Eight Stubborn Years Down the Blogging Road

March 2020 sunrise!

The morning of Monday, March 9, 2020, in the early days of folks beginning to retreat from physical civilization.

I launched Midlife Crisis Crossover on April 28, 2012, three weeks before my 40th birthday as a means of charting the effects of the aging process on my opinions of, enthusiasm for, offense at, and/or detailed nitpicking of various works of art, expression, humanity, inhumanity, glory, love, idolatry, inspiration, hollowness, geek lifestyles, food, and Deep Thoughts.

Eight years later. 2,177 entries and over one million words later. Here I remain, still tending that same path.

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MCC Housekeeping Notes: The “Mentions” and “About” Pages

Randall A. Golden, Midlife Crisis Crossover

The previous outdated photo from my “About” page, taken at Starbase Indy 2011.

In this time of uncertainty and depression and aimless meandering around the house, sometimes it’s a good idea to pause, take a hard look at our surroundings, and change things up a bit, especially those things that haven’t been reevaluated in years. It’s not much of an overhaul, but with MCC’s forthcoming eighth anniversary, some mild effort seemed in order.

I’ve spent this evening tinkering with the reference pages linked at the top of every MCC entry. The mandatory “About” page, a common stop for fleeting passersby, has been half-rewritten with new material that clarifies the basics of MCC a little better, in a way that hopefully makes more sense to non-geeks while alienating anyone who works in online marketing. I’ve replaced the photo with a much better one from 2018 that longtime readers may recognize. Please don’t roll your eyes at me for sharing it again. It’s a treasured keepsake and we’re determined to get our money’s worth out of it.

I’ve created a new “Mentions” page that lists other, larger sites that have shared past entries to much larger audiences, with my utmost appreciation and incredulity. Comics news sites, creators, and historic SF fanzines are among those who nodded in our direction like Farmer Hoggett in Babe.

The old “100 Bullet Points” page has been deleted because no one had clicked on it in years. A link to the original entry has been preserved for historical safekeeping, but its value as a feature attraction has plunged to near-zilch.

Enjoy! Comments and questions welcome as always, even though I don’t always come out and say it because I thought it was implied by virtue of having a comments section.

The Best I Could Do on Twitter (So Far)

Clueless Detective Pikachu!

The internet in microcosm: strangers in varying garb, a few of whom actually like being around each other.

I’ve been online for nearly twenty years. I’ve been on Twitter for 9½ years. MCC is nearly eight years old, though I blogged intermittently for six years before that in an even tinier space. I’ve scampered around the tunnels of Usenet, dallied in several message boards, volunteered as an unpaid moderator/admin on one site for nine years, tried the untamed DMZ that is comics discussion sites before running away screaming, and learned quickly that comments sections on major news sites were even larger sinkholes. My internet experience has been a rewarding, exhausting, surprising, discouraging, uplifting, heartbreaking search for the right environments and vehicles for my expressive impulses and my feeble attempts at what those who fit in with others call “networking”.

Luckily for me and my shifting moods, the internet offers a variety of writing formats that suit my ideas, topics, styles, visions, objectives, and wordiness vibe on any given evening. In recent years I’ve carved out comfort zones for myself in two primary outlets: Twitter and this very blog. Each option has its pros and cons. Each yields different rewards.

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Midlife Crisis Crossover 2019 in Review: The Hermit’s Hunt for Happiness in Hiding

CNN Tour 2!

8/26: An unused souvenir photo from our tour of CNN Studios in Atlanta. The rain is fake. The 2019 mood is real.

Hey-ho, reader! Welcome to the eighth annual Midlife Crisis Crossover year-in-review. This virtual cubicle was slapped together on April 28, 2012, as a place where I could entertain myself by making essay-shaped things out of whatever words and pictures I had at hand, as opposed to surfing social media and hoping all those wandering strangers might make for sufficiently provocative brain engagement. Often it’s been a fulfilling platform to share galleries, memories, Grandpa Simpson-style rambling jags, and peculiar opinions that might otherwise either languish unwritten in my head or collect endless rejection emails from every professional website ever. At other times it’s been less satisfying, but I keep whiling away at one of my most time-consuming hobbies anyway. When my head is in the right space, I still enjoy the process in and of itself. Often I still enjoy the results. On rarer occasions, I’m also privileged and honored to enjoy any and every external response received from outside my own head.

