Machine Learning Is Fun

AttnGAN via Runway ML software

I’m going to do my daily writing routine today from within a machine learning algorithm, the AttnGAN algorithm in the Runway ML software

I’m just going to try and do my normal routine, typing 1000 words and check out the results as they appear and maybe riff off of the images as they appear. there’s no spell check in here. that’s differet
pretty fun so far. it’s cool to have some images going on in the background to riff of off. I’m going to try and say some trigger words to see what effect it has

wet hot darkness
grim and filth
bright lights
red house
faces in the places in the faces in the faces in the faces in the faces in the faces in the faces in the faces in the faces in the faces in the faces in the faces in the faces in the faces in the faces in the faces in the faces in the faces in the faces in the faces in the faces in the faces eyeballs in the faces eyeballs in the faces eyeballs in the faces eyeballs in the faces eyeballs in the faces eyeballs in the faces eyeballs in the faces eyeballs in the faces eyes eyse eyes eyes eyes eyes eyes eyes eyes eyes eyes eyes eyes eyes eyes eye eye eye eye

eyes in the clouds
eyes in the clouds
eyeballs and faces in the clouds
eyeballs and faces in the clouds at sunset
eyeballs and faces
eyeballs in the faces in the clouds in the faces in the eyeballs in the clouds eyeballs eyeballs


chunky farts
hot breath
spars stars darkness
space stars darness

heart of darkness
heart of darkness
heart of darknes

the human body
hands arms toes torso
hands arms toes torso
hands ham
pig pink yello pink yellow pink yellow fileds pink yellow fields ping

pink yellow moon

moon dance

Round Two of improvised text fed into AttnGAN

trying out another machine learning exercise. we’ll see how it goes. so far I like this one better. looks like a bunch of candles in a bathroom. and then some squash or sweet potatoes. definitely a kitchen scene here some candle holders and vases lava lamps mirrors and vases and glass and candles lava lava lava lava





faces faces faces faces faces cat cat cat cat cat
fractal cats fractal cats fractal cats fractal cats fractal cats fractal cats fractal cats fractal cats

diamond eyes
diamond eyes
lizzard lizzard lizzard lizzard brain lizzard brain brain brain lizzard diamon lizzard diamond brain cat diamond gems cats lizzard cat gem lizzard light prizm prism prism light candle lamp lizzard light candle fractal cats fractal cats

lizzard diamond diamond lizzard eyes

12 Days

I’ve been writing 1,000 words a day for twelve days and plan to keep it up. I am going to stop doing a weekly synopsis of said writings though. Nobody needs to see that. And nobody is seeing these posts thankfully, probably. I haven’t shared this link anywhere.

Eventually I’ll accumulate enough posts, no one will dig this deep. And if they do… HELLO!! My writing sucks! That’s kinda the point!! This is what it looks like at the bottom of the pile, the present stink of a future flower. (That’s me, I’m the flower).

One Thousand Words

I’ve decided to use 1,000 words as my daily writing metric. That’s what Stephen King does. He’s been writing 1,000 words a day for decades and describes the process as a kind of ‘creative sleep’. It doesn’t feel like sleep to me. It feels like work. But it’s a workable work and I think I can stick with it.

I’ve been at it for about a week now (5 days, I checked). It seems to take me about 40 minutes to write 1,000 words. I had been doing two 25 minute sessions of writing on my days off and (shooting for) one 25 minute chunk on workdays. 1,000 words will be a bit more to manage on workdays, but I can hack it. Might have to split it up into before and after-work sessions.

Eventually I’d like to start putting together proper essays, cohesive thought out pieces. But for now I’ll keep my daily writing practice as loose as possible (and private) and continue to post here once a week or so, I’ll publish the highlights (more accurately – the midlights), anything I might want to revisit or re-purpose. That’ll force me to read back through everything.

2019-07-31 to 2019-08-09

-cast a wide knot

-hypnotizing myself through habit until I cluck like a competent duck.

-Is re-framing pain / suffering a different process that growing numb to it through repeated exposure? Are they related in some way? The dumbing down of pain / suffering through repeated exposure – is that a kind of biological / spiritual re-framing?

-Note to self – use questions in your writing more. Is there a more visceral way to frame ideas, to instigate thought?

