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Midlife Crisis Crossover 2018 in Review: The Good, the Bad, and the Blogly

me at club!

4/23: Me at a business lunch, which are two words I haven’t strung together in over a decade.

Hey-ho, reader! Welcome to the seventh annual Midlife Crisis Crossover year-in-review. This tiny sandbox was formed on April 28, 2012, as a place where I could entertain myself by making essay-shaped things out of whatever words and pictures I had at hand, as opposed to surfing social media and waiting for excuses to reply to strangers who didn’t ask my opinion. Often it’s been a fulfilling use of galleries, memories, and peculiar opinions that might otherwise either languish unwritten in my head or collect endless rejection emails from every professional website ever. At other times it’s been less fulfilling, but something I continue cobbling together anyway, as long as I can keep the fires of motivation stoked.

Longtime MCC readers who visit more than once a month may have noticed less stoking than usual this year. On your device right now is our 1,914th entry, but that figure should be higher. A number of factors led me to taking more time off between entries this year. The most common culprit of late has been my own aging body, which duly notified me it can no longer support a lifestyle that maxes out at five hours of sleep per night. I swore it would be more decades before I’d succumb to the need for an occasional earlier bedtime, but here I am, by my own body betrayed. Given that my full-time job isn’t going anywhere and certainly isn’t taking a back seat to this hobby, that meant some entries — long and short ones — took more than one evening to write. Time was, I could pound out an entire 2000-word entry in one sitting and simply up my caffeine intake the next morning for balance. My body’s put the kibosh on that contingency, too. Fun trivia: excessive caffeine can cause heartburn, which is not fun, and painful to discover the hard way.

Other writing inhibitors have come and gone over the year, but the more I list, the whinier I’ll get. Nevertheless, as a result total traffic in 2018 was down 13.76% from 2017’s, and our lowest levels since Year 1. When you blog only 226 out of 365 nights in a given year, you’re utterly terrible at networking, you’ve stopped writing thinkpieces, your writing style doesn’t lend itself to playing at cookie-cutter self-help encouragement, you’re not trying to make a living at writing, and you don’t believe in egregious self-promotion, paying for marketing, stealing GIFs and stock photos without giving due credit, resorting to quickie 10-word entries, or begging followers for Likes or Shares…down is where the hit counts go. I can either (a) shut up and accept the consequences or (b) do something consciously different, such as fake extroversion.

Thankfully blogging was sometimes fun to make happen this year anyway. And even when it didn’t for days at a time, my wife still thinks I’m cool.

That’s more than enough intro. Let’s move on to all those annual countdowns, plus a selection of random 2018 photos never before shared on MCC till now. Enjoy!

c2e2 after hours!

4/7: The C2E2 show floor, Saturday night at 11 pm. after the Henry Rollins show.

2018 on MCC looked like so:

2018 POSTS WITH THE MOST OVERALL CUMULATIVE HITS

1. Indiana Comic Con 2018 Photos, Part 1 of 3: Cosplay!
2. Indiana Comic Con 2018 Photos, Part 2 of 3: More Cosplay!
3. Yes, There’s a Scene During the “Aquaman” End Credits
4. Wizard World Chicago 2018 Photos, Part 1 of 6: Marvel and DC Cosplay!
5. Yes, There’s a Scene During the “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” End Credits

If you get GEICO, you save up to 15% on your car insurance. And if you attend conventions, you take cosplay photos. It’s what you do. It’s what everyone looks for when the show’s over. Occasionally they’ll look for celebrity photos (more about that in a moment); on the other had, no one ever looks for celebrity Q&A reports, which is why I stopped devoting entries to those in and of themselves. Indiana Comic Con, by virtue of being virtually in our backyard, is the only event that lands MCC on the Facebook algorithm radar, which in turn treats our cosplay galleries as recommended news articles to hundreds of other local users without my paying for the privilege. It’s refreshing to have a reason to thank Facebook for anything positive…though we’re planning to skip ICC in 2019, which means I’ll have to let that perk go till 2020.

Wizard World Chicago, by contrast, shows up on the radar because Anne and I belong to a very receptive and generous fan group on Facebook, many of whom are cosplayers we’ve caught on camera over the years. They’re a wonderful bunch of people, willing to click and share…though we’re also planning to skip WWC in 2019, which won’t do wonders for that cultivating the one (1) network.

And as usual, search engine users hate sitting through the end credits of the films they pay to watch because words are scary and boring and sometimes end credits look like poorly formatted blog posts. But Marvel and Pixar taught audiences sometimes they’re missing out on a bonus, which is where Anne, my son and I come in. We’re just happy to provide a useful service.

church bathroom!

6/9: Thoreau and Steven Wright quoted on the walls of a church bathroom. Not our church, mind you.

