Don’t call it a comeback

Posted: May 29th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , | Comments Off on Don’t call it a comeback

ll cool j

This is not the “I’m sorry it’s been so long since I last posted” post.

In truth, I’m not sorry.

Well, that sounded spiteful. No, I do not regret that I have been pretty busy for the last however many months, as they’ve proven to be pretty productive. I do regret some of the afternoons I spent laying on the couch when I could have just as easily have been updating this site with the types of nuggets of truth layered in witticisms and machismo that you’re used to, but that’s in the past.

No, this is the “I have to re-start somewhere” post.

What have I been doing while I was away?

Well, back in September a friend and I started a podcast centered around video games. Originally that only took up about an hour of my time each week, but as the following grew and we got more involved in the gaming/podcasting communities, it’s pretty easy to spend a lot of time talking to some awesome people. Next up, finding some sponsors we see eye-to-eye with as we grow the brand.

Similarly, just after the holidays I pitched an idea to another friend that I should be a columnist on his very popular gaming blog, and ended up scoring a weekly column (which I am currently behind on, sorry boss). The experience of writing on a schedule for someone else has taught me a lot, as has the reality of having my work exposed to readers who didn’t originally come for what I had to say.

Most recently, I’ve been in talks to start a second podcast, this time about comic books. Hopefully this can get off the ground in the near future, though recording a second show, with prep-time that requires reading, is going to be intersting to fit in.

Speaking of reading, coming up in October, long-time friend Paul (Swabby) and I will be embarking on a challenge to read every Hugo Award winning novel. We’ve already roped in another blogger or two, and may end up setting up a blogger, or at least a GoodReads site to track that challenge.

Last but not least, as I type this I really should be working on the first post in a what will hopefully be a long and fruitful series hosted on Blooming Rock. Taz is a rather fascinating person in her own right, and I enjoy reading her posts, so getting a chance to collaborate will be great.


“What do you like to write about? “

Posted: November 6th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | Comments Off on “What do you like to write about? “

blog

Whenever I tell people that I have a blog, or that I want to be a writer, that’s usually the first question they ask. Well, that or “Really? You think you’re that good?”. Very supportive cast, I know.

Most recently, NaNoWriMo has everyone talking about their progress or ideas for novel writing, and it’s inspired me to take action as well. Instead of attempting a masterpiece of fiction that I was reasonably certain I would not complete, I put out an offer to guest-post on anyone’s blog, thinking it might be particularly helpful to those making their own NaNo attempts,

Right away I received responses asking me what I want to write about. So far I don’t have an answer.

I mean, I previously wrote about the blogs I read, and what that says about me. I’ve written about my interests, but that’s just my wanting to say something and hopefully you not beeing too awfully bored with it.

True, I have certain topics that I write about more frequently (movies, comic-books, dude stuff) or more passionately (urbanism, neighborhoods, sports), but given an entirely blank page, what would I choose to fill it with? Especially if I was given only one chance.

::yes, feel free to queue the Eminem music now::

See, the thing is, I usually write about whatever seems interesting to me in that moment. If something is irritating me, or inspiring me, or confusing me, I’ll write about it to figure it out. It’s not a math problem, I don’t have to know the answer, but I do like to show my work.

Back in January I made myself a list of things I wanted to improve with this site in 2010. The top of that list was items like:

more regular features (failed)
more community (nope, not making good progress there)
don’t be afraid of long posts
more relevant

Well, hopefully I’m doing pretty good on that last one, otherwise I need to go back and kick my own ass for being a slacker this year.

However, never once did I tell myself that I wanted to become a topical blog, mostly because I know that I like to talk about anything under the sun, and limiting myself here only seemed like it would lead to having to create separate blogs for each topic I wanted to contribute to.

I guess, a lot like this blog overall, my post today doesn’t really have a topic, other than to be a mea culpa. Yes, I ramble. Yes, I’m random. Yes, I tend to find an idea and work on it right away, then not go back to it. But hopefully at least I’ve entertained and maybe inspired people along the way as well.


What's in a name?

Posted: June 6th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment »

Not long ago this blog used to be called “Random & Awesome”, and was merely a collection of things I thought looked cool, and the occasional rant from me.

