NightScene and Simplicity

NightScene: Find Your Scene

This is a series on a brand new social website that myself and several other team members are getting ready to launch called NightScene, a social search engine that helps you discover new venues, events, and friends that suit your own tastes wherever you go. To see more posts about NightScene, just click here. And to visit the NightScene landing page to find out more and follow us, click here.

Simplicity is key to the internet — everyone is opening a million tabs in their browser trying to find a million different videos, keep tabs on their friends, and discover new content all at the same time. It’s hard to keep anyone’s attention, especially now that all of this is happening not just on a laptop in someone’s house, but through such a large number of mobile devices such as cell phones like the iPhone or tablets such as the iPad. Everything is pretty much single serving content that is designed to be consumed in one brief view and then the user moves on to something else.

So how do you get this right? Well, I’m not an expert in traditional sense that I work for some multi-billion dollar advertising company. (On second thought, I suppose the Navy is one of those entities…) But, what I do know is that I consume a ridiculous amount of media, be it social or traditional media. Except newspapers; I live in 2010 not 1910, thank you. I also have had the fortunate experience of working for companies that produced social media as well as traditional marketing and advertising. I feel like this gives me grounds to say the following:

There, you don't even have to click the link. It's Google, not like you already didn't know what it looked like. Oh yeah, that reminds me that Thanksgiving is coming up. Thanks again Google!

Google got it right. So right. Go to their page right now. What do you see? A search bar. It’s so intuitive and simple; no one needs to know what the site is because it’s already so obvious. The thing that most users probably never realize is that there are so many features to Google that its depth and complexity is pretty much endless. Everything is presented in a simple way, but the information there is surprisingly complex. (I know that sometimes this can be overwhelming; Google’s “Wave” was an attempt to simplify sharing information and it turned out to be way too complicated to make it useful. For the most part though, Google has it down.)

The problem with emulating Google is that everyone understands a search engine. And in most cases, everyone understands, say, Facebook, a common social website. Where things start to get tricky is when you want to combine those two and you get a social search engine. What is that? No, really, I’m asking you to tell me because even I have a hard time grasping it — and I’m making it. NightScene, therefore, has to be both forgiving to the new user so that they can get into it and deep for the returning user who already is exploring their scene. It will take time to justify this concept as being the best thing since Al Gore invented the internet, but I’m actually pretty confident that it will be.

Wow, this looks kind of cool but what is any of this junk? Is it sorted? I don't get what any of this means or how it connects to me. It all seems like a big advertisement. (It is.)

In my mind, when I’m coming up with design ideas and general strategies, I want to keep this site simple enough that anyone can jump on and use it and feel familiar while still feeling fresh and socially relevant. It really needs to be accessible from anywhere easily and have the main features be right there, front and center. Honestly, we’re going to be dealing with a lot of bars and clubs, so this will mean that people who are feeling no pain need to be able to figure it out too! So, how do we accomplish this? Here is a list of thoughts in a bullet point form because I know you’re loading a YouTube video of someone falling off a skateboard right now and you’re running out of patience for all these words. (Why couldn’t I have just done this in 140 characters?!)

  • Make vital features take as few clicks as possible to access.
  • Make smart use of advanced coding to reveal more detailed information only when a person wants to see it.
  • Keep the pages as simple and clean as possible.
  • Help the user understand the site by guiding them through unfamiliar features.
  • Don’t post blatant ads on the site. Make them match your demographic when you do use them.
  • Allow the user to control the content that they interact with so they develop a connection to it.

I know these are really pretty general concepts, but you’d be surprised at how many sites completely ignore the user and just assume that the user is on the same level as the person running the show who is intimately familiar with everything aspect of the product. Similarly, many popular sites just try to push their sponsored content onto you without making a real connection as to why you should care about whatever is being promoted.

You too will cheer for joy like this awful corporate stock photo when you use NightScene.

There’s a real balance that needs to be achieved between showing a large amount of information to the user and keeping things simple. Keep it too simple and the user might get bored. Make it too deep and the user might be confused or turned off by all the content. NightScene is still in its infancy but the design is essentially finalized and I think we’ve done it right. There’s a lot of interesting information up front, the site is easy to use, and it offers depth to the user who wants to support the social aspects of it. But this is coming from me, the guy who is making the product and not the actual user. It’s really up to how the user actually interacts with the site to shape and evolve its future. What we’re doing now is laying the groundwork for something that can be huge, but it’s up to you to make it the site you want it to be. And I think that’s the freshest idea on the web right now.

