At the moment I’m writing (well typing) this piece, I feel a bit like Kathy Nightengale from the Doctor Who episode “Blink”.1 This post (and to a greater extent this column), like that letter, proves difficult to write.
There is something about writing a first post – “The First Post” – that causes some pause. I always find it hard to write the “first” of anything. The dilemma becomes this: how do I write something now that will give people an idea of how I’ll write in the future and demonstrate to the people of the future how I’ve grown since writing this? Perhaps the answer is to do neither but I find that would be unsatisfying both to you and me.
And so with the best of my ability, I have determined to tackle this milestone by writing about this post that I am writing now.
One thing you’ll quickly learn is that I have an insatiable appetite for knowledge.2 Giving a rough estimate, I’d say I read about 15 articles and blog posts a day along with a half-dozen wikipedia articles; and a couple of longreads a week; and at least a book a month.3 I suppose that begs the question: How I manage to contribute and be a productive member of society?4
In the course of consuming all this information, I have found myself following a certain pattern. First, I am somehow led to read or watch a piece of content (usually I am linked to an article from one my RSS feeds or an account I follow on Twitter). Sometimes the content is discarded just as quickly as it was retrieved. But other times, I find a piece on abolishing software patents, a photo of two presidents, 30 years before the younger took office, a video about how everything is a remix or a web comic that reminds me of my early days as a programmer. These thoughtful and evocative pieces draw me into the archives of the site seeking more. I click on the “older posts” link until it disappears (or I flip backwards through the monthly archives or find that very wonderful link to the first piece)5, and then, upon realizing I have reached “the beginning,” I proceed to waste (or perhaps use) hours upon hours (maybe even a day or two) reading every article or strip or post in the order they were published.
So, in writing this, I find myself, like Kathy – who was sent back to a forgotten past to write to her friend in “the present” – before me, aware of not only the present but the future:
Now that I have briefly discussed myself and the importance of “the first post,” I suppose it is time to discuss what exactly you’ll find (or have found already) amongst the posts of this column. In the most general sense, I’ll primarily discuss technology and gaming.6 I’ll also discuss the terabytes of content I consume which includes books, magazines and newspapers, movies and TV shows, and also just about anything else. On occasion, I will probably consider possibly discussing programming.
Concrete Chaos will not be the only column I write. I will also be the primary contributor to the Buy Mi column but I’ll save that discussion for the introduction of that column. And of course I’ll be deeply involved in other MiNext projects that we will be introducing soon.
So welcome (or welcome back!) to Concrete Chaos and MiNext. I hope you enjoy not only reading the articles and soaking in the commentary, but also contributing to the discussion.
In the episode, Kathy and her friend, Sally Sparrow, arrive at a run down house that has messages on the walls telling Sally not to blink. They explore the house a little bit when Sally hears a knock on the door. Upon answering the door, she is greeted by a gentleman with a letter addressed to her. In the mean time, Kathy has been hurled into the past. She pens a letter to Sally in the past that is then delivered by her descendant in the present.↩
I have concluded this is primarily due to the fact that both of my parents were educators (and one of which was a secondary history teacher). In addition, I consider myself to have an outstanding memory.↩
During the editing process, I managed to count most of one day’s worth of content: 2 comic strips, 210 RSS teasers/headlines, 13 articles, 3 forum threads totaling over 800 posts, and 2 Wikipedia articles (one on Roger Ebert, the other on Camp Nowhere).↩
To which I would reply that bettering oneself through the accumulation of general and specific knowledge is a productive contribution to society. Others may disagree.↩
I highly recommend the first link especially with serialized content like webcomics or web series. As the programmer for MiNext, I’ll ensure that such a link exists in the near future here.↩
By gaming I mean almost all forms of it. Boardgames, card games, console and PC gaming and table top RPGs.↩