April 30, 2012

Shouting Into The Wind

So you wanna be a blogger, binky?  You got the skillz, you got the desire, and you've got the website.  You've even written some posts... and nobody is coming to read 'em.  You feel like you're "shouting into the wind."  So whaddya gotta do to get yourself thousands upon thousands of readers? 

My advice to you as the author of a minorly successful blog?  Quit now.  If you're blogging to get comments, you're doing it for the wrong reason.  A blog should be something you do because you want to, whether your cats are the only readers or you get 200000 hits a day.  90% of all blogs go away within one year, say reports from the Institute Of Pulling Statistics Our Of Our Arse.  Of those blogs that last longer, most are completely ignored anyway. 

If you're gonna keep writing and you need to aim for the sky, there are a few things I can suggest that I've figured out over the years.  None of these are things I set out to accomplish, mind you, it just turned out that way.  In short, I got lucky. 

First, you'll need to have a hook.  This sounds cold and calculating, I know, but if you don't have something that will separate you from the hordes of other bloggers out there, you'll just blend into the woodwork.  In my case, it was the F1 writing.  To be sure, I wrote (and still write) about other things, but my F1Update!s, no matter how meh the were in the beginning, that got me an audience.  Sure, I transitioned to other hooks... Twelve Days of Duckmas and my episodic anime recaps come to mind... but F1 was the one that got The Pond going.

Second, even if it's accidentally, you need a patron.  By "patron," I mean another blogger who is already successful who'll send you readers.  In the case of The Pond, SDB was my "patron," having linked to me quite a few times about five years ago or so.  Shortly thereafter, my readership boomed.  I reckon that SDB's patron was probably the Instapundit, but I might be wrong about that.  If it wasn't for those links from Chizumatic, The Pond would have struggled along like those 90% of blogs.

Third, and most importantly, you need to write.  Every darn day, and if not every day, on some regular schedule.  If you don't write regularly, what readers you DO get aren't going to come back more than a few times.  The Pond could be better at this, but I've averaged 26 posts per month for 82 months... and that includes July 2005, when I was still trying to figure out what I was doing (8 posts).  To be fair, a lot of the 2119 posts are 200 words and a picture (Random Anime Pictures) or 100 words and a picture (Ducks in Anime), but it's something.  Now it so happens I like to write about subjects that I'm passionate about, and for those, 1000 words or more isn't out of the ordinary.  But if you don't write more than once in a while, then it doesn't matter: nobody is going to come back anyway.  Let me give you an example... for years, Fred Gallagher's webcomic Megatokyo was perhaps the most popular comic out there... certainly in the top five.  A few years back, his release routine slipped from two or three times a week to once a week... to once every two weeks... to where it is now, once a month if he's lucky.  Now that he's busy not updating, the message boards on the website went from being busy and well-populated (though often insular and exclusionary) to practically deserted.

If you write every day about something you love, in a way that isn't just a blatant copy of someone else, eventually you'll be noticed.  It may take a while... it took two or three years for The Pond... but it'll happen.  And then you won't be shouting into the wind anymore.

Posted by: Wonderduck at 10:18 PM | Comments (4) | Add Comment
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April 23, 2012


Today is International Pixel-Stained Technopeasant Day.  Today is also World Book and Copyright Day.  It is also the Feast Day for St Adalbert of Prague.  Max Planck was born on this day, and Cervantes died upon this day.  The first video ever was uploaded to Youtube today in 2005.  Hank Aaron hit the first of his 755 home runs today, and William Shakespeare was both born and died on April 23rd.

And in 1968, in a hospital somewhere near Wrigley Field in Chicago, a Wonderduck was hatched upon an unsuspecting world.  Nothing would ever be the same again.

Birthday candle!

Posted by: Wonderduck at 07:02 AM | Comments (6) | Add Comment
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April 19, 2012

Name This Mystery Ship XIV

Easy one this time...

Get it right, win a post on a topic of your own choice.  No pr0n, politics or religion, but otherwise it's fair game.  Please, do not cheat with imagesearch or anything like that... I can't stop you and won't ever know you did it, but have some pride. 

Get to work!

Posted by: Wonderduck at 07:00 PM | Comments (11) | Add Comment
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April 17, 2012

Meanwhile Lurking By A Stone In The Mud...

As has been chronicled repeatedly on this here blogthing, as a young fledgeling I was quite into this "music" thing that everybody's been talking about for a while now.  While my tastes tended more towards the Go-Gos, Devo, ABC and others of the "new wave" bent, there was a small portion of my brain that leaned towards what would now be called "Prog Rock" or perhaps "Art Rock."  Mind you, I didn't think of it that way, I just found it musically... interesting, in a way that even the more avant-garde groups I listened to (Joe Jackson, your table for one is ready) weren't.  Bands like Yes, the Moody Blues (Vaucaunson's Duck, please crank your volume), Rick Wakeman, Pink Floyd and their ilk... not my main fodder, to be sure, but not entirely unheard at the Olde Home Pond.  One day, an odd little album made its way into my feathery little wingtips.  This record was reviled by many of the long-time fans of the group that made it for being too different.  This record was also reviled by many of the new fans of the group that made it for being not pop enough.

