accept the 3:2 screen ratio. I’m looking for a new daily writing computer/Chromebook to get back to producing more than 1,000 words per day.

Writing seems like the thing to do. Writers write. The more unfortunate part of that endless wave of writing happens to be all the writing about writing. Weblogs seems to specialize in that form of banality. It could be worse. It could be Vogon poetry. We all seem to be safe from that scourge. My writing is about to focus more on producing observations. It is going to be focused on trying to make sense of complex things. That means venturing beyond the intersection of technology and modernity.

It would be less than bold and daring to take on the observational style of Alexis de Tocqueville. Hot takes have become the epitome of social media personalities. The internet is full of hot takes. My writing style has always been a little more reserved. Our observations have to be about more than the moment. History has a certain weight about it.

We are all keeping up with observations these days. News networks are nothing more than echos of observations past their prime. Talking heads just seem to echo news on a repeating cycle. That is pretty much the basis of cable news networks. Broadcasting news on location would be hard to manage logistically and expensive. It is much easier to report and talk about things that have happened vs. reporting about things that are actively occurring. That might seem like a small distinction, but it makes a huge difference.

We summarize forward

Accept it. Now would be the moment to decide. Imagine the power of that moment. The decisions that could be made. The directions that could be taken. For me it works like this mantra. “We summarize forward.”

Everything we hold true remains nothing more than a summary. We summarize all of our past experiences, theories, or expectations. All of that gets brought together as we move forward from the moment. Within that framework we summarize forward and move on to the next moment. It is the moment right here and right now that we can take action. Things that happened before or will happen are captive to and are captive to a moment. It could have been a moment that already happened or it could be the moment that is happening right now.

Even in my best moments it remains hard to push forward. At one point, I had decided to adopt veganism. At my best I can manage to eat mostly vegetarian, but that is pretty much the edge of where my efforts take me. That pretty much results in eating vegetarian breakfast and lunch. Dinner remains the one meal that really trips me up. Maybe a stronger degree of commitment would help me push forward.

Even with the best intentions possible some tasks will always be much harder than others. Maybe it would be easier to summarize forward about the possible ways to fix my adherence to better eating choices. It might be easier to elect within this moment to take action and fix things moving forward.

Watching Frank Mason III get drafted

It seemed like a good idea to watch the NBA draft tonight. The NBA draft is fairly easy to watch. It only lasts 2 rounds. Every pick goes by pretty quickly. I was curious where stand out University of Kansas basketball star Frank Mason III would end up being drafted. Pontificators seemed to be guessing the 2nd round would be where Frank would go. That turned out to be true. I’m not sure if the Sacramento Kings will end up keeping the pick. They probably should. I will make sure to pick up some Denver Nuggets tickets when the Sacramento Kings come to play.

Garnering attention when it matters most

Distractions abound these days. Digital frontiers that were supposed to enable freedom seem to have empowered distraction. We have so much potential to unleash. Technological gains are about to redefine our understanding of possibility. These are the years that will define our course moving forward. We have so much potential to unlock. A potential that we allow to be distracted by a series of things that matter only in the moment. Garnering attention when it matters most remains one of the hardest things to do at the intersection of technology and modernity.

Over the last few weeks my television set has been turned to CNN. I even listen to the CNN channel in my car. Mixed with a steady diet of Washington Post articles I have tried to pay attention to politics. Now seems to be a key point in time to really understand what is going on in the world. It is easy to falter from caring about the course of our democracy. It is much harder to try to participate in the process and keep up with the increasingly hard to follow political landscape.

Even the largest televised events draw only a fraction of our attention. No newspaper or internet website can command the attention of the nation. The last point of common discourse most people share revolves around either high school or a test at the department of motor vehicles. Our shared history and experience helps create the common points we can build on to move forward. It seems that out points of divergence are expanding. Even a well organized campaign can only bring a small part of the equation into focus.

We have to figure out the best methods to garner the most attention when it really matters. We have to figure out how to set the stage for the next ten years. We are on the verge of seeing technological complexity ramp up in ways that are almost hard to imagine. That complexity may be the first way of change that cannot be easily consumed or understand with a reasonable amount of effort. Technology that may be easy enough to use, but may be complex enough that it cannot be easily reproduced or reverse engineered.