Blapril 2020

Wait a minute, it’s not August yet! Despite the fact that we’re only moving into April 2020, the world has been a crazy place this year. Bloggers such as myself find themselves with plenty of time to write about things, and once again Belghast has decided to put together a blogging challenge in the same vein as Blaugust, however we’re doing it a bit earlier this year (it’s unclear if there will be a Blaugust this year as well, but for now let’s focus on current events). This time around it’s being call Blapril (pronounced Blay-Pril) and is not only a funny play on words, but a fitting pill in these trying times. Many of us are cooped up in our houses and have nothing better to do. Some of you “essentials” are still working but could use the outlet. Whatever the case, you can head over to the announcement post and get all of the information, though I’m trying to copy down the relevant stuff here. Once again there is a schedule planned, and once again the goal is to hit 31 posts for the month, though April only contains 30 days, so I’m starting today to make sure I get my count right. Here’s the schedule as it stands:

  • March 29th – April 4th – Blapril Prep Week: This is a time for those of us in the community who have been through this process a few times or at least feel like we have figured out this blogging thing to help those of you who are new to the process to get started with some advice posts. Additionally this is a time to sign up for the Discord if you have not already and start mingling with the folks who are active there year round. This is also a time for the newbies in the bunch to get started on setting up their blog and getting those first few “Hello World” posts out there.
  • April 5th – April 11th – Topic Brainstorming Week: This is a time for the mentors among us to throw out topics and ideas for posts to help you out when you find yourself staring down the tyranny of the blank page. We all have those days when we cannot figure out what to write about and being able to fall back upon the community for ideas and inspiration is a tried and true method. The prevalence of topic ideas also helps the newbies get started a bit with a constant flow of things to write about.
  • April 12th – April 18th – Getting to Know You Week: Tell us about yourself and your preference as a gamer or whatever thing that you happen to like doing. This is also a time to reach back into the wayback machine and dredge up interesting stories that you don’t mind telling the community. For the newbies it serves as a time of introducing themselves to the broader community and bonding.
  • April 19th – April 25th – Developer/Creator Appreciation Week: One of the things that has happened over the years with Blaugust is that it enveloped some of the better ideas from other events and combined them as part of the single month long celebration. Years ago Scarybooster started this idea of devoting a week to the sharing our love of the Developers and Studios behind the games that we play. Last year this morphed a bit to also include a celebration of the various content creators that we enjoy as well, so I am officially tweaking the name of the week a bit as a result to serve both purposes. Essentially it is a time to gush unabashedly about the things that you love.
  • April 26th – May 2nd – Staying Motivated Week: Towards the end of the proceedings we start to have a drop off in post frequency as folks hit their writing wall. The idea behind this week is to share the tips and tricks that we have learned throughout the years on how exactly to stay motivated and keep posting on a daily basis. I feel like this is even more relevant this year since we are all going through massive disruptions to our usual schedules and having to deal with all sorts of external changes impacting our well being both physically and mentally.
  • May 3rd – May 9th – Lessons Learned Week: The goal as always with Blaugust and now Blapril is to revitalize the blogging community and ignite those fires fresh for another year of posting. As such this is a marathon that we are running and not a sprint, so we continue forward a little bit into the next month for folks to have that cooldown lap and talk about the things that they learned during the month. This could be a discussion of your own personal journey, or focused on some of the things that you learned from the community. The idea being to keep it going just a little bit longer so that maybe the habit of posting regularly sticks.

These are merely suggestions, as this whole thing is designed to get new bloggers into the fold, but judging by years past, it’s a similar ragtag band of adventurers that commit to the madness each year, while the new additions oftentimes don’t make it past the first few days. As such, mentors and old people like myself are here to lead by example, give tips and generally keep this thing moving forward. In years past I’ve always signed up as a mentor, but looking back at Blaugust 2019, I did absolutely nothing to fulfill this role, so this year I’m merely a participant, however you can reach me here or on the Discord channel if you feel the need for sage advice. Otherwise I encourage you to think about things to write about as you go about your day. I find that I come up with ideas when I’m watching Netflix or YouTube or even while I’m playing games. Most of the people in this group are dedicated nerdy writers so the scope can be as vast or as narrow as you see fit. Just keep writing. Start for yourself, stay for the audience no matter how small it may be. I have people who have been following me for over 15 years, and others who discover my writing accidentally but have stayed for the ride. One thing is for certain, you will see a direct result in traffic/followers proportionate to the amount of effort you put in. Those who write every day are more likely to get more traffic than those who post once a month. Promotion also helps. That’s about all I have for tips right now, but just keep it rolling. If you want to get involved, follow these steps:

How Do I Participate?

