Wednesday, February 08, 2006

It's My Blogiversary!

One year ago I made the first two posts in this new blog. The first post expressed my raison d'etre for starting the blog: "What this Old Fart brings to the table is summed up in the description I gave to this blog - "I know what I like" and I like television. I don't like all of the shows and will say so which makes me a critic in the same way that it makes all of us critics. And in the end why shouldn't I have a blog that lets me be a critic. For that matter why shouldn't you?" The first post was fittingly enough about my current favourite show, The Amazing Race, which was about to have the final episode of the sixth season that night. I was hoping that Kris and Jon would win. They finished second behind the team I least wanted to win, Freddy and Kendra. Other topics covered in the first week included The West Wing, The Apprentice and Star Trek: Enterprise.

If I were to rate the first year of this blog, I'd have to give it a B-. The problem is my own and it primarily concerns getting things written in a timely manner. I had hoped to write material about shows in a clear and timely manner, but that just hasn't worked out. For example I still haven't written a review of The Office (although I did manage to review the first and only episode of Emily's Reasons Why Not - it vaguely amazes me that it got cancelled before Jake In Progress when it actually got better ratings than the latter show) although I'll tell you right now it's one of the best shows on TV. There is a long list of shows that I haven't reviewed, and that vexes me.

On the other hand there are things that I've done well. I'm reasonably happy with my writing - something that would shock an old professor of mine (known around the University of Saskatchewan campus as Red Ed Mahood because of his involvement with the campus Communist Party (Marxist-Leninist)) who said I wasn't a very good writer. Then again I tended to find the books that he recommended to be leaden, virtually unreadable tomes. Admittedly I tend to like run on sentences and my paragraph structure is sometimes poor, but it's a personal quirk. Another thing that I'm happy with is that I've followed in the lead of Tom Sutpen and Stephen Cook's blog by making better use of pictures. Blogger has been helpful in this by making adding images easier - you don't know how many times I fought to use the Picassa and Hello! combo - but I still had to learn not to fear my door being battered down by copyright holders and their lawyers. I'm also happy with the way that I've tried to handle breaking news stories, most recently the decision to merge UPN and The WB into a new network called The CW (and what an awful name and logo it is). The TV on DVD thing is another logical idea although I must admit I'd be happier with getting it out on time.

Things I'd like to accomplish in the next twelve months. Well the obvious thing is adhering more closely to a deadline when it comes to getting reviews published. Even though outside interests restrict the work sometimes I have to say that it's my responsibility to "git r done" as Larry The Cable Guy would put it. I want to improve on that in the coming year. The other thing is that I'd like to develop a better template. This is more complicated and something that I'm about 50-50 in terms of actually accomplishing it. I like the "basic black" Blogger template, but I'd really like to go to a three column layout which would allow me to have links to the left side and other material on the right, hopefully all of it readable when you launch the page. Of course from my experience in publishing a Diplomacy zine I know that I have to balance my desire to have things visible with the reader's need for ease in actually reading the content. The eye needs white (or in the case of the current template black) space to make the content easy to read and too many designers - both of publications and web content - forget this. Besides that I'd like to jazz up the look of the page a bit, but not too radically. In a lot of cases style overwhelms substance - just because you can do something doesn't mean you should. Of course to get this done - since I can't afford to hire a pro to do the design and it seems rather silly to do so anyway - I'll need to learn HTML which is why I'm probably 50-50 with regards to accomplishing anything.

Finally there are some people I'd like to thank. There are a lot of people on my blog roll, most of whom have been helpful. Special mentions go out to Tom and Stephen, Tim Gueguen, and Ronniecat for inspiration; to Ivan Shreve, Sam Johnson and Linda for steadfast friendship and support; to Bryce Zabel for not dismissing an amateur critic out of hand; to Tele-Tart and Tele-Toby for being there too; and to Tony Figueroa for not giving me as much grief as he probably could have for using a similar title to his. And finally there's you gentle readers who actually bother to read the blasted thing. I literally couldn't do it without the knowledge that there were people who actually spent a few seconds actually reading the blasted thing.

Man, that was almost as bad as an Emmy speech. At least I don't have an agent to thank!

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