I spent four-and-a-half months trying to craft a worthy goodbye. I never did find the right words, and now my departure has been disrupted by the same forces disrupting everything else right now. So many of the things we love have been suspended, cancelled, and closed. I love writing the most, and these same disruptions have shaken that love back awake.
So now I interrupt writing my goodbye to tell you I’m … back? It won’t be the same, though. The Minnesota Skinny will play host to a new project – same mission, slightly different delivery, drastically reduced number of effs.
But first, let’s get caught up.
The front page of The Minnesota Skinny has been topped since the fifth of November by a piece about Fulton Brewing’s 10-year anniversary. Remember the fifth of November? Since then, there was no added content and no reasons why. In my heart and mind, the Skinny had served its purpose well and I was at peace with putting it to rest. The blog never got huge, but I never even thought it would get as big as it did. When I left my post (no pun intended), I was satisfied.
I weathered some personal storms and made drastic life changes around the end of 2019. I took one more trip to New Orleans. I spent two weeks up north at Christmastime, but I always do that. I watched the sun go down over Lake Superior on the final night of 2019 – and when the sun was all the way down, I went to a bar with my dad and ran a pool table for nearly four hours.
“I spent a lot of time at the beginning of 2020 reflecting and contemplating what my next project would look like” is what I would say if I wanted to lie to you. No, I spent a lot of that time loafing around on the couch and playing video games on my phone. Hey: I believe it was Marthe Troly-Curtin who wrote, “Time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.”
As they say, what a year this last week has been.
COVID-19 is all we’re talking about nowadays. Anything I could possibly write about it would be redundant. Even my experience with it thus far has been redundant: I’m working from home and I’m not going out, because where would I go?
Minnesota Governor Tim Walz ordered all restaurants and bars closed to the public, effective yesterday (March 17) at 5 p.m., and the experiences of the affected service industry heroes have not been redundant. It’s affecting a lot of people, but what I’ve heard and seen on social media doesn’t really qualify me to say more than that. A lot of teams are staying in the game, offering curbside pick-up and delivery services to get by until the order is lifted. Those stories aren’t done, and I think their stories are more important now than they’ve ever been.
So how do you tell those stories now? Being housebound is a disadvantage – unless of course, you can use that to set you apart.
Just as I shared the memories we made around a restaurant-had meal, I’ll share the ones we make around meals eaten at home. You’ll see my embarrassing mallard plates, you’ll see piles of junk on my kitchen table, and you’ll see the baubles I keep on my computer desk. The food will be plopped on those duck plates, turned to what looks like the best angle to me, and snap!
There will also be the occasional creep of my cooking into the content. Have you ever seen my spaghetti pie or my hundred-dollar chili? Just you wait, my friends. Just you wait.
I’m also going to finally embark on the long-dreamed, never-executed drinking and video games adventure. There was once a plan with Joe Giambruno of Bad Weather Brewing, Ryan Tuenge of MN Beer and I to record a webcast on the couch in the Bad Weather office, but our schedules never aligned and the plan just kind of bounced away in the wind like a tumbleweed. I chased down that idea, hauled it into my home office, and my first eating/drinking/video game evenings will be streaming on Twitch later this week. Is it cool that we talk about food and drink on Twitch? Sure as hell hope so.
Should I accrue a following of more than one or two people, interviews via Skype will get folded into the program and maybe that’ll become something – but let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves. I want to have fun first. Even if I’m the only one who enjoys the content I make, that’s enough right now.
Nobody asked for this, I know, but nobody asked to be holed up in their houses for weeks on end, either. I enjoyed wasting my time while I ran The Minnesota Skinny, I enjoyed wasting my time after it ended, and I’ll enjoy wasting my time with this project. If the Flying Spaghetti Monster blesses me strongly enough, some of you will enjoy wasting your time along with me.