Our Year in Review

Since we’re taking the week off, Bureau Editors Kevin Nguyen and Nick Martens highlight their favorite articles from 2009. And swear. A lot.

Nick: So, 2008 —

Kevin: You mean 2009.

Nick: Fuck you.

Kevin: It was a big year for the Bureau. We won that award —

Nick: Yes, the Pulitzer.

Kevin: No, the Web Award for Best Blog at this year’s SXSWi.

Nick: Oh, I remember that. We made asses out of ourselves onstage.

Kevin: And remember when we met that super famous rock star?

Nick: Andy Baio?

Kevin: …Graham Coxon from Blur.

Nick: Right, and you told him to fuck himself.

Kevin: I was pretty drunk. Actually, I think I was pretty drunk for most of 2009. Why don’t you refresh my memory with a trip through The Bygone Bureau’s archives?

Nick: Sure thing, bro! We started the year off pretty strong with a submission from Darryl Campbell. And then over the year, it became apparent that he had more talent than both of us combined, so we gave him the title of Assistant Editor to take him down a notch.

Kevin: I doubled his pay. To double nothing.

Nick: Burn.

Kevin: After that first travel piece, he started a series called The Gulf about the Middle-East.

Nick: For me, the highlight is “Bread and Blowback,” which was about a baker he met in Kuwait.

Kevin: I think he really hit his stride with his second series, Keywords. “Success and Failure” was among the strongest articles we ran all year. I would call it a success.

Nick: You’re an idiot.

Kevin: We also lucked out with a handful of great new travel series.

Nick: I love Jonathan Gourlay’s series from Micronesia, Nowhere Slow. That one piece about getting a wife… what was it called?

Kevin: “Get a Wife.”

Nick: Yeah, that was fucking awesome. And thanks to Bowman, I now have nightmares about Australian tiger leeches.

Kevin: I’ve also really enjoyed Emily Guerin’s series from South America, Seeing and Being Seen. Her first piece is the longest thing we’ve ever run on the Bureau, but worth every word.

Nick: That was a bitch to edit. (Oops. Sorry Alice.)

Kevin: Speaking of Alice, the Build-A-Bear story from her “Worst Jobs I’ve Ever Had” piece reminds me why I hate going to the mall. Or getting out of bed.

Nick: That’s because you hate talking to people.

Kevin: Well, that’s because people are always asking me about my favorite book! What a conundrum!

Nick: God, that was a bad transition.

Kevin: Think you can do better?

Nick: Hell yes. I’m gonna get typographical on this motherfucker.

Nick: Boo ya!

Kevin: That’s cheating.

Nick: Anyway, it was a good year for humor pieces on the Bureau as well. Hudson Hongo started writing for us in May, and I think “Perhaps This Isn’t the Right Time” was his funniest piece.

Kevin: And Hudson also got published in McSweeney’s and The Morning News.

Nick: I LOL’d pretty hard at Ralph Gamelli’s “Instructions on My Defrosting.”

Kevin: Oh yeah, well I ROFL’d at Josh Fischel’s “Town Hall Meeting on Health Care Reform, Berlin, 1939.” And don’t forget your “Post-Monsterism” piece.

Nick: I think the title was the best part of that. I also liked your Bono impression. Although making fun of Bono is like making fun someone from Jersey Shore.

Kevin: What the fuck is Jersey Shore?

Nick: I don’t know.

Kevin: What are we even talking about? I’m surprised so many great indie bands were willing to give us interviews.

Nick: Yeah, we were just shooting bands random emails at first. Though we eventually we learned a little about how to deal with PR reps.

Kevin: Like when Caitlin contacted John Vanderslice, and received an interview FAQ that claimed, “JOHN VANDERSLICE IS NOT AS NICE AS YOU MIGHT THINK.”

Nick: Didn’t he buy pizza for everyone at the show when you saw him in Seattle?

Kevin: Free pizza. What an asshole. At least gave us a fantastic interview.

Nick: And Greg talked to Women and Here We Go Magic, Tim interviewed Phoenix, and you chatted with Japandroids.

Kevin: We really stepped up our interview game in general. You had a good conversation with Robert Ashley.

Nick: I couldn’t believe you got Maira Kalman. That blew my mind.

Kevin: Tim’s interview with Nathan Rabin was awesome too. And we can’t forget about Jordan’s piece on Anna the Red, the bento-box magician.

Nick: This year also marks the end of our longest-running series, The Rambling American by Locke McKenzie. His final entry is just great.

Kevin: Yeah, he gave us 27 articles, and consistently hit his bi-weekly deadline, which I deeply appreciated as editor. And his new series, Brewer’s Corner, looks to be even better.

Nick: I actually paid $10 for a four-pack of pumpkin beer because of Locke.


Nick: What?

Kevin: Nevermind.

Nick: Uh, okay. I’m surprised Locke is so well adjusted considering that his parents forced him to dress up as his patron saint for Halloween.

Kevin: You know what’s weird? We’ve talked for more than five minutes and haven’t once referenced Mad Men.

Nick: Or prostitutes.

Kevin: No, we already mentioned Jordan.

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