An anniversary in three movements: Context, Accomplishment, & Gratitude.
1st – Context
Philadelphia seems to be heading towards the apocalypse full speed ahead, much to the consternation of the general public (and the delight of my end-times obsessed best friend Gina).
First it was violent flash mobs. A few weeks ago it was a terrifying stories-high fire we could see from our office, followed by a week and half deluge of rain. Then, we had an unlikely earthquake. Now we’re worried about a hurricane.
It’s either a modern twist on a series of biblical plagues, or we are playing some sort of sick game of disaster Bingo with all of the squares filled with lyrics from “The End of the World as We Know It.”
I am waiting for the universe to call “bird and snakes,” or perhaps “Leonard Bernstein.”
I witnessed the fire, rain, and earthquake firsthand, but not the mobs or the impending hurricane. I don’t know about them through traditional media. I have no idea when I last watched a weather report. I haven’t watched television news since 2004, and I generally don’t read the newspaper unless it’s running one of my ad campaigns.
I don’t need to. My social networks break news when it is relevant to me, regardless of if it’s the evening news.
That is life (and news) at the speed of Twitter. By comparison, blogs are the slow, galumphing cousin of social media, where we tweet at the speed of thought and voluntarily track our movements from bar to bar and report on whatever we’re watching or hearing.
And traditional media? CNN dot com didn’t have a headline banner up about the earthquake five minutes after it happened. Meanwhile, Twitter already had pinpointed the epicenter and estimated the magnitude.
Blogs can be galumphing, but at least they’re galumphing by choice. I tweeted about the earthquake, then I checked into it on FourSquare, before finally writing a blog post the next day on the train, when I felt like I had something to say.
I don’t own a blog to be fast. I’ve been there and done that, babe. I used to post 140-character bulletins four times an hour long before Twitter was a glimmer in Ev’s eye.
In fact, I started doing it eleven years ago today.
Here, on Crushing Krisis – Philadelphia’s longest running blog.
2nd – Accomplishment
This is the first blog year where I have felt entirely like an adult for the duration.
It didn’t really have much to do with my impending 30th birthday, or even with E and I owning a house. It was more that many years of work and planning and practicing and acquiring are finally paying dividends in the present.
A year ago today the biggest news was that we lived in a house, but it was eclipsed by the even bigger OMFG fact that I had been blogging for a whole decade.
This year the biggest news is smaller, subtler, yet it was the news that eclipsed CK, rather than the other way around.
I was published by our local CBS affiliate, and the bands I covered saw trickle-down articles as a result. Arcati Crisis added a drummer, and later a bassist, while I became the full-time bassist for Filmstar. I wrote songs for the soundtrack of a novel, and later played the book release party. I wrote an entire novel of my own in one month.
I listened to 200+ LPs released in 2010 so I could finally pen a fully-informed Best Albums of the Year list. I played a sold-out show supporting a musician who I adore. I swore on this very blog that I would earn my learner’s permit and then learned to drive. I got really serious about fitness and going to the gym(!), especially when it involved yoga, and am presently in the best shape of my life. I gigged in all but one month of the year, and had fewer and fewer complaints about my performances.
I was in two wedding parties, but the stupidest thing I wound up doing didn’t even involve me being drunk or at a bachelor party (or both). I finally, belatedly got my license. My blog quite unintentionally turned a profit on a feature I was writing for my own OCD entertainment. I finally implemented the EdCal I’ve been drafting for two years. I engineered a day of drum recording to break ground on my first ever multi-track full-band project.
The beauty of those accomplishments is that their entire lineage is contained within this blog. We can trace my 2011 accomplishments back to their 2001 roots – writing CD reviews for our school paper, sleeping through production class, playing open mics while staring down my ex-girlfriend, making and keeping friends (that were later in our wedding), and flexing my OCD muscle on special projects.
The story of a year isn’t told only through its accomplishments. I did things for fun, too. I confessed my obsession with mopping. I summed up my life as a video game and then, ironically, turned Gina’s life into one. I made E tie me to a chair so I could work out plot points for my book. I fell in love with a weird-ass David Bowie vampire flick. I professed my love for unadulterated pop again and again and again. I taught Gina a guitar solo by singing like a Skeksi. I had a near-death experience involving lime popcorn.
I went to a nearly-nude live dancing girls club for the first time. I compared driving to a superhero learning to fly. I undertook a DIY landscaping project with E, against my better judgement. I started incorporating my comic fandom into the blog. I became a full-time older brother for two whole months, and loved it. I opined on the pitfalls of rock band sweat. I explained how I stay organized as a musician.
All that in a year in which I was pretty certain that I didn’t blog enough.
Whether I was a good blogger or not, I didn’t mention everything significant that happened to me. Not my hours of constant bass playing to get up to snuff for Filmstar, and subsequently buying not one but two more basses. Not finishing Version 1.0 of my song database, including programming a word cloud from scratch. Not my hard-won camaraderie with local musicians I adore. Not our first true Arcati Crisis rock show. Not finally feeling comfortable hanging out with our friends that have babies. Not our epic drive back from Jake’s wedding in Gettysburg and how I love having him as a weekly presence in my life. Not my first producer-for-hire session in my home studio.
Except, really those things live here too, because I tweet my thoughts all the time, and I archive my tweets at CK. Call it a concession to that omnipresent internal OCD Godzilla.
I simply cannot write words down without knowing they are going to be archived somewhere for posterity.
3rd – Gratitude
Eleven years ago today if I had told you – or, anyone, really – that I authored a blog, the reaction would likely be “a what?”
Last Friday I sat in the audience of an awards show thrown by a blog that gave awards to blogs, and whose audience was largely bloggers – or, at least, blog readers who also tweet.
On Tuesday we had an earthquake. In Philadelphia. Or, at least, I thought we did. A minute later I knew it wasn’t my imagination. Two minutes later I also knew they felt the quake in Arlington, Syracuse, and Toronto.
We are past the point of debating the purpose of a blog, or of Twitter. They’ve become so ubiquitous that their presence is assumed as a matter of course. Whether you’re working on a new corporate sitemap or a band page, you’ll hear the same pair of questions: Where’s the blog? Where’s the “Follow Us” link?
No matter how much work I do to answer those questions in professional and personal settings all week long, when it comes to asking myself there’s never any doubt. Social networking has become more than a passtime or habit for me – it’s ritual, almost unconscious. Even when it’s hard work it’s as easy to do as breathing.
Thank you for making a conscious decision to be a part of my ritual, today and any other day you have read CK. Maybe you visit the site, or have me in an RSS feed, or clicked through from Twitter, or read via Facebook note.
I don’t really care how you got here. I care that somehow, against every possible odd and all of my procrastinating tendencies, Crushing Krisis sits in the first page of search rankings for “Longest Running Blog” … even if that’s only true in my fine disaster-plagued city of brotherly love.
Thank you for being a part of this marvelous thing that has tracked my progress to living the exact fantasy I pictured back in 2000, only as a way better singer and with a way hotter wife.
Thank you as a member of two actively gigging rock bands and as a solo artist.
Thank you as the holder of a brand new PA Driver’s License.
Thank you from a body that I feel comfortable inside of for the first time in thirty years of life.
Thank you times eleven years, or 4017 days, or exactly 1.182 million words, or to whatever numerical value you would personally ascribe to being happy and fulfilled 24 hours a day, seven days a week – and merrily blogging and tweeting all the while.
Thank you, and happy birthday to this.