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User Story

Even though I am the creator of, I am also it’s number one user. The process is currently an automated job runs at 6:30 am in the morning about 30 minutes before I typically wake up and takes the last 100 stories from my RSS readers, folds and rearranges lines of text and creates a unpublished blog post of that. The second thing that happens is that all the image urls are stripped out from these stories, downloaded and then randomly what I call “coalesced” but really they are composited or superimposed over each other 3 at a time. Sometimes images that have already been composited are composited w/ other images so the various layers can sometimes appear to be more than 3 images blended together. I create 100 of these images, then randomly, as in the computer selects 25 of them sight unseen by me, which are imported into the WordPress media library. Then I look at these 25 images and manually pick the ones I like and insert them into the blog post. Usually about 5 – 10 images in post or whatever I feel like putting in that day.

A “coalesced” image from today’s cutup.

Some days are better than others. Also sometimes there are less than 25 images to choose from, because the script I have so far written to randomly select the images and import them into WordPress is not smart enough to know it has already chosen an image. Which is an enhancement to the project planned for the future. The goal is to fully automate the process so that in the morning, I would just look at the cutup that has been produced for that day. The only thing I would control is the feeds which the RSS reader is subscribed to.

I guess it’s worth thinking about what is in the RSS reader, and overwhelmingly they are just websites who’s content I am interested in. But over time I have just included popular sites and not so popular sites I randomly come across. Some are even sites that I do not necessarily want to read but I want to try to include a diverse range of viewpoints.

Which maybe gets me to the point of this post today. The surprises that happen. The latest feed I have subscribed to in the reader, posted this story recently:

And the reason I discovered this blog was because one of the images that got randomly created caught my attention.

A composited image featuring Robert Anton Wilson.

I was surprised and pleased to see the late Robert Anton Wilson staring back at me from one of my coalesced images. Maybe not that surprised, I mean a lot of the feeds I subscribe to might mention him. I was also pleased w/ the aesthetic quality of the composited image. I think RAW himself would have thought it was a pretty neat collage. So eventually I got curious where the image came from, so I plugged “Robert Anton Wilson” into the search function of my RSS reader and found the story it came from.

It was from Wil Wheton’s Tumbler and look it embeds in WordPress nicely. But Wil Wheton picked it up from, yep you guessed it that blog I previously linked. And I would have not noticed that story if I hadn’t created the random coalesced image. And further reading the new blog I became aware of led me to find an inspiring project that has a similarity to me own:

It reminds me of reading many of RAW’s books, it was not so much his original writing and ideas I subscribed to but the many references to other writers and thinkers he introduced me to that had a lasting effect on me.

So the point is, the thing that was not so apparent to me when starting this project — the project of cutting up my RSS feeds — gives me another entrance into the information morass which it actually is. Instead of doom scrolling through all the stories let random chance operate and allows me another way into the content which is aggregated there. A creative way of dealing with the information overload. Cut the information up.

So anyway the what I call the collage project, which is is not exactly operating how I want it to, but I now at least have a MVP, the minimum viable product of what I want it to become. Right now it takes me anywhere from a few minutes to an hour to create a post and the goal is to get it fully automated. I’m wanting to go work on another project now but I am committed to creating one cutup a day if possible. Looking at new ways of rearranging the text and bringing in some machine learning techniques is what I intended to do, but I have to build from the point I’ve gotten to now.

Too lazy to categorize

Yī píng xī lā zǐ

I have been making a lot of collages lately and am indeed publishing a whole other blog full of them on a daily basis:

Today there is some overflow like this one:


What I would say if I was not afraid of reprisals to from China.

Dear China,

Yes we want your money. But slandering Australia is New Zealand’s job, why are you all up in our business?


Someone who disclaims all opinions expressed in this blog, please don’t revoke my visa I love your country.

In other news, this:

Lucid Musk Couple

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Buckley on Mcluhan

I found this interesting, listening to a debate from 1967 between William F. Buckley and Timothy Leary.

It surprises me on one hand how I think Leary is a bit far out, but then on the other hand being far out is good. I am not sure why he clung to comparing the psychedelic experience to religion, but then again I am pretty far removed from any psychedelic experiences right now. Maybe if I was allowed to have them, from a legal standpoint, I would be a bit more religious. I have been enjoying these videos, the many debates Buckley had. From James Baldwin to Allen Ginsberg.

