Too lazy to categorize

Meaning Makes You Tired

It’s much better to come up with it after the fact. Or just have someone on YouTube explain it to you.

Thinking is work. It requires energy. This is why a lot of people don’t do it. Can’t I just pay you to think for me? Yes, you can. We call this the knowledge economy. Which takes us over to Peter Drucker. Who was this guy? He keeps coming up in my life.

So, getting paid to think. It’s a thing. I guess the challenge is to convince people you’re thinking is worth paying for. There are other people who think better than me. I don’t really want to think, I’d rather pay someone else to do it. But I don’t have that many resources, so I’d better think up something else.

I’m interested in things. So let’s think about them. Like, where do ideas come from? Personally, I think some Jewish people figured this out w/ the Kaballah. Maybe not where they come from, that may still be a mystery, but possibly how they develop into fruition.

Oh look, I learned something new today:

David Bowie‘s 1976 song “Station to Station” references the concept in the line “Here are we, one magical movement from Kether to Malkuth/There are you, you drive like a demon from station to station.”

When you think of the Tree Of Life as a map for thought, where the ideas come in through Kether and work their way down through vision and revision until they make their way to the material plane. When that idea becomes something in the outside world — something outside your self — then you have become like a god, bringing something into existence out of nothing.

Creative people are drawn to this diagram because it’s simply a tool, a way to map out your creativity. What I get from some of the Bowie songs in “Station To Station” is, put all the where do we come from and what does it all mean questions aside. We just need to get on and do something with what time we have. Experiment and explore. Do the work.

The point is, making meaning is work. The very definition of work could be making meaning. A task to be undertaken. And it’s nice to have frameworks and tools to help get the work done. Sometimes you have to make them yourself or adapt ideas from other spheres.

Too lazy to categorize

Your Uber to the underworld is here.

The modern dilemma. What to write on your blog. Why write at all? What do I have to say about anything? Working with AWS? I wouldn’t be working with AWS unless I got paid to do that, and I’m not going to do that for free. In my free time. I want to make art.

Sometimes a composited image that I create comes up, and it wants to have a title. My title for this one is, “Your Uber to the underworld is here”. The images come from my RSS reader and are randomly composited together. I do this everyday because:

  • Why not?
  • Someone has to do it
  • I like surprises
  • It is good practice

Some days are better than others when you are dealing with chance operations. Curious where the images were coming from, I went and looked them up in the reader. Part of the reason for doing is this is every day there are so many stories published on the Internet, the only way to keep an eye on things is through some sort of random sampling. If I did not engage in what in my mind is an art practice, but to the untrained eye is just some nonsense, I wouldn’t catch this blog post that is of interest to me:

It was discovering an artist and looking at these pieces that was of most interest to me. And here not even knowing the name Virginia Frances Sterrett before today, I’ve already engaged with her artwork in a personal and memorable way. The next time I come across her artwork, I’ll be able to think, oh right, the car collage.

The artwork strikes a chord w/ me, since I have had a lifelong fascination with the artwork by Harry Clarke in an edition of Goethe’s Faust that I happened to buy a copy of in my teenage years. Which the image I picked up in today’s cutup first made me think of. The closest I ever came to getting a tattoo was of an illustration from this book, which Maria Popova also wrote about several years ago:

It also gives me something to write about. Blogging about blogging. Writing about writing, making collages from the digital images that come into my RSS reader any given day. How is it not making art about art?

Too lazy to categorize

Jammy Upgrade

We are now living in the Jammy Ubuntu 22.04 world. The horizontal workspaces don’t work for me, and for now I am getting by with this plugin:

Until I can get the vertical workspace switcher working again. Possibly this plugin, which is not currently supporting Gnome 42:

I don’t dislike the horizontal workspace switching, and on my media PC it’s fine, maybe I prefer it. But on a two screen workstation setup, where the left screen stays static, that is it doesn’t use a workspace switcher, and on my right screen, I prefer to scroll the workspaces up and down. I’m sure sanity will be restored soon.