Videos Games

At a game launch, typical gamers aka my future

I own a lot of video games. Enough that when people come over they compare me to a Blockbuster. (Note for reading this ten years from now: Does Blockbuster even exist anymore? Do we have hover cars?) I feel like I spent most of my childhood playing them and I can still recall specific moments in my gaming history. I think from the normal person’s view, video games were considered to be a waste of time, and maybe they still are. Yeah, I guess it is pretty much like vegging out and being an unproductive member of society. If anything though, playing them has become less of a nerdy thing to more of a thing that every adult male does. When the next Halo or Call of Duty comes out, we all line up rank and file to get our copy at the midnight release.

I have a few specific memories about video games, but there are four games that really started me down this path to playing and collecting them the way that I do now:

  • Doom
  • Quake
  • Half-Life
  • Gran Turismo 2

I played the crap out of these games as a kid. With the exception of Gran Turismo 2, the other games were computer games and their objective was to shoot stuff. In Doom, you shot 2D things. In Quake, you shot 3D things. In Half-Life, you shot 3D things are there was a cohesive and interesting story. In Gran Turismo 2, well, you raced cars. I remember seeing Quake and thinking “Wow, how is this possible this technology exists?” This was the first game that I stole.

This game was somehow the most incredible thing I had ever witnessed

Alright, so how does this lead into thievery? As a broke kid who knew way too much about computers, I was able to track down and find all the games I wanted to play and get them for free. I feel like most of the people who were doing this were also broke kids. It taught me a lot about the internet and how computers work, something I should be thankful for because I ended up pursuing tech fields as income. That said, I no longer steal games because I can actually afford them. But, at the time, it was what I did, for better or worse. This means that when I actually did buy a game, it was serious stuff. I remember buying Half-Life at the store and not being able to see over the counter when I bought it. It was a mature game, of course, but that didn’t matter then. And, I remember getting it home and finding out that I couldn’t run it because my computer didn’t have a graphics card powerful enough. So, I had to buy that too, and 199 dollars is expensive for a kid. But, I got it and that launched me into a world of gaming I never turned back from…

Until now. I feel like even though I still buy and play video games, my patience for them has gone down the drain. I don’t want to die a ton and restart levels or checkpoints, I don’t want to sit online and progress though ranks to get a gun. I don’t want to deal with the people online, and I don’t have the time or energy to sit there and play them all day. Typically this changes for all the big releases and I’ll find myself in GameStop at their midnight release standing next to the largest people with even larger BO.

We've certainly come a long way from shooting block men

But this time, I was just too busy and I actually forgot about the release for a day and picked it up the next day instead. And I tried to play it tonight but I just can’t get into it. I’d rather be writing this article than playing it and this game is the next big thing everyone had been waiting for. It’s just not doing it for me. I feel like such a slug for even playing games, and all I do is get frustrated at the screaming twelve year old kids. I guess I used to be one. I think in college, and more so in high school, I had the freedom to just play whatever I wanted and do it all day because you don’t have anything meaningful going on as a kid. And by meaningful I don’t mean profound, I mean working to pay bills and dealing with all your other responsibilities. Speaking of which, I need to cut a check for student loans which are finally kicking in. Ugh.

This game is really addictive. It's just red vs blue and a lot of team strategy

I actually feel like even if I was just sitting around all day, I couldn’t let myself do it anymore. I just can’t get into video games like I used to. I still will have the occasional day where I will sit around, eat Butterfinger bars and drink (diet) Mountain Dew like a video game nerd is supposed to do. However, at this point, it’s more or less like the days where people sit around and watch movies — they end up feeling like they wasted their day and don’t do it again for a long time.  I want to take the time to give a shout out to Dan, my roommate, for one of the stories I tell everyone about video games; I will note that he has since changed his ways. During our sophomore year of college, Halo 3 had just come out and Dan was constantly playing it to obtain the rank of a general or a 50 rating or something like that. So, at 8 AM I left for me 8:30 class so I could get some breakfast and coffee to try to stay awake. At about 9 PM or so I come back and Dan had literally not moved the entire time. He had been stationed in front of this crappy TV in the world’s worst folding chair for the entire day. How can anyone do that?

Homeworld is my favorite video game of all time, in case you're wondering. It was the best story, and the best gameplay I had ever seen. And for the time, the graphics were, pardon the pun, out of this world.

