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A Small Victory: Three Years and Still Blowing Smoke Up Your Ass

Three years. I don't think I've ever stuck with an idea this long. I was always the type to join a club or sign up for a sport or come up with a grand plan and throw in the towel a week or two later. I have unfinished stories and half-done projects cluttering my closets. Hell, I left St. John's University (for good reasons) with just 15 credits needed to graduate with a degree in English. Well, it's not like an English degree would have paid off anyhow. You may as well major in Sitting at Home Twiddling Your Thumbs. So here we are, three years after I started blogging, and I'm still at it. Go figure, I finally found something to do that kept my interest for more than 30 seconds. Today is the actual date of the anniversary, though the proof of that is long, long gone. I started my first weblog - after reading an article about blogs on Plastic - at Tripod. I don't even remember the name or URL. But I do remember the date because I still have the Notepad file. 1/29 So, this is a weblog. Does anyone read these things? Ok, I do remember the URL. But it's too embarassing. I gave up on Triopd and moved to Freeservers that May, where my posts were a bit longer and dealt mainly with sports and news. Then Freeservers screwed me and I finally broke down and bought my own domain and went from Blogger to Greymatter to Moveable Type and here I am. Three years. Have I accomplished anything? Have I learned anything? Sure have, sure did. Three years ago I was marginally aware of the world around me. I could talk current events and politics, but I had no particular passion for for doing so. I read the paper, watched a few talking heads, but didn't stay riveted to the tv except for times of breaking news. Unless the Weather Channel counts. Man, I love that channel. Then I started reading other blogs. Obsessively. I had a links list that took up two pages. And then a strange thing happened. Just a few months into blogging, I realized my discussions about news and politics were fueled by passion. I took more of an interest in news not just from the U.S., but from all over. I began commenting on other blogs - I didn't realize I had such strong opinions about everything from brands of tuna to the Middle East. It was just what I needed. Being a very opinionated and strong-willed person, blogging was a perfect hobby for me. Finally, a place to vent and rant and rave and tell the people of the world how incredibly correct my opinions are and how very wrong they are. It's easy to be righteous in your beliefs when your blog doesn't have a commenting system. People rarely emailed me to refute my opinions. I was so smug, so sure of myself that I was excited to start using Blogger so I could have commenting capabilities. My first day on Blogger was September 10, 2001. Check it out. [click for bigger image] I think you know what happened after that. And this is the great thing about having a blog - I do know what happened after that. I have every emotion and event recorded, forever and ever, amen. Don't worry, I'm not going to rehash the whole 9/11 series of events and blog posts. Been there, done that. But I will tell you that it was not just having a blog, but having a blog with comments, is what buoyed me through those days and nights. Ah, but there always is a flipside to things. Enabling comments ended up to be a very humbling experience. Spouting off my opinions, bitching at the world and acting as if I were absolutely right on all counts tended to piss my readers off. And they let me know. My ideas and beliefs were refuted, disputed, diluted and called stupid. I was countered, disagreed with, proved wrong, shouted down and whatever the virtual version of being punched in the mouth is. It's so easy to think you're right when you don't give people the chance to prove you wrong. Lesson Number One of blogging: People with strong opinions, who are often feisty, accusatory and belligerent and don't have comments enabled are cowards. I braved the storm and kept the comments open and I think I'm a better person for that. I have learned, I have been schooled - in short, I got served. It's a good thing to be humbled once in a while. It keeps you honest. At least, it should. And I've been nothing if not honest with you all these years. A Small Victory: WYSIWYG. So, in three years I have honed my writing skills, made somewhat of a name for myself, started about 20 different projects and saw most of them to completion, made a ton of friends and several enemies, learned a great deal about the world and myself, was quoted in several national magazines and newspapers, received a community award from something I started right here, learned some coding skills, received support in times of crisis, was able to give support to others, became an activist, a political junkie, a newshound and a published author. It's been three years of constant schooling with bloggers as my teachers: Glenn Reynolds, Bill Quick, Joanne Jacobs, Stacy Tabb, Toren Smith, Rachel Lucas, Robyn Pollman, Arthur Sibler, Dirk Deppey, James Lileks, Noah Grey, Reid Stott, Eric Olsen, Jim Treacher and Mike Hendrix as my unwitting mentors and teachers. Whether they taught me coding or how to laugh at myself or how to take myself seriously, or the nuances of war, religion, politics and peace, or how to write a fluid sentence or stand up for what I believe in or how to buy a good camera or spot a great comic book, or gave me a much needed lesson in humility, they all knowingly or not taught me more in the past three years than I learned in all the time I spent in various colleges. Friends, I've made a few. Unlike Frank Sinatra, there are way too many to mention. You know who you are, you know what you mean to me and I'll never stop telling you. Readers. I've come a long way from my 10 hit days on Tripod. I'm not going to look up the numbers, but let's just say I'm overwhelmed by the amount of people that read my drivel every single day. It still boggles the mind. And I would like thank every single one of you. Personally. You, and you and you and you....(nevermind, I saw a comedian do that once. He pulled it off much better than I just did). Enemies. Oh, yes. It's been almost fun to make them. My buddy Vince. The goons at Indymedia. Bloggers who shall remain unnamed. But truth be told, I learned just as much from them as I have from my friends and I truly thank them for the lessons they have given me, intentional or not. So, three years in a nutshell: I've lived, I've loved, I've learned. Just like anyone else in this world. I just happen to put it all down in writing every day. Saved for posterity in the bowels of Google so my kids will one day plot to murder me in my sleep when they realize all I've written about them. Ah, but it will be worth it, just for that twinge of smugness I feel when my daughter treats me like the stupidest person on the face of the earth and I'm thinking to myself, well, 10,000 have seen that picture of you dressed like Christina Aguilera! HAH! Three years of crap dispensed for free at this virtual vending machine of tirades. And I have loved every minute of it. I'd like to stick around another three years, if this blogging thing ever takes off. Thanks for all the fish time you've given me. I hope it's been worth it.

