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August 20, 2002
ceci n'est pas un blog.

Not much interesting today. Worked on work some, gearing up to do some fun XML stuff, had lunch with Phil at King of Thai #2 and got the update from his trip to Japan, played a little Twisted Metal: Black, socialized with the chick (who is recovering nicely) a little bit.

So, in lieu of other news, it's time for us to have The Talk.

I've been writing online since... well, for a while now. I sent my first email around the same time that the Challenger exploded. Apart from a passing interest in BBSs when I was a kid, I got my first real taste of bulletin boards and Usenet news on a Vax/VMS system in 1988, when I started college. I've been on countless mailing lists, some since 1992 or 1993, which I'm still on today. Let's use the "C" word. "Community". Sure, I've been there, since before the first web page got its first hit. A lot - most - of the stuff I've written is gone, probably forever; some of the older stuff should be lost, but isn't. (Thank you, Google, for bringing my misspent youth back to haunt me.) And some things I've written have wound up on my own websites now and then - a lot of those are gone, too.

But enough with the qualifications. What I wanted to get at here is why I'm getting at anything at all. Why am I writing here, out in the open, where everyone can see, and where spiders can come along and archive my babbling for future generations?

Well, there's a couple of reasons.

First off, I just feel like I need to write. Both in the sense that there's words in my head that need to get out, and in the sense that I think it's a good exercise to do so. It's way too easy for me to sit back and just fall into intake mode. I get enough input as it is - books, movies, music, video games, not to mention all that time-sucking stuff out there on the webernets. I could just sit back for a long time and watch until my ass hurt. And, you know, I do that, a lot. Eventually, that makes my brain all mushy, though, and when the time comes that I need to do something, it's hard to snap out of it and get motivated.

So, I code whenever I can; fun stuff, just to get something out there and make it go. I code for a living, though, and after working in the mines all day, sometimes it's a nice change to not work after my work work is done. (Which it never is, of course, but you know what I mean.) I try to build things, maybe draw a little, but my talent in that area is just about zero, so I need to do something else. Hey, turns out I can write okay. So, I do that. I figure if I force myself to write just a little bit every day or so, I can keep the outflow valves on my brain a little better lubricated. Even if I'm just rambling away - much like I'm doing now - just the plain act of thinking a little bit and letting the words fall out of my fingers seems to help. So, first reason: Practice.

Reason number two: it's always nice to keep a journal, so you can look back a year later, and see what you were doing that day. I regularly go though email that I've saved back to 1994 or so, pick a few days and read the trivial (and not so trivial) things that I talk about with my pals. It's good to help keep perspective, and it's good because my memory is complete crap, and if I didn't have a written record of my daily goings on, I'd probably forget what I did yesterday. I look forward to a happy time in the future, when I'm retired and senile, reading and remembering.

Also, now that I think about it, my writing about the mundane bits of my life may just help other people get into my head a little bit. I've got a bit of a reputation in certain circles as a curmudgeon and a crank, a mouthy jerk, and a bit of an ass. Okay, maybe more than a bit. And, sure, I am those things sometimes. Lots of people are. But that's not all I am, and I hope that some of this stuff reflects that sometimes. So, second reason: getting who I am out there for myself and others to gawk at.

Lastly - why in public? Why out on the web? Why a "blog", instead of just keeping a written journal somewhere? Well, first of, this isn't a "blog", so get that idea right out of your head. I'm just writing stuff here. I might link to stuff now and then, but that's not my primary purpose here. Call it a "journal" if you have to, but if you call it a "blog" within earshot, someone's likely to wind up on fire. Just call it "that stuff you write". That's fine with me.

Anyway. My two main reasons for putting this stuff on are: 1) so the stuff I write will be archived by Google and such, in case my server is abducted by aliens or something, and 2) knowing that someone out there may be reading this makes me feel more obligated to write, and less likely to slack off. I've tried keeping a private journal many times in the past, and it never lasts. If I'm just writing for an audience of one, it's real easy to just put it off and put it off, and come back to find a book full of empty pages a year or two later. If I know (or think, at least) that someone might be keeping an eye on this here, I'm a bit more motivated to at least write a paragraph or two about the stupid shit I do every day. Well, we'll see how long that lasts, anyhow.

So, there you go. I don't know if that's too much information, or not enough, but I'm done typing for now. Hm. Still need to do work tonight, too. I guess I'm not done typing, after all.

(August 20, 2002 12:53 AM)

Nice blog!

Posted by: brian on August 27, 2002 10:50 AM
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