Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Apples and Pears

The reality behind people's reactions to Steve Jobs' death striked me when I read a friend's tweet, which can be summarized as, "I don't understand the whole fuss that is still going on about his death. Did he give out those Ipads and Iphones for free?" Some people may judge, but I think there was a sincere criticism in my friend's reaction. I believe that the same type of cynical perspective towards people's reactions could be observed in a humorous Onion article, which was titled: "Apple User Acting Like His Dad Just Died." or this photo which I found posted on my friend's wall and has a clear social message:

To be honest, when I logged into my Facebook account on the day of his death, and came to the realization (for it took me a while to actually understand from the status updates) that Steve Jobs died, I was incredibly sad. There was a knot in my throat and a feeling of incredulity in my head. Was the guy who invented the gadget, through which I was reading the news of his death, really dead? To me, it was mind-boggling. But as Jobs pointed out in his famous Stanford speech, death is a reality that awaits all of us, and he happened to arrive at this ultimate reality at a relatively young age than most others.

I did not tweet or update my facebook status with Steve Jobs related content. But I was so moved with the homepage of Apple that I decided to send an e-mail involving a little anecdote of me and my father at the Apple Store to However, my not tweeting or not writing a status update does not matter b/c facebook and twitter has been overflowing with Steve Jobs related posts since his death. It's no debate that many young people idolize him and put him in the ranks of many great pioneers and scientists such as Da Vinci and Newton. They believe that Jobs is the genius of our generation which people years from now will talk about. I cannot say I disagree with these opinions. I do agree that Steve Jobs was the genius of our generation who brought great change to the way we use technology. But my friend's tweet I mentioned earlier had a point. And it separates Jobs distinctly from those inventors and pioneers that he is put in the ranks of.

I believe that aside from having an ingenious mind, Jobs had an analytical perspective into the human nature. We can discuss whether this was from his own observations or his experimentation with LSD, which he seemed to value highly, but he knew that being a genius was not enough, especially in the societal and economical conditions of the modern world. To be labelled as a genius by the millions, he knew he had to sell that genius. And this is what distinguishes him from Da Vinci, Newton, and such. If he had not marketed the idea that he was the great, revolutionary renegade behind Apple, we would not still be writing about him now. I am guessing that his death would have been greatly mourned, but he would not have been idolized to this extent. And this is the reason I also agree with my friend who wrote that cynical tweet on Jobs. Yes, he was brilliant. Yes, he was ingenious. But he is not a scientist or a thinker who left behind a free heritage of thought. And if we are mourning his death and making such an idol of him, why not pay our respects to those whose inventions or discoveries might not seem as tangible as Jobs' Iphone, but nevertheless will have a great impact on our thinking and living in the future?

Saturday, September 10, 2011


As I was sitting in my room one day, I thought of how everything around us is man-made. You might reply with: "Oh yes, obviously", but the way we surround ourselves with things, and even our eagerness to build and make things, and if not, buy things is to some extent actually crazy. It is with our eagerness to make and build things that we found civilizations. And almost all of us cherish the concept of civilization. But sometimes where civilization brings us, imho, a little too much. As someone who had to move things back and forth for 4 years, at some point I couldn't help but ask myself: "Do I really need this much stuff?" I moved to the US and I bought things to decorate my room and then I would move back home and  buy clothes and bring even more stuff back with me to the US. That meant I would have to carry even more stuff when I come back home to Istanbul. The burden of carrying all my stuff with me back and forth really made itself obvious when I had to go back home from England and I had almost 4 suitcases of stuff when I was only allowed to carry 2 with me. A few weeks before I was to move to Turkey from England I watched the movie 'Up in the Air' with my roommates and remembered how George Clooney's character gave seminars on how to own only a carry-on size bag much of stuff. To me, that's something impossible to accomplish. However, I am also now more careful not to clutter my life with stuff I don't necessarily need. Remember the aphorism by the charismatic Tyler Durden of Fight Club: "The things you own end up owning you." And to some extent, this is very true in our culture. Fashion and trendiness is all about making judgements about a person by evaluating what they wear. We also tend to feel an affinity towards people who shop from the same places as us, or wear similar clothes to what we wear and use similar gadgets to what we use. I'm not saying I don't engage in any of these behaviors, but when I realize that I do, I tend to come to the conclusion that it's quite unnecessary.

Before we started building and making things like we will never be satisfied, there was the nothingness of nature. I found a photography blog with some photos of 'nothingness'. And here are two that are my favorites. I like these two because there is nothing in them that are man-made (like roads, houses, etc.) and no artifacts.

Here is the link to the website where I found them, if you want to look at more photos: Also, there is a little story, which I heard/read a couple times before, about a fisherman and a businessman on the website that makes a nice point for our work- and stuff-cluttered lives.

Monday, September 5, 2011

posing tomatoes

Sunday, July 3, 2011

LGBT Walk in Istanbul

I've been meaning to post this throughout the week, but I didn't have time. Last week, when I was in Istiklal Caddesi I ran into the LGBT walk. Seeing that this news was not covered in many of the Turkish news websites, I decided to share some of the photos I took (luckily my camera was with me). The scene and the atmosphere was pretty colorful, as you can expect. So here are my photos:

some reactions of the people standing by to the participants in the walk
street tango

Something strange happened half an hour before the walk: I was at a bookstore and people rushed inside holding their hands to their noses. Some of the patrons started talking amongst each other and I heard that a pepper spray was dropped in the street. Some people claimed that the spray was an early reaction to the walk.

The day that stage performances have a breakthrough...

is the day that the clones of the singer jump on the stage with the singer and surprise the audience. By the end of the choreography no one will have any clue who the actual singer is...

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Laughing Feet

An intricate work I made with my feet

Friday, June 3, 2011


I have just completed my profile on LinkedIn and even though it seems  to me that there will not be much of a professional benefit from joining, I tried to be careful in how I presented myself on a professional website.

Networking seems easy on LinkedIn. That is... if you have some big names already saved in your e-mail address book. If not, trying to include someone in your network, or invite them to be your friend/ colleague/ however the professional jargon puts it, is quite difficult. I do not know if I missed this as I was getting used to the interface of the website; however, LinkedIn makes it very hard if you are adding people one by one by clicking the "Add 'this person' to my connection" on their profile. For example, I joined my high school group Robert College, and I wish to add some classmates. I go on the group's webpage and start adding people who I'm friends with. However, once you click to add that person, you have to indicate how you know them- which is totally fine because LinkedIn wants you to send invites to people that you really know; probably to avoid people, especially the very important people, from getting annoying invites from randos. Once you complete your invite, you are directed to a page that simply says: "Your invitation was sent successfully" with a checkmark beside it. But that's it. What if I want to add more people from that group? I have to annoyingly click the right number of Back buttons to navigate back to that page.  What if I am on my friend's contact list, and wish to add some mutual friends? I have to click the Back button (I think twice) again. Or I have to navigate to his page from the very start. Why doesn't LinkedIn put on the invite completion page a link back to the last contacts page s, i.e. a link that says, "Go back to Robert College's contacts" or "Go back to 'your friend's contacts".

I'm sorry if I'm venting about something that's already there. I tried to contact LinkedIn for help; however, their 'Contact Us' box was grey and I couldn't click on it... I guess I have to get one of their fancy upgrades for my unfancy, college-grad self to ask one simple question.