Ah, yes: the Chinese character man, meaning ten thousand:
This is the same man pronounced "ban" in Japanese, as in "Banzai!"—i.e., "ten thousand years," i.e., eternity, because man/ban signifies "myriad," in the same way that the biblical "forty days and forty nights" merely means "a very long time," not a literal 960 hours. (By the way, the Korean "Mansae!" is, in terms of Chinese characters, the equivalent of "Banzai!" If I say "X mansae!", I'm saying "X forever!" or "Long live X!" A Romance equivalent might be "Vive X!" in French or "¡Viva X!" in Spanish.)
With the linguistic pedantry out of the way, let's move on to an examination of this logorrheic achievement. I started this blog on July 4, 2003. It's taken thirteen years, five months, and twenty-six days to reach this point—almost exactly 13.5 years. Using that figure to make a rough calculation, that's about 741 posts per year, or (divided by 365.25) roughly 2 posts per day. The yearly/daily average may be slightly higher if we remember that I spent more than a year away from the blog during the 2008-2010 time frame while I was out walking the Pacific Northwest and then dealing with Mom's brain cancer. During that period, I was still blogging faithfully, but over at Kevin's Walk. That blog still exists, but I won't go back to it until I reattempt a walk across the US mainland—whenever that might be. I also have a tutoring blog that I haven't touched in a while: Time, Effort, Focus. An abundance of pedantry, mainly in the form of grammar Nazism, resides there.
Ten thousand posts at the Hairy Chasms. Whew. This is undoubtedly an accomplishment of some sort—an accumulation that is the sign of long dedication. But is it worthy? Is it meaningful? Or has all this just been an exercise in vanity—fruitless shouting into the void? A blog is an odd thing: at least the way I approach blogging, it's a public forum for certain (surely not all) private thoughts. Sometimes, blogging is a bit like that humorous hashtag on Twitter: #ConfessYourUnpopularOpinion. I air certain thoughts, and people disagree vehemently. In other cases, I air certain thoughts without expecting replies, and I get unnecessarily "corrected" when I'm not, in fact, wrong in what I said. Very rarely, a post will invite a long comment-thread exchange that has the potential to turn into a flame war (anyone remember the interminable debate about grilled cheese?).
So the blog has been a conversation-starter. But has it been worthy or meaningful? I can't answer that question with any objectivity; all I can say is that (1) the blog has helped me improve my writing and thinking skills; (2) the blog has provided me, on occasion, with fodder for writing books; and (3) while the blog hasn't exactly built up a community (which was never really my intention), it has attracted a small handful of (maybe five) faithful readers.
About the improvement in my writing: if you go back to my 2003-era posts, you'll notice I've committed many of the grammatical sins that I now rail against. This is because I was and am still in the process of learning and mastering my own native tongue—as we all should be. This process will go on until I finally die a fat, Jabba-like death, strangled by a young and beautiful princess whom I have kept enslaved for a short while. So please don't accuse me of hypocrisy if you dig through my archives and find certain errors in language. I've learned and grown since then. Like a character in a story, my life has followed certain character arcs, some of which have been dutifully recorded in this nearly fourteen-year-old online journal. One such arc is the increase in my linguistic acumen.
I've noticed certain patterns over the years—tropes and themes to which I return again and again. My "ululate!" posts appear fairly regularly, mainly because people keep dying. My "Ave!" posts appear fairly haphazardly. I've written plenty of movie reviews as well. I used to write a lot about religion and religious studies, but the number and frequency of those posts went down after my mother died, possibly because religion became much less meaningful for me. (I'm still sorting that one out.) I've written a host of to-do lists, some of which I do manage to complete, and others of which I simply abandon as unkept promises. Sue me—I'm human. My writings on politics and current events tend to fluctuate with no discernible pattern: sometimes I have political opinions; sometimes I don't. Given my poor knowledge of history, politics, and law, I often feel under-equipped to write on such subjects... although that doesn't always stop me from expressing my thoughts.
I'm not sure how humorous I've been over the last few years; while I'd like to think that humor is a constant theme on this blog, my inner realist tells me that I too often gravitate toward the serious, and even the lugubrious. I'd love to be the sort of writer who could enchant millions, leaving them in stitches with my razor-sharp wit, but I just don't have that gift. Or, more precisely: if I do have that gift, I haven't explored it and honed it the way I should have.
What I do know is that blogging gives me an outlet for my inner writer. I don't yet know whether it will eventually lead to my writing the Great American Novel, but I do know that it's an activity I need and crave, Lord knows why.
