the wheel turns, the blog continues

Back in late 2006 I wrote a blog post describing what it was like to watch movies with my family. At that time there was my wife, our six year old daughter, a dog, and me. It’s been a few years since then. Now we have three kids. Our eldest is thirteen. The next is turning seven, and the youngest turning four. We also have two dogs now, one a Labrador puppy. Our house is no bigger either.

Back then I was excited to start this blog (it used to be on Blogger), connect with other bloggers, and document my life a bit. More importantly, at that time I also was eager to write about films and connect with others cinephiles. I had always loved the movies, studied cinema in college while an undergrad and a grad student. I had had dreams of becoming both and filmmaker and a college professor teaching film studies. Neither happened. Starting this blog back in 2006 was a small way to recapture something I felt I had lost.

Then life happened. One of our children (not listed above) died in my arms. Not long after that an SUV driven by a drunk hit my wife and daughter. They nearly died and my wife had a long and painful healing process. Plus three kids, two dogs, homeschooling, work and more work, all contributed to course changes and new goals. My writing began to turn more toward my search for God, my Christian faith, and inner struggles.

Watching the kinds of films I love became harder and harder. I’m not a night owl. I get distracted easily. I find myself watching more kids films than otherwise. Writing about film seemed less and less important. Connecting with other bloggers was fine for a while, but not the same as true friendships and great discussions – but I still miss those distant folks. Oscar nominations are lists of films I have not seen. Other films bloggers have come and gone. Those that remain are excellent. I’m happy to let others do the interesting writing.

Writing, as the old saying goes is easy: just stare at the blank page until drops of blood form on your forehead. It’s hard work to write. It’s really, really hard to write well.

Well anyway… this blog continues. Perhaps I will re-enter the film writing mode of life. I love films. I am truly haunted by great films. I swoon over tracking shots. I genuinely cry at deeply moving moments. I go back and back again to films I love. It’s the way I am wired. There has never been an artform more powerful than cinema. Maybe I’ll start writing about it again.

We’ll see. Thanks for reading.

>are we there yet?


PilgrimAkimbo has been unfocused for quite some time, nearly as unfocused as it author. When I started this blog in late 2006 I meant to focus my writing on cinema, along with some forays into other arts. Very quickly my focus expanded, but for the most part I blogged a lot about film. Then I got tired of that. Cinema is only one of many interests that grab my attention. I also have a family with young and very young kids. I can’t seem to get myself out to the theaters anymore (it’s actually been a long time). Many of the films I want to see my kids can’t yet see, so that makes it hard to see much at home other than family-friendly movies (many of which I do like). And then I fall asleep anyway reading to my kids when I put them to bed. Plus, years have passed since I relied on film references to define my life. I have become less and less interested in following trends or keeping up on the latest films. Bla, bla bla. So that’s that.

Well, it’s been a long time since I focused on writing anything about cinema, film, movies, or whatnot. But now I plan on changing that somewhat. However, the last thing I want to be is another one of those bloggers who announce their intentions on their blog and then take no further action toward those ends. So I am not announcing that I will now refocus PilgrimAkimbo and make it a film blog again. But maybe, just maybe, you will find me writing my thoughts on cinema and art here more often once more.

So that’s that. Any questions? Don’t forget your reading for next week.

>About this blog of mine, and you


Eventually every blogger writes a post about his/her blog and why they blog. I think I have written at least two or three before this post. My “readership” has waned here at PilgrimAkimbo. I track the numbers. I see how many people come here, from where, and what they look at. I see the number of comments drop from a few here and there to almost none. I see most of the visitors are coming from Google’s image search and they mostly end up on older posts. Not many people seem interested in following what’s new here. I am faced day after day with the question of whether I should continue writing this blog.

