Friday Miscellany For 2/23/2024

A few links from around and about.

By Serdar Yegulalp on 2024-02-23 08:00:00-05:00 No comments


  • Criterion is releasing three Ousmane Sembene films on Blu-ray!
  • And Kino Lorber is giving us Tarkovsky's Nostalghia on 4K.
  • Wait, there's a (new) movie version of The Master And Margarita and I never heard of it until now?!
  • Some of the Hong Kong locations used as inspiration for the (1995) Ghost in the Shell.
  • Martha Nussbaum: "... our idea was that the right way to measure how people were doing was not by GDP per capita, and not by feelings of satisfaction, but instead by what they are actually able to do and to be. Capabilities are not inner capacities, they are spaces for meaningful choice. What I added to this comparative approach was a normative use of capabilities as benchmarks for justice: a nation has achieved a minimum of justice only if its people have a core set of opportunities for choice and action in central areas of life." [Emphasis mine]

Read more


Tags: links

Fill My Eyes, If You Would

The best thing that happened to me as far as designing my own books went was when services like Unsplash came online and made it possible to build high-quality private stock image libraries without spending a dime. Unsplash does have a few usage rules -- you can't build a competing service with their content; you can't make merch with the unmodified images; model clearances are not explicit and you are responsible for ensuring they exist -- but they do not get in the way of what I'm doing, and outside of those few rules you have liberty enough to do most anything you like. The only limits are one's talent and taste.

By Serdar Yegulalp on 2024-02-22 17:00:00-05:00 No comments


The best thing that happened to me as far as designing my own books went was when services like Unsplash came online and made it possible to build high-quality private stock image libraries without spending a dime. Unsplash does have a few usage rules — you can't build a competing service with their content; you can't make merch with the unmodified images; model clearances are not explicit and you are responsible for ensuring they exist — but they do not get in the way of what I'm doing, and outside of those few rules you have liberty enough to do most anything you like. The only limits are one's talent and taste.

I've accrued a clipart directory of several thousand pictures at this point. I don't imagine I will ever use even the smallest fraction of them in my own work, or the work I do for others. But the point of having the gallery is not to make use of absolutely every image in it. It's to provide a source of inspiration and stimulation that goes beyond merely making covers, or even making visual art in general.

Read more


Tags: Unsplash art creativity imagery

So Bad It's Good That It's Bad

With a bad film that gives its audience perverse pleasure, the key there is the audience.

By Serdar Yegulalp on 2024-02-17 08:00:00-05:00 No comments


I found it amusing that Criterion has loaded up their channel with a number of Razzie Awards recipients. Not out of keeping with Criterion's expanded mission, either: their main thing has always been curation and context, so having curation and context for bad things can be constructive. It also got me thinking about how bad is something that has many dimensions, and is not just a spectrum of good-to-bad.

Read more


Tags: Criterion movies

Friday Miscellany For 2/16/2024

A few links from around and about.

By Serdar Yegulalp on 2024-02-16 08:00:00-05:00 No comments


Read more


Tags: links

A Lifetime Of Attention

It is insulting to say, "Nothing has happened to you, that's why you have nothing to write about."

By Serdar Yegulalp on 2024-02-15 08:00:00-05:00 No comments


In Ken Macrorie's remarkable little book Uptaught there is this quote from (I guess) some professor or administrator, excerpted in dismay, on page 129: "I don't know how we can expect [the students, college-aged] to write. They haven't had any significant experiences. They aren't yet mature."

Over the course of the next several pages, Macrorie propelled a wrecking ball through the face of this condescending conceit. He provided examples of how his own students had experienced plenty: mental hospitals, family strife, you name it. All they had to do was be given permission to talk constructively about it.

I thought of a friend of mine I knew at the time, who before the age of twenty had been through what seemed like four other peoples' lifetimes of pain. Even then I knew better than to say to myself, Well, at least he has "material". I thought instead: What's in my life that until now I've simply only glossed over?

Read more


Tags: creativity

Your Dreams Will Never Love You Back, Pt. 2

I fear we are making a world where people are convinced their dreams can, in fact, love them back, and have sacrificed a great deal (morally, and otherwise) to try and make that real.

By Serdar Yegulalp on 2024-02-14 17:00:00-05:00 No comments


The title of this post is a reference to one I made the other year, where I talked about how we can let art be an ingredient for life but not a substitute for it:

Our dreams, our entertainments, our fantasies, our conjectures are all necessary-but-not-sufficient conditions for the better life. We do need them, but they do not need us, and we should never forget this. We should only be in thrall to our dreams about what is possible up to the point where we find ourselves pining. The hard work of translating our imaginations into reality cannot ever be abridged by making our imaginations more intense, more detailed, more deeply intermixed with reality.

These thoughts came back to the surface of my mind earlier today, as I'd awakened this morning from a dream sequence whose details I cannot recall exactly, but which seemed to revolve around this idea. Rather than try to reconstitute the events of the dream, I focused on putting into words one of the insights I'd gleaned from it: Our dreams can't love us back, but we seem hellbent on building a world where that's not only a possibility but a priority. And folks like you and I are not the ones who will benefit. We only think we will, because we will have a few of our superficial desires fed.

Read more


Tags: imagination politics storytelling

Stages Of The Filter

On the criteria a given story idea needs to fulfill before I feel like I can work on it wholeheartedly.

By Serdar Yegulalp on 2024-02-11 17:00:00-05:00 No comments


Expanding on an idea in a previous post. Here are, as best as I can express them, the criteria a given story idea needs to fulfill before I feel like I can work on it wholeheartedly:

Read more


Tags: future projects ideas

Where I'm At Now, February 2024 Edition

After the note I published the other day about project research, I thought I'd run down where we stand with all the things I'm currently working on, or mulling working on.

By Serdar Yegulalp on 2024-02-10 17:00:00-05:00 No comments


After the note I published the other day about project research, I thought I'd run down where we stand with all the things I'm currently working on, or mulling working on:

Read more


Tags: future projects

Book Learning

Most everything I've bought as deliberate research material for my projects ends up taking a backseat to stuff that got pulled into that role from left field.

By Serdar Yegulalp on 2024-02-10 08:00:00-05:00 No comments


This past week I burned a ton of Amazon credit card points and purchased one of those things I like to justify to myself as "research", when I know full well it's a personal indulgence. Maybe it will turn out to be a useful research item, but it's better for me to be honest about my intentions and think of it as an indulgence first and research second.

I have what could be called a perverse relationship with research material for my writing projects. Most everything I've bought as deliberate research material for my projects ends up taking a backseat to stuff that got pulled into that role from left field.

Read more


Tags: research

Friday Miscellany For 2/9/2024

A few links from around and about.

By Serdar Yegulalp on 2024-02-09 08:00:00-05:00 No comments


Read more


Tags: links

See earlier posts from February 2024