Regular Life

Regular Life

In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life: it goes on. – Robert Frost

Big Change Coming

(Note: those reading “The Keys Are In It” may proceed to Part Fourteen, where we see a meeting of the minds.)

I already had written this post before finding this (update: this has been altered):

http://1000awesomethings.com/2008/10/14/918-when-youre-really-tired-and-about-to-fall-asleep-and-someone-throws-a-blanket-on-you/

It featured a picture of our son, that my wife took, used without permission. They linked back here in a bit of text separate from the rest of the post, which was how I knew it existed, but that’s not enough.

And I’m pretty sure I’ve had enough. *(see update at bottom of post)

For the past three years this blog has:

  1. kept me writing in a public forum after my newspaper days were behind me,
  2. got me out to try new things (so I would have topics for this blog),
  3. inspired a spin-off blog that forced me to start and finish more works of fiction than I had started in the 10 years prior to that,
  4. made me friends of folks in states I’ve never visited, and even one in another country, two of whom I subsequently met in person and hit it off quite well despite my inability to love fine single-malt Scotch,
  5. kept me up very late at night at least three nights out of each week (with the occasional assist from the spin-off mentioned in number 3), and
  6. put my family life on public display for all the world to see.

When I started, I had just moved a minimum six-hour drive from anywhere I had ever lived, and in an area where I had only one friend outside the home. Started as a place to brush up on my writing, “Regular Life” ended up a place for cultivating online relationships. Now that I have several friends locally and online, I’ve scaled back efforts to meet anybody new beyond a sentence or two commenting on a similar interest.

The way I figure it, I can maintain numbers 1-4 without this blog. Admittedly, number 3 takes more discipline, but it’s possible. Number 5 I could do without, especially as my age approaches 40. Even that one I could control without changing how this blog works or who may read it.

The big one, then, is number 6. They say “write what you know.” I know about being a dad, a husband, and a cubicle worker. Despite its wealth of content, I can’t write about the latter for fear of being dooced (that means “fired for blogging about work.”) The other topics can be entertaining, but often the parental bias is difficult to temper, and posts end up very boring to anybody but family and close friends (or even more boring to that group since they already know it). I already have shared all my stories of note that happened before I started “Regular Life,” and have scrambled ever since for content.

I know that my adventures as a dad will only increase as our son gets older, and topics aplenty will arise.

The problem, however, is that I want to quit doing number 6. I know that eventually our son and/or his peers will be able to read what I post, and that it could potentially embarrass him. In fact, even if I resolved to stop posting about him from now on, someone with a mean streak could mine the archives for humiliation fodder. I’ll have plenty of opportunities to embarrass him without the Internet’s assistance.

All this is not to mention the security concerns in making private details public. Posting pictures including his soccer team’s name made me nervous.

I’ve read much about managers scouring the Internet to find details about potential hires, and as a result not hiring them. Could “Blue Straw” one day be my professional undoing? Unless I break into the entertainment industry, I certainly can’t see them helping my career.

My options are:

  1. stop this blog completely and take it offline,
  2. password-protect the whole site, leave it up for family and friends, and start a new one that’s more appropriate for public consumption, or
  3. password-protect only the posts related to family (retroactive, too), otherwise continuing as usual.

From one perspective, I don’t like any of the above, because I get a little satisfaction each time I see that someone searching for “depth of field tips” landed on my page regarding that topic. Likewise, when someone searching for Greenie Peak, New Mexico, ends up here, they get a pretty good idea what it’s like and whether they might like to visit. So, keeping at least some of the posts public is desirable.

Number 3 solves my problem, but is rather labor-intensive. It would involve sifting through nearly 800 posts and deciding which ones are and are not too revealing, and/or editing slightly those that include details both private and public. The categories would help expedite the sorting a bit, but the time involved still boggles my mind.

Number 2 would be the best option if I could find a way to move existing posts to the new space. That way, if someone found my newly-privatized site through a Google search, they would see a link to my new site alongside the username/password fields, and the content would be there.

Maintaining two separate spaces would have been the best way to go right from the start. That is not an option now, however. Whatever I do, one goal is to compile the whole thing into a print-on-demand book. I would explore the possibility of including the comments, because they add entertainment value, but I’m not sure of my rights to distribute those since they are others’ work.

Whatever I do, you will see some changes out here.

* The owner of that blog graciously accepted my request and removed the picture of our son. It is a pretty good site, by the way. See it if you have a chance.

7 Responses to Big Change Coming

  1. I totally understand this whole post….I have been thinking a lot like this Mark! I am sick of posting that I am sorry for being so scarce. I was out of town for the last 10 days photographing a wedding and some other sessions. Do let me know what you end up doing! I am hoping to blog again later in the week!

    Take care,
    Anna

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  2. Hey Mark,
    Sorry about that. Totally understand, and will pull the picture down and replace it with another one. Again, I apologize — absolutely no malice intended at all! If you ever change your mind, let me know, as of course it is such a fantastic shot! Have a great day, Neil @ 1000awesomethings.com

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  3. Ah… I was confused about the link and the mention of the picture until I saw Neil’s comment. Now I grok in fullness.

    I’d like to think that some sort of similar internal conflict is what has led to my current state of unwonted blogtastic terseness. I have, what, a single post for the month of October? Thank Christ you at least keep going so regularly in order to provide comment fodder, and an arena to foster #4 from your first list up there. (You have, by the way, my unreserved approval to use my own comments for whatever future purposes in a print-on-demand book. I know you secretly think mine are the best ones anyway.)

    I’ll embrace whatever changes happen around here. Just glad that you’re still posting, even though I know that certain relationships would be maintained with or without.

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  4. Need to just poke my head in here to make sure I get updated on whatever you decide. I remember you talking a long time ago about removing anything related to your son on here someday. We certainly enjoy all the pics you put up of your surrounding areas. Keeps us connected with that time in our lives. Thank you.

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  5. Now you KNOW, I feel your pain.

    I once had a blog like yours, then made it totally private, then started a new blog.

    Some of us here have actually watched Benjamin grow up through your eyes (writing), and I for one, will miss it. The vivid descriptions of Bens play, his words of wisdom, his “Ben-Speak”, will not be forgotten.

    I do though, understand fully where you’re going with this, and hope we still hear from you in some fashion.

    Either way, I’m behind you 100% Mark.

    AFA,
    Dave

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  6. Markus…I completely understand your concerns. Today’s society has a lot of freaks, and you just never know.

    From what I’ve seen, you have about 8-10 regulars on your blog. They comment frequently, and enjoy keeping up with what’s going on.

    I tried to read through your options, but I got a little bit distracted and decided not to go back to read them. But…I think one option was to password protect it.

    That should still protect your outlet for writing and keeping people informed, as well as protecting it from outsiders.

    You would never want your blog to limit your career, or give a sicko a pathway into your world even if that might only represent a very small percentage chance.

    You probably heard, but Anne Jansen, the 26 year old anchor for channel 7 here in LR was just recently attacked in her home adjacent to LR Country Club (very near Gil actually), and died from the injuries a few days later. They have no leads, but it makes you wonder if her celebrity status and being in the public eye contributed to the attack in any way.

    Whatever you decide, I think everyone will understand. But one thing is for sure…if someone excludes you from a job opportunity based on blue straw, then that’s a job you don’t want. That was epic, and someone should WANT to hire you for that masterpiece. :-)

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  7. Mark,

    This very issue was something I considered when I started my own blog. Should I make it a personal blog for family consumption, or something more general. I decided that more general would be better, since I would be able to branch out. I’m going to be checking your blog on a regular basis. It will be interesting to see where you go.

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