Ingredients for an intelligent website

Has anyone made an A.I. blogger? I think it would be bizarre if you programmed in some keywords/topics for and it went and starting publishing all these news articles and op-eds to the world on its own. And maybe based on comments from users on its posts it would adjust its tone...

What makes for a successful blogger? I am not one, but here's what I would guess:

3 parts "keeping up with latest trends & techs"
1 part "self-aggrandizing"
2 parts "smarmy sense of humor"
1 part "likes to pick fights"
4 parts "80% highly critical of things widely appreciated, 20% highly appreciative of things widely criticized"
5 parts "other important people deem the site important"

Anybody wanna take a crack at this?

Dorito Nugget BITER on ebay

On December 12, 2005 I posted on this site about my friend Mike's dorito flavor nugget that he was trying to sell on ebay. That item ended with no bids.


Five years later, it appears someone on ebay is trying to sell a dorito nugget and I have to say, the wording of the post sounds alarmingly familiar.

"Known as the diamonds of the culinary world, doritos are prized all over the world for their distinct flavor. You are bidding on a pure uncut hunk of Nacho Cheese Doritos Flavoring. This somehow escaped from the Frito Lay factory and made it's way into my wife's 1oz. snack bag of Doritos. She saved it because she had no idea what it was, I've decided it's prolly more expensive then we can afford on my salary. Fine purveyors of gourmet food like Dean and DeLuca have nothing on Frito Lay. "Shave" this over any food like truffles. It is currently wrapped in a small ziploc bag waiting for you to enjoy!"

Note the use of humor and bewilderment at this "discovery". I dunno. Something doesn't seem right. His posting style is too similar to Mike's. These kind of flavor nuggets seem like a one in a million type deal.

Here's what I think happened - this guy, trying to make a quick buck, was testing out different keyword combinations in google. In trying "doritos nugget", he saw my post come up first in the google results.

"EUREKA!", he thought. "This is my ticket to fame, money, and limitless power." He then proceeded to research how to artificially pack dorito flavor powder into balls and manufactured one in a suspiciously familiar size and shape and posted it on ebay for sale. Using a combination of viral marketing and style biting, he scored the right google page rank and was able to sucker a few poor souls into bidding on it.

What do you guys think? A coincidence or conspiracy?

Soapbox, weird weather, blog identity

Some good news afoot with the music space Brendan and I have been working on for the past year and a half! We have found a really amazing space in Humboldt Park. In the next couple of weeks we will be rolling out evening music rehearsals. In addition we will be trying to work on some side recording projects and collaborations with musicians we know in Chicago during off hours. It's gonna be a lot of fun.

Weather has been crazy. 80 degree weather in April in Chicago is a dangerous thing - it feels great but there is almost always a guarantee that cold weather will return before June. Maybe even snow? Chicago definitely tries to make the most of a good day even if it is sporadic.

This website feels like it has been around forever! I think I registered it in 2003 but it feels like I did it even before that. It's a weird type of site that harks back to the days when people didn't have Facebook or Tumblr, or even Livejournal and people put together ramshackle websites just for fuck's sake and because it was fun to see how many hits from Australia you'd get.

All logic tells me to shut this thing down. I constantly have the urge to destroy this site but by now it feels like an old friend I need to help out. I think it helps me out too, because it still feels right to post here when I need to work out ideas or think aloud. I'm not sure I could do that anywhere else.

Most importantly, I feel like I know who the audience is for this, my friends and family. I am happy and humbled to those that read any of my posts. Thanks ya'll.

Swoon Method

This is a real rock band, with live humanoids playing instruments. I'll be sitting in on drums with my buddy Drew (who will be playing bass) at their CD Release party:

Sunday, February 28, 2010
8:00pm - 11:00pm
5 W. Division
Chicago, IL


also sounds like the venue Quennect 4 is getting some heat from the city of Chicago to become "legit". I am rooting for these guys since the city has been a "litigious larry" towards small venues, making it almost impossible for them to open or stay open. Help them become legit!


I used to hate the cold, until I bought a pair of Capilene 4 long johns. Now strolling outside in 5 degree weather is like strolling down a Miami beach!