Then as I got more into “blogging”, or writing in general, I realized that “random” and “awesome” weren’t words that made people want to return, and certainly didn’t encourage someone to check back regularly, or subscribe, because who knew if they’d even like whatever came up next.

Of course, I took me a while to figure out that I should want to attract to me because of what/how I write, not attract them to my writing because of what/who I am.  I was probably confused because once I’m hooked on an author, I like to read everything they’ve written.  I suppose I made the bridge to the author and glossed over the reality that said bridge was built upon an already successful reading experience.

But, I digress….

So, a while back I decided “Random  & Awesome” was not the name I wanted to continue with, but I couldn’t think up anything else.  Thus “This Blog Needs a New Name”.

I really meant for this to only be a place-holder title while I thought up something fresh & catchy & attention-grabbing.  However, that process has taken a lot longer than I’d imagined it would.

So fast-forward to multiple conversations I’ve had over the last few months.  Whenever someone asks me for the name of my blog, so they can look it up, I sort of sheepishly reply “Well, right now it’s called ‘This Blog Needs a New Name'”, and they almost universally reply with “…oh…”.

Obviously that’s not the type of response I like to elicit, but I don’t blame them.  I’ve really been slacking on this title thing.

I think the straw that broke the lazy camel’s back came the other morning when I met some fantastic folks for coffee, and in the midst of giving me great advice about pursuing a career in writing, I was asked what the name of my blog was, and I what I write about.

Well, the “what I write about” was pretty easy to spin, and discuss what I enjoy writing about and what sort of role I thought I could fill.  But there, starting at me, was that damned question “what’s your blog called so I can look it up”.  Damn, I wish I’d thought up a great name right there, on the spot.  Then I could have just logged in from my phone and changed it and it’d all be legit.  But alas, I was not that clever at the time….

So, here I am, on my Sunday morning, drinking coffee, trying to force creativity that even my subconscious mind couldn’t work out of the last few months.

Any help?


I've been slacking

Posted: May 17th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , | Comments Off on I've been slacking

Lately I’ve been doing neither of these.

And it’s not because I haven’t had anything to say, but rather because I haven’t put enough thought towards how to word things.

Really this is a carry-over from other parts of my life.

I’ve been in a holding pattern regarding a few major life changes for a few weeks now.  Normally I put the “pro” in procrastination, but this round seems to have affected my interactions on multiple levels.

For example, my birthday is on Saturday.  Last year I celebrated in New York, after months of meticulous planning by Anie. This year, no clue what I want to do, inducing weeks of WTF from Anie.

On the good side, though, it feels this week will bring some answers, and I’ll be back to my usual, arrogant/confident self.


I am Doofus.

Posted: April 29th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | Comments Off on I am Doofus.

It’s 100% true.

Though in many past instances I have referred to myself alternately as “clever”, “brilliant”, a “genius”, and one or twice even “not just a hat rack”, it turns out I was over-estimating.

As you may know, I help monitor Twitter traffic for my employer, and so during the day I have the work-related feeds and my personal feed on screen.  Oftentimes, links will be included in a tweet, and I’ll just favorite it to review later when I’m at home.

Never know what someone will link to, after all.

…and yes, this means that you will never know that someone you admire has linked to your blog.

….and sometimes because you don’t know all of this is happening, you respond to the words in their tweet without clicking the link, trying to sound like a joiner-in’er, a little “hey, look at me, I’m also interested in the topic you’re talking about, please loop me in”, and instead only end up sounding like a doofus.

It’s rewarding to see that so many people have connected with essay I wrote about passion on the Wooster site: http://bit.ly/c8Wn89
9:41 AM Apr 28th
from @MarcDSchiller

@MarcDSchiller really dig the “Passion” essay. quoted it a bit on my blog the other day.
9:45 AM Apr 28th
via TweetDeck in reply to MarcDSchiller

Yes, you doofus, he already knows you wrote about it.  He linked the damn thing.

Way to be a doofus, Ryan.

Knowing is half the battle.

P.S. Thanks for the link Marc.  I’ll be less dumb next time.


Passion

Posted: April 27th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , | Comments Off on Passion

The other day I was checking up on my favorite Street Art site, Wooster Collective, and found something unexpected.  Instead of great, inspirational art, there was a page-long dissertation on the subject of “Passion”, and why we do what we do.

