Forty for Forty – #15. What Goes On In Your Ed?

Editor’s Note:   I turn 40 on June 6, 2012. As a little challenge to myself, I’m spending one calendar year writing 40 posts that say something about my life. Today, it’s all about this place.

Where’s my cake?

You know how they say, the older you get the more you forget? Well, I’ve always prided myself on my near-total recall for the important moments in my life no matter how many new memories are forged with each passing year. In fact, the older I get, the more they resonate. And while I may not remember every date and time – all the little details that color a memory and keep that Polaroid shaken are exactly where I need them whenever I go looking. And that’s helped keep this blog nice and fat.

But then again – I am turning 40 this year. Some things are bound to break down now that I’m way past my Born On Date and likely beyond my half-life. So, it was a mild shock when I got a note yesterday from my bestie Sean – who’s also this site’s architect – alerting me that in one day’s time, the site would be turning six years old. To help celebrate, he had whipped up a complete redesign which you’ve no doubt seen on the way through the door.

I tip my cap to Sean. I love what he’s done with the place. Beyond the killer color scheme and new site aesthetic, I’m over the moon that he’s moved the five most recent posts and placed them neatly in a row right at that top. With the old design, I always feared that anything below the opening page view (thus requiring a scroll down) would get lost to less-tech savvy viewers. Now, it’s all right there in the mast-head.

I also love the “Most Popular Posts” feature (even if it makes me miss ‘Lost’ – sniff) and the “Recent Popular Posts” that you can find after scrolling down a bit. That’s a good way for less frequent readers to get to what’s hot. Of course, just entering The Ed Zone makes you too cool for school. The Archives can be found there too – for anyone looking to peruse six years of steady writing.

And then there’s the Facebook plug-in. Once I figure out what a “face” “book” is, I’m sure I’ll be all over this. 😉

And special mention needs to go to Sean Harrter who supplied us with a revamped The Ed Zone logo. Love it – as I love all of that mad wizard’s graphical flourish!!!

So, big props to my main man for sending The Ed Zone into its seventh year of operation rocking some spiffy new threads. If looks could kill, indeed.

This bring me to the mission. Forty for Forty. This is one of those snake eating its own tail things for if it weren’t for this site there would be no Forty for Forty so naturally I dedicate one of the forty in honor of this blog. Without realizing it, this really has become a huge slice of my life. I’m actually completely gobsmacked that it’s been 6 full years since we flipped the ‘Open’ sign.

I may have momentarily forgotten the anniversary date, but I’ll always remember the exactly moment of inception.

It was late 2005 when Sean had scored some tickets to the Pats. It was a cool December game (a Saturday afternoon game – no less) and he and I had cobbled together the worst tailgate in history. We showed up at the stadium with beer, burgers and a grill. We would soon realize we lacked a bottle opener and a spatula. That would not deter us – despite the fact we didn’t realize our folly until the grill was completely fired up and the sizzling metal hungry for fresh meat.

First, we attempted to crack open some beers. Realizing our error, we looked around and decided the best alternative would be to use an edge of this little camping grill to pry the bottle tops off our Winter Lager. (@Joe – If you’re still looking for that – Yup, it’s in my garage – 6 years later. If I were you, I’d send leg breakers.) The second issue calamity crashed hard when we realized the burgers needed flipping. (“I thought you brought the spatula. “No, I thought you did.”) Quickly we ran through our assorted belongings and in that moment where genius and stupidity make fast friends, we finally decided to rip some flaps off of the beer’s case and using some MacGuyver moxie, we found a way to set things right that once went wrong. (Woah, wrong show but just go with it.) This went on for roughly 10 or 15 minutes before some dude at the neighboring tailgate came by cackling and offering up the use of his bottle opener. He had a good 10-minute laugh spying at us from his perch before he decided enough was enough. Someone had to put us out of our misery.

With burgers finally in hand and brews by our side, we spent the hours ahead of game time just catching up and that’s when Sean lobbed the question. “If I built you a website – would you come?”

Talk about an indecent proposal. But I was young and needed the money, so I chased all reservations off the… well, you get the idea.

Hell yeah – I’ll Blog!!!” – and with that, my hand darted to my button-flys.

Woah – Woah – Woah – That ain’t blogging. That’s flogging!!!” – Sean shrieked. “A Web Log! A BLOG!!! WHAT THE HELL DID YOU THINK I WAS ASKING YOU FOR?!?!?”

And with that the peep show was canceled and a plan was etched. Alas, poor Spatula Guy. Show’s over, pal.

Sean agreed to build the house and keep it up to code and I would move in and decorate the place. About a month and change later, he had it done and I sat down, one cool winter’s morn, and stared long and hard at the blank page – one pregnant with possibility – and wondered, where do I go from there.

