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Posts tagged as “The Black Laser”

Welcome to The Black Laser 3.0!

I am proud to announce the launch of the newest version of The Black Laser. If you’re not familiar with the site’s previous design, this is a significant overhaul from the previous, now-very-dated design.

No more fixed-width design!

Now scalable to a multitude of devices and resolutions!

No more white text on a black field!

New logo!

Still quite a lot of pink!

Expect some noodling to take place over the next few weeks as I settle into the new theme and identify things I’ve forgotten or missed. Such is the nature of these sorts of things.

For those of you interested, this is the first time I’ve used a child them in WordPress to customize. Previously, you had to manually edit a theme to make changes to it. That seems like a very direct, sensible way to alter something, and it is. However, if an update is released for the theme you’re using, all your edits are overwritten. That sucks. To avoid that business, you have to carefully update the updated theme to match and that is a royal pain in the butt with lots of opportunities for mistakes to creep in.

With a child theme (new since the last time I redesigned the site back in 2011), you create a dependent theme to which you make changes that references the original (parent) theme. That way you can update the base theme without losing your changes.

You don’t care at all about that, but I think it’s pretty neat and this is my website so deal.

If you want to read about my plans for the future here, just scroll down. Or click here. Whatever’s easiest for you. You’re probably a grown up.

I have some more stuff in store that I did not write about below so you will just have to wait and see!

Hello, The Black Laser? Are you there?

How’s it going, old friend? It’s been a while.

I’ve been thinking a lot about this site recently. The Black Laser has been sitting here, untouched, for more than a year and that seems like a real shame to me. Over the years I’ve put a lot of thought and effort into this site. It’s been a repository for my rambling thoughts, a place to promote whatever random projects I’ve been working on, a place where I shared crap from the internet that I was really enjoying.

But life and work conspired to distract me from keeping the pace up here. As I moved forward in my career, the amount of headspace at the end of the day to write and be creative diminished. Then I got married and the extra hours I used to spend staring at the new post page on the WordPress backend shifted to being spent with my super rad wife. These are non-problem problems, obviously. The root of the matter is that the hours I used to spend digging around and writing here are different now. I am different now. That’s what happens. I opened The Black Laser in November 2008 and here we are in March 2015 thinking about an old friend we haven’t spoken to in a while. It doesn’t need to be that way. The Black Laser isn’t dead. It has just been sleeping for a while.

Ultimately, it feels like a true tragedy to let The Black Laser drift off into some sort of pathetic oblivion, yet another untended to blog clogging up the tubes. I don’t want to do that. I like to think you don’t want to do that. So let’s not let that happen.

Here are the things I think need to change to breathe some new life into this place.

It needs a new design.

We’ve been using TBL2.0 since 2011. That is basically forever in internet time. Forever!! The theme is old and no longer standards-compliant. In 2011 when redesigning this place I was not at all worried about whether or not the site read well on a smart phone. Who read things on smart phones? Steve fucking Jobs? Not me. Well, that has changed completely. Everybody reads everything on their smart phones and tablets and thingies and thingers. Time to get with the now.

Also this white type on black background shit has got to go. What was I thinking?

The type and quality of posts need to change.

As fun as it was to post random music videos and whatever back in the day, there are better ways to get and share that sort of content now. Those posts were easy, cheap ways to keep the post count moving upward, and it was always nice to have a backlog of cool crap I could unleash at folks. But I don’t need that. In retrospect, those posts really watered down the effectiveness of this site as a device for sharing brain pieces. They are a nice little break from things you actually have to read, but only once in a while. They were too frequent. A crutch for not thinking of real content.

Additionally I no longer take very many photos. They were a big part of this site once, but there is little reason to stay set-up to share them easily since I no longer need to share things I am not creating. I might start taking photos again one day in the future, but not soon. I’ve got a lot of feelings about the photo thing which I am happy to explore in a later post in more depth. Not here.

A refocus on the purpose for The Black Laser.

As alluded above, The Black Laser serves a few real purposes.

  1. To keep me writing.
  2. As a sort of public journal.
  3. To share the things I am working on.

These have always been the backbone of the site, even when I didn’t have much to share in any of the categories. This is the content I want to focus on. While thinking about the future of this site, I’ve been calling TBL3.0 the TL;DR version of the site: lots of text, way fewer videos and filler posts, fewer posts in general, but (hopefully) higher quality in the stuff I do post. More words! Better posts! Surprises! It is going to be super great.

The Black Laser makes me feel good. Time spent making things here never feels poorly spent. Most of the quiet times of the past 6 and a half years were spent thinking of things to share. That is a lot of time over a lot of years. And I finally feel ready to come back to it and fill your eyeballs with my words. No, that’s not quite right. “Fill” is too passive of a verb.

I am going to force my words into your brain and you are going to love it.

Sarah Dances – “Monster” (feat. SJ and Corinney-binny), also, HAPPY BIRTHDAY SJ & THE BLACK LASER!!!

Today is SJ’s fifth birthday!!! HAPPY BIRTHDAY SJ!! Which means it is ALSO The Black Laser’s 5th Birthday!!! Happy birthday, The Black Laser!!!!!

What better way to celebrate than with yet another Sarah Dances, this time featuring the birthday girl and he sister? You’re right. There is no better way. We shot this bad boy WAY back in May, but for this reason and that, I didn’t get around to finishing it until September. Oops! But, the delay makes it a perfect way to celebrate this momentous occasion.



