Sharing ideas, in any form, is what the web empowers us to do. This is my online journal and commonplace book.

Elsewhere, I write and draw In Abeyance, a bi-monthly newsletter for people actively curious about the built environment. Subscribe.

My Mac died on me a couple of months ago. I’ve been iPad only since then. The thing is if it was reversed I would have gone out and replaced my iPad almost immediately. One of the reasons? I use Procreate for all my artwork. Procreate 5 is out now, and it’s amazing.

It only dawned on me after seeing a couple ‘best of the decade’ lists that we are saying goodbye to the tens and entering the roaring twenties in a few weeks time.

I lambasted Google for tracking and advertising…turns out the culprit was likely Apple. iOS 13 Settings To Turn Off Now video is a real eye opener. So much is buried in the menu and should be off by default. @gruber you should really write about this shit.

💤 I’m soo exhausted. Can’t honestly remember the last time I was this tired from the top of my head to the tip of my toes. Thankfully this day went pretty much as planned. Tomorrow will be fun.

Today is moving day. After 3½ months of disruption we finally have a place with all our creature comforts.

Issue 016 of my newsletter In Abeyance is out. I have found that I am oftentimes looking to the future and highlighting the road we need to take or make happen. In this issue, I want to bring some positive vibes and put the spotlight on where we have already made progress and projects that showcase built design at its best.

Next issue will be the last for 2019.

I ❤️ Copenhagen. Back home.

Great evening today between 3 dads, with very different stories to tell, comparing ideas and thoughts on how things are going and what the journey has taught us all. Really loved it and recommend it to anyone else going through the transformation that is parenthood themselves.

Took the wrong bloody train to the hotel didn’t I. Luckily it wasn’t so bad. I will say that I am really starting to appreciate Danish transportation elegance more and more. Maybe because the city is more human in scale I can appreciate certain elements more - while in larger cities the scale demands more complexity?

On my way to Amsterdam for the first time. They confiscated my razor blades, I kinda anticipated that this might happen, which is why I bought some sacrificial ones. CPH Airport is a good looking building. The water in the bathroom taps is freezing, which I also liked.

Been listening to the The Happiness Lab this weekend. Love the topic, love the music (which has an 80s gaming vibe). Another excellent production from the folks at Pushkin Industries.

Micro Fiction

Writing The Mark was a really interesting and unfamiliar process to me. First of all it was written as a narrative, while all my previous works of fiction were written as scripts intended for being made into comics. This was obviously a very different muscle that I had to use. For example I didn’t know how to format dialogue (even though I’ve thousands of line of dialogue), I ended up referring back to this page time and time again throughout the month. Apart from the mechanics there is also a question of flow and structure. Two elements I really only considered in the most superficial manner. I will be revisiting the story to see what I did wrong and how I can improve.

One of the limitations I included (constraint is the mother of all creativity), was to the daily word count to around 50 words. This constraint allowed me to peck out the story predominantly on my iPhone. Every night after work I would take 5-10 minutes and just type something out. Having the bar so low meant that I was able to do achieve my goal every night, even when I was busy, or tired or had a headache.

As the process moved forward I finally realised that this was the perfect way to move several fiction ideas that I have had serious brain crack over. So that’s what I’m going to be doing. As an experiment I’m going to see if I can move a story that I’ve had in different stages, 50 words at a time. The thing is I also think that my site isn’t really the perfect place to show the work as it progresses, rather to showcase completed chapters. So I’ll be writing it on a service I’ve been looking for the right project to try out. So I’ll be running a new newsletter that has nothing in it but text (eventually a little logo) that I will hopefully publish to on a daily basis. Once a chapter is written then I’ll publish that on the site.

Why publish it at all? Part of it is building accountability and movement behind something that I otherwise won’t touch. It’s also a break that my creative brain needs in addition to the work that I carry out over on Stet.Build

Throughout November I have been writing a story daily (a micro version of NaNoWriMo). It’s called The Mark and you can read the entire story (along with the last installment) at it’s dedicated page.

