Friday, September 19, 2003

When ugly is good and pretty is bad

Clay Shirky has some good insites here: Many-to-Many: Why I Don't Like Wikis Email

Weblogs provide a good counter-example. While wikis make a poor presentation medium (when my students use wikis, they universally and unconciously move the content into Word, PowerPoint, HTML or Flash when they ahve to present), weblogs are in many ways too pretty.

Every day I grieve the messyiness of email. I dont like it at all. It is not the plain textness of it but the html mess and the lack of a clear quoting protocol... one that was there in the early days. Then there is the whole line length issue, broken urls and so on. There is a loosing battle to keep emails in plain txt. I cant even find a decent email client. But Clay is onto something here... the mess is somehow convivial.

[2:36 AM | wl | permalink

Monday, September 15, 2003

swimming in language sea

Just saw the DVD The Source about the Beats. Had to go and find (and found) the points listed below which were spoken in the movie by Johnny Depp. These tips make a nice counterpoint to Garbl's (see below).

Belief & Technique for Modern Prose

by Jack Kerouac

1. Scribbled secret notebooks, and wild typewritten pages, for yr own joy
2. Submissive to everything, open, listening
3. Try never get drunk outside yr own house
4. Be in love with yr life
5. Something that you feel will find its own form
6. Be crazy dumbsaint of the mind
7. Blow as deep as you want to blow
8. Write what you want bottomless from bottom of the mind
9. The unspeakable visions of the individual
10. No time for poetry but exactly what is
11. Visionary tics shivering in the chest
12. In tranced fixation dreaming upon object before you
13. Remove literary, grammatical and syntactical inhibition
14. Like Proust be an old teahead of time
15. Telling the true story of the world in interior monolog
16. The jewel center of interest is the eye within the eye
17. Write in recollection and amazement for yourself
18. Work from pithy middle eye out, swimming in language sea
19. Accept loss forever
20. Believe in the holy contour of life
21. Struggle to sketch the flow that already exists intact in mind
22. Dont think of words when you stop but to see picture better
23. Keep track of every day the date emblazoned in yr morning
24. No fear or shame in the dignity of yr experience, language &knowledge
25. Write for the world to read and see yr exact pictures of it
26. Bookmovie is the movie in words, the visual American form
27. In praise of Character in the Bleak inhuman Loneliness
28. Composing wild, undisciplined, pure, coming in from under, crazier the better
29. You're a Genius all the time
30. Writer-Director of Earthly movies Sponsored & Angeled in Heaven

[11:22 PM | wl | permalink

This is too easy!

William Gibson stops blogging blog-end:

The bits and pieces that Joseph Cornell assembled in his shadow-boxes wouldn’t have seemed nearly as interesting if he’d simply left them arrayed on the bench of some picnic-table –- and they certainly wouldn’t still be there.

I crave the sweet and crazy-making difficulties that can only be imposed by the box, the Cornellian stage, the frame, of a formal narrative.

Makes sense, I need to get into the difficult stuff too! Damn.

Later: Been thinking about this and it seems to ignore one, that weblogs are a box, a FORM. Secondly they are a way of doing research.

PS Joseph Cornell

[3:46 AM | wl | permalink

email or e-mail?

Explored Garbl's Editorial Style Manual and found: Page for E, where he cites:

e-mail A shortened version of electronic mail. OK to use e-mail (lowercase) in all references, including first. Capitalize as E-mail only to begin sentences, headings and headlines. Do not drop the hyphen. Follow the same style for words like e-business and e-commerce.
Made me wonder if I am on the loosing side of this as I prefer "email" - not as a general rule for initial based words, just that one, email, because it is ubiquitous. How does it Google?

267,000,000 for email
15,000,000 for e-mail

Not only that, but in the last search it asked me if I meant email. I am sticking with email! Not just because of the numbers, I stick with counselling because of the culture I live in, and email is a bit like that. It was not till Wired lost its original impetus that it changed to e-mail, it was part of its demise as an icon for online culture.

While I have my view on this it does not take a way from the site - the site is a nice one to have a link to - covers a lot of ground.

[12:26 AM | wl | permalink

Sunday, September 14, 2003

Writing Style on the Web

Garbl's Writing Center, wonderful site. Web oriented.

