Monday, June 12, 2006

Not, not, NOT posting from Vegas.

I'm getting really sick of one blog after another blabbing on about the big YearlyKos convention/party in Las Vegas. I'm not there. I don't know if invites were required or not, but nobody invited me, and I wouldn't have gone anyway. I guess I've never been much of a joiner. You may or may not have noticed that I almost never use the term "we" when talking about Democrats, even though I'm registered as one. This wasn't a conscious decision; it just never occurred to me to think of myself in the same boat as, say, members of congress, or beltway consultants, or similar organisms.

I think everyone was there except me. And not just the usual political blog suspects, no, I'm seeing YK posts from science and tech blogs as well. Apparently all the cool kids were there.

I think I would've been bored to tears, at least when I wasn't gagging on all the mutual amiration and craven sucking up to power. I'm sure I ought to care a great deal about the day-to-day wonkage over senate races six states away, but mostly I don't. Reading about polls and spin and positioning is at best mind-numbing, and often it's a cause for despair, even when the "good guys" win. Somebody's got to do this stuff, I guess, or at least somebody thinks it needs doing, and they want to do it. I'm just glad it isn't my job.

Also, I'm kind of antisocial in RL, and I'm usually not too keen on meeting new people in person, especially in bulk. That's just the way I am. If I somehow did get dragged to a YK-style event, I just know I'd end up sulking in a dark corner, nursing a stiff drink, while the rest of the room went all starry-googly-eyed over some random governor with expensive hair. I'd much rather observe than participate, and I'd really like to do it from behind a two-way mirror, if at all possible, and with the participants hooked up to monitoring equipment of some kind. Did I mention I have a social science degree? One effect of a social science degree is that you get really leery and disdainful of crowd behavior, and you don't want to be a part of it yourself. I should note I also don't go to mass demonstrations. I don't join antiwar marches even though I'm deeply opposed to the war. The whole thing with clapping or chanting slogans in unison just repels me. I'm just never up for doing that, unless maybe I'm at a hockey game.

And to top it all off, gambling is of no interest to me, so there wouldn't even be that as a distraction.

It's always iffy to place any weight on anything the Old Media says about blogs, but the Guardian is usually less brainless than US-based media. Here's their take on the big YK party.

Salon takes on the shindig as well, with a piece titled "How much is that blogger in the window".

And for a little perspective, here's one of several posts at SocraticGadfly about diarists getting exiled from the DailyKos media empire for not toeing the party line. I frankly don't get the whole notion of having a diary on someone else's site. To me, the whole point of writing on the net is that you get to toss your ideas out into the world, for good or ill, unedited and unmediated by anyone else. Don't get me wrong, I like page views as least as much as the next blogger. But given a choice between saying whatever's on my mind to a smallish audience, or mouthing a focus-group-approved subset of what may or may not be on my mind to a large audience, I'll stick with my current merry little band of Gentle Reader(s), thank you very much. I wuv you guys-n-gals.

In that spirit, the rest of this post (after the big HR tag) has nothing whatsoever to do with political blog navelgazing, and even less to do with the '06 midterm election.

  • An article about the mythical "hafnium bomb" and other tales from the lunatic fringe of defense technology.
  • The tale of a tiny near-Earth asteroid, and the odd counterintuitive tricks gravity pulls sometimes.
  • Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Finals is tonight. I haven't gotten that worked up over the playoffs this year, but I probably ought to put together at least one all-hockey post before someone wins the cup. It's on my to-do list, so maybe I'll do it after the game tonight. Now that Roloson's injured, the whole series just isn't as interesting. Go Oilers, I guess.
  • Incontrovertible video proof that George Washington was a real American superhero.
  • Is this blog boring you? You might enjoy it more after it's been run through Gizoogle.
  • An interactive beer map of the greater Portland area, which just happens to be centered at the true center of the known universe, a.k.a. Tugboat Brewing.
  • I may have to make an exception to my usual anti-meetup policy, you know, the one I was just talking about earlier. Seems there's a local beer bloggin' shindig in the works, in connnection with the big Oregon Brewers' Festival next month. I don't know if I technically count as a beer blogger or not. I'd just describe myself as a general blogger who's inordinately fond of beer. But they don't seem like the sort of people who stand on ceremony. We'll see.
  • And finally, a beer item that's also a coffee item. Seems that you can protect yourself from the health effects of too much beer by also drinking too much coffee. Yay for science! If you plan on drinking a lot of coffee, and you live in the area, permit me to recommend the coffee from Blue Gardenia, my current favorite. In the last six months or so I've really soured on dark roasted beans. I don't care what Starbucks and Peets and their imitators all say; if it tastes burnt, it's burnt. It's a cheap, blunt-instrument way of introducing flavor, sort of like oak in chardonnay. I'd almost call it cheating, since you don't need to start out with good beans. There's really no reason to start with good beans, if you can't taste them in the finished product. The coffee industry (and Starbucks in particular) has promoted the notion that the darker beans are, the stronger and more sophisticated the coffee is, which is silly. Starbucks even has this spiel about how you're supposed to start out with lighter roasts and graduate to the dark stuff, like sort of like training wheels or something. It's pretty similar to what people thought about Guinness and other stouts in about 1985 or so. The beer world moved past that thinking long ago, and maybe the coffee world's starting to do so now as well.


Manifest Dignity said...

If you're curious (or morbidly fascinated), you can watch the live YearlyKos action on video. Link TV has been posting clips of Yearly Kos here:

Longer segments with better video controls are posted here:

CIA Leak panel and Barbara Boxer are on the front page at Fora TV.

Brian said...

I don't know if I technically count as a beer blogger or not. I'd just describe myself as a general blogger who's inordinately fond of beer. But they don't seem like the sort of people who stand on ceremony. We'll see.

No, we're definitely not the sort to stand on ceremony, and we've made it open invitation for anyone that reads our various blogs anyway. Please feel welcome to join us.