December 28, 2012 -- I noticed that my "about me" page link wasn't working. I can't find where the actual content of that page is saved now, so I went ahead and deleted it from the sidebar since I describe myself on the front page anyway. Also updated my publication credits on the front page.
July 21, 2012 -- I logged in and did some cleaning up last night, categorizing my college work as such so that no one could look at it and get the idea it's my best and most recent work. I'm looking to start blogging again on random topics for my own pleasure, and to keep updates on my efforts to publish fiction in print and online journals. I'll probably also post my published short stories on my site, after they have been published.
March 1, 2012 -- Hello, internet. It's been awhile. I've been living in New York since May 3, 2011 and neglecting my website, except to pay $10 once again in December to keep it online. I found a job quickly and have been making friends and having interesting, memorable experiences that I hope will help fuel my fiction. I'm looking to start updating this website more, so stay tuned.
At some point I should probably start linking or re-posting my journalistic work from Patch.com (where I freelanced to save up for my move East) as there are quite a few samples to share and much higher caliber of work than what I did in college.
For what it's worth, this website is now more than three years old, having started in December 2008. As you can tell by my most recnet update below, I haven't done much with it for quite a long time.
December 17, 2010 -- JTBrandt.com is now almost two years old. I am currently writing freelance news articles and features for Patch.com in the St. Louis Metro Area communities of Clayton-Richmond Heights, Florissant, University City, and Maplewood-Brentwood. I am currently in the process of finding out whether there will be any problems with me posting my samples in the Journalism section of this website. I've also been writing medical summaries for a law firm in Alton and will soon begin blogging on their website as a ghostwriter.
As you might have guessed, this freelancing work is keeping me busy, and I haven't been able to write fresh content for INK FIST since October. That's OK; my blog is not gone for good -- just taking a rest. There's only so much I can write in one sitting, after all.
I've also been working on some new short fiction pieces which I hope to post online in the near-ish future. Perhaps I will post them on the blog first so viewers can give feedback.
August 26, 2010 -- I've been neglecting this website for a long time, and I finally changed that tonight with a long post where I picked ten books that I could not bring myself to sell on Half.com. I also updated my "About" and "Contact" pages.
I'm hoping to save up for a move to New York City, but that is still months away. I need several grand in order to make a real go of it, and I'm nowhere close to that yet. Hopefully it won't be too many months because I really loved my visit there. Many thanks to my sister who generously gave me that long summer trip as a belated graduation present.
April 27, 2010 -- This over-a-month hiatus is ending very soon. Expect some blog posts later this week, and a few over the weekend.
February 27, 2010 -- This website and blog have been an awesome outlet for the last few months, and I definitely have a two or three reviews coming up in the next couple days. Could be a big weekend. Yet, I've strayed too far from my true passion: fiction writing. Expect a short hiatus from INK FIST to begin soon. I think I want to take a month or so off, so I can focus my attention on reading several books per week and writing a page or two a day, once I get that old familiar feeling of inspiration.
Febrary 18, 2010 -- Still enjoying this new font. I just finished a review of Ten Minutes of Forever that I'm pretty proud of. That was definitely an enjoyable post to write -- probably my most entertaining piece on INK FIST so far. Since it turns out I'm not posting too frequently about TV or Comics, I decided to consolidate the former with the Films section and the latter with Books. Music, though . . . That is one I need to work on.
In these next few weeks, I'm hoping to shift focus a bit and make it so this site isn't quite as movie review-heavy. I've ordered some great books from Amazon recently, so look for articles on new writing from Douglas Kearney and Sherwin Bitsui to go up in the near future.
February 6, 2010 -- Thanks to Roger Ebert's Twitter feed, I read an article stating the ideal number of words wide a blog column should be. I decided to change up the site a bit to make the page less wide and, hopefully, more readable for everyone. (It's still too wide, according to MaxDesign's standards, but whatever. I tried, and there's only so much you can do within the constraints of Google Sites.) I'd be interested to hear your feedback on this change. I also got bored with the font I was using and thought I'd switch to a serif font, without it being Times New Roman.
January 4, 2010 -- I forgot to post an update in late December to mark the first anniversary of this site's creation. Oh well. Happy birthday, JTBrandt.com!
