A "Blog of Note"

Man, oh man. There's been quite a bit of new activity here at The Ward-O-Matic. (Understatement of the year. I'll explain.) For all of you who have been there from the beginning, you may have to be patient as I try to clue the new visitors in on what all the hub-bub is all about.

Blogger has mentioned The Ward-O-Matic on their "Blogs of Note," recently. That means that every single blogger who goes to their Dashboard (the main page that you go to when you want to post something new on your blog) will see a link to this very blog. That's quite an honor! However, those of you who are visiting for the first time via Blogger are probably missing out on why exactly this blog has seen so much traffic this past week.

About a month ago I wrote up a two-part commentary on THE POLAR EXPRESS, titled THE POLAR EXPRESS: A Virtual Train Wreck, Part 1 and Part 2. They received modest attention from several animation circles that I frequent, most notably Cartoon Brew. The first installment was mostly my review of the film and my concerns as to why the filmmakers even decided to go the motion-capture route and could it have been done otherwise. The concluding installment was the more popular one, however. In that, I went so far as to see why exactly the children in the film look so creepy, and tried to "fix" the characters by touching them up in Photoshop. Nothing too fancy, just an artist doing a little experimentation.

Well, the stats for my blog were modest in the beginning, hitting around 30 to 40 a day. Not big numbers, but enough for me to enjoy the fact that there were people actually reading my rambling words. When my blog was mentioned in the Brew, as well as other animation blogs, the hits for the day topped 400, then 200 the next day, and eventually averaged out to be over a hundred hits per day soon after that. I was estatic.

This past Tuesday, the 18th, I was cruising my usual sites, and I stopped at Boing Boing, probably the granddaddy of all "cool" blogs. They always have the most interesting items to read every day, and as I was reading through some of the links, I thought, "You know, they might get a kick out of my commentary on THE POLAR EXPRESS." So I filled out a short submissions form on the site and went back to work.

About 30 minutes later, I checked on my stats, and within the last hour 400 new visitors had checked out my blog. I thought, surely that's a mistake. So I went to Boing Boing, and sure enough, there was a blurb about my blog and my commentary, complete with a pic of one of my "fixings." You can check out the post HERE. That was just the beginning. As soon as it was posted on Boing Boing, it seemed to spread across the internet like wildfire. It was immediately picked up by various news blogs, feed aggregators (I'm still not sure what that is exactly), and the like. Soon, I was seeing on my stats that people from Russia, Uganda, Croatia, Bulgaria, Argentina, were visiting the Ward-O-Matic! At the highest peak, there were over 2,000 hits in ONE HOUR. By the end of the day, there were over 11,000 hits tabulated for my lowly little blog. I was speechless.

The next day was just as wild and crazy as the post got passed around to other feeds and weblists across the globe. It was listed as one of the top pages on Blogdex, mentioned on del.icio.us (still not sure what that is), Hot Links, and even mentioned in CG sites, and CG animation forums. It even got a nod on MSNBC.com (you have to scroll down a bit). By the second day, I was being linked by various other blogs, and some even felt that my blog was worth putting into their blogroll columns. Again, I was speechless and very honored.

So now, things have subsided. A bit. There are still over a thousand people checking out The Ward-O-Matic, which is incredible. I'm enjoying all the new-found attention that this blog has been getting lately (I'm driving Andrea nuts, by the way), and it's great to see so many people come on board and give such insightful and thoughtful comments. I've always wanted a a strong dialogue between artists, animators, programmers, CG artists, painters, and other artisans, as well as the casual viewer, and that's why I began this blog. The concept of blogging and having a strong blog community works best when good-minded people across the globe interact with each other and have fun at the same time.

I must say THANKS to everyone for making The Ward-O-Matic a blog of note lately. And thanks for making The Ward-O-Matic a part of your day. I'll have lots of fun new stuff to talk about soon, so please come back. I promise it'll be worth your while.

This is supposed to be fun. I hope that you are enjoying the trip thus far. I know I am.


  1. its a cool, moderately intelligent blog, you deserve it!

    now you'll start getting loads of 'first post' posts.

  2. p.s. that 'moderately' was supposed to have a wink after it :)

    p.p.s second post!

  3. Woohoo!
    Way to go Ward! Your Polar Express posts are quickly becoming a part of pop culture, like the swatch watch and the slap braclet... but much cooler.

