A frequent unfiltered stream of thoughts

My new blog is here:

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I've really enjoyed the simplicity and beauty of this site on, but I simply got too curious about GatsbyJS and Netlify.

Today I thought I'd try to learn GatsbyJS and see if I could turn this blog into a static site.


Today I'm thinking about the need for novelty and the need for security, which seem in humans in constant tension. I saw a literary agent speak and she said more-or-less the same, that people want something that is different but not too different. I think there's something in this.

Otherwise have a friend visiting so writing apart from the novel is on hold.

Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics is an admirable attempt to define the good life. It is empirical and insightful, and seeks to answer questions as relevant today as they were when it was written in the 4th century BC. It's also unfortunately extremely boring, at least in the two English translations I looked at (W.D. Ross and Joe Sachs). I don't particularly recommend reading it unless you have a strong interest in the history of ethics, as I think the Stoics or the Buddhists write much more practically and eloquently on the questions that concern Aristotle. On the other hand, I think he's an improvement over both deontological ethics and utilitarianism, so you may still find his ideas worth a look.


As a brief update I'm back from the Balkans, where I saw unseasonably touristy Croatia, snowy Montenegro, and beautiful Bosnia and Herzegovina. I learned a lot more about the history of the region than I did when I was last in Croatia in 2014, and may write more about my impressions once gathered. (I've written nine thousand words and have only covered half of the trip so far, which is a bit much for a blog.)


Let this be a placeholder for future thoughts on the topic of events and their contents, their planning, execution, and aftermath.


I failed either to edit or to write as much as I would have liked this week, though I watched several films, read Vikram Seth's The Golden Gate, and began James C. Scott's Seeing Like a State which, so far, is great. It reminds me of Graeber's Debt: The First 5,000 Years in scope, novelty, and some of its view of history.

On the plane to Phoenix I watched—and wrote about—the 1954 and 2018 versions of A Star Is Born, but I may have left it too long to motivate me to write it, to want to type up my views. Maybe I’ll try to see the 1937 and 1976 ones and then write a comprehensive post. The Cukor (1954) version is less earnest and more self-aware, it feels like, about the extent to which both the industry and the audience are culpable in such cases.

Tonight we‘ll watch Brazil, which I‘ve not seen in a decade. I‘m looking forward to it.

I'm writing from a hotel in Desert Ridge, Phoenix, AZ. I flew here on Friday to surprise my parents; I'm flying back to London today. I have no deep qualm of conscience on this point, short though the visit was, because it meant that I at least got to see my parents before my wedding at the end of this month, which for reasons of miscommunication and our own ineptitude, they will not be able to attend.


Nothing to say in particular this week. I'm dreading editing, even though every time I succeed in starting, I enter the flow state readily, really, sometimes instantly. Nonetheless I have trouble sustaining it. I have been dividing time into pomodoros, which help me to start, but cause me to stop. I managed twelve hours this week, but maybe I ought to aspire to bigger blocks of time, something like 50/10, and to aim for more, four hours per day, and structure every other hour around those four. That would make for twenty hours on the weekdays, and perhaps that volume would warrant a break at the weekend.


Today I “gave notice” of marriage, which in the UK requires a period of publicity, during which the public can raise legal objections. These seem primarily to consist in lying to the registrar, but the most important seemed to be whether either of us had ever married, and whether we were related by blood. First cousins, we were told, can marry, but there's an additional form. It doesn't come up often, but it does come up, the registrar reported.