Friday, August 03, 2012

Bringing Down the Curtain

I've decided to make it official. The Monona Doug blog is putting up the Closed sign. Seeing as how my last post was in February, this news isn't actually new news, if you get my meaning.

It's been mostly fun, interesting, at times challenging and occasionally frustrating, but I'm glad I did it. It was time-consuming and required a lot of work, but most of the time it didn't really feel like work.

I started the blog on October 7, 2006 with First Things First and this final post is number 1,571. The blog netted 103,740 pageviews in those six plus years.  However, that number includes my own pageviews as well as Mayor Bob's, who has been steadfast in urging me to publish more posts by reminding that he keeps checking to see if I've posted anything new - alas, to no avail.

The most viewed posts were Land Grant Railroads in Wisconsin (3424 pageviews), Monona Images, (1319), Monona Loses A Leader - Bill Bathke (1257), Division Promoted in MG School Board Race (717 - one of the few times I ventured into the volatile topic of MG schools), and Yes, Virginia, Da Bears Still Suck (709).

Some of my personal favorites were The Next Step Forward (on a proposal to allow backyard water buffaloes) and Monona Doug: Sunny Violates First Rule of Holes (regarding Sunny Schubert's gaffe when she thought Lindsay Wood Davis was my daughter! - sorry, Sunny, but that was just too damn funny to pass up). The hardest, but most cathartic post was Monona Doug: Remembering Jessica Colleen Wood about my late daughter who died in a car accident at the age of 3 in 1987.

By the way, anyone interested in the Land Grants topic may want to look at my updated presentation because the 7th Circuit reversed the District Court and answered almost all the unanswered questions.

I began the blog about the same time that I became an active Amazon book reviewer. I started posting in April 2006. At one time I was in the top 500 Amazon reviewers. But writing book reviews came to feel like a job - an unpaid one at that - and so I posted my final and 390th review in January 2011.

So, why quit?

Well, I've gone through major changes in the 15 months or so (divorcing, sale of house, moving, and starting a new relationship). I also began biking lots and lots of miles, which absorbed loads of time and energy. But if you must know, I don't have a dread disease. I'm not depressed or drunk. I'm doing very well. I'm happy with my life - happier than in a long time.

Much like the book reviews, the blog had begun to feel more like a job than an avocation even before all the changes started, so it was an easy thing to put aside. It was a drain on my time and time had become more precious. I found myself only posting Monona news and almost never the fun stuff about history or books or whatever seemed interesting .

Nonetheless, I've debated doing a 'sign off', but I hesitated because I would think, 'maybe I'll change my mind'. I procrastinated. I also wanted to do a post that would be up to the standards I tried to impose on myself. I didn't want to just do a post that said "I quit". I hope this last one does that. Whatever. It was a lot of fun for a long time.

To me a more interesting question is why did I start doing it in the first place.

At the front of the line would be the fact that I quit drinking in June 2005. With the exception of a couple of very brief relapses, I didn't have a drink for 5 years. I will now very occasionally have a drink and never by myself, but I just don't have the desire to get drunk.

So, I found myself with a clear mind and lots of time on my hands. When I went through intensive out-patient treatment (four hours a night, four nights a week for four weeks or something like that), I learned that I needed to find things to fill my time.

A clear mind and lots of time to reflect are also directly related to my realization that I was deeply unhappy and unfulfilled in important parts of my life. (No, I'm not going into any salacious details.). As I made changes in my life, I just didn't have the time, but more importantly lacked the desire to blog.

In the words of the late, great Edward R. Murrow, "Good night, and good luck."


  1. Thanks for your time in the blogosphere. You will be missed.
    Mayor Bob

  2. Bob's right -- the whole town will miss you! Feel free to leak me any good ideas! Sunny Schubert

  3. I always enjoyed your observations on our literary culture, or lack thereof.
    Your blog brought Mononans together in a serious and thoughtful manner.
    Thank you!

  4. I too will miss your blog...thanks for all the time you have dedicated to this adventure

  5. Maybe this will the one time everyone signs their name on a post....thanks, Doug. You're the best.

  6. Mary O'ConnorSaturday, August 04, 2012

    It always amazed me how many interesting things you found to read and blog about. We'll miss you Doug! (And I love Mary's comment!)

  7. Your blog has been rather like the tavern in "Cheers" - a place to go to learn what's happening in the neighborhood, see friends, laugh (or cry), be provoked, and be exposed to new books and ideas. I am sorry to see you close the place, and I appreciate all the hard work you went to to give all of us in Monona a spot with civil and respectful conversation. We'll miss gathering there. Thanks.

    Peter McKeever

  8. The only blog I ever read more than once....Thanks Doug

  9. Well, you saved a good 'un for last, Uncle Doug.

    OK, I'll say it for you: "Ah buh-deeb-a-dee-dub-buh-dee-a-dee-dub, thaaaaaat's all Folks!"

  10. Thank you for sharing yourself and your news for as long as you did. Your blog was the go-to place to learn what was going on in Monona and environs, and not just in bullet points, but with well-written thoughtfulness, candor, and honesty. So refreshing! So missed! So needed!

    Congratulations on having a full life that made your time more precious. Wishing you the best.

    Heather Gates

  11. Thanks much to everyone for your very kind remarks, whether here or in emails sent to me directly. I'll continue to post comments, if any, as they come in (after reviewing them for strict Marxist-Leninist conformity as usual).

    This feels a little like evaesdroping at one's own funeral - most people say nice things about the deceased, at least within the confines of the funeral home, with the added benefit of not actually being deceased.

    I feel like I should also say that ending the blog does *not* mean that I've decided not to run for re-election. Indeed, if I had to decide right now, I'd probably run again, but I don't have to decide because, as you may have noticed it's August, not December.

  12. Rooster T. CogburnThursday, August 16, 2012

    You'll be missed Monona Doug. I enjoyed your ability to combine the hard hitting journailism of Christiane Amanpour with the style of Ernie Pyle. Not to imply that city government is a war zone :).

  13. Thanks.
    Henny Penny