Information Retrieving

The humanist and philosopher of technology Lewis Mumford, for example, restated it in 1970: “Unfortunately, ‘information retrieving,’ however swift, is no substitute for discovering by direct personal inspection knowledge whose very existence one had possibly never been aware of, and following it at one’s own pace through the further ramification of relevant literature.”

                  ~ James Gleick. The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood

Louis CK on trying and failing

This is a fantastic interview of Louis CK by Bill Simmons on Simmons' podcast, the BS Report, about Louis CK's career. It is an amazing conversation and how Louis CK approaches his career is something everyone can learn from.

Louis CK: I'll try anything that I think might be good. I don't care if I fail. Who cares, try it again... there's a limit to things. You can't think everything is forever...I mean, not doing something because it didn't work would be like you're a quarterback at the 25 and you hand the ball off and he pushes it up 8 yards, and you say "well we didn't score a touchdown let's go home."

A while later, the discussion is about Louis' several attempts at TV shows and how he was affected by them.

Bill Simmons: were traumatized to know that they [hollywood execs] were messing with it.
Louis CK: I wouldn't say traumatized at all.
Bill Simmons: What's the right word.
Louis CK: I, I learned from it. I was cautioned and educated.
Bill Simmons: Fair. Was the Dana Carvey show traumatizing.
Louis CK: ...I just don't believe in "trauma". That's a white guy's word. A black guy who loses his legs doesn't say "I was traumatized". We put these medical words on stuff that just happens in life.

Moments later he talks about learning from failing.

Louis CK: You get more information from failure than you do from success because there's forensics, there's a dead body on the floor, there's all kinds of information... but when everybody wins and there's confetti everywhere...wins aren't analyzed in a way for me that is meaningful.

The library (Parks & Rec)

Pawnee's library department is the most diabolical, ruthless bunch of political bureaucrats I've ever seen. But instead of shotguns and crystal meth they use political savvy and shushing...the library is the worst group of people ever assembled in history, they're mean, conniving, rude and extremely well-read which makes them very dangerous.

                  ~ Leslie Knopf (Amy Poehler), Parks and Recreation. Season2, Episode 8: Ron & Tammy

I love Parks & Rec.

The safety of life is this, to examine everything all through, what it is itself, what is its material, what the formal part; with all thy soul to do justice and to say the truth. What remains except to enjoy life by joining one good thing to another so as not to leave even the smallest intervals between?

                ~ Plato; Aurelius, Marcus; Epictetus. Harvard Classics, Vol. 02: Plato, Epictetus, Marcus Aurelius

How small a part of the boundless and unfathomable time is assigned to every man! for it is very soon swallowed up in the eternal. And how small a part of the whole substance! and how small a part of the universal soul! and on what a small clod of the whole earth thou creepest! Reflecting on all this, consider nothing to be great, except to act as thy nature leads thee, and to endure that which the common nature brings.

                ~ Plato; Aurelius, Marcus; Epictetus. Harvard Classics, Vol. 02: Plato, Epictetus, Marcus Aurelius

Stephen King on Writing

What follows is everything I know about how to write good fiction. I’ll be as brief as possible, because your time is valuable and so is mine, and we both understand that the hours we spend talking about writing is time we don’t spend actually doing it. I’ll be as encouraging as possible, because it’s my nature and because I love this job. I want you to love it, too. But if you don’t want to work your ass off, you have no business trying to write well—settle back into competency and be grateful you have even that much to fall back on. There is a muse,* but he’s not going to come fluttering down into your writing room and scatter creative fairy-dust all over your typewriter or computer station. He lives in the ground. He’s a basement guy. You have to descend to his level, and once you get down there you have to furnish an apartment for him to live in. You have to do all the grunt labor, in other words, while the muse sits and smokes cigars and admires his bowling trophies and pretends to ignore you. Do you think this is fair? I think it’s fair. He may not be much to look at, that muse-guy, and he may not be much of a conversationalist (what I get out of mine is mostly surly grunts, unless he’s on duty), but he’s got the inspiration. It’s right that you should do all the work and burn all the midnight oil, because the guy with the cigar and the little wings has got a bag of magic. There’s stuff in there that can change your life. Believe me, I know.

                  ~ Stephen King. On Writing