I’ve started another blog (or blog-like thing), “Malvasian Fragments”, whose intent is to give me a space to explore nascent thoughts, thoughts that are too long for Twitter but aren’t well-developed enough to fit in this blog. (Insert snark about the lack of coherence of a lot that does show up in this blog!)
The contents would probably fit in fine on Tumblr, but I decided not to go that route, for better or for worse. For one thing, all things being equal I’d rather have my writings show up on platforms that I control; for another thing, it lets me experiment with form more than I could otherwise. The posts on the fragments blog are extremely bare, completely devoid of bloggy apparatus such as links (not even links to the next/previous posts) and comments; I’m curious to see what effect those formal concerns will have on the content. It lends itself to a feeling of isolation, reinforcing a certain morose nature of the posts there; I’m okay with that for now.
The software allows me to assemble these fragments into “mosaics”: those mosaics consist of chains of fragments, with optional nesting. Part of my motivation there comes from my fascination with sutras and commentary: the form supports that, though it supports other compound forms as well. To be honest, I’m not at all sure how often I’ll write mosaics: if my brain is in a mode where it’s thinking about writing content of that length, I may find that my brain is really composing a post for this blog instead. We’ll see; the possibility is there.
Right now, it exists only as RSS feeds: one for fragments and one for mosaics. (Both feeds contain the full text for the posts in question, so there’s very little reason to actually go to the website.) You can go to the top level page for the site and the index pages for fragments and mosaics, but you’ll currently get a blank page if you do any of those. I plan to fix that at some point over the next month or so, but doing so isn’t a top priority for me. (And I’m not at all sure what those aggregating pages should look like in the first place.) I’d also like to improve the presentation of fragments and mosaics on the iPad and (especially) the iPhone; doing that is a slightly higher priority.
As is probably clear from the above, I rolled the software for the new blog myself. It’s all quite straightforward, using a markdown-to-HTML converter plus a bit of Ruby glue. (I used atom-tools to generate the RSS feeds.) It uses plain text files as the source, and spits out flat files that are served up by Apache: no databases, no run-time web page generation. I imagine I’ll throw it up on github once I’ve teased apart the presentation parts from the text for the fragments themselves. Though I’m also not entirely sure what I’ll get out of doing that: I doubt anybody else will ever want to use the software, and it’s not particularly representative of my programming style, in particular containing rather fewer tests than I normally write. It’s certainly nice how easy it is to roll your own blog these days, it’s just a few hundred lines of code in total if you don’t count the libraries that I’m depending on.
In general, I expect that the audience for these fragments will be quite small: certainly I doubt that most people who read this blog will find anything interesting there, and I’m not committing to writing there long-term at all. It’s probably only for people who know me personally, and not even for most of them; there’s a pretty good chance, in fact, that I’m the only audience member for the fragments! If interesting thoughts come out of my writings there, those thoughts will make their way over here.
I’ll use this as an excuse to write down all the places where you can find me. Besides this main blog and the new one, other places where I write are:
You can also find me online playing games and talking about games on Thursday evenings with the Video Games and Human Values Initiative. (Which I highly recommend, the conversation over the last few months has been great.) I’m malvasia bianca on Xbox Live and “davidcarlton” on Game Center; I have PSN and Steam accounts, but never use them, so I’m not even going to go to the effort of looking up what the account names are. And I have accounts on Facebook and Google+, though the content there is a subset of the above, so there’s no particular reason to link to me on either of those networks. (In particular, my Facebook wall consist entirely of forwarded Twitter posts and links to the posts on my various blogs.) If you’re particularly obsessed with the minutia of my life, you can look at the list of games I’m playing (all of which eventually get mentioned on this blog anyways) and books I’m reading, but I recommend seeking professional help instead of going that far.
This post has not been revised since publication.