ey i'm blogging here a blog by alex daily

On blogging (II)

The oldest revision of this post is dated 21 September, 2023, and I think I must’ve deleted four or five different versions of it between then and now. In its first iteration, it was about, what have we learned from blogging for a month, from being off the old web forum for a little? What has changed about how I think, how I exist in the world? In a later iteration, I go through a bunch of posts and go, what worked, what didn’t? I posted none of these, obviously. They all felt annoying.

5 days into 2024, what I think each of these iterations have in common is what I’m trying to say with them. So let’s just say it without structure, without format: To a tee, every single revision of this post is trying to say, hey, I’m… better off.

In the end, the basic truth of it is, the fact at hand, it’s, with that one door closed and this one opened? I’m happier. Six months in, I like myself more, I like the shape of my life better, I like the sound of the two dozen audio tracks playing constantly in my head a lot better, than I did a year ago.

That’s all I wanted to say. Happy new year.

What are your pinned tabs? Here’s mine.

Cucumber season in blogland. Or, well, lots of stuff I want to write about but that I can’t find the time or the words to, you know, write about. Let’s do a classic “what’s on your keyring” question.

As of 2 January, 2024, these are my pinned tabs. I use Opera on macOS.

  • 🫑 Piperka. The webcomic bookmarking service I’ve used for… half my life, I think. Together with its bookmarklet, first in my bookmarks bar, Piperka is how I read webcomics. Real second brain stuff for me. Here’s everything I read.
  • ♟️ BrainKing. I play a lot of board games online, these days mostly Backgammon (and several variants like Plakoto) and Dice Chess. My username is AlexDaily — feel free to invite me to some games.
  • 💬 Discord. A recent addition. I don’t really use Discord, but DMs with a friend had to go somewhere after I quit Twitter. This is essentially the slot where TweetDeck used to live.
  • 🐘 Mastodon. My own instance, Beep Boop One. Advanced web interface, always. Follow me on there if you don’t already.
  • 🎬 Letterboxd. An integral part of how I watch movies, another real second brain service for me.
  • 🪐 Cal’s forum The Planet.
  • ✍️ This blog’s admin panel.
  • 📺 The TV Calendar. More second brain stuff. Genuinely, if it’s not on here, I lose track of it and forget it exists.

A temporary addition as of last week is Paul Gadzikowski’s The Hero of Three Faces, which was due a reread — I’d do it through Piperka, but Piperka tracks Three Faces in production order, not chronological.

What are your pinned tabs? What can’t you do without in your browser? What services are second brain for you? Why not blog the answer yourself, or leave it in the comments?

On the Planet of the Blog

Just a quick little note to formally announce what was essentially soft launched a few weeks ago: I’ve started a new, separate blog called Planet of the Blog that’s a Doctor Who group blog for the modren modern era.1Can you believe nothing else on the internet seems to be called “Planet of the Blog”?

The vast majority of my own Doctor Who writing will appear on Planet of the Blog going forward. Already exclusive to it are Arc Watch for The Church on Ruby Road, and a Doctor Who style guide for the future that literally nobody will agree with me about. No specific promises for the future, but it’s Doctor Who — I’ll be thinking and writing about this show for the rest of my life.

But it’s not just where my writing about Doctor Who will go, because it’s a group blog — already up there is Kurt’s argument that the Futurama people should sue the 60th anniversary specials have a lot in common with the 2007-09 Futurama movies.

As far as I’m concerned, the “group” in “group blog” is pretty broad, and pretty undefined right now — if we know each other, if we’re mutuals, etc., I’m probably happy to run something you’ve written about Doctor Who, and if we’re friends, (I see this as a don’t ask, I’ll offer, type of thing) I’ll just set you up with an account so you can just post whatever you want without running it past me. I want this to be like Peter Davison’s face — an open, friendly, pleasant thing.

  • 1
    Can you believe nothing else on the internet seems to be called “Planet of the Blog”?

Some deleted drafts

A running thread you’ll notice in this selection of post I’ve deleted from my drafts tab in ClassicPress, thereby officially abandoning all pretence that I’ll do anything with them, is that these are all fandom or fandom-related essay ideas, really? Do I do that here? I did it once, I guess, though I feel like I kinda crapped out on the conclusion. There’s also a layer of a specific type of frustration to some of these that I generally don’t think lends itself to good writing.

Anyway.

From oldest to newest.

