Hi. I’d like to welcome you to Off on a Tangent with Shane.
That’s me. I’m the Shane from the title of this blog
Have you read the About Me page yet?
I was going to suggest you start there, but it doesn’t really matter. Start here if you want. After all, this is the Welcome page. That seems like as good a place to start as any.
Anyway, thanks for coming. I’m honored you’d take the time to come and read a little of what I have to say. Let me give you a quick explanation of what this blog is going to be about.
Author’s note/warning: When I say “quick” or “short,” I sincerely mean it. I mean to only write a few sentences explaining things as succinctly as I can and then moving on. I mean, I know you’ve got places to go and things to do and so do I. It’s just that…Well, sometimes when the time-keeping, length-measuring part of my brain wakes up thirty minutes or an hour after I started my ‘quick’ explanation, I find that what I’ve written is anything but “quick” or “short.” It’s like my Quantity Control Mind (QCM) gets kidnapped and held for a ransom. Except instead of money, the kidnappers demand over a thousand words on obscure subjects like “What did I just touch? Why are my fingers so sticky?” I’m not sure how I got so long-winded when I write. If you met me in person, you’d find that everything I say is pretty concise.
So Off on a Tangent is a place to purge my soul, cleanse my mind, and regurgitate my thoughts and experiences in order to appease those inner demons that torment me.
Inner demons? Really?
OK. I guess I was just trying to be cool. But, yeah. To clarify, when I say I have inner demons, I’m not talking about anything you’d find in a horror movie. There were no traumatic childhood events, or any memories I need to be suppressing through the help of alcohol, drugs, or an endless line of young, scantly-clad women.
My inner demons are more like cute little kindergartners dressed in devil costumes clutching Trick-or-Treat bags brimming full of everything kids should not eat. The whole lot of them in the throes of a sugar rush as they dash around in my head; invading the safe place I go to in my mind when I want to relax, poking at my happy place with their plastic tridents, launching themselves from wall to wall inside my peaceful place, and “accidentally” knocking down any and all tranquil thoughts that happen to be in their way…or out of their way. They don’t care. They aren’t opposed to taking a few steps in either direction if a resulting crash will keep me from relaxing.
Those are the demons I’m dealing with.
I named this blog Off on a Tangent because…much like talking about kindergartners high on sugar while in the middle of an explanation of what my purpose for starting a blog was…I tend to get sidetracked when I write. That may come from having no clear goals and just letting my mind and fingers wonder when I sit down at the computer.
In fact, I’m going to go out on a limb and say that, Yes! That is exactly the reason I tend to go down winding side paths that lead the body of my story further and further from the main point: the complete and utter lack of a point.
I should apologize to my 10th grade writing teacher, Mrs. Strandquist for not becoming the writer she may have wanted me to become. I think that’s how you spell her name anyway. I may not remember the spelling, but I do remember I had a big crush on her.
I had a crush on many girls in high school. But, the numerous crushes I had and the follies that they inspired is a tangent best left alone for now.
Anyway, Mrs. Strandquist taught me how to develop a strong topic sentence and introductory paragraph that announced to the reader what my paper was going to be about and then sticking to it until the end without deviating. I doubt very much she would have let a random sentence about a high school crush in the middle of a paper go without a big red circle and a question mark. I wonder what her reaction would have been if I had revealed the crush I had on her in the report I handed in on Bob Dylan (she let us choose our own topics).
My report could have gone something like this (since I don’t have the actual report I wrote back in the 80’s, I’m stealing Wikipedia’s introduction to Bob Dylan and tweaking it a bit):
Bob Dylan (/ˈdɪlən/; born Robert Allen Zimmerman, May 24, 1941) is an American songwriter, singer, artist, and writer. He has been influential in popular music and culture for more than five decades. Much of his most celebrated work dates from the 1960s, when his songs chronicled social unrest. Early songs such as “Blowin’ in the Wind” and “The Times They Are a-Changin'” became anthems for the American civil rights and anti-war movements as well as to young high school students who fall in love with their English Composition teachers. Leaving behind his initial base in the American folk music revival, his six-minute single “Like a Rolling Stone”, recorded in 1965, enlarged the range of popular music.
Did you find the part I added? I don’t think it was too subtle. Sometimes I am too subtle or I was. That was the problem with most of the crushes I had in high school: no one knew about them. I was a stealthy ninja crusher.
Stealthy Ninja Crusher?
Actually, that sounds much cooler than I intended it to. Sounds like the title of a movie I’d pay to see. But believe me, I was not cool in high school.
I know. I know. You’re surprised. But, it’s true. I was not cool. I wasn’t a nerd either (I wasn’t nearly smart enough for that), but “cool” was not a word I remember anyone writing in any of my yearbooks the final week of school. Also, unfortunately, most of my crushes never signed my yearbooks because I was too shy to ask them (see the above comment on my level of coolness if you can’t figure out why).
