G’nite, all. See you on the other side.
Guestblogging is turned off, and I’ll be shutting down comments in a few minutes, and redirecting this URL to the new blog shortly thereafter.
Thanks for the memories, everybody.
Oh, and don’t be deceived by the title of this post. Much like The Return of the King, this blog will have more than one ending. :) One final “signing off” post will follow…
P.S. Since I’ll be signing off as the “Irish Trojan,” I should probably link one last time to the post that started it all, in regard to that name.
In anticipation of the imminent end of this blog — and redirection of its traffic to a new, weekly blog — I figured I should give y’all a little more detail on what’s happening.
Although I’ve focused on the weekly blog in discussing this issue, I’m actually replacing "Irish Trojan in Tennessee" with three separate blogs:
Yes, the latter two titles are both Lord of the Rings references. :) As for "Hopefully Considered," it is, as I explained before, a reference to my Papa Loy’s old newspaper column. I appreciated all of your suggestions, some of which were quite good, but I ultimately decided that I liked my original idea best. (The subtitle is "Brendan Loy’s Weekly Musings," adapted from David K.’s suggestion. I decided to drop the "Irish Trojan" moniker altogether, though it’s still referenced, at least for now, in the new blogs’ sidebars.)
All three new blogs are powered by Blogger and hosted on Blogspot’s servers, but with domain redirection to make them look like they’re on my server. Thus, the URLs — which are already active, though the blogs are still works-in-progress — are weekly.brendanloy.com, photo.brendanloy.com, and moblog.brendanloy.com. (Regular readers may want to bookmark those.)
The major change tonight, aside from some final tweaks to make the blogs ready for prime time, will be that www.brendanloy.com, blog.brendanloy.com, and www.irishtrojan.com — all of which currently point here — will instead redirect to weekly.brendanloy.com.
You may be wondering why on earth I’m replacing one blog with three blogs (or four, if you count the Linklog, which is a "companion" to the weekly blog; or five, if you count my Pajamas Media hurricane blogging), when the whole purpose of this switch is to cut back on the time I spend blogging. I know it’s a bit counterintuitive. But I actually think it’ll work well, when you consider my twin goals of: 1) spending less time blogging, while 2) continuing to have outlets for the types of blogging that I can do without eating up all my free time.
I’ve been working hard this weekend on the back-end tasks necessary to make the big blog switch happen Monday night, and I think I’ll be able to do it on schedule. So, sometime after 7:30 PM EDT, this blog will disappear, and will be replaced with my weekly blog (and my photoblog… and a linklog… and a new “moblog”…).
I’ll save the details of the new blog(s) for later, but I wanted to mention this now so you’re all aware. Guestbloggers, if you have anything you’ve been itching to say, today would be the day. :) And readers, if things are a little screwy in this space Monday night, you know why. Hopefully everything will be humming along smoothly by Tuesday morning, albeit in a brave new world wherein I’m no longer a hyperactive blogger.
P.S. Incidentally, I’ve decided, upon reflection, to drop the “Irish Trojan” moniker from both the titles and subtitles of the new blogs. The sidebar of the weekly blog will still mention my USC and Notre Dame affiliations, and that I used to blog as the “Irish Trojan,” but officially speaking, these are my final 24 hours blogging as the “Irish Trojan.”
All right, I know I’ve been dragging my feet on this, but I have indeed decided — as I alluded last Friday — to try out the weekly blog format. My intention is to make the switch on Tuesday. (I figure July 1, the halfway point of the calendar year, is a good arbitrary date to make such a change.)
However, the timing of the switch may change, depending on how much free time I have this weekend. There’s a lot of back-end stuff that I need to do, both to close down this blog and to set up the new blog. If I don’t make the switch on Tuesday, it probably won’t happen until July 14 or thereabouts, because Becky and I will be traveling over July 4 weekend, so I won’t have much free time again until the weekend of the 12th-13th.
Anyway, I need help from y’all on something. In switching from this "hyperactive" blog to a new, weekly blog, I want to make a clear, clean break by giving the blog a new name. I figure the subtitle could include the phrase "Irish Trojan," in order to maintain some semblance of "brand" continuity, but I want the title of the blog to be something different — and a more drastic difference than my switch last year from "The Irish Trojan’s Blog" to "Irish Trojan in Tennessee." I want a real new name.
