For the first few weeks after switching the blog from Movable Type to Wordpress, I spent many hours going through the newly-imported archives, looking for stylistic inconsistencies, characters that didn't come over correctly — the default around here has always been ISO 8859-1, but WordPress is emotionally wedded to Unicode — and broken links. Having so done, I swore I'd never do it again.

And having said that, I admit that now and again, I pull one month's worth out of those archives — usually 150 to 180 posts — and just read. There's a lot of stuff sitting here in WordPress, after all: the database begins late in the first week of September 2006, which means that there are nearly a hundred months to choose from. This is not the yearly scan I run in the last week of December every year for the New Year's Day "Worst titles" feature: in that, I'm just looking for titles, not reading the actual articles. No, this is an actual reading of whatever month I happened to pick — the most recent was May 2009 — including comments if any. (For this month there were about 800, approximately twice the usual number of comments for a month; then again, this was a month in which there were a couple of noticeable Thread Wars plus an Instalanche.)

If I had any reason to be insufferably pleased with myself, it was from this item on the 19th, in which I noted that the Oklahoma City Thunder, the fourth-worst team in the NBA in 2008-09, had drawn the third draft pick, and speculated thusly:

I'm sort of expecting to see Arizona State shooting guard James Harden end up here: he has the fundamentals down cold, his few weaknesses will be overcome quickly enough, and by all accounts he's your basic Solid Citizen type, which counts heavily in [GM Sam] Presti's notebook.

A little over a month later, the Thunder indeed drafted Harden. (Eventually they let him go, on the semi-sensible basis that they could only afford so many near-max contracts, which prompted all manner of yammering from the fanbase.)

Then again, if you go back into those MT archives, you find this curious remark:

If the Hornets return to New Orleans, as everyone involved swears they will, this is the most likely spot the Sonics will end up: team support here is running well beyond original expectations, and NBA Commissioner David Stern would much prefer to have another team move here than to deal with angry Hornets fans in Louisiana.

This appeared on the 11th of December, 2005. It wasn't until July 2006 that Clay Bennett and friends actually bought the Seattle SuperSonics, and November 2007 that they informed David Stern that the team, assuming league approval, would be moving to Oklahoma City. To coin a phrase, I saw it coming. Of course, for every single thing I did predict accurately over the years, there are probably half a dozen I didn't.

Still, this is, in terms of sheer bulk if nothing else, a substantial body of work: in those 99 months between September 2006 and now, there are some 3.6 million words. Even assuming that half of those words were quoted from somewhere else, that's still War and Peace three times over. And it doesn't include about 1.5 million words in comments. I'm pretty sure nothing here ranks with Tolstoy, though it might stand even with, say, Travis Tea's Atlanta Nights. Of course, you must keep this in mind:

The creator (with a small c) is often the worst judge of his own creation. More often than not, I've hit the Publish button and then almost immediately wondered what sort of unspeakably godawful codswallop I'd inflicted on the rest of the world. But later, if I happen to go back to that particular item for some reason, I'll page through a section of the archives, and I'll think, "You know, that wasn't half bad. How come I don't write that well now?"

Then again, if I can come up with that same conclusion on a regular basis, I would have reason to suspect that I have maintained a certain — or maybe an uncertain — level of quality throughout, an important consideration given the fact that I just paid for another year of this, and that the site's 20th anniversary (!) will arrive in less than a year and a half.

The Vent

#895
  1 December 2014

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