Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Let's See How Far We've Come!

Eight years ago today, on a little website called "MySpace," I wrote my first blog entry.  It was a rant against people being disrespectful during my second viewing of Brokeback Mountain.
Just under seventeen-hundred entries later, here we are.

My blogging technique, unchanged since MySpace. (Click to enlarge.)
I started this particular blog on my five-year blogging anniversary, meaning The B Channel today is three years old.  It is not my most popular blog (that would be Jake Watch), nor my longest-running (The Overpopulation Blog), nor the blog that houses my most devastating digs at wholesomely irrelevant B-lister Jake Gyllenhaal (I'm Stalking Jake!).  It's not even the personal blog that I'm most happy was deleted against my will by Justin Timberlake (that would be the MySpace blog; Jesus...just...Jesus).

It is, however, the blog that currently reflects me and my life and, let's be honest here, it's a pretty damn good blog.

We have witnessed some remarkable things here in its 265 published posts:  my transition from Prophecy Girl to Becky Heineke, that time I bought a car, the completion of my second book, the indefinite shelving of that same book (hashtag-sad-face), lots of run-of-the-mill 90s nostalgia, some triumphant highs, some dispiriting lows, a Summer Olympics, a presidential election (where even Tagg Romney was cowed by my authority), a Macca concert, a shooting tragedy or two, some marathons (ugh, no more full marathons), Boston, existential book reviews, the resurgence of MySpace (!), my switching of favorite Beatles (!!), and, of course, an unnecessary amount of Aaron Carter.  (And by "unnecessary," I mean "exactly right.")

This blog is sometimes a real-time extremely vague soap opera, and other times a testament to my power and influence over when celebrities announce the birth of their children.  It's where I never shut up about Adam Levine thinking I was hot (seriously how many times did I bring that up?), and where I always enjoy a good psychopath discussion.  I have grown.  I have regressed.  I have reviewed stupidly expensive hair removal products.  I went to the Slider Inn a lot.  I wrote many recap posts filled with links to old entries.  I wrangled over the design.  And sometimes the headline was better than the blog entry.      

I wrote exceptionally well in 2012, exceptionally poorly in 2013, and kinda in between back in 2011, and I could say the same about the way I lived those years.  The B Channel isn't "me," but it is reflective of my reality, which is part of the reason I continue to compulsively write it.  I do it for times like these, when I go back and revisit where I've been - reading about my own past grounds me in the present and offers me guidance for the future.

Tomorrow is my birthday.  I'll be 32.  In celebration of that, and in celebration of another year of writing, I offer below my Top Ten B Channel Entries, which I consider the best and/or most representative work that I have done thus far on this blog.

And, as always, I thank you for reading. :)

B Channel Top Ten (in chronological order)!

1.  February 4, 2011:  "Inaugural Cheap Beer of the Month Club!"
Don't act like you're above it.  Do not even fucking act like you're above Bud Light in a can.
The original plan for this blog was to rely on "a series of 'regular' features"...which did not happen.  The Cheap Beer of the Month Club was one such feature, and proved popular; the few entries I wrote for it are among my favorites.  It fell by the wayside mainly because of the inconvenience of having to buy an unknown beer once a month to review, starting at a time when my income was inconsistent to say the least.  Though the feature itself died, searches for "Bud Light can" remain one of the top reasons new readers stumble my way.

One day of search results, circa 2011.

2.  August 12, 2012:  "A Poet from Hollywood - My (Mostly!) Spoiler-Free Response"
It was a little less than six years ago that I walked into a poetry bar in New York City and learned one of the biggest lessons of my burgeoning adulthood: that fame is hollow, and so is the act of admiring it.
If you've read my first book, you know the name Cantara.  She played a minor but very memorable role in the Jake Watch saga, and in 2012, she finished a book of her own, offering a counterpoint to my version of events.  After reading it, I felt a response was necessary, though it took me several drafts to figure out the most diplomatic way to address what she'd written.  She and I were (and are) on very different paths; writing this, I felt, (finally) closed that chapter of my life.

3.  September 8, 2012:  "Fifty Shades of What the Fuck Am I Reading?"
It's fine to sell this story for what it is (bad porn), but let's not delude ourselves into thinking that Christian is some kind of token fantasy guy for all the women out there who regularly challenge the posers on the sidelines to "do somethin'"...
The Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy was begging for a rebuttal, and a book and a half in, I was all too happy to share my feelings.  With apologies to Britney Spears (whom I dragged into the discussion), these were my thoughts on the train wreck of popular opinion.

4.  September 24, 2012:  "Dammit, Jake.  (Prophecy Girl Reviews End of Watch!)"
He is the crystal meth of my pop culture world.  I took one hit, one time, back in late 2005, and it took me years to kick the habit.  And then I was stupid enough to take another hit in 2010, and I'm still dealing with the aftermath. 
UGH, Jacob B.  Right after I "closed that chapter in my life" and everything (see two entries above) Jake Gyllenhaal was suddenly all over Taylor Swift's new album and giving us his best acting in years.  End of Watch was the last Jake movie I saw in theaters, and here, combining two things I had become known for over the years (movie reviews and mocking Jake) I described my richly muddled feelings about that.  Though this was not the last Jake entry I wrote for this blog, it seems likely it will be the last of this caliber.  

