Thursday, February 05, 2015

Is this thing on?

I started PCJM in August of 1999, when I'd just learned I was about to be laid off from a Microsoft-related job (Twin Cities Sidewalk). I kept it up pretty well for years, and the site gained a following and was well-reviewed, including mentions in the New York Times and Entertainment Weekly. But the blog kind of went dormant when I had Kelly, especially after I began concentrating on writing two books with the awesome Brian Bellmont. (Please read 'em if you haven't already -- "Whatever Happened to Pudding Pops?" is a pop-culture encyclopedia of the '70s and '80s, and "The Totally Sweet '90s" does the same for the next decade.)

Now, guess what? I was again laid off from a Microsoft-related job (I was movies editor for the site that started as, but later became NBC News Digital), and I'm hoping to make some time for PCJM again.

Blogs have changed since I was an early adopter back in 1999, one of a small and close-knit group of valiant bloggers (how we haaaated that word, preferring "weblog," but we lost that war). Back then, I feel like I read every major blog every day (Robot Wisdom was my first), and there were maybe two dozen of us. When I found a job on the digital side of the Minneapolis Star Tribune newspaper after my layoff, I was the one who explained what a blog was to Tim McGuire, then Strib editor-in-chief -- he'd literally never heard of them. I would later go on to write one for his paper and for its website. (Read Tim's book, "Some People Even Take Them Home," about growing up with disabilities and raising son Jason, who has Down Syndrome--it's a great read.)

I also spoke at South by Southwest Interactive as well as at an early JournalCon, where I debated blogs vs online journals on a panel. The online journal panelist sitting next to me reaaaally hated blogs. ("Journals are REAL WORK, blogs are just LINKS" was pretty much his take.) That discussion went well.

I met great people through PCJM, and read a lot of wonderful writing. I believe it was the confidence gained from PCJM that helped me publish my books.

In 2015, most of the blogs I used to read are gone, but many of the talented and hilarious people who wrote them are around, writing for websites, TV shows, publishing books, email newsletters, running podcasts. Few of them do the old-fashioned linky blog anymore, But PCJM was never just text-link, text-link to me, it was a bit of my personality measured out in what I chose to write about, and I'd like to try it again.

You can also follow the two Facebook pages for my books, which are open to the public and regularly post nostalgic links about everything from "The Brady Bunch" to Ecto Cooler and Crispy M&Ms. (GenXtinct is for '70s-'80s fans, The Totally Sweet '90s for '90s kids.)

Not sure how often I'll post -- I'm working on another book, trying to find writing and editing work, having a life, But I'd like to blow the dust off and share things again. I missed it.


Bill Crider said...

It was a nice surprise to see this pop up in my feedly reader today after a long time hiatus. Hope to see more.

Matt said...

Welcome back, Gael! I'll be looking forward to following your travails.

I'm still blogging very occasionally, but some of the magic was lost when everyone decided that blogs had to be "about" something and it left most general-interest weblogs in the dust. Still, I like having it around to share something that's too detailed for a Facebook or Twitter update. Nobody seems to notice anymore, but eh. I miss the sense of community, too, but my writing skills and fabulous élan have improved since then. Cheers.

Sara Luckow Montroll said...

Welcome back!

Grace Russell said...

Hey Gael! Good to see your pixels.

Chiara said...

This makes me real happy.

Laura said...

Welcome back! I was an early blogger, too, on platforms that no longer exist. I wish I'd archived even a little bit of that content, just for fun.

Anonymous said...

Hot Dog! So happy to see you back!