tag:esc.posthaven.com,2013:/posts escribblings 2024-01-08T19:58:44Z tag:esc.posthaven.com,2013:Post/2072245 2024-01-08T19:58:44Z 2024-01-08T19:58:44Z Rules for "Pancake" Card Game


A little while ago I designed a card game about food, inspired by Magic: The Gathering and conversations with my collaborator Matthew Bunday about how to make a game that would harness some of the fun elements of MTG while being more accessible and designed for on-chain play. 

The result was a game I originally called "Five Star Chef" but have now renamed to "Pancake" for no particular reason. I went as far as creating a set of physical playing cards (two decks) and playing prototype rounds of the game IRL.

It was fun but I didn't end up taking the next big step of building the programatized or let alone the on-chain game engine. Still, I feel like this game has potential and should exist, and I might continue to build it in the future, so I wanted to at least share a clear articulation of the rules and put it out there. So here they are:

The rules of "Pancake"

Pancake is a new card game inspired by Magic: the Gathering. It is designed to be played on a Zero-Knowledge system in which each dueling chef must cook the best meal they can with the cards at their disposal. 

In each round of Pancake, players strategically serve the best meal that they can using the recipe and ingredient cards available to them. Each player prepares their meal in secret. At the end of the round, both players meals are revealed simultaneously! 

Points are awarded to the chefs who serve the best meal for each of three courses:

- Appetizer (2 points)
- Entree (3 points)
- Dessert (1 point)

When a player reaches 30 points, they win the game. 

Players do not need to serve a dish for every course. The strategy of the game revolves around making choices about how to allocate your resources across the courses while not knowing how your opponent is structuring their meal.

Pancake is meant to be played with a turn time limit. Since both players must submit a turn for play to progress, this can prevent games from frequently ending in time-out draws. 

How do you serve a dish?

Each dish is served using a recipe card, plus the required ingredients to serve that dish. Each dish can only be served using a specific combination of ingredients. 

Ingredients fall into these 5 categories:

- Starch/Grains
- Vegetable/Fruits
- Oils
- Proteins
- Seasoning

An example of an ingredient card would be something like:


Provides: 1 Starch

An example of a recipe card might be something like:

"Tuna Sandwich"

Ingredient Cost:
1 starch
1 oil
1 protein

Fish, Bread, Mayo

As long as you have ingredients that provide 1 starch, 1 oil, and 1 protein, you can place them into the "stack" of the "Tuna Sandwich" recipe to serve the Tuna Sandwich. 

You can choose to serve the Tuna Sandwich for any of the 3 courses. 

The ingredients used to serve Tuna Sandwich on a given turn cannot be used to serve any other dishes that you may be serving that turn. 


While it might seem strange at first, in Pancake you can use any starch to fulfill the "1 starch" ingredient cost of the Tuna Sandwich. It doesn't need to be bread or wheat. It could be rice, potato, or any other starch. But you'll make a more delicious sandwich if you use the correct ingredients. 

So how does my Sandwich get scored?

Every dish served in "Pancake" is ultimately judged on the number of "yum points" that it delivers. By default, a dishes Yum score corresponds to the number of ingredients it took to serve it. So if you serve a basic Tuna Sandwich, 1 starch, 1 oil, 1 protein, it would be worth 3 yum points. 

What if I want to make my Sandwich more delicious?

In order to make a more delicious sandwich, you'll need to not just use any old starch, but match the starch you are using to that defined in Tuna Sandwich's recipe. So if the starch you use to make the sandwich happens to be bread, you get one extra point for an ingredient match. Then you have a 4 point sandwich. If you were able to use Fish, Bread and Mayo to make it, you have a sandwich worth 6 points. 

Finally, you also get a bonus for matching any words in the name of the recipe. So if you not only use fish but actually Tuna for your sandwich, it becomes worth 7 points.

What if I want an EVEN more delicious sandwich?

It might seem like 7 points is the most you could ever get from a Tuna Sandwich, but Pancake has plenty of special ingredient cards that make it possible to boost your Yum points even higher. These often take the form of one-time-use ingredients that you must discard after you've played them, and special ingredients that have ingredient costs themselves, but add to the overall Yum score of the final dish.

How do you win a round?

Let's say you served your Tuna Sandwich with Bread, Fish, and Butter as the ingredients. It's worth 5 points with two recipe matches. You chose to make this your Entree. Your opponent, meanwhile has served Ramen noodles which require Noodles and Salt, with both noodles and salt as ingredients. They have 2 recipe matches and hence their Ramen is worth 4 points. Your Sandwich is the winner and you are awarded the 3 points associated with the Entree course.

In the meantime, you opponent has served "bread and butter" for an appetizer, a category in which you didn't serve a meal this round. They automatically get the 2 points for that course since you didn't serve anything there. Nobody served a dessert and hence no points are awarded in that category.

The final result of the round is that you earn 3 points and your opponent earns 2. These points are toward your eventual goal of 30 to win the game.

How does building a deck work?

In order to build a Pancake deck, you assemble 40 cards, a combination of ingredients and recipes. The recommended ratio is 14 recipe cards and 26 ingredient cards. You may have no more than 3 copies of any one card in your deck.

There are cards called "Basic Ingredients" that you can mint for free and add to your deck at any time. Other cards must be collected as a part of a pack, bought from another player, or come included as a part of a starter deck. 

The strategy as you build your deck comes in trying to find recipes with synergistic sets of ingredients that allow you to have a better chance of consistently serving up recipe-match dishes. 

What are the steps of a game?

In the beginning of the game each player draws 6 cards. If they are unhappy with their cards they are allowed to draw again, but for each time they do this, they forfeit 1 point to their opponent.

