“I am, beneath everything else, a fan. I was fixed in this mode as a young boy, and am awed by people who take the risks of performance.” -Roger Ebert
My New Year’s resolution for 2013 was to start my own blog, a place where, after so many years of spontaneous wilderness freelancing on the topics I cared about – for fleeting, often negligible, returns – I could finally build and, more importantly, archive a personal body of work, and even invite the public to come check it out. I’ve always loved to write. Starting a blog was also my New Year’s resolution in 2011, of course, and 2010, and, if memory serves, 2007. In early January, 2014, my long-prophesied repository, Darkadaptedeye, finally opened for business, and while that fact might reveal more than you need to know about either the horrors of procrastination in general or the grip in which they’ve held me for the bulk of my life, I feel like the, as of this writing, 196 posts here published since that date also go a long way toward demonstrating some work ethic (when actually tapped, it can be fearsome, especially if, like this, it’s work I enjoy), my desire, if not always ability (though I think my batting average is above .500), to produce interesting, quality content on a regular basis, and, especially, the passion underlying everything I do – passion for music, for movies, for television, sports, history, alt comedy, whatever have you.
When that passion dims, these pages will be a foregone conclusion and I a much different, and infinitely poorer, man. I grew up an only child, a child of divorce, and a latchkey kid. To develop and indulge my imagination was a paramount concern, and it was left largely up to me to fill my brain with cool things. I jumped at the challenge. The reason I first opened this site, have worked in the interim, and continue to work entirely too hard to meet odd personal expectations that likely wouldn’t even occur to many others, is precisely because of that still lingering passion, and my gnawing need to channel it. Though they feel like lifetimes ago, and even are in strictly temporal terms, some of my greatest memories ever are of watching a particular movie at the age of ten, or listening to a particular piece of music at the age of twelve, reading a particular book at fifteen, witnessing a transcendent sporting event at the age of eighteen, or seeing a mind-blowing concert at the age of twenty. I can’t as an adult pretend those things didn’t happen, or file them away as quaint artifacts of a bygone era. In all of the cases above, as you might well imagine, I have examples, or, more succinctly, inspirations, at the ready. If you’re reading this, I hope, and imagine, that you do too.
That our examples might differ is completely immaterial. That they exist at all is absolutely critical.
Because passion isn’t ephemera. Passion is clean-burning fuel. Passion is renewable energy.
No matter how grand my designs, my pretensions, or my appetite, this blog remains a decidedly humble affair. I’ve been publishing lengthy, nerdy, written reviews, essays, remembrances, and, I suppose, memoir fragments here for exactly five years now. It has been a fun and edifying journey to take – the idea of writing this much, this regularly, this intensively – and I greet the prospect of each new post with a mixture of trepidation and extreme excitement, feeling that the work I put into the site on every level might mean something to someone, somewhere, even if occasionally only to me. The days on which I feel the most fulfilled and content anymore are, almost without exception, the ones that resulted in a new post. As with any self-published, ad-free blog, the subject matter here is rarely going to stray from things I myself have purchased or experiences I’ve explicitly sought out, so it’s a lucky coincidence that I generally have impeccable taste. Should my instincts ever betray me, I practically guarantee you’ll read about it here. At my current pace, I’ll reach 200 posts by the Spring of 2019, which will truly be a milestone, especially for someone who tends to publish between 1500 and 2500 words at a time. Some of those posts are even good. Some, I think, are better than that. All of them are from the heart.
As time has passed, certain realities have crystalized, mainly the hard fact of the work on those weeks when I’m simply not feeling it, and that I am a far better content producer than I am a salesman. Barring the arrival of some sort of sweetheart sponsorship ripped right out of a Hollywood fantasy, DAE is, and likely ever will be, a labor of love, not profit. I’m content with the feeling that what audience I’ve been able to amass thus far has been engaged organically. I hate stepping on toes. All writers want to be read, of course, but I’m fairly content to float through the Web – with its countless thousands, if not millions, of “competing” would-be writers, amateur critics, and armchair quarterbacks, all jockeying for an attention base that is already attention-deprived and spread perilously thin – under my own power and on my own merits, whatever those may be. I’d be pleased and honored if, on occasion, you’d join me. I say “on occasion” because DAE by nature and design is a portal for relaying whatever I care about, or might care to wax rhapsodic over, on a given day. If you happen to not care about what I post on a certain day, check back later, or maybe dig a bit deeper. The next (or previous) post might be more up your alley. It’s kind of like Ohio weather: If you don’t like it, just wait. Gears will inevitably shift over the course of the next day, or week, or month, or whatever, and you may well find something more to your interest and potential liking. That’s the idea at least.
“TOO LONG DIDN’T READ!!!!!” -Anonymous User Comment in response to DAE review of “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice” on April 22, 2016
In closing, welcome to Darkadaptedeye. Or maybe even “welcome back”. I’m honored you’ve chosen to spend any time here, and I’ll do my level best to reward your investment, however minimal or generous, with my best possible work. One of my favorite things about perusing the internet has always been the ability it affords the bored or distracted to go hunting at will, to dig into dark corners and come up with an abundance of theoretically engaging new reading material (this game is kind of a crapshoot, I grant you). It’s a weird and lovely feeling to be invested in that process on both sides of the screen now. Be forewarned: I don’t do clickbait, or substance-free listicles, and I don’t traffic in bite-sized anything. It’s just not my style. It’s been a blast to periodically check in and see the wide range of reviews, articles, lists, and essays that visitors have clicked on. I invariably think back to my youthful days reading Ebert reviews at random, or taxing his still invaluable website to the breaking point, and realize this, in part, is what I want my writing to accomplish. That I also realize I have marathons yet to run to get within sight of that horizon could be depressing, or I might take it as motivation. That depends on the day.
If you like what you see at DAE, please consider signing up for our email notification list (the link’s on the sidebar, approx. halfway down), or keeping up with us via our companion Facebook and Twitter feeds. This blog has encouraged me to both see and do more, in addition to fundamentally altering the way I think about the art I experience. The efforts involved in its curation and maintenance have tangibly, and positively, energized me. To wit: Between first runs and revivals, I saw well over twenty movies in the theater last year, several of which I didn’t even get around to reviewing. I’m pleased with that number, but know it’s got room yet to move. My friends absorb such news with pale, knowing expressions. They think me weird, if not crazy. Then they check out the blog, and let’s just say it probably doesn’t complicate their existing opinions. I still can’t thank them, or you, enough for, as the great stand-up comic Bobcat Goldthwait so often said, “encouraging my behavior.” 2014’s New Year’s Resolution may have been the only one I ever kept, but I like to think I’ve made it count. It feels terrific to have my own established writing platform/workshop after so many years of inadvertently threatening innocent bystanders, and I’m already lousy with ideas for the future. Do stop in from time to time.
January 5, 2019
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Portrait of the author as a cartoon child.