What is up, everybody? It’s officially the one year anniversary of The Green Onion Blog! It’s kinda like a second birthday. I celebrated by getting up, having a coffee, and taking the kids to school. Okay, it’s just a normal day. But, the rookie season is over, and now begins my sophomore year- hopefully without the slump. Sorry I haven’t posted much, or at all, yet this week. I have been putting together a special post for a good friends special day. No worries though, because as such, he has taken the time to put a special post together all about me! It was kind of awkward to ask Michael J. Miller if he would write a special blog-birthday post for me, but, I really wanted to do one for his blog, My Comic Relief. Which you can look forward to next week, on his blog-birthday, May 17. Anyways, somehow I suckered him into this, so lest I ramble some more, please welcome my good friend, Michael-
Today the bells of celebration ring out all across the ol’ interweb. Do you know why dear reader? Well, today is the first birthday of The Green Onion Blog!!! Yay!!! That’s right, this little blog is now officially one. Awww. About a month ago, in honor of this special day (and my own blog’s birthday next week), Green suggested we write guest posts for each other to commemorate the occasion! I’m always down for a good guest post but I was especially excited to help salute Green Onion’s first Blog Birthday. What do you say on a day like this? Well, for that, read on.
Green and I began blogging pretty close together, my first post being just under a week after his, and I remember finding his blog very early in my own blogging journey. While now it’s hard to remember a time when I wasn’t blogging (really…what did I do with that time?) it’s not hard to remember the feelings when I first started. For a naturally extroverted guy, it was exciting to be a part of a brand new community…but it was also odd to be part of this community I had no experience in. What was this world like? What were the “rules”? How do you make connections in this world?! Sure, I knew Kalie and Jeff. I’d even written for their blogs. But how did I make new connections in this world with people I just meet in the computer? How do I connect with other bloggers? Those first few weeks were a lot of bouncing around WordPress (more than a little aimlessly) trying to find other blogs that a) I enjoyed reading and b) seemed to like writing about what I was writing about. The second was initially far harder than I thought it would be…but then I found Green Onion.
I can vividly remember the afternoon I stumbled upon his blog. I was at work, on my prep period. As opposed to doing boring teaching things like grading or lesson planning, I was exploring this new WordPress community. Two things struck me when I first came to The Green Onion Blog. First, I was intrigued by his post on Bone. This was a character I’d seen everywhere for years but I’d never really read any of his comics. I was excited to find not just a comic book related post but even a post about a comic book I’d never read before! Second, I remember being excited by how few posts Green Onion had. “Hey!” I thought. “Here’s another newbie like me!” So I began my journey as a blogger with Green Onion.
The mutual likes and comments began and I can also remember (which seems soooooo funny now) wondering what the “comment etiquette” was in the blogging world. Do I reply to a comment right away? Do I wait? Is this like the “Wait three days before calling” thing in the dating world? If so, I wasn’t going to play that way. Heck, I never waited three days before calling after a date/number exchange either. Our blogging bromance began to blossom right away. I’d found not just a blog I enjoyed but a genuine blogging buddy! I’d found someone else on the internet who gets me and who enjoyed geeking out about the same stuff I did! In all honesty, I think about that Bone post often. For me, it was a threshold moment in my blogging journey where I started forming the bonds that now make blogging so much fun. I can’t imagine not blogging now, in part, because of all the wonderful people I’ve met in through WordPress – people who share their passions, their voices, their art, and, most importantly to me, their friendship. I often talk about the people I’ve met while blogging with the same sort of familiarity I use when I talk about the friends I know in, you know, the world outside the computer. And for me, that really began with chatting up Green Onion.
