The real celebration…

First and foremost I’ll take this opportunity to thank the many people who reached out to me through Facebook, or text, or email, phone today. Your birthday wishes are, by me, appreciated.

In other news, while I was digging around the site today in hopes of coming up with a suitable message for the day that I haven’t tread too heavily on the previous anniversaries of my birth, I was struck by something remarkable. As it turns out, June 1st isn’t just my birthday. I know. I’m as shocked as you are to learn that anything else of importance might have happened previously on this date. I’m still a little perplexed and amazed by this particular discovery.

Today also marks ten years since publishing my very first blog post. It’s bad. I mean really bad. It’s badly written. It’s badly thought out. It’s just bad in almost every conceivable way. If you don’t believe me, you can dig it up in the archives but scrolling down to June 2006 and hitting the link, but I’m not going to link it directly because it really is just that bad. I even contemplated making the post private rather than remarking on it, but that really defeats the purpose of what I’ve been trying to do here.

Those first posts really are awful. I’m struggling to find a voice and it readily shows. Looking back across those ten years, though, what I also see is upward trajectory of improvement – tighter writing, better reasoning, and the development of ability to tell a bit of a story in just a few hundred words. Still, I like the idea that if someone were so inclined they could map the constellation of things that have rattled through my head from then to now as the posts rattled around the internet from their original home on MySpace (seriously), to Blogger, and finally here to my own site powered by WordPress.

Ten years doesn’t seem like a lot of time until I start thinking about what’s changed from then to now. Looking back on some of the things 28 year old me thought were important enough to take up blog space, 38 year old me would love to sit him down for a nice long talk. There are lots of posts I wish I hadn’t made and some others I wish I’d have had the guts not just to publish, but to nail right to the mast. I like to think I’ve learned a lot about the world around me and even more about myself over the last 2,176 posts.

So unlike many of products that reach their tenth anniversary, there won’t be a lot of changes. I’m not going to go all New Coke or tinker around with the Colonel’s secret recipe. Whatever improvements happen will be organic and develop naturally in the fullness of time. I can only hope the writing is as much improved over the second decade of blogging as it was in the first.

We’ll all have to come back in June 2026 to find out.

Digging in the archives…

From time to time I go stumbling through the vast pile of electronic paperwork I’ve generated for myself over the years looking for one or two particular nuggets. I generally find what I’m looking for because my filing system, to some, might seem to verge on the anal retentive. It works for me so retentive or not, I like it.

Warehouse.jpgOccasionally during one of those trips down into the archives I come across material that’s been out of sight so long I’ve rather forgotten about it. This week’s trek back into the files was one such occasion. I’ve discovered a set of posts I wrote long ago and far away. Some of them are quite good. Then again some of them are pretty bad. Unlike the great effort several years ago to compile my entire “official” blogging history onto this one site, these posts never ended up published under my name and I think it’s probably time to bring them home.

I haven’t gone through the whole package yet, but I’m guessing there could be as many as 50 previously unseen posts just waiting for fresh eyes. Most of them will probably make the cut, though a few will likely remain private due to the nature of the topic, a clear linkage to an actual person either living or dead, or just because it’s a poorly formed though. Even saying that, I expect most of this particular treasure trove will be suitable for wide release.

Starting tonight and running every Friday until I exhaust this freshly turned earth, http://www.jeffreytharp.com will feature one of these gems from the archives for your reading pleasure. With the exception of correcting grammar, spelling, and punctuation issues I expect to publish these posts without editorial revision as they were originally published.

I hope you’ll give them a read and let me know what you think.

The number two thousand…

The earliest post I’ve been able to track down showed up on June 1, 2006. There were some earlier efforts, I’m almost sure, but my own records only go back that far. If there are earlier posts out there somewhere, I’ve lost them to the electronic ether.

Nine years and 1,999 posts later we arrive at my 2,000th post. I’m not sure if that means I have too much to say, too much free time, or too much nascent desire for attention. A combination of the three is the most likely reason I’ve stuck with it this long. For whatever reasons, while other hobbies and interests have come and gone, the blog, in all its many forms has remained a consistent part of my life. At this point I’m not sure how I would self-identify without it.

It’s been tempting over the years to monetize the effort, to sell my services to other sites, or even to give it up completely, but obviously none of those ideas ever stuck. For these last 2,000 posts I’ve always been writing about whatever happened to be on my mind. It’s always been writing to sooth my own soul and to suit my own sensibilities.

