Biggest Site Update Ever! Also, Go To Worldcon

I’ve been saying for years, “I really need to update this web site’s format.” This has become even more ridiculous as, away from fandom, in real life, people started paying me to design web sites for them. Once in a while I'd look at the old Ansereg site and whimper. But in mid-2009, I noticed something. Emails from readers were starting to appear in my inbox again. Checking the site traffic logs, I noticed that every time there was a major news announcement about the Hobbit films, there was a tiny spike in site traffic. Not that I have anything at all to do with the Hobbit films: my guess is that people were recalling the salad days of the Tolkien fandom and checking out some former online haunts. Anyhow, since I was going to spruce up the site, this was a good time to do it.

For this site update I've got two new essays.
The Arts and Crafts Movement and J.R.R. Tolkien – This is a paper of a talk I presented at the Tolkien 2005 conference. By "Arts and Crafts", I mean the later Victorian/Edwardian artistic movement that began with the Pre-Raphaelites and ended with the Modernists, that included William Morris and Stickley and Frank Lloyd Wright - and was a profound influence on Tolkien, both in his own art and his philosophy of craft in Middle-Earth.

Why has it taken me 4 years to post this? Due to a series of international communications snafus coinciding with me moving 1000 miles, I managed to not get in the Tolkien 2005 Proceedings. The paper may, or may not, be published in a future issue of Mallorn, so in the meantime, here it is.

New Zealand Travel for Lord of the Rings Fans– One of the pleasures of fandom, over the years, has been a steady trickle of visitors to New Zealand from overseas. Unlike our prime minister John Key, I’m not about to pick everybody up from the airport, but I do want to help LOTR visitors have the best time possible, whatever their travel styles. So here is an article to help you plan and get the most out of such a trip. It's time for this, for a reason: WorldCon 2010 is in Melbourne, Australia, and the week before it, there is going to be a sci fi convention in Wellington, NZ. This harmonic convergence of superior events is an excellent reason for you to come visit and meet some great people while you’re here. I’ll be attending both, by the way.

Answers to some of the questions in my in box lately:
Why have you stopped updating?
I’ve been busy and my Tolkien muses have been quiet. Amongst other things, I am shopping around an original fiction novel I’ve written. When I was checking on links for this update, a lot of LOTR sites are nowhere to be found. They have sailed into the West, or faded. At least I'm still here.

Are you going to have a blog with the site?
I don’t know. On-the-spot LOTR news is ably provided by The One Ring and NZ Noldor and others noted on my updated Links page.

What about LOTR fans in NZ? No article for them?
I’ve met more Harry Potter fans in NZ than heavy-duty LOTR fans. Weird, I know. The Tolkien fans I’ve met here tend to try and wrap our fannishness up in an extra layer of flame-retardant sanity, trying to find a balance between "being fans" and classic Kiwi understatement.

What are the new site bells and whistles?
Well, it’s based on CSS now, but what isn’t? Patterns are from DinPatterns, the gallery viewer is Highslide, and the front page has a web device known as a “content slider.” Also, I really enjoyed breaking away from the unofficial Tolkien fandom colors of sage green and brown.

Now that you’ve spiffied up the storefront, will you be taking ads on more popular pages? People make money like that nowadays.
Many advertisers specify “no adult content”, and I have buckets of that; and any fan use of copyrighted material in any way becomes suspect and vulnerable when money changes hands. So I'm going to keep my hands clean and not take ads on any pages. Ansereg is, and will remain, a fan site run for the love of the game, and never for any profit.

I can't believe anyone is still reading this...lots of fannish good vibes your way, and this site update is dedicated to you.



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