In other news, there is no other news. I deleted my Live Journal which was under another name “desierto” which was about 20 years old. No Russian web blog for me, thanks. I did quickly copy out every post into an archive, but was tempted to just delete it forever. Although possibly there is some Geocities type archive of every Live Journal blog that ever existed out there, I wouldn’t be surprised.

The cutups keep coming. I took a break for a while from creating Tezos NFTs, but revisited what has become of the hicetnunc community today, minting this collage which I was pleased with today:

Thoughts and plans, mostly thoughts of building as some sort of online exhibition space, continue in my head. Some little work being done, maybe years away still.

Posting an almost daily thought to go with the daily cutup here:

That is all for now.

Too lazy to categorize

Update Known Hosts

I’m trying to live in that immutable infrastructure world where you just rebuild your machines images instead of patching running systems and then deploy them to the cloud. But, I am so used to ssh’ing into things, especially test things where you are trying to figure out how to do something and just need to log in to the system and tinker about.

So I’ll use Packer to rebuild a machine image, run some scripts via provisioners and launch and image, but the app I’m trying to deploy isn’t quite configured correctly, or I want to look at some logs. Yeah, I know I should be shipping those into some search instance, but I’m still in the habit of going directly to the source and looking at running processes and debugging from there.


I finally got tired of copying the command that removes the offending host key, tabbing up and running the ssh command to the host again, and typing ‘yes’ to save the new key. Now, when I rebuild a host and it’s up and responding to ssh again, I go and run this little script:

I was searching for something like it, and the closest I found was:

This just makes that a little easier than having to remember the two commands you need to do that.

Of course, I only use Ubuntu LTS distros and the script assumes some default things specific to that OS.

The way of setting the host key like this might be obsolete in this day and age, I’ve read some discussion of SSH fingerprint DNS records:


I think it was from here:


At any rate at least after I rebuild the instance, I can reset the key and feel somewhat sure I’m logging into the correct thing until I rebuild again.

Too lazy to categorize

Generated By Artificial Stupidity

Today’s cutup always generates a surplus of images with which I sometimes try to generate more interesting collages and sometimes create animate gifs with a series of similar sized images.

The raw gif for this series ended up being a bit too large for my blog to handle but after processing via it brought it down around 10MB which I could upload.

$ identify coalesce-Oct-30-2021-114.jpg
coalesce-Oct-30-2021-114.jpg JPEG 1000x820 1000x820+0+0 8-bit sRGB 196458B 0.000u 0:00.000

The images come from stories I randomly select in my mostly unread RSS reader. Each day I select 100 random stories, scrape the images and text from them and reassemble. Since I am not able to read all the stories in my RSS reader I would like to take a random sample of material from them and create this assemblage which will at least give me a vague idea of what is happening in the Internet world today.

As if I didn’t know a certain Internet site was pitching a new idea. Which will go horribly wrong in my opinion, but what are you going to do. Make art is one thing I can do, or at least try.

In my RSS reader at the moment there are 89,307 unread stories. So there is a lot going on I will never know about, but with this method I have devised of “cutting up” the Internet I can filter out a few interesting things.


DATE=$(date +"%b-%d-%Y")

if [ $# -ne $EXPECTED_ARGS ]
  echo "Usage: Needs a number to put on the end of the file name, plus the
  image size of the images to animate. Also put the delay as the third 
  exit $E_BADARGS

IMAGES_TO_ANIMATE=$(identify coalesce-"$DATE"-* | grep "$IMAGE_SIZE" | awk '{ print $1 }')
echo " * Images To Animate:"
echo ""
echo ""
echo "File Name will be: coalesce-$DATE-$IMAGE_NUMBER.gif"

convert -delay "$DELAY" $IMAGES_TO_ANIMATE coalesce-"$DATE"-"$IMAGE_NUMBER".gif

Above is the script that has to be run from the directory where all the collected images live. It is a fairly dumb bash script.

~/Werk/coalesce/2021/10/30/images$ shellcheck 

In line 27:
convert -delay "$DELAY" $IMAGES_TO_ANIMATE coalesce-"$DATE"-"$IMAGE_NUMBER".gif
                        ^----------------^ SC2086: Double quote to prevent globbing and word splitting.

