The Journal of CJ Roberts

A collection of projects, patterns, and paradigms. Musings on an autonomous digital city – Sigil and The Hive. #AureaLepus

A Design Studio for “User Engineering”

Professional Opener // Atypical Genius

Voodoo Child (Jimi Hendrix) // Jolly Roger // 59° and Mostly Sunny

The anxious obligation to communicate versus the desire to express yourself versus the need to be heard versus the discipline to write.

It’s all wrapped up in a Pandora’s Box labeled “paradigm of paradoxes” with a hand made bow of crumpled drafts, past due bills, and a surgically removed length of intestine.

Someone told me Hope was at the bottom of that box but I know for a fact that Hope got a job at the Bourgeois Beaver stripping for a few hundred a week not counting tips or the amount she spends on glitter glue and industrial strength soaps.

The world today…that is a trite turn of phrase, as if all the people, and cultures, and ambitious meandering can be turned into a logline.

Last night I discovered Muriel Spark. I’m an avid reader. (Calculated based on free time spent reading versus books finished. I sadly don’t have much free time but I usually finish, I believe, between 60 and 80 books a year.) And yet I had NEVER heard of her.

Friends with Graham Greene, on several “best books / authors since the emerald tablet” styled-lists, and a movie with Maggie Smith (in which McGonagall won an Academy Award).

Never heard of her until I saw her name in Anne Lamott’s “Bird by Bird”.

If I posted this as Facebook status I probably have friends who will, with varying degrees of “I know, right?”, “Really, but she’s so famous?”, and “Yeah, I never liked her stuff” miss the point.

There are lives, single vibrant, important lives, that create these well traveled worlds of emotion and intellect. And you will never know about them. You might die never understanding the influence of Tolstoy or why Casimir Funk is an official saint of pirates and health stores. You might miss, dismiss, or overlook something and never see the civilization of devotees it contains.

Like Heavy Metal. I’m not a fan but my wife is and I have an old friend is a passionate adherent.

I tend to disregard it as noise but after being forced into situations of close observation I saw the interwoven social layers and dynamics that permeate everything from America to Harry Potter.

Every idea is a nation. Some are well traveled like France and Rock music. Some are well known like China and Hemingway. Some are mocked like Kazakstan and Cosplay. And some are lost like Prussia and Firefly.

I just keep wondering, “Who will be my Muriel Spark today?”

Chemical Compound of Coffee, Keyboards Tapping, 57° and Mostly Sunny



An information management tool, decision loop, or tarot spread inspired by a visceral connection between the intelligence cycle, Planescape, the elemental attributes of the Dark Muse Temples, the Monomyth, and Salem.


1. SEE: The Gate of Smoke and Shadows. Pierce the Veil. The Microcosm. Who am I? What does this mean to me?
2. ESCAPE: The Gate of Ghosts and Mirrors. Quiet the Past. The Underworld. What haunts me? What do I refuse to see?
3. NEED: The Gate of Blood and Water. Asking for Aid. Sacred Prostitution. What do I need to succeed? What do I yearn for that distracts me or holds me back?
4. SURVIVE: The Gate of Earth and Coin. Crossing the Threshold. The First Challenge. What will it cost me? What will I face?
5. OVERCOME: The Gate of Wind and Sword. Start the Trials. The Second Challenge. Where must I go? What must I do?
6. RECONCILE: The Gate of Fire and Azoth. Transcend the Past. Purgatory. What must I accept to move forward? Who must I forgive to move on?
7. ILLUMINATE: The Gate of Light and Spirit. Accept the Responsibility. The Macrocosm. How does the influence of others change me? What does my desire mean in the grand design?
8. UNDERSTAND: The Gate of Keys and Chaos. Face the Real. The Third Challenge. Why am I doing this? Why do I care?
9. MASTER: The Gate of Masks and Names. Come to Pass. Immortal and Free. What can I gain? What can I become?

The Daily Transcendence (Issue #2): Neon Cityscape with Silhouette of Girl, ISS HD Earth Viewing Experiment, Cyberpunk Mad Hatter Hat

The Daily Transcendence

The Daily Transcendence

  • I am thinking of (convinced of) replacing “Honor” with “Gratitude” in the Human Litany. And changing other pieces of it to make it approachable by the fringe audience in which it is intended.
  • I feel like their is a mystery or pattern or puzzle to be solved in various social dynamics of those fringe people, hobbyists, and people that match characteristics of the normal standard.



  • This is probably the coolest thing I’ve learned about all week:

The Daily Transcendence (Issue #1): Miskatonic University, Morality, Leather Journal

The Daily Transcendence

The Daily Transcendence

It’s actually Issue #2 but it’s officially issue #1. I like the idea of it so I’ll keep it around as a guilty pleasure.

I think that, unlike my normal naming convention – (T-Shirt), (Music), (Weather) – I will call these little snippets – (T-Shirt), (Last Wiki I Read or Thing Learned), Current Obsession).

How should such a somber and authoritative title as “The Daily Transcendence” be used?