I was immediately amazed at his sheer speed of his production. I know he’s given himself a bit of a (well deserved!) rest of late, slowing down his blogging pace (though still doing more than I ever could!) so he can work on other projects and enjoy some more time with his family. But, in the beginning, Green was posting EVERY DAY. “How,” I wondered, “can anyone do that?!?” God knows I can’t. I’ve done two weeks with daily posts and it was brutal! And here’s the real trick – all Green’s posts were enjoyable! It wasn’t like he was throwing out a lot of filler or a post that was just a meme or something. Nope, Green was generating honest-to-goodness content on a daily basis. It wasn’t just the content though, but the shape and form of the blog began to flesh itself out simultaneously. Reviews began to splinter off into comics, kid lit, literature, and movies. Reflections became all manner of Top Ten Lists – many organized around topics I never saw coming. His Month-in-Pop-Culture-History showed up along with Must See Movies, and so on. The man writes so many different lists I keep waiting for his grocery list to show up as a post too (and, honestly, given his training as a chef (and his writing style) I’m sure I’d be excited as I read it). Then the Sunday Mise en Place (which I still think I’m pronouncing wrong, no matter how many times he gives us the pronunciation guide) arrived. What could’ve been a lazy sort of weekly recap in the hands of a lesser blogger became these beautiful little peeks into Green Onion’s life. In addition to highlighting his posts for the week and teasing upcoming ones, we get to learn more about his life and, most importantly, his family.
You don’t have to spend much time at all on The Green Onion Blog before you realize that Green’s life is lived with and for his family. The love radiates off the page (or screen, as the case may be) when he writes of his partner Jenn, his son Zyler and daughter Alexandra. Through the Mise en Place we all get to know the Green Onion family in a beautiful and honest way. We see them all through Green’s eyes and, as such, we see them with the type of love that defines a life. Green knows who he is in and through his family. Is there any greater goal in life than to find your full identity through loving communion with others?
As a writer, Green has a strong sense of who he is as well. His written voice always rings clearly, authentically. When I look at my students writing, that’s what I always encourage them to do – to try and develop a written voice as distinct for them as their speaking voice. I’ve felt that in every Green Onion post I’ve read since the Bone one. What’s been as impressive as it’s been entertaining to watch though is his evolution over this past year. The content of his blog has expanded in ways I never expected with things like…well, you’ll see some of this below. Each time I stumble upon something new he’s come up with I think a) He’s done it again! and b) Where does he keep coming up with these amazing ideas? One of the things I’d like to challenge myself to do with my blog for its second year is model some of Green Onion’s innovation. I would imagine (or I’d hope at least) these creative twists and turns have to be as much fun for him as a writer as it is for us as a reader. He makes it look so effortless too!
In addition to being an always-entertaining blogger, Green Onion is a warm, welcoming presence on the internet. I mean, c’mon – the man’s followers and likes are always exploding! I have no idea where he finds the time to foster so many fantastic relationships (and this is coming from an, admittedly, wildly extroverted and chatty guy who gets super excited to do just that) let alone like posts so quickly. It’s like he’s a machine! But people flock to his site like moths to a flame – and deservedly so! I’ve always gotten the sense from Green Onion that he genuinely cares about these relationships too. I also get the sense that if I was to randomly take a trip to Canada he’d be cool with me crashing on his couch. Is that weird? I don’t care – I’m sticking with it. That’s just how nice he seems! Admittedly it might be awkward for Jenn and the kids when he says, “Uh, hey, this is some guy I met on the internet – don’t worry, it was through blogging, not like Craig’s List or something – and he’s going to be hanging out for awhile.” But, awkward or not, I get the sense that he’d still be cool with it. Let me assure you too Green, should you ever find yourself down in the States (although who’d want to come here for the next four years is a bit of a mystery…), you’ve got a place to crash in Pennsylvania.
Potentially awkward bromantic issues aside, I can’t spend all this time talking about Green Onion’s work and not showcase some of it. I wanted to model one of his classic Top 10 Lists here…but I can be verbose. So we’re going with a Special Birthday Top FIFTEEN List. Also, I tend to over-think things so there’s NO WAY I can put these in order of favorite-ness. If I tried, this wouldn’t be done in time for his blog’s tenth birthday. Anyway, without further adieu, here’s my Special Green Onion Blog Birthday Top FIFTEEN List of Favorites:
1) Bone by Jeff Smith – This is where it all began. My earliest memory of The Green Onion Blog and the man who’d become one of my best blogging buddies. ‘Nuff said.