After the first turn, at the beginning of each round, each player draws 2 more cards from their deck.

Pancake is designed to usually end in about 10 rounds. This is because there are 6 total points available each round, and it takes 30 to win, so even if the players split the points evenly, someone will usually have 30 after about 10 rounds. 

Rounds are meant to last for about 2 minutes and hence an average game should take about 20 minutes.

What happens if you tie?

If both players yum score on a particular course are the same, then no points are awarded for that course during that round. 

In case of a point tally tie where both players reach 30 on the same turn, the player with the higher total point count wins (if they go over 30). If both players have the same total, then one final round is played in which there is only one course, an entree, and the winner of that entree wins the game.

What is the point of Pancake?

The point of Pancake is to be fun, quick, easy to learn and play, and accessible for all different kinds of people. It's not meant to be as nerdy or deeply strategic as MTG. It's supposed to be a fun way to use your collectible cards to face off against someone.

The point of Pancake is also that it can be played on-chain using zero knowledge technology. The cards themselves lend themselves to being NFT's and on-chain reward mechanisms for players who win can also be applied. 

Pancake cards are meant to be fun and collectible. The game can also take advantage of AI generative technology to for example, show depictions of the sometimes strange, sometimes outstanding dishes that players are serving in every round.
tag:esc.posthaven.com,2013:Post/2068981 2023-12-31T20:55:00Z 2024-01-01T05:26:15Z Fwoggy Wonkler's Emporium Exploriant

tag:esc.posthaven.com,2013:Post/2068987 2023-12-31T20:54:02Z 2024-01-01T01:04:39Z Dr. J. Bluth Teller

tag:esc.posthaven.com,2013:Post/2068985 2023-12-31T20:51:02Z 2024-01-01T01:04:37Z The Truth of the Matter, My Little Feller

tag:esc.posthaven.com,2013:Post/2068980 2023-12-31T20:43:19Z 2024-01-01T01:04:59Z messenger not adequate

the flower is already shedding petals
as I offer it to you from my sweaty palm.
hurricanes bombard the marina
and the lanterns lose their flicker.
if ten minutes isn't long enough to say "I love you"
then a lifetime probably won't do, either.

tag:esc.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1922433 2022-12-29T18:11:11Z 2022-12-29T18:11:11Z siren song thinking one step ahead, two
machines were required to do 
all the thinking we 
had to do

all of us clinking
a pitcher or two

some of us stitching to sew

but look we invented'um
vited'um, took our delight in'um
pulled all the guts out the
side'a them
now we take pride in ignitin' a
flight to the highest of heights
but that's capital
a to gen z to jan 6 at the capitol
woke as modafinil
crying my face off like
daffy the acid bill
catch me outside
in a ride that's theatrical
alla my money aprocryphal
out a my
noggin taboggin
more guap than aladin's
been hiding inside of 
cavern most frightening
most of em run at the sightofem
I'd a been 
// sliding through these deepfeels 
like airlocks
si'ts esc //
tag:esc.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1818533 2022-04-13T20:25:03Z 2022-04-13T20:25:03Z LUX Core Config Lux Core Conf set for maximum raunch,
Hyper-script entatted in the cleave of the haunch,
Couch 'clined to 80º with synchro morph wob-lon
Cruizer flush with jellies in the console rear.
Timebar clicks to 8:98, pre-feed on synth fruit
Clicks to :99 and the sound disc spins
Clicks nine and nilly and the one drops - bom-tom
Kick the 'zer to wheeling as the night begins. 
tag:esc.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1804080 2022-03-07T20:18:01Z 2023-09-16T06:33:57Z ideas at a party I had a bunch of ideas
at the party.

one is just to be a poet
to write things
or really
say things

and maybe that's an important distinction

how you want to be said
you imbue it with your style
how you want to be read
that's where the work is

so what are you going to do

tag:esc.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1804049 2022-03-07T18:58:35Z 2022-03-07T18:58:35Z alop soem e... fierce warm sola untraprotucted soem lines drip beetle blood underglow slamanders crawl log rot ants crawl pierce warm fire turn fall colors leaf rot red orange ]]> tag:esc.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1735431 2021-09-13T16:49:29Z 2021-09-13T16:59:24Z Sword is the pencil Be be
Be the man you
We’re meant to
You were sent to
Earth with verse
On a bright sunny day
Escape son
E might run e way
While the lead in the East
Fade away any day
Kabul falls
Cattle gnaw on the hay
If by shame Us were wrong from the start
Isn’t if ain’t
Us is shame
From day ein til today
Is the thing
We d care d we dare t b main?
Cue refrain!

Called walrus
Big pimple
Like pit bulls
We staff these
I’ll temples
Please hit threes
If you ever need cds 
He wheez

Like koffing 
Pig wrinkle
Cream sprinkles
Ooh it’s me
And it’s pace is the palace E sank 
between these trees

Atween these trees (trees trees)
It’s the ESC (ya ee ya ee)
tag:esc.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1687704 2021-05-06T03:32:06Z 2021-05-06T18:40:27Z pooey tree words drip from fingers
like worlds coalescing from
diffuse primordial whirls around big hot stars

each point you make carves pumpkins
in the antique glass of your ex lover’s
hot wax drip sex candle

she’s watching the iridescent beetles
crawl satisfied from the wedding robes
draped around your antique skeleton

she handles the water pitcher at the maidenhead
splashing ice crystals on the pussy willow
in the honeymoon suite between bedposts

you sleep on a rigid pillow and dream a utopia
not realizing the ripe fleshed dancers 
are young faeries testing their tricks

