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Bread Crumbs

Execution isn’t exactly my strong suit. I’m a process person — planning and tracking is where I excel. Setting up all the minutiae of a project’s scope, requirements, etc. really meshes with the way I think. I often find myself more interested in defining & pushing up against the boundaries of how something is meant to function and discussing the plans than actually executing. Creating vision? I’m your guy! Actually doing the work? Well…

This makes me a good project manager, but it cripples me from actually creating. I get too lost in planning to make something that I never end up actually making it. So that brings us to this very page in all its glorious irony: getting to talk about what I want to make in this space and why. It’s the vision — the meta, if you will. Which is probably why it’s been so easy to write so far: I love talking about plans as much as I love planning! I want to give myself a lay of the land on what I want to be worked on in this place and why. I also want to talk a little bit about the technical details of how this blog is set up and why I chose this specific way.

So I’ve got two main points I want to pin down here, mainly for my own reference: the “What?” and “Why?” of the actual content I’d like to publish, and a meandering philosophical diatribe on the technical setup, which could probably be its own post, but I want it here and that’s that. It being for my own reference is maybe the place to start with this and connects to the “why?” of both points I’m trying to get at in this piece.

I want to publish—and specifically publish here—because I want to remember how I think about myself and the world over time in a space that’s all my own. I want to get things wrong and be able to look back at myself and how I’ve changed. I want to remember the things I was interested in during a specific time period, even if they didn’t change my life in a big way. And I want to share those things with the world because I think it’s important to try and translate what’s in your own head for someone else to understand. From head to paper isn’t a trivial step. Sharing is a pivotal step in the process, which is why this isn’t literally a diary.

This space being “my own” brings me to the brief technical diatribe I want to go on about this place. thisisablog is hosted using GitHub Pages and generated using Jekyll, a tool that turns text files into static web pages. I like this because it makes the site lean and its purpose clear. This place is, at its very core, just a folder of markdown text files. That simplicity appeals to me, especially in The Age of Platforms where the words you write and publish are sucked up and partially owned by someone else’s proprietary system with little ease of exporting and barely any sense of ownership. This is distinctly not that and I feel much better for it.

It’s not my philosophical ideal as GitHub does have my folder of text files, but over time this will never complicate, and I do have a local copy of my repository at all times and the drafts all exist in my text editor. I can carry my bundle of text files anywhere I choose with little fuss in tearing my site down and standing it up wherever I please. That sense ownership of the space I publish in is important to me. Maybe some day I will stand up my own server and instance of Jekyll and publish it there, bringing me even closer to my ideal state but, for now, GitHub with Jekyll sucking up a bundle of text files feels like a good start.

With the why out of the way, I suppose it’s time to get to the “What?” of the content I intend to share here, which as I sit here is really just a list of my general interests. I’m not particularly unique in that capacity. I want to share my recommendations and critiques of modern culture — generally just talking about the things I’m liking and not liking in all forms of media. So a lot of it may be of the “check this out” variety of link blogging. But on top of that, I want to be more personal in my exploration of who I am and how I perceive the world and culture I inhabit.

I find myself drawn to language, philosophy, and political science because of my interest in authors like Richard Rorty, Mark Fisher, and George Lakoff. I read a lot of leftist cultural critiques from following publishers like Verso and Zero Books. I enjoy considering technological utopias and dystopias via science fiction media. I listen to several different podcasts that I find always challenging me to think about my relationship with myself and others in ways that help me grow.

It’s those sorts of things I hope to spend the majority of my time here wrestling with and noting down. I want to watch myself grow and be challenged to work out what I actually stand for and square up who I am vs. who I want to be. I’d like to think publishing and sharing those thoughts is an important step in the growth process.

I want to be better than I was yesterday and leave myself some breadcrumbs along the way.