Wednesday, July 15, 2015

A decade of Afterglide

It was 10 years ago today that I wrote my first ever, extremly mundane blog post. I was vaguely familiar with blogs as a concept and out of boredom, I decided to try MySpace's blogging feature. Remember MySpace? Given the borderline "what I ate for breakfast" tone of that first post, I clearly didn't realize the creative potential of this platform at the time, but slowly I came to realize that I could make the same humorously profane observations online that I did offline with friends. Only here I could extend them, flesh them out, twist them, and add images and videos. Moreover, I could create characters, tell true stories of insane things that had actually happened to me, and even make up wildly tall tales of things that could (or should) happen. Most importantly, I reconnected with a love of writing I'd had since childhood but never managed to work into my adult life.

Of course, it's only fair to concede that halcyon years of this blog (and probably most other personal blogs from that time) are long gone. My core period of prolific posting was from 2005 to 2009. After that, offline interests and obligations took up more of my time, and my desire to spend countless hours on daily posts waned quickly. I realized in hindsight that my writing had shifted from being a purely fun, creative outlet to an exercise in feverishly crafting what I thought others would find funny or otherwise link to. The quest for hits and clicks had basically become a second full-time job.

What I'll remember and appreciate most about this site, aside from establishing an ongoing online identity, are the real world relationships that developed as a direct results of interacting with other bloggers (who can forget all those MNSpeak happy hours, Music Bingo Wednesdays at the Chatterbox Pub, and crazy drunken house parties?). While many of those connections have faded or disappeared over the years, a handful of those folks remain in my core group of friends to this day.

So is this a wistful epitaph for a blog whose prime is a distant memory? Given that I haven't posted in nearly a year, I think the "past its prime" part is certainly true. However, I intend to leave this site up for the long-foreseeable future and drop in from time to time if I feel the need to post some long-form thoughts on a topic or just get some bad photoshopping out of my system. Plus I still like to go back and read old posts (like last year when I commemorated the 10th anniversary of shitting down my furnace vent). Yes, from what I ate for breakfast to the gurgling high-velocity diarrhea that resulted, this certainly has been a truly end-to-end experience.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014


Here in Ye Olde Eagantowne, an outlet mall is opening tomorrow just a stone's throw from my home. I'm not thrilled about the increased traffic on the perimeter of my sleepy neighborhood (yet it isn't the end of the world). But I believe this accurately expresses my feelings.

Lyle Lanley: I've built outlet malls from Albertville and Grand Prairie to Forest Lake and North Camden and, by gum, it put them on the map!
Well, sir, there's nothin' on earth like a genuine bona-fide true and tried hundred-store outlet mall! What'd I say?
Ned Flanders: Outlet mall!
Lyle Lanley: What's it called?
Patty and Selma: Outlet mall.
Lyle Lanley: That's right! Outlet mall!
Townsfolk: Outlet mall... outlet mall... outlet mall...
Miss Hoover: I hear those things are awfully loud.
Lyle Lanley: It increases your tax base with a crowd!
Apu: Is there a chance they missed a consumer trend?
Lyle Lanley: Not on your life, my Hindu friend.
Barney Gumble: What about us brain-dead slobs?
Lyle Lanley: You'll be given cushy jobs.
Grampa Simpson: Were you sent here by the devil?
Lyle Lanley: No, good sir, I'm on the level.
Chief Wiggum: The ring came off my pudding can.
Lyle Lanley: Take my pen knife, my good man.
I swear, it's Eagan's only choice!
Throw up your hands and raise your voice!
Townsfolk: Outlet mall...
Lyle Lanley: What's it called?
Townsfolk: Outlet mall...
Lyle Lanley: Once again!
Townsfolk: OUTLET MALL!
Marge: But Yankee Doodle Drive's still all cracked and broken.
Bart: Sorry, Mom, the mob has spoken!
Townsfolk: Outlet mall...
Outlet mall!
Homer: Outlet—D'oh!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Good talk

With another half marathon coming up in August and plans early this evening, I decided to get my training run in bright and early before work. With the sun out, low humidity and temperatures in the mid-60's, you couldn't ask for a better day for a run. Or hell, to just sleep in with the sun and breeze streaming in through open bedroom windows (let's be honest, that's what I really would have preferred to do until I actually got out there).

As I rounded a bend about three-quarters of a mile into my run, I spotted a lone figure in the distance. On the opposite side of the street was a stocky fellow, leaning nonchalantly against the mailboxes for the complex of 1980's-era condominiums behind him. There wasn't a soul around other than him. In fact, there weren't even any cars parked on the street for as far as the eye could see. It was just him, chilling. Alone. It struck me as odd, even as I plodded close enough to see he was having a smoke. Perhaps he wasn't allowed to smoke in the house or even on the front step lest the smoke waft in through open windows. Perhaps he just dug leaning on mailboxes and making passersby suspicious and uncomfortable. I wasn't worried about violence or confrontation, mind you, but I could tell this guy was going to make shit weird.

Sure enough. "Are you running for me?" he called out as his features came into focus. I could tell he didn't mean it in the leering sense, but still it held kind of a creepy tone, as I imagined him catcalling a young girl out for a run. "Unnnnnggghh... Yeah, baby! Are you running for Daddy? Daddy likes it when you run. Jiggle for Daddy, sweetheart!" No, this wasn't how he meant it, but it still kind of took me aback as an unusual and ill-advised thing to yell at a stranger. Confirming my benign interpretation, he jokingly patted at his belly, as if to indicate he should also be out running. I smiled and chuckled politely, patting my own belly, and responding with something about how that's why I was out there.

Apparently my response was his signal that we were having an actual conversation, as he immediately shifted up into life story gear. "I'm 50 years old, and I used to be a runner..." I missed a huge swath of what he said, as I hadn't broken stride throughout this entire exchange. "...and my girlfriend wants me to take up a hobby..." I was already halfway down the block, and his voice, still yammering, trailed off behind me. I halfheartedly threw up my hand in a wave goodbye, as if to say, "Good talk, mailbox-leaning morning smoke guy who seemed to think a stranger out for a training run was going to interrupt what he was doing to stop and have a conversation with you. Good talk."

Friday, May 31, 2013

Knock knock! Who's there? SAVINGS!

Every Friday morning on the way to work, after a week of eating bananas and other assorted healthy breakfasts, I treat myself to a mocha and apple fritter at Caribou Coffee. Usually they have a chalkboard with a trivia question written on it. If you answer correctly, you get 10 cents off your beverage. This morning the chalkboard said "Tell us a joke for 10 cents off your drink!" Since I'm more of a smartass and storyteller than one to tell jokes, the first one to pop into my head was told to me by my 3.5 year-old nephew Gage a couple weeks ago.

Knock knock...

Who's there?

Eat mop!

Eat mop who?

I'm not going to eat your poo!!!

Ladies and gentleman, I told that joke, quite loudly I might add, in a coffee shop packed with customers and got 10 cents off my drink as promised. And the manager had me re-tell it to the barista after I ordered. Enjoy your weekend.