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Memo from the MCC Errors & Omissions Department

The Shirt!

File photo of a souvenir my wife picked up from Indy PopCon 2015, where the special guests included Charles Nelson Reilly, TV’s Charo, and Joan Embry from the San Diego Zoo along with her amazing thirty to fifty feral pigs.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover: I wrote at length about a six-part miniseries that my wife and I watched on Crackle called The Final Tsars, in which I couldn’t be bothered to open an extra browser tab and verify the full name of the ruler at the heart of the story. The next morning, our first conversation after “Good morning” was a firm reminder that his official stage name was, in fact, “Czar Nicholas II”. MCC regrets the oversight and is sorry if any Russian historians were offended, but we don’t feel like editing the affected entry because it would undermine one of its underlying points and two of its jokes.

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Midlife Crisis Crossover Celebrates 2,000th Entry with Gratuitous Food Metaphors

Indiana State Fair 2009!

Portrait of the author at the 2009 Indiana State Fair.

At times blogging can be like State Fair food science.

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Midlife Crisis Crossover vs. the 7-Year Itch

Funko Pop me!

When you weren’t reading, we held a lottery to give away this Midlife Crisis Crossover exclusive anniversary edition Funko Pop, and my wife won that lottery, so hey, big thanks to everyone who forgot to enter!

I launched Midlife Crisis Crossover on April 28, 2012, three weeks before my 40th birthday as a means of charting the effects of the aging process on my opinions of, applause for, revulsion at, and/or confusion arising from various works of art, expression, humanity, inhumanity, glory, love, idolatry, inspiration, hollow marketing, geek life, and sometimes food. It was also my way of finding a way to give myself excuses to write during a time when joining other people’s conversations was becoming increasingly dissatisfying and rare. Nobody talked about what I wanted to talk about; when they did, my opinions usually got me sent to go stand in the corner or flat-out ignored. And just not typing my thoughts was killing me.

Here we are celebrating MCC’s seventh anniversary, still chugging away like the Little Engine That Could. No book ideas suggested or dreamed of, no writing gigs applied for or parlayed, and no danger of me ever describing myself unironically as an “influencer”, which sounds like an upper-class euphemism for “drug dealer”. But I keep writing anyway.

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Midlife Crisis Crossover 2018 in Review: The Good, the Bad, and the Blogly

me at club!

4/23: Me at a business lunch, which are two words I haven’t strung together in over a decade.

Hey-ho, reader! Welcome to the seventh annual Midlife Crisis Crossover year-in-review. This tiny sandbox was formed on April 28, 2012, as a place where I could entertain myself by making essay-shaped things out of whatever words and pictures I had at hand, as opposed to surfing social media and waiting for excuses to reply to strangers who didn’t ask my opinion. Often it’s been a fulfilling use of galleries, memories, and peculiar opinions that might otherwise either languish unwritten in my head or collect endless rejection emails from every professional website ever. At other times it’s been less fulfilling, but something I continue cobbling together anyway, as long as I can keep the fires of motivation stoked.

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Farewell, Daily Post: A Very Special MCC Clipfest

Mega Jenga!

Sooner or later all games must come to an end, as in the collapse of this adult-sized, hand-crafted Mega-Jenga collapse at a 2012 gathering with my wife’s cousins.

Over the past several years the good folks at WordPress.com, facilitators of this very website you now clutch in your device, have provided bonus services to users in the form of The Daily Post. A fine team of editors provided springboards for would-be bloggers who were interested in writing but needed ideas, offered networking opportunities between WordPress users like me who lack the skills to meet fellow entertainers, start conversations, find the right cliques, and expand both their online reach and their Friends lists. The Daily Post’s guidance came in the form of writing prompts every day, weekly mixers for new bloggers to ask questions and seek suggestions, and the regularly scheduled themed “challenges”, which invited our take on whatever particular word of phrase came to the editors’ minds. We were free to interpret and respond to their suggestions at our discretion, then seek out other respondents and compare their approaches to ours. It was a fun way for WordPress customers across the board to expand their horizons and bond as a community.

Alas, that era of fun corporate block parties has come to an end. As of May 31st The Daily Post has shuttered its services and will no longer offer new topics or assignments for our use. We writers, photographers, artists, poets, mommy-bloggers, retired wool-gatherers, lecturers, fireside storytellers, collegiate navel-gazers, marketer wannabes, spammers posing as humans, and all-around social typists are left to our own devices, to create our own ideas from whole cloth, and to figure out how to network without trained professionals lending us a hand. Frankly, some of us may be doomed.

