Ten years ago today, I moved my thriving (for certain definitions of “thriving”) Myspace blog over to the big-time: a real website. In honor of the occasion, I thought I’d revisit one of my most well-received series (Mailbag Monday) and answer a few questions about my time on this website. Technically, this is the NINE year anniversary due to my website being offline for EXACTLY one year due to Russian (or, at least, continental Asian) hackers, but I was also actively blogging on Myspace since August, 2006 (along with some scattered film writings and the first Goth Blog in 2005), so much like the first instance of a band being a racist piece of shit in black metal music, who can say where the real beginning is?
“You have been blogging for a long time now, with a lot of different formats over the years. Looking back on your old posts, what has changed the most over the last decade?”
Laura is the neighbor I had a huge crush on at the end of the 90s and my current wife, number two gaming partner, and all around voice of reason. She’s also the saint that got this message from me and actually followed through when I was trying to finish up a recent post while not at my home computer:
Bottom line, she’s a treasure, and it’s the least I can do to answer her question here!
So, yes, I HAVE been blogging for a long time! Over the last ten (minus 1 due to hacking, plus 30 months of MySpace and other miscellany) years, I have written 765 blog posts, for a total of 4.72 (repeating, of course) posts per month. Like you said, there have been a lot of format changes, here is a brief history:
- August, 2005 to November, 2005 – It all started with me creating the high school goth kid of Goth Blog for a silly “bad poetry blog” I did with a friend (the link to the originals, now collected on this website for posterity, is even somehow still active). Add in a couple film pieces I did for a private cinema discussion board I started with some friends for a month or two (a few of which are also collected on this website for the appropriate month), and you have the whole of my online writings through 2005.
- August, 2006 to December, 2008 – After a brief hiatus from online writing, I put up an old essay on Plato onto the “blog” feature I noticed my Myspace page had. From that start I went on to post a monthly string of essays and silly shit for 2 and a half years that basically set the format for my website to the present day.
- December, 2008 to December, 2009 – With the new website up and running–and all my old Myspace blog posts painstakingly archived (seriously, that html was a MESS)–I continued my formula of: serious thoughts on narrow interests mixed with blue humor and overly dense, reference-laden satire.
- January, 2010 to January, 2016 – With my decision to start grad school (in film), I started a series of 7 recurring monthly features as a way to make sure I stayed active even when swamped with school work. Since I’ve always been someone that responds well to deadlines, this also helped me to stay active when I finished grad school, met Laura and Benny, and got a full time job.
- February, 2016 to January, 2017 – Due to catastrophically poor management of my WordPress updates, my website went down HARD for an entire year.
- February, 2017 to present – However, after my site was down for a year due to the hacking, I realized that I wasn’t always super happy with my recurring posts–too often they were just cranked out and felt more like I was meeting a deadline rather than writing because I had something interesting to say. So I switched back to the “write about whatever I want when I want” format.
Of course, all those format changes are just structural, what about my writing itself? There have been small changes. For instance, my movie reviews have definitely improved, the old extended reviews I did, I used to think I had to address each element of the cinematic process which ended up in a long list of “the cinematography is great…so is the writing…and the acting…etc etc!” Now I pick an angle to discuss a film and write about that, bringing in other elements as needed, which makes for a more focused (or, at least, more interesting) review.
But, honestly, MOST of my writing is pretty much exactly the same. Hell, it is right now 12:37 AM and here I am finishing up a “Sunday” post…just like old times (though, it is also late as shit, so I’ll go ahead and use the Mailbag Monday photo instead of making a new “Mailbag Sunday” one…look at me letting stuff go!) But really, just look at this, the first thing I ever wrote on the internet, from 2005:
This has all the hallmarks of quintessential Isley writing. The overly-flowery language in the service of tongue-in-cheek humor (in this case satirizing over-dramatic goths). The confusing in-joke about how I had to use the wrong screen name (Wonderful Winner of Winter was my friend Katy). And the 0 comments. As you can see, it was all there from day one.
“Have you changed as a person over the course of this blog? If so, is this reflected in the content of the posts?”
