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Thursday, February 22, 2007

Thursday (or Patterns, or Rants on Such)

Patterns, they can be both good and bad. They're surely good for the overall well being of the mind, the entity most sacred to our well being that would lose its touch with reality and/or sanity if it were to lose patterns. This is what LSD is, a breaking down of patterns and structure in your mind. This is why so many mundane things seem extraordinary when you take it. The question which is begged from this comment is, Does that get you anything?

I'm not writing this to discuss the answers to those questions. In fact, the entire first paragraph is an aside, a tangent I immediately began with for no reason other than that's what started from word one. In my mind that's a good thing.

The subject of this blog is the name of the day, which brings to mind patterns that people get themselves into. I read a lot of blogs on the train these days and many of the posters on the "blogosphere" post almost daily. This is a pattern, and for many people, this is a bad one.

I am a huge proponent of Web 2.0, as it has been called. Sites like Blogger, Bloglines, YouTube, and the not remotely new Amazon (among others) allow the web to be so much more than it was 5 years ago. Information and knowledge are changing. I can't imagine what it's like to be in high school now. Research papers must be cake compared to my time. I recently read that Wikipedia is not allowed to be cited as a source in some schools, but nobody can stop you from starting there to find out who the Archduke Ferdinand is before you pick up a book and read about him. This too is a good thing, since Wikipedia is just an open source blog and, while I believe it's mostly accurate, still lends itself to lone author hacks that can make up whatever they want. Then again, just because you print a book doesn't give you any more authority on the matter than some guy on the Internet. In fact, one could (and should) argue that the cumulative societal effort of, say, the Wikipedia entry on JFK is going to be far more accurate than any one author could dream of being. Again, I digress.

The point here is that the Web 2.0 brings the Internet past a point I personally thought it would ever go, MySpace notwithstanding. And without the people who make it tick - the hacks like us - it would be nothing. But, and here's where patterns are a bad thing, just because it's Thursday
doesn't mean you have to post something if you wake up and you have nothing to say.

Part of the aspect of being readable is knowing when something you write is worthy of being published and when you should hit cancel, go get another cup of coffee, and have a good dump instead. I subscribe to over 100 blogs now (thank you Bloglines for making that possible) and the more I add the more I see crap like this:

"Woke up today and had a coffee. Dog barked at me. It was sunny out, maybe I can get on the bike because the sun is supposed to come out and blah blah blah wow I guess I just post to post to post and are you even reading this anymore?"

That's crap. Spare me your breakfast routine and dog walking garbage. This is a bad pattern. It just so happens that many of my blogs are about biking, thus the bike reference. Often times you'll also see some mention of weight (187 today myself) since power to weight ratio is so important in the biking world. And this is lame. It doesn’t matter if you're into biking or fishing or golf, nobody wants to hear about your breakfast, unless you are a breakfast blogger. Then it makes sense. Otherwise, try to at least be semi-pertinent with what you write.

This is not to suggest you shouldn't write mundane things from time to time. We all do it and there's no strict form for what is and isn't going to fly here. If you're struggling with waking up, or you dog, or your weight, then by all means post about it. But spare the crap between thepertinent thoughts and keep it readable and useful. Otherwise you just flood the web with more mundane banter that makes it hard to separate the wheat from the chaff.

Patterns keep us sane to be sure. But they also drive us into the biggest ruts you can imagine. This is why I do things like get on a bike and ride for 24 hours (or, um, less). This is why I like to do things like winter camping. It forces you to break your rut, to make life a little more fun than then 9-5 job and all that goes with it. Naturally you have to find you own peace. But you owe it to yourself to not just go through the motions of Thursday because it's Thursday.

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