Monday, December 27, 2010

Three Monthaversary

Today it's exactly three months since this blog officially opened. It's an absolutely frigid day here, following a surprisingly unproductive blizzard that gave me a harrowing drive home from work but left us with little snow to show for it. Fortunately, it's also my day off, so I'm at liberty to wear fleece all day and think about things like what this blog has accomplished in just three months' time.

Truth is, at three months old, the blog is already farther along than I would have expected. Things have happened. Good things, at that. So let's take a look at some of those things.

Regarding Origins

If you've read my page of questions that may or may not be asked frequently, you know that the blog's name comes from my desire to head off the obvious question. The truth is that the name comes from the answer to that question, which I was asked back when I was pondering starting the thing. A well-meaning friend was playing devil's advocate, asking me why I wanted to do this, and I could come up with no better reason than "It seemed like a good idea at the time." It did, and it still does.

It amuses me that some time after the blog began, I learned that it shares its name with a specific trope at the TV Tropes website. (That site is addictive; enter at your own risk.)

Following Up on Some Stories

For a while, of course, the blog focused solely on humorous experiences from my own bizarre little life. That all changed on November 8th, when I decided to break tradition in order to post I Like Them Apples, a commentary on the situation involving a publication stealing copyrighted work from the internet. And suddenly the blog exploded. My hit count went a bit haywire, which I later discovered was almost entirely thanks to one Mr. John Scalzi. He had been involved with the story and had linked to my post from his own blog, resulting in my being read by a lot more people than I expected. To this day, that post has the second-highest hit count of anything on the blog.

Of course, the Cooks Source incident hardly stopped with my blog post. For those who have not heard, the magazine which was responsible for the unification of the entire internet has been forced to close its doors; it lost its advertisers, its reputation, and its credibility. The magazine's website, with its full badly-written farewell message, has been taken down; but salient points remain forever readable thanks to this article at We internet people are mean indeed.

I don't have too much of an update regarding my next subject, the TSA pat-down incidents, since that whole situation is still ongoing. I can say, however, that my friend Naomi flew in to spend Thanksgiving with me, had a layover in Chicago's O'Hare airport, and was disappointed not to see a single kilted protestor.

The 'Apples' post remained my top hit until December 2nd, when I posted twice. Shortly before I went to bed that night, I saw where a relative had posted on Facebook about sending holiday cards to recovering soldiers at Walter Reed. You can't do that, and I realized that a lot of people still thought you could. Looking up the Twitter hashtag #walterreed was enough to prove it. So I wrote about Walter Reed and the Holiday Mail Snafu, passed on the link to several of the people on Twitter who had circulated the bad information, and shared it with a few message boards I periodically haunt. The estimable Chris "RolloT" Larios of Channel Awesome was kind enough to share it with his many Twitter followers.

Apparently, what efforts I did make to spread the news was enough to send the darn thing viral, because seven hundred hits later, it's the most-read thing on the site. Hopefully, this means that a lot more recovering soldiers got holiday greetings this year than they might otherwise have done. Hands down the coolest thing to happen as a result was the message I received from the staff of Walter Reed Hospital itself, thanking me for writing the post. (You can read their comment on the original post, and yes, it really is from them.) I sort of felt like I'd done a small service for my country. My Twitter followers also increased as a result of the post, and possibly the most surprising one there was the fact that I'm now followed by the official Twitter account of the New York Post.

At least, I'm assuming they follow me because of the Walter Reed thing; the only other possibility would be that they started following me because of my post about St. Margaret's Center in Albany. My friend Jaclyn was working hard to raise funds and clothing for the residents of this complex medical needs facility, where she volunteers, and I lent her whatever power my blog may have to increase her visibility. I put her in touch with the wonderful Debbie Tenzer of Do One Nice Thing, who only too enthusiastically jumped on board to help.

How much I may have helped, I don't know. But Jaclyn was overwhelmed by the response to everything; her bake sale, which was the primary focus of my post, raised almost $500. Her clothing drive brought in about ten large black garbage bags full of clothing, and they received four big boxes of books for the residents as well. There were also boxes of other generous donations too, and the residents had themselves a wonderful Christmas. I'm so proud of Jaclyn for her hard work, and so grateful to any of you who took the time to spread the word or contribute to the effort.

So now, with the December festivities (and, you know, the year) drawing to a close, we come to this post. If I get just 600 more visits in the next few days, I'll reach a hit count of 5,000 by the end of 2010, which would be amazing. There's also that whole Blogger's Choice Awards thing, which I don't expect to win but find terribly amusing all the same. And really, how cool would it be if I could say that mine was voted "Best Blog About Stuff"? That's about the best way you can possibly describe it.

Thanks for reading, gang. You've helped to make the last three months a lot of fun. I hope you'll stick around and see what's coming next, because I myself have no idea.

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