Thursday, February 11, 2016

Happy 5th Anniversary

Five years ago today, I started this blog with an appropriately titled blog post, "Why A Blog?" to discuss why I chose to start blogging.

As I look at my stats in terms of the number of posts I've made each year, I am a bit dismayed that if you put them into a line graph, that line would just point steadily downward over time. As I mentioned last year, I no longer have the time (or frankly, the energy) to post as often as I did when I first began the blog. However, as I did mention last year, I do think that the quality of my posts has increased. I'd like to think that most of them to provide some sort of inspirations or thought-starters for role-playing games, which is a big theme of my blog. I like writing that kind of content much better than trying to cover "geek news" which I did a bit of in my first year or two of blogging.

Here are some highlights of the blog over the past year.

The missing three months. 
 I've mentioned this a few times, but my daughter was involved in a very traumatic accident over the summer and I pretty much just disappeared from blogging while helping her recuperate. It just felt a bit weird to me to keep blogging about comics and gaming while my daughter was dealing with her recovery. Whenever I am stressed, whether from work or personal issues, the blog is one of the first things to suffer because I'm just not in the mood.

I did game quite a bit last year before my daughter's accident, with a combination of my Friday Night Labyrinth Lord hack of S4: Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth at the beginning of the year. A month or so ago, we actually decided to put that game on hiatus for a few months and return to my friend Sean's Savage Worlds' version of Cthulhu, picking up right where we left off in the middle of Masks of Nyarlothotep. That's fun for me because it means I get to be a player, which I really enjoy.

In other role-playing news, I continued running sessions of my long-running World of Samoth game - last May saw the 14th Anniversary of that game and I commemorated it with a post that includes images from my campaign notebook. And this past October, I played D&D at a Convention for the first time ever, although it was sadly a less-than-stellar experience.

I also did quite a bit of board gaming with my friend Cal and his wife, and a few times with my friend Wil and some of his other friends. However, my board gaming is a lot less frequent than it was when my daughter was much younger. As a result, I've found that I'm actually just not as good at board games as I was even just a few years ago. I was never particularly great at the hard-core European strategy games, but I could usually end up figuring out the strategy eventually and even if I didn't win, I could think through what I could have done differently that would have resulted in a better showing. The past few times I tried a new game, however, I did pretty poorly. I don't beat myself over this kind of thing, but it's just been pretty eye opening that I've started to lose my "board gaming muscles." I'll be attending Orc Con this weekend with Cal and my friend Jeff, so hopefully I'll get some time to test out a few more games.

Lastly on the gaming front, I was once again given the opportunity by All-Around Cool Cat Random Wizard to judge the One Page Dungeon Contest, which is really a ton of fun. This past year, there were fewer judges than in 2014, but that resulted in more communication between the judges and in the first-ever Google Hangout after the prizes had been awarded so that we could all talk about why we chose what we chose, and also people could ask us questions. As luck would have it for me, just today on Twitter, Random Wizard announced publicly that I will be among the returning judges for the 2016 contest! For those who are interested, there are a lot of posts on the blog from the 2014 contest. I also wrote a post in 2015 about "Why We Need" a One Page Dungeon Contest.

I continued to read a lot of comics, although I did skip my weekly visits to the comic book store for about a month or so after my daughter's accident. Luckily I'd cut back on the number of monthly series I read - at one point I was up to 60 per month, and now I'm down to fewer than half of that, which is much more manageable. I still continue to write reviews for althought I haven't written a "full" review since the summer. I did recently attend another "Red Carpet Premiere" for ComicAttack, where I got to interview the voice-talent and crew for the new Batman: Bad Blood animated feature which came out last week. I'm transcribing my recorded interview notes and will be posting that article soon.

Here on the blog over the past year from a comics standpoint, I wrote about a very cool book on the history of the Avengers, which I reviewed for ComicAttack. In another post, I wrote about a variety of new Star Wars media that included some comics from both Dark Horse and Marvel.

One fun post I made about comics last year involved me asking the question, "Do you read comics? Why or why not?" It was intended to be a two-part series, and I finished the second part just yesterday. 