  4. I was one of those people who saw your blog on Blogger.com when I was at my dashboard. It was one of many others, but I found the name "Ward-O-Matic" intriguing and thought maybe an employee at Montgomery Wards had started a blog ...

    When I first visited, I really liked your blog, aesthetically and otherwise, had no clue as to its popularity, but referenced you as one of my "blogger heroes" (sepsblog.blogspot "So much to say...") in my fledgling personal blog, where I was just experimenting with linking.

    Today, I visited your blog again (thru the link in my own post) and read "Blog of Note" about the Ward-O-Matic wildfire. "My Hero ..."

    Ok, so maybe my blogging is still way obscure (I kinda like it that way, for now), but at least I know how to pick 'em!

    Best wishes for more and more success!

  5. wow.your site is an inspiration to a new hag on the net.i went there first and must go have a good cry at thetotal lack of knowledge i think i posess. oh im #843 that will represent the ebarrasing inputs before i learn. it's a pleasure to see your daughter's art work.an ex-neighbor girl came to play with my daughter many yrs ago and said you need to spank her..Huh? "my mom spanks me for peeling the paper off the crayons" a big smile to see her work,thanx

  6. Congratulations! I enjoyed the chronology of how your links flew around the net. I'm one of the many who found you on the Blogger Dashboard page. I'm not an artist or animator, but your writing is smart and entertaining, and we can't have too much of that in our lives.

    For now, I'll keep dreaming of the day when Blogger chooses me for Blogs of Note...

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  8. Well, to tell you the truth I would be happy if blogger would just list my weblog on their update page. I'm not sure why it doesn't, but it doesn't, even though I set it to show up on the page! Maybe they just don't like my blog or something... And, no, I'm not talking about my bloghorn blog(s)... [smile]

    Also, it would be nice to be able to edit comments on these blogs... I don't like leaving comments that have errors in them!

    Yahoon! The unofficial Yahoo! Weblog

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  10. Congratulations on your new-found fame. Maybe you should start an advertising campaign and make some hard cash? Incidently, estatic is spelt ecstatic, in relation to being in a state of ecstacy.

  11. mrs. ward-o-matic here. thanks for the correction, doc. I pride myself on having superb spelling skills and am often called upon to proof each entry. however, I am extremely busy raising two small children these days and not always able to scan each entry. before you call me out on the lack of proper capitalization in this comment, you should know that I am holding a baby in one arm while typing with the other. desperate circumstances earn me the right to break some rules from time to time.

  12. Congratulations! A Hometown Boy Makes Good!

    I'm new here, given up my lingering love with my AOL friends (note:I said FRIENDS, NOT AOL), and have been feeling my way around. When your head stops spinning, drop by and say hi, would you? It's depressing, starting all over, with zero's seemingly everywhere.
    (She Said What?)



  13. That is quite an amazing feat. You should be so proud to spread like wildfire. Who the heck is going to put out your raging wildfire now? This is becoming problematic. I will have to get the army, military and all of the firefighters that exist to put out this thing. They will end up asking for raises for all of their extra long hours of work. I will not be able to provide the raises. There will then be strikes and picket lines followed by rioting. We will have to arrest the rioters which will overcrowd our jails.

    We will have to begin development on new jails and people in their community will not want jails in their neighborhoods. We will see lengthy court battles making the taxpayers angry. Taxpayers will call for new reforms. The President will have to get involved and waste his time all due to your wildfires. You have reached so far as to the President. Wow! Keep it comin'

  14. Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! Congrats man... I feel so lucky to hyave had the opportunity to have a personal audience with such a noted film/animation critic!! Cheers man and keep up the good work!

  15. Congratulations on becoming one of the new breed of pop culture heroes! Its amazing how ideas get seeded and spread so fast on "the internets". Maybe your Polar Express posts actually made it to Zemeckis himself over his morning coffee. Think about that, huh? Well, keep up the good work! I enjoy checking in and seeing where the conversation is going.

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  17. Amazing story. And well written. Congrats!

  18. And now you should try and stay modest :-)

    The Preacher

  19. If anyone thinks that I am showboating here, then you have it wrong. Dead wrong. If anything, I am a very modest and humble man. I always give credit where credit is due and I try my best to not get a big-head about anything. Just check out my other posts, if you don't believe me. I am a very grateful man, and I will thank endlessly anyone who I feel has greatly influenced me or has given me support in any possible way.

