Mid-March 2023 Brain Dump

Goodness gracious, ladies and gentlemen. My computer is full of windows, those windows all have too many tabs open, the online discourse is, as I imagine kids in some generation might have said, poppin, and so I’m going to try and sort out some thoughts here. Some are about the broader world, some are about me specifically. Let’s start there.

I found a lovely “third place”

In Seattle, there’s a series of bookstores called “Third Place Books.” The idea is your first place is home, your second place is work, and they want to be your third place. I love Third Place Books, and I used to visit their pub frequently. It was a great place to write.

I moved to New Zealand over five years ago, but I’ve never been able to figure out a new “third place.” I’ve lugged my laptop to a few bars and had good experiences, but no place that grabbed me as my new place. But this weekend I may have found it. It looks like this and I can’t wait to go back.

I dusted off a 17 year old project

I used to run a little social networking site and I recently brought it back to help me learn about databases. So far it’s gone really well! Today I’d like to draw your attention to this quick video of me experimenting with the form.

What’s going on here? Well, I asked chatGPT to help me make a form where you can type what you did that day, and put any emojis at the front of the textfield. Then, when you hit enter, show another form. It took me about a minute to write that description, and the code it returned worked on the first try. It was amazing. (I made this breakthrough at the “third place” above!)

I made my first real steps into academia

I’m considering getting my Master’s degree, which means I need to switch gears from informational interviews into picking a research direction and applying for it. I reached out to two nice folks and asked for coffee. I got a response and was invited to an art talk. But not just any art talk, JODI!

Let’s talk about the early 90s net art scene

At the verrrrrrry start of what we’d now call “internet culture” or being “very online,” there were some notable internet experimenters and provocateurs. I’ve lost track of the hundreds of different sparks I came across over time, but JODI was part of that original big bang. And they’ll be visiting Wellington this week!

My networking went even better than expected

When I mentioned that folks like JODI, Joshua Davis, and the k10k crew had always inspired me, I was invited to dinner/drinks afterwards with JODI and the person who could end up being my advisor when I get my Master’s. I can’t wait! It’s in a few days.

In other academic news

But before all of that, I’m performing a guest lecture tomorrow evening. It’s a talk I’ve given many times, all around the world. I even designed an entire day-long class around it. So I know the material very well, and I’m excited to chat with a new group of students about it. Huzzah!

What a perfect day

Wellington is a fascinating city because it has a ton of hikeable green space throughout the middle of everything, plus beaches, plus mountain biking. So yesterday we drove five minutes to Oriental Bay and had what could have been a Hollywood plot-style Perfect Day at the Beach. Ice cream at the end, of course.

But also hello 2008

Silicon Valley Bank went into receivership yesterday. Only two things can happen from here: everyone’s deposits will either be protected, or they won’t. If they are, people will be upset about another big bailout. If they aren’t, well, hold that thought.

I don’t like it when people use ellipses all throughout their writing. I especially don’t like it when they use two, four, or more dots. I don’t like it when people use ellipses as a way of saying “I am pondering this concept,” and I think the usage of it makes you look like a burned out hippie or high school student.

But I think that this might be one of the only times I ever thought of using an ellipsis in that way. I want to leave off with a bit of a “who knows” cliffhanger. I want to explain that I think this will be a big deal one way or another. And so here we go.

If there’s a bailout, people will be upset. But if there isn’t …