Really now... How many websites does one fellow need?

Originally posted on A. F. Litt:

So, there are two "new" Rubble Sites.  Jeez, I mean, come on man?  How many websites does one fellow need?

Well, it looks like about six.  Let's break it down...
  1. Rubble:  This is the granddaddy of them all.  It has been on Blogger for over ten years now, elsewhere for a couple years longer than that, though it has existed in its current form for only a pocketful of months.

    Originally it was my personal journal.  For various reasons, though, at a certain point I moved my personal writing over to a blog on Live Journal called Suburban Eschatology Part II (SE2).  Yes, that one...  In fact, normally, I would be posting this "post" on that blog.  This is where this sort of writing is supposed to live now.  But I wanted to take a minute and explain my thoughts on all of these different sites and I wanted to break in the new ones at the same time, so I am posting here, instead. 

    Back to the back story...  Rubble sat dormant for quite some time.  At various points, new purposes for it crossed my mind and during this period, I pulled all of my old posts off of it and moved them to SE2 (most of them at this point, some are still in limbo).  

    Its rebirth occurred earlier this year when I started working on my Photo of the Day project.  First I just threw those pictures up on Facebook, but that did not seem optimal.  Then I threw them up onto various photography sites, such as Picasa (which is still where they are stored), but that was not optimal either.  I wanted a better viewing experience than the photo sites offered, because I am not talking about browsing through a whole collection, but just one at a time, maybe a handful at most, and I wanted the option to write a little bit more than just a basic description if I felt like it, or add some additional related content (the video on yesterday's is a greatexample).

    Over the months that followed, Rubble became the depository of any generally arts related content.  Stuff of my own creation, or stuff that I liked and wanted to share with others.  Even more so, though there is still a lot of work left to be done indexing the site with tags / labels, it is easier on a blog to go back and to find old content than the veritable shit storm of content that gets flung at the walls of Facebook.  Trying to find a link more than a week or two old there is nearly impossible (for me, at least).

    With the recent birth of the Retrovirus Lab blog, Rubble's content is focused primarily on photography, writing, performing arts (including film and television), and creative media.  Content involving music has moved to the new site while tech / internet / new media items have been finding a home alongside the personal ramblings on SE2.

  2. Democracy In Distress:  Political noise since November 2004.  I like to write about politics and post links to information I want to share with others.  This is where I do that.  

    Over the years, my use of the site has waxed and waned, but I had the same experience this year with political material I wanted to share as I did with the artistic / entertainment material.  As I started using the Rubble site for the arts and entertainment content (and science, if it has cool pictures or videos), I realized that I might as well be throwing the political links and snippets of writing back up onto my dusty, lonely political blog.  So it is running again.

    Again, the main selling point for me in choosing the blog over Facebook, besides the opportunity for longer and more complicated posts,  is the better indexing.  Unfortunately, Democracy In Distress has been around for awhile and has many, many posts, so I am far from completely tagging / labeling the old content at this point and, admittedly, this is pretty much a back burner project for me right now, but the ability to do this was one of the brightest lights drawing me back to this site before it became completely ignored and forgotten.

    Unfortunately, at one point Democracy In Distress was labeled an extremist site by a certain monolithic tech company, which is pretty disturbing to me.  I have always tried to take a sane and centrist approach to politics, which, I hope, comes across in the writing I post and the content I link to there.  Yes, there may be some dirty words here and there, but no more so than other political voices these days, such as John Stewart, Stephen Colbert, and Bill Maher.  Especially with the first two, I do not think anyone sees them as being extremists (unless you take Colbert's character seriously, that is).     

  3. Suburban Eschatology Part Two:  I pretty much covered the existence and purpose of this one when discussing Rubble.  This is the grown-up teenage coping blog where I "journal" my little heart out about life.  But it is becoming more than just that...

