In late 1998 and early 1999, I began finding a new type of webpage here and there. These pages were not what I was used to seeing with online personal spaces, which was dry contact info, shrines to hobbies, recipes, and so forth. These new pages were updated regularly (sometimes several times a day!) and contained links to interesting or amusing sites and/or journally bits about the author’s day. One of my regular reads, Jorn Barger’s Robot Wisdom, called itself a weblog and that term made sense to me.
I decided I wanted to keep a page like that. My ISP, though, had other ideas. A lack of basic FTP functionality stymied my efforts. Meanwhile, a fellow named Andrew (who maintained a whimsical weblog called “BeNiceToBears”) released a tool called Pitas that allowed you to updated a website from the browser for free. He even hosted the data on his own servers. I played around with it for a little bit, but having my words stored on someone else’s computers made me nervous, so I didn’t keep with it.
Finally, three years ago this week, I decided to force the issue with my ISP. I created an ugly brown webpage, named it Kestrel’s Nest, and uploaded my first entry. My ISP still didn’t want to cooperate, but just a few days later a company named Pyra released a tool called Blogger that did the same thing Pitas did, but uploaded the data to my own webspace. I jumped at it and was one of their first ten general public users. Kestrel’s Nest was up and moving!
The release of Blogger unleashed a flood of weblogs from people who had been waiting for an easy tool. Now, there are tens of thousands. Most aren’t worth reading by anyone but the author’s closest friends and family, but you know, despite what the scorners say (”99% of all online content is crrrrap!”) there’s nothing wrong with that. I’ve always thought that even if nobody reads your writings, even if you delete or throw away your words right after you’ve written them, that act of writing makes you a better person. It organizes your brain connections in such a way that helps you think critically and clearly. It turns the random impulses and emotions running around your head into something that is more organized and tangible, and that is always good.
Quite a lot has changed for me since I’ve started this weblog. I’m right where I wanted to be three years ago, but then I never thought I’d get there so fast. Looking back at my entries here, when I look at my beautiful wife and my beautiful house, I don’t have to ask myself “How did you get here?” I know exactly how I got here, and I know exactly where I’m going.
If you’re interested, you can know too. Here are thirty six entries from the last thirty six months that are representative of my journey from there to here:
- Blogger lets me post regularly
- I learn to make cheese
- Arthur C. Clarke predicts the future
- I went grocery shopping with Kim Basinger
- I join BikeAthens
- Despite living in an urban apartment, I declare myself an ecopoet.
- I break my lease and rent a farmhouse in rural Georgia.
- I have a homesteading kind of day
- A mountain vacation
- Breakfast with turkeys
- Don’t seem funny and it don’t seem right, Sittin’ on my bed on a Friday night
- I meet someone.
- A beach vacation
- I collect wild mushrooms
- Thinking about chicharones
- I admit it: I’m progressive
- More words about buildings and food
- I buy chickens
- A late winter soup
- Call me “trimtab”
- How does my garden grow?
- I mourn Douglas Adams
- I look at land
- Building an oven
- A sex-changing chicken
- I get my dander up
- We buy a farm
- We get married
- Thinking about Skanking
- The farm goes public
- Real milk
- An inspirational sustainiologist
- My former life, revisited
- First day at market
- Picking blackberries
- We join a farming cooperative
- I return my first car
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