Jan 132019
 

Blogging was a thing once. Then it wasn’t and then it seemed like it was again. And now…who knows. I’m pretty sure I don’t much care whether it is or it isn’t. After all, sweater vests aren’t a thing (even if they ought to be) and I wear those, which is just like blogging. See?

All of this preamble is warm-up to me trying to show some love to My New Plaid Pants a blog about beautiful men in great movies and TV that I’ve read daily for at least the past eight or nine years. If blogging isn’t a thing, I don’t care as long as this blog continues to exist.

I don’t know the author, Jason Adams, in person, but I think he’s great just the same and wish we lived in the same city and were best friends. His blog is funny yet totally unapologetically sincere. It is also somehow—and seemingly impossibly given the number of posts going up every day—1) not his day job and 2) not all he has going on. It boggles the mind.

So why sing the praises of Jason’s Pants today after all these years? Let me explain.

First, for reasons I’ll leave unspoken, I thought of and went searching for this post containing the picture of Alexander Skarsgard sitting off to the side here. Importantly, what I wanted was not the photo—(sorry Alex)—but instead the exact wording of the suggestion that we might, to our dismay, think of this picture the next time we try on a bathing suit, a comment that to this day makes me laugh out loud.

Second, finding the specific post took some time and effort because there are A LOT OF POSTS ON THIS BLOG. Skarsgard’s tag alone had 242! So as I undertook the “onerous” task of flipping through all of those pictures one by one, I stumbled across this post which screencaps the hell out of a scene from True Blood so wonderful that—to keep my life from seeming a drab worthless wasteland of day after day after day and then tomorrow too—my mind let it slip from my memory. But now I have remembered and am overwhelmed and may have to watch the whole series again. Damn your Pants, Jason Adams!

Third, the next day I went back to the blog only to discover that the final post before the weekend was Adams letting everyone know that he was going to rewatch Shcrader’s film about Yukio Mishima’s life, death and fiction: Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters. The photo that ends the post—I think it’s a still from the film that is mimicking images from a famous late-in-life photo shoot—is a showstopper: the male artist objectified and beautiful.

So today, all my love to My New Plaid Pants. May you strut your stuff for years to come.

Jul 092017
 

The last few months I’ve been working on moving this site off WordPress. That meant transferring all the posts to Tinderbox, setting up all the links, and creating the templates that would produce the HTML output I wanted to have. Everything except the templates was donkey work and took days and days. The templates took time as well, but I was learning about export and HTML and that was useful and exciting.

And when I was done, the file worked like magic. All my posts were suddenly arranged in a sensible way based on content rather than chronology. I could build up links (both href and visual) and could write outside the framework of a timeline. I began to imagine ways of writing that involved something I thought of as “portal posts”: single posts that would appear on a blog timeline but which opened into a system of pages—a kind of mini-, discrete hypertext—accessible only by way of that initial post. I wrote the first of these to explain some of what I learned about export. (It looked like this.)

Then I uploaded the site with a welcome message and the first of what I hoped would eventually be many of these portal posts, and almost immediately, I realized I was in trouble.

Continue reading »

 July 9, 2017  Reflections Tagged with: ,  Comments Off on The New Site: un bilan
Jul 092017
 

So I made the leap to my fancy new flat HTML blog site…and now I’m back on WordPress. The experience made me think of William Hung singing “She Bangs”. (I hadn’t thought of that in what? fifteen year?)

Tinderbox gave me the tools to punch way above my weight class: I have a site that works like a dream on my computer but making it work from a server…is not something I can do reliably.

I’ve retreated to WordPress, laughing (because the fact I’m back here is funny) but also with tail very much between my legs.

More soon… ūüôā

 July 9, 2017  Moments Tagged with:  Comments Off on “I Have No Professional Training”
Jun 252017
 

For awhile now, I’ve been working to migrate this site off of WordPress. This has happened behind the scenes and has been slow going. The new site isn’t complete—most of the images still need to be placed for example—but all of the text is there and everything is functional.

What that means is that now I’m sorting out when to make the jump from here to there and how I’ll cope with the inevitable change in permalinks that I lack the skills to deal with invisibly (if that’s even possible).

