I don’t normally consider myself a technophobe. GPS makes me giddy. My iPod is connected intravenously to my life-support system. Most of you have heard me talk ad nauseum about digital camera specs at one time or another, and I get Satphone envy. The more Gigabytes, Gigahertz Gigapixels, and Gigawidgets you can jam into one device, the more giggly I tend to get.
But there have always been facets of the digital revolution I have shied away from. I steadfastly refused to get a mobile phone until the year 2000, by which time Finland, Sweden, and a goodly portion of the suburban UK had been colonized by Nokia. I clung to my 35mm SLR well into the days of digital photography, stubbornly paying enough in film development costs to float a US mortgage broker.
I think this partly has its roots in a stubborn ‘I can cope without that’ mentality, and partly in a nonconformist bent that perversely drives me away from technological fads until all the fuss about them has died down. By which time they’ve become obselete. I have visions of myself owning my first Blackberry some time into the second Obama Administration, by which time the company will probably be bankrupt courtesy of patent infringement suits anyway.
But trend-avoidance aside, the blog has evaded me until now for two reasons. First, the name. The etymology of ‘blog’ (web log, for the truly uninitiated) neither escapes nor enchants me. Frankly though, I have a hard time embracing anything that sounds quite so much like slang for a digital toilet. This links quite closely to the second reason, which is that blogs, with some notable exceptions, so often tend to be full of self-indulgent crap.
I took up photography seven years ago with a desire to share with my friends and family the places that I get to travel to. Far too often I am overseas alone, and by learning to take photos I found myself with a way to capture a little bit of my wanderings and invite others to experience a sliver of what I did. In much the same vein I have dabbled in inflicting periodic travel updates onto a broad and largely unsuspecting audience. I post a few of my photos to flickr, though most of my fans there are total strangers. A few more go to Facebook, but frustrations with the slovenly architecture of that site aside, it is more a dumping ground and less a structured space for sharing.
A friend of mine here in Madang, Jan Messersmith, actually suggested I dip into WordPress and try setting up my own page here. He has a blog which he updates with almost religious commitment (PNG bandwidth permitting). He is a writer and photographer, and I enjoy his mix of stories and pictures which go further than either words or images as a medium alone can in capturing the sense of a place.
So I figured, why not give this a try.
Let me lay some ground rules for myself at the outset, however, and hand over to you, the reader, to keep me accountable, for there are some things I do not want this blog to be. If you find me manifesting any of the following traits, you have my permission to abuse me to your hearts’ content.
1. I will not share inane and intimate details of my daily life. Such as what I am having for breakfast (probably nothing), what colour socks I am wearing (I am probably not wearing socks), or how many times a day I am going to the toilet (I am probably n… wait… never mind).
2. I will not delve deeply into the dark, sad, emotional corners of my life, and muse on the agonizing pain that surfaces in my soul while listening to My Chemical Romance. In fact, the only reference I would like to see to the Emo world in this blog is humour, which I openly invite you to post at any time.
(How many Emos does it take to change a light-bulb? None- they’d rather sit in the dark and cry.)
3. I will not waffle. Nuff said.
(I will struggle with this one. We all know this is true.)
4. I will not discuss the lives of pubescent Hollywood starlets in any shape or form, (although see above note about room for posting inappropriate humour.) I do however reserve the right to periodically place tags such as mileycyrus, olsentwins and jessicaalbasrudebits on my posts to boost my hit rate.
My vision for this site is for it to be a place where I can share with family, friends, and anybody else who is interested enough to loiter, a bit about the places I am passing through and the things I’m getting up to. By sharing stories and photos I hope to interest and entertain, and present a little corner of life experience which may be new to you, or which perhaps tugs nostalgically at a scrap of memory that has been looking for a chance to refresh itself.
Do feel free to comment, to criticise content and technique alike, or just to pass through. It’s my wish that you feel both refreshed and envisioned, and that rather than staring at a computer screen, that your time on this webpage leaves you feeling like you’ve been looking through a small open window into some corner of the world you didn’t know, or had forgotten, existed.