One Year Later

Hi. I'm MR. Clark. I write things on the internet. On March 3rd, I'll have been writing things on this site for a year. How about that.

In 365 days, The Disgruntled Individual has went form being a crappy-ass blog on a free hosting site, to being a crappy-ass blog I pay the domain rights for. When I first began, it was just me, a few Russian spam sites and a collection of library hobos. A year on, it's still mostly just me and the library hobos. But a few of you out there are real people, are possibly even regular readers. Thanks for reading. If something I've written managed to distract for for a few moments, then I'd say we both won out on that.

After the jump, I look back on my first year. But don't worry, I don't get emotional.
I don't know why I start... no, check that. I know exactly why I started The Disgruntled Individual. I had writer's block. And the block turned into my recurring nemesis, apathy. Soon, it wasn't that I couldn't write, it that I simply wasn't writing. My computer would sit there, and I'd say to myself "I should be writing," and then I just wouldn't. It was the writer's form of depression (as opposed to a writer with depression, a not uncommon occurrence in the profession).

I needed structure. I needed output. I needed to force myself to write. If not constructively, then just to write. And the internet is the best place for maximum output with minimum constructiveness. I certainly wasn't going to write a journal, as my day to day life is more boring then watching slime congeal. And in order to maintain my attention, it was going to have to be something I was interested in. The sort of site I might read myself on my lunch break. Thus the concept was settled on, as was the structure, which would force me (in an effort to emulate other, better sites) to write multiple articles a day. Exactly what I needed.

So it began as a tool for myself. I didn't (and don't) care or concern myself with page views, or being a "news breaker." I'm not a reporter or a journelist. And I've never made a penny off of what I've done here (for good reason. I mean, look at it). It's just a place where I put things that capture my interest, and maybe, possibly, remotely, the interest of some people like you.

This is mine. You can't have it.

I built the site and launched without the two things sites generally need: content, and intention. But I did have a logo, so that was something. The rest, I figured, would sort itself out in time. Those were rough days. Luckily, as I mentioned, it was just me and the Russian spammers back then, so no one noticed. I knew I wanted regular features, something to give me long-scope focus. And based on that intention, every Friday I've posted original Featured Content, be they lists or opinion pieces or a bunch of junk I put together in my garage. They aren't always good, but they're original. I knew I wanted to do reviews, because I see a lot of films, and watch a lot of TV, and have opinions on those things (again, see above comments concering good vs. original). I just had no idea how it was all going to come together. I overestimated the internet's ability to provide information of interest to me on a regular basis, which resulted in some early instalement instability in the number of posts per day, and the over all quality of those posts. After a lot of trial and error, I feel I've finally come to a schedule that works for me and whomever out there is reading this. Even if it is just a bunch of library hobos. Spelling hasn't improved though.

It won't.

My first post was the news that BBC4 had picked up Howard Overman's Dirk Gently as it's first dramatic series. I would go on to review each of the three episodes, and then report on the series' cancellation. Due to it being not very good at all. Quite recently, I've went through this very same cycle again, with the series Primeval: New World. The major difference being, the readership of those reviews has been significantly higher then poor old Dirk.

If any of you are regular readers, I'll put good money that you found your self here by way of my reconstruction of the hypothetical movie Revenge of the Jedi, which will undoubtedly remain my most popular, controversial and successful post for some time. On a weekly basis, it still garners more readers then all the other posts on the site combined. Some people liked it. Many, many more did not. Some even took it personal, like killing Han Solo was the equivalent to mounting a terrorist attack on their nostalgia. I expected this, as few things in life can generate as much passion in people as Star Wars. Because of this, it was also the first post that received any comments, proof that real people were beginning to take notice. As a writer, I want my writing to inspire reactions in people. And with Revenge, I got a reaction, one I'm happy to continue to foster.

I'll be honest with you, the post whose success surprised me the most was my review of the fantastic film Mary & Max. Over the christmas period, the review bounced around Facebook in a way I'm unable to explain. I'm happy the film is getting recognition, and if my review inspired anyone to seek it out and give it a watch, then all the better. But the fickle nature of internet success makes it mind boggling as to why that review of all things took off the way it did.

The site went up just as Disney and Marvel were putting the Avengers marketing machine into gear, so not surprisingly a good deal of those early days were spent reporting on the various tidbits being  syphoned off to us. We fans, like Marvel, had no idea how big it would become, though if number of posts about it were indicative of future success, I was clearly betting on a winner.

I'd be lying if I said this were anything other then a site dealing with popular culture. Though, I don't see or have a problem with that. A lot of people (pretentious folk, mostly) like to give pop culture a hard time for meaning less then old culture, because somehow culture is like wine or cheese: it's only good after it ferments. Pop culture becomes nostalgia, becomes old culture, becomes Shakespeare. That is the way of things. Way I see it, I'm just getting in on the ground level. But I also consider myself a man of science (in the same way that some consider themselves men of god). As such, I often look at things (especially science fiction) through the scientist's lens. I approach my life, my work and my writing with a scientific method. And in a year where private companies announced they intend to mine asteroids for space gold, the Higgs Boson was finally confirmed, and record numbers of exoplanets were being discovered, it was a good year to be a fan of science. Of course, with the death's of Ray Bradbury and Patrick Moore, and the space shuttles being decommissioned, it was also a sad one. But to keep our spirits up, as always, there were dinosaurs.

Moving forward, the site will continue to bring the same level of mediocrity it has over the past 365 days. I hope you readers choose to stick around and continue to find something you enjoy (tell your friends. If for no other reason then to frustrate them). I hope that more of you might choose to comment from time to time. I'm open to interaction. In terms of content, I hope and intend to increase the science, as is always my intention. Reviews will continue, with many new and returning series approaching soon, and an endless supply of films out there (I've been grappling with the idea of reviewing previously released films on occasion). Original content will continue, so long as I can keep coming up with ideas (suggestions are welcome). I'll keep bitching about lazy writing, bad plotting, and how if I had the opportunity I might choose to do things differently (if there is a demand, I might post my Dark Knight Rises reconstruction). The skin of the orange that is my psyche will continue to be peeled back, revealing more thoughts and opinions on hats, Doctor Who, and why Lost World: Jurassic Park isn't really a Jurassic Park film (ask me about it later, I'm busy right now). And I might even get around to publishing the first list I wrote for the site, but never did anything with.

Over the past year, I've stood next to the DeLorean, and sat on the Iron Throne. I've seen two of the greatest bands in rock and roll pretend like they aren't pensioners, and pull it off. I've been disappointed by films I was looking forward to, I've been let down by directors that should have known better, and I saw the best James Bond film in decades, if not ever. I had every feeling I've ever had for Joss Whedon vindicated twice, and saw the return of the Muppets. This past year, I've been a very "happy" disgruntled individual.

Oh, and NBC?

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About MR. Clark

Adopting the descriptor of "successfully unpublished author", MR. Clark began writing things on the internet in 2012, which he believed to be an entirely reputable and civilized place to find and deliver information. He regrets much.


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