Slimming down the domain-portfolio

Unrelated picture of sausages
Unrelated picture of sausages

It’s 2016 and this is my first blog post of the year. I’m writing it on this blog that served me so well for almost 13 years. The domain, which I bought after realizing that that’s what the grown-up blogs do, was the first domain-name I bought, but it definitely wasn’t the last.

The second one I bought was for a web-service that lived only in it’s concepts, which in itself were not far more than a few notes scribbled in a text-editor. No surprise it never came to fruition. I kept the name for a year, then realized it was a bad idea anyway and slowly let it lapse.

The next ones I bought were kept for longer. When the tumble-log craze of the mid 2000s came, I bought intrepidlytrite.com. Back then I thought it was a fun idea to jot down the notes, quotes, pictures and whatever else I stumbled upon on my travels through the web. I attached it first to a tumblr account, then a soup.io account, but after years of rather willful neglect more or less forgot about it. Still, I kept it around, attached it to a few other blog ideas I had, which again, rarely ever made it off the ground.

At the end of the last year, I let this one lapse too. Compared to my ill-fated webservice, I felt some hesitation when I decided not to renew it. It had belonged to me for a while and even though nothing great came of it, ever, I liked the name (even though I don’t anymore think it’s as witty as I thought it was). But I simply saw that I had too many domains.

It’s a funny thing with domain names. As with the two above, they’re always the first thing you buy when you have a great idea. Getting projects off the ground is hard, thinking up domain-names isn’t – it’s actual fun! And once you’ve bought it, you attach it to a blog or a “coming soon” service and feel elated. The rude awakening comes a few weeks, months or years later when you realize that you’re still paying for this name that never went anywhere.

It’s not always that tragic, though. Another of the names I bought was medienschelte.at, a media-watchblog I founded with a friend in the mid-2000s. The project went strong for three years, until we both one day noticed that we’re sick of reading crap newspapers. But the site is still up, for posterity’s sake and as a vigil to the accumulated weeks I spent  going through said newspapers finding crappy stuff they wrote in their crappy articles. Finding these things wasn’t exactly fun, but it was satisfying in the way popping a pimple feels. But I am digressing.

Earlier last year I made the decision to consolidate my online-outfits. I conceded to the cold, hard truth that most of the blogs I had running were being shamefully neglected and in order to remedy this, I’d have to find out which ones I still needed, which ones I didn’t and which ones I could easily transfer into this blog right here.

After a bit of hemming and hawing, I finally decided that my tech blog would have to be the first one to go and imported all my old posts into this blog. You can now find those under the category tech-stuff. Ironically, that’s how the tech-stuff posts started out, and for some reason I deemed it necessary to create a separate blog for all the things focusing on the tech world. Nowadays I’m more relaxed about it, so if someone reading up on my favourite podcast app happens to read about my visit to the Styrian alps, I don’t have a problem with it.

The next blog I’m planning on incorporating into this blog is my food blog. The name deathbymartini.com, as a play on death by chocolate, was fun when I came up with it, and even though I still like it, I feel it’s run its course. Also, when I created my food-blog, there was still some fun in it. Today it’s yet another niche that’s less about the initial topic and more about how to make money writing about that topic; a tendency that will befall every successful niche sooner or later.

Within my own kingdom of blogs that will leave me with the dukedom of colordisco.com, which I suspect will soon be incorporated into this blog as an aside category.

Then, there’s still hemmer.tv, a hidalgo of sorts and a domain I bought on a whim and which will probably at some point helm my broadcasting empire. But that, as so many other of my projects, will have to wait until the world is ready for it. Until then, the domain is parked somewhere on my webhost’s server.

I have to admit that while getting rid of domains is instilling a feeling of sadness akin to giving away a dog you’ve had for years but can’t keep anymore because you’re moving into a place that doesn’t allow dogs, it’s also kind of liberating (sorry, dog). I can concentrate on the actual content and I don’t have to face the fact that whatever projects I had in mind buying these domains have failed or never gotten off the ground. Also, it’ll be cheaper.

