June 10, 2004

Layna Walczaca!

"Plain Layne" - the only readable diaryblog out there - has been through many incarnations: diary, bi travelogue, cathartic smackdown, and others I'm sure I've forgotten.

Now perhaps its most confounding change: into a Polish 404 page.

It's over my head, Layne - but I'm sure you'll do great with it.

Dzien dobry!

Posted by Mitch at June 10, 2004 07:44 AM

The number of page visits to my site has shot up due to Google searches for Plain Layne. That girl does so enjoy her dramatic exeunts.

Posted by: Ryan at June 10, 2004 12:06 PM

I *was* wondering about the somewhat higher hitcounts today, but you're right, Ryan, my blog is just being Layne-dotted as well.

Posted by: Gudy at June 10, 2004 02:07 PM

Lemme trot out my rudimentary street Polish and take a crack at the 404:


Modernizing our servers! Back in service in latter half of June.


I pretty much gave up on Layne some time ago. Just too much sturm und drang for my tastes. My theory is that she's a frustrated Minneapolis proto-punk who is composing her novel online. I will give you this--it's different.

Djiekuje bardzo!

Posted by: Pete (Alois) at June 10, 2004 02:16 PM

Let me try MY street Polish:

Such Modernized [indentured] Servitude!
Such wussiness takes a polish chair on the chin!
Before riding in a pram.

I often wonder what, if any, percentage of Layne's blog is fiction. Usually I'd say "0". Sometimes, episodes don't quite pass the "g'wan" test.

Posted by: mitch at June 10, 2004 02:44 PM

More and more, my suspicions mount that Plain Layne may be a creative writing exercise conducted by several writers; one makes a post, and then another comes along and has to pick up the ball and add to that post. It would explain a lot, really.

Posted by: Ryan at June 10, 2004 03:14 PM

I've also wondered about that, Ryan.

She's 27, seems to have little real experience or qualifications other than a sled-dog-like work ethic. Yet she's a manager.

With this sled-dog-like ethic, she STILL manages a social life that'd be the envy of an unemployed independently wealthy person.

And although most people are impervious to learning from experience, she seems to be almost supernatural in this regard.

And new people - interests - seem to pop into her life with absolutely metronomic regularity. Exit one love, enter another - maybe with just a bit of unseemly-yet-titillating overlap, maybe not, but never without another sigother of some type or another for more than a few beats in the blog's rhythm.

This might be interesting to look into.

Posted by: Sharkey at June 10, 2004 03:39 PM

What Ryan said.

It could even be a bunch of guys. The growing preponderance of hot gurl-on-gurl sex is right out of Letters to Penthouse ('amember them?). All Layne needs now is an identical twin and she'd be sperm-dream city--at least, to a certain younger segment of the male demographic...

Posted by: Pete (Alois) at June 10, 2004 03:42 PM

The problem is that it's really hard to look into this, because you just keep running into dead ends.

Here's a telling detail mentioned by another reader at anothere site: Layne mentioned once that the new Minicorp catch-phrase was "Reaching For the Stars, Together." You'd think a Google search on that, combined with Minnesota+business, would unveil what Minicorp actually is, but. . . nothing. That seems pretty odd.

But, yeah, if it is a guy or bunch of guys, it would certainly explain why she writes so drippingly about women and tends to shy away from details and encounters with men. Just a thought.

Today's word has been: conjecture.

Posted by: Ryan at June 10, 2004 04:35 PM

Missed what Sharkey said until he'd already posted.

I expressed some very similar misgivings (, back in January when I quit reading her blog. Too much stuff just didn't add up, and really, I don't care to spend so much time in anyone's bedroom (except my own, of course... ).

Posted by: Pete (Alois) at June 10, 2004 04:49 PM

another thing about layne's blog, the lesbians are always gorgeous, like the kind of wet dream that college fratboys have about lesbians.

in real life, the typical lesbian looks like ernest borgnine. yes, that's a overgeneralization. but what are the odds that every. single. lesbian she runs into is fantastically gorgeous?

doesn't pass the smell test. so to speak.