-really like Shane Parish’s thinking on goal setting vs. habit formation (note to self – look up his writing on writing). Goals can be too easily derailed. Habits are form-able linchpins. Once you get them built, they’re set and forget. Habits operate themselves.

-flock of geese
no orchestration, just orchestrated

-I think I figured out how to frame my ‘Song Book’ project. I’ll keep posting songs to ‘Weekly Song Post’ , and keep making albums, using ‘Song Book’ as an aggregator for all the various versions of songs and writings and photos and art and relevant data. An open-ended digital multimedia Song Book. Each song will have a ‘page’ – a node, a web page, connected via hyper-links.

-glints of metal among seagulls and stench

On Reading

Another successful week (or so) of daily writing. The following chunks are pieces of pieces I might want to come back to and explore / refine:

7.20.19 – 7.29.19

Kicking off second round of thought streaming sentence hurling first thought best thought just get something out don’t think too much

words and turds and mistletoe
flesh is were the thistle grows

just talking cow
and saying muffin

BLOG Post Title “Got a Spellcheck On Me”
Got a Spellcheck On Me

Spell check is training me. I’m too neurotic to ignore those red lines. And it’s not always possible to turn off spellcheck, so I’m begrudgingly becoming a better (and less interesting) speller. The machine is learning me good.

The natural drift and shift of language is getting solidified in predictable rigidity. The evolution of spelling and grammar (and word choice) are being stuffed in amber, as is – no more mutations.

in explanation:

The technique of vibrato wasn’t widely used in popular music. This is how vibrato spread according to David Byrne in his book How Music Works (as best as I can remember, having read it a few years ago).

The mechanics of early recording necessitated a lot of volume. A signal had to be loud to be picked up by the early recording devices, which etched sound waves by needle into physical discs. Violins weren’t loud enough to be easily heard on the recording so they needed to be played more loudly. While being bowed more aggressively pitch tends to waver. The added force makes minute differences in finger position affect the pitch dramatically. A little bit of difference in finger position and pressure tend to affect the pitch when stringed instruments are bowed more violently. The note that was a tiny bit off now sounds WAY off.

In order to compensate for this warble in pitch, players started wiggling string fingers quickly back and forth to shift the pitch slightly sharp and sharply flat. To the listener, this sharp / flat oscillation splits the difference and gives the sense of being on pitch.

When people heard these recordings the use of vibrato was then imitated and reproduced in future recordings. People mimicked and repeated what they heard, having no idea that vibrato was just being used as a workaround, a way of dealing with technological limitations.

In a similar way Grammarly and spell check are training us to use language in the way it’s currently used, fixing it as is.

A good sentence is like water. It has no noticeable taste. If you get a whiff of something, there’s probably dead sheep upstream.

(inspired by Rory Sutherland, Alchemy)

In Stephen King’s book, On Writing, he is insistent that you have to read a ton if you want to be a great writer. Reading a lot, you start noticing sentence structure and grammar usage that you didn’t notice before. The story gets out of the way and other structural facets present themselves.

Reading a ton is mentally draining. I read more loosely later in the day. Seems pointless to read if you’re not taking it all in but maybe loose reading is ok. Just like loose writing has its benefits.

Diffuse reading is useful. Not being able to pay attention to the story line or character names. Diffuse mode makes connections that focused mode can’t. Aspects of tone and flow might be better detected in this state.

underneath my side-moon feet
trapped galore, “I know right”
saddled and brimming with buckets round
near the close evermore

lost now on frivolous mounds of melt
poured down from above below
no one can feel what you fearsome felt
coming in out of the cold

apparently spellcheck has no knowledge of the the word motherfucking. Didn’t even offer any suggestions. That seems disingenuous.

Well, I trained that motherfucking motherfucker, now it knows.

skeeter legged train of thought, there and gone, gone there

quick down feather bed abstraction abstract
levels in levels and levels under that

7 Days

I’ve been slacking off the past few days, but before that I had a nice little streak of 7 days in a row. An hour a day (more or less) of writing. I’m finally starting to make progress on establishing this habit.

I’ve been doing first-thought-best-thought, stream-of-consciousness style journaling. It’s revealing and kinda boring talking about myself to myself (not a lot going on). It’s also less challenging than trying to edit and carefully craft something. At this point though, I’m only interested in setting up a routine, and journaling is a good place to start. There’s always a thought or distraction to follow even if it’s not too original or exciting.

