Initial Conception

I've started working on building a blog. Aren't we all impressed?

I can tell you this with certainty: not everybody is! When I brought it up chit chatting with a potential hiring manager the other day, he said, "Oh, I built a blog ten years ago." So I'm clearly on the right side of this curve here.

Still, it's what I'm doing, and I think I have good reasons for doing it. I'm at the inception of the project, so I thought I'd go into my reasons for doing it, and what my current choices are for executing it.

Get ready, my friends, for my favorite pastime: belaboring a point. Let's sally forth!

I've been writing.

One of the first things I started doing last December was start a writing practice.

See, in the whole time I was at Instagram, the biggest thing that really bugged me was that, in spite of having some big ideas behind what I tried to do there, I never expressed them. I talked about the idea of writing documentation for other people with my manager at one point, but it never seemed to be a priority. And so it didn't get done.

This had a drawback as far as communicating my intent to others, but more importantly it led to some fuzzy thinking in my own design. I assumed that everything I was doing by the seat of my pants was going to work out.

It's so easy to say, "Oh, well I should have done X, or Y," but I just don't believe in the efficacy of standing athwart my failures, saluting God and Man, and saying, "Yes Sir! I will do better next time by doing This Thing I Should Have Done!" My experience has been that, if that new thing doesn't arise out of some daily practice of mine, nothing new is going to change.

And so I started a daily goal to write something or another in longhand. Thoughts periodically arise: "What should my outlet be? What is my goal for this writing?" but first and foremost the goal has simply been to write.

I want an outlet.

Not all the time. But I want to be able to share my work when it's appropriate.

I don't necessarily need an outlet that connects me to anyone at all, either. The modern internet is flush with all kinds of publishing platforms that promise to connect you with an audience in one way or another, and no word fits my feelings about them better than "drained". These platforms want to drain my skull of whatever is in there and use them to create their own thing.

When I first got on the internet in the late 90s, I had my own web site. I wrote for it regularly; had I known what a blog was, that's what it would have been. It was a great joy, and every word that I spilled out onto it came from my own creative process and had to push itself out onto the world. And while it was fantastically popular for the time, I don't think that engagement was ever what kept me writing. If anything, the pressure of the audience kept me from ever returning to it after I abandoned it.

I want that back. I want the work back. I want the fire back. Intellectually, I want independence, but in my gut I think I just want to go back and do it the hard way again.

I want a project.

And when did that happen? I've never been one for side projects of any kind. But as I've finally gotten over my distaste for programming (as can happen if you get spiritually out of whack with it) and started to interview around a bit, my mind has strayed to strange technologies I didn't get to work with when I was at BigCo.

At first I poked at Kotlin. Reading about coroutines was interesting, but I was only interested in Kotlin for instrumental reasons: Kotlin is the language of Android. If I were programming for fun, I'd want it to be totally different from the sorts of client development I've been doing for years.

And if I really want to learn something, I have to have a project.

So what exactly is this project, anyway?

Well, it's a blog.

Here are my goals:

And its name?

I believe that, when you come to any decision in life, you have to ask yourself one question first: Do I have enough information to make this decision? And if the answer is "Yes," then you have no reason not to make your decision immediately.

So the name of the blog engine is Gascan. That's the first word that came into my head; it probably popped in there because whenever I would go into the yard equipment room, it'd always be for the gas can for the lawnmower. And I think that's as good a name as any.