Posted by: scott at June 10, 2004 04:52 PM

Layne claimes to work at a East Suburban (Woodbory) campus. How many can their be?

3M - but i have Friends at 3M who sa there is no Layne Johnson anywhere at 3M.

Imation - I don' tknow anyone their

Hartford - not Really a Campus

Land o'lakes - ditto

Any other ideas?

Posted by: andrea at June 11, 2004 12:54 AM

Whenever I picture Minicorp I picture the new Best Buy headquarters in Richfield. It ain't exactly the East metro, but she often refers to 494 and it's right on Hwy 494.

Posted by: Todd at June 11, 2004 09:49 AM

O.K. This is very interesting. (I'm also posting this same message on Joshua's blog, since the conversational threads seem to be the two longest.)

Asking any of you who have been following this story for a longer time than me: has ANYONE actually seen or spoken with Layne Johnson (telephone)? Or has it only been by email or IM or some other computer-mediated communication??

--Ryan Schultz (a.k.a. Quiplash, to keep me separate from the other Ryan)

Posted by: Quiplash at June 11, 2004 10:24 AM

Hm. I used to work at Best Buy - the software development culture there was certainly as dysfunctional as Layne, or possibly "Layne", describes.

It's not really a campus, though, and they don't have tunnels like she describes at Minicorp, AFAIK.

Posted by: mitch at June 11, 2004 10:27 AM

Okay, y'all heard it here first:

"Layne" is a bored and frustrated 36-year-old male engineer from Warsaw (przepraszam, that's WARSZAWA) who hasn't scored since he had a regrettable one-nighter with his high-school physics teacher.

He DOES have a hell of an imagination, though... and his English is truly excellent.

"Hmmm... wonder what it would be like to be a hot lesbian chick in, say, Minneapolis?"

(cross-posting this to Joshua's blog)

Posted by: Pete (Alois) at June 11, 2004 11:46 AM

I don't know what Minicorp is, but the old startup where Layne used to work was Aptura Technologies LLC, a now-defunct St. Paul tech company.

The following page:

from June 2002 mentions Layne's blog and links to her at

The site has since been taken over by another company, but an archived old site can be accessed here:

Layne's page unfortunately wasn't archived.

Posted by: Jimmo at June 11, 2004 12:36 PM

"has ANYONE actually seen or spoken with Layne Johnson (telephone)?"

Johnny from apparently met her in person years ago. The following exchange is from April 23, 2004:

Johnny Huh:
"Actually, Layne, I met my wife the same place we met years ago. Remember?"

"Of course I do, silly. But we never mention that here. We're too hep to meet that way ;-)"

Posted by: Jimmo at June 11, 2004 12:46 PM

Pete(alois): Good digging, but it happens to be incorrect.

Without going into details, I know the people from Aptura. Layne never worked there.

However, there is a connection. I can't say yet what it is (I know part of the story, but can not yet reveal it publicly for a variety of reasons - and there's a huge gap in the story, filling in of which would confirm or deny any number of theories.

Stay tuned - and feel free to crosspost this.

Posted by: mitch at June 11, 2004 12:46 PM

Argh! Mitch! That's just torturous teasing!

Posted by: Ryan at June 11, 2004 12:53 PM

I find it quite interesting that the inestimable Johnny Huh? has not deigned to weigh in on the subject, here or elsewhere where "Layne's" disappearance is being discussed.

Well, isn't that speeecial? [/church lady]

Posted by: Pete (Alois) at June 11, 2004 01:01 PM

Oh and I would suggest that we actually create a space where we can continue to discuss this until (if) Plain Layne's comment box comes back. I am quite willing to set up an Orkut community, and send invitations out to everyone who isn't yet a member of Orkut (by the way, Layne Johnson has an Orkut profile, but there's not much in it, and she only has links to three friends).