(Dreams have also been a good jumping off point. They’re hard to describe and full of details, perfect writing fodder.)

I think I’ll alternate between gathering and sculpting phases. Using stream-of-consciousness private journaling to cultivate the habit and then force myself to go through what I write and scrap together something coherent. And publish it.

I’m going to read through those first 7 days of writing and copy and paste and edit anything with promise that might be worth coming back to later. Anything that seems interesting or fun or potentially useful.

Here’s some sewn together scraps from my first successful week of writing:

No magic, just swinging metal till it connects and clears. Clackety-clack.

Writing is like a recorder for your thoughts. Reading your own writing is like hearing your voice for the first time on an audio recording. Nobody likes it. “Is that what I sound like!” It’s hearing the voice of your thoughts played back to you, foreign and too personal. You have to get used to the sound of your own voice before you can worry about what the voice is saying.

Typing is the teeth of talking.

Generating substance with my mind face. Looking for resonators, anything with a frequency. Something that makes a dent. The smallest difference that makes a difference – a bit. A bit of abstraction.

Rory Sutherland points out that water has no taste so we can detect impurities in it. Meaning is conveyed by what falls outside of the lines. We can’t notice what isn’t noticeable. The too-logical has no meaning, it doesn’t get seen.

How many words must a man jot down before you call him a man? How many songs must a muther-fucker write before he pens one that lands? And how many shifts of shit-work will he slog, till he gets together some better plan? The answer my friend is underneath the wind, the answer is better questions my friend.

To the tune of ‘Blowing in the Wind’ by Bob Dylan:

Sometimes you just need a spring board, a jumping on point. A hook to hang your head. Any surface will do. It doesn’t have to be flat or solid or real – it just has to be there. Nowhere or somewhere, doesn’t matter. The proof is in the proving. The pudding doesn’t exist. It’s something you step in, not something you eat. It’s a stain on your T-shirt. Freeze-framed nutrition.

lowest common phenomenon

a pose is a pose is a pose is a pose
– not exactly prose but it does have a stink to it –

A silly stance helps us see the illogical truth of what we do. Like a magic poster with an image that can only be seen askance. The way an artist sees truths that others can’t.

self addressed stamp of approval
the vacant lot of ego removal
weeds and bottles and squatting vagrants
soil the driveway of fertile pavements
growth again pushing up through the sand
congealed and frothing through cracks in the lens
five-fingered geyser erupting ringed hands
flipping of birds from belly to back
the upturned verse of words that don’t stack
the toppled alarms and unrung bells
sounding off like boards, nailing unsung spells

Human culture is a nuanced express(er) of variables. The great stochastic interpreter. Every variable feeds an expression reflecting exactly the variables that feed it. Probability mirrors outcome. Outcome mines probability. Every output has its input. Or something.

My disdain of spell check is corralling me into becoming a better speller. I’m afraid of/interested in using Grammarly for same reason. Style correction good? It might be a good way to learn better (technical) writing but also might nudge me towards worse writing (style).

Spending time editing and focusing is necessary for a well rounded practice. For now though, quantity over quality.

writing everyday without fail
an hour of time put into the pail
to fill up and brim
from forehead to chin
to catch and fix
the breaking of wind

shutup with the rhymes
do poetry another time

Humans only exist in context of each other. If a human mind only existed in a void, born into it, would it be human?

Limitation frames the doorway. There’s always a knob between the lines of the palm. Get a read on it. Push.

I don’t owe honesty anything. This is toes in the sand. No one reads this. This file is a skipping stone. This platform is clay. No words no eyes no outrage no noise. A pink quiet hum. Warm low frequency pulsating under the radar. Under the covers.

Asleep but not dreaming.


today’s kneeling desk
today’s standing desk
favorite previous desk, songwriting category

I’m still struggling to get into a daily text-writing habit. I’m not going to worry about posting anything on a regular basis, as long as I’m doing one hour of writing every day. One hour a day till I’m dead. That’s the goal. I will keep at it and play with the routine until it’s solidified. And keep at it till it’s solidified.

Identify obstacles and develop workaround: WHERE

A sort-of-legit excuse is the overabundance of furniture and stuff where I live. I have a roommate, who owns the house, whose never around. I basically have the place to myself. It’s the best living situation I’ve ever been in (hands down) but it does have some drawbacks. I don’t own any of the furniture/stuff here so I can’t just take it to Goodwill or cram it in the basement.

