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Friday, January 20, 2006

Warning! Dangerously self-indulgent bloggertalk forthcoming. Yes, the latest in a series. I was going to say something nice about people who said nice things about me, and this happened. Eh.

The reputed lack of hottie in Michigan (the State) and at Michigan (the University) has never particularly bothered me. This is not the case for many people. The impression I get from reading the various blogs of the south is that walking around an area where the corn grows high and the women wide is something like being deprived of oxygen (EDSBS and their Holly Rowe/Generous Farmgirl fetishes excepted), but I guess I grew up at 15,000 feet. I'm used to walking into a bar and having my mental girl filing go something like "no, no, yeesh, no, if I'm drunk, no, maybe, no, no, yes." Since I don't know what it's like to live in a place where "even the fat girls are hot," as Doug of Hey Jenny Slater so elegantly put it, I've adapted to my surroundings. It's like the thing with the frog and the boiling water except without the survivalist/tinfoil hat connotations. I swear this is going to be relevant. Probably.

Anyway, about a month ago Mozilla released Firefox 1.5 and, like the good little code dork I am, I dutifully upgraded. A few weeks later it became evident that whenever was opened up the browser would start consuming vast quanitites of CPU time and eventually crash, though this process took up to five minutes. I apologize, but I find I must break into the dreaded Typical Hack Sportswriter One Sentence Paragraph for emphasis of the highest degree.

This did not particularly bother me.

A remarkable statement, that. There was a time back in the dusty past when I--then a student in the first flush of glorious dorm broadband--read nigh-literally every column published on, (then), (a then not useless), and CBS Sportsline. A combination of Michigan's magical '97 season and the Broncos' Super Bowl win increased my sports consumption to truly prodigous levels. In those times, a browser that caused any one of these sites to crash would have found itself escorted rudely to the recycle bin, which would have been emptied with a click defiantly supplied by my middle finger.

Now... eh, not so much. As noted above, I didn't even notice that Firefox's apparently random crashes had a definite cause until several weeks after my upgrade. When I did it served notice that my browsing habits had drastically shifted to the point that the only time I actually ended up on or was when one of the blogs in my ever-burgeoning list of subscribed feeds linked to them, usually to eviscerate someone for being retarded. And it is so: A series of computer crashes and replacements left me starting a new set of bookmarks from scratch. Months later, the only sports sites I've bookmarked? MGoBlog (yay narcissism!) and Yahoo's fantasy homepage. Yow. Everything else lives in Bloglines. (To be fair, I wander over to the Michigan recruiting sites and the local news via the blog sidebar on a regular basis, and Simmons and Feldman are amongst my subscriptions.)

Simultaneously, my increasing engagement with the sports blogosphere means that I'm actually consuming more content than I was during my previous "OMG We're Winning Everything" apex, and it isn't even close. And lo, it is good.

This is where it comes around to the farmgirls again. Before, during the Dark Times in the Long Long Ago, I was desperate enough for sports coverage to read Drew Sharp columns. I absorbed the multifaceted wisdom of Matt Hayes. I read Dennis Dodd. But when you scan the bar and there's nothing but mediocrity, what choice do you have? Before, I read the sporadic "yes," all the "maybes," and a good portion of the "nos," because a man has to get some action. Now... well, it's not that the proportions have changed for the better. Lowering publishing's barrier to entry to the point where anyone with a keyboard and a rock to bash it with can put his deeply insightful insights on the Internets hasn't exactly boosted the standing of the median article on the web. But it has increased the sheer quantity of material to the point where it doesn't matter if 95% of it is garbage, because I can only read 1% of it anyway.

As a result I've gradually shifted my attention to people who write things of interest. Dennis Dodd was replaced by EDSBS. Matt Hayes is gone; Sexy Results! stands in its stead. Detroit columnists not named "Wojo"? Gone; now I read the Michigan blogs linked at left and pine for a Pistons blog that writes about eight times more often than Detroit Bad Boys. Big Ten Wonk didn't even replace anyone; it created a new space in my reading day for a sport I previously only vaguely acknowledged. Hell, I know more about Leonard Pope and DJ Shockley than any SEC players to run through the conference in the past 20 years because there are approximately six quality Georgia blogs for every resident of the state.

To borrow a phrase from Dee Snider: We Don't Have To Read It Anymore. A significant majority of people still will, of course. Media conglomerates are experts at finding a tepid middle ground that a large number of people will find suitable. Blogs are not going to OMG obliterate "old media" any more than the general public is going decide that Britney Spears sux and move en masse to bizarre caterwauling elfin harpists. But now people who are bored with the same old song can find something else. It's indie, baby! Yeah!

Now where are my hot blog groupies?