Hey there, supporters and strangers! Welcome to the third annual Midlife Crisis Crossover year-in-review. This modest site was launched on April 28, 2012, as a nervous experiment in writing whatever came to mind in a space to call my own, and so far it’s been a much more fulfilling pastime than lurking around message boards and tapping my foot impatiently while waiting for other fun people to discuss things I wanted to discuss. Last week saw the release of MCC’s 900th post, and so far I’m at a loss to explain exactly how that happened. I dreaded 2014 would be the year I ran out of anecdotes and opinions and jokes, but in hindsight I can’t think of a reason to let that stop me now. If this happened months ago, everybody do me a favor and don’t tell me, because the longer you let me ramble on like this, the funnier it’ll be to watch my eventual horrified epiphany.
MCC’s 2012 was a slow rise from nothingness to quantifiable somethingness. Our 2013 was about steady upward trending as I kept exploring my limitations and horizons. 2014, on the other hand, saw largely flatlined traffic except around a few key events. This peaceful plateau may be in part because 2014 was MCC’s first year without a single entry achieving the much-vaunted WordPress.com “Freshly Pressed” status, that prized occasion in which the WordPress staff shares a well-regarded work of yours with a much wider audience of fellow WordPress users. Without such a generous boost to accelerate audience growth this year, it meant trying to hold your attention with old-school methods — by keeping the content coming, by appreciating the greatest audience of all times, by digging into topics that might interest other humans besides myself, by trying not to suck, and by wishing really hard that magic search-engine genies would do all my marketing for me.
(For more information regarding what “Freshly Pressed” means and how it happens, I refer you to an October 2013 post in which I summed up my entire experience with, and insight into, the FP experience to date. Long story short: it happens when it happens, and not one minute before. You’ll never see it coming, but enjoy it while it lasts.)
Thus in 2014 we broke no records, had no major breakthroughs, kept our failures low-key, and never had the chance to refer to anything in our lives as “viral” except a nasty cough that dogged my wife for four months, and even that turned out to be bacterial rather than viral. 2014 was not really a year for winning at much. There was me being me, my wife still being awesome, geek culture still being what it is, and various internet cultures inventing new detestable kinds of us-vs.-them schisms because humankind craves more excuses to declare war on itself.
Meanwhile, MCC kept on chugging along, the Little Site That Could. It met the baseline expectations of serving as my chief expression and communication outlet, it gave me new reasons to think harder, and I didn’t get bored with, oh, 95% of what I did with it. That’ll do.
Onward, then, to our annual blog-stats party! 2014 on Midlife Crisis Crossover looked like so:
MCC 2014 POSTS WITH THE MOST OVERALL CUMULATIVE HITS:
1. “Revolution” 3/19/2014 (spoilers): That Stupid, Selfish Thing You Do
2. Gen Con 2014 Photos, Part 1 of 6: the Costume Contest Winners
3. “Revolution” 1/8/2014 (spoilers): Everyone Loves Li’l Sebastian
4. Yes, There’s a Message After the “Dallas Buyers Club” End Credits
5. Yes, There’s a Scene (and an Easter Egg) During the “Veronica Mars” End Credits
In terms of total hits from 1/1/2014 to roughly 9 p.m. EST tonight, we see once again that people like new movies, but hate sitting through end credits, even when it’s a movie that had a simultaneous release in theaters and On Demand. I was also among the few bloggers following NBC’s Revolution to the very end, so apparently recaps became a rare commodity, particularly in March when they announced a major character was about to die. And, as always, Gen Con cosplayers rule.
HIGHEST SINGLE-DAY TRAFFIC SPIKES:
1. Gen Con 2014 Photos, Part 1 of 6: the Costume Contest Winners
2. C2E2 2014 Photos, Part 1 of 4: Costumes on the Show Floor, Comics Division
3. “Revolution” 3/19/2014 (spoilers): That Stupid, Selfish Thing You Do
4. Indy PopCon 2014 Photos, Part 1: the Costume Contest Winners
5. Indiana Comic Con 2014 Photos: Costumes, Artists, and Other Sights Seen Before the Meltdown
Conventions are fun. Conventions are neat. Conventions have costumes that can’t be beat. Burma Shave.
