Sometimes I think I do a good job of keeping my personal life out of this blog - other times I realize that I'm essentially full of shit. My attitude towards comics is contradictory and often changes depending on my mood; because comics have traditionally held a central position in my mental landscape, how I feel at any given moment is reflected in my attitudes towards comics, of which this blog is the primary indicator. I never really had what you would call comics friends - I didn't hang out with fellow comic readers or anything like that. I may have struck up a few acquaintances over the years, but nothing like the life-long friendships I've heard described by many other comics people. It probably has much to do with my tendency to attempt to distance myself from comics, through rhetorical flourish if not actual fact. (I mean, seriously, anyone who spends this much time writing about Quasar is only kidding himself if he thinks he's maintaining any kind of objective distance!)
But I think that this blog has developed a readership over the years - yeah, weird to think I've been around for years, but I have - who not only expect my pronouncements to be puzzlingly self-contradictory, but actually enjoy the many layers of paradox and nigh-Kantian obfuscation on display. Those who tune in day in and day out, whether I'm babbling about indie rock or putting up funny pictures of hippos, well, after all it sort of begins to feel like a small-scale community.
I used to do periodic fund-raisers around here, promoting the Paypal button and the Amazon links in order to try and make a little bit of extra cash for the many, many hours of unpaid labor. Most of us who blog are not doing it for the dough - and I suspect those lucky few who do get paid in some fashion would probably do it for free if they had to. Anyway, you may have noticed (if you have been around this long) that I haven't done a fundraiser in quite some time. The reason why is, to put it bluntly, it just hasn't occurred to me. At some point the blog itself outstripped any kind of expectation of even the most rudimentary remuneration, and just sort of became this thing attached to my body, like a wart or carbunkle positioned on an embarrassing part of your body that talks a lot and eats a lot. You don't necessarily throw fundraisers for, say, your feet or your pancreas. It's just there, and like my feet or my pancreas I have no desire to separate myself from this blog anytime soon.
In the last few months I left a financially stable job for the chance to return back to school, which I left many, many years ago. It was one of those situations where I realized I had the perfect opportunity to do something I'd been putting off for a long time - "if not now, when?" The problem is that while the opportunity was good, the financial situation was less than stable. Things needed to work exactly right in terms of financial aid and a new job for me to be able to skate by cleanly. Well, of course, things didn't quite work out that way, as you might expect. So, here I am back in school, but struggling to keep my head above water. You can just imagine what that does to a fellow's desire for extra-curricular blogging!
You can probably see where this is going: it's time for another of my intermittent pledge drives. This isn't just because I want some extra cash to buy books or what not, this is the real deal, putting gas in the tank and food on the table. My birthday is in a little under two weeks and it is my hope that these financial straits will be at least slightly mollified by then, inasmuch as I'd like to be able to pay the rent on time. But until then, it falls on me to ask everyone who regularly reads and enjoys the work on this blog to put a penny or two in my cup. A few dollars from just a fraction of the people who show up every day would really make a world of difference right now.
Like PBS, I try to keep pledge drives to a minimum, but unlike PBS I won't interrupt Doctor Who every ten minutes to ask for money.