720 comments in the queue, all of them spam. This is what I get for not bothering to log in for some three or four years. To say nothing of the software and its plugins all being several major versions out of date. Shameful, really. I still don’t have much use for this particular site at the moment; I’m thinking of trying to blog more, but dustyoldbooks.net seems like the better place for it. I’ll have to give it some thought. No doubt I’ll see you in another few years.
Given how little I’ve used this particular bit of webspace, I don’t imagine there’s anyone who would read the news here first, but for posterity: today I’ve started a new blog called Dusty Old Books. What relation it’ll have to this site, and whether or not I’ll migrate over any old posts (or crosspost new ones, for that matter), I’m not yet sure. I guess we’ll see.
So, it would seem I just reached 2,000 followers on Twitter. I don’t want to make an especially big deal out of this, since it’s ultimately just a number, and I didn’t create my account in search of fame or acclaim; I just wanted to talk about candy-colored magical ponies. Still, it’s a milestone, and a useful one, because it gives me another opportunity to say “thank you” – thank you, sincerely, to all of you who follow me. I’ve met a lot of incredible people via this medium, and I’m grateful for the wonderful impact you’ve all had on my life. The estimable PixelKitties phrased it beautifully when she herself reached this milestone:
“You’ve all brought me endless joy and inspiration. I promise that whether I have 1 follower or 2000 each of you means the world to me. Thank you, friends and fellow fans of diminutive equines. Thank you for following me, and simply being you.” 
I really can’t put it better than that.
Now (grumble), as far as the singing goes: for those of you who weren’t aware, shortly after I reached the 1,000 follower milestone, I quipped that I’d sing “Becoming Popular” if I ever made it to 2,000 followers. This was meant ironically, given the theme of the song (and its episode) and my utter inability to sing well, and I made the joke in the sure knowledge that I’d never in a million years have to actually follow through with it. As a Classics enthusiast, you’d think I’d have known better than to tempt Fate; I erred, and lo and behold, here we are today. As I’m a (very silly) man of my word, I will indeed record a version of the song and upload it soon. I hope you’ll be patient, since with my pending move to the UK I’m a bit strapped for time at the moment, but you’ve waited this long, and I’ll try to make it worth your while.
That’s all. Thank you, as ever, for your friendship, and for paying me the great compliment of your attention. Be excellent to each other.
For reasons that entirely elude me, tonight became a bit of a sing-along on Twitter. Various folks got in on the following songs:
In terms of how I feel about all you silly people who joined in, I believe Fluttershy put it best.
My dear bronies, pegasisters, fellow fans, followers, and everybody else here not sitting on a cushion,
I can’t with any honesty say that 2011 was one of my better years. I’ll not delve into the various reasons why, but suffice it to say, it presented me with what in hindsight seems more than a fair share of challenges. I dealt with each as best I could, as best as circumstances and my own capacities allowed. Sometimes this was enough; sometimes it was not; either way, I’m quite glad to put all of it behind me.
I’m hopeful that in years to come I’ll be able to look back on 2011 and say with conviction that, to steal a line from a favorite song, in the end, the journey brought joys that outweighed the pain. Only time and further reflection will tell for sure – but I would be both a fool and a liar to deny that the year had its bright spots, its moments of happiness and periods of joy. And while some were more pronounced than others, and some more powerful, certainly none were more unexpected or more welcome than becoming a part of our wonderful little community.
To say that it took me by surprise is an understatement. I didn’t originally come willingly to this fandom. It took the dear friend who recommended the show to me many months of gentle cajoling for my resolve to finally crack. When she first mentioned it, I gave her my word I would watch it, but while this was a promise I fully intended to keep, it was one I planned on keeping later rather than sooner. Eventually, though, I relented, and watched the two-part pilot. Then I watched a few episodes. Then a few more. Then, rather inevitably and before I quite knew what was happening, I was hooked.
Equally inevitably – as I’ve never been much good at keeping quiet my passion for my interests – my newfound enthusiasm sought an outlet, and Twitter provided it. Just as I’d not known what to expect from the show, I didn’t know what to expect from this new account, but in very short order, @foalpapers did indeed become my primary channel for my enthusiasm, and so much more besides.
For what I found on Twitter was more than just a number of fellow fans; instead, the people I discovered have proven to be some of the most thoughtful, intelligent, honest, supportive, and genuinely decent individuals I’ve ever come across, online or off. Every single person with whom I’ve had the pleasure of interacting has made an impact on me, and left a lasting impression. As I know it has to so many others, the sense of camaraderie and fellowship in our corner of the fandom has come to mean a great deal to me, and I’m humbled and grateful to be a part of it.
Though 2011 was not one of my better years, I know full well that it could have been worse. I’m luckier than most: through what highs and lows I’ve had, I’ve always been buoyed by the love and support of my family and friends. But even if I lacked that – even if 2011 had no other redeeming individuals or joys – still it would be redeemed by having come to know all of you.
I don’t know where 2012 will take me, but I look forward to sharing the journey with you, and I’ll try, as ever, to be as excellent to you all as you all so richly deserve.
Happy New Year, and may it bring you joy.
So, I was thinking of picking up two or three items from WeLoveFine today, since they’re doing a “Cyber Monday” deal. Assuming I can actually complete a purchase (given all the traffic they’ve had today, that’s uncertain), I’m torn between which of the following I should go for. I’d welcome your opinions, here or on Twitter. Cheers.
– Your Face! (designed by our very own @pixelkitties – congratulations again!)
– Two Nights Only
– Cloudsdale Weather (hoodie)
– Cloudsdale Weather Factory
– Celestial Royal Guard
– Illusions Trixie
– Sweet Apple Acres
– Keep Calm and Canter On
– Rainbow Dash Cutie Mark
– Just Got 20% Cooler
– Elements Harmony
– Twilight Sparkle Cutie Mark
(As you can probably tell, I usually favor the more subtle designs, though there are a few obvious exceptions on that list.)
Though the best place to find me is usually on Twitter (@foalpapers), I’m occasionally prone to ramblings that can cause considerable pain to people’s timelines. In order to avoid this, and in an attempt to keep my Tumblr devoted more strictly to MLP content – not to mention to provide a hub for my online presences – I’ve decided to create this site and blog.