I’d sure like to read more about this arc of Buckley’s encounters with these sort of progressive intellectuals and what we can gather from it today.

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Why I voted

To my memory I had not voted in an American general election since 2004 and I didn’t think I would ever vote in one again. As far as I can recollect I have never voted for a Democrat before either. Nor a Republican for that matter of course. You see I am what they call the radical left. In 2004 I voted for a man named David Cobb. I didn’t know much about the candidate but I supported the party he represented, yep the Greens. Mainly I support their platform around social justice. Don’t get me wrong, I think taking care of the environment is important also, but mainly it is supporting under represented minorities that is the most important work we can do for society. Diversity in a word. That is the thing I most want to support.

Obviously there is one candidate in this presidential race that values this less than the other. And I was resigned to the fact that this country which I no longer even live in should get what it’s broken political system will give them. It wasn’t until the vice presidential debate that I made up my mind. The fly debate. When that fly landed on Michael Pence’s head, I knew I had to vote.

The blinding white light…

It was like a message from god. Only I don’t use the term god, let’s substitute Universe with out the in front of it as Bucky Fuller would. It was a message from Universe, that I had to do something.

Just like that fly thought Mike Pence’s head was a light bulb, the light bulb lit for me that I had to do something. I was also seeing my own close relativities announcing on Facebook they were voting, and some of them appeared to be voting for the other guy, so that was another factor, but the fly was the tipping point. It wasn’t like I was undecided on who I wanted to vote for, but I hadn’t even really considered voting up until that point. I couldn’t wait to get down to the post office to mail in my absentee ballot.

I also couldn’t wait for Stephen Colbert to state the obvious.

I had no idea how to vote and I just googled it of course and found a website that seemed legitimate:

Read some things, printed out some forms and took them to my local post shop. The post man there was like, it’ll never make it, especially if a Republican gets a hold of it. But like a prayer I paid my 7 or 8 bucks and sent it off. Sure enough I got a message from the elections office a few days before the absentee mail in dead line with them informing me I was not registered in my former home county. And they attached the form you need to fill out and told me to just scan and email that back to us and then you can vote by email. I had to sign a waiver that my vote would not be private, but well you know who I’m voting for anyway. So I got registered and I voted by email and it was not horribly difficult.

I would call it vote for sanity.

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Local Selection Mask

I have a new quest to understand what it is. Local Selection Mask. In Krita. All I know was I was working on a digital painting, and I applied this thing and produced an effect which I liked. But it’s not part of the image it’s just how the mask looks, but it’s more an editing device than an affect applied to the image.

A Krita painting composed of several layers with green, red and light purple colouring.

I had a vision of a green painting, there were several layers of different shades of green and in the centre bottom of the image were two figures. A black and white photograph was collaged in between the layers, a portrait of two people. The photograph seemed old and worn. Of course I completely failed to capture what I saw in the vision here but I was somewhat pleased with the result. I looked for a suitable image that matched the one in my vision, but I could not find it in the creative commons or Internet archives databases I know of.

The red was not even a colour I had intended to use, and the layer comes from a random image I inserted into the painting layers I had created. The image was not working in the painting until I clicked on this Local Selection Mask option and I liked how that looked. But I could not export the image the way it looked with the mask applied so I just took a screen shot of it.

Well we are fortunate to live in a country where red is not a bad colour politically. Green is more my colour but the reds are not terrible, like they are elsewhere. I dedicate my humble digital artwork to their success. And to Chloe’s win, that was amazing.

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There is work and then there is TheWork. Work is what you do to make money and make a living. TheWork is something personal that is important to you and may even define you. For some lucky few people work and TheWork may be one and the same. For most others I believe there is a blending of things.

What goes into TheWork?

Indeed the more I think about it, for those great artists who spring to mind like Picasso, Monet, Dalí etc… They spent their lives on TheWork. Art for them was their primary occupation. Well, and maybe gardening. They did not have to work somewhere else during the day is what I am trying to say. It does not have to be art of course, in science you might think of Einstein being someone who spent his life on TheWork. David Bowie would be another, sure he was involved in other forms of art like acting, but generally TheWork for him was a body of music. Not to mention political figures which I won’t. Ok, Abraham Lincoln springs to mind. When you look at a politicians career you see there are many aspects to the job, but there may be one cause or another that would be TheWork for them. We could just call this your passion, but that would upset my Venn diagram. Passion sounds kind of corny also, let’s call it TheWork. Or if you are not a very good typist, TheWrok.

