Growing houseplants
19 May 2022 | 12:00 am

While I was on a Zoom call two weeks ago, I noticed something that ignited a great sense of excitement. The parlor palm on my desk, which I have had since last year, started to grow leaves. This excited me because after months of few signs of growth, the plant was now changing.

I had forgotten that houseplants could grow entirely new leaves. My palm plant has always gotten along reasonably well -- despite the few leaves that have been dying for the last month or two -- but nothing has ever showed any signs of growth. I have been thrilled at sustaining the plant, especially after hearing stories of people buying new houseplants after one died.

Watering my plant every week, and occasionally misting the leaves, has worked. These last few days I have been looking eagerly at my plant. I can see the new leaves getting bigger and turning from the bright green colour they were at the beginning to a slightly darker green. I have a feeling that in the next few weeks I will have a full new branch of leaves on the palm (I am a novice at houseplants so excuse me if I make any technical errors when describing my plants).

Metaphorically, this has reminded me that even during periods where I may not be growing, that doesn't mean I have stopped growing. I'm still learning and there are plenty of opportunities for me to grow just like my plant. It's very me to turn the growth of my plant into a higher level comment about personal growth. More than anything else, I am excited that my plant is growing. I hope to see it, and the other two plants I recently acquired after being inspired by the growth of my palm, to continue to grow, make new leaves, and become bigger.

Owning my links
19 May 2022 | 12:00 am

Tantek shared that he has links on his website that post to other social media profiles he owns. This became a topic of discussion in the IndieWeb chat (if you are not a member and like talking about the web, you should definitely join us!). We have not yet fully arrived at a way to articulate the pattern of having a link on your site that takes you to another profile or resource you own on the web. The best we have right now is "own your links." I prepared a stub IndieWeb wiki page for this concept earlier today to keep the discussion going and encourage more thought on this topic.

I have set up two new links on my site. One link redirects to my GitHub profile. Another link redirects to my Instagram profile:

  • GitHub:
  • Instagram:

I now intend to refer to the above two resources by using the links I have made rather than using direct links to my profiles. Using the links above and linking directly to the resource to which they point both achieve the same effect, with one key difference: I own the links on my site but not necessarily the ones on other sites. I can change these links as I want. That's not the main reason I am doing this though. I like the vanity and clarity of having links that are on my site and take you to a certain place. puts my personal website front and center, unlike linking directly to my GitHub account.

To achieve this, I wrote two simple redirects in my site nginx configuration:

rewrite /github/ permanent;

rewrite /instagram/ permanent;

You can learn more about this pattern on the IndieWeb wiki. Expect to see me link to the above profiles using my own domain rather than the platform-first URLs from now on.

Starting sentences with conjunctions isn't bad practice?
18 May 2022 | 12:00 am

I have gone down a mini rabbit hole. Unlike many rabbit holes, I can map out how I got here. I perused Adactio's blog, saw a link to a blog about writing, and clicked on an article that looked interesting. Then I read a piece of advice about writing more, saw a link to another site, then clicked on another article that looked interesting. I went through three different sites to find the article I found, all the while not seeking any piece of information in particular. Like all things, internet rabbit hole exploration can be fun and teach you a thing or two. Like all things too, moderation is advised.

Anyhow. That was a long introduction to what was supposed to be a short quote article. The blog post I saw asked a question I never thought I had: "Can I Start a Sentence with a Conjunction?" The short answer to this question is "yes," although consistent with my aforementioned note, moderation in the use of sentences beginning with conjunctions is advised.

I was taught in school that starting a sentence with "but" or "and" was bad grammar. I would not say I have had an aversion to starting sentences with these words. To the contrary. On my blog, I would guess I have started sentences with "but" quite often. "And" less so, although I am not looking at any data. I just recall feeling okay with my choice to start a sentence with "but" rather than risk a really long sentence. I usually end up using "but" to start a new sentence if the one I am writing is going to be too long. This makes me reflect on the importance of flow. A mixture of long and short sentences is a good thing. See?

The conclusion is particularly interesting:

So as long as you know how to avoid accidental sentence fragments, feel free to begin sentences with a coordinating conjunction. But don’t overdo it. Or it might be disconcerting to your audience. And we wouldn’t want that, would we?

I am glad to know that all of the times I have used "but" to start a sentence has not been in some error or partial rebellion at the rules of language. I like to write freely on this blog in terms of the actual structure behind my writing. This is in part as a nod to the medium of the personal blog, long known to be open to informal speech. Also, I do this because I do want to explore different methods of writing. Only through exploration can I figure out the best way to communicate using the written word and my own tone.

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