Sucking Wind.

Boy, I have been sucking wind for the last week or so.

Maybe you haven’t noticed. Maybe I should just shut up. These website games are as much smoke and mirrors as they are steak and potatoes. Perception is reality. If I was smart, I’d act like all was hunky-dory and lie about the site achieving record numbers. You gain momentum when people think you’re on an upswing. When you’re on a downswing, even the rats dive off.

But I don’t think I can get away with that, because I am gifted with that terrible ability to say absolutely nothing and still be wildly transparent. Even when I’m just reviewing Halloween Facebook apps, if there’s blood in the water, you can probably smell it.

It’s not like I think the last few articles have been actively bad, but my whole deal is that I make mountains out of molehills. For that to work, the passion and excitement needs to be sincere. There are a billion sites that treat the trivial like the end-all be-all, but I think it’s painfully obvious when a writer really didn’t believe what he or she had written. There’s a fine line between exaggeration and fabrication, and if you’re not peddling fiction, you need to be careful about crossing it.

Maybe there was something to my idea of just keeping quiet about this. Looking back at the Countdown, this has only been a recent issue, and it’s not like, painfully obvious. The “problem” is much bigger in my head than on paper, or, you know, screen.

But I still feel like confessing. Sometimes, it’s better to confess things when your back isn’t against the wall.

1. The Halloween Countdown is hard! It’s easy, but it’s hard! I started doing this on September 2nd, and holy shit, there have been more than fifty blogs, plus nine videos  — and this excludes the 20+ reviews on the Creepy Commercials Countdown.

Even finding that much stuff to write about is work. Writing about it is a whole different ballgame. And writing about each thing well is another matter entirely. Fatigue would be natural even under the best of circumstances, but the “best of circumstances” are tough to find. If there’s a single screw loose in your personal life, it becomes that much more difficult.

2. Dino Drac needs to grow. The good news is that the numbers are better than they were on X-E. Depending on the day, even way better. The bad news is that they’re not the kind of numbers I’m happy with. I need like, 400% growth. More like 800%, but I’m trying to be reasonable with my expectations. Does 4000 new people falling in love with Dino Drac overnight sound reasonable?

I rarely admit it, but you don’t put this much into something unless you want something out of it. Of course I want my site to be a huge thing. Of course I want it to become so big that I see a chance to turn it into something more than a hobby. It’s the golden goose so many people chase, but the difference for me is that I’ve been there before. It was a lifetime ago, but I saw what it was like and I still get so angry at myself for squandering it. (In other ways, I am very, very fortunate that I did, but this is a confession, not a defense.)

I am 33. I’m not old, but I’m getting there. I’m old enough to almost never mention my age, because I know how old it sounds, and I know that Dino Drac doesn’t seem like it should belong to a 30-fucking-3-year-old.

In my heart, I know that this cannot last if the site doesn’t grow. I’m just too old to do this if it’s not going to go somewhere.

3. You’ve heard the saying. “Work smart, not hard.” It’s what Ned Beatty told John Goodman over a jar of cashews. That oversimplifies things, but there’s still some truth to it.

I do the complete opposite. I work dumb, and hard. Creating art made from potato chips has its place, but while those types of posts keep the site alive, they don’t necessarily make it grow. So, rather than letting this be a day-to-day sprint where I crawl to the finish line to get so many “little things” published, wouldn’t it be smarter to take my time, build things that are bigger and stronger, and see if they can catch fire? Probably, but I doubt I’ll ever do it. If I was a storm element, I’d be one of those really misshapen tornadoes. I’m not good at being a lightning bolt.

4. Most of what I’ve written above applies to the site in a general way, but this is more specific to the Halloween Countdown. After a while, it’s like yelling at an empty room. I’ve been at this long enough to know that the interest level peaks in late September. Everyone rah-rahs about Halloween when October gets here, but the feeling fades fast.

I think it’s because when September hits, we’re all so excited to have something to look forward to again. Don’t get me wrong, Halloween is fun, but the excitement is bigger in September because we’re just so damn happy to have some weird  thing to absorb ourselves within. By October, we’re still into Halloween, but we’re not  quite as crazy about it. Maybe I’m applying too much personally-based logic to this theory, but the point is, I don’t think the site’s readers are as excited to get “Halloween things” in October as they were in September. Maybe it’s the loss of that initial thrill, or maybe we all fell victim to premature Christmas anticipation. Either way, it sucks to write about stuff for people when you think those people would be happier if you wrote about different stuff.

Since that paragraph was already longer than any paragraph should be, I thought I’d pair it with the most clumsily worded final sentence ever. Did I succeed?

Anyway, yes, I think people just hit a limit on how much Halloween they can take. So maybe tomorrow I’ll write about the time I got thrown out of an ECW show for sneaking backstage with the world’s largest camera.

Now I’m just rambling, and the truth is, I’m just sandwiching the real reason with extra stuff so I won’t seem as forward about it. Scroll back up to #2. That’s the real reason. My clock is ticking and I need to see results. Being who I am is only okay if I’m successful at it.

*breath* (long one)

That’s not to say that “results” are only as simple as “getting enough traffic” or “making enough money.” Hell, I haven’t “gotten enough traffic” or “made enough money” from doing websites since 2006, and I’m still here.

I may be chasing a dream, but the site’s readers have made it very easy to ignore how far off that dream really is. It will sound like lip service because statements like this always do, but I have some of the best readers ever. The fact that I feel safe publishing an entry like this kinda proves it. I’ve been blessed to find an audience that is not only supportive, but never demanding. People who actually want me to succeed, and rarely on an “on their terms” way. I’m beyond fortunate for that, and if you had any idea what a selfish cow I was, you’d understand why “beyond” had to be stressed.

Here’s the case in point. I got this letter today, from a reader named…uh, let’s just call him “J.” Always protect the innocent.

So not only did this guy buy one of the prints, but actually thanked me for selling them, and then went and sent me something in return. I can assure you that I did not deserve treatment this awesome, and I can assure you that very few people deserve treatment this awesome. I’m still happy to take it.

J’s letter came with two strips of My Pet Monster valentines, and I gotta say, if I was headed down the dark path of the downtrodden, this went a long way in correcting that. I make My Pet Monster feel like dancing. I see that and I’m embarrassed for everything written above. Things could be so much worse.

The showpiece of the package was this, a DVD containing J’s homebrew Halloween montage.




This came today, and the timing was perfect. I was literally in the middle of a conversation about how I didn’t think the site was working when the mailman dropped this off.

It has a little bit of everything. Old TV commercials, horror movie clips, and highlights from at least two episodes of The Real Ghostbusters. (Including the one with Samhain!) When you write about Halloween for two months, you get a little bit tired of it. I desperately needed something to recharge those batteries, and an hour of random spooky clips was the perfect power source.

So now you’ve read this, whatever it is. I haven’t gone back to proofread it yet, but I feel like the points I was trying to make probably got a bit muddied. Oh well. Let’s summarize with two notes:

1) I hope this site works out. Right now, I don’t know if it’s going to be a serenade or a swan song. (I hope that line was good. It sounded pretty good.)

2) The Halloween spirit is finite, so find your pleasures where you can.

And now, I leave you with 25 random stills pulled from J’s awesome DVD. If you’ve suffered through whatever this post was, I can at least do my part to refuel your Halloween tanks:

One final confession. I’m starting to hate this font. Fucking Georgia. It’s so hard to read. It’s named after Bret Hart’s sister.