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Year-End Update

The conventional wisdom reads that 2016 sucked, and I’m not about to challenge that. It wasn’t great for me personally, wasn’t great for the world. I don’t think I need to elaborate about why it wasn’t great, so a few things before we cast this refuse off and proceed uncertainly into the future:

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Although an Explanation May Be Sought, None is Given

I am—very slightly—in the weeds at the moment.  The two major components of being a freelance writer are writing and trying to make money from writing, one of which is considerably easier than the other. And things are really stupid at the moment, just in the general sense, and I’m looking down the next quarter of college, and and and…

But I have not let Chasing the Rabbit slip entirely from my mind. I’ve been meaning to change the tagline for a while. What does it mean? Well…

Look within yourself and you will find an explanation. You may not—consciously—know what it means, but you do know. Even if it takes you a minute or two to get it, you will get it.

One Year Out

Yesterday was apparently one year since I took this blog public. Initially I had planned to cross-post with its older Blogger counterpart throughout early 2015, wind down the Blogger site gradually, introduce content exclusive to this blog, and have the Blogger as an archive (with a tasteful goodbye post overlooking it all) by midyear.

As they are wont to do, the best-laid plans of mice and men went agley. I did get the first post (a remembrance of Charles M. Schulz) up to both sites, but that is the last post on the old site. And I’ve got two or so goodbye posts saved as drafts.

But a year later, I’m here. I’m alive. I no longer own a suit, and I’m no longer active in Model UN, so I have Valentine’s Day weekend free to mope and write. And I need a haircut. Again. So I’ve got that going for me.

And once again I’m considering things. Earlier last month, I bought my own domain name and started a website—not a blog, an honest-to-god, for-real website with a homepage and everything. I’m very excited by this rather vague venture. But there’s as yet a distinct lack of content. To remedy that, I’m considering the following plan:

  1. will for the moment remain a standalone site, which will link to; so will Maple Street.
  2. I’ll be deleting the “Alex Writes” site, which I never uploaded anything to and is now presumably redundant.
  3. At some point in the medium-to-distant future I’ll fold CTR into my personal site as its “blog.”
  4. In a few minutes, I’m going to bed because I can no longer type straight.
  5. I’ll likely delete every post before March-April of 2014 from this particular site. Just so we’re clear.

I ^Still Ate’nt Dead

Yep, still here. Life has interfered. A few posts are in the hopper; I just saw Avengers: Age of Ultron a second time, so the review for that is due out soon while it’s still fresh in my brain. This summer’s slate should be up by the end of May.

Schedule of Posts-15-2-2015

Struck-through posts have been cancelled or postponed until further notice. All dates subject to change; I’ll keep you posted as situations develop.

Baseball Doubleheader–March or April; when’s Opening Day this year?
What We Talk about when We Talk about Sharknado–uncertain; review of Sharknado and Sharknado 2 to follow, if not integrated into the post itself.
It’s Your 65th Birthday, Charlie Brown–2 October.
Alex vs. the Golden Age of Television–TBD.
Star Wars recap/review–TBD, dependent on my finding a copy of the prequels and a special guest blogger’s availability
Star Wars, Canon and You–25 April
A Critique of “Heaven Is for Real”–TBD.
I Can’t Believe I’m Writing this Post–late February
Marvel Phase 2: A Retrospective–June/July
End of blogging on Blogger–spring or summer; ignore the WordPress site’s “March of 2015” because that was just me spitballing.

A New Direction

So, I’ve been thinking. Mostly about other stuff, but a lot about this blog and the direction I want it to take. And while I’m not entirely certain of what will happen going forward, I do have some ideas as to what I want to do with this blog.

The problem: Loss of momentum and desire for a clean start

I don’t know why, but I kind of lost all my motivation to move forward last year. Obviously, I did a lot of stuff—cancelling Diverged and starting Maple Street most notably —but 2014 honestly felt like a write-off in spite of all of the shake-ups and changes. I’d start a post, get caught up in revising it, and never finish or publish the damned thing. The upshot is that I have nine posts in various states of completion in various locations that will likely never see the light of day. I don’t know that I can finish these, let alone upload them; some I couldn’t say anything in, some were intimately tied to current events which have since vanished from the public consciousness, some just failed to cohere pending major revisions, two were topical and niche. I had a blast writing parts of them (in particular the one dealing with David S. Goyer’s idiotic, sexist comments about She-Hulk and the Martian Manhunter and his role in the increasing grimdarking [1] of modern superhero movies, especially those made by Warner Bros. about DC Comics characters, which I believe has some potential and relevancy in light of his involvement with Batman Vs. Superman), but I couldn’t finish any of them and I got bogged down in revision.

