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Bigwig is a systems administrator at a public university
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June 21, 2002

Drinking The Sea

So I decided today that I'd fallen too far behind in keeping up with the blogs over on the left, what with having a job, a family and the self-created onus of putting up something new in the Hraka slot regularly. I try to visit them all at least once a day, and, here's the kicker, read everything on each of them that's new to me. Frankly, most days that's impossible. I've found that my new favorite blogs are the ones where I can pop in, see that there's nothing new, and exit. I love ya'll. Coyote at the Dog Show hasn't updated since the 18th. I give a little bark of joy every time his page loads. On the other hand, there's War Now, File13 and Tres Producers, the tar babies of the blogosphere. It's like that dream, that dream, where the toilet is rising, overflowing and all you have to bail with is your wife's toothbrush cup? Everyone has that one, right? So, it's bail, bail, bail, trying to make sure nothing slops over out of the Internet and onto the floor. I start at the bottom and work up, so most nights Instapundit gets a cursory visit or none at all, which I know leaves him heartbroken. Pretty much everyone above Ernie's Stupid Weblog is ranked by the amount of pain they inflict on my brain in the wee morning hours.

So here I am with a few hours, having read the news, made some posts and deposited a sufficient amount of familial devotion to cover several hours. Time to read everything new in every blog over there.

Ok, so here's the thing. It can't be done. Not in the time I have, with the brain I have left to me, and I read 9000 words per minute. Well, once, I read 9000 wpm. In my ninth grade English class. And I was cheating. Iím sorry, Mrs. Griffin.

My family views competition like a dingo views a nice fat baby, apart from my mother and the various in-laws, who view us with the same horrified fascination and condemnation said dingo gets. If we canít win at something, or at least cheat in an enjoyable manner, we donít participate. Family board games involve the sturm und drang of a mid-level globalization riot. A ninth-grade speed reading course, involving my entire class? Thatís a baby, covered in gravy, rolling in bacon bits.

The course was built around a 10 lesson workbook, containing 5 pages of reading material and 20 questions on the content of the material. We were supposed to scan thru the material, than answer the questions. Anything less than 70% comprehension of the material meant that you were reading too fast. Once you finished reading, you raised your hand and the teacher announced the time expired since the start of the lesson. Announced the time! Out loud! In. front. Of. The. Entire.Class! mmmmmmmmmmmÖnotoriety.

I discovered early on that on any given test, I already knew 50% of the answers. I was already the fastest reader in my class, so I could have slid through with minimal effort. But this wasnít about laziness, this was about humiliation. I easily doubled, then tripled the scores of the next fastest reader, and she bore the same relation to the rest of the class. Then came THE day, the day the section was on Winston Churchill, the day after I finished a biography on Winnie. I went for broke, turned the pages without even looking at them, and slammed my hand into the air at the three second mark. You know the gasp that went up from the audience just after Kerry Strug landed her vault? You remember the gasp you gasped the first time you saw Michael Jordan move the basketball through 18 different vectors before slamming it down at the speed of sound? When Tony Hawk landed a 720?

That was my gasp. I heard it first, arising from the chunky throats of a dozen sons of farmers and automobile dealers, as they realized that they were going to beat the crap out of me at lunch. They cast their gimlet gaze upon me as Mrs. Griffin announced ď9000 words per minute, 80% comprehensionĒ (I marked four wrong on purpose, figuring that it would sell better). My god, it was good.

An important thing to remember here, is that in situations like this, quoting Gimliís rejoinder to Eomer on the beauty of Galadriel* doesnít stop you from getting your ass kicked. Indeed, itís kicked a little harder. But it has style, of a sort, which you may as well have if youíre going to get pulverized anyway.

Ok, my original point, before the free-association kicked in, was that, even in the microscopic slice of the internet represented on the left, thereís too much content. Even when I get through most of it, Iíve got no idea what to post here. My guess is that any of you who donít know us personally already have 5 or 6 other blogs you visit at a minimum, and I hate posting stuff thatís found in lots of other places. Like this rabbit thing, that I saw over on the blog thatís made from peeeeopleeeee. Itís also listed on blogdex, and if itís there itís at daypop, which to means that most everyone has already seen it. At least thatís what I surmise. If you saw it for the first time here, let me know, maybe Iíll post more of the well-covered memes.

What I want, what I need, is an internet spider or agent that can go out and read anything that I might be remotely interested in. When the agent returns, itís able to integrate with the wetware in a manner that will allow me to recall an article as if I did actually take the time to read it. Then I could spend my time doingÖwhatever.

Would I even be human at that point? Possibly not, but Iíd still be me, so I donít care. That kind of thing would lend itself to directly exchanging memories between people, but itís not like you become Borg. My computerís connected to the internet, but it still exists apart from it. Anyway, thatís what I want.


*You speak ill of that which is fair beyond the reach of your thought, and only little wit may excuse you.

Posted by Bigwig at June 21, 2002 12:11 PM | TrackBack
Postscript:
First time visitor to House Hraka? Wondering if everything we produce could possibly be as brilliant/stupid/evil/pedantic/insipid/inspired as the post you just read? Check out the Hraka Essentials, the (mostly) reader-selected guide to Hraka's best posts, and decide for yourself.
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