ASCII by Jason Scott

Jason Scott's Weblog

A Breath of Air (Housecleaning) —

So here we are, roughly 40 weblog entries into 2007, and I might as well take a moment or two to go meta-critical and describe what’s going on.

This is the year of discipline for me. Whereas before I’ve slacked off or otherwise misdirected energy and avoided certain necessary things, this is the year I finally follow my own advice and either admit I’m never going to do something and move on, or do it.

The weblog shifted from 5-10 entries a month to roughly 24. (Six times a week.) In other words, I’ve either doubled or quadrupled the output, and turned this weblog from an occasional bit of musing to a consistently updated flow of thought. This has the potential to lead to either dilution (my 5 good thoughts a month are now smeared like peanut butter across 24 entries) or excess (people find that they simply can’t take that much Jason Scott in a single month).

Obviously, I wish for neither of these potentials to be achieved, so I hope to include a mix of what I think people enjoy (theoretical essays, travelogues, filming diary, meta-discussion, highly-recommended links) while trying to avoid what I think are major pitfalls (content-less posting of links, lowering the bar of “weblog worthy” to noise levels, being not funny). We’ll see how the mix goes and I encourage people to feed back, because I really do occasionally listen.

I personally don’t think that having a single reason to do something is adequate for a long-term commitment to a project, the outcome being that your brain/personality can then devote time to overcoming that problematic “reason” until you’re convinced you don’t really need to do it anymore.

I had three reasons to do the documentary: 1. I really did believe I was saving important history and information for posterity, getting stories and interviews that were in danger of being lost. 2. I could actually meet people who were heroes or legends from my youth, personally, and hang out with them. 3. I could make a cool film and maybe sell it. By leveraging these different reasons on different days, I could avoid shelving or delaying the project because “the reason” wasn’t grabbing me anymore. And trust me, there were a few times this came in handy: during multi-hundred-mile drives resulting in a minute of usable footage, or the multiple times I was barred entry because a spouse spontaneously decided This Was All A Bad Idea. By simply concentrating on the other reasons that this latest fiasco or painful process didn’t change, I could slog through.

Similarly, I have multiple reasons to step this whole weblog thing up. One is that it increases readership by being frequent, and a readership means better feedback, more interest in my projects, and more contact with folks who can help those projects. Another is that I sometimes overcompensate for not having adequate opportunities to express myself and 24 essays/entries a month oughta calm that issue down. And finally, I realized I needed to start training myself to write more frequently and understandably because it’s just about time to finish some book/writing ideas I have or admit I’m never ever going to do them.

I had a great mentor, name of Clive Smith, who did nothing but give me incredible life advice throughout my late 20’s. The relevant phrase here, which he passed to me during one of our many phone conversations was “Work is Fractal”. Often, the more you work, the more you find an increase in your ability to do work. Part of this, I think, is because you build up skills at things like referencing information or composing replies, and you can eventually jump into tasks with all the cylinders going at full instead of painfully ramping up every time, which makes you feel like every future endeavor is going to be equally as tough. If you’ve ever run into someone who seems to have boundless energy, who can fire off a 5 paragraph response to you and then still put in a full amount of work that day, you know what I mean. I’d like to be one of those people, and that’ll hopefully assure all this stuff in my head gets out of it, where it belongs. Lock your doors.

In terms of the workouts and gym sessions I’m now doing 3-4 times a week, there’s multiple reasons there as well. First, I was really starting to get worried about my general health, and a doctor told me a few things about my future lifespan that aren’t so hot to hear, so I can mitigate that by being generally more healthy, taking medicines, and eating somewhat right. But as has been proven countless times in the story of people, that’s not entirely useful as “the” reason to work out. So on top of that, I’ve been using these workout sessions to listen to podcasts and speeches of subjects I’m supposed to be “up” on, so I can comment on them more intelligently. Finally, I have this germ of an idea for a documentary/film/narrative that will have me be on screen, and I’ll be damned if I end up looking some sort of Hog God onscreen. So, between these three reasons, I can shift the blame while all the time getting some level of healthier.

I found a bug with the comment moderation, and 50 comments from the last year were being held in no-man’s land until I released them. Some included really old friends, so please forgive me everyone. This shouldn’t happen again, but promises of this sort are rough hedge bets against the future.

There is now, finally, a couple photos of me and a bio on the right column of the website, thereby officially making this weblog a complete sales-job for All That Is Jason.

Now let’s see if I can make it worth visiting.

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  1. leahpeah says:

    i like the new layout quite a bit.
    work is fractal? is that like ‘the answer to writing when you have writer’s block is to write.’?

  2. Samuel Erikson says:

    I also quite like the new layout.
    As for worrying about always having interesting things to say, don’t. I found your blog a month or so ago, and spent a few days reading the entire archives. There wasn’t a single dud entry in there,

  3. sclozza says:

    This year is a year of discipline for me as well. I am facing my post-grad studies in computer security and I am finally making a concerted effort to lose the gut. Good luck, and I like the new layout! I don’t know if something was screwy on this end, but with the old layout and firefox the navbar would stretch out underneath the body text and keep on going to the right.