All posts for November 2018


Pounded To Death

I go through keyboards the way other people go through pencils.

By Serdar Yegulalp on 2018/11/24 09:00

I go through keyboards the way other people go through pencils. A few years back, I bought the Das Keyboard 4 and quite liked it, save for the fact that it is obnoxiously difficult to keep clean. It also suffered from something common to keyboards that see a lot of action: the keycaps became worn down smooth, to the point where my fingers would routinely slip and hit neighboring keys. Me and my manual-typewriter-trained habits have killed many a keyboard, I fear.

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Tags: technology 


Would You Do It Anyway?

"Do you enjoy doing it?" is, I think, only half the statement. The way I would put it is, "Would you do this anyway?"

By Serdar Yegulalp on 2018/11/23 17:00

Why Create? - Steven Savage

The artist creates not just visions, but explorations, tools, and inspirations – not all of which are or need to be pleasant. But, like the Bards of fantasy games, the artist changes you and enhances you.

Right now you doubtlessly have a book, game, comic, or other thing to make. You may, like many of us, pause to ask if it’s worth it. I would turn it around and ask two things: do you enjoy doing it and will someone get something out of it?

I remember an interview with Andrew Mackenzie, a/k/a The Hafler Trio (from the long-vanished magazine Music From The Empty Quarter, #6 (Nov. 1992):

Q: How did you come about making music?

A: God visited me in my bedroom in Newcastle and he said, "YOU WILL MAKE RECORDS THAT SOUND LIKE CARS GOING PAST THE WINDOW."

I don't know, why does anybody do anything? You make up the reasons afterward. Because it turns you on. It gets the electricity flowing. Who knows?

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Tags: Steven Savage Dialogues  creativity 


Paint Your Lunch

By Serdar Yegulalp on 2018/11/20 17:00

Fun game to play: Pick a person, and imagine what kind of creative advice they would give you. Then compare that to the actual advice they give you.

Case in point: Yoshitaka Amano, the painter and designer who gave us the ethereal, gloom-shrouded look of Vampire Hunter D and devised the base concepts for much of the Final Fantasy series. One piece of advice I have gleaned from him seems downright counterintuitive given his c.v. as a master of flights of fancy. It comes in the form of a slogan that showed up on posters advertising his New York exhibition: PAINT YOUR LUNCH. (As in, sit down and make a painting from it, not slop some Winsor & Newton 611 AA S1 Titanium White all over your corned beef on rye.)

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Tags: Yoshitaka Amano  artists  creativity  creators 


No, No, NaNo (2018 Edition)

There was, as you can guess, no NaNoWriMo challenge for me this year. But it wasn't always like that.

By Serdar Yegulalp on 2018/11/20 08:00

There was, as you can guess, no NaNoWriMo challenge for me this year. I haven't done the challenge in quite some time, but not out of contempt for the process. If anything, NNWM is what got me to where I am now; I owe it props.

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Tags: NaNoWriMo  creativity  discipline  writers  writing 


Genji Press: Projects: Give It Away Now (November 18, 2018 Edition)

Once again: My all-new thriller/SF novel Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned is available as a free giveaway, for a limited time!

By Serdar Yegulalp on 2018/11/18 08:00

This is my once-every-so-often post about giveaways, freebies, promotions, and other must-haves from Your Friends At Genji Press, which appears for no particular good reason on any darn day I feel like.

My all-new thriller/SF novel Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned is available as a free giveaway, for a limited time, by way of Prolificworks (formerly Instafreebie).

See other, similarly-themed books in the same giveaway.

Many other books from other authors are also available in those lots, so go check 'em out as well. There's a good chance an itch you didn't know you had may well be scratched.

If you snag a copy, a review on Amazon.com or Goodreads is greatly appreciated.

Also bear in mind my TYPO BOUNTY! If you find mechanical mistakes in the text (spelling, grammar, inconsistencies, editing blunders, etc.), collate as many as you can find, drop me a line and I'll fix it up, and throw you a goodie for your trouble. Limit one goodie per person per book.


Tags: Always Outnumbered Never Outgunned  giveaways 


This Art-Too Unit Has A Bad Motivator

More from Steve on the whole vexed issue of doing what you think you want to do, not what you actually want to do.