The rough and still evolving plan as it stands now is:

  1. to place the new version of the site in a subdirectory for a while and to publish a link to it here. This will give me a chance to see if things work for real and for people to see the change is coming. Once the link to the new site is published, all new posts will be published there and this site will go dormant.
  2. to set up the new site to serve the root address and to displace this WordPress blog to its subdirectory. I’d publish a link to the old blog’s location on my new site. The date for the move will be announced here before it happens but will probably be in the week following step one.
  3. to write up a series of posts explaining how and why I’m going to use Eastgate’s Tinderbox to manage the new site.

So major changes and exciting times.

Stay tuned…

 June 25, 2017  Moments Tagged with: ,  Comments Off on Big Changes in the Works
May 262017
 

Posting has been slow here. Partly it’s because of standard end of term business. Mostly it’s¬†because I’m experimenting with the possibility of moving this blog off of its database and translating it into a set of static pages.

This is a mad enterprise but an interesting one. I’m learning a lot and at this point have a working prototype hidden away. Much tinkering is happening.

More soon…

 May 26, 2017  Moments Tagged with:  Comments Off on Experimenting. More Soon.
Dec 232016
 

I’ve used Suffusion as the theme for this blog from¬†the beginning. It was always a bit overkill—you can tweak anything and everything—but it let me make my blog¬†personal and I stuck with it.

For the past few months, I’ve been forced to live in iOS. Suffusion can handle that no problem, but the mental shift has been a bit of a challenge for me. Drastic change that throws everything up in the air will help.

So I’ve installed a new theme. It’s simple and clean, but nothing worth tweaking is tweakable. That’s odd—I like to tinker—but it also feels a bit like clearing the pipes. Which is always a good thing, even if, in the end, the change turns out to be¬†temporary.

 December 23, 2016  Moments Tagged with:  Comments Off on New Theme
Sep 162016
 

Dear Timeline,

First off, I just want to make it clear that this isn’t about you. We’ve had some rough times in the past, I know, but that was all about me and my bad judgement and we worked through it. I unfollowed those that needed it, followed those that did, even figured out your lists and used them to get my shit together. After that, we had a good run and good times. Real good times.

But ever since the conventions things have gotten pretty fucking intense and it’s to the point that I can’t take it anymore. You’re obsessed with the minute-by-minute back-and-forth of the most horrifying election in recent memory, and it doesn’t seem to shake you or wear you out, and crazy as it sounds, I love that about you. I do. It’s just that it never fucking lets up ever, and if I stay in the thick of it like this I’m going to wind up on blood pressure pills nursing an ulcer or worse.

And I’m not blaming you. I know I said I was interested in all this crap, that I encouraged you with likes and retweets, and more and more follows. Fuck, I even live-tweeted Republican debates in the primaries knowing I had maybe two active followers. It doesn’t get more “fuck yeah!” than that. You believed that passion was real, and I did too for awhile.

But now, months later and with the shit storm approaching category 5, minute by minute attention to the campaign is more than I can handle. I’m not cut out for it, and I need to step away, need a breather, need a break.

But please please please don’t get the wrong idea. This isn’t about something you’ve done and you know I can’t quit you. I’m just deleting you from my phone because I can’t say no when I’m looking at you there, and I need to say no for at least a bit.

While I’m gone, I’ll be checking the morning headlines and the magazines. Please don’t get the wrong idea. It’s not a statement and not a competition.

It’s just bye for now,
BC

 September 16, 2016  Reflections Tagged with: ,  Comments Off on Twitter Break
Aug 202016
 

I first posted to this blog five years ago today.

When it began, I was only just back from a long summer in southern India. I was waiting to hear word¬†about the date for¬†defending my dissertation and had some time on my hands. So I decided I wanted to figure out what was possible to do on the web knowing nothing and figuring things out as I went along. The¬†only technical condition I set for myself was that whatever I did would sit on my own domain and not on some company’s social platform. I got things¬†started¬†by¬†writing up logs from the book notes I’d kept as I travelled and soon after that started my commonplace book.

Back then I knew less than nothing about what I was doing and so those early weeks and months were a bit of rock-n-roll, by which I mean exciting, veering out of control, and generally one wrong move away from burning to the ground.