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Comments

It's fun.
Thanks.

Congrats! You've got a great blog! :)

Congrats on persevering!

Happy B-Day! You know that you have to add the age of your blog onto your personal age. For example, if your actual age is 43, today you turned 46.

Yes, it will make you old before your time.

And that list of "mentors and teachers" looks like some very bizarre intervention group. Still, I'm honored to be included, though I'm not exactly sure what I "taught" you.

Let's just say I taught you it's OK to be your feisty self and show your boobs on the web.

Yeah, I'll take credit for that.

It's a pleasure to come by and have a cup of coffee with you every day. Congrats on the anniversary and may there be many many more come.

Wow, 3 years. Congrats, Michele and here's to another 3 just as good.

Thanks for all the fish blog. Here's to much, much more!

You Go, Girl!!!!!!!

Right On!

&

Write On, sister!

Thanks for putting yourself out there every day. Sometimes I agree, sometimes disagree. Some things you write about are of vital importance to me. Other things I glance at and move on.
I get a gaily glimpse into the mind of someone I'd never meet otherwise. A good mind it is, too.

Congratulations, Michele.
You get the blame for inspiring me to start a blog, although I know I will never have more than a fraction of your energy and passion for the endeavor...

Happy Blogiversary! and hey, i still remember the first post i ever commented on. it had to do with something along these lines:

Fountains of Wayne Newton
Bowling for Soup Dragons
Temple of the Dog Police

yes, i still "play" that stupid game in my head sometimes.

Congratulations Michele! May you have many more blogversarys! :)

No, screw you!

Not. Too tired for polysyllabics. Love.

Congratultions and Thank You. I have a lot of fun here. I feel I have made a friend I wouldn't have "met" , if you didn't blog.

M-

As a rule I hate lists. But, this is for you on your Blog Birthday.