Regardless! Over the past six years we’ve had our own stories to tell and opinions to express here on MCC, and are in no danger of running out anytime soon. Current projections show that I may be in for awkward times around late 2019, but for now we’re good. Throughout the long history of the Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenges and Weekly Writing Challenges, MCC participated roughly 95 times among our 1700+ entries to date. The Daily Post’s editors signed off their final programming week with a retrospective of their favorite results from years past. Now, it’s MCC’s turn. The following is a look back at our most popular Weekly [whatever] Challenge submissions — the all-time favorites as determined by You, The WordPress Viewers at Home.

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Midlife Crisis Crossover Celebrates 6 Years of Stubbornly Blogging All Wrong

Business Mirror!

New head shot taken at a recent business lunch, which is not a phrase that comes naturally to me. Neither do selfies.

I launched Midlife Crisis Crossover on April 28, 2012, three weeks before my 40th birthday as a means of charting the effects of the aging process on my opinions of, applause for, revulsion at, and/or confusion arising from various works of art, expression, humanity, inhumanity, glory, love, idolatry, inspiration, hollow marketing, geek life, and sometimes food. It was also my way of finding a way to give myself excuses to write during a time when joining other people’s conversations was becoming increasingly dissatisfying and rare. Nobody talked about what I wanted to talk about; when they did, my opinions usually got me sent to go stand in the corner or flat-out ignored. And I couldn’t just not type.

Six years and 1,772 entries later, here I remain, not permanently burnt out, not yet out of anecdotes, still finding new experiences to relay, and, once in a blue moon, pulling out a different Moral of the Story to share with the kids these days that I haven’t already hammered into the ground in twelve previous posts.

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Is There Room at the Table for the Fake Followers Among Us?

Buy Followers!

One of many robo-concierges polluting Twitter and willing to assist with your shallow self-image needs.

My favorite piece of journalism so far this year was just published January 27th over at the New York Times and struck a nerve in a number of places. In an epic-length article entitled “The Follower Factory”, the NYT plumbed the wobbly world of Twitter and those peculiar, insecure users who boost their Follower head count by paying a company actual money to bless them with hundreds of thousands of automated “bot” accounts that pretend they’re fans clinging on to their every tweet, for the purpose of making the paying customers look more popular. Some are piecemeal accounts, with profiles barely filled out. Quite a few are the product of surface-level identity theft, cribbing photos and usernames but with a character altered to make it unique (relatively speaking). They don’t praise you, go forth in your name, act as your “street team”, or interact with you or other humans in any meaningful way. They just Follow. They sit there, shut up, and act like you rule.

Companies such as Devumi cheerfully offer low-price options for ordinary web-surfing rabble like me, but they also bank some major cash selling bot followings by the hundreds of thousands to B-list celebrities, politicians, creators, reality TV dwellers, and others at varying levels of fame. The NYT named a few names I recognize — actor John Leguizamo, Chef Michael Symon, onetime MST3K guest star Kathy Ireland, and film critic Richard Roeper, whose Chicago Sun-Times reviews have been suspended pending their internal review. Of those who responded to requests for comment, a few buyers insisted it wasn’t them personally pushing the buttons, but an assistant or social media manager who bought a hollow audience on their behalf for PR strategy or whatever. Whether their deflections are true or not, boosts of fake fame are kind of sad. Granted, some personalities receive perks and bonuses from their corporate overlords based on the looks of their social media metrics, which means a return on their invidious investment is entirely possible. To them I imagine it’s all part of the Game.

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Midlife Crisis Crossover 2017 in Review: Our Colossal Comic-Con Year

Queen Anne!

Alternate take of Queen Anne on the Iron Throne at Wizard World Chicago 2017.

Hey-ho, reader! Welcome to the sixth annual Midlife Crisis Crossover year-in-review. This unassuming site was launched on April 28, 2012, as a cathartic experiment in writing whatever came to mind without waiting for other people to start my conversations for me, and so far it’s been a fulfilling use of galleries and essays that might otherwise either languish unwritten in my head or collect endless rejection emails from every professional website ever. Come January we’ll be reaching our 1,700th entry, reflecting once more on the thousands of man-hours expended to date on this self-expressive vanity project, and rationalizing new excuses to keep sharing even on those harder days when it’s just me, an unresponsive void, and my wife Anne saying nice things to cheer me up.