Did you mean: 
convert -delay "$DELAY" "$IMAGES_TO_ANIMATE" coalesce-"$DATE"-"$IMAGE_NUMBER".gif

For more information: -- Double quote to prevent globbing ...

If I quote the variable which contains all the image names the script will not work. Running the script to create a gif:

~/Werk/coalesce/2021/10/30/images$ bash 5 1000x820 30

If the variable is quoted in the command as shellcheck suggests:

convert -delay "$DELAY" "$IMAGES_TO_ANIMATE" coalesce-"$DATE"-"$IMAGE_NUMBER".gif

Would result in:

convert-im6.q16: no decode delegate for this image format `' @ error/constitute.c/ReadImage/560.
convert-im6.q16: no images defined `coalesce-Oct-30-2021-5.gif' @ error/convert.c/ConvertImageCommand/3258.

But if I leave the command unquoted then it will produce an animated image like the ones above.

The blog post here explains this is due to the “IFS” or Internal Field Separator in bash. From what I gather when the variable is quoted, it is interpreted as a list of things which should be split by space, tab and line feed. Which is not what I want. I am not claiming to understand, this is a fuzzy part of bash that I don’t entirely grasp. Sure enough I could illustrate with the “cat -et” command:

echo " * Images To Animate: Quoted"
echo ""
echo "$IMAGES_TO_ANIMATE" | cat -et
echo ""
echo " * Images To Animate: Not Quoted"
echo ""
echo $IMAGES_TO_ANIMATE | cat -et
echo ""

Then using another image size (this would make a really big gif)

~/Werk/coalesce/2021/10/30/images$ bash 6 4046x2275 30

 * Images To Animate: Quoted


 * Images To Animate: Not Quoted

coalesce-Oct-30-2021-137.jpg coalesce-Oct-30-2021-184.jpg coalesce-Oct-30-2021-374.jpg coalesce-Oct-30-2021-3.jpg coalesce-Oct-30-2021-60.jpg coalesce-Oct-30-2021-81.jpg coalesce-Oct-30-2021-89.jpg$

I don’t quite understand, but it’s good to know. I think I could make an array, or disable the IFS variable by setting it nothing, or just ignore not having quotes on that variable which is what I have chosen to do for now. Eventually I would like to rewrite the scripts in Python, and learn the wrong to do this in a new language. But not today.

Too lazy to categorize


Developing these things, relationships. Is it the only way to get things done? The Chinese word 关系 “guānxi“. In a sense it is, no one exists in a vacuum.

The goal is to build my own online art gallery. My own art museum. I have things that I would like to put in it. There are things I would like to start collecting. There are things that I would like to link from it. Connections. It’s more of a longer term plan and I’ll sure need some help.

For now I keep working toward being able to work on TheWork. Making small steps. I made some animated gifs from the “coalesced” images I collected today. I noticed there were many 500×500 pixel images, so I grabbed them all…

~/Werk/coalesce/2021/10/25/images$ identify coalesce-Oct-25-2021-* | grep 500x500 | awk '{ print $1 }' > animate.txt

And coalesced them into a .gif like so:

~/Werk/coalesce/2021/10/25/images$ convert -delay 10 -loop 0 coalesce-Oct-25-2021-107.jpg coalesce-Oct-25-2021-119.jpg coalesce-Oct-25-2021-124.jpg coalesce-Oct-25-2021-136.jpg coalesce-Oct-25-2021-137.jpg coalesce-Oct-25-2021-139.jpg coalesce-Oct-25-2021-142.jpg coalesce-Oct-25-2021-143.jpg coalesce-Oct-25-2021-148.jpg coalesce-Oct-25-2021-156.jpg coalesce-Oct-25-2021-168.jpg coalesce-Oct-25-2021-176.jpg coalesce-Oct-25-2021-178.jpg coalesce-Oct-25-2021-1.jpg coalesce-Oct-25-2021-220.jpg coalesce-Oct-25-2021-230.jpg coalesce-Oct-25-2021-233.jpg coalesce-Oct-25-2021-238.jpg coalesce-Oct-25-2021-268.jpg coalesce-Oct-25-2021-287.jpg coalesce-Oct-25-2021-296.jpg coalesce-Oct-25-2021-298.jpg coalesce-Oct-25-2021-301.jpg coalesce-Oct-25-2021-315.jpg coalesce-Oct-25-2021-316.jpg coalesce-Oct-25-2021-317.jpg coalesce-Oct-25-2021-318.jpg coalesce-Oct-25-2021-329.jpg coalesce-Oct-25-2021-337.jpg coalesce-Oct-25-2021-338.jpg coalesce-Oct-25-2021-343.jpg coalesce-Oct-25-2021-346.jpg coalesce-Oct-25-2021-34.jpg coalesce-Oct-25-2021-35.jpg coalesce-Oct-25-2021-375.jpg coalesce-Oct-25-2021-395.jpg coalesce-Oct-25-2021-396.jpg coalesce-Oct-25-2021-399.jpg coalesce-Oct-25-2021-47.jpg coalesce-Oct-25-2021-4.jpg coalesce-Oct-25-2021-62.jpg coalesce-Oct-25-2021-72.jpg coalesce-Oct-25-2021-76.jpg coalesce-Oct-25-2021-88.jpg coalesce-Oct-25-2021-93.jpg coalesce-Oct-25-2021-95.jpg coalesce-Oct-25-2021-96.jpg coalesce-Oct-25-2021-1.gif

I tried the transitions at different speeds and not sure which is best. The typical 10 value I use for the delay which is much shorter than a second? A millisecond? I dunno what unit of time it is, but it’s quick. Seizure inducing quick which can be annoying so I’ll include it at the bottom. Starting out a little slower, here is what the transition looks like at a delay of 60:

Here is a delay of 30:

Here is the delay of 10, I hope you are ready for the strobe effect:

The last one went well w/ the latest Ministry album which I listened to today:

I started out the day listening to St. Vincent which is a bit calmer but tempered by a bit of the same cynicism maybe that Ministry brings to the table. It is needed now even more that 1989 I dare say. I really wasn’t going anywhere with this, but there are some connections for me.

Too lazy to categorize


I added a new letter to my initialism for judging which of my creations are worthy of displaying as an artwork. I added a final T, which allows for it to still have a fun sounding pronunciation.

  • V for the vibe of the thing.
  • O for originality, does the image look unique, like something you haven’t seen before?
  • C for composition, do the different images or layers work together?
  • A for aesthetic, does the image look like art?
  • T for how transformational the image is. Does it depart from the source material, or is there something from the source material that still defines the image?

The scale is one to ten for each category and of course just arbitrary judgements that I would not likely cast the same way twice. It allowed me to pick this image as the most suitable collage to represent my art today:


It’s suitably abstract, it has a certain style and really doesn’t depend on any one element from the source material. There were many other images that I scored very close to this one. This scoring a 42 out of 50. There were several 41’s today like this one:


Looking through some of the images I somewhat randomly allocated in the daily cutup, if I went through the images again I would most certainly judge differently. I skipped over this one, but I think it deserves a second look:


There are some identifiable features in there but I think the composition works well. Not the best day for collages today. Yesterday there was one simple collage that struck me. I didn’t bother to rate it on the scale, I knew it was the one from the effect it had on me.

It has this kind of after school special sort of feeling. The mask hanging on the door knob and a couple embracing. It’s sort of suggestive, but of what I really don’t know. It stopped and made me think though. Since it feels very now to me, I’ve offered it on Hic Et Nunc as an NFT. Hic Et Nunc, which means “here and now in Latin, is supposed to be a kinder, gentler NFT marketplace using the Tezos blockchain.

I’ve stopped creating NFT’s on the OpenSea marketplace for now, using the Ethereum v1 blockchain, but there are 100 NFTs available there in this collection.