For a long time, Sara and I have been struggling with the fact that for us, the Wooster Collective website is still a very small and personal blog with no agenda other than to use it as a way to share with our friends the things that inspire us. Some of those friends we know very, very well. We meet each week face-to-face in New York to talk about art, family, New York, etc. Other “friends” we have never met, but we know from the emails that we receive that we share with them a common view of the world and the way we wish to live in it. The blog is a way for us to learn about new things, meet new types of people, and to take us out of our comfort zone so we can achieve new goals. It’s 100% a passion project and a passion project only.

…..To be honest, we’re not sure how long we can do the website. We have no intention of stopping it, but one of the joys of the site is that we can end it tomorrow if we wanted to. Since it’s not a business, the only ties we have to keep it going is our true passion.

While Marc Schiller wrote this message referring to his extremely popular site, I think it can apply to a lot of what each of us does everyday.

Don’t we often get involved in things we are passionate about, then end up making concessions and deviating from our original intent?

What are you passionate about?
What should you do today to make that passion more personal and more effective?


Believe

Posted: April 11th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments »

Way back when, I started blogging not because I thought people wanted to read what I had to say, but because I wanted to document what I had to say, because I was going through a time of a lot of changes and didn’t always know a constructive outlet to express how I felt about things.

I’d always thought I was a creative writer growing up, and recall with great esteem my triumphant moment when I got an A+ on my essay 5 Reasons Every Girl Should Date Ryan G.  So, if I could do it then, why not now?

Of course, at that time, I thought I had brilliant ideas, but I look back on them and realize that my ideas were pretty typical for a young, angsty adult.  Hopefully they were a bit more eloquent than most, but still typical nonetheless.

Then after my life became less of a whirlwind, my blogging desire waned and I started just using my blog as a place to record things I thought were funny or cool.

Shortly after that, I started talking to a few other people who blogged, and realized that I was quickly becoming known as the “funny picture/video guy“.  Whoa, whoa!  That is NOT a title I wanted.

I like being funny, but I have a serious side here, too. Crap, now I have to pull of a Robin Williams/Jim Carey Funny/Serious duality thing…

So around the holidays I decided to take up the mantle of trying to see what I could produce if I really wanted to use my blog as a tool/platform for my writing.

Of course, a big part of writing is knowing what others are writing about, knowing what’s relevant, what’s been rehashed too much already, and what can be elaborated on without being dull.  To that end, I started reading a lot more blogs on various topics I had an interest in.

The outcome; I’ve learned more about things I never knew I felt this passionately about, and have profited by having an increased understanding of many topics.

I’m certain that several of my posts about urbanism or vibrant neighborhoods would not exist if I hadn’t started this whole process 4 months ago, because back then I wasn’t even sure how to answer when people said “you really like living downtown?

So while I’m very clear that I’m far from a skilled writer yet, I know that I’m a much better thinker because of the exercise of writing and reading to be able to write.

I know I’m not a great writer yet, but I’ll get there.  I believe it.

(This is Day 19 of the 30 Day Blog Challenge, be sure to check out the other participants at #30DayBC)


What does your RSS Reader say about You?

Posted: March 30th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment »

I’ve recently had a few conversations about RSS feeds, how many blogs is a standard number to subscribe to, self-promotion overkill and 1 really gigantic “subscribe to me” button.

So this morning, as I was thinking of what to read, and absent mindedly scrolling through my reader, I pondered, what does this list say about me.

Does someone’s blog reader hold the same window into their mind as their Bookshelf does?  How about their cd/dvd collections?

Well, let’s take a look at how I spend my blog-reading time:

  • Culture/Entertainment Blogs:  2
  • Funny Pictures: 1
  • Computer Blogs: 1
  • People I know or met IRL:  3
  • Cool Phoenix People I haven’t met: 4
  • Poker Blogs:  2
  • Design Blogs:  3
  • Video Game Blogs: 3
  • Random Personal Blogs Someone Recommended: 3
  • Blogs about Blogging: 3
  • Flickr Feed: 1

Having made that list, one thought is to summarize me as someone who’s “nerdy”, “environmentalist”, and into gaming, reading, and blogging.  And clearly I’m interested in the view points of people who live near me.  And you wouldn’t be wrong.