Good news on the stats front, in a way: 2017 site traffic was up 10.75% over 2016’s, which had nearly matched 2015’s. We’re still nowhere near returning to 2014’s historic levels, but I’ll take any signs of improvement. MCC had a few memorable moments this year, including one special, horrible, awful occasion that saw our largest traffic influx since 2013, the last year we posted costume photos from Gen Con. Curiously, our biggest attraction the previous year was also the result of an unhappy headline that sparked interest in our own personal tangent. The readers of the internet have spoken loud and clear the past two years: they love us most whenever we have something to share about unhappy things. In a coincidental twist, this may also be why people turn to Twitter more than ever for their daily fix of news and/or commentary and/or metaphorical exploding heads.

Onward, then, to our annual blog-stats party! Featuring a selection of photos from the year that was, all outtakes previously unposted here on MCC. Enjoy!

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Midlife Crisis Crossover Celebrates 5 Years of Midlife, Crises, Crossovers

Official Crisis Crosssovers!

For those unfamiliar with the origin of this blog’s name, the clues lie in these DC Comics from 1985.

I launched Midlife Crisis Crossover on April 28, 2012, three weeks before my 40th birthday as a means of charting the effects of the aging process on my opinions of, applause for, revulsion at, and/or confusion arising from various works of art, expression, humanity, inhumanity, glory, love, idolatry, inspiration, hollow marketing, geek life, and sometimes food. That’s more or less what MCC’s About page says, but with a different set of words because verbosity is my shtick.

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Midlife Crisis Crossover 2016 Year in Review: The Likes, the Loves, and the Losers

Monument Circle!

May: a rare selfie with my wife Anne on Monument Circle downtown on the day of the Indianapolis 500 Festival Parade.

Hey-ho, reader! Welcome to the fifth annual Midlife Crisis Crossover year-in-review. This unassuming site was launched on April 28, 2012, as a cathartic experiment in writing whatever came to mind without waiting for other people to start my conversations for me, and so far it’s been a fulfilling use of galleries and essays that might otherwise either languish unwritten in my head or collect endless rejection emails from every professional website ever. Sometime this spring we’ll be reaching our 1,500th entry, reflecting once more on the hundreds of man-hours expended to date on this self-expressive non-profit project, and rationalizing new excuses not to stop, even if by the time I die it’s just me and ad-bots posting harsh emojis at each other down inside the spam filter.

Right this way for our rundown of MCC’s best and worst of 2016!

20 Lessons Learned from 4 Years of Blogging for Satisfaction Instead of Success

WordPress 4 Years!

Fun trivia: if you try to pay Facebook to “boost” one of your posts so more than five followers will see it, they’ll refuse your money and deny the request if the post has no images, or if its primary image contains more text than picture. I learned that one firsthand in August 2014. Y’know, for science.

I launched Midlife Crisis Crossover on April 28, 2012, three weeks before my 40th birthday as a means of charting the effects of the aging process and this fallen world’s degrading standards on my impressions of, reactions against, and general experiences with various works of art, commerce, wonder, majesty, and shamelessness. It’s my way of keeping the writing part of my brain alive and active, rather than let it atrophy and die. If you’ve read my “About” page, you know this part already.

With four years and 1,277 entries racked up, I’ve now spent more time and enthusiasm on this long-term project than I did in college, both attempts combined. I’ve learned a few things along the way. Sometimes I put one or more of those lessons to good use. Other days, I just gotta be me, and hope that’s good enough for anyone else outside my own head.

Right this way for What I Know Now That I Didn’t Back Then…

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover…

Photobucket Rescue!

From the pre-MCC archives: Anne and I as a very different dynamic duo at Wizard World Chicago 2010.

Welcome to Midlife Crisis Crossover! If you’re only recently discovering the site, tonight we present a quick overview of what we’re frequently about when we’re left to our own devices. If you’re an occasional visitor, you might see a tidbit or entry you missed the first time around. If you’re a longtime follower who reads the site so devotedly that you could win trivia contests about us, please enjoy the above photo as a random bonus never before shared here.

Right this way for an MCC recap for new and lapsed readers!

