Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Favorite Thing Ever - New blog about spreading the joy

Expressions of delight and satisfaction gush forth from Favorite Thing EVER

Had your fill of blogs where people complain about doing laundry or cut down things you think are awesome? Then ditch the grumpy scene and subscribe to http://www.favoritethingever.com/. Publishing since July, Favorite Thing Ever was dreamed up by zombie expert Matt Youngmark after he decided regular review sites were tedious. At Favorite Thing Ever, Matt, Kormantic, and a group of presumably slavishly loyal bloggers post about the things that they really like, from books to games to root vegetables.

Intrigued by this blog that promises not to waste its readers' time on "things that suck or are only kind of okay" I recently interviewed Matt and Kormantic to find out more about this positive crew.

1. What were your motivations for creating ftE?

Matt: I used to work at a weekly newspaper, and the experience kind of burned me out on the whole idea of "arts criticism." It's like, if you're a critic, stuff just falls into your lap and it's your job to tell the world if it's any good or not. But there's no law that says you have to review things that you don't like. It's just easier. So more often than not, our entertainment section would read like a list of things we thought we were better than that week. Instead, I like the idea of a place where I can just access my inner fanboy and pimp my favorite things out to the rest of the world. Anybody can write pithy barbs about why something is overrated, but I think it actually takes more balls to put yourself out there and say you love something. To hell with it if all the cool kids think "Ultimate Fantastic Four" is "so 2006."

Kormantic: It was 147% Matt's idea. He did all the heavy lifting as far as creating and setting up the site. I will say, though, that I've always been a big fan of manic joy, and I used to vibrate at high frequencies about all manner of grooviness at my own lonely little blog-- now I have a place specifically designed to do that, and a gang to share it with.

2. What is your favorite post so far at ftE? Please explain why.

Matt: Usually the thing I just wrote. A friend accused me of having some Cocker Spaniel in my blood, because whatever I'm interested in at the moment is the SINGLE MOST AMAZING THING I HAVE EVER HEARD OF, OMG YOU HAVE TO SEE THIS. There was one example, though, where I played a new game at a convention (Castle Panic!), fell in love with it, and then had this perfect venue to immediately share my enthusiasm. That sort of encapsulated the entire purpose of ftE, for me. Plus, the game's creator really appreciated it and gave me a shout out on his blog -- I still get warm fuzzies, just thinking about it.

Kormantic: It might be the one I did about potatoes. I mean, theoretically, there is (a very little) money to be made in talking about items that you can almost always buy on Amazon (including, in fact, potatoes, weirdly enough) but the point of the site isn't HEY BUY THIS BUY THIS it's, I love this and this is why and maybe you will love it, too. And what's easier to love than the homely, cheap, versatile, delicious potato? I don't think I've ever met anyone who wasn't always happy to have some potatoes, man.

3. How many bloggers are currently contributing to ftE?

Matt: Nine at present. Some write every week and others write whenever they get inspired to -- we're blessed to know a bunch of wonderful writers who are also wonderful human beings, so our existing circle of friends was the perfect venue to recruit bloggers from.

Kormantic: I've been in an online writing group that goes back yonks, and I also happen to have a lot of friends who LOVE things, so I was able to contact some of them and pimp the site. We have some lovely contributors who came to us that way. We met others because Matt was promoting his book. I do believe one just started writing for us because he liked the site and we liked him.

4. Would you delete comments from haters in order to maintain the manic tone of ftE?

Matt: Haters gonna hate. So far we've only gotten one negative rant, and he was actually reasonably polite, so we left him a chipper response and let it stand. My instincts are to leave it all up there, good and bad, but I imagine if somebody posts something truly hurtful or vile we'll nuke it.

Kormantic: Our (so far single) Complainy Pants called our site an "inane, meta-consumerist, total-waste-of-time pap", actually. Me, I think he missed the point. We're not Consumer Reports by a long stretch, and we're not saving the rainforest or anything, but I think we're delightful. I don't think hearing someone wax rhapsodic about a book they loved is a waste of time. I also don't think it's consumerist to say, point out a handsome little recycled notebook, or a magical toothbrush. It's not like I can see any of us writing about diamond encrusted soda cans or the gold rims on our Hummer. And again, we often write about stuff that's cheap as free. When we're draped in Versace and wearing Gucci noserings, we'll be the first to tell you that Materialism has gone to our pointy little heads. (g)

5. Do you think, in general, that the blogosphere is bloated with rants, complaints, and overly harsh sometimes ignorant criticisms?

Matt: "Bloated" is a good term, I think. People get so worked up! And freedom + anonymity makes a natural breeding ground for our worst impulses, so if a comment thread stretches long enough, it's only a matter of time before someone gets compared to Hitler. I don't think I'd want to change that, though, you know? The WHOLE POINT of the internet is that you can say whatever you want. If there's any kind of mission statement behind ftE, it's not that the internet can be full of joy and pleasantry instead. It's that the internet can be full of joy and pleasantry as well. And it is!

Kormantic: What Matt said.

6. Any additional comments?

Matt: Come check out favorite thing EVER! Join the conversation in the comment threads, and if you're bursting with enthusiasm about something, pitch us an idea for a guest post! We are having a giant, nonstop party over here, AND YOU ARE ALL INVITED.

Kormantic: Bring CANDY!

Matt Youngmark is the author of Zombocalypse Now, a full-length zombie choose-your-own-ending novel (for grownups!) from Chooseomatic Books. Back in the day, he worked the newsprint mines at Tacoma Reporter and Pandemonium Magazine. Kormantic has currently lost over 16 millionteen games of Words With Friends in a row. She lives with Matt in their secret lair in the heart of a volcano. She likes CANDY and words that rhyme. The two of them were recently married! To each other!

Congratulations on the marriage. May you be each other's favorite spouses EVER.