Why a Web Diary?

There is nothing like exposure to public ridicule to galvanise the attention.
- - - Robert Fripp

Starting in high school, I kept a written journal for many years. It now pains me to go back and read any of the several volumes of spiral bound notebooks I created then. Those volumes now strike me as badly written and irredeemably foolish and dull. I look and look for some evidence that there was a bright mind behind the mess, and find little if any. Ouch.

I stopped keeping a written journal about when I first got a home computer late in 1986. I wanted to keep my journal electronically, but I didn't know how to do it reliably, so that the entries would never be lost, and available to all future generations. Floppy disks failed all the time, and hard drives - if you had one - were known to crash. Armed with these flimsy excuses, I stopped keeping a regular journal, but I managed to feel guilty about it from time to time.

More recently, through the usual painful , clumsy means, I've acquired a great deal more self knowledge. I know my memory isn't as reliable as I thought it was, and I know my best ideas are often lost, and my worst ideas see the light of day before I've had a chance to examine and discard them. I don't even have my life story straight much of the time. Too much of life just gets away and is lost forever. I speculated that keeping a journal could be one part of the workaround to my natural mental indiscipline and laziness.

One of the best benefits of keeping a journal - in whatever medium - is the exercise of going back over the day and trying to remember the important or interesting bits, if any. If nothing important happened, then I need to note that: life's too dull, and what can we do about it?

But why a web journal? Do I want random strangers reading this stuff? Yes, I do. It's not just that I don't care, but I need to have this in mind: anyone in the world could read this. My old journals were just the opposite. It was my intention that no one would read them until after I was dead, if then (now I think I can safely say that no one ever will read them, if for no other reason than no one has that much spare time to waste). This is part of the improved self discipline that I aspire to. It works for me.

Second, a web journal allows one to richly hyperlink journal entries. Our generation never learned to think in terms of hypertext, but I expect that one day everything we write will be hyperlinked in some way. The links allow you to maintain a high level flow, without stopping to explain. I'm still a raw beginner at this, but keeping this journal is one way to get better.

Of course, certain topics will be largely off limits for a web journal, or will be treated euphemistically. There will be little or nothing having to directly to do with bodily fluids, bank balances or dangly bits, and I don't regard this as overly limiting for my purposes. There are also times, that for reasons of my own, I am not too specific about what I mean. That is actually an amusing exercise for me - how to convey the sense of it without revealing the details.

I also won't apologize for the mundane, shallow nature of many of the entries. That's real life here. Some say that God is in the details.

Should you keep a web journal? Of course not. "Should" has nothing to do with it. Do you think you would enjoy it? Would it work for you? If so, go for it, and feel free to send me an e-mail. If not, don't feel bad. You can still buy spiral notebooks.

Frequently Asked Questions

Updated: 24 April 2005

Why should I read your boring web diary?
You shouldn't.
What breed of dog is Lucy?
She's really not. Not only does she lack a pedigree, but she's almost certainly a mix. She's got a lot of Akita in her, but Akitas don't have those weird eyes. Her left eye is blue, her right eye is brown. I understand some huskies come out like that.
Are you going for black belt?
Yes, successfully, on 14 and 15 November 2003. I feel that this equivalent to the rank of "novice."

Old FAQs

When is the baby due?
Early May 2004. We know it's a boy, BTW.
Do you ever change a diary entry after you upload it?
Only to correct obvious spelling or punctuation errors. I'm a terrible typist, and a worse proofreader.
What's wrong with me liking Kenny G.?
Nothing. Just do it in the privacy of your own home, OK?
Did you have your baby?
Yes. Erin was born on 4 May 2001.
What is the BASWO?
The Brutal Arms and Shoulders Work Out. Lots of knuckle pushups and various types of curls with tightly limited rest between sets. It does wonders for your punches, and I think it might help with sparring stamina as well. I usually do two passes through it in one workout. I've never tried three, but I may some day when I'm feeling brave.
Why Tae Kwon Do? Isn't that a bad style for a large, middle aged guy like you?
Yes, and that's one thing I like about it. My long, heavy body isn't well suited to all the high, leaping, spinning kicks of Tae Kwon Do, so I have to push myself. Practicing all these nearly impossible techniques is great training for balance, body control, speed, flexibility, and general conditioning. I don't believe it's the only style I could benefit from, and it's not a pure self defense style - it's partly a sport style. However, I think the quality of instruction and the level of the commitment of the student is more important than the style itself, and that emotional and mental preparation, strategy and tactics are more important in self defense than technique.
What's a PDR or CDR?
Engineering jargon for Preliminary Design Review and Critical Design Review. Engineers use acronyms too liberally for my taste, but it's hard to get along without them. Things seem to be changing, as more imaginative names are being applied to technology. For example, the IEEE 1394 bus is normally called "Firewire." Which sounds cooler to you?