1. Sunday, May 27, 2007

    a year ago today i was fired 


    so guess whose summer vacation just suddenly arrived?

    mine.

    hi tony.

    hi vacation?

    i didnt think i was going to have a summer vacation, and ive gotta say, i was a little jealous of a lot of bloggers out there who were all pumped that their finals were over or they were graduating, and that they were going to laze into trying to find a little job to get their parents off their back, but mostly work on hitting the sand surf and suntan oil.

    why is it that may has found me unemployed two years in a row now?

    because the Lord loves me? lets pretend that thats why.

    who knows, its probably true.

    mid october i started working at buzznet. immediately i was sent to nyc to attend the BlogOn conference with mc brown. we threw our first east coast Buzznet meetup party at Lolita in chinatown. ironically i was abducted by a couple of lolitas right after meeting jamie and his girl, and several other manhattanites, but i managed to escape in the morning. i also hung with AJ who i hadnt seen in quite a while, scott and tons of friends, hung with amy, met jeff jarvis, met my book agent, and even ate with anne ferris. and saw the daily show, thanks to jason ross.

    as soon as we got back to LA we had a Los Angeles Buzznet meetup back when the office was sort of still a loft. i met so many buzznetters who i’d always admired, but never met. plus a lot of the girls from my old job at look-look showed up and i had missed them so that was killer.

    that next week one of buzznet’s biggest bands was playing at the wiltern. fall out boy. they were playing with panic! at the disco and motion city soundtrack. so i was sent down there to pass out flyers about buzznet and take pics of the kids in line. the kids were wonderful and now panic! is a top 40 band. i took over 100 pics.

    i would have gone to the show but i had to run over to Tower on Sunset to take a bunch of pics of Tsar doing an instore. then i ate a burrito and hustled back to the strip to take a bunch more pics of tsar who rocked the roxy.

    a few weeks later i was flown to vancouver, bc, canada where we had our first canadian buzznet meetup. i hung out with matt good and took tons of pics and from the best ones i made this photo essay. i met so many cool canadians it was ridiculous. i was treated like the queen. id be back.

    i got back to LA in enough time to take over 100 pictures at the Doo Dah parade. and that night i went to see Juliette Lewis and the Licks play with Tsar. i took hella pics including that crazy one of juliette on the right, who i adore. tsar ruled too, fyi.

    a week later i flew to chicago and for a thanksgiving Chicago Buzznet Meetup. among others i got to meet jessica and erin who partied with me and bob all night. as in All night. so fun. hi kids from oswego. hi brian and byron. the best part of the meetup was it was in the shadows of wrigley field. so rad.

    the first week of december found me at the virgin at hollywood and highland for an inxs in-store. inxs was working with buzznet at the time so i got to take a bunch of pics for them for inxs.com and buzznet. it was an honor.

    a few days later i shot a ton of pics of tsar at spaceland where they were just named one of the top bands in los angeles by the LA Weekly. my highlight was getting a half dozen pics of poison guitarist cc deville with rocket and tsar.

    my mind is fuzzy but i think somewhere in december i helped buzznet have their biggest hit day ever, biggest hit week, and biggest day of signups. we all hugged each other and it was decided that i was the man, because i had used the guidelines given to me from the book buzzmarketing to create attention and news to our site.

    to celebrate i drove up to san francisco where i hung out again with jessica and many other cool kids where we sang karaoke. by we i dont mean me. then i drove up through northern california to umpqua oregon and celebrated Christmas in Eugene. i pretty much worked every day of this so called vacation. not because i had to but because i wanted to. i loved doing what i was doing.

    after Christmas i drove up through some rainbows to tacoma and actually sang karaoke with the pants who is far more beautiful in real life. the next day i drove through seattle to take pics of kurt kobains old neighborhood and his old house.

    made it to vancouver again, had sushi with mr good again. turned around the next day, drove through oregon and tried to go down the 1 but there was super flooding happening. i saw a dead cow in an overflooded river. it was so sad. got stuck in southern oregon. worked from the motel. got up in the morning and took lots of pics.

