The Big Five-Oh-Oh
We've reached a milestone here at Simple Tricks and Nonsense. As you may have surmised from the title above, this is my 500th blog entry. Not too shabby considering that when my buddy Jack presented me with a website for a Christmas gift, my initial reaction was something to the effect of, "Cool! What the hell am I going to do with it?"
What I've done is produce an average of three or four entries a week for just over two years -- far more than my initial estimate of one or two updates a month -- on topics ranging from my own autobiography to film, popular culture, politics, and space exploration. Unlike what you see on some blogs, most of my entries have been relatively substantial, i.e., more than just a couple of lines and a link to someplace else. I've found a particular blogging voice which is distinct from the voice I use in other writing, notably in the offline journals I used to keep. (If you'll remember, I said in my very first entry that one of my goals for Simple Tricks was to write about myself without all the angst and gloom that plagued my journals. For the most part, I think I've met this goal quite handily.) I've had a few public arguments here in this space, but not as many as I feared back in the early days; I think I've gotten better at expressing my opinions honestly without offending people, and I know I've gotten better at defending them when readers have questioned or attacked them. I've embraced my geekiness and fanboyish tendencies without shame; I've shared the things that interest, excite, or amuse me; and hopefully I've provided my three loyal readers with some measure of entertainment. (For the record, I actually have about a dozen regular readers and a surprising number of strangers drifting through.)
Perhaps the most gratifying aspect of blogging, however, has been the improved sense of connection I have with my friends who read this, and I don't mean just the folks who comment regularly. Several of you have told me since I started blogging that you're sorry you haven't called or e-mailed in a while, but you feel like you're in touch with me because you've been reading Simple Tricks. And that's fine by me. In a way, I think some of you are in better touch with me now than in the pre-blog days when we were going months between conversations; I still may not hear from you for months, but when I do, there seems to be less distance than if there'd been no contact at all. It's something of a one-way street if you don't comment here, but it shaves a few minutes off the long-distance bill when I'm the only one who needs to ask what's been going on.
If this is sounding self-congratulatory, well, I suppose that's how I'm feeling. This blog came along at a pretty low point in my life. I suspect Jack was, in part, trying to give me something to focus on when he built this site for me. He was being a friend in more ways than just giving me a gift. And it seems to have worked. I've lost track of how many projects -- both writing projects and not -- that I've begun in recent years and never finished. But I've stayed with blogging. I've done more of it than I ever thought I would, and I've enjoyed it. I've enjoyed it so much that I've actually come to resent the Real-World demands that frequently prevent me from doing as much of it as I would prefer. It's been a good thing for me, and I'm grateful to Jack for his thoughtfulness and for giving me a soap-box. Hopefully, it's been good for everyone out there in InternetLand, too. I intend to keep on doing this for awhile -- really, I feel like I'm just getting started -- and I hope you'll all do your part by continuing to read, smile, grumble, comment, or lurk as you see fit.
And now, back to our regularly scheduled blogging...