Today feels like it is going to be an interesting day. I’m trying to stay away from writing very short posts. Those are the ones that people seem to visit and probably wonder what I was doing that day and why the one post they stumbled upon is so short and unsatisfying. Along the way a lot of one or two sentence posts have been shared. Some of them were probably the foundation for a Tweet or maybe something else happened. One of them that people keep visiting is about the first time “The Simpsons” show was run from start to finish as a marathon. It was a lot of cartoon driven episodes to stream in a sequence by a network. At the time it was like a commitment of half a month of time to sit and watch all the episodes. That was before the time of pandemic and lengthy quarantines. People might have been more likely to wonder how somebody would stay inside and watch so many years worth of a show. Now the context is different on that question.
This new writing strategy of spending the start of my day working on a weblog post seems to be working. Initially the data seems somewhat mixed based on the variation of size between the posts, but every day had one. Writing every day and sustaining that practice is the key to this endeavor being successful. Coming out of this quarantine with some solid perspective and maybe learning something would be good. It was for most folks and I’m sure this happened to other people. No words would appear. My will to write was gone. Every spark of creativity had burned out and all that remained was enough strength to do the things that needed to be done on a daily basis. What ended up getting left behind was my daily writing routine. Some type of after action review is going to be needed on that one to prevent that sort of thing from happening again. It was not a very good experience. My method of advancing thoughts is to write them down and iterate. Perhaps the best way to say it is that all of this is a series of muddling iterations. None of it included much science to it or even a definable and repeatable routine.
Today happens to be Friday. This weekend happens to be Memorial Day weekend. Now is a weird time to be able to go outside and properly commemorate Memorial Day. Well —- appreciation of that hit the forefront of my thoughts and held on for just a minute. It took me just a second to get back into the writing groove. I started to really think about the strangeness of the times right now. Retrospective considerations of how we got here are important parts of piecing together an understanding of the now and the path forward. My Pandora internet radio station is streaming my Warren Zevon Radio station. Typically on Memorial Day weekend I have demurred from Zevon to Bruce Spingsteen. Maybe that is a logical move or maybe it is just something that I have done. We will do our best to actively commemorate Memorial Day.
Rewriting that last paragraph would probably be a good idea, but I’m going to let it stand. Now is not the time to second guess the creation of any prose. Maybe later after things are back on track to a high output productivity based daily writing routine. Right now it is better to press forward and engage in some writing until I have content that a few cycles of iteration are possible. Sometimes the simple act of typing on the keyboard creates a writing rhythm. That happens as the act of thinking and typing cross together into something like thinking out loud. Over the years of my academic training that has been an outcome of all that effort. I tend to do my deepest thinking by writing and sketching out ideas. Even the act of that muddling past the first expression to create and rethink what is benign produced is a method toward iteration. I’m trying really hard not to write the work tinkering. That seems like the exact wrong word to put on the page. Iterating on ideas to improve them is more noble and a better use of time. Simply tinkering with words on a page seems like a lesser act that might be happening right now during the creation of this paragraph.
My intellectual aim at the moment is to begin down the path of a trajectory that builds toward something this weekend with the time that I have available. At present, my time is being invested back into creating and working on election models. All of that content will get posted on my GitHub and shared back out for the purpose of replication by other social scientists. Perhaps that is my attempt to allow them to iterate and expand my research in unexpected ways. That is the greatest part about contributing to academics or research in general. The thing you put in may change or be used in ways that are beyond the initial creation set down to paper and shared with others. That is how things get advanced beyond the contributions of a single person. In some ways that is why academics work toward advancing things. Not only does it open the door to different possible futures, but also it is a rewarding intellectual exercise.
Working from an old school perspective on my writing it might be time to just post everything that gets written in the next 10 days. That will pretty much mean keeping a steady stream of thoughts put to paper and sharing them in an unvarnished way without any real editing or any degree of self-censorship. That means for the next ten days you could end up reading anything from poetry about the intersection of technology and modernity to aimless science fiction.
Here are my general thoughts on social fabric in the moment:
Our humanity appears to dissolve under the weight of such an extreme moment. Each wave of moments becomes bigger and bigger. Dissolving before our eyes the social fabric that binds our humanity to a shared experience evaporates as our resolve falters. Gaining strength together the things that bind that social fabric together have to be mended beyond a focus on the weight of the moment. They have to be mended because of the moment. Outside of an argument toward specialization that falters on the backward linkages of an increasingly global supply chain, doing anything mends the border social fabric linkages stretched by commerce.
Thoughts on the freezing fog we had this morning:
I had been thinking about getting a new camera to be able to take some nature photographs like the freezing fog we had this morning. It does not happen that often, but when it does it is fleeting. Maybe getting a new camera is not the way to go… smartphone cameras have become very good recently, but they are not capable of producing an extreme type of depth within images.