Where did the “Real Neat Blog Award” come from? Also, I got one.

The original Real Neat Blog Award logo from December 2014 by dearkitty1.wordpress.com

So, Inskidee over at Inskime (an anime blog) nominated me for one of those Real Neat Blog Awards. Thanks Inskidee. I’m a bit of a cynical, unexcitable iconoclast so awards maybe exist outside of my wheelhouse. But, I’ll try my best to take it with grace.

I do have to ask a question first though: where the hell did the award even come from? Before I was nominated by Inskidee was nominated by Lynn Sheridan was nominated by xxanimexxgirlxx was nominated by Crow was nominated by Yomu and Keiko was nomin– huh, a forking origin that loops back to Crow again and then Yomu and Keiko again and then Lynn Sheridan again and… I’ll stop this incestuous bit of viral internet-epidemiology there for now, but trust me, I followed links for well over an hour (please people, use links, date your posts, and add a search function to your sites!).

Anyway, after getting bored and cheating with Google, the oldest Real Neat Blog Award acceptance speech I could find after a lazy first-page search came from this September 10, 2016 post on the lifestyle blog “Stay Young and Beautiful.” The recipient links to an awarder at a blog called “Universe Unexplored.” Oh, but a broken link!, the case goes cold… Universe Unexplored has since gone private.

“Stay Young and Beautiful” does offer another clue though. The award image (one of the most endearingly awful MS Paint drawings I’ve ever seen) includes a half cropped URL crediting dearkitty1.wordpress.com, a blog that covers “Animals, peace, war, civil liberties, science, social justice, women’s issues, arts, more.” And wow, dearkitty1 still publishes, an OG WordPress blog from way back in August 2005, around the original WordPress.com beta test. This cat has a pedigree! 

In December 2014, dearkitty1 created the very first award, nominated 20 people, and asked them seven questions with these original rules:

1. Put the award logo on your blog.

2. Answer 7 questions asked by the person who nominated you.

3. Thank the people who nominated you, linking to their blogs.

4. Nominate any number of bloggers you like, linking to their blogs.

5. Let them know you nominated them (by commenting on their blog etc.)

Of course, since then the award has metastasized as viral internet content does. The wording of the first four rules has changed and it seems that most bloggers replaced the redundant 5th rule with one asking the recipient to generate a new set of questions. Most significantly, dearkitty1’s 4th rule didn’t require the recipient to nominate anyone, unlike the modern award that asks for 7 to 10 victi– …candidates like an old chain letter pyramid scheme (FORWAD TO EIHGT PEOPLE OR YOU LOOSE A KIDNEY TOMOROW). I suppose that the lack of significant change in the award attests to its continuing appeal five years later.

Anyway, enough stalling — I’ll quit pretending to exist above the process like a dashing investigative journalist and follow the rules as relayed to me by Inskidee:

The more common award logo that floats around the net nowadays. I’m awfully fond of the original though

Rules of the Award

1. Display the logo


2. Thank the blogger for the award.


3. Answer the questions from the one who nominated you.


4. Nominate 7 to 10 any number of bloggers.

So, I don’t read enough bloggers to do this… I browse by topic rather than author and the few writers that I do follow seem to have won the award at least once already. So, uhhh, spread the love, you know? Let’s shoot for an unknown: following the spirit of the original ruleset, I’ll just nominate one blog. Can I wake this lazy dog from its dumbler? Doesn’t even have a published pen name, the bum, though the site goes by the name Rockin’ Doggo’s Cove of Consumption. Does it advocate for consumer piracy? Can dogs even be pirates? Or rock stars, for that matter? Dunno, go find out if you’d care.

5. Ask them 7 questions.

  1. Why, oh god, why?
  2. Do you want your Star Wars: The Essential Guide to Weapons and Technology illustrated encyclopedia back? You left it at my house years ago after a sleep-over. My parents just found it when they replaced the bookshelves.
  3. Would you rather endure an hour of crucifixion or an hour of Christmas music or neither?
  4. I know this, but what good does it do me to know?
  5. What is your angel number? Note: reporting your number to answer this question does not qualify as a divine encounter with that number for the purposes of angelic accounting.
  6. If you like Rockin’ Doggos so much, why don’t you marry them?
  7. How do you pronounce Nietzsche?

And, finally, I’ll finally answer Inskidee’s questions to me

1. What is the worst thing you’ve ever smelled?

A dead animal? I can’t think of much that smells worse than death. I’ve come across plenty of road kill or other animal carcasses out in the woods but aquatic animals probably smell the worst. An algae bloom once killed many of the fish in a lake near my house during a drought. The wind and current pushed them right up into a shallow cove by my backyard. Algae already smells bad, but imagine adding dozens of rotting, bloated fish on a humid summer day along with aquatic plants drying out to die where the drought had caused the water to recede. I’m sure worse smells exist, but that’s mine.

I also wanted to blame some of the awful raw or fermented foods I had in Japan (if you haven’t, don’t try shirako — raw fish sperm. I lurch just thinking about it again). But then I never had any truly inedible ~weird wacky Japan~ foods. Instead, the worst food I had there was boringly basic: some pork and garlic gyoza (dumplings) that I think the local grocery store accidentally sold after the expiration date. I threw up after taking just one bite and tossed the rest in the trash before sleeping off the sick with a nap. But in my humid, unairconditioned kitchen, they began to rot even further in the garbage while I recovered. The smell didn’t dissipate for a week, the whole time making me want to hurl again. I like gyoza but I haven’t trusted the smell of garlic since.

