(various scribbling about the way the doomfile is)


                                             April  17, 1992

   Too many quotations, too much explication
   of other people's ideas.

      Not enough originality.

            Not enough application?

				  So doompara format to sketch out a plan
				  Then try it.
				  Record results.

Well, it's 5/6/92 and the doomfile has
finally broken 300K... but much of this           Feb 19, 2007:
is just quotation.  My recent additions           Over a 1000
of extensive Well's quotes from the _Outline_     files, and
put it over, and there are big chunks of          4 Megs.  Hm.
extraneous Delany quotes under Dsource,
not to mention the long Enough section,
which is essentially a paraphrase of
Ted Nelson.

So what's with all the quoting?  I'm
acting like a grad student writing
a thesis, trying to impress the profs
with the depth of my familarity with
the literature, and my knowledge of

It is possible that a Wells quote can make
a good starting point... but wouldn't it be
just as good if I reached the same ideas
following my own chain of thought, in
ignorence of the giants I may or may not
be standing on?

Delany sneers at typical male academics
being "ever-obssessed with paternity",
and maybe he's right.

- - - - -
Wells _Outline_
(work area, for now. how to organize?)      (clipped around 5/6/92)
(These are the four topics:
1.The long view: history is not a smooth curve.
2.World Government idea.
3.The converse, multiplicity.  The schismmatrix.  The defense-dominated world.
4.Religion: What is Wells hoping for, in his universal belief structure?
       Place after "Irrat."  Note existing "Religion" is only about orgies.
       Compare to Thomas Paine?
       The alternative: systems that allow cooperation without agreement.
 (The difficulty, as always is that there has to be one default organization,
  and a very simple set of interconnections to indicate other ways...)

Interestingly enough, it looks like another
chunk of the doomfile has disappeared...
maybe I made some sort of control W error this time.
A stupid review of a weak movie "Route 66" got clipped.
I hope nothing more interesting went with it.



Looking at DESPERATE I feel like I
never really did make a smooth transition
from the old emacs based doomfile to
the web-based.

It didn't used to be so clear what was the beginning
of a link, and what was the end.  Do a search on
the keyword DECADENCE and it would take you to all
occurences, not just the one up against the left
margin that might technically be taken as the

Early on in the DESPERATE piece (that I think is so
successful) I tried to use this effect for short distance
links, to pop from a DECADENCE stuck in the middle to
the line True DECADENCE closer to the bottom on the right.

(Side issue: I also later created a 'proper' node that I
called Decadence, which is just a piece of movie review
trivia... so for a long time that was a false destination
in the webified doomfiles.)

I just manually changed that jump to an intrafile html
jump to a named anchor... but the browser has no way
of telling the reader that they're supposed to look
over on the right side of the screen.

Is there any fix for this?  How about a Javascript widget
that does a text search for you in the current file?
(and if javascripts disabled, you want it to degrade to
an intrafile jump).


Criticism of DESPERATE:

I regard it as the best of the
nodes, and often praise it's inventive figure 8
structure... but that figure 8 flow isn't *really* there.
There's a busted link, just above "True Decadence".
I don't think there's any real logical flow into the bit
about Decadence.

Also: why am I still fucking referring to Malzberg here?
Trace the reference already... Some old influential lit
critter I expect.



Editing EDIFYINGMUSIC, I just inserted the word "decent"

     I also like some Industrial Music (roughly, a kind of pounding, noisy,
     synthesizer created music, that frequently sounds something like some
     clanking nineteenth century machine), though the lack of [decent]
     lyrics limits a lot of what's been done with it.

because it doesn't make a lot of sense otherwise.
Industrial dance music often has lyrics, and I can't
remember a time when I thought that it didn't.

On the other hand, I'm leaving in place my original
impression of Industrial music (that the only industrial
was industrial dance... I hadn't yet heard any of the
original industrial like Throbbing Gristle).

I'm writing this note here, solely because it's at least
slightly possible that my memory is fooling me, and I was
even more clueless in 1992 than I think I was.

(What could I have been listening to that would make me
think that industrial dance music had no lyrics?  Can't come
up with anything.  For example, I remember liking Nine Inch
Nails "Pretty Hate Machine", hard to miss the lyrics there.)



(Ideally: every entry in the above .plan could be used as a keyword
          to jump to a section of the doomfile.)


Writing NEWFOLKS (about Suzanne Vega) 3/2000:

((The first two here are
  real experiences, centering
  around Vega.  The audience
  sitting through that Stony
  Brook show makes a third.