Ideally, the new name would in some way emphasize the blog’s weekly/occasional nature. But at the same time, I don’t want it to be something totally pedestrian, like "Brendan’s Weekly Blog" or whatever. The problem is, I’m terrible at coming up with good, non-pedestrian ideas for things like blog names (as the "Ably Nerd On" fiasco demonstrated). So, I need your help. I need some suggestions for what I should call the new blog!
So far, the only decent idea I’ve had is to call it "Hopefully Considered," which was the name of my Papa Loy’s old weekly newspaper column. (The subtitle, I think, would be "The Irish Trojan’s Weekly Blog." So, in toto, the title and subtitle would read "Hopefully Considered: The Irish Trojan’s Weekly Blog.") But although imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, I’m not sure I like the idea of simply copying exactly the name of Papa’s column. Something that alludes to "Hopefully Considered," without being precisely the same name, would be great… but I can’t think of anything good.
Don’t limit yourself to spin-offs of "Hopefully Considered," though. That’s just one idea. Any and all other ideas are welcome! Please, submit ‘em in comments, and please feel free to comment on other people’s ideas as well. This isn’t a democracy, exactly, but at the same time, I’m definitely curious to know what my "regulars" think.
Two weeks ago, I announced that I intend to close down this blog on July 20 — one month from today. But, like Frodo standing at the edge of Sammath Naur, looking down into the fires of Mount Doom, I find myself wavering and wondering whether I should "choose to do what I came to do," if you will.
In my June 6 post, I mentioned that Becky had initially suggested an alternative solution to my bloggy dilemma: I could simply "cut back drastically… by maintaining the current blog but committing to do just one post per week." But I explained that I had rejected this idea on the grounds that it "wouldn’t work" (because I’d cheat) and that ultimately, "it wouldn’t be desirable" (because "the Irish Trojan community would die a slow and painful death," waning due to bloggy inactivity rather than "go[ing] out while I’m on top").
In comments on the post, however, several readers endorsed the weekly-blog idea. Bea, for instance, wrote, "I like Becky’s idea of a weekly column of sorts. So what if you spend a
little time every week thinking about the topic and a little time on
research? I think it’s doable, a great outlet and, hey, the WIFE is ok
with this!" Christine also made a compelling case:
Life is about limits and prioritizing and relaxing (oh and a few other things). But if you enjoy having a blog (which I get the feeling you do, as well as your mentioned past blog-like antics), then you really should keep going. Just tweek it. … I LOVE the idea of a weekly column of sorts. Gives you something to ponder (nothing wrong with that) all week AND an outlet! And your loyal fans have something to look forward to! If something is particularly intriguing to you, you can blog more on that topic, but I would hope it would allow you to not feel like a slave to brendanloy.com but still give you the freedom to write and get your ideas out there.
If you have a problem with setting limits, then set some (I personally hate limits) but it’s kinda like you’re throwing the baby out with the bath water … Life (or blogs) don’t have to be all or nothing.
The more I’ve thought about it, the more I’ve come around to the idea that a weekly blog might work, provided that I structure it in such a way as to reduce the temptation to "cheat." The goal would be to create basically the same situation that I described with regard to the photoblog: making the new blog so obviously different from the old that I won’t "be overly tempted to co-opt it" for the old-style "hyperactive" blogging, because doing so "would be so foreign to the nature of the blog itself."
If I can manage that — and if I can prevent my blogging "schedule" from feeling like an obligation or assignment — then I think a weekly blog would be worth doing, and preferable to the alternative of quitting cold turkey. In other words, I am increasingly tempted to declare:
"I will not do this deed. The Blog is mine!" :) But for me, unlike for
Frodo, I think this actually might be the correct decision. (And
hopefully I won’t lose a finger over it!)
For one thing, blogging weekly would be a new challenge, as it would effectively force me to hone a very different writing style: the lengthy, essay-ish, often multi-topic blog post (a la Lileks’s "Bleat"), as opposed to the clipped immediacy of hyperactive blogging, usually about one topic at a time (but many per day). To keep things flowing, interesting, and adequately focused in such a format can be difficult, and trying to become as good at writing in that style as I’ve become in the current format would be a worthwhile endeavor unto itself, methinks.