My first post, Jukebox Zero, was a slight piece that simply announced my presence. Looking back though, it sort of set the blueprint for what was to come. At some point over the last six years, my cousin shot me an e-mail where he expressed his appreciation for the site – calling it a unique “digital scrapbook” – and that nails it. On day one, I may not have had a true plan in place for how I wanted to fill these pages but things couldn’t have gone more according to plan. Before I sat down to write this piece, I took a quick look back at the Archives and noted that in 6 years, I’ve written 532 posts (averaging – when printed – about 4 to 5 pages per post). That’s thousands of pages – about the length of 4 or 5 novels. When I see those numbers, I’m staggered. DAMN IT!!! I should have been working on the Great American Novel instead of goofing around out here.

But that’s not how I’m hardwired.

This site, as my cousin called it, is my digital scrapbook. My diary left open for all the world to read. You all know me. You know what I love. I’m a movie/TV fan (well, not tons of shows but there are those precious few that I pledge allegiance to). Born in Boston, I will follow the Pats and Sox ’til my dying day. I’m a gamer. I love to write. I act on occasion. I wrote a play. I work for my day job. And above it all – I’m a good friend and devoted family man; a loving husband and Daddy.

All that has made this site what it is today and if you peruse the archives you’ll find articles on any of those topics. I write like I speak so very often, these things come out conversationally. I think that’s just because, above all, I am a huge fan of good conversation. Some of my most treasured memories involve those long, meandering midnight talks where you begin at Point A, end many hours later at some remote Point B (completely unrelated from what you started talking about) and all the way through you laughed or teared up or thought long and hard; and at the end of it all, you secretly pray that the other person sketched a road map so you could figure how you got there in the first place. That intoxicating talk where you just dive in and keep swimming deeper simply because there’s no greater joy in life than exploring and discovering new things.

Six years later, I know that’s this site’s mission statement. “Let’s talk.” And that neatly explains why whenever I see someone has commented on a post, it really makes my day.

Now, anyone who follows this site – or listens to me prattle on Facebook – knows two things about me. One, I like to make people laugh. Out there and on here, I have one hard and fast rule. “No Drama!!!” I do not care for debating politics, religion or any of that other inflammatory stuff. As I get older, I realize I should never begrudge anyone’s interests. So if you have a passion for the Christ or Mitt Romney or Yo Gabba Gabba, I’m cool with that. Different strokes for different folks. But I never use any of these places as my soapbox – at least not in that regard. At the end of the day, I’d rather just laugh about things. It makes that time fly and the nice memories mount.

Secondly, I have no problem opening up. I think I’ve seen too many people who follow a strict “closed-door” policy when it comes to their personal lives. That’s fine for them but not for me. I don’t mind sharing and I don’t want to hide things. We’re all weird people. We all have our neuroses. And I think, if you shed light on the little quibbles, it helps make them so foolish and insignificant. A few weeks ago I wrote about a time in college when I thought I was going nuts. High anxiety. Back then, I did in everything in my power to defend my inner thoughts for fear people would label me. Now, I realize the folly in that. And yes, I made it through that episode no worse for the wear and maybe a little stronger but man – if I had just opened up back then, maybe I could have saved a few months of agony. Bottom line – life’s too short.

So, that’s a little preamble to my latest worry.

Although I say time and time again that I write this stuff mainly because it’s in me and is screaming to get out, that’s only a half-truth. I’m also doing it for all of you. Like I said, I like conversation and I enjoy kick-starting it. So, when I see a Comment on a post, it thrills me to no end because that means the dialogue has started. I’ve said so many times over the years that I’m just a small part of this scrapbook. Sean laid the foundation. I decorated the place. You guys make this house a home.

It’s funny how this stuff mirrors real life. I love having people over my house. Yeah – a night hanging out in your sleepy pants, nestled on your couch watching the tube is great BUT nothing beats hanging with your friends and just entertaining and having some laughs. It all goes back to what I said above. That’s the reason I look forward to my annual Christmas Party. While my regret is I never feel like I have enough time to talk to everyone for any real measure of time, I thrill at seeing such a wide, disparate group of people come together under our roof and have a great time. It’s my holiday highlight and I wish I didn’t live so far away from so many important people in my life. I’d host that sort of thing more often.

But out here, I can have you over any day of the week.

And now to really come clean. There have been times over the years – and more frequently of late – where I’ve contemplated pulling the plug on the whole operation. And it’s not so much that I don’t think anyone reads this stuff. No – I’m a pretty self-conscious guy. Have been my whole life and I reckon I’ll harbor these reservations for the rest of my days. And with that – there are many times where I’ll write something, then I’ll post a link on Facebook before e-mailing it out to a list of friends and family… and then I’ll pause and fear that everyone on the receiving end is thinking “Who cares, buddy. We’ve got enough stuff to worry about in our lives without having to give over a slice of time to your rambling musings.” Well, I might be paraphrasing that last part.

