30 April 2007

Procrastination - a Favourite Pastime

I've been going through various stages of thinking about starting a blog, talking about starting a blog, researching starting a blog, and pretty much doing everything except blogging about starting a blog for over a year now. Every time I feel ready to take the plunge, I somehow find a new obstacle. I spent a month angsting over which platform or service to use, then I had to come up with a original blog name, a memorable URL, a description, etc. For the past week, I've been stuck trying to come up with a clever nom de plume, which I've decided is necessary so that I can feel free to discuss work related stuff and individuals, etc., and because at some point I'm sure to offend some right-wing fruitcake, whose usual modus operandi is to argue about things until they inevitably lose, and then resort to making (and occaisionally carrying out) death threats.

I named my blog "Nomadicity," which is actually a technical term in the field I work in, telecommunications, but I liked it simply because it's the only word I know of that has both the words "nomad" and "city" embedded within it.

I still haven't sorted out all these issues, but have decided to go ahead and take the plunge anyway. So for now, instead of some clever nickname, I'll be signing off simply as "G", in a sort of tribute to Ian Fleming, who instead of spending days angsting over character names, simply named two of his most memorable "M" and "Q".

I should acknowledge a debt of gratitude to the Grouper, who has helped to embarass me into getting this thing started by setting such a great example with his own blog, Grouperism. It not consistently brilliant, but often entertaining, and he makes it all look effortless. Of course, one big advantage the Grouper has is that he already has a nickname. I've had a few over the years -- Boris, Chalk, and most recently, "Captain Smithereen," thanks to my manic-depressive iconoclast attorney, but none of them has ever really stuck, the way "the Grouper" did for the Grouper.

For those of us without nicknames, trying to come up with one isn't easy. Fortunately, the web of course offers some assistance, in the form of a number of nickname generators. Some of these are amusing, others simply bizarre. The Ultimate Nickname Generator assigned me the nickname "Fairy Fabulous Chin", whereas Bzoink (which also bills itself as the "ultimate" nickname generator), which asks for your name, a name you like, your age, zodiac, and "personality", decided I should be nicknamed "Carravanquelo", (perhaps because I responded "none" to the question on personality). Over at the Mob Nickname Generator, I entered my first and last name, clicked the "Gimme my fuckin' nickname" button and was assigned the name "The Spaniard." (Also tried this site with my cat's name, who was assigned the name "The Butcher"). I don't expect to be using any of those suggestions, colourful as they are, but since I am planning to write about some sensitive issues, I'll have to give the people I write about nicknames as well, so I'll keep those sites in my favourites file.

My preference would be to have a meaningful name, like that of one of my favourite bloggers, The Man in Seat Sixty-One, a guy who blogs (very informatively) about travelling by rail all around the world, and who starts his journeys from his London home on the Eurostar, always in Seat Sixty-One, because this seat is one of the few where the table actually lines up with the window. But my blog isn't going to be that specific, so its a bit more difficult to come up with a name like that.

So what will my blog be? I've been a compulsive journal keeper for most of life, and one my treasured possessions is my collection of 16 volumes of journals I have kept more or less continuously since 1976. That's been both a source of inspiration and hesitation with respect to starting a blog. Inspiration because I know what I will write about -- the places I go, the people I meet, the food I enjoy, and my observations about politics, life and work. Hesitation because I'm not sure I want to keep both a journal and a blog, and I'm not sure I would want to give up the journal, and also because writing for the entire world to see is an entirely different experience than writing only for yourself. An on-line blog definitely has its advantages: it would be one less thing to carry around and I would no longer worry about losing them. I worry about this a lot -- if my house caught fire, the first thing I would grab on my way out the door is those precious 16 volumes -- I would be devasted if I ever lost them. But the physical journal has advantages the on-line version doesn't. You can put photos in both, but I also like to stick all sorts of things in my journal, and these are often the things that are most interesting to look at years later, such a my yellow 20p tube ticket from 1970s London. But I never recorded some very ordinary experiences in these journals, such as some of my long-term assignments as a telecommunications executive in Poland and Jordan, which included numerous situations that were just too wierd to make up. Next time something like that happens (and it will), I want to get it every ugly detail down in writing as it unfolds.

There is also another reason I'm doing this, but I think I'll save the detailed explanation for another post -- in my very short blogging experience, I've learned that shorter posts are best, and besides, some friends have just joined me at café where I'm spending my last evening in Budapest.

30 April 2007