Welcome to Teddy Story
October 11, 2020
In the first blog post I give a little more background around the birth of Teddy Story.
In late 2019 we moved countries, from Australia to New Zealand. We're a bit of a menagerie, two adults, two teens, one grandma (grandmas are special and get their own category rather than just being rolled anonymously in with the rest of the adults), three cats, one dog, and a collection of thirty two teddys.
The teddys missed the worst of the move. They very sensibly came across the Tasman at a civilised pace on a container ship, arriving long after the cats had finished their campaign of terror and revenge attacks on innocent ankles. A year later they still retreat, hissing, if they happen to see the pet transport cages.
Writing again wasn't really on the agenda, but somehow, when we arrived here, I found a spare hour or two over a couple of days. Completely unexpectedly a few chapters of Guardbot's back story just fell out onto the computer.
I don't really know why sometimes the stories just flow. At that point, we were in a 49 square metre (I measured) apartment on the 26th floor of an anonymous building overlooking Auckland harbour. The view was spectacular, inspiring, and in no way at all related to anything that I wrote about.
Writing went on hold for a couple of months as we found a place, I applied for jobs, our container arrived, and we just generally settled into a new life. We had a quiet, happy, end of year break in our new country.
I spent a bit of that break working on the first version of the website that would eventually become Teddy Story.
We were incredibly fortunate over the early part of the pandemic. Neither of the adults lost their jobs, and we quickly settled into a routine of working from home, shopping online, and walking the dog. So much walking of the dog. For a long while that was really the only viable exercise, so she was walked a couple of times a day, and was happy. Puzzled, tired, but happy. Another positive from this time was being able to see a lot more of our immediate surrounds, which are quite lovely. It's ridiculously pretty here.
Australia is dry, browns, greys and dark, oily greens dominate the landscape. Everything feels hard, the colours, the plants, the climate. Things are softer and greener in New Zealand. We are still amazed by it.
I kept building the website during lockdown. I almost had it finished, and then I decided to change the technology stack I was building it on. It's an occupational hazard with personal projects. You sometimes find that there are other ways of doing things. With no particular deadlines, changing horse mid-stream isn't a huge issue. Just don't to it too much, or you'll never finish anything.
I had also been reading about a new set of protocols and approaches to web monetisation in the Mozilla Dev newsletter. They seemed like the type of thing that lined up with my personal philosophies, so I flagged them as something to try to work into the new site one day.
Grant for the Web
I don't really remember when I decided to put Teddy Story up for the Grant for the Web program. At some point in June 2020, I hit send on the application, felt a wave of relief at having submitted, then just moved on and continued doing what I was doing.
A few months later, completely out of the blue, I was told that Teddy Story had been successful. I had been given one of the inaugural grants - amazing. Success in your day job feels great, but it was nothing like this. Being funded for a personal project is totally next level, probably due to the additional fear element. Someone other than me sees the potential in this. Now I have to make the idea real!
With my head still spinning, I did pretty much the only thing that works for me in this sort of situation. I went for a run. Riding would also have worked, but my bike had a pair of flat tyres, and I needed to get moving quickly, so I pulled on my running gear and headed out.
The exercise was meditative, if not fast. The suburb drifted past, and I didn't notice any of it. I returned with my thoughts organised (enough), my plan of attack in place(ish), and my enthusiasm sky high. I think that was the moment Teddy Story was really born.
Now the work really starts.
Thanks for reading, I hope you enjoy Teddy Story and come along for the ride as it turns into whatever it ends up being. Finding out is half the fun.