Saturday, August 29, 2009

On Blogging About James Callis.

What do you post when you've been blogging for a year? I don't want to make a huge big celebration post, because those are never quite as big and celebratory as you had hoped. But I've been wanting to post something meta, so I'm going to ramble about blogging about James Callis. As opposed to rambling about James Callis (although I'm sure I will do that too before the post ends).

I can honestly say I still enjoy writing this blog, and I'm still as into James - or even more so - as I was when I started. These are things I couldn't really count on when I started the blog. You never know with fan feelings. I can also say, to my astonishment, that I've had... *checks* 8,789 views to date. That's amazing. I thought my blog would kind of disappear into the mass of possible other fan blogs and sites. I'm still surprised there aren't more pages about James Callis out there. It feels odd to think that this blog might be a resource for people looking for information on him. I feel proud and humble at the same time.

When I started, I didn't know anything about James Callis fans (nor did I know much about James Callis, coming to think of it). I didn't know what I was getting into. I'm not sure why this is, but I seem to have an easier time starting a blog than going into a forum and saying hi to people. Maybe this has changed a bit, since I am more confident now than I was a year ago. However, the blog itself has proven a good way of meeting new people. I feel a bit guilty for my lacklustre behavior at forums lately. I'm just not that good at writing at forums, and since there aren't many people talking there, the conversations run dry so quickly. We have great conversations on twitter though, so maybe we've just changed the place of discussion.

Blogging about fandom is a very personal thing for me. I try to be honest and open about my own reactions. What you see here is all from the heart: my love, my joy, my humor and - hopefully not too often - my disappointments. Sometimes I wonder if I write for myself, for the fans, or James. If I found out James doesn't care to read the blog, would my own interest wane? I like to think I'd still blog here; writing is my way of dealing with emotions. I transcribe to get to know James and hear his views on things. I read con reports to see how he interacts with other fans. I'm trying to get to know him, and even if my image of him is probably always an illusion, at least it's something very dear to me. It's my personal HeadJames.

Does the fandom also have a collective HeadJames who belongs to all of us? Sometimes in discussions, I feel like we all see the same person: smart, funny, modest and talented, and very, very kind. His love and warmth is for all of us, and it makes us better people. I'm making it sound like a religion. :D Is fandom a religion of sorts? Is fangirl high a spiritual experience? It does elevate me and give me something to believe in. Elina and I met recently and joked about Jamus religion where we'd worship James, but is there a bit of truth to that? Are we the Callis Cult?

OK, I joke about being obsessive, but seriously, I hope that the blog comes off more "warm and admiring" than "obsessive and stalkerish". I do worry about this sometimes. I think about James a lot, but so far, it's only brought positive things (above all, a positive diversion from my depression thoughts). Fandom has to be a little intense, or it doesn't feel as good. That said, if I start to sound like a stalker, please let me know.

I've had some rules with this blog, all pretty much based on the idea that James is a real person somewhere. He's my HeadJames, yet not. He's not a figment of my imagination - or even Ron Moore's - and I can say what I want about Gaius Baltar, but not about James Callis. I've tried to think of what would offend me or freak me out. I hope the blog is respectful and hasn't hurt anyone's feelings. At the same time, I don't want to gush too much. If I don't like something, I'm going to say that. I wouldn't respect a fan who can't criticize anything about me, and I don't want to be that kind of fan.

Sometimes it's hard to draw the line. If someone says something rude about James, what is my role? To defend him? To ignore it? He can speak for himself if something truly bad happens. On the other hand, people shouldn't assume they can say just anything about a celebrity. I didn't have a great experience with defending him, so maybe I'll keep out of that in the future. James probably wouldn't want his fans to start online feuds, so I won't. Unless someone says something that really pisses me off. (I suspect this isn't the last we'll see of Deniselle the defender.)