Over the past few years, I’ve aggressively downsized my possessions. At my last apartment, for a month or so before I moved out, the only furniture I had was a yoga ball and a folding chair (I ate dinner squatting on the floor like a jungle person). It’s a bit hoarder-y here. There are five desks in the house but they’re mostly unusable. Every surface is at least partially covered. My bedroom is small and the bed is huge (I used to sleep on a twin mattress on the floor. Yep, single-as-f***) so there’s not much extra room to ad hoc or Jerry-rig a workspace. And I can’t set up a permanent work area anywhere else in the house.

When I was in songwriting mode at my last apartment, I built a desk/workspace that I really loved. I put a desktop from an actual desk on top of a keyboard stand and behind it I nailed up a half dozen clipboards. Simple and effective. That way I could clip-up my works-in-progress and bounce around between them without having to flip through several notebooks. No more wasting time looking for the song I wanted to work on instead of working on it. But it also meant that works-in-progress were always displayed prominently in the kitchen, all up in my face.

A separation of states, working and resting, is the ideal oscillation. But you have to make do with what you got where you’re at. So I lived in my creative stink and tried my best to let the songs go when I wasn’t in writing mode. Now I have whole house to myself, plenty of space to separate, but limitations on how much customization of the space I can make.

I’ve been trying to write in my room, cramped at a desk, hunched forward, sitting on a yoga ball. There was a more traditional desk-chair in my room that was comfortable, but it was bulky and took up space. And wasn’t great for my posture (the yoga ball takes up a lot of space as well but I can toss it on my bed when it’s not in use). The desk that came with my room is kinda low for the yoga ball so I end up hunching forward on it, negating any yoga ball related posture advantages and distracting me from the task at hand.

So for now, I’ll experiment with writing in different locations in the house and see how it goes.

update: problem solved

I got creative with the stuff in my room and carved out a comfortable writing space at a traditional desk with a traditional chair like a normal person. This actually suits me much better than moving around the house. Although I’ll probably still shake it up from time to time.

Live at Circle A, Friday June 14th, 2019

photo by Blaine Shultz

Jonathan Burks – guitar and vocals
David Gelting – bass
Nathan Kilen – drums
Didier Leplae – guitar

all songs by Jonathan Burks

recorded live at Circle A on June 14th, 2019


Light it Up, Any Port in the Storm, Holding Pattern, In the Wind, Off the Stone, Paid, You and Me, Flutter and Wow, Game Over, Getting Low, Money Pussy Weed, Shadow of Light, Let the Right One In

recorded live at the Circle A on Friday June 14th, 2019

“… Jonathan is in the Circle A basement mixing up his medicine. If Jonathan Burks ‘ particular genius fell in a forest, everyone crammed into Circle A tonight would hear it. Imagine if the character of “Coney Island Baby” came to life and wrote songs. Or imagine a Peter Laughner with less than half the guile. Which would be twice more than half the guile of Tom Verlaine, whom JB resembles a bit, although … forget it, let’s not go there and just leave it at that. Or imagine Jandek without the weight of “the act.” Burks’ tunes could be songs he made up walking through the park on his way to work in the morning, if that walk had the occasional chorus, sing-speaking in a Midwestern drawl that is a cousin to Coney Island Lou. Somewhere, out there, must be a calculating individual who could take JB’s songs and run them up the hipster flagpole (whatever that means) and Money-Tiiizzze them to sell a widget — yet we can thank the Gods of Hoodo that Burks’ music remains a province all his own. Didier Leplae managed to make his cheap, masonite guitar sound like something other than a guitar much of the time, without attracting undue attention (that is a compliment). He was symphonic in a b-movie budget way. Add a rhythm section paying attention, to build tension and release within the songs that rely on minimal structure. The public domain lo-fi videos, controlled by JB’s remote and projected on to a sheet hung by clothes-pins was the perfect touch. Ending with his own take on “Stand By Me” Burks and band offered up the appropriate tribute to to Roky Erickson, even if they did not realize it. If someone had the foresight to record this set then you, sir or madam, manged to capture, as the man says, lightning in a bottle. (thanks to Mr. Setser for suggesting a review.) “

Blaine Schultz June 15 at 12:19 AM