Archive for the ‘ Metablogging ’ Category

Two-Week Hiatus

Just a quick note: I’m going to be visiting my brother, who has been living in Africa for a few years. It will be an exciting trip, but I will have little or no internet access during this time. I don’t plan to write any blog posts until I return.

Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you again in late January.

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2011 Stats

Happy New Year, everyone! 2011 was my first year blogging, and I’m happy with how it went. Now I want to take a moment to look back on how my overall grades worked out.

Over the course of 128 posts, I assigned 184 grades. (This is for letter grades only. For example, I refrain from giving grades in my webcomics posts, and my Origins report used number grades to avoid “final” decisions.) Here is how they broke down:

That’s actually a much more consistent curve than I was afraid I would see! It looks like the grades are fairly distributed, with the average being a B/B-. I think I’m a fairly tough grader (the Bs are still recommendations, while a B- is a mild recommendation), but I also review the things that I choose to buy for myself, so it’s not surprising that I usually liked the things I chose. I expect to see this average drop slightly now that I’m becoming more comfortable with assigning lower grades, but as long as I’m choosing my own material, it shouldn’t shift much.

If you’re curious about details, I have my grades broken down by category with more commentary below the fold.

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State of the Blog

Hi everyone. I know that this blog hasn’t been updating as regularly over the past couple months, but don’t worry. This won’t be a permanent thing, and I have a very good excuse: I got married.

Life has been pretty crazy lately, and most other things (especially reading books, and even more so writing about anything) have been put on the back-burner. But I intend to get back to a regular posting schedule soon. I have a huge backlog of half-written reviews in my head, and I’ll go crazy if I don’t get around to it soon.

I’m halfway through my 2-week honeymoon right now. When I return, I’ll have a 3-day weekend at home before returning to work, and I definitely intend to write then.

(By the way, I don’t normally write reviews of events. But if I did, my wedding and reception would have easily earned an A.)

My Grading System

My recent article about Thor: The Mighty Avenger marked my 51st review. Oops: I meant to stop and look back at them when I reached number 50, but I guess I wasn’t counting carefully enough. 51 will have to do.

The friends that I’ve talked to don’t always know what to make of my grades. We’re all used to grade inflation, and it’s easy to assume that anything less than an A is a bad review. So I’ve added an explanation on the right-hand side of the blog showing exactly what the grades mean. I’ve also created a separate page with a detailed break-down for each +/- modifier. I don’t know that I’ve been completely consistent so far, but I now have a written standard, complete with questions I can ask myself to decide what grade I’d give something.

In short, remember that while As may be excellent, a B still means that I’m recommending something. It may have some flaws, but I explain the good and bad points in my review. That should help you figure out whether the good will outweigh the bad for you, keeping in mind that it did for me.

I was also curious about exactly how my 51 grades so far break down. More details below the cut.

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The Internet Is Surprising

This blog is only a month old, and I write it as a hobby. At the moment, I have two friends who check in on it regularly, and I can expect five to ten more hits whenever I remind people about my blog on Twitter. That’s fine, especially since I know that most of the things I write about wouldn’t be interesting to all of my friends. It would be cool if I could gain a small group of followers over the next year or so, but I don’t have any illusions about getting big.

Technically, this blog is publicly available to the whole world. In reality, though, I expected it to be lost in the noise of millions of other low-traffic sites. I’ve been shocked that, in only one month and 18 posts, I’ve already been reminded of the internet’s potential three times.

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Stuff I Like

So now that I’ve had a few days of content, I feel like stepping back to list the different sorts of things that I’m interested in. I’m sure this list will evolve over time (what’s the point of having an unfocused review blog unless I maintain that lack of focus?), but here is a snapshot of my interests at the present.

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It’s A New Review Blog!

Hi there, and thank you for checking out the latest blog to clutter up the Internet.  After meaning to start one for years, but always changing my mind about what to write about, or delaying until I could find the time to plan it out perfectly, I’ve realized that I just need to start writing.  I’m going to post about various things that I’m interested in (usually in review form), and if it works out, I’ll worry about making it perfect later.

Probably the first thing to fix in the near future is the generic look of the blog, but the wide range of topics needs to be addressed soon afterwards.  I doubt there are many people out there who want to read reviews of punk CDs interspersed with board games, and those few who like that mix are probably going to be bored by the comic book stuff.  It would be nice if I could make convenient micro-sites for single-interest people, or even separate RSS feeds.  But again, start writing first, and make it perfect later.  There (hopefully) will be things you like mixed into this blog, and if there aren’t, then I shouldn’t worry about you reading this anyway.

So, about the name.  “Cult of the new” is a phrase that turns up from time to time, mostly in the board game community.  It refers to those people who will buy a $50 game knowing that even if they like it, they’ll probably only play it 3 or 4 times before they put it aside to focus on the next new thing.  While I will return to things I enjoy, this definitely describes me well.  I’m 32 years old, and it’s been almost a decade since I noticed that most people my age were starting to complain that new music wasn’t as good as it was when they were teenagers, all the movies that came out in the past year sucked, and really, they just didn’t have the time to look for new books.  Personally, I think that we’re in a golden age for music, literature, and pretty much any other interest you can think of.  The Internet makes your interests accessible no matter how small the niche, and gives potential creators the information and support community that they need to get started.

Admittedly, a lot of my articles will return to authors and artists that I already like.  Also, I expect that I’ll often be reviewing things that are years old, just because they’re new to me.  This is the point where I find myself stopping and wondering if “Cult of the New” is the right name for this blog or not.  But I have to remember:  Just start writing.  Make it perfect later.