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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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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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 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!

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!

Midlife Crisis Crossover 2014 in Review: Our 3rd Annual Stats Party!

Indy Pop Con!

This outtake from Indy Pop Con captures some of the brighter parts of my 2014: LEGO, conventions, new T-shirts, Star Wars, and my wife. Not in that order.

Hey there, supporters and strangers! Welcome to the third annual Midlife Crisis Crossover year-in-review. This modest site was launched on April 28, 2012, as a nervous experiment in writing whatever came to mind in a space to call my own, and so far it’s been a much more fulfilling pastime than lurking around message boards and tapping my foot impatiently while waiting for other fun people to discuss things I wanted to discuss. Last week saw the release of MCC’s 900th post, and so far I’m at a loss to explain exactly how that happened. I dreaded 2014 would be the year I ran out of anecdotes and opinions and jokes, but in hindsight I can’t think of a reason to let that stop me now. If this happened months ago, everybody do me a favor and don’t tell me, because the longer you let me ramble on like this, the funnier it’ll be to watch my eventual horrified epiphany.

MCC’s 2012 was a slow rise from nothingness to quantifiable somethingness. Our 2013 was about steady upward trending as I kept exploring my limitations and horizons. 2014, on the other hand, saw largely flatlined traffic except around a few key events. This peaceful plateau may be in part because 2014 was MCC’s first year without a single entry achieving the much-vaunted WordPress.com “Freshly Pressed” status, that prized occasion in which the WordPress staff shares a well-regarded work of yours with a much wider audience of fellow WordPress users. Without such a generous boost to accelerate audience growth this year, it meant trying to hold your attention with old-school methods — by keeping the content coming, by appreciating the greatest audience of all times, by digging into topics that might interest other humans besides myself, by trying not to suck, and by wishing really hard that magic search-engine genies would do all my marketing for me.

Continue here for MCC’s own best and worst of 2014!

Midlife Crisis Crossover 2013 in Review, Including Last-Minute Posts Seen Only in NYC and LA

Hi-dee-hoo, fans and visitors! Welcome to the second annual Midlife Crisis Crossover year-in-review for this humble site, launched on April 28, 2012, as an excuse for one guy to do things, try stuff, and think whatever aloud. Next week will mark MCC’s 600th post, but that’ll be in an entirely different year and is therefore ineligible for celebration at the moment, so forget I mentioned it till next week.

This occasionally purposeful experiment has lasted a full twenty months without crashing and burning yet, though we’ve seen some excitement, some tears, some discomfort, some joy, some serious stress, and some much-needed days off. And that was all just over Christmas break. 2013 was a year of successes and failures, of triumphs and tragedies, of records and horrors. MCC’s own fortunes have ebbed and flowed depending on which subjects caught my attention at the right time, which times I was utterly out of step with the rest of the world, and what moments of synchronicity were the most unexpected of all.

Of all the nouns to frequent the site this year, none had a deeper effect than Boston.

Boston Public Garden, Boston vacation

Continue here for MCC’s own best and worst of 2013!

Midlife Crisis Crossover 2012 in Review, Assuming the Next Thirteen Days are a Complete Write-Off

Midlife Crisis Crossover was launched April 28, 2012, as a creative attempt to do something different with my spare time, my ostensible talents, and four decades of accumulated monumental mistakes and mental minutiae. Though it wasn’t my first blog, it was my first time attempting a blog without an immediate support system or preexisting audience. The MCC experience has been eight curious months of dedication, persistence, failures, sleep deprivation, loneliness, stubbornness, prayer, and occasional wild luck. Over the course of the first 240 posts I’ve discovered new peers, made new friends, learned new things about myself and HTML, improved 2% at photography, and remembered one or two stylistic rules I’d forgotten since college, with several more still repressed and yet to be rediscovered.

Empty Obama Chair, Clint Eastwood's arch-enemy

The infamous empty chair, a.k.a. “Obamachair”

The WordPress.com Weekly Writing Challenge has encouraged us to look back at our year and remember where we’ve been. Even before I began assembling my MCC year-end lists, I already knew which post would top most of them: “The Day an Empty Chair Ruled the Internet” was the watershed event that drew the most Likes, Comments, and Shares (and nearly the most traffic) of anything else I’ve written this year, arguably even in my full thirteen years of Internet participation, thanks in large part to its “Freshly Pressed” status that saw it spotlighted for all WordPress users to see over Labor Day weekend.

For its outstanding achievement of Attracting an Audience, “Empty Chair” is the first and only entry in the MCC Hall of Fame, even though it was about political events and my incredulous disdain for same. If we set it aside in a class by itself, my memories of 2012 look like so:

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