Writing a Book

I do a lot of writing for someone who isn’t a writer. Most of it is stream-of-consciousness-type writing, and not super-thought out. As if that needed to be explained. A lot of opinion and blather, in other words. I don’t write to build an audience, or else I’d employ a strategy to do so. One that involves writing more coherent, longer, well-researched and cited articles. The fact is, I write a lot so that when I’m dead and buried, my daughter will have the opportunity, if desired, to see what her dad thought about topics and how I think. For entertainment purposes only.

But if I’m going to be writing all over the place about all sorts of things, which is my current shotgun way of doing things, vs. a focused, large website with it all organized in one place, I’ve learned I’d better plan on not sleeping for the rest of my life. Also for SEO reasons that isn’t ideal either. Managing a massive website can be a huge pain too. Big hosting bills, lots of tables and data and media and at certain scales there have to be special considerations. When it goes down, it’s a royal pain, too. I’ve worked on, built and managed some websites with significant traffic and been able to glean a few things about scaling sites. And it just makes no sense to spread my efforts around. They aren’t necessarily “thin” because of that – I still try to plop something down that’s readable – it takes up multiples of my time that I could be using for endlessly more useful and/or valuable endeavors. Just making the quality better would be a good start. I can crank out a 1000 word post like this in under 45 minutes, but I’m usually not happy with the links, media, citations, and other value-added activities. I mean, just look at this post. Sadly, I just really don’t have the time for more, and writing in a manner resembling writing a book brings me to my solution, and the title of this rambling piece.

I think what may serve her better is a book. I’ve published a book before, so I know what it entails. I’m not talking about going for a Pulitzer or outwriting Tolkien; just a record of what’s what in our family with some choice anecdotes and hopefully some decent writing so she doesn’t think her old dad’s a moron.

derp

The best way I currently know of writing a book, and I wish it had existed when I wrote my last one, is GitBook. It’s a super-easy and super-intuitive editor that relies on Git. But you don’t have to know Git to use it, which is nice because Git is hard to learn. Real hard. I started writing one about a year ago, and every now and then toss a few paragraphs in there, but that’s a terrible way to write and edit. An outline is the first step. A challenge when writing long pieces is keeping material straight, especially if you’re editing it as well. Did you already write about that topic earlier somewhere? Have you used that phrase too many times? Why does a passage seem redundant? When you have a few hundred pages of scribble, life gets hard.

Medium has been a great place to write but my confidence in its longevity is plummeting. Writing there is so nice though it’s hard not to find yourself pecking away. Unfortunately, @Ev, the founder is making a bunch of bonehead decisions and not being very innovative. Or using resources that are. He’s having to fire lots of employees, in fact. Plus, I need to export my content from there anyway instead of adding to it. Even though I have 9 (NINE!) or so publications there. Insane, I know; that’s the point of this post. And I also have a bunch of others dedicated to my hobbies (addcss.com, fontypython.com) and business (webdesignpop.com) and goofiness (superhuge.fail, abig.fish) and so on. Professional bloggers don’t spend as much time messing with blogs as I do. It’s inefficient. I also started ceceliamusgrove.com for my little girl, which of course requires upkeep. It’ll be SEO gold by the time she needs the URL though. I just wish it weren’t so long, but it’s not bad for SEO. Although Google says exact-match domains don’t matter Wink wink.

