Tired of the Old S***, Let the New S*** Begin
Wednesday, July 04, 2012
The handful of you who were following this blog in the past may be wondering, “What happened to all the old stuff?”
One of the biggest decisions I had to make in reviving this blog was what to do with six-and-a-half years of old posts. There was a lot I was proud of writing, but also a lot I was embarrassed by. And there were an awful lot of things that were completely dated. I regretted the possibility of obliterating the running diary aspect of the blog—the fretting over finding a new job in 2005, my progress through my kidney surgery in 2009, etc. There were interesting and thoughtful comments from my handful of regular readers that would be eliminated if I deleted certain posts. I also agonized over deleting the posts I wrote two years ago, when my long time friend Mike Valerio passed away. Would it have been better to have left that as a standing tribute to Mike?
In the end, I decided upon a total purge. But it was extremely time consuming. I knew there was a possibility that I’d regret losing some of those items in the not-too-distant future. So rather than just clicking the “delete” button, I set about copying and pasting the text (along with the html codes) and saving them in a huge collection of Word documents. They are there, along with the images, if I ever decide to share any again. I’m toying with the idea of perhaps running a Blue Chair archives site. At any rate, it was a tedious process and took me months to do.
A big reason for going with this option is what I’ll call the embarrassment factor. Using the blog as a diary has its dangers.
Over the years, I have coped with a certain low level of depression and sometimes I would get on here in my darker moments and decide to share. Not really a smart idea.
Several years ago, I was in the position to hire a new assistant at my job for DC Comics. At the time, I was in a pretty dark place in my personal life. One day, a young woman came in to interview. The night before, I had written one of my more bleak and dark ruminations. Early in the interview, this woman cheerfully brought up how she had been reading and enjoying my blog. Of course I wasn’t stupid enough not to realize that anyone could have found the blog by simply Googling my name, but I had largely chosen to ignore that possibility. This, however, was a real slap in the face. I think I immediately went to my office, opened the blog and promptly deleted the embarrassing post. Closing the barn after the beast is loose, I know, but lesson learned.
I’ll do my best not to embarrass myself here this time. Primarily, I plan to do my best to stay out of here when one of my blacker moods hits.
In the meantime, here’s this song by the Eels that I really love and which inspired the title of this particular post.
In August of 2004, I began blogging. It was a very popular trend at the time and a number of my friends were joining in. I had enough of an ego to think that the internet was ready for me to share my views and interests. It very quickly became a major, creative outlet for me. Shorter, personal updates would alternate with longer essays and dissertations.
The content included posts about things going on in my life as well as my interest in film, music, news and sports. Occasionally, I delved into politics. This was usually a mistake. Nothing fires the passions like political opinions and sharing mine would sometimes result in lengthy debates in the comments section that triggered a lot of angry feelings and made blogging a less than happy experience for me.
At the time the blog started, I had just recently moved to Carlsbad, California and was working as Creative Services Manager for a videogame company called Sammy Studios. I was married. I really didn’t have much of a social life and felt disconnected from people in my past. The blog filled in some of the gaps I was feeling in my life. Admittedly, it became somewhat of an obsession of mine. I spent way too much time on it. Within a year, Sammy Studios was gone and the idle time I had being unemployed for about seven months allowed me to indulge in the blog even more. The peak years of this blog were from approximately 2005-2007.
A few things contributed to The Blue Chair’s decline. Primarily, there was the rise of social networking. First with MySpace, then with Facebook, I began to spend more of my time sharing things on those sites rather than on this blog. It allowed me to communicate more directly with more people and eliminated some of the frustration I had with the blog only being viewed regularly by a handful of individuals.
Second, the age of blogs felt like it was already in decline by about 2008. Everyone was jumping on Facebook, providing conversation and links to items of interests on the web that turned the site into a kind of one stop shopping location on the net, as well as a great means for renewing connections and staying in touch with a huge number of old friends, acquaintances and professional colleagues. Who needed a blog?
I was also becoming increasingly uncomfortable with the public nature of blogging. In the fall of 2005, I was hired by DC Comics and began working as an editor at the company’s Wildstorm division in La Jolla. People in and around the comic book industry spend a lot of time on the internet. My professional role put me more in a public spotlight and I began to grow more uncomfortable with the idea of people googling me and reading some of my more personal posts. It also limited things I could say, for obvious professional reasons. Of course my frequent Facebook posts put me in even more of a spotlight. But the blog had more extensive and deeper stories about things going on in my own life and in my own head which weren’t always pretty.
Music may have been the topic I covered the most on the blog and in the latter days, I tried to shift the focus more to that topic. (The title of the blog is taken from the name of an Elvis Costello song.) But by then, it felt like the blog was done. Prior to what you are reading now, I hadn’t posted here in over a year. In the past three years, there have only been a handful of postings in total.
I have frequently questioned the amount of time I spend on Facebook and the amount of sharing I do there. Ironically, though it was Facebook that contributed heavily to the deterioration and eventual dormancy of this blog, it’s Facebook that makes me think it’s time to revise it. I often wonder if I’m overloading the feeds of people who don’t know me well and don’t share my interests. (Believe me, I know the feeling.) Posts about music, for example––the major focus of The Blue Chair––get virtually no traction on Facebook.
So for quite some time, the thought has been building that I should revisit this site as an outlet for my indulgences. The handful of people who follow me most regularly on Facebook can come along for the ride. Of course there’s still a limit to what I can say and do here, but at least I feel that it might give me a vehicle for indulging my interests without boring or annoying the hundreds of casual friends and professional acquaintances I’ve collected on Facebook.
So whether you are here for the first time or back for a return visit, come in and sit down in the new old Blue Chair. We’ll see how this goes.