2014 saw a virtual convention glut for us as three new shows came to Indianapolis, albeit with mixed results. Of the other shows we attended, our Awesome Con Indy photos nearly made the list; Starbase Indy is a local fan-run show with limited cachet beyond us longtime stalwarts; and, for whatever reason, among our convention entries Wizard World Chicago always runs in next-to-last place. Go figure.
MCC BACK-CATALOG POSTS WITH THE MOST HITS IN 2014:
1. Yes, There’s a Scene After the “Frozen” End Credits
2. The “Wreck-It Ralph” Easter Eggs You’ll Never See
3. Installing This Stupid Dryer Vent Cover Counts as a Victory
4. Indianapolis Comic Con 2014: Hoax, Dream, or Imaginary Story?
5. Yes, There’s a Scene After the “Django Unchained” End Credits
Here we see MCC’s best “evergreen” entries from 2012 and 2013. The biggest surprise to me is that there’s still a market for Home Improvement humor. Locals were dying to know about the mysterious manifestation of our very own Indiana Comic Con, and have been searching ever since for details about the upcoming first annual Wizard World Indianapolis. Also: movies movies movies movies movies movies movies movies. Perhaps I should see even more of those in 2015.
MOST SHARED MCC POSTS OF 2014:
I’m a big fan of this category because I like to know which entries resonate beyond this site’s borders, but my skewed dashboard stats imply this useful function has been broken since last March. Thus the category is ruined and I’m bitter. Suffice it to say: if you’re among those stellar individuals who thought anything I wrote in 2014 deserved to be seen by other humans and you took active steps to make it so, I thank you in all sincerity from the bottom of my heart.
MOST COMMENTED POSTS OF 2014:
1. The Midlife Crisis Crossover Official Handbook of Follower Obligations
2. “Breakfast Supper Nights”: a Tribute to EXTRA Breakfast for Dinner
3. Indy 500 Festival Parade Photos 2014, Part 2 of 5: Marching Bands and Other Groups
4. Indy PopCon 2014 Photos, Part 1: the Costume Contest Winners
5. (tie) My Bible is Ruined but Nobody Wants to Hear Me Whine About It
5. (tie) My (More Than) Top 10 Favorite David Letterman Memories
5. (tie) Before You Throw Away Those Cappuccino Potato Chips…
5. (tie) My So-Called “Black Friday” 2014
5. (tie) Christmas Shopping? I’m Not Even Done With My November Chores
MCC is generally a quiet space, but we do value interaction with you and any reasonable input from passersby. Meta-entries about blogging are always a good bet for WordPress users to compare notes with each other, so there’s that. I was also gratified to see a rare faith-themed entry elicit some kind words. Always appreciated. I wish those subjects came to mind more often and flowed more musically from my fingertips, but the odd truth is that sometimes the most meaningful thoughts are also the hardest for me to express without fear or stumbling.
My wife and I began attending the Indianapolis 500 Festival Parade as a fun date activity, but we’ve found a way to use part of it in service to others: by taking marching-band photos, which we never realized would be an invaluable keepsake for out-of-town parents who couldn’t travel to Indiana with their sons and daughters to watch them perform in person. Hence the uptick in inquiries on that entry.