As you can see, the idea to have my friend Jacob blog with me never materialized, but INK FIST and my online portfolio are still running strong. My blog posts on Avatar, New Moon, and my (for whatever reason) ever-popular Gender/Women's Studies essay on Ernest Hemingway are continuing to trickle in hits. As far as the near future for the blog goes goes -- with 2009's Oscar bid movies fading out of theaters in the next few weeks, you can probably expect more book reviews later this winter.
And what a cold winter it is . . . I thought I'd be getting a break after moving home from Champaign-Urbana and its icy winds. So far, no such luck.
November 14, 2009 -- I made some changes to the overall look of INK FIST, which will hopefully make this site more user-friendly. The JTBrandt.com front page now shows small snippets of the five most recent posts, as opposed to three whole posts. This way the page is less cluttered and I can more easily track who is reading what. And now that I have ten posts up, I thought I would separate them into categories for simplified browsing. Check the lower-most sidebar on the left side to choose whether you'd like to read my reviews of films, books, TV shows, music, or comics. Happy reading!
November 9, 2009 -- I asked my friend Jacob if he'd be interested in pitching in on my blog, and he accepted. Expect some great posts from him in the near future.
November 7, 2009 -- As you can now plainly see, my INK FIST arts & entertainment blog is up and running on this site. Has been for a couple weeks now. Now if I can find a way to build regular readership without posting on Facebook . . . Any ideas?
October 14, 2009 -- My resume is finally updated, and I've made some changes to the sidebar. The Fiction and Creative Nonfiction sections have been combined into a new Prose section, and three sections with infrequently updated content have been moved to the "Other Work" area. Still no update on a new movie blog . . . Other than to say, it seems like Google Sites does not make it easy to run a blog with anonymous commenting features enabled.
October 10, 2009 -- Looks like site traffic is picking up with the new school year fully underway. I still haven't updated the Resume section, but that should come soon. As far as movie blogging goes, I'm considering just starting my own blog on this very site. Stay tuned for updates on that. Currently looking for software I can use to post on this site and allow anonymous comments.
September 19, 2009 -- First of all, I've posted a series of seven blank verse prose poems in the Poetry section, as well as a Suite that combines them all. Also, in addition to going through more of my work and adding stars to pieces I like most, the project I began weeks ago of hosting all my own film & book review images is now complete. If there are any remaining broken picture links or images I'm linking to from other sites, I don't know about them.
In other news, I'm now a third of the way into my AmeriCorps VISTA term of service, and I've decided it's about time for a résumé update. I can finally remove my old dining hall and gas station gigs, once and for all. Look for that in the near future. I'm also looking for a place online to blog about movies or other entertainment subjects. If you have any tips, please do not hesitate to contact me. I suppose I could start a blog right on this site . . .
August 31, 2009 -- I don't have any real updates to speak of, but I wanted to give a couple shout-outs to people who I think may be viewing my site. One recurring visitor is from Bangkok, and I'm guessing that's my uncle Jerry. Another is from Baden-Wuerttemburg, Germany, and I'm thinking that could be a foreign exchange friend of mine, Joel Eller. Let me know if I'm right. Just head over to my contact page and shoot me an email. And big ups to whomever bookmarked my site from the two best "the" countries ever: the Philippines and the Netherlands.
August 17, 2009 -- Posted a second piece in the Public Relations section. And, now that I have a day off work, I've noticed that some of my old film review pics are becoming broken links. I probably should not have linked to images from other sites in the first place . . . Anyhow, I'm beginning the process of saving those images myself and hosting them on this site.
I've also taken down the links to the217.com and built my own pages for my film review blog posts. That way, if the217 should ever go down or my posts are removed to save space, everything is still saved right here on my personal site.
August 9, 2009 -- I don't have any earth-shattering news to update, but I have made some changes to the sidebar and updated the About section. At some point in the next couple months I ought to update my resume as well. Since graduating, I've been slacking in the fiction writing department. I guess I've been taking a mental break after a busy eight semesters of college. But I'll be back soon with some new (or newly revised) stories, I promise.
Incidentally, I find it interesting that, pretty consistently, the biggest hit-getters for this site are my essays on Ernest Hemingway. Rock on, paper writers. I'd be interested to hear from anyone who read my essays to develop ideas for their own writing. I've received only one email regarding the site, but that was pretty neat. It was from a guy in India who liked my Great Gatsby essay and promised to visit often. A shout out to that man as well.