Welcome to Gary B. Larson's portal to a free editorial style manual, annotated directory of writing Web sites, concise writing guide, personalized advice and writing forum.

He has a powerful page on Bush Lies as well and the values shine right through the writing style material. He has a sense of how words can hurt and how they can heal.

When I see a site like this I become curious about American English, International English and in my case New Zealand English. There really is no one style for all. I run into problems with my site as I have Online Counselling and Online Counseling to deal with. I always write counselling but need to put the more common American one in the various places for key-words etc.

Here is how they Google:

2,290,000 counselling
8,890,000 counseling

[11:53 PM | wl | permalink

One of my palm doodles

more here.

[8:46 PM | wl | permalink


Speaking of Freud's couch, here is a beautiful image. Probably by Edmund Engelman

Engelman's photos were used as a basis for the set in the film Nineteen Nineteen

[3:23 PM | wl | permalink

CyberTherapy Conference 2004

CyberTherapy 2004 - 10-12 January, San Diego, CA.

This looks like it is more about the technology for a wide range of e-health rather than psychotherapy online. When it comes to psychotherapy I am a bit of a luddite - if that can be applied to an online therapy enthusiast. The great potential of plain text emails is mostly underutilised. Therapy thrives on simplicity. Freud is famous for a couch! It was a device to reduce visual contact. Many of the boundaries we take for granted today also reduce usual interactions. The emphasis on the communication, on what can't be seen in rl - the inner stuff is important. Psychotherapy spares the inner world of the complexities of ordinary day-to-day life.

So I am not an enthusiast for real time and more devices to replicate reality, not for the purposes of therapy. Images are a different story. Drawing, painting, photos and cinema all have a part to play in therapy, others' art and one's own art. Art is a way of going beyond the surface of life to the experience of life. Art therapy online makes good sense.

But I digress from the actual conference, which sems thorough given its brief.

[12:55 PM | wl | permalink

Saturday, September 13, 2003

Boomer nostalgia

Watched DA Pennebaker's movie Bob Dylan Dont look back. Fun with the commentary turned on.

I liked seeing Joan Baez, whose song "We Shall Overcome" bought on this wave of nostalgia when I heard it the other day. I find it sad that once I did believe that we would overcome and now... I merely want to believe it.

Snapped these two shots while watching... I like the way we have performers, then a movie maker, then a DVD then a digital photo on a PC, then an image on the web nearly 40 years later. The Joan Baez one I quite like with its Picassoesque look, though her music is not of that ilk. The movie itself though is a stylistic mirror of the Dylan touch and era.

[5:10 PM | wl | permalink


Insight :This from a 1998 interview with James Hillman makes sense to me, I feel like that:
Hillman: I've been wrestling with these questions for thirty- five years. I sometimes get short-tempered in a public situation because I think, Oh God, I can't go back over that again. I can't put that into a two-word answer. I can't. Wherever I go, people say, 'Can I ask you a quick question?' It's always, 'a quick question.' Well, my answers are slow. [Laughs]

[3:15 PM | wl | permalink

Thursday, September 11, 2003

Feed Demon: another RSS aggregator

feed_demon.gif FeedDemon is a new RSS aggregator for Windows machines. It's a fine beastie, allowing you to categorize multiple feeds flexibly and usefully. There's an interesting Watch feature, which is supposed to trawl the blogosphere for terms you enter, like OpenCola was going to do.

(thanks to Mike Richwalsky!)

and also to Bryan Alexander where I lifed this whole Item after downloading Feed Demon and liking it enough to kill my other one. This is from the maker of Homesite - and it follows form.

[3:35 AM | wl | permalink

Last ditch stand may just work!

take5 and vote:
  1. NZ's key export markets do not want GE food. Releasing GE doesn't make economic sense.
  2. NZ enjoys a clean green image globally. Releasing GE will irreversibly damage this.
  3. Extending the GE moratorium by 5 years will not stop NZ scientists developing medicines to improve human health.
  4. No long-term health studies have been completed on humans eating GE food. How can we 'proceed with caution' when the scientists don't even know what's going on?
  5. It appears altered genes can transfer from GE plants to weeds. NZ's economy relies heavily on agriculture. The last thing we need are super weeds.

