Another year has gone by. Where do we stand?

Hey everyone, Mike here. So, it looks like I just hit the four year mark on this blog. As we’ve seen, my participation on it has been very hit or miss. I struggled for a while on what exactly I wanted to do with it. When I began in late 2017 the only thing I had in mind was opening the site, getting it operational, and writing about my most recent Japan trip. After I finished that topic, I experimented with some things. While I didn’t hate it by any means it never really became a regular thing for me. Some random articles here and there were all I ended up with. I think it didn’t help that 2018 was a transitional year for my fandoms. My levels of interest in my hobbies started to wildly change, which I’m sure didn’t help my focus.

2019 was not a good year for free time. My job duties increased as I was promoted to a director role at work just as we were working to close down a building and open a new one under construction. Needless to say my skills were in high demand for it. It also didn’t help matters any that my mom suffered a serious injury early in the year, breaking her hip and undergoing a replacement surgery.  It all went well in the end thankfully, but it took a good chunk of the year to get there, all while dealing with my job and trying to have some kind of personal life in between it all. It all worked out in the end but it was a busy time.

2020 saw a little more effort into the blog as I managed to write about my experience seeing Everglow and even tried my hand at podcasting. I loved writing about the trip, but the podcasting didn’t end up being something I could sustain. Since it lacks a social dynamic, a solo podcast is hard to do well. I think the two episodes I did came out okay, but ultimately the time put into them in post-production was just a little too much for me to do regularly. It also did feel a bit hollow compared to my podcasting days with New School Kaidan. And of course, thanks go Covid, any kind of trip writing came to a halt. This was very disappointing as I was planning to take a trip to Japan to see Tokyo Idol Festival 2020. It was moved to October to avoid conflicting with the Olympics. It was my one golden chance to go because August, when it’s usually held, is a vacation black out date for me. Maybe one day I will manage to make the trip, but it would be very hard on me and my job.

Sadly, just as I was looking to get back into it leading into 2021, more challenges hindering blogging time appeared. For starters, work was super busy. The new building we opened was a disaster thanks to delays from Covid closures, supporting remote work, dealing with Covid-related staffing issues when we did return, and other construction growing pains. It was a very stressful time. Just as things were looking on the up and up, my mom started to have some health issues. In June, things took a nosedive and she had to be hospitalized. They found her kidneys to be in low functionality, and long story short they found a large growth in her rectum area that was blocking the kidney tubes. They installed some stints to assist with the flow, and then began a long, tedious process to try and figure out what was wrong with her. Finally, on July 14th, they confirmed that there was cancer in the tumor, and that it was so large it could not be removed as-is. They’d need to use chemotherapy to try and shrink it.

But wait, it gets better. As she was getting tests done to set that process up, she fell at the medical center and broke her other hip. Away went pretty much all of the middle of the year. She first had a repair to the bone done and she never got much better, and a month and a half later they finally confirmed the repair failed, then they replaced the whole hip. Yup, the God awful American health care system at work, folks. In the time since, I’ve had to help her a lot. In only the last two months is she in better shape, and better is definitely subjective. She is not as mobile as she used to be, and she doesn’t have a lot of energy. We still haven’t been able to even try the cancer treatments because she’s barely holding on as it is. We’re in this catch-22 where I’m sure the tumor is affecting her health, but the treatment would be even worse. She’s been trying to get there though. Lately, we’ve got a better routine going and I’m finally starting to reclaim some degree of free time, but what a journey it has been. I’ve had to do a lot of growing up the past half year, and put aside some of my wants, needs, and even fears and learn to just be helpful. Whatever is going to happen is going to happen, all I can do is help and try to live my life when away from it. For a while all I did when I came home was dwell and worry about it. That’s a surefire way to destroy your mind, just FYI.

As of right now, things are going okay. As such, I finally started to turn my attention back to some hobbies again, and this site. I really wanted to get back to this for a few reasons. Mainly, I need a place to express my fandom. There’s not many outlets these days. I’m going to try and navigate this subject very carefully but there are some things I want to say. Basically, I feel like this blog is my last good chance at expressing my fandom beyond a crummy tweet.

My era of participating in forums came to an end years ago, and with respect, I don’t have any desire to go back. There were good times and not so good times, but it’s just… over for me. After my time on forums came to an end, I got really involved in Twitter fandom, and quite honestly I had a lot of fun with it for a while. It was a great place to meet and interact with fellow fans and it really felt like there was always something cool going on. Sadly, this came to an end when a certain… “crowd” …. flooded in after Tumblr shot itself in the foot and they took over Twitter’s mainstream atmosphere. I’m sure you know what I’m referring to. The ones who are always preaching about being kind, open-minded, and tolerant while ruining lives over any minuscule difference in opinion, routinely disregarding their moral high ground for some clout on the target of the day, and regularly contradicting themselves because their logic makes absolutely no sense. Yeah, all that fun stuff. This stuff has taken over Twitter and it feels like there’s very few people left to meet not assimilated into this asinine mindset.

While I still have some great friends on there, it’s definitely way less active. A lot of the “old guard” have checked out for one reason or another. With the social media atmosphere a little thin, I think this blog would be a great add-on to what there is left out there, and maybe the folks like me who just want to enjoy to some thoughtful opinions on a shared hobby could get something out of it. I dunno, I think it’s worth one more shot. If I lose interest again and stop using the site, that’ll probably be it. I think five years is a chance well given. I sure do miss the days of active, non-politicized fandoms though. It sure was a good time. I only wish I was able to enjoy them to the max. All I’ll say is, take care of your yourself or you will miss out hard in life. You get one chance. Make it count. Be aware of your mental health, to not do so is a guaranteed path to regret. I speak from experience.

Anyway, this was a kind of weird and often sad entry and I’m not a fan of how long it is, so I’ll stop here since I’ve made the main points I wanted to. In closing, I just want to say thanks to everyone who has ever read this site and supported what I do here in any way. I’ve enjoyed what I’ve done even if some of it didn’t work out long term or was fleeting in nature. With me settling into my new normal I really do want to continue on, and a little more regularly at that. There’s a lot of really great music and other things for me to write about and I hope I get the chance to. Until then, thanks for reading and I’ll catch you in the next entry.

Author

Fan of アイドル, Japanese and Korean music, video games, anime, space, and technology. I tweet and blog about all of the above plus life.

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