Continuing Meta

Setting aside my carefree disposition and minding about my blog at length, for once.

I’ve been thinking about my blog’s theme for a while. I like using Cutline: it’s clean, it’s white, and the fonts are just the right size. However, I find the columns too narrow for my tastes, and the small header dimensions leaves a lot to be desired. Not that I’m spoiling for a new header–finding a good base image to work on is difficult in this post-wahtergate blogosphere.

Here’s some stuff I want to do on my blog:

  • Get rid of that tag cloud. It’s ugly. Well, that was fast.
  • Write an annotated blogroll. This also means that I’ll have to prune out blogs that I don’t really read, or those that have already died, unless you’re IKnight.
  • Find a new layout. Or not.

Some day I do want to get my own hosting. Perhaps its time to look for places to set up shop on…

* * *

I’m bothered with my writing voice. I think I’m being too kind, that I’m trying to be as inoffensive to as many readers as possible. Of course that’s impossible–there are always people who will disagree with what I say, but understand that the last thing I want is to be inflammatory. It hurts my post variety a lot, because I do want to write some fun entries that forgo my introspective, wistful style and just be loud and obnoxious, if only occasionally. I’ve always looked up to SDS for his empathic, broad-minded writing, and that’s the kind of style I want to emulate the most–it’s part of my philosophy in my life to always put myself in the shoes of the other person first, especially when things get prickly.

I do feel strongly against some things myself. For instance, I detest Key, and inwardly groan every time its works are talked about. I don’t want to write about it, however, since I don’t write about THE THINGS I HATE in this blog. I probably have too much shame. Or too afraid to face flak, for that matter. Maybe a good deal of bashing something where it’s appropriate is healthy, after all.

* * *

Perhaps its also time for me to talk about my experience with the Aniblog Tournament. A few months ago, my blog was unwittingly (but not unwillingly) pitted into this contest, bracketed against Shinmaru’s UNMEI KAIHEN (now having recently won against the formidable Blogsuki, which I probably would never have managed myself). Now, I found this an opportunity to gauge my blog’s readability to the anime blog-reading demographic, so I set forth to write posts in order to keep my blogging muscles in shape. After all, I didn’t want to disappoint my destined rival.

I was on fire. I didn’t have any real desire to win, I just wanted to know if people would read my entries and like them enough to vote for my blog. I purposely avoided plugging my upcoming bout or asking my readers for votes–this was a battle fought with content, and content alone. Eventually, the fated match came. When the poll was going on, I wrote an entry almost every day, to see if votes would pour in (in retrospect, I should have written much more posts beforehand). With trepidation I checked the match comments to see what people said about my blog.

It wasn’t as bad as I thought. Most commenters approved of my blog, yet they voted in favor of UNMEI KAIHEN (all caps is warranted in here for maximum effect) for its easier accessibility (mecha isn’t really a genre that attracts fans by the dozen nowadays) and post rate. That last one left me with a slight tinge of disappointment with myself, because I have peculiar posting habits that prevent me from churning out meaty entry after meaty entry on a regular basis. I just can’t, and I don’t want to force it–been there, done that, burned out from it.

One thing that I could do, I thought, was broaden more. Yes, I write a lot about mecha because it’s a facet of anime that I know a whole lot about. But too much of something is a bad thing, and I’ve noticed that I fall back on “safe” mecha posts when I want to write a non-mecha post of decent length. Instead of spreading out my horizons, I dig my heels on familiar ground, simply because I’m afraid, or that I think I can’t quite do it (writing non-mecha posts).

I’m reminded of one memorable line in Patlabor 2: The Movie:

Noa is arguably the ultimate mechhead in the entire mecha genre, but even she has her somber moments. Do I want my blog to be “just another anime blog that talks about mecha”? Surely, like Noa, I want to show some other part of myself to other people. Continuing World must continue evolving.

To end this tirade, I resolve to write more about the aspects of anime that don’t involve robots and stuff. Music, fanart, anime fandom here in the Philippines, what have you.

