To my great surprise, I've kept this blogging thing up now for just over a year. That means that now is as good a time as any to take stock of the year just past and look forward to the year ahead.
In the past year, I've posted 27 times (this is #28), which is an average of a little better then once every two weeks. So based on the every-other-week frequency I was aiming for at the beginning, I'm pretty much on target. However, things have slowed markedly in the last six months with only half as many posts in 2010 as there were in 2009. As such, I'm going to try and step it up a bit, especially over the summer!
In that time, I've held a pair of jobs, one at Environment Canada, and another at York University. I've also had interviews for postdoctoral positions, research scientist positions and space agency positions. All told, 29 applications were made (I'd like to take this opportunity to thank all of my extremely supportive and patient reference letter writers!) of which two remain outstanding and three were successful at least in part. None of these were faculty positions or short-lists for faculty positions, so I must conclude that I need more postdoctoral seasoning at this time.
Content-wise, it's been a bit of a mixed bag for the blog. Initially, I had planned to talk mainly about the trials and tribulations of a young academic trying to find work. Over time, however, things have morphed to include a bit of opinion and commentary on topics of scientific interest. From my initial post, this isn't an entirely unexpected development. Aside from that, I still have not posted topics for potential collaboration and have been reevaluating whether this blog is the right place for that material.
Part of that reason are the low numbers of page views (46 over the year, most of which I'm sure are my own, despite advertising topics on my twitter feed) and comments (only one, in response to this post - thanks Nikhil!). This blog wasn't intended to draw a large audience, and it doesn't particularly bother me that few, if any, people are reading. The initial purposes of being part public diary, part practice ground for me to develop my opinions and ideas and work on my persuasive writing, remain intact. And, of course, if my writing helps even a single other struggling young academic long after I've got a permanent job, it will have been worth it.
Looking forward, you may notice a redesign as of today. I've added a search bar at top on the right, and my twitter feed to the bottom of the sidebar. Additionally, a new background replaces the old flat colour. The mottled spheres floating in a reddish cloud is meant to be evocative. On one hand, the colour recalls the Martian surface and sky with swirling clouds of dust. On the other, the spheres recall planets floating in the ether of space at the same time as they resemble microorganisms. Since my interests will focus more strongly on Astrobiology going forward (More on that in a later post), this feels appropriate. As required by blogger, the image is stock, and can be found, somewhat surprisingly, under the "health and beauty" tab.
In any case, it's been a good first year, and I look forward to another one that's even better!