“can you give me your extra-dimensional autograph?”
she asks, offering a page no scribble can sign
“do you have any… other pens?” she asks

if being worm deep in an apple existence
or three legged in a bird world

if fishing in the river styx
while she watches

and the beetles crawling.
tag:esc.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1642397 2021-01-19T22:42:11Z 2021-01-19T22:42:26Z extract of three dreams Language Key:
ren = man, woman, person, people
ye = you
'e = she, he, ze, etc.
'eir = their, his, her, etc.
'em = them, him, her, etc.
'uy = gender neutral casual for someone whose gender identity you view as similar to your own
'irl = gender neutral casual for someone whose gender identity you view as more distant to your own


ye meet someone who is a combination of two 
ren ye’ve dated in the past

one is courteous and prettily dressed, “Cheemex”
you stared at em across a classroom a decade ago
the other a nerdy swagger with a smoking habit - “Jackson G”

are ‘ey one… or are ‘ey two?

‘ey join you, sitting on the ground 
in the audience of a strange play
masquerade henna smears across ‘eir shining eyes

the play is like a hard core porn scene
one ren strapped to a bench 
while another two back their oiled sexes into ‘eir face

and the director, only one with a full rear view of the sexes
like a magic show
is a ren you respect as disciplined and masterful

a phys’ felt game of footsie with one of the doppels 
on second inspection this ‘irl is an ‘uy

a scene of violence
two ‘uys with bloodied noses punching into one another
and the tech ‘uy said “Want me to build you an app for that?”

when the show ands and all rise
folx go separate ways

Cheemex is the one standing by ye
and ‘e wants to go to the formal University Manor
where ye end in a corner of a large ballroom
while ‘e pirhouettes away
not made of this dimension
a spectral helix dancer
there and not
a quantum enigma in motion

ye are leading the class, well teaching it
though an elde’ren in the corner
pipes in with well tried techniques
and proposes an even more ambitious project
for the class

“I thought we were going to build Katanas”, ye say.
“I think we’re building a chainsaw.” ‘e points to the prototypes

the technology is an iridescent clay 
that hardens into enamel
tough enough to form hilts on full tang steel blades
and yet, on closer inspection
it has the potential to form carapaces for power tools as well

ye find yerself rolling out a huge sheet of marbled clay
with a large bread pin

it seems every time ye look up
there are less students in the class
and more space in the studio -
garage - warehouse - movie set

a sheltered infant staring at the firmament
of an Amazon distribution center.

at the end of the movie where ye somehow ended up
with Ryen Zellwegger,
you ask 

“why’d ye cast ME?”

“We needed someone who can explain the plan and ye’re good at that.”

“well”, ye think, gathering yer muster for a response.

“Thank you!”
“Thank you even if I was a typecast!”
“Thank you even if it was all just a dream.”

yer up on the wobbly tops of some living roofs 
with yer Mod and Pom 
when the invasion comes
at first it looks like an omni dimensional stealth craft
assembling itself in the sky

there are two copies, one more solid
and one of a more sublime opacity
intersecting perpendicularly
(ye could have sworn there was a third copy,
one not visible to the eye at all
but distinguished only by the 
trail it carved in the clouds as it
drifted to its origin 
on a z axis to the other two forms)

together, the instrument reveals itself 
to be a kind of sattelite 
and it quickly disappears
over the sea beyond
the San Francisco sky.

what comes next is a battleship
a three pronged purple claw-like craft
whose three claw tips send an arc 
of red electricity 
to a glowing ball
that hovers in the air between

it seems able to simultaneous strike
an unlimited number of targets
instantly impacting wide swaths of the metropolis
with arching energy projectiles

you urge your folks to shield ‘emselves behind
lumps in the hill
but ‘ey were out on the street to watch
and there ye see what 
these missiles do
creating patches of space
where time has ground to a halt

yer mod and pom are both caught in it
but ye see that yer Mod is kind of on the edge
while ye are able to pull ‘em back in
to the undisrupted time zone,
Pom is too far in to save
forever frozen in a wide eyed 
watching position
across an uncrossable wall of time
in space

checking the map reveals that
while yer area was not hit directly
it has been stranded in space time
with no bridges or boats to cross
just a tiny patch
of hills and houses
in a suburban neighborhood

A ‘ren watching what they assume must be the first 
alien attack ever on San Francisco
stands on the street
and in an instant
‘e is at the edge of a dark pit
into which disappear ‘eir partner and child

“We weren’t attacking you,
we were saving as many of you as we could,
saving you from your slow slow time.”
tag:esc.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1585671 2020-08-22T16:25:45Z 2021-05-06T18:42:26Z Fire Dancer here you play with fire with me, by the old Ford truck
the oiled cord, coiled in a loose snare, a fuse
my flip-feet drag to catch in the sand-dirt
flick flames dance from each of your finger tips
the sun a red pupil in the jaundiced sky
your invisible lips do all the kissing (none)
your silent eyes blink out three syllables
why did god’s electron fingers zap my spine ridge?
(vertebrae to vertebrae)
'til the fire in the mountain is fire between my hips
and the baby in your belly prays "America"
as crows wheel in smog, charred leaves rain down,
and infernal dusk daunts the Western ridgeline.
a tree can stand like this forever, I
need you to tell me when it’s time to fall.
tag:esc.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1581500 2020-08-12T03:21:30Z 2020-08-12T16:29:29Z Oad I I am 13. My crush is my Valentine.
I buy her a chocolate orange and meet her
at the Berkeley public library off Shattuck.
She has blue hair, wears spaghetti straps,
loves someone else.

I am 12. I sit on a concrete tube in the schoolyard
and tell myself, “I will remember this moment forever.”
Wind rustles the crumbling leaves
of Berkeley’s perpetual autumn.