    got home on new years day and took pics of the rain coming down on the rose parade.

    in the middle of january koganuts from virgin megastore started inviting me and buzznet to some of their secret shows. the first one was with giant drag. i took pics. i wasnt very good with the camera that we had bought. but i was there. i did what i could. a week later we were invited to the Coachella The Movie premiere. i took a bunch of pics there on the red carpet including my hero the cobrasnake.

    near the end of the month i was on a date with a super hot chick when heather graham showed up to have her birthday party there. i took this picture which got linked by defamer. heather’s way hotter than that but we had both been drinking for many hours at that point. me, i had been drinking for 6 hours by then. of course cobrasnake was there.

    a few weeks later my true love Chris moved off to africa. i said let me take some pics. she said no. i said baby i work for a photo sharing community, i sorta have to. plus your cans look great in that shirt, i mean your eyes are so beautiful. she sneered and almost smiled. then she smiled. then she almost cried.

    a few days after that, this is february by the way, i was sent to Amsterdam by the dutch government. i figured this would be a good time to have our first european buzznet meet up. i got to meet bicyclemark, the dude from americablog, justagirl and tons of other cool kids. it was cold but i took shittons of pics and even found some pics to put on buzznet that got us tens of thousands of hits. i know it may have looked like a vacation but i worked and produced and got buzznet some great attention. justagirl even got to hear me vomit. lucky babe.

    two weeks after i returned i was being sent to Austin Texas for SXSW. i got to meet leah for the first time which was a thrill because we’d been reading each other since she was 15. i got to speak on two panels. i met sooooo many cool people it was retarded. i got interviewed a bunch. and me and marc saw tons of bands and took tons of pics and video. in fact almost every night i was at the red bull house, of which we were co-sponsors and we were mentioned the usa today blog pop candy.

    i worked and partied every night till 3am almost every single night. asher was great, bunny was great, the pants, ev and robert, marc canter, dan and sara, the fajita prince, dooce and jon, halley and scoble – they were all killer. i even got to take a few hundred pics of one of our most popular Buzznet band, my chemical romance. far more pics of them than anyone on the web. plus i was blogging on the buzznet blog almost every day. oh and we got to hang with the texas roller girls, of whom i took buckets of pics.

    despite all the hits i generated for buzznet, or all the kickass people i met, or attention i brought to them, probably my proudest moment were those ten days that we covered sxsw interactive and music. no other outlet covered it every day, took tons of pics, took tons of video, and wrote about it every damn day. not pitchfork, not mtv, not anyone. i was there even after it was over to see how the locals rocked. the best bands of the event? the bellrays, honkey, and the go! team.

    it was there that i got sick and didnt recover until this week. exhaustion? burn-out? stress? who knows. all i do know is i got a day off when i returned and i was back at it the day after that and i wanted to be at it. i loved what we had done and coachella was right around the corner.

    when i got home i took pics of Hard-Fi at the virgin private show thing. they were rad.

    the next week i found myself in toronto slash waterloo for a one night only toronto buzznet meet up. i was there for 24 hours. just enough time to see toronto for the first time, catch a matt good show, and go to a strip club with pitt and chad and mikey and fil and raymi and a few others. i also got to meet the outlaw and several others who pulled me aside at the show to introduce themselves. oh canada, thanks for making me feel like a star. oh we also saw a baseball game at the dome. yes all of this in 24 hours. and we went to tim hortons.

    every day for the month of april i wrote at least one pre-write about coachella in the buzznet coachella blog, i even asked fellow bloggers to run a free blogad to it and 30 of you were nice enough to do so, and then at the end of april we were there at coachella. i even blogged about that. some of the posts were silly, but the point was to do just like how we did SXSW – provide the best coverage BY FAR of any other outlet in the world. pre-writes, photos, videos, and post coverage.

    buzznet was the official photosharing community for the fest. i got to do so many things but mostly i took pics and helped others upload their pictures onto buzznet. sometimes for the first time ever. it was hot. and at the end of the two day fest we had collected and uploaded nearly Four Thousand Photos. i think we had done our job.

