My name is Thomas Gideon, a long time blogger and podcaster. I have another site where I explore topics relating to my profession as a programmer, public policy and technology in general.
My intent with this site is to explore my own peculiar character, especially those aspects even more diverse and harder to define than the ones I explore on my other site. Earlier versions of this site focused on beer and home brewing. I’ll continue to share my thoughts on those topics as they are entrenched passions but this latest (and hopefully final) incarnation admits so much more that I’d love to share, from food, music and travel, to even the very nature of character and reason.
About the Name
For my beer names, I take inspiration from thinkers from the Scottish Enlightenment and the America Revolution. There is a certain poetry and elegance in their writing that appeals to me immensely. I am drawn to their aspirations (if not all aspects of their practical reality) in particular the ascendancy of knowledge and reason coupled with a profound faith in the inherent better nature of humankind.
Since I have spent and plan to spend so much time exploring, among many other things, my passion as a brewer, this seemed like a good inspiration for the name of this site, too. My beer names come from quotes but I could not find a quote from which I could draw. None of the ones I found in several hours searching captured the right sentiment, representing my hopes for this site in a breath.
So I improvised a bit and came up with “Of a Peculiar Character.” I like that it is a mild pun, that could be read a couple of ways: that I am an oddball or my pursuits are of an unusual sort. Both are true. In the intro of my decade long podcast, for years I have called myself an eccentric. Certainly the things that interest me don’t fall into an easily explained or understood range.
I am going to completely overhaul the labels for my beer, to match: “Beers of a Peculiar Character.” To foster a closer association between my homebrew and this site, I am even thinking about QR codes on the labels and dedicated pages that collect that seems appropriate–my writings about each beer, its recipe, etc.
To me, the sound and cadence of the name seems to fit well with the material from which I draw my beer names. Peculiar is a bit of an archaic word without strong positive or negative connotations that could be misconstrued. I have grown convinced that there is no such thing as normal, worse that the very idea is problematic. So maybe peculiar will do, that all of us together have in common that we are peculiar but each of us is so in our own unique way. I debated on using much more recognizable words in place of character, like virtue, reason or principles. Character speaks strongly to the last of these while inviting a bit of playful ambiguity.