Five years of this? Holy crap.

Hey! So I turned five, and I totally missed it. January 14th, 2005. That's when I started this blog. Out the original "work" crew, only me, Sarah and Shamus are still at it. It seems like so long ago, yet at the same time it seems like no time at all. Blogging was pretty new to us back then, and more people were into them, I think.

Five years is an eternity in the computer industry. Since I am jaded and old, and bought my first computer back in the late 80's (an Atari 1040ST), I view blogging as Rock and Roll, and consider Facebook and Twitter as the social networking equivalent of Disco and Rap. I'm not sure I really like them, and at various times I wish they'd go away, but they probably won't. The father of a friend of mine made an astute observation at dinner a while back -- as everyone at the table was checking their Blackberries and iPhones, he said, "You know, social networking isn't very social since everyone is always looking down at their phones." He has a point, I think. I always find myself wondering what's next after twitter and facebook fade. What do I know? Maybe they won't. Does anyone remember Friendster? Yeah, me neither. That being said, I have to admit that the 140 character limit in Twitter can be a fun challenge.

What does that have to do with anything? Nothing. Just a rant. In fact, I started this blog as a place to rant about stuff that drove me nuts, and over the years I've done my share. But somewhere along the line, it became more than that. It became a place for me to share a bit of my life with kindred strangers. It became a place for me to collect the stories of my childhood, and talk about some of the things that make me laugh on a daily basis. And sometimes, it allowed me to spill my guts and sort through some fairly complex feelings about what was happening in my life.

I really just wanted to take a few minutes to thank all of the people who read my blog from the beginning, and all the people who stumbled on it for various reasons and decided to stick around. I appreciate the comments, and I love reading them. I enjoy laughing at your own stories and memories, and it makes me realize that so many of us could have been great friends if we grew up together, or if the years and geography had fallen differently.

In five years of writing this thing, I've received very few obnoxious comments. I'm sure that's just a result of my writing not being very controversial, but even so, it restores my faith in humanity just a tiny bit.

So thanks, everyone. Here's to five more years of this hot mess. Four and a half years ago, I figured I wouldn't have anything else to write about. I guess I was wrong. I'm going to have to start making shit up soon, though, because I think I'm running out of childhood.

On the outside, anyway.


  1. When I was 14 or 15 years old, I remember telling my dad what I expected over the next 20 or 30 years. Dad told me that time would pass faster than I could possibly immagine. He was right about that.

  2. Anonymous11:17 PM

    Congrats on the five year mark JV.

    I found your blog as a result of your viral post on the JC Penney catalog. Someone e-mailed it to me and I figured it just had to be from a blog. All it took to find you was a little google.

  3. Johnny,

    I am one of those that stumbled onto your site only a year or so ago. I think the JC Penny catalog was my first introduction as well. But since that time, I haven't missed a post and have gone back to read most, if not all of your older posts. There aren't too many sites that I check daily anymore, but yours is one of them.

    Whether describing your childhood memories, reviewing cheesy 'B' movies, or spouting off at retail giants like Best Buy and Target, I always look forward to your unique and humorous perspective.

    Not only do I find myself laughing at and with you, but your writing brings back a flood of memories from my own childhood. Perhaps it is because I am close to you in age or maybe it's simply my own sarcastic sense of humor, but I love the 15 Minute Lunch.

    Keep up the great writing and here's to another 5 years!

  4. thank you for making me laugh on the days that nothing and noone else will!

  5. Dude! I can't remember how I found you (it was pre-JCP) but I remember immediately thinking that you were like a male me. And really, I can't give a higher compliment than that. Heh.

    Happy bloggiversary!

  6. Congrats on the milestone. Looking forward to reading the next five. Somehow, I think you will find something to write about.

  7. Happy Birthday, darlin. Finding your blog was the start of a new phase for mine; I started writing more humor, I found my way to Humor Blogs, I made friends that have actually come to our house to visit...Your writing is wonderful but you've given your readers an even bigger gift than you realize beyond that writing. Thank you.