I am a young man. The Warriors just won the NBA finals.
We go out in downtown Oakland.
She has a nose ring and an avocado tattoo on her
smooth left shoulder.

It’s 2009.
The cheap carpet flooring in our flat in Edinburgh is always sticky.
I show the Scots how to build a gravity bong.
Hands dusted with chalk from the climbing gym,
I make myself red curry rice for the third time that week:
grilled chicken, bell peppers, pre-cooked rice.
We start drinking at 4 in the afternoon
and we’re still up twelve hours later,
sitting around a candle singing along to the
guitar strums of a guy named Monkey,
simmering in the smell of hand rolled cigarettes,
finally going to bed when the last girl goes upstairs.

I tell her "I love you" when she finishes me.
I didn’t mean to! It just came out.
I just graduated. I’ve been getting high on 
my own supply, and some darkweb stuff my friend shipped in,
making art with dirty pastels,
locked on the couch while my roommates watch
No Reservations featuring Anthony Bourdain. 

We’re cuddled in the fresh plastic walls
of our 6’ x 6’ greenhouse, high on acid,
gazing at our prized collection of succulents.
She starts to cry. I feel it too.
It’s the thought of us sitting in front of these same plants
as they grow, and we grow old
maybe sitting next to each other.
maybe nowhere near.

So the story of my life is the story of my love for Luci.
No, the story of my life is the story of my love for women:
Tracy Z.
Emma from RISD,
Jane from 3rd grade, who I later found on Facebook.
The story of my life is the story of my love for M.K.

Michelle is standing in front of her house,
which is a giant snail shell
across the street from my columnar startup palace.
She wants to collaborate with me.
Up close, her eyes are fractal florescences 
beaming quadrophonically in extra dimensions.

I am waking up asleep
the morning after heavy drinking
in my tiny bedroom overlooking the river in Providence,
on my balcony in the aether world
where the coral grows from the flowerpots.
A voice made of light says,
“We are all everything.
You am I or our I we is world.”

She is darkness, the glinting surface
of a polished obsidian blade.
The knife maimed deer
chooses a place to surrender:
a matress of secret moss,
a pillow of forgotten ferns.
tag:esc.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1576561 2020-07-24T05:57:29Z 2021-05-06T18:45:31Z Photographer II is your finger still so naked
because I would never marry you?
are your bird wings still flapping for the air
we guzzled out of the sky?

do you remember when the California Grizzly
still roamed in the old-growth mountains,
before the first photographers came
to snap candids of this rolling golden land?

I see your heart ruled in the book
of the newly elected official.
your eyes wander from the the document.
your pen hovers above the page.
tag:esc.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1576560 2020-07-24T05:57:25Z 2021-05-06T18:46:24Z Photographer I as a photographer I am asked
never to fear the darkness;
to sit in a room full of it
waiting for the crimson shadow’s 
furtive resolution
into an observable scene,
a photon prodding an election.

as a photographer I stand alone
on a dark road in California
aiming my camera where the comet is:
NEOWISE becomes my child
as she reaches the horizon.

from some invisible dark direction
comes a panting
a sound of heavy breathing
a wolf
a death
a reason.
tag:esc.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1568317 2020-07-03T04:25:09Z 2020-07-03T04:25:09Z sun now
In the windy sunshine
of a California mountain
trees singing their green anthem
in all directions,
I think of you.
My heart fills with hopeful longing,
smiling secretively into the horizon,
winking at the aether,
hiding nervous belly
ready to unfold in tidy laughter.
The breeze you licks my forearms.
Even the ground you presses back
	against my curling toes.
Who “you” are is another matter
though, for sun now, it doesn’t.
tag:esc.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1538449 2020-05-01T20:47:43Z 2020-05-01T20:47:43Z sack of meat can’t die the backdrop of consciousness
is blaring orchestral
fractophony hung
loosely like a phantom 
in the corner of a Dalí bedroom.

existence is an opinion: an onion
we can only see entirely
by slicing it in half,
sautéing with a splash of salt 
ground black pepper,
a thigh from the meat sack
(won’t be needing that anyway)
cover and let cook on medium for 
two millenia, stirring frequently.

look closer at the darkness.
there’s nothing there
to be scared of.
the tiger’s dinner is the dandelion’s breakfast.
the bee has a pouchfull of pollen,
dear pistil,
the trigger you pull on makes seed.
tag:esc.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1537219 2020-04-29T00:45:18Z 2020-04-29T00:45:18Z Positive Thought Loops

What is a loop?

A loop is a meme. It is an entity composed of behavior, experience, and knowledge that tends to self perpetuate within one individual and can spread to others. 

The gravitational core of a loop is an experience. Once one has had contact with the felt sense, and knowledge of the behavior created it, they enter the orbit of that loop.

In a world were scale is large, only policy changes and mimetic loops create widespread change.

Three archetypal loops can facilitate the transformation that needs to occur in society:

(1) Letting Go

The “letting go” loop shows the looper that they can live happily without something they previously felt a need to hold on to. In fact, without it they are much happier.

Letting-go-loops challenge the human process of design and creation because they are about letting go. How can a newly created “thing” and its accompanying ask to be acquired help its recipient to let go?

Books that teach people to let go have been some of the most effective propulsion vehicles for the letting-go-loop. E.g. Marie Kondo, Eckhart Tolle. 

What should we let go of?

Stuff. The magic of reducing one’s inventory really is life changing, and starting at a physical level gives new loopers a tangible entry point.

Choice. When one takes what is already there, what is freely given, what is abundant, settling for survival over optimization, this creates a loop of joy and acceptance that defies consumerism. 

