Ready to Go

2014 was just a shitshow of a year. Let’s get that out of the way. I spent most of it with Al Jazeera America on in the background watching just about everything suck ass. Also, the fact that I spent most of it with Al Jazeera America on in the background is a pretty good indication that I spent most of 2014 on the couch with a TV on, which means that 2014 was a shitshow of a year on a personal level.

2015? Who knows? We’re just a few weeks in. Admittedly it hasn’t shaped up too brilliantly so far, but there’s a lot of time left to get headed down a good track. Of course I now live in a state governed by Bruce Rauner, so my hopes are not high on that front.

Let’s talk blogging for a minute, though. I’ve now been blogging in one form or another for over a decade. I started Accidental Historian back in 2006. Throughout that time I’ve had a, shall we say, contentious relationship with the very notion of blogging. I never really knew what I wanted to do with the space and I always felt like it was something of a waste of time. I don’t really have the time or inclination to be a high brow, academic writer but I also feel like nobody (including me) really gives a shit about my self-indulgent inner journey shit. So what was I to do?

I thought I’d hit on a good formula last year. Then, y’know, shitshow.

So we’re starting 2015 off much like we started 2014 off, but with some minor changes. For one, while I actually really liked the plan to take a book I wrote many years ago and critique it I made a massive, silly mistake. I picked the wrong book. Second Chances required me to spend way more time than I had expected wrestling with how that book reflected on my religious beliefs and my changed (and changing) views of Christianity. I thought that would be a good thing at the time but it ended up being both a distraction and a burden. Fortunately there’s a way to do that series but do it better.

So we’re going to spend our Wednesdays looking at Nightwind, the first volume of the (as-yet unfinished, natch) Earthrise Saga. That’s right, it’s my first-ever novel and my attempt at space opera sci-fi. I literally have not looked at the book in years and I’m currently making this promise without being 100% sure I know where the files even are. Fortunately I still have all of my laptops so I should be able to track down a copy for us to gawk at in the manner of a gaggle of slack-jawed yokels. I’ll also probably do supplemental, “So I guess this is what I was thinking,” pieces, either as quick hits on Wednesdays or longer posts on Thursdays based on, y’know, need.

There will be history content, too. For one I really do want to finish a series I started lo these many months and/or years ago on the Marxist critique of British mercantilism and how it applies to the current right wing jones for free market capitalism. I also want to finish Byzantine Logic. If you know what that is, wow, you’ve been reading this blog for a long-ass time.

Also, too, there will be a new, probably somewhat irregular, series that I’ll start tomorrow.

This time last year I promised new content and fun. Then life got decidedly un-fun and I completely and totally failed to deliver. This year? Who knows. Keep checking in, though. Things will happen. Maybe.

Guess what day it is…

That’s right, it’s Announcement Day. You thought I’d be talking ’bout camels and shit, didn’t you?

Either way, Accidental Historian is coming back. Starting next week there will be new content. Well, there will be content. I’m sure we’re all excited, right?

Best Laid Plans

In an attempt to actually get a proper re-launch going with actual content I’ve decided to bring back an old feature: 1434 Fridays.  We’ll be spending our Fridays reveling in the ridiculous notions of one Gavin Menzies, who actually believes that the Chinese kicked off the Renaissance by sailing a massive fleet to Italy and giving the Europeans all the knowledge.  Then everyone decided to cover it all up for about six hundred years.

Why am I bringing this one back?  Well, for one thing, it’s fun.  For another, I enjoy offering a bare minimum of historical content on this here blog, what with it being called “Accidental Historian” and all.

I’m planning on making Liveblogging seaQuest a Monday staple.  Those two plans, along with Second Chances Wednesday, means I’ll have content covered three days a week.  It’s a lot of somewhat low effort, high reward stuff that offers a certain level of variety.

I’m in forced career change mode at the moment.  Since the option of continuing on with my path of paying the bills while gradually self-destructing and pretending I didn’t actually want to do all the things that I’ve wanted to do since I was a kid because I was scared of failing suddenly disappeared that means one of the component of said career change is simple.  I want to convince someone to pay me to write.  I need, then, to have the time and attention to write things that aren’t intended for the blog.  I also need to maintain the blog in the process, too.  I also need a day job for the forseeable future.

This requires some juggling.

I’ll also be expanding content in other directions.  I have a Twitter account that I’ll be doing something with fairly soon (@A_Historian81, if anyone cares).[1]  Maybe.  I’ll probably need a Facebook page, too.  I’m also seriously considering re-starting the Hitler Alternatives Tumblr, since that was hilarious (to me, at least).

Meanwhile, if anyone needs me I’ll be trying to figure out where to go to get people to give me money in exchange for words.

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[1]True story: I WAS @geds81 on the Tweety, but then got locked out because I guess I didn’t sign in for a long time or something.  I kept trying to unlock the account and never got the email that was supposed to do the work.  The same thing happened to my original Ticketmaster account.

My new account currently follows exactly one account: @SCGPairings.  I set up a new account specifically so that I could get the pairings at SCG Open Milwaukee.  I figured I should plan to use it for something else eventually, though, so @A_Historian was born…but someone already had it, so I went with @A_Historian81.

Takin’ Care of Business

So here we are.  New year, new address in the swanky digs of the nice part of town.  What does that mean for you, my dear reader?  I don’t know, really.  I do have a few ideas, though.