I’m closing in on a year of cutups on I looked back over the past few months today and it’s an interesting way to reflect back on things. They are like a dream of the news and things I’ve read over the past few months. Some days the cutup is memorable to me, and I remember the quick assembly process and my thoughts and reactions to the text and images, and other days are a mystery and I can’t really remember having seen them before. Some days I skim over the text quicker than others. Sometimes I might look up something a name or phrase that got posted in the text. Or recognise something in an image. Whatever it is I am doing it’s something I have to do. Dealing with the passage of time and the urge to create something.

Too lazy to categorize

Two Decades

Two decades of largely living digitally. Two points in time where we all take a reality check. Thinking back to my twenty year ago self, I would never have guessed that I would be half way around the world and marking the occasion of the twentieth anniversary of 9/11 by getting my second dose of vaccine to help protect against a virus causing a global pandemic. The fact that America was attacked by terrorists and that a global pandemic has happened are not surprising to me, I saw the warning signs for both well before they happened. Still no less shocking when these terrible things ultimately manifest. Things are not going to get much better I’m afraid. The cycle of violence in the world is set to continue. It may have been hundred years since the last major pandemic, but then next one might not stay in abeyance that long. What can you do. We can try to use less electricity. Burn less oil. I don’t think we are going to do a very good job of it. One thing I set out to do after the 9/11 attacks was to not own a car. I’ve only been partially successful in doing that. I share a car with my wife. I don’t drive to work, but she does. I still consume a great deal of electricity. My work is on the Internet and this is powered by electricity, with out the Internet well, I guess I would get by, but my life as I know it would be very different. I couldn’t make this digital collage for instance:


I wouldn’t be making “generative art” which twenty years ago I was just beginning to comprehend. I didn’t quite understand it as an art-form at that point but I was thinking about it. Now I have a daily art practice. I create at least 400 digital collages a day. Most of them going unseen, but when I get chance I try to review them and pick out my favourites. I’ve devised a scale for picking out the ones I think work well. Some people worry about taking copyrighted images off the Internet, but do traditional collage artists worry about where they get their material? If you are cutting up magazines to create collages do you worry about violating copyright? Maybe you are not scanning those collages and putting them online and trying to sell them. As electricity consuming NFTs no less. Let’s just say I will claim fair dealing if anyone asks. And go from there.

My goal is to begin working on, inspired a great deal by this website:

I believe we need more sites like these that are just fun and promote the digital arts. There is blank piece of digital paper in front of me. More than that an empty digital space that I want to fill. The only problem is that I need to consume electricity to fill it. It’s purely a selfish need. I need art in my life and I want to curate it on my own terms. I’m doing research on green web hosting and advocating for it where I can. But I need power. Let’s just try to use less of it. One idea for a art project is to have a site that is not always on… A website that is only available for 8 hours a day for instance, and then shuts itself down. It’s a art site, not a commerce site, where you need to buy buy buy at all times. Make money while you are sleeping, is that your dream? Ha, see what I did there. Ok that’s enough writing for today.

Too lazy to categorize

Chance Operations

One incentive for myself to write here more often, is that in the RSS reader that draws upon to create the daily cutup, is a subscription to this very blog. I’ve idly thought about writing a script to go through and pull out random images from my personal photo collection and collage them together in some way. If I put some images into this post, there is a chance they will be selected for the daily cutup.

The National Museum of China

But how to select a random image? Well, are large portion of the photos I have taken, mainly w/ my Canon EOS M10, are in my ~/Pictures folder. So a quick google around for “linux filesytem pick random file” I found a suitable command mentioned here:

The actual recommended way did not work for me, but further down in the comments someone suggested using “shuf” which is a command I used in the cutup script also.

[email protected]:~$ find Pictures/ -type f | shuf -n1

Yielded the photo I took from the inside of the National Museum of China a few years ago.

Sunset in New Zealand

It gives me a way to explore my photos directory and potentially insert them into the collage maker. It’s a slim chance but you can’t win if you don’t play. Unless it’s the lotto, in which case I agree with Fran Lebowitz on your chances there. Out of the 400 images generated each day, I usually only look at about 40 or 50 to insert into the daily cutup. But on some days like today, I’ll look at a few more. The ones that didn’t make it, like this one.