Furthermore, although my audience would undoubtedly shrink markedly, many of the die-hards would presumably stick around, and that’d be nice; I’d hate to lose touch with the Nadines and kcatnds of the world. :) Also, maintaining a textual blogospheric presence would mean that I won’t have to improvise something — like temporarily co-opting
the photoblog — in the event I’m caught up in breaking news, or otherwise have
a burning desire to share my thoughts on a particular topic with, say,
InstaPundit’s readers. I’d still have a public blog for such things;
I’d just use it less often.
But perhaps most importantly, I’d be following the sage advice of the fourth one:
Make sure that, in addition to dedicating yourself to family, career,
and community, you have at least one important outlet that belongs just
to YOU, and that speaks to you in a way that nothing else does. In my
own life, I have found that kind of independence and release to be
vital, not only for my own personal well-being, but for energizing me
in a way that allows me to give even more to the people I love.
Or, as Alasdair put it, "be careful that you don’t make a void in your Life without having something useful and positive with which to fill said void."
The reality, as I said in my June 6 is post, is that "I’ll still need some way of
expressing myself, of publishing my thoughts to the world, of letting
loose the occasional rant; I’ve always had, and needed, such an outlet,
at least since seventh grade." My original thought was to satisfy this need by way of the photoblog and Flickr, my Pajamas Media hurricane-blogging, and perhaps the occasional Facebook post. But if I’m going to post bloggy rants on Facebook anyway, why not channel that aspect of my creative energy in a more productive direction by still maintaining a public blog, just on a weekly basis? With the right amount of structure and discipline, I think the latter solution is better than the former.
Crucially, the calendar gives me time to do a "trial run" of this weekly blog idea, before the impending changes in our lives. If it works, I can keep doing it; if it fails — whether because I can’t resist the temptation to "cheat," or because the scheduled nature of it (most likely, I would try to blog every Sunday) makes blogging feel less fun and more obligatory, or for some other reason — then I can go back to the original, cold-turkey plan.
I haven’t yet finally decided what to do; I’m going to sleep on it this weekend. But if I do decide to switch (on a trial basis) to a weekly blog format, I will actually move up the date of this blog’s retirement — most likely to June 30 — and start up my weekly blog (which would be a new blog, separate and distinct from this one) in early July. That would give me time to test out the concept and see how it works.
I will, of course, keep y’all informed about what I decide to do. In the mean time, your feedback is much appreciated. One big question for my regulars: do you anticipate that you would continue to regularly read my blog if it were updated only once a week, provided of course that those weekly updates are interesting and worth reading? Also, in terms of keeping the discussion going and the community alive, would it make a difference if I disabled purely anonymous commenting, such that you’d at least need an OpenID account, or perhaps a WordPress.com account, in order to comment?
[Bumped from 12:07 PM to 5:00 PM. -ed.]
Sorry for the lack of posts the last couple of days. I haven’t moved up the date of my blog retirement, I promise. :) I’ve just been super-busy in Denver. And speaking of Denver, here’s a cool photo of the D&F clock tower and the Moon last night:
During a previous trip to Denver, it became something of a running joke among Becky, the SHA girls and myself that I was constantly taking pictures of the clock tower. But I think that one’s actually pretty neat!
The Moon and clouds weren’t the only things in the sky over Denver last night. All evening long, a pair of military helicopters was circling over downtown. They were making a lot of noise, but at some points their lights appeared to be off, as if they were operating in some sort of (admittedly rather ineffective) stealth mode. I have no idea what that was all about ("we’re being invaded by Utah," I hypothesized at one point), but it was a little creepy.
Oh, and speaking of, uh, security and stuff: I’m now at the airport waiting for my flight back to Phoenix. This will be my third of four flights in less than a week (Nashville to Phoenix, Phoenix to Denver, Denver to Phoenix, Phoenix to Nashville). So I’ve been spending a lot of time in airports, and I have a question. It’s now been almost two years since the implementation of the "new" security measures involving liquids and gels. Yet all the signs and announcements still talk about these as temporary steps, due to "increased" security. At what point will we end this charade, and acknowledge that these measures are here to stay permanently, or at least indefinitely?