Aversion to negative sensations and emotions. The power of negative feelings comes from our strong aversion to them. Accepting what is hurting begins the healing process.

(2) Empathy

Is empathy (especially with those suffering) a loop? It is not, as long as the aversion to negative emotions exists in a mind or culture. One empathizes, feels the pain or fear, and then pushes those unpleasant feelings away, killing the loop. 

The typical cycle of charity plays into this non-loop. Some image of suffering people or animals is presented, a viewer feels compassion, starts to see how painful it would be to empathize, and a donation is made which alleviates the negative, creating a story of “ok, maybe that pain is slightly lesser now.”

This is fine, but it’s not a loop, it’s a dead end. A mimetic loop vehicle for empathy is a critical missing component to Earth-healing, and the letting-go-loop of aversion to negative emotion could be a precondition for it.

(3) Gratitude

Everything is better when one is grateful for it. That which one is grateful for, one attracts more of into their life. 

Gratitude is not complicated, it has no downsides. It just requires a tiny bit of additional effort and creates an immediate reward. Let’s start with gratitude.

Thank you for spending your ten minutes embarking on this intellectual journey with me.

Thank you for caring about healing the Earth and her ensemble of beautiful inhabitants.

Thank you for being an inspiration to those around you.

Thank you for being.
tag:esc.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1534525 2020-04-24T13:53:08Z 2021-05-06T19:26:20Z The Climate Letter

On March 20, 2020 I climbed to the roof of my apartment building in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. It was a clear night and on the horizon I saw the jagged silhouettes of lower Manhattan, the crystalline frames of the Hudson Yards complex, and the Empire State Building, whose decorative lighting system pulsated an eerily pragmatic red, like a giant emergency beacon.

In the context of the pandemic, I empathized more easily with prey animals. Humans preyed upon Earth’s entire living environment. Now, a tiny virus had swiped our role as the apex predator.

As an empty plane flew overhead I considered the fear and alarm raised by this virus, which threatened to kill 3% of our population. I wondered how it would feel to face a threat that might not even spare 3%.

Through a chipped Pixel 2 to the last person I had hugged before quarantine, I said, “If humans could feel so much as a fraction of the fear and suffering we cause each day to life on Earth, flights would be grounded and this city would be shut down until we found a way to live sustainably.”

The next morning, I received an email from my grandfather, Ray Clayton. He wrote:
I want to try out an idea on you, perhaps worth a letter to the Times.  And if you’re interested we might co-author it, which would be fun.

I think it’s useful to compare the near-panic with which the world has reacted to the coronavirus, with the slothful way it has reacted to the far slower-acting but ultimately more deadly “virus” of the climate disaster.  Both phenomena are based on sound scientific evidence, Both have their deniers and “hoaxers.”  The big difference, of course, is that the climate crisis has been downplayed to the tune of billions of dollars by the fossil fuel industry.

My argument is that the coronavirus crisis has shown us that we can survive the wholesale disruption of our social fabric and economy to counter an attack by an agent for which we have no known cure. 

The death and destruction due to the climate crisis are already with us and for this we know the cure: stop burning fossil fuels.

A viral pandemic, even if left uncontrolled, will come and go with its toll on human life and property, within months or a few years.  But the climate disaster even with prompt action now, will disrupt human life for many years.  We should look on the coronavirus pandemic as a model for the climate disaster compressed from many decades into, at most, a few years.

My grandfather had been successfully published for his letters to the Times on several occasions. The idea of co-authoring something with him was exciting, so I took him up on it. 

I think that is a wonderful idea. I have been having the similar thoughts, though I never thought of submitting a piece to the Times.

One positive outcome of the pandemic might be this: it will place in recent human memory the disastrous consequences of not taking warning signs seriously, and hitting the brakes too late to stop a total wreck.

On an individual level, the COVID-19 outbreak gives us an opportunity to internalize how our actions affect others. I was talking to a young woman on the phone last night about how the pandemic highlights this principle of Buddhist thinking. Buddhist monks are known to walk with a broom, sweeping the path in front of them to make sure they aren't crushing any insects as they proceed. 

While most U.S.Americans would consider this level of care crazy, we’re now confronted with a situation where an action as seemingly benign as leaving the house without a mask could be endangering the life of a passersby.

After receiving my draft, my grandfather gave me some feedback, and suggested that we might increase our chances of actually being published by framing the piece as a response to Tom Friedman's Op-Ed on “Finding the Common Good in a Pandemic.” In the end, this is the letter that I submitted to the NY Times:
The pandemic teaches us two things. One is that rapid societal behavior change is possible when people and government align on what constitutes "common good." The other are the disastrous consequences of waiting too long to make those changes.

We are willing to shut businesses, stay home, and bear significant economic hardship when we see those around us sick and dying. Yet we aren't willing to make such sacrifices in the name of Earth’s wildlife and ecosystems, or even the lives and livelihoods of future human generations.

It doesn’t matter what experts tell us. Our collective definition of "common good" doesn't change when we are told something, it changes when we feel something. If we could feel even a sliver of the immense suffering caused by climate change, flights would be grounded and metropolises shuttered until humans found a way to run their economy sustainably.

Eventually the climate disaster will be actively destroying human lives with a ferocity and persistence that will make the pandemic of 2020 look like a picnic. If we wait until then to change, our legacy as a species will already be doomed. It would be better if we could update our conception of “common good” today.

The Times never ended up getting back to me. A piece published a day after our submission broadly covered the topic of COVID-19 & Climate, and likely scooped our chance of bringing a novel argument to the table. 

