music friday: happy birthday, steven rubio's online life

This blog turns 15 years old today.

I was 48 years old when I started.

The first music post (second post overall), from that first day on January 6, 2002, had a picture of Robin I called “The Cowgirl and the Cactus”, and a link to the Bruce Springsteen song, “Used Cars”. There was no apparent connection between Robin and the song.

Here is what I wrote on the occasion of the 14th birthday:

There is something old-fashioned about persisting in a format that has long been overtaken by other forms of online presentation.

And there is something odd about continuing to write for the smallest of audiences.

But think of this: my blog has never had advertising. I’ve never made any money from it, unless you count published writing that had its root here (i.e. I was “discovered” via my blog writing ... of course, much of my published writing has been unpaid/academic). This allows me to pretend my writing is “pure”.

Changes have occurred over time. I used to write about a broader area. I hesitate now to write about things where I know people who can do better jobs, so I rarely write about politics, and I write less about sports than I did in the past. The blog has become an arts site, where I write about TV, movies, and music ... and admittedly, when someone has asked me to write for publication, it’s those areas that come up.

I know there is some good writing buried in the past fourteen years, pieces where I happen to read them by accident and don’t always know they are mine until I’m finished, and I think, “I am good enough”. The published stuff, which doesn’t appear here, is of varying quality ... I think my piece on punk cinema for Nick Rombes was good, ditto for my Bugs Bunny Meets Picasso essay for Michael Berube. My Battlestar Galactica and King Kong essays might be the best of my Smart Pop work. Point is, the form is shorter, but I occasionally reach those heights on this blog. Maybe for 2016 I should find a way to foreground Past Classics.

What I hope to avoid as much as possible is the type of naked confessional I am far too capable of indulging in. It’s worth repeating every once in awhile the motto for this blog, Kael’s “I’m frequently asked why I don’t write my memoirs. I think I have.”


throwback this blog

These are rough figures, done very quickly and unscientifically by hand.

Just under 50% of the posts on this blog in 2016 carried the Film label. This compares to Music (about 1/3 of the posts), Television (1/7 of the posts), and Current Affairs (less than 1% of the posts).

I may be compulsive, but I am not going to look prior to 2016. But I think I can say a few things about the above numbers.

I write more about film than anything else.

I write a lot about music, but this is primarily because it’s the one category with a built-in schedule (Music Fridays).

I write less about television than I used to.

I hardly ever write about current affairs, which used to be one of my most frequently-used tags (108 posts in 2003, the first full year of this blog, compared to 7 this year).

I think the main reason for this is that I have no confidence any longer in my ability to bring something new to the table regarding current affairs. My opinions haven’t changed very much over the years, so if anyone wants to know what I think, they can just look into the archives. But more importantly, there are so many excellent writers and thinkers about current affairs that I don’t think I can match them. My approach to writing in general is extremely subjective, but I’d like my approach to writing about politics to be grounded in reality, and again, others do this better than I do.

When it comes to the arts, I am even more subjective than usual, but I believe that is the best approach, and so I have something new to say with every movie or TV show or concert or book. And since the only reason this blog still exists is so I have an outlet for the writing that I am apparently incapable of quitting, the blog gets more arts oriented and less real-life oriented.

Here’s a link to the very first “current affairs” post on this blog, from January 24, 2002:

http://begonias.typepad.com/srubio/2002/01/_the_apotheosis.html

Perhaps it’s a sign of things to come that it also carries a “Sleater-Kinney” tag. Another sign of its age (15 years): I had to remove two dead links from the original post.


happy birthday, steven rubio's online life

This blog began 14 years ago today.

Who the hell does anything for fourteen years?

There is something old-fashioned about persisting in a format that has long been overtaken by other forms of online presentation.

And there is something odd about continuing to write for the smallest of audiences.

But think of this: my blog has never had advertising. I’ve never made any money from it, unless you count published writing that had its root here (i.e. I was “discovered” via my blog writing ... of course, much of my published writing has been unpaid/academic). This allows me to pretend my writing is “pure”.

