Another Hollywood Reboot

Hello there.

‘member me? Do you? Noice. I’m back. Blog’s back.

Oh wait, you don’t remember me? Fair enough. It’s been a while.

I began a blog here at johncabrera.com back in 2008. For the first two years, this was a collection of weekly, sometimes daily, meditations. But not the chill kind. These were ramblings on all sorts of goofy stuff—over one hundred discussions and dissections of a television series called Lost, or examinations of contemporary choreography on So You Think You Can Dance, a fantasy dance league (no joke).

This blog included some of my favorite music finds, comic-book finds, and sometimes when I didn’t have anything specific to discuss, I just babbled about whatever was going on in my life at the time.

What happened?

Well, one thing that happened is that I switched my hosting provider—an attempt to save a bit of money. The next thing that happened is that I forgot to back up my blog’s database, and in general, I just forgot to bring the blog over to the new host.

This is probably the best way to describe the first thing that happened, though, which—if I’m gonna be honest with myself—happened years ago, long before my final posts on that old blog:

I just didn’t know what to write anymore.

I didn’t have as much to say. And I found myself writing just to keep it going. It became a chore. So I quietly saw myself out.

And I realize that hasn’t just been here on my blog. Aside from a lot of dog pictures on Instagram, I haven’t been nearly as regular about sharing my life and perspective online. I tweet maybe once a month. I post something on FB a bit less frequent than that.

It’s not that I’ve lost my taste for online communities. I think I just became overwhelmed by it all. A bit unsure whether my perspective fits in… or if I’m only contributing to the noise.

So over the past several years, I’ve been trying to observe more… reflect a bit on these weird times we’re in… on my own goals—personal and professional.

I’ve also been living—of course, I’m still alive—and experiencing some cool stuff IRL. I got married. My wife and I bought our first house. I’ve been traveling around the world for business and pleasure. I went to Australia and Bulgaria for the first time over the past several years. I have two dogs that I believe are the best dogs… so I’ve become a typical dog owner, yeah.

And now I’m back at my blog. And I think I’m ready to share some of my thoughts, my findings, my experiences with whomever is interested. Sometime towards the end of 2018, I started to get the urge to blog again, and it’s been growing ever since. That’s pretty much the meat of it.

johncabrera.com has been rebooted.

So where’s the old blog? Well, the funny thing about not backing up your blog’s database, if you lose it, it’s gone. Well, most of it. I found a back-up of the database from 2011, so there’s a portion of it still intact. There are also some pages I was able to find using the internet archives, but surprisingly not as much as I would have thought.

Anyway, all of this is to say, for those of you interested in revisiting some of the nonsense at the old johncabrera.com, I am trying to rebuild it. But it’s going to take some time, and it’s not a huge priority for me. I’ve already created a subdomain for it at archive.johncabrera.com. When it’s back—or enough of it is back—I’ll let you know.

Social media plays a vital role in blogging. Blogging is social media. But if this is going to be a genuine return to my blog, it will likely include some kind of return to the social platforms—Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, perhaps some emerging products, we’ll see.

In anticipation of this first post, I’ve been thinking a lot about how my new blog will interact with a more substantial online presence. It’s forced me to reexamine my social media habits on the whole. Most of you reading this post found it through one of my social profiles, right? Well, I’ll likely share more of my thoughts on social media in the coming months, but for now, I’d like to share with you some changes I’m making:

Twitter

Last year, I read this fantastic blog post about Twitter. Here it is. https://medium.com/@ebruenig/why-and-how-i-delete-all-my-tweets-every-day-93282d0d38fa. It perfectly expresses how I’ve been feeling about micro-blogging for years. The gist of it is this: if someone told me they had an online archive of every conversation I’ve ever had in my life, for the world to see—stuff from when I was in high school, elementary school, chatter from a decade ago, phone calls with friends, even ponderings to myself in the shower—I mean… I’d hate that thought. Wouldn’t you?

And yet, Twitter is that: an archive of rambling, of casual discussions and ruminations. But conversations are immediate and contextual. They belong to those who were in the conversation. Or those who observed the conversation when it first happened. Our memories are the best archives for that. And when our memories fail us there, does it really matter?

So if any of you have been to my Twitter in the past 48 hours, you probably noticed that I deleted almost every tweet since the beginning of my Twitter history. And going forward, I will have a regular routine of deleting tweets within days. I have to say, as nervous as I was to purge 8000+ tweets since 2008, it felt reeeeeeeally good afterwards.

Twitter is a vast public forum for discourse. I accept that what I say there is free for the world to see, interpret, even archive for themselves. But being able to treat it as immediate and fleeting will allow me to use it more appropriately. Less rambling and broadcasting. More conversing. If you don’t know my Twitter, here it is.

Facebook

I’m just going to say it— and I’m sure you’ve heard this from others, maybe feel it yourself—I’ve sort of lost the bug for Facebook. It too often feels like the mutant offspring of America’s Funniest Home Videos and some dystopian sci-fi movie from the 80s. So basically, an episode of Black Mirror. Maybe it’s my settings. I don’t know, but I’ve been having a hard time scrolling through my feed these days. And like a lot of folks, I’m disillusioned by the data mining and privacy concerns. I know Twitter does it too. They all do. But Facebook’s been the poster-child for most of these online privacy discussions, and I think it’s for good reason. It’s become a swiss-army knife for our digital lives: a phone book (and new phone number!), a text messenger, an account verifier, a photo album, blog, discussion forum, news aggregator, marketplace, games platform, TV network, and of course, a pulpit. So much of our meta-selves… all in one place. Makes me feel a bit claustrophobic.

