Saturday, May 21, 2011

Happy 250th Anniversary!

This is my 250th post here at Crank Crank Revolution. I'm not sure what I wanted this to be when I started this a little over a year ago, and I'm still not sure where it's going to end up. But I enjoy doing it, and while I don't get to invest the amount of time an energy into this blog as I would like, I'm still quite proud of it.

Of course, I've picked up quite a few new readers over the past several months, mostly due to my Twitter account. I was an avowed skeptic about Twitter, and I'm still not convinced it won't collapse under its own creative weight at some point. But it certainly is a useful tool at this point and I'm hoping the creative energy of its followers will allow it to adapt.

Alas, Twitter--along with my writing situation--has already caused some issues for my writing. I don't work at a job that allows me access to do anything with my blog, so by the time something in the news occurs and I get home and am able to write, everyone else has already written about it and my Twitter feed fills up with jokes and observations. By the time I get to sit down and bang something out, I feel like everything I write is old hat and stale, and any witty one-liners I've dreamed up have been co-opted by others. As such, you may notice I don't write about newsworthy things in a humorous manner like I used to, for exactly that reason.

Granted, even though I've been writing this blog for a while, I've actually blogged for longer than that. I used to maintain another blog at American Lament, though it was much more structured--specific, 800-word posts approximately once or twice a week.  There is a lot of good content over there--though much of it is dated at this point--and most of my readers I think will enjoy browsing some of the things I wrote. I'm proud of a lot of what I created, and I wish I had been able to spin that endeavor into something larger, lucrative, or more notorious.

Those who haven't had the time or patience to read through a lot of my past posts may not know everything that I've written about. This tends to be a general-interest blog, which has the benefit of allowing me free reign to write what I want, but with the downfall of being a go-to place for any specific topic. So just as a guide, here are some of the things you may see from time to time around here:

Candy Reviews: I'm not quite sure how this started, but I started to pick up various candies I've found and reviewed them. Sometimes this is nothing more than to point out that a specific type of candy exists, but I do taste each and every one of them. If anyone ever comes across any unusual candies, by all means let me know.

Crank Crank Theater: These are comics I draw.

Million Dollar Idea: I have an embarrassment of awesome, lucrative ideas bouncing around in my head at any given time. I will often post the best of these ideas--such as selling individual packages of cereal-grade chocolate marshmallows, which are amazingly absent from the marketplace--to the world. I am doing this as a public service so that my readers will become rich and purchase ad space on my blog.

Static and Noise: This is the standard catch-all for when 1) I can't think of anything to write, and 2) I have short, non-fleshed out opinions about several things. It's the equivalent of a random post about a lot of different things.

My Wife's Blogs: My wife maintains three blogs: one about life in our town, one about our pets, and a book review site. She also takes plenty of awesome photographs, many of which can be seen here. While I do write about the same things on occasion, she does it much, much better, so I tend to let her do it.

Sports: For some reason there is a disproportionate number of sports-related posts that I make. Maybe it's because this is Pittsburgh, and the Steelers made a Superbowl run this year, but really I know very little about sports. I never even regularly watched any professional games until I was in my late 20's. I am trying to write about some of the other, local sports franchises, such as arena football, but I'll probably also have plenty of misguided opinions about sports in general to write about. 

The Miserable Crank Awards:  Last year, at the end of the year, I held a poll to find out what the worst event of the year was. (The BP Oil Spill won, in case you were wondering.) There were plenty of other categories and over 40 nominees and I had a lot of fun with it, but basically no one at all voted in it and I was kind of disappointed. The amount of work didn't really exceed the participation. I'm going to hold it again this year, and hopefully it will work out better.

Board Games: I am a board game fan. For those whose knowledge of board games pretty much stops at Monopoly, Risk, or Scrabble--no problem. Modern board games, such as Pandemic and Twilight Struggle, are much different, and require a certain level of creative investment to play. Most people can't, or won't, for the same reason that many people don't play fantasy football or console video games. I try to be a board game evangelist, since I think that many people who could play these modern board games would enjoy them immensely. They are certainly getting more popular--the big chain booksellers sell many of the more popular games, although you're much less likely to see them in department stores like Wal Mart or Target. Unfortunately, I don't get to play board games as often as I'd like--my friends play when they can, but coordinating the time to do it can be a challenge. But I plan on writing occasional reviews and vaguely interesting board game design theory, since the posts tend to be well-received. 

Politics, Economics, and Current Events: I am a political science and economics major, and so I have a vested interest in such things. I actually do get excited about seeing some obscure economic theory making it into the news, or some politicians understanding how things truly work instead of some dime-store market-tested dreamworld vision of how things should work. The problem is that I'm fully aware that very few people share my, ah, enthusiasm about such things. With the exception of electoral issues--I am an electoral college junkie, and will write often and repeatedly during presidential election years--I try to not write political and economic posts very often. While I love doing it, they are by far my least popular posts. When you see me write about politicians or economic theory, you'll know it's because I can't think of anything else to write about.

The Pledge: That said, when I write about politics, I realize that I very rarely come to a striking, controversial point. I waffle and meander and make excuses. To me, there's no point in pissing off half the readers when I'm probably not going to gain any new ones for those that agree. So my opinions tend to be whittled away into safe territory even though I personally hold some pretty obnoxious views about our society and government. So to combat this, I created The Pledge: When I write a political post, I come right to the point and make a grand unified reasonably controversial statement to make the entire experience at least somewhat interesting.

I hope that I bring to my readers something to enjoy. I never want to waste anyone's time, and so the challenge is to create something that I enjoy doing and that other people will appreciate. I have plenty of projects in mind for the upcoming year: I'm going to a few local sporting events, we have started making homemade gourmet popcorn, there are a few new "departments" of types of posts I want to make, and the ever-elusive podcast project that has become incredibly Duke Nukem 3D-ish in its existence.

But, as always, readers, let me know what you want to see in this blog. Let's make my small corner of the Interwebs all that much more enjoyable.

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