I started this blog in the fall of 2008. It was a welcome project in my first year of college, in a new city and a new climate that made me want to stay indoors all the time. It was a distraction, a way to channel opinionated energy. During the zenith of the blogosphere, it felt like spending all of this time writing into littler browser windows was worthwhile because we all had firsthand experience of stumbling upon (r.i.p. StumbleUpon) a blog and falling down a rabbit hole of individual obsession and personal expression.
You had to be there, just like you had to be there when Tumblr was good and still had porn, or when Twitter was good and wasn’t full of Nazi grandmothers.
You do anything long enough and it accumulates its own gravity. Even though 95% of everything I’ve posted reflects a self that’s no longer around, I’m glad that it exists. I’ve been doing this long enough that I have learned to skip the apology post about not posting. No money is changing hands, this is something I do for my own satisfaction. Here’s what’s changed this time, though:
For the first time, I have moved to my own domain and I am managing my own hosting. In the summer of 2019, I took a programming class with Epicodus, a programming boot camp based here in Portland, and had a great experience. I learned how to use command line tools and got a very shallow introduction to the web development stack. I’ve been eager to get my own little piece of the web set up, and because this has been the most side of side projects, it took me a couple months to migrate the blog.
As frustrating as it has been, it has been very fun to learn more about how the internet works one level deeper than I understood before: how to configure DNS records, how to implement security certificates to serve the site over HTTPS rather than HTTP. Connecting remotely over SSH and FTP. I have invested a little money and a whole lot of time to get the blog to almost exactly what it was on the WordPress-hosted site. All of the positives are intangible, but they mean something to me.
I am hoping to keep writing. I thought I wrote about this already, but if I did I can’t find it: I do think that 2009 was the height of social media and the internet for me. Social media had not been monetized yet, let alone changed to serve us dark feedback loops of anxiety and desire. There were great people writing about film and tv and movies in a way that was so much fresher and obsessive than magazines and newspapers permitted. Gawker was incredible, music was easy to find. Doxxing was rare and the general tone was optimistic.
I am trying to find my way to the best of that. Engaging in slower, better writing than faster, worse writing. (Quickness is a valuable quality in wit, scorn, and parody, and not so valuable in other registers of writing.) Taking my recommendations from real people, not algorithms. Going away and coming back from the internet, like a hunter leaves the cave, rather than having everything brought to me predigested.
Part of that 2009 ethic is coming back to “long form” (1.e. more than 280 character) writing. I have the time to think right now. 2020 is a high-water year for distraction because everything is a distraction while nothing quite distracts. I hope you’ll read along with me.