Well, I know how people can do that because I’ve done that during finals, playing Grand Theft Auto 4 from start to finish in one sitting. I’ve done that with Halo ODST and Halo Reach too. That’s how I tend to play games — short in one burst. Play for a couple of days or a week, then move on. I just get so tired of things so easily now. Maybe I’m just too tired in general and I let games frustrate me, or maybe games have just got so complicated that they’re becoming more of a chore than a good time. (The latest Call of Duty has so many options to customize things, but I got what I wanted within the first hour. Who has the time to sit around and change their icon in the game? I don’t get it.)

Dead Space was the last game that really sucked me in. Dead Space 2 is about to come out, so we'll see if I have that same connection again.

I’m really not quite sure what the exact reason is that I don’t feel the same connection, I guess the word is, that led me to spend so many hours in games, completely absorbed in their world and enjoying every moment. I can replay these games for the nostalgia factor and a few moments still shine, but it’s just not the same. Maybe it’s because I’m older and I’m different? I don’t have a good answer for this, though I do assume I’ll be playing games in the future, just in a limited capacity. I still certainly buy the games, so I don’t think the game publishers are worried by this phenomenon. I’ll even buy the map packs and try to get back into the game, but this only lasts a couple of days before I move on again

I think it comes down to the fact that I want to be connected like I used to be; I want to be drawn into a world and escape for a while. But I just don’t feel it like I used to. And that kind of sucks.

Taking on the Oil Field

This, this is what I work with. I hook stuff up to a box that takes readings from this.

At first glance, you might think that working in the oil field is all fun and games. Oh wait, no one thinks that because it’s damn hard work. It’s something that has really taken some getting used to, and it’s definitely made me respect the people that do it day in and day out with little benefits besides a steady paycheck (which is, I guess, the main benefit). So first, it should be clarified as to what I do because that’s really the hardest thing to explain to people.

I just deleted a full paragraph explaining what I do because it’s so uninteresting I can’t even bare to read it, so here’s the short version: I dig holes in the desert to mount equipment that goes on the tanks that hold the oil.

The real focus of this post is not really what I do, but really what the oil field makes you into. I’m not trying to get poetic — it’s really not some man vs. the machine thing that makes him stronger in the end. It’s really just a natural progression of what happens to people who work in the oil fields, and this is dedicated to them. Of course, I don’t think anyone who works in the oil fields even knows what a blog is!

There are a few main elements which make working in the oil field a pain, and I felt compelled to make a list of them with no specific order since each have their own merits:

  • Trying to find remote locations. It’s nearly impossible to find some of the oil leases. You’ll drive for hours around a fence line only to find a small dirt road that will take you to an adjacent fence next to where you want, but never quite there. This gets better with time since you learn to look for tanks, pump units, and black piping on the side of the “road” as clues.
  • Dealing with the elements. It’s either super hot or super cold, with few exceptions. You combine this with some rain and if you don’t have a 4×4 you’re screwed (bring tow ropes). If it’s windy, the dust will make it impossible to see more than a few feet in front of you.
  • My brother shows off his kill, a 6 foot rattlesnake

    Nature. I can’t think of many positive words to describe yellow jackets (the wasps, not the fashion statement), and I think even God might be at a loss as to why He decided to add them to the roster of awful creatures. I’m being particularly harsh tonight because I was stung earlier today on the back of my neck. There are also a large number of spiders, though I am less upset by these than I initially was. Rattlesnakes exist and some of them are pretty huge. I’ve only seen a couple and they didn’t bother me, but I would imagine getting bit by one in the middle of nowhere has to have a huge suck factor.

  • For the astute observer, yes I work the oil fields in a black vneck so I can crash the clubs when I'm done

    Hazardous chemicals. Well, I think oil itself is supposed to be dangerous right? I was seeing them wear all sorts of outfits to clean the oil spill in the Gulf, but I certainly haven’t seen them out here. As far as I’m concerned, a little oil never hurt anyone. But, what does really suck is something called H2S gas, which is basically like a tear gas that makes you feel lightheaded and foggy. Everyone wears a meter to detect it, but it only goes off when it’s above a certain percentage. In general, about 50% of the places I go have some of this gas (it is often associated with the smell of rotten eggs), and of those 50%, 80% have levels high enough to make me work while streaming tears down my face. I haven’t cried like that since a funeral. Then again, I think my eyes are pretty weak to that stuff. Either way, I guess in theory you could die from this gas, but it’s more of a frustration than a danger.

