If a blog can have a mid-life crisis (what’s the life expectancy of a blog, anyhow?) I think this blog is in the midst of one.

When I first registered the domain name “mrlocke.net,” I was a high school English teacher, and I used it to host a class website, where I posted assignments, resources, links, and other things relevant to the literature we studied. I called the website (duh?) “Mr. Locke’s Classroom.” You can still see what it looked like, using the internet Way Back Machine.

Then, in February 2004, my friend Annie introduced me to blogging (as she has done for many), and eventually I incorporated it into my class website, interacting with students through comments and through their own blogs I helped them start. I even got a nice write-up about it all in EdTech magazine. I like that we were on the cutting edge of blogs and education.

But then I left teaching (in body, although not in soul) to work in the church. I changed the tagline for my blog to “I will always be a teacher. I will always be a student.” This continues to be true, and education continues to be a passion of mine. At seminary, I will pursue both a Master of Divinity, and a Master of Education. But somehow, as my interests and passions have expanded, the title of the blog seems too narrow to convey what it’s about.

Come to think of it, what is this blog about?

If it is going to reflect who I am, what I do, and what is important to me, than it’s going to be about:

  • Open Source as an approach to software, computers, copyright, and technology, but also to life as well.
  • Folk Music and my attempts to create and spread music that belongs not just to me, but to the folks. Music that cries out on behalf of the oppressed and marginalized.
  • My pursuit of an Emerging Theology that is open-minded and revolutionary, as I journey through seminary and the process of becoming an ordained Presbyterian minister.
  • My stubmling path through Fatherhood, and the joys of watching my family grow.
  • And yes, Progressive Education that shatters ancient paradigms and sets captive students free.

In fact, if there is a vein that runs through all of this, I think it is freedom. Freedom from draconian copyright laws and the corporate tyranny of the music industry. Freedom from narrow, judgmental interpretations of the bible and hierarchical church structures that exclude rather than include. Freedom from parental stereotypes and the pressures a materialistic culture pushes on families. Freedom from an educational system that promotes conformity and fears critical thought. Freedom for the weak, the poor, the oppressed, the marginalized, the outcasts.

One of my favorite authors, Jean Jacques Rousseau, started his famous book on Education, Emile, with these simple words: “Man is born free, but everywhere he is in chains.”

Unfortunately, the domains “unlocked.com,” “unlocked.net,” and “unlocked.org” are all taken. Any suggestions?

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11 Responses to Mid-Blog-Life-Crisis?

  1. jeff says:

    I was thinking mid-life crisis when your blog went out and got a flashy new look and more bandwidth 😉

    Seriously, since you seek freedom but acknowledge its requirements as well, how about interlocke(d).(org|net)? To my mind that highlights the ideas of freedom while still acknowledging that voluntary cooperation and community are necessary to even exist as the individual Locke. As an added bonus it has an Ubuntu feel to it (i am who I am because of who we all are…).

  2. Neal Locke says:

    Damn. They’re all taken, Jeff. Otherwise that would have been a great idea — I really liked it. Even “inter-locked.org” and all others with the hyphen are taken too. The only one that’s available is “interlocked.us” which might work. I don’t know…

    “un-locked.org” and .net with the hyphen are both available. Would that be too weird?

    I really liked the interlocked one, though. Keep the ideas coming!

  3. anniem says:

    How about Present Perfect, as in the tense. Actions that began in the past and are still going on. Since you’re English-y and all?

    Inspired by my recent introduction into Cuisinaire Rods and all things manipulative.

  4. Neal Locke says:

    Another great idea, Annie — unfortunately, (once again) they’re all taken already as domains (presentperfect.com, .net, and .org, as well as present-perfect.*). I’m contemplating just registering the domain “neallocke.com” and then calling my blog whatever the heck I feel like. Just would have been nice if the domain could have matched the title.

    Thanks for helping me brainstorm, though!

  5. anniem says:

    Well, that’s what I ended up doing–calling the blog whatever I want, despite the URL. That allows for a lot of flexibility over time because, let’s be honest, this isn’t going to be the last midlife crisis for your blog. How about planet something? The word root means wanderer… 😉

  6. anniem says:

    Did I ever tell you how I want to buy the domain ann.ie from ireland. it’s a dream.

  7. anniem says:

    unlocke.com is available.

  8. Neal Locke says:

    I think you’ll need to start a business under the name “ANN” and then relocate to Ireland (which wouldn’t be that disagreeable, actually).

    Looks like they’ve got a pretty strict registry policy that forbids use of personal names, among other things. Still, dreams never come true in expected, predictable ways, so I trust the domain-fairy (there should be such a thing, shouldn’t there?) will make your dream come true one of these days 😉


  9. Neal Locke says:

    RE: unlocke.com, I realize I’m being entirely nitpicky at this point, but one of the things I liked about unlocked.* is the “ed” being short for “education” — still a passion.

    Domain-fairy, come quickly, and zap the wasteful tyrants who currently hoard the unlocked.* domain names without using them for anything useful…

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