Above is the Goff Family Christmas photo from late last year. For those of you who don’t know us, my wife Tiffany is on the left. James is in her lap. Jonny is standing with the PVC pipe in the middle, I’m on the right, and Peter is in my lap. There’s actually another person in this picture, but he’s “hiding”. You’d have to be using a non-visual sensor to image him (at least until mid-June).
Also, in case you’re wondering about the beard, it’s a “contract launch” beard. Basically, we had a major contract that we were waiting to hear back on, and I decided that I’d grow a beard until we had either heard a firm no on the contract, or until we had the contract signed and the first check from the contract deposited. I’m still sporting half a beard as of today because while we’ve received the first check, we don’t yet have the contract fully signed. But I’m hoping to lose the rest of the beard any day now. At least in this picture the blog name fits reasonably well…
Before I go into why I chose the name, let’s start by breaking it down a little bit.
The first word “Taong” comes from the Filipino/Tagalog root word “Tao” (pronounced Tah-oh), meaning man or person. It has an “-ng” ligature at the end, which links it to the second word, “Boondocks”, which is an Americanization of the Filipino/Tagalog word “Bundok” which means mountains. American GI’s couldn’t pronounce bundok properly (the ok at the end is pronounced like “oak”) when referring to the backwards, mountainous regions of the Philippines, so they called them the boondocks. As far as I can tell this is the only word that American English has borrowed from Tagalog. Put together Taong Bundok or Taong Boondocks would thus mean “Mountain Man”, which in Tagalog carries some of the same hillbilly/rustic connotations the phrase has in English.
So why did I chose a name like that? Here’s a few reasons:
- It ties into my two years I spent in the Philippines on a mission for my church. I had originally intended to talk a bit about my time there on my other blog, Selenian Boondocks, but this is a more appropriate forum for such discussions/stories.
- It also ties into my better-known, space policy blog, Selenian Boondocks (which would roughly mean Lunar Mountains, but with sort of a Lunar Hillbilly connotation).
- I like the fact that we actually have a word in common usage in America that was borrowed from Tagalog.
- I plan on using this blog to discuss some topics (religion, politics, etc.) that are typically considered inappropriate for polite conversation.
- In some ways this blog is also sort of a blog about the person (tao) behind Selenian Boondocks.
First off, I’d like to welcome any regular readers of Selenian Boondocks or any of my twitter followers (I’m @rocketrepreneur in case you were wondering). Those of you who know me are probably wondering why I’m starting a third blog (after Selenian Boondocks and the Altius Space Machines Blog), when I’m already struggling to regularly post on those other blogs.
The genesis for this idea actually came from several years back, prior to my moving from Tehachapi to start Altius. My original blog, Selenian Boondocks gained its notoriety primarily as a space technology, space business, and space politics website. Unfortunately, Selenian Boondocks has become strongly tied to my career persona, and I quickly became aware that trying to mix in other areas that were important to me might actually hurt my credibility in those areas that I was already posting about on Selenian Boondocks. Basically, it’s a lot easier to dismiss analysis on a space blog as being the hopelessly naive and amateur ramblings of some net kook, if you’re also talking about your pet, your recent recipes, and your opinions about other various and sundry things. Combine that with the fact that many of the things I care about are items where I disagree with some healthy fraction of my readership, and it just seemed better to have a separate blog for non-spacey things.
I guess I could’ve got a Facebook page, but then I’d have to use Facebook. And you’d have to put up with me on Facebook. No, I think we’re all better by me having another blog that you can safely ignore if our only point of agreement happens to be space. I’m almost guaranteed to get myself in trouble on this blog eventually, but I’d rather be able to talk about who I really am than have to artificially stifle a significant fraction of who I am and what I care about just because I don’t want to dilute the message of my other blogs.
And with that, I give you Taong Boondocks.