Thursday, August 26, 2010

Exfanding Your Horizons Turns 2 Years Old!

It's official: Exfanding Your Horizons is two years old! Happy Birthday to us!

Just like we did to celebrate last year, Alex and I have assembled a list of questions that make us feel like we're special guests on a geek talk show, like Sally Jessy Raphael Donatello or something. Year Two was a big year, and our penchant for inflating our self-importance guarantees we'll make it even bigger.

Our blog rules.

Most blogs don't last nearly this long; why are you still here?

Nathaniel: I love to write. I love the stuff we write about here. I love collaborating on geeky stuff with Alex. The fact that we post consistently at 11 AM every day gives me the structure I need to keep from posting "when I get around to it," yet the flexibility to switch posting days with Alex or write a fluffy links post keeps blogging from becoming a self-imposed chore. The Internet hasn't kicked us out yet; why wouldn't we be here?

Alex: 11:00, you say? Haha...erm. Yes. Well. Of course, just to foul up Nathaniel's response to this question, I purposefully posted at 11:40 yesterday. Yeah, that's what I did. Uh huh. All part of the plan.

What was the question?

Did you honestly think we'd make it to two years?

Nathaniel: Absolutely. This blog started out as a fun little side project, and after a few weeks or maybe months, it became a habit. Two years later, it's a fact of life. Like eating, or weekly showers.

Alex: Soon after we started, I read somewhere that 99% of all blogs go bye-bye within the first two weeks. At that point, we were about a month into Exfanding, and we both took that as a major positive. That we, um, hadn't gone bye-bye, I mean.

We always knew we were better than 99% of everyone else, now it was just being scientifically proven.

Honestly, though, I had a feeling we would both be too stubborn to ever give it up, and woe unto whichever one of us tapped out first. Now, like Nathaniel said, posting here is very much an everyday routine type of thing.

What's the best part about having a blog? What's the worst part about having a blog (And no chickening out--be honest!)?

Alex: The best part is having a soapbox from which to shout. And the worst part is having a soapbox from which to shout. What I mean is, I have a big mouth. What can I say? It's my nature. So it's nice to have a bit of a forum to express myself, especially when I read or watch something that I love, and that I want to share with others.

On the other hand, expressing myself tends to get me into trouble. And, apparently, I tend to take digs at Grant Morrison.

Nathaniel: The worst part about having a blog is the sheer amount of time I spend talking about geeky endeavors instead of actually engaging in them. Don't get me wrong; I love to write, and I love to gab about my favorite fandoms. It's just that there are nights where I'd rather be playing a video game than staying up 1d3 hours later than anticipated to finish a post that may or may not be what I feel like writing anyhow.

The best part about having a blog generally makes up for that, though. It is staggering to me how much material we've written, and it's a joy to scroll through the archives and look at how our thoughts, personalities, and humor are preserved in such detail across such a broad array of topics. And we get to share that with the world.

Has blogging gotten any easier or harder since last year?

Alex: I honestly thought that we'd have nothing left to talk about by now. That was my number one concern when we started this up. But, somehow, there's always a new post waiting in the wings. And that certainly wasn't the case (for me, at least) a couple of years ago.

Nathaniel: Speak for yourself! Blogging is hard! Actually, coming up with anything to post for the next day has gotten much easier for me--I seldom stare at the ceiling anymore, waiting for a post to emerge from the plaster--but writing the big introductory posts is much tougher, as you may have noticed from the lack of them these past several months. That ties in with the previous question, actually.

When would you say your writing was the strongest this past year? The weakest?

Alex: I've told Nathaniel this already, but I think it's pretty clear that he's carried the blog this year. Whereas my writing has been very inconsistent, I think he's been in overdrive--certainly through this summer--and he's posted some of my very favorite things we've yet had on the blog.

Personally, I think I peaked at the end of last year. I felt like things were really clicking for a while there. Maybe I'm just a better writer when I'm angry, but I'm really going to try picking up the slack for the rest of 2010.

Nathaniel: I feel like my writing was strongest when we both collaborated on "theme weeks," and when I let myself loose to geek out about Mega Man and Star Trek in greater depth than usual.

It's strange--I didn't feel at any point that I was carrying the blog; I was simply adding my contributions for the day. Okay, so I was carrying the blog during Video Game Week, but Alex agreed to it, so that's his own fault.

In truth, all my strongest posts that immediately came to mind are from Year One. I think my posts this past year were less diverse than the year before, so they don't stand out as much to me. I feel like I lost a lot of focus in May and June when a lot of Big Life Stuff was going on, and most of those posts in particular seem like filler to me.

Name a few blog-related things that surprised you in Year Two.

Alex: The amount of people who robbed banks, stores, and fast food restaurants dressed as super heroes and/or pop cultural icons.

Nathaniel: I was surprised to discover that I am a fan of Exfanding Your Horizons. A few weeks ago I had this big realization that I wasn't reading Alex's post that day just to check in on the blog--I was reading it because I really wanted to see what he had to say. I've always enjoyed reading his posts and re-reading my posts, but it never occurred to me that I'm actually a fan of our own blog!

...Does that count as "a few"?

Alex: Thanks for making my answer sound (even more) trivial than it was intended to be.

Nathaniel: My pleasure!

Were you introduced to anything new/cool this year because of the blog (either by each other, or by a reader)?

Nathaniel: The films of Akira Kurosawa. Not only were the screenings fun little adventures of their own, but I felt cinematically and culturally educated afterward.

Alex: Firefly and Serenity. I love that series, and I'm glad to have been introduced to it and to all of its ancillary stories.

Who would win in a fight--Batman or Superman?

Nathaniel: What, you haven't read Hush?

Alex: Are we talking the Taco Bell Batman Bandit, or the real Batman? Because if it's the real Batman, isn't he trapped in time/space somewhere, dressed as a pirate? And isn't Superman walking Earth and moping around all the time again? EMO Superman rocks!

I'm gonna have to go with the Goon.

What are some blogging goals/site goals/plans for Year Three? Any possible exciting news we can reveal about the next year?

Alex: One thing I'd love to see would be more of a presence on comic book sites. Exfanding ads on Newsarama? CBR? Heck, yes! I think it might be a logical next step for the blog to take.


Nathaniel: I'd like to figure out when we started italicizing Exfanding, for starters.

As a blogging goal, I'd like us both to add a few more fandoms or genres to our regular idea pool. I'd like to write more about anime and Dungeons & Dragons, and I know Alex must have a few music artists or television shows up his sleeve that he hasn't told us about.

As a site goal, I hope to finish all these minor and gradual tweaks to end up with a totally polished and professional blog that shows up in Google searches for something aside from "potty mouth Batman."

As far as plans go, I'm itching to do a bunch of formal fandom introductions; it's only a matter of having enough time and energy to write them. I also intend to complete all the New Year's Resolutions(TM) Alex made for me while simultaneously causing him to fail hilariously at his resolutions.

Hey, where's that book and t-shirt you promised us last year, hmm...?

Nathaniel: Erm...we compiled all our posts from the first year and then...and then something happened that...we had everything together and...and...and...THOSE GNOMES!!!

Alex: I don't think I would buy a t-shirt--uh...I mean...they're coming soon. Promise.

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