A “normal” person is more likely to be working for a living, but also may have this side hustle we call TheWork. Side hustle is one way to think about it, but that implies the purpose is financial gain. Which is clearly not always the case. Ok this may be stretching “normal” but thinking beyond these high profile cases, the first person I think of who fits in this category of having a day job and on their own time working on TheWork, is Henry Darger. Darger was not creating art as a profession. But there was an artistic vision and an enormous body of work that he felt compelled to create.

Not to say TheWork wasn’t influenced by his work, or at least by what he observed in his day job. So possibly there is an argument to be made that he falls in this third category I propose which is: people who work, but there is some synergy between the work they do to earn a living and TheWork which is their artistic practice. I am not only thinking about artists, but just everyone in general. Every person has some thing that makes them unique, some interest that is theirs alone to keep.

TheWork may be a religious conviction or an intellectual pursuit. It may be a competitive desire to be the best at some thing or another. Often it is that creative impulse to be an artist. Whatever it is we all have it — that thing that drives us — keeps us striving toward some goal.

For many of us it is a desire to communicate. Communicate the intangible mundane things about life. To write, to paint, to perform and be heard. This is why we create art. Is there a reason for it all? A point to this thing called life? There are many religious and philosophical answers to this question. Of course Douglas Adams ultimately solved it, and I note now that the answer is also Jackie Robinson’s number. Was there a point to this? No, not really, this is a blog no one reads and I can write what I want.

I believe in chance operations. It is like a religion for me. What is consulting the oracle but a chance operation. Should I cast the yarrow stalks? It’s too complicated just look at twitter. This is what caught my attention as I scrolled through a few tweets.

I’m not sure why I even found this interesting. It was more the fact that someone was looking into this, that I found interesting. It rekindled my own interest in the sociology of the Internet. Some of the other articles on the site were more interesting to me, and I read and dug a bit more until I found the “Founders Statement” page here.

She cites another piece as contributing to the inspiration for starting this publication:

by Marc Andreessen

And the mention of the “Information Gap” has my mental gears spinning up. It’s got me thinking about how I’ve spent the past 10 years. The past 20 years really. Starting with an idea about creating a website called To explore and connect with this new found Internet publishing technology. In the beginning I didn’t know anything. Didn’t even know how to register a domain name. But I learned, and have continued to learn and now have been working in it — what you would call the IT industry — for over 15 of those years. It’s a living but I still want to get back to that original idea. Back to TheWork. Just what it is I am still not quite sure, but it something akin to this “Rest Of World” publication.

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Thinking about Ā Mua

Last week Ruth Bader Ginsburg past away. One of our biggest fears for this American political cycle realised. She was the anchor for our progressive hopes and dreams on that high court bench. We will carry on without her. I made this digital painting in her memory.

A digital painting created in the Krita Free/Open source painting program.  It was inspired by Georgia O'Keefe's Blue Flower.
Blue Flower

In Aotearoa it was Maori Language week. These concerns for Ā Mua (the future) come to you from Te Whanganui-a-Tara.

In the past few weeks I have been thinking about my purpose in life. Apparently building a digital art gallery is part of my ambition. Online or digital, call it what you will, it involves using electricity. Working with people from a safe distance, though certainly burning some fossil fuels in the process.

Of course I am not purely interested in digital painting. I have a collection of audio files from i mua I plan to archive in this gallery.

Digital preservation and archiving another activity I wish to engage in. But it is Ā Mua which concerns me the most. Collecting things in the future. Having a place for them. Developing some programming around them. An online art museum. For now I am calling it, but that name could change and become something else. As it has done before.

mi covida loca

In Search of Equality

We have all witnessed the life drain out of this beautiful black man by the name of George Floyd.

There is not much I can say that would do any good here. Recently I have lost two Uncles who very kind and dear to me. Since then I have been working on some simple digital paintings using a program called Krita. The latest was done today with George and all the protesters in mind.

In Search of Equality

The June 3rd anniversary has passed which normally I pay particular attention to. As a boy in 1989 again consuming the media and not understanding what I was seeing on the television set that summer. My today self still trying to make sense of then and now. It is indeed an interesting comparison to be made this year. This, my own particular interest in the state response to the protests. The use of force.