    Being a blogger yourself, Preacher (a title that you have given yourself, apparently), you then understand the situation that I'm going through here. To even start a blog is already a pretty self-centered action to a certain degree, and thus when a fluke like what happened to me crashes into your blogging world, you can't help but take note. I am just letting my peeps know what was going on. That's all.

    And on a side note, this is for everyone who are commenting on The Ward-O-Matic: If you post a comment on this blog for no apparent reason other than to post a link to your website or blog, then I will delete said comment. If there is no merit connecting to what has been said on The Ward-O-Matic, then I reserve the right to delete it promptly. Also, any offensive or rude language is unacceptable either. (And I will use judgment on this matter, as well.) I am allowed to do this because, after all, it is my blog.

    Anyway, thanks for the comments and the accolades, people. I really appreciate it!

  20. Hey Hey ..
    Really is "a blog of note!"
    Excellent, very entertaining. Thanks for the great work, will definately be visiting again :)

  21. That is totally crazy that soooo many people would check out one site. This is my first time ever using blog. I had to register for it for a class that I am taking. Your post was the first one that I read and at first I thought that blogging was gonna be a drag, but now I have found that it might just be ok. Well, congradulations!!

  22. I've been reading this blog for a while and am rather enjoying what he has to say. That's why I keep coming back.

  23. Congratulations, Ward-O-Photoshoppomatic, your blogOarticles were not only truly instructive even to those unfamiliar with your field, but they were awfully inspiring as well.(I don't mean awful, I mean awesome, but that sounds so cliche. Just being around someone so casually protean raises the bar even for this freezing visitor!)

    Did you send a copy to the Universal people, if not to the Great Zemeckis Himself? Logical. Next. Step.

    You make an interesting post about modesty a couple inches back, you seem affected by that "Preacher" fella's one-liner remark. Well, don't be. People say asinine things all the time. Just check the AOL chatrooms. And fer all we know in this faceless bloggoverse he could jus' be joshin' you around, y'know? (*Moi* could do that sometimes, when life gets dull, or it jus' gets toooo cooold...)

    Yes, it would be a wise and sensible thing if you'd send in your findings with a resume or whatnot; see where it takes you. Don't let modesty get in the way; the G.Z.H. appears to be a low-keyed, well-rounded, appreciative fellow --no Oliver Stone, he-- and I imagine the man'd be stoked to see the experiments you made.

    Anyone would. What's truly amazing to me is that you haven't submit this to Premiere magazine or BoingBoing in the first place! (Advice: Premiere's better. Dollars heat up a chilly room far better than ego. Indirectly, of course. Tee-hee.)

    Better yet, why don't you parlay your success here and open up a consultancy business? If I were an H'wood exec I would certainly bite. Who wouldn't, this is a year in which even such drab-sappy-fare as "Finding Neverland" could grab an Academy Award nomination for Best Picture! And "Shark Tale!..."

    *ugh! makes face*

    Best Animated Feature! It's times like these that makes one want to tear his follicles out, strand by strand, never mind male pattern baldness, and then become foolishly receptive, even welcoming and/or over praise such abstact Euro-drowsers as Lars van Triers' "Dogville." (Yes, "Dogville." Why else cd it be on my top-ten list.)

    But if thousands of netsurfers are working through this Ward-O-Matic bloggie, then maybe the meme would turn Hollycontagion and the money-guys will find you. Money loves talent, esp, talent that could make mo' money.

    So who knows, this time next year you could be working on Polar Express Redux: Santa vs. the Cylons!

    (Unless Pixar makes a pre-emptive strike... One hears they are hyper-competitive up there in Emeryville. Tums by the loads.)

  24. Toss me into the boingboing referral.
    It's always cool to catch the day to day stuff with other artists, especially those that work with the high end stuff.

    Me, I'm a lowly Bryce geek, but I was grooving on seeing your fixes. I read a bit about Polar Express in a trade rag, and it was cool to find another piece of the story.

  25. So I kinda forgot my promise to come back and read that Iron Giant post we discussed a while back. But I was smacked upside the head with a reminder today when I saw a strangely familiar name sitting atop the Blogs of Note sidebar...

    I guess there's no way I'm going to be absentminded about your blog anymore! Certainly not when it's the talk of the town, you rascal. I think it's safe to say that your blog has been a roaring success, eh?

    Hey, this is kind of like an award for a Ward, right? Sorry, I couldn't help myself there. Hope you have fun with your newfound celebrity!