Who’s behind the mask? On identity concealment in “Star Wars.”

This one was just a title — I was annoyed Star Wars fandom took one look at a Stormtrooper with a cool gold mask and immediately decided they must be somebody1The emphasis was mostly on the idea that it was Ezra Bridger, but I saw several other names come up. hiding their face, and so I decided to write a rebuttal, because Star Wars doesn’t really… do that?

The Clones’ faces are never a secret, kindly old Palpatine being the monkey-faced hologram fella from the original films is only a twist if you’re watching for the first time in episode order, and Vader taking his helmet off is a serious health condition reveal, not an identity reveal at all. Phasma in the sequels never turns out to Be Somebody, The Mandalorian is about helmets and never, to the best of my recollection, pulls that type of twist at all.

In fact, it never really seems to happen that much in long-running sci-fi franchises at all — Doctor Who lets the Master do it sometimes, as a treat, but that’s a throwback to the 70s, Star Trek doesn’t really do it, it was very obvious on WandaVision it was gonna be Agatha all along, not fucking Mephisto, who would’ve come out of nowhere— *takes a deep breath*

But “Alex is annoyed with a fandom they’re not really in” makes for lousy writing, and also, I didn’t feel like doing the research, which I’d really have to do properly if I’m gonna pick a fight with nerds, so here we go — I didn’t write the post, and now I’m just doing the complaining, anyway, that’s that particular craving answered.

Interview with the person whose house the weary travellers stop at to recharge and eat a good meal

Inspired by a Mastodon post, this seemed like one I might get some mileage out of, but really, much like how I’m not really in Star Wars fandom enough to pick a fight, I’m just not in either fantasy or, like, longform profile pieces enough to really do this one justice. The joke would’ve been that the weary travellers stop at the interview subject’s house while the interview is happening, I think?

Doctor Who: 14 reasonable expectations for the RTD2 era

It was August, I saw a lot of people projecting their every hope and dream on the RTD2 era, and I thought I’d be a more reasonable voice in the discourse — but a week out from the first of the 60th anniversary special airing the vibe has changed a lot, and I no longer feel any need to try to throw a reasonable wrench into anyone’s spokes. I also remembered I simply do not wish to be part of The Discourse.

And anyway, I got to one (1) reasonable expectation and looking at it now I’d probably cut it if I was gonna try to finish it.

Notes on a Multiverse: “Iron Man” (2008)

For a while there I found it really frustrating to talk about the MCU on the internet2See amongst many other things the Mephisto thing. Exhausting., to the point that my Letterboxd reviews were just “Enjoyed it.” with a 5-star rating. I’m mostly over that frustration now3Leaving a certain web forum behind, and quite a lot of my exposure to clickbait and “look at this stupid opinion”-type posts with it, seems to have helped., and I can feel a substantial rewatch approaching at velocity. I wondered out loud on Mastodon if that rewatch might involve some kind of writing project, using the phrase “a Psychochronography in Spandex” to specifically evoke El Sandifer’s TARDIS Eruditorum as a model I was thinking of.

But, let’s be honest with myself here, that’s massively overestimating my current ability to commit to a long-term writing project of what would at the bare minimum be hundreds of posts.4How do you get to hundreds of posts from 35 movies? Agents of SHIELD ran for 136 episodes. The Netflix shows put out 161 episodes. Even doing some condensing this would be a massive undertaking. I’m very interested in finding an angle on the MCU from which to talk about it in a way that doesn’t drive me fucking insane.

I’m gonna do the rewatch at some point, and I’d like to do some kind of project around it? I like the title Notes on a Multiverse. But whatever shape that takes, it’s obviously not gonna be hundreds of essays, so the project I saved the draft for will not exist, and so — into the trash it goes.

  • 1
    The emphasis was mostly on the idea that it was Ezra Bridger, but I saw several other names come up.
  • 2
    See amongst many other things the Mephisto thing. Exhausting.
  • 3
    Leaving a certain web forum behind, and quite a lot of my exposure to clickbait and “look at this stupid opinion”-type posts with it, seems to have helped.
  • 4
    How do you get to hundreds of posts from 35 movies? Agents of SHIELD ran for 136 episodes. The Netflix shows put out 161 episodes. Even doing some condensing this would be a massive undertaking.