Covida 00

Why did we not resolve this after the riots in Los Angeles in 1991 after the beating of Rodney King? This is a vivid association for me, I can’t remember being this disturbed by media reports since watching those events unfold. Then there is everything that has happened since then. A time from my late teens until my mid forties. I feel guilt that I am a part of this society and this race which lies beneath so much injustice. So much failure to grow and change.

Covida 01

I pledge to work on undoing the racism that I have inherited.

Covida 02

Closing my eyes there was a field of black with a gold figure.

Covida 03

These are my failures in an attempt to capture that vision.

Covida 04

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We Knew It Could Happen

When you hear someone utter the word “unprecedented”, you can be sure they are just filling up space and have no intellectual sensibility to offer you. Plagues have happened before. What hasn’t happened is a plague affecting us. How dare it do that. A plague in the Information Age isn’t even unprecedented. In fact it has happened, it just didn’t affect us as a whole, only a subset. Now that each and every one of is affected suddenly it becomes unprecedented, but the thing is why does precedent even matter. Who cares. Shut up.

We are smarter and more connected now. We should have known better. We should have done better, but the status quo and path of least resistance is a great impediment. Sometimes when things change and we think wasn’t it great back then, how do we recapture that? You don’t, it’s gone, move on. Overcome the differences. Things will never be the same again, and that is ok. This new world will be better.

I hope I shall not return to normal too soon.

Remember the before times? There were Yahoo groups and Geocities and other search engines. People didn’t mind standing next to each other in line. Before that was another time, we talked on the phone more and radio waves didn’t fry our brains. Drugs did that, and it was just fine. Now we just drink wine, and a lot of it is good wine. There are some real craftsmen out there. And women, I’d use a non-gender specific term if English had one. Artisan. There are some real artisans out there. That is better. I found the word by looking for the Chinese translation of “craftsman”. I suppose you could say “craftsperson” as well.


The epidemic will pass and we will be stronger because of it. Those of us that didn’t die that is. The economy will recover. We will recover. The world will be better and more prepared for something like this in the future. If we spend to much time trying to imagine what that future will look like, we will be like the character in Philip K. Dick’s story “I Hope I Shall Arrive Soon” and not be able to accept it when gets here. If we try to move too fast we won’t like the time-line we are on any more than the one we have been on. Maybe there is some way we can jump back on to the right time-line from here?

If there is one person I will listen to about this, it’s Annalee Newitz, she is one of the artisans out there:

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You know that thing they say on the airlines, if the oxygen mask comes down be sure to affix it to your self before trying to help others. That is how I feel sometimes, I’m trying to breathe. I need to be able to breath before doing something else, before working on something. Tonight I got that fresh air from Max Richter’s music. Admiring his craft, it reminded me of my brush with another great artist recently.

Last weekend my wife and I were visiting the Auckland Art Gallery and just happened to walk in as a talk was finishing up on a new installation. Nathan Coley’s piece, “A Place Beyond Belief”. I sat there as the audience asked some questions, contemplating the light bulbs spelling out this enigmatic phrase. I couldn’t get out of my mind the theory I recalled by McLuhan about the electric light being pure information, unless it is used to spell something. I went and looked that up again.

“The electric light is pure information. It is a medium without a message, as it is, unless it is used to spell out some verbal ad or name”

I wasn’t suggesting that the art was not pure, or that the message was not pure. If anything I think Coley turned this idea on it’s head for me, and here is an example of purifying something in electric light.

Can you believe I got a selfie w/ the artist?

I wasn’t really wanting to get a selfie, but I was holding my phone in my hand, and Nathan seemed amiable to the idea so I thought why not, it would be a good way to get close to him and try to tell him these thoughts. He even pulled me over to the side more so we could get the whole text in better. We took the selfie and I told him my thoughts about McLuhan, but other people crowded in and he did not seem interested in discussing the thought any further. I hope he didn’t think I was criticizing the piece, far from it, I was, and am very impressed by it. And proud of the shameless selfie I have to show for it. We drifted away and looked at other parts of the gallery but I felt like I had already gotten what I came for. Although I didn’t really get it, and now that I know more about the inspiration behind this work of art, I still have questions about what the message really is. But that is what good art does, it doesn’t answer your questions, it just causes more questions.