a rickety bridge of impossible crossing

edit wars

Write anywhere. Edit anywhere but a goddamn telephone.

—Ol' Ernie Hummingjay

That last post was really hard to write. Not because it was emotional; I cried, but no more than I would have if I had just thought about it without writing it down

No, as I was writing it, I made the mistake of thinking it was Pretty Good and I decided to clean it up a little. The original draft contained a lot more personal details about the progression of my mid-late 2010s/early 2020s1, and if I were a better writer or more committed to producing polished writing, I may have found a way to make it work. As it was, I decided the personal stuff went on too long and got in the way of my main hauntological point, so it got cut. I think the end result is Pretty Good

But dang, it really breaks the whole stream-of-consciousness alternative to twitter braindump on my phone idea when I post something that requires any editing at all

I hate typing on a touchscreen keyboard, but I can tolerate it: trying to use the "user interface" to edit a big chunk of text causes me actual psychic pain

When the iphone first came out, everyone (including me) gave it a lot of shit for being unable to copy and paste text, but now I get it: it's 15 years later and they still haven't figured out a good way to do it

Ironically, the iphone has since become better than android in this regard, because it has a cool feature where if you hold down the spacebar on the virtual keyboard, the screen temporarily becomes a trackpad that allows you to move the cursor around freely. Uh, as long as you don't need to move it down

I don't know if this feature is documented anywhere because phone operating systems don't have any documentation to speak of; I learned about it when someone on mastodon replied to one of my numerous phone complaint posts. Sometimes shaking your fist at the sky and angrily yelling at a cloud can pay off! (but seriously, thanks to impiaaa for the tip, I don't use an iphone anymore but it made my life significantly easier when I did)

Everything else about editing on phones has always been awful and probably always will be

For example, if I have a long paragraph and I want to delete the second half of it, my first instinct is to hold the backspace button until the text I want to delete is gone, but that doesn't work; holding backspace for too long will accelerate the deletion to superhuman speeds, and before I can react I irrevocably wiped out the entire paragraph and half of the one before it

No, you have to feather the backspace button and gently coax it into deleting a few words at a time like a cat you're trying to get out from under the fridge but are afraid it might excitedly claw your face off

Now, the savvy way to do this is: move the cursor to the beginning of the part you want to delete, press the new line key twice, triple-tap the new paragraph you just made, and press the backspace key to delete it. Do I think about this when I'm focused on writing? No, I'm in a flow state, and I've been typing on real keyboards for 30 years, so I expect the backspace key to work the way it's always worked

I was going to say I bet people younger than me who've been texting since they were 9 would have an easier time, but I don't know how they learn any of this stuff either. I don't know how I learned the triple-tap except random luck. "Triple-tap" isn't a verb I'd ever consciously consider as a possibility. The iphone spacebar trick is something I never would've discovered if someone hadn't told me. Maybe cryptic phone OS features have become part of schoolyard lore, like mortal kombat codes and shiny pokémon were when I was in school

You may be wondering why I'm writing blog posts on a phone if I hate phones so much, and that is an excellent question. I apologize for not addressing it sooner

My creative energy is at its most potent for a 5-or-6 hour window starting a couple hours after I wake up. Unfortunately, this is exactly the time that I have to be at "work", a euphemism for the place I have to go to make money to eat

I work in an office. I'm incredibly privileged in this regard, and this isn't a complaint. If I was a little less lucky, I could be spending my life doing physical labor / service jobs where I'm not allowed to think on the clock, in which case you'd probably never hear from me again. I don't have a lot of freedom, but I'm not micromanaged to the degree that I have to be accountable for every minute of every hour on my timesheet. As long as I get my work done, I'm not scrutinized to an oppressive degree

What is scrutinized is what I do on my work computer. I have to assume everything I do is monitored all the time, because it is. I can do stuff like look up something on wikipedia or read a blog on my lunch break, and it's not a big deal, but I can't do anything that would tie me to my real identity, for obvious reasons, i.e. they'd read this and I'd be fired. I've worked for a related organization in the past, and they didn't fire me because of my internet posts, but it was definitely part of the case they built when they wanted to get rid of me. Never mind the fact that I never identified who I worked for, what I did, or any specific details about anything; just complaining about bosses in the abstract in a way they can see is insubordination. So, I have to be careful not to give them any ammo

It would probably also raise too many eyebrows if I brought a laptop and tethered it to my phone, even if I had finished all my work. They would invent some new kinds of work for me to do if I did anything that looks too out-of-place in an office (so no laptops, cross-stich, books or rubik's cubes)

What I can do, because everyone does it, is use my phone a couple minutes at a time sporadically throughout the day. This has become a core component of modern human behavior, and I don't think there's much hope of stuffing this genie back in its bottle2

So, I use the tool I have access to, which is fine for blasting stream-of-consciousness sentences out into the takeosphere, but worse than useless for any kind of work. Which I mean, it's a toy, so what did I expect? But this is the real world, and I'll keep trying to squeeze into whatever cracks I can find

I suppose I could've saved it as a draft and edited it when I got home, but by then I might not have had the energy to look at it, or I might've changed my mind about how good it is, and it might have just lingered there as a draft forever. I'm trying to strike the right balance between uninhibited and unhinged. I want to be thoughtful without overthinking. It's tough! That's why social media is so popular: it gives busy people with jobs and responsibilities an outlet for self-expression without all that pesky thinking. It was an idea that started with good intentions, and well, we can all see where that road has led

Hell. It's led us to hell. We are literally in hell and social media is the road that led us here. This is not a metaphor. Satan is staring at me and sharpening his pitchfork right now. I'd better get back to work


This entry is already way too wordy, so before I'm tempted to edit I'm just going to add one quick Alex Jones update: in flotsam 01 I said

I can't imagine [Alex Jones filing bankruptcy] doing anything but delaying the inevitable, but civil court is so easy to game if you have money to hire someone who's good at gaming it. I sincerely hope he eats shit

The latest episode of the Opening Arguments podcast gives a good breakdown of bankruptcy law and explains why Alex Jones will probably be eating shit. There's a very good chance that he perjured himself in a bankruptcy court, which can potentially get him up to 20 years in jail. It'll take a few weeks for the courts to sort everything out, because the wheels of justice turn antikytherically, but there's still some hope that Jones will be served the bitter, cold ice cream of justice and revenge. I hope it tastes like mustard or something 🦝

  1. for the record, I met Izzy in Feb. 2020, so even though I'm scared of what's happening to the world, on a human level it's been a beautiful couple of years.

  2. except, of course, for amazon warehouse employees and factory workers in China and probably Starbucks baristas who've been deemed subhuman and thus devoid of basic human needs like friendship or urination. Again, very aware of and grateful for my privilege here