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You should have a personal website

Reading Mark Christian’s article “You should have a personal website” tonight was an enlightening reminder. Go check it out, then come back.

The article reminded me that I had a personal website here at Kintobor. In 2018 I was on sabbatical, and needed an outlet for my energy. So I started a weekly wrap up blog of links, videos, cool stuff, fun things I’d found. At the end of 2018 I returned to full-time work, my life became richer with things I was doing IRL, and I eventually felt the obligation of publishing a wrapup post each week to be too overwhelming.

So Kintobor, like many other blogs over the years, was abandoned by it’s creator.

But that didn’t mean that I’d stopped seeing value and joy in having a corner of the internet that was mine to do with as I pleased. It just meant I’d put myself in a publishing pressure cooker of my own making. And I didn’t really like that. So I stopped.

Back in the early noughties, blogs were cool. Blogs then were like podcasts are now. The similarities between the two content forms are striking: everyone is doing it, no one knows what they are doing, people are inventing new things all the time, and it’s a wild west of discovery. There are a few ways to find them. But the most interesting ones, the edge cases, the crazy value that makes it all worth while – those are hard to find. But they exist.

The idea of a place of your own on the internet representing the blogger’s “narcissistic egocentricity” has surely gone away. We’re far beyond the days when a kid with a laptop and an opinion could publish to the internet, hoping to get seen. Now it’s anyone with a smartphone. The blogosphere evolved into the social networks. Faster, leaner, with more features and less barrier to entry.

But the networks aren’t what they used to be. Sometimes you just want to embrace the nostalgia of an era that’s gone, and listen to tapes and records instead of digital streams. So the idea of a corner of the internet that is mine still lingers. I like it. I like the simplicity and comfort of it.

So here’s my little space. Let’s see what it turns into, shall we?

I’m wondering what Twitter can do for me…is it a fad, or is it extremely powerful?— Adam Corney (@corney) April 15, 2008

Bali

In 2019, I’m taking a holiday every season. Autumn’s holiday is late in the season, and I headed to Seminyak, Bali, Indonesia.

I stayed near Seminyak Square in a little self-contained villa. The area is far enough from the maddening crowds to be calm, but central enough to be comfortable for my wants – which were, in order of importance: good coffee, massages, and great food.

My day usually consisted of breakfast in the villa courtesy of the lovely staff (I had staff, that was weird), coffee, a massage, lunch at various places, and then dinner at one of a few favourites.

I also caught a movie down in Kuta (a $5 taxi ride away) because in my experience, cinemas in SE Asia have the best sound systems and screens.

Rinse and repeat for a week.

I read eight point five books on the trip, watched the finale of Game of Thrones, and ran my usual Wednesday night online D&D session with my party of players from Sydney.

I was (sadly) fairly bored by the end of the trip, having realised that I should have had a few planned events or adventures. Each day kinda mooshed into the next. Ah well, live and learn! That’s the whole point of taking a short holiday each season.

Next trip is August/September, and I was originally heading to Thailand but after this experience, I’ve decided to replan. Open to suggestions of short domestic destinations!

On sobriety

Confession time: I’ve been sober for a year today. My last drink was a half a beer at a beachside shack in Thailand. Before that, it’d been a few weeks. Here’s a photo from the day and place.

I didn’t really feel like drinking at the time. I was starting the overseas part of my sabbatical (which I’m sure I’ll write a post on at some future point) and I didn’t want to bring booze into the picture.

I didn’t think I was addicted to alcohol, and I still don’t. But I did rely on the drink to help me through bad days, to start weekends, to endure quiet nights on the couch, to provide an excuse to eat two pizzas in one sitting, and avoid dealing with the mental health issues that I’ve had for most of my life.

So I chose to stop cold turkey, and really look at what I was covering up whenever I drank. It was confronting, as all of these things are, and working through it takes time and energy. But I’m in a better place than I was a year ago.

I’m writing this post as a snapshot for a moment in time: 365 days. I don’t want to pathologise not drinking, but I do want a marker for the time it’s been and the value I’ve found.

I haven’t broken the habit of reaching for a drink. I enjoy having something special to drink at quiet moments, or when I’m out to dinner. But I’ve replaced reaching for alcohol with reaching for lightly sparkling mineral water. 90 cents at Woolies for a 1.25L bottle is infinitely better than even the cheapest bottle of wine. And side effect: I’m always hydrated!

Will I bring alcohol back? Maybe. I don’t need it like I used to, and I’m now conscious of the reasons why I was drinking, and the triggers for my behaviour. I love a great bottle of wine, and I don’t want to picture a world where an amazing bottle is offered to me and I can’t enjoy it with friends and family because I’m trying to keep an arbitrary streak going.  As long as I drink alcohol for what I believe are the right reasons, then I think moderation is fine. 

But for now: I’m just going to let that counter tick to 366 days, and see what each day brings.