This past Saturday, July 12, was the fourth anniversary of my first day of work at AP. It's kind of nuts to me to think about these past four years, and just how quickly time has flown by. Take a walk with me down memory lane, won't you? Here are some things I'll never forget about my very first month of my employment (thank you, my old livejournal, for providing me with exact dates):



MONDAY, JULY 12, 2004

This was my first day, when I showed up bright and early at 10 a.m. on the dot, only to find the door locked and the lights off. After panicking a bit and trying (and failing) to somehow check my email on my ghetto-ass cell phone ("Maybe they called an emergency staff meeting somewhere and I didn't know about it!" was my line of thought), my then-supervisor Aaron Burgess came ambling down the hallway, cup of coffee in hand, at around 10:15 or so. He looked at me and said, "Oh, yeah, no one really comes in right at 10." Works for me.



On that train of thought, I will never, ever forget Aaron Burgess, our former editorial director. The two years I spent working under him was essentially a crash course in everything journalism-related, and I can safely say he taught me more in that time period than I learned in all four years of college (and probably would've learned in grad school, too). Thanks for taking a chance on me, AB. I miss you and your thought riots.



FRIDAY, JULY 30, 2004

Getting to eat Mexican food with the Dillinger Escape Plan (who scared the piss out of me and didn't say a single word to me the entire time), former AP scribe Trevor Kelley and Texas Is The Reason guitarist Norman Brannon (nee Arenas), and engaging with Trevor in the most spirited discussion of post-hardcore/y'allternative also-rans Chamberlain in the history of the world. It was a surreal lunch, to say the least. I also got to meet Jason Hammacher (then of Decahedron) who spun some incredible yarns about Refused and specifically how unintentionally funny Dennis Lyxzen was. (Hammacher's old band, Frodus, toured with Refused a few times, including their final tour.) It was my first "business lunch," as absurd as that sounds, and it has a permanent place in my memory banks.



WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 4, 2004

The Curiosa festival (featuring the Cure, Interpol, Muse, Thursday and many more) rolled into town, and at the time, Muse were just starting to break through in America. Their then-publicist, Jim Baltutis, flew out to Cleveland to take the entire office to the mammoth show so we could see what Muse were all about (it was their first U.S. tour in something like five years), but that wasn't all: He rented a limousine to drive us there in style. (I found out later this was one of the, if not the first staff limo rental in the history of AP). Once we arrived at the gigantic outdoor venue known as Blossom, we were adorned with official Curiosa VIP laminates attached to lanyards — no, not just sticky passes, actual, honest-to-goodness laminates the size of a notecard or something, that allowed us to go anywhere we wanted, including backstage for the afterparty (where a high-ranking AP staffer, who had indulged in the spirits [paid for by a Warner Bros. corporate credit card] a bit too much, accosted a very shy Robert Smith of the Cure and may or may not have kissed him [the staffer in question denies the liplock but my sober eyes rarely fail me]).



(Side note: These laminates weren't date-specific, so I got the bright idea of mailing mine out to a friend in San Diego who used it to get into her date of the tour; she then mailed it to another friend in Los Angeles so he could get in for free. Being sneaky rules!)



Anyway, we partied into the wee hours of the night, then finally packed back into the limo and headed back to AP HQ, where everyone had left their cars. We finally arrived around 3:30 a.m., and as we all piled into our respective automobiles and left the parking lot, I looked in my rear-view mirror and saw that same high-ranking AP staffer (who shall remain nameless, for fear of a swift and merciless beating once they read this) on their hands and knees, puking their guts out in the parking lot.



It was at that moment that I knew I was really, really, going to love this job.



Of course, that would be the perfect way to end this blog, right? Well fuck that nonsense. Here's one more memory:



TUESDAY, AUGUST 10, 2004

This is the night I discovered the majesty of Quaker Steak & Lube and more importantly, their all-you-can-eat wing night. If you're ever in Cleveland on a Tuesday, holler and we'll go dominate their wing buffet. Truth.