"All sorts of entertaining" - Elizabeth Seckman

"Michael and his pals make me wish I lived in Adelaide" - Cherdo

"If I had a daughter, I'd send her to Australia to meet him (and marry him)" - Robyn Alana Engel

"An Australian version of me. Only younger. And Talented. And better looking. Okay, nothing like me." - Al Penwasser

"Whom must I fuck or pay to get a quotation at the top of your blog post?" - Janie Junebug

Friday, 17 April 2015

Old Blogs

A few of the regulars here know that this is my second attempt at a blog. Back in 2012, I had a different blog called The World As I See It, named after a paper Albert Einstein once wrote that denounced the current education system and the way we teach our kids about the world. Although there was a much bigger emphasis on humour and my desire to become a stand-up comedian.

That blog had some amazing moments on it, I wish you could have been there. I had a sort of partnership going with my good friend Rusty, who had his own blog, Swinging Like a Rusty Gate. He was the one who originally convinced me that starting a blog would be a good idea. We made a pact to mention each other at least once in every post we wrote and provide a link to the person's blog. I eventually started getting creative and just throwing the word Rusty into contextual situations (eg: My skills were a bit Rusty). People generally came to know up as as a pair, much like the Australian version of A Beer for the Shower, just with separate blogs.

One time, Rusty and I were out in town together and we were arguing over what's better out of peanut butter and Nutella. For those who live in North America, Nutella is a chocolatey spread made primarily of hazelnuts. It's huge in Europe, where it was invented. In Australia its popularity is about equal to that of peanut butter.
Anyway, I decided to write a post on my blog stating just how much I loved peanut butter. How if I could live purely off peanut butter, I would. How I spread it on everything from cheese to apples. I mentioned that Rusty prefers Nutella, but I just didn't think it was the same. A week later, Rusty wrote a strongly-worded reply post that essentially began with "Mike just wrote this piece on how peanut butter is the world's best spread. Sorry Mr D'Agostino, but you are wrong." This was the beginning of the period in blog land we affectionately referred to as the "Spread Wars". I wrote a new post entitled So It's a War You Want? Which attempted to discredit all the fact Rusty had brought up in his previous post. Rusty came back with Nutella Strikes Back and made his argument more emotion-based that fact-based. People commenting on our blogs started to identify themselves as "Team Peanut Butter" and "Team Nutella". One gentleman from America named PJ even got in touch with me to say he'd discovered my blog and wanted to write his own post which talked about how much he loved peanut butter. Flattered and inspired, my next post (Spread Wars Episode IV: A New Post), contained a call-out for other bloggers all over the internet to join in. Unfortunately, the only other one I can find is from one of my favourite bloggers Red at Doesn't Speak Klingon. It's now her most visited post ever. And Rusty's initial Nutella post is is second-most read. That's how big this thing got. Unfortunately, Rusty got too busy to post that often (he's a pretty important engineer), so the war and his blog itself ground to a halt. I was winning at the time, but he maintains that it's because most of our readers were from the US.

There was another time where Jax of Raviolis and Waterworks in conjunction with The Lady in Red got myself and Rusty to record a podcast for them where we put our apparently-sexy Australian accents up for display. I wont go into it too much because I plan to talk about it in tomorrow's post, but we split the podcast into three sections, put one part on my blog, one part on Rusty's and one part on Jax's. We got such a good response that we decided to make the podcast a weekly thing. Although stupidly, we never brought that to the attention of the bloggers :P

But by a mile, the biggest thing to come out of my old blog with a very long, serious post entitled We Need to Talk. That year - 2012 - was an incredibly tough and trying year for me for many reasons (This is another thing I'll talk about later this month). My parents were going through the bitter process of getting a divorce and for the first time in my life, I'd found myself needing to be the emotionally mature person in the household. For that period of time, they became people I barely even recognised in the way they tried to hurt each other and blamed everything that was wrong with their lives on the other person. Meanwhile, I was super-set on becoming a stand-up comedian, but was very unsure of how possible that would be for me. I didn't feel like I had what it takes and that made me scared. It also led to a third problem - I was scared that all my priorities in life were mixed up. My whole life, Dad had been telling me to get a full-time job, buy a house and raise a family. I was more concerned about living life to the fullest and being happy. But the realisation that I was 20 years old and already a lot of my friends had moved out and were looking after themselves made me wonder if I should just give up and join in with the rest of society.

