Sat 3 Nov 2012
Well, it’s been quite a while since I’ve gotten to post here. Things have been somewhat hectic with school, life, etc. Plus, I tend to engage more frequently with my professional blog, my professional twitter, etc. It’s hard not to when you’re an academic, after all, academia isn’t really a 9-5 job. And when your brain is always on and reading and absorbing and thinking of ideas, you’re more apt to hit the professional side of things instead.
The past nearly two years since I last posted (it feels like forever, yet it also feels like it’s breezed by) have been busy. Since that point, I took and passed my comprehensive exams, I went to three conferences in 2011, I went to two more conferences in 2012, and I went to the doctoral consortium in 2012. I also wrote and successfully orally defended my dissertation proposal.
At the moment, I’m working on my dissertation and looking to finish it in February 2013. As well, I’m on the academic job market. That is to say, in a somewhat formal process of seeking a job as assistant professor, I’m playing the waiting game with a bunch of schools. To top it off, my wife is pregnant with our first child and we’re expecting Baby Smalrus to come any day. So you can imagine, it’s been tough to find time to bounce around where I used to post. Twitter, in particular, has made it extremely easy for me to share links, to bounce simple thoughts, to complain about my day… particularly in a non-academic context.
I’ve managed to watch the evolution of this site as I’ve evolved. My digital footprint spans nearly 15 years, to when I first created a web page on my high school’s server back in 1996. In 1997, I adapted the ‘smalrus’ handle. Smalrus was a portmaneau of my name and my favorite Beatles’ song, “I am the Walrus.” It’s a name I registered in every place around the web. From the defunct geocities to the defunct xoom to the defunct nbci.com… aol, rocketmail, yahoo… you name it, smalrus has been there. For me, ‘smalrus’ is a trademark identity that’s an important part of my personal life on the web. These days, I frequently register dually on sites: one using ‘smalrus’, the other using my professional handle. Regardless of the frequency with which I post on smalrus.com, I’m still smalrus. In fact, for nostalgia’s sake, here’re a few smalrus pictures from years’ past:
Smalrus is me.
So, you can imagine how odd I found it when someone–some stranger–randomly in February decided she was going to start some tumblr picture blog using my handle. Not only that, the pictures were of cats… which clearly aren’t what the smalrus pictures from 1997 are. So why does this bother me and why do I heavily consider paying the couple hundred dollars to formally register a trademark with USPTO?
The answer is because it’s my identity. And usurping that usurps the half of my life that’s been using that identity to express myself online. Much like this bit of catharsis in this post, this blog has frequently been used to grapple with issues I’ve had, whether they be the banal gettings over of a high school girlfriend or the realm of politics. It’s been a nickname online and in real life. So it’s hard to think that by attributing anything else to my name, that it’s not me. To me, it’s much like forging my signature and saying it’s me. That’s something that’s hard not to want to protect.
Not quite sure what or when I’m going to do it, but it’s given me serious pause for ontological thought, especially with the impending arrival of Baby Smalrus (as he or she has been affectionately referred to by others). But regardless, I’m still smalrus. Regardless of the frequency I get around to posting over here, I am (and always will be) the smalrus, smoo goo g’joob.