 

My best of everything in 2015

It’s been a while since I wrote end-of-year lists, but in light of my re-emergence on this very (digital) soil, I’ll give it a shot this year. I’m taking my liberty with the sorts of things I award in this blog, so don’t be disappointed if I won’t write about my favourite colour of the year (it’s goldenrod, though, as always). Well, here goes, in no particular order:

Best book of 2015 I started reading but will probably still be reading way into 2016 

This one is easy. It’s From Dawn to Decadence, an all-encompassing cultural history of Europe from 1500 to the present day. Written by eminent French-born but ultimately US historian Jacques Barzun. He had a rather illustrious career as an historian, wrote numerous books on a number of wildly different subjects (one about Baseball, as well). The book has been co-opted somewhat by conservatives in the US, probably because Barzun is a bit of a cultural pessimist. Unarguably, though, the book provides a clear, concise and wildly entertaining insight into what shaped Europe and ultimately all the other countries across the globe. It’s filled to the brim with insights and aha-moments. Barzun wrote this book at the end of his life (he lived basically through all of the 20th century, and then some). Asked how long it took him to write the book, he just said: “My whole life.” I like that.

The reason why  I haven’t finished it yet is either because I like to savour every singly word, or maybe because I start ruminating about what he writes and consequently fall asleep. You choose.

Best Horror film I probably won’t be ever be watching with my girlfriend

Let Us Prey. I’m cheating here a bit, simply because I think it’s the best horror film I’ve seen this year, period. But it really isn’t one I’d be watching with my girlfriend. Not that she’s squeamish, but the level of Hellraiserishness is simply not her kind of horror. Apart from that, though, I think she might actually like it. It’s set in a quiet Scottish town, it features an incredible female protagonist who prevails even in the face of utter chaos and fuckedupness.

The film is rather flawlessly made by director Brian O’Malley, not least because of his DOP Piers McGrail, who did such a stellar job. The whole thing is rounded off by Steve Lynch’s Carpenteresque score. In fact, the opening sequence alone is worth the admission for this one.

Let Us Prey – Opening Sequence (Feature Film) from Brian O’Malley on Vimeo.

 

Best horror film I did watch with my girlfriend

Babadook. That, too, is quite easy. I think it was the most lauded horror film of the last year and a half, and I can see why. Uncanny, terrifying on so many levels and great for doing impressions. “Ba Ba Dook!” finally replaced “Kagutaba!” to freak each other out (the latter by the way coming from the 2005 film “The Curse”, which was quite a shocker too).

Best horror film (save the other two above)

Yes, I do like watching horror films, so please excuse this final one. It’s called It Follows, and it’s one of those films that even though it doesn’t make sense all the time, feels just right. It’s a not so subtle, but still convincing parable about the, sometimes quite tangible, horrors of growing up. Again score and camerawork are spot on as well.

Best Film Festival I was invited to act as a juror on

Easy, that was of course the Vienna Film Festival Viennale! I loved having the opportunity to watch roughly 30 films in ten days (in the theatre, mind you), and then being able to actually, hopefully, help a film getting an Austrian release. The film we (my four great co-jurors and I) chose was the one by Portuguese filmmaker Carlos Saboga called “A Uma Hora Incerta”. I wrote about the film and why we chose it on my historical consultant blog. Read it!

The good people at Viennale and Der Standard were gracious, generous and full of enthusiasm. It’s definitely a once in a lifetime gig for a film nerd like me.

Best five weddings I went to this year

I’d say the best five wedding were the ones I went to this year. So yeah, all weddings were great, none like the other. We spent nights drinking in the middle of Viennese Donaupark, in a Palais on the outskirts of Vienna, near an old water-mill in the Upper Austrian countryside, in a wine-cellar again at the outskirts of Vienna and finally right underneath a Viaduct again at the outskirts of Vienna (there’s a pattern there somewhere). As I’m actually quite a fan of ties, but am actually not forced to wear them on a daily basis, I was happy to finally have good reason to wear ties. Here’s one of them.

IMG_20150627_111812

 

Best food I ate

I like to eat a whole lot. Currently not reflected in my food-blog, because I just haven’t had the time to write pithy comments about food. I do take a lot of pictures of my food, still. Picking out a single dish I had over the course of the year is amazingly difficult, if not even impossible. Always one to shy away from a hard task, I’ll just go ahead and post some of my favourite dishes here. You decide which one I liked best.

Best language I learned

Proof!
Proof!

SPANISH! I finally got real about using Duolingo. I’d started up courses a few years back, went through a bit of Spanish, Swedish and French. This year I decided to go all the way, at least with one of those languages. It turned out to be Spanish. I finished the whole course after five or so months, and now I’m just tirelessly repeating what I learned. Because hey, according to the Duolingo Owl, that’s how you learn a language. I’m by no means really good at it, but I’m good enough at it for now. Which is exactly what I wanted.