[NOTE: Before you begin reading this post, understand that I will be taking no action until mid-July. So there’s no need to say your "goodbyes" just yet!]
Wednesday afternoon, as I was walking through the parking garage after work, I had a shocking, momentous, revelatory, revolutionary thought. It’s the sort of thought you would never expect me to have all on my own, totally unbidden and unsuggested by anyone. Lost in thought during the walk to my car, I was pondering my future in the months ahead — as my clerkship ends and I start actually practicing law — and, like a bolt of lightning, the thought popped into my brain:
Maybe I should give up the blog.
Now, you might expect me to reject this notion out of hand. Just a silly thought flitting across my brain, not worthy of serious consideration. Give up the blog? That’s crazy. I’ve been blogging — "hyperactively," as the title bar says — for more than six years. I practically get the shakes when I go 24 hours without blogging. I’ve built quite a little community here, and I greatly enjoy the give-and-take, the feedback, the creative outlet, and frankly, the ego boost that this blog gives me. In short, I love my blog. And it’s not as if the blog is causing any major identifiable or tangible problems for me right now. In fact, things are going swimmingly, both in my life generally and on the blog specifically. I’ve been getting more serious, positive blogospheric attention in recent months than I have at any time since Katrina. With a hurricane season and a presidential election coming up, such attention only figures to increase. So why on earth would I want to give it all up — to quit cold turkey?
But the answer, or rather answers, to that question popped into my head just as quickly as the original thought did. There are the privacy concerns, which will only increase as Loyette gets older; there is the potential for conflicts and problems related to my career; there is the needless emotional energy expended dealing with trolls and such; and so forth. But above all, blogging is a very time-consuming activity. The blog is a beast that must be fed, and as long as this site exists, it’s awfully hard for me to resist the temptation to blog, blog, blog.
Now, as I said, my blog isn’t particularly causing me problems right now. During this first year of my post-school life, I think I’ve been able to strike a pretty reasonable balance between family, work, and the blog. But striking that balance promises to get much harder as I begin practicing law, as the hours will certainly be longer and more intense. Moreover, if I want to be a civic-minded person who is involved in his community (and I do), it’s going to become increasingly important for me to be involved in other activities during my free time. The same goes for establishing and maintaining a healthy social life as I begin my career in earnest. Also, just as increased work hours will squeeze my free time from one end, increased family obligations are likely to squeeze it from the other end as Loyette gets older, and even moreso if Becky and I eventually have more kids.
In other words, although the blog isn’t really presenting problems now, it’s very, very easy to see how it will begin to create problems in the near future. There is only so much time in the day, and every hour I spend blogging is an hour I’m not spending on being a good father, a good husband, a good lawyer, a good friend, or a good citizen of the real world (as opposed to the virtual one).
I could say that I’ll "cut back" or "take a hiatus," but resolutions like that just don’t tend to work well for me. I can’t half-ass a project like this. I’m just so used to having a blog, and posting to it regularly, that if it’s there to update, I’m inevitably going to update it. Besides, having painstakingly built up this audience, having made this platform what it is, I can’t stand the thought of slowly frittering it away by posting infrequently and/or failing to cover topics of interest to my readers. The reality is, I have neither the desire nor the discipline to let an active blog sit idle for long periods of time. Either I blog or I don’t blog.
What makes this tricky, and difficult, is that my blog has been, on balance, an overwhelmingly positive thing in my
life. I’ve made friends through the blog. I’ve gotten a job, in part, because of the blog. I’ve earned respect and admiration — from people in real life as well as online — because of the blog. I’ve received, because of the blog, a type of exposure I never could have dreamed of
otherwise: the New York Times, the Washington Post,
Tucker Carlson, Spike Lee, and on and on. And not just the Katrina
stuff; more recently, my thoughts on the 2008 election have been read
by many thousands of people, thanks to links from places as diverse as
the New Republic and Free Republic, The Economist and the National Review.