My WordPress blogs are awesome in their own ways, but I’m eventually going to have to decide a winner between musgrove.blog, mmusgrove.com or musgrove.red. And shelving michaelmusgrove.wordpress.com, as much as I like the design. I don’t think I even own my own content there, and WordPress advertises on the blog in exchange for giving them free content. I mean, a free subdomain with .wordpress in the TLD and limited customization. I mean a free place to write. These days, that’s a huge commodity. The .blog domain is a premium TLD($30), licensed by who else but Matt at WordPress Central, for no actual reason, so I’m tempted to drop it. mmusgrove.com is cool, but I’m afraid people will miss the extra “m” and I’d prefer to just have “musgrove” in the domain, since that’s what my friends call me. So I’m tempted to keep musgrove.red, although it’s brand-new and has no SEO juice. And the “red” part makes no sense other than being my favorite color. I had michaelmusgrove.com since 2008 but the registrar and host, HostMonster, wouldn’t let me transfer it after battling them for years(don’t ask), so I let it expire and some guy in China bought it up. That was up for 8 years until I just bagged it all and moved to mmusgrove.com and started over entirely. That’s a bigger pain in that I have that URL all across the web as my website address, which leads to God knows what now. I have no (huge) problems wiping writing and photos/ graphic design assets from the face of the Earth. Which is good as much as I accidentally do it. I just consider everything I make temporary. That may be part of the problem too.

I really like this site though and the fact it’s unspoiled. It runs fast, I like the theme, and it’s lean and mean. So we might have a winner here. Each site I set up reflects the cumulative knowledge of setting up all the sites before it, so this one is as nice & tight as they get.

Mystery Science Theater 3000 Redux

I don’t watch TV. I also don’t drink coffee, alcohol, or smoke. That makes me an oddity in modern American society. Especially in the South, where I’m from.

But I do watch a lot of Mystery Science Theater 3000 on Netflix (the new ones and a few select old ones) and on YouTube, via Club-mst3k.com, which is a site I’ve been watching grow for a long time. It used to have about 4 people on it at a time. Now there are noticeably more. It shows these stats. It’s a cool site, but it’s designed awfully. But I know the work that’s gone into setting it up to operate like it does, which is a lot of spinning gears and a lot of work behind the scenes.

The Zapper
Rowsdower. Zap Rowsdower.

I love the old MST3k. I’ve seen them all a billion times and have some paltry memorabilia. I’m not one of those people that collect crap, especially figurines. Or consciously try not to. But I do have some favorite things that I keep around me at my desk, like Kang with her bubble helmet and laser gun and a crazed Hank Scorpio from The Simpsons and a bunch of tin clockwork toys and scientific magnets and junk like that.

kang

I had high hopes for this new iteration of the show, which was picking up with episode 1101, and was a backer to bring it back, starting a LONG time ago. They’ve been hard at work making these new ones for about 2 years. And had a $6 million-plus budget.

The new season, Season 11, is pretty weak in my opinion. There are a few good lines, but it’s not the clever, ongoing humor of the old ones. The timing’s different, and at times it seems just like they’re trying to see how many riffs they could jam in as little time as possible. Then go minutes in silence. And some of their riffs aren’t correct in some way, which is distracting. The new ones not being the old ones being established, here’s the deal with the new ones, which I’ve watched each several times with different degrees of focus.

There aren’t any shorts. Just feature films. And they are cheesy, but not hilariously so, like Hobgoblins or Time Chasers. There are several layers of skits and subplots and stupid graphics and whatever, that I have trouble following, honestly. It doesn’t make sense, and even in a silly way is overly contrived. So we just stick with the premise of a guy and some robots watching movies in a sort-of-remote mechanical bone for some reason, that has to do with an evil lizard-faced bucktoothed woman and a troll. Who has an entire TV show set including an entire 7-member band, but not a camera that can be stabilized in any way, apparently?

I’ve written it up on my other website so I won’t repeat myself here. But season eleven looks like it may be a trial run, and the good stuff is on the way. Without purposeless cameos by Jerry Seinfeld and other eye rolls. That’s how it was with the previous seasons; some were better than others. Some were LOTS better than others. It took a while for Joel Hodgson, the creator and first host, to find his footing. Michael Nelson, being a long-time writer, picked up the ball and ran it down the field seamlessly. Some seasons had few shows (season 7) and some had a ton of movies. There are over 200 shows, so of course, they aren’t all going to be home runs. And although I like the Michael seasons and think he does an awesome job, I hate Pearl and those Bobo and brain-guy skits with a passion. Trace and Frank were leagues better in acting, writing, improv, and all-around entertainment. Call me sexist, but I don’t think women are very funny, which is the reason for some disappointment with a woman for the main mad scientist. So far, she’s proving my theory true.

