2 Whole Years! - 09.27.99

The other night, I was sitting at my computer, just sort of staring at the screen wondering what I should do next. It doesn't happen very often that I'm so completely and utterly stumped for things to do, so I played two hands of that crappy solitaire game that comes with Windows. When I luckily won the second hand, I figured that even my computer knew I had better things I could be doing. Letting me win was its way of telling me to shove off and do them instead of sitting and playing a mind-numbing game. When I closed it down, though, my mind was still sort of running in drain mode and I wasn't sure whether I should work on finishing one of two stories that I had started, write a music review, or try to begin with something entirely different.

Instead of getting away from the computer and read a book like I should have, I dug around through some of the old stuff that I had written for this section and started reading. It was kind of a fun trip plowing through the writing of months (and even years) past and I even fixed a couple noticible spelling errors (after all, most of this stuff is first draft, warts-and-all writing) and grammatical errors that had gone lingering for far too long.

The thing that interested me the most out of all of it, though, was that the first piece I had written was done well over two years ago. While I've technically had some sort of website up since late 1995, that first piece of writing was the beginning of a string of work that has lasted for about 108 weeks now.

Back in the day when I first came up with the idea for "almost cool," it was just going to be a repository for my writing (which is pretty much still is, plus a couple of other added features) and I had the modest goal of updating it once a week with one music review, one movie review, and one other piece of writing (this section you're in). At the time, I was doing all my work for the site on an old Macintosh Performa 450, writing all my HTML in Microsoft Word and doing all the really crappy graphics work in one of the very first editions of Photoshop, simply titled LE. There were only 5 graphics on the entire site.

When I first started, I figured that I would keep it up for a couple months, or maybe a year at the longest. There were several points where I actually felt like I should just quit for awhile, but I'd end up writing a piece just to make sure I met my own self-imposed deadline. There were some weeks that I didn't add to the music review section, and quite some time where I didn't touch the movie reviews (I've went and dropped them altogether now), but I always managed to write at least one piece (and some weeks I did two) for this section. I've only kept a journal at a couple different points during my life, but they never lasted as long as this.

Over the course of the past few years, I've written silly ranting pieces, short fiction, stories about my own insecurities, and many, many stories about hurting myself. As I mentioned back in number 36, not everything I write on the site is true, but my concern falls more with writing something interesting than worrying about whether I'm lying or not. Besides, it sometimes gives me the chance to make it sound like I actually have a really interesting life when in actually I sit at home all the time on my computer.

Like a true nerd, the more mathmatical side of me eventually took over and I decided that I would go through all the writing on my site and try to figure out approximately how many pages worth of writing there is. I went through every section except for "Lesion Legion" (I didn't write anything on there except for the submission guidelines) and came up with a rough total of nearly 300,000 words worth of stuff on the site. I then decided that 450 words seemed like a good amount for about a page worth (double-spaced) and it came out to be over 650 pages of writing, which was quite a bit more than the amount of writing that I did in both college and high-school combined.

I told a friend about this and after commenting that it was almost two books worth (depending on what sized books you're talking about, of course, and then there's the whole quality of content issue), they asked me what my favorite pieces of writing were that I'd done in the past two years. Smiling, I figured that I could answer it outright, but then I realized I wasn't really sure of which pieces I'd put ahead of the others. That night when I was reading through them, different pieces stuck out at me for different reasons, and some of them were really only entertaining because I realized how much I had changed in the time since I had written them.

After sitting down the other night, though, I came up with a list of my favorite 10 pieces of writing that I'd done for the site so far. Knowing that this section is kind of hard to get through (and that it's hard to sort through all the subpar stuff), I decided to share my list of favorite 10, as well as a few thoughts on each one of them. They're not in any particular order, they're just the ones I like the most.

So Long Sucker! - 09.12.97 - A true story from my high-school days. Gross, but darn funny I think.

Why'd You Have To Go And Say That? - 09.22.97 - Another true story, a little more thought behind it, though. This one also sparked the most e-mail that I've ever gotten about a piece (3!).

Seems Like A Dream - 09.26.97 - After some misconceptions by readers (including several of my friends thinking it was real) I admitted that this one really was based on a dream. I still like it a lot, though.

Running Rampant (Imaginations) - 12.12.97 - This one is a true story from back when I was a youngster and I'll remember it forever. I think every kid has done this, though.

Country Hospitality - 01.05.98 - Whoo-hoo. Big fun coming back from a Christmas vacation.

The Cardigan - 02.20.98 - After thrift-store shopping one day....

thought-chain #1 - 03.20.98, thought-chain #2 - 03.23.98, thought-chain #3 - 06.01.98 - A series of 3 that I'll count as one entry. Kind of experimental, fun with cliche's.

Arrive And Depart - 01.18.99 - After a couple times waiting in airports, this one was a natural.

Sneaking Out And Around - 01.25.99 - Another story of me at a younger age. This one is from the teenage years.

Raspberry Tea - 07.26.99 - Not sure why I like this one, but I do. I think it's because I haven't written much like it on my site.

So, there they are in the order that they appear. Really, if I had my say, I'd want you to read everything, but there's no way in hell that I could convince people to plow through that much crap. I'd also like to plug the newest section of the site, and mention that the first piece featured is also one of my favorite pieces I've written recently.

As always, I want to thank anyone who has read anything on this site, and especially if you've stuck around to the end of this piece. I also want to encourage anyone who feels like it to write me a comment, no matter what it may be about. You can rip on me, call me names, suggest something for me to write about, or tell me to simply shut my yapper. With that, I will.