  • Entertainment. I get it, it’s work, why do you need entertainment? Well, I get the pleasure of driving to all of these locations and a big part of the job is just making it there and back, sometimes being hours just getting to one unit that takes 15 minutes to get going right. So, in the company truck, there is one option: the radio. I’m not quite sure why, but the strongest station I can get is a pop station. So it’s either Katy Perry or static-filled conservative talk radio or silence. This is more of a danger to your sanity than anything else.
  • There’s more stuff that sucks that could go here (like dismemberment and death), but you get the idea.

What’s the point of even talking about all this? Well, the effect that is has on the people who do this kind of work every day is apparently pretty evident, that or it just naturally attracts the most badass dudes on the planet. These are some no-nonsense folk who make me feel like the most out of place guy around… though I’m finally getting used to how things work out here.

This whole story has essentially led me to a short example of why the oil field workers are the hardest people on the planet. When I meeting someone to show me where a unit was located, the guy walked up to me and said hello and we shook hands. After this, he grabbed my shoulder and pulled back a still moving yellow jacket and crushed it inbetween his fingers. Before going back to his truck, he said only this:

“You had a wasp there.”

This man is the epitome of America.

Time Flies

So, today I got on Facebook to try to find something that I immediately forgot I was looking for as soon as I got on. While doing so, I noticed it was Dan’s birthday, my old roommate from college, and I so I gave him a call. He made two really valid points about both of our lives at the moment, and it’s kind of upsetting. The following quotes are shown below, but I don’t actually remember what he said exactly. (I literally just got off the phone with him too, making this pretty impressive.)

“Don’t you think it’s sad that we haven’t talked for a few months and we’re doing exactly the same thing as we were before? Nothing is new.”

“Isn’t it crazy how work completely destroys your sense of time? You go in to work on a Monday and all the sudden it’s Thursday. You’re just getting to work and then all the sudden you’re leaving — and then somehow you’re back at work.”

If the amount of 4ft postholes I've dug in the desert is proportinate to my life's success, then I am a winner.

Both of these are sad points. I haven’t updated this journal in months and the only new thing in my life is that I’ve moved back to Midland and started working. Nothing else has happened in my life and it looks like that will be the same for some months to come. Kind of a scary thought. We both really don’t find our jobs to be engaging (though I don’t hate mine). It’s just something that fills up time and gives us paychecks.

I still can’t wrap my head around how people get stuck doing something they don’t really enjoy and then do it for the rest of their lives, just coasting through and until some point in the future — and I’m not sure we know what that point is — where we decide to make a change. I feel like doing it young is the way to go because youth gives you more options to do the things you haven’t. I will go skydiving soon; this is my greatest fear and I have to do it. I’m afraid of waking up one day and being old, realizing I’ve wasted so many years so I could get a paycheck. I think, fortunately, the Navy will keep things varied, and for this, I am thankful. It was a radical option in terms of the regular 9-to-5, and it’s something that will hopefully avoid this fact.

Aim very, very high

So, I guess my question is this: is this bleak outlook really how  the rest of our lives play out? Because honestly, that sucks. I can’t handle doing something like this day in and day out, never getting to do the things I want, never getting to accomplish my goals, and never getting to marry a Dallas Cowboys cheerleader (aim high, right?).

This is actually hopeful post because I feel like my future will have that spark to keep it interesting and give me options on trying new things. The Navy is exactly that: adventure. As well, I don’t think it’s impossible for Dan to get out of his cycle either. Today at dinner, two of my close friends announced they were moving — they’re picking up and getting out of Midland. They realized that all they were doing is flying a holding pattern and searching for something that Midland could not ever offer them. So, they’re dropping everything and moving. Hell yes. This is the power of our freedom, and it’s something we seldom exploit. Have a goal? Do it. Otherwise, I’m afraid we’ll die with the regret that we could have done something and never took that chance.

Nightscene and Social Networks

NightScene: Find Your Scene

Although I’ve kept this idea a secret for almost a year now, it’s finally in its beta stages and we’ll be accepting users in the near future. I think site has it all, and what it is, I can only summarize from the brief page online. Nightscene will revolutionize how you find things to do at night in your area. Currently, we’re referring to it as NightsceneDC because it’s being tested in Washington D.C., a bastion of social networking users who are active in a huge amount of nightlife around the city

Essentially, this is a social website mixed with a review site, but how we’re approaching it is mostly unlike every other site out there. If you’re trying to find some booming nightlife, it really sucks trying to find a site that does it right, and we’re attempting to make it easy to find new places, share them with your friends, and make a social site where the user controls what they see and how venues are shown. The ideas are familiar, but doing it right, that’s the thing that matters.