In any case, if there’s to be a season 12, please watch the new season’s episodes on Netflix, who has the money and has licensed it, and don’t rip it off Pirate Bay or some torrent site.

new mst3k cast

Some Cecelia Video Footage

I’m trying to take more video of my daughter. I have maybe a few seconds that exist somewhere of me as a child on video. We had an 8mm camera and projector back then but not the willing parents, unfortunately. I have no excuse since I have a camera in my pocket that would have blown the best technology available away back in the early 1970’s. The funny thing is we use technology to apply filters to our nice clean videos to make them look like crappy 1970’s film. Whatever.

Say Hello to musgrove.RED

As if another Musgrove blog was needed in any fashion, I’ve added to the lot. Old habits are hard to break I guess. Waving goodbye to web development clients to focus on my daughter(totally by grateful choice), I find I still want to code. But I don’t have the time. So maintaining WP sites seems like it’s having to suffice. That’s not coding, and my once cutting edge programming skills are dullening by the hour though.

I’ve always had a ton of domains since they usually cost next to nothing, and in some cases, nothing, to license one. Or used to. .com’s are often advertised as being .99 to lure people in, and sometimes it’s possible to find a rare gem with a lot of work, but all the good .com’s are gone. No one’s ever liked .net, and clever plays on words like http://wordpressthe.me don’t work very well in several ways. With the domain market just being flooded with a bajillion new extensions, they’ve been fairly commoditized. Other than .com, for some reason. But the funny thing is the shorter tlds are being grabbed, as are numbers and of course, 4 or fewer characters are a premium. They used to not be, so the market’s finally reacting. The domain market is sort of like the stock market, which is probably why it’s appealing to people and there’s so much software available to analyze it. I try to keep my domains under 1 roof at Google Domains, but have some at Namecheap, who offers extensions Google doesn’t and some really nice features for a great price. And I have several expensive .blog domains which Matt at Automattic is screwing up in his own way and manages.

Setting a domain up as a subdomain is no problem. Or just setting it up as a primary account at A Small Orange, where I’m an affiliate and have enough hosting credits to last me a long time, which is awesome.  A Small Orange is a great hosting solution (to me; everyone has their opinions on hosts) $5/month or $50 year for basic shared. Or just become an affiliate and pay nothing.

But ever since Host Monster jacked me and my MichaelMusgrove.com domain up, I’ve been regrouping RE: the Musgrove brand. Which in reality I’m probably more of a liability to.

I have mmusgrove.com, michaelmusgrove.wordpress.com, musgrove.blog, ceceliamusgrove.com, and that’s just the “Musgrove” sites. I have a whole publishing conglomerate with 7 sites over at Medium under octo.press. And then the sites for WordPress; my hobbies; my company webdesignpop.com; for rebranding like musgrove.link, musgrove.emal and wdp.io; for possible ideas I had, and on and on. Yachting.blog? Mine. VRmovie.studio? Yep. A bunch of drone sites, even though I don’t have time to even charge a drone these days? Oh, yeah. As many as I think I have, there are people that trade in domains, and manage thousands upon thousands of them. Obviously, I think that’d be fun. To a point. Managing the WordPress installs and technical stuff is pretty easy if you know what you’re doing, good at management, and have the right tools. What’s tough is when sites start going down for no apparent reason. And when things get too spread out. Too many hosts, too many name registrars, too many associated social and email accounts, etc… So I thought I’d toss musgrove.red onto the fire.

Red’s my favorite color by far, as anyone who knows me knows, and Musgrove’s my family’s last name. .Red domains are being snapped up quickly too I’ve noticed. I don’t care about that, other than not being able to grab musgrove.red later if I wanted, so I snatched it up now.