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20 June 2006 / April

All roads lead to Blogland

The story of my odyssey to the realm of the weblog is the story of the evolution of my obsessions.

It has its very first shaky beginnings in the day in November 2004 that my friend called me up and told me to get a Xanga or– well, or nothing; there wasn’t really an option about it.

But when it truly began was sometime last summer with a picture in National Geographic, from (I believe) this article. It was of a car covered with fake green turf. I thought that was the coolest thing ever. Why, I could live with that thing in my garage, easy. Or at least a picture of it hanging on my wall. Unfortunately, the picture was on a two-page spread and so would be rather difficult to cut out. So I turned to that ubiquitous search engine, Google. Surely there would be other pictures of turf-covered cars online.

Alas, searches on Google turned up little at the time, but I did find, somehow, a marvelously quirky little site called Halfbakery, where users submit half-baked ideas to be critiqued by the community. It was endlessly fascinating. Who wouldn’t pull out the wallet for an evil laugh activated hairdryer? And some flocking road cones would surely be worthy of a smile The site’s most popular idea happens to be something more practical: the Panic PIN.

Then I came upon this observation that it is easier to make up anagrams when the letters are arranged in a triangle, and I was off on the next leg of my journey, poking around in pursuit of websites that would make anagrams for you. (I also tried creating my own anagrams with the letters in a pyramid, and it really does work well.) Sites that do this are actually quite common, as another Google search told me.

I don’t really remember exactly how I got from there to the Bad Astronomy Blog, but get there I did. “Oh, it’s one of those blog thingys,” I thought to myself. “How nice.” It was the first blog I read regularly, and I continue to read it to this day. It’s quite interesting, if you’re into that kind of thing.

Anyway, it didn’t take long for me to start wondering, “What’s this Blogroll and why does it exist?” And with a few clicks, I was inducted into Blogland.

The origins of this blog, however, are slightly more complicated than my first post may lead you to believe and involve yet another road. This road begins with a broken internet cord. But I didn’t know it was broken at first. All I knew was that my internet wasn’t working, and that was pure, undiluted, excruciating pain:

The Tale of a Dysfunctional Internet and its Attempted Solvation

Attempt #1: Wait few seconds Try again.
Result: FAILURE
Attempt #2: Wait few more seconds. Try again.
Result: FAILURE
Attempt #3: Turn off computer. Wait a day. Try again.
Result: FAILURE
Attempt #4: Ignore problem for a day. Try again.
Result: FAILURE
Attempt #5: Wiggle phone cord. Try again.
Result: FAILURE
Attempt #6: Unplug and replug phone cord. Try again.
Result: FAILURE
Attempt #7: Scream with agony. Try again.
Result: FAILURE
Attempts #8-19: Try again.
Result: FAILURE
Attempt #20: … Duct tape!

Written October 8, 2005

Attempt #21 was lugging the computer over to my neighbor’s (a tech expert, conveniently) and downloading a bunch of software using his lovely broadband connection. One of these was the glorious Firefox. All bow down and hail its majesty.

One of my favorite Firefox extensions is StumbleUpon, which is the ally of Procrastination and mortal enemy of Boredom. It serves up random websites that it thinks you will like, based on interests you tell it about or other sites you tell it about. My first Stumble presented me with the cutest kitty pictures I’ve seen in my entire life, and from then on I was hooked.

Later (we’re at about February ’06 right here) it also presented me with the homepage of Flock. I was intrigued. I downloaded it. Let me tell you, Flock is the future. I am blogging with it right now. What? Why are you still reading this? Go, click on that little linky, get Flock! It’s amazing.

By this point, I’d already grown vaguely dissatisfied with Xanga. It was too limited. Most people used it as a way to make connections (their newest developments are fulfilling that need), but that wasn’t what I wanted. I didn’t want a Xanga. I wanted a blog.

Also, Flock was telling me I couldn’t use their blogging capabilities with a Xanga. There was that then. I looked at a few different blogging sites. I looked at Blogger. I looked at WordPress and was greeted with this:

The rest is history.

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  1. JP / Jun 21 2006 8:38 pm

    Quote from Alex: I don’t even know what you’re TALKING about. Except I know that those kittens are CUTE! *squeak* ahem, yeah. IT’S SUMMER! *attempts to do a jig* Awesome, some relaxing time. ahhhhhhhhhhh. I think I’ll go bum around now 🙂

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