RSS Update 2

Against my better judgment, I’ve decided to stay with Feedburner as this blog’s RSS provider.  Stories of Feedburner’s impending demise have been circulating since late 2012, when Google closed up shop on Feedburner’s API and deleted the service’s blog and Twitter account.  Despite apparently having fallen out of favor at Google, it’s still functional, and I just wasn’t able to find a comparable free service I felt comfortable with.

I’m not entirely comfortable with the idea that Feedburner could just disappear (or worse, remain ostensibly “up” but non-functional, with Google unresponsive), but I suppose that’s the risk we run with any of these free web services.  Easy come, easy go; it’s not like I can demand a refund.  It’s a bridge I’ll have to cross if/when I come to it.

At any rate, the Feedburner address is now sourced from the feed generated by the new domain name, so if you are a previous subscriber, you shouldn’t need to change anything.  If, however, you subscribed to the native feed from the old domain (apaceofchange.com/feed), that will stop working once the old domain expires, so now’s as good a time as any to make the switch.  You can click on the RSS or email icons under Subscribe to Updates in the sidebar, or just click here to subscribe to RSS.

RSS Update 1

Thanks to Pat for bringing to my attention that the new RSS feed for this blog doesn’t seem to be working.  I plan to switch the feed over to a third-party service this evening, 1/10/15, so if you read this blog in a feedreader and you’re still using the old feed, this will likely be the last post on that feed.

I’ll post another update when the changeover is complete, so please, come back here and visit the actual blog at my new address, www.drdamian.org/blog.  At that time, I hope you’ll subscribe to the new feed and continue with me on this blogging journey I’ve been on for over half my career now.

Quick Housekeeping Note

In an effort to consolidate my social media/Internet presence, I’m in the process of “rebranding” everything under the handle drdamian (or, on Twitter and Instagram, _drdamian with an underscore).  That includes my portfolio website – formerly DamianBariexca.net – which is now DrDamian.org.  Besides being sorta catchy, there’s less room for human error when I tell someone the URL (I’ve been spelling Bariexca for people nearly as long as I’ve been able to talk, but it tends to throw people when they first try to spell or write it).

This blog is also getting a URL makeover.  I first purchased the ApaceOfChange.com domain name simply to redirect to my Edublogs site when I started blogging in the summer of 2007.  It wasn’t until December 2008 that I began the self-hosted WordPress version that has existed until now.

The old domains will redirect to the new for a few months, but if you subscribe to this blog in a feedreader, please update your feed accordingly:

New URL: drdamian.org/blog

New RSS feed: drdamian.org/blog/feed Do not use.

I know it might seem narcissistic, but to me it’s more about hashing out my understanding of digital identity and the digital footprint to which I contribute almost daily.  My two biggest concerns at this point are:

  1. not losing the few readers I have (but does anyone use RSS anymore?  Besides me, I mean), and
  2. getting the new, singular identity to get the same level of juice in the search results for my name as all my disparate identities that have been around for the last eight years

If anyone has any suggestions (that don’t involve me buying your amazing new SEO service), I’m all ears.

Update: The old Feedburner feed appears to still be updating for now.  Fair enough, but that won’t be the case once the ApaceOfChange domain expires this summer.  Better to switch over now, IMHO.

Update 2: I’m going to be switching the RSS feed over to a third-party service tonight (1/10/15), so please update your feedreaders accordingly afterward.

2014: Worth Twelve Thousand Words

Two years ago, I decided to look at the numbers that shaped my 2012.  This year, inspired by a friend’s post, I chose to revisit a picture for each month of 2014.

January

0114

Dylan and I started off 2014 with the Pinewood Derby.  His Creeper car didn’t win many heats, but hey… Creeper car.

February

0214

Our region of the US got absolutely slammed with snow between mid-January and late February last year.  This is our backyard and driveway; the snow is probably about two feet deep in the flat areas.  I’m not sure exactly how tall the pile at the bottom of our driveway is, but I’m 6’2″ and I remember the highest point being pretty close to eye level.

March

0314

My wife is a frequent morning radio trivia player (and winner).  This month, we got a rare night out on our own to see the Cirque du Soleil tribute to Michael Jackson in Trenton, NJ, near where I work.

April

0414

Dylan and I went to Philly BrickFest, an exhibition with custom bricks & figures, giveaways, and some incredibly detailed & complex scenes, including this cityscape.  If you’re in the area, there’s a Groupon for the 2015 BrickFest this April in Oaks, PA.

May

0514

After the winter we had, they’re probably wishing to never see another snowflake again.

June

0614

Kiera performs with the rest of her graduating kindergarten class.

July

0714

Dylan was chosen to help the Royal Caribbean cruise ship staff demonstrate the proper use of a life vest.