In only two weeks (!!), Pedda will get me James' autograph. That might change something or nothing in the way I feel about him. An autograph is a name on paper, so I try not to expect too much. It might mean a lot though, especially if it's also MY name written by HIM. Plus I think I'll ask him to draw a dog. I hope he obliges. I'm very curious to see his drawing style. I'll probably be at least a little sad that I'm not personally at An Evening With James Callis, but I'll try to be impartial as usual and keep my calm, matter-of-fact composure. Stiff upper lip!

I've often been complimented on my ability to find James goodies on Google and other sites. To celebrate the anniversary, I thought I'd share a few of my secrets:
-Looking for "James Callis" will give you page upon page of junk sites ("Find all the latest info!!! News item 0 of 0".) You need to type in the full name because "James" is hardly unique (I envy Tahmoh fans), but for valid results, always use other search terms along with the name. Vary the terms and try advanced searches. Be imaginative. It won't always help, but you never know.

-Google blogsearch, on the other hand, is less cluttered than the regular search. "James Callis" will give you many interesting results. However, it won't find everything, so don't rely on it exclusively. "Last week", "last 24 hours", etc. always gives more reliable results, because old posts tend to linger on the blogsearch. LiveJournal entries don't always turn up this way.

-Finding pictures on Google image search is a mess. Try and their search ("Most recent" is usually a good qualifier). Search not only for "James Callis", but also "Gaius Baltar", because there are way too many people who don't know his name. Ditto Photobucket.

-Fan sites are almost always more interesting and detailed than big entertainment sites. Forums are a good place to find personal meeting stories or fan observations. Sometimes you have to search thru a forum topic to find the relevant items, though.

-Cons are a pain to search. For instance, James has been at the 07 New York City Comic Con, the 08 San Diego Comic Con, the 09 San Diego Comic Con, and I'm sure I'm already omitting some. As a result, you get way too many old and useless results with name+comic con. Always use advanced search with specific terms. James Callis+con name+city the con is at, then pick "last 24 hours" or "last week" on advanced search. Be patient and search every day for a week or two if you want to see it all. You can bookmark the search for convenience. (Or, if no one else has the obsession to do this, you can check my blog. :D)

-Try locating sentences inside the text that mention something James said or did. "James Callis"+"James said" or "James Callis"+"he said" might turn up something interesting. (Although the latter can also be misleading because "he" might refer to someone else; this type of search is for patient moments only.)

-Don't expect to find any wild details on his personal life. What you see on the Unofficial website is all you get. There are no photos of his wife or children online.

-Sites promising "james callis porn" are all random spam. Sadly.

I want to send a friendly hello to all the people who read my blog regularly. It makes me so happy that you enjoy the blog and continue to read. If you want to post sometime, feel free to do so; anonymous commenting is enabled here. I read every comment before I publish it, but unless you're blatantly hateful or selling a product, I will probably publish whatever you have to say. Don't feel pressured to comment, however; I can still see you visited and appreciate it. (And don't be freaked out that I can see you; I'm not nerdy enough to do anything with your sitemeter info.) My email is deniselleDOTswanATgmailDOTcom, and all emails are welcome.

Fandom has a life span, and it's not necessarily something I can control. I can't make any promises about sticking around. (Although I was an Ace Of Base fan for almost 15 years, so if that's any indication...) I can only promise that I'll always be honest and open about how I feel, and post in this blog as long as it's fun. I do hope the blog will be around still next year and keep entertaining me and, if possible, others as well.

Let's keep the torches burning and the chanting going, and worship the one and only James Callis, artiste and warm person extraordinaire!



Wesoly said...

Hey, D! :) As usual I enjoyed your post very much. I really do appreciate your honesty when writing. Here's to (hopefully) many years of blogging! :D

Deniselle said...

Awww, thank you! :) It means a lot to me that you appreciate the blog.

As it feels like right now, I thnk I'll still be around when James becomes a grandfather :D :D But who knows? The point is that it's fun still, and I'm glad the readers have found it enjoyable as well!

Jamen to that! :)