    This one and Retrovirus Lab are the new kids on the Blogger block, though SE2 has been around over on Live Journal for years.  As I started using the first two sites more and more this year and came up with some ideas about how, what, and when to post, the LJ site just got lost in the dust.  Then I realized that I might start using it more if it was a Blogger site and I had access to it with the same posting tools, dashborad, etc that I used for Rubble and Democracy In Distress.  Also, relaunching it on Blogger allowed me to standardize the formats better, making it feel more a part of the family rather then the lost stepchild forever trapped on a service that could never quite figure out if it was supposed to be a blog site or a social network.

    So, this is the site that covers the big themes in my personal life.  Tech stuff, these days.  In the near future, the search for a new writing contract or other forms of income.  Parenting is huge, both in general terms and specifically with my experiences as a single parent with two boys.

    Still, as the name suggests, I would like there to be an overall sense that this is about my life in the suburbs.  An overgrown punk rocker from the city returning to the culture of his roots - painfully white-bread America.  I don't get into it too much, but if you look closely enough, I think that narrative will emerge.

  4. Retrovirus Lab: Well, funny story...  I used to play music in bands.  Well, not that funny.  It was a very long time ago with the brief exception of a couple years ago when I had a brief spasm of musical creativity and recorded some material.  Most of that newer material it is not ready for prime-time, but I like its potential.  One of these days, I want to do something with that music, when life settles down and time and money is not so scarce.

    However, right now, while I have some free time with the boys back in school, I have a little time to kill until the kids are ready for me to go back to work.  I decided that, as I was polishing and refining my web presence, I'd go ahead and put together the on-line infrastructure for any future music projects.  So, the same day I "moved" SE2 to Blogger, I went ahead and threw up a site for the band.

    A funny thing happened.  A couple funny things...

    The blog site was meant to be a place holder only.  Something to sit there, maybe not even publically accessible until some future time when I needed it.  But who am I kidding?  I am not going to leave it sitting there turned off, so I threw a couple posts up on it so it wouldn't be empty, then a couple more so those first ones wouldn't feel lonely, then... Well, I ended up with a music blog.  It is doing very well, thank you, fitting into the family just fine, which is not always expected with unplanned children, I've heard...

    Then, wouldn't you know it, in some ways the band thing became a little more real, as well.  As I said, the blog was meant to be a place holder, but a blog is not all that is needed.  As I updated the old MySpace site (which was an entire adventure of its own, regaining access), created a ReverbNation profile, etc... Well, all these "placeholders" didn't feel right without any content.  Songs were re-mastered.  A digital EP was released.  Two videos were very quickly produced.  Some very limited marketing efforts have been crawling out from under the rocks where dormant marketing efforts lurk in their dark stinking, airs...

    Suddenly, that whole band thing has become more real than it was ever meant to be at this point.  And all of this has happened, literally, in a matter of a couple weeks.  Of course, it has been a ton of work.  And, of course, there's the whole new music blog to keep up with as well.  But that is fun, and it has been a good place to share a lot of the great new bands I've been discovering on these adventures.

  5. Rubblebase: A little review, getting into the way, way back machine to when all the internet connections were dial-up and no one had yet to lose a dime investing in web start-ups...  My first "blog" was an html website where I pretty much had to hand code each page before walking ten miles up hill through the snow to fetch the eggs to cook breakfast every morning... 

    Well, that didn't last very long.  First came grokSoup, then Blogger.  My website was called Rubble, the blog was just the blog related to the website.  Time passed.  More and more the website, drifting through at least three different hosts, became nothing more than file storage for the blog, storage for images and other items for the blog to link to.  In its last incarnation, it was called Rubblebase.  So, what we have here is really Rubblebase 2.0 (just like we are on SE2 2.0, and, at the very least, Rubble 3.0)...   

    I don't really know how to explain the history in a way that makes too much sense, just that since 2002 or so, the site was really just supporting the blog, and as the blogging sites' tools became more and more sophisticated and as the blogging sites became more integrated with file sharing services (the photo sites, YouTube, etc.), I needed a dedicated website in the background less and less.  Sometime in 2008, I believe, the original site went away completely.  Sure, it left a lot of red x images on Rubble, but this was about the time I was dismantling that site anyway, so I didn't really miss the original Rubblebase much.