5.  October 9, 2012:  "One week of melancholy."
In one room, there was a body that used to be my friend.  In the next room, she was grinning back at me, alive and happy and minutes from leading us into the middle of nowhere in rural Indiana. 
When my friend Kara died in October of 2010, my life, already in a state of transition, changed.  Her birthday and anniversary of her death are almost exactly six months apart, meaning at regular intervals, I have commemorated her and our adventures together.  The two year anniversary was "especially poignant as my college group moved into a new decade, forever leaving her behind in her twenties."  My entries about her are a big part of this blog, and this particular one encompasses why that is.

6.  November 2, 2012:  "I'M A BELIEBER!  (Becky Goes to a Justin Bieber Concert)"
There was a dance sequence based around a paparazzi chase, and enough gratuitous crotch-grabbing that I wanted to reach down the aisle and cover the eyes of the kindergartener who was sitting next to Melissa (sporting a hot pink cast and whacking Melissa periodically with her glow stick).
Though Aaron Carter will forever be this blog's teen idol of choice, we all know Aaron was merely "God's failed first attempt at creating Justin Bieber."  The decision to go to this concert was made right here on this blog, and I'm so glad I went.  It was spectacle, it was hysteria, it was worth stopping by Walgreens on the way to pick up earplugs.  In this entry, among other things I wrote about a nagging feeling that I was watching the last vestiges of something, and sure enough, not a week later, Justin began his slow fall from grace.  Say what you will, but damn it was something to see him in his prime...

7.  March 26, 2013:  "My Complete Idiot's Guide That Never Was"
Each of you can probably remember the first time you got on the internet, what it was like to make the switch from dial-up to broadband, and how people communicated before everyone had a cell phone (remember car phones?).  Touchscreen navigation may make perfect sense to you, but you also remember that there was a time when Mario was two-dimensional and pixilated. 
For a while I thought I was going to write a Complete Idiot's Guide to something.  I did not...but that decision was made only after spending quite a bit of time writing out various ideas.  Sharing projects/words that otherwise would never see the light of day is something I love using this blog for, although admittedly my side work doesn't always resonate.  This particular work did, though, and proved popular enough that I followed it up with a second entry.

8.  April 8, 2013:  "The Nine Friends on Facebook Timeline (Or the Sad Tale of How Zuckerberg Ruined Facebook)"
Checking my [Facebook] profile is now like looking into a dark, empty abyss of sad nothingness.  I mean for Christ's sake, if I wanted to look at unchanging rows of pictures of my friends, I'd pull out a damn yearbook.
Ragging on Facebook has been part of my shtick since MySpace, but it wasn't until I wrote a post over here about friend rankings (over a year before this entry) that I found a sympathetic audience.  This particular entry is by no means my best work on the Facebook front, but it is the blog's most-read entry and, in fact, one of the most popular things I've written on any blog.  All of the subjects I've covered, all those times I poured out my heart and soul to the internet, and it turns out the topic people care most about in life is whether or not their crush is stalking them online.

Unused alternate version of my guide to status updates.

9.  June 29, 2013:  "Selected Quotes from the Breakaway Journals, Hooray!"
How is it that I can be so sure of myself on a Tuesday and so sure of absolutely nothing on a Wednesday?
After "Becky," the B-word most frequently thrown around on this blog is "Breakaway," my running family and source of constant amusement/misery (depending on the circumstances).  I have written many, many entries about the running, the socializing, and the drinking, but I rarely got into specifics.  Those I saved for my series of personal journals dedicated solely to this group of people.  I decided to share a few (non-incriminating) quotes, and what resulted was this post, one of my very favorite things to go back and re-read. 

I made several attempts at summarizing my journals that went nowhere;
despite #1 above, direct quoting wound up working best for sharing the essence.

10.  October 29, 2013:  "Sex and the Single Girl"
...there it sat, unread on my shelf, until two weekends ago when, for no reason that I can see, it called out to me, begging to be read.  (I obliged immediately, of course, because who am I to argue with a book that’s asking for it?)
This entry was written long before it was published - in fact, I have many, many (about fifty right now) posts for this blog saved in draft form.  Writing and then choosing not to publish is a huge part of my writing process.  Sometimes the rationale to not share is based on privacy concerns; other times it's because the idea hasn't matured fully.  This book review fell into both categories, going through three versions with highly personal conclusions until finally, nearly a year after starting it, I came up with a way to end it on a note that was both relatable and non-specific.  I include it here because of the pertinence of the subject matter, and because of its token place among entries written long before they saw the light of day...