Five years ago, I finally registered a domain name that had been in my head a long time, one for Chortles and Harrumphs. I’d always enjoyed the feel of the two words: academic, yet whimsical. It is perhaps not a surprise that ‘chortle’ was coined by Lewis Carrol in Through the Looking Glass; it bubbles with the imagery of smiling Cheshire cats and Mad Hatters.
However, in the three years that followed, other than maintaining the domain name and paying fees to WordPress, I hardly did anything with it. Indeed, as the fourth year of the blog rang in, there were only two total articles published, one of which I wrote in a hospital waiting room.
Thus, when I began my 2020 Year of Challenges, I set January as the month of blogging. This had the two-fold benefit of establishing a writing routine for the blog, as well as setting the basis for the internet repository where I would report on my other challenges.
However, as the pressures and events of 2020 took their toll, so too did my writing output decline. The challenges stopped and so did the articles.
Last year, I worked to finish a couple of the orphaned challenges of the year before, including painting the view of my old apartment and fixing my vandalized scooter with Legos. I also included a book review or two. However, presumably benefitting from the long-term effects of Google’s Page Rank algorithms, I actually had more visitors than in 2020 when I published more than four times as many articles.
My top three articles were also from 2020. With COVID still raging strong and people trying to find some fitness in their lives, the 10,000 pushup challenge is understandable, but why my blog has become the go-to source for ‘Limón mandarina’ knowledge is anyone’s guess.
The global reach, while small in numbers, also staggered me. In 2021, the blog was visited by people in 95 different countries or semi-autonomous territories. It is wild how connected we really are.
So this year, I’d like to return to writing. I’m at a bit of a crossroads in life. I will finish my current postdoc research position here in Montpellier in March. Having worked here for 5.5 years, it is the longest I have been anywhere in my adult life. But all chapters eventually come to an end, and so afterwards I’ll enjoy a bit of French chômage while looking for a job back in the States. I plan to post one blog per week, as well as spruce up the general look of the website. I have a few ideas for future posts, but as always any feedback is welcome.