A Year in Review: 2015

Year-end lists, the best of/worst of kind of thing, are already peppering media. It makes sense to do an end of the year diagnostic but I’ve never felt too compelled to write that kind of thing. Yet, I think this year merits a little more attention than usual. So here is my last post of 2015, one that looks to give a certain summation and closure on the year. 

Over 27,ooo people found my site in 2015, and it recorded nearly 34,000 views. I don’t think I’ll be able to replicate this in 2016 but it’s nice to have a goal. The number of countries where these visitors came from was rather impressive as well:

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It was a good year. I’ve been able to raise my credit score by nearly a hundred and fifty points. I moved from one grotesquely red state, Kansas, to another grotesquely red state, Kentucky, yet have been able to keep sane. My sister’s second child was born, Hunter, making me an uncle to a cute niece and now nephew.

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I fell in love with the ‘cabin’ that my in-laws bought late last year. On the lake, I’ve come to actually enjoy fishing.

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My wife became a diehard Minnesota United supporter. And while she only has enough love for one soccer team, she took me to see the Chicago Fire (a team I had been writing on for roughly three seasons) play our then local club Sporting Kansas City. I hadn’t seen a MLS game since fist seeing the Chicago Fire in Soldier Field.

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I gave up writing on the Fire to focus on enjoying Minnesota United. But I couldn’t resist the urge to write on soccer. So, I threw my hat into the ring to write for Midfield Press. It was a good season following the NASL. We’ll see if I write on any team or league for 2016. We even made the trek to Indianapolis to watch our Loons.

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I was sent a Bag of Dicks by an Arsenal supporter who I then invited to my home to watch Manchester United play underwhelming soccer.

I tried to live a life with a beard but then thought better of it.

My father-in-law got me a meat smoker for my birthday, so I’ve taken the first steps into the world of smoked meats. I’ve done salmon twice, a turkey, and a pork shoulder. I haven’t leveled-up to brisket yet but I have decided that I could homebrew.

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Homebrew not just because I love beer, but because my wife and I have actually started looking to buy a house. Granted, it’ll be in Kentucky. But as I’m nearly 40 and have never been a homeowner, it’s a big fucking deal.

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This Fall semester I taught three first-year college English courses. Teaching again was interesting. As a professor, I’m less than well-liked by my students but I rather enjoy showing them new things and making them better writers. Which is funny, given that I’m writing rather terrible fantasy novels.

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But I like them so that’s all that matters. That, and my five regular readers.

I was only able to write two poems this year, but that’s two more poems than I’ve written in like five years. Hopefully, 2016 will see more poetry. It’ll definitely see yet more music playlists as well as write-ups on tv shows, book reviews, and gaming essays.

A goal for 2016 is to set up a way to be able to earn even a small amount of change from all the scribbling I do. I’m looking to set up a Patreon account to do so. We’ll see how that goes, I’m hardly as good of a writer or creative or have enough of a social media following to warrant making a living from this but one needs to hope.

Finally, I end 2015 having failed to reach my Goodreads reading challenge of 365 books read in the year. I came close though.

So here are my most read articles from this year.

Top 5 Posts

One of my best articles is my top read piece. The others that round out my top five aren’t bad either but I think I wrote some better pieces that didn’t find the right audience. But here are the ones that did.

1. Im a Good Person!’: An Examination of Jerry Smith

With nearly 7,000 views, this was by far the most read piece I wrote this year. This year saw the second season of the cartoon Rick & Morty and when it ended, I felt compelled to give form to my thoughts on it. A lot of smarter people (and a lot of less savvy people) have gotten on-board with Rick & Morty making YouTube vids, writing on it, and creating some brilliant fan art.

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This piece by Luke McGarry (@lukeymcgarry) is my current favorite. It’s a mashup of BoJack Horseman and Rick & Morty. My plan was to write a piece on each member of the Smith family but then I decided to just look at Jerry, Summer, and Beth. I doubt my next pieces on Summer and Beth will be as widely read but that’s no reason not to write them.

What made this essay take off was Rick & Morty co-creator Dan Harmon re-tweeting it and giving it a certain praise.

I’m wildly flattered that Harmon took the time to read it. This was certainly the highlight of my time blogging.

2. Foodiesphere: Sriracha Peanut Sauce Chicken

Just over 3,200 people read this quick and easy recipe.

Being unemployed for the vast majority of the two years we spent in Kansas led me to taking on the mantle of house-spouse. Cooking became a thing that I tried to become adept in doing. I don’t think I’m necessarily a good cook but I have found a slew of recipes that are healthy, easy, delicious, and quick. As I’ve cooked, I’ve come to modify recipes. One of such modifications was this entry into my ‘Foodiesphere’ series.

I shared this on Reddit, then someone shared it on a keto recipes sub which prompted a good number of reads. Keto or ketogenic diet is a low carb, high fat diet. I’m not quite sure how, when, or why it’s become its own little tribe in the healthy eating community but it was a neat thing to learn about and helped to expand my know-how. It’s really cool that such a simple thing like this recipe could lead me to a wider understanding of healthy living.

3. The World As We Know It: The Races of Syr Nebra

Early this year, I released the second book in my non-magic, epic fantasy adventure series, Winterfinding. In November, I released the third book, The Punishment Hand. As I’ve been writing the novels, I’ve also been trying regularly to write supplemental materials exploring and explaining the fantasy world of mine (Syr Nebra).

This article notched a good number of reads, just over 1,600, as I tried to confront how I was seeing and portraying race in my fantasy writing. Diversity matters in fiction and it matter just how I’m trying to embody it. I don’t know if I’m doing a good job but I’m trying to do something. Hopefully, I’ll get better.

4. Blackstar: The Inviolate Elegance & Hermetic Cosmogenesis of David Bowie

With just over 1,100 reads, this piece on just how much I love David Bowie and was excited for his new album had a good showing. It also inspired me to craft an in-class response writing for the first year college English course I was teaching. My students hated watching and listening to ‘Black Star.’ It confused them to the point of genuine anger towards it. I loved it.

5. Foodiesphere: One-Pan Shakshuka with Feta

Finally, with just under 950 viewers reading it, this recipe of bell peppers, cheese, and eggs rounds out my top five. Shakshuka and menemen are roughly the same thing.

I’ve come to really like making these egg dishes. My great strength is sauteing, and these fit that strength while being perfect for breakfast, lunch, or even dinner.

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