  • The first step is to fill out the Sign-Up Form for Blapril 2020 which can be found hereOnly those who have signed up will be given credit towards the awards.
  • Next make sure you are active on the Blaugust Discord and the link for that can be found here. This is the third year we have been active on Discord and it is a community that has managed to stay evergreen throughout the years. Maybe even share your content each day in the appropriately named “share-your-content” channel.
  • When you share your content on social media please use the hashtag #Blapril2020 for tracking purposes and to make it easier for those watching the event to find fresh content.
  • Mingle with your other Mentors and Participants because this is a community event, and part of the fun is getting to know the community. These folks represent a social structure that you can lean on for advice in the coming years. I personally deeply value my ties with other bloggers that I have built up over the last decade of doing this thing.
  • If you are so inclined there is a “gaming-together” channel on Discord for impromptu grouping in various games while the event is going on.
  • Welcome to Blapril 2020 as we use the power of internet togetherness to help combat those negative side effects of social distancing.
  • If you want an archive of all of the various logos and such, check out the Media Kit page which is the final resting place of all Blaugust and now Blapril related media.

Lastly, this is the most recently updated list (which includes myself as I just signed up yesterday) of participants. I recommend taking a look at these blogs and giving them a follow, they’re sure to follow you back and will help to keep you involved.

Current Participants:

That’s all for this introductory post. I already have a few posts scheduled for the next couple of days and am going to try and keep ahead of the curve. Good luck to all the new and returning participants! See you on the other side.

A Ramble for Friday

I sat down at my computer this morning to write something, but upon inspection of my drafts folder, there are two articles that I have yet to work on and little else. One of those articles is about the launch of Season 4 for Apex Legends, but I really don’t have a lot to say given that I haven’t really played more than a handful of games this season. I didn’t buy the battle pass either, because I haven’t been playing so I don’t see the point in paying money for something I won’t get enjoyment out of. It’s not that I’m disillusioned with the game, I still think it’s the best battle royale game on the market and I still enjoy the world and character design. It’s still a great shooter at its core as well. I did have enough in-game currency to unlock the new character immediately, and I’ve played enough games to see the changes to the map. There are still rotating limited time game modes and apparently there will be a portion of time where we go back to King’s Canyon (the original map). I still have friends playing regularly, but with my interest shifting back towards League of Legends and Teamfight Tactics, I don’t have time to play both with any sort of regularity.

The other draft in my folder is a Magic: The Gathering EDH deck brew, one that I’ve been working on for quite some time. When Throne of Eldraine released, the preconstructed Brawl decks came out as well, and there was one character that I was interested in building around. I finally got my hands on the Chulane deck, and I brewed it up immediately. Thankfully many of the more expensive cards I want to put into the deck are already in my collection, but there are still several cards needed and I don’t think I can build it out just yet. Also, in the subsequent months there was the release of the next set, Theros: Beyond Death and that changed my brew a little bit. It seems at least for me that very few decks are ever “finished.” Instead, they are a more fluid evolving thing — new sets introduce new cards and new combos and new synergies and sometimes a deck that started out fairly focused on one theme ends up taking a completely different turn. As such, I’ve broken up decks to make new ones and as I play more I find that some of my decks just weren’t very good, or another project comes up where I want to pull good cards out of substandard decks to put into a new one.

For instance, I just built a deck around Klothys which is one of the new Gods from Theros, and initially it just didn’t perform the way I would have thought. I already know that there are some better cards I could buy that would replace some lesser versions but I didn’t want to spend a ton to finish the deck off, so it’s a budget build for now. Regardless, it has still yet to perform after a handful of games, and I’ve already gone through and swapped out about 20 cards. I guess it has something to do with matchups in that I have played against other decks that are doing the same sort of thing better, or just combo off faster (for reference, this deck doesn’t depend on combos, just value and big stuff to finish a game). Perhaps it will see a game where it shines, but for now I’m starting to focus on other decks I have and how I can improve them, along with looking ahead to new brews. We also know that the next set of commander decks comes out in the next couple of months, so I assume there will be new projects I’ll want to take on. Whatever the case, between the couple of games I’m playing and MTG, I haven’t had a bunch to write about.