I turned eighteen last month, and that and the new year have ignited a desire to make a clean start of some sort. I don’t know what that start will look like, but it will probably take place away from this specific blog at this specific address in this specific part of the Internet. Some more specific changes:

  1.  A different workflow: This is a rather behind-the-scenes change and won’t affect this blog directly. However, I’ve decided to modify how I write the posts. Instead of multitasking and jumping between several posts at once, then wandering off to the Internet when I need to research something or get bored, I will focus my attention on one post at a time, working in as much depth as possible. I hope to move from occasional to monthly or biweekly updates in 2015. In addition, I switched to FocusWriter for my drafts rather than Jarte. This should help me stay on-target during the rough phase.
  2.  A move: This would be the major change—one of the “new directions” in this post’s title. I’m considering leaving Blogger and this blog altogether and switching to WordPress; I’ve already got an account and have started up a blog showcasing my fiction, though at the moment it’s more of a showcase  for the theme’s designers. I’ve been blogging here for five years, longer than I’ve lived anywhere, longer than I’ve gone to school anywhere, and frankly I’m done. I’m (probably) not done with blogging completely; but I am done with Blogger’s weirdness. Five years is a long time and I’m a different person now than I was in 2010 or even 2012. Most obviously, I’m a better writer and artist—better technically, more experienced, with my ambitions in a different place than when I started. I’m a slow and inconstant writer on top of that, and it’s against my religion to upload two consecutive posts in the same week, so I can never really become the daily content-spewing behemoth of the sort that dominates the blogosphere—not that I ever wanted to become such. The result is that this blog is no longer representative of the work I can do; it’s like my baby photos—Aw, look at the cute widdle bwogger getting all mad about razor bwades! Who’s passionately for LGBT equality? Yes, you are! Yes, you are—only the baby photos are on display for anyone with an Internet connection, so more like Facebook. Kids these days—no idea how hard they’ve got it. You try convincing your mom to hide the photo album [2] and even if she doesn’t agree that’s why God made attics. But online? Nothing ever goes away. Can’t even…
  3. Anyway, I’m in the final stages of resolving a dilemma, outlined above, about what to do with this blog. I’ll retain the URL and keep it as an archive, but I don’t foresee any new content on here after spring. I have a URL pinned down and a blog set up over on WordPress; it’s private, though, so you can’t see it yet. It should go live in March or thereabouts, and I anticipate some level of double-posting throughout spring.

 Oh, and one other thing…

I may also shake it up in terms of content. People seem to like humorous, linear reviews; maybe I can get in on some of that action. Also, should I start showing my art off? Thoughts? Opinions? Colorful euphemisms? Thanks for reading.
[1] It is too a word.
[2] Photo album, you ask? Well, before Facebook—
You know, I hate this whole “explaining obsolete technology to kids” thing. It feels condescending and actively insulting to the reader’s intelligence. The landline isn’t dead, the typewriter hangs on, kids aren’t stupid, and the whole exercise is arguably an excuse to lord your superior intellect over someone. It’s the equivalent of yelling “your epidermis is showing!” but not funny.

2014: Year in Review

 Goodness, is the year over already? Seems like it was September only yesterday—and September felt like July was only a recent memory. Strange how time flies like that…