[3:10 AM | wl | permalink

One way of seeing your self

''I am not caused by my history — my parents, my childhood and development. These are mirrors in which I may catch glimpses of my image.''
— psychologist James Hillman

[2:11 AM | wl | permalink
"Get educated... Don't take our word for it. Research. Learn. Don't be Manipulated."

[12:04 AM | wl | permalink

Tuesday, September 09, 2003


Wings of Desire I mentioned in the last post is the Wim Wender's film, Bruno Ganz stars as Damiel. Here he is - contemplating his fall:

[4:39 PM | wl | permalink

Emerging apes or fallen angels?

I have been listening to Bishop Spong on New Dimensions. This link may still work briefly. His message is crisp and clear and he is a humanist. That makes a lot more sense than being a literal fundamentalist. His Christian humanism makes sense. BUT, I think he leaves something right out of the picture. The phrase he uses "emerging apes not fallen angels" bought that home to me.

His words arrive as I am in the middle of reflections about teleology - see the several items below on this theme. Somewhere there I reflect on the idea of fractals, that a segment of coast line can reflect the pattern of the whole coast. That is really no different from us being able to see trends - these things are often described using graphs and so on and they isolate one factor that can be measured. Holistic mapping is more complex. Numbers don't do it.

OK, imagine a graph from ape to human... where does it go? That is not a steady curve, it is exponential! Where does it reach to? Fallen angel... angel sums it up in a way that emerging ape does not.

We have that image in our mind, that archetype of a divine being which somehow reflects not just the existential pain of being conscious creatures, but the sense of where it is leading - even if it is a metaphor to describe that sense. Angels may not be literally there, but they are religious art. We have that Angel Art in the movie "Wings of Desire", why does he need to throw out the art with the bath water of fundamentalism?

Perhaps I am judging him too harshly on this one phrase. I liked what he said about Christ - whose image he does not kill off. Of course his social and political values are fine too.

[12:30 PM | wl | permalink

Saturday, September 06, 2003

Role Reversal

I have a page on my website related to the item below.

[3:55 PM | wl | permalink

walking a mile in another's moccasins

There was surprisingly little in a search on Google with the phrase. The power of role role reversal as Moreno developed it is close to the idea of "walking a mile in another's moccasins". It is crucial to be able to be fully human and yet it remains an obscure idea. I found one good reference to the idea:

I reproduce the item here, which I hope is ok.

Psychodrama, invented 80 years ago by Jacob Levy Moreno, is "the encounter in role reversal":

"A meeting of two: eye to eye, face to face. And when you are near I will tear your eyes out and place them instead of mine, and you will tear my eyes out and will place them instead of yours then I will look at you with your eyes .. and you will look at me with mine."

A creative way "to find the truth through acting", to revive or anticipate imagined or real events: "the second time is the setting free of the first time". (By Dr. J. L. Moreno). Supported by the group and a leader you can learn to know your-self and others better, building up a new network of engaged people from all professions and to experiment with different possibilities of new role models. This can lead to new inspiration and personal insight. Through the act of experiencing new roles and perspectives through the role changes in the public space of a group, personal concerns, deeply burried fears, traumas, wishes and dreams can be expressed, reflected and seen in a different light through the creative act of dramatisation. Your self concept about yourself will be widend and a new insight of your personal capacities, ressources and strengths is developing.

you are welcome to read more on psychodrama: history and theory.


Jacob Levy Moreno, 1889-1978, born in rumany, was physician in vienna and directed an improvisation theatre evolving it to a combination with paedagogy and group-psychotherapy.

[2:32 PM | wl | permalink

Friday, September 05, 2003

Form follows mouse?

Cringely's current column is onto an interesting expose of Microsoft's cheating. I am interested in how he ties this into email culture:

That's where the second factor comes into play. It's that e-mail culture. Bill and Steve lead primarily by edict. Most Microsoft employees never see them, many will never meet them. So the kids are trying to follow a standard that is set by the tone of e-mails. But e-mail is not reality. E-mail is a world of distorted values where it is easy to go too far, and easier still to read things wrong and go even further.

