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One year of nearly-daily musings

I have reached one year of nearly-daily musings. Happy anniversary [1,3] !. Why is a one-year anniversary musing being released the same day as thirteen months of daily musings? Am I working under some strange calendrical [4] system in which a year is thirteen months of four weeks each [5]? No. There’s an explanation. However, for that explanation, you should revisit one of the earlier musings on N [6] months of daily musings. The twelve months musing is probably a good starting point. In any case, it’s my anniversary. So it’s time for a special musing. Let’s see … This musing has been in the back of my mind for a month or more, so I’ve come up with a variety of things I could write about.

Greatest hits. One year seems to be a great time to settle back, read through the musings from the past year, and choose the ones that I think are most representative of who I am or what I want the musings and rants to be.

Awards. It could be fun to identify musings that meet various characteristics: most endnotes, longest series of musings, longest musing, shortest musing, funniest [7], most read [8], most edited [10], Michelle’s favorite, Eldest’s favorite, DF’s favorite, and so on and so forth.

A new introduction on a new home page [12]. As I gain readers, I wonder whether they understand what I’m doing in this series [14]. It would be nice to have an introduction on the first page they see. Let’s see …

Welcome to SamR’s Assorted Musings and Rants [15]. I am Samuel A. Rebelsky. I tend to both sign my name and refer to myself as SamR. I’ve been writing this series of texts for over a year ….

A quick introduction has been on my agenda for some time and the anniversary seems to be a good opportunity to write it.

Statistics (or something like that). I like numbers. It could be fun to look at the total number of words I’ve written, the most frequent words I use, the average musing length, the average number of endnotes [16], and so on and so forth. Doing so would also permit me to reflect on those numbers, which is something else I enjoy doing.

Reorganizing. I’m a computer scientist. I should know about planning for large projects. But I did not think enough about how to organize the musings. Perhaps that’s because I’m spending too much time teaching Agile design methodologies; perhaps I’ve come to really believe that it’s better to start with something that works for the time being and then revise when it gets too complex. In any case, with 400+ musings, it’s not clear that my original flat-directory structure is working well nor is it clear that I’ve chosen the right set of categories. For example, Megan Goering suggested that I create a separate series of teaching tips [17]. An anniversary could be a great time to reorganize the whole site and then write about it.

Lost musings. There are a surprising number of musings that I’ve started and not finished. Some were additions to the nibbled to death by ducks series. Others were the starts of extended rants. It could be fun to identify those and write a bit more about them. That could even be a chance to finish some of them [18].

Forthcoming musings. Each time I have an idea for a musing, I add it to a long and not-particularly organized list of things to muse about. I thought about exploring those topics as a way to make the anniversary musing a way of looking forward, and not just backwards. But some of them are dated. And others don’t make much sense to me. And some, well, are a combination thereof. For example, here’s one.

101 Endnotes. (on writing) (Or are they footnotes) (and am I starting to use them too much?) (Maybe that just goes in the four-months essay.)

Did I write about endnotes? I know I’ve made some comments. I know I use them a lot. I worried more about using them too much when I was three months in to this process than I am now. But it’s still a possible topic.

In any case, I have about 270 musings in that forthcoming list [19]. Along with the topics that come up daily [20] and the writing that I do as part of my everyday work, I have more than enough to carry me for another year or more. And, as a reader, you might want to know what might be ahead for the year.

As I look at that list, it’s pretty clear to me that the most important writing I do is the Grinnellians you should know (or know about) series. I don’t have time for a regular approach to that that series this semester, but perhaps I can get one written every week or two.

Where was I? Oh, yes. One of the possible musings for today would be presenting that longer list and then musing about it.

A survey. It would be nice to know a bit more about my audience. How many people read these regularly? Once in a while? What are the demographics of that audience [21]? Are my readers people who know me well or people who just stumbled upon these word? What kinds of musings do people prefer? Rants? Introspective musings? Technical? Biographies? More generally, I could try to find out why people read. But I’m lazy. It would take effort to write a survey and even more effort to read the results. And, in any case, most of the time, I write for me, not for you [22]. Still, I like data.

Something else. Finally, I could muse about what I could muse about. Hey! It seems like I’ve done that in the text above. I guess I’m finished with this musing.

See you in another year [24]. And don’t worry; if some of the approaches above seemed interesting to you, it’s likely that I’ll get to them in the coming weeks [25].

[1] It goes without saying [2] that the anniversary I just celebrated is a much more important anniversary.

[2] But I’m saying it anyway.

[3] I’m not sure who has been around for the whole year.

[4] Not cylindrical.

[5] Okay, that’s probably less strange than our current system.

[6] N is intended as a variable. It might be ten, twelve, or, some day, one hundred and twenty three.

[7] As judged by a panel of one: me.

[8] Do I have those data? Perhaps. Let’s see … I can go onto our Web server and look through the Web server log [9] and then try to eliminate the ones which represent me looking at it.

[9] Not to be confused with Web log.

[10] I don’t commit all of my edits, so that may not be as easy as it sounds [11].

[11] Or perhaps it doesn’t sound easy.

[12] Front door.

[14] At times, I’m not even sure what I’m doing in this series.

[15] Isn’t that a wonderful acronym?

[16] Whoops; I almost wrote footnotes.

[17] Doing so will be sad as it will remind me of the book that mom and I planned, but never got very far on. I think I still have the notes somewhere in my papers.

[18] Probably not. For example, there’s no point in finishing a 2/3 written musing on what I did on a particular day in the middle of the summer.

[19] I must admit that I do not edit that list all the scrupulously

[20] Or even more frequently.

[21] By demographics, I mean questions like the following: How many students? How many alumni? How many faculty? How many staff? How many people who fit none of those categories? How many people who are regularly on campus? How many who are not on campus?

[22] There are some musings that I write for other people. And, whether they care or not, In addition to writing for myself, I write these for Eldest, Middle, and Youngest so that they have a better record of who their father is [23].

[23] Or at least what their father’s public face is.

[24] Or another day.

[25] Or months.

Version 1.0 of 2017-08-31.