Now that the switch to the new website is complete, it’s safe to say we’ve lost a share of fine blogs and videos. Some contributors were no longer around to carry over their work, some only found a select few worth holding on to, and some chose not to bother, using this as a chance to start fresh. But with no concern for modesty, I decided to carry over every last thing. Not that people will want to read all of them, but I think there’s value in remembering what you’ve done and how you’ve grown (especially in my case, in which the total number, including crossovers, has warranted all of one mile marker). And yes, that includes the bad ones, which have value as the best lessons on what to avoid, as well as in today’s blog, where we look back for a good laugh at the densest things I’ve ever done in this blog. As always, it’s the top 9, because I wasn’t really that bad, was I?

 

9. “Video Games: Art or Something Else?” Not enough point and too much “something else.

Let’s get the dullest example over with first. This was just a sub-par attempt. There actually was a point to it, inspired just as I’d settled comfortably into the “yes they are” point of view by the counterpoint that sports and puzzles are not usually considered art, which made the opposition suddenly seem much clearer (and stronger). But whatever insight I might have been able to bring to the table got lost in beating around the bush, until it ultimately played like just another attempt to push the question the internet was tired of answering. Actually, I did later find a way to bring this back with more success: A debate forum with me as the entire opposition. (I think I’ll give the belated award to best job refuting me to Ratin8tor, by the by.)

 

8. “The Top Ten Cutest Animated Children in Movie History.” Boo only in 8th?!

My list of the cutest animated children is still one of my favorite blogs to revisit, but it includes a particular choice that rubbed a few people (including my own friends and family) the wrong way: Boo, the adorable little girl from Monsters Inc., is only ranked 8th, clearly outside the cream of the crop. And the description is mildly appreciative at best.

Here’s the thing: I saw Monsters Inc. when I was 10, and I wasn’t prone to falling for “cute” kids when I was barely removed from that stage myself, with baby brothers making it seem obligatory. I missed the boat, and preparation for the follow-up trip included Richard Roeper’s criticism of the character, which I could sort of understand. Granted, I didn’t go in cold to what people love about her, and I would defend the choice to an extent (Boo had her antics and a few sweet moments, which just doesn’t hit as hard as the more heartfelt exploration of Lilo or Dumbo), but I probably still graded too hard. For one, I would take back my decision to let seniority be a scale-tipper for Penny, whose moments were more forced and decidedly less-endearing for it. In fact, at second glance, Boo’s comedic moments may even be a match for Agnes, over in 6th place. But to avoid a long debate there, let’s just settle for a clean posthumous swap of 7th and 8th place, a simple case of a split decision overturned in the recount… please?

 

7. “From the Files of a Non-Brony: Green Isn’t Your Color.” Well, it still doesn’t mean you should be seeing red.

I started From the Files of a Non-Brony purely on a hunch that it might be fun as a sort of side project, never expecting it to become my longest-running series to date and one of my best-received. In fact, the unexpected appeal probably came from the fact that instead of just being tough-but-fair, I ended up enjoying myself and siding with the bronies – who made up most of the audience in the first place – more often than not. But readers were quicker to see the good thing we had going than I was, and I just couldn’t get over the notion that these multicolored singing ponies were winning me over too easily. So when I finally found an episode I didn’t like, I unloaded everything I hadn’t been able to say, sheer speculation and all. Definitely a case of overkill, considering it lasted all of 1 episode, and fans, who didn’t consider it a weak one anyway, didn’t see the problem in the first place.

Actually if it were as bad as all that, I would have ranked it higher, but I actually think more good than harm came from this one. Not only did it add variety, setting up a memorable moment when the next one turned out to be a knockout, but it served as a mile marker for how the series would later grow on me, at a point when I started calling similar missteps a genuine, unexpected shame. Still, I definitely didn’t make myself look good with the excess of cynical speculation that didn’t come true, and the fact that fans seem to like Green Isn’t Your Color probably makes it a hated entry regardless.

 

6. “The Most Triumphant Endings in Movie History…” and no Shawshank Redemption?

This is another one I had a good time writing, and I would defend all of the choices that I made. But there’s a huge, glaring omission without one of the most beloved movies of all time, even on the honorable mention list, implying that I didn’t even think its powerful ending was noteworthy. In fact, this is one of those times where I couldn’t hide the fact that I’m still a very young filmgoer: I hadn’t seen it at the time. And wow, is that a delay that came back to bite me. Actually, even now, there are many all-time greats I’d be embarrassed to admit I haven’t gotten to, and the list only keeps getting longer. To make matters worse, I have to find time on my own, since nobody wants to watch them while hanging out. “An ‘all-time great?’ Boring! Let’s watch Scary Movie 3.”