So, if you want an invite to the brand-new Plain Layne Comment Box community on Orkut, send me an email at and I will invite you in.

--Ryan Schultz (Quiplash).

Posted by: Quiplash at June 11, 2004 01:07 PM

I dunno, I'm still willing to give her (or "her") the benefit of the doubt, maybe because I just can't wrap my mind around someone dedicating so much time to creating a fictional online persona - especially if they weren't getting something out of it (i.e. I can see pretending to be a hot lesbian writing about sex and then putting up a huge Amazone wishlist or whatever).

Layne emailed me once around X-mastime when she was drunk and depressed about Lauren. I replied but never heard back from her.

I admit the whole - "her blog is super-popular yet no one in the world seems to know her in real life" thing is a bit suspicious.. but a lot of the other stuff people mention doesn't seem to add up to Layne being fictitous.

Like her being a "manager". Lets face it, in the real world everything operates on nepotism, not merit. This, in fact, is the reason why most union contracts operate on seniority, because they know that "merit" means "who kisses the bosses as the most". She banged the right guy and that got her in the right place, from which she was demoted as soon as he was out of the picture.

As far as her sex life, it seems to go in spurts, like most people. I remember when I was single there were times when I didn't get laid for months, and times I had several hookups and one night stands in a row. And some of those were with really hot girls who called themselves "lesbians" but were still hooking up with me. So the fact that the lesbians mentioned on Plain Layne don't look like Ernest Borgnine does not scream "bullshit" to me.

Whoever is writing the stuff obviously knows Minnesota well. I don't notice the huge shifts in tone between entries that Ryan sees, to me the tone seems fairly consistent but alternates with events going on in her life and how she feels in general. The writing style is great, we all agree on that and that's why we all read her (real or not, frustrating or not), and to me that style seems pretty consistent.

So I dunno. I just keep coming back to this idea of "why the hell would someone bother"... especially someone doing it so well. I Dunno.

Posted by: David Grenier at June 11, 2004 01:13 PM

in real life, the typical lesbian looks like ernest borgnine.

Could you be a little more stereotypical please! Come to my neck of the woods sweetie...the lesbians around here would drop you to your knees. No lie.

Posted by: Lily at June 11, 2004 01:46 PM

Nice to hear David Grenier's take.

And hey, I have always believed in self-correction (a conservative trait!) and will inform everyone that Johnny Huh? did weigh in, finally, with an interesting post. Go here:

Posted by: Pete (Alois) at June 11, 2004 01:51 PM

Just because I'm in this kind of mood this week--

"the lesbians around here would drop you to your knees. No lie."

Lily-- Evidently you don't appreciate how hard it is for a guy to wrap his head around a gorgeous lesbian. It's difficult in kind of the same way a hot tranny is difficult, a la, "Hey, she's cu— aw, man, she's a DUDE!" This is not to suggest that lesbians are men, or male-like. But they are, by definition, not for having sex with.

But guys still *want* to have sex with them because they're attractive. The thing is, lesbianism pre-empts availability. So it's not like when a guy sees a woman who's out of his league. We have well-developed psychological mechanisms for dealing with that because it happens all the time. The operative concept in coping is that it's simply not possible. "I'm not good enough." The resultant negative self-esteem experience is strong enough to quash the physical attraction. Thus, the thing you've probably seen from time to time, where some guys actually have a negative reaction to attractive women on principle: they're so strongly in the habit of using negative self-esteem to suppress attraction that the negative association has become routinized.

The experience of being attracted to a woman and being told she's just not into guys, period, is harder to deal with; there's nothing as strong as the negative self-esteem reaction available to suppress the attraction. Instead, we have to use reason to reign in the impulse. That's hard for all the obvious reason, but also because some lesbians, particularly attractive lipstick lesbians, have been known to swing the other way from time to time. And they tend to throw off a vibe that says, "Not available… most of the time."