  8. Anonymous8:46 AM

    Congrats on 5 years! I also found you through a friend who sent me a link to your JC Penny post and have been hooked ever since. You keep me laughing. Here's hoping you've got at least another 5 years of material to write about!

  9. You were definitely the kind of kid I would have hung around with...and I don't pick my friends much differently now than I did then. I typically check your blog in the afternoon at work and you've never failed to pull me out of a post-lunch coma yet. Congratulations on the five year mark.

  10. Tell your friends father that I find, one of the best ways to boost your social social networking experience is to first place a stripper in your lap.

    Happy blogoversary.

  11. Anonymous9:34 AM

    I also stumbled upon your site a few years ago, 3 maybe AND I am the lucky recipient of the grand prize in a contest. I love your biog, so glad I found it. In five years I have dwindled down to 3 that I read regularly, yours is my favorite. Hope you continue, I love reading your childhood stories, it reminds me of some of my misadventures with my 3 brothers. I am the oldest, a sister and I tortured them!! We had adventures in our local town forest,similar to yours, I never thought of writing it down, I love to relive it all thru your blog.


  12. Oh, c'mon, Johnny. Everybody makes up their childhood. And you're good at it.


  13. p.s.

    And whether it's made up or not, or a little a' both, it's good writing. Keep it up.

  14. My precious poopsy -

    Happy Birthday. May I sincerely hope, on behalf of your blog, that its birthday is not celebrated with an Invasion of Bedbugs?

    And speaking of geography...the next time you and yr delightful spouse are down at LBI, and you DON'T come visit, I will sicc Paige on you. I mean it. That's no empty threat.

    Hopefully we'll have won the War on Bugs by then.

  15. I usually don't get mushy on comments, or ANYTHING, for that matter.

    But. I have to say something here.

    I picked up your blog about a year ago, and I haven't been able to quit since. You are the ONLY blogger whose archives I have read in entirety.

    You actually are half the reason I started blogging to begin with. I've been doing it about as long as I've been reading you, and it's opened up all kinds of doors.

    Thanks, Johnny.

    (I'm done sucking you off now. Swear.)

  16. Anonymous11:04 AM

    Thanks for writing such a great blog. I think it's not only your sense of humor, but your willingness to actually talk about real stuff too, that makes it fun. A lot of us are a little isolated and have boring or stressful jobs, so it's nice to get a little "fix" of connection with another person, especially one who has a positive outlook and a brain in his head.

    I work with broken kids and troubled families all day and it's nice to have that escape. I also love woodworking, the outdoors,books, movies, music, ideas, and stuff like that, and it's nice to hear another guy talk about something other than sports and lame-ass reactionary politics.

    Love your blog! I miss Big Black.


  17. Anonymous11:24 AM

    I found your blog recently but have read backwards to all of the childhood stories. I relate to them so much. We too were sent outside to amuse ourselves for the entire day only returning to feed. Was a different time than now and your stories rock.
    Please keep sharing your observations about your daily life I love those as well. The chronology of your deck painting project comes to mind.

    Peace and grats on turning 5.


  18. Wow. Five years. Congrats and happy blog day.

    I loved this line, "it makes me realize that so many of us could have been great friends if we grew up together, or if the years and geography had fallen differently."

    Couldn't agree more. Your blogs are always so much fun to read.

  19. GoodOlWhatsisFace12:32 PM

    Congrats on the blogiversary, blogaversary, blegivarsity, *sigh* or whatever you'd like to call it...

    Count me as another fan and regular reader who (a) like many commenters above, discovered you by way of the viral JCPenney post/emailing, and (b) like Travis, above, counts you as the _only_ blogger whose stuff I've read all the way back to your very first post.

    You are a very good writer, and have a great sense of humor. Really love the stories. So please keep up the great work! (And I hope you never end up considering it 'work', either..)


  20. Upstate Broad12:36 PM

    I wish I could remember what odd-ball search led me to your blog, I just remember that it was pre-catalog. I'm just so glad that I found it. You've provided me with a great many smiles and more than a few laugh-out-loud moments when I desperately needed them. Thank you and many happy returns of the day.

  21. Anonymous1:48 PM

    More JC Penney catalog. I laughed so much I wet my panties!