BACK-CATALOG POSTS WITH THE MOST HITS IN 2018

1. The Resources After the “Spotlight” End Credits
2. Ten Lessons Learned at Our “Late Show with Stephen Colbert” Taping
3. So There’s a Collage and a Message After the “Coco” End Credits
4. The “Wreck-It Ralph” Easter Eggs You’ll Never See
5. Technically There’s a Message After the “Baby Driver” End Credits

Two of those entries contain useful information. One is an all-joke movie-related entry that saw a resurgence in the wake of a sequel that was released this year. And once more with feeling: end credits = bad, people who sit through them for you = good.

2018 POSTS WITH COMMENTS BY TWO (2) OR MORE LIVE HUMANS

1. Six Sweet Shots: Our 2017 in Sugary Outtakes
2. Our 2018 Road Trip, Part 34: Independence Mall: Resurgence

No, I didn’t omit any qualifiers. MCC welcomes any and all comments, but our welcome mat doesn’t see many footprints.

Special, sincere thanks to Michelle at The Green Study and Leo at Corker2, the gracious WordPress all-stars who left comments on multiple entries of more than two words apiece. Thank you.

amc screen!

7/14: A replacement screen arrives at our local AMC Theater. I’ve never seen the box they’re shipped in before.

MOST “LIKED” WORDPRESS.COM DAILY POST “WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE” TIE-IN POSTS OF 2018:

1. Our 2008 Road Trip, Part 6: By Neptune’s Trident!
2. Six Sweet Shots: Our 2017 in Sugary Outtakes
3. Give Our Regards to the Indiana Flower & Patio Show
4. We’d Rather Be Conventioning
5. Another Smile in Chicago

Quick primer for readers who aren’t also WordPress bloggers and have no idea what this list represents: once upon a time the Powers That Be up at WordPress, via a site called the Daily Post, encouraged networking among its bloggers with a “Weekly Photo Challenge”, a fun opportunity for users to share their photos with each other based on a one-word theme. While parts of our site dashboard do encourage and facilitate interaction among bloggers, writers, journalists, and amateur enthusiasts such as myself, the Weekly Photo Challenge was the most popular opportunity for us all to do so, if I had material that fit the theme and if I could still render the entry remotely interesting to other readers outside the WordPress blogosphere. Not coincidentally, WPC entries tended to see slight participation upticks from passing virtual motorists. They usually performed better than my average photo galleries, so it was hard to let those chances pass me by.

Alas, in June 2018 WordPress pulled the plug on the Daily Post (which remains in place, but archive-only) and the Weekly Photo Challenge. Many blogs probably had sufficiently stable and thriving communities to persevere ever after, despite its cancellation. Kudos to them.

MOST “LIKED” POSTS THAT HAD TO LIVE OR DIE ON THEIR OWN MERITS WITHOUT THE DAILY POST’S HELP IN 2018:

1. Our 2018 Road Trip, Part 12: Not Just Another New York Art Museum
2. Our 2008 Road Trip, Part 4: An Appalachian Trail But for Non-Hikers
3. Our 2018 Road Trip, Part 11: Sleepy Time in Syracuse
4. [tie] Our 2018 Road Trip, Part 17: The Great Western Staircase
4. [tie] Our 2010 Road Trip, Part 6: The Zoo That Chocolate Built
4. [tie] Our 2008 Road Trip, Part 1: Hanging with the Hillbillies
5. [tie] Our 2009 Road Trip, Part 2: One Great Big Magic Bean
5. [tie] Our 2010 Road Trip, Part 16: The Art of Pittsburgh

Utica’s Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute and the Great Western Staircase inside the New York State Capitol were two of my favorite stops on this year’s road trip. It’s gratifying that readers were on the same page. We finally finished remastering our older road trips this year, which means eventually we’ll have some months without vacation anecdotes to fall back on. Then the real writing challenge begins.

doctor who monopoly!

10/6: We’ve been trying to do more family game nights, which have included Catan, Ticket to Ride, and (pictured) Doctor Who Monopoly. We’d rather play non-licensed, original board games and would love some recommendations.

HIGHEST ISOLATED TRAFFIC SPIKES OF 2018

4/1/18: Easter, the day after our Indiana Comic Con experience. The faster I post cosplay photos, the more solid a seat I can get us on the bandwagon.

8/27/18: The Monday after Wizard World Chicago. See previous sentence re: cosplay.

4/10/18: The Tuesday after C2E2, which is how long it took me to post all of its cosplay galleries. It’s a shame we don’t attend costume contests anymore, or else I could really mine that mother lode at every con.

