Friday, December 19, 2008

The evolving world of this blog

Photo from Clinton Steeds

Blogging is tricky. I get a bout of inspiration but cannot reach a computer, or I'm busy and so then forget what I was to write, or get halfway done and back-burner the project until it collects too much dust and I give up. I find myself either wanting to write lots and not having the time, or not really wanting to write much when I have the time, either way resulting in not posting as frequently as I might like. And when I recently committed (at least to myself) to taking this blog more seriously, I subsequently found it even harder to put together a post as I effectively raised the bar for myself.

So how shall I fix this? Well, I think the first step is to dissuade myself of the belief that I might have the commitment of the myriad of other blogs out there with the tenacity and devotion to their readers to frequently put together well thought out and coherent posts on a regular basis, often involving photoshopping one's own images and responding in nearly real-time to other posts in the blogosphere. I both lack the technical know-how to do lots of what some bloggers do, and the time to keep up on all of what gets posted around. While it would be cool to give myself a pseudonym such as "Kinked_Strand" or "Tryptophaniac", (both of which I considered, both discarded) I just don't think I can live up to such names. I have a bit of a fight between goofiness and creativity (goofivity?) and a professional, more scientific tone. While a pseudonym might allow that, it's a little beyond me to keep up with posting as such a presence requires.

So I've decided on a different type of pseudonym - in fact not pseudo at all. Just nym. I noted before that most of my readers will know who I am as it is, and so for them this is just a formality. But for those who don't know, it's Shane Caldwell. I just wrapped up my undergrad at the University of Guelph, and who knows what the future has in store for me. There are other blogs from my university who write under their own names, and so unless I am able to justify putting in the time and effort to really maintain a pen name, it seems silly by comparison to do so when I can only manage a post or two every week.

So that's that. Big secret revealed. I imagine no one really cares. Anyone who really di could have pinned me down quite a bit anyway, to one of >10 universities, and if they supposed that the name I was writing under was my initials, actually finding me wouldn't be excessively hard. I hesitated to put my name on the web to begin with because I was nervous of privacy issues and such, and to feel confident in expressing an opinion without worrying about backlash. I'm comfortable now with people knowing who is behind the words, and am willing to own up to my opinions.

Needless to say, I won't be picking on anyone I know on here, including information of anyone else's lives, nor will I be discussing my own research of any sort. This is my space to express my thoughts, experiences, and opinions, and not to release information that belongs to others. Posts in line with my opinion on Craig Venter may still materialize, but as a public figure, he is fair game for anyone. In fact, I get the feeling he would be flattered by what I wrote, should he ever care what a lowly blogger would think. I know that sometimes I can write things that might put off some readers, as I no doubt offended some friends by riling on cell phones back in the summer, or talking about pre-med programs before that. I ask those that read to be understanding and to know that while I may be blogging on a frustration, I don't mean to insult anyone, and if I do, please let me know, and I will do what I can to remedy the issue. Everyone has their own views on issues; and I allow others theirs, and only ask in return that I be allowed my own.

So what does the future hold in store for Helical Translations? We'll have to wait and see, because I still don't completely know. Grad school is on the horizon and by taking a brief survey of some other similar blogs out there, many write about day-to-day lab life, interpersonal challenges and the like, but in keeping with what I have written above, this is something I want to keep clear of. I want to continue to use this space to put together information so that those reading can learn something. And if it isn't new information, I hope that I might at least be able to provide a unique perspective. It may take more work to put these together than some of the random updates I wrote during the early days of the blog, but I hope to shift my balance a bit from quantity to quality. I also hope to use this as a way of allowing myself to learn of things I otherwise would not have looked into. The issues I know I will deal with is to know whether a post is complete enough to finish with or to just continue to leave it in limbo to hopefully complete later. Perfectionism versus productivity, if you will.

So, if you will excuse me, I must go back to putting off the 10 posts half-complete in my queue. I'm getting used to this all, but it is still taking time.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Where did half of December go?

It has been too long. My, how two weeks of waking up, studying, eating if possible then studying more before sleeping again can just fly by.


This undergraduate can, barring final exam scores in the minuses, consider himself a graduate of the Baccalaureate program.

Now on to another 2-4 years of education. Woo.