On constellations

I’d love for this whole thing to be more conversational.1This includes a missive to you, Dear Reader — please feel free to strike up a conversation either here in the comments or on Mastodon if something I say on here makes you think, or feel, or just want to say something. Don’t hold back. It’s the new 1999, there’s no rules — all we have is how we decide to go about things. Inherent to social media is that most of what you say is gonna be ephemeral — if the web is people, a tweet toot is a sentence whispered to yourself, and if you’re lucky somebody else hears it and you connect. I’m not a Dead Internet2From the Atlantic: “The Internet Is Mostly Bots” (archive.is) and “Maybe You Missed It, But The Internet ‘Died’ Five Years Ago.” (archive.is) truther,3Hm, a loaded word. but at its worst — my worst, maybe — I can’t deny that the Old Place sometimes felt like that. Being online, even though the web is not a sea, sure felt like a scream into the water sometimes. Unheard by all but nearby fish.

The opposite of that feeling, on the Old Place anyway, was the couple times a year somebody, often a bot, often a person doing very specific searches, would like/fave or otherwise acknowledge a post from Too Long Ago. And this felt RUDE. To confront me with my own words in the notifications column that should’ve been a safe space? I don’t even like myself from two weeks ago, and this is from two years ago? Wow, okay.4That’s why it felt rude to me, anyway, but I feel like this is a common sentiment.

But that’s not conversation. So let’s start talking.

I’ve been clicking around blogs. Old blogs, current blogs, pandemic blogs, blogs by people who you might have heard of, blogs by people nobody remembers, blogs the people who were there hold up as the great blogs, passion project blogs with two decades of dedicated writing on it. It’s funny how something from 1999 can resonate while something from 2016 utterly fails to. Allow me to quote the thing that inspired me to write this, a conversation between bloggers from 2010 that managed to resonate.

Below the fold, other people’s words. Continue reading “On constellations”

No more sundays

Just a quick little note today —

The Sunday format isn’t quite working for me — the mix of journal and media diet post doesn’t really work to begin with, nobody needs weekly updates on where I’m at with a book, and in the journal bit I keep complaining about my Mondays on my Sundays, which, you know, they do dominate the week, but also perpetuates a downwards spiral.

I also don’t like the way they highlight that I haven’t posted in a bit, but that’s a separate thing.

So, going forward:

  • One, if I have something to say I’ll just say it.1This was another problem with the journal bit — do I hold back something I could say earlier, or do I write something I wouldn’t otherwise be writing?
  • Two, monthly media posts. I think that’s a better pace that allows me more time to actually find things to say.
    • The Bits from Letterboxd section will survive in some fashion, either in those posts or on its own, which, you know, my original plan for this blog was to just syndicate what I was doing elsewhere, and I think it’s very funny that that almost fully has not happened and it’s almost all been original material.
    • I’ve considered whether I should Do The Letterboxd Thing on other sites for other media, but I don’t want to be on More Silos, and I don’t see myself having the relationship with those I have with Letterboxd, anyway.

That is all. The river flows the way the river flows.

  • 1
    This was another problem with the journal bit — do I hold back something I could say earlier, or do I write something I wouldn’t otherwise be writing?

On streaking.

It’s true. I’m a streaker.

There are certain activities I like to do every day. One way or another, I count how many days in a row I’ve done them.

There’s the movies, obviously. I broke my summer-long daily streak with the first killer Monday this year, and I’m probably just gonna surrender to that Monday going forward, so it’s gonna top out at 6 days in a row for the rest of the year. That’s fine, I still watch way more than one a day on average, and my Letterboxd stats define a streak as once a week, so at 185 and counting, I’m good.1I do also get bummed out if I miss Sneak Preview, but that’s a few Tuesdays a month, not every day.

There’s the phone games. I play all the Flow Free games every day and have for years — 7.8 years specifically, because the app says I’ve played 2852 days, which is approximately since the beginning.2The daily puzzle update dropped at different times in different places and different app stores, and you may not have installed it right away. My actual streak is 2707 days, though, because I missed one day once, about half a year in. If I had a time machine, I assure you. I have a perfect since-the-beginning streak on all the other ones. 3I also play TwoDots, but that streak mechanic came in very late and for a while it was just very hit and miss whether it registered the day or not — they either fixed that or I got better at catching it, I’m currently at about 200 days.

For a while I used to say if I hadn’t tweeted in 24 hours you could safely assume I was dead.4Guess I’ve died. I’m sure there’s other things I could include in this streak mentality. I’m never late for school.

