Whatever: The Vast Confederate Lighthouse

Initially I had planned to have a Content Blues podcast hosted here on the blog, but because I don’t have a WordPress Business Plan and don’t intend to shell out for one, that won’t be happening. Instead, I switched to Spreaker as a distribution service for both this and the Shallow & Pedantic Podcast. The point of Whatever: A Content Blues Podcast will be to collect all the shorter posts (Quick Reviews and such) into an audo format, and leave the rest of the blog to the longer, essayish posts.

The Vast Confederate Lighthouse Whatever.

A smorgasboard of an episode! We correct Twitter's History Department, Praise "The Vast of Night", discuss the pagan themes of "The Lighthouse", read some epic poetry and a sonnet, consider modern cassette culture, and give a shout-out to indie electronica band Validine Chronus.

It’s up on Spotify, Podchaser, and Deezer, and will presently be on iTunes, iHeartRadio, and Google Podcasts.

The Grand Deletion

My initial plan was to make changes to this site subtly, but visual issues with the theme required a new look, and when combined with the scale of the changes I’ve made on social media, that became more appropriate. So, in brief, let me relate what’s happening:

  • My Tumblr blogs are deleted. Every Damn CD is hereby inactive. I’m going back to listening to my music instead of reviewing it.
  • My Podcast, Thumbs Down/Thumbs Up, is undergoing changes. When I decide on a new format, I’m going to post it here, instead of through Podbean. The Shallow & Pedantic Podcast will continue without changes.
  • An ancient blog project, The Teacher’s Dictionary, which withered on the vine, has finally been executed. I may revive it in another form later on.
  • My Facebook Author page has also been deleted. It was more of a firewall than anything else, and my Facebook no longer requires a firewall. Posts will continue to be shared on my normal Facebook page.

Other things, of no interest to anyone here, have likewise gone the wayside. Whatever merit they had, they did not achieve the success I wanted. Reading Cam Newton’s Deep Work (a book I recommend) has made me consider concentration rather than multiplicity as the thing most needed in a blog. A million cross-postings are of no value if I cannot drive the traffic here.

I’ve been through these changes periodically in my long history of blogging; reaching for the new in order to combat the frustration of feeling like you’re shouting into a void. What I haven’t done is get the right content under the eyes of the right readers. Hence, quantity must take a back seat to quality. Nothing else matters.

Thus, what I intend as the final form of this web site, and my career as a blogger. I’m making this statement publicly, as a promise to hold myself to. This is a blog about writing, about content creation, and about aesthetics thereunto pertaining. Beauty is truth, and truth, beauty. And all that cal.

Read on, friends.

Shallow & Pedantic 4: We All Shine On

This went up on the Patreon last week for subscribers, and went up on iTunes and Spotify not long after. It a podcast in theme of earlier episodes: exploring the gulf between a novel and its film adapation (in this case, The Shining) and what it is that Horror does. There’s some loud mike action in the early part of the episode: we were recording through masks and Mike brought his a little too close. But that evens out after the first stinger.

Now would be a good time to repost that Patreon link. There’s a new issue of Unnamed Journal out this month, and the way to get it is to be a subscriber ($1 a month) or buy it direct from our Gumroad. More on this in the coming days.

Merry Podcasting

I find it interesting how “podcast” has evolved from “micro-radio show on your iPhone” to “people talking into a microphone on YouTube”.

Now this is a satrical podcast, but what it’s satirizing is very real. There are in fact, entire YouTube channels that exist for 30-year-olds to talk like children about popcorn movies under the guise of “nerd culture”. I know I shouldn’t talk, because I’m about to launch a podcast similar in scope, but I’m not a shill for Disney. I’m interested in the art form.

The podcast will be called Shallow & Pedantic, and while it’s aimed at discussing literature, film, and other things aesthetic, our approach is critical, analytical, not Go Out and See The New Thing.

This doesn’t mean Thumbs Down/Thumbs Up is going anywhere. I’ll continue to record episode for it, because I genuinely like it. I haven’t been as committed to creating new episodes as I want, because writing episodes is never as small an undertaking as I want it to be. But with the new school year comes a new focus, and a new commitment to making new content. So on we go.

Micropressery

My plan is to start one.

It will take some time, but I believe it will be worth it, and satisfying. I’ve hinted at this before.

I’ve taken inspiration from Dead Rabbit Books, and their podcast, and whom I’ve interacted with on their subreddit. It’s all very much in embryo but my partner at UJ has agreed to the idea.

The interesting thing is that this isn’t really new.

