-1. I am a world champion breather.

0. I’ve breathed for literally thousands of seconds without pausing. I show no signs of stopping, ever. I’m breathing as I type this, and it’s not even hard. You can’t rest on your laurels in the breathing game, or someone will breathe for more seconds than you and win. What will they win? I’ll never need to know.

1. I know a man who interviewed Leni Riefenstahl near the end of her life. When he shook her hand goodbye, a thought curved into his mind like a talon: I’m touching a hand that touched Hitler’s.

2. The distance between himself and World War II seemed to collapse. The Fuhrer himself might have been sitting on the other side of the coffee table, gripping his hand. Writing is incantatory. It shrinks miles, accelerates years, forces you to contemplate the alien and unthinkable. I hope to hold your hand.

3. My life is a search for knowledge (and power) in weird places. I like old books, videogames that require emulation to work, Youtube videos with seventeen views, and forgotten ideas. Nobody censors the truth: they let the dust cover it. Somewhere in public landfill is a three-inch block of metal worth $127 million dollars. I don’t always tear open unlabelled boxes and envelopes, but I always want to.

4. I’m politically conservative: infinite ways exist to ruin things and only a few ways not to. Progressive ideas should be implemented after pounding them a thousand times into a brick wall to see if they work.

5. There are only two reasons to do anything: you’re interested in them, or they’re interested in you. Things that fall into one or both classes for me include cats, web design, audio production, aesthetics, Unix system administration, prose, genetics, bodybuilding, retro PC games, animated films, heavy metal, and the animated film called Heavy Metal.

6. The Porsolt test measures how long a rat swims when dropped in a beaker of water. Rats on antidepressants such as Prozac swim longer. Don’t make yourself too comfortable. Not when you’re slowly drowning in a beaker of water.

7. Nobody ignores carrots and sticks. If a person’s actions don’t make sense, think about the consequences, and infer motives from that.

8. I believe in the Great Man theory of history, but with the caveat that there are few Great Men. History is both chaotic and impermeable to change; like a bubbling froth where each bubble is made of anodized steel. None of us know where we’re going and very few us can change it, except in some meaningless way. Suppose you suddenly woke up on 10th of September. Could you say or do anything to stop the disaster about to occur? Would the Federal Aviation Administration listen to a crazy person shrieking about hijackers and box cutters? Few men exercise actual power over society: the ones that do normally leave ashes in their wake.