The Bridegroom Report is on Hiatus

As you might have guessed, the Bridegroom Report for 2010 is still not available. It’s been a very busy last few months around here for everyone, and frankly there hasn’t been time to get it all assembled in the way that I want to do it.

So I’m thinking the report will be on hiatus for 2010. My apologies to those who have been waiting for it. As for 2011, I’m not entirely certain how I’m going to assemble one – if at all.

In most years, I post things to this space throughout the year, and hold a few things back to be included in the end of the year report. What I’m finding is that by taking this approach, I don’t keep the Pug Hollow News site entirely fresh with interesting things.  Then the end of the year rolls around, and there’s simply no time to get it all put together. The past few years, it’s been increasingly difficult to get it done – and in the case of this past year, the time to work on was simply not there.

So for right now, I’m going to take the Report down a little bit different path:

  • I’ve spent a fair amount of time writing on my business site this year, something I promised myself I’d do this year. As a result, there’s been less time to write on Pug Hollow News.
  • One result of writing more frequently (regardless of which site) is that I’m learning better ways to assemble my thoughts and get them to the keyboard a little faster.
  • With that said, I’m going to do a better job of posting here on a more regular basis. I know I’ve said similar things in the past, but I think I can do it.
  • I’m going to haul out the items that I’ve been holding back for the report, and get them to these pages soon. Though a few of them may be a little dusty, they’re still worthy of posting.
  • When Thanksgiving rolls around, I’ll take a look at what I’ve posted throughout the year, and assemble a “Best of 2011” collection (with maybe one holiday hold-out).

It’s both easier for me and more entertaining for you if I can deliver some smaller bits of Bridegroom Report-style humor throughout the year. The blogging format that we use now makes delivering in that mode a lot more convenient for everyone. My hope is that you agree.

Over the years, I’ve greatly appreciated all of the kind words many of you have shared regarding your fondness for The Bridegroom Report. Frankly, I enjoy writing and assembling it. More accurately, I enjoy writing, but only when I can take the time to enjoy it. Just slapping something together for the sake of delivering it just didn’t feel right. Since I do value your opinions of my work, I didn’t think it was fair to deliver a half-baked or hurried product to those who look forward to reading it.

The Christmas Day newspaper is no different than most other days in terms of style and format (other than the advertisements, of course). Pug Hollow News will be similar in that philosophy. The idea of an end of the year compendium is still not out of the question, but for the time being, look to get your Pug Hollow fix in smaller doses. I’ll do my best to keep up my end of the deal by making it worth your while to visit often.

Never Leave A Man Behind

We had a small Halloween gathering with the Dixon clan, complete with masks, bonfire and tractor rides through the woods.

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The woods at night are a dark place – there’s just not much to light things up back there. On one trip into the woods, the tractor engineer decided it would be a good idea to make the drive without headlights. He’s done the trip so many times, it can probably be done with a blindfold, but the dark ride was a little interesting for the four travelers in the trailer.

Once the ride reached the deepest point in the woods, the furthest point from the house, the engineer just, well, disappeared. He stopped the tractor, turned it off, jumped down onto the trail and just took off – leaving the passengers to fend for themselves.

The ensuing conversation in the trailer between Cameron, Brendon, Allie and Nicholas went something like this:

C: Where’s he going?
B: I don’t know. What do we do?
C: Let’s go back to the house – follow me, I know the way!

At this point, it was hard to tell who was saying what. Minor panic had set in, and the mad scramble to “abandon trailer” had begun. As Cameron the Fearless led the group toward Pug Hollow, one voice was clearly heard coming from the trailer:

“Hey, guys, wait for me!!!!”

It was Nicholas, who was still struggling to get out of the trailer. Compared to the Dixon kids, the boy is a midget (actually, he’s pretty small compared to most other kids). His legs couldn’t reach the tire on the trailer to climb out, so he was stuck straddling the side.

The gang turned back, and in a heroic move Cameron bear hugged him and dragged him out of the trailer, and they sprinted toward the house. As the engineer watched (and laughed) from a distance, their shadowed outlines making tracks toward the campfire, there was a small pack of three, from tallest to shortest, covering ground pretty well – with the smallest and weakest of the herd trailing slightly behind. Had he been a wildebeest on the savanna, he would have been dead meat.

Nicholas’ Class Photo

We’d like to report that Nicholas’ class photo was a little better than last year’s effort – unfortunately, we cannot.

For those who didn’t see last year’s work, here’s a reminder:

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Which of course, through the magic of Photoshop, we turned into this gem:

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We figured if it was going to look like a mugshot, we might was well make it really look like a mug shot.

So without further adieu, here’s the 2009 Nicholas Class Photo:<

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We’re so proud. It just screams back to the Calvin and Hobbes days.