But then I looked at the categories that only had 1 blog, and those are honestly the ones where I find the most stimulating content, and/or have followed for the longest time.  Perhaps I only follow 1 blog in that genre because the 1 I follow does it well and there’s no need for more….

(This is Day 7 of the 30 Day Blog Challenge, be sure to check out the other participants at #30DayBC)


Blog Challenge To Do List

Posted: March 27th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment »

As I’ve mentioned at the bottoms of my last two blogs, I’m accepted @iaagustin‘s 30-Day Blog Challenge.  So now I figured I might want to do a little bit of organizing, so that I’m not just sitting her thinking, “crap, I HAVE to blog SOMETHING, what can I think up on the fly?”.

(between you & me, I’m pretty great at thinking things up on the fly, but you never want to exhaust your powers, right?)

Ok, so here’s a list of what I figure I’ll do to fill the days.

Day 1: done
Day 2: done
Day 3: also done
Day 4: this baby right here
Day 5: well…. what do ya got?

Okay, so I’m not good enough at planning to know day by day what will inspire me, but I definately have some topics I want to explore. Here we go:

  • Finish off the drafts I never finished   (7 Posts)
  • Baseball Season Starting    (3-5 Posts)
  • Green/Urban/Environmental/Sustainable Topics  (3-5 Posts)
  • Why I Like Comics   (1-3 Posts)
  • News & World Events (1-3 Posts)
  • Weekly 5 Things (4 Posts)
  • Dear Ryan Weekly (4 Posts)
  • Review the Challenge Post

There we go; that comes out to just about 30 posts or more.

Hopefully over the next month I can make some discoveries as I force myself to write consistently.

Hopefully I can also entertain while I do it.

Let me know when you think I’ve failed one of those.

(this is day 4 of the 30 day blog challenge)


Five Things: Blast from the Past – Songs

Posted: February 28th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , | Comments Off on Five Things: Blast from the Past – Songs

Here’s an old blog from two years ago.

At this point, I’d been wrestling with the possibilty of single-fatherhood, was hating my living situation, had seriously let down my brother, and had intentionally isolated myself from the woman who would later let me come to my senses and spend the last 19 months with her.

Wonder how much I have changed and how much it’s just that my environment/viewpoint has changed….

—————

Posted: Leap Day, 2/29

I’ve just been rocking out a lot lately, so I thought I’d share some. Here below are my favorite lines from the first five songs in my playlist.

Rest My Chemistry by Interpol
“And I’ve made stairways/ such scenes for things to regret/ oh, those days in the sun/ they bring a tear to my eye/”

While My Guitar Gently Weeps by The Beatles
“With every mistake we must surely be learning/ still my guitar gently weeps/”

Martyr for My Love for You by The White Stripes
“And I bet we could build a home/ but I know the right things for me to do is to leave you alone/”

Tear You Apart by She Wants Revenge
“It’s only a crush, it’ll go away/ it’s just like the others, it’ll go away/ or maybe this is danger and he just don’t know/ you pray it all away but it continues to grow/”

I Saw Her Standing There by The Beatles
“Well she/ looked at me/ and I could see/ that before too long/ I’d fall in love with her/” While often times my fews on the viability of love and it’s further institutions can easily be contrued as “cynical” or “anti-”, I think the songs above illustrate that even when we tell ourselves we are stepping back and resolving our own demons, we cannot help but encounter unknown possibilities. Maybe there is truth to the old maxim “it’ll come along as soon as you stop looking for it”. Or perhaps it’s just obsession. Certainly we all know people who are addicted to one behaviour or another. I’d hate to think of someone as “my new drug”, but in hind-sight, I think we can all easily call to mind at least one person from our pasts who would fit that describtion. Sometimes a fling is just a fling, but sometimes a fling is a fucking harsh life lesson. In fact, I will venture the following hypothestis; it is easier to stand tall and firm in the snarling face of adversity than in the comforting warmth of awful embrace.
When it’s all said and done, I wonder who will think of me as their “Best Mistake”.
——————————————————————–
By the way, the rest of the songs follow a vague narrative arc. I don’t think this applies to any one person so much as the natural cycle of my own love-life.
——————————————————————–
Then again, it could all be “true love” and I haven’t realized it yet…..