Reasons Why We Love Michele:

1. Your huge heart.
2. Your brilliant mind.
3. Your fiery courage.
4. Your fierce talent.
5. Your utterly delicious sense of the absurd.

And a million other things too numerous to count.

My hat is off.

Keep it coming 'cos we love it so.

Cheers,
D

Congrats on the 3yrs! I could never imagine staying at one location with the same site for so long. Well done. The layouts really unique too :)

Very nice post Michele.

Three years of painting a self-portrait in words. I'm glad to have gotten a glimpse at it.

I hope you never finish.

Well, I for one am glad you've kept it up this long. I first found ASV sometime around this year's 9/11 anniversary and your Voices project blew me away. I've always enjoyed how you're able to offer a balanced mix of political insight and personal experience. Congrats on 3 years!

This site is crap. Screw you.

So, what have been Your Three Best posts in the past three years? Where is the Michele Retrospective? And, more importantly, where is the free food? What kind of retrospective is this when there is no free booze and finger food, eh?

I love you, Kalibur. Will you marry me?

Happy Blog-day, Michele. May you have many more!

You know what? Kalibur's kinda right. This site is fertilizer for the mind. I read, I think, I ruminate, I cogitate. I appreciate.

If this site is shit, then all I have to say is thanks very much for three years of shit. It's been a pleasure shooting said shit, and try saying that last little phrase ten times fast.

Michele, I've enjoyed reading your site through the years and through the numerous name changes and site redesigns. You're a brilliant writer and I hope that you continue writing for as long as this internet thing lasts. Happy Blogaversary.

Oh, and Bread says if Kalibur won't marry you, he will.

Awesome, you don't look a day over two.

Yay you!

You've been on my "must read" list for quite a long time now. You rock. Happy anniversary.

Woohoo! Congrats, and keep 'em comin.

Congrats, Michele. You deserve every reader, all of the new friends, and a few of the enemies. ;-)

[After reading your entry I just realized I missed my official 2-year blogiversary on Jan 5. Oh well...]

Congratulations to the best writer in the blog world (in my opinion, anyway).

Yes, Michele, I'm talking about YOU! Sheesh!

Who gets to administer the spankings though? ;-) Happy blogiversary!

3 years! Woah! You rock, Michele ... Thank you so much for your blog!

Congrats...I'm comin up on just two full years. Only a year behind you! lol

Keep up the great work, Michele.

Mega-uber-congrats, Michele, and thanks on the same scale.

when i first started reading you, i was annoyed because you bitched at Michael Moore.
oh, how much i've learned.
happy blogaversary :)

I agree that bloggers who don't have comments enabled are cowards. If they're too scared to acknowledge dissent, they're not worth my time. It's one of the reasons I don't bother reading Glenn Reynolds or James Lileks.

Bim, I wasn't referring to Lileks or Glenn. I meant people who are purposely antagonistic or controversial.

Bim, it's the blogger's right to enable or disable comments. And the ones I like, such as Michele, Glenn Reynolds, and Natalie Solent, for example, have good reasons for having or not having them. And these people come across, to me anyway, as open to hearing dissenting points of view.

And of course Michele, congratulations and thanks for all the funny and insightful posts. :-)

Hey! Hey!
As an English major, I take great offense to your idea that such a major will never pay off.

I mean, I'm not saying that it has paid off...seven years in college...graduated two years ago, but...

well, I hate myself now.

Thanks Michelle. And congrats!

Never visited before.............hope I'm alive in 2 1/2 years (been blogging for 6 months or so)......linked to you from Tiger! I enjoy reading articulate people!

I remember those early days fondly. The anecdotes featuring your kids were always my favorite.

Happy Bloggiversary! :D

Belated congratulations Michele. I can't wait to meet you when I get to the east coast. It'll be an honor. Heck, I might even buy ya a drink or two.

Happy belated anniversary, Michele. You're a constant source of inspiration, and living proof that blogs can be a window to the soul, not just empty punditry. I'd do well to write by your example.