Back in the Saddle

A year ago today, I rescued the archives of this site, and the process of going back and fixing all of those old posts (I wasn’t able to rescue all of the images, and so had to manually replace them with the aid of Archive.org) got me wanting to blog again about my love for Japan culture, and I’ve been doing it pretty regularly since.

For years, updates on this site had become quite rare — if you look at the archives now you’ll see plenty of posts each month, but that’s just because I imported my Debaser diary (previously on Tumblr, in which I write-up the media that I’m consuming), and so it makes it seem like I was consistently writing here. But that wasn’t the case. After a couple of posts about the rescue efforts (which ended up taking months), this was the first post that felt like a traditional JeanSnow.net blog post.

A year later, I sorta have a routine now where I mostly put up new posts on the weekend, saving stuff I want to highlight until then, and putting them all up in one batch. It would probably be better to parse them a bit more, scheduling them to go up on a daily basis, but I guess I don’t really care about doing it that way.

A couple of days after that return post, I wrote this, saying I had no idea if I was going to continue doing it or not, but I’m now happy to still be doing it. Blogging like this is how I started my professional writing career, and even though I’m just doing it for fun now, I like that I’ve come full circle, doing pretty much the same thing I was doing 15 years ago — although it’s not quite the same in that I’m no longer based in Tokyo.

New Home for Debaser

I’ve been doing my Debaser “media consumption diary” for a few years now on Tumblr, and a couple of weeks ago I decided to import all of the posts I’ve written there (over 700) to this blog, as I figured why not just bring everything to just one site. I still wanted to keep it separated in some way, so they all live in the “Debaser” category, which you can access through its own page here — I’ve installed a plugin that lets me set it so that these posts don’t show up on the main feed of the site, for those who just come for the Japan-related news stuff (but they still get mixed up with everything if you visit monthly archive pages — you can’t win them all). Oh, and that means that I’m no longer updating the Tumblr blog.

On to 2017

As I’ve been going through the entire archives of this site over the past few months, I noticed how I used to often kick off the new year with a big “intent” post. I don’t want to go that far, but I think it’s nice to welcome the new year with a little salute here, and so here goes. And although it’s the year of the, ahem, cock, I’ll let the Mario Bros. welcome us into swingin’ and rockin’ 2017 (courtesy of the imagery produced for the upcoming Switch event in Japan).

Mission Accomplished

Well, it took 4-5 months of work — doing it here and there, mostly on weekends — but I’ve finally managed to go through all of the 7500+ posts on the site (since rescuing my site archives back in August, but with most of the images missing) and got the images back in. There are posts here and there where it was impossible to get the image back, but I’m pretty satisfied with what I was able to rescue — and as I’ve done a million times, I give great thanks to Wayback Machine.

There’s still stuff I’d like to do, like go back and add proper tags to older posts, and incorporate some posts that were part of my moblog, or maybe even incorporate all of the posts from SNOW Magazine (my one year web magazine experiment), but I think I’m going to take a break for now, and explore doing that sometime next year.

But man, sure feels good to have my site back with proper archives, and I’m glad I was able to finish it before the end of the year.

December Gonna Be December

So following the return of my regular blogging here, November marked the first dip in number of posts — down to 62 from the previous month’s 85. I don’t think it’s a sign of anything in particular, probably just didn’t have as much time to devote to writing posts.

One thing I am looking forward to preparing this month is my annual “Favorite Media” post, which I have been doing for the past few years (2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015). It’s a fun exercise, taking the time to look back at what I enjoyed throughout the year. I’ll probably start working on it soon, and post it within a week or two.

2008 and Down

In my continuing archival work on this site, I hit a big milestone last night, in that I finished April 2008, which is pretty much the last time I regularly hit a month with 80+ posts — it only happens again a couple of times in November/December of 2009 for some reason.

I think the reason for the reduction in posts was that it was around the time I started contributing regularly to Wired‘s Game|Life blog, for which I was doing around 5 posts daily.

This means I should hopefully be speeding up as I go through the rest of the archives, getting it all finished in the weeks to come. That won’t be the end of it all though, as there are a few other things I’d like to do, like going through the first few years again to improve tags on posts, and also incorporating my early moblog posts, which used to be done as a separate blog.

Reaching 2007

The momentous landmark I reached last weekend was that I finally finished 2006, when it comes to fixing old posts — and I managed to do a big dent in 2007 this weekend, getting through January-May.

The reason it takes so long is that I’m pretty much going in every single post, either to fix the image (or images), to fix the blockquote tag (I used to quote things a lot in posts), or to add a little update note.

For the images, through Wayback Machine I manage to find the last 20 posts or so for each month (WM would save two page for each month’s archives). It’s a bit weird because for other years, there were quite a few times a month that WM would save the site, so I could find a lot more posts, but for some reason during 2006-2007, which is possibly the site’s most active period, it stopped doing that. And then after that, it’s a mix of still finding images because they were hosted on Flickr, or through a folder I have with images that were not taken from other sites. What a fucking process.

Hoping to give a big push to get through the rest of 2007 and then 2008, and after that it should take less time as the frequency of posts reduces (in 2006-2008 I’m looking at an average of 100 posts a month).

7500

With this post that I put up on Friday, the site reached the rather handsome sum of 7500 posts (this very post is #7505).

I’ve never really paid attention to the number of overall posts on the site, but I just happened to notice this number in the WordPress admin dashboard, and thought it was worth sharing.

Website Plumage

As I continue to go through and fix my archives — I didn’t do much over the past couple of weeks, but yesterday managed to get through a few more months in 2006 — I find it interesting to get glimpses of the various themes I used on the website over the years (courtesy of the Wayback Machine).

I used to modify my site fairly frequently, usually a few times a year — sometimes a major revamp, sometimes some simple tweaks and a change of colors.

Currently, what you’re seeing here, is the default WordPress theme for 2016.

This is interesting to me, because in the past I would never have gone so basic. I would have either spent time tweaking enough of it to give it its own look, or in the later years, would have spent a lot of time trying to find an interesting theme I could use (which I would still modify). But here, since I brought back the site to WordPress (after being archive-less on Tumblr for a couple of years), I did a bit of searching at first to see if I could find a nice free minimal theme I could use, but I didn’t really find anything I liked more than just this basic WP theme.

More than just not finding it a priority to spend time on the way the site looks — my focus at the moment is the content, both old and new — I’ve taken a liking to the very basicness and minimalism of this theme. It’s black & white — a color theme I’ve mostly stuck to since the late 2000s — and it doesn’t feel overly slick or fancy. It just presents the content with no fuss.

I’m sure I’ll eventually tire of it and will want to find something else to use — something that I can find “as is,” as I no longer have any desire to spend any time modifying the guts of a theme — but for now I’m happy to keep it this way.

Back to the 70s

Well, it’s now October, and as you can tell, I’m still blogging quite regularly here. What started off as a throwback to what this site was like before has now awakened a muscle I hadn’t used in ages — that’s the blogging muscle — and it’s getting pumped and enjoying being in use again.

In terms of volume, following the 53 posts I wrote in August (which was done over 2 weeks), I ended up writing 72 in September. Although it doesn’t seem to reach the heights this site has seen — during its heydays of the mid to late 2000s, it would hover at around 80-100 posts per month, with an absolute peak of 138 — but considering that in those days a lot of the posts were made up of my TB.Grafico photolog and then my TB.Movel moblog (if you click on these links, you’ll find that the latest posts haven’t yet been fixed), it’s quite possible that this last month saw more actual written content than back in those days. At this point in my life, I’m probably more at ease with writing a post quickly.

I’m curious to see what October will bring.