I shall now share with you the story of this blog’s true casus belli.

It begins with the following utterance from a friend, appearing one October afternoon last year within the chatroom we idle in during working hours. (The technical meaning of my friend’s complaint has little bearing on this story, so I shall leave it unexplained.)

1:14:13 PM [name redacted]: gah fucking node

1:14:58 PM [name redacted]: all I want to do is ping some other servers and pick the one that responds. Do I get to write a for loop? Of course not, how dare you be so synchronous!

Twenty-six minutes later, my cat Ada strode across my laptop in such a way that she managed to select some of my friend’s gripe, re-paste it into the chat window, and send it. An entirely unlikely sequence of events, but not an impossible one, due to how my MacBook’s trackpad works, and its position relative to the Enter key. (To say nothing of the frequency with which Ada feels free to tromp across my keyboard, inviting the conclusion that any unlikely paw-produced output must happen eventually.)

So, this appeared, apparently from me:

1:41:32 PM jmac: ode

all I want to do is p

Brilliant! My cat had written a little Burroughs cut-up poem, right? It even had a title! Surely, this had to go straight up on the blog. Then I remembered that updating Octopress (which ran blog.jmac.org at the time) meant looking up the documentation once again for the exact wording of the command-line scripts I needed to run on my laptop to create a new post, and then again later to push it up to my server. (And again, and again, as I made the inevitable post-publication tweaks and edits.) So, as usual, I made no post at all.

However, I also thought back on a conversation I had recently had with a friend and freelance writer (who, as it happened, is the partner of the friend who had unwittingly provided my cat’s source-text). While talking about the value of challenging oneself to write something every day, I had sighed about the plight of my blog, and how I felt unhappy with every platform I’d tried since LiveJournal’s fading away. And she found this a strange thing to hear from me, since I was supposedly the full-time programmer between us, but she had no problem putting some scripts together in the past that gathered and formatted her regular writing into a simple website. Surely, nothing stopped me from doing something like that?

I can’t recall whether I bit down on the temptation to gramophone any tired wisdom about wheel-reinvention, but either way I did go home that day with a seed planted. So it came to pass, some time later, that I made an entry in my OmniFocus project list Blog the poem that Ada wrote, which began with the sub-task Write some blogging software. And this of course, became Plerd.

And now I shall check that project’s “Completed” box.


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