  The rules of composition
  (the one's that I follow, anyway)
  demand that this triad be
  highlighted somehow,
  grouped into a triangle on
  the screen?

           xxxx       xxxx




Critera for doom:

Personal rambling,   -> doomfiles

Straight polemic     -> straight web page, e.g. Takes

Philsophical confusion,
arguments with myself
(dialogs where I
take all the sides?)  -> doomfiles, natch.

But: what if you're not sure?  What if you think maybe
you've got a polemic on your hands, but then doubts
arise?   -> start as a Take, then doomify as necessary.



When I started writing the doomfile, I knew that my
audience was most likely ignorant of a lot of basic
things about the stuff I'm interested in, so it
made sense to me to do some explication of the basics.

I don't just launch into a point about Delany's
stuff that I'm interested in, I back up and
explain a lot of the history about who Delany
is, and give a description of his general body
of work.

Now in the days of the web, there are endless
introductory level texts on any silly subject
you can think of, which, for example, makes that
relatively recent GOTHIC node particularly

(A question still unresolved:  Shouldn't the doomfiles have
explicit pointers to background material stashed elsewhere?
Or maybe I should just let people google if they want to...)



Up in:
I was saying:

          Then an
          ancillary doctrine accretes
          around the original:

I can't figure out if I'm spelling


correctly.  My Desktop F&W has
"accretion", but lists no verb form.

I haven't invented it, have I?



Doing a great browse sequence re-org, and it dawns on
me that instead of thinking:

   where would be a good spot
   to move this to?

It might be saner to just think

   can I write a bridge between
   these two nodes, that will
   make it seem like they belong


((Just append this to "Scaffolding", it's not node worthy:))

NEWDOOM                             3/2/00

Note, the doomfile with it's PRE tags and fixed format
hovering around 80 columns has a problem built into
it.  Despite being very retro and 1.0 compliant and all,
it probably doesn't display well on Palms or WebTVs.
Is this solvable?

E.g. put rectparas in a DB.  Record chains of connections
between them.  Generate different displays based on
device characteristics?  Most likely of course:
alternate layouts would need to be saved and served
up as fixed pages, the servers job to determine which
ones to hand out.

The DB business would be primarily to avoid
the need to maintain multiple formats.


It is much easier to say something
if you don't try to say everything.


Musing upon the naming of NEED_TO_KNOW


    as in information glutton
    (" -- for punishment"?)


    But what would that really mean?
    Removal of an epistemology?




    Seems clearest.  Use it.

                                  August 10, 2004

     typo: I had
     "goffed" for


  Wed Sep  7 18:14:31 2005

Considered calling this node about Ian Fleming:


By the slightly more accurate
but I decided that references
to ice-skating stars of yesteryear
were going to seem like really
dorky fodder for humor to
later generations.  If not to
the current one.


 Tue Apr  6 12:57:09 2004

A problem:

Literature works by leaving some reference
implicit.  The reader is supposed to notice
them, an important part of reading is the
process of noticing them.

It would be poor form to have a novel with footnotes
reminding the reader on which page they've encountered
a theme before.

A hypertext has explicit references.

But traditional literary values may require
you leave some references implicit.

   Which ones?


Thu Jun 24, 2004

Feeling like I keep writing about relatively
trivial stuff, because the Important Issues
are too hard to get down.

So stop working so hard.

Work fast, be sloppy, see what happens.

(The early doomfile had *many* placeholder nodes,
and some of them are still out there as placeholders.
What's the problem?)

Like it says a few notches up, and a few years back:

   It is much easier to say something
   if you don't try to say everything.


Sat Nov 19 2005

There are (at least) two different kinds
of links that I use together, uneasily,
though they both look the same:

One is a "linear" link, an amplification
or support of a point under discussion,
a continuation of a subject.

The other is a "sideways" link, a step to a
different topic: it's a weaker connection,
like free association.

Linear links are jumps to material
that I might prefer to put in-line,
but can't because of space constraints
or (sometimes) because I want to jump
to that point from elsewhere also.