  22. Yeah, I was a JCP convert too. Since then, I've sent links to your posts to a lot of people, and have never had anyone not LOL and tell me how much they loved it.

    Your archives got me through the darkest time in my life, and I check you almost every day. Your blog both inspires me and intimidates me in my own writing.

    Happy Blogday! Here's to at least 5 more.

  23. I think you should celebrate with a fifth year fifth. That should prompt a few more interesting posts...

    Congratulations on the five years.

  24. redraven3:50 PM

    My friend Ryland, of ABoyandHisComputer (a great blog, which is no longer up, much to the disappointment of a great many people) pointed me in your direction when I got an email with the JC Penney photos in it. I've been a fan ever since.

    Your blog is a delight Johnny, and I congratulate you for 5 years of writing and entertaining us all.

    One thing I realized, when I started hanging out on the computer many years ago, is that the internets makes the world small. I've had the opportunity to know a lot of amazing people through chat, and now blogging, from all over the world. And you're right - many of them would be people I'd love to hang out with in person, if we were located anywhere near one another.

    Looking forward to 5 more years of your ruminations Johnny (and hopefully a book!). Blog on! :)

  25. Happy Anniversary, JV! You are hilarious!

  26. I too also stumbled upon this blog from the JCPenny Catalog. I keep coming back because it gives me hope that interesting things can happen to average people. Keep it up JV!!!

  27. Anonymous6:07 PM

    I couldn't remember how I stumbled upon your blog until I read @Loyd's comment about the J.C. Penney catalog. That's how i found you as well- someone had posted the link in their blog to the catalog review and I've been hooked ever since. Thanks lots Johnny! My husband and I have greatly enjoyed your writing.

    Nancy in PA

  28. You had me at "hot mess." Congrats on five years of goodness.

  29. I love your blog; I've been reading it for a couple of years. Just the other day my cousin had a visit from the septic tank man and I HAD to send him the link to your CSI Poopsmith post... He was lol-ing all the way through it!! Thanks for the giggles...

  30. congrats on five years, JV! nice work... can't wait to see what the next five bring... and if you ever find yourself near the halfway point on the AT, just look for Whookin' Pah Nub and check the crisper drawers in the fridge for beer and marshmallows...

  31. I can't remember for how long I've been reading your blog, I just remember my Mom introducing me to it and saying "I think its your kind of humor." She couldn't have been more right on, and 15 Minute Lunch has been a staple of my internet rotation ever since. Like everyone else has said, we all love your stories of child hood because we all see a little bit of ourselves in it. Congrats on the 5 year mark, and here's to many more following.

  32. Anonymous9:16 PM

    I am now going to go and play my Flintstones CD and listen to the Happy Anniversary song in your honour.

    Thank you for many, many enjoyable hours.

  33. Anonymous10:37 PM

    I don't recall ever leaving a comment. Your writing is so entertaining. Thank you for sharing the childhood stories, I can so relate. It's hard to believe we all survived. I also came by way of the J.C. Penny post.

  34. Johnny, I've been reading you for almost 3 years now (I'm a lurker) and just wanted to come out of the shadows and thank you. Congrats! Because you blog so well I don't have to! Keep up the good work.

  35. Yeah, another JCP convert - loved the post, went back and read all the archives, and haven't missed a post since. Storytelling is an art, and I've enjoyed reading your stories.

  36. I have no idea how I found your blog, but it's bookmarked and I've been lurking here for a long, loooong time. Every once in a while, I'll re-read the clown post. I don't know why, but it makes me howl with laughter every time.

    Yup, you and I could indeed have been great friends had we grew up together, or at least in the same time zone/continent!

    Happy anniversary, and please don't ever stop blogging!

  37. Anonymous10:22 AM

    Man, this is a lot of ego stroking.

    OKAY FINE, I'll participate.

    I remember the first time you, Johnny EFFING Virgil, commented on my little blog. There was much squeeing. I jumped around like a little kid at Christmas.

    You're the man, man. And I love your blog.

    And now I wanna puke on myself. Keep it up!