Like it says up there in “About” at the top of the site:

Let’s get one thing straight from the beginning: I’m not a regular guy. I don’t spend all weekend watching sports and I think domestic beer, for the most part, sucks. I’m never going to discuss how much I can bench press or how big my engine is. What I will do is comment on those issues that strike my interest on any given day including but not limited to travel, politics, technology and life’s unavoidable interaction with stupid people. Some posts will be mundane others will be rants of a more epic variety. I strive to keep it entertaining, but in the end I’m writing for my own benefit, not for an audience. If you’re waiting for a big finish, there isn’t one. This is what it is.

Maybe that’ll change at some point in the future, but I suspect you’ll hear much the same thing in 2024 when we’re talking about the 4,000th post.

That’s that…

Well, the last post from the old MySpace blog went live here on WordPress earlier this morning. I guess that’s that. It’s been such a part of the Sunday morning routine for me that it feels a little strange now that it’s finished. Don’t get me wrong, though, I am extraordinarily happy to finally have the “collected works” all under one roof for the first time. I like knowing that if I get hit by a bus on the way to the office tomorrow, at least this one small bit of me will endure in electronic form for as long as there is an internet. Let’s not get into too deep a discussion that this is what I’ve chosen to leave as my eternal legacy to the world. Sure, it’s no cure for cancer, but as an historian, there’s nothing we like more than day to day commentary about how things were in the olden days… so, blogging is a public service (for a public that hasn’t been born yet).

I don’t have any really solid idea about how the statistics add up but a quick guesstimate would be that I’ve posted something in excess of 300,000 words and garnered something like 60,000 visitors between MySpace, Blogger, and finally here at WordPress. Those visitors have had the chance to read 1,518 individual posts between June 2006 and December 2013. Yep, if you’re doing the math at home, that’s seven and a half years of blogging, and I feel like I’m really just starting to hit my stride.

If you’d like to stop by the archive for one last look around and to see the last four posts from the days of MySpace, here’s the inevitable link to October 2008. The transition from MySpace to Blogger was relatively seamless, so you’ll have to scroll down a bit to start on October 19th. Be sure to check back next week to see what the “new” Sunday mornings look like.

Penultimate…

Welcome, ladies and gentlemen to the penultimate post from the MySpace archives. This week I present for your reading pleasure the final post from September 2008 and the first four posts from October 2008. As usual, they cover the range from my initial thoughts on the burgeoning financial crisis that was so new back then, reports on construction at the Memphis house, and the stuporous aftermath of a fall wedding reception.

There might not be any of the rants you’ve come to know and love in this batch, but I think they hold up surprisingly well – particularly the early though exercise about the coverage and causes of the Great Recession. The posts from October are going to bleed together slightly. There is a brief overlap of posts I wrote to test out Blogger while continuing to post on MySpace, so a bit of overlap was unavoidable when I merged posts. For this week’s update, you’ll need to scroll to the bottom of October’s page after you hit the link. That should take you to the current update.

With just four posts to go, the long effort to bring all my blogly goodness under one roof is almost complete. Next week you can look forward to the final four (and of course my running commentary on how we got from Point A to Point B).

Two to go…

With this morning’s posts out the door, there are only two weeks worth of archive posts left to go. Assuming nothing catastrophic happens between now and then, the last posts will go up early on the morning of December 8th. As fun as it’s been – and as glad as I’ll be to have everything I’ve ever blogged living here under one roof – it will be nice to move on to something else. I’m still not sure what the new Sunday morning focus will be, but I’m sure I’ll come up with something.

If my math is right, by the time the last word is published we’ll be looking at a grand total of about 1525-ish individual posts from June 2006 to the present day. Most days add another to that total. I haven’t come up with a good way to estimate word count, but I’m just assuming the total would be more than enough to stun a team of oxen in their tracks. Even if we assume only 200 words per post, that will get us to 300,000 without any real trouble. Trust me, that’s a lot of words, especially considering most blogs probably survive a year or maybe two and then disappear.

With two weeks to go, make sure you stop by and enjoy today’s update from September 2008 – including my one and only foray into “Eastern” medicine.

Gone fishin’…

I’m up early even by my standards on a Sunday morning. Despite the mad dash to get the day started, I made sure I left plenty of time to dig through the archive and find your selection of five for Sunday. This week’s posts hail from August and September 2008 – a bit of time when I was really starting to question who I was professionally and when my feet stopped working. Yeah, that last bit probably sounds worse than it really is, but still it was damned unpleasant.

And with that, I’ll wish you a happy Sunday. There are places to go and people to see. If anyone needs me, I’m gone fishin’.