The First Post

Posted on November 3, 2020

So this is the inaugural post of my new website. While the thing is still small and has literally zero traffic, I find there's some small comfort afforded by the lack of lookers-on, and I am compelled to start with a confession. That confession, friends, is that this happens to be the fourth reboot of my website. That's right, four. Will this one actually go anywhere? Will I muster the chutzpah to write more than a dozen posts this time? I don't know! But I do know this. I've actually decided to link this website to my LinkedIn profile. If I can't motivate me, maybe the fear of being silently judged by my professional peer group can!

But there's a real, pertinent question to follow my confession (that you have probably asked yourselves already), and that is simply "why?" Strangely, I have never asked myself this question over the hundred or so hours I've spent building sites from the ground up that have gone nowhere. What's more, there have even been pretty stark clues that I should probably be evaluating my motives: for one, up until now, the sites that I build have only gotten more complex with each iteration. Granted, I don't remember much of the first site I built, but the last one had the infrastructure for pretty much limitless sections with multiple ways to index and cross-reference posts. You may be thinking, "Poppycock! Any static site generator has that capability!" But what I conveniently left out is that I built my last static site generator. In programmer speak: I shaved the biggest, most useless yak I could think of. I built the site generator to build the site. And I did it in such a way that there was no way I could ever use everything I baked in! I set myself up to fail.

So what makes this website different? I'm saving the details for another post, but what I will say here is that, for one, this post is actually live. That doesn't fix everything, though, I know. I've had the hardest time committing to this website. I want so much for it to work out, I will rewrite so much code in the hopes of becoming more invested. Part of it, I think, is that communicating over a computer and communicating in person feel like very different things to me. Considering that AOL Instant Messenger came out when I was in middle school, I'm assuming a lot of people my age and older can identify with this. What makes it different, though? I have an idea that makes sense to me, which I'll illustrate with a little anecdote. In third grade, I had a friend named Peter. Peter liked to watch Family Guy. One day, Peter was quoting Peter Griffin. I apologize, but I have to pause and state that I just now realized they share the same first name. Crazy, the kid's name was actually Peter, though, I swear. Anyway, so Peter quotes Peter Griffin and says this line:

"I haven't had gas in a million years!"

(Fart noise, pause)

"What the hell was that?"

My teacher heard him say "hell", she gasped, gave him the stink eye, and Peter apologized profusely, saying "I'm sorry, I forgot," a few times. The moral of the story is that on the internet, you don't have good ol' Mrs. Newland to set you straight! On the internet, all you have is the shame that you are putting time and effort into maintaining a toxic conversation with someone who is probably hundreds of miles away. There are no established norms for communicating on the internet because there is no one beside you to establish these norms. To further complicate things, you're having a conversation with someone where there's no hard line between what you're saying and what you're thinking. What I think this boils down to, is that you have to learn a more sophisticated way of filtering thought if you even want to be a Good Samaritan on the internet, let alone write compelling web content. I might be grasping at straws or making up excuses for myself here, who knows? In short, I want this to work, but my faith in myself is... delicate. But it's more than I have had previously, so I'm cautiously optimistic that this goes somewhere.