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Saturday, October 27, 2018

10 Years of Stuff: A Blog-O-Versary

I started writing on this blog 10 years ago on October 27, 2008.  Just in case I would forget, the above is what I have Dymo tagged to the top of my home computer monitor.

In thinking about what to say in this posting, one thought that occurred to me was this:  In terms of things I've been doing in my life (outside of biological imperatives, parenthood, etc.), the blog is really the second longest vocation I've ever had.  That says a lot, I think.

Anyway, I'd like to tell you interesting and inspirational stories related to the blog, but that even bores me, so I won't.  In fact, I've never tried to be interesting or inspirational in this space;  instead, I'll save the interesting and inspirational stuff to professionals.  For me, the "gladly amateur blogging state" is good enough.  That's not to say that there isn't anything to tell at the ten-year mark.  To that point, here are a few road apples.

The most popular posting I've ever written... about radio commentator, (hopefully) recovered drug addict, and thrice-married ladies man Rush Limbaugh.  You can read the posting entitled Rush Limbaugh Audience Demographics, HERE.  Why has that posting been so popular?  Well, my number one source of traffic is, and I suspect that the (hopefully) former drug addict (I'm not making the drug addict thing up...citation HERE) is a popular search topic.  I also suspect that many who landed on my posting were very disappointed at what they found.

The most interesting comment I've ever received...
...was a death threat.  I'd show it to you, but I think it's been long deleted.  Anyway, someone didn't appreciate the observation that using "Southern Heritage" to justify the display of the Confederate battle flag is basically the same as using "German Heritage" to explain away the display of a swastika (original posting HERE).  Here's the offending graphic I created.
The ball is in your court, Cletus.

The easiest postings to write are...
...none, at least not by category or subject.  Some posting just seem to flow out, others have to be forced out, kicking and screaming.  Some postings can take a year to write from original idea to finally hitting the publish button.

The most difficult postings to write are...
...about politics.  This is why I don't post much on that subject.  The country has gone to a very dark place, and while I'm happy to taunt racists and their sympathizers (see above), there's too much "you are evil because you don't believe in ____________" these days.  It's just not worth it.

The best part about writing a blog is...
...the abundance of "blog groupies".  I'm just kidding, and the very idea is only slightly more absurd than claiming the existence of "Dungeons and Dragons groupies" or "a Scranton School District anti-Nepotism policy".

Actually, the best part about writing the blog, at least for me now, is the fact that over the course of 10 years I actually have something that may outlive me, something that someone can go back to and say "that was Steve Albert".  It's not a bad feeling actually.

The worst part about writing a blog is...
...the guilt I feel when I don't post something at least once a week.  That is the serious, actual answer.

The number of postings I have published is...
...currently 1940, with 87 postings in draft form.

Just to take this a bit further, the most productive blogging year I have had was 2010, which yielded 411 published postings.  The least productive was 2017, with 82 postings.

The number of "hits" the blog gets is...
...something I am not going to share.  Why?  Because this isn't about "hits" or competing for an audience or any of that nonsense.  I compete against no one, and quite frankly, I'm happy if one person other than me actually reads this stuff.  I will say this though: The site average between 4,000 to 6,000 page views per month.

Life in October 2008 was...
...pretty different than now and difficult.  This isn't to say that the world for me is now sunshine, smiles, rainbows, and kittens, but it is certainly a different world.  I began the blog in part as a way to maybe process out-loud some of what was running through my head.  Some of that stuff was pretty visceral, as evidenced particularly by the postings from late 2010.  The blog has been, in a way, a kind of therapy sometimes needed more times than others.

Speaking of "sometimes", sometimes the best way to denote the passage of time is to think about major life events, and this blog is full of them.  Between getting divorced, the death of my mother, having an angel appear in my life just at the right time...

(October 2012; one of my favorite pictures of Ms. Rivers)

...and the death of my brother Chris, there's a story in all of these 1940 postings.

The posting I am the proudest of... the one that I wrote about my brother Chris; you can read it HERE.

In the clearing stands a boxer
And a fighter by his trade
And he carries the reminders
Of every glove that laid him down
And cut him till he cried out
In his anger and his shame
"I am leaving, I am leaving"
But the fighter still remains
(Paul Simon, The Boxer)

In a way, I still can't believe he's gone.

What I've got planned for the future is...
...unsure.  I do know that I still enjoy writing, so it's unlikely I'll be closing up the blogging shop (like so many local bloggers have) any time soon.  Talk about things like fate, destiny. etc. are basically above my pay-grade, so I'm not going to claim any kind of manifest destiny for the blog or for me.  I also know that life in 2028 will likely be far different for me than it is in 2018 so there will be more stories to write, more angst to expel, more draft postings to get moldy, and more surprises at just what some folks find interesting.

The closest I can get to describing how I feel about the blog comes from a song called "The Guitar Man", written by David Gates.  While Mr. Gates' toenail clipping have more talent than I do, the underlying thought of just having to "play" (or in my case, "write") seems to be appropriate.

Thanks for reading.

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