The Clog

On this blog's first anniversary in February 2010, I gave a State of the Blog report — coining the contraction "slog" for the occasion, due to technical problems and vandalism that had rendered dealing with Blam's Blog more of a trudge than it should be.

The post was as much about why I'd not been writing for so long, and why I'd begun writing again, as it was about where the blog itself was headed. A couple of mini-slogs came along in April and July of last year, although neither really had anything more to say than did other periodic complaints about the various gremlins (now its — or their — own blog label) that have kept me from being more productive here. I had hoped to have some words on the blog's present and future when its second anniversary rolled around six months ago, but life — which, as John Lennon reminded us, is what happens while you're making other plans — got in the way, partly in the form of my grandfather's death. What follows is very like what I would have said this past February except that certain deadlines are now much closer upon me, with so many posts backed up in the pipeline, making the current state of the blog less a slog and more of, well, a clog.

I've long talked about taking a planned break from Blam's Blog to attend to a few other projects. The unplanned breaks that have plagued me have allowed me to do some of that work, but insofar as I haven't been able to get online or I've just been too exhausted they've been stymied as well.

My original impetus for this blog, as I mentioned last year, was to learn my way around blogging and exercise my too-long-dormant writing muscles after not owning a working computer for several years so that I could make a go at I Have Issues, a chronicle of the methodical organization of my collection of comics. The physical aspect of that project is an absolute bear; I hit a ceiling (only metaphorically... barely) in terms of the logistics of moving around boxes and separating things out not long after acquiring the laptop, and of course the time spent on this blog has also curtailed the time spent in those efforts. I'm anxious to get back to the project for a number of reasons: [1] I've always found going through my collection very calming, at least once the boxes are in place and I'm simply merging in stacks of newer stuff, bagging 'n' boarding, and pruning out material to trade or sell; however, the sorting is now taking on a whole new level of complexity as I move the collection from a largely alphanumeric system to a chronological one broken down by groups of characters, genres, and publishers' lines. [2] Also, I would really like to free up space and make some cash by selling things off, although my use of EBay, et al., is at least as hampered as my blogging and other online activities by my connection problems. [3] Finally and perhaps most importantly, I'm even more convinced than before that, if done right, I Have Issues is the best use of my free time and energies. While the reaction to my writing on other topics has been rewarding, as has the writing process itself, I Have Issues is a deeply personal, extremely large and long-term project that will quite literally be my life's work; it took me a lifetime to date to build up this collection and it's probably going to be a race with the rest of my natural lifespan to read through the collection one last time offering reviews and remarks of varying detail. Lots of folks can analyze Fringe each week at least as well as I, but nobody else has my attachment to my specific assortment of Flash, Fantastic Four, Firearm, Famous 1st Edition, and The Forty-Year-Old Hippie.

Even before I Have Issues goes live as a blog, I hope to finally unveil The Comicologist, a website archiving my accumulated output of articles, interviews, and essays about comics. Despite the fact that mental focus is sometimes a physical struggle of its own for me, unearthing, transcribing, editing, and ordering my past published work is less physically demanding than heaving boxes, it requires less workspace, and at least until the final push to transfer everything online it's less dependent on an Internet connection. I'm also putting together a book of interviews that I conducted for outlets from the venerable Comics Buyer's Guide to my own short-lived magazine Comicology, which will probably be available both electronically and via a print-on-demand service, but with the exception of some of the longer interviews just about everything of substance that I've written on comics up to and including recent material from Blam's Blog will be online, free — logged for posterity, Wikipedia sourcing, and general perusal. My aim is for The Comicologist to house new posts as well, picking up and expanding on some of the features that I began on this blog before the source and targets of the vandalism became clear, although that's entirely subject to my health and other commitments.

Which brings us back to what I'd like to accomplish with Blam's Blog before and after redoubling my efforts on those other projects. I'll almost certainly be shying away from timely TV reviews, with the exception of lingering posts in need of updating or polish that I'd like to publish when the fall television season begins. Likewise, I have multiple movie reviews in the can that are now awaiting DVD releases to regain relevancy, and since I tend to discuss TV more than film at other blogs (when time and Internet access permit, anyway) I'm sure I'll be tempted to throw up some quick thoughts on whatever I get to sample at the cinema to stoke some conversation here. The goal is to not start writing anything entirely new before getting through the clog, however, and then only to start if it looks like I can finish and publish quickly. Most pressing are reviews of ongoing comics, which like those of TV series become outdated fast, and in the case of the several posts on DC properties that have been growing since last summer there's renewed urgency due to DC's upcoming relaunch. So my focus for the rest of this month is to finally put up my reviews of last year's landmark
issues of Superman and Wonder Woman along with what I've sampled since then of J. Michael Straczynski's tenure on each; a series of posts on the Batman titles from the Batman Reborn period through Grant Morrison's Batman Incorporated; and the rest of my own imagined DC reboot, which along with my thoughts on the actual initiative were among the small swath of files that couldn't be recovered from backups when my hard drive failed a couple of months ago. Pending resolution to my ongoing Internet problems, which ended up not being solved by Apple's replacement of my laptop's Airport card or our house's switch in provider from Comcast to Verizon FIOS — and which are not limited to our house, meaning the problem definitely lies with the laptop — I'd like to get back to both transferring Blam's Blog to another hosting service and sprucing up the blog as it currently stands by adding more pages, restoring posts that have been missing, and quite possibly rebuilding all the posts from the HTML up without just deleting and republishing them — preserving comments, links, and stats — so that necessary edits can be made, as currently any posts older than late last year cannot be touched without them and therefore me going absolutely banana-nut bread.

The friendships and acquaintances that I've made or rediscovered through the mere presence of this blog, as well as my activity here and elsewhere online, have been its greatest dividends — but it remains tremendously satisfying just to be writing again even when the state of the blog is indeed a slog or a clog. I apologize to those of you to whom I owe correspondence or comments and who are waiting me to finally get the heck on Facebook. And I once again thank all of you for reading.


Teebore said...

I remain terribly excited about both your proposed endeavors (as well as upcoming posts here). Whatever you've got planned, I'm positive it'll be worth the wait!

Arben said...

Um... What Teebore said.

I've really been itching for some more comics writing from you. Would that I could will you (in the sense of psychic transference; I'm not planning on kicking it anytime soon) some extra stamina or Internet strength to help out.