2) Top 10 Scariest Things On Earth – In addition to being one of my ALL TIME FAVORITE posts by Green, this was one of the posts where I realized he was really doing something different. I hadn’t seen this sort of writing before from him. No surprise, he nailed it. I laugh out loud every single time I read this one.
3) Spider-Island by Dan Slott – I love Spidey. And a lot happened to Spider-Man in the seventeen years in between my stopping reading comics and returning to them. I’ve been hesitant to jump back in, wary of catching up on all that happened while I was gone. This post was my first real (and trusted!) examination of Dan Slott’s work, the man who’s become perhaps the most prolific Spidey writer in my absence. Every time I’m in the comic shop thinking of getting a(nother) Dan Slott trade, this is the post that comes to mind. A real trend I’ve noticed from Green’s writing is that he gets me to spend a lot of money. Why don’t I just go to the library you ask? His posts make the comics sound so good I feel I have to own them. So…thanks…sort of.
4) The Green Onion Tea Party – This was another one of those posts where Green totally reinvented himself. I found myself re-reading this many times, imagining how the conversation at the Tea Party would go, and imagining who I’d invite to my own Mad Tea Party. Each time I re-read it, it makes me smile again. PLUS Green LOVES Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. So how could I not love a post by a blogger I love, writing about the book he most loves?? “Love” is in that sentence THREE times! Of course this post is great!
5) Red Onion Sunday Mise en Place (Jan. 30 to Feb, 5, ‘017) – Perhaps the biggest reinvention I’ve seen Green do is turning the blog over to Red Onion. Satire is important. Satire is fun. And good satire is hard to write. But Green’s nailed this. I don’t think I can ever forget meeting Red Onion for the first time. And, unlike a certain Cheeto-in-Chief who shall remain nameless so we can keep this fun/light/enjoyable, I’m always excited when the Red Onion shows up and/or has something to say.
6) Rocket Raccoon and Groot: Tricks of the Trade by Scottie Young – I love whenever Green writes about Scottie Young’s work but this one is special. Guardians Of The Galaxy has been my favorite film in the MCU since it came out and I’ve struggled to find a comic that makes me feel the same sort of fun. But Green opened my eyes (and eventually my wallet) to a writer who is perhaps as unique in his own way as James Gunn is as a filmmaker, tackling two of the Guardian’s standout characters. I loved this review!
7) Green Onion Does Fashion – This is another one I laugh out loud with. It’s also a post I made a lot of friends and family read. Not only did it teach me pre-mud jeans were an actual thing you could buy but it showed yet another facet to Green’s voice and body of work. This is humor, satire, cultural critique, and fashion blogging all rolled into one. I really, really hope we get more fashion blogging in the future too (*cough* hint, hint *cough*)!
8) What Scares Us? Green Onion’s First Fright – This is a post he did for my girlfriend Kalie’s site, as part of a series where she invites bloggers to reflect on their earliest memories of being truly terrified. I was SO excited when Green decided to contribute to the series and I couldn’t wait to read what terrifies him down in the core of his being. I’m not going to spoil it if you haven’t read it. Let’s just say a) you should read this and b) I can’t think of [redacted so as to not spoil the first fright] now without thinking of Green Onion. He’s forever changed my view of [again, spoiler].
9) Old Man Logan: Berzerker by Jeff Lemire and Andrea Sorrentino – I’ve really been wrestling with whether or not to dive into Old Man Logan’s new solo title in the main Marvel Universe. On the one hand I’m really intrigued, on the other I’m not sure if it’s necessary. Well, this post pretty much convinced me it’s necessary, even if I haven’t bought it yet. (See?? Here’s another time Green’s got me buying stuff!) Also, Green loves Jeff Lemire and the passion he feels for him as an author always comes through in these reviews. It was an added bonus that this was about a book I was curious to read too!