I want to make a comic book.

Ravens, Restaurant Small Talk, 45° and Cloudy

Futuristic gate

While researching a method of knowledge management, that incorporates the elements I discussed in a previous post, I crafted an acronym to describe a rubric for education / discipline.

It’s not the greatest acronym but I submit for your approval:

“L I E S”

Length, Intensity, Expertise, Sublimation

As an example for this, as you read on, think of a person in physical therapy.

LENGTH: So here we track and improve the length of the routine, the exercises, the lesson. This metric is almost strictly a time or distance measurement.

  • How long did you last?
  • How much is it improved from the last session?
  • What increases in LENGTH will you aim for in the next session?

INTENSITY: This is about tracking complexity. This about breaking the sessions into elemental units (verb conjugation, push ups, times tables for factors of 3) and determining at what session each element was or should be introduced.

  • How are elements from the previous sessions involved?
  • How many new elements are being introduced?
  • How will elements learned in this sessions affect later sessions?

EXPERTISE: This is about tracking and improving each session based on some kind of universal constant or standard. The relative degree the subject is from the stated goal or criteria.

  • How did the results of this session compare to the standard?
  • How much growth (new elements, additional sessions) is necessary to meet / exceed that standard?
  • What testing criteria has been addressed or should be introduced?

SUBLIMATION: This is essentially the degree to which the sessions have been synthesized. Muscle memory or maybe language at the level of a native speaker.

  • How much does testing reveal an implicit and instinctual understanding of the elements?
  • Can the subject re-parse the elements, perform the routine, in its own voice or way without prompting?
  • Does comprehension of the elements coincide with the standard or constant from EXPERTISE?


I will continue to ruminate and test this to see if I want to include it in the regime.

Ravens, Ambiant Noises, 41° and Showers


Like many people of the world I am much intrigued by machine learning, adaptive learning, and AI as a support structure.

I have restarted using Duolingo and Lumosity on my way to work. Maybe the effect is negligible or arbitrary but at least I feel I’m doing something.


I started thinking about adaptive learning and feedback loops to improve trouble areas.

It seems so mundane but to me it’s still fascinating. An element of human instruction, directed learning to help synthesize challenging concepts, that becomes a simple algorithm in a program.

If Student A fails at question 1 then question 2 will be one of several subset questions. So will question 3 and so on until the parameters for the difficulty are established. Then subsequent questions / lessons will incorporate several learning styles (visual, auditory, kinesthetic) until the concept is at least grasped at rote level (or Knowledge according to Bloom’s Taxonomy). After concept challenge is met the algorithm proceeds to the next key concept.

Along the way little text messages appear and happy bells sound encouraging Student A.

We think this won’t take the place of human directed learning but children born to the digital world already trust and use a variety of non-localized learning devices.

YouTube channels may include a person on the other end giving make up tips but it’s still a short cognitive leap from the human on a pre-recorded video to a lab developed AI persona on an app.

I’m not making predictions or saying that teachers have no place in the future. Those typical tech transcendent philosophies fail to anticipate market and cultural acceptance. And it’s the marriage of market and culture which directs politics.

I’m merely curious about developing such a persona, a Watson, that takes all of Khan, and Coursera, and Wolfram, and Rosetta, and Lumosity and creates the perfect curriculum, adapted to each person, retested in spurts.

The “Internet of Educational Things.

I want my NFC ring to react to my computer and a reminder to pop up saying I haven’t studied French in awhile. I want an alert when I get home about which nootropics I should be taking based on how my testing has been going. I want a digital autonomic system that takes data from my activities and frames it into recommendations for improving intelligence.

That may be asking a lot.

There is a convergence of tech, innovation, ideating, and experimenting on these subjects. Niche studies across a multitude of spheres like television entertainment, marketing, medicine etc.

It’s not enough. Until I have my own Jarvis it will never be enough.

The Suit (Fight Club), Sympathy for the Devil, 55° and Cloudy

The Daily Transcendence

The Daily Transcendence

The Daily Transcendence – A bulleted list of updates both personal and professional (not part of any ongoing “thing” but may be used in the future if the mood strikes me.)

  • Asthma is really bad today. Symptoms include cold feeling in limbs, coughing to catch breath, dizziness, blurred vision, blue tinge to fingernails, and feelings of mortality
  • I heard a famous song for the first time on the show “House” which I’ve been binge watching. Enjoy Yourself (It’s Later Than You Think). I find the implications alarming.
  • I’m dressed in my best today for a photo shoot. Leaving aside the anxiety of pictures I have, and the asthma, I feel pretty good. I like wearing a suit. It feels like sacred vestments.
  • I need to detox off the modafinil and go clean but I end up taking pills before I think about whether I should.
  • Mannish Boy is all foreplay. It feels like something that just keeps playing. You enter the club and it’s there. Pass through to the exits and it’s still just “on.” Somewhere there is a dirty rat hole of a club where that song is on repeat as the same characters float in and out of its smoke filled, dimly lit, stage. The stories all meeting when that song is the thematic requirement.