All posts for June 2016

Other Worlds Dept.

One of my other projects is taking shape.

By Serdar Yegulalp on 2016/06/30 08:00

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.

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Tags: programming

Better Than Nothing Dept.

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

By Serdar Yegulalp on 2016/06/27 08:00

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: Raymond Smullyan creativity creators writers writing

Signal Vs. Noise Dept.

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

By Serdar Yegulalp on 2016/06/24 18:00

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.

By Serdar Yegulalp on 2016/06/17 09:00

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

Music: Power Inc. Vol. 1 + Vol. 2 (Tackhead)

Until we get a Tackhead box set, these two discs will have to do as a source for anthologizing most of the band's best sampler-drum-machine-and-funk moments.

By Serdar Yegulalp on 2016/06/13 09:00
Buy at Amazon

Tackhead's career has been so diverse and difficult to document properly that I'm not surprised one has to hunt and peck so much. There's the albums, but they're scattered across a number of different labels, sometimes sporting varying credits -- "Gary Clail's Tackhead Sound System" or individual members like Keith Leblanc -- rather than Tackhead proper. There's the early 12" singles, but they too are scarce, and also sometimes sport an entirely different name ("Fats Comet"). It's like using tweezer to pick sand grains off the ocean floor.

For a good long time, the Power Inc. anthologies came about as close as could be expected to picking up the pieces that mattered. There's still a lot missing from these two collections of tracks from across the best parts of Tackhead's career. But they touch on some of the most crucial moments, and if you combine this with Tackhead Tape Time and Keith Leblanc's Major Malfunctionyou can assemble a good composite picture of one of the best bands to come out of the multi-way collision between funk, industrial, dub, and reggae that took place in the late Eighties.

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Tags: Adrian Sherwood Doug Wimbush Gary Clail Keith LeBlanc Skip Mcdonald Tackhead funk industrial music review

Background Task Dept.

No good story ever takes too long to write.

By Serdar Yegulalp on 2016/06/08 09:00

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.

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Tags: Richard Feynman creativity writing

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