The Sixty One is a new music discovery site that has an intuitive interface for browsing through artists quickly. It kind of reminds me of Pandora but a bit more open and feature rich if you want to learn more about an artist. I haven't explored how easy it is for an artist to submit their own music but this is a site definitely to keep an eye on. The site draws you in fairly quickly and the full size graphics w/ overlayed text makes it feel like an album cover of sorts.

The experience reminds me of walking up to a listening station in a local record shop, putting on headphones, and skipping around to the various selections while reading and looking at the artwork. I've found a lot of good music that way.

Shadow's Technophobia

Interesting journal entry by DJ Shadow re: Internet's impact on music. In short, sounds like he feels like the internet is trying to take away his choice to release music as a paid product, criticizing the social pressure to release music as free.

I never really thought about it like that, 'cause I never saw the internet like TV (as Shadow compares it). I don't buy the argument that the internet is a mind numbing force that homogenizes those that it touches - although I do think there are new hypersocial forces emerging whose effects no one really understands yet.

Between the Folds

Caught the tail end of this awesome documentary on origami, highlights include bits on origami protein folding and the French avante garde origamists(?) Le Crimp.

Searching for the feeling

Today I went to a Chicago cafe, like I so often do, to try and accomplish some work. Telecommuting has its many advantages, but after not leaving the house for 3 days straight you just gotta get out. Anyway, with a strongly brewed organic earl grey in hand, I found myself without internet. Unfortunately this happens all the time in Chicago, making it one of the top 10 unreliable cities for public wireless connections (a statistic I just made up).

Secretly, I kinda love when this happens though. I put my computer away and trade it for a mini notepad to jot down some thoughts. I find myself overwhelmed, like a lot of people, with the amount of tech that we deal with on a daily basis. Computers are great and all - but in my opinion we reached the height of computer usefulness around 1999-2000. That's around the time when computers graduated from nerdy tool to fashionable, low-cost social accessory. Anyway I won't digress too much, but in short I think when a technology "overfunctions" (functions well beyond your need) it tends to have a negative effect on productivity/life, as a result of overwhelming feature shock. Too many things it can do, infinite options, infinite possibility, infinite distractions! You can never master and overlearn it, because there are too many features, making it difficult to achieve and experience flow. To be clear, I'm not a techno-curmudgeon - I just think computers should adapt to the way we work and not the other way around.

One of the exhausting things about the internet is the amount of information that must be conveyed through text. It can be a frustrating medium for emotive communication. The. awkward. period. Ellipses... :D LOL I'M EXCITED AND LAUGHING!!! ~~|?|><:) Imagine if you had to do that in real life - "Hey man! I'm laughing out loud right now! Are you there? I'm sad now, because it is raining. Now I'm experiencing a complex nostalgic emotion because of the smell of this food!!!! LOL!"

Communicating online is pretty taxing, and I think sites like Twitter and Tumblr are popular because they split things into more manageable chunks. Leave it to others to piece together the fragments and figure it out. Picture, link to funny video song, 140 characters about where I am. Little micro-updates firing into the air in all directions, breathe it all in, blink, and try and create a subconscious impression of the person, what they are doing - how they are feeling.

In real life you look at somebody and without words you can read body language, hear the tone of someone's voice, smell what they are smelling. There is shared communication and shared experience, even with the stranger sitting next to you. Not any effort involved...your brain just absorbs it all subconsciously.

So is microblogging and twitter updates satisfying a human need? I dunno. People have an obvious desire to share things, and keep in touch with friends. I think it works best in this utilitarian way, much like a phonebook or bulletin board. But achieving a full emotional experience by summing small bits of video, text, and audio together seems incomplete. No matter how much emotive information I glean from my friend's twitter feed, I'll never really feel their full presence. But it doesn't stop me from trying, because it is addictive as hell to try.

Anyway thinking about all of this, I thought it'd be interesting to try and experiment with communicating with no words, and use *only* images, audio, and video that I create. The exception would be that it'd be ok to post a photo of something handwritten. Instead of explaining what things are all the time (metadata), just let a picture, video, or audio clip speak for itself. No titles, posted dates, hyperlinks, not even a caption - no automatic documentation of any kind. A pure stream chronologically listed, left to interpretation and blurry memory.

Sounds kinda liberating to me, and challenging. I may try that out here, at least for a little while!