Whose site is this?

For now, I think I’d like to keep a few bits of anonymity to a stranger, as I’ve already leaked more than enough. If you think you know me and want to verify: the hex digest of the SHA256 sum of my full name begins with 5b.

What’s with the title?

I’m the sort of person who, resolving to do something, often ends up doing something tangential to the thing or technically related, but deep down one path of the decision tree. When I think to myself “I should make a game!” I spend months building a new game engine from scratch. When I decide “I should start a blog!” the obvious first step is to independently reinvent Xanadu, down to the final product never materializing. (Both of these have happened more times than I can count on one hand.) In both cases, by the time I’m ready to actually do the thing I’ve lost interest.

(In a caption that breaks the top of the first panels frame:) Preparing for a blog: (Hairy with wet hair and a towel around his waist thinks with his hand to his chin. There are four situations, but it is not possible to read the fourth line.) Hairy: What situations might I prepare for? 1) Interactive demos 2) Italicizing text 3) Linking images (Close-up on Hairy’s face. He’s still thinking. There are again four situations, but again it is not possible to read the fourth line.) Hairy: Okay, what languages can I write demos in? 1) A) Javascript    B) Typescript    C) Any -> WASM (Zooming out again to full figure of Hairy. He is still thinking… There are four reasons mentioned, but again it is not possible to read the fourth line.) Hairy: Hmm. Is WASM a viable compilation target? 1) A) a) Simplicity     ?       b) Tail call opt. ? c) Continuations  ? (Hairy is sitting down in a chair with a laptop in his lap, while still wearing the towel.) Hairy: The research comparing bytecodes is scattered and inconsistent. I’ll make a spreadsheet to organize it. (Bottom panel is larger than top four, and aligned to right. Ponytail meets Hairy on his front stoop. She is carrying a purse, and looks down at the towel he is still wearing. Hairy holds his arms in the air.) Ponytail: I’m here to pick you up. You’re not dressed? Hairy: While WASM hides the stack, so do certain x86 security mitigations, but a simple design change to the way– (Below this last panel is the following caption:) I really need to stop using depth-first searches.

So I need to find ways around this tendency of mine. One thing I’ve tried is refusing to announce the project (or purchase a domain, etc.) until a minimum viable version is ready for release. (If you’re reading this, this worked for once.) But this only gets me halfway, to the point that I’m sitting down at a word processor and suddenly realize all my thoughts are either

  • too confused or convoluted to express well in writing at all, or
  • distillable to the size of a tweet given I and the reader share enough context

In both scenarios, working the idea into essay form is a slog. I worry about retreading ground that’s already been covered, both out of laziness and concern that my regurgitation of a concept will be much worse than the original source (which hurts the source as well). Maybe the idea has to hide behind a shield of irony to seem any good, and when uncloaked and dissected it’s clearly inane. Despite these worries, I am clinging onto hope that Keith is onto something here:

The truth is that the best ideas are often psychotic, obscene, and unoriginal.

— Keith Johnstone, Impro: Improvisation and the Theatre