More blogging, more doing, less bloviating

The Word­Press migra­tion has gone pret­ty smooth­ly, but there’s a lot of stuff that needs to be fixed. Some of that has been relat­ed to the dif­fer­ences between Word­Press and Dru­pal, but more has need­ed to be fixed for some time but I’m just get­ting to it as I clear away the moth­balls. There are, at this writ­ing, 135 bro­ken links accord­ing to an auto­mat­ed link check­er. There are many bro­ken images, and rebuild­ing of a category/tag sys­tem. Of course I’m get­ting to know Word­Press bet­ter, and with the recent 5.9 release it sure looks like I picked the right time to make the move.

It has also been a trip through the past, or at least the clues I’ve left myself over the years. There has been a pro­gres­sion of how I’ve thought of this site over the years. What I’ve want­ed to do with it and what I want­ed to get out of it have changed as I’ve grown old­er and my life cir­cum­stances changed. That’s to be expected.

What I did­n’t expect was to find was how inter­est­ing this blog used to be. I don’t mean how inter­est­ing my writ­ing was; I mean that I wrote about inter­est­ing things. Of course what I write about should be inter­est­ing to me but there was a lot of it dur­ing the mid-oughts and up to around 2010. Then it went downhill.

What happened?

Dur­ing the time I was writ­ing most I blogged about mak­ing art­work, and run­ning, and motor­cy­cles, about foun­tain pens and paper and inks, about the books I read and what I loved about San Fran­cis­co. I had a few moments of insight I thought worth writ­ing down and on occa­sion I vent­ed polit­i­cal views, some of which have aged bet­ter than oth­ers. Around 2011 I start­ed blog­ging about the Repub­li­can debates, about Gary John­son, about argu­ments I had with friends on Face­book, about things politi­cians were doing that I did­n’t like. The inter­est­ing stuff stopped coming.

Writ­ing about pol­i­tics beyond the local scale is mad­ness. I did­n’t intend to become any kind of polit­i­cal writer; I’ve nev­er had any aspi­ra­tions in that direc­tion. It’s easy to get angry about some­thing and vent about it, and that’s not a ter­ri­ble thing to do on occa­sion as long as one has oth­er things to say. In my thir­ties my life expand­ed as I tried new things and learned more about what I already knew. In my for­ties my life con­tract­ed. I did­n’t just write about inter­est­ing things less, I did inter­est­ing things less. There was less to write about, except a grow­ing dis­sat­is­fac­tion with the peo­ple we elect to bick­er and fight with each other.

Some fac­tors are easy to see. I lost my art stu­dio because I could­n’t afford to keep it. My motor­cy­cle was backed over by a Prius. I got anoth­er one, but it end­ed up hav­ing lots of prob­lems. I wrote some about fix­ing those prob­lems, but I was­n’t rid­ing very much. Run­ning was­n’t as enjoy­able after I left San Fran­cis­co, and mov­ing out of San Fran­cis­co in 2012 left me feel­ing alien­at­ed from the City I had called home. I left Cal­i­for­nia in 2016 feel­ing defeat­ed, but also relieved. I was going to get a chance to rest, and I did.

I sat down today to write about Maus and the con­tro­ver­sy over it being pulled from the class­room in a coun­ty in Ten­nessee. I think Maus is good and cen­sor­ship is bad. 

So what?

Real­ly. Who asked me my opin­ion? Why do I feel the need to weigh in? Am I like­ly to change some­one’s mind? Who cares what I think? I don’t ask this nihilis­ti­cal­ly. Who cares what I think about this issue? Prob­a­bly not any­one who does­n’t already have my phone number.

The insight of the day is: what I do is more inter­est­ing than what I think. Yes, every­thing I write is inher­ent­ly what I think. And of course there will be over­lap. Why I do some­thing might be inter­est­ing, but prob­a­bly only if what I’m doing is inter­est­ing. What I think about what I’ve done might be inter­est­ing, but prob­a­bly only if the thing itself was.

There are fields where my expe­ri­ence may lend val­ue to my opin­ions. I wouldn’t want to stop express­ing my opin­ions about art or tech­nol­o­gy or writ­ing. How­ev­er, react­ing to issues from the news or from Face­book memes doesn’t add any val­ue to the world. It is depress­ing and it is tedious. If that’s all I’m doing here it’s time to sell the domain and stop pay­ing host­ing fees. 

A bit of housekeeping

With that in mind I have assigned posts that con­sist only of edi­to­r­i­al com­ment to the cat­e­go­ry Opin­ion­at­ed Junk. Long­time read­ers here might remem­ber that as the title before Mono­chro­mat­ic Out­look. I’m not get­ting rid of those posts; I’m proud of at least some of them. I am how­ev­er, putting a flag on it so read­ers can be warned. 

For now I’m going to try not writ­ing any more Opin­ion­at­ed Junk. Maybe I’ll change my mind, but unless edi­to­ri­al­iz­ing starts to get fun or ful­fill­ing I’ll try to avoid it. Per­haps that will leave some space for this blog to be about inter­est­ing things again.

I think teach­ers should be allowed to use Maus in the class­room, and I’m rebuild­ing a steel-frame 3D print­er. Which one would you rather read about?

Here you go.

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