When I began PilgrimAkimbo I did so because I wanted to re-explore my interest in cinema and to connect with like-minded folks. I studied cinema in grad school and I wished to bring some of that interest back up to the surface of my busy life. I wrote a lot about films and made comments on other film-related blogs. There is a loose community of such people, many of whom are far better bloggers than I. But my eclectic interests, as I expected they would, overcame me and I began to blog on other topics as well, from art and poetry, to family and life, to politics and religion. My blog kind of exploded in a way. Topically it became a yard sale, a flea market of personal musings. In short, it got diluted and unfocused. I knew that anyone who had been coming to my blog because I wrote about film would likely start to feel as though this was not as interesting or meaningful a place for them. I also knew that anyone who was new to this blog would wonder what the hell it was all about. PilgrimAkimbo increasingly lost any sense of focus, apart from the “whatever Tucker is interested in today” focus. It’s not a personal diary, but it’s not far from it.
As I began to write more about religion and theology I decided to concentrate that writing into a new blog, SateliteSaint. Apart from that PilgrimAkimbo hasn’t changed all that much, except I am now writing a lot about bicycling. But this is not a bicycling blog. It is a personal blog and its author happens to be exploring the topic of bicycling for the time being. You can expect I will get back to politics and art and cinema, with more family stuff as well.
Which brings me to the purpose of PilgrimAkimbo. We can write blogs for any number of reasons. Many of the best blogs are very focused in their purview, from celebrity gossip blogs to Swedish pastry blogs. Many blogs are fundamentally photo-diaries of a family in process as seen through the eyes of mom. I love many of the those blogs and I applaud the ability of their authors to be focused and consistent with their content. I don’t do that very well.
PilgrimAkimbo is a personal blog. And when I say personal, I mean it is a kind of extension of myself, for better or worse. I do not write this for others, though I do try to consider my audience. I have a hard time staying focused on anything for very long. Maybe I’m a little bit ADD under my calm exterior. I have too many interests, a short attention span, plus an intellectual bent, and the need to talk, talk, talk. Writing is a little like talking and this blog is an outlet.
When I started PilgrimAkimbo I was really into tracking how many people visited my blog. I tracked specific posts, and even wrote posts that I knew would attract more readers. I thought about how to make my blog a place where people would like to come repeatedly. I made long links lists on the sidebar. I had lists of favorite books and films. I tried to post every other day to keep the blog alive and current. I wanted to create the feeling that this was a significant blog. Then I got a little burnt out. But not because of all the work, which I did not mind so much. No, I just could not stay limited in my topics. I figured out that a community of bloggers is not a true community, at least not in the same sense as a community of friends. I didn’t owe other bloggers anything really. I realized that it didn’t matter to me if this blog was all that focused, and I wasn’t that interested in how many people stopped by. I don’t get paid for writing my blog and I don’t care. In fact it is a blessing that PilgrimAkimbo is really just a personal outlet for me. I only feel the pressure I put on myself.

PilgrimAkimbo has value for me. I hope it has at least some value for others. I need a place to write and express my thoughts. Blogging is one way to do that. I want more people to comment on my posts and thereby enter into a kind of dialog, because I love that as well. So, to answer my own question, yes I should keep writing this blog if it has value to me, which it does. But if you frequent this blog you’ll have to put up with my eclectic interests and occasional strangeness. If you are new to this blog and want to know what it is about, I can only apologize.

>changes to this blog


I have been making some changes to this blog. I have cleaned up the sidebar links lists quite a bit, and changed the overall format. Having a lot of links may be nice, but it gets cluttered, some links no longer work, some bloggers have stopped blogging, and you all know how to find the blogs & sites you like anyway.

I have also started a new blog where I can focus more on my thoughts and musings on faith, theology, Christianity, and religious cultures. That blog is SatelliteSaint.

My desire is to have PilgrimAkimbo be more about general life things (family, education, outdoors) and to have another place for the stuff mentioned above…not that they don’t go together, but it just makes sense to me.

>Belated birthday: PilgrimAkimbo turned three!


December 11th 2006 was the birth of PilgrimAkimbo.

Like me this blog has changed over the past three years. I began PilgrimAkimbo to write about films and to connect with other cinephiles. As the years have gone by some film blogs I followed shut down, others have slowed their posting to a crawl, and me, I have shifted to more personal, more political, more social, more theological postings, and less about film. I find myself commenting less on other blogs and I get fewer comments on this blog. It would not surprise me that receiving fewer comments at PilgrimAkimbo is due to the kinds of posting I tend toward these days, but I have also seen a waning in the blogoshpere. I think the enthusiasm that once charged blogging has subsided somewhat. Tell me if I am wrong, or what you are observing.

I question constantly why I have this blog, if I want to continue or cease altogether, or if I want to make any big change in direction. I have desires for many posts, but I find my energies often lacking. I want to write more about film and art, but that takes effort, and my current computer has a hard time producing good screen grabs. On the other hand I have less of a sense of obligation to “my readers” as I once felt. PilgrimAkimbo is just what it is and I try not to have any pretensions about it. Let me know what you think – and if you blog, how that is going for you.

Mr. Chaplin nears the end of his celebration of PilgrimAkimbo with the last bite of cake. Sadly we had a lot of cake left over.

