It’s probably pretty safe to say that Roger Ebert, by a wide margin, has been the most influential figure on my writing. It’s possible, although far from certain, that had I not read Ebert as a teen, I might never have thought to write one review, let alone nearly 1,000. (Of course, that’s pure conjecture. If you pull a thread on one’s life, there’s no telling to what degree it might unravel, but maybe I’d have found another way in the same direction.)
But that’s the thing about Ebert: He was so prolific, so observant and wise, so widely read and well respected — so utterly the gold standard of all critics — that probably every writer in the genre of criticism saw him as the model to aspire to. (Read more…)
The first review I wrote for a general audience was a movie review for my high school newspaper, The Inkspot, in 1993. I was co-editor of the paper that year, and that was the beginning of a long relationship with newspapers (which only ended just last year). I joined the staff of The Daily Illini in the fall of 1994 during my freshman year of college, where I discovered the Internet, which had just started to become graphical and mainstream (although I would get my online reviewing start in the text-based Usenet).
Jammer completes his website’s mission with the posting of the review for TNG’s series finale, “All Good Things.”
As I’ve mentioned in this space before, I actually reviewed the seventh season of TNG previously, in printed booklets that I never posted on the Internet (and never will). Jammer’s Reviews as you know them didn’t start until the fall of 1994 with DS9‘s third season. The official launch of my website came in March 1995, some 18 years ago. On the Internet, that’s an eternity for a niche hobby publication. Just ask the hundreds of other hobbyist website authors from the 1990s who have long since hung it up. That was before “blogger” was a word. I guess I’ve been a blogger since before the term for it existed. (Read more…)
One might be wondering why — with only six TNG reviews to go before finishing up my long-protracted and often-delayed TNG reviewing project, and thus completing my reviews of the entire Trek canon — I would suddenly stop after my last post back in early December. My latest hiatus can be explained simply, but I’ll also break down some details for those who find interest in stuff like that. (Read more…)
Working as I do in online media — both as a career and as a free-time hobby — I naturally have to keep up with what’s hot, what’s trending, where everything is going, how people are using online tools to get and share information, etc., etc.
Obviously, over the last several years, social networking has exploded. Facebook and Twitter are pretty much platforms that every company or blogger has to be on, otherwise they’re missing out on a swath of people who might be on Facebook or Twitter all day, but do not necessarily seek out and view content on websites without being reminded by updates they get on Facebook or Twitter.
(Interestingly, the idea of going to websites to seek out the content you want — without getting some sort of reminder — seems almost foreign to me now. I pretty much do all my online reading via RSS feeds, where Google Reader gives me a list of headline links from all my favorite sites that I either choose to click on to read the story, or not.) (Read more…)
One thing that’s been abundantly clear to me about “maintaining” (*) my review site and blog this year: Inertia is a bitch.
* I feel the word “maintaining” requires quotes at this moment, seeing as Shia LaBeouf and Megan Fox have been running from an explosion on my home page for more than three months now — never my intention when I posted that image. (**)
Back last December I was faced with a panic situation. I still hadn’t written most of the BSG season 4.0 reviews, and season 4.5 was breathing down my neck. I had precious few weeks to write more than half a dozen reviews that I knew would be long and detailed and exhausting (because I was dealing with the exciting and much-to-discuss final season of BSG). And as I had that weekly deadline of 4.5 episodes always threatening me, it forced me to turn out my reviews on a breakneck (for me) schedule so I could keep up. Then the final episode aired and I was off the hook and could sigh in relief. No wonder it took me six weeks to finally post the finale review. (Read more…)
From the personal files: I bought a house last week. Here’s a rundown of what moving has entailed. This does not go into details about the buying part in the month leading up to this week.
Monday, April 21: I closed on the house at 9 a.m. It only took about 20 minutes. Apparently when you finance a mortgage with a credit union it’s a lot less paperwork than with a bank. I only had to sign my name about 20 times, which is far less than many closings, my lawyer told me. I spent much of the day on the phone changing addresses and phone numbers on my credit cards and bank accounts. (Read more…)
It’s strange how the changes of the seasons work. It’s summer, and then, suddenly, it’s winter. Or at least that’s how it feels. There’s a month or so of transition (it used to be called “fall,” but it seems that fall barely exists anymore, it’s so damn short) and then you go from hot mode to cold mode and stay there for months on end.
Once you’re mired in the season (actually, I’ll apply the term “mired” to winter and “immersed” for summer, since winter is more of a chore), it feels like forever ago since the previous opposite season happened and forever again until it will arrive again. (Read more…)
Today, the day after Thanksgiving, is “Black Friday,” the busiest and most insane shopping day of the year. Every year the story is the same: We see the news reports about the lengthy lines at the major retail stores and all the “great deals” — and there’s always inevitably a headline out of somewhere about how a fight broke out at Wal-Mart over $50 DVD players or something. (The $50 DVD player as a Great Deal, which led to a fight/headline a few years ago, is already a humorous anachronism; now $50 DVD players are a dime a dozen.)
I’m here to announce the painfully obvious, which is that Black Friday is colossally absurd. It’s one of the most ridiculous examples of media/marketing-manufactured hysteria that I can think of. Retailers should be ashamed of themselves for encouraging this annual mess — far more ashamed, even, than for starting Christmas season on Nov. 1.
I will demonstrate this not with my usual rant, but with an anecdote. (Read more…)
I’m on vacation with Kathy and her family in South Haven, Michigan. We’re in a house less than a block from the lake. The weather is beautiful. (Read more…)
Here’s some food for thought: If you are running a web site, make sure that you maintain as much control over your domain name as you can. That sounds like a no-brainer, but I made a mistake back in 1999. I realized it later but I let it go for a long time (years) and I didn’t rectify that mistake until 2006. In trying to rectify it, I thought it was going to turn into a major pain in my ass. In the meantime, I almost unknowingly made an even bigger mistake. (Read more…)