Friday, October 04, 2013

Gala Eighth Anniversary Post

Eight years ago today, Antick Musings stumbled into life, blinking its eyes at the glare, and proceeded to begin complaining about things. That proud tradition continues up through today, when we (well, I, at least) celebrate those eight years and wonder how the hell so much time could have passed.

This past year included the utterly content-free Blog Post Level Five Thousand!!!!!!!!!, celebrating the 5000th post here.

My celebratory posts for past anniversaries include the plain first, the hoopla of the second, the hullabaloo of the third, the excitement of the fourth, the missing fifth, the razzamatazz of the sixth, and the fantabulous seventh.

Antick Musings began as a training blog, but it outlived the thing it was supposed to train me for (the brief-lived SFBC Blog of 2006-7, now utterly scrubbed from the Interwebs) and the job that I had at the time. (You could argue that it's outlived that whole career, since I'm not doing anything remotely skiffy any more.) It's meandered into being mostly a book blog, and specifically a book-review blog, over that time, despite my half-hearted efforts to keep other topics alive here.

I always poke at the post counts in these annual reflections, so let's see how this past year stacks up:
  • 2012-2013 -- 285 posts
  • 2011-2012 -- 332 posts
  • 2010-2011 -- 445 posts
  • 2009-2010 -- 711 posts
  • 2008-2009 -- 880 posts
  • 2007-2008 -- 834 posts
  • 2006-2007 -- 841 posts
  • 2005-2006 -- 809 posts

There's a big, Roger Maris-level asterisk on those post counts, though, since I started up a second blog, Editorial Explanations, in February of 2011 to make fun of and complain about editorial cartoons. I consider it part of the larger Antick Musings empire, since it started as a series of posts here, and only moved off to its own blog for clarity and ease of tagging.

So here are the Editorial Explanations stats:
  • 2012-2013 -- 560 posts
  • 2011-2012 --  802 posts
  • early 2011 -- 760 posts
And then, wrapping up all my posts together:
  • 2012-2013 -- 285 + 560 =  845 posts
  • 2011-2012 -- 332 + 802  = 1,134 posts
  • 2010-2011 -- 445 + 760  = 1,205 posts
  • 2009-2010 -- 711 posts
  • 2008-2009 -- 880 posts
  • 2007-2008 -- 834 posts
  • 2006-2007 -- 841 posts
  • 2005-2006 -- 809 posts
Suddenly, I don't feel as bad about posting less here -- and what looked like a post Book-A-Day slump (I ended a year's worth of that in early 2011) instead turns into the middle of my highest posting volume to date. (Of course, if you as a reader don't like Editorial Explanations, and want me to get back to digging into Amazon sales figures, or more SFnal book reviews, this may not be a net positive.) Of course, this past year is still definitely a slump -- it's been a busy, complicated time at work, so I've had less mental energy to spend on blogging. Plus, I'm gaming a lot more lately -- I think that's because work has gotten more stressful, but that could be just an excuse.

So there have been fewer posts here over the past year, which may mean fewer links below. Let's see -- I'll do my best not to link to every single one of those two-hundred-and-eight-five posts from the past year.

Most of the words posted here are about books, in one way or another, and the majority of those posts are book reviews. So here's a sampling of those reviews from the past year, linked (in a tradition started last year) as quotes from those reviews:
(Speaking of quotes, I poked at the New York Times's 2012 year-end listing of Notable Books in a post that included this deathless mixed-metaphor prose: "[O]ther people's rankings of art always have that tar-baby appeal; they're always wrong in one way or another, which is endless fascinating like an itchy scab.")

I also did a lot of capsule reviews of things I read this year, in my monthly Books Read posts. And the thing people seem to read most consistently here are my Monday-morning Reviewing the Mail posts, in which I more-or-less seriously look at the new books that arrive in my mail the prior week, in hopes that some readers will discover something new they will love. (And I will inflict one quote from a Reviewing the Mail post on you here, because it still amuses me: "I like this book's title because my house has a wrath-bearing tree, or at least we thought it did when we moved in. We gave it fruit spikes every summer, and it produced small hard lumps, dropped all its leaves in August, and keened a song of terror and loathing in the quiet mornings. Sadly, it turned out to be a quince tree, so we've given up trying for wrath-fruit.")

One of my other major sources of blogging are the stacks of books I buy myself, which are cataloged in the various Incoming Books posts. If you like mildly annotated lists of books, that's for you.

