Where it came from
When I originally started writing and posting stuff to the Net (via e-mail and Usenet) in 1990, it was pretty much all off-the-wall “I wish I was a Python” surreal bizarro kind of stuff. And arguably not particularly funny. But by the mid-90s a lot of it had morphed into more auto-biographical material: amusing anecdotes and so on. A colleague, Stewart, suggested I write it as a diary, and never one to let someone else’s good idea go to waste, I tried it.
As far as I recall, the diary first appeared on the web in early 1996, switching to its current address in December 1996. The pages were updated by hand until January 2004, when I switched all new entries into WordPress 1.2. During the coming months I hope to migrate all the old entries across into WordPress, though as I remarked once switching to something like that [is] a job in itself.
Another early experiment of mine in the style of what has become known as blogging was a page poking fun at the March 1996 Australian elections. The Political Circus was updated daily with japes and laffs of all types, and to my surprise, earned itself a feature in The West Australian newspaper.
Anyway, all these years later I continue to write a few paragraphs most days, doing my bit to contribute to the sum total of inconsequential trivia on the Internet. And it’s pleasing to see many friends and acquaintances also doing so — you can find some links to some great blogs along the right hand side navigation.
What’s in it
A tiny subset of my life makes it into my diary. It’s usually something I think might be moderately amusing, and often things will be exaggerated for comic effect — sometimes I will whinge here about something that is really trivial, and I would not complain about to anybody in real life. Many events go unreported. The lesson here is: Don’t think you know me based purely on what you read here.
From time to time in the past I’ve descended into coarse language. This is not something I apologise for, but since my kids have started reading (so far principally for the pictures) I’ll be mostly refraining from this in the future, looking elsewhere in my vocabulary to achieve comic effect and to express frustrations.
Where it’s going to
For the forseeable future, I’m going to be blogging, and maintaining the web site. ‘Cos it’s, like, fun. Some other parts of toxiccustard.com that get regular updates and would be suited to blogging tools (eg The News You Had To Have and the Guide To Australia) and are likely to be converted at some stage.
A comment from Rae the other week got me thinking about the long-term future of blogs, and mine in particular. Will this content be recorded for future generations to look at? Would anybody be interested? Perhaps just my descendants? Please?
In the case of my diary, some of it almost certainly will, since (for whatever reason) the State Library of Victoria decided to archive it in the National Library of Australia’s Pandora archive, though the updates seem a tad sporadic. Archive.org also has a massive library of archived web content, and a cursory glance seems to show it has a few local blogs archived in it.
The longevity of such archives depends on how long those programmes continue to get funding, and whether or not the devices of tomorrow continue to be able to read the media of today. I suspect that at some stage I will feel the need to make a copy of at least some of my writing onto that most flexible and futureproof of media — paper — for future Bowens to read, if they should wish to do so.
Why this name
Some reasons why this diary has this name:
- When I first put it online there were hardly any diaries on the web, and I thought it would attract hits from people curious about Australia
- Because the “average” word sounds a little self-deprecating, which I like, though lately I’ve thought it sounded almost grandiose
- To annoy any white supremacists who might be outraged that someone who is not entirely Caucasian would dare to call themselves an average Australian (okay so I thought of this reason after it happened — if I find the e-mail again, I’ll post it)
- It was originally “An average Australian’s diary” so it would be near the top of the alphabetically sorted Yahoo directory — though I note I’ve fallen out of that list completely now.
- It was a better name than Toxic Custard
I reserve the right to delete or edit anything. It’s my web site, I pay for the hosting. If you want to express your freedom of speech, get yourself your own web site. That said, I generally don’t act like a Nazi on the comments, and I don’t generally fiddle with comments which disagree with my opinions. Comments that will incur my wrath include:
- Spam. This gets deleted, out of hand.
- Comments which (like spam, really) are blatantly irrelevant to the topic at hand.
- Anything plainly designed to offend, be it aimed at myself, my friends, or whoever.
- Anything else deemed inappropriate.
Think of it as being a bit like going to the pub. Everybody’s welcome, but if you’re just causing trouble, insulting other people or annoying the proprietor, you’ll be ejected.
New comments are currently disabled 60 days after the post has gone out. Theoretically this may cut down on comment spam, though I’m by no means certain that it works, and I may change this in future.
E-mail addresses on comments get stored in the database, so I can reply personally, but never shown on the pages, to avoid spammers picking them up.
Sometimes I edit posts after I have published them. Yeah, apparently this is very bad form. It’s mostly fixing
typagraph… typograf… typos. Occasionally I’ll read something back and think of a much better (wittier, usually) way of saying it, and change it. But I try my best not to fundamentally change the essence of what I’ve written. And certainly not after someone has commented on it.
This particular post may get added to as a kind of one stop FAQ.
Anything else I should say? Any questions to add? Put ’em in the comments.