10) Canada’s Top 10 Fictional Characters – I really enjoy Green’s Top 10 lists but this one has remained one of my favorites. Given the fact that he’s from Canada (my wonderful neighbor to the north (who has really nice health care… (which I’m more envious of now than ever… (okay Michael, focus up!)))) I’ve always enjoyed him looking through the characters that come from his country. Sure, we know Canada’s given us Alanis Morissette, Mike Myers (comedian, not weird masked horror movie psycho), the Barenaked Ladies, and Michael J. Fox. But it was fun seeing what his favorite fictional personalities were who’ve hailed from the Great North…well, north for me at least.
11) A Charlie Brown Christmas by Charles M. Schulz – A Charlie Brown Christmas has been my favorite Christmas special forEVER. I’ve taught the film as my Christmas lesson both as a religious ed. teacher and in my classroom as a theology teacher. In fact, it’s the oldest lesson I have. To see Green Onion talk about something I adore so completely? What else do I even have to say?!? This was GOLD.
12) Essex County by Jeff Lemire – Here’s another review of a Lemire book but this one holds a very special place in Green Onion’s heart. I’d like to say more except the connection is better described by the man himself. Suffice to say it was a thoughtful, moving review that stayed with me after I read it.
13) San Diego Comic Con – 1 Pass free to the right person – Anything I say about this piece is pointless because it has to be experienced in all its awkward, hilarious, uncomfortable brilliance. I’ll simply say this. First, this is another example of Green Onion reinventing what you can do with the blogging format and underscoring how we’ll have no idea what he’ll do next. Second, he used a Craig’s List posting for inspiration. Enjoy.
14) Green Onion Live @ Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo/Mise en Place – This is the most recent entry on the list but it’s yet another fantastic example of Green Onion giving us something completely new and unexpected. I loved the format (even though I didn’t get to read it until the whole thing was finished) and everything about the idea felt fresh and fun. I also loved that we got to see Zyler and Alexandra too! They are adorable and the family pictures warmed my heart and made it impossible not to fall in love with this brilliant post.
15) Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles by Kevin Eastman, Volumes 1-3 – Green and I talk a lot about the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. He was very excited by how I portrayed the new IDW incarnation of the Heroes in a Halfshell and was eager to check them out for himself. Obviously, I eagerly awaited his review! This post then will always have a special place in my heart as I got to read Green’s thoughts on characters and comic we’re both very passionate about.
Personally, I can’t wait to see where The Green Onion Blog will take us during its second year. We already know Green will keep the innovation coming as he’s working on a podcast and continuing to devote more time to his fiction writing too. Sooner or later Green’s going to be a big time author with his name on books at Barnes & Noble. I’ll walk in, look at the book, sigh, and say, “Ahh, I knew him when…” Then my friends and family will tell me to stop fabricating a closer-than-it-was relationship with a published author so I’ll go to a book signing to convince them and shout, “Hey! Green! Hey! It’s me! Let’s take a selfie so I can show my brother who doesn’t really think I know you but can we take the selfie away from the table so it doesn’t look staged or something?! How about by the cafe?!” Whether or not security will have to taze me is a story the future will hold. But one thing I do know for sure, it holds brilliant things for Green Onion – and we are all so much the better for getting to dive into his written words as we take this journey with him.
So, to end, here you go Green Onion – a well deserved birthday song. I encourage everyone reading at home to sing along as they watch this short clip. C’mon, I know it sounds silly but Green deserves all of our voices ringing out in his honor on his Blogging Birthday, whether we’re reading this at home on the couch, in some coffee shop, or at our desk at work. (The last would, admittedly, make the singing along a bit more awkward but Green still deserves it.) And Green, like Michael Scott in the clip, please imagine me singing the high harmony. It’s how I like to roll. So Happy Blogging Birthday to a defined voice, a gifted man, a supportive fellow writer, an artist with a clear vision, and a truly amazing friend. It was a blessing when I found your blog and I consider it an ever-growing blessing to count you among my friends. Happy Blogging Birthday Green!