February 18, 2018

One Year

One year ago today, I wrote the first post in what is now Naval Gazing. IrishDude asked in one of the OTs about people's hobbies, and I responded by talking about my work as a tour guide on the Iowa. The discussion continued, and thanks to David Friedman's questions about the classic Iowa vs Yamato duel, I ended up writing out a text version of my fire control spiel. That got enough of a reaction that I kept writing, and have continued to do so since.

So I guess I have to say thanks. Thanks to IrishDude for asking the initial question, and to David Friedman for the follow-up. Thanks to everyone else for encouraging me to keep writing, particularly in the times when I wasn't getting a lot of comments and have felt like giving up. (I've mostly learned that I usually don't get a lot of comments when I've done a good job of explaining my point and so nobody has questions, but there are still days when I do wonder where everybody is.) And thanks to those who provided technical comments and pushed me to raise my game. Thanks to Scott Alexander for putting up with me filling his Open Threads with battleships. Thanks to Said Achmiz for hosting me, and dndnrsn for proofreading my columns here.

And thank you for reading. It's been an interesting year, and I'm certainly in a very different place than I was when this started. Naval Gazing has largely filled the hole left by the Iowa when I moved to Oklahoma, and I hope that I've made your lives more interesting over the past year, too. I plan to continue to do so for the next one.


  1. February 19, 2018quaelegit said...

    I've probably said this before, but thanks for doing these posts bean! I've learned a lot and enjoyed reading them, even the ones I've had trouble following. On the latter, your engagement in the comments has helped a lot (as have the pictures since you moved to this website). You have a clear and engaging writing style which has kept me coming back.

    I suppose there's nothing equivalent to Iowa tour-guiding in OKC, but is there any sort of navy or naval history group? (Slightly related -- I've heard the University of Kansas has a highly regarded marine biology program, so clearly proximity to the coast isn't required!)

  2. February 19, 2018bean said...

    You are most welcome. You've said it before, but I always appreciate hearing it. I try to walk the balance between accuracy, accessibility, and not writing like the reader is starting from scratch each time. And it's nice to be able to see what I missed and correct it.

    I haven't been able to find any sort of naval history group here. The nearest museum ship is the Batfish, about two hours away. I actually haven't been, because that kind of thing is so much more fun with an audience, which I haven't been able to put together, and I've seen fleet boats before.

  3. February 21, 2018Alsadius said...

    I don't leave many comments here, but I'm always reading your posts whenever my RSS feed updates(which it only does about once a week, for some weird reason, but I'm cool with binging on battleships). Keep up the good work.

  4. February 23, 2018NihilSineDeo said...

    I’m exclusively a lurker, but it’s worth breaking my silence to say that I’ve enjoyed your content thus far immensely. Don’t forget viewers are like cockroaches. For every one you see, there are hundreds more you do not.

  5. February 23, 2018bean said...

    Much appreciated, both of you. I know there are people reading, but I can also say that hearing it is one of the greater pleasures of doing this.

  6. February 26, 2018tanagrabeast said...

    Keep up the good work, bean. Your posts rock.

  7. February 27, 2018Mr said...

    Another lurker, been reading you for about 6 months now. Thanks very much for your entertaining writing!

  8. February 28, 2018jj said...

    Thanks so much for writing this! It's fascinating and I never would have learned any of this, any other way. I've tried to dive into the topic on Wikipedia before but it just doesn't hold my interest the way your posts do.

    FYI I've read every single post but only commented on about 2 of them.

  9. February 28, 2018bean said...

    Thanks to all of you for the encouragement, and you're welcome.

    I’ve tried to dive into the topic on Wikipedia before but it just doesn’t hold my interest the way your posts do.

    One thing I've gained from doing this is a respect for the power of narrative. Wiki is good for facts, but by nature it's bad at making them coherent and crafting a "story" out of them. By having one author, and a deliberate attempt to create said narrative, I can do a lot better.

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