Dear Friends,

Your blog is your avatar, not in the one-dimensional sense of a profile pic, but in the original sense of a god made flesh in terrestrial form, in the sense of Ultima IV, where your own ethics determined the outcome by presenting you dilemma’s with short and longterm consequences attached to your choices. Your blog is your avatar, a full representation of yourself, made manifest online in HTML texts. Whether you want it to be or not. Time makes it unavoidable.

Ton Zijlstra 

He’s not wrong.

Ton’s post is a response to one Om Malik wrote titled Write like a human. The main takeaway is this: 

Be real. Write like a person. That is how your words will be unique because only you can be you.

Your writing should reflect your thinking. You don’t need to become someone else. You have to look no further than inwards to find your words and your writing style.

Your writing should have the same compassion you have when you speak and communicate with those you love and respect. Compassion always translates into civility. It shows that you care.

Which brings me to my humble site. I started “posting” in 1991 at university. By “posting” I mean status updates on my finger .plan file. Sadly I never backed it up, but little of my digital life back then still exists. With some CompuServe and other cobweb-y bits in the interim, my first real web site was on the @HOME service one of the Detroit Metro cable providers offered before they and their successor were gobbled up by Komcast. I moved to DreamHost in 2004 (!) and have been there ever since — for a while with some 10 different web sites all dedicated to a different interest of mine.

Last year I made an ill-advised upgrade to this site and lost most of the old posts. Well, they still exist in a backup. But restoring that backup has proved problematic. Next rainy weekend, other things permitting, maybe I’ll restore those old posts.

All this to say that I strongly recommend everyone have their own web presence that is a reflection of themselves, their avatar, as Ton said. My site is like someone who entered the Witness Protection program or is an undercover spy. I kind of like that, but its not a good representation of me now.

Regards,

Paul

“We tell ourselves that we need the right setup before we finally buckle down and get serious. Or we tell ourselves that some vacation or time alone will be good for a relationship or an ailment. This is self-deceit at its finest.

It’s far better that we become pragmatic and adaptable—able to do what we need to do anywhere, anytime. The place to do your work, to live the good life, is here.”

— Excerpt From: Ryan Holiday. “The Daily Stoic: 366 Meditations on Wisdom, Perseverance, and the Art of Living.” | Bookshop.org | IndieBound.orgWorldCat.

Dear Friends,

This weekend I both fully embraced and completely rejected Ryan’s quoted admonition. It was a beautiful weekend here, and a tax-free weekend to boot. Tennessee allowed a bunch of item categories related to back to school to go sans sales tax (VAT for the non-U.S. readers). I took full advantage to improve my workspace for work as well as to prep for my impending return to collegiate life (I’m going back to finish my degree; more on that later).

My workspace is a cobbled together collection of my travel gear, 90’s era power strips, cardboard boxes, yogurt crocks, and broken bits of tech pressed into service with what functions still work or as stands for other, functioning kit. It all somehow worked for the first few months of quarantine. Going into month #5, it is all showing its age and ramshackle-ness. Thus, replacement! The new kit is geared toward working in-place but still augments my travel gear for the day I return to my road warrior ways. I can’t wait to show pictures once the new stuff is engaged.

Here’s the thing: I’ve been more intentionally productive over the last several weeks while relying on my jury-rigged workspace. Sure, I planned and sketched out what kit bits I’d need come the tax holiday, but I didn’t stop doing things or put anything on hold waiting for it all to come. For example, the monitors in the picture were oriented landscape – like most are. I read an article where Bhalla Kunal switched to portrait mode for his writing setup with pleasing results. Some desk cleaning and 90º rotations later and I have to say I am pleased as well. I don’t need to pivot my head to see the far edges of the screens, it’s far easier to read documents – which I do a lot, I can see my window much better, and it’s helping with my focus though I’m not sure why I think that.

If all goes well I will post post-workspace-upgrade pics with some exposition in the coming days. Enjoy!

p.s. – if anyone really wants to know the details of my current, pre-workspace-upgrade kit please do let me know. I’m not sure why one might want that, but everyone is on their own journey and this I am keen to find out.

Regards,

Paul