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Category Archives: Floppies

The Villagers Have Stormed the Castle

Jim Hill Media delivers daily news on the Walt Disney company with an accent on the vintage — or at least it used to, apparently. I don’t read that site on a regular basis. But based on the flurry of comments on this post, I wouldn’t want to bump into a mob of angry ex-Jim Hill Media readers in a dark alley. Jeepers.

Generation YouTube

Tom Scocca of The New York Observer sums up the vast appeal of the web’s latest plaything with The YouTube Devolution. Below I’ve assembled links to the clips that Scocca references in the article. Now, I’m a sometimes busy guy with lots of deadlines. But I also finding myself losing lots of productivity time searching for obscure stuff at that damn site. Do they have the video for “Can’t Shake Loose,” an ’80s-tastic solo single from ABBA’s Agnetha Faltskög? Yes. What about a clip from the short-lived sitcom The Ellen Burstyn Show with Megan Mullally as Burstyn’s daughter? Well, not yet — but while I was looking for that I found this fantastically kitschy 9 minute fashion show from 1985’s Night of 100 Stars. See what I mean? Fudge.

The Pixies on The Dennis Miller Show (1991)

The Pixies’ “Velouria” music video

British sitcom Heil Honey I’m Home (part 1 of 2)

Give Me Back My Name

When I started this weblog nearly six years ago, I never thought anybody else would ever use the name “scrubbles” for anything — it’s too strange. Guess I was too naïve. Meet the new bane of my existence: a videogame called Scrubbles. Not to be confused with Scrubbles Cleaning and Restoration in lovely Noblesville, Indiana. This game is only available on Windows — so you know it has no affiliation with scrubbles.net. Cute graphics, however:

scrubbles293x167.jpg

Blogging Tips from a D-Lister

Time to blog about weblogs. New York magazine’s fascinating cover story on the subject admittedly deals with just a portion of the blogging community: A-listers and those who go out of their way to curry favor with the A-listers. Nevertheless, it’s a very engaging read which unearths some unspoken truths in blogland and how bloggers see each other. Personally I have no desire to attain that kind of mass popularity, but it is funny (and exciting) how my usually modest traffic jumps a hundredfold whenever Boing Boing links here. Who are all those people? And why aren’t they coming back?

The article reminds me of how hard it must be to start something new these days, in our zillion blog universe. Back when I first started scrubbles five and a half years ago, it was much easier to stand out — but that was eons ago. The old-school model of one lone person plugging away at the computer has made way for heavily funded and staffed projects like The Huffington Post. Those kind of sites now command the most attention, but on the other hand they’ve raised the quality bar (in a good way) for everyone else. Lately Christopher’s been telling me about the difficulty of finding an audience with his weblog. Although I’m no expert, I do have a few tips to share for webloggers just starting out:

1. Be Yourself. The New York article had some good insights on how the massive popularity of Gawker inspired dozens of snarky, Gawker-like weblogs. Now, I think Gawker does what it does very well, but the torrent of bloggers who seem to be in love with their own perceived cleverness remains an unfortunate side effect of their success. Having a detatched, ironic pose is all fine and dandy if that’s your style, but don’t let whatever’s currently “in” constrict your true self. #1 Weblogging Rule: write about what you like, in your own voice. If your passion is fly fishing or Burmese folk music, do the best damn weblog you can on fly fishing or Burmese folk music, popularity be damned.

2. Give Credit Where Credit Is Due. If you post about that neat link found on someone else’s weblog, do us all a favor and link back to where you first saw it. Many weblogs (even well-read ones) don’t adhere to this rule, but I think everyone ideally needs do the right thing and follow the path of common courtesy. The only exception I might make would be in cases where a link generates mass popularity and has already been noted on by everyone and their Mom.

3. Mind Your Grammar. I hate to sound like your fifth grade teacher, but it really does pay off to mind your Ps and Qs (and periods, and commas) when weblogging. After finishing an entry, read through it again for typos and punctuation mistakes. Then read it a second time just to make sure it reads right. Those couple of extra minutes will pay off handsomely.

4. Post On A Regular Basis. Having new content out there at least once a day is a good rule of thumb (yeah, right, he says). Most importantly, find a good rhythm. You’ll never accumulate a loyal audience in posting a flurry of entries for a few weeks, then taking three months off. Only have time to post once a month? Go right ahead.

5. Don’t Sweat the Blogroll. Blogrolls are nice, but they also bring out the worst, most clique-ish aspects in people. While not totally necessary, they can be instrumental for newbie bloggers to get other bloggers to notice them. It’s best to think of your blogroll as a simple “I like these, you might too” list and not a desperate plea for attention. Put whatever you want on them, but don’t spend too much time thinking about who to include or exclude. I can remember pulling hairs out of my skull looking at other weblogs similar to mine and thinking “If blogger A likes bloggers B and C, why don’t they like me?” What a waste of energy. That said, don’t feel bad about (gulp) de-linking a weblog that no longer strikes your fancy.

6. Give It Time. If readers are what you want, don’t expect them to show up just because you posted something. Getting any kind of regular readership takes about two or three months — and even then you might have to wait a year or two before your weblog finds its groove. Audiences need careful cultivation to grow. That’s a hard concept to grasp in our world of instant gratification, but it’s utterly true.

7. Understand The Nature Of The Beast. Picture the blogging universe as a massive organism that feeds on itself. With that in mind, know that nobody owns a link. Ideas are a dime a dozen; it’s your perception of those ideas that really matter. Your timing might be off. Sometimes in the past I’d post about something which would unaccountably take off in the blogging world — only very few knew where it started. Or I’d post about something wonderful that had no effect, then the same thing would subsequently become the latest, greatest thing — a year later. Those things happen. Nobody can predict when and how something takes hold in the so-called “blogosphere”.

8. Blog In A Vacuum. Check out other blogs for your own entertainment, but don’t let them influence your own too heavily. Sad, but true: the best weblogs out there appear to be influenced by no one but themselves. If you have to model yourself after someone else, those are the ones you should target.

Whew, that was a long post. If anyone else has tips, I’d love to hear them.

Download Brigitte

CBC: “Both Sony and Universal Music have announced plans to reissue classic recordings in digital form.” Very cool news. Universal’s plans include 100,000 vintage songs by mostly European artists, with the first batch being available on iTunes next month. I’m especially looking forward to finding out what old material they’ll have from Brigitte Bardot.

Where the Hell Is My Chiffon?

I don’t usually go for them newfangled thingies known as podcasts, but two lately have been sticking with me. One is a weekly podcast from the nasally voiced but affable guy who runs Retrocrush.com. This week he pontificates on, among other things, the timeless appeal of Olivia Newton-John and Britney hubby/professional hanger-on Kevin Federline’s forthcoming attempt at becoming a gangsta hip-hop star (you’ve been warned). Another podcast I’ve been digging is the Project Runway one from Tim Gunn. Anyone who’s ever watched a Runway knows that Tim Knows All, and much of the show’s entertainmnet derives from whenever a would-be fashion designer ignores the dapper professor’s constructive criticism. Mr. Gunn’s intelligent podcasts reveal lots of goodies that didn’t end up on camera.

Oh yeah, one more thing. Appropos of nothing: a Hello Kitty totem pole rendered in granite (via Sarah).