Every year, I pick my favorite books of the year -- very idiosyncratically, one book from each month for a full list of twelve -- and I did that again in 2012. That post is also a more compressed look at nearly everything I read in 2012 worth recommending or mentioning.

At least once a year, I check in on what the other Andrew Wheelers of the world are doing -- because mine is a common name, and because there must be some neo-Platonian affinity between two things with the same aspect, right?

I used to write about movies here, but I haven't had a single post in that area over the past year. So ignore that link I just threw you, OK?

Every year, there's a day devoted to bizarre and surprising news stories that strain the bonds of credulity. And, every year, I try to gather links to as many of those stories as I can. That day, of course, is the first day of the fourth month.

People die, all of the time. I don't make a habit of writing obituaries here, but, once in a while, I find that I have. This year, we lost Roger Ebert.

I'm much happier when I can celebrate people who are still alive, as with Grand Master Gene Wolfe.

I make no claim to have any more Big Thoughts than anyone else, but I do have a few, now and then. Ones possibly worth saving from this year include Magical Thinking and the Modern World, Today's Political Thought, The Rare Obligatory Political Post, and In Which I Pretend I Know What I'm Talking About.

We all get angry, and we all rant, in our own heads, to our spouses, or just the nearest wall. But now, with the Glorious Internet, we can rant to the whole world! (Not that the world is listening.) This year, I ranted about Robert Benmosche.

Can you call it media criticism when I just pick on minor points and make fun of things? (If so, I've got a whole blog devoted to media criticism!) This past year, I discovered An Excellent Example of the Misleading Statistic, and denigrated Generational Trolling in Our Time.

I also dabbled in tech criticism -- or, at least, complaining about software, which is practically the same thing, right? -- In Which I Demand More Windows.

I work in book publishing (or, at least, I'm from there, and parts of my job still visit that neighborhood regularly), so the doings of that particular sausage-factory are of great interest to me. For example, I pondered What Is the Deal With Leadershift?; examined The Great Amazon Squeeze, Once Again; wondered exactly why James Patterson Is Unhappy; explained What BookScan Measures, and What It Doesn't; pondered exactly how one goes about Carving Out a New Nook in the Market; dismissed the entire idea of Borrowing E-Books; and tried to give a heuristic for Amazon Sales.

I engage with the larger world only occasionally, and Say No to Dope probably illustrates why that occasionality is a good strategy, given my level of knowledge and engagement.

This year, I finally developed and posted a Submission Policy. It will be of interest to very few people, but it will help to explain why you didn't hear back from me if you wrote asking me to review your new e-published book.

I used to be more closely connected to the SF world -- it annoys and depresses me that I don't have a job there anymore, so I find myself avoiding it, even if I don't mean to -- but, these days, my fanac is just a few posts like this one on the 2013 Hugo Winners.

I occasionally link to music I like, because (like everyone else) I think my tastes should be universal, because anything I like must be objectively good. Some artists I've burbled about this year include Elizabeth Cook, Fountains of Wayne, Over the Rhine, Say Hi (To Your Mom), Stephie Coplan, and Tom Waits (as interpreted by Mr. C. Monster).

I've posted a few videos, and links to videos, over the last few years, as the web has gotten zippier and less focused on the written word. I'll just link to one here, since none of them are my content, anyway, because this one is A Possible Explanation for Why I'm Like This.

Speaking of that explanation, I've come to believe that my most central fandom is MST3K -- yes, a fifteen-years-dead puppet show that existed purely to make fun of other people's hard work -- and so I took the MST3K 30-Day Challenge all in one go.

Speaking of memes, I do many fewer than I used to, but I still have a weakness for vast lists of questions like Book Blogger Poll.

And, this year, I discovered Possibly the Worst Infographic Designed by the Hand of Man.

In the continuing saga of The Entity, I noted that Najafi Sells Bookspan to Pride Tree. I still don't know what that means or meant to the people still there.

On a vaguely related topic, I also tried to track Stuff My Employer Has Sold, and What Happened To It. I am not drawing any parallels between the two situations...yet.

Outside of blogging, my hobbies include Traveling by Map,

But, in the end, all I really know are the Things Tom Waits Has Taught Me.

Year Nine has just begun; at this point, I expect Antick Musings will keep chugging along, slowing down sometimes on the curves and then picking up speed again as I get annoyed by the slowdowns. Check back on this space to see if I'm right.

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