Friday, December 31, 2004

I had lunch with the Gooch yesterday. So far I had met a few bloggers when they were in Southern California, but never local-boy Gooch; he was always unavailable. Lame excuses like going up north for Thanksgiving, or what was that other one? His wife delivering their first child? Pfft. Yeah, good one, Gooch. What’s next? The dog ate your website?

We were both in town for the holidays and work was slow, so we finally met up. The timing was really perfect because we got a break in this rainy season and were able to sit outside at Clafoutis, a restaurant on the Sunset Strip. Gotta love LA -- dining al fresco in late December.

Unlike the other bloggers I’ve met so far, Gooch is a big dude. Six feet, broad-shouldered. I only remark on this because it’s one of the slightly jarring things about meeting online friends in real life. You see ‘em for months as a little flat square photo on their profile or if they post a few pics. Suddenly they’re a real person in 3D with a voice and everything.

And yeah, he’s kinda low-key, like in his blog or his comments. Notice Gooch doesn’t use smileys and is very sparing on caps, italics and exclamation points. He’s kinda like that in person. Plenty of energy and still funny as hell, but I was the one chatting away like a madman over lunch. (Actually, it was because the temperature was dropping and I had to stay active to stay warm; Gooch was one drink ahead of me and seated under the heat lamp.)

We discussed the usual: Fellow bloggers, some of our favorite sites, how Gooch always says exactly what I was gonna say when he comments, leaving me with nothing to remark but, "What Gooch said."

The whole question of people’s personas in Blogland often comes up in these meetings. How some people feel comfortable discussing intimate details of their personal lives, their sex lives. Gooch and I were kinda amazed and impressed with that -- our posts are relatively less racy. Gooch is married, and his family sometimes reads his blog. I have some real-life friends who read mine, so perhaps I censor myself a bit. But mostly, I prefer to mention personal things only if I think I have an interesting story. And even still, the reactions I’d get make me think I oughta start a private blog strictly for those thoughts. On the other hand, the flirting that goes on within the comments can be fascinating, fun, and sometimes just weird.

He told me about Baby Gooch, Mrs. Gooch and the step-Gooch-kids. He didn’t have his holiday photos available, so be sure to bug him about posting Goochpics later.

A couple of days earlier, I had told AJ on the phone about the upcoming meeting with Gooch, and he asked if I'd call him during the lunch so the two of them could talk. I’m not sure what they discussed, but it was quite the LA scene, the two of us hanging out on Sunset Boulevard. Gooch chatting on the cellphone while I’m checking out the stylish girls doing some after-Christmas shopping at the fancy shops on the Strip.

Here’s one thing I shared with Gooch, which I’ll reveal to y’all:

I’m gonna stop blogging. At least for a while. I have to. It’s not that I’m burnt out; it’s that I’ve been too fired up. I make lists of ideas for my blog, and even though I presented a lot of them this month, at any given time, there’s at least a dozen more things I wanna write about. Still have a stack of cartoons to scan and post. And then there’s the day-to-day observations and anecdotes to discuss. I know I could write something new every day.

So what’s the problem? It takes up too much of my attention. I’m fairly pleased with a lot of the stuff I’ve written here, but I have a lot of goals (including creative ones) for 2005, and I won’t get much else done, not as long as I’m thinking about what I’m gonna post next, or feel compelled to visit and comment on everyone’s sites, not to mention other bloggers whose sites I’d love to delve into. If I could practice some moderation, great, but the addiction’s too strong. I gotta cold turkey it for now.

I started Make Mine Mike on January 1, 2004. After a full year, it’s a good time to take a break.

I’m not trying to get people to ask me not to go or to keep checking for my return. Just letting everyone know. If I’m back soon, please don’t laugh at me for my lack of will power, I know I’ll miss you all too much. And if I'm gone for awhile, trust me, I’ll be thinking about y’all. The bloggers I’ve met like Gooch and the rest of you whom I hope to meet someday. Have a great new year.


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