I started my micro-press, Future Tense Books, back in 1990 and I honestly had no idea what I was doing for the first few years. The dawn of the Internet, along with more printing options, has made it easier to run a small press since then.

Don’t let people tell you that small press publishing is a ghetto. Some of the authors I’ve worked with have gone on to major presses.

Art is never a ghetto.

Podcasting is Going to Be a Thing.

As the post below shows, I put a new episode of my long-dormant podcast up. I did so for two reasons:

  1. I Have Things To Say Beyond The Scope of This Blog. Recent event have made me toy with having things to say on the subject of politics, but I don’t want to turn this into a politics blog. That was exhausting and felt futile. The world doesn’t need another politics blog, and I don’t want to write one. But if I start writing on that topic, I’m not going to be able to stop. I’ve done all this before. A podcast, particularly Thumbs Down, Thumbs Up, has an open format that I can weigh in when I want to, without feeling obligated to.
  2. I Can Do It Regularly. This recent episode took me very little time to get up and running. I decided to do it, did it, and uploaded it in the space of an afternoon. With a modicum of prep-work, the quality of each episode will improve without costing me too much time.

I’m not gonna set a rigid schedule for it yet, but I want to stay current, and inertia is the enemy of work. So watch this space.

Of Course Blogging Isn’t Dead.

One one level, having to deny that something is dead is evidence that a significant number of people thing it is, which is “dead” in pop-culture terms. And that’s true as far as it goes. But pop-culture isn’t everything. So on another level, the internet is filled with blogging. If you consider social media micro-blogging (and what else would you consider it?), then the internet is barely anything else.

What prompts this?

A Culture-War post on Ace of Spades last week contains the following-slightly off-topic comment:

9. Honestly, although people have been saying “blogging is dead” for years, I think maybe blogging is dead, and video commentary is the new blogging. Personally, I don’t think I have the desire to do that or the particular talents, but that seems to me to clearly be the only front that matters any longer.

This is also true as far as it goes. But I counter that video commentary – or vlogging – is just a different form of blogging. The idea of the blog – that any fool with an internet connection can create and publish content to the wide world – is not contradicted by the evolution away from text and to video.

I also disagree with the main premise. Blogging is still happening. Blogs still exist. People still read them. They may not be the exciting trend they were in 2003, when I got on Blogger for the first time, but they’re by no means gone. WordPress is not YouTube, neither is it MySpace.

What I suspect we’re going to continue to see is Blogging Plus, as in blogging AND vlogging/podcasting AND social media. The ways of reaching an audience are growing, but old ways of doing that do not vanish thereby. And if you doubt me, ask yourself how many people you know that still listen to the radio, a medium that’s almost 100 years old.

Happy blogging, everyone. In whatever way you do it.

Content Creation Blues

 

A Song of Ice and Fire, Hold the Ice

If you’re on Reddit, you probably noticed or took part in the New Year’s Night vigil of watching George R.R. Martin’s livejournal for the update on The Winds of Winter. I myself did, and it was an instructive lesson in group emotions: first excitement, then frustration, then japery, rage, despair, and, just when we thought he’d gone to bed and we were getting all the news we were going to get, he commented and said he had one more update in him. The joy (“hype” as they call it on Reddit) was transcendent. Fans of A Song of Ice and Fire who were previously damning George for a lazy old fat prat got religion without even blinking.

He admitted his frustration with his progress and copped to the problems he’d been having. And I was fine with it. I was fine with him telling me what I surmised to be true: that Season 6 of Game of Thrones was going to spoil the books. It’s disappointing, but it’s okay. Now we can finally accept it.

Podcasting Takes Time

I’ve been trying to find the right moment to sit down and do my next podcast, which I have previously stated to be all about Star Wars. Now that we’ve had a chance to digest the film, I can see some of the complaints about it, but I’m going to talk about that more fully. I just need to make myself do it. And sooner, rather than later, because…

January is My Personal NoWriMo

Reading Larry Correia’s blog (especially this post) has inspired me to sit my rear end down and get cracking on my epic fantasy stories. I started creating this world on an electric typewriter back when I was 14, and seeing them in print has always been a dream. My first completed novel, The Island Prince, was from this world. It took me three years to write it, and its in no condition to be published. So I’m going to start again, with a story a few centuries before that. Hopefully what I’ve learned about writing over the last twelve years will show itself in the product. But at any rate, I’m on this. Working title: The Blood King

Actual Content Creation

The Unnamed Journal, a lit mag I have a tangential relationship to, just published its second issue. Click here for a hard copy, or here for Kindle.

And then there’s the music review project, Every Damn CD, on Tumblr. Currently I’m on the White Stripes, but there’s so much more to go.

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