  38. The culture of keeping up with people you "know" from the Internet is an interesting one, and something that's tough to explain to people who don't take part in that culture themselves. I've developed in-person friendships with a handful of people I met through blogs and online networking (connecting through websites for professional reasons then realising we have more in common than the field we're researching, or whatever). And, there are people I keep up with via email, who started as blog commenters. Think of the stuff we all know about one another from reading posts about our pasts, etc.

    : )

  39. Upstate Broad1:17 PM

    BTW, Jon, tell Special Dark we miss him!

  40. Happy Anniversary JV! Like many others I found your blogspot thru the delightful JC Penney Catalog post. That thing had me in tears. I printed it out and sent it to my husband, who is incarcerated and he in turn shared it with the others. He said everyone was laughin so hard they were crying. So - now you have a WHOLE new audience just waiting to read your blog... LOL
    Anyway - much continued success to you and the 15minutelunch spot. You are my go2guy for stress relief during my days in Cubicle Hell. Luv ya!

  41. Hi J.V....
    I found you through LOTD which featured the JCP catalog and fell in bloggy love. I was so new to it all then, started my own blog which I've had my ups and downs with, but read all your archive posts and laughed for days. I'm addicted... and waiting for your book with great anticipation. Happy 5-year anniversary... and here's to many, many more.

  42. GP, your dad was so right.

    Tomb, thanks for hangin' in...

    Lloyd man, that's a buttload of reading!

    LG, it's been my pleasure. Glad to help.

    Badger, I think you were my twin sister that we misplaced.

    Chris, I hope so..guess we'll see. My stats don't look good though...I made fewer posts every year.

    Shieldmaiden, that's pretty cool. I liked that place but sadly, I didn't want to pay to be on it.

    Kathyrn, you're lucky they don't block blogs at your work like they do mine...sigh.

    Ed, good advice. Or bad advice. I guess it depends on the situation.

    Tracey, give me the names of the other two. I need stuff to read. I am the oldest too. The burden we bear...

    Fireant, the truth is, the actually dialog is more than a little hazy after all this time, so generally that's an approximation. But the situations? Sadly, they all happened. In some cases, I've changed the names too.

    Nessa, If we visited you, I think Paige would pop a tube in her head, but next time we will. And yes, we want a tour.

    Travis, I read your blog. You will go to amazing lengths for the laugh. I salute you. Hopefully those doors didn't have bars and electronic locks.

    Dave, where the hell do you live? We need to hang out and watch movies during the superbowl. You mean Special Dark? Although "Big Black" was his nickname in highschool (or so he says)

    RobinM, thanks! You are right, it was a different time. Remember when summer vacations seemed like a full 50% of the year? I miss that...

    Gofahne, thanks.

    GoodOldWIF, sometimes the work is finding time to write at all, unfortunately. I need to throw away my TV I think. Or maybe get a job as a bathroom attendant.

    UB, You were looking for a smoking baby wearing assless chaps, weren't you?

    Anon, sadly I've mined just about all the good stuff out of it in those three posts. If I were smart, I'd have milked it like lileks.

    KC, wow. That's heavy. I appreciate the kind words.

    Brutalism, a 5th of what? Any suggestions? I'm open to that.

  43. Redraven, you are so right. The world can be small. The damn book isn't writing itself. I think I'm going to end up with a book of blog posts and nothing original, because whenever I run out of everyday stuff I start to feel guilty and the I write up something I was "saving" for the book. Oh well. Better out than in, as my grandma used to say.

    Alli, thanks!

    Jefe, I think you just insulted me. Although I am pretty damned average. Except for the giant penis, of course.

    Nancy, thanks for hanging in. Where in PA?

    Natalie, you're welcome. (Hey! A freakin' model reads my blog everybody!)

    Reiven, that day will live in my mind forever. Unfortunately I think it's that time again...

    Marianne, thanks. I can't wait either. I think. Whereabouts *is* the halfway point?

    Alex, I'm sorry if I offended your mom.

    Anon, you need to burn me a copy. Did you ever notice the Flintstones is a direct ripoff of the honeymooners?

    Anon2, thanks for leaving one now. I raise a glass to all the kids of the 70s and 80s who managed to survive to adulthood.

