|Your blogger and Andre the Dog, New Year 2022|
How is everyone doing?
It doesn't make much sense to breathe life back into a blog that's sat dormant for thirteen years, but, then again, League of Melbotis never made much sense, anyway.
We kicked off League of Melbotis in April of 2003, after a move to the greater Phoenix area in early summer of 2002. We were young, trying a new adventure, and by the time of the start of League of Melbotis, having some serious doubts about the decision to live in a sun-bleached hellscape. It would take until 2006 for us to extricate ourselves from our desert surroundings and return to Austin.
In the interim, the blog allowed us to ponder imponderables, engage in discussion of a wide range of topics, share enthusiasm about comics, superheroes and science fiction, and try to make the best of a weird situation.
Initially, the primary function of League of Melbotis, for me - your blogger, was to talk about those bits of then mildly popular cultural ephemera. But it quickly became a method of keeping in touch with friends who were now spreading across the country in an era so far in the past now that facebook, twitter and social media as we know it did not yet exist. I believe we were on the edge of Friendster and a few other sites, but they weren't particularly useful except for finding the email address of your friends from college and sharing your awful taste in music. And, of course, we were five years away from Robert Downey Jr. putting on an Iron Man helmet. Let alone wrapping up one Superman TV show, the launch of a series of iffy movies and the debut of an all new Superman TV show.
Blogging was a strange phenomenon. It only really lasted so long that grown adults kept what were essentially personal journals online and available to the public before it became clear that one needed a niche to "succeed". You needed to claim ownership and authority in a niche, usually based on a self-proclaimed insistence of authority and the ability to block and hide actual conversation, with an implicit promise that one only rarely strays outside of their niche (usually with disastrous consequence).
This is and was nonsense, and essentially created a lot of false prophets, leading to the notion of "influencers".
The League of Melbotis was not ever going to be that site.
On January 2, 2009, we lost Melbotis, the namesake of the blog and the first dog that Jamie and I jointly had, and our best pal during some incredibly trying times. In reality, the story and through-line of League of Melbotis had always been the desire to return home to Austin, Texas from Chandler, Arizona, to reset ourselves and find a path toward what the rest of our life might look like. That journey, a year after Mel's death, felt complete.
In all honestly, by 2009, I was also sick to death of talking about myself.
After doing some review work for a few sites, we did think it was fine to keep writing about comics and cinema and launched The Signal Watch in 2010, as mostly a movie review site. A few years back, the blog also became a PodCast. Sure, we stray into personal territory and other topics from time to time, but it's 98% chatter about film from a personal POV.
Meanwhile, time has marched on.
In January of 2013, Jamie's mom, Judy, died. It seems unbelievable its been almost ten years, but that's how this works.
My brother, Steanso, married Amy and they have two kids. It's wild. The League is an uncle, y'all. I couldn't love two little weirdos any more. Steanso and Amy are a prosecutor and judge, respectively, and they're the respectable branch of the family.
My parents (The Admiral and Karebear) have retired and live in Austin. Jamie's dad is thriving and has become Wilderness Jim, spending his days as a Master Naturalist. Dug and K are in Berkeley, with Dug as a Mouseketeer and K slinging the law.
Since we shuttered the site and put the chairs on the tables, we have lost Lucy, our beloved black lab. Adopted and lost Scout, our adorable shepherd mix. Said good-bye to Jeff the Cat, who was and remains a legendary personality.
I worked in the job I'd gotten at the University of Texas Library from October 2008 until October of 2017. I spent almost two years working remotely for Northwestern University Libraries, before working for the University of Texas in Admissions and Financial Aid until June of 2019, when I experienced my first lay-off. For a few months I worked on contract for the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board before landing a fulltime job at the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, where I'm currently employed.
I've officiated at three weddings (including for Steven and Lauren, whom I met through this blog!), driven all across Texas, been in Helsinki, Dublin, London, Boseman, Maui, Chicago and many, many other cities. And I've seen and done things I never expected. I ate reindeer.
Oh, and did I mention the global pandemic we've been enjoying since March 2020? This shit is wild, yo.
My life is wider, and weirder and richer than when I started this blog in ways I never could have predicted. If you felt there was never any plan for The League of Melbotis blog before, wait til you find out how I've been running my actual life. The one constant in all of this has always been Jamie, who is doing great and has been chronicling her own story over at Troubles McSteans. We've been married for 22 years. I highly recommend it.
For years I've figured people who needed to know what I was up to could find me on social media. I'm on facebook and twitter. It's not hard to find me. But facebook is now largely just where we post photos of Andre, our 110 lb. Great Pyr/ Pitbull mix. I stay on it mostly to stay in touch with a few old friends and see pictures of the aforementioned niece and nephew as they go about the business of growing up and I am not with them all of the time. Twitter is... well, it's twitter, and I can see a future in which I walk away from the hellsite.
It will both not shock and hopefully not disappoint longtime knowers of The League that the idea of getting back to blogging took off in my mind before any actual plan for what content will follow. As always, Jamie inspired us - this time by taking up Troubles McSteans again. Reading her posts, I started to miss simply blogging about what's going on, whatever crosses my mind and to get away from pithy facebook or other social media posts. I'll post occasionally, keeping movie and any other media review over at The Signal Watch.
So who knows what will follow or when?
Let's hope I have a better grasp of things now than when all of this started. In April 2023, it will have been twenty years for this blogging business.
The bloom of youth may be off, but I hope I'm aging like a good whiskey over here. Lord knows I'm not a fine wine.