In spite of that, co-authoring the letter with my grandfather was an amazing experience, and if you are still reading, I’m willing to call our collaboration a success.
tag:esc.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1520302 2020-03-15T22:44:44Z 2020-03-16T01:06:03Z Sci-Fi

On a warm afternoon in early May, I sat at a cafe in the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn with a self-proclaimed hacker. The cafe was “Cotton Bean,” one of the many spouting up in the Nostrand Ave. corridor catering to a new influx of young professionals in the area. The hacker was Evan Stites-Clayton, former founder of Teespring, an e-commerce platform that was once considered a golden child of the Silicon Valley tech scene, commanding valuations approaching one billion dollars. Now, he was at the outset of a new venture, one that found a nest in Backend Capital’s Hacker Fellowship, a 10-week program that took place in a 23-bedroom brownstone a few blocks from where we now sat. 

“For you, it’s 1:15 EST. For me, it’s 4.65 hacker time,” Evan remarked, “As soon as I leave this meeting, my autopilot will tell me exactly what I need to do next.”

There was a clear feeling that even though Evan and I were sitting across from each other at the same cafe, in the same year 2020, his experience was driven by a technology that planted him firmly in the future. It was this technology which he had built initial prototypes of during the fellowship.

“The investors at first didn’t understand the concept — we had to let them take it home so they could experience it for themselves.

“We think of this as an Operating System for humans. By default we run "software" that results in greed, disharmony, and unhappiness. Ultimately it heats up the planet and destroys Earth's ecosystem.

“Our technology is an OS for humans that allows us to run different software, and thereby get different results.

“We expect most early users to think of it as a self-help or productivity tool, but really it’s much more than that.”

I was a little taken aback by what Evan was telling me, and even more surprised that he already had investors lined up to give his team over a million dollars in funding. Almost on cue, he gave me a knowing look. He pushed a stack of devices across the small table to me — a bluetooth headset, a fit-bit, and a cheap android phone. 

“The hardware solution is a bit of a hack at this point, but trust me, when you try it at home, you’ll get it.”

[ This piece was written as a part of an exercise at the Hacker Fellowship in which we were asked to envision an optimistic future vision of a reporter meeting with us a few months after the program. It was written on Friday March 6, before we realized fully what was about to happen. ]

tag:esc.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1504303 2020-01-29T23:10:07Z 2020-03-13T14:19:07Z keep it lovely things will be whatever they are

let them be

life will tend towards over-complicating itself

keep it simple
keep it lovely

here’s an expression of absolute joy:


smile on your face
in the face of
in place of

there are these three 
sensations to really pay attention to:

(1) the blank contentedness you feel when you first wake up, with a ray of sunshine on your pillow, after you remember that your dreams are dreams and before you remember that reality is real.

(2) the tingle of adventure when you step out the door, into the bus, onto the train platform, onto the spaceship - every footstep is yours to select. you never know what you’ll find, but you know that one way or another YOU will find it.

(3) the warm comfort you feel towards and from those people in your life who truly care about you. 
tag:esc.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1500114 2020-01-17T16:20:49Z 2020-01-17T16:23:06Z Ojai (Lyrics) afternoon im in the van 
sweaty cell phone clutched in hand
telling my love she’s not the love 
to meet my love demand
end the call on 3 percent
I google pay at hip vgn
torta sent from heaven
did an ojai angel serve

when she gets off she wants to hang
with me myself and motley gang
we peace and mistubeast it
to hot springs between the hills
on the drive I like her laugh
and way of never looking back
and off two reservations sneak in
four because we can

we splash in pools of water under
stars that wonder who we are 
this little shallow puddle 
full of love and sacred stones
here my friends are naked
frigid toes are soaked inside
this sweet sulphiric miracle
it stills the storm of love’s rough ride

when she leaves I take the plunge
cold river water and the stars above
back in the hot springs pop rocks
fizzle every inch of quasian skin
get dressed and hop in the Range
on the way home see something strange
a fallen orange companion
in the middle of the road

we turn back to check the scene
high as hell on pen vaped green
the strain was laughing buddha
but the road was full of pain
there lied a wide eyed, crumpled cat
a fluffy orange maine coon tabby that 
reminded me so closely of my old cat George, 
I gave away

I take the cat into my grip
one hand under each defeated hip
body warm but limp and lifeless
lay her down beside the road
there we did pronounce her dead
a stoned and tragic prayer was said
im sorry that you lost your life
to this world of moons and cars

a cat was killed
a bird was saved
a love was born
a love was razed
a red faced glitter sister packed for Pismo to the whisper
of a norcal techish mister locking eyes to thun thun uh

The Song:
tag:esc.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1494321 2019-12-31T02:27:47Z 2019-12-31T02:27:47Z palo alto the hawk hangs her head on the street lamp
blinkers aim left for 101 south
out past the Ikea sign and the Home Depot
past two tall palms and a skinny redwood
broad purple dusk lullabies Palo Alto.

five rubber trees in the cul-de-sac on Tolman drive
one old Chinese woman
an even older British man
Michael Jackson’s “Thriller”
The Weeknd’s “Wicked Games”
Duke Ellington’s “In a Sentimental Mood”
I pour out one gallon of gasoline 
for my grandparents
and another for the drive home.
tag:esc.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1490942 2019-12-19T20:58:33Z 2019-12-19T20:58:33Z Battle Rapper

If you’ve ever shared a drink with me it’s likely that you’ve heard me freestyle. In a certain state of mind non-lyricised conversation starts to feel trivial to me and the urge to flow bubbles up to the surface. So after listening to a couple of my late night verses in early 2018 my friend Albert said, “Hey I know this rap battle in Oakland that’s open to the public and you could easily win. You have to come battle.”

