Never Look Back

Occasionally I have to remind myself why I don’t make promises on my blog. You know, things like “I plan to update at least three times a week from now on!” Or, “I’m going to read a bunch of books I’ve been meaning to finish before I read anything else!


At the time I usually think, “Well, it’s going to be out there. Public. I’ll be more likely to stick with it because people will be counting on me.” However, if I’ve learned one thing from maintaining this website it is that no one in my mythical audience cares what I intend to do, or what I say I’m going to do. Very rarely a straggler will stop by—clearly lost on the information superhighway—and show some mild interest in something I am doing or have already done. But promises and statements of intent interest no one and inevitably end in shamefaced apologies from me because “Ball Dropper” is my middle name. Paul Ball Dropper Hamilton. Actually, that doesn’t sound good at all. Forget I said that. The point is, I’m not so much with the follow-through.

Well, there is one exception. That exception is To a degree, I mean. It’s not like there haven’t been lengthy lapses in updates and I haven’t been what anyone would call a consistent blogger in probably several years but, in fits and starts and with any number of format and direction changes, I’ve been manning the wheel on this ship for going on ten years now.

The very first entry on came in December of 2001, which means that on 12/03 of this year ironSoap will turn 10 years old. That’s so old style guides permit me to use numerals for the year rather than spelling it out. That’s so old that in Internet years I’m officially a cane-waving codger imploring these smart phone-waving, social media driven, html5 toting kids to get off my virtual lawn. My first blog entry was done by hand-editing the HTML in vi right there on the server, uphill both ways in the cyber-snow. And I liked it.

Here’s what a much younger and far less mature me had to say back then:

You know, I think if I counted the number of journals I’ve started and vowed to keep current and multiplied that by the number of projects I’ve started and never finished and added to that the number of great ideas I’ve had but never done anything about and later forgotten and then had 0.01 cents times the sum of all that I’d be rich enough to hire some schlep to write my journals for me. I could even pay him to write some fascinating yet realistic sounding activities for the day to attract hordes of fans to my site to read about my daily exploits.

All that would be covering the truth, of course, which is that, being rich, I’d most likely spend most of the day playing video games on my obscenely over-priced home entertainment system.

And yet here I am again, promising myself that I’ll do better this time. I’d ponder about the significance of a consistent journal being a strong priority in (some) people’s lives and the desire to chronicle their existence. Perhaps I’d wonder if the difficulty many have in doing so is related to the fact that when enough time is available to write, there isn’t really that much going on and when we can’t find time to write is when we would find doing so most cathartic and others would find it most interesting.

I’d ponder that, but I have to go play some video games.

Well, things certainly have changed! I mean, ahem. Right. Anyway.

All the early blog posts from those first few days have been lost on the site as it currently exists, victims of some WordPress upgrade or another. A period of them have been lost forever, double victims of a corrupted database backup file. But I do have quite a few of the first couple of years lying around. My brother (you did know he was back in the blahgosphere, right?) has attempted to convince me to format them together into something like a book on a number of occasions, and I made some progress on that front before I dropped the ball (sensing a trend here?). Actually the problem was that I wanted to include some commentary that would fill in the blanks between those archived entries but I realized soon enough that those commentaries would be restricted to a particular time and place as well, possibly opening the door for future revisions to include comments on the commentary and before I knew it I was envisioning an endless loop of meta-discussion that would never be finished like some sort of punishment from a digital age Greek Myth and I had to go lie down.

But here’s my thought. And I want to make clear this is not a statement of intent nor should it be construed in any way as a promise, a commitment or anything that could lead to any type of expectation. I’m just thinking out loud here. As part of a celebration leading up to’s tenth birthday I was thinking that I might occasionally post some of those old entries as sort of a “Best Of…” series. I’ve zero intention (note that there is a value only slightly greater than zero of doing any of this at all) of posting every one of the old entries. I mean honestly, most of them are along these lines:

So it was no more than five minutes after I posted the last journal entry that I figured out what was up with PostNuke. Apparently it requires cookies to be turned on to authenticate users (okay, I knew that) and I had cookies blocked from my localhost.localdomain (now I didn’t know that, and don’t remember doing that, either). Fixing the filter made the problem go away. I’m not sure if it’s going to work for me or not, though.

Riveting, right? I can’t possibly apologize enough if you suffered through all those updates the first time around, I certainly don’t want to subject you to them again. But there may be a few interesting nuggets that would provide some interesting decade-spanning dissection. Also, I could pretend to actually be updating the site without actually having to write anything new! On paper, it sounds like a fantastic idea.

But, probably I’m just going to go play some video games instead.

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3 thoughts on “Never Look Back

  1. mrs.soap

    I think this is a fantastic idea!

    You could also do a then and now post. You ten years ago versus you now.

  2. efaithfarm

    I’m so down with this. This is not a surprise, since I’m named in the post as one who requested it, but still. And to tell the truth, I was actually utterly fascinated by even the completely mundane or hideously technical stuff you posted, because after I moved to college, I went for like a couple of years (maybe as much as three) between times where I actually knew for sure what was going on with you. It was just a marvelous thing to have that window into you again; i think something like 95% of what made me want to start the ‘Farm was that we’d be talking again, and part of each other’s lives again, even though, i mean, each having a blog is not exactly talking, but you know what I mean.

    Also I have always thought that you have had an extremely keen grasp of what is or is not cool, so since you spent all your time talking about Linux and other forms of code and computers and IT, these things were shoved to the front of my coolness codex. Heck, you gave me a career, in a way.

    God bless ironSoap.

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