Extratone‘s last Editor’s Letter of 2016 discusses MAGFest, email, and the future of our counterculture.
Welcome to Extratone at year’s end, 2016.
In this season of annual reflection, quantification, and digital snow flurries (I think it’s cute,) best ofs, abstracts, “looks back,” and other diminutives of summation are the popular thing to be shipping. The thing is, I’ve been extraneously reflecting for the entire history of these letters, and I’m not sure how much more we can all stand. That is the purpose, I suppose.
The short of it:
- May: The website is born, Alek Michael posts our first and only listicle.
- July: 2.0 is launched, the Net‘s format as it exists today begins to take shape, The New (now Futureland) begins.
- August: A brief period of utter absurdity from a few contributors, podcasts slowly continue to expand.
- September: 3.0 is launched, Isiah graces us with four entertaining features.
- October: A welcome audio renaissance – Web Cratesbegins, The Movie Closet arrives.
- November: The New is reimagined into Futureland, Production Editor Emily Waters and Chief Technical Officer Cil Ramsey are brought on board.
I guess it hasn’t actually been all that long has it?
Personally, it’s been more dense with change than any other year I’ve yet to live, which means I am now confronted with the hypothetical burden of explaining to my grandchildren that it took a WordPress site – of all things – to teach me the value of milestones.
When I launched Extratone, I considered the World Wide Web a mere stepping stone to print. I’d always assumed there was little hope for beauty in experiences on the internet, but my exponential increase in online news consumption for this project has exposed me to a different standard of digital storytelling. I thought I’d have to create the content I wanted in order to see it realized at all, but my newfound diligence has led me to discover initiatives like The Outline – an extraordinary website with a very complimentary editorial heading.
Courage like theirs in this industry is lifegiving and clearly – despite what I’ve been saying the past few months – it does exist, somewhere. And it’s not just the compulsive creation of a 20-something college dropout – it’s Joshua Topolsky’s vision – an extremely influential name in the culture. If I recall correctly, I saw him described a few days ago as a “digital media veteran.”
I’ve certainly got enough to say about The Outline for a URL of its own – and it’s coming, soon – but for now, just know that every word I hear from Topolsky regarding his new adventure has been keenly identical to what I would say of Extratone if I had his seniority and experience, which makes him and The Outline “role models,” I guess. That’s new and interesting, but I promise we won’t become defined by Digital Daddy Issues.
The most prevalent topic of this month by far is our upcoming coverage of The Music and Gaming Festival in Maryland, just two weeks from today.
Yup – our little magazine is traveling across the continent to spend three full days absorbing and capturing as much as possible of what’s been (very loosely) described as “the new ComicCon.” (As you probably know, Wil Wheaton has banned me from ComicCon, but I think the ordeal was just a prime indicator of the event’s irrefutable stagnation.)
To begin, you should read my announcement.
Basically, at least four of the staff will be on the ground with cameras, notebooks, and audio recorders along with a bunch of friends from our indefinable network. Some will even be participating.
No matter what happens, it’s bound to be a Huge Happening.This sort of thing isn’t cheap, though, and we require your financial support. As you’ve probably noticed, our need has necessitated drastic action (for us, anyway.) If our popup has been berating you, I sincerely apologize. It’s called Philogus, and it will be killed before we leave on the fifth, assuming I haven’t lost my temper with it by then.
Considering this will be our first time in one place together, it’s admittedly experimental. If you trust me enough to have read this far, though, I expect it to be worth your while.
The most effective way to get your donation to us for this particular endeavor is through my PayPal account, if you’re interested in Extratone‘s long game, you can also patronize our new Patreon. So far, it seems like an intriguing preface (and/or alternative) to an in-house subscription service. I uh… don’t really understand the whole crowdfunding process, though, so help with the profile itself would be a welcome substitution for financial contribution.
THANK YOU BEN STOKES!!!
As you know, a direct shoutout in one of these letters will cost you precisely $100, and the genius behind The Movie Closet has just footed the bill.
Seriously though – The Kind Stokes broke all of our records with his $100 donation, but more importantly… we must cover this thing properly, now. Don’t you dare let him down.
MAGFest Edition is now on Drakesville – our test site mirror – which now has its own sign-up page, if you’d like to help us keep our child healthy and tidy, or if you need to release the wrath my editorials have been building within you in a safe environment.
