You’re not in the wrong place. This is still me. It’s been at least five years since I did a major redesign of this blog, and over those years I’ve painted myself into a few design corners. I’ve been meaning to figure out a way to slowly tweak my design into something new and fresh and modern, but my old theme had so many complexities that I decided instead to just rip the bandage right off. This is the basis for a new look. It’s a bit sparse at the moment, but I’ll be refining it in the coming months. For now, enjoy a simpler look and feel.
It’s probably way overkill, but my hosting provider for this blog offers a free SSL cert for one subdomain, so I made the switch and put this site on a secure server. Not that you’re putting any information into this site… but I am. A lot. And though I’ve got three layers of security keeping the never-ending barrage of hacker attempts at bay, and they haven’t even breached the first layer, this plugs a few holes for my efforts. I only mention it because a lot of this site has been hand-coded across many years and you’re bound to stumble across something that doesn’t quite load right because I missed updating it. A font or a script or an image. Feel free to ignore it or let me know. Whatever. It’ll get cleaned up either way in the coming weeks.
December 20 While I’ve definitely made a lot of minor tweaks to this blog’s look-and-style in times passed, I realized the other day that I’ve been using basically the same design template for the last four and a half years. For a guy who used to update and change the look of this thing every couple months, that’s a long stretch without much more than some gentle nudging. I don’t think I’m ready to completely overhaul it at this point, but it doesn’t mean I haven’t given some thought to how I would do that — and if I would do that. I mean, this blog is going to turn 16 next year. It will be old enough to drive. I almost feel like it has hit a kind of classic maturity (at least in design) and I’m not sure I ever really want to mess with it any more than at the gentle nudging and tweaking level. That said, there are so many new design paradigms out there that I’m locked out of using because I’ve painted myself into a metaphorical corner. Ahhhh! It will be a tough call, but maybe I’ll think of something wild and crazy to work towards — a BIG tweak — for the fifth anniversary of this template.
It’s been two weeks since we lost our pup and it has been a mix of surreal and sad. We’ve been having all these conversations at home about the weird and yet tiny circle of grief that washes over you when a pet dies. She was this critter that lived in our house, so utterly dependent on us and like many dogs this animal that had this narrow swirl of people who she interacted with on anything more than a superficial basis. Every day we get bumped and reminded of the hole she left behind, the gap that remains, the patter of little paws that no longer appear as expected in those quiet moments between the big events of life. Meanwhile the world goes on. It always does. And we stumble along trying to keep a balance between proportion and respect, as we push into our new reality as a dog-less house. It matters a lot to us and a few others, but most everyone else has gotten over it I’m sure. Part of that is with words: I’ve been hiding, not sure what to write as the post that follows the sad message about my dog passing. So, maybe just this: a soft restart. Not moving on, not forgetting, but just back to trudging along.
In an age of aggregated destination sites, social medias and those URLs you have bookmarked so that you can check them seventeen times per day to see what’s new, the inevitable question for a guy like me is “why bother going alone?” Why do I spend my own time & money maintaining a personal blog, barely read, and infrequently visited? I’ve asked that question of myself many times, so I’m going to dedicate a few short posts to explaining my own reasons. First, and most simply, I’m going to hang it out there as the most obvious reason: I do this because I enjoy it. It’s my hobby. It’s my passion. It’s like asking a runner why he runs or a gamer why she games. It’s fun for me. I like to write and like to create new things, and if this ever became a burden or a chore, you’d know… because I’d stop.
Here we go again… December is Blog-Every-Day Month. No guidelines. No rules. No set topic. No nothing no how. Just an article with at least one complete sentence, every day…
December 29 …because I’ve been busy re-re-re-branding.
Oh great. Another blog post about blogging.
If you’ve been paying attention over the last month you may have noticed some of the changes I’ve made to this blog. If not, go look now… I’ll wait.
See, I’ve been writing online for what will be fifteen years in 2016. Fifteen freaking years! With nearly four thousand posts across 1.2 million words in about 60 categories. Yeah. That’s a lot of blogging across a very long time. Blaaaahhhhhgggghhhhghgh!
For those who have been playing along across more than a couple of those years you know: this blog has grown, changed, hibernated, reloaded, refreshed, updated, spread thinner, become increasingly irrelevant, and ultimately become a pointed if almost invisible commentary on the state of the internet in the second decade of the twenty-first century written by a guy who was in his mid-twenties when he started and is now –gulp– approaching 40.
It is what it is, I guess.
Now some of you fine reader people also know (or maybe not) that I’ve often spread my blogging effort across numerous platforms and various concepts in the past. There have been times when I’ve thrown my hands skyward and in frustration attempted to pull them all together into something coherent or more useful only to have puttered and staggered. Yet, here I am again, over and through the past month I have been doing some reflecting on what I’m doing here online, poking the internet bear, testing my luck with the webz and stuff, and attempting to figure out why I’m doing it… Hint: I still don’t know. It’s just writing after all. It’s just me dribbling words onto the digital page and for some of you fine folks it’s just me blathering away being me, and you’re probably fitting into the category of either mildly annoyed or vaguely indifferent. I get that.