    So why is it back now?  One main reason.  I don't really see the Blogger blogs as entirely being four different websites.  I really see them as being a topical breakdown of the content I produce.  What does that mean?  Forgive me, it is late, but I really see them as all being part of one "virtual" website.  All different containers holding the semi-deranged output of my damaged mind.  This does not mean that, eventually, they will all end up being subsections of Rubblebase.  I do want them to keep their own identities and grow into their own personalities, but they are connected.  They are a family.

    Still, if they are a family of sites, then where does the reader begin his expedition through these strange, partitioned corners of my mind, which of these pages is the "main" page, the home page.  Well, there really wasn't one until yesterday.  Originally, I figured the original Rubble blog would fill this role, but more and more, as the three other blogs have been evolving, it just didn't feel like a home page anymore, just a sentimental old friend surrounded by equally loved newer and newer friends.  

    So I required a portal, and Rubblebase is it.  When asked, do I have a website, this is the address I will cough up.  That is so much easier then replying, "Several, what are your interests?"     

    I don't really see this site being really heavy on content.  Maybe a few posts like this one from time to time.  In fact, I am not really sure how I am going to put it together over time, after all, it is only hours old at this point. I am pretty sure that some RSS feeds are in the home page's future.  And probably not a lot more for this site.

  6. A. F. Litt:  Hey, that's me!  What an ego, I've got four blogs and five websites already, and I decide what the world needs is more me?  Wow.  

    Well, yes and no.  As with all the other sites, take a few steps backwards with me and I think the purpose will become clear.

    You see, I have unfulfilled needs.  I need a site I can use as a storage locker.  Not to the extent that I needed one with the old, dead Rubblebase 1.0.  But there are still a few files here and there that need a sort of home like this and Google Sites seems to have some decent capabilities when it comes to this sort of use (one of their basic templates is a file locker).  So there is one reason.

    Also, as I mentioned above, my boys are going to reach a point in the next month or two (hence all the long days and late nights the last few weeks putting this veritable web publishing empire together) where I am able to return to the work force.  That means job hunting.  That means a portfolio.  That means more me than even I want polluting my innocent sites about art and music and kids and GOP primaries.     

    The real debate I had was if I needed one or two Google sites for these purposes, couldn't the portal page serve as a portfolio site as well?  After all, the Rubble Sites are the main body of my portfolio, I suppose?  It could have worked that way, and for the file locker, it really could have and may still.    

    But I don't really want the Rubble Sites, other than SE2 being an obvious exception, to really be about me.  Sure, I feature a lot of my own writing, art and music on those sites, but those sites are meant to be about writitng, art, music, and life... not about me.  This one, however, is.

    Portfolios, work samples, etc...  Those will live here.  The boring stuff.  The good stuff I'll share elsewhere, the stuff I link to on Facebook for my friends, acquaintances, and growing numbers of followers in general.  Sure, I am still including this site in the Rubble Site family, but if you notice how the link headers are set up on the blogs, it is on the other side of things from the blogs...  It is very late, almost early now, and I am not sure how to really put what that means into words right now, but it feels right.

And there it is, why one fellow feels the need to inflict six different websites on the world.  Of course, as these are all being put together, there is a bit of overlap and chaos.  And, for the new sites, still some degree of purpose to be discerned.  For example, I am writing this piece on my new personal site, A. F. Litt, but as I got rolling on it, I became more and more certain that this is the best place for it.  The Rubblebase home page seems like the best site, though some good arguments could be made for SE2, as well.  With this post, though, it doesn't really matter.  I've been planning on linking to it from all six sites anyway.      

I am confident, though, that as time passes, each site's role will become clearer and clearer.  And with all of this finally being explained, I am going to bed.  Only a few more projects left involving the infrastructure of these endeavors and then I can relax a bit and focus a bit more on why I am doing all of this in the first place... Because I love writing, photography, and music. These are venues for me to share my own work that I am proud of, and the work of others that just blows me away.  I hope the content of these sites does the same for you.  Thank you, all of you, who have been visiting my sites recently.  Thank you and good night, for now. 

A. F. Litt
4:04 AM