A great man once told me: “If you’re leaving us, you need to open a website or a blog to keep all of us updated. This is not a request, it’s an order. It doesn’t have to look pretty or interesting; it just has to be.”
This happened 18 days ago in the outskirts of Paris, France. And that man was my best friend.
I am a web and software engineer who grew up and lived in France until very recently. Three weeks ago, I packed my belongings in three way-too-small suitcases and boarded a plane to start a whole new life in Seattle, Washington.
So what is this place about?
This site is going to be my first experience at blogging and I must say it was primarily meant as a way to stay in touch with the friends and family I have left behind through writing. However, I am unfortunately not pretentious enough (outrageous lies – I’m actually awesome) to think I could actually keep up writing interesting articles about my own life and personal experiences for more than a fortnight. Therefore, I have actually decided to make this site an experiment in which I will try mixing personal and professional blogging on the very same medium. Is it a stupid idea? Probably, but it’s worth trying.
So here’s what you will find if you follow this blog:
- Writings about my experiences as a European trying to build a new life in America. Culture clashes, fun stories, tips or advice, and general updates about interesting events in my life – just so my friends know I’m alive and not a bloating corpse floating around in the Puget Sound.
- Articles about life in Seattle. Don’t be fooled, I haven’t just chosen this place randomly using a map and a sharp pencil. Seattle is an amazing city which has a lot to offer, and I’ll be damned if I don’t write about it and try to make all my friends move here too.
Just for the fun of it, here’s what you won’t find on this blog:
- Naked pictures of me – nobody wants to see that.
- Articles about France – I did leave for a reason.
- Quantum and Astrophysics papers – because I’m just not very good at those things. On a side note, you do want to check out the latest findings on Dark matter and Dark energy, it’s fascinating stuff.
The Edge of the World?
I’ve started to talk about the story behind this blog in the introduction, but let’s dig a little deeper. This whole thing actually started as a joke where I just said to my friends “I should totally open a blog when I get to Seattle, because my life will really be that much more interesting”. And that’s when they cornered me, unsheathed their long swords and made me swear over the old and new gods that I would do exactly that thing.
A few days later, my dear friend Pierre (who incidentally also has his own pro blog – you want to check out http://www.pingtimeout.fr if you have any interest in Java) used that cute kitten look with the large shiny eyes, and I was trapped for good.
You knew this was coming.
And there I was, boarding for the journey of a lifetime while leaving most of my beloved ones behind, with the added weight of having to think of a design and a name for my soon-to-be blog. Did I mention that I was given until the plane lands to come up with a name? Because that’s how much of a cool guy Pierre is. That’s right, I didn’t get much sleep on that flight, you French bastard.
So how did I actually come up with this name? Well first of all, for those who haven’t noticed, Seattle is actually quite a bit on the far west side of the United States. When you fly there from France, the plane usually goes over southern Greenland and most of the flight is done over the frozen wastelands of Canada <insert random Canada joke here>.
Long story short, I was standing there (all right smart mouth, I was actually sitting down), looking out the small oval window thinking about where I was going and all the things I was leaving behind; and it honestly felt like I was going to the other side of the world – the Edge of the World.
I was told to put this site up as soon as possible without worrying about a decent design, but my personality just could not allow that. So yes, I dusted the old Photoshop and spent the last couple days putting together this WordPress theme, because nothing’s too beautiful for my dear friends. That, and I’ve been having quite a bit of spare time on my hands…
The result is not breathtaking but I’m happy enough with it. The smartest people will notice that I’ve brought over my background sideshow design from http://www.agonyguild.org – I like this idea and I think it brings a website alive in a very simple way. The implementation is not complicated – a little bit of jQuery and CSS do the trick. If anybody is interested in this design, feel free to steal the code or ask about it in the comments section. Arguably, it might be considered resource-hogging, but people have mostly been complimenting this design until now. Although it is worthwhile to note that only 8 different pictures are loaded in the slideshow on a given web request in order to limit the size of the page. I will be adding new backgrounds as I come across good pictures of the Seattle area.
I’ve chosen to alter the background pictures because it blends together much better than just having plain pictures for which the quality and lighting can differ a whole lot from one cliché to another. Let’s call it an artist’s choice.
Once again, there are no naked pictures of me within the possible backgrounds, so you may stop hitting that F5 key right now.
Please stop talking.
I do want to open this site before the world ends (and we all know it’s happening this year, they can’t possibly be wrong this time…) so I will just go ahead and conclude this dazzling opening article.
I obviously have to mention that I will try and keep this site updated as often as possible and come up with new and exciting ways to entertain my friend followers as well as the IT professionals out there who will stumble upon this site.
Last but not least, I have to say hello to my friends who will be reading this as they wake up, 9 hours ahead from me. So, good morning dudes!
And here we go – my first blog article ever (this sentence just made me feel like a teenage girl).
Welcome to the Edge of the World.