WordPress.com Magic Elves Offer Colorful Second Opinion of My 2015

Happy New Year, internet! Here’s hoping everyone’s 2016 is a vast improvement over the unbelievably tragicomic 2015, just like the genetically superior Star Wars: The Force Awakens helped everyone put Revenge of the Sith behind them for good.

As in years past, those all-knowing stats overseers at WordPress.com have compiled an automated 2015 Annual Report for each and every blogger on their roster, complete with vaguely art-deco New Year’s fireworks that you can use for Twitter Profile wallpaper or whatever.

In addition to revealing the 148 countries that visited us last year, as well as the identities of MCC’s five greatest commenters of the year who deserve cash awards, there’s also this sample statistic that you can use for comparing where we stand against millions of other, actually popular sites:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 49,000 times in 2015. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 18 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report! It’s short and they made pictures an’ stuff.

But wait! There’s more!

Right this way for a rundown of MCC’s memorable 2015 moments that you may have missed!

Midlife Crisis Crossover 2015 in Review: Our 4th Annual Stats Party!

CARRIE FISHER COMPELS YOU!

The most intimidating command issued to me all year: General Leia Organa Solo yelling, “COME HERE, PHOTOGRAPHER.” What happened next was one of my most memorable moments of 2015.

Hey-hey, folks! Welcome to the fourth annual Midlife Crisis Crossover year-in-review! This modest site was launched on April 28, 2012, as a cathartic experiment in writing whatever came to mind without waiting for other people to start my conversations for me, and so far it’s successfully kept me busy enough to avoid 98% of all toxic social media hubs. Sometime this winter we’ll reach our 1,200th entry, look back on these hundreds of thousands of words generated to date, and thank the Lord my fingers and brain haven’t gone numb yet.

Right this way for our rundown of MCC’s best and worst of 2015!

The Official MCC Guide to Finding Joy in Blogging All Wrong

Lucky!

If you’re pressed for time, please feel free to pretend this photo of our dog Lucky wearing a bandanna is today’s entire MCC entry, toss him a happy “Like”, and read no further. He’s used to that kind of fleeting attention from strangers.

Welcome to Midlife Crisis Crossover’s 1100th entry! In the grand tradition of comic books and The Simpsons, every 100 entries we mark the occasion as a sort of accomplishment and sometimes celebrate it. Those 1100 moments have been an interesting way to spend the last 3½ years of my internet time, but odds are it’ll take another two or three hundred years of consistent blogging before I stand a chance at becoming a household name. By then I’ll be more renowned for my refusal to die than for any paragraph I’ve ever written.

Every blogger who somehow makes a living off it has their official list of blogging tips that you’re supposed to follow in order to achieve fame, success, impact, and/or income. I’m happy for them and I wish them well as they make lasting contributions to the world at large and change the course of mighty rivers. Meanwhile at the other end of the spectrum, stubborn folks like me keep plugging away at their sites without regard for conventional wisdom, official procedures, or dime-a-dozen “Blogging for Dummies” articles. My approach to the game can be summed up in two words: “low-key” and “counterintuitive”.

Wanna blog like me? Here’s ten tips for how it works in my world, through happy times or blah:

Right this way for the official “Be Like MCC” list!

MCC 2015 Food Photo Marathon #4: Half One Thing, Half Another

Acapulco Burrito!

Our very special MCC extended interlude continues!

Four out of every five business days I bring a home-assembly turkey-‘n’-cheese sandwich to work for lunch. It’s one of the little ways we cut budget corners so we can set aside more disposable income for conventions, vacations, comics, movie tickets, and so on. Spending eight or ten bucks a day on lunch works out to $40-$50/week, or $160-$250/ month, or $1,920-$3,000/year. That’s an awful lot of geek merchandise and travel frills to leave behind. So cheap sack lunches are the rule of my routine.

Once a week I do lunch out with a coworker. On extremely rare occasions, when I’m absolutely sick and tired of Oscar Meyer, and we didn’t have any leftovers in the fridge that I could bring to work and nuke, then I might go out alone for a bite. Pictured above from one such outing is a burrito topped with chili sauce and chili con queso, garnished by a small sidekick of salad, all from a Mexican place called Acapulco Joe’s. I’d been wanting to try it for years, but I kept forgetting it was there. From the dingy decor and rustic exterior, I hadn’t expected an arty presentation that looks like something Two-Face would order from his personal crime chef.

Right this way for a half of a different color!

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