August 1, 2020 Header
personal website: joe crawford. code. occasional comics. toy robots. bodysurfing. san diego. california. say hi.
since 1998

from Instagram via IFTTT

Rang in an early New Year with @hellokellykuhl in the Gaslamp Quarter, where even the parking garages have nice views.

from Instagram via IFTTT

I had 247 swim sessions in 2021. Pool, Pacific, snorkeling, Atlantic, hotel, bodysurfing, lap. I don’t have a #top9, sorry. #stoke #swimming

from Instagram via IFTTT

Future project

from Instagram via IFTTT

Birds in the lineup. Earlier this week.

Longmont Potion Castle

Part of blogging in WordPress that’s great is that I can save drafts. This is one with just a link to wikipedia and the title Longmont Potion Castle.

What did I mean? Why did I save it? To research?

Longmont Potion Castle:

Longmont Potion Castle (born 1972) is the pseudonym of an anonymous surrealist prank caller active in Colorado and the Los Angeles areas since 1986. Details about his personal life are scarce, and his real name is unknown to the public. Over the years, his mostly self-released albums have gained a cult following, notably among musicians.


Listen to a track:

It’s fascinating. Ridiculous. I don’t like prank phone calls, really. But this, it’s very listenable. Reminds me a bit of Joe Frank at a totally different angle. It also reminds me a bit of the They Might Be Giants track Untitled. Found recorded audio can be magic.

Gloria: But what does he get–how does he make money on this? Whatever he’s advertising in the paper. This is the part that don’t make no sense.
Guy on Phone: Oh, he’s advertising this in the paper you saw it.
Gloria: In the Village Voice, yeah. They got–that’s where the Kiss Clinic, but they give you another number if you wanna join it. Then I got the “intellectuals meet with other intellectuals…”

I think I’ll listen to My Life in the Bush of Ghosts today.

Swarm Checkins

On Atemporality

At the “end” of the year, as we are, one can’t help but think about time.

Time “passes.” And we can “waste” time. But in a very real sense “time” is not a “thing” in the same way as other nouns.

We are bound to our temporal space. We can “remember” prior times but we can’t really go there.

But we can recreate pieces of the past, and inhabit them.

I like to cosplay–wear costumes–and it’s remarkable how that helps me inhabit another persona. I recall the comedian Dana Carvey saying in an interview something like “when I do an impression of Dennis Miller, my vocabulary is better.”

Our imaginations are amazing. We can simply decide to speak like someone else.

I think about a therapy session where it was suggested to me that I carry inside me voices of parents, family. When I “know what my mother would say to me” about something, that’s a feat! My mother is a decade in the past, but in some sense I carry inside me a model of what she would say.

Which brings me to the idea of “atemporality.”

I first encountered the idea of atemporality through the author William Gibson.

Prince and Frank Zappa can still put out new music, but they have been dead a while.

Gibson famously coined the term “cyberspace” and is famous for being part of what was dubbed the “cyberpunk” movement.

I first encountered Cyberpunk in 1983 and the idea of it – technology is wondrous and yet prosaic – it’s terrifying and thrilling — and the street finds its own use for things. My worldview is 100% filtered through the ideas of Cyberpunk. When a group of K-Pop fans group together to disrupt a political process — that’s cyberpunk. When email archives are shared out to the internet; when a snippet of video goes viral; internet memes: all cyberpunk.

I digress.

Using a set of ideas to look at the world is not exactly what I mean by atemporality. One idea of atemporality would be something along the lines of Pennsylvania Dutch or Amish – people who adopt a culture that is aside from the current moment. But that’s not what I mean. I mean that when I watch the film Smithereens from 1982 on demand that is a tiny piece of atemporality. I see kids on Instagram choose to only listen to music from the 1980s and that’s a particular kind of atemporal choice. We can pick and choose the cultural artifacts we engage with because so much of prior culture is available to us on demand.

I think about hot rod culture, rockabilly style, and the fashion associated with all that. All of that is from the 1950s, and a person can choose to live in that style, to drive a Mercury Coupe, to wear a pompadour hairstyle. Such a life choice has been possible a while, there’s a finite amount of 50s culture. Moving forward, it is easier to make choices like this.

The Present is deeply weird. There’s no coherent zeitgeist. There is little way to get a handle on it. Different people use a term like “millennial” and depending on who you talk to they might mean it to be a pre-teen or someone 35. I see a term like “boomer” get thrown around and hit people who by no means meet the established criteria of being part of WWII babies, and yet, the usage makes a certain kind of sense. Time as a definer of who we are is becoming a less valid criteria to understand people.

Musings for a Thursday morning.

When are you reading it? I can’t know.


Specklefin Midshipman

I go to the beach a lot.

And I post to Instagram the things I see. The waves, the sand, sometimes: sea creatures.

On the morning of December 6th I came across a bunch of foodstuffs, and one unusual fish.

So unusual that when the photo was shared to Facebook, my angler cousin remarked that it was quite unusual and would be asking buddies what it was.

My pal Susan likewise was curious, and posted the photo to iNaturalist has a few goals:

  • Keep Track
    Record your encounters with other organisms and maintain life lists, all in the cloud.
  • Create Useful Data
    Help scientists and resource managers understand when and where organisms occur.
  • Crowdsource Identifications
    Connect with experts who can identify the organisms you observe.
  • Become a Citizen Scientist
    Find a project with a mission that interests you, or start your own.
  • Learn About Nature
    Build your knowledge by talking with other naturalists and helping others.
  • Run a Bioblitz
    Hold an event where people try to find as many species as possible.

That Crowdsource Identifications is the key one. And in about 2 days the “Crowd” of experts in ichthyology made a consensus: Specklefin Midshipman (Porichthys myriaster). Here’s the iNaturalist sighting page.

It’s a rare fish for the Mission Bay Jetty but not unheard of. It has a deeper range than most of the critters there though, having been spotted as deep as 126 meters (413 feet!) deep.

More info:
here, here, here, and here.

Swarm Checkins

Quote of the Day is from Jeet Heer

Fabricating Consensus Why The View’s search for a palatable Republican will fail:

In a polarized America, The View is trying to manufacture a reasonable conservatism that is a miniscule and an ever diminishing part of the political spectrum. They are trying to create out of thin air a conservatism that has no bearing on actual politics, because they prefer to keep alive the idea of reasonable discourse along a narrow spectrum—some disagreement is permitted between left and right, so long as it’s the center that holds.

I’m a big fan of Jeet Heer. His twitter is great and I enjoy his newsletter.

It’s telling that Republicans are increasingly odious. I think we’re all in for a worse 2022 than 2021 in terms of political behavior of those who consider themselves Republicans. It’s a fiction to think it’s a reasonable political party.

The USSR had too few political parties: 1.

It turns out the USA has too few political parties too: 2.

from Instagram via IFTTT

New Bot Day! Getter Poseidon is a classic 1974 robot I have several other iterations of. I used to draw its design in my middle school notebooks. Things change, and also repeat.

One of the best feelings: retiring debt

This was a credit card shared in common with my ex-wife. Took a year and a half, and it feels so wonderful to be clear of it!

←November 2021January 2022→