1/15/18: in January 2018, Christian blogger Ann Voskamp wrote a moving essay called “The Church’s Weinstein Moment: Nailing Some Theses for Assault to the Door of the Church”, in which she described reactions and thoughts after she and her mother sat down and watched Tom McCarthy’s Spotlight together. I had no idea till tonight that she later deleted the entry, but she linked to our aforementioned Spotlight review for its relevant resources. The referrals were unexpected, appreciated, and very noticeable on my site dashboard.

12/31/18: That weekend America demanded to know: was there a second scene after the Aquaman end credits, or just the one during the credits? Also, for some reason our first time visiting Times Square in 2011 drew more than its normal share of eyes, as if New Yorkers suddenly felt compelled to research their New Year’s Eve party options in advance. Some traffic spikes are so weird like that.

creed ii!

11/24: I meant to use this with the Creed II review but forgot I took it.

LEAST LOVED MCC POSTS OF 2018

Even when other WordPress bloggers shun me at my most tedious and verbose, usually I can count on bots or spammers to click the Like button and feed me another virtual hamster pellet for every entry. In 2018 four (4!) entries were so stultifying, and/or were posted at such horrible times, that not even the lowliest Russian automaton could be bothered to co-opt that little Like space for its own nefarious purposes. The worst MCC entries of 2018 as voted by You, The Viewers at Home, were therefore the following:

* The MCC 2017 Oscar-Nominated Live-Action Short Film Revue
* Oscar Quest 2018: “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
* Former Kickstarter Junkie VIII: The Final Reward
* Yes, There’s a Scene During the “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” End Credits

The Morals of the Story are easy to discern: WordPress readers hate reading about films they know they’ll never see. They don’t care to read reviews of films that came out in theaters months ago. They absolutely hate when you point out how crowdfunding can really, truly suck, and they hate it even more when you spend years dwelling on how much Kickstarter in particular can suck because their idea of accountability is a reprehensible joke.

Also, apparently bloggers hate Mister Rogers. Duly noted.

MCC 2018 POSTS WITH THE LEAST OVERALL CUMULATIVE HITS:

The previous list represented entries no one liked. The following represents the entries no one could be bothered to click on, let alone have an opinion on:

* MCC Home Video Scorecard #13: Our Oscar Quest 2018 Finale
* Former Kickstarter Junkie VIII: The Final Reward
* Our 2010 Road Trip, Part 10: Our Independence Day
* Our 2009 Road Trip, Part 1: The Chicago Prelude
* Our 2009 Road Trip, Part 7: The New Cornographers
* Our 2018 Road Trip, Part 21: Roosevelts’ Relics

I’m aware such misfires will continue to be a problem as long as I insist on being me. I’m still working through what to do with that information.

Is it because I don’t curse?

louisville downtown!

12/8: Downtown at night after we left Louisville Supercon.

One more round-up just so we can end on a positive note:

OUR 2018 CONVENTION RUNDOWN:

In 2017 we attended a record-breaking ten conventions in one year. We promised we wouldn’t go overboard like that in 2017. We kept our word, but refused to stay home and channel-surf all year long. Fellow fans and a handful of celebrities caught us at the following seven events in 2018:

* HorrorHound Cincinnati
* Indiana Comic Con here in Indy
* C2E2 in Chicago
* Wizard World Chicago
* Hall of Heroes Comic Con in Elkhart, IN
* Ace Comic Con Midwest in Chicago
* Louisville Supercon

Schedule conflicts kept us from attending Indy Pop Con, the Superman Celebration, HorrorHound Indy, and Wizard World Columbus, which we’ve never done but tempted me for about three minutes. I reluctantly skipped CXC in Columbus when budgetary issues marred the back half of our year. I’d like to say our 2019 calendar will be even lighter, but we already have plans to hit two big, big events this year — one show we haven’t attended since 2005, and another we’ve been promising friends we’d do for nearly twenty years. (No, not San Diego. HA. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA. If only.)

…and that’s the year that was, at least here on MCC. There was also the major family death, the cute family wedding we attended, that one concert I attended, and that time we had a photo go micro-mini-viral on Instagram and Twitter, though other fan accounts reaped all the Likes and the hits, and left us choking on their supposedly grateful dust.

This, ultimately, is why WordPress is better than Instagram, and why I’d rather spend three hours writing two thousand words only ten people will read, as opposed to sharing one photo beloved by many but barely attributed by any. I’d rather have credit for something that sucks than zero credit for an objectively fun thing we did.

We’re the Goldens. This is who we are and what we do.

If you’re still reading this entry 2300 words later: thanks for reading! Here’s hoping you find great reasons for internet usage in 2019, whether I’m included or not. If it makes you feel better, this entry was 600 words shorter than last year’s year-in-review.

anne at west point!

7/10: Anne and the glorious view of the Hudson River from The U.S. Military Academy at West Point. More outtakes from our 2018 road trip coming soon…

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