The Retcon

This is a renewal.

This is a reboot. And arguably a retcon, given I have thrown away my archives.

This is a new blog, a new avocadia.

I’m wondering why. If you’ve known me for the decade or so I’ve been writing this blog - more off than on - you would probably be wondering why as well. By my estimate I’ve made about ten posts in the last three years. Prior to that, a few sporadic posts over a couple of years and before that perhaps four or five years or irregular, mostly forgettable posts. If I cast my mind back there are only half a dozen posts that I would keep around if I were preserving my archives.

The problem as I perceive it is that most of my blogging output was done out of a sense of obligation to keep it moving, to keep posting something new even if I didn’t really have anything to say: have blog, must post. That’s the root of the many failures of the old avocadia. It was variously pompous or frivolous. It was insincere, humourless - and when it wasn’t, it was invariably not amusing. It was thoughtless, and when I tried to think, it was unoriginal and tedious. Or worse, it I failed to notice that I didn’t know what I was talking about. I didn’t have a sense of who I was. What I wanted to say. This culminated in a handful of posts I made towards the middle of 2009 that I don’t really feel any need to rehash, even if I hadn’t cast everything down the memory hole.

A few sentences ago, I said I hadn’t known what I wanted to say. To be clear, I still don’t, in the sense of having a topic or theme for this blog. I know what I don’t want it to be. I don’t want to continue writing stream of consciousness, usually based on some item of no interest to anybody. Usually not even to me, really. I’d be a fool to say I didn’t want a readership of thousands, but if I did, I don’t really want to be because of a cool finder like Kottke, a topic guru like Gruber, or a thought leader like Anil Dash. If I want anything, it is to contribute columns (err?) of 750 words or so at some regular interval that are interesting, readable, and timeless.

Now that I think about it, if you could read something of mine and conclude that it wouldn’t be out of place within The Magazine then I would be proud of it. I might even frame it :- )

Some meta that I feel compelled to note.

The old avocadia ran on a Ruby on Rails codebase of my own writing that aimed high and fell short on many fronts. Most relevant was that it stopped working. I’m not sure why although I’d hazard a guess it was because it was written five years ago using Rails 2.3, and my hosting service, Dreamhost, just stopped supporting elements of it. Why that would be escapes me, but here we are. I put some effort into investigating why and concluded that I just didn’t care to put the effort into rescuing a codebase I had so little to be proud of. Instead, I rebuilt it, and in short order had a very cut down blog engine that would support only what I needed and wanted. Such a shame it uses a version of Rails that Dreamhost is yet to support. Such a shame I couldn’t even persuade capistrano to deploy it to Dreamhost.

I just don’t have the time or interest in making it work. Instead I am using Octopress. It’s so minimalistic it almost doesn’t even exist. I’m writing these words in Sublime Text and they’ll get saved as a file on my home machine, albeit synced by Dropbox to my work machine, my phone, and my iPad. Eventually use Rake, a Ruby tool, to compile the collection of post files into HTML that can be uploaded to Dreamhost. It’s so primitive; on the other hand, I don’t need to piss my time away making sure a home made engine, or even Wordpress, keeps working. It’s Movable Type, with the admin interface moved down to the command line.

I should grow a neck beard.

Comments. I could support comments. I could use Disqus. It’s just that I don’t think comments are much good. I’d just end up having to police them for spam, trolls, and sundry other annoyances. Comments add nothing and detract so much. The best comment system is email. So email me.

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