That said, I have too many family members and old friends there, both buds IRL and those I met during Social Romp 1.0. Right now, it’s the best way for many of us to stay connected. So it will remain a pretty solid way to get in touch with me. And I’ll still broadcast there when I have something to share since I know many folks only use Facebook. But I may not be as active there as I have been in the past. And if you send a friend request, it might take a sec for me to get to it. I will, though. Promise. Here’s my Facebook if you don’t have it.

Instagram

I know, I know. It’s owned by Facebook. And there’s a lot to unpack there too. But until a better photo album archive comes around, this is probably going to remain in my life. Even during these years of lighter social media, I’ve really enjoyed sharing quick, visual updates of my day-to-day, and that won’t stop. Expect lots of dogs there. They are the funniest and most visually captivating thing in my life right now. Trust me on this. Here’s my Instagram for those of you not aware.

Other Social Tech

Now, please don’t get me wrong. I am still—and always will be— a tech nerd, and a social animal. I continue to explore, experiment. But I think I’m treading a bit more carefully these days, searching for better alternatives to digital products and methods. I hope to share some of those with you here so we can examine their potential together.

The New Blog

Why now? And what now?

This blog is going to be a lot more focused than the last. There are really only a few areas of my life that I feel inspired to share publicly. I’ll dedicate my time and energy there in the hopes of producing content that you can actually do something with… or stuff that at least starts a conversation.

It also means this blog won’t have many of the standard “updates.” I’d like to use general social media for that. If something big is going on that’s worth sharing as its happening, it’ll probably be picture worthy and posted on Instagram. If it’s more texty, it’ll probably be a conversation on Twitter. That goes for career updates, project updates, and life updates. And I know this is going to disappoint some Gilmore Girls fans, but this blog will not be a source for Gilmore Girls updates. The best I can offer you there are occasional references to my time on Gilmore Girls in posts about the industry and the craft. And I do plan to write that kind of stuff. Hopefully, a lot of it.

Perspectives

Over the past decade, I’ve become much quieter about my views on the world. On politics. On art. On technology. I think some of that has happened naturally with age. Being embarrassed about past opinions (any of you remember my gung-ho idealism around social media years ago??).

I also think I’ve become afraid to contribute my perspective in such polarized times. Afraid to contribute to the polarization but also of how my views could be weaponized against my family or me.

That said, I believe artists have a responsibility to share their point-of-view. Art is perspective. So I’m going to explore using this blog to share my thoughts—on politics, society, religion, etc.—and to explore them further, to better understand them for myself.

“So Into […]”

I’ve been thinking about this one for a while—collecting ideas. This blog will present an ongoing series of articles that I call “So Into […]”—with the blank being the very thing that I am… oh so very into.

I guess they’ll sort of be like reviews. But always something I’m just geeking out over. Example: if this were 2008, I’d probably publish a very comprehensive post called “So Into Lost.” Its focus would be on every aspect of Lost that I just friggin love.

I will always share things that I am legitimately into—not just curious about, but the stuff I actually use or have become recently obsessed with. I’ll share everything from methods to gadgets, to content, to activities, to ideas, to people. Whatever I’m into. Maybe you’re into it too, and we can geek out about it together. Or perhaps you’ve never heard of it, and I can convince you to give it a try. Maybe you’re a hater, and this will shed light on how someone could love something so lame.

Storyworlds

Over the past 5 years, I’ve been examining the craft of fictional world-building. I’ve been doing a lot of my own research on the subject, as well as contributing to several projects with a heavy emphasis on world-building. My first big endeavor, H+, was the starting ground for much of that exploration. Early last year, I decided to start work on a comprehensive set of articles and exercises that would present all of what I’ve discovered over the past decade.

I intended to complete everything first, then present it as one long course. But I’ve made a detour. I will now be releasing this world-building course here at my site, piece by piece as I complete each of them. I’ve settled on that for a few reasons. For one, it will allow me to publish content I already have written, which should tell me if I’m heading in the right direction. Also, since the art of world-building is so rooted in exploration, a slow release of the course will allow the subject matter to evolve rather than be rigidly constructed. One thing I’ve learned about fictional world-building is the need for fluidity.

To be clear, this is going to be a free study on world-building. At least, for those of you following along now. We’ll talk about patterns I’ve recognized. We’ll talk about whether world-building, like it’s literary counterpart storytelling, has any formulas or structure we can use. I’ll share some helpful tools and methods I’ve come across. I’ll provide some fun tutorials. And I’ll share what I know about the future of world-building in the entertainment industry.

Um… yeah…

I’m going to do my best to keep this limited set of topics pretty well organized here. For now, this blog is sparse, I know, but as I add more articles, I’ll get them categorized and tagged and searchable. And yes, I’ll also stay open to things changing a bit. I may add something new if it inspires me, or I’ll purge stuff that isn’t firing us all up.

And I will lean on you a bit for inspiration as well. If that’s okay. So please talk to me. Write me some comments on this and other posts. Say hello on Twitter. Let’s converse and be social again.

Whoa, this turned into a really long post. Dang. Okay.

Here we go.

Welcome back to johncabrera.com.