Hi. My name is Brad…
…and this is little more than my personal blog to which I’ve been posting for lots and lots of years. (To be precise, it’s been online for exactly 6923 days… so, pretty long by internet standards.) It’s neither news nor journalism; It is opinion and perspective. Fundamentally it is little more than a personal diary that I happen to share online. More often than not I fill this space with musings of little interest to anyone but myself. Occasionally others find what I write to be interesting, and read it or share it. But usually it just is what it is: My ramblings. So, share and enjoy… or just move along.
Just this guy, y’know…
I write therefore I am.
It’s hard to say where and when I was inspired to blog. I’ve been a quasi-writer, always aspiring to put words to paper since I was in my early elementary school years and I had the good fortune of a good teacher who sparked the idea into my kindling-filled brain. It’s been stuck there ever since.
In 02001 I found myself fully educated, formally at least, and starting a new job a thousand klicks from home in the big city of Vancouver, British Columbia. I had a crappy little computer, a piddling and slow internet connection, but a lot of time on my hands. So, I started to write. And write. And write. And other than a few brief breaks, I haven’t really stopped.
I’ve chronicled my post-school life.
In this blog I’ve chronicled my post-school life, getting married, buying and developing our first home, becoming a father, becoming a marathon runner, getting in shape, my various inquiries into the philosophies of the universe, and a thousand other little topics of interest to no one… yet, apparently so many other people too.
On September 6, 02014 the word-count of this site passed one million. It was a bit of an arbitrary milestone, yes, but at the same time signified a volume that I’d never really expected to attain when I’d started pecking away at a keyboard more than thirteen years earlier.
I’m just a guy. I’m not trying to be popular or famous or widely read. I don’t write this for notoriety or hits. But I do write this because it has become my own personal history… a gift to my daughter and whoever might be interested in this average, dopey guy some time in the future. And I don’t mind sharing it with you too, right now.
Every name has it’s flaws, of course.
Does the right name for a blog matter? I sometimes ask myself if after all these years, my returning readers — friends and family and other random strangers — think of this blog by its name… or do they just think of it as “Brad’s blog” no matter the clever name I happen to be using this month.
Every name has it’s flaws, of course. They can be too long. They can lack description. They can imply something not meant to be implied. Or they might just be boring. I try to avoid these things, but I somehow always stumble upon an unseen obstacle that leaves me wondering how soon it is before my readers get frustrated at the roulette of nomenclature I use to denote my writings.
So names change. And change. And change again to suit the purpose of the moment.
It eventually got re-branded once again.
This blog has had many names over the years: it was called lost.in vancouver for three years while that particular sentiment held true, and then (when we moved back to Edmonton) it was renamed a few times again, temporarily and sporadically) before I landed on the name bradgarten, a name that was meant to imply “Brad’s Garden” (I “cleverly” — *cough* — using the German spelling of the word.) It denoted in my mind a garden of ideas and thought and musings. It just meant that after a few years and few interested strangers started linking to me, people actually thought “Garten” was my last name: it’s not, and there is someone who owns that name who was probably wondering why he had such prominent presence online. Then a break: the blog went offline for a few months (whilst I dealt with some personal demons too complex to explain herein.) I regrouped, and then relaunched it a bit later under the name bradgarten reloaded, followed by 8r4d reloaded (to get rid of the not-my-surname issue) and eventually got re-branded once again in 2013 from the generic-vagueness of that name into 8 Clicks From Nowhere, a name that I wrote “left wide open to interpretation around my topics — running, photography, blogging, gaming, et cetera.”
As I alluded to above I started writing when I was in Vancouver: this blog started publishing on April 20, 02001 as a series of “letters home” when I moved away from Alberta to start a job in Vancouver, British Columbia. At the time it was merely a hand-coded bit of HTML tossed onto a free ISP web space account. I never figured it would get very far, and merely used it to keep in contact with family and friends… far easier on a blog than by writing, copy-pasting, or re-writing the same emails over and over and over.
It’s a massive, epic and awesome collection of personal history and ideas.
But it subsisted. I wrote. I wrote more. It became my go-to for clearing my mind, or sitting in a cafe and feeling productive. It started to grow and took on a life of its own. And as a result, over the years and years I’ve gone through phases of openness & closed-ness, brevity & verbosity, clarity & deliberate obtuseness, and even haphazard scatter & structured practicality. I’ve treated this blog like a marketing tool, like a personal journal, like a pre-twitter and facebook status microblog, like a photo gallery, like a discussion forum, and often as a personal soapbox. But ultimately, it all leveled out into a massive, epic and awesome collection of personal history and ideas.
404 – Page Not Found, huh?
Occasionally, if you dig deep into the archives of this blog, you’re probably going to come across some missing content, or an error saying things are NOT FOUND!
It’s there, you just can’t see it.
Around about 2016 folks started getting really paranoid about privacy and the amount of information people were sharing online. I admit, I used to post a lot of stuff about my family and being a dad. I still do. (At least I assume I still do. I still did when I wrote this. Anyhow…) I considered this, and decided to show a bit of respect for my daughter-of-the-future. That is to say, respect for my daughter, in the future, when she’s older. She’ll never escape the fact that her old man is social media crazed blogger, but in 2016 I decided to add expiration dates to a lot of my content. So, even though there are thousands of posts on this blog, thousands of them are set to “private” –meaning only I can see them– after a certain time has passed. She can read them (eventually) when I someday I let her. But, her childhood is no longer threaded through the internet like a child star.
Quality Not Assured
Again, this blog has had about a dozen names. It has had breaks of non-publication. It has had spans of epic multi-daily posting. It has been my rock, my love, my albatross, and my burden… sometimes all at once. It has changed look and feel and taste and smell more times than I’ve changed my haircut. No… really.
…a kind of extended letter to the future.
But one thing is, has been, and probably will always be consistent: I don’t write for any reason other than myself… this is pure narcissism, and I’m OK with that. The primary purpose of this blog remains now and forever as a kind of extended letter to the future, a history of our lives as they were lived, for my daughter to know about things or anyone else who might legitimately be interested to read upon.
(But at the same time, I’ll freely admit, it’s nice to be read in a more contemporary sense, too. It’s nice to hear from you and interact with you, whoever you are. There’s that, too.)
The Point of All This
If you don’t like reading personal blogs, the answer is simple: just click away. I pay the bills, I hold the keys, I am the humble little gatekeeper of this facility. I have layers of back-ups to keep me as safe as possible from digital vandals (because I know I might come across as a tempting, thick, juicy — if low profile — target). And getting hacked wouldn’t be my first time.
I challenge myself to ponder my own existence and validate it in words.
Over the years, however, I have arguably moved away from random keyboard smacking and mental drivel and more towards writing actual articles. I hope this is an improvement. But that said, at the end of the day — and for average readers — this might seem like a lot of wasted effort. After all, I’m not monetizing any of this; There are no ads, no sponsors, no traffic-busting SEO-blurring statistics to sell, I’m not collecting personal information, nor am I selling any kind of product. This is costing me money, and I don’t even know if people are actually reading it. So what’s the point?
I write here because I want to. I write here because maybe, just maybe, it entertains someone. I write here because like every other person on this planet I think about my own mortality and wonder what might be left behind when I’m gone… for my daughter… for anyone. I write because I go back and read what I wrote days, weeks, months and years later. I write because I learn and think about new things when I write, I challenge myself to ponder my own existence and validate it in words. I write because it’s who I am.
So. Read on. Comment. Poke around. Wonder. Share and enjoy. Just… whatever.