Anyway, I can’t say that 2014 was a good year for me. It wasn’t a bad year, but it wasn’t a goood one either. Somewhere in the middle, leaning toward bad, probably.
The Bad
As I said, a lot of this. On a national scale, there was the ongoing epidemic of police violence. Also the death of Robin Williams, #GamerGate, the Sony Pictures hack [1]—and that’s just scratching the surface. Internationally–well, Vladimir Putin said, “Screw you” to international law and such minor issues as national sovereignty and flat-out invaded the Ukraine, while a terrorist state took over the Middle East, and of course Ebola. In my own life, I moved, screwed up, and turned eighteen. Popular music was garbage—sorry, but it was.
The Good
…Give me a second, I’m thinking. In all seriousness, there was a lot of good. We went to space. Movies were pretty good, and while my favorite cartoon ended forever, it was the most satisfying ending we could possibly get given the circumstances. The Pope said some cool stuff and came under attack for it, the United States normalized relations with Cuba, and the other breakaway state in the aether besides Crimea and ISIL resolved its status peacefully and democratically. On a personal note, I started a new webcomic, completely overhauled this blog, and while I didn’t write as much as I wanted to—rather, didn’t finish as much as I wanted to—there are still ten columns in various states of completion.
The Weird and Confusing
This may be the largest category of this year. I’m going to bullet points, as there is too much for me to handle individually.
* Pharell Williams’s hat: It’s a hat. It’s too big of a hat for Williams’s head. This is worthy of attention. I like Pharell, but is this really the best summation of the year?
* Kim Kardashian’s ass: This was intended to break the Internet, but why the magazine editors chose this specific ass, instead of, say a cat dressed up as Iron Man, is baffling [2].
* Viral culture: Granted, this has been befuddling me for a while. 2014, however, was the Year of the Hashtag, or at least that’s the way it felt. Everything now has a social media component; clickbait is not only the most prevalent media strategy but also the most mocked [3]. A lot of the items on this list are only here due to the rise of memetic viralization, including…
* Ebola: Not the virus. I’m talking about EBOLA,the monster disease that will steal your soul, kill your family, cripple the economy, give the Republican Party control of Congress, and eventually wipe out all life on Earth. The Western world hadn’t had a good old-fashioned disease freak-out in a while, and Ebola proved to be the ideal channel for privileged white people’s free-floating anxiety. Never mind that the number of confirmed Ebola cases in the United States never reached beyond the low double digits, that Ebola is damned hard to transmit, requiring direct contact with the body fluids of an infected person, and that Ebola symptoms don’t manifest until the disease has nearly killed you; the facts have never gotten in the way of a good mass panic and they weren’t about to rear their ugly heads now.
* The Golden Age of Television: So, have you noticed that TV is really good lately? Really, really good? Yeah, me, too. There’s no denying that. I have two problems with the new orthodoxy that TV has Never Been Better. First, the praise seems directed principally toward dark dramas with complex morality and serialized arcs—your Breaking Bads, your Games of Thrones—with breadcrumbs tossed to animation and sitcoms. Second, golden ages are retrospective; it’s the nature of the beast, because the underlying assumption is that things were so much better Back Then compared with our degraded modern civillization. Saying that we’re living in a golden age of TV because premium and online services are pumping out quality content on a level unparalleled is foolish and meaningless.
Moving forward
My prevailing attitude for this past year is, “Thank God that’s over”. 2014 was a slog through torrential streams of excrement in which the occasional bright spots shone like beacons of light which made the shit all the more clearly shit. Hopefully, 2015 will be better[4]. The upcoming movies give me hope—Avengers 2 and Star Wars Episode VII in particular, as well as two Pixar flicks and that new DreamWorks movie, although the Minions film gives me pause. I’ll concentrate more on Maple Street. 2014 was a year of changes for Chasing the Rabbit, and 2015 might well be one of larger changes. I’ve had it up to about here with Blogger’s problems and idiosyncrasies, and the fact that the URL change so completely screwed me up may well be the straw that overburdens the camel. I’m considering moving to WordPress; more on this situation as it develops.
In conclusion
2014 sucked—ass, balls, on toast, however you want to say it. I approach 2015 with a not wholly unjustified sense of optimism; 2015 will be better, or at least less painful. Happy New Year, and thank God that’s over.
[1] Free speech good, I can’t care about The Interview and they’re turning a profit anyway, and you’d think a multinational conglomerate with a heavy tech and entertainment presence would have better cyber-security.
[2] Whether or not they succeeded, however is a separate matter altogether. The trouble with breaking the Internet is that the Internet is a nebulous, decentralized thing—a series of tubes, in the words of one of our great legislators. Breaking it isn’t as simple a matter as breaking NBC or breaking Sony Pictures Entertainment, where a single or two co-ordinated attacks can shut the entirety down. The other problem is that the cover may well have been a self-fulfilling prophecy: Saying that Ms. Kardashian’s ample hind-bosom (or Iron Kitty) is intended to break the Internet will produce an effect, and this effect may overwhelm some servers—severely damaging, if not breaking outright, the Internet. It’s a hell of a meme, but it’s a bad business model.
[3] “This Man was Transformed into a Cyborg incapable of Telling Right from Wrong and Filled with a Desire for Vengeance. What Happened Next will Astound You.”
[] If the Lord is willing and the creek don’t rise.

I Ate’nt Dead

…in fact, I have two posts in the works, one of which should be up later this weekend and the other of which I want to put up on the Fourth of July. I think I’m done with the tweaks to the blog, though I think it needs a logo of some sort and I want to change the URL (though chasingtherabbit dot blogspot dot com seems to be taken–lagomorphpursuit, perhaps?).

We Interrupt Regular Programming for a Special Announcement

Sometime last night or this morning, I passed 2000 views. As of this writing, the counter is at 2012. Thanks a lot, all, and here’s to the next 2000 readers.

We now return to our scheduled programming, already in progress.
–Alex Adrian, 4/8/’14

Happy New Year!

I’m on hiatus for the first fourth of 2014; regular posting resumes in the Spring. Life once more got in the way; I started college and moved across Washington this year, so I’ve been in a bit of a vortex–perhaps “maelstrom” would be a better word. Once I get into the swing of things (and without classes which require vast essays to preoccupy the writing part of my brain), I should be able to devote more time to this blog.

Thank you for your patience and once again, Happy New Year!

–Alex Adrian, 12/31/’13-1/1/’14

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