First, I won’t be doing as much of the personal stuff as I used to do.  That’s not to say I won’t ever, but my levels of navel gazing are lower than ever in an absolute sense and my hiatus from writing cured me of my urge to think of every fucking insight I ever had as being worth a three-page essay.  That’s a good thing.

Second, I’m not going to even attempt to make sure my voice gets heard in whatever the internet’s outrage of the day is.  I’ve never been ahead of the curve enough to do that and then I always end up deciding to write about it three days after, which means everyone moved on two days before the post went up.  So…I’ve decided I don’t care anymore.  If there’s something worth writing about it will be worth writing about two weeks from now, too.  If you want daily internet outrage there are plenty of places you can go.

Third, although I have made a conscious decision not to import my previous blogs it would be foolish of me to avoid acknowledging that I do have eight years of blogging to fall back on and some of what I wrote is actually pretty good.  So from time to time I will run a greatest hits post or something.  That will help me, too, since it will give me content without having to actually work, which will be good for avoiding burnout.  Think of it as a rerun for you and a mental health stretch for me.  There will also probably be a bunch of rerun posts over the next couple months, for reasons that I’ll shortly make clear.  Please bear with me.  I’ll try not to abuse the privilege.

Fourth, I will attempt to actually bring some sort of order and closure to several of my ongoing history series.  The three I’m specifically targeting are the Marxism in the 20th Century (which will be renamed, since the current name sucks) one, Byzantine Logic, Breaking the Master Narrative, and my fun and games at Gavin Menzies’ expense.  I’m going to do them differently this time, though.  I’ll take one topic and keep going with it until the end.  In the past I tried to have four hefty things going concurrently and never finished any of them.  That’s a recipe for never finishing anything, as amply proven by, well, the entire history of this blog.  This isn’t to say that if you don’t want to read Byzantine Logic and I hit that one you might as well not come back for a month.  I do plan on having other stuff interspersed.  For one thing, I kinda like the idea of 1434 Fridays, since picking on Menzies can be a weekly joy.

Fifth, there will be more fiction popping up on the blog.  For one thing, I kinda dropped Distant, Dreadful Star in the middle.  I feel bad about that.  I also have another project that I’m working on.  So I might have a Fiction Monday or Fiction Wednesday thing.

Sixth, I’m going some light guest blogging to start out the year.  I’m doing a series over at Unreasonable Faith.  I’ll link to those posts when they hit.  I’m super excited about that.

Seventh, all of this is overridden by the simple fact that this is my blog.  So I’ll probably cut in from time to time with stuff based on whatever is on my mind.  So you might find posts about music, pictures of my dog, or super random posts about Magic: the Gathering because those things interest me.  Eat it.

Now, then, to the blog business.

WordPress is way more involved than Typepad or Blogger were.  I’m getting the hang of it, but you’ll probably see changes from time to time and I’ll probably break stuff every once in a while.

Also, it looks like the default setting requires me to moderate the first comment made by any user name.  I think I’ll be keeping that setting, since it’s almost inevitable that Dennis Markuze will show up eventually.  So for any of my regulars who start trickling back in and want to say hello but get caught in moderation, bear with me.  I’ll try to approve anyone I recognize as quickly as possible (hi, Firedrake and sbh!).

Again, though, weird stuff will undoubtedly happen from time to time.  Sorry.

EDIT:  And I mentioned having three series I wanted to finish, then listed four.  I’m the anti-Rick Perry!

Hello, Hi, Welcome!

I’m back.  It’s been a long time, but this time I’m back for good.

Or, y’know, until I get bored.  Whichever comes first.

Either way, you might have wondered where I’ve been hiding.  In truth, I just haven’t felt like writing much.  I got into a rut last spring where every time I thought about writing it was one of those personal journey posts and it was always something pretty incremental and navel-gazing.  On the rare occasions I actually sat down to write I would get a paragraph or so in and think, “Wow, this is boring as fuck to me, why would anyone else care?”  So I stopped writing.

It was a good thing, I think.  There’s the old saying, “If you love something let it go.”  I’ve been using writing as an excuse and therapist for too long.  Everything I’ve done, everywhere I’ve gone I’ve been looking around and thinking, “What can I write about this?”  I wasn’t really living my life because I was too busy observing it.  I was also trying way too hard to cram meaning and inspiration into every fucking thing I did.  So I stopped.  I decided I wouldn’t write until I really, really wanted to write.

I decided to re-start the blog in December.  My plan then was to switch to WordPress, then do a big re-launch on January 2nd.  Instead I didn’t do that and passed the New Year with the worst stomach flu I can recall having.  Seriously, it was gross.  So I decided to do something smaller and stick with Typepad.

“But Geds,” you’re undoubtedly saying, “This isn’t Typepad, it’s WordPress.  What gives?”

Thank you for asking.  That’s very polite.  Basically, I had a premium account with Typepad that I canceled.  I was grandfathered in at a lower rate until I did so and now said account is almost twice as much as it used to be.  I wanted to switch to WordPress, anyway, and their premium is cheaper, so here we are.

So there we are.  I’m back, I’m in new digs.  Please pardon the dust while I figure out how it works over here in WordPress land and put some links and whatnot up.

Also, you might notice that I haven’t imported anything from the old digs to the new digs.  I don’t plan to.  If there’s anything on the old blog that I want on the new one I’ll pull it over.  This seems like a good time for a clean slate.

I’m going to handle some business and articulate future plans tomorrow, then we’ll be having some fun.  So, please, stick around.  It’ll be fun, I promise.