Happy birthday to this blog, which has now existed for two years and a day.
I’d like to take this opportunity to briefly sit back and look at the first three years of this its existence.
First quarter, Genesis! There was chaos, there was uncertainty. The first uncertain, tentative steps into the blogosphere. Not much confidence, not much focus. But a very vague, but also clear, idea of the direction it wanted to go in. Just the odd post here and there touching on this blog’s eventual focus area. Writing style: unfiltered thought stream. With limits on what the stream of thought dares to tackle. Gingerly handled.
Second quarter, Conflict! This was the quarter were thesis stress started kicking in. Abandonment of the blog’s direction was contemplated a couple of times. A of couple of gems here and there, but still lots of random chatter. Signal to noise ratio not particularly high.
Third quarter, Exploration… July/August: pretty cool, self-discovery! September… wild and honest declarations, the kind that associated fear with the “publish” button. Really funny in hindsight, surreal to recollect the emotions involved. Towards the end of September, the first stab at a creationism seminar. Original intention was 12 posts, but only four were ever written. Thesis pressure piled on, time to finish. That takes us into October, which has some decent posts that still periodically provoke comments.
Fourth quarter, dum… dum.. dummm….. Here it became apparent that I was on something or something. All screws come loose, absolute madness ensued. Managed to finished my thesis! Amazing that the thesis remained coherent enough, given the state of the blog. Towards the end of November and in the beginning of December, the week leading up to that weekend. Then the repercussions… while the main quake ended pretty quickly (a day or three later, but too many posts), some aftershocks still echoed into January.
Writing style: too confident, lacking in the moderation/sanity department, lacking in self-reflection and careful consideration/planning.
Despite the good bits in between, like a post on Sexy Crocs in November, and some other decent posts in December and January, I sometimes feel if a fire burned down all the posts in this quarter, I’d be happy about it. But they remain up because of my refusal to delete. For I won’t know where to draw the line. Plus, there is some personal value in leaving them up there. May they not cause too much harm (to me) in the future.
The second year was kicked off with an anniversary post titled Tick-tock, Tick-tock, and I must say, the second year was really pretty good as a whole. February and March saw absurdly many posts. February’s posts included the first two Meh/Lah posts (1, 2), based on some of Lousirr’s mad ramblings, most of which were never published. March was the month of the Batten Seminar: a one hour creationism seminar, picked apart in great depth, with more than a dozen posts focusing on it. (An index to these Batten posts was written in August.)
In the meantime: Late March to late May, I was actually out of the country for two months. I was also busy with a long and drawn-out interview process, with a can’t-say-no job offer finally given in June.
April saw the beginning of The Great Preparation. Which has been running off-and-on to this day: there will be more preparatory posts this year, but the preparatory period is now officially over. I’m quite surprised at the more than nine months’ of delaying and preparing and laying some foundations. I had already collected a lot of the material to be blogged about in January and February, though what did help delay things was more material only arriving in November. And the fact that human nature/behaviour in blog comments demonstrated again-and-again the importance of having the necessary things in place to avoid the typical deterioration of discussions.
Mengelmoes first started hosting a silly new blog on Google AppEngine in July. Development continues, it isn’t ready yet, but the future waits for no code.
During this long period, I did deal with two particular real-world incidents. One post in June caused some family chaos in August, just as I was relocating to Switzerland to start a full-time job, the other was the post on the Pepper Spraying Streakers incident. These incidents resulted in multiple posts or long comment threads, for example the follow-up Demons ‘n Shofar post.
But generally speaking, by virtue of increased time pressure causing more careful selection of what posts get written, noise decreased, improving the signal-to-noise ratio. I’ve certainly liked the direction the posts started heading.
Writing style: certainly no longer a thought stream, posts have turned into much more carefully crafted pieces of writing, aiming to communicate certain ideas in certain ways. The blog has become something rather distinct from my own personal search and my personal thoughts, it is turning into a service, an attempt at giving back in the best way I can. So this brings us to…
Yup, this blog is only two years old, so now I’m wandering into the realm of prophecy.
While preparations are not yet entirely complete, we’ve had enough delays. The last pieces of necessary infrastructure or foundation-laying posts will come over time, and will probably continue to play catch-up, arriving “not a moment too soon”.
This time ahead may be a time of much provocation or controversy, where we will have to work hard at friendliness and accepting differing opinions, if we are to keep an amicable atmosphere for cross-cultural communication. The reason? We will be investigating sensitive topics critically, things that lay quite dear to people’s hearts. Ideas that are not just ideas: ideas that form people’s identities.
Hence, the blog will try very hard to be very friendly, as unbiased as is humanly possible, trying to balance ideas and opinions by looking from multiple angles, while critically trying to identify both the good and valuable, and the potentially dangerous and actively harmful.
This will be a year of history, theology, Shofar Bible school, critical thinking, striving for friendly and cooperative cross-cultural communication, and, of course, science! And I can’t do it without you.