    oh and we got 128 videos, including some silly interviews i conducted with people who were camping out in the tents, the security chief, and a tour of the campground, among others.

    madonna, matisyahu, kanye west, wolfmother, the yeah yeah yeahs, and cat power were my favorite bands that weekend. but the best part was working with my coworkers at buzznet: marc, lizy, mark, bree, steve, bree’s boyfriend and marks drummer. and the good people at coachella and the at&t blue room who both stoked us. there is nothing more enjoyable to me than to work with a great team of people who just work and get the job done. to me its all about results and the results of that gig mostly have to go to marc and the content team. flickr would have loved to have had our spot but coachella loves buzznet, and should.

    still on the ride home i pulled over and barfed and told lizy that it was because i had a bad feeling that our results wouldnt be met with the love that it should. and sometimes being right will make you sick to your stomach.

    when we got back we were mentioned in the usa today, defamer linked it, laist linked to it.

    right after coachella i was tasked to start finding great content for a new project buzznet is slowly unveiling called big hombre, a blog of sorts for young men in the vein of maxim or fhm, mostly about hot babes, funny videos, and street fights and stuff. every day i was supposed to find a certain amount of content, write funny headlines, and post them. among other things that i did, when i had extra time i started giving people photography assignments in our forums. one forum discussion got over 500 posts in a few days. pretty much a record that i doubt will be broken any time soon.

    all in all i was responsible for at least 13 million page views to buzznet in the seven and a half months that i was there. no one user had ever attracted more than 2.5 million hits other than the pretty boy bass player of the top 40 band fall out boy. i had one user account that got 9.5 million hits, another which is at 2.3 million, and my personal account went over a million hits just a few weeks ago, meaning not only had i been the only person to ever have two accounts to ever get over 2 million, but the only one to ever have three go over a million.

    and to be honest, before i showed up no one even thought that anyone could get a million that quick, but one of my accounts did more than that in a week.

    i took over 4,000 pictures and posted them, i wrote over 100 blog entries, i sent out over 50,000 messages to our users, and in seven months i hosted seven buzznet meetups in three different countries, most of the time at no cost to the company. i think i was a pretty decent community manager.

    unfortunately not everyone saw it that way. which is why tonight im unemployed.

    so my plan going forward is to try a few things. i want to send my resume to a few companies, but i cant see them saying yes. i mean the cubs will probably say, dude we already have a black manager and he sucks.

    then i will probably get scared and compile a new collection of better-than-average busblog posts like what i did in How To Blog, and maybe that will sustain me for the summer, but anyone who flowed to my ipod fund knows i suck at mailing shit. in fact any one who didnt get what was promised should email me. i now have time to make good on your generosity.

    and then come the fall i’ll probably just start selling my ass on santa monica blvd while wearing a dress and a blonde wig at the del taco.

    whatever i do, i think im gonna take a few days off from the busblog this weekend. in two years ive done on here what i did at buzznet, pretty much work every day. even when i wasnt asked to, even when nobody cared. have i even taken two days off from this blog in three years? i dont think so.

    some people like to jump into things full force. im one of those weirdos. some people get freaked out by that energy. me, my best times have been when ive given 100% on things i really know about. i knew how to be successful at buzznet. that is, i knew how to make buzznet more successful. maybe i will have a shot at making some other company more successful. or maybe i will have to just try to do something myself.

    right now i have no idea whats next. none. and thats not the best feeling. i know it could be, but i dont have a bunch of cash to sit on. ive gotta figure something out soon. sux. although this might be a good time to head to the desert and talk to the spirits. or to isla vista and talk to the bikini team. or to vegas and talk to the elvises. or i could sell everything in this junky house and see what it gets. and then write an autobiography and start a new slate.

    i do know that you guys will be here, and that is a blessing that not too many people have, and for that im so grateful you have no idea.

    joe, it was nice sitting next to you.