If you want the Extra scoop on Twitter, you’ll need to follow Emily Waters, Wabi, and myself. Depending on the sequence of events, Nina may commandeer our SnapChat account. We will be podcasting live on our YouTube channel and shall do our sincere best to give the main roll some immediate attention. The unique stuff, though, will come in the weeks after we’ve returned and reflected.
The writing and photography are going to be like nothing you’ve ever seen.
Perhaps you’ve noticed that Prose Editor-at-Large Tim Marx hasn’t been very at-large lately. He came to the rescue with the youths abandoned me on Futureland, and we ended up signing him up for his Twitter account on the show, which is probably entertaining. We began recording our long-awaited Hunter S. Thompson discussion on Off The Grid a few days ago, but ended up orbiting the topic because of Alexa‘s much-anticipated appearance. She has since contributed two superb works of prose – I’d guess the front page will continue to be poetically stimulating for the near future.
We also mentioned Tim’s Big Idea, which now has a (probably placeholder) title – The Endeavor.
Columbia, Missouri – Extratone‘s reluctant headquarters – is an achingly-moderate college town full of adderall-hauling students and dull, middle-aged fucks who find themselves awfully quirky. Beneath all moderate locales, though, is a cultural counterweight of some kind, and ours is an unwholesome underground of sexual deviancy. Of course, I use adjectives like “unwholesome” from a detached, amoral perspective in an effort to better summarize the idea in abstracts, not as a moral judgement.
In fact, let me be as clear as possible before we go on: we are not interested in exposure. We are not investigative journalists, scoop seekers, or zealous truthists – our only desire from this undertaking is a good story or two.
Using friends’ networks and Craigslist, we intent to spend the year of our lord, 2017 actively delving into local fetish communities with the zestful vigor of Hunter S. himself. Though I’ve said “we,” I must note that this is Tim‘s vision & vessel, through and through. It is his to steer where he wants, though I will be tagging along as much as I can. As the journey progresses, he will be publishing stories to The Endeavor‘s roll which will be compiled next year into a print release.
Ultimately, neither of us can anticipate what’s coming, and we should all be desperately grateful.
Scribam quid non legerim – it’s gonna be a helluva ride.
Our new Production Editor has been putting in more than her fair share. Emily wrote the first of her Poems and Peroxide series, and has appeared on the majority of this month’s podcast content. My hope is that her straightforward method will provide substantial relief from my mealymouthed ramblings – both written and spoken.
The Movie Closet finished their four-part “favorites” series and recorded a fascinating, concise discussion with the crew behind Under The Glass – a local documentary about the history of pinball. Their Christmas Special is vastly superior to most holiday-edition shows, if I’m honest.
I’ve continued to take care of the gruntwork involved in revisiting and updating old content to the new standard. Of course, it’s never going to be “done,” which is both a luxury and a burden. As you know, there is always something else to polish. I have even begun a physical “Versions and Changes Log” to keep better track of all the little settings I find myself compulsively cowboying when I’m drunk at three in the morning. It’s a wonder I haven’t broken anything.
- Thanks to Chris, our Discord‘s permissions are now configured correctly.
- The Dashboard’s post interface is now capable of excerpts and selectable post attribution.
- Moved caching to W3, and there’s been a noticeable increase in site speed.
Though the Extranet is under constant assault by automated Ukrainians (we just exceeded 20,000 total malicious login attempts,) it is rare for a spam bot to actually make it so far as to save a post as a draft. (Very few accounts have the required permissionsto publish contentwithout approval.) It’s even rarer for one to manage text in the body, but I have decided to reward the foul software for its effort and actually publish the complete works in ahidden category. (Unindexed and unsearchable, of course.)
As excited as I am about for the second email renaissance, I’m still not very good at email. I am slowly mastering the godlike powers of MailChimp in order to one day send you regular, professionally-designed E M A I L S. This month, I finally got around to writing my editorial on fake news (warning: Poe,) and cranked out some 2000 words on the story of my first laptop purchase since 2008. Look for my review of the HP Spectre 13t a bit after we recover from MAGFest.
Regardless of the results of just about any possible happening in the next month (except for my own death, perhaps,) the next Freq Check you receive will be vastly different from this and all prior correspondence. I cannot help but continue to thank you for making all of this possible. I am obsessed with making sure our continued transactions are mutually beneficial, and elated by the possibilities in our imminent future.
Happy winter to you.