Happy 4th birthday, The Black Laser! And happy 4th birthday to Sienna!

As I have mentioned in the past, November 11th is The Black Laser’s birthday. It is also the birthday of my darling niece SJ. So, happy birthday to the both of us.

First, things have been slow here for the last few months. I regret this, but sometimes life is in the way and things get held up, you know? Let’s make this coming year a good one for The Black Laser.

Second, SJ, I am sorry I didn’t get to see you recently, but our trip home was cancelled because of a hurricane and it was out of our hands. Fortunately, we were credited the flight so we will be back in February, which is really not so long from now. I do understand, however, that as a four year old four months is an unbelievably long period. I implore you to be patient.

What are you going to do to celebrate The Black Laser’s fourth birthday? I know what I am going to do: I am going to work and then go home and fall asleep. I’m a class act, ladies and gentlemen.

A Letter To The Black Laser

Dear The Black Laser,

I would start this off with pleasantries and an inquiry into how you were doing, but we both know that is totally unnecessary. We both know how you (we) (I) are doing, so let’s just skip to the meat of this letter, shall we? Ok.

The Black Laser, my old friend, my alter-ego, my weird internet outlet, I am growing incredibly bored of you. For years you have been a place where I can share whatever random crap I’ve been thinking about or enjoying or learning about. I really liked that. It was nice to come here and think, “You know what? I bet someone out there would want to watch a death metal video today because I want to watch a death metal video today. Let’s find one.” This site has more than 1100 examples of exactly that train of thought. “Maybe someone out there will enjoy this piece of ephemera as much as I do. Share time!”

My regular readers will recognize that over the last few months the regularity and quality of my posts have dropped. Indeed, they are dropping still. Currently on the front page there is a post dating from March 30. That means that I have written fewer than 8 posts for all of April. Posting this letter will push that March entry off the front page, but the point still stands. I am just not writing that much here these days. It has not been some conscious decision, but just a lack of joy in the process. I am uninterested, unfulfilled, uninspired.

I don’t hate you, The Black Laser. I am just having a hard time these days mustering up the energy to contribute to you regularly. I am not thinking of funny things to rant about. I am not able to give a damn about most of the music I am finding these days. Work is slow. Life is slow. My brain is messy. And you have been a casualty of that, my old friend. You are not the only aspect of my life suffering, but you are a visible, public one and the fade has been clear.

What does this mean for your future, The Black Laser? Nothing really. This is not a good bye, but a “don’t get too excited because it’s going to be slow going for a bit.” Even writing this letter is like pulling teeth. I am fighting just to finish it and not give up in the middle and let it slide. Just terrible.

I’m sorry.



Happy 3rd Birthday, The Black Laser and Sienna! And Happy 1000th post!

Me and SJ
The Black Laser and this peanut share a birthday. We make serious faces.

A few weeks ago, it became clear to me that I would probably be able to hit my 1000th post on The Black Laser’s third birthday. As the date (11/11/11) got closer, I realized that not only would I hit 1000 posts but that I would actually have to plan on how to do it so I didn’t overshoot and post my 1000th before the 11th. Exciting!

So what does 1000 Black Laser posts look like? Here’s the breakdown!

Not surprisingly Music and it’s subset Music Videos are the overwhelming majority here. But, what I do find surprising is that I have more than twice as many Writing posts as I do Photography posts. I was fairly sure that Photography would be in second place behind music, but it’s in fourth place behind Thoughts AND Writing. Interesting! I guess I do a lot more writing and blabbing about random crap that I thought. Actually, I’m pretty sure that’s all I do here. Why do you people keep coming back? Is it my charm? My devilish good looks? My witty repartee?

To be honest, fewer and fewer people are coming to The Black Laser every day. What’s with that? It used to be I’d get a hundred fifty to a couple hundred hits every day, even if I didn’t post very much. Now, I’m lucky if I break a hundred. Where have all the people gone? I suppose it will just slowly wind down over the next three years until it’s just me, alone, yelling out at the internet, unread, unloved, and uncaring. Hermit mode—ACTIVATE!!!!

As in previous years, I will take this opportunity to wish my favorite person in the whole world a similarly magnificent 3rd birthday. Happy birthday, SJ. I hope I get back to read you more bedtime stories and turn you into a baby burrito soon.

Here’s to another successful year of infecting the internet with my own brand of madness. Cheers!


Here’s the proof!

Welcome to The Black Laser Version 2!

And lo many good things were let loose upon the land!

Finally, after two and half years of life, The Black Laser has received a much needed redesign. It took me ages of hemming and hawing to finally get around to it, but it’s done(ish) and ready to be unveiled. So, what’s new in the land of The Black Laser?

  • New Logo! It’s almost as black metal as I wanted.
  • Sans-serif font! Geometric!
  • Disqus commenting system! Just because!
  • A modern theme! Doesn’t affect you!
  • Uh, some other stuff!

Mostly I want to give the old bat a new coat of paint. It needed it. Of course, I am sure there are things I am going to want to change over the next few days of living with the new design, so don’t mind any annoying downtime here and there while I fiddle.

Stick around, test it out, and let me know if I messed something up. Enjoy!