More broadly, the blog has simply given me an outlet to share,
well, lots of stuff that I’ve enjoyed sharing, from diatribes on sports
and politics to photos of my baby and my pets. And it’s kept me connected to friends and family who I might well have lost touch with otherwise, and has simultaneously connected me to all sorts of new people. All in all, the blog has been good
But I feel now like it’s reaching a point of diminishing
returns. I’ve accomplished just about everything I can hope to
accomplish as someone who keeps a multi-topic blog as a hobby. In fact,
in a real sense, I need to start accomplishing less, for the reasons I’ve stated already. In order to keep up
my current pace of bloggy accomplishments — of earned attention and recognition, of bloggy community-building, and of new and different exploits of creativity — I would necessarily have to
start impinging on my career, my family life, or both. But of course, I can’t do either of those things, which means the blog must necessarily suffer. So I feel as if maintaining the blog is almost like fighting a losing battle against the
evolution of my life. In a very basic way, it’s simply time to move on.
All of which is why, within 60 seconds of having that revolutionary thought — "maybe I should give up the blog" — it morphed from a passing fancy into a concrete plan. Yup. I will give up the blog.
Not yet, though! :) I’m looking at the middle of July as the time I’ll most likely hang up my blogging shoes. Details after the jump.
I’ve gotten more than 10,000 hits today, the bulk of them coming in via last night’s Sullylanche, directly or indirectly. Normally, when I get a big new influx of traffic like this, I make a special effort to live up to my sub-moniker of "hyperactive blogger," posting as much new material as possible, so as to give the new visitors a reason to become regulars. Unfortunately, although I have several new political posts swirling around in my head, my brain has turned to mush this evening and I have no motivation to actually write any of them. (Stay tuned, though, for thoughts on Pennsylvania’s implications, Hillary’s 9/11 exploitations, and my Obama-fatuations!)
Meanwhile, I find myself strangely unable to think of anything non-election-related that I particularly want to blog about. The Pope’s visit to America? Interesting and important, but I haven’t been following it so I don’t really have anything to say about it. Time magazine’s Iwo Jima/global warming cover? Meh. Seems like a tempest in a teapot to me (notwithstanding that my grandfather was a Marine in World War II, and I revere what those guys did… but still, who cares about a stupid magazine cover?). The Yale abortion art project? It’s a fake.* A judge telling J.K. Rowling her books are "gibberish"? What’s to say, other than "Heh"? (Can you tell I get most of my news from Drudge?) And nothing’s really caught my eye in the world of sports, or any of my other pet blog topics. (Although, hey! fUCLA’s Kevin Love is going pro! I’m shocked, shocked.)
So, I’m turning it over to y’all. What non-election-related topics/items should I be blogging about? Serious suggestions are welcome, though I’m thinking especially of frivolous stuff. Like, have you seen any interesting "news of the weird" type stories lately? How about funny YouTube clips? (A sequel to my Captain Vegetable post, perhaps?) Suggest something in comments, and maybe I’ll post it out of sheer desperation! ;)
In the mean time, and in the spirit of utter randomness, here’s yet another Makem & Clancy YouTube clip, of yet another one of my favorite songs to sing to Loyette: "The Mermaid."
*UPDATE: Upon further review, the Yale art/abortion thing may not be fake, after all. Or, it may. The university says she says she didn’t do it. But she says she
never said that, and that she did it, and that the university is lying.
But the university says she told them she’d say that if they said she said
she didn’t do it. (Got all that?) So, who’s lying? My money’s on her. It’s all part of the "art." Regardless, the whole thing is disgusting and pointless.
For the second straight year, I let IrishTrojan.com expire this morning. BrendanLoy.com was unaffected. I have now renewed IrishTrojan.com. It may take a while to start working again, but in the long run at least, all is well.
Why/how did this happen? Basically, I’m an idiot. Actually, it’s a bit of a long story, but I don’t really have time to tell it right now, as I’m in the car with Becky, Loyette, Auntie Barb and Auntie Marissa, heading to The Lost Sea in Sweetwater. More later, maybe.
On an unrelated note, GO XAVIER!! BEAT UCLA!!
