Five years ago today I opened an account at LiveJournal and posted the first articles at Steve Likes to Curse. I actually posted three that day: a quickie “Hello world” sort of thing, my review of Superman Returns — the sharing of which was the main reason I decided to start the blog in the first place — and a link to the great Larry Niven essay, “Man of Steel, Woman of Kleenex”.
In that first entry I expressed my hope that the blog would eventually become something halfway interesting, even if only to myself. Five years and nearly 1,800 blog entries later, I can confidently declare “mission accomplished” on that. The blog has always been of interest to me. It’s been an outlet for my opinions and my creativity, it’s given me an excuse to think and write about things I never would have otherwise, it’s introduced me to hundreds of wonderful and fascinating people, and it’s pushed me to try things like podcasting and video production.
After five years, the first four of which I posted at least one article a day, every day, Steve Likes to Curse’s popularity and exposure are still minimal. On a good day, this one gets around 100 hits. Most days it gets between 40-50. And yet this quiet little website of mine has changed my life. What must it be like for someone whose blog gets thousands of hits a day?
With today making five years of blogging for yours truly, here are five things I’ve learned from writing Steve Likes to Curse:
1. People actually read this shit.
By far my most viewed and most commented-upon articles were those I wrote three years ago about homeschooling — “Homeschoolers Who Don’t Learn Science Shouldn’t Receive a Diploma” and “And for you homeschool types who aren’t religious nutcases . . .” Not only did I get to participate in some awesome discussions with people I never would have met otherwise, and learn a few things that broadened my still mostly negative perception of homeschooling, but last year the first of those articles was picked up for publication in a volume of Opposing Viewpoints. (You can buy the volume that reprints my essay here, although I don’t see a dime off of it, so what’s the point?) All of this as a result of people just happening to find the blog.
2. It’s usually possible to make an enemy into a friend.
Lots of people — why, I might even say most — disagree with a lot of what I write on here. Occasionally I’ve gotten a harshly phrased negative comment. What I’ve discovered is that most people who write nasty shit on blogs and forums do so because they just assume that to be the tone of the conversation. If you, in responding to them, demonstrate that you’re interesting in having a discussion rather than a shouting match, most of the time the other party will catch on and go along with you. Most negative comments to my articles here have led to at least respectful, if not downright friendly, exchanges. Your own mileage may vary, of course, depending on your awesomeness relative to my own.
3. I’m an atheist.
Honestly, I’ve always been an atheist at heart. I’ve never really believed there was a god or an afterlife. I’ve always been afraid to die, because I’ve always felt the immovable certainty that death is it. No angels, no eternity in paradise, just the permanent annihilation of the self. Can you blame me for spending almost thirty years trying to deny it? For most of my life I professed to be something of a deist, but last March I decided the hell with it and announced to the tiny percentage of the world which reads this stuff, “My Name is Steve Shives and I’m an Atheist”. It was a load off, let me tell you. Plus, it led directly to my involvement in YouTube, and to meeting even more nice people. So many nice people.
4. People love reading about Batman: The Animated Series and Star Trek.
Other than the homeschooling articles mentioned above, my most-visited articles over the last five years have been this one from 2009 about Star Trek villains, and this one from 2008 wherein I pick my favorite episodes from the horribly overrated Batman: The Animated Series. Thanks, nerds!
5. Superman’s heat vision is hilarious.
I rest my case.
To Rick Rottman, to Kim, to SJB, to scarfman, to lyovooshka, to kristogarvelo, to makeminemaudlin, to clicketykeys, to harrybalsagna, to v_opposition, to xerofilter, to fallentoad, to my YouTube buddies TheFeltBegone, PrecambrianLullaby, ONESPECIES, firefly4f4, and the great Jim Howard himself, hnbbs, to Christopher “Varjak” Grebey for being my friend all these years and commenting occasionally, to Ashley, my love, for putting up with this for five years, and to everyone else I didn’t mention: thank you.