It was one year ago today that Kevin stepped aside and entrusted the keys to this place to his stable of guest bloggers -- Paul, Timmer, Rodney Dill, Mog, Amanda, Kate, Shelli, and yours truly -- while he went off to deal with the latest Baby Bang. And what a year it's been.
For the record: Rodney and Timmer are now regular contributors to Outside The Beltway and The Daily Brief respectively (and Rodney runs all the caption contests he wants to), while Kate and Mog are continuing to soldier along on their own sites. Amanda seems to never have fully recovered from accusations of being estrogen-challenged, while Shelli's page is 404. The main page for Painfully Cool is still up and running, but I don't know if "Not Me" is her or not.
For me, it's been a hell of a year. I thought this gig would last a couple weeks, then I'd go hat-in-hand to some other group blog to see if I could beg to be let in. My first choice was The Warren, and I had my rabbit-name all picked out ("Silverweed," the poet from the kept warren with the snares, if you must know). I also toyed with applying to Amish Tech Support, but Laurence Simon shut that down and went back to flying solo with This Blog Is Full Of Crap. (He once commented that if he was still running a group blog, he'd try to steal me away. That was, indeed, high praise from the Master Of Crap.)
But a funny thing happened. Or, rather, didn't happen. Kevin came back, and the guest pros all returned to their own blogs. Us amateurs stuck around for a bit. Rodney and Timmer got gigs elsewhere, but Paul and I wouldn't leave, waiting for Kevin to remember his declaration to reclaim Wizbang for himself.
We initially limited ourselves to weekends (at Kevin's request), but that didn't last overly long. I'd write stuff up during the week, then "dump" it over the weekends. That slowly went away as I found more and more stuff was too "timely" to save up, and then the election hit full swing.
The election. Here I was, a nobody from nowhere with a nothing job and a nothing life, suddently a "valued contributor" to one of the top 20 blogs in the blogosphere just as blogs were going mainstream. I even found myself mentioned (passingly) in the Wall Street Journal, when Kevin was interviewed. (Author's note: that was also how I was notified that I would be live-blogging the RNC -- by reading about it in the Wall Street Journal. I was a bit miffed at first, but I had such a blast that I soon got over it. My cat is still traumatized by the phrase "dancing Republicans," though.)
Damn, the election was good to me. I've always fancied myself a writer, and suddenly I had this tremendous platform from which to cast my words to the wind. I got to rant, analyze, satirize, (man, did I get to satirize), and pontificate to my heart's content. And more importantly, people READ it. And even more importantly, people LIKED it!
Things eased off a bit after the election, but I've still found things to talk about. The war in Iraq is still going (and, in my opinion, going well), and there my background as a military buff and technothriller fan has paid off handsomely. I've managed to find little odd bits of New Hampshire news to share, demonstrating why I love this exasperating little state that's been my home for all my 37+ years. And Massachusetts has continued to give me more and more fodder to mock and deride them. (I'm often asked why I pick on Massachusetts so much. My standard answer is stolen from the line that famous bank robber Willie Sutton never actually uttered about why he robbed banks: "because that's where the money is." I mock Massachusetts because it's convenient, geographically, and so ripe for mocking. Besides, now that everyone knows their Senators quite well, it gives my comments context.)
A while ago, Paul announced he was taking a brief hiatus. I took it upon myself to try to pick up the slack, and see if I could replace his quality with sheer quantity. The quality of my own postings might have slipped, but nearly every day I managed to come up with at least three postings of fresh material -- and there were times it was a hell of a strain.
It's been a lot of work. Sometimes, I feel like I'm working a second full-time job. But I wouldn't give it up for anything. Along the way, I've discovered a lot of new blogs and other websites. I've learned a great deal. I've discovered a lot about the world, and myself.
And most importantly, I've gotten to "know" a lot of the regular readers and commenters here at Wizbang. What an amazing group of people you all are, and how astonishing that you keep coming back and reading what I have to say. Me, Joe Nobody from Nowhere with a Nothing job and No life.
You folks are the reason I keep doing it. I just looked at the numbers. As of this morning, I am closing in on 8,000 distinct comments to my postings (excluding my own comments and contests). Other bloggers have linked back to my pieces over 750 times.
So I guess this is kind of my Sally Field "You like me! You really like me!" moment. On this anniversary of the day Kevin invited me into his virtual home and made me welcome, I wanted to thank all the readers who have made themselves a part of this community.
And to my detractors: get stuffed. I ain't going NOWHERE until Kevin says otherwise. Deal with it.