Geek Stuff. 
One thing that's really important to me as the dad of a young girl who has both "geek" interests (super heroes, Star Wars, and comics in general) as well as stuff like Disney Princesses and frilly dresses, is that girls are represented well in "geek" media and that they are given the same attention, as consumers, as boys are. I wrote a post about this last year when I'd gotten fed up by the lack of female super hero toys and comics for my daughter. This really came to a head after my wife and I took her to see the new Star Wars: The Force Awakens movie at the El Capitan theater in Hollywood, and in the Disney shop next door that sold all the merchandise from the movie they did not have any Rey action figures. My daughter specifically pointed it out, and it was just one in a series of things she's mentioned: "How come that poster doesn't have Wonder Woman? How come that t-shirt doesn't have any girl super heroes? Why don't they have Raven and Starfire action figures?" Things seem to slowly be getting better with Disney finally figuring out that the public backlash against them not including Rey in their Star Wars merchandising is a PR nightmare, and also with DC coming out with their new girl-oriented super hero line.

On the "general geek front," as opposed to the "Top 10" list I did at the tail-end of 2014, this year instead I did a list of some of the interesting movies, TV shows, comics, and games that I'm looking forward to in 2016 (as well as a few things I'm not all that excited about). 

I've been keeping up the Inspirations theme of the blog, most recently by starting a relatively "new column" here on Tuesdays, which is "D20 Era Reviews." The idea is that I'll be writing about some old forgotten D20-era publications that could be dusted off and mined for inspiration and ideas, regardless of what system you're playing. I started the series with a look at From Stone to Steel.

Fridays have been "reserved" for Inspirations for quite a long time. Most recently, I looked at probably my favorite post-apocalyptic book, Hiero's Journey.

Looking Ahead.
I suspect the blog will continue much as it has, albeit with me making an even more concerted effort to try to post at least once a week. I do try to use the comments as a guideline toward why kind of content people are most engaged with, but I have also noticed that a lot of people tend to comment on Google+ instead of here on the blog which makes it a bit more difficult for me to keep track of. But, it does make sense - it's more "immediate" to comment on Google+ sometimes, and I myself do it quite a bit. As always, though, I'm always open to thoughts on things people are more interested in reading about.

And Now... the Stats.
  • 8,172 Page Views. This is down a bit from the 9,319 I had last year.
  • 1.53 Pages/Session (last year: 1.58 Pages/Session)
  • Average session duration 1:44 (last year 1:52)
  • 79.56% Bounce Rate (last year 77.86%)
  • 70.92% of visitors were "new" instead of returning (75.4% last year)
  • 83.95% of the readers are from English-US readers (81.16%)
So clearly, my stats have fallen a bit but I attribute that to the less frequent blogging, so it makes sense.

One post from this past year is now my my Top 10 All Time Posts (in terms of views) - the one about New Star Wars Media, with 1,544 views total. 

Over the past month, of the Top 10 posts, six of them are older posts on the site, including things like my interview of the other One Page Dungeon Contest Judges in 2014, a review of DC's Earth 2 comic from 2013 (which is odd considering it's not even published any more), and an old favorite, The Evolution of D&D Snacks from 2011.

There's a look at the past year. Thanks, as always, for reading. I look forward to another year here on the blog, and hope to hear from you in the comments here or on Google+. Cheers!

Hanging: Home office (laptop)
Drinking: Sparkling cider
Listening: "Ego Spiritual" by Max Sedgely


  1. Happy blog birthday! Blogthday?

    I am terrible at board games. Proper terrible. If you want to guarantee a win, play against me. A lot of my friends feel sorry for me and jump through all sorts of hoops to make sure I don't feel bad about it, but to be honest I enjoy playing the game, not playing to win, so it doesn't matter how I do.

    1. Thanks, Kelvin!

      We played I think four different board games. I came in second, twice, 3rd (out of 4) once, and dead last once (and a FAR last - Final Scores for that Game: 123, 122, 118, 82 - me). :)

  2. Congrats on the anniversary! It's good to see you post on occasion, as it gives me hope I could maybe do the same! Busy gamer nerd dads unite! I've been a poor excuse for a roleplayer and a board gamer for some time now. Yes, I think I'm also generally not the best board gamer due to rustiness.

    As someone who also has a gaming blog that gets much less TLC these days, I know where you're coming from, but let's agree to not let our blogs give out with whimpers! Fight on!

    1. Thank you so much - along with Trey and Kelvin, you've been one of my longest-running "commentors" and also you all had some of the first blogs I discovered after James' (which is what got me into blogging in the first place).

      Yes, as you said... "Busy gamer nerd dads unite!"



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