These three things in particular piled onto each other until they came to a bursting point when night while working at KFC. I was on closing duties with one other girl who was like a mid-point between a team-worker and a manager. She was giving me orders and for whatever reason, that pissed me RIGHT off. I grumbled every time she said something to me, ignored half of the things she said, slammed doors and equipment and even in one case threw something across the room and into the wall. The store manager eventually came out and asked if we were all done and the girl, with tears in her eyes, said "I can finish the rest, please send Michael home." That was the point I realised what I was doing. All the crappy things that had been going on lately had been bottling up and I seemed to be letting it out in a very destructive way. I got home that night and jumped straight onto my computer. I wrote a long, detailed, concise post which revealed to the world the three problems that I was facing. I started with the priority issue, moved onto the stand-up and ended with the divorce, which at the time very few people knew about. When I was done, I published the post and sent a link to every friend I had on Facebook who I thought would care. The response I got was simply amazing. People got in touch with me privately to offer their sympathy and any advice they could give on the area they knew most about. Some of them threw in that I was a really good writer, which made me smile. I was in the car with Dad the next day when I got a text from my Aunt Tina saying reminding me that my parents loved me very much and so did the rest of the world for that matter. She would be there for me if I ever needed her. Dad had had a fallout with Tina who, since she was the aunt on my Mum's side, had naturally sided with her. Worried that she might try and turn me against him, he demanded to know what the text said.
'...Okay,' he said reluctantly. 'I respect her for that. She's obviously big enough to to supportive for you. But what's this blog she's talking about?'
I reluctantly showed him the blog when we got home. I watched his face twitch, drop and contort as he read it and eventually he turned to me and said
'Mum needs to see this.'
'Why?'
'She just needs to know what this is doing to you.'
'Alright... If you insist.'
'Also, can you take out the part where you say I stuck my fingers in my ears and yelled "La la la, not listening"? I know I did that, but it's a bit... embarrassing.'
'Sure thing.'

When my Mum got home, I showed her the post as well. She read it a lot quicker than Dad had, but it moved her a lot more. By the end of it, there were tears streaming down her face. I hugged her and told her I loved her for the first time since I could even remember. These days she admits that that was the point that she realised she wanted to make things work. It didn't happen straight away, but eventually, they started being civilised again. They worked out their problems and I'm happy to report they're still together today. We've had other scares since then, but they keep working through it. And I learned the INCREDIBLY valuable lesson that if something's wrong, I need to talk about it. No excuses.

If you've followed the links I've placed in this post so far, you've probably noticed that you can't seem to find The World As I See It anywhere. By the end of 2012, I had become too busy to post as well. My blog fell into obscurity and the people connected with it slowly disappeared. Later down the track, I was trying to figure out how the Google account I had had become associated with a fake email address I had to make for work. After trying in vain to fix it, I ended up deleting my account and starting again. By the time I realised that both my Blogger and YouTube accounts were connected to it, it was well past the 90-day period where you can get it back. That record of a very turbulent, growth-filled part of my life is now nothing more than a memory.

28 comments:

  1. Sorry you lost your blog.
    Sounds like creating that post and letting your parents see it was the best thing you could've done. Sometimes people get wrapped up in their own world and are oblivious to what is happening to others or how it might affect them.
    Spread Wars. Now that's funny. (And I've had Nutella - I still vote for Jif peanut butter.

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    1. Good work! In Australia it's Kraft peanut butter that takes the chocolates (so to speak)

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  2. Sucks you lost the blog, that is why I back mine up once a month or so, then if it goes poof, I still have most of it. Awesome how letting your parents see helped them.

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    1. How do you back up your blog? Do you just save the posts into a Word document?

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  3. I like the title of Rusty's blog. Clever!

    Letting your parent's see that post was a good thing. And it saved them. That's very powerful.

    I'm sorry you lost your blog. That really sucks. And it's one of my fears. Whenever I do something that I've never done before with Blogger, I literally hold my breath. I back it up now.

