category: Meta

20 Years of Blogging

23 years ago, in late 1994 (December?), I launched my first web site. I wrote about that on the web’s 20th anniversary.

Almost 21 years ago, on August 25, 1997, I launched this domain.

And 20 years ago today, I wrote what I count as my first blog post:

I decided to start this page to kind of accompany the what’s new page… except that page deals with new stuff on the site, while this page will give some brief updates about what’s been going on with me. Not terribly interesting, I admit, but people want to know these things, for whatever reason.

Right now, though, I’m too tired to bother doing much of an update… here’s now in a nutshell: 1 1/2 weeks of class left, less than 4 weeks to graduation, a month and a half until I leave for Vietnam, and three brain cells until mental destruction.

I had a section on my site for a while before this titled “what’s new sitewide,” which just acted as a changelog for the site itself. But this post was the start of a reverse chronological section I initially titled “what’s new lazewide” (I think) which eventually became “what’s up with laze.” Almost two years after my first blog post, I played around with pitas for a couple of months. On July 19, 2000, I launched twist of fait accomplis, the blog you’re reading now. I eventually rolled all the old content into twist of fait.

For a while there, I was blogging a lot. Multiple times a day. It was usually the types of things one would see today on Facebook: short life updates, links to things with commentary, daily link dumps from, and the occasional photo or embedded video. Sometimes I’d write longer personal essay-type things in a separate blog (now just a category of fait) named after a Ray Bradbury story.

I’ve had some posts go bonkers popular.

Like “Maury’s Blooper,” where I posted about a visit to The Maury Show and people began thinking that I was Maury. It was linked up on Metafilter after Matt Haughey mentioned it and gathered 765 comments before I shut commenting off.

In “Save the Drama for Your Mama” I wrote about how horrible the local FOX affiliate news was at the time, but it blew up because of a discussion in the comments about the time the weatherman, who was dating a reporter, allegedly cheated on her with another reporter at the same station. Oops. (Also, people have opinions about weather forecasters.)

Another popular post continues to be my interview with Phyllis Wilcox from 2002. Who is she? A woman who was very close with one of America’s most notorious serial killers, Henry Lee Lucas.

My post about Erika Sifrit, a former student at my alma mater that was thrown in jail for murder, continues to get visitors. I have an unapproved comment on that post sitting in WordPress that starts, “I was also in [prison] with Erika let me tell you she was a piece of fucking Shit.”

Perhaps most depressingly, my trolly-titled “Naked Nude Olsen Twins-amania” still draws pervs.

The blog was never huge, but it’s had its moments. The most important thing is that between it and the Ping, the blog captured the things I was reading, thinking, and doing for a long stretch of my early adult life.

These days I’m not writing in my blog as frequently. A few times a year. But not a month goes by where I don’t think, “You know, I should post to my blog again.” And since I’ve cut my Facebook usage about 95% since the beginning of the year, maybe I will finally do it.

After I finally catch up on my year-in-review posts going back to 2016…


Hey there.

While I’ve been pretty slack posting here over the last few years, but I feel like I’ve been even more neglectful of my long-time home on the web than usual. Partially, that’s because I find myself sharing less personal stuff publicly… but that’s not really an excuse. There’s plenty more to talk about.

I’ve got a handful of posts that have been sitting in partially-finished draft mode for months and I’ve continued to make a lot of quiet work on side projects. There are some new projects in the works and lots of ideas kicking around. Same as always, really.

Anyway, just wanted to say hi and say things are good. If you happen to spot this in your RSS reader (what now?) or by accident when googling me, take a sec to say hi in the comments. In the meantime, a picture from our recent 15th anniversary trip to St. Thomas.

My Conversation with Apple

Me: Hey, Apple, I’d love to submit my new podcast for inclusion in your iTunes Store podcast directory! Do you have a web form I can use?

Apple: We’d love to have you submit your podcast! All you have to do is download our desktop iTunes application and submit it through there.


Apple: Don’t worry! It’s only 145 megs.