It's like your "the lesbians around here would drop you to your knees" comment. Those lesbians aren't available, but you still want Scott to be aware that he should find them attractive. That kind of thing can be really hard for a guy to deal with.

It's easier, psychologically, for many guys to just imagine all lesbians looking like Rosie O'Donnell— especially if they don't deal with a lot of lesbians in their day-to-day life.

Posted by: Joshua at June 11, 2004 04:39 PM

God, people, running around from conversational thread to thread (joshua to alois to mitch etc. etc.) is tiring me out. Can't we all just gather in one place like the Orkut community for Layneian refugees I created?


P.S. My email is at yahoo.CA not yahoo.COM

Posted by: Quiplash at June 11, 2004 05:09 PM

I'm attracted to lesbians with straight tendencies, evidently, because I can subconciously pick them out and then date them. That's a great gift Jeebus gave me right there, sort of like being being compelled to tapdance in minefields.

Oh, and the stereotype should be that lesbians have no fashion sense (mullets and Birkenstocks, etc), not that they aren't pretty. Don't jump on my ass, my lesbian sister in Seattle tells me that lesbians shouldn't be allowed to dress themselves. My Seattle experience is confined to watching "Singles", so I always figured that everyone there wears flannel, not just the lesbians.

Posted by: Screamapiller at June 11, 2004 06:16 PM

Thanks guys...for clearing that up for me. I feel sooooo much better!

Posted by: Lily at June 11, 2004 06:20 PM

"Like her being a "manager"........ She banged the right guy and that got her in the right place, from which she was demoted as soon as he was out of the picture."

So the easiest explanation for a 27 year old female without much experience being a manager is that she "banged the right guy."?

I must be the exception. At the age of 24 my title was "Director". My only qualifications were my brains and working like crazy. When the company I worked for was purchased by a Fortune 500 firm, I did lose the title "Director", (which was totally appropriate considering the role of a Director in a large company.) My new title was "Manager."

I've never read Layne's blog that I can recall, so my only knowledge of her is in the comments above. I found this one telling:

"She's 27, seems to have little real experience or qualifications other than a sled-dog-like work ethic. Yet she's a manager."

A "sled-dog-like work ethic" in combination with competence can take you a long way, male or female.

I'll admit, we've all seen airheads, of both genders, in jobs over their heads, and wondered whose back they've scratched to attain their positions. Yet, I find no inference in the comments that Layne is a dim bulb. If my deduction is correct from the, admittedly, limited information there is to work with, I don't think you have that excuse.

On the other hand, the comments indicate Layne is very willing to share her, (real or imagined), sexual adventures. I can see how that might lead you to connect her work situation to her sex life.

This is not a defense of Layne, just my reaction to your assumption. Also for the record, I'm no feminist by a long shot. I'm just a woman who began her career with little experience or qualifications in the business world, and didn't "bang my boss" in order to be successful.

Posted by: DC at June 13, 2004 03:08 AM

Yes, DC, but I think that she took five or six years to get a degree in Women's studies, then followed her boyfriend around Mexico for a couple of years, so you're starting at 24 or so to begin with, at least.

Posted by: Screamapiller at June 13, 2004 04:23 PM

Does she have this? It apparently makes your page come up in Polish.

Posted by: burt at June 13, 2004 08:58 PM


Unlikely. One of the hallmarks of Layne is that she really knows her geek stuff. For instance, her blog was badly comment-spammed a few months back; it was fixed, through some pretty tortuous Perl-level patches to Moveable Type.

No, I'm with those that reckon that this is Smell-O-Vision all over again.

-- rtb

Posted by: RichTeaBiscuit at June 15, 2004 03:07 AM

Interesting that Intellectual Poison and Plain Layne have met. Could Johnny be Plain Layne, or could he be covering for her somehow?

Posted by: +mojan. at June 16, 2004 09:38 AM

Johnny has said elsewhere that he only "met" Layne via IM...

Posted by: Pete (Alois) at June 16, 2004 10:56 AM