The album is called ABACAB, and it's by the group Genesis.  While these days Genesis is best known
for their catchy Top-40 radio hits, they weren't always that band.  Originally led by Peter Gabriel, they were (to my ears) a particularly "out there" Prog Rock group, one that was barely listenable at all, despite being particularly talented musically.  When Gabriel left the band, the drummer for Genesis, Phil Collins, stepped up and took over the lead vocals.  They also took a more "radio-friendly" turn with their music at the same time.  While their 1980 album Duke had a couple of crowd favorites for concert play, it was ABACAB (1981) that pushed them off the ledge into the abyss of Top-40 radio.  The track "No Reply At All" borrows the horn section of the band Earth Wind & Fire to great effect, and is probably the reason I bought the vinyl in the first place (even as a young'un, I dug the horns).  Add the title track and "Keep It Dark", and you've got a album full of catchy hooks and pop fame forever, right?

Um... no.  Because on the flip side (ask your parents, kids) of the record, you've got some seriously odd things.  "Dodo/Lurker", with its strange spoken-word drop, "Man On The Corner" which tried to bring attention to the homeless problem, and perhaps my favorite track on the album, "Who Dunnit?", which is pure lyrical weirdness.  It's no surprise that the long-time fanbase  of the band tended to hate ABACAB with the fire of a thousand suns, while the ones that jumped on board because of the singles often found the rest of the album to be not what they signed up for.

Despite this dichotomy of musical styles, ABACAB was on the UK Album Charts for 27 weeks, and reached #1 for two of them.  It didn't do that well at all in the US. 

So why do I mention this odd conundrum of an album up here at The Pond?  Because, for all of its faults and it has several (not least of which is a tendency towards overproduction), I was always quite fond of it.  While the track selection on the album may tend towards the bizarre, there's no denying the musical talent on display, nor its ability to keep you interested in what's going on.   And, as I was leaving the pharmacy where I get the "keep Wonderduck alive" pills every month, there was the remastered edition of ABACAB staring me in the face from a bargain rack, for the low low price of $4.99.  Of course I couldn't resist buying it on the spot.

As soon as I got home, I began listening to the CD and discovered something incredible... I could still remember the *pop*s and *click*s my old vinyl copy had, and found it weird that the CD didn't include them.  Of course it wouldn't, that's obvious, but in my mind, the album has them and that's that.  It's still an excellent collection of music, however... not bad for a 31-year old album that pissed off most of the group's fans.

I wonder what friend GreyDuck, a Genesis fan hisownself, thinks of it?

UPDATE: I forgot to mention something I found out many years ago... the movable lighting instruments that we see everywhere these days?  Like at this Pink Floyd concert, for example... they were invented by what eventually became Vari-Lite for Genesis' concert tour promoting this album.  Lighting Designers everywhere rejoiced.

Posted by: Wonderduck at 10:19 PM | Comments (6) | Add Comment
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April 04, 2012


I made it until the monkey appeared.  Then I completely lost it.

Then I couldn't stop.

With any luck, the HSotD Ep04 writeup will be along tonight.

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April 03, 2012

It's Baseball Season

There was once a time when baseball was king.  The nation practically stopped on Opening Day, which was on Monday.  The first game of the season was always played in Cincinnati, because they were the first professional team and that's the way it always was.  Hot dogs, beer, crackerjack and peanuts.  The greatest moment ever was when you climbed the stairs from the Wrigley Field concourse and you first glimpsed the beautiful expanse of green beneath brilliant blue skies.

At which point, you knew that all was right with the world.  Oh, the Cubs might lose or win, depending on the vagaries of the day, but for a few hours at least, you were in a better place.  I'm sure there were similar moments at every ballpark. 

Along the way, though, something changed, and not for the better.  Baseball is no longer the king of American sports.  Sushi, nachos, toasted ravioli and... walleye?... are being seen in more and more stadiums.  The season isn't even starting on a Monday in Cincinnati; it's starting on Wednesday night in Miami, for Hornsby's sake!

Except that won't even be the first game of the season.  The first official game of the 2012 Major League Baseball season was last week in Tokyo Japan, between the Seattle Mariners and Oakland A's... and it wasn't even televised.

There is something wrong with baseball, my friends.  Oh, don't get me wrong, I still love the game, and will until I die.  Maybe there's a bit of "Back in my day..." going on, but I don't think so: perhaps the pace of today's world has passed baseball by.  Cellphones and iPads are replacing transistor radios and scorecards.  Maybe "America's Game" has become America's Anachronism.

Maybe, therefore, I'm an anachronism.  Perhaps.  I don't care.  Give me the National Pasttime, please.  With plenty of mustard and bright green pickle relish.  And NO ketchup.

Posted by: Wonderduck at 08:49 PM | Comments (4) | Add Comment
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