July 16, 2009 -- Turns out I get to post my articles and press releases from work on my personal site! The first one, published today in the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southwestern Illinois e-newsletter, is in the new Public Relations section.
And by the way, if you're reading this and have ever considered becoming a mentor, I encourage you to volunteer today. Check out the BBBS site at bbbsil.org if you're from the Metro East or bbbs.org for all over the country. Heck, there's even an international site at bbbsi.org if you're from outside the US. Women volunteers are great, but the strongest demand is for men. These kids need friends in their lives, and volunteers get as much out of the experience as the children do. You don't have to spend a lot of money, and it's a great way to give back to your community and have fun.
June 24, 2009 -- On Monday, I started my job as an Americorps VISTA at Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southwestern Illinois. I'll be assisting with marketing and public relations at their office in Belleville. The Americorps orientation conference in Indianapolis last week was great -- I learned a lot about poverty and "capacity building" (one of those jargon terms I'd never heard before) -- and I'm starting to really get situated here with reading published articles and promotional materials from the past. Here in the near future, I should get an opportunity to add to my writing portfolio with some press releases, newsletters, and other work. Hopefully, I will be able to add my finished work here on this site.
Unfortunately, I've been asked to resign from my post as a the217.com movie blogger because I graduated. I was originally told that there were several graduates on staff and that it would be no problem to be gone from Champaign. Oh well. I suppose I'll be taking it easy for the meantime and eventually starting up a new movie blog. Maybe I'll post directly on this site?
May 30, 2009 -- School's over and I've finally graduated. Grades are in, and it appears that I've maintained my 3.91 overall GPA, so that's good. In the meantime, I've been catching up on my movie watching. Over the next few weeks, I'll be blogging about classics people should add to their summer movie rental list. Check the Film Reviews section for those.
I've also revised many of my Piasa Heights pieces, so I'll be adding and updating posts in my Fiction section in the next week. I'm also looking into posting the issues of Montage from when I was Editor-in-Chief. One last thing: I'm not sure how this happened or if it only showed up on my computer, but somehow my favorite artists wallpaper got messed up. That's fixed now.
May 10, 2009 -- My final Finals week is in full swing. All I have to go is one paper and one exam. I've added a couple recent film reviews and linked the final part of my Blockbuster Total Access saga in the Creative Nonfiction section. Sometime this week I will be finishing my last college paper -- ever -- for ENGL 441: Modernist Romance. That should about polish off the Essays section, unless I dig up some old essays I neglected to put up before, go to grad school, or start writing essays to submit to academic journals (which isn't very likely, at least in the near future).
My last buzz magazine article will be published this week as well, and I think it's even going in print. Look for that in the Film Reviews section on Thursday or Friday. I think it's a fun little piece and a fitting way to go out on a bang. Basically it's a summer movie preview -- except instead of writing about films TO see, I'm addressing four NOT to see. And -- surprise, surprise -- all of them are sequels.
April 25, 2009 -- It's Ebertfest weekend in Champaign, and my three articles covering the event are now up.
April 1, 2009 -- This isn't so much a site update as a life update, but I received job offers for four Americorps positions -- all of them very interesting and worthwhile in their own right -- and I decided to go with a job at Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southwestern Illinois! Looks like I will get to work on their website and write marketing/PR content, so I'm pretty excited about that opportunity to expand my writing portfolio in a unique direction, starting mid-to-late June.
Kinda scary how college is quickly coming to an end, but it's been a great time. I have no regrets about applying only to the University of Illinois. My experiences here have been pretty diverse and have helped me learn a lot about myself and others. . . even the few very negative ones.
I do plan on continuing my the217.com DVD blog 2009: A Space Odyssey as long as possible. I inquired with the site editor, and it turns out you don't have to be a student to write for them. Which is great, because I think I would go nuts without being able to write film critiques every once in awhile.
In the meantime, however, keep checking for updates a couple times a month. Once I start proofreading more short stories and poems for my independent study, a lot of them will go on this site. There are already a few up -- including the ones being published in Montage this month -- so check those out.
March 25, 2009 -- It's been awhile, and I'm now in the midst of spring break, so I decided it was finally time to make some serious updates. For one, I've made some fine-tuning changes to my resume now that I'm hunting for a job -- specifically one at a St. Louis-area Americorps position. Yes, I've decided that taking a year in between graduation and my career proper to do some volunteer work would make a nice transitional buffer. Also I'd have a chance to have some interesting experiences and meet some new people -- broaden my horizons and give back to the community.
