Our 2002 Road Trip, Part 5 of 5: The Day the Vice Presidents Took Over

Man in Space!

Anne hanging out with Jud Nelson’s “Man in Space”, our greeter at the Ford Museum. Per aspera ad astra, and all that.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover: a flashback to our fourth annual road trip, a meetup in Grand Rapids with fellow Star Wars fans for opening day of Star Wars: Episode II — Attack of the Clones. Before and after the movie, we spent our first time in Michigan hitting a few key tourist attractions in the vicinity.

Our miniseries finale begets a confluence of regrets, as eventually came the time to take our leave of our gracious hosts and hit the road home. We had three more stops planned along the way. Two of them worked out. I’d love to share a thousand solid words and a couple dozen photos from what we did that Friday. Yep. Sure would be cool. I’ll get to what we do have in just a moment.

Caution: travelogue finale contains some meta elements of writing about writing…


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!

On Pasta and Copypasta


I guarantee this spaghetti dinner was not made by photographing someone else’s spaghetti dinner and then cranking out a replica on a 3-D printer.

Last night my lovely wife made spaghetti for dinner because it’s a thing we like. Buried inside the sauce are meatballs she made using a recipe online. It’s slowly becoming one of my favorite home-cooked meals. I’m sure Chopped judges would probably have copious disappointed notes about what they would do differently. They wouldn’t mix two different kinds of pasta just to use up a nearly empty box in the pantry. They’d make fresh sauce from scratch rather than rely on a national jarred brand. Their meatballs might be more consistently colored and stuffed with fifteen extra ingredients. They’d serve it on a set of plates that cost more than we spend on one week’s groceries, with a side of fresh bread bought that same morning from a renowned Italian baker. And so on.

Their level of pasta craft doesn’t invalidate our meal. But at the same time, Anne didn’t claim to create her own sauce recipe, or make her own pasta from the flour up. She’s not gunning for the position of Prego family matriarch. It’s just supper at home. I reiterate: to this biased reviewer, A-plus.

I was reminded of our evening meal plans earlier in the day when a friend of mine retweeted the following clever joke:

One of the twelve million “It’s funny because it’s true!” wisecracks that pop up on Twitter during any given day. Some go no further than a single circle of friends. Some might be shared with friends-of-friends. Some go “viral”, a word I’ve grown to detest. But you get the picture.

Then I was reminded of something else: I’d seen this joke before from another user. Possibly from more than one.

Read more of this post


Kings Island King!

Author file photo, taken at an uncertain theme park circa 2006-2008, the years I used the Kodak EasyShare you see dangling from my lanyard. I ultimately decided not to buy the crown.

Welcome to Midlife Crisis Crossover’s 1200th entry! In the grand tradition of 20th century comic books and sitcoms that ran five seasons too long, every 100 entries we mark the occasion as a sort of accomplishment and sometimes celebrate it. Not all those 1200 moments have been winners, but they’re integral components in the comprehensive mosaic of the last few years inside my head — the distractions, the fancies, the traumas, the endless parade of lists.

Before I launched MCC on April 28, 2012, I’d already been writing here and there online for years. My early efforts at self-expression and public entertainment comprise a couple thousand Usenet posts (a few longform pieces in the bunch, mostly irretrievable and irrelevant now), several thousand message-board posts (much easier to sort through, a few of them previously transferred and preserved here), and a LiveJournal I kept for a few years but can barely stand to skim now. In 2006 the longtime message board that Anne and I call home received a software upgrade that added blogging functionality for any member who wanted their own little playground contained within the site itself. Between April 2006 and March 2012 I penned 110 intermittent entries before I decided to stake my own separate claim here among the WordPress territories. That virtually invisible blog was good practice in a number of ways, most of them involving some balance of creativity and humility in the face of a mostly empty studio, so to speak.

As part of this MCC celebration that I just realized could technically double as a “Throwback Thursday” nod, we present the following flashback to an essay originally published May 16, 2006. This oddity, which I’ve lightly edited for a broader audience, represents my very first “meta” post about the odd act of blogging. It was written within and for the confines of the internet equivalent of a shed with a single skylight, but I’m a little surprised how much of my nascent impressions still ring a bell today. Please enjoy, and thanks for being here.

Right this way for a very special Throwback Thursday!

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