Does email really influence for the worse the way we do things? I'm not ruling it out. I think buildings and all manner of physical objects have been starting to look a certain way because it suited the way computer graphics are done. I think organisations structures in companies are following a sort of hierarchical structure that mirrors the folders on the hard drive. Are we creating a world in the image of our machines? Maybe. But to blame MS morality on the mouse is to ignore capitalism's imperative to dominate or die which bigger even than or Bill's influence one way or the other.

[1:02 PM | wl | permalink

Wednesday, September 03, 2003

McLuhan interviewed in 1969 - good introduction to his thoughts

I am reading the Playboy interview again. I am returning to it to explore two hypothesis. One is that McLuhan is doing psychology of a social phenomena. The other that he identified cyberspace, though did not name it as such. It is easy to see from these two hypothesis how if there is one guru, mentor, theorist my explorations here that it is McLuhan.

Because of today's terrific speed-up of information moving, we have a chance to apprehend, predict and influence the environmental forces shaping us -- and thus win back control of our own destinies. The new extensions of man and the environment they generate are the central manifestations of the evolutionary process, and yet we still cannot free ourselves of the delusion that it is how a medium is used that counts, rather than what it does to us and with us. This is the zombie stance of the technological idiot. It's to escape this Narcissus trance that I've tried to trace and reveal the impact of media on man, from the beginning of recorded time to the present.
predict and influence the environmental forces shaping us

That there are such forces shaping implies a sort of collective unconscious. He is a brave man to think we can move out of that Narcissus trance, yet that is his mission - becoming conscious of the environment we are in.

The new extensions of man and the environment they generate

Media generates an environmental force we live in a new world - this is what we would now call cyberspace.

Here is another passage from about half way through the interview:
The electronically induced technological extensions of our central nervous systems, which I spoke of earlier, are immersing us in a world-pool of information movement and are thus enabling man to incorporate within himself the whole of mankind. The aloof and dissociated role of the literate man of the Western world is succumbing to the new, intense depth participation engendered by the electronic media and bringing us back in touch with ourselves as well as with one another. But the instant nature of electric-information movement is decentralizing -- rather than enlarging -- the family of man into a new state of multitudinous tribal existences. Particularly in countries where literate values are deeply institutionalized, this is a highly traumatic process, since the clash of the old segmented visual culture and the new integral electronic culture creates a crisis of identity, a vacuum of the self, which generates tremendous violence -- violence that is simply an identity quest, private or corporate, social or commercial.
immersing us in a world-pool of information movement

So we are in a new world we are IN it. But what an interesting and paradoxical line follows: "incorporate within himself the whole of mankind" We are both absorbed by the new environment and at the same time we become, what we can now call a node in a hologram, each one of us is also the whole. This is very like the sense we have of the unconscious and collective unconscious, we seem to be both in it and it is in us. Soul has the same feel to it, it is not just my soul nor is it all out there. I love, how in this fairly sober interview McLuhan captures this idea poetically and emphatically with the word: world-pool... world-pool, it is just a quirk of history that this was not the word we use for cyberspace.

I think he is talking about cyberspace and doing psychology. That is not to say that all that he says seems right. That is not the point. His approach to the world-pool is what gives him his real significance as a thinker.

One aspects that is worth probing is the place of the virtual.

He had not come across the concept of 'virtual' life as we know it today. He is making a clear distinction between the mechanical world of Gutenberg and the new electronic era. And there is a qualitative shift there. The "literate" phase is distinct from this electronic age of "intense depth participation". He also speaks of it as going from the tribal oral culture, through a literate visual more fragmented culture, to the new return to tribal aural culture. That may be quite right, but the real qualitative shift comes with the first symbol, somewhere we move into a very slow moving virtual realm that intensifies but is in fact cyberspace from the word go.

[11:13 PM | wl | permalink

Monday, September 01, 2003

Cost of the War in Iraq

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[9:49 PM | wl | permalink

Writing on the Net
Welcome to Diarist.Net, a comprehensive starting-point for both writers and readers of online journals. Whether you call us diarists, journalers, or bloggers, we've got everything you need to know all about the people who tell all.

[9:44 PM | wl | permalink


I am exploring this.

[11:02 AM | wl | permalink

Good stuff: copyright is kidnapping

"I like to violate copyright everyday." writes Annalee Newitz, AlterNet:
I know it's sentimental of me, but I think of creative works as if they were somehow human, as if they had lives of their own

[2:39 AM | wl | permalink

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