2. What is your most useless talent?

I’m quite good at first-person shooter games. I could never compete with a dedicated professional but I top the scoreboard in most public matches I play. However, I call it useless because it’s a leisure talent that maybe doesn’t bring me joy – anymore playing those sorts of games just frustrates me. A talent unfulfilling to me and unprofitable to society: useless.

3. What is your absolute worst fear?

Blindness, but I think that fear would qualify as ableism nowadays. I already have amblyopia though and do not want to see my vision decay any further.

Also, authoritarianism.

4. You will be given 200k dollars if you trade in one of your body parts. Which one will you trade in?

I don’t know if I would make the trade at all for only $200k, but if forced, isn’t the correct answer to give a kidney since most people already have two anyway? Maybe I’d even be glad to do it for closer to a million — with that, you could buy an annuity or park your cash in a passive index / dividend fund for a conservative 30k to 40k dollars a year in investment income. Join the leisure capitalist class and never work again for a spare organ? Sure why, not.

5. If you could change your name, what would you change it to?

This is maybe weird, but I don’t like names. I often wish I didn’t have one, even though I recognize their necessity for like… a functioning bureaucratic society. I don’t know how to explain the feeling. They hide so much prejudice, and not only in discriminatory cases like the negative stereotypes associated with “black-sounding” names such as Lakisha. Just by fulfilling their basic function of connecting a present person to a public history, they have a subtle coercive effect in socially enforcing an identity that a person may no longer want or deserve (for example, consider the difficulty many transgender people face when choosing a new name against a society that might not respect that change).

The UN recognizes the fundamental human right to a name though, so maybe just “Oncasteve” instead of my real name? It’s a meaningless, very intentionally stupid-sounding word from an ancient inside joke. But then I don’t think I could stand to have a name that meant anything — and as soon as a meaningless one began to develop a meaning, I wouldn’t want it anymore.


6. What is the absolute, most useless purchase you’ve ever made?

Hang on, let me go get a picture…

I wish I had the more expensive Masuzu figure.

I wanted the #bestgirl Masuzu Natsukawa figure on the left. However, she comes in a box set with the matching Chiwa figure on the right. I don’t like Chiwa. So, I wasted about half of that ~2000 yen purchase on #worstgirl. I’ve seriously considered throwing Chiwa in the trash but never do because it feels cruel. =((( Oreshura’s great tho.

More broadly, I regret buying every figure I own for the persistent embarrassment they bring me.

7. What was your most gullible moment or What was the most craziest thing that you believed? Don’t lie, we’ve all had one.

I believe in déjà vu or precognition or whatever the actual conspiracy theorists call it, even though I know it has nothing to do with paranormal nonsense. Like… it’s probably just a result of the monotony of a routine life — I feel that “I’ve seen this before” because I genuinely have, hundreds of times. That, or in a moment of unusual awareness, I somehow generate a false memory to “recall” a half-familiar, half-novel experience, similar to the way that psychologists have led people into constructing false childhood memories by feeding them leading questions and half-truths. I don’t know, it’s stupid. I do like to mess with my friends though by putting on a manic-scientist voice and ranting about “precog.” They hate it.

5 thoughts on “Where did the “Real Neat Blog Award” come from? Also, I got one.

  1. Thank you for your answers! It was lovely learning more about you. Especially your answer on the name question.

    Loved the research you did on the Neat Blog Award by the way. That was honestly fun to read. I would never have the patience to trace back all the way to the beginning of it despite my burning curiousity. Thanks for quenching that desire for me haha.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, thanks for asking! I had fun answering!

      On the research, I see these sorts of viral awards float around all the time — Sunshine, Liebster, Creative Blogger, and whatever else. But then neither the nominating bloggers nor the recipients ever acknowledge where the awards even originated! I *had* to find out. So, in search of an answer, I followed the Real Neat Blog Award back for just about two years in the anime community. It’s funny to see the “family trees” develop little epicycles within them as smaller sub-communities pass the award back and forth between themselves (I think I called it “incestuous” up there — a joke). I suspect that a direct line from you (my patient X) all the way back to dearkitty1 should still exist somewhere since that first ever award had a whooping 20 nominees. However, for even such a short time period, you run into so many dead links and dead ends that slow down progress. And then, I can search around poorly maintained blogs — but I can’t crack private ones. So, Google had to save the day.

      I’d love to see that original logo make a return though, to credit the creator! And mmm… those sickly MS Paint shades really light me up.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I believe the best answer for question 4. is “a hair”.

    The “Cove of Consumption” isn’t a tuberculosis colony?

    The original logo is great. The time it’s taken to unearth it was well spent.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha, yeah, I thought about answering ‘a hair’ or ‘an eyelash’ but it didn’t feel fair to the spirit of the question. I almost said “the appendix” or another vestigial oragn too but, again, it felt like cheating.

      I think most vets euthanize dogs with TB =(

      I’d love for more people to use that original logo but it is (and I am) maybe too obscure to manage a come-back. It’ll always have a home here though!


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