Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Day 1 : The birth of a blog OR The 30-day Life Examination Challenge

This blog was born of a sleepless night.

I've found myself a man with an itch.  It's the kind of itch that I know from experience can lead to a spasm and thus to an upheaval.  I'm too old for very many upheavals.  That's a difficult realisation to come to; but it's inexorably true.  I'm 31, I've been a college professor for 5 years and hope to be tenured in one more, I'm in escrow, I'm a family man, I'm in the process of acquiring a mortgage, I've got bills to pay and a job with which to pay them.  In short, I guess, despite how it pains my inner-child, I am an adult; and adults can't be going around having upheavals.

Nevertheless, the itch abides, and like the Borg, it can't be reasoned with. 

During the aforementioned sleepless night, brought on by a grumpy baby who soon enough fell back asleep and left this parent sleepless and jealous, I did what any academic would do, I tried to generalise the source of this itch.  In short, I think the problem is, I've got things to say, and experiences to process and assimilate (see how I turned the Borg metaphor there? eh? eh?, ... ok). 

So, what to do?  Start a blog of course!

"What is this, an homage to the year 2000?", inner voice of doubt asks.  (God, I hate that guy.  Of course that guy is me so.... No, no no, let's plumb the depths of existential crisis later).  Of course he (I), have a point.  I haven't blogged since, well, I can tell you exactly I suppose... September 16, 2005, and not in earnest since August 29, 2003.  I was a wide-eyed geeky computer science student finishing up my undergraduate career, unsure what path to take next.  Now I'm a slightly narrower-eyed (is that the opposite thing?) geeky professor with a doctorate in computer science... so, it's been a while.

No, it's not an homage or even a way to try and regain previous glory that never was.  Instead, this is a modern day attempt to live the examined life; and though it may be passe, and I'm not sure if anyone can be expected to care, I've decided to do the modern (and scary and vain) thing and live that examination in this shared and public medium.

If Morgan Spurlock knows anything, it is that it takes 30 days to really get into something, to really affect a change of habit.  I don't know if Mr. Spurlock is on to something or not, but I'm willing to accept this bit of colloquial wisdom and set out on just such a Herculean (too much?) 30 day task.

Namely, I want to blog.  Here's the challenge I have levelled against myself.  Make one post of something about anything I want in my life.  It sounds easy; it won't be.

Here's a sneak peak of some topics I'll likely be covering:  sleep apnea, living in rural appalachia, the pursuit of tenure, the pursuit of recognition, making computer science education accessible, and the like and anything else I might think to fill 30 days worth of blogs.


A quick word about how I've decided to publish to the web.  Basically, I'm able to tell you the last time I blogged because I've always used Blogger before.  The use of blogger has always been a matter of expediency.  It is this time too.  So, why am I embarrassed to still be using it?

I'm a guy who's got a technology expert rep to defend (PhD and all) and I'm also a guy who believes in personal growth.  As to the first, Blogger is for pedestrian use.  I know there are more powerful tools available and also tools that are more hands-on and customisable; traits in technology that I hold dear.  As far as Blogger goes, I've been there, done that, so I'm exhibiting little personal growth.

All that said, I'm just going to have to give myself a break (and ask you to do the same, dear reader).  I'm trying to buy a house, and anyone who's done that can back me up when I say that there's a good deal of expense up front.  Basically, I need to be really careful about where I make discretionary expenditures because, as a geek, there are many people to whom I would otherwise say, shut up and take my money!  So, when I take that and combine it with the fact that there seems to be a well-understood method to migrate from Blogger to, say, WordPress, then there is no reason to make a big expenditure up-front in support of this experiment, therapy, act of vanity or contrition or WHATEVER it is or will be (my pride and geek-cred not withstanding).

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