I realised the other day I was on a streak here.5To your right, note the calendar. Unless you’re on your phone, in which case, scroll down. Responsive, baby! And made fun of myself for it. But this is a different kind of streak — it’s not a mindless phone game or a passive6I mean, I toot, but. media consumption habit. Blogging is writing, blogging is productive. People have already told me they enjoy what I’m doing here, and I’m having fun doing it. Even writing this at 22:30 on a Killer Monday just to make sure I don’t break the streak.7Wait, my Flow streak should be one higher if I’m posting this tomorrow– No! Just schedule it! Walk away! Be done!

My workload at school will increase as the year goes on. Maybe tomorrow I just don’t have something that I feel is best served by writing a blog post about it. I’ll break that streak, and it’s gonna be fine. I’ll just post again the day after, or a few days later. I will break that streak.

But not today.

………Wait, what did you think the title meant?

  • 1
    I do also get bummed out if I miss Sneak Preview, but that’s a few Tuesdays a month, not every day.
  • 2
    The daily puzzle update dropped at different times in different places and different app stores, and you may not have installed it right away.
  • 3
    I also play TwoDots, but that streak mechanic came in very late and for a while it was just very hit and miss whether it registered the day or not — they either fixed that or I got better at catching it, I’m currently at about 200 days.
  • 4
    Guess I’ve died.
  • 5
    To your right, note the calendar. Unless you’re on your phone, in which case, scroll down. Responsive, baby!
  • 6
    I mean, I toot, but.
  • 7
    Wait, my Flow streak should be one higher if I’m posting this tomorrow– No! Just schedule it! Walk away! Be done!

Let’s not call it version 1.0

Right, well, that was needed quicker than I’d expected. Pictured, what this blog looked like from 23 August to 9 September. All around you, then, this very website, what it looks like going forward. The centrepiece of the vibe: Still my noggin on a purple background.

There’s a bunch of things I still need to polish, give a little more shape to, but I think it’s best to just work this out live. You may in fact have caught me doing just that these past few days.

The Kubrick theme wasn’t a proper “version” of this site, it was a proof of concept, it was a way to give this the shape I needed it to have to get started. But I’ve started, I’ve got into the habit, and this is my first draft. Let’s go.

The voice of the blog.

I’ve been thinking about the voice of this blog, and the voices of blogs in general.

What’s the voice of a blog in the Year of Luigi 2023? Is there even such a thing? Is the concept of the blog so dominated by the corporate voice, the journalistic voice, that the blog is now unvoiced, voiceless, indistinct when it does pipe up?

As part of this thinking I’ve been reading blogs from the far-flung future year of 1999, and overwhelmingly, the voice reminds me very specifically of one thing: The exact way everyone talked on the first few years of Twitter. A word you might enjoy here is that I would call it “exploratory.” The voice is confident and excited, but knows it must be ready for anything. It has no idea what’s coming, but it can’t wait to find out.1New York-based bloggers were first to lose this in 2001. It’s a sharp turn, that one.

Is there any way to get back there? Does it have value to try? Or do we live in a world so fundamentally changed by the ever-advancing marches of history, technology, society, that it’s like asking to go to Constantinople, which exists only as a story below the city Turkey tells today? Do I actually wish I could still write like that? No, I think I just wish I lived in less interesting times.

So what’s the voice of the blog in the Year of Luigi 2023? What does my version of it sound like? I don’t know, but probably not like that of a 20-something student from 1999. How do I “explore” like the adventurers of yore? I don’t know. But I’m looking forward to finding out.

  • 1
    New York-based bloggers were first to lose this in 2001. It’s a sharp turn, that one.

Oops-I-Broke-It-posting

Okay, well, on Une Whim I decided to upgrade to PHP 8.0, you know, be futureproof and all that, and it instantly broke the theme1Oh, my beloved Kubrick. here. And not just the theme, the theme breaking broke the whole blog. Just spectacular.

I’d call it a miracle nothing else broke, but this is why I hate using code more complex than I understand — there simply is nothing else on any part of my website for that upgrade to break to begin with.

I’ve enabled the least objectionable theme I had lying around. Which one that is has changed twice since I started writing this. It’ll change again.

Writing my own is now obviously a top priority. Truly, I do be blogging here.

If anything else breaks here I’m just gonna jump the gun and upgrade to ClassicPress 2.0, or even just switch to WordPress, I swear to god.

  • 1
    Oh, my beloved Kubrick.
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