And so, on this note, doing it right is what I want to speak on. I’m a graphic designer that has spent several years working both freelance and for firms, and I’ve worked with so many clients it’s hard to even count the amount of projects I’ve been a part of. This alone really doesn’t give me any credibility. Isn’t everyone a designer these days? It is a fun field to get into, and one of the most competitive, especially when the economy sucks and no one is buying advertising (welcome to my life).

Gotta go hard, gotta go in a black v

The urge to just rush this thing out the door has been there from the start. I like the idea, I want to use it, and I want other people to use it. And I wouldn’t mind getting a profit since my current job (working in the oil field) is a far cry from the comforts of a Wacom tablet and a water cooler. That said, everything in my gut is telling me to wait, to make this as polished and engaging to the end user as it can be. Without this, I feel like we’ll feel generic — like we’re ripping off other social sites and trying to make a buck. We can’t do that. Both myself and Sam, and the other contributors to NightScene, have such a love for this idea because it’s our idea, and it’s something that we’ve both experienced when trying to find the right nightlife. (Trust us, we wear black vnecks and pound drinks like the best of ’em.)

So, we’re at the stage where we can see the results: our developers and designers are delivering things that are close — but not quite there — and we can already taste what we want from the site. Personally, this idea has become one of the few creations that I absolutely love. It’s the culmination of everything social that I like and everything that I see on sites that I dislike, I made sure that we don’t repeat it. Fun, functional, and easy. We just have to make sure that we come together as a team to make the last push and then go from there.

Right now we’re all excited, nervous, and, hopefully, very happy with our progress. This started as an idea in Sam’s head, and then it spread to me, making mockups and coming up with functionality ideas, and now it’s about to have real life, be a real business. We should be taking a fair number of beta testers right after the new year, if all goes right. It’s actually already up in landing page form, if you want to find out more and follow us.

What I guess I’m saying is that if we do this right, this will be huge. If we do this wrong, we’ll be tossed aside. If we take too long, we could get muddled  and confused. Everything has to be perfect, but unfortunately I can’t tell the future. There’s not an app for that. (Actually, I checked and there is but it’s 2.99. Rude.)

Joining the Navy

America. F Yeah.

Well, I feel like the biggest change from March, my last real post, to right now is that I joined the Navy. Shortly after graduating, I realized that I hated the jobs that I was applying for. I spent months talking with financial institutions, hospitals, and small advertising firms about finding a job I would like. I really do like the advertising industry, but I felt like all of these jobs were just awful. I don’t want to advertise for a bank. I don’t want to advertise healthcare. I don’t want to work for a 5 man advertising team in Nebraska (this was a real offer). And most of all, I didn’t want to deal with the problems of pay and long-term financial insecurity. Some of the figures I was being thrown were 22k a year with minor benefits and the possibility to work up to 30k a year. Really? I feel like I could make more working in the oil field, a job which isn’t too stressful and I can at least enjoy being outside. Actually, it was, but more on this later.

So, I walked in to the Navy recruiter office and told them to sign me up. In my mind, I felt like the following week I would be shipped out to basic and sailing the seas in a couple months. Ha, what a joke that is. There’s an absolutely huge amount of paperwork, and then you have to go to a place called MEPS, which is a poor acronym because it actually stands for hell (or Military Entrance Processing), and then after that they tell you to wait a year to ship. Yeah, really. A year. What am I supposed to do to pay my loans in that time? I actually rushed into this whole gig because I didn’t do my research. I had a passion and I wanted to follow up on this. For the astute followers of me, this should be no surprise — I’ve been talking about joining the Navy for years. However, with a college degree, I was able to build a really strong officer’s package to get a commission. But, without knowing this at the time, I enlisted first, originally as an AECF (Advanced Electronic Computer Field) and then later in the Nuclear field.