By Serdar Yegulalp on 2018/11/15 20:00

More from Steve on the whole vexed issue of doing what you think you want to do, not what you actually want to do:

The Blog - Steven Savage

Now and again me and my friends find people motivated by what they think their motivation should be.  It rarely goes well for such people – they’re not driven, they’re not embracing their creative lifestyle, they’re not engaged.  Hell, in many cases they just stop caring.

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Tags: Steven Savage Dialogues  creativity  creators 


Bad Fuel For Brooding

This whole business of how we become the stories we tell ourselves is so easy to get wrong and in so many ways.

By Serdar Yegulalp on 2018/11/14 19:00

Author L.E. Henderson, on how her selective remembrance of bad times in childhood was designed to conform to a personal narrative:

Penning My Way to Clarity - PASSIONATE REASON

... Why had I believed such a terrible myth? After the sixth grade, I had “needed” to believe my experience had been purely black to match my feelings in the aftermath. To do otherwise would have invited cognitive dissonance, the anxiety that arises when you hold two contradictory beliefs at once. I had edited out anything good because I had “needed” to justify the intensity of my pain. But, in doing so, I had actually made the pain worse and for many years I had lived with a crippling illusion. I had not been exactly unconscious of my friend or my fight in the hallway and my black eye, but I had banished those memories into the shadows of irrelevancy because they were bad fuel for brooding.

I come back a lot to something Brad Warner likes to tell people: When you sit long enough with yourself, and you become honest with yourself, you realize there was never a time when you didn't know the truth of what was going on inside you and around you.

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Tags: creativity  creators 


Very Much Reality

Anything you put out in the world under the pretense of entertainment is worth taking at least as seriously as someone else could. And some take it very seriously indeed.

By Serdar Yegulalp on 2018/11/13 17:00

Go, go, go, said the bird: human kind 
Cannot bear very much reality.

— T.S. Eliot, "Burnt Norton" (1935), from Four Quartets

The other night we got to talking about what function artists serve in a moment like this. One view that came up was that we might not have the power to do much about the moment, but we can at least provide people with something else to look at or think about while they struggle to make it better. My own view is an offshoot and expansion of that.

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Tags: creativity  entertainment 


What We Put Into Our Heads

Most of us simply don't care what we stuff in there. It's a moral failing.

By Serdar Yegulalp on 2018/11/11 17:00

Stephen's Web ~ Believing without evidence is always morally wrong ~ Stephen Downes

In ‘The Ethics of Belief’ (1877)  William Kingdon Clifford gives three reasons for believeing that belief without evidence is morally wrong (quoted from the article):

  • every single belief has the capacity to be truly consequential
  • poor practices of belief-formation turn us into careless, credulous believers
  • we have the moral responsibility not to pollute the well of collective knowledge

I am always wary of arguments that conclude that we have a 'duty' or 'responsibility' because these are easily abused by others and almost always require that we act against our own self-interest, sometimes in devastating ways. But each of these can be seen in a way that aligns the collective interest with perosnal [sic] interest, and that's what gives them force.

I'm in agreement with Downes here, especially on the count of how statements about duty and responsibility are too often not about the cultivation of duty/responsibility within us and by us, but about the imposition of duty/responsibility as a proxy for other things, typically the preservation of asymmetrical power structures. (I almost typed "strictures", but that would work too.)

We often talk about how the artist needs to cultivate a sense of responsibility for what she chooses to put out into the world. The same goes for what they put into themselves, what they choose to let flower within themselves. Credulity is dangerous, especially when it comes in the guise of skepticism and is actually nothing more than cynicism. But we have few formal structures in our society to promote such things.

Most of us simply don't care what we put into our heads, and the history of trying to get people to be more conscientious about such things is rife with bad solutions. But I hold out hope that the chief reason for that is because we've only just now started to learn about how we might do it properly.


Tags: belief  society 


This Project Still Has No Title

But at least it now has a wiki.

By Serdar Yegulalp on 2018/11/10 17:00

Last night I took the outline I'd created for the new, as-yet-untitled project and dropped it into a freshly created wiki. Still no title — I'm brainstorming those sidecar — but at least the project now has a formal home like others before it.