There are new games on the horizon. DOOM Eternal releases soon. Final Fantasy VII Remake as well. Those are two I’ve been looking forward to for a long time. The latest Metro game is no longer an Epic Games Store exclusive, so being able to buy it on Steam has me tempted. I do still have a few games I bought within the last few months that I have yet to complete, so once I get around to those I’ll have more to write about. Whatever the case I’ve been in the mood to write more often, but then I sit and realize I don’t really have anything substantial to say and skip it. I honestly thought I would have gotten more posts in this month but as I said, when you play the same couple of games all month it’s not super exciting to write about nor great for readers. I can tell you that I started my ranked journey in TFT and after being placed in Iron III I’ve worked up to Iron I. Bronze to come. I have yet to play ranked in LoL, but I intend to give it a whirl again. Perhaps I’ll get back to the same level I used to be at. I’ll also be playing MTG as much as I can, and though I’ve had a ton of great experiences it’s hard to translate that into blog posts. Perhaps I’ll start streaming or recording so that I can share some epic games. It’s an idea I’ve been toying with, but I’ll make it official ahead of time if I decide to start doing that.

So yeah, I’m still around, just having trouble getting the words onto the page. I’ll try to do more posts like this if this persists, just to check in.

15 Years of Blogging

Holy shit, I totally forgot to make this post when it the anniversary actually happened, but as of January 9th, 2020 this blog turned 15 years old. That’s the majority of my adult life. Clearly, this habit is for life, despite some breaks from time to time.

I’d like to thank those of you who have been along for the ride, no matter how many of those years you were actually reading. I know I’ve had ups and downs, shifts in priorities and shifts in writing style/content. But having anyone read what I have to say gives me a sense of empowerment that my thoughts actually mean something.

I have no intentions on going anywhere. I love doing this thing, and even when I lose motivation, I’m always thinking about the next piece to write. Your support keeps me going.

Here’s to 15 more!

 

2020

The year has been insanely busy despite the fact that we’re only thirteen days into it.

I moved my family into our own house. Finding the right one took almost the whole month of December. I had it secured just before the new year and we moved in on January 2nd. With some help from my best friend, we had everything moved into the new house with two trips in a Uhaul. It took a few days to get mostly unpacked (I believe there are only a handful of boxes left at this point), but we also started to realize many of the things you should have in a house that we didn’t currently own. I was fortunate to acquire a dining room table and washer/dryer from my friend as he wasn’t using them in his current living situation. We were also fortunate enough to have some money put aside, so things like a microwave and other various odds n ends were able to be purchased. I also picked up a new 55″ Samsung 4k UHD TV on a killer sale so we were able to put my old TV into the bedroom.

This past weekend we found a couch we really liked from a rent-to-own place that is being delivered today. I was also able to request a new desk as a Christmas gift, so my office was completed. It’s been fantastic having my own house again. It feels good to be able to provide for the family but also having the space to spread my shit around (which again looks like a lot less given the amount of space we now have). Being able to come home from work and plop down in front of a big TV to unwind is great — or being more comfortable in my nerdy office and not worrying about background noise or bothering others around me is a huge plus as well.

I’ve been missing blogging, as I knew I would. This wasn’t too much of a hiatus, but I think it’s time to get back out there and share some thoughts. Over my break from writing, I did manage to play through the latest Star Wars game, Jedi: Fallen Order and I have some thoughts to share about that. The complete spoilers for the next Magic: The Gathering set, Theros: Beyond Death are out, so I have more to talk about there. Also, my Packers just beat the Seahawks in the Divisional round, so next weekend there’s more football to watch, an the Packers face the 49ers in the NFC Championship game. I’m sure I can spare some thoughts there again, but I’m going to let my By the Numbers column die for this year. Hoping to pick that back up come September.

So welcome back to semi-regular content. 2020 is a fresh start in more ways than one.

On Hiatus

Hey everyone who’s still checking up on me, I think it’s time I finally get around to making a post as short as this one will be.

You’ll probably notice I missed my football post this past week and am about to miss another. It’s probably going to lie unfinished this season unfortunately.

Real life has kicked things up a notch and something has to give. I decided it was the blog that had to sit on the back burner. I’m still playing games and playing Magic and I still have thoughts, just lacking the time and motivation to write. This isn’t my first rodeo, and I know I’ll bounce back I’m just not sure when.

I’m moving again come January, so it’s likely I won’t have internet for a little while after moving so I wouldn’t be able to post anyway.

My little family is getting their own house though, and it will Mark the first time in years that I’ll have a place without family or roommates. Just me, my girl and my son. I’m looking forward to it more than I can express here.

I’d say it’s a good bet that blogging will resume a regular schedule come this time next month. I should have plenty to share by then as well.

I’ll see you around. Also, Happy holidays!