Shena was the first person I ever met in college, and while her and I might not be the friends we’ve NEEDED all these years, we’ve definitely been the friends we DESERVED. And, honestly, she’s been subjected to 20+ (that’s right Shena, PLUS) years of my horrible links, the least I can do is answer her question here.
Well, first, obviously my life has changed quite a bit in recent times. Over the past 5 years, I got a real, actual, full-time job, got married, became a dad twice, and took up Warhammer. So yeah, BIG changes. Second, less than a week ago I published (for all the internet to see) a post called “The Top 5 Best Black Metal Cover Photo Cock-shots,” so, no, the content of my posts has not changed in any meaningful way.
Of course, saying I haven’t changed as a person isn’t entirely true. Just because *I* think be-corpse-painted black metal musicians hanging dong on an album cover is hilarious doesn’t mean that everyone will. So, new, woke Isley AT LEAST puts a trigger warning on that shit before posting the link to Facebook. Or, as you are aware, when I am brainstorming jokes for the latest RE-Zork and come up with a hilarious “Hitler scolding a werewolf whose face is covered in feces for wearing blackface” joke, I at least now run it by you first, to make sure I’m not taking it too far. Which, again, thank you for giving that joke a resounding thumbs up, the latest RE-Zork just wouldn’t have been the same without that Shena-approved bit of envelope pushing hilarity!
If you could visit one location in Middle-earth, what would it be?
NoJoy is the only repeat reader I’ve managed to pick up while writing this blog (that I’m aware of–all my lurkers say HEEEEEYYYY), so I am always as happy to answer his questions as I am to receive his freelance elvish language copy editing.
This feels like a bit of a cheat, but my first thought would be to visit Amon Hen. Not only would the Falls of Rauros and Tol Brandir be spectacular (to say nothing of the Argonath on the other side of the lake), but the possible magical properties of the seat at the top of the hill would afford me a view even better than that bullshit in the Hobbit movie where they could see the Lonely Mountain from the eastern slopes of the Misty Mountains.
However, if I really must be honest, Mirkwood is the place that first captured my heart all the way back to when I first cracked open The Hobbit. The Old Forest is too small, Lorien is too boring, Fangorn is too long in the tooth, but Mirkwood, that shit is a Goldilocks forest if there ever was one. Immense, twisted, magical, and full of secrets, Mirkwood is the fantasy forest to end all fantasy forests. If I get to pick, I would definitely pick either the old Greenwood the Great before the Necromancer moved in and brought the property value down, or, the gentrified version of the fourth age. Spiders, rotting trees, and bitchy elves are NOT really my jam.
“What will you do when Benny starts reading your blog.”
I suppose this question might have something to do with my recent penis-centric black metal post. But, honestly, there is nothing in this blog that I’m ashamed of or do not stand by. Yes, the humor is horrifically crass at times, and reprehensibly juvenile at others, but, *I* think that shit is hilarious (pun intended), and I stand by that. If anything, I’m maybe a little worried he’ll find out I used those pictures of him smiling awkwardly next to stuff he wanted just to make fun of him…but we’ll hope that stays buried until he’s old enough to appreciate his own hilarity!
Obviously the material is not suited for a 7-year-old, but that’s not really an issue either. Benny will be in his 30s before he even gives a shit about reading dad’s boring-ass little blog. Hell, I have heard that kids these days don’t even use Facebook anymore–so I doubt he’s going to wade through page after page of my thoughts on mid-90’s German black metal to get to the good stuff for many years anyway.
“Who do you love the most, Britney, or Dio?”
Speaking of Benny, in addition to being my number one gaming partner, fart joke collaborator, make-believe player, and all around main little dude, he is also a fellow Britney aficionado. He hasn’t quite taken to Dio like I have however, which led him to ask this question.
But, come on, do I really need to answer this? I mean, Dio INVENTED the goddamn heavy metal devil horns hand gesture! He is responsible for an unparalleled multi-decade run of heavy metal CLASSICS! He has the voice of a God and is the only person who could probably outsing Rob Halford, if, like, Rob Halford had a mild cold or something.
On the other hand, it’s Britney, bitch.
So, I think the answer is obvious…