* * *

Oh, and yeah, happy birthday to me. If you’re going to comment, tell me what you think about this blog as well. I’d appreciate it.

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18 Responses to Continuing Meta

  1. I always felt I could read longer posts from you because your prose flows well and is quite readable, so the posts I enjoy most from this blog are the more thorough and in-depth ones.

    My favorites are still the series on the history of /m/

    • schneider says:

      It’s strange. I’ve always felt that my prose is too lean and sparse (like my own body lols), but people do seem to like it. Even Shinmaru said in our match that he liked my writing style as well. I used to write much more flowery before, but the ever-decreasing attention span of the Intarweb Collective forced me to slim down, lest I incur the dreaded TL;DR.

      As for /m/, sadly I haven’t been to the /m/otherland lately these past few months, but I’m sure I can talk about the board if I really wanted to. The Kool Kisama Klub over MAL is a pretty fun group, too.

  2. I’ve probably read much more of your entries then Shinmaru’s, if just because he’s an episodic blogger, and even if he’s one of the best, it doesn’t matter if I don’t watch the shows. That said, you do give the impression of ‘mecha blogger here’ even if I’ve never felt you were only into mecha (having known you on MTF). I’d love to see you broaden your horizons. Although you know what I’d love to see even more 😉

  3. Why do you loath Key?

    I’m not the biggest fan of Key myself and you will often hear me laugh about “Key shit” but I won’t deny the merit of their productions and genuinely enjoy some of their releases. Have you tried any of their games?

    The anime fandom in the Philippines will leave you with a hollow feeling inside reminiscent of the aftermath of screwing a dolphin while it’s on fire.

    • schneider says:

      I hate their art and I hate soap opera disease. As for playing the games, I had to force myself to finish just the first arc of Tsukihime–it took me more than two years! Sadly it’s not just for me.

      You may be right about fandom here, but I have a lot of fond experiences with it. I’m sure you do have them, too!

      • Tsukihime is from TYPE-MOON. You mean you didn’t play past the portrayals of Shiki’s “ordinary, daily school life”?

        I don’t see how it can be called soap opera disease. Are you sure it isn’t a prejudiced reaction that goes “ugh, drama”?

        Since you were talking about growth and new directions, you might be surprised if you really give an effort to seeing what the fuss is about. While you may not be able to enjoy them as much as the fans, at least you will walk away with a new perspective on things. Not just on that particular object or genre but on everything else as well.

        • schneider says:

          I was talking about VNs in general. I don’t enjoy playing them. I finished Arcueid’s story, if that’s what you want to know. Fate is still on hold right before the mana transfer part and I don’t see myself continuing it soon. It’s just a low priority job for me.

          It’s not a prejudiced reaction. I’ve tried AIR movie (okay, but pretty meh), Clannad movie (holy shit why is there such a huge divide between timeskips), and Clannad TV. Has Maeda ever changed from tropes he himself basically invented? I might have my fair share of generic mecha stuff, but it’s something I enjoy, and that which I am open to. Little girls dying tragically isn’t the same–it says something about me when I found Tomoya the most interesting part of Clannad.

          As for that suggestion, I really don’t know. I ended my Key sampling on a happy note, which was the first season of Clannad TV. I appreciated it as much as I could, believe me. I even thought Fuuko wasn’t all that bad.

          But I’m not touching After Story even if you bribe me with a Perfect Grade gunpla. 😦

        • The best parts of Tsukihime are the Far Side paths (Akiha/Hisui/Kohaku), though that doesn’t really say much in its favor since you still have to read at least one Near Side path. If you found Tsukihime a bit plodding then you’ll never make it past Fate’s Unlimited Cooking Works.

          Maeda actually went in a few new directions with Little Busters and Angel Beats so you might want to check those out if you’re inclined. It’s not that I’m selling Key to you, I was just asking why you don’t like their works.

