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Wrote, Read, Listened, Watched #1

Wrote, Read, Listened, Watched #1


Free Writing at Matt’s

I recently did a creative writing exercise with my friend Matt. The conditions are that you write freely for a total of 15-minutes and every 30-seconds or so a new word is randomly generated (thanks to Matt’s computer and program) that you must then include in your writing, quickly. Below is the outcome.

The red dresser was my least favorite piece of furniture in my mother’s house. Its form antagonized me and its color failed in hiding its intention to invade my privacy and make itself known. Mind you, I don’t mind the color red, but at my time of writing this I can’t think of the last red object that I admired for its color.

You might say, ‘that’s more information than you needed,’ or ask, ‘what the fuck are you talking about?’

‘Aerodynamics,’ I’d reply.

After all, this isn’t about you. This is a solo, not a duet. ‘Cute,’ you might say. You will hold close to you the fact that you know I write with the desire of it being read and cherished. I don’t have much patience, either – so, please, read speedily.

I cleaned one of my appliances this week. Can you guess which one?

Enough, come in. ‘Make yourself comfortable, strive for cozy.’ You can read the mantra should you need a reminder. It’s taped to the bit of wall above Vincent’s head.

She slapped her tongue against the opposite side of her cheek with the ambition of a caffeine-driven, meth freak. A speed freak with expert control of the acceleration of the flab in her mouth. You’d agree, had you seen and heard it. Her oral agility contrasted her slow-moving, fatalist identity as the city’s commissioner of bookkeeping. ‘Assistant,’ she would always correct others.

The last man she dated was Korean. ‘Soft spoken, nice fella.’ That was her four-word biography of her Lionella. What made Lionella special compared to my interaction with others’ significant others was the smoothness of his palms. Yes, we shook hands. No, I didn’t catch Malaria. Yes, Lionella was working on a curing for it.

‘I just can’t be myself around you.’ Those were his last words to the commissioner right before their matrimonial event dubbed them husband and wife. ‘And that’s why I’ll never leave you.’

She reflected on his last words as she turned her mailbox full of letters into compost. The senders weren’t grubby; just doing their jobs. She wasn’t doing her either, but she believed in anti-responsibilities.

‘What did the vegetables say to the farmer?’ Vincent asked. The commissioner blinked. ‘Lettuce go,’ he said.

The appliance - did you give up? It’s a fridge. It keeps things cool. What keeps you cool?

My AC does, or does it keep me safe and pacified. Heck, soldiers sleep in the dirt, swatting mosquitoes, stuffing bullets in their wounds. My inner recluse just needs black-out shades, cookies, and AC. I think bullets would be heavy and dirt uncomfortable. Keep me in the air or suspended. I don’t like the word aviation. It reminds me of the nose of planes and transforms into one of a B52 with painted on teeth.

Vincent switches on the radio. ‘Can I get a kayak?!’ the pastor shouts. He makes it sound like a reasonable, rhetorical question. Who wouldn’t?

The commissioner’s veneer is as prickly as the cactus sitting on the windowsill. Those cacti don’t seem to grow very fast. They don’t cut my finger when it meets them; they also don’t make them laugh.

What if fingers could laugh?

Would your fingers hold a different sense of humor than your mouth? Your mouth’s prudish and urbanite; your fingers’ not.

‘Maybe he’s broadcasting from an outdoor sporting goods shop that’s begun to liquidate,’ the commissioner observed.

‘I think you’re on to something,’ Vincent said as he grabbed their jackets and headed for the door. The sound of screeching tires, sirens, and stray alley cats would be harmonizing upon their exit if this were a movie. But it’s not. The sun is out. There is no wind.

The streets are not embroidered with culture or crime, no interesting scabs or scars. Just rows of cornfields actually.

They take a few steps on foot. ‘Terrify’ the man emerging from the earth proclaims.

‘He’s practicing for the spelling bee,’ Vincent says.

‘Tasty! T-A-S-T.’

‘Yup,’ the commissioner agrees, dismounting from her imaginary horse.

The thing about spelling bees is that I’m more interested in the meaning, not the spelling. Tawdry, for example.


Read

The War To Sell You A Mattress Is An Internet Nightmare
Observations and deductions:

  • I do not trust Sleepopolis.com and most product review sites. It’s worth reading the article to understand why I came to this sentiment.
  • Casper enjoys the upside of affiliate marketing, but sues affiliates who don’t rate its products to their liking, such as Derek Hales.
  • Over the last two years, online mattress sales grew 400% (from $300MM to $1.2B), representing 8.6% of gross mattress sales.
  • Casper spends ~40% of revenue (sales) on marketing.
  • Affiliate marketing accounts for at least 20% of Leesa’s sales. Sleepolis.com alone accounts for 18% of sales.

Models are Wrong
Models are not perfect, and they never will be. That’s fine as they need not be perfect to provide utility and surpass alternatives: limited knowledge, unstructured guesses, long and expensive cycles of due diligence, or nothing, for example.

Enabling More High Quality Content for Users
Google empowers publishers to define the parameters of their sampling model, or the amount of free content they give away to users before introducing their paywall. If the publisher sets a high threshold (15 free articles per day), they maximize discovery and visitation at the cost of conversion (subscriptions). If they set a low threshold (2 free articles per month), they maximize conversion at the cost of discovery and visitation. Both options fall under the category of ‘metering,’ or limiting the quantity of content consumed. A second category is ‘lead in,’ where a publisher might offer the first three paragraphs of an article for free, but the user must purchase a subscription to read the article in full. I find the latter to be a frustrating experience as a user.

Getting Nothing Done: A Misguided Quest for Productivity
One of the big problems with the pursuit of life hacking is that it rarely has a clear destination – no final outcome, no point at which a person will say, ‘Okay, this system works for me and now the process can take a backseat to the actual work or living to be done.’ Systems like David Allen’s Getting Things Done (GTD) can easily disguise the trap of life hacking while appealing to our desire to accomplish X more easily, more quickly, and more reliably. However, the pursuit of how best to do the work can sap time and energy, leaving no time to do any of the work. In such cases, usually the work to be done is less interesting than ideating and evaluating ways in which the work could be done.

Stop Validating, Start Falsifying
Idea validation, or determining whether people are interested in what you have to offer, is flawed for a few reasons. It’s extremely easy for a prospective customer to agree that they have a pain you aim to cure and that your product sounds like a great idea, yet have no intention of ever buying your product. There’s often no clear and immediate cost to hasty agreement, unfortunately. Disagreement, on the other hand, requires courage and managing the reaction and emotions of the person pitching you the idea.

IcoMoon
A solid library of icons, both free and premium.


Listened

George Levin - I Got Somebody New

Doug Lazy - Let It Roll


Watched

How to Measure How Much Pee Is in Your Pool
What’s responsible for that ‘pool smell’ and red, itchy eyes after swimming? It’s not chlorine alone; chlorine is odorless.

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