The Case of the Missing Plastic-Tipped Tongs

When I started 2019, I had this idea I’d consolidate all my blogging. Actually, wait, no, when I started 2019 I was going to start a TV blog (A Televisual Feast, natch) and do a lot of TV blogging, starting with a watch-through of “Penny Dreadful” because I’d gotten it for real cheap on Blu-ray in the late fall. Maybe on Black Friday. But then we wrapped up “Comics Fondle: The Podcast” and decided to do a relaunch, “Visual Reflux,” and if I was setting up a whole new site for the new podcast, why wouldn’t I just do some blogging there… I was getting excited about self-hosting again. Old time blogging. Bringing the geekery back into it.

So, funny thing… Comics Fondle: The Blog turns ten in a couple months. When I started Comics Fondle back in the day, it was too late to be starting a new comics blog. I already had a “brand” as far as it mattered in 2009 blogging, but it wasn’t CF, it was Stop Button, of course. And, because I clearly wanted to give myself an out, Stop Button was never part of the Visual Reflux: The Blog concept. I should’ve known launching a secondary blog in 2019, even if it consolidated, was a bad idea. Especially for the amount of work I really wanted to put into it. I had a lot of TV to watch, potentially, and I think I’d already decided on the Punisher MAX read-through. I swear I should have a little style guide with all these various boldings and dashes.

Anyway. It’s now September. 2019 is almost over. I’ve managed to read two books this year, as opposed to a book a week—Modern HERstory: Stories of Women and Nonbinary People Rewriting History, by Blair Imani, and Reclaiming Our Space: How Black Feminists Are Changing the World from the Tweets to the Streets, by Feminista Jones. Both are great. HERstory would basically be a great older kids book, like fourth grade, but also to old age because it’s a who’s who. Imani’s got some great chapter introduction essays too. And Reclaiming Our Space is an amazing history of social media in the last ten or so years. And Jones is an excellent writer.

So good books. But only two.

And many, many, many months apart.

But I have successfully completed—almost, one more to go—an intentionally scheduled Punisher MAX deep dive, which had always been a problem before; not finding or making the time, but getting to the write place with the writing. Because if blogging is just going to be my writing, the posts have to be about the writing, not the subject. Figuring out how to talk about the subject while still being about the writing… it takes time.

Basically, it turns out I was doing constraints wrong. In the many years Comics Fondle and Stop Button had strict per-post word counts, I learned how to write concise, which is great, but it turns out general word count targets work a lot better for how I write now. I shoot for 650 words on something, or 450 on a shitty movie, or 1,000 on a great one, and there’s no ticker—the writing app, Ulysses has turned out to be a great investment—just knowing if I hit it and where I am in the writing impulse… it works out.

My writing practice—my blogging practice—has changed. Some of it, which I don’t really want to address right now, has to do with recognizing the difference between blogging as writing and blogging as work. I don’t do the latter, I do the former. One of The Stop Button’s earliest subtitles was “An Appreciation of Amusements” (in 2019, I don’t even want to think about how much The New York Times influenced the blog’s style, but, suffice to say, Oxford commas are now a thing) and I’ve now come to think of the posts more as the amusements themselves, separate from the discussed media.

Then today I decided… why not bring back Summing Up, since I never got around to archiving its posts and it’d probably be easy to clean up and it’s not like micro.blog is working out for longer form colloquial blogging.

So instead of having two primary blogs, one The Stop Button, the second comprised of one secondary (Comics Fondle) and two tertiary (Televisual Feast, which never launched with new posts, and Summing Up, which has been in a very strange place for a long time), let’s just do all four.

I’ve got the domains anyhow. And MarsEdit. So it’s very easy.

Also… self-hosting a blog in 2019. Icky bad.

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September will be great

So TV is starting in September. Not sure what the first series I’m going to do a deep-dive on, but it’ll be… something finite. Cable or streaming or British. We’ll see how it goes. Schedule-wise, for TV, I’m thinking one TV post a week to start. Then more once I get a feel for it. Or maybe not more if it doesn’t feel right. We’ll see.

