My avatar across the web: a photo of my feet in grey-white socks and brown sandals.

Ben Babcock

I read, write, code, and knit.

3 Articles from September 2018

  1. 10 years of reviewing every book I read

    I reflect on writing over 1400 detailed reviews, one for every book I’ve read since joining Goodreads 10 years ago.

    Back in May 2008 I joined a little website called Goodreads, then privately-owned and managed, which wanted to be the next big social media platform for readers. At first I just played around with the site, rating some books I'd previously read, and keeping track of what I was reading now. I'd write the odd review. Sometime later that year, probably around August or September, I began to review every book I read.

    And now I’ve been doing that for a whole decade.

    So much has changed over that time. Amazon bought Goodreads, and while it hasn't torpedoed the site the way it did Shelfari, our new corporate overlords have been felt (mainly in how much the site hasn't changed). But this post isn’t about that. It isn’t even about how, in the past 10 years, I’ve learned how to knit, graduated from university, lived and taught in England and then moved back to Thunder Bay, started teaching in adult education, bought a house, made new best friends, etc. All that is to say, 10 years in a long time to do anything, and one of the few things that have remained constant during that time is my book…

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  2. Ben and Becky take Montreal

    I went on vacation to visit my friend Rebecca in her new city of Montreal, and I had an awesome, relaxing time.

    Previously I mentioned how one of my best friends moved to Montreal in June. After working through the summer (yes, some teachers don’t have the summer off!), I had the last week of August for holidays. I chose to spend some of that time visiting Rebecca in Montreal, which was my first time going to that city.

    I should mention before we get into the travel diary portion of this post: ironically, I think Rebecca and I have spent more time together since she moved away. (To her credit, she predicted this, and she was right.) We video chat so frequently, still watch Buffy together even more frequently than when she was in town—often synced up so perfectly I can listen to the audio through her mic and my computer speakers and mute my TV! Lately, she has taken to calling me on the phone (yes, actual voice calls without any audio component) most days … and … I actually kind of like it. I hate chatting on the phone; I find that without being able to see a person, I have more trouble remaining engaged in the conversation.

    But … it’s just really nice to have friends in my…

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  3. New site who dis?

    It has been over five years since the last major redesign of my website! The gap is largely because, as I’ve grown older and become more occupied with adulting and other real-life things, I’ve lost much of my interest in coding. I’m finding it difficult to devote the time required to keep up with advances in technologies like CSS, much less finishing my own designs or tweaking the software needed to keep the lights on.

    Still, I stubbornly refuse to give in and just throw up a WordPress site. Never going to happen.

    That being said, part of me wondered if this update would ever get out the door. It has been a long time coming. The clunkiness of my website has been the major reason I haven’t blogged since January (way more so than available time or even interest), and sometime over the summer, my blog actually broke entirely (no clue why). I reached a point where I realized I finally had the motivation and the need to finish this upgrade. Fortunately, when I opened up Sublime Text and poked around this project, I discovered that the redesign aspect of the project was almost complete. Whew. I hate…

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