29. Stepping back into the world Odysseus looked around for a suitable host. Ah, yes that one will do fine. Before he switched hosts, Odysseus planted one final message for Asteer to follow, ‘Find Helen of Troy. She is the key to what you are looking for.’ Odysseus then strode into the world un-tethered. While a dazed Asteer boarded the next glider that was heading back to the Mark.

28. Odysseus opened his eyes. He was in the Agora sat next to Helen. She looked over, half hoping that his plan would fail. He gave her a knowing smile, nodded and without saying a word got up and left the Mark forever.

27. The gathen tried to resist the new host but it didn’t matter. Odysseus had taken full control of Asteer’s mind. His memories. Every part of his consciousness was malleable to any suggestion. Asteer’s mind would remain dormant. Odysseus made the jump out of Helen’s mind.

Bollocks. It’s the logicboard. While the price to fix it is pretty steep, it’s still a lot less than outright buying a new machine. Thing is, it’s a 6 year old machine. Need some perspective from everyone. Worth repairing or should I just call it quits.

26. Odysseus approached Asteer purposefully, his arm extended, aimed at Asteer’s gathen. ‘This is going to hurt,’ he said ‘a lot.’ Odysseus then began to slice the gathen from Asteer’s head. The pain all but consumed Asteer who faded in and out of consciousness. Lying on the ground, the last thing he saw before completely blacking out was Odysseus grafting the gathen onto himself.

Took my MacBook to the store to get fixed. Fingers crossed it’s a simple thing and not the motherboard. Quick update on using the iPad Pro as a MacBook replacement - it’s utter misery. While the iPad excels at drawing and marking up, it’s bollocks for coding/debugging website designs and publishing a newsletter. It can be done. It’s just a total ball ache - something you can put squarely on the software not the hardware.

25. ‘They use extraction to take what they want, breaking our minds and bodies in the process. No more. We’ve worked out how to travel between our minds without causing damage. We will hide Applonia inside your head and lure them there. You will act as our trap. Whomever they send will act as our escape vessel.’ He paused and took another drink, ‘Oh and one last thing. Your daughter goes last.’

24. ‘Centuries and a new reality haven’t changed you. You’re still a self centred son of a bitch. How does any of this help my daughter?’ said Helen. Odysseus poured himself more wine, ‘To survive, your daughter has to find refuge inside your mind. Her existence is an aberration in this world. As they cannot control it, they have decided to finish it. To help you get Applonia inside your head we need something from you in exchange.’

23. ‘Since this place came to be, they have been treating us like common farm animals. They offer us their latest techniques and technologies as though they are a gift. Only to mine our ideas. Our thoughts,’ Odysseus took a large swig of wine and continued ‘I was born to discover. I cannot be contained. Ever.’

Google thinks that it’s being clever by using Google Maps to then feed me targeted ads on YouTube but it’s actually alienating. So until I properly test out Apple Maps as a viable alternative I’m turning off the microphone access (and everything else). Fuck you Google. Twats.

22. Helen sat down directly opposite Odysseus. The table was adorned by a purple cloth, with golden trim. Even across centuries, some wounds are hard forgotten or forgiven. Odysseus poured himself a glass of wine. ‘Thanks for coming, it has been a while,’ he said. She offered a thin smile. ‘I’ll get right to it then. I know that Applonia is dying. I can save her.’

A couple of years ago I stopped buying Field Notes until I had used up the majority of what I had. This last year’s worth of Field Note releases has definitely tested this decision. I’ve found myself filling the cart with all the books and then closing the tab.

21. ‘What have you done to my gathen? How are you doing this?’ said a more composed Asteer. ‘How indeed.’ Odysseus offered cooly. He turned to Applonia, knelt down, his eyes level with hers. He seemed to be trying to reassure her. Applonia looked defiant. Unflinching. Odysseus got up, faced Asteer, pointed his glowing knife straight at him.

iCloud syncing to iA Writer has been really poor recently. Dropbox has never given me a problem.