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Tags: Genji Press  future projects  projects 


Genji Press: Projects: Give It Away Now (November 9, 2018 Edition)

My all-new thriller/SF novel Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned is available as a free giveaway, for a limited time!

By Serdar Yegulalp on 2018/11/09 08:00

This is my once-every-so-often post about giveaways, freebies, promotions, and other must-haves from Your Friends At Genji Press, which appears for no particular good reason on Tuesday.

My all-new thriller/SF novel Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned is available as a free giveaway, for a limited time, by way of Prolificworks (formerly Instafreebie).

See other, similarly-themed books in the same giveaway.

Many other books from other authors are also available in those lots, so go check 'em out as well. There's a good chance an itch you didn't know you had may well be scratched.

If you snag a copy, a review on Amazon.com or Goodreads is greatly appreciated.

Also bear in mind my TYPO BOUNTY! If you find mechanical mistakes in the text (spelling, grammar, inconsistencies, editing blunders, etc.), collate as many as you can find, drop me a line and I'll fix it up, and throw you a goodie for your trouble. Limit one goodie per person per book.


Tags: Always Outnumbered Never Outgunned  giveaways 


Another Turn Of The Big Wheel

Call me a workaholic if you really want to. I just call it keeping ahead of the curve.

By Serdar Yegulalp on 2018/11/08 08:00

Okay, fine, call me a workaholic if you really want to, but me, I just call it keeping ahead of the curve.

The other night, after several days away from the keyboard, I finished the first pass at an outline — maybe treatment would be a better word? — for the next book I'll be writing. No title yet; the provisional title I'd come up with before, held over from a previous incarnation of some of the same ideas in this project, doesn't fit anymore. 2019 Novel Title TBD, whatever.

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Tags: Genji Press  Milton Glaser  Tibor Fischer  future projects 


The Price Of Everything And The Value Of Nothing

The difference between a skeptic and a cynic is motives.

By Serdar Yegulalp on 2018/11/03 13:00

Milton Glaser once said:

Everyone always talks about confidence and believing in what you do. I remember once going to a class in Kundalini yoga where the teacher said that, spirituality speaking, if you believed that you had achieved enlightenment you have merely arrived at your limitation. I think that is also true in a more practical sense. Deeply held beliefs of any kind prevent you from being open to experience, which is why I find all firmly held ideological positions questionable. It makes me nervous when someone believes too deeply or too much. I think that being sceptical and questioning all deeply held beliefs is essential. Of course we must know the difference between scepticism and cynicism because cynicism is as much a restriction of one's openness to the world as passionate belief is.

It's that last sentence that I find most important. Much of the distrust I see manifested at things like vaccines or the news media is not skepticism. It's not grounded in any kind of good faith about the underlying question — the sort of thing epitomized by Sir Karl Popper when he described his ideal of intellectual aspiration thus: "I may be wrong and you may be right, and between us we may find the truth."

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Tags: Karl Popper  Milton Glaser  Robert Anton Wilson  belief  skepticism 


Do(ing) The Right Thing

"moral action is also, inevitably, practical action, and immoral action is inevitably impractical..."

By Serdar Yegulalp on 2018/11/02 08:00

What Thucydides Knew About the US Today | by Edward Mendelson | NYR Daily | The New York Review of Books

Historians argue among themselves whether Thucydides is a moralizing philosopher or, in a common phrase, “the first scientific historian.” What is radical about him, and gives him his unerring clear-sightedness, is that he is both. He understands morals, not as a set of arbitrary rules imposed or wished upon reality, but part of the fabric of reality itself, in the same way that Greek philosophy had begun to understand physical laws as inseparable from reality. Thucydides came to the same insight that Ludwig Wittgenstein recorded centuries later when he wrote that ethics “must be a condition of the world like logic.”

In Thucydides’s morally coherent universe, moral action is also, inevitably, practical action, and immoral action is inevitably impractical, no matter how insistently short-sighted [?] strategists pretend that it isn’t. ...

Emphasis mine. You'll want to read the whole piece, especially the giant chomped-out quote from Thucydides himself (it's chillingly accurate), but I want to touch on that passage in particular because of what else it reminds me of.

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Tags: Buddhism  Zen  morality  philosophy 


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