          Like I said, I’m not their biggest fan. I’m not even a regular type of fan since I’m not very partial to the type of story they put out. I like stories like Yojouhan Shinwa Taikei and Blackadder Goes Forth, that sort of thing.

          There’s an idea, how about writing about stuff that isn’t about anime at all? Like your fiction writing and thoughts associated.

  4. Oh hay, I just saw the alert on our forum/supersecretofficesite.

    I thought you were just kidding about it being your birthday today.

    I’ll buy you a few drinks on Saturday then.

  5. schneider says:

    Talking about my writing? That sounds too masturbatory for me, but I guess with people like D-Boy around it’s not a big deal. We’ll see.

    • Well for starters, it’s YOUR blog.

      And when I say talking about your writing, I don’t mean like how most people at fanfiction.com do it. Talk about what you thought of this or that development, why you wrote it that way, what were your other ideas and why you didn’t use them instead, what you thought of this character, the terrible rotgut liquor you were having while you wrote up that terrible chapter, etc.

      Or you could go watch some other stuff like, say, sitcoms and such. We love watching It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia and the aforementioned Blackadder.

      I tried my hand at blogging about movies once, it was a lot of work. I had to sit through Transformers 2 and New Moon for starters.

      • schneider says:

        Interesting. That’s something I could do, though this is a blog about cartoons first and foremost.

        I don’t watch sitcoms or live-action TV shows though, but I think I can write about Firefly… once I get around to finishing it.

        • Well, looking for new directions while keeping to the blog subject would simply mean watching and blogging about other genres a bit more. I guess go watch Yojouhan Shinwa Taikei or something.

  6. Shinmaru says:

    I usually don’t write about shows/trends/whatever that I dislike, mostly because it isn’t normally any fun for me to do that. I don’t deal in mindless praise, but I do like to keep positive. That said, stirring things up with some criticism every so often isn’t too bad; there’s a difference between valid criticism and being needlessly inflammatory, after all.

    Personally, again, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with either your writing style or your post rate. When I read your posts, I don’t get the feeling that you are wasting any words or sentences — you get in and don’t waste time, but you aren’t dry about it either. I respect that.

    As far as posting rate, hey, at least you’re not posting once every couple of months. You post enough to where people won’t forget about the site. I’ve been trying to scale back a bit too, haha. When I started last year, the summer season was unusually good, so I wrote five posts a week and nearly ran myself into the ground. (I don’t know how the Random Curiosity dudes do it; blows my mind.) Posting a lot is nice, but they have to be worth reading, too, of course.

    I’ve been trying to broaden myself, as well; bad things happen whenever I fall into a routine. It’s fun to find different ways to write about series and to view them. I’ll never be a regular editorial writer (not enough ideas, haha), but hey, keeping episodics from being boring is enough of a challenge. :p

    Lastly, it makes me inordinately happy when people write my site name in all caps. Isaac Newton would let out a big, booming “UNMEI KAIHEN” and so should everyone else!

  7. Gunstray says:

    Hey Happy B-day,I just celebrated mine.

    Now I was gonna mention Ryusei, but his only limited to “a certain” type of mech.

  8. TheBigN says:

    Post rate also seemed to be a major knock on my blog in my second round matchup, where since I was matched against another “editorial” blogger, other considerations were put in to play.

    As someone who I guess writes in a “non-aggressive” tone, I don’t see any problems with how you’ve been writing, especially if that’s being true to yourself.

    And happy birthday man. 😛

  9. ETERNAL says:

    Happy birthday!

    I know what you mean about the post rate comment; that one hit me too, and I’ve been thinking about increasing my post rate since then. Of course, it’ll always be hard to consistently write quality posts. It’s almost as if consistency and quality are mutually exclusive, although I know they aren’t.

    Anyway, I suppose I’d like to see some longer and more in-depth posts from you. I can’t promise that I’ll read them just yet since there’s a lot of mecha stuff that I don’t know, but I think that’s the kind of material your blog needs. I enjoy the style, I just want some more meat!

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