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    1. Yeah I've got a friend who works in IT who said he has no sympathy for people who have lost their work because they didn't back up :P

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  4. You mean your blog post led to a reconciliation between your parents? That's amazing. It must be one of the most important blog posts ever written! Ever thought of becoming a marriage counsellor?

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    1. You know what? It's crossed my mind... Even now I sometimes find them fighting and insert myself in the middle to keep the peace and help them make up.

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  5. You're an incredible young man with a lot of life experiences. Well done.

    (I purposefully deleted my old blogs...nothing harmful there, but when I move on - I move on!).

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    1. You're certainly a braver woman than I :P

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    2. No, you're a brave woman....really, you are....

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  6. It's tough to have to be the responsible one when you're not the one who is supposed to be. That was my whole childhood at home, so I get it. Thankfully I had a grandmother who lived close by who was my saving grace. :)

    I'm glad you started up a new blog, you do an amazing job with your write-ups here.

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    1. Aw thanks Rosey :) It's tough, but it certainly helps you grow.

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  7. Behold the power of blogging! It truly can make connections for us -- with friends and family at home and with other bloggers all over the world! I'm looking forward to your upcoming posts on the subjects you mention.

    P.S. I could not possibly pick between peanut butter and Nutella. Both are necessary for a well balanced life, I think!

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    1. We did have a lot of people who sat on the fence and mentioned they like having both together ;)

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  8. Nutella has no place in our cupboards. None.
    And on a much more important issue, I don't think I have ever heard of a more powerful post. A healing post. Isn't is amazing how honesty and communication make soooooo much difference.

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    1. Absolutely, and it also helped that I did it as soon as I got home and didn't try and sleep it off first.

      We do have Nutella in our cupboard, but it often passes its use-by date before we use it all :P

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  9. Wow, that is incredible that by blogging about it you were able to get your parents to reconsider and reconcile. You're right, it is so important to talk about the things that are upsetting us.

    Also, Team Peanut Butter here, in case you were wondering.

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    1. It's weird, I was spending so much time and energy trying to make them at least be civil to each other. Then I wrote this thing just to address my own feelings and that's what get results.

      ALWAYS happy to meet a fellow member of Team PB ;)

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  10. North Americans know Nutella. It's very popular over here as well. My son loves it, but I hardly ever buy it because I'm averse to all things palm oil. There was a sale at my local grocery store last week, so I did get him a big jar (which I think he has not discovered as of yet) :)

    As for me, I'm a peanut butter fan, but only the 100% all natural kind, not with all the icing sugar filler.

    Great story about the power of your blog post to help your parents see what they were doing to each other and to you. Here's to many more years together of dealing with whatever life may bring their way, working as team D'Agostino. <3

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    1. I've never even seen PB with icing sugar filler. I REALLY want to try some :P

      Umfortunately, we're still a long way off being able to work as a team. I'm currently the only one of the four of us who doesn't fight with any of the others and we've kind of gotten used to finding our own lives without much input from the others, which is pretty sad :P

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    2. That is sad, Michael. Transformation is possible, but not necessarily easy. Praying your family relationships will be healed.

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  11. ...and your accents sure were sexy!!!! Hehe I remember that argument. I stick with team peanut butter!!

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    1. Good on you, PB is king ;) Tomorrow I'll be re-uploading the podcast as well as that second episode that we did record, but never handed over :P

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  12. I lost an 800 +posts blog via a widespread virus. Ouch! I've recently learned I may be able to retrieve them from off the old hard drive. (Blogging nine years this month.)

    I love Nutella and Peanut butter... no competition! I like to bake p-nut butter cookies and ice them in Nutella. Pop in the frig to chill them and whoa!!!

    Looking forward to your coming posts, regarding this piece. I enjoy your writing style as well. Your talents never cease to amaze me :)

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    1. Hahaha I try way too hard to impress :P The recipie sounds SUPERB ;)

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  13. Team PB here, but I admit to taking a heaping scoop out of the jar for myself every time I make my girls a Nutella sandwich.

    That's incredible that not only did the blog post help you vent, it helped bring your family closer. Thanks for sharing your story!

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    1. Thanks for reading it, I was very proud of it :)

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