And absolutely no one expected this to happen.
Those who know me well know how much I appreciate the grift. Cons, slip jobs, stings, any large-scale form of sleight of hand, I love that stuff. It’s always a good idea to keep your eye on me, because if you don’t, the next thing you know we’re planning to heist the greek letters off every frat and sorority on campus. “What about the frat that painted their letters on a cement wall?” you ask. “Don’t worry,” I reply, pulling out a water saw.
I look at my involvement with this site — and my “career” as a whole — as the biggest con I will ever be a part of. I spent my two years here waiting for somebody to notice that I was making off with the big score, but nobody ever called me out. And now it’s gone even further, because an established outlet has decided they want an effervescent grifter as a regular contributor. The take continues to grow.
As a result, I’m leaving Choo-Choo in the capable hands of John Michonski. This site deserves better, anyway. It started as a way to keep doing something I really enjoyed, and it became more than that, evolving far beyond its means.
In the course of Video Game Choo Choo’s two years of existence, we’ve expanded in ways I never could’ve imagined. We made it to E3 (on the backs of more successful enterprises), we hired an extremely clever and unconventional editor and brought on the most jacked gamesm’n I’ve ever had the express pleasure of calling my friend, we did guest podcasts with some of the most interesting people in games, and the site’s numbers doubled in spite of my exceptionally poor attempts at self-promotion. What started as a dollar-store Giant Bomb knockoff became a Giant Bomb knockoff on clearance at Wal-Mart. Also, John Michonski was there.
John, you motherfucker. I couldn’t have done this without you, and we both know it, so I don’t want to hear a goddamn peep. You took my hand and let me lead you into the unknown, more often than once — more often than anybody should have, frankly. If the measure of a good partner is how often they let their compatriot drag you on a dumb adventure, then John Michonski has no equal. We nailed that 50th episode special, and we did it together.
For as much as our E3 adventure was fraught with sudden onset debt, bongs, and hotel mailrooms, I wouldn’t have done it with anybody else. Remember Max flipping you off when we grabbed those pizzas? Remember you telling me it was okay to eat my waffle dog off the Los Angeles sidewalk? Remember how we both met Will Powers? How about the j/o crystal? What about me inspecting your nose outside the MBMBaM live show? If the unstoppable E3 trio of Cosimano, Michonski, and Westwater doesn’t reunite next year, it just won’t be the same.
Lauren, there’s literally no good reason for you to have picked this site as your foray into games journalism, but I truly appreciate your leap of faith. We brought you on in the hopes of getting a new perspective, and holy shit did you deliver. You’ll go far, kid.
Will, you know how much I love and appreciate you. It’s not often I meet somebody who I click with almost immediately, but it’s always a blast when I do. Here’s to many more years of me dragging you out of your comfort zone. (We still have to watch The Thing!) Let’s get an apartment next year so we don’t have to sit in a parking spot all night after an In-n-Out run.
Thanks to space babe Rose for naming the site. Thanks to Earth babe Desi for all her stellar work as Choo-Choo’s Unintentional Artist in Residence. (you should pay both of those ladies for some art) And thank you to everyone who drew a piece of fan art, listened to a podcast, read an article, helped me terrorize John, or did anything to support this weird passion project. You’re the real heroes.
This industry has seen a decent amount of farewells in 2014, hell, there’s been three major shakeups in this past month alone. For one reason or another, they’re often set to a tune. During momentous occasions, people like to believe they live in a movie, and proper musical backing helps with that. We’ll Meet Again seems to be a fairly popular one, on account of Stephen Colbert’s star-studded grand finale. And I like to believe it’s pretty applicable here. I’m riding off into the sunset, you guys! I’m retiring from Chooch while I’m still on top.
But this isn’t the last of me. There’s always Guest Month (hint, hint, Jonathan), and I guess I still technically “own” the site, but I need to let this crew stand on their own. I would recommend keeping tabs on my Twitter, I’ll have some exciting news there real soon. This train has finally reached my stop, but I think I’ll hold onto my ticket. Just in case.
See you around!
P.S: Here’s that farewell music I was talking about. I’m too excited about the future, and too in love with this dumb train motif to pick anything else. If I had to pick a sad song, it would be this, but to hell with that. Let’s go out in style.