  There are sometimes many "linear"
  sequences that lead to the same

Sideways links are similar to my
jumps to the side in graphical
layout, but sometimes they're                  Which suggests that I
even weaker.                                   should at least
                                               *consider* using
But I feel reluctant to stick in               graphical layout
ones that are *too* weak.  Possibly            to distinguish such
I feel *too* reluctant.                        links:  sideways is off
                                               to the side, continuation
The original idea of the doomfiles             is directly below.
was *not* that I should feel
restricted to staying "on topic".
                                                    And it occurs to me
Possibly the idea is that it's *all*                that there's another
one topic, and there's no reason not                problem in link
to range freely.                                    difference that can
                                                    be "solved" easily
                                                    with a graphical

Sometimes a link is "let me explain that            Is the "NEXT" at the
in more detail", or "I can support that             bottom a strong
with these quotations".  Straightforward.           link, or an
I'm never reluctant to use those.                   arbitrary one?

On occasion a link is a "Hm, I seem to have
just contradicted something I said once.            Indicate an arbitrary
Take a look for yourself."  I often balk            link with extra
at those at first, I have to remind myself          whitespace between
that this is okay: better to present                the content and the
contradictions openly than try to conceal           bottom of the page:
                                                    Simple, suggestive
                                                    of what it means
When a link is "hm, this point seems to be          without being
edging toward a little bit, off on the side         horribly heavy-handed.
of that other node".  Those are frustrating:
they're good links, but I know the reader              Conceivably:
must find them baffling, and probably not in           could use a row
a good way.  Probably this is a sign that              of triple bullets
you should create a third node to talk through         also/instead.
the other two little bits.  Maybe there should
just be one-way links into the third node,
and none going back:  without using internal
jumps (and why don't I?) there's no way to make
them clear.

For that matter: why not implement a system
of back links?  Show me all the places in the
doomfiles that connect to this node.


Wed Oct 18 15:58:43 2006

I'm feeling the impulse to write about
politics/current events, and I'm feeling
a strange reluctance to finish them up
and push them out.

  It seems absurdly egotistical:
  so much is written about this stuff
  why throw a little more on the pile
  without a fresh angle, without some
  new piece of information?

  And it seems like the sort of material
  that's likely to date awfully easily...

      But if you go around asking
      yourself questions like "What's
      the point?" where do you think
      you're going to end up?


This has been finished for awhile:


So I'm moving the old introduction to here:

  I might have to adjust
  that number when this          (Or, in keeping with a
  is finished.                   trend of late, I might
                                 treat it as a writing
                                 assignment, and invent
                                 eight definitions just
                                 because I liked the

                                             April 12, 2007

There's a constellation of pages that's scattered
(which is fine) loosely focusing on the problems      DENOTE
with words as mental tools.

Bringing the clusters closer (but not quite adjacent)
might be interesting... try to get a more musical
structure to the browse sequence (instead of long monotone
passages focusing on "one subject").

                                   June 6, 2008

This was the original close of

            The analogy is
            their bastard son,
            the inheritor of the     ((?))
            flaws of both.

   Question it you might, it doesn't make a damn bit of sense.

Chopped from end of YOU_KNOW_TOO_MUCH:


tree  ?

  (yeah, I know


                                  July 22, 2008

  Chopping this bit of silliness from the end of GODDEATH:

              (Alt title: The Swampland.  Ref. Elliot o' course.))

              (Sounds like a comic strip.  A hyrbid of pogo and outland?
               eh.  Pogo needs no homage, and Outland is best forgotten

  Dunno when it was first written.



   The issue, I would think, is the way the changes
   can take place that drive wedges between things
   that were conceptually welded together.

   (( I need some new personal cliches ))

Earlier (THE_NEW_FLESH) I'd been talking about

   sexuality come unglued from
   the physical, turning into a
   purely symbolic act.

When it's time to drop Occam's razor and
break out Phaedrus' knife...

Outtakes from WAR_AND_PEACE

       I read this nearly ten years ago,
       in the early 90s, but that was
       evidently in a period where I
       wasn't writing much in the doomfiles,
       because there's no trace of it here.

(once again, why is my personal circumstances
supposed to be so interesting?  don't babble
about details of your life that don't matter.)


                                June 28, 2009

   I often start out writing relatively *wide*
   rectparas, and then think about reformating them a
   little skinnier when I want to add some asides.

   It might be a better idea to begin with a
   "main" flow that's formatted skinny, to let
   the asides be formatted wide -- that means
   the asides will take up less vertical space,
   which provides for more "attachment points"
   to the main flow:

   XXX   xxxxxxxxxxxxxx
   XXX   yyyyyyyyyyyyyy
   XXX   zzzz     yyy
         zzzz     yyy
   XXX            yyy

                                          December  7, 2009

   Consider the fact that "good writing"
   in the conventional world of linear
   text actually involves more complex
   thematic linking going on "behind the
   scenes" implemented in the content
   of the text.

