12 May, 2015

The insidious black

1:19 AM, and the moon still treads its steady path. This is not the end, this is just a beginning. Seeking is not itself the answer, but a means to finding it. The answer, as much as it can be culled down to a singularity, lies in everything. It is all around us. It is the fight and the flight, the terror and the horror, the sorrow and the sadness, the rumination and the remembering, the elation and the expectation. The answer lies in the finding, not the seeking. Seeking is an action, not a place to dwell. These abstract notions put together in words make a kind of sense, but it is not the real sense. The real sense is the real. In the experiential we find the present and eternity. All abstractions or generalizations of this real are fabrication, tools implemented to hide and comfort. With that concealing and congenial order they appear to impart, there is some violence done to the original. There is an order, but it does not reside in numbers or figures on paper. It is an ebb and a flow, a natural state of bliss that can be achieved through the real. That is where we belong, and where we keep ourselves from, for fear of the unknown.


I want to print this on paper for the aesthetics of it. Standardized serifs litter a page, giving a feeling of righteousness. The page was blank, but it has been imparted with meaning, or perhaps it has shown forth its latent meaning. The Platonic recollection is a kind of image, letting us move tectonic plates in our remembering--the process of discovery. The cover has been undone, and what is remains. It's very abstract and philosophical, this pursuit of the Real and other capitalized nouns, but it is also a concrete and practical occupation. We cannot pretend not to live with our minds, and we (or at least I) can only hope not to live in them. So (as much as I can use "ergo"-style rhetoric in this mush of a logic) the finding is a visceral, earthly adventure. It is rocky and rough, and we cannot pass over this trail without our feet bleeding and our bones breaking. This universe is not a syllogistic one. We exist through connection, and the one thing with which to connect is the real.


I don't want to overthink all this shit. I mean, really. We're all here, so what. We might as well enjoy ourselves. I read about people saying that you can't really be a writer unless it's necessary for you to write. You can't not do it. You do it in your free time whether you're getting paid or not, and not always for enjoyment. It's a way of life, an obsession, a ceaseless mantra striking the drums in your head even as you obey and scrawl your yarn. Do I have that obsession? I must be talking less formally in this paragraph, because I'm using more contractions and speaking in the first person. I must have written this a few weeks ago, because it sounds familiar to me--the beauty lies in the act of translation. It's true that we can't transport the abstract into the concrete, we can't really codify an experience. But the beauty is in the experience of creating that approximation, that translation. If it is a good translation, it may stir up some of the same untranslatable sensations in a receiver (reader, listener, viewer, etc). For me, is it that aspect of connecting with what IS and translating it what I want to do? It's not about the result, and I don't know that it ever has been. It's about the experience of approximating. It's exploring those pieces that you never would have seen unless you had to dig through and find the right little structures to attach things to. The right words, notes, images, whatever. This is very philosophical and I know there's at least an aspect of my rotational mind (the new moniker for my mortal enemy) in it. But that's just it--it's another aspect of the appeal of this...whatever you want to call it. This experience, this art, this mantra, this painfully unavoidable way of living. Maybe it's the only way to really live, at least for me. But the rational aspect of it, the exercise of creating structures from nothing, of the information coursing through, of the aesthetics of the technical, also resides in this space for me. It is enjoyable to do meta-art and consider what it is to create, to translate into a communicable medium. What is more artistic than art about art? (Concluding rhetorical question for effect.)

I'm escaping into the mind palace again, leaving behind the anger-rage that was at the beginning of the last page. I'm rebuilding my bubble. It's overtaking me again. My mind is OK with these last paragraphs because they're safe. They're rational. "It's alright, that's why you like this stuff! You can do this, as long as you come back to this place and check in frequently." Curse my rotational mind. Damn it to hell and let it burn. It has given me nothing but pain. It is a block that keeps me from the real. Sure, it's undoubtedly keeping me alive in a lot of ways (I'm still paying my bills, for now), but it. is. not. real. It shouldn't take a Jill Bolte Taylor kind of episode to connect with what is.

This kind of writing is similar in form to writing I've done in the past. I feel bad, angsty, malignant, dulled, crushed. So I write. Partially to indulge myself in the feeling and entice it to stay, but also to encourage it to leave and let me go back to my distracted life. To my web-surfing, book-hoarding-but-not-reading, amassing information for some unknown, abstract reason. I hope that this writing is a little bit different though. The goal is not just to entice the angst to stay, but with the goal of using it to propel me into connection. To the real.