(minutes pass)

Me: OK, fine. I’ll download your terrible, terrible piece of software just to submit what could be done with a simple web form.

(more minutes pass, downloading happens, submission happens)

Apple: We’ve got your submission! We’ll get back to you.

(a day passes)

Apple: Sorry. We’re not including your podcast. It could be for “a variety of reasons.”

Me: (throws head back and screams)

Ghosts, Unions, and Civil Rights Leaders

Yesterday, a story I originally told on The Daily Ping almost 13 years ago was featured in a Weekend Edition segment on NPR about “true life ghost stories.” Have a listen:

This marked my third time on NPR (sorta). On August 6, 2005, I was featured in a piece about unions’ role in the tech industry, a topic I was woefully unprepared to discuss. But NPR corresnpondent Frank Langfitt (now a Shanghai correspondent) caught me to chat in the parking lot outside of work.

Just two months later, NPR’s remembrance of civil rights (and anti-rap) activist C. Delores Tucker aired on my 30th birthday. It featured an uncredited segment of an interview I did with her from 8 or 9 years earlier.

I’m hoping that my fourth NPR appearance will also have nothing to do with the previous ones.

Dear Maury, Love Wikipedia

Things over on the Maury post have quieted down, as tends to happen when you close comments on a post. But, for fun, I recently made a visit to Maury’s Wikipedia entry, which has my blog entry linked up. Then I clicked over to the Talk page for Maury and found this gem:

I had to laugh.

(Random Maury-blog-post-related story: A few years back at WebVisions in Portland, Paul and I were standing around with a few people, one of whom was Matt Haughey. Since Matt was the one who helped make the Maury post a sensation, I thought I’d be funny and introduce myself to him as Maury. He looked at me like I was an idiot and moved on.)

Welcome to 2011

While working on the relaunch of this site, I was thinking in the back of my head that it had been maybe five-ish years since I last redesigned the site. Turns out it’s been nearly eight years. That’s, um, a long time.

And a lot has happened in those eight years. When I launched that redesign, I was in the middle of my third Blogathon (the first two I participated in; the third I helped monitor). I was in my just-barely-late-20s. I was blogging something almost every day. I was running a myriad sites.

What happened since then? Facebook. Twitter. Fatherhood.

In the last couple of years, my blog disintegrated into a dusty pile of auto-posted delicious links. I wrote one or two posts of substance per year. I moved the mundane thoughts to Twitter. I made a conscious decision to move more personal postings to Facebook. But I never quite figured out what to do with

So, here I am, in 2011. Mid-30s. Dad. Several sites lighter. And feeling ready to revive this thing and give it another go.

From a design standpoint, even though I’m calling this a redesign, it’s not really. I’m just tweaking an existing template a little bit. I decided it was time to move to a simpler layout and clear out some cruft on the site (yeah, I know URLs should never die, but some of this content is begging to be killed). I like the one-column look this theme has and am perfectly happy not trying to cram every bit of content I’m producing into a sidebar.

From a content perspective, I’ve killed the auto-posted delicious links and while I’ve kept all the old blog content (I couldn’t let Maury go away, could I?), I’ve moved it all under a category called “Zee Classic Collection1.” While I’m not going to be posting anywhere near everyday, I’m shooting for a few moderate-length posts per month. Think Kottke minus the posts about David Foster Wallace, Errol Morris, and foodie topics. I’ll write about the stuff that interests me at the moment: tea, movies, music, retrofuturism, and Japanese fiction with the occasional bits of parenting, politics, and technology. I’m going to do my best to not jump on a topic just because everyone else is. I’m done with that game. I just want to write some good stuff about things I care about.

This is definitely a work in progress. Stuff’s going to break. I may bring some old content back. I’m experimenting with different content aggregation methods.

Dig in, enjoy, and pass along any feedback. Not sure how many of my old visitors are checking in, but if you are, say hi!

1 Why “Zee”? Because “Zee” sounds like “the” when said by a stereotypical movie Frenchman. Oh yeah, and because it’ll cause it to sort last on my archive page.