In a sure sign of the changing "seasons" here on the Irish Trojan’s Blog — the lull before the Pennsylvania Primary and the approach of Selection Sunday means that, inevitably, politics will increasingly take a back seat to basketball this month — I’ve updated and expanded my College Basketball blogroll, and bumped it up above the Politics blogroll.
As I did with the Politics blogroll, I’d like to ask for your suggestions. Fellow hoops fans: what sites am I missing? Which ones should I take out? I haven’t really been reading basketball blogs very much this season, so I don’t know what’s the new hotness in the CBB blogosphere. Any thoughts will be much appreciated!
And never fear, fellow political junkies. I’ll still blog about politics. :) Just maybe not quite as much… but I think there’ll be plenty of time for USC/ND/Gonzaga-rooting and Hillary-bashing!
What does everyone think of the new & improved (?) politics blogroll in the sidebar at right?
I added a bunch of the sites y’all suggested, as well as some others, and did my best to break the links up into three (admittedly somewhat fuzzy) categories — while avoiding those arbitrary "left" and "right" labels.
Did I miss anything important? Is anything miscategorized? Did I add too much, make it too long/cluttered? If so, what should I take out?
Yes, I know that the TypePad comment-spam filter has been going crazy lately. I don’t have too much control over the settings, but I did change one thing that I think will help decrease the incidence of both spam false-positives and unnecessary "captchas" (when you have to type a set of characters into a box to prove you aren’t a spammer). We’ll see if it helps. In the mean time, if you try to leave a comment and it gets caught in the spam filter, and you can’t get it to post, please e-mail me and let me know. I can restore it, but I may not notice it if you don’t tell me. (Even then, I can make no promises — at some point soon, I’m going to be away from my computer for quite a while — but I’ll do my best.)
Between my own blogging and the dispatches from Notre Dame Stadium and the Carrier Dome by our four resident livebloggers, there have been a lot of posts in the last 24 hours, and a lot of ‘em have already scrolled off the homepage. Somebody was asking me earlier how to go to “Page 2″ to catch up, and I thought a few other readers might be wondering the same thing. Unfortunately, TypePad still doesn’t have pagination (grumble grumble), but there’s a reasonably decent alternative solution: the daily archives.
You can always get the current and recent daily archive pages using the calendar in the left sidebar. But I’ll make it easier: here’s the Saturday, October 20 page. It contains all of yesterday’s posts, and at the top, there are links to go backward or forward to the previous or following day. So there you go. :)
It seems the problems I was having with TypePad on Wednesday and Thursday have been solved. My stylesheet and other files are no longer intermittently refusing to load. Here’s what a TypePad support rep said about it: “We were able to confirm that we did experience a brief issue yesterday with domains not resolving correctly to the associated weblog. However, this has now been resolved and you should no longer see the unformatted text on your weblog when publishing. … Please let us know if you have any other questions or concerns.”
So that’s good news. If the blog still looks screwed up (i.e., like this instead of this), you may want to load my stylesheet file, refresh/reload it on your browser, and then refresh/reload the blog itself.
I’m still not 100% sure whether I’ll stay with TypePad or not, and I appreciate everyone’s comments on comparative blog and comment options. But for now, I’m just happy the blog is functional again. That said, if anyone has technical difficulties or other problems, please let me know. I’m particularly interested in hearing from people whose comments double-post, or post on the wrong thread, for no apparent reason. That seems to have been happening more often than usual since I switched to TypePad, and I’m wondering if there’s something about the interface that’s causing more user error — or if it isn’t user error at all, but is actually TypePad getting things scrambled on the back-end.
I’m also interested in any suggestions from the “regulars,” and anyone else really, about the new style and formatting of the blog (which is really a separate issue from the identity of the blog platform).
In addition to the TypePad trials and tribulations, my brendanloy.com and irishtrojan.com accounts — including all my images, my old blog archives, my photo galleries, etc. — were moved early this morning from a WestHost dedicated server to a WestHost shared server (which was, after all, the whole point of the move to TypePad — so I could shift the bulk of the traffic load away from WestHost and thus enable myself to stop paying for the dedicated server). There was initially a problem with the MySQL applications, including WordPress and Gallery, not working because of an IP address issue, but that has now been resolved, and everything seems to be working fine for the moment.