The most obvious example I can think of involved my treatment of date stamps, something that in blogs should be assigned¬†more or less automatically. But not on my blog. No way, no how. I decided—and this is so typical of my mind that if friends or family had been watching as I worked they¬†would have shaken¬†their heads and said “of course, naturally, we could have guessed, let him be, there’s no stopping him”—no, I decided (because “reasons”) that date and hour¬†stamps would not indicate dates and hours. Instead dates¬†would key¬†to a¬†sorting scheme¬†I invented to organize posts into looping sequences of topics. This system¬†was odd, indecipherable to outsiders and¬†worked exactly as intended, but it was also cumbersome and clearly¬†madness. After a few weeks, I scrapped it¬†and transferred¬†all the date and time info (which I had been¬†entering into the body of post texts) into the date/time field where they belonged and let them¬†determine the sorting of posts as they should have done from the outset.

The biggest questions I’ve wrestled with as I’ve posted have not however been technical. They’ve been about my¬†uncertainty over¬†how personal the material here should be. Initially, the site sat behind an elaborate password system. When that was removed, my name was nowhere to be seen and I shared the url with no one. Eventually, I added my initials and began to share links with close friends. After awhile, I started sharing them on twitter. Now my name sits on the front page and I’ve accepted that what’s here sits in full public view.

These changes were milestones but have left no direct trace unless the early versions of pages are sitting in system logs somewhere on the server. However, I can follow, I think,¬†this slow process of change in¬†the posts that I’ve written. The nervous writer plucking out a tune on only¬†slightly non-academic language-strings in the early posts or miming the various “hey I saw this and this is what I think” posts I saw frequently on other blogs has over time become—haltingly and slowly and without much confidence—the writer who nervously and unexpectedly (most of all to himself) responded in very personal terms to the Orlando shooting.

In their own way, but perhaps less obviously, my Tinderbox posts were also intensely personal and were an important step in the evolution of my blog. They¬†marked the point where I first considered the possibility that my blog, which I treated¬†primarily as a conversation with myself, might also offer something useful to people I didn’t know. I was familiar with writing like this: I read it all the time on other people’s sites and it¬†helped me figure out how to do my own work when I was having problems. But assuming that voice as my own, saying “This is what I’m doing and how I’m doing it, maybe it will help,” was very new to me online and working on those posts forced me to think about how to speak knowledgeably without the defenses involved in academic posturing. In the process, I experimented with making hypertexts and even translated a piece of my dissertation online.

How to be here, how to speak, what to speak about and in what voice. These remain vital¬†questions for me when I sit down in front of my blog. And they¬†make it a¬†worthwhile project (for me at least) even when I’m posting infrequently or writing posts that sit at arms length from my daily life. How to speak myself into the world is¬†a¬†question I still don’t really have any stable answers to, and that means that, even with five years under my belt, I’m still happily looking forward to the next five.

And to anyone who’s reading, thanks for being here.

 August 20, 2016  Reflections Tagged with:  Comments Off on Five Years
Jul 172016
 

I’m back from Spain as of last night and have stuff I want to write about in the coming days and weeks. To start things off though, I’m going to introduce a change to how things¬†are done here.

When I started this blog, I used it mainly to write brief responses to the books I was reading and to the movies I was watching. These served as¬†lists of what I’d read and seen¬†and¬†provided a reason to pay attention and reflect. They also gave me a steady stream of subjects for posts and got me blogging.

The logs were a success. I enjoyed writing them and over time¬†kept¬†adding¬†to the list of things I logged: first TV shows, then theatre, then exhibitions.¬†But as a result, and¬†perhaps inevitably, the logs have¬†become a chore. I have lists and lists of logs I’m supposed to write, often on things about which¬†I have nothing really to say.¬†So taking a cue from my catch-up posts¬†of the past few years, I’m going to stop trying to log everything. Because, sanity.

Instead, I’m going to keep a few¬†simple lists of what I read and watch. (You’ll find them in the right-hand column.) When I have something more to say about a book or a movie, I’ll post¬†a log and link to it from the list.

This change should keep me from living under a perpetual (and demoralizing) backlog of “posts that must be written!” and will hopefully create some space for me to write about other things.

 July 17, 2016  Reflections Tagged with:  Comments Off on Reading & Screening Lists
Mar 042015
 

When you’re stuck, how do you tidily copy out a draft of a blog?

For me right now, it means transferring my blog posts into a Tinderbox file, something I’ve been wanting to do for awhile. It might seem like busy work, but it’s been pretty rewarding so far. I have too many posts for me to have any sense of what I’ve done. So seeing the pieces of what I’ve written build in up in a project file has been a bit of a morale boost.

And I expect that file will be a great place to start writing new posts.

 March 4, 2015  Moments Tagged with: ,  Comments Off on Fair Copy Blogging