Previous Posts: Uncategorized / General: June 2016

Other Worlds Dept.

One of my other projects is taking shape.

I mentioned at various times before I've been working on "MeTal", a replacement for Movable Type (the program I use to publish this blog) and an alternative to WordPress.

I have a separate blog where I'm tracking the development of the project, itself published with MeTal. There's been some activity there recently, so if you're curious about programming generally, web-based applications, CMS/publishing systems, Python, etc., subscribe to the feed for that blog. I'll be posting more frequently there from now on as activity ramps up.

Eventually, once I transition to the new system, that blog might well be made into a subcategory of this one, or at least there'll be some more active federation between them. We'll see.

Tags: programming

Better Than Nothing Dept.

"Which is better, a ham sandwich or eternal happiness?" Or a perfect plan?

Which is better, a ham sandwich or eternal happiness? Well, a ham sandwich is better than nothing, and nothing is better than eternal happiness. Therefore, a ham sandwich is better than eternal happiness. —  Raymond Smullyan

An old joke, but a good one, and it came back to mind the other day when I was talking about how to make one's plans for a creative work. Out of nowhere popped this phrase: "Even a bad plan is better than no plan." I mulled than one over.

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Tags: creativity creators Raymond Smullyan writers writing

Signal Vs. Noise Dept.

If I'm not talking, it's because I'm listening. Or at least trying to.

It wasn't my idea, honest. I've spent several days of the last week traveling for work, and when I wasn't actually working, or sitting in an airplane seat (doing work there as well), I was sleeping (and still on East Coast time, no less). But it's not like I don't have anything to say about all that's been going on — it's just that most of what I could say is redundant, and that I find it's best to listen rather than talk when times get turbulent.

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Tags: politics real life

Goin' West Dept.

On thickening the plot.

Long couple of weeks, lots going on. Mostly trying to make progress on Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned, and ran into several examples of what I call "street-level problems" with a manuscript.

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Tags: writers writing

Background Task Dept.

No good story ever takes too long to write.

Gian-Carlo Rota:

Richard Feynman was fond of giving the following advice on how to be a genius. You have to keep a dozen of your favorite problems constantly present in your mind, although by and large they will lay in a dormant state. Every time you hear or read a new trick or a new result, test it against each of your twelve problems to see whether it helps. Every once in a while there will be a hit, and people will say: "How did he do it? He must be a genius!"

Without sounding too self-congratulatory, that sounds a whole lot like the "rehearsal" stage I go through when planning a project. When something is still unformed, it sits on a mental shelf along with a great many other projects, and then as I bump into things in my daily life, I take it down and hold it up to the light of whatever it is I'm standing in front of, and ask myself "Good fit?"

It might take a long time for something to click, but once it clicks, it clicks all the way in. No good story ever takes too long to write.

Tags: creativity Richard Feynman writing

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