“It’s called Tourette’s Without Regrets” 

So the following Thursday, I went to “Tourette’s” with Albert and some friends, and two expectations were shattered. First of all, Tourette’s was much more than a rap battle: I watched audience volunteers fling mayonaise covered hot dogs at one another’s bared asses and a woman stick needles through her cheeks. Secondly, I could NOT easily win the rap battle. 

It was one thing to spit amusing verses while jamming with a friend at 2am in my own living room, and something totally different to be on a smoke-filled stage in front of a fired up audience, microphone in hand, with 30 seconds to insult another human being as much as possible over a beat I could not prepare for. I’m generally pretty comfortable getting up in front of people and I’ve done plenty of public speaking but this was another level of challenge. 

Not only did I lose that first battle, I lost resoundingly, barely getting in a single insult to my opponent, stumbling over lines I tried to prepare in the 30 minutes before the battle, and receiving zero votes out of five from the judges in the crowd. 

Afterward Albert said “It’s ok, you were great, you had a hard opponent.” It was true that my opponent was really good and he ended up winning it all that night (the rap battle is structured as a single elimination tournament between 8-16 people). I lost but had gotten a taste, and I was determined that I would go back and win a round. 

So I kept going back to the monthly event, whenever my schedule lined up such that I was in the Bay Area on the first Thursday of the month. Each time I had the same results: losing in the first round. 

That Fall when I heard that my friend Erik, another freestyle enthusiast, was going to be attending an 8 week freestyle rap training course in New York City - I decided to use it as a reason to move to NYC and attend the program. I was freestyling a ton to try to improve my game: in workshops, at parties, and at the end of every shower I took (waiting until I had spit a clean four-liner before turning off the cold water). 

In the new year, with all of that training behind me, I made my way back to Oakland and Tourettes. I had a new approach - less trying to plan out verses ahead of time, more being in the moment, focus on connecting with the crowd, staying on beat, and rapping out relevant things. 

I lost again. I went back the following month and lost again. 

At this point I started to wonder if winning a rap battle was actually something I could - or even should accomplish. As a (mostly) white dude from the Oakland Hills, why should I be trying to compete in a Hip-Hop art form? What was I trying to prove? Were there not more important things like saving the ecosystem from climate change that I could be working on? Was I even good at rapping at all?

In spite of those doubts I had a rule for myself: if I’m in Oakland on the first Thursday of the month, I’m going to Tourette’s and I’m going to compete — no exceptions. Plus I always felt encouraged by the battle organizer Asher to keep trying no matter how many times I lost. With my 0-6 record in December 2019 he enthusiastically welcomed me to come back and compete again. 

My first rap battle win started with winning a roshambo (rock-paper-scissors for my east coast friends). Before a each rap battle, a roshambo determines who will rap first. It’s much better to rap second because it allows you to give a rebuttal to whatever your opponent used to insult you. My opponent was the same person who I had gone up against the last time, and I remembered him throwing “paper.” So I went with scissors on my roshambo. Sure enough he threw “paper” again and I secured being second. 

Going into the battle my focus was to be as present as possible. I wanted to try to maintain eye contact with my opponent and an energetic connection with the audience. Because I was going second, my goal was to respond to my opponent’s verse. In his verse, he said something about me looking like Keanu Reeves. So when I started my rap I responded with:

“So I’m gonna say this, and you’re gonna hate this
I took the red pill and you’re still inside the Matrix”

After that round, the host decided that it was inconclusive and called for a second round (usually judging happens after just one back and forth, 30 seconds each). In my second round I started with a line inspired by my attempt to stay present and maintain an eye contact with my partner. 

“Let me tell you how we make it happen
He can’t even look at me in the eyes when I’m rappin’”

My opponent had a good flow, but none of his punch lines landed as hard as my rebuttals, in part because he was in the disadvantaged place of having to go before me in the rounds, and also because I had the support of three old friends standing in front who would scream every time I landed a line. Ultimately, when the judges raised their whiteboards three votes were in my favor and two went for him.

I went on to lose definitively in the next round, bringing my record to a triumphant 1-7.

tag:esc.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1486504 2019-12-07T23:58:29Z 2019-12-08T01:43:00Z Baby Paste (Lyrics) strange face
acid makes my teeth leak
have you heard of:
stuffy mushroom l33t speech?

strange teeth
sorrow makes neck bulge
have you ever:
let yourself connect fully?

strange neck
hoping i can soak the tonsil
do you really:
trust your orthodontal?

odd words
why I even say them
will you try to:
find a way to save them?

look in the mirror man
and tell me hows your tonsils
look in the mirror man
the tiny house is haunted

strange dreams
castles made of alabaster
comic boxing matches
sparking a disaster

look at the mirror cats
who swallowed my investors
dumpling bureaucrats
losing all their luster

strange girl
kind of looks liek steph-ny
a missing collar bone
history of injury

I'm disgusted
trusted in you crusty mustards
now it's evident
holding the court without evidence
ever since Trump has been president
seek to impeach on the precedence
set by a prayer that heaven sent
(blown in the oval’s what evan meant)
I'm sick of fucking Russia
and Ukrainy on my TV screen
rather have a weatherman
say "it's rainier" or “grass is green”
but grass is brown from what i’ve seen
we lost in two thousand sixteen
can we focus 2020
instead of rolling in defeat?

look in the mirror man
and tell me hows your conscience
look in the mirror man
the tiny house is haunted

strange dreams
castles made of alabaster
comic boxing matches
sparking a disaster

hot priest
she eats me like a piece of pastry
she picked from the trash
complaining of a murder

I'm Spongebob
I'm Keanu Reeves
chat with the clerk its a joke
nibbanic peace as I chat with myself in dreams.

the song: https://soundcloud.com/evan-stites-clayton/baby-paste
tag:esc.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1486503 2019-12-07T23:55:05Z 2019-12-08T01:42:50Z Greta Thunberg (Lyrics) Greta Thunberg
look at the numbers,
unite behind the science:
there’s only one Earth.