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Maybe we’ll just start calling him Calvin.

History of The Bridegroom Report

Once upon a time, on a computer retired long, long ago, it was born.

Just after Thanksgiving in 1994, we got a Christmas card from someone that contained a letter that offered a “year in review” summary. We can’t remember who sent it to us, but we do remember that it inspired us. We’d been married about 4 years at that point, and had started to lose touch with some of our friends and family. So we decided to give it a shot, and The Bridegroom Report was born.

The first issue was a one-page, front and back document. As we’ve contended for many years, we really do lead pretty boring lives, and the inaugural issue certainly proved that. A pretty ho-hum report, with all of the basics: who’s working where, what are we doing to keep ourselves busy, any kids, any pets, etc.

It was the second issue in 1995 where the Report really started to take shape, presented in the newspaper-style layout you see today. As we do every year, we went back to the previous year to see what we wrote. We came to the conclusion that is was boring, and needed some humor. We were on our way back to Fishers from a trip “home” to NW Indiana, with Cathy driving and Sam typing. Most the year was occupied with Clyde stories, so we thought “Why not start with something about Clyde?” So we came up with the text, and laughed our asses off when we read it back to ourselves. Then we had to come up with a title. Then we decided to toss in a picture, and maybe a headline. The next thing you know, it started to look like a newspaper story.

So we decided to go with a newspaper format – we thought an 11″ x 17″ paper folded in half would look pretty newspaper-ish, but that meant we needed to come up with four pages of content versus the previous year’s two pages. After very little discussion, we decided we could ramble on enough to fill up that much space. One of the things we worried about, though, was the Report coming across as a “we love us” kind of thing. As a result, we tried pretty hard (and continue to do so) to make sure that we were able to update everyone on the year’s events (with our own brand of self-depreciating humor, of course) without sounding full of ourselves.

And so the Report began to take shape – and we heard about it. We got phone calls and cards from a lot of people, saying they thought the Report was “a hoot”, and that they were looking forward to next year’s issue. That’s when the pressure set in – now we HAD to do it every year.

Oddly enough, we were able to recover our first two issues in late 2003. The electronic source files for them cannot be found, but we were able to uncover original copies of the 1994 and 1995 issues. They’ve since been scanned in as Adobe PDF’s, and are available on this site.

Since 1995, we’ve pretty much stayed with the four-page format. About the only differences have been improvements in the layout, the addition of pictures and maybe some better writing. The only exception has been the 2001 “Double Issue”, which was eight pages. We unfortunately could not send a Report in 2000, as we were too busy trying to move into Pug Hollow (before it was called Pug Hollow). We heard from a lot of people about not receiving a Report – apparently, there were quite a few that really looked forward to reading it. So we doubled up and reported two years in 2001 – and we vowed never to miss a year again, because the postage and printing costs were almost funny. Our best estimate is that we printed & mailed 150 issues in 2001 (you do the math).

Over the years, certain traditions have developed that surround the creation, publication and distribution of the Report:

  • We usually wait until about December 10th or 11th (sometimes later) to start writing. We work better under pressure (that’s our story and we’re sticking with it).
  • About two days later, we proofread the Report and get it off to Kinko’s for printing.
  • Somewhere around December 19th (give or take a couple of days), the addressing, stamping and stuffing begins. We’ll get started about 9:00 PM, and go until we’re all done – which is usually sometime around 2:00 AM.
  • The Bridegroom Report Web Site gets updated the day the issued get mailed, putting in the latest editions of the report and any web-only extras that need to be included.
  • Two days later, we’ll find a typo in the Report, which pi$$es Sam off to no end.

One nice tradition that we think has come of this effort is that we don’t buy Christmas cards anymore; the Report has now taken the place of the cards (and the presents) for just about everyone on the distribution list.

With each generation of the Report, though, we do try to improve not only the content but how we get it assembled and delivered to everyone. As a direct result of the printing and postage fiasco of 2001, we decided to work a little harder at sending the Report electronically. In 2003 (the 10th Anniversary Issue), we finally sent out The Bridegroom Report Electronic Edition to as many e-mail address as we could verify. Included with the Electronic Edition of the Report was a PDF photo album, containing images from the year. This was something we’ve wanted to do for years, but printing and postage costs made it prohibitive. Now all we need to do is to figure out how to deliver the album in a smaller file, since the mailing actually crashed the Bridegroom Technologies mail server on the first attempt. The technical support department at Bridegroomtech.com was not at all happy about the situation.

By the way, if you’re not on the electronic mailing list already, please let us know so we can add you to it. We’d hate to deprive any mildly interested party of our annual ramblings.

So that’s the story, thanks for taking the time to read it.

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