 

Best indie-game festival I visited

There’s a lot of indie-game developers in Austria and the neighboring countries. Especially for those in the Eastern European countries, champions and chances to network are needed. Radius Festival, originally a London-based games expo, does just that. In July 2015 it came to Vienna, and I got to meet some very interesting people in the process. There’s loads of great people making games in Austria and the neighboring countries, and events like these are great to foster that talent. Since I’m at it, have a look at Games Austria, a non-profit organization that is very active in that area. In February, they’ll even host their first real conference. So go there and have a look.

Best Podcast I became a part of

Well, I didn’t have a favourite one for the most part of the year, but then in late September my friend Daniel of Codinghistory fame approached me. Asked if I wanted to, I said yes, and two weeks later we had our first episode up. Ever since then we’ve been going strong, currently at episode 14, I think. The whole thing is called Zeitsprung (astute readers of this blog might have seen me mention it elsewhere already), it’s about stories from history and quite entertaining. Also, you’ll learn a whole lot of stuff and since we always publish the latest episodes on Sundays (or early Mondays), it’s the best thing to start off your week. And you’ll be able to tell cool stories at the water-cooler (like about that one German-Spanish bastard who happened to become one of Spain’s most famous heroes). A small caveat: the whole thing’s in German, so if you don’t understand it, you’ll have to wait until we make some English versions of the show (might happen sometime).

Best way to end this blogpost 

It’s been a great year, and I did a whole lot of things that made me enjoy it, whether I managed to cram those into one of my “best of” categories or not. I finally started reading more, learning more, enjoyed more time with my girlfriend and my parents and met loads of new people. I started writing more, and even though it might be to the detriment of those people who feel obliged to read my ramblings because they’re my family and friends, I think a blog filled with new life is a great thing.

And who knows, maybe, a few thousand years in the future, when the AI-humans have found a way to read the fragments they found on those hard-disks buried beneath the rubble of long lost civilizations, they’ll see this post and re-evaluate their decision to use humankind as batteries to fuel their virtually endless lives.

Have a great 2016!

 

Of sausages, turkeys and trees

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Assorted sweetstuffs

Before I started writing more again, the latest blogpost on here was one about Christmas. Short and quite to the point. Despite its almost three year tenure as this blog’s top post, it failed to gain much traction. It might have been a marketing problem.

Anyway, it’s that time of the year again, so tomorrow will be Christmas Eve, where at roughly seven at night my family and I will be entering the living room, marvel at the tree, sing songs, read poems and stories, then embrace each other and wish each other “Merry Christmas” and then we’ll give each other presents and then put on some water for the traditional sausages, which we’ll soon crowd around the kitchen table to eat (the living room table will be covered in wrapping paper, presents, cookies), after which we’ll all just find us a place to sit somewhere and nurse the rest of the beer from the sausage dinner (some maybe a cup of tea) and start reading in one of the books we’ll have received, while my mother, who’s by now the only one who still does, will announce it’s time for her to go to church for the Christmas service, a second after which she’ll ask who would drive her there, because parking there is always a pain, and either my sister or I will give in (I think it’ll be me), so after I’ve dropped her off I’ll get back to reading in one of my new books (my mother will probably return by foot fifteen minutes later because according to her the church was just too full, but really I think she just found it to be too cold and wanted to go back to reading in one of her new books), and in between I’ll get up over to the big basket filled with cookies and pick out my favourites until I’m full, tired and ready for bed, which is in one of the two rooms that evolved out of the cowshed my parents converted when they moved in, so they’d have space to host their children, not just, but especially for events like these, and since it’s not connected to any central heating, I’ll put another log or two in the iron stove heating the room, and then get under the covers, making sure no feet are peeking out because this room has the tendency to release any and all warmth as soon as the last log has been turned to ash, which will probably happen roughly an hour after I’ve fallen asleep, happy and content, even though my face isn’t covered by the blanket, meaning I’ll wake up with an icy nose.

Next night we’ll have turkey.

The right way to drink tea

According to venerated bard George Orwell, eleven factors determine the perfect cup of tea. My favourite is this one, not least because my family has been doing it the other way round forever:

Tenthly, one should pour tea into the cup first. This is one of the most controversial points of all; indeed in every family in Britain there are probably two schools of thought on the subject. The milk-first school can bring forward some fairly strong arguments, but I maintain that my own argument is unanswerable. This is that, by putting the tea in first and stirring as one pours, one can exactly regulate the amount of milk whereas one is liable to put in too much milk if one does it the other way round.

I’ve recently started to drink more tea, so this list comes in handy. Here’s the whole thing for you, including an actual reading of the list.