20. Odysseus waved his hand in front of Asteer who suddenly found himself screaming out, ‘RELEASE ME RIGHT NOW.’ Odysseus paid him no heed and unsheathed a knife from his belt which began to glow a bright red. ‘You are in no position to demand anything. When you have served your purpose you will meet the same fate as all those spectres you’ve terminated.’

I was kindly reminded that I haven’t posted about the latest issue of In Abeyance. Issue 015 is out now and it’s all about Batteries. Subscribe here if you like the good kind of email.

19. Applonia was now standing right in front of him. Even though he had monitored her his entire life, this was the closest he’d ever been to her…even though this wasn’t real, right? ‘A magician with a single trick. You would expect the audience to see right through you. Then again Helen is a much better looking package than that wooden horse.’

18. Helen of Troy had a daughter with Isaac Newton. They named her Applonia. She was the first child born in the Mark. The event warranted her own dedicated minder, an honour that fell to Asteer . When her surveillance signal had stopped, he had been given simple instructions, ‘Find her. Bring her back. Don’t come back until you’ve done both.’

And like that I’m 14 years old again, video game console logos. I’ve always been a Sega man. The Mega Drive and Dreamcast logos especially put a massive smile on my face.

This article, The Secret to Enjoying a Long Winter, by Jason Kottke couldn’t come at a better time for me. In our new reality the sun sets at 4pm and will continue to drop till the winter solstice (22nd of December). We need recalibrate our mindset to the norms of this place.

17. He tried to move but his feet didn’t respond. He tried to communicate with his gathen but it also was silent. All around him was nothingness. Bright. The silhouettes became clearer. A man and a child…a girl. The man walked straight up to Asteer and whispered, ‘Beware of Greeks bearing gifts.’

Apart from the great artwork, the latest episode of The Erasable Podcast has a great conversation regarding NaNoWriMo. Hearing the guys express the same issues you may be experiencing with your own novel somehow makes everything easier.

No idea what this anime face is for on a train ticket but I love it.

So today I finally moved all my site analytics to Plausible. Another small step to supporting the one man bands on the internet that make things for us (individuals), not them (companies).

16. Entering the mind of a spectre was a particularly disconcerting experience. You were subjected to a cacophony of whispers of every tone and intensity. Something was definitely not right. Asteer stood still. It was completely silent. He could no longer feel his gathen. In the distance he could make out silhouettes approaching him.

This November, as part of the community, a series of prompts were published every day by Jean. My idea was to use some of these prompts and write a novella. The constraint was to remain with roughly 50 words per day. I have allowed myself the opportunity to go back and edit previous instalments as the story develops.

I will hopefully collate them all with a few sketches. Today is the halfway point of the story, so if you want to catch up, head over to the dedicated category page

15. The Mark was created to be where ideas were farmed from the greatest minds that ever existed. Rules were created to ensure that none of the spectres had any illusions that they were in control. As expected, some couldn’t accept that. This had lead to organised culls being used as an example to deter others.

14. ‘Do what you must,’ submitted Helen. He touched her shoulder. Time stopped. All of reality collapsed into this moment. It felt like every nerve in his body had been set alight. He had no reference any more. The journey could have taken seconds or all of eternity. He was now inside her mind.

I’ve been slowly working through all the various architectural houses that exist in Denmark (and there are many). One project that has really stood out from all that I have seen, is something called ‘The Whale’. Absolutely stunning.

Definitely feel like my mental health is better when I get to sit down and write for an hour or so every morning. I fell out of the habit recently on account of everything that’s been happening in our life but happily this muscle is starting to be flexed again.

13. Everyone has one life to live. Except spectres. They have been afforded a second. Helen had effectively forfeited hers to enable her daughter’s escape from the Mark. Asteer had lied. It wasn’t just the where he was interested in. He was also curious about the why.

12. The Mark existed as a haven for the very best, and absolute worst, that humanity had ever produced. They were given a second chance to produce more works or repent for what they had done. If you were of the Mark you could never leave this place. This cardinal rule was enforced with draconian effect.

Basecamp Personal launched. I used the old personal version 8 years ago. Really excited about this again.