Front matter, FAQ and user guide.
Last updated: 2013-02-23
My name is Timothy O'Connell and this is my personal blog.
Since the blog's inception in 2004, I have written (very nearly) all of the content and done (very nearly) all of the programming myself. The blog has no specific subject, topic or intention: it is a platform for whatever writing or media I feel like I need to publish.
The original plan for the blog was to create a public website whose format was essay-a-day. The thinking was that I would commit loudly and publicly to a one-essay-a-day production schedule and thus be forced to produce. I also think I read somewhere that writing an essay a day would increase my proficiency with expository composition.
Even back then I recognized in myself a tendency towards the obscure. If I commit to writing an essay every day, the thinking went, I would eventually learn to write clearly by sheer force of repetition.
And so, starting in 2004, I wrote an essay a day and published it at this URL.
In many of those older posts--most of which were written while I was enrolled in grad school and working part time as a bartender--there is a surplus of the anxieties, outbursts and typographical errors one would expect from a fledgling author, a failing academic and a fish out of water. I don't mean to disclaim them (the writings, not the typos), but I can't exactly misrepresent them as creative works that are either near or dear to me: I look at them now and I see the disorganized cries for attention of a vain, misguided and arrogant autodidact whose petty polemic, while occasionally hard-hitting, generally flies wide of its mark and redounds upon its author.
At any rate, the daily essays were published without major interruptions for the two years I was away at grad school. When I finished grad school and returned from Connecticut to Chicago in 2006, I put the blog on official hiatus. The hiatus ended in 2008 and I started publishing essays again, but without the daily commitment.
In the posts from 2008 and beyond, I like to think that I demonstrate some growth, progress and, more importantly, an increased sense of focus and urgency.
demongin.org went on a lengthy hiatus again in the summer of 2009, when I relocated again, this time to Washington, DC. The hiatus was shorter, this time around, because it was planned: when I effectively shut it down in June of 2009, I planned to re-develop the site and return from hiatus after the re-development.
Since the second planned hiatus, I have used this URL to publish sporadically. Rather than declaring an official hiatus and shutting it down until I felt like I could commit to regular publishing, I decided to just let it run and publish whenever the urge struck.
Other projects of mine include (but are not limited to):
- toconnell.info: my portfolio and directory website. It contains all of my Web2.0 contact info and an index of past and present projects.
- Children's Masterpiece Theatre: a former band to which I gave much of myself for many years.
- The Proscriptions: an on-going assault on good taste, common sense and basic human decency.
- Tyranny Belle Records: free music (free like free software. And free like free beer).
"The demongin", as I like to call it, is based on a class project from high school. The setup is familiar enough: intro to graphic design culminates in a final project that requires the invention and development of a pretend company, its trademarks and logos. My company, 2000i, manufactured novelty rayguns for wealthy enthusiasts of classic science fiction. Their logo was the demongin.
I also have a small demongin tattooed on the inside of my left arm, just above the elbow, amidst a swirling night wind upon which about a dozen or so cherry blossoms drift.
All graphics/art on this website were processed with the GIMP.
I am, like most of the hyper-active, over-committed "-athon generation" to which I belong, an over-credentialed under-achiever who can hardly settle on a mood, let alone a career, a place of residence or an orthographic convention.
I like computers.
Actually, I kind of hate computers: they're like pets but they don't care about you and you have to dust them and replace broken parts and, basically, they're kind of an awful solution to the problem of manipulating and sharing data.
So I kind of hate computers, but I really like information systems (and you need the former to participate in and develop the latter). I like to invent new information systems, optimize existing ones and study ancient ones. Computers--and programming languages and computer science and all of that--are kind of just a means-to-an-end for me.
I have a bachelor's degree in English from the University of Illinois at Chicago, a master's degree in religion and the arts from Yale University and have been everything from a produce clerk to a system administrator in my time. I worked at a Walgreen's for nearly a year in high school.
I have played various instruments in numerous Chicago bands, a partial list of which includes Children's Masterpiece Theatre, Dubious Moniker, The Proscriptions, The Sweetheart Brigade and The Nix. I have produced recordings for Rusty Pipes, local bluesman Dan Patrevito and others. My preferred mode of musical expression and composition is percussion; I'm a capable sequencer of electronic drums and an enthusiastic (if not very good) player of acoustic drums.
I occasionally do freelance pro-audio and sound design work on a contract basis.
I am also a bit of a linguaphile. In addition to the (very small amount of) German I picked up in high school, I also know enough Latin to make fun of action movies set in the middle ages and just barely enough Japanese to sound out (but not necessarily get the sense of) clearly written kana when I come across it.
This is the seventh iteration of demongin.org. Unlike each previous generation, the entire site was not written from scratch. In previous iterations, I made a point of not using anybody else's templating software, frameworks, etc. This iteration was developed entirely using Django, an open source web framework.
The first five iterations of the site were a rat's nest of HTML and PHP, the sixth iteration was written entirely in python, using vim, and relied upon PostGreSQL for its back-end.
The best (not just my favorite, but the best) colorscheme for vim is, without a doubt, elflord.
Source code for the sixth and seventh iterations of the site is available upon request.