>blogging questions

>I am wondering about the future of this blog and its place in the blogosphere. Thoughts of redesigning it float through my head. I have some questions:

Should I use tags for my posts? I did at one point, but then they became unwieldy. I could try again with better rules on how & when to use them. Should I bother? Do you like/use tags?

Is there a point in having a long blog roll, or several semi-long blog rolls on one’s blog. I’m thinking of pairing down. Should I? Do you pay much attention to blog rolls?

Do you find yourself either blogging or reading blogs more or less than you were before? If less are you doing other things – like Facebook – instead?

>waxing and waning

The states of affairs these days has led me to post less – about half as much as in the past. I have ideas, and even started some posts, but each time I just feel too tired to carry it through.

I have also noticed a number of the blogs that I’ve followed over the past two-plus years have decreased their posts. Maybe there is a general waning in the blog world. I love to blog, but the urge is less than it was. How about you?

just another word of encouragement

A few days ago I had some fun posting and commenting on various “alternative” images of Jesus that have become increasingly popular on the Internet. I titled that post another jesus. If you follow this blog at all you know I occasionally write on religious topics, mainly because I am a Christian trying to sort out the differences of my cultural Christianity from my faith. This is part of my overall journey in search of Truth, wisdom, and an authentic Christianity. So with that in mind, I had a recently amusing and disconcerting experience the other day which has prompted me to change my comments policies for now (they’re now moderated).

On that “another jesus” post I got the following comments (I made some slight changes to make it less offensive. I apologize if any here are offended.):

Hello i dont know who ur but i warn u if u display such kind of pictures and if u display jesus in very wrng ting…if u do this i will kick ur a** through visiting ur place ur mother f**ker….jesus is real son of a god he cures us and he helps every moments and loves us all the times…..f**k i kill u …ur a** f**ker….contact me if u have guts

Apart from the fact that this is actually a death threat if taken seriously, there are a lot of things one could say about these comments. At first I thought it might be a joke. In my experience such comments are so the opposite of what a Christ follower would say or do that I just new they couldn’t be serious. But then I realized, no, this commenter thinks he/she is defending Jesus. I could be wrong – maybe someone knows different.

Regardless, this commenter’s thoughts/assumptions/insults have given me some pause. Here are some attempts at understanding this helpful soul:

  • The commenter means to be giving me a word of encouragement, but the only English he knows was learned from watching Quentin Tarantino films. I realize Rohith is an Indian name. It could just be a “cultural divide” kind of thing. I need to be more sensitive to these things.
  • Maybe I should have known that “jesus is real son of a god he cures us and he helps every moments and loves us all the times” means we personally don’t have to worry about curing, helping, or loving – since he does that for us. That must be why he can immediately follow that sentence with “f**k i kill u.” It’s because of the freedom he has in Christ.
  • But then, he does say “son of a god” – a god. Which god does he mean? How many gods are we talking about here? I will try to keep an open mind.
  • If I don’t email him back do I not “have guts”? Is that what it takes these day to be evangelized? To “have guts”? I’m assuming here that what he really means by wanting me to contact him is so he can let me know God loves me and has a wonderful plan for my life.
  • It could be that he really is not a Christian (surprise) but is, in fact, a new-age dialecticist who is hoping to create some new religious synthesis through confrontation and this is just his way of inviting me to his new religion. So this could be a very sophisticated Hegelian tactic, just cleverly disguised as something opposite.
  • Grammatical clarification: Can “ur” mean both “you are” and “your” in the same comment? Is that legal? It certainly makes it difficult to understand what exactly he means by “ur a** f**ker.” Of course, if I had guts I would just ask him.

Maybe you have some additional thoughts. Maybe you “have guts” to contact Mr. Fancy25585 and carry on a meaningful dialog. Let me know how it goes. As for my part, I’m already on to other things.


>I’m taking a few days off from blogging. Just too much going on to blog. I think you know the feeling too.

“Darling, I know you’re having such a nice time with your harp, but doesn’t it look like the house is burning down?”



The leaves are beginning to change around here. So is my blogging. Gradually I am changing PilgrimAkimbo too. The changes are not specific or planned, and they are slow going. This little blog has been a creative outlet for me, and has had a positive affect on me. PilgrimAkimbo began mostly as a cinema-centered blog, with the occasional personal post. But cinema has ceased to be its primary focus. For some time my other interests have been creeping in more and more. I have even wondered if I should create a new blog, but have decided against it. My conundrum has to do with just how much should my blogging be personal, even journal-like, rather than mostly at arms length as it were. Either way expect changes.

*painting by Piet Mondrian, Gray Tree (1911)