This week marked my 11th year anniversary on AP.net, which means that I have spent almost half of my entire life being an active member around here. This website has been, hands down, one of the most consistent things in my life over the past decade. Little did I know that signing up on that one punk website that covered all my favourite bands (I'm looking at you, The All-American Rejects, Fall Out Boy, Something Corporate... and literally every other pop-punk band that existed in 2002), would change my life forever. Without it, I would now probably be in some library killing brain cells with law school books instead of working in an industry that I'm passionate about. And more importantly, I would not have come across so many incredible people that I care about deeply. It's strange to realize how a single online website can make such a huge impact in one's life, but I would not have it any other way; it's been quite the ride and I couldn't be more thankful.
How crazy is that? Better yet, how crazy is it that so many of you can probably relate? If you're a fellow AP.net dinosaur, or even if you're what we like to call a "n00b," then head to the replies and join us. We would love to hear about your favourite memories related to this website. If you're an artist, a current or former editor, a long-time user, or just a news reader (in other words, you can literally be anything on this website!), we would love to hear whatever story you would like to share. Well, not whatever story, because while I'm sure you all have interesting lives, we would like the story to feature AP.net. So if you have anything interesting to share (because, let's be real -- you can't possibly be a member of this website and not have witnessed or been a part of an awesome story, be it drama related or otherwise), feel free to come entertain and amuse us: What is your personal favourite memory associated to AbsolutePunk.net?
While the site may not have affected everyone to the same extent, it has most definitely influenced many people (be it artists, forum users or its own editors) outside of the internet and in real life. I've personally spoken to many artists whose careers changed at the speed of light after receiving positive coverage on the pages of these websites, and I've seen many of my co-workers land their dream careers because of their contributions here. But while such success stories are the norm in the industry, what has always struck me is the way the website has affected its community members. The number of friendships (and let's not forget the romantic relationships now...) created because of this website are countless. For a reason or another, this website has brought people together in a way that I have not witnessed elsewhere in the bottomless pit that is known as the internets. I have personally traveled thousands of miles away from my hometown in Canada -- from California to Massachusetts and from Illinois to Texas and everywhere in between, and all over Europe -- and I have always had an "AP friend" everywhere I went. It's quite the incredible feeling -- one which many AP.net users have experienced. And that brings me to the point of this post, which was inspired by a comment I made on Facebook:
In March 2012, I was in Austin for SXSW. While there, I met over 15 AP.net long-time users (and probably more without even being aware of it), many of which I had been friends with for a good 4-5 years prior to meeting... and it was simply amazing. I won't bore any of you with the details of the night, so I'll get straight to the point: my absolute favourite memory associated to AP.net, and one of my favourite memories in general, involves 7 AP.net users and myself during a beautiful night in Austin, TX. We were preparing to go to an unofficial party, where a fellow AP.net user was going to perform, so drinks were had before hand. Many, many drinks. One thing leads to another, and, eventually, we are all inside of a truck, passing around a huge bottle of vodka while blasting and dancing to Hellogoodbye as we drove through the city of Austin (during SXSW no less) like we were so awesome. Indeed, only AP.net kids would think that would be a cool thing for 8 adults jammed in a car together.. to do. The best part about that experience was the fact that we were headed to the most hipster event of all time. That was just so fucking amazing. At least all of us felt out of place together at the same time. And it was just beautiful.
My stories involving AP.net are endless as I have met a ridiculous amount of amazing people through this website, but that particular experience stands out because I feel as though it essentially describes your typical AP user who will always love certain tunes or bands... underneath it all. And I am proud to be one of them.
Can my favorite memory be when the entire forums got Manny Teo'd?
In all reality my favorite moments, besides the people I've met and friends I've made, are when I wake up in the morning and realize that this is what I do each day. This is my job and my life. I spend 12 hours or more somedays working on, or thinking about, some portion of this website. It's become and defined me for over 1/2 my life now ... and I feel blessed because of it.
Ups, downs, through all of it ... the music has been constant.
I wish I had joined when I was younger, but this site means so damn much to me. Every time I see a post about Brand New, or Taking Back Sunday, or any band I listened to between 8th grade and college, my heart stills flutters. This community, as small as it was, or as large as it has become, has never ceased to amaze me. A genuine love for music. Passion. And here I am, listening to Brand New on vinyl, late into the night, sipping whiskey and thinking back. And they're all good. Every album announcement. Every review. Ahhh. I could piss my pants, it makes me so happy.
I've been staff for "only" three and a half years (and I put that "only" in quotations because while that isn't long compared to Eda and some other staffers, it is in fact the longest time that I have ever done anything in my entire life), but it's hard to count the things AP.net has done for me personally and professionally. This site was my gateway to that next gear of caring about music, caring about discovery and eventually becoming more and more passionate about those things, this industry and even writing.
I shudder to think of what career path I'd be heading down if it wasn't for being introduced to this site. I'm sure I would be okay doing something out there, but my AP.net experience very much springboarded me to every writing and music related gig I've gotten since freshman year of college. From local newspapers and magazines in Gainesville to Paper + Plastick to starting some projects of my own and now to Fuse, what I've learned from this site, its users and the entire staff, and the people who I've met inside and outside the industry through this site, have been crucial to me in professional terms as well as personally.
I've made a couple best friends because of this website, become acquainted with more like-minded people than I could have ever met anywhere else, and shook hands with people I consider heroes.
Perhaps I've been thinking about this all a little more lately - I'm turning 23 on Sunday (and no one will like me for a year) - and I guess I've been reflecting on the last few years a bit, so this post came at an interesting time. But even though I'm still young, I feel comfortable saying that I'll never forget this site, the people who make it run and the people in this community, and what it all means to me and has meant to me throughout these years of my life. I'll always consider AP.net a second home, and a place that has helped define me as a human in no small way.