This 10,000th post comes right at the end of 2016, so I may as well let it perform double duty as a year-in-review post. I haven't been consistent, over the years, in writing year-in-review posts. Just last year, for example, my final post for 2015 was titled "ass-wiping challenge for chem students." I'm trying to remember what sort of mood I'd been in to write such a post. But let's give this a shot for 2016, mainly because 2016 has proven to be one hell of a year. I'll confine my review to events that fell into my blog's ambit, i.e., to Hairy Chasms blog posts that I'm proud of, fond of, or appreciative of because I think they might be important. Dave Barry, that cobwebbed old fogey, can continue to scribble his dusty jokes about the world at large; for me, it's enough to look back at the year through the narrow lens of my own writing.
Here's a list of my "ululate!" posts. This includes all such posts ever written, so stop scrolling down when you're no longer in 2016. This year started off with the deaths of David Bowie and Alan Rickman; it ended with the mother-daughter pair of Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher.
Here's a list of my "Ave!" posts. Same deal.
Here's a list of my movie reviews. As above.
Below are some 2016 posts that I'm particularly proud of, listed by month. Don't feel obliged to click every single link; it's enough to know you might click only one or two.
Some Final Thoughts on "Breaking Bad"
Coquilles St. Jacques aux pleurotes
Another Amazing Dinner
A Day for Shabu
"Wit": a Review and Reflection
Did Ted Cruz Just Have His "Dean Scream" Moment?
Welcome, President Clinton (significant because it marks a major moment in my utter misperception of the dynamics of the 2016 presidential election)
Trump versus Hil: A Love Poem (this received no comments, but I still enjoyed writing it)
A Look at Ewha
You "Own" Nothing, Electronically Speaking
The Four-hour Chef: Review (I enjoyed taking down this scammy book)
Pronouns and Representation (some philosophical musings)
To Laugh or To Cry?
Western Feminism Asleep at the Switch When It Comes to Islam
The Iron Triangle in Pictures
"Your English Sucks," Says Hackers Talk (Korean culture)
Today's Linner: "Kobb" Salad (nice visual)
"Captain America: Civil War": Review
The Creekside Path in 48 Images
On the "Bathroom War"
Prose Overlap and Empty Heads
"The Jungle Book": Review (this review and the above review make for a good contrast)
Big Brother is Watching Us
A Too-little-too-late Meditation on Brexit (political/cultural insights)
Now Taking the Book World By Storm! (my "fuck Musey" post)
"He Called Me a Cunt" Redux
A Sunday Visit to the Original Pancake House
"What Dreams May Come": Review
France, Turkey, and the World
Big News from the World of Korean Buddhism
78 Floors, 36 Minutes (of Hell)
It's Nice to Be Wanted
How Did We End Up With...?
Ha Ha—Kakao Taxi! (cringe)
"Weiner": Review (the man is insane)
"Sherlock Holmes": Review
A Reaction to a Nebraskan Ex-expat
From Body to Body (probably my best religion-related post for 2016)
Hillary's Knees Buckle (a little sympathy for the devil)
The Things I Do To Myself
"Dr. Strange": Review (one of my best-written reviews)
Walking Behind an Angel
Let's Not Fight (my favorite political post of the year, this one was a real labor of love, taking 2-3 days to make)
"Sausage Party": Review
Election Postmortem (arguably my most important post of the year)
A Beast of a Feast
Thanksgiving Dinner: The Blow-by-blow
President Park's Speech
Electric Bill: WOW! (mundane, but significant to me)
Tangsuyuk: The Final Product
Tweet No More?
Twitter Account Deactivated
A Walk to the Han in 26 Images
How I Spent My Christmas Eve
For us Yanks, 2016 was more topsy-turvy than most years because we had a presidential election. In terms of my own personal upheavals this year, I said goodbye to my "female companion" (my boss's term) Ligament in May, then in November, I parted ways with fellow blogger Malcolm Pollack. 2016 was very instructive in terms of how much I didn't know or understand about politics, history, and mass human behavior; I'm not sure I've internalized all the lessons I should have, but at the very least, I've been made aware of my unawareness. That, too, counts as a character arc.
After a year of celebrity deaths and sociopolitical upheaval (let's not forget South Korea's current political crisis, which affects me only obliquely as long as the eventual transfer of power remains nonviolent), we now stand at the precipice of 2017. We move into a new year, and I move beyond my 10,000th post to what I hope will be another 13.5 years of blogging. I'll probably be on this medium long, long after it has completely fallen out of fashion (according to many, it's already thoroughly démodé)... but that's quite far into my personal future. Let's just concentrate, for now, on living—and learning—one year at a time.
Happy New Year, then, to all my faithful readers. May 2017 bring you peace, happiness, progress, and prosperity. See you on the other side.