Wednesday, August 24, 2011
State of the Blog 2011
It has been a year of evolution for The Armchair Squid. No longer merely a sports blog, the Squid has moved into the realms of literature and music. However, I believe that both sports and the arts are expressions of culture, reflecting different aspects of the human experience. A balanced life - that of an individual, a family, a community - should contain elements of both. In the coming year, the third in the life of the Squid, I shall continue to explore sports, literature and music. Further evolution in new directions is always likely. The Olympics are coming up next summer and that is certain to influence my posts.
Mock deserves full credit for getting me involved in blogging projects this past year. First, he tackled the 30 Comics in 30 Days challenge for his own blog, Stay on target... Then he discovered both the A to Z challenge and the 30 Songs in 30 Days challenge and encouraged me to try. Both were very positive experiences.
I definitely plan on doing A to Z again. I already have my theme ready to go. I have also designed my own challenge: 12 Books in 12 Months. I encourage you to join us for it. The details are here.
Image via The Guardian
Books have become the life blood of the Squid and I have a number of projects lined up for the coming year. One is the 12 Books challenge mentioned above. I also have set a goal of reading The Hobbit to my daughter before the Peter Jackson film comes out next December. Then there's DC Comics' New 52. Mock, a true aficionado, has been feeding me comics for about a year now. I didn't read them much at all as a kid, devoting myself to Star Wars and Dungeons & Dragons instead. As such, it's like a whole new world for me. I'm also a sucker for a good marketing campaign and thus cannot help being intrigued by DC's upcoming relaunch of 52 titles, including their most popular series. Justice League #1 is set for release on August 31st, the rest to follow in September.
Oh, I'm also trying to write a book. I've sort of hit a wall for the moment and could use some encouragement. It's a book based on my Orange Crush experience and youth soccer in general. I still think it's worth doing but I need to rethink the project a bit to make it work.
Photo via Bruce Fong's Blog
I've already told My Wife that I'm taking responsibility for winter enjoyment this year. The Vermont winter, while frequently beautiful, is long and arduous. It's all too easy to feel snowbound and not leave the house for weeks at a time except when you absolutely must. I think we need to be more deliberate in combating that feeling this year. In truth, winter isn't even the toughest part of the year. The transitional seasons in November and March are brutal, too. So, perhaps my project is better described as Weekend Enjoyment.
My vision is to get all of us out of the house once a weekend for a non-errand outing, even if just for a leisurely walk in the neighborhood. The ideal activity is one that appeals to all three of us, gets us outdoors and doesn't cost much. The first condition is essential, the other two negotiable. There will be weekends when the idea of being outside is not remotely appealing but getting out of the house will be necessary anyway. Also, there may be weekends when the one thing we all really want to do will cost a bit. There will, indeed, be weekends when dragging everyone out of our cozy hibernation den - self included - will be enough challenge in itself. But it is for those weekends in particular that I feel this is important.
As mentioned in my Squiddies post, I'd like to take and post more photos this year. We do truly live in a beautiful place. I think photography will help me to appreciate that more often.
Image via http://baltimoreorioles.devhub.com/
It's been a fun year with baseball, only moderate tinkering required for Year 3. The Baltimore Orioles will continue to be my primary focus and I have a new look planned for their 2012 campaign. The Chicago Cubs will still serve as my glimpse into the National League. I certainly hope to go to more Vermont Lake Monsters games next season. My bold proposal experiment shall continue as long as it remains viable. The Milwaukee Brewers, though, are the most likely team to upset my apple cart and they're looking pretty strong indeed right now. As much as possible, I will explore baseball's connections to other elements of culture: music, books, film, poetry, etc. I now understand why baseball has long held such appeal for professional writers.
Photo via ullman211
This is a tricky one. Music is my job and I originally started the blog as something that would be completely separate from my daily work. But there's no denying the success of the 30 Songs in 30 Days experience for me so I'd like to find ways of incorporating music in future posts. To that end, I plan to explore the connections between the worlds of music and sport. Luckily, there are plenty.
Image via Ghosts of Wayne Fontes
I shall continue posting my fantasies: baseball, football and tennis certainly. I also will be expanding my college football exploits (That sound you hear is My Wife groaning in despair. Don't worry, dear. This won't mean actually watching more games.) I intend to make a better showing in our college bowls group this year and as such, I will follow the regular season more closely. Care to join my pick 'em group? All are welcome...
Yahoo! Group #1978
Also, there is no stronger link in America between sports and music than that which exists in college football. Stay tuned.
Photo via Aww Dip
I will once again follow the World Championships but what I really want to do this year is get out on the ice myself. Mock has also convinced me to try broomball. Maybe mine could become the broom sports blog!
Photo via Free-Extras
I will continue to post my Curtain Calls for Slams and to follow my Golden Squid. Interestingly, tennis is the only sport I've mentioned so far which is still a Summer Olympic sport. However, the real fun of following the Olympics is the chance to see the sports that don't get much or any exposure otherwise. As such, I'm likely to focus more of my Olympic attention on those than on tennis.
Photo via Executive Chairs
As I said last year, if anyone enjoys reading The Armchair Squid half as much as I enjoy writing it, we're all doing pretty well. I'm looking forward to Year 3. I hope you'll join me.
For comparison, here's last year's State of the Blog.