Sunday, 2 January 2011

The Prodigal Son Returns

In keeping with the tradition of New Year's Lists, here's mine for 2010: The Top 5 Things that Stopped Me Blogging This Year.

  1. My PhD. It's my last year of funding and my third year of research: this creates a simple equation - Lf + Wy = Panic, where Lf is "last year of funding" and Wy is "writing-up year". Panic is perhaps slightly too strong a term, but I have basically about 10 months to finish off the damn thing and get on with my life.
  2. Work. I translate ordinances and acts into English for the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry on a freelance basis, and autumn is for whatever reason the time of year when this sort of field gets busy. So since October I've been hunched over my computer looking up obscure Japanese terms and discovering they mean things like "zero coupon bond" and "share with put option", rather than, say, "3d6+4 damage" or "zombie beholder".
  3. Gaming. Seems strange to say, but regular gaming in "real life" has taken a lot of my energy away from writing about it. During this blog's heyday of 2008-2009, when I was writing an entry pretty much every day and often even more frequently, I wasn't gaming at all, and thus Monsters & Manuals was a kind of release valve. Now I'm playing pretty often and have a solid group, so there's no need to let off steam online.
  4. Swearing off forums. I do love hanging around places like and the rpg site, but I realised about 6 months ago that they were pretty much hives of scum and villainy (and in's case, annoying mods) and grotesque sinks of my time. Since forums are a great source of grist for the blogging mill, my lack of access to them simply stripped away a lot of stuff to write about.
  5. Having a Kindle. Alright, it didn't stop me blogging really, but I've been doing a lot of reading on it (thanks to the magnificent feat of human endeavour that is Project Gutenberg) and, well, I just wanted to show off my latest toy, really.

Which is all a roundabout way of saying, thanks for sticking with this blog despite its silence over the last few months. You can probably guess what my New Year's Resolution will be: To update my blog and comment on somebody's else's once a day on weekdays and once at the weekend for the duration of 2011. Can I make it beyond about January 8th? Watch this space.


  1. Well, at least those are good reasons, and you didn't stop blogging because your life had taken a turn for the worse.

    Welcome back!

  2. word of warning Noisms. I bought an ereader in the UK and now I'm in Japan, and the bastards (I have so many more colourful words for it than that) in the British and US online retailers have stopped selling to Japanese customers since I bought it. They check your IP address, not just your credit card number (though they check that too).

    As far as I know there is only one company from whom I can purchase ebooks (WH SMith) and I don't know how long they're going to keep their "permissive" attitude to Intellectual Property. So stock up before you move back here.

    Or alternatively, since you're a lawyer... do something about it!! Unless you want 1 less excuse for failing to meet your new years' resolution ...

  3. I wonder what the rational for that is? I could understand if it was China... Anyway, I just download free ones so it hardly matters. (Seriously, Project Gutenberg has enough good reading to last about a dozen lifetimes...)

  4. Glad to see you back Noisms.

    If you've been gaming instead of blogging about gaming you should now have some great blog material thanks to that experience.

    That's called the Circle of Life that is.

  5. Welcome back Noisms, sounds like you've had quite a full plate.

    I've reached the same conclusion as you regarding the forums: Entertaining, but there's a lot of heat and not much light. Not that blogs are necessarily more substantive, but I prefer the slightly longer, better thought-out format of your average blog post than your typical message board gas-blower.

    What are you pursuing a PhD in, if you don't mind me asking?

  6. Barking Alien: The circle of life... is a wheel of fortune...

    Brian Murphy: It's officially in International Law, but has kind of morphed into a legal theory or philosophy of law PhD. Basically it's about how human rights law reflects Enlightenment ideals not only in terms of content (which everybody knows) but also in process (because it's all about transforming society from the top down, as Enlightenment thinkers tried to). I'm basically arguing that this is problematic - that as with most things law arises organically and can't be imposed from above very successfully. This is why human rights are not readily acknowledged outside of societies in which they did evolve organically (i.e. Western Europe and North America).

  7. yyyyyyyyaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy!!!!!

  8. Yup, those are pretty legit reasons to not be blogging - but so glad to see you back!

  9. Actually, if you're going to start banging out Elton John lyrics, I might take back the "welcome back".

    Or something.

  10. I discovered your little corner of Internet last week and, as I read voraciuosly the older posts, I start begging for more like a junkie in need. Your return has done a lot for my peace of soul.

    (please forgive my crappy english)

  11. Kelvin, Don't go breaking my heart.

    Thanks, Liza. I always aim to bring peace to peoples' souls. It rarely succeeds though.