Monday, August 28, 2006

Blogging: Sexier Than Sudoko?

I’ve been doing this website for a long time now, and I still really enjoy it. Spouting off on the internet is a blast, and I heartily encourage all wordy, opinionated, writer-type people to give it a try. I don’t buy into the arguments that blogs are the second coming of the Gutenberg-Bible and promise to revolutionize human discourse and demolish the old, hidebound pundit and publishing cartels of yesteryear. When that sort of talk crops up, I stop listening. There’s no need to get pompous about all this, especially when a blog is pretty much just a place on the internet for someone to rant, plead, complain, criticize, entertain or enumerate all their sexual exploits in mind-numbing detail. There’s nothing magical about it. As a forum for truth and human connection, it’s just one among many, and not one of best of them. As a hobby, it’s kind of nerdy.

That last sentence might strike you as a little rash. Sure, what I do here at the Insomnia Report might seem to be pretty glamorous stuff, but it’s really just a lot of sitting in front of the computer, typing stuff in. It’s not as swashbuckling and romantic as it appears. Think of it as sort of like Indiana Jones. Everybody watches those movies and imagines that Indy’s whole life is jet-setting around Arabia, chillin’ with John Rhys-Davies, and melting Nazis. This is far from the case. Most of the time, he’s safely ensconced at his university, teaching undergraduates the basics of archaeology. It’s sort of like that for us bloggers. The globe-trotting and the seduction and the tank battles are a remarkably small sliver of what we do—the lion’s share of our work takes place in cubicles, basements and coffeeshops.

So, yeah, some days it can be a little less-than-exciting, but it’s not the worst leisure time activity out there. Here are a few that are even less stimulating

1) Bird Watching

Here’s a free tip for all the bird-watchers out there: birds are stupid and obnoxious. They make annoying sounds, they swoop around like meth-fiend fighter pilots, and most of them don’t even carry enough meat on them to qualify as good eating. It’s beyond me why anyone would want to watch these wingy vermin. Will they one day do something interesting? Are they plotting to take over the world? Sure, a few might have pretty feathers, but does that really justify trooping deep into wood-tickistan to look at them? Cars can be colorful too, and all you have to do is go down to the nearest freeway overpass to see them...

2) Beer Tasting

I may be permanently banned from Central Europe for saying this, but all beer tastes pretty much the same: like shit. You can take the finest beer in all of Germany, and to me it’ll still taste like water that’s been left for a week in a farmworker’s boot. Beer snobbery is a strange phenomena, sort of akin to bickering over which pile of manure is the neatest. But God knows people get passionate about their pissy-colored loaf-of-bread barf beverage. Why? Not because they’re evil, not because they’re foolish, but because no one’s told them that Diet Coke is the only drink worth imbibing every single day. It starts out fresh and chemical-tasting, goes down smooth and chemical-tasting, and finishes up delicious and chemical-tasting. What else could anyone ask for?

3) Civil War Re-enacting

Look, I like history as much as the next person. I even like the idea of getting up in old-timey costumes and prancing around in some field somewhere. But let’s not get any illusions about what we’re doing here. I mean, if these buffs had any interest in re-creating history with any verisimilitude, they’d have to have a third of both armies run away before the fighting even began. And then they’d have to have the remaining platoons shoot the shit out of each other with crappy old muskets. And then they’d have to take the twenty surviving people on each side and bring them to a filthy, muddy tent nearby, where their arms and legs would be amputated without anaesthetic. And then they’d have to do sneak back to the battlefield in the middle of the night to loot the thousands of rotting, mangled corpses strewn there. Of course, if they did all that, no one would bring their kids and their picnic dinners to see these things. But they should. Kids need to know the truth: the Civil War really, really, really sucked.

4) Dungeons and Dragons

There was a time when I thought it would be cool to play Dungeons and Dragons. I was the sort of kid who could get into the idea of decapitating orcs with an enchanted broadsword. So, when I was about eleven, I bought (or, more accurately, conned my parents into buying) the introductory set and got a bunch of people together to role-play with me. But, instead of awesome troll-fighting adventures, we were faced with a strange array of dice, a novel-thick instruction booklet, and the prospect of sitting for hours in my family gameroom, imagining we were elves and dwarves. After about fifteen minutes, we ditched it to go play outside. It’s probably still gathering dust in my parent’s basement.