On What This Is All For

Hello internet people. Welcome to my blog. This post is all about me. Continue at your own risk. We’re going to begin by examining what this is all for. It’s a big question, but you gotta start somewhere, so here goes…

I’ve been around blogs my whole life.

This is mostly due to the influence my father, who runs the excellent (shameless plug) Tong Family Blog. His first post dates all the way back to February 1995. A different time when DVDs were just starting to replace VHS tapes and Internet Explorer was doing battle with Netscape over who would own the internet. Not being born yet, I wasn’t around to see any of this, but this is what people say and I believe them.

My first post dates back to 2003. It was titled: Calvin’s Project: Aztecs and Mayans – The Tong Family. For those of you wary of following random hyperlinks on the internet, it consists of 7 year old me proudly describing a set of research questions I came up with (all by myself) and posting links to the random assortment of sites where I had found my info. This post eventually lead to my first interaction with a random stranger on the internet:

Thanks Shaq, too bad you were a year and a half late to help me with my project. Despite this dazzling commencement, it was 7 years before I would again try my hand at the sacred art of the blog.

My second post, published in 2010, was a poem anthology/about the author/poetry critique. It’s exactly as bad as it sounds. Here’s a little excerpt from a magnum opus dubbed “Ode to Pencil” to give y’all a sense of what we’re dealing with:

Wow. Well, my excuse is that Hark was seeing an uptick in use during 2010. Other highlights include me explaining my poetic process and preferences and critiquing one of my classmate’s poems. It’s a truly haunting look into the mind of a 13-year-old who thinks he knows everything. I’m not going to link it here because I really don’t want anyone else to read it in its entirety, but I’m sure you savvy internet people could dig it up if you really wanted to. I pray that you do not. Needless to say, this prompted another extended blogging hiatus.

In 2015, I graduated high school and my dad bought me this domain as a graduation present. This was partially prompted by a strong case of internet FOMO—there’s a finite number of domains and you gotta grab em while they’re still around—but I’m pretty sure that another reason was he wanted to drag me, kicking and screaming, out of my retirement. He even took the liberty of setting up the WordPress and creating several placeholder posts. Much to his chagrin, it never took and this site has been a wasteland for the past 4 years.

So it’s safe to say, perhaps slightly dramatically, that I’ve been groomed since I was very small to write down little snippets of my life and toss them blindly into the void. But I guess the question on nobody’s mind is what went wrong?

It’s not that I haven’t tried, I’ve sat down to write this first post at least once a year since 2015, but I’ve always abandoned it. I could never figure out what to say and I, more importantly, could never see why anyone would care.

So what changed? and why am I talking to you now?

Well, I recently graduated from university and if I’ve noticed anything in my short time being a functional adult, it is that you can get really lost in the muddy trenches that are staying alive and staying sane. You live your routine, you make myopic decisions, you do the best you can with what you’ve got. Then one fine morning you wake up and realize it’s your birthday or its new years or its Valentine’s day or it’s some other arbitrary temporal delimiter you’ve subconsciously decided is important for you. And in that moment you realize that remember precisely nothing of what’s happened to you in the past year. All you really be sure of is that time has passed and you’ve gotten older, and you don’t really know what was it all for.

I know I haven’t discovered anything new here. Older readers are likely nodding sagely at the young shmuck discovering what life is really like. Younger readers are thinking “that’ll never happen to me, I’m not like this directionless schmuck”. To older readers: You can wipe that smug grin off your face. To younger readers: Just you wait.

But I’m not going to just accept it. I’m going down swinging, and some good has come from it. It’s finally given my purpose. This blog is: “For things I don’t want to forget, but can’t be bothered to remember”

Take this whole blogging history thing I’ve just spend most of the post prattling on about. I’m sure nobody, not even me, really cares about the grimy details. I’d forgotten all of it until I started munging through old posts on my dad’s blog. But I also don’t want to forget it. It’s part of me, it’s part of my progression, it’s an indexable chronicle of who and what I was, and I would be remiss if I were to lose it.

So I’ve finally decided what this blog is for, and I’ve decided that I don’t really care what y’all think. I just hope one day I can look back on this post with the same horrified fondness as that poem anthology and cringe at that 23-year-old who thinks he knows everything. But I’ll have to wait a while to do that, so I guess it’s best to begin now.

Welcome to my blog, if you’ve made it this far I applaud you for your perseverance. I promise nothing but hopefully, future posts will be less egocentric.

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