Friday, March 7, 2008

The Good, the Bad, and That's It

Now I'm geeking out on blogging. I know I've lost a lot of friends' blogs, and throwing my head back to howl into the swirling abyss above has yielded very little. I got a couple, though, see the links on the left (on the right in Abu Dhabi).

And I've watched a couple favorite blogs go down in flames due to no fault of their own - if you're going to blog about work, make sure your boss isn't a big fat stupid baby whiner who poops himself. I'm not advocating violating confidentiality or libel, and maybe it's a bad idea to carpet bomb the listening audience with not-terribly-vague allusions that can be pieced together by anyone with a lot of time on their hands. But still.

There's one blog, of sorts, that I read daily: Overheard in Minneapolis. It is hilarious, the quotes are very good, and the site admin has a delicious dry wit about her.

One day, quite by accident, I found another place calling itself Overheard in Minneapolis, but there are a couple distinguishing characteristics that set it apart from the first. For one, where the former accepts (indeed, is built upon) submissions from readers, the latter does not. Quotations are overheard by SARAH or DANI or SARAH AND DANI, sometimes by DANI AND SARAH, and a smattering of their friends. Another difference is that the first one is daily and features several quotes daily; the second only sees new posts when someone loses a bet or during an eclipse. I mean that posts are few and far between: the last three entries occurred this month, last August, and last June (to be fair, June '07 actually saw two posts in the same month). Either SARAH AND DANI don't interact with people, or people aren't very funny around them.

Which brings us to the third and most salient point: the former site is funny, and the latter site is bereaved of humor. One "Overheard in Minneapolis" site imbues helpless, racking giggles, and the other introduces an insidious and creeping irritability in the reader. One wonders why someone would bother recording these inauspicious quotations - then you look at the dates they're posted and realize, actually, they generally don't bother.

The good "Overheard" site does not list the humorless one, but the unfunny one does refer to "another Overheard in Minneapolis blog" in its list of links. Sad but true: the mirth-free zone was there first. It originated in January 2006, while the quality "Overheard" site only saw its first post six months later. The funny site bothered to register its own domain, while the joyless blog sits in a free Blogger account. I know nothing about the history of these sites, but I like to think the jocular admin of the second site saw someone rubbing a dab of their own feces in the ear of a perfectly good idea, and realized life didn't have to be that way.

Mind you, either of these were of course inspired by the progenitor blog In Passing, started in 2000 by a college girl named Eve who simply recorded funny snippets of conversations, posting them several times a week. I believe the first such blog I'd ever heard of, actually, was Overheard in Boston (begun July '06), which describes itself as a "blatant rip-off" of Overheard in New York (July '03).

Not that that was going anywhere; I'm just saying.


Xiane said...

Y'know, I'd start an Overheard In Shelby blog, but there are a few factors that hold me back:

a. I hardly leave the house
b. most of the things that I'd hear and find funny here would be lost on a large chunk of the populace [in other words, anyone not here]

I had other points, but I lost them somewhere between 4:27 and 4:28 am.

Christian said...

I thought about what it would take to do my own Overheard in Skyway or some crap, but... I don't have the coding skills, and I don't feel like wading through (in an ideal situation) a thousand unfunny messages of potentially made-up crap. Meh.

gezellig-girl said...

Here's something I have never admitted aloud before: when I first moved to NYC, I had this overwhelming phobia of being overheard saying something stupid that would end up on Overheard in New York.

Overheard in Minneapolis said...

I'd like to thank you for the nice things you said about my wits (they're real and they're fabulous), and for your consistently funny submissions.

I actually didn't know about the existence of the other blog prior to creating It was an oversight on my part to not have researched it properly. I naively assumed that due to the popularity of OINY, if such a site existed for Minneapolis, I would have already known about it. I linked to them for awhile, but a long break in posts led me believe it was defunct, so the link was removed. Ah well.

OIM is, like Boston's, a blatant rip off of In Passing and OINY, except not as successful, but that's perfectly fine with me.

We're glad you enjoy!


Christian said...

OMIGOD, you totally wrote to me! I will never wash this blog again.

Thanks for the background info, I was wondering how it went down. I really don't remember how I found that other "OIMpls" site, and I had a hell of a time trying to find it a second time.

I linked your site to a message board I frequent, and one of my friends said, "Oh great. Guess I know what I'm going to be doing for the rest of the weekend." That's pretty much how it was for me, too.