Tuesday, December 18, 2012

#500. Scouring Monk's 2012 in Review

I should probably begin this historic (of a sort!) post by noting that 2012 has been by far my most active year at Scouring Monk.  I started this blog in 2002.  In 2005-2007, my activity all but died off, with a slow build upward again that seemed to reach a crescendo in 2011.  I ended up several months that matched or exceeded my activity in those slow years during 2012, with April, during A-to-Z, being the busiest, where I not only posted every day for the challenge but added in a few more posts, so I ended up with 38 that month, which will probably remain a record, unless I participate in another blogathon like that do even more extra posts.

Anyway, January started out fairly typically for what Monk was like before I got actual readers.  It was during the last round of expansion, wherein I spun off different interests into their own blogs, which last October as noted yesterday included Hub City.  2011 also saw Comics Reader and Sigild V (named after a street sign whose letters reflected only some of the letters, and sounds like a futuristic guild, possibly from Babylon 5), while in 2010 I launched Fan Companion, which was then and is now again centered on Star Trek (though I had more popularity at one point talking about movies).  Of course, in July this year, I launched Tony Laplume, and have no idea where I got that name.  From Chilean sea bass, no doubt.  Anyway, many of my posts here were a synthesis of the activity across this family of blogs, much as the Direct Current posts recently were doing.  (Now for a secret origin: "Direct Current" was the name of a DC Comics preview magazine in the 1990s.  And ITEM! came from Marvel.)

February and March were much the same, though I began transitioning to talking a lot more about movies, mostly because I had second thoughts about continuing my relationship with Examiner.  This wouldn't be the first time Monk has served as a surrogate home for material I would otherwise have been presenting elsewhere.  When I wrote about comics for Paperback Reader, I began feeling ambivalent about that site's continuing ability to draw an audience.  Now, whether or not it was because I was a significant contributor who left and came back at least once, PBR eventually disappeared, much the way the Star Trek community Lower Decks faded into obscurity once some of its founders walked away, which was another reason why PBR's prospects shrank.  Anyway, later in the year I did return to Examiner.  It's always hard to find an audience.  Examiner has made it even harder to find one for regional contributors with recent redesigns that makes it impossible to find regional contributors, so I write there mostly to have a venue that isn't one of my blogs.

April, obviously, was all about A-to-Z, which is one of the things Alex Cavanaugh works on.  The so-called Ninja Captain is the acknowledged godfather of this blogging community, and however it happened, discovering his blog in the first place was how I learned about A-to-Z in the first place.  Alex visits a million blogs each day and somehow manages to makes comments on all of them.  In return, these blogs visit him.  He promotes the books of these loyal readers and talks about movies.  I've talked about the blogs I glommed onto before, and they know who they are, and many of them visit and support me, not just here but are crazy enough to read the other blogs I'm crazy enough to simultaneously maintain on a regular basis.  During A-to-Z I spent my time talking about Star Trek and movies, and secretly hoped to participate in the challenge in the hopes of discovering other blogs that also featured such topics.  Yet many of them ended up being blogs written by other aspiring writers, which in hindsight should not be so surprising, because Alex also hosts the monthly Insecure Writers Support Group.

In May I briefly introduced a successor to my Star Trek/movies focus I intended to maintain on a regular basis, Vantage Point, which would have covered most mediums of entertainment, but either it was A-to-Z hangover or readers weren't as interested in me continuing to blog like that as I thought they'd be.  So I gave that up pretty quickly.  During the month people also started throwing around a lot of awards, and I wasn't prepared to begin dealing with that.  They were meant to support blogs bloggers enjoyed following, but I was so new to the community, I didn't want to participate in that without knowing if I'd continue supporting all those blogs.  I guess appropriately enough, while people were busy wondering if they cared about my blog on an ongoing basis, I was busy sifting through the ruins of A-to-Z and discovering who would still be interesting, much less active.  True enough, I continued following several blogs I still read today, but I still felt pretty small in comparison to how everyone else seemed to be following dozens of blogs they'd discovered well before the challenge.