 

5. “Pittsburgh Against the World” My, aren’t you a big shot.

Ironically, I think most of the best entries in this series were the ones that didn’t end up published on that website I touted. I’m glad I acknowledged up front that this was nothing more than a volunteer project for a college website, because it only amounted to two entries there before the whole crew apparently collapsed in disorganization and hit the reset button. But it’s not as though much more ever would have come from this. My biggest disappointment, looking back on this series, is that it’s really just more of my standard vs. matches in a format that seems to drag out both points a little too much.

 

4. “The Top 5 Behaviors Hacking Meaning Clean Out of the Holidays.” Breathe, oh righteous one.

This one actually makes me cringe a little in hindsight. I suppose I can see what I was going for, but it’s a little too jumbled to meet its full potential. More importantly, however, it becomes a little too obvious in its progression. After all, even considering the fact that I tried tying it into movies in a way that might have been clumsy, the first three examples are just sort of generic criticisms of poor holiday spirit. But starting at #2, the awkward twist, it all comes into focus as a nearsighted attempt to build to an optimistic, “encouraging” viewpoint from the other side of the fence, and it comes off as too slushy for its own good after what came before. Now, if the switch had stayed closer to the tone of #2 and further from the tone of #1, it might have stayed above water, and buried in there is a message I’d still like to vouch for. (Maybe I’ll find a way to bring it back in a more direct and effective approach, as with the video games blog.) But as is, well, good thing nobody actually read it.

 

3. “Hayao Miyazaki vs. Don Bloth” Sorry, but not even they would take over a year to duke it out.

It was going well. My debut series was slowly generating interest and even faring pretty well with the Outstanding Content of the week committee. Then my series and I just disappeared, letting my college schedule get the best of me. That was bad enough, letting the momentum grind to a screeching halt, but it was redeemable. In fact, come Christmas time, I managed to use the long break from my semester schedule to do just that, turning the 8th entry of 10 into my second OCofW win. But after that, I started to really show the inconsistency that has probably been my biggest problem. Instead of taking the opportunity to rethink the schedule and rebuild , I went back to doing what I did before, submitting the occasional English class papers that happened fit the bill and hoping a bigger project that could be used both ways would come along. Pittsburgh Against the World seemed to be the answer, but we all know how that turned out, leaving this series buried and my blog with no subject. I might have salvaged something with my idea to release the final portion on the anniversary of the first entry, but I failed to finish it in time, putting half of it up on the right date and the other half an unceremonious two weeks later. Suffice to say, both halves didn’t garner much interest, ending the series with a whimper.

 

2. “The Top Ten Original ‘Gangnam Style’ Songs,” you say?

Just a mild reformatting might have made this entry a lot clearer, say if I’d removed “Gangnam Style” from the title and taken the time to clearly establish that this was a list of the best “campy” songs that generated the same appeal. But that never crossed my mind, because from the start, this was only ever a lame ambition to take advantage of a passing trend. Part of it was me overestimating how much people wanted to talk about it. (For a few weeks, it was a part of every other conversation on my campus), but it would have been salvageable if I would have just stuck to common sense and made sure to avoid becoming too gimmicky.

Actually, I wouldn’t say there’s nothing to take away from this one. I still think all of these choices are good goofy entertainment, and I managed to have some fun talking about them the way I did. But the confused and tacky premise still probably makes it my worst attempt at a blog.

 

1. “Nod to a Lost Talent” Not really just a nod anymore, is it?

We interrupt this elbow in the ribs to myself for an unfortunate moment of “seriousness.”

I’m not proud of this one. This was one of those aforementioned college papers I decided to use along the way. The movie in question wasn’t all that noteworthy (and in hindsight, I probably snubbed it on the one thing it did achieve, finding an interesting way to make a poignant statement on gambling), but I did think it was worth noting Ted Demme, whose story cut tragically short did sadden me on a certain level. So I used it as an excuse to mention him and tip my hat, a brief and standard gesture. But then, in my opinion, I took it too far by attempting to get credit for it, submitting it for outstanding content of the week.

I’m not saying that such a topic should bar you from doing so. Taking the time to write something worthwhile about such a difficult notion probably deserves it all the more. But in my case, the point was only to draw attention to it, and trying to get credit for that on its own would have been exploitative. It’s an unfortunate example of how caught up I was, at the time, in trying to make progress with these entries, and I can only be glad that I came to my senses and withdrew it. Now it’s my little reminder of a line that shouldn’t be crossed.

 

 

With that all finished, here’s hoping that you have learned an important lesson about the value held even in your lesser works. Or just that you thought it was funny and stuff.

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