If that’s the case, I don’t begrudge you at all. Like I said, life’s too short and time too fleeting and some of these posts can meander something fierce. Who’s got time for that? 🙂

But if you do dig ’em, comment every once in a while. Just so I know you’re out there. It’s a little thing that provides nourishing food for thought.

Well, that about sums up this site. It’s six years strong and hopefully just getting started. In the year ahead, I’ve made a few new pledges. For starters, you can expect 26 more installments of Forty for Forty between now and June 6th. In addition, I’m going to begin a weekly post called ‘Random Thoughts’ – or something like that – where I’ll take my various Facebook Status Updates from the week prior, document them here and expand upon them – giving you a good idea of what was going on in your Ed when I first posted them. Plus, I promise to get more posts up here giving you my observations on the movies/TV shows/games of the year. And then there’s The Monkeybar Mafia – which will kick off in earnest this Summer and really gain traction in the Fall. I want to keep many elements of the show a secret until Opening Night but I plan to give you a little back stage tour of the production. And then there’s the second project I’m currently working on (a new play) that I’ll share some details out here once it takes shape. Plus, whatever damn things my kids say will likely grab some air time. That pair is always good for a post or two.

And that’s what’s going on in your Ed.

Comments now closed (20)

  • Yeah, I feel like with the addition of Facebook, people tend to comment here less in favor of leaving a comment on a link you put up to the post there. That’s great and all, but then it gets lost in the quick flow of Facebook whereas if the comment is here, it is always here and visible. Not really sure how to get around that though!

    Anyway, even with Facebook’s new Timeline, I’m sure no one is going to fire that up in the future, yourself included, to reminisce, so even if it is for your own sake, and your kids, then I say keep writing here anyway. Zero comments should be no indication of your effort’s worth.

  • Ah, also, if anyone is wondering where that nice line of 5 recent posts and all that jazz Ed is talking about actually is, it is on the home page only. So you only get that when you knock on the front door at

    And, if you are still running IE7 or less as a browser, things might not be so pretty, so do yourself and the security of your computer a favor by upgrading to IE8 or better. Even better than that, try out Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox!

  • Well done again Ed. Sean kudos on the re-design. I still get a kick out of each post especially when days and life just seem to be flying by. I use your blog as a way to slow it down and to enjoy for 5 to 10 minutes the rumblings and musings of “Ed” here when things are most hectic and without fail it slows me down and puts the chaos in perspective and for that I am grateful that you keep this going.

  • And for that comment alone – I will keep it going.

    Thanks for reading, Mark!!!

  • Congrats on six years, Ed! As a fellow owner of a Sean-created blog, I can vouch for his Web-fu.

    I think there are a few plugins out there that can pull responses from Facebook and Twitter and collect them together in the comments. You might want to look into that.

  • P.S. What you really need is a new show to recap, as you did with Lost. Have you tried Alcatraz? It’s very much a show in its early stages, but I’m enjoying it.

    Also, if you’ve never watched Warehouse 13, shame on you 🙂

  • @Poe – Great feedback

    That’s the thing. I would do Fringe in a heartbeat but I think this is likely the last season so it seems a little too late.

    I have been watching Alcatraz and it definitely has some ‘Lost’ in the DNA BUT I need to see how it develops beyond these early stages where they cast the net to see what type of show they have (i.e. will it be killer of the week or will that potent mythology deepen). So – that’s a good suggestion and I’ll keep my eyes on it.

    I’m also interested in The River although that might be a one-trick pony (i.e. documentary-esque X-Files).

    Ahhh, decisions… decisions…

  • Yeah, I’ve been thinking I’ll try The River.

    Though I’ve never seen Paranormal Activity (whose makers are producing The River, I believe)…all I now about Paranormal Activity is that the Rifftrax guys always reference how boring it is.

  • Yeah – Paranormal Activity is just a lot of silence punctuated with jump scares. It’s meant to be seen on Halloween Night with a packed audience. At home – forget it. It will bore you silly.

    That said, here’s the synopsis for ‘The River’.

    “About the crew of a state-of-the-art research vessel on a quest to find a missing TV explorer in the Amazon.”

    I’m sold. 🙂

    • Yeah, I’m a sucker for mysterious disappearances.

      I’m working on a list for Topless Robot about movies that were inspired by mysterious events. So far I’ve got: Philadelphia Experiment, Fire in the Sky, Roswell, Flight 19, the Mothman Prophecies, the Battle of Los Angeles, the Ninth Legion, and the Aurora Encounter. Any other suggestions?

    • Just read a review at The Hollywood Reporter for “The River”. They gave it a very positive review – calling it a Lost, The X-Files and “Heart of Darkness” hybrid that works.

  • I love your writing and read everything you post. Sorry I don’t always post a comment!