02 May, 2015

An intersection

Tonight I walked through an intersection
Green one way, red the other
Right through the middle I walked
No cars anywhere in sight
How silly these intersections seem
When the night is empty
And the bustle has been eroded
Are we in such a hurry?
Intent on being rather than becoming
We don't even notice
The near-full moon overhead
Everything up to this moment was a sham
A hasty rush leading only to there
I lament and shake with remorse
For how silly it was and is
And yet it was and is needed
The intersection was constructed
The unnoticed journey still brought us here
And to realize how silly we've been
It only took a moment of stillness

30 April, 2015

But for you

I am not very transparent
Visionary filled with wandering
Besieged by hidden thoughts
Unknown to their holder.
Haunting each moment
A dusting of fate
The unacceptable is necessary
And becomes acceptable as need.
Consumed by ragelust
Crushing what is with could be
Embalm the old self and renew
Words appear with ease.
Coming to know
The torrents of fire
How strange it is to plumb
The lake that is your home.
You are the crane
Nimbly crossing over
Helping me see
Finding the depths.
That you are here
Fate becomes apparent
Without that reason
Now becomes a hurdle.
I would take back
Control would rule
Messages be unheard
But for you.

02 April, 2013

Customize OS X Paste and Match Style Shortcut

Mac users, you can customize the shortcut for the "Paste and Match Style" command, meaning you won't get one more 16pt Verdana sentence pasted into your 12pt Palatino essay.

Just navigate to the keyboard screen in System Preferences (above), click the little plus button beneath the list, enter the name in the field exactly as shown, push the shortcut you'd like, and click add.

30 March, 2013

Inputting Equations in Pages

It's a pain to enter equations in Pages on a Mac. You can get them to look somewhat right by just entering the text, but there are things you can't do, like insert a vector arrow above a given character. For some simple equations, using Grapher will get the job done, but only for equations that you'd want to graph, so your options are pretty limited.

So what is to do be done? I didn't want to install LibreOffice just to use its equation editor, and the equation editor in Microsoft Office didn't sound much better. Enter the Daum Equation Editor, available on the Mac App Store. You can enter just about any mathematical symbol you can think of, and it looks great in the app. The only problem comes in its export options: It can only export to PNG. This means that when you drop that image into a Pages document, it looks pretty fuzzy, and doesn't scale well.
Not acceptable.

It turns out that Daum is just a GUI for the TeX document formatting system, and as Daum shows the raw TeX syntax for the equation entered (see screenshot below), I figured I could paste that into a true TeX editor, and get much higher quality output. And I was right. That editor is LaTeXiT.

So here is what you need to do:
  1. Get the Daum Equation Editor on the Mac App Store for free.
  2. Download MacTex (2.1 GB, unfortunately) and install it.
  3. Once TeX is installed, open LaTeXiT in /Applications/TeX/.
  4. Open Daum Equation Editor.
Now, enter the equation using Daum's interface. 
Copy the code you see in the bottom of the window (if it's hidden, click the blue "TeX" button), and paste it into LaTeXiT.

Once you click "LaTeX it!" you should see your equation magically appear in fully-scalable SVG quality. Drag and drop your rendered equation into your document, and scale to your heart's content.

If you have problems with a symbol not being found, check the preamble within LaTeXiT to make sure the package that contains the symbol you want to use is being included. I was trying to insert a surface integral sign into my equation, but it was throwing an "undefined control sequence" error because it couldn't find the symbol. After I inserted a statement to include the "mathabx" package, it worked just fine.

And this isn't limited to Pages! You should be able to drag and drop the PDF SVG generated by LaTeXiT into any word processor on a Mac, including Microsoft Word. Happy equation-ing!

27 March, 2013

The Faraday Copter

Faraday meets Tesla. Plus a quadrocopter. What could be better?
(via O'Reilly Radar)

27 February, 2013

New Anti?-Piracy System

The so-called Center for Copyright Information began rolling out a new anti-piracy system this week, and they are taking an interesting approach: They are aiming to educate consumers, rather than punish them. If you get caught trafficking in copyrighted material, they will send you alerts in a sort of "three-strike" system. If you ignore these alerts, ISPs apparently have the right to throttle your bandwidth or block certain websites.

It seems to be a commendable effort, but I have little faith in its efficacy. If providers don't make their content available in alternative formats, things like Game of Thrones being the most-pirated show of 2012 will just keep happening.

Here is what seems to be a good synopsis of this new development in the online music industry:

If You’re Still Mass-Pirating Music, Expect a Letter From Your ISP
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