Archive | June, 2012

Orwell: Why I Write

25 Jun

This & many other links.

And compare Orwell:

All writers are vain, selfish, and lazy, and at the very bottom of their motives there lies a mystery. Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout of some painful illness.

To Bradbury:

Writing is not a serious business. It’s a joy and a celebration. You should be having fun with it. Ignore the authors who say ‘Oh, my God, what word? Oh, Jesus Christ…’, you know. Now, to hell with that. It’s not work. If it’s work, stop and do something else.


Andrew Hyde: More on self-publishing economics

18 Jun

Detailed article on the financial aspects of digital self-publishing by Andrew Hyde.

So what to conclude?
Don’t buy my book on Amazon. Or do buy it. Or don’t. (UPDATE, I put the .mobi on gumroad) I could sell the .mobi file through gumroad but Amazon blocks commenting and rating for those customers that go around their buying habitat. I’m super happy with the project but really hate how much management of this type of stuff, time I could be working / consulting and actually making a $. Are books just really loss leaders for the authors careers? Big adverts in the fiction section? Not something I thought about until this part of the process. Shouldn’t writing a book be about creating the best user experience for the reader and honoring the art of story?
I’d like to think the latter. We need more art, more stories. Self publishing seems to be a great enabler of this (and the creative class), but damn Amazon, you sure know how to take a great feeling and turn it sour.
So want the kindle version and don’t want to give Amazon 50% of the sale? Buy here and I get 95% of the sale.

(h/t Seth Goden)


18 Jun

Most popular chords in music.

For many people, listening to music elicits such an emotional response that the idea of dredging it for statistics and structure can seem odd or even misguided. [Analyzing data odd?Never!] But knowing these patterns can give one a deeper more fundamental sense for how music works; for me this makes listening to music a lot more interesting. Of course, if you play an instrument or want to write songs, being aware of these things is obviously of great practical importance.

Time to write a song. 🙂
Modify the following, starting here: (Psalm 126:1-3 NIV)

1 When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion,
we were like those who dreamed.
2 Our mouths were filled with laughter,
our tongues with songs of joy.
Then it was said among the nations,
“The Lord has done great things for them.”
3 The Lord has done great things for us,
and we are filled with joy.

Then add a section for “We were like those hoped”
Then add a section for “We were like those loved”


18 Jun

Love the language. Former atheist academic types becoming Christians/Catholics write densely packed sentences. Former Protestant Catholics generally just throw condescending hand grenades. (yawn) Best wishes on this this auspicious journey!

I could hypothesize how a Forms-material world link would work in the case of mathematics (a little long and off topic for this post, but pretty much the canonical idea of recognizing Two-ness as the quality that’s shared by two chairs and two houses, etc. Once you get the natural numbers, the rest of mathematics is in your grasp). But I didn’t have an analogue for how humans got bootstrap up to get even a partial understanding of objective moral law.
I’ve heard some explanations that try to bake morality into the natural world by reaching for evolutionary psychology. They argue that moral dispositions are evolutionarily triumphant over selfishness, or they talk about group selection, or something else. Usually, these proposed solutions radically misunderstand a) evolution b) moral philosophy or c) both. I didn’t think the answer was there. My friend pressed me to stop beating up on other people’s explanations and offer one of my own

It’s a good read & conversation starter.

Kindle self-publishing

18 Jun

Welcome to Kindle Direct Publishing!

With Kindle Direct Publishing you can self-publish your books on the Amazon Kindle Store. As thousands of publishers have learned — it’s free, fast, and easy!

(h/t Instapundit)

Haboob haiku

17 Jun

Fighting haboob dust storms with Haikus

The department advises drivers who find themselves in the gritty thick of a dust storm to slow down and pull safely off the roadway as soon as possible.
Tait said the department came up with the idea for the novel safety campaign during a brainstorming session about how to use social media to reach out to drivers.
The concise Haiku form was the “perfect fit with Twitter, with it’s 140-character limit,” he said. The campaign which started Tuesday and runs through Friday has so far received over 100 entries.

The convergence of Haiku & Twitter: Everything is proceeding as I have foreseen.

Pixar storytelling awesomeness

15 Jun

Pixar’s Rules of Storytelling.