Spreading my efforts across a number of blogs is no longer working for me. It’s a lot of work. It’s a lot of frustration. And there has never really been any payoff. It’s just me spitting out blathering pages of text for no money or no purpose other than self-indulgent free-form publication. It’s tough sometimes. It’s rewarding and cathartic other times. So I keep at it. You read. Or not. I don’t even know anymore to be honest. I just keep typing and hitting the publish button and… well… that’s all really.
Thus, as I enter 2016 and stare down the barrel of this blog’s fifteenth anniversary in April, I’m moving towards a new goal for a new year: one blog. Everything in one spot. And with that move to everything in one spot, hopefully a freeing up of some vital and dwindling mental resources for other bits of content: more videos, more fiction, more focus on ideas rather than blathering about blather and maintaining the technical side of more blogs than I have fingers.
Oh, and maybe I’ll be able to try some new things, too. Wink wink…
Either way, I know that despite the fact that blogging is becoming the internet equivalent of something old people do, and while everyone else is trying to turn all human communication into a string of emoji and selfies, I’m going to double down on my old fashioned words and keep writing, make this site bigger and stronger and better, and… and perhaps we’ll see what a fifteen year old blog is capable of in 2016.
Who’s fourteen today? This blog, that’s who! #blogiversary
Anyone who knows me even just a little bit has probably already figured out that I tend to get a little obsessed about certain things: And writing and creating stuff have always ranked fairly high in that list.
I’ve spent the last couple of years poking away at various projects that have (with that intention) tried to induce me to write more frequently. It is honestly just an unquenchable thirst that I can’t really explain any other way than to say — everyone is compelled by something, and for me: words.
I type therefore I am.
And the latest incarnation of this is a little weird. Not wanting to get too eager about promoting prior to at least getting a running start at the effort, I’ve been mum on the subject for the last month. But here’s the thing: I took on a massive writing project for 2015. Massive. Crazy. And slightly weird.
I’ve been writing short random essays… every day. One per day. Or, at least, writing one FOR posting every day as finding a free hour every day is tough, I’ve been sitting down and writing 2 or 3 every couple of days and then trickling them out the door on a schedule. Essays: minimum 300 words, to about a 1K word maximum.
But wait, there’s more.
So, you’re thinking: what kind of drivel is he writing now? Well, that’s the kicker. It’s completely randomized. Back in December I built out a massive (numbered) list of 100 topics. And then, yes, completely randomly I pick two of those topics, mash them together, and then write a little essay on the topic that emerges from two completely unrelated ideas.
It was an odd sort of experiment, but (and it surprised even me that) it seems to be working… inspiring even. Oddly, so and producing some crazy topics that I never would have written about without the effort.
So why am I mentioning this now? Well, since (as I mentioned I’m writing these things a day or so in advance) I completed my writing for January, the first month completely done (over fifteen thousand words) I thought I’d start getting even a little more aggressive in promoting it.
And there’s the part where it gets even stranger (you knew that was coming, right?) I started another completely different blog to post all this drivel into, tied it into a brand new social media account, and I’ve been running a bit of a secondary experiment with the gush of content I’ve been producing. Some cynical few might call it a kind of marketing/SEO/click-baiting scheme, but I prefer to think of it as leveraging REAL content into a curious effort to see if I can start generating enough revenue to start paying for all my internet and hosting costs. (And FYI, one month worth of content into this experiment and I can tell you I’m close to hitting a break-even on advertising revenue on my hosting/registration costs… One month! So, another surprise!)
It’s a lot of work, but honestly less than you’re probably imagining, especially when you enjoy the effort. Thus the plan, at least until I run out of momentum or creative energy is to continue the daily posts to the new project: GrokZine…the blog-a-zine of ten thousand random mashups of epic proportions.
Yes, I know… weird.
Run. Work. Blog.
Seeing as how I can’t go outside to hang proper holiday lights, what with (a) being sick and (b) it being -40 with the windchill, I figured I’d spring my blog decorations a day early. Normally I resist all things “holiday” until at least December the first, fighting the “christmas creep” as some folks have started calling it. Perhaps it is the fact that I haven’t been drinking coffee for a few weeks now, and I discovered a new minty-awesome tea called “Santa’s Secret” that has been getting me through my days. Or perhaps it is the forty centimeters of snow I shoveled from the driveway on Thursday and Friday. Either way, I’m willing to nudge things a day early. Let the holiday crush begin…
Oddly enough, probably this blog.
It’s been a lazy week for up-keeping this blog. Sorry. Things happened.