Saturday, December 11, 2010

List of... the year (what I've been writing about on Froogville in 2010)

I did a pot-pourri kind of post at the end of last year, with hints and snippets (and, of course, links) of some of the vast range of unlikely topics I'd touched on in the previous twelve months of blogging.  That proved quite popular, so I thought I'd attempt something similar for 2010, as my December 'List of the Month'.

Well, here goes....

What I've been writing about on Froogville this year

Well - unfortunately - a number of my most important (and necessarily unfrivolous) posts have been about the unjust imprisonment of my artist friend Wu Yuren; most notably this one on the reasons for his original detention and this one on the first part of his trial a few weeks back. 

In the world of work, I've contributed a long post on the future of the English language and the teaching of it.  And amongst my (many) gripes about my work, this one on the significance of pace in the speaking of English is probably of most interest to the general reader (interesting additional input in the comments from JES, as so often).
In the sporting arena, I've shared some of my favourite memorable moments from a youth mis-spent watching football, snooker, and motor racing (there's a lot in the comments to this last one); and during this summer's World Cup football, I celebrated the rare sense of global unity which the tournament had created, and boasted that my prognostications on the likely results had held up very creditably in comparison with those of the notorious Paul, the World Cup octopus.

Regarding matters Chinese, I've made observations on how long it takes Chinese people to get their small change out, and on how ripe the country appears to be for a spree of bank robbing.  I've catalogued the common 'types' we find among English-speaking expats in China, and joked about the typical life-cycle of a small Beiing bar (two posts that I borrowed and expanded from my boozing blog, Barstool Blues).  I've examined some of the most common Chinese expressions of approbation (with valuable comment contribution from The Weeble), analysed why the concept of 'face' is not a good thing, expressed my concern about ill-behaved children here (and the parents and grandparents who make them that way), met one of Beijing's longest-serving cab drivers, and tried to teach people when it is and is not appropriate to talk about "joining hands".  And, on a more seriously political note, I've also spoken on how the Chinese government ought to have responded to Liu Xiaobo's Nobel Prize award, and considered what else China needs in order to become a modern and successful country, in addition to democracy.

Amongst my 'Fantasy Girlfriends' this year, I think the wonderful Miss Scott (Gen. Turgidson's deliciously sexy secretary in Dr Strangelove) is the pick of the crop - although darling Lulu, velvet-voiced Margo, and the perfectly pretty Joanne are very close runners-up.

In the field of cinema, I've held my first Short Animation Festival (6 great short films embedded, with links to a couple more; and a bonus follow-up of a rare stop-motion classic added shortly afterwards).  I've pondered the question of what makes a zinging good - endlessly quotable - movie line, and offered up a quiz on that theme.  I've done another review of some of the Great Film Openings.  I also dug up two marvellous scenes - an opener and a closer - which rely on extended tight close-ups on an actor's face.  And I've compiled a list of favourite movie characters and the scenes that enshrine their "crowning moments of awesome".

In the realm of autobiography, I've reflected - deeply and darkly - on my experience of the classic board games Risk and Monopoly, produced a list of 10 more suprising personal revelations about myself, disclosed (in soundbite form) the reasons that brought me to China, penned another poignant little anecdote about the most recent of my lost loves, and attempted to explain why I am glad to have escaped from a career in teaching.

And, filed under 'other'....  I've celebrated Christopher Logue's wonderful renditions of Homer's Iliad, 'War Music', posted a poem of my own on Auschwitz, considered what it is to be WEIRD, got briefly excited about the notion of 'poetry farming', designed an add-on program to make Microsoft 'Word' more fun, recounted the world's most outrageously punning anecdote, fantasised a youthful romance based merely on an e-mail spammer's name, come up with a promising idea for a Chinese e-commerce website, dreamed of a strange city in the desert, attempted to identify some of the defining elements of 'Englishness', produced a new take on the myth of Sisyphus, juxtaposed three very different versions of John Lennon's song Across The Universe, discovered a psychotic panda (being used to advertise processed cheese!), and wondered why people style themselves 'artists'.

Quite a varied mixture!  Did you miss any of this first time around?


Tony said...

Here's richness!

Froog said...

Oh, Tony, I always suspect it's sarcasm from you.

But sarcasm would be deserved. I really need to find myself a more rewarding hobby.

Tony said...

No, you do me wrong. For once I was expressing sincere admiration, expecting you to say Aw, shucks. I shan't do that again, so there.

P.S. And I am never sarcastic. Occasionally a bit oblique perhaps. but not in this case

Froog said...

Aw, shucks.

JES said...

Richness indeed.

Alas (or otherwise), Froogville (and, I suspect, Tony's Other Men's Flowers -- and my place for sure) shares that characteristic with certain magazines (in the US: The New Yorker, The Atlantic, Harper's, et al.). Internet readers, by and large, seem to have lost interest in reading about topics which they have no immediate need to read about. So general-purpose blogs and other journals never get the widespread "circulation" they once might have had.

(Note familiar writer's whining defense, by the way: It's not me. It's the READER's fault!)

Froog said...

Well, the non-reader's fault. But I never like to blame them, I merely pity them.

It's really more of a marketing problem. There are still readers out there, but we don't make that much of an effort to reach them, and they don't easily find us. I view it as a long-term Darwinian thing: if our blogs stay up for a hundred years, eventually we'll find the tens of thousands of readers (that we deserve?).

JES said...

"If our blogs stay up for a hundred years..."

Funny you should say that. I was just wondering the other day about preserving a blog's content after its author "moves on"... Some domain hosting services offer a lifetime contract, I think, but that's not quite the same thing as "in perpetuity." And the gods only know what the Internet will be like in five years, let alone a century. I do know a couple people who've taken advantage of some online print-on-demand service, which turns one's blog content into a book, and of course the book could be left to one's heirs. But the book by definition also wouldn't include any of the non-print media (or the comments?!?)... And as for the legalities of including lots and lots of quoted material -- well, my head spins.

Froog said...

Hmm - haven't read the smallprint on Blogger 'terms & conditions'. Maybe they do delete you if you don't post for more than a year, or something. I'd always fondly assumed that Blogspot blogs would endure forever... Well, no, obviously they're going to run out of storage space one day. And who's to say that any of us will still be around in a hundred years, but... I'd like to think my noodlings here might be around for a long time.