As an aside, I was told this is the hardest field to get into, but the tests they gave me were pretty much a joke. (If I recall correctly, I made a 94 on the ASVAB and I didn’t even bother to work the problems, I just guessed based on the answer choices so that I could finish and get back to a client.)I’m not particularly bright when it comes to math, but then again, these tests are made for, and I hesitate to say, high school kids. I am guessing that a lot of how the Navy communicates information to people in the DEP (Delayed Enlistment Program) is based on the fact that they are mostly very young, mostly with only a high school education, and mostly not mature enough to think about the gravity and depth of their commitments. And the Navy caters to this. (Kids ask questions about how cool the uniforms are between branches and don’t bother to ask things about military benefit packages and retirement options.) But, when it comes to the more serious questions, that really should be up to the applicant and the individual recruiter, something that is handled extremely effectively. There’s no BS when you try to find things out and it’s obvious you are looking for the straight answer. I respect this, and I understand why the messages are conveyed in the way they are. I feel like the shortcoming is more on the side of the kids who are joining with no clue what they are in for, so they don’t know what to ask. They will surely understand once they are in, and I think this is a good thing that they are given a dose of reality, something which college, on the other hand, helps avoid for several years. So I guess this aside is basically suggesting that high school kids are clueless because the Navy actually does try their best to prepare the kids. I’m sure that when I graduated high school I thought I was informed. I’m sure I think I’m informed now. I’ll look back on this and likely think that I was just as much, or more of, an idiot for suggesting what I’m suggesting.

Anyway, to continue, the enlisted side is now just considered a fallback if my officer’s package doesn’t go through. I feel like, honestly, I would be happy in whatever position in the Navy, but I’m looking to make this a career, so starting as an officer first seems more like the logical progression. November 15th is my review board which will establish my commission as either one of the following (or nothing at all!): Public Affairs Officer, Surface Warfare Officer, or Supply Officer. Obviously, I’m really trying hard to get the commission as a PAO — this is my passion. I love this stuff, and I live for doing research and planning ways to spread messages more effectively. Real nerd stuff that a communication major with lots of hands on experience gets into. I’m told, however, that this position is basically impossible to get. But basically impossible doesn’t mean impossible, so I’m still trying. Do advertising and marketing for the world’s largest Naval power? Hell yes. This whips the ass of doing something meaningless like advertising for healthcare systems. (Sorry healthcare, I know you’ve been a good source of income over the years!)

I feel like any position is fine, even Supply — that is, after all, a huge logistical nightmare to plan out and I love a challenge, but I’m hoping — no, praying — to get the PAO slot. I will do everything in my power to make the Navy’s PAO program proud. So, I guess it’s somewhat a patriotic goal, but also such a huge career goal, and it’s something I feel like I will enjoy. I get it, I’m repeating myself, but it’s honestly all I think about every day and has been since the day I joined the Navy. I won’t stop until I get this, no matter what it takes or where it takes me.

In the end though, this is just a collection of thoughts that have been mulling over in my head since the day I walked into the recruiter’s officer. I can’t wait to get a definite ship date and then to get out of Midland. Please, get me out of here.

Welcome to the New

So, after seven years of posting on my private blog which I had coded myself using raw HTML and some CSS, I decided it was time to go the route of a more flexible, progressive standard and introduce it at claychastain.com — after all, that is my name, so it should be about me. The domain has just recently lapsed; some former Kansas City mayor hopeful had previously used it, but who cares about that guy? (And, apparently, he’s a massive douchebag.)I figured I should snatch it up while I can. I already know some competing Clay Chastains on Facebook, and I feel like I’m the best and most important one so I might as well have the dot com. (That is only kind of a joke).

I also felt like, despite the fact that no one really reads my blog, I should keep it updated and this was getting harder and harder to do with the old format. This one is simple to use and I can tag posts, making it easy to post several updates a day all on different subjects and whatever musings I may want to express. All of the previous posts, going back to November 2003, have been migrated and I’ve made a cursory attempt to update them with categories and tags. My blog can be easily sorted using the right sidebar. Tags are for small portions of what I’m talking about and categories are things like important time periods (such as High School, College, Navy, etc.) and also for broad groupings, which right now only consist of Migrated Posts, but will eventually take form when I figure out what I want to say. Also, I’m intending on importing posts from my deviantART journal, since I tended to update there as well with things were more generic about my life, but are still noteworthy to who I am. They’ll be tagged separately so you can get an idea of what’s what.

With all this said, the only other thing I should address is the public nature of the blog. Now that it is listed on search engines and it will be easily accessible to anyone (I mean, how clever do you have to be to connect claychastain.com to me?), it also means that the content needs to be toned down, or does it? I’m wondering this myself because in X years I could being X thing and person Y uses post Z as a weapon against me. Then again, I’m not ashamed of the things I’ve done because they make me who I am. I feel like it’s more credible in getting to know me and what I’ve gone through that makes me a more sincere person. Unfortunately, being in marketing, I really do know how words can be used for or against someone. It’s a scary concept, and I’m not sure what I’ll be revealing in the future, but this post is here for me to look back later and agree or disagree with. We’ll just have to see!