       Section A and Section B have
       parallels that emerge only on
       closer study.

       Section C unexpectedly returns to
       the theme of Section A, showing it
       in a new light.

             Even introduction/main body/conclusion
             is in effect a circular structure.


Much as I like this diagram (from THE_JUVIES):

               bop -------> beat
                |            |
                V            |
             "rock n'        V
              roll"  \      folk
                |     \      |
                V      \     V
             juvies     ->  rock
                |            |
                 \           V
                  \------>  hippies

I think this is a little closer:

             bop ----------------> beat
              |                     |
              V                     |
           "rock n'                 V
            roll"  ---->  rock     folk
              |            |        |
              V            V        |
           juvies          o<-------/
              |            |
               \           V
                \------>  hippies

                                                  January 16, 2010

Deleting some ancient outline
notes, from 1992 or so...            PEEVES

Aluminum foil placement.
Shoes in the living room floor.

(A few fragments of glass?)

(The Eric Holtz affair?)   (Who?  4/00)

(and... the case of the missing house log book.   12/28/92.)


                                         Mon Mar  1 10:43:18 2010



                      grep 'ged$' /usr/share/dict/words

                                      May 16, 2010

Another thought:
use the *fewest* words possible.

In general: don't fewer words
make graphical layout easier?                  Jan 14, 2013
Easier to "create links", no?
Like moving cards around...                    Take that literally,
                                               one step beyond the
Isolated rectparas can be better               deck of words,
than chains of them, in this                   the deck of odd
respect.                                       ambiguous sentences...



Sun Feb 21 20:01:14 2010

One reason this has been languishing
on my hard-drive is a fear that I'm           BEHAVIORAL_CODE
letting rhetoric run away with me.
It's perhaps a little more acid than
is strictly justified by circumstances.

Review what's actually been said to make
sure it makes some sense.

And what would "make sense" mean?
Where does it go?


                                Jan 14, 2013

      With the doomfiles, I always want to
      wail, to free-associate, and yet I
      have this idea you can go back over        Just the notion
      the traces and re-write them, firm         that you should
      them up into a definitive statement,       only say something
      without somehow contradicting that         once, in one place,
      first thought.                             is enough to cause
                                                 complications for
                                                 any notion of freely
                                                 following chains of

                                                     It's one of the
                                                     common traps of
                                                     to fall into
                                                     a familar pattern
                                                     when you meant to
                                                     use it as a way
                                                     to get somewhere

A note from the top of GUNS

(( list points, with links to expansions,
   include rebuttals in the expansion.
   top node has to be general.
   keeping room for more jamming is all
   to the good.

       That last point is something worth
       keeping in mind... I like dense layout,
       it makes it feel like I'm using this
       silly medium I've come up with--
       but if you keep the layout open,
       that makes it more inviting to add
       more, to do expansions, contradictions,

                                         (February 15, 2019) 

  I ran into a problem that's starting to        
  seem familiar-- I start out reading            POLYMATH
  some material feeling very skeptical           POLYMYTH                                   
  about it (I'm a negative kind-of guy,
  to be sure, but in this case the 
  people making their case are complete 
  idiots about how they do it, burying 
  the actual evidence that they've got 
  in favor of a bunch of dubious anecdotes,
  making it sound like that's all they've
     So I write up some negative commentary on the issue...
     but I feel uneasy because my grasp of the field still
     seems shallow.  I haven't even read the pieces 
     I'm commenting on all the way through... and once 
     I *do* read them more carefully, I find that it sounds
     like they've got some decent data there.  (If only they'd
     been more restrained about the presentation...)
     So now what?  Do I leave the skeptical stuff in place, 
     but add some additional pieces taking the other side?
     Do I re-write them completely, editing out my arch 
     put-downs and so on?

          Q: is it *possible* to write in a more neutral 
          fashion?  Reserve judgement until you've gotten 
          into it further...

            I often complain about internet reading skills--
            people insist on commenting without reading, 
            they comment on article titles without reading the article,
            they respond to your first sentence without looking at the second,
            they punch the moderation buttons without even reading all 
            the way to the end of a sentence... 

            Actually, I'm much the same: I don't "reserve judgement"
            before finishing a piece, in fact I argue that to engage 
            with the material you *can't* do that, and part of engaging 
            with an idea is often to write notes about it, commentary...

                The difference between them and myself (I think) 
                is that it makes me feel uneasy, I worry I'm doing
                a Wiley Coyote move-- I go back and re-read to see 
                how well my commentary holds up.