Cover photo

The Crowd Gets To It [249]

Before I jump into it, let me just point you to my photography shop where for the first time I've been able to print a large format edition of my "Moment on the Metro" photo. As many of you know this photo was taken almost 14 years ago with an iphone, so the source image file was always rather low res and while I've done digital things with it, I was never comfortable with any of the prints. Last year I started playing with some of the new ai-up-res tools from Topaz (not an ad, just a link) and was blown away by what I was able to do with it, and actually printed it at 30" wide and it looks great. This is the first time I've ever offered a print of this image, and have 2 sizes available in small editions for anyone interested.

OK, glad that is out of the way.

Brains are stupid. Turns out the more stuff you do the more your brain tries to talk you out of doing more stuff. Basically it's doing risk/reward analysis all the time, but with a growing bias towards the risk. I've lamented before that I sometimes feel like I did a lot of things early on (like starting a record company in high school) largely because I didn't know all the reasons why I shouldn't have been able to do it. I never asked if I should or how hard it would be or what it might lead to, I just asked how to do it and then did it. This experience unquestionably shaped future decisions and life directions, mostly in a positive way (well, I say "positive" in that I went ahead and did things, I guess history will decide if they were positive or not) but certainly as I've gotten older (I'm eyeballing 50 now) I find it way easier to think of all the reasons something won't work, or that it'll be difficult, or that since I don't know how to complete the 30th step I shouldn't embark on the 1st step. Younger me would have charged ahead without considering that. This is good and bad, maturity and wisdom and whatever have saved me in later years from doing stupid shit that I might have done in a heartbeat as a kid, but I also sometimes miss that carefree abandon. I thought it was just me, but that article helps explain it's a normal thing. The more things we've done, the more our brains understand the effort/cost involved with doing them. What our brains don't know is the reward/benefit for doing something we've never done before, so the decision making is imbalanced and skewed towards not doing it. Increasingly so. I actually found that helpful to learn, it feels like it will make it easier to ignore the internal naysaying in the future.

I think this applies to big things and small. I need to think more about this, and maybe work up some courage.

I enjoyed looking at this list of Stephen King's 25 favorite movies. In part because I've seen a bunch and agree they are great, but also because there's some I've never seen or heard of. Speaking of things that are great - loved the new Godzilla film, really loving the new Monarch series and finally catching up with Peaky Blinders which I'd missed probably because I thought the name was dumb.

So the Rich Dad Poor Dad guy is $1 Billion in debt. He's also like - "so what?" To be fair, if you've read any of his stuff or seen him talk his whole thing is that money is a scam and banks are a joke so might as well rack up the debt and use that to get more debt and more debt, so him being $1B underwater was probably the only possible outcome but I'm laughing because every single person who ever mentioned his books to me (I can think of at least 5 off the top of my head) were always very firmly in the "debt is bad, save your money, stop buying $5 lattes and avocado toast, why don't you own a house yet? loser." camp.

Speaking of money. Korea launching crypto-friendly digital nomad visas. Japan is reforming their tax laws so that crypto holders are taxed when they realize profits, not just for holding or transferring. Similar things are happening all across Asia and Europe, and even South America. Meanwhile the US is going the opposite direction, with politicians repeating nonsense (I mean, really - imagine calling the CEO of JP Morgan to say that crypto should be "shut down" because of it's untraceable [even though it's on an indelible public ledger] mere months after JP Morgan came to a $290 Million dollar settlement with Epstein's victims while admitting they had no idea where his money came from) and doing things like dropping all campaign finance charges against SBF while still pointing at FTX as a "crypto scam" because that's a hot narrative and keeps the focus off the fact that it was the traditional banking industry which let that happen, crypto caught them, and all the money that he donated to politicians they decided they can go ahead and keep. The result here is that all this innovation and all the smart people working on the next wave of solutions are going elsewhere and the US is really starting to look like an ignorant backwoods joke. Meanwhile, things in web3 land are starting to feel more 2021-ish than 2023-ish if you know what I mean.

If you don't know what I mean, I mean that in 2021 things started happening so fast that I kept finding myself talking about things and no one around me having any idea what I was talking about, and while 2022-2023 gave people a lot of time to catch up, on the big things anyway, I think at least a lot of people understand that Bitcoin and Ethereum are two different things now, and people have at least heard about NFTs. But how about Ordinals or Tensorians or Celestia or Bonk or Keplr? And that's just last week. Yeah, it's getting wild again real fast.

I loved reading about this new piece of art from 0x113 which I'll probably never be able to see because it's hidden in code. Literally. We can cryptographically prove the art exists, but until someone decodes it no one knows what it is. It's super high concept art obviously, and while I suspect some people will immediately write it off as dumb it should be noted this isn't a new concept, people have hiding things in art with code for a long time in fact it was only just now that code sewn into a silk dress in 1888 was finally deciphered. Of course "cryptoart" has given a lot of "crypto" artists a whole new arena to play in, but this is all built on things that came before. Ciphrd's 2021 collection "RGB Elementary Cellular Atomaton" (AKA the Chromie Squiggle of Tezos) is driven by Conway's 1970 Game of Life, and artists like Kevin Abosch and Deafbeef have been playing with hiding their work in code for a long time now. I should probably take the time and write more about this, right?

Here's the official 2023 list of words that we're supposed to stop using. I mostly agree with this list, the argument being that these words - like "hack" and "impact" or "iconic" or "obsessed" are used so much by so many people in so many cases that they've become meaningless. There's also some cliches like "at the end of the day" and "wait for it" which I also agree are painfully over used and we'd all be better off never hearing them again ever. If I could add anything to the list I'd put in "legend" "appreciate" and "grail" which I hear so often every single day now that they have lost all weight. In the same way that is everything is iconic then nothing is iconic, if everyone is a legend no one is a legend. I was amused to see "side hustle" on there with the reason being basically going into 2023 no one can survive on their main job so everyone has several things going to try and make ends meet, so it's not a side hustle anymore it's the actual hustle. And the admission that there's no surviving without hustling, and those who can't keep up are getting sucked under. Wow that got a lot darker than I was anticipating but that was last year right and now we're in 2024 so everything is awesome and new and hopeful, isn't it?

I'll leave you with this one to chew on: In the late 90's space surf rockers Man or Astroman? faced the problem of having an increasingly demanding tour schedule where they literally needed to be in different places at the same time and had a brilliant idea: Clone themselves. They figured if any number of classic rock bands could tour with only one original member and no one cared, they could split their 4 piece band up into 4 separate bands by bringing in a crew of new members and then tour simultaneously allowing the actual Man or Astroman? to play in 4 different cities at the same time. Sure, maybe it was a gimmic but it kind of worked and was a very interesting experiment that I think about often. Especially if you think about it being a proto-path-paving move that would lead to KISS making their own avatar/holograms that will live on and continue to play shows on their behalf long after they can't. Again, some will write it off immediately but I think Ian is right here when he talks about bands evolving and finding a way to live on forever, in ways that are fitting and relevant for future audiences. Feel free to me be mad that things aren't the way they used to be, but I think it's much more fun to be excited to see what's next.

That's all for now, thanks for reading.


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