Murphy’s Law – Year One: A look back

By Joel Murphy

It’s hard to believe I’ve already been doing HoboTrashcan for a year. It seems like just yesterday I was trying to convince my brother to help me put together this site and he was shaking his head and telling me he was way too busy to get involved. Eventually he caved and HoboTrashcan was officially formed.

On August 23, 2005, HoboTrashcan was launched with very little fanfare. Originally, we only had four columns – Murphy’s Law, Note to Self, Perfectly Legal and Totally Wasted (Totally Wasted only ran for one week, which is a shame because I always thought it was a great concept. I actually keep hoping that someone else will take it over). The first installment also featured an interview with Michael K. Williams from The Wire. That interview continues to be one of the most read pages on the site, even one year later.

Over the past year, we have added some new columnists, conducted more celebrity interviews and watched as we’ve built up a steady readership. We’ve also had the lovely Tara sign on as our official site girl in January and in June we launched Hobo Radio. As Frank Sinatra sang, “it was a very good year.”

Usually, I like to use this column to bitch about petty things that are bothering me, but this week I thought it would be fun to take a look back at the past year and share some of the highlights. So strap into the Way Back Machine Mr. Peabody because it’s time to get all nostalgic on your ass …

One of my absolute favorite moments was getting to interview Mick Foley. He has been my favorite wrestler since I was a teenager, so it was very cool to get a chance to talk to him. I usually don’t get nervous before doing interviews, but for that one I definitely had some butterflies circling around my stomach. I set the interview up with his publicist and was told to call his hotel room in Chicago at 9:30 AM. However, Mick was under the impression that the interview was at 9:30 AM Chicago time, so he was sound asleep when I called his room. He definitely sounded groggy when he answered the phone and I felt bad, but he did the interview and was his normal, cheerful self by the end of it and it came out great. I still feel bad that I woke up my idol, though.

I think the coolest moment for me was when I interviewed Carbon Leaf. Most of the interviews I do for the site are done by telephone, but for Carbon Leaf I actually interviewed them backstage before their show at the Recher Theater. As I walked into their dressing room, I got to see them and Stephen Kellogg & The Sixers run through a medley of “Take Me Home, Country Road,” “Another Brick in the Wall” and “The Gambler.” That ended up being their encore for the night. It may sound corny, but I really felt like William Miller in Almost Famous just getting to interview the band and watching them rehearse.

One of my other favorite moments was when Phil Hellmuth got a little annoyed with me while I was interviewing him. He didn’t like it when I started asking him about losing to Annie Duke in the Tournament of Champions and he twisted my words around and said, “That’s the second thing you’ve kind of accused me of that I’ve never heard before.” The other thing I “accused” him of that he had never heard before was when I asked him if he ever felt like he was selling out by doing endorsements. I actually enjoyed getting chewed out by him a little and by the end of the interview, he was thanking me and telling me he hoped I interviewed him again soon.

And, of course, I love all of the interviews I did with people from The Office. Angela Kinsey is wonderful and she helped me get the interviews with Kate Flannery and Brian Baumgartner. I was really happy to see the show get Emmy nominations and I really think it’s on the verge of becoming a huge hit.

Most of the interviews have been great. I won’t name any names, but occasionally I’ve come across some people who have been difficult to deal with. Overall, I’ve been very fortunate.

I’ve also been really lucky in finding some really great writers for the site. I think we have a great team of columnists in place and they all have different styles and subject matter. It’s definitely an eclectic group and I really enjoy working with all of them (even if they occasionally slack off and don’t send me columns when they are supposed to).

I love getting emails from Ned Bitters. They are usually as funny as his columns (and somehow even more inappropriate). I also love talking to Tara. We knew each other before I started the site, but since I convinced her to be our site girl, we have definitely started talking more and I’m really pleased about that. Everyone else is great too and I was friends with most of them before I started the site. It’s a shame everyone is so spread out or we would definitely have office parties.

Of course, I’m also really happy that my brother caved in and decided to help me out with the site. Most people don’t realize it, but he does a ton of behind the scenes stuff. He’s helped with layout, with graphics and with just about everything else. And meanwhile, I get most of the credit (because I am an egomaniac, of course). I really love doing the podcasts with him too. Those give you an idea of how the two of us act all the time in real life.

So thank you all of you out there for checking out the site this past year. I really appreciate the support. Hopefully, we’ll be around for a long, long time and I’ll be forced to put together a sappy 10 year anniversary column or maybe even a 20 year one.

Joel Murphy is the creator of HoboTrashcan, which is probably why he has his own column. He also has some really hot friends. You can contact him at

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