Selected Works



LAX Airport
Pioneer Zephyr
Rose Rabbit Lie
Homer Dome

A journal about creative thinking.
Mostly words. Some pictures.

Always served hot.

Artificial High and the Fading Effects of A.I.

Midjourney was a hell-of-a drug when it first hit the scene. I was pretty addicted the first few nights playing with it. But four months into experimenting with this new creative psychedelic, I don't feel the same feeling when prompting vs. creating. Is there a difference between the satisfaction you get from your "own" idea instead of the AI collaborative kind?

Engaging in a creative and fulfilling activity releases dopamine in the brain. This explains why we prefer the Poäng armchair we assembled from IKEA over the one we purchased from Target. As our creative process becomes easier, the feeling changes. The less effort we invest in our "own" ideas, the less joy we might experience.

This brings us to a significant question in this new era of AI: Is creativity less rewarding when the effort is optimized?

Do creative projects need to simmer and stew, nurtured by human hands and time, to be truly remarkable, or can they be fast, efficient, and still memorable?

I believe the amount of passion and effort put into something directly affects the positive feelings an audience experiences when engaging with it. It's the emotion you feel when you experience a musical performance whose life's work is poured into their creative passion. It's also the emotion you feel when a brilliant film keeps you on the edge of your seat. A lot of work went into making you feel that way.

Memory loves meaning.

Today's AI doesn't even have a memory — it simply predicts what comes next.

There's nothing like the incredible feeling we get from generating our own ideas. Collaborating with another person adds an emotional and empathetic dimension, leading to a richer and more meaningful experience. A generative moment with someone else may seem spontaneous, but it's the result of years of experience and life lived by both individuals. I really hope this kind of purposeful conspiracy is never abandoned.

But my god, stuff is moving fast ... and I have to ask myself, how many variations of the AI drug will it take to fire the dopamine in my brain to keep me addicted to tech-driven creativity?

Well beyond what's available today, but then again, four more months of advancement might convince me to take another hit.

Hot Pockets

Design sprints are like microwaving hot pockets. Creativity in a hurry sounds great, but you're almost certain to get burned.

Why will you die?

Why will you die?

This advertisement for a drug store may seem like clickbait from the turn of the century, but the headline is a chef's kiss.

The language is so expertly used, you can't help but think about your own mortality.

I don't know when I'll die, but why? Maybe I should look into that.

"Commercial rhymist" W.N. Bryant created these brilliant rhyming ads for Texas, Louisiana, and Indian Territory drugstores.

Whether or not they were effective is impossible to say. All I know is that W.N. Bryant's work has just been posted again in 2023. So there's that.

More can be found on the fantastic website Public Domain Review

Turn to Howlin'

Tone is everything. It's the voice, the emotion, and the feeling that makes something real.

When you're not there, your tone speaks for you. It exposes your work's core, purpose, and soul.

Blues legend Howlin' Wolf knew the potency of his tone. He filled each note, each word, each growl with his spirit and energy. And his tone? It was explosive. It struck a chord with those who experienced it. So intense was its resonance that all of rock and roll was built upon it.

Tone isn't just a set of knobs to tweak. It's not an on-and-off switch. It's a quest for authenticity, a pursuit of truth. It's born of raw emotions - sorrow, happiness, and everything in-between.

Once you've found it, don't let it slip away. And never settle for just one hue. Embrace the infinite shades of your feeling. Blues, after all, is an entire spectrum of sadness.

And most importantly, never compromise on authenticity. Don't adopt feelings that aren't rooted in the truth of your idea. As Wolf eloquently explained, "I couldn't do no yodelin', so I turned to howlin'. And it's done me just fine."

The right tone doesn't try to be something it isn't.

Bring out your inner howlin' self if you want your ideas to last long after being forgotten. Hit the right tone, and your ideas have a chance to be timeless and yes... even legendary.

My grandfather inspired this post, who, like Howlin' Wolf, brought his unique tone from Louisiana up north to Chicago and kicked off a wonderful inter-generational family bond through music.