Poked in all my quarters, looking for the perfect swan song to walk out on

Today I'm "retiring" from the AbsolutePunk.net staff**. What a luxury it's been, making so much money writing mediocre albums reviews that I can retire at the age of 24! 

Really though, I've been on staff at AbsolutePunk since April 2010. Just about five and a half years. The website and its community are as much a part of my identity as anything else I've ever been a part of -- I consider it to be, permanently and irrevocably, a part of me.

The reason is simple and not particularly exciting. Over the past two and a half years, since I moved to New York City, but more significantly over the past six months, I've been able to dedicate less and less time to the site. In college, AP.net was one of the first things I thought about in the morning: Wake up, shower, post some news before class, skip class and do some more AP.net stuff. It was constantly on my mind, from racing Zack to post about some tour to writing 100 album reviews in 2011. 

I don't feel like becoming the type of staff member that doesn't participate on the site regularly. I don't think there's anything wrong with that -- plenty of AP.net staffers are infrequent or occasional participants. But we just ran the Absolute100, and I didn't contribute a single band to it, because I didn't have the time to write -- that made me feel weird in a way I didn't particularly like. 

This wasn't a quick decision, but one I've been debating for quite a bit of time. I didn't want to fade away from the site -- there is too much I'd like to say in this letter to have done that -- so there had to be some sense of finality. The only surprise in me picking a review of a new Wonder Years record to be my last post is that it took me so long to realize that something about The Wonder Years was the only real option for such a thing. 

If I didn't want to interview The Wonder Years in 2010 after hearing The Upsides for the first time, I almost certainly would never have been hired by AbsolutePunk a few short months after I had the opportunity to chat with them in February of that year, in Tallahassee, Fla. If I had never been hired by AbsolutePunk, I probably wouldn't have become a journalism major at the University of Florida. Following in the vein of the "ifs" here, without AbsolutePunk I would certainly have never met so many of the wonderful people I've become friends with over the past five years. 

A review of The Menzingers' On The Impossible Past was an impetus behind getting hired as a web content manager at Fuse and moving to New York City after graduating college. Just a few months ago, when I was interviewing for my current role as digital content strategist at DIRECTV, AbsolutePunk came up in my interview process more often than most anything else I'd done in the past -- why was I writing for a website without pay in my free time?

AbsolutePunk writers don't get paid, but I'll argue that I've gotten much more from the site than it's gotten from me (in review numbers: around 250 reviews and 3.5 million pageviews; in news posts, interviews, and whatever the heck else: literally too much time spent to count). I've made countless great friendships, gotten to chat with bands I love/d, earned new career opportunities, the whole nine yards. I wouldn't trade any minute I spent working on the site for anything else I could've been doing with those minutes. I've also had the pleasure of participating in the community around AP.net -- for better and for worse -- over the last several years. What's better than writing, at your leisure and without much pressure at all, for a website where you get to talk about music all day? Honestly, what's better than that?

I'm not trying to make this an incredibly long thing to read. I'm going to point out some highlights and thank some people. But first, a little bit of information about the site you're reading this on: This is my new personal blog. Follow it or don't ... it's just here so I can have a place to write about stuff (music, sports, whatever else) when I feel like it. A few things are already published. Posts will likely be sporadic, but I'll mention them all on Twitter whenever I write something new

A highlight: Probably the best #humblebrag I have from these five years is that I was able to exclusively premiere the first single released from five consecutive Wonder Years releases. For people keeping score at home, that's: The Upsides deluxe edition, Suburbia I've Given You All And Now I'm Nothing, the GK Tour SplitPunk Is Dead. Get A Job., and The Greatest Generation. I'm not counting whatever the fuck this was

There are many other highlights (that Menzingers review linked above comes to mind; so does #GFYTN, in a different way), but today seems to be a very TWY-centric day, so I'm going to leave it at that. 

Thanks to: A lot of people. Jason Tate has created something on the Internet that, to me, is truly unique. There are other forums, other message boards, other forums and message boards where people talk about music. But for an entire little world of music -- an entire little world that isn't exactly really all that little, either -- AbsolutePunk is an epicenter of news and community. It's a place where you can go to talk about all your favorite bands with people who have actually heard of those bands before. That was a much more profound thing a decade ago than it is today, but that doesn't make the community any less special. Thanks to Jason for being an okay boss, a good podcast co-host, a great friend. Thanks to Linda for hiring me as a user review editor and Alyssa Vazquez for showing me this website in high school in the first place. Thanks to everyone I worked with on staff: You're all my family. Thanks to Zack, Vinnie, Matt, Katie, my mom, my dad and my sister. I could name 100 more people, but I'm not trying to take up your whole day.

Most importantly, thanks to everyone who read something I wrote on the site. It was a lot of fun.

** I'll still be co-hosting the weekly AP.net podcast with Jason, and I'll still be running Bad Timing Records with Zack.