May also saw one of the recurring topics from the year introduced to Monk, which was the success of The Avengers in theaters.  I struggled a great deal with it.  I thought it was an okay movie, but I also realized that apparently a great number of moviegoers loved it, and I didn't want to seem like someone who didn't like it as much just to be contrarian (and you know plenty of people are like that).  So I continued to figure out what I really thought of it, ways that I could come to appreciate it that I hadn't thought of yet.  One of those was through a comic book, appropriately enough, which came up in June, although if you remember Scouring Monk from June at all, it was for the epic Comic Book Movie Chronicle, in which I provided a complete survey of movies based on comic books properties.  Got a lot of interest from those posts.

I started to do a lot more posts about specific topics after that.  If you bother to look through the archives for Monk, you'll notice that although I had a lot of favorite topics, I normally obscured them by clumping several of them together at once.  In a sense, 2012 started making some clarity about what Monk is supposed to be, even though I have so many other blogs.  Sometimes topics overlap from blog to blog, such as the number of times I still ended up talking about Star Trek here even though I have another blog to cover it.  Periodically I talked about professional wrestling, which was a major theme in the Monk's past, although not up the alley of readers from the A-to-Z era.  I also went on periodic rants about random topics, though I don't do that often enough where people probably think of rants and Monk in the same thought.

August featured a series of posts concerning the passing and legacy of Tony Scott, which is still a little curious to me, since I had not previously thought of Tony as the Scott brother of my choosing (it remains Ridley, before and after Prometheus), probably as a raw nerve of appreciation that still bothers me in my own life.  Although Tony was a huge box office success for most of his career, critics never gave him any credit, and so I guess I started to wonder if his films would be remembered in ten, twenty years, even Top Gun, so I started to look for greater meaning in his work, and think I found it.

In September I returned to another personal favorite topic, TV, and discovered that it was another things the A-to-Z era doesn't particularly care about, and became easy for me to move on from once I figured out that I wouldn't be watching the new season the way I thought I would.  For the record, my current favorite night of television, and the one I've gotten to watch on a consistent basis recently, is Tuesday nights, mostly on Fox (Raising Hope, Ben & Kate, The New Girl) and then switching to ABC (Don't Trust the B-- in Apartment 23).  I've even developed a new term for the brand of sitcom featured in this makeshift block.  It's called the Piercecom, as in "Hawkeye" Pierce from M*A*S*H, memorably portrayed by Alan Alda.  Basically the best modern sitcoms are all borrowing the same irreverent tone "Hawkeye" gave to the Korean War, a cynicism that is less laugh-out-loud hilarious and more amusing as a slice of life, a trend begun in Arrested Development and The Office, which NBC tried to reshape its Thursday lineup around, and found far less successful than its 1990s heyday.  Piercecom may also be construed as a reference to Community, which also features a character named Pierce (though Chevy Chase is going to be leaving at some point during its fourth season, whenever that gets underway).

October saw the start of the Direct Current posts, while November saw the bulk of the Box Office feature that will resume at some point, while this month has mostly been turned over to the Blogathon of Doom, which is far smaller in scale than A-to-Z but nonetheless continues.  Tomorrow is my final day participating.

And that's everything you didn't want to know about that one blog you only pretend to follow.  At the start of the year I hit the three hundred thirty-fifth blog of Scouring Monk, and hit four hundred near the end of April (appropriately enough).  I figured because I seem to care about how many posts I've done, I might as well make a small deal about hitting the quincentennial.

Yay for me!

And for one last bit of celebration, how about explaining the name of the blog?  First off, many of my blogs don't match what's in the URL.  "Mouldwarp" comes from Peter Ackroyd's The Plato Papers, indisputably one of my favorite books of all time.  "Scouring Monk" comes from "Showering Monks," the name of a science team my brother put together in high school, which itself is based off the Shaolin monks of China.  So now you know.  Just a lot of nonsensical wordplay.


PT Dilloway, Superhero Author said...

Piercecom is brilliant. I think I found your blog through the A to Z dealie so it was good for something.

Tony Laplume said...

Well, like I said, everyone who's reading me now discovered me through A-to-Z. Much appreciated!

Maurice Mitchell said...

I think I found your blog thanks to A-Z as well. Thanks for "pretending" to follow my blog too. ;) Four more years! Four more years!

Tony Laplume said...

The Geek Twins was exactly what I was hoping to find!

Maurice Mitchell said...

Thanks Tony! A lot of great blogs in the A-Z bloghop. Arlee did a great job with that one. Hope you join ours next year.


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