Change Is A-Comin’

whistles Scorpions’ “Wind of Change”

So I think it’s safe to say that over the last year or two, this space, in conjunction with my Patreon page, hasn’t exactly been a success. My original goal in launching a Patreon was (as I stated in a nifty video I am still rather proud of) to energize and motivate me to write more–to flex the mental muscles of my critical faculties. I think it worked for a while.

Lately, not so much.

I’ve written before about reasons why things have gone more radio silent here, and about some of the personal mental blocks I have about accepting money for blog posts. My life has changed a lot since I started here, so I think it’s okay that this space (and my Patreon) should change with it.

I’m still not sure exactly what form those changes will take, but I’ve been thinking about it a lot. I like having this as a creative space that’s all my own. I adore all my podcasts and the people I do them with, but they’re joint efforts. It’s neat to have a sandbox in which I can build whatever castles I want.

On the Patreon side, I still like the specific and direct connection that provides to the folks who are kind enough to help support me. And to be very real, after doing taxes this year, the extra dollars are and would be Very Welcome.

One thing I’m sure of is that the reward structure for my Patreon will be changing. I no longer feel the need to do so much critical writing. Those muscles get exercised an awful lot anyway: I spend a ton of time consuming and commenting on media–I just do it in audio form. I get plenty of practice creating polished writing in my day job. And to be frank, the requirement to deliver something specific that my patrons have requested in exchange for their dollars? That’s triggered my anxiety much more than I ever thought it would.

For the moment, I’ve removed the reward levels.* I’ll probably replace them with something that’s easier for me to fulfill–exclusive content most likely. Maybe I’ll think up some fun goals. Not sure yet. I might even move to a monthly donation model rather than charging per-post. If you have thoughts about this, don’t hesitate to let me know! (Comments here, on Patreon, Twitter, etc.)

I’ve become so comfortable and adept at capturing audio, I might start dropping brief ramblings here in mp3 format. Or doing little videos (probably ones that require MUCH less work than that one on my Patreon page). I want this to be a place where I can do a little bit of whatever I feel like, with fewer self-imposed rails.

So if that doesn’t sound like something you’re interested in, this is your notification to un-bookmark this site or cancel your Patreon pledge. I will hold exactly no ill will!

Change can be good and is often necessary. This is definitely the latter, and I hope it’ll be the former as well. Whatever comes, I’m happy to have you along for the ride.

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*I still have some more patron-posts to write, and I am absolutely gonna deliver those. I’ve already started writing notes! Graeme and Donald, yours are on the way! If you’re one of my patrons who never requested anything particular (or I wasn’t able to source what you asked for and let you know that), it’s not too late! Just drop me a line on Patreon and let me know what you’d like!

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Back in the Saddle…Sorta

rocking horse

After a long silence due to international and intercontinental travel, I am back home in Edmonton and working on re-acclimating to real life. Or something like real life. I have to admit, the re-entry hasn’t been entirely pretty. I’d never spent a month away from home before, and while it was exhilarating, it’s a weird thing to just stop. And picking back up at home is rougher when things aren’t the same as when I left.

I’m now sans job, so there’s not much structure in my day. That’s something I always struggle with. And the joblessness brings mild nervousness with it. Job-hunting in a less-than-ideal Edmonton economy isn’t the most fun thing. Nor is all the housework that awaits one after travelling for a while. Then there’s the feeling of isolation at being in a city that’s at least 1500 miles away from most of my friends and family. So while I meant to jump back into the blogging thing immediately upon returning home, that just didn’t happen.

Instead, I’ve been doing oodles of self-care in the week-plus that I’ve been back. Continue reading

The Boys from the Dwarf and a Big Polymorph

Time for another patron-inspired post! Want to get in on the action? Check out my Patreon page!

Red Dwarf Polymorph

I came to Red Dwarf by possibly the worst-best route ever. Technically, the first bit I ever saw was a very short (baffling) bit of “Meltdown” from series IV, but the first episode I ever watched properly was the final ep of series VI: “Out of Time”. My siblings and I were flipping through channels, and landed on PBS shortly after the episode started. We were riveted! When it ended, on one helluva cliffhanger, we dove for the TV Guide* to see when Red Dwarf would be on next.

(If you’re familiar with Red Dwarf, you probably know where this is going. Sigh.)

We dutifully hit the couch the very next week, ready to find out what happened after the explosion that seemingly killed the wacky characters we’d quickly come to love—only to be very confused. The episode title was “The End”. That in itself kinda made sense, but it most emphatically did not pick up where the previous episode left off. In fact, it soon became clear we were watching the very first episode of Red Dwarf ever. What the heck?

After a bit of research (which was much harder in those days!), we discovered not only had we caught the last episode of the most recent series (and PBS was wrapping around to start at the beginning of series I), but the show had been cancelled, and there were no more new episodes coming! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!** Continue reading

The Katharine Hepburn Project

Katharine_Hepburn_promo_pic

Time for another patron-inspired post! …Sort of. The inestimable Mr. Erik Stadnik pledged to me ages ago and gave me three choices for what to write about. One of those was to cover the films of Katharine Hepburn. There’s no way I’m gonna pass up the opportunity to write about a star from my favorite era of filmmaking! So why haven’t I gotten to it yet?

Search me. But because it’s taken me so long (and because the topic is so juicy), I’m gonna do this one differently. Instead of creating a single post about a few of Ms. Hepburn’s films, I’m diving into an altogether bigger project. Continue reading

Paralyzed by Success

Last week I explained a bit about why I’ve been absent of late. But a busy schedule isn’t the whole story. To get at that, we have to do the unthinkable (actually, more like the over-thinkable) and delve into my head. Scary, I know. But when it comes down to it, my biggest obstacle has always been my own brain. And this time I’m not talking about my struggle with depression and anxiety (though they do play a role). No, this time I’m talking about how I manage to be my own worst enemy, even when (perhaps especially when) I’m successful.

The Good

Last year at this time, I launched a Patreon site. The idea was people might actually be interested in reading what I wrote (they were!), and that would motivate me to write more (it did!). Also, money coming as a direct result of writing was no small incentive (it was!). As the parentheticals imply this worked! In 2014, I posted fully three times more than I did in 2013. In that respect, Patreon has been a resounding success. (And let me take a moment to once again thank all my spectacular patrons. You all rock my socks off. Legit.)

The Bad

On the flip side, it also backfired. Continue reading

Clued In (a Love Letter to a Wacky Murder Mystery)

It’s that time again! Another patron-inspired post!

Clue Movie

Confession time! This one is a patron-inspired post. Okay, that’s not much of a confession. The real confession is that this was the very first patron-suggestion I got, and I’m just getting to it now. Yeah. I suck. (Sorry Sean!) The reason for my dawdling is twofold. #1) I wanted to make sure when I rewatched Clue, I was able to do it with my dear spouse, who had never seen it before. (I know!) Well, I needn’t have bothered. He really didn’t like it. Grumble. But more important is #2… Continue reading