Friday, May 2, 2008

Geek Summit

I was a lonely fifth-grader. Intricate, baffling, and scary social patterns were developing in front of my eyes. I liked girls, and apparently some liked me, but I couldn't understand how I could receive a note at the beginning of recess saying

"Will you go with Hilary? Circle YES or NO."

and after circling yes and wondering what I should do next -- How do you "go with" someone? Should I go say hello to her? -- receive another note 15 minutes later saying

"Hilary doesn't want to go with you anymore."

So long, Hilary. "We'll always have Recess".

But a benevolent teacher recognized that I had different interests from most of my classmates and that another student at the neighboring elementary had different interests, and so she organized a Geek Summit. I went to Scott's house to play trumpet and clarinet and role-playing games and historical-simulation games and talk about Star Trek -- I never understood the appeal, and still don't, but I secretly admired that he continued to wear his Star Trek logo T-shirt to school every day despite endless ridicule.

Thus began my pursuit of social connections based on interest rather than happenstance geography, and I view my time spent on the internet -- blogging, forums, logging caches -- as a more efficient environment for that.

I'm not here to become a local authority on geocaching. In fact, I would love to see many more active blogs added to the mix. I'm not here to make money. In fact, it could be argued that this hobby results in a net loss in income. I'm here instead to hang a sign that says: here's a little bit of who I am and what my interests are. Take it or leave it. Maybe it will result in a new social connection. Maybe it won't.

All internet content either conveys factual information -- such as Wikipedia (and before the joke forms in your head, it's factual even if it's wrong) -- or conveys opinion and personal information -- such as Facebook pages and Twitter posts.

That's why it's a bit confusing to see this debate over the role of sports bloggers become so heated. It's disappointing to see Buzz Bissinger act so bitter and defensive, because his book Friday Night Lights about high-school football in Texas is so well-written. What's a sports blog? It's a virtual bar, basically. You go there to share opinions about something you're all interested in, and it turns out that most of the people are dips***s, but that's the price of the efficiency of the social environment. It doesn't threaten sports journalism; it sustains the need for it.


Latest Geek Summit: weekNIGHT Caching: 4 year anniversary on Wednesday. Was in close geographic proximity to -- no chance I'm hyperlinking all these -- TheCollector (the event's organizer), Millah, shoestorm, Plem45, DogSoft, MN_Cavepeople, topgear, broken tooth, bflentje, casinoman, sir_zman, two of hearts, Oneied Cooky, minnesotabrad, TECGeoJim, MSPMatt, speedysk1, Arcticabn, Good-Boy, and ultimately LucidOndine, Celticwulf, and Silent Bob.

Just like fifth grade, except with beer. Lots of beer.

Beer glass pyramid
(originally uploaded by Bill Roehl) (L-R: LucidOndine, SB's pyramid, Celticwulf's left shoulder)

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