Anyhow, in addition to updating my resume page, I've also finished putting up my class essays and added some new film reviews. I imagine there might be a couple new essays to put up before I finish my college career, but not many. My most important project this semester is my short stories collection, which I will begin posting on this site in the very near future. I'm also now working on a blog saga, which will be posted part-by-part in the Creative Nonfiction section in the weeks to come.
February 26, 2009 -- I just finished adding quite a few essays (though there are still more to come) and the newly written infomercial screenplay I co-authored for my American Indian Cinema class. Definitely check out the latter -- it's good for a few laughs. I'm also beginning to highlight my favorite/best works with *.
Coming soon: more class essays and some brand new short stories I wrote as part of my independent study with Professor Audrey Petty. My concept for the semester is to write a collection of very short stories (1000 words or less) and poems to create an anthology based on my hometown -- just like what Edgar Lee Masters did with Spoon River Anthology in 1915. Two of them are actually being published in the forthcoming spring edition of Montage.
February 4, 2009 -- I went ahead and burnt the midnight oil to finish the film reviews section once and for all. It is now up to date with all 54 reviews I've written since I joined the buzz Movies + TV staff in September 2007. Do continue to check periodically because I should now have more or less two new reviews per week going up on my the217.com blog, 2009: A Blog Odyssey, as well as occasional reviews for the magazine.
My next big projects will include expanding the essays section of the site (it's interesting to see the Google searches random folks do that lead them to PULP NON/FICTION; maybe I'm helping people write their papers?) and adding some short stories from the first half of my college career that I'm not quite as proud of but still might be worth a look . . . If anything, to see how my understanding of creative writing has changed over time.
January 31, 2009 -- My journalism section is now up to date with everything I've written for the Telegraph. That is, everything I wrote for them that went online. There are actually quite a few articles I wrote during that internship that didn't make the internet, including local bank profiles and my pieces for a summer recreational guide to Alton. I'm thinking there are at least 10 if not 15 articles that were only in print. May those rest in peace.
There was also some period of time when this site was down today. I'm not sure why that happened, but I sent a query to Google Sites and the site came up less than an hour later. So that's good. Here's to hoping it won't happen often.
January 26, 2009 -- I'm now a film section blogger for the217.com! I will begin linking my blog posts from my "Film Reviews" page.
January 19, 2009 -- In addition to the typical updating of film reviews and etc., I've begun writing book reviews for buzz magazine. My first one -- my thoughts on Douglas Kearney's Fear, Some -- is up now. Check the sidebar.
January 10, 2009 -- I've posted a few more film reviews and have listed all the movies I've written about (though it will be awhile before they all link to my actual reviews). Most notably, I changed my site background image to include many more artists, writers, and thinkers from diverse backgrounds. Check out the list of names here. I also decided to rename my site from the generic JTBrandt.com to PULP NON/FICTION. Hopefully I will be able to find a way to change the domain name as well. Only time will tell.
New Year's Day, 2009 -- I've added a poem, several journalistic articles, and a couple essays. I still have a ton of film reviews to go, and I haven't even begun adding my articles from my summer 08 internship at the Telegraph (the Alton, IL daily paper). By popular request, I will be making a new wallpaper in the weeks to come with more of my favorite artists of all media -- particularly more women.
Christmas Eve, 2008 -- Just today I added a play, a couple film reviews and essays, and a creative nonfiction story. I'm trying to put a note at the bottom of each site section to let readers know what's coming up next -- and then get that proposed update finished within the next couple days. I'm also considering starting a blog, but not sure if it would be a sort of general ramblings blog or focused on something more specific. I guess I'll figure that out in the weeks to come. Also, merry Christmas and happy holidays!
December 22, 2008 -- So I recently discovered that although Google Sites enables a commenting feature, only people who I invite to be "collaborators" are allowed to post comments. That would mean people who comment would also be able to edit the entire site. And I'm not down with that. Hopefully Google will correct this in future updates of Sites, because I would really like people to be able to write comments below my articles and whatnot.
December 20, 2008 -- This brand new site is still very much under construction. I invite you to check frequently for new content. I have a TON of film reviews and journalistic articles to add.