Long live the Blog: 2008-2017

Nine years ago I started blogging. That means 2008. A long time ago, when I thought I was old. This is long after blogging was cool, but still in the twilight of the medium. When I first started blogging, I was in a rather bad personal space. Really bad. My professional situation sucked too. Things were crazy for all of us. Eight years of war and horror were coming undone. The height of the economic crash, now called the Great Recession, was in full swing. I had just lost a job that I thought was the most important one of my life and was in the process of losing a lot more, including a long-term relationship, a house or two, and my dog died. Really. The dog just up and died. After a summer of wandering and worry, I found myself living in Boston in a rooming house (of sorts) and attempting to reconstruct my life from the very bottom.

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I had managed to get a job, but the position was terrible on all fronts. The corruption of Boston politics was eyeopening. The brash intentionally callous executive director, an operative of Mayor Maynot installed in some political decapitation of a previous Dear Leader who threatened The City with change or hope or something. She was a real piece of work some staff called Big Bird since she was tall, squawked, and stumbled about as if wearing a large costume or perhaps had a bottle of wine in her desk or both. Big Bird fired people for minor offenses such as having ‘man hands’ or disagreeing or agreeing or whatever she felt whenever she felt since it turns out not-for-profits are unregulated and more often than not places to park [redacted] so they wouldn’t [redacted]. Big Bird constantly yelled at staff between managing the education, healthcare, dog care, and lawn care of her family and offspring, which apparently drew priority over assisting disabled, poor, and minority children, which was her job at least on paper. What a [nasty] piece of work is wo/man.
Each day was the same, each hour a struggle. I think I had Windows 98 on my computer. It was not a place to work for anyone.

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While the organization had an endowment of perhaps fifty million, we managed to accomplish nothing, and I was constantly told “we don’t have money to get creative” and then when I got creative I was punished for overreach and for sundry other blemishes upon my character. In time, I gave up trying to do anything other than stay awake all day staring into the air shaft that was my view. I would work at whatever I was to do and watch as office after office across the shaft-way were cleared out, huge layoffs rolling across the country, crying twenty-somethings clearing out their desks and taking with them that stupid office plant they all came with. What a ponderous fearful time. One office – the one sort of to the right of me but down one floor – was particularly cursed. Some young manager would be installed, fresh-faced and full of life. Then they’d be there when I got to work and when I left still frantically at their desk. Meetings, so many meetings. Then, the lights were always on with a violence of activity and…. Then the lights infrequently on. I would look over in the morning. Hungover and hating all my existence, and the fresh face was not at their desk until ten. Then, suddenly, all their shit would be in boxes and another fool would take their place. That happened until the entire office was gone. The Great Recession was not fake news.  At least not then.

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By night, I would enjoy the company of my sort of boarding house with conversations with scientists, Harvard students, MIT graduates, and various characters who would pass through the house. It was a trying period but the house I lived compensated or at least elevated some of the stress and gave a good company. Meanwhile, at work, to the manager, an obtuse woman who spoke only circumlocutions, I had to make up an excuse that I had insomnia when I fell asleep while she was talking at me. However, on the issuing occasions when I would nod off while she was dribbling on, I am not sure my ruse was successful. Bethatasitmay, I met a few good people in the office and decided to start blogging, if nothing else just to practice writing in longer form an emails and birthday cards. So I started blogging.

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My first blog was awful. By this time blogging was already considered dead. However, there were some diehards, and I joined this fray late and out of fashion. My first blog was on another service than I currently use, perhaps something from the Googles. My blog was a rant and rave fest and then slowly was refined to be focused on my tendencies to embrace a Doomer philosophy – which was very much a community online then considering the times we lived in and was at that time a lively set of discussions.

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In my Doomer days, I read a lot of other blogs and the writing of Dimitri Orlov, Kunstler, and watched all the films of Adam Curtis as well as met fellow Doomers online from those who identified as school teachers on the West Coast to one who was an elderly woman who I believe has since passed away who would write on politics and gardening. So nine years ago I started writing, in my office, out of boredom and frustration, anger and loathing of the entire system.

I lost that job and moved out of Boston. To another job and back to New York City. The world was still collapsing around us, but I managed to get another job.

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This one was in the South Bronx and was at a social service agency. Perhaps not the right time to jump into other people’s problems since I had lost yet another relationship and was adrift in a city I fought so hard to return to but apparently hated me since apartments had tripled in rental cost, but my salary was much the same as before 2004. So, I continued to be devoted to Doom. It also looked like the collapse was close by. That our money would soon be worthless, our entire lives would be turned over, and that the frantic typing of blogging Doomers would one day be the writing on the wall that others would point to and say, these people, these blogger were the Beatniks of their age, the sages, and seers, the bellwethers of our age.

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By then Hope & Change(TM) had come to our Great and Storied nation, and things seemed to be turning up. It seemed that predictions of wide-spread economic collapse seemed to be punted down the generational hallway. Dire predictions continued to spread by a number of bloggers, but it seemed to be a thinning topic as collapse did not occur no matter what happened. A furry of change seemed to dull down to a long slow news day. Each week we would yell, this is the thing that pushed us over the edge! Tosses us off to some weird Bladerunner-Mad Max world! But then, the system would just chug along. We each one discovered how little we knew and while our lives were precarious – I moved six times or so in about eight months trying to find an affordable spot that afforded me some comfort and did not have seven crazy roommates – we saw that the Powers That Be like to eat their bonbons and won’t allow the system to collapse and that while we may struggle as minor individuals, much of the brouhaha was manufactured by a small number of talented and extremely wealthy international players.

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So the blog continued. Morphed a few times as my life changed and shifted and I came out of the public sector to a private tech company, then left that for another company that allowed for more travel. So the blog changed again. From rant to doom to musing on politics to another travel blog, this one with more misspellings and fewer promotional tie-ins.

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This travel blog has been for about five of the nine years and has been a good space to reflect on the many places I have been and to find out that my writing isn’t really going to improve nor my audience widens. Also, the field has changed. Blogs were sort of dead nine years ago; now I suspect they are totally dead. At least if not dead then not the popular expression they once were. There are so many other ways to rant and rave as well as a growing audience of people who are no longer interested in what the average yahoo with a computer has to say. Everyone now had a great camera. Everyone has shorter attention. And formats only remain valid for so long.

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With that in mind, I took a break. I have not found another venue nor been cool enough to be on the cutting edge of the next big thing, the next blogging before it is then subsumed by advertisers promoting their brand and people trying to game the system to gain followers which then translates into free donuts or blowjobs or something because no one really seems to care if you have real people who read your crap or bots that click and move on. For whatever reasons bots have for doing the things they do.

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I believe I will give this project another year and see what happens. I am back to traveling, but with each passing year, I have fewer things to add to the convulsive pulchritude of nattering classes that passes for media these days. I may pivot again, and make this blog less about traveling and more about home renovation, as I feather my nest and perhaps start assembling goods for a future tomb. Whatever happens, thanks for reading, or following, or being a bot that comes and drops by once in a while. Stay tuned. More is coming.  I am still full of piss and vinegar even if none of you will drink it anymore.

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