Blog as a Sandbox

Since I’ve begun blogging again, I’ve been using The Reticulum blog as a sandbox more than anything else. I’ve messed around to entertain myself and try new things: illustrated poems, coding tips, nostalgic memories, riffs on nonfiction books, the occasional fiction, and various other random acts of writing. Sometimes to me if feels sadly self indulgent, other times like healthy experimentation and expression.

Sand Mandala

Whatever it is, though, I’m going to try to impose a bit more structure on it over the rest of the year. The idea is to focus on just two topics that are, while broad in their own right, more in keeping with the original intent of the blog.

The first topic will be what I’m thinking of as AI@Work, which leverages my interest in both neural networks and work-related issues.

As broad as that topic is, however, the second is even broader and can be summed up in the phrase “network science.” I have a couple of books by network scientist Albert-László Barabási I want to explore here before I move on to other thinkers in the area.

So, it’ll remain a sandbox but a slightly more structured one through the rest of 2023. More of a sand mandala, perhaps.

Featured image: Участник:GgvlaD, "Разрезание" мандалы Зеленой Тары на мероприятии "Дни Тибета в Москве", June 2011.

Blogging on My Phone as Guilty Pleasure

Here I lie on the sofa, engaged in one of the of guiltier Internet pleasures for hopeless nerds: phone blogging.

My head on one throw pillow, my feet on another, I lie here tapping away with my right thumb while petting the cat with my left hand as he lies on the rug below, purring away like a small, warm, happy engine. He too is pro-phone-blogging.

My cat is in favor of phone blogging

It’s wonderfully relaxing, almost the opposite of some things that should, by rights, be similar: that is, social media posting.

Sure, I know, blogging is technically social media. There are the occasional comments and likes, which are appreciated, and I’ve even taken to using my Reader to peruse and appreciate other blogs.

But for me, blogging is meditative and creative. It helps me think through issues. It is something to do in the evenings instead of channel surfing or doom scrolling. It’s like taking my brain for a walk.

Blogging via a phone app (in my case, WordPress) takes the pressure off. It’s a much different setup than the standing desk I use for work all day.

The irony is that I’ve never cared for texting given my large hands and wide, knuckly fingers. I’m a reasonably good touch typist on a keyboard but a pathetically poor smartphone plunker.

Yet, my crappy thumb-typing is an advantage when it comes to phone blogging. It requires a plodding, leisurely pace that complements my slowed brain after a full day’s work.

It’s true that I still don’t do most graphics this way (though I’m working on it using the Canva app). I tend to use a laptop for final touches, but the lion’s share of writing is done like this.

I phone blog slowly, like a meandering donkey

So, even as the more technically ambitious ride off into the metaverse, outfitted like virtual knights in their latest VR gear, ready for new quests, I literally poke along. A virtual donkey, happily behind the times, nosing along the winding, reticular paths of my own idle thoughts.

So, that’s how I do it, Renard, in answer to your query on the topic. It’s not fancy and no doubt looks to my wife like sheer, irredeemable sloth.

But, the dinner dishes done, to me it’s a nice hour or so off the beaten paths of the increasingly frantic, irate and irrational Internet. This is the back way, the scenic route, the road less traveled. It is the Tao of the Slow Stroll, and I can recommend it.

All images from Stable Diffusion