I should probably do something more productive with my time. But I don’t have much of it, time that it is, on this sunny and warm spring day. Above is image #1 generated today. Works for me as a basic digital collage. Here is #400, the last in the batch:

Welp, that is all the time I have for day. Someone just opened my door and said, “It’s a Norwegian Blue”. Time to go.

Too lazy to categorize

Today’s Favourite Collage

Everyday I take random images from my RSS reader, and composite them with random options fed into ImageMagick. Which I’ve mentioned before. WordPress really doesn’t have a way interlinking posts does it? Anyway.

Just looking at the blocks of things you can do w/ WordPress, oh look a verse block. I did start writing a poem the other day.

Standing on the shoulders of giants
First of all they are not giants
They were just regular people like you and me
Sure, some of them were taller than others
But the point is they were just human like the rest of us
They may have been smarter or more talented 
But altogether human
And we are not standing on them, we are learning from them

Something like that, I’ve already thought up 1 or 2 other versions. Starting a few days ago in the shower. That is where poetry comes from. Not some muse or inspiration, it’s the shower.

So I didn’t start out planning to write that, but there it just happened. What I really wanted to write about is the collage selection process. In the daily cutup I don’t have a way yet of inserting the collages randomly. And honestly it’s just a crap shoot everyday, which is why the 400 are created. Sometimes the options don’t work and a collage is not really created. I’m certainly not saying my process is perfect, it’s just the best I could do in the time that I have. But sometimes the options do work and I’m pleased with the way several images are composited together. It’s quite a time consuming task to go through the images and judge which ones worked best. I’ve spent many hours looking at the images and trying to come up with a scale. The scale I came up w/ is called VOCA, for Vibe, Originality, Composition and Aesthetic.

The VOCA scale.

So if I really had time, I would first quickly go through and select my favourites. Then from my favourites narrow down to a even smaller batch, the short-list, and then judge them on the scale. And that is how I would choose which one I would make into a NFT, my selection for June 6th here.

I’m done with the NFTs for now though. Now I have decided to just focus on my blog here. It’s time to write and just journal things here for now. I am of course interested in what’s going on here:

But not enough to learn how to use Tezos and a new blockchain wallet etc… Oh, I just randomly found an article from one of my new favourite sites looking for that. There is so much interesting stuff going on in the world…

Anyhow Today’s favourite collage on the VOCA scale. Also I cheated and only looked at the last 100 or so collages, but this is what I came up with:

Vibe: You know the vibe of the thing. How does it make it you feel? This image above had the vibe of the collage of the day.

Originality: Does it take the source material and do something new with it? Does it look unique? I think this image scored higher on that:

Where the first image has more recognizable elements from the source material. I mean you can recognise a chair in 313 but there is a still from the upcoming Dune movie which forms the basis of the 319 collage. And if you look closely the other figure superimposed on the man in the hat is Jemain Clement from What We Do In The Shadows. I don’t normally like recognisable people in the collages but it’s unavoidable and the composition on the left side of the image is good. Could use more work on the right side, where it’s interesting but just the set design of the film coming through.

Composition: Do all the elements of the collage work well together? Are they combined in an interesting way that doesn’t look like a random computer program assembled it? Having a hard time finding an example of that today, but this might have a higher score in that area:

Okay it still looks a bit random, but there is some sort of composition there. There are hard edges from the layered images, but they work better than in the first or second images. And finally:

Aesthetic: Basically, does it look nice? Do the colours work?

The above images would also score highly for me in this category. I think the blues and reds work well together and there is some nice patterns in there. In fact I think 299 might be my favourite of the day. There was one more I think deserves honourable mention:

I mean it looks like there is a Apple watch in there, you can’t get much more aesthetic than that right? Since I don’t have time to go through the 400 collages each day, I just randomly upload an assortment which get put into the daily cutup. The last one here, 388 was included in that batch but the other three I have mentioned here, 299, 313 and 319 were not and on most days they would just go ignored and unseen. Since today I have some time I was able to go through all the images and pick some favourites.

So you tell me, what the hell is this? A waste of time. Well be that as it may, it happens. This is how I consume and regurgitate the Internet in 2021 and try to make art.