At the same time, there will be more regular Comics Fondle posts. I’m not waiting until September for the next Punisher arc, but there will be a Punisher arc next month with the new schedule. It’s currently looking like–Stop Button, VR or CF, Stop Button, whatever wasn’t the previous, Stop Button, and so on. Visual Reflux posts will either be a TV post or just some blathering like this post. Stop Button gets the most posts because it gets the most readers. I think it’d be even more accurate to say it gets readers. VR and CF are read. They do not have much in the way of regular readership, however. The whole idea of creating a centralized posting site instead of changing The Stop Button into that centralized posting site was a mistake. But I’m not running to change up Stop Button. My self-hosted WordPress experiment was miserable. I got nothing out of it except Google Analytics telling me no one was coming to the site. It would’ve been a fine idea for 2007 or 2008. But not even 2009, as CF was one relaunch too many of comics blogging after I split the comics from the movies on Stop Button because I couldn’t get it to work right on WordPress. And doing both side-by-side crashed Sandvox a lot.

Punisher will start either at the end of this week or the beginning of next. I’ve got a couple comics to read before I get to it and I’m also reading Feminista Jones’s Reclaiming Our Space and not putting it on a shelf this time. I was doing a lot better on reading in January 2019 than any other time this year. Meanwhile there’s a lot of Stop Button posts this month—I know because I’ve got three in the queue and I never have many in the queue anymore. Six blogathon posts in August, then five more the first week of September. The new Stop Button scheduling officially takes over after those September posts. So eight more movies between now and September 8. Not a lot of time for comics or TV, unfortunately. At least not TV I’m then going to write at length about. I didn’t end up writing about “The Boys” after the first couple episodes. I don’t have an “Elementary” post I don’t think. Maybe I’ll feel differently after I see the last episode.

But there was also the plan for how I was going to do the “focused” posts for TV: watching the season through (hence shorter seasons), then go through episode-by-episode to post. I’m not sure if it’ll work. Maybe the better thing would be brief posts and build up once I get used to writing about TV.

I’m sure I’ll figure it out by September.

“Mindhunter” starts in a couple days. Maybe I should try to work with that.

Social-less Micro.blog

I’m not sure if I’ve written at length about micro.blog; I might have over at Summing Up before. But I don’t have any tags or categories for the majority of the older posts and… I’m not doing a deep dive to find it.

Basically, I was waiting for micro.blog to launch (knowing about it because of the excellent Core Intuition podcast) and got tired of waiting so I launched Summing Up. I stopped doing Summing Up because 2016 election basically. It took a while to kill my blogging (inauguration put the real nail in it) and, even though I had a micro.blog I didn’t use it).

A year after deciding micro.blog wasn’t for me, I’ve decided to start using it as a Twitter posting client for ramblings. Because it turns out I don’t fit in at micro.blog, social network-speaking, which is fine. Core Intuition doesn’t do a Patreon so a fiver a month plus using MarsEdit via SetApp in addition to owning MarsEdit because it’s awesome gets to be my support.

What’s interesting is how much response I get on Twitter to my micro.blog posts. More than when I just tweet. Maybe it’s something about how I conceive of tweets vs. micro.blog posts. Though micro.blog doesn’t have posting photos into the post yet, which is one of my favorite web ux things.

I can’t help but note I still haven’t gotten around to any TV content for Visual Reflux. It’s going to happen. It’s imminent. Once I read the second Punks Not Dead arc, TV (well, streaming) is happening. This post is because I just noticed yesterday how I got zero interaction on micro.blog but a bunch for the same posts on Twitter. I have a solid Twitter. A cultivated Twitter. Especially mutuals. Even if many folks have left because it’s a shitshow.

I’m hesitant to give myself a TV schedule for VR just because it’s all new. But maybe I will. When I get closer to it making sense. I’ve got to do things like sign up for Hulu and install the app and so on. Headphones. Need to find my headphones. TV watching on lunch breaks makes sense but I’ve got zero experience with it these days. It’s been almost fifteen years since I first did it, with “Battlestar.” It’s possible I blogged about “Battlestar” back then. Who knows.