Special mention here: remember the time when Lay’s Cappuccino Chips failed to become a thing? I know a guy who works for Frito-Lay, who generously visited the comments section on that entry and shared his firsthand experience with that particular promotional disaster. Thanks again, David. *thumbsup*
MOST “LIKED” POSTS OF 2014:
1. 2013 Road Trip Photos #33: the Three Investigators and the Case of the Abandoned Prison
2. Our Annual Family Reunion Adventure
3. Nighttime in Rosemont Between the Panels
4. (tie) How I’ve Spent Too Much of This Winter
4. (tie) “Breakfast Supper Nights”: a Tribute to EXTRA Breakfast for Dinner
5. I Remember When Winter Was Charming Once
All six of these were responses to the Weekly Photo Challenges posed by the WordPress.com Daily Post. If you’re looking for encouragement from other bloggers who share your platform, the Weekly Photo Challenges are a nifty networking option if you’re into picture-taking, whether you’re a professional who knows about manual camera settings or an amateur like us who just likes pointing-‘n’-clicking at stuff.
The Richard Marx song parody “Breakfast Summer Nights” had the rare distinction of taking up two gauntlets at once, a Weekly Photo Challenge and a Weekly Writing Challenge. I have no idea which crowd responded to it more, but it was a joy to write. And the dinner in the photo was yummy, too.
And now we come to the most awkward portion of our annual stats review:
LEAST LOVED MCC POSTS OF 2014:
A deep dive into the MCC dashboard reveals five poor posts garnered exactly zero (0) Likes from other WordPress users to date. This year I know I’ve tried a few things that were creatively risky and would yield minuscule payoffs, so I anticipated some duds here and there. Some of them needed to be written and exorcised from my system regardless of consequences. Unlike 2013, though, not even the spammers would save all my works with their meaningless support.
Out of 307 new entries, these five were the saddest misfits of them all:
My wife Anne wrote 90% of this entry, for which she took copious notes during Sylvester McCoy’s Q&A at Indy Pop Con. He was the Seventh Doctor, he was Radagast the Brown, he was a charming fellow, and absolutely no one cared but us. I won’t lie: that stung. Lesson learned: the internet only wants to hear in-depth convention quotes from current, super-hot TV stars under thirty.
A quick entry of support for Battle for the Net, a one-day online demonstration for Net Neutrality. Their official site provided boilerplate text for bloggers to use in their posts, but it was a quasi-literate effort that I felt obligated to edit and rewrite into nominal usability. Two problems here: readers can detect other people’s boilerplate from a mile away, and on that particular day plenty of people were already contributing their thoughts to the Net Neutrality discourse, in many cases using the same boilerplate. Lesson learned: never do exactly what too many other people are already doing.
In search of a long-term writing challenge unlike any I’d ever attempted, I committed to watching twenty-six pilots for shows premiering during the fall 2014 TV season, then recorded my responses, for better or worse. These two reviews qualify as “for worse”, per the popular non-vote. I won’t go into redundant detail here, but it’s noteworthy that the most-Liked entry from the MCC 2014 Pilot Binge project was the final entry, in which I provided my own candid, exhaustive post-game analysis on the 26-episode ordeal and put the project out of its misery at long last.
Next time, maybe I let one of You, the Viewers at Home, suggest my long-term writing challenges.
When Sleepy Hollow was brand new, everyone was watching and no one else was recapping, so it became a kind of geek mental exercise that scratched a creative fan itch for me and attracted traffic influxes every week. In season 2, no one’s watching but now everyone is recapping it, so the traffic impact on MCC is nil and it’s becoming a debilitating chore, even when I overdose on sugar first and do my darnedest to channel the spirit of Dave Barry, even though he’s not dead and probably still needs it. I appreciate that silent minority that still follows along with me, but this particular installment was about seven million words too long.
…so, 2014, then. Maybe not my best year ever, but plenty of bright spots made the whole thing worthwhile. To supplement this wrap-up, forthcoming entries will collect previously unshared photos from our 2014-that-was (in addition to the ongoing “2014 Road Trip Photos” series), as well as my obligatory year’s-favorites lists in movies, comics, books, and CDs, all of which I positively must curate in accordance with internet geek regulations Or Else. TV and I may be mad at each other right now, but lists will always be my friend.
Thanks for reading. See you in 2015!