Like Geraldo Rivera prying open “Al Capone’s vaults,” I broke a few electronic locks on this blog and slid into the dusty darkness. And like Geraldo, the results are pretty underwhelming — a few bottles here, some mummified rats in the corner, and not a lot of content.
For a blog titled “matthewrothenberg.com” — a blog that bears the domain of someone with decades in the business of communicating, mostly via the written word — this place really sucks. To start cleaning up this mess, I might as well consider how it got so musty and flyblown in the first place.
Confession #1: I only set up this blog as a container for my resume. Back in October 2006, my friend and then-Hachette colleague Chris Herring pointed out that while I’d been happily participating in social media for years (including curating the user-generated content for ZDNet News), I’d never gotten around to taking this simple step toward self-promotion. D’oh!
I’m spending half of Saturday in the Douglass campus cafeteria at Rutgers while my kid takes tests preparatory to beginning her college career this fall at Mason Gross School of the Arts.
Cooling my heels here is a chance to reflect on two things: the welter of social media I need to update (this blog is the most neglected patch of my online turf, behind my CBS MoneyWatch blog, Che Underground blog, Sceneroller, Facebook, LinkedIn, about six Twitter feeds and all the social media we’re warming up at TheLadders) and the excitement I feel about my daughter’s college trajectory.
Like many friends my age, I kind of backed into college — and even more than most, I hurried through it with no particular idea of what I wanted to do when I got out the other side. My alma mater of UCSD is a top-notch school, and staying in San Diego occasioned the wonderful adventures documented in Che Underground. But I have a great deal of respect for the career focus my kid has demonstrated and much more regard than I ever did for the process of applying to a variety of schools, making decisions and possibly facing rejection. (I’m proud that she was accepted into every program for which she applied, but that reflects in a large part the specificity of her career goals. Few of us had such clear ones at her age!)
It’s risky to live vicariously through your kids, and I wouldn’t trade my choices considering the joys I’ve experienced as a result. But it’s an awful lot of fun to watch mine make their own choices and see those choices rewarded with success.
Between Che Underground, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn — oh, yeah, and real life! — this blog has been growing a bit weedy.
I started my very cool new job at TheLadders at the beginning of September … Sadie and Lily entered 10th and 6th grades, respectively … Nancy has been arting it up furiously … And we’ve been engaged in the usual run of family holiday fun, most notably our elaborate preparations for Halloween.
Our front yard is the scariest on the block, and Sadie and Lily outdid themselves as Rorschach from the “Watchmen” graphic novel and one of a pair of cupcakes. Lily is the one on the right in this photo from yesterday’s Halloween party in Maplewood Village.
When old friends and I started the Che Underground blog February 16 (my 43rd birthday), we didn’t know how successful we’d be at reassembling the sights, sounds and sociology of the early-’80s San Diego music scene it covers.
So far, it’s exceeded my fondest hopes — and today we got some very welcome recognition from Wired.com. Music editor Eliot Van Buskirk did a terrific piece on our scene and our site, including a lovely sidebar showing some of the participants before and after.
“‘We were ignored by the media and harassed by the powers that be, hated by the San Diego Police Department and still the shows went on, the zines were printed and distributed — all pre-internet and pre-home computer,’ said Toby ‘Lifehater’ Gibson via e-mail. ‘Most kids today have no clue how much work that was back in the day, making the stuff by hand, advertising however you could and distributing on foot.'”
Here’s a quick update from the Smoky Mountains, where we’ve rented a cabin for a week to wind up an amazing summer.
I’ve had lots of consulting work to keep me busy, but it’s also afforded me the flexibility to explore New York, catch up with folks, take a couple of trips, hang out with Nancy, get our house ship-shape and generally tie up all loose ends.
We vacationed in Michigan and Tennessee, the kids had their two weeks at camp, we hosted a passel of Nancy’s siblings and took in a Yankees game, I’ve worked on the Che Underground blog, we bought a conure, we visited a movie set (courtesy of Joe Drago) so Lily could meet Andy Garcia, we rode a tour bus around lower Manhattan (twice!), Nancy rented a new studio, I got to hang out with the peeps back at the CNET/Ziff Davis Media/Ziff Davis Enterprise offices, we learned all about fine vegan dining … It’s been spectacular!
Tuesday, Sept. 2, I start a great new job as content director for TheLadders, the No. One recruiting site for six-figure salaries. They’re great folks with a rockin’ office in SoHo, and I think we’ll make magic together. A perfect coda to a fantastic summer.
We’re having family fun, but crazy-busy. On Friday our family and niece Katie drove our camper-trailer the 800 miles back from our annual gathering near Muskegon, Michigan, with Nancy’s kin … Got in around 1am Saturday … On Sunday evening, a contingent of those Michigan/Arizona relatives arrived at our house back here in Jersey … Four a.m. Monday, I got up to take the kids to Montclair to embark on their two weeks of camp … Nancy’s brother Dave arrived at noon at Newark airport to join the rest of the away team … Then we all caught a train into the city … Took my first-ever bus tour around Manhattan, then took in my first-ever baseball game at Yankee Stadium … Got home around 1am … Everybody but Dave took off this morning to drive back to Michigan … Dave and Nancy and I had a lovely walk around Central Park and dinner at Vynl on 84th & Columbus. Now home — whew! Time to get back to work so I can get some rest!
I’ve been even less active than usual on this blog but busier than usual blogging: My preliminary efforts to chart my personal history in San Diego music have now merged with a larger campaign to salvage and restore some highlights from the slammin’ little music scene I had the good fortune to join in the early 1980s.
The first result is this Che Underground blog, named in honor of UCSD’s now-venerable Che Cafe (site of some of our finest musical moments). Songs, pictures and stories of the fabulous Answers, Hair Theatre, Noise 292, Rockin’ Dogs and Wallflowers, to name a few!