Changes have occurred over time. I used to write about a broader area. I hesitate now to write about things where I know people who can do better jobs, so I rarely write about politics, and I write less about sports than I did in the past. The blog has become an arts site, where I write about TV, movies, and music ... and admittedly, when someone has asked me to write for publication, it’s those areas that come up.

I know there is some good writing buried in the past fourteen years, pieces where I happen to read them by accident and don’t always know they are mine until I’m finished, and I think, “I am good enough”. The published stuff, which doesn’t appear here, is of varying quality ... I think my piece on punk cinema for Nick Rombes was good, ditto for my Bugs Bunny Meets Picasso essay for Michael Berube. My Battlestar Galactica and King Kong essays might be the best of my Smart Pop work. Point is, the form is shorter, but I occasionally reach those heights on this blog. Maybe for 2016 I should find a way to foreground Past Classics.

What I hope to avoid as much as possible is the type of naked confessional I am far too capable of indulging in. It’s worth repeating every once in awhile the motto for this blog, Kael’s “I’m frequently asked why I don’t write my memoirs. I think I have.”

Right now, the thing that has me most excited is catching up with The 100 before Season Three begins. I might have a pretty good post about that surprisingly fine show, which made #9 on my Top Ten List even though I only started watching it a short time ago.

 


notes from a smart phone

It couldn't be worse timing. My hard drive died just as this blog turned 13. Whenever I reach one of these anniversaries, I start wondering why I continue. The absence of an actual keyboard doesn't exactly make me want to compose a post. Smart phones are better served by Twitter, where we only have to type 140 characters. (It's funny that I say "type", when I'm using SwiftKey, which only requires that I swipe my finger.) But when I don't post, it's as if nothing happened. I'm watching some new TV shows, but no post, didn't happen. The grandkid does something cute... Well, that happened because it shows up on Google Plus. But my usual blogging topics just disappear. And I'm already tired of writing on my phone, so all this post really is, is a reminder that I am still alive.

temporary thing

Just a note: my computer is acting up, I'm worried the hard drive is dying, so things will be a bit spare around here for a bit. Yes, I know, I missed Music Friday, which was partly blog burnout, but also computer anxiety.

To make up for yesterday, I'll attach a music video to this post. Hadn't intended it to be this one, but I'm inspired by the title of the post.

 


blogging and throwback thursdays

Sometimes I get inspired, and there are blog posts every day. On the other hand, I’ve been doing this blog since for more than 12 years, and I’m running out of things to say.

But one way the Internet has changed since 2002 is that we have so many places to express ourselves. Straightforward blogs are out of fashion … too many words. People post Facebook updates, or hangout on Google+, or tweet, or use Instagram, or do all of these things at the same time.

I do this, too, although I limit myself to Google+, Twitter, and Facebook. But when I’m not particularly inspired, I miss a couple of days of blog posts. Still, I’m “posting”, just not here.

For instance, a few weeks ago, my niece mentioned that she used to like watching late-night shows, but having a kid around has changed her schedule a bit. I told her that no one watches late-night TV anymore, that we just wait for YouTube, but she noted how overwhelming and time-consuming that could be.

So I started a little … I guess you could call it a meme, except no one does it but me … every day or so, I post a few videos from the previous night’s late-night shows on Google+, calling it “Late night with Julie Machado”. The shows do most of the work for me … they are, to varying degrees, locked in to social media, so that, for instance, Jimmy Fallon’s Tonight Show will have posted highlights before they’ve even aired on the West Coast.

Something called “Throwback Thursdays” has popped up recently. I enjoy reading what other folks offer … I’m not sure, I think it’s only on Facebook. And a couple of Thursdays in a row, I’ve posted a vintage photo on FB. It’s the kind of thing I would normally put on this blog, but let’s face it, a lot more people see the stuff I put on Facebook, anyway.

I haven’t gotten around to tagging those FB photos with a “Throwback Thursday” pointer, so perhaps I could pretend I’m a guerilla in the throwback battles. In the meantime, here are the photos I’ve posted recently:

vignette

winterland