Call Me Ishmael

April 27, 2007; Matthew Henry Hall

Don’t, actually. But Ishmael didn’t know what he was getting into when he signed up for his little expedition, and I’m not sure I do either. It was only two nights ago that I was sitting in front of my computer, staring at my browser when I thought, ‘I should find more things to do with the internet than check my email and Facebook accounts.’

I’ll back up for just a second now, and explain that for the past month or so, I have been marveling at my roommate’s ability to find random things on the internet: sometimes hilarious, and sometimes just strangely catchy. I asked my roommate how he found all of this stuff. His answer: StumbleUpon. For those of you who don’t know, StumbleUpon is a site that lets you ‘like’ or ‘dislike’ any webpage, as well as choose from a list of categories that interest you, and out of this information it will whisk you off to a randomly selected page that it thinks you might like too. And of course, you can share these rare finds with friends on other social networking sites as well as with your fellow Stumblers. So I dabbled in Stumbling across the interwebs for a while, and here’s one site I particularly enjoyed. Calvin plus snowmen equals crazy – who knew?

So I had my Stumbling, and my email, and my Facebook and all was well. Until a couple nights ago. That’s when I realized that I had been shunning the internet! Sure, I use the internet, but all the while I’ve been completely baffled by the schmorgasboard of sites out there, especially of the social network variety. As my Dad might say, it was mind-boggling. But I felt a left out. I mean, why does everyone else have this magical ability to find something interesting and shiny out of the infinite goop and gunk that is the internet? And it hit me – this is a self imposed isolation. For years I’ve turned down invitations to new sites and networks saying, ‘I’m already on Facebook, what do I need another site with a username for?’ I never realized that all of these sites, all of these networks are just one of many ways that people around the world get to the good stuff. The meat and potatoes of the web.

With all of this in mind I set out on my merry way. In the past two days I’ve followed links, read blogs, and found new sites focusing on things I’ve never heard of before. And in the middle of all this I’ve been thinking, ‘what about a blog?’ What about a blog indeed. Not too long ago I tried starting a blog with Blogger, but it didn’t go so well. I didn’t have a focus, I didn’t have an idea, and most of all I didn’t have the drive to really immerse myself in the online community. But now it’s different. Now I have an aim to rediscover the internet in all of its surprisingly random glory. This venture would have been exciting enough for me as it is, but I like writing too, so writing a blog about my misadventures on the web gives the whole endeavor an added appeal.

So here we are. My first post on my ‘first’ blog. My blog is the first of what I hope to be many additions to my online presence. But this blog will be a central part of that presence. I hope to use it to catalogue the sites I discover and the things I learn. And hopefully along the way I’ll find some fellow bloggers and/or readers that have some things they’d like to share with me to expand my web-crawling horizons.

I’ve already bounced this idea off a few friends and gotten some great positive feedback. Feedback that sometimes came with a lot of really cool sites that I am eager to explore and share here with all of you. So here we go. Plugging my nose and jumping in the deep end.

1… 2… 3..!



  1. I hope you enjoy the blogging experience. I’ve found it to be very interesting-especially when there are comments from total strangers.

    • I’m flattered that I was mentioned in your first posting.I’m sure that you’ll find many interesting ideas in your new adventure.

      • Thanks to both of you. I’m very excited!

  2. I find there’s usually some good stuff on HuffingtonPost if you look in the Entertainment or Comedy section.

    Another way to go about this though might be to to try to develop a symbiotic relationship with your readers where they send you the links and you comment on the most interesting ones in your blog.

    • I love this idea. If anyone finds anything interesting and would like to share it I will definitely take the time to check into it and write about it.

  3. Also, I believe your title is not so much a biblical reference as it is a West Wing reference. Yes?

    • Well, I actually meant for this to be a reference to Herman Melville’s Moby Dick.
      But the West Wing episode you’re referring to is Isaac and Ishmael, right? The special episode aired right after 9/11? I’m not sure what you see this reference as being?

  4. YAY! I get to read stuff my brother writes! Such fun!

  5. I have to apologize for my delayed approval of your comment. It was caught by my spam filter which I don’t check too often, because so far it’s been correct about spam.
    Second, I gave credit to Haley Whithall for being my first random reader/commenter, but clearly this distinction belongs to you. Either way, it’s great to find new people reading.
    Happy new year, and I hope you enjoy reading.

  6. […] and is a service I tried using a year or so ago (I mentioned something about this briefly in my first post). At the time I felt as though I kept bouncing between hobbies and so I was going to dedicate my […]

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