You see, I've been… was… e-sober for a measurable fraction of the Internet era.
It's been over ten years since I took down my last (and first) blog. Eight since I nuked my FB with extreme prejudice, discovering in the bargain a fine capacity for smug satisfaction, when the chagrin of aghast friends and sundry affected me not one whit. Nary a tweet-song has erupted, five years and counting.
The WWW had gotten A Bit Too Much. I wanted to say nothin' to nobody on it. I was content writing the occasional long email to friends and randoms. I was fine. Everything was.
Mother nature, though. She tests us.
Predictably, she sprung A Rather Big Surprise at the least-convenient moment in the least-convenient century (for me, at any rate). That-which-shall-not-be-named imposed a period of involuntary house arrest.
It was then, in that long dark tea time of the soul, will weakened, that I snagged a domain on impulse.
This very domain. Just for my email, mind you. To de-google myself. Or something.
Oh, how little did I know. Insidious thoughts started invading my consciousness through my soothingly red-shifted displays. The Feature Creep crept up slowly, subtly erecting neon hoardings to subvert the fog my mind had gladly embraced. "Does your domain apologetically redirect to your github?". "Your site can be more. Do more. So much more.". "If a reader fell upon this site and no form was around to comment in, did they make a sound?". Foggy the mind was, yes.
That's when it gripped me. The desire to write. And it started gnawing away inside. It was all The Feature Creep's doing, of course, but I didn't know it then.
Luckily, my terror of looking like an idiot–nay, an impostor–was far more potent than The FC's gnawing at my anemic will. I narrowly avoided working up the nerve to just point the damn domain to Wordpress and slam publish like it was 2005 again.
Days turned to weeks. Weeks glommed into months. Some uncalled for hair loss occurred and a year passed. Meanwhile, the domain redirected reliably, unaware of the mayhem within and without.
Still The FC gnawed on. The Feature Creep never tires, never lies down, and never dies, you see.
Slyly (or so I thought), I fooled it by quietly typing into my Emacs. More days turned to weeks turned to months. Words accreted in my org-mode files. Wee notes. Snippets. Factoids squirreled away. Mostly harmless bits and bobs. Someone paying attention might have smelled trouble brewing and stopped right there. But, oh how little did I know.
Unwittingly, I started penning lofty thoughts too. I caught on soon enough, but I kept doing it, despite now being acutely aware that I'd wake up feeling dirty the morning after. My confidence, though. My, did it grow supreme. It took perverse delight in jotting down opinions way above my pay grade because, after all, nobody would find out. It was all on my computer. Even if I didn't shred it all, bitrot would certainly destroy every last trace of my misadventures. And I'd safely take my little secret life to my grave. Yes, I'd get away with it.
But then my partner found out and started telling me things, whispering words of encouragement (somehow, "egged on" seems more apt). The fault is all mine though; why we're here. For shortly after, in a momentary lapse of judgment, I also told a friend. And then, fatally, I failed to continue keeping mum before other friends. Now they want to read it all, and not privately, but "on your bloody blog, dummy". That's when I knew. The Feature Creep had me dead to rights from the get go.
The obvious moral here is if you want to continue not writing on the WWW, don't under any circumstance impulse-purchase that domain, and if you do, don't secretly type in your computer, and if you do, for the love of your Gods, don't wed or befriend anyone.
Anyhow, it was too late for me. Feeling suitably cornered and wretched, much moping around ensued, until it hit me; "Wait a minute, I am an idiot, but I also want to be less of one." So this is… also fine. Maybe they will even tell me How To Not Idiot, if they're still here, reading.
So I submitted. That domain I impulse-bought stopped redirecting, pointing to this instead. Then with infinite improbability, your browser pointed to that and served this up. And now you know exactly how you got here. And…
You're still reading, aren't you?
Your readership graces this site. To me, writing was thinking. Apparently it can also be a process of becoming. So thank you for being here (bows deeply). Several word collections are in progress. Please stay as long as you wish.
I'll pause here to doff my hat to some heroes that I draw inspiration from; bellmar & danluu & b0rk & gwern & aphyr & allspaw & randall & foone, and a hundred more… Much to learn, have I. But we here now, an' we gon' try. We gon' try, to eval/apply.
There will be some technical words, some code play, some HowTos, some WhyTos, pondering-upons of some real doozies like "Systems, Scale, Value", "Technical Debt is a CDO", "Envelope of control", "Why was the misbehaving system behaving itself?" and so forth. No pundering at all, if you're wondering.
Enroute, maybe your eye catches something iffy and twitches. Perhaps a whiff of bull causes your nostrils to flare slightly. Maybe something really gets your goose and your brain screams "NO. Don't. Type. You promised you're done with these Internet randos who are SO BLOODY WRONG.".
That's why I'm helping you by not having a comment form.
But I'll be delighted to hear from you at weblog (at) evalapply (dot) org if it strikes your fancy! (Or youresobloodywrong (at) evalapply (dot) org if it's just that kind of a day and you can't stand it any more. I know the feeling. I'm here, listening :).
Thank you for swinging by!
And now, Duty Calls.