    House of Suz, I think your mask scared a little pee out of me. Thanks for delurking.

    David, thanks. That's a lot of archives to poke through. Half the pics are probably dead by now...I really need to fix that.

    KenyaChick, I like that one too! I should add it to the sidebar.

    Shine, I read your blog every time you post. You and sarah really really need to hang out because the resulting stories would be fantastic.

    Amanda, that's true. Some of the people who've been reading my blog for the last five years and commenting -- they are "friends" even though we've never met. It's a weird thing.

    JasonzWifey -- That kinda scares me a little. I hope I didn't piss anyone off. So let me just apologize now, incarcerated people. I love alla y'all. Please don't get out and kill me.

    Michelle, I am waiting for it too. Any chance you could write it for me? No? Damn.

  44. KMarie10:03 PM

    I too, found you via the JC Penney Catalog post and am so glad I did! I always get excited when I check your blog and you have a new entry. I love all your stories and your sense of humor.

    Happy 5th Birthday!

    Write On, Johnny V!

  45. Congrats on five years of OUTSTANDING blogging! I wish I could say I have been around since the beginning, but alas, I have not. I am another reader who found you (how exactly I don't recall) because of the viral JCP blog and have been reading regularly ever since. You have a true gift for the written word (you're SURE you're an IT guy and not really an English professor?), and we are all fortunate you share your talent with us. Here's to at least five MORE years!

  46. Tabitha9:03 AM

    I don't remember exactly how I found you - it may have been through Badger's blog several years ago. I just have to say that I LOVE your writing. I, too, grew up in the 70's and your childhood stories bring back so many fond memories for me. I've laughed AND cried reading your blog at times. Congrats on 5 years, and know that as long as you are writing, I'll be reading!

  47. Anonymous10:05 AM

    Oops! Did I call Special Dark, Big Black? I think that's a guy who used to be on a radio show around here. Kinda awkward. I swear I'm not racist. I may confuse my negroes every now and then but some of my best friends are black. Well, one at least, but that was a while ago.

    Seriously dude, I'm not racist.

    Put me down for missing Special Dark.


  48. Melanie12:08 PM


    Love your blog! Keep up the great work!

  49. yay! happy blogoversary! glad I found your blog and continue to enjoy it.

  50. Congrats on the five! Also found you through Google after receiving the JCP e-mail - wanted to put up a link and needed a name to credit.

    I was going to mention that I never miss reading your posts but then I realized that I may actually have never left a comment and I'd have to confess that I'm a lurker..

    Ah, what the hell. Love your blog -keep the posts coming!

  51. I'm another that found you through the JCP post. I love your blog - your writing and humor are the best. The absolute best. Happy 5 year blogoversary!

  52. Anonymous9:51 PM

    Oh no! Don't run out of childhood stories. They are always my favourite posts.

  53. DoxieMom6:55 PM

    OMG!! I found you through a friend 2 years ago and went back and read EVERY post from the beginning. Yes, I admit - I need a Johnny Virgil 12 step program. I usually print the lastest and read it to my husband as we sit down for a drink after work. Always laugh. I cannot hear the name Debbie Gibson now without cracking up!!Hope you will write a book.

  54. You are one of my OG crew dude, and it's been cool to see you blow up on the interwebs, people totally sweat you now. Awesome.

    Congrats on the 5 years. I'm so glad I found you, Sarah, and the rest of the crew so many moons ago...

  55. Um, hello you have me at Holy Crap. I am in love with your blog...I thought I would be biased and like your blog because my sons name is Johnny and so is my husbands...but truly I love your blog for other reasons other than your name Brilliant. I am now following. Juliana from A Blonde Walks Into A Blog

  56. Congratulations on a five year anniversary. This set of tools that allow us all to live some portion of our lives in writing, online, well... Plenty of people have said all kinds of profound stuff about it but I know I wouldn't have gotten to where I am without it.

    I am glad it's been cool for you too. :) I'll have to check out the archives.

  57. Casual Visitor6:21 AM


    I was one of the guys who stumbled to your blog somehow about a year back and have been regular since. ou rock... keep up the good work