A thought just occurred to me: is writing in yearbooks today’s equivalent of Facebook? I wonder how many kids today sign their friends’ yearbook with just a thumbs up or an LOL.
Anyway, where was I?
Oh yes. My point was that when I write, I often stray off the path that leads to my point. That’s why the name of this place is Off on a Tangent; because that’s usually where I end up.
So if you want to follow this page and see what kind of weird twists and turns are possible to take and how many different roads can be found just trying to make it to the end of a seemingly simple story, paragraph, or sometimes even pushing the boundaries of normal human decency as I try to figure out how many words and ideas I can squeeze into one measly sentence before I finally give in to the pressure Mrs. Strandquist placed upon my writing, cry uncle, end the long-windedness, put a period at the end, and let the reader take a long-needed breath, then by all means, please like and follow this page.
(Deep inhale) Phew.
I promise that most of the sentences will be bite-sized.
Well, many of them anyway.
OK. We’ll see.
I said, “Please Like and Follow this blog.” I think this tells you how much I know about the technical side of blogging. I’m getting it confused with Facebook. I’m not sure what you’re supposed to do with a blog. Can you Like or follow it? Do you subscribe to it? I’ll figure it out soon, but I probably won’t come back and change this section. So people will think I’m eternally ignorant. Anyway, please do what it is you’re supposed to do with blogs. Comment below? Is there a place to do that? Maybe I should actually set up my blog before writing my first post?
Is it called a post? An entry? An article? A report?
Anyway to finish my thought from so long ago, writing calms the devil-attired toddlers running around my mind and keeps them from destroying my peace. That’s it. That’s why I’ve started this blog.
See how simple that was to write? I could have just said that at the beginning and we’d already be done. I could be eating some chocolate chip cookies and you could be watching a cat video by now. Anyway, believe it or not, there is more.
For those of my friends who found their way here from my Facebook page, first off, thank you for coming. Secondly, you may notice that some of the stories here are similar to (read: the same as) some things I’ve written on Facebook. The thing is that despite all the people who have called my Facebook posts long and wordy, they were actually condensed versions of what I really wanted to write, mere samplings of what is really going on in my mind (this is probably the reason why I don’t Tweet). So you may find stories you’ve heard before. You will just find them told in a different (i.e. longer) way. Basically, this blog is “Facebook, the Extended Mix.”
And, for those of you who have just wondered on to this page off the virtual street by some random chance, please relax, take off your hat, grab a cup of coffee, kick your feet up, and enjoy these never-before-told, all new, you-are-the-first-to-hear-them stories (really. You are the first. Ignore the previous paragraph to my Facebook friends). I hope you enjoy what I write because I’m sure if you don’t, some of you won’t hesitate to leave a nasty comment down below because that’s just how the internet works.
See you on the inside.
Oh. One more thing before I go…says Colombo turning back around much to the dismay of the suspect. I’m an English teacher. I know English grammar pretty well, although I do kind of play it fast and loose with punctuation. But, I think I should warn you that I write as if I’m speaking. So if I feel a pause is in order or an inflection in the voice is needed, I’ll give you a “…,” italicize the sentence, or I’ll just hit the Enter key a couple times to skip a line. I’m not to concerned about whether or not I’m in the middle of a thought. If I think it’s best you to take a breath and pause for a second as you read, I’ll try to figure out a way to signal you to do that.
Also, I throw commas and quotation marks around like beads at Mardi Gras. It’s not because I’m not sure how to use them, No. Yes, that is it. It is exactly because I’m not sure how to use them. I’m an English conversation teacher, damn it! Not a grammar teacher. So I apologize to Mrs. Strandquist and all of the other Grammar Nazis out there if I miss-comma a sentence or put quotes around some random word.
At least I know I’m not as bad as Joey on Friends was though.
On the bright side, I do know the difference between they’re, their, and there and those other commonly misspelled words that drive people crazy. So I don’t plan on making any of those mistakes.
Not to say that I won’t. I’m just not planning on doing it. Sometimes though, when I’m typing, I goof up because I’m thinking about other things…like how good a chocolate chip cookie would taste about now. So if I do make a mistake and you feel you just may loose sleep over it if you don’t, then go ahead and feel free to point it out in the comment section. I assume there will be a comment section below this post.
Now I feel I should apologize to Mrs. Strandquist again, this time for calling her a Grammar Nazi (I guess I should also just title this post I’m Sorry, Mrs. Strandquist). The term “Grammar Nazi” wasn’t even around when I knew her. And, I doubt she has become one since then. She was too sweet.
Um…not to say that Grammar Nazi’s aren’t sweet. If you are a Grammar Nazi, I’m sure you have your sweet side too.
Great, Shane. You’re just on your “Welcome” page and you’ve already alienated some people.
Anyway, let me end this before I alienate anyone else, like those drivers who don’t use their blinkers. The jerks.
See ya in the blog portion of this place!
And, don’t forget to check out my About page too.