Trees we be choppin'
can’t stop shoppin'
nothing is enough
asking “whats my next option?”
end goal is profit
cream off the top it
all piles up
in a few deep pockets.
Juice from a socket
powers a product
we can’t live with out
which we’re told to be proud of.
Our time is now
and its time to be loud
if we want to be heard
for the life of the Earth.

The time is now.
The time is now.
The time is now.
Time is out.

Water is rising:
that’s the true pricing
of cheap mass goods,
our compromising
on the impact to oceans
soil and land;
pillaging the mother
is the legacy of man.
Air is polluted,
ask a good buddhist,
they’ll tell you our money’s
corrupt from the root. It's
true that we do this
act like we’re clueless
amazon searching for
the same old new shit.

Greta Thunberg
look at the numbers
unite behind the science
there’s only one earth

the song: 
tag:esc.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1486502 2019-12-07T23:49:38Z 2019-12-08T01:45:08Z Turkey Murder (Lyrics)

perky merger
turkey burger entourage
climate action pervert
horny warming fuselage

turnkey murder
killer little figure
body like infinity
pinched between two fingers

it's a wisdom it's a winning
it's a winding down
it's a business
cart we cash before the cow

cart we push before the cow
grass we thresh to feed a horse
dig to plant the seed of now:
sown by lust and greed of course.


turkey murder
silent burger dinner
little sinner
soul cycle spider spinner

the song: 
tag:esc.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1486500 2019-12-07T23:47:22Z 2019-12-07T23:47:52Z Tijuana (Lyrics) I'm on a balcony in LA by the beach
sippin' hot water as the sun begins to reach
over the horizon rising towards a crescent moon.
I'm writing out verses on an iPad to some tunes
my homie demon cheeks provided 'bout two years ago
but hope he’s now delighted that I'm finally gonna flow
and bring a little grim to these funky tracks
like i said it in the intro: "the Beast is back."

Right now im kinda homeless living all over the world,
reflecting on my privelege and relationship with girls,
the fact I built a business pumpin t-shirts from the earth
that's how i made a milli but the fuck is money worth
in a world that’s getting hotter every dollar makes it worse
cursed by a love of comfort thats a bumfuck to reverse.
Time for me to stop chasing dollars, dimes and shirts,
resort to permaculture put some carbon in the dirt.

Does it hurt? (Yeah)
Does it hurt? (Hell yeah)
Can you feel it in your heart
for every being on earth?
Does it hurt? (Yeah)
Can you feel it in your soul
north to the south pole?
Does it hurt? (Hell yeah)
Now learn to accept and embrace the pain:
the ledger is forever - can’t erase the gain.
Nothing on earth ever stays the same
but our actions impact the way it change.

I meditate vipassana for two hours a day.
I wake up every morning at 4:30 in the A.
For this room in Venice gotta thank my homie Dave
without you I’d be staying with my parents in the bay.
Not that that's a problem I got love for my folks too
but the vibe in Venice keep me running like what yolks do.
Hit the gym for fitness in the morning with ardell,
cookin' rice and lentils eatin cheap and living well.

My badass friend from college, Linhm got married in SD:
at the wedding saw a girl with whom I used to be.
I used to call her Maris but her friends all call her Mars.
In those years we shared together argument was sparse.
Really warmed my heart to see that we could still be friends,
I express my gratitude for how she loved me then.
We squaded up and went across the border a spurt.
I wont forget the glances that we shared across the church.

Does it hurt? (Yeah)
Does it hurt? (Hell yeah)
Can you feel it in your heart
for every being on earth?
Does it hurt? (Yeah)
Can you feel it in your soul
north to the south pole?
Does it hurt? (Hell yeah)
Now learn to accept and embrace the pain:
the ledger is forever - can’t erase the gain.
Nothing on earth ever stays the same
but our actions impact the way it change.

I made this whole mini-album in three days,
so please don’t hate me if it sucks.
Trying harder really wanna care these days,
wanna give but im looking for the fucks.
Read this book by David Deida taught me how to be
a better man but not relinquish masculinity.
He says “breath down the chest and up the spine”
see the big boys do it so of course its fine.

The purpose of my music is to lyrically express
stories thoughts and lessons and to get it off my chest.
It’s not a catchy tune, it might not be your jam,
but expect that it expresses truth of who and where i am.
Goenka showed me that even pain can be a blessing
and demons in my nightmares told me “treat this as a lesson.”
I'm grateful to Vienna for the past couple of months
promise you I’m changing - sorry it’s not all at once.

Saw my ex lover, the other day
San Diego Ped West to TJ.
She and friend found bed rest,
me I then left,
took an Uber to the Ped West.
Now me and friends are back in the US.
I could really use some bed rest.
Took a train up to Los Angeles.
Took an Uber to my friends nest.
Now I'm in the bed getting bed rest,
(sucked into a dream)
dream head while my head rest.

the song: 
tag:esc.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1485200 2019-12-03T20:04:21Z 2020-04-24T13:18:19Z humans are giants how small we are compared to trees
and yet how big compared to bees.
our way of life, which kills them both
is larger than the land.

how hard we learn to work in school.
how sure we are we know the rules
of how to earn and spend our way
to comfort, love, and joy.

perhaps if we were half the size
or if our Earth were twice as wide
then we’d still have a chance to 
save her from man made demise.

sadly, that is not the case
we are a giant human race
in our bootstep’s wake the 
soil quakes with living fear.