August

0814

Dissertation writing began in earnest after we got back from the cruise in July and went straight through the rest of the summer.  This was my view many mornings this month.

September

0914

Steph and I finally got to see The Book of Mormon, on the last performance of its Philly run at the Forrest Theatre.

October

1014

I’m all smiles after a two-hour (successful) dissertation defense, along with my committee.

November

1114

After a several-hour wait, Dylan got to meet Diary of a Wimpy Kid series author Jeff Kinney and get his book signed in Bethlehem, PA.  Totally worth it, according to him (Dylan, not Kinney).

December

1214

After watching all her friends lose teeth like it was going out style, Kiera finally lost her first tooth, on December 23, at the ripe old age of 6 years and almost 11 months.  When it rains, it pours: she lost the tooth right next to it a few days later.

In the absence of a 365 Project (I’ve done three; not planning to do another one anytime soon), it was nice to go back through our family pictures in preparation for this post, sift through the hundreds of shots, and reminisce a bit, even (or perhaps especially) over the photos that didn’t make this post.  In a world of blazing fast social media feeds and 24-hour news cycles, it’s nice to slow down a bit, go back, and deliberately revisit and review the recent past.

Looking Back, Looking Forward

From a blog post I wrote on 23 December 2013:

If nothing else, hopefully it will be an entry I can look back on this time next year, as I’m preparing to graduate, and laugh at, remembering that time I panicked unnecessarily and frantically spat out a blog post full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

I remember very clearly where I was when I wrote this: in the same place I’m sitting now, on the leftmost cushion of my living room couch, feet up on the coffee table, in a semi-dark room lit primarily by our Christmas tree.  I remember it so clearly because of the emotions I was experiencing at the time: self-doubt, panic, and a sense of being overwhelmed that I have rarely felt before or since.  I had just recently had a meeting with my dissertation committee and was told that there needed to be major revisions to my proposal (maybe “overhaul” is a better word) before they would approve me to begin my research.  While I was expecting to have to make some revisions, what was described to me in the meeting was unexpected, to put it mildly.

A lot has happened in the year since.  As I’ve documented in multiple posts here, of course, I did make those revisions, conduct my research, and successfully defend my dissertation (you can read it here if you need help falling asleep) over the following months.

Additionally, I received a very nice compliment in the form of one of my committee members asking me to sit on future dissertation committees for qualitative studies because I “really get qualitative research” (I have to say, I really enjoyed this part of my research much more than looking at the quantitative data in my mixed-methods study).

I was also one of five graduating doctoral students asked to present their research at a poster session at my university’s Faculty Senate meeting earlier this month.  Oddly enough, two sick children and a lack of emergency child care kept me housebound that day, but I was still able to present due to some quick thinking and the magic of Skype and its screen-sharing function.

Finally, I was asked last week to give the commencement address at my own graduation ceremony next month.  This is an incredible honor, albeit an entirely unexpected one, so I’ll be spending some time during the winter holiday break sketching out some thoughts to share with my fellow graduates – a much better use of my time than the panicking and stressing that occupied most of my break last year.

So anyway, yeah, it’s been an eventful year.  I’m not laughing as I look back on last year’s blog post, because even with the perspective granted by distance, I still feel my concerns were well-founded, but I got through it – maybe not as quickly, cleanly, or efficiently as I would have liked, but I got through it.

Scrolling back through my archives, it seems I’ve been blogging about doctoral studies since early 2009, when I was bemoaning the lack of opportunities for study for people who were employed full-time.  I guess this revisiting of my panic post from last year is my way of putting a bow on this topic on this blog, at least for the foreseeable future.  It’s done.  I’m done.  Dr. Damian is in the house.

I mentioned in the spring that I’ve started a new leg of my career in that I am now an administrator in my school district.  Between finishing up the dissertation and starting a new job, time and energy for blogging have both been understandably scarce.

I have never liked the idea of New Year’s resolutions, but maybe since the end of my doctoral program JUST HAPPENS to come at this time of year, next month would be a good time to resume a more regular blogging schedule of 1-2 times per month.  It’s something I’ve been looking forward to, and while time and energy have been scarce, topics and thoughts have most certainly been in abundant supply.

A few weeks ago, I saw a link come across Twitter: it was John Spencer’s “Advice for New Bloggers“.  Perfect, I thought – I’m by no means a new blogger, but maybe a little structure and fresh perspective will help me jump start this thing for 2015.  I clicked on the link, eager for some bullet-pointed guidance, but what I found was this:

Write whatever the hell you want to write.

Instead of instruction, I got affirmation.  I’ll take it.  Happy New Year; see you in 2015.