Although I always have a moderately large supply of entertaining things to say and share, I’ve been a terrible blogger from the outset. I’ve wondered why, and entertained various hypotheses about it (extreme laziness, shyness, trauma around written assignments ever since Cambridge?) and I realized that the reason I avoid blogging is due to accumulated guilt about not blogging. Well, today my boy elf told me to take the Seinfeld approach and write a little thing every day, just a little thing – and I said ‘ok’. So today’s bloggy post is like one of those sincere journal entries which you write every six months on the first page of a new notebook, saying “I’ve been away for six months, but today I’ve resolved to start writing my diary again, and boy is there a lot to catch up on…”. We shall see how my resolution holds up.
One tool that I will be making use of to help we write frequently is a wonderful program which you may have come across already, called what-would-i-say. It’s a Markov-chain generator which was put together by some nerds at Princeton. Based on data from the text of all the posts you’ve ever written on Facey B, it generates new strings made from things you’ve said. It’s based on one-word and two-word units; for every unit like this there’s a probability space filled with all the one-word or two-word units that have ever come next, in your Facebook posts. So the next unit is generated according to these probabilities. It’s the same method used in junk mail with fake prose. I would like to announce that it has improved my life. I’ve been using what-would-i-say for image titles, ‘bio’ sections, tweets and many other fields (so if you’ve been bewildered by an unhinged-sounding snippet somewhere in my web presence, then if you’re reading this you’ll now know that I’m not actually mad, or at least not in the way that you thought). Plus I’ve been using it to create freeform poems, dialogues and zen-style koans for my own amusement. I can highly recommend having a go on this excellent toy. www.what-would-i-say.com
Another experimental activity I’m currently engaging in is having armpit hair. This January I will take my armpits on tour in the UK. I can report that having a mini forest under each arm is fun, a novelty worth trying, and for my armpits a welcome break from the traumas of shaving and epilating. However, they smell. This is because the sweat is caught in the hairs instead of being wiped into your clothes. I could start wearing deodorant but there always seem to be more important things to think about than how I smell. Here’s a picture of me displaying my black jungles of doom. If you’re a photographer who thinks armpit hair is interesting, now’s the time to book me. I think I’ll keep it until mid-Spring as long as I can get enough work for my furry friends.
The photo is by Bragi Kort in Hafnafjörður, Reykjavík, in October. Edited by me. (The noise in the background is the lesser of two evils. It’s currently the best method I know for disguising banding. And it’s not just a JPEG problem; the banding was there in the CR2 and the DNG format. Any ideas?)