by F.

In Seattle we have a used bike shop called Recycled Cycles. While the prices are outrageous and the service terrible, it does have one putative virtue: it has bins and bins of used parts. Piles of seatposts, bins of brakelevers, and heaps of derailleurs. These are my weakness. I’ve spent hours pawing through those bins.


Other wierdos do the same. Something about bike parts draws the nuts. There’s this one guy who has a pair of classes crafted from various bike parts. He rides a recumbent. He smells funny and each time I see him, he’s wearing the same US Army jacket and boots. I’ve run into him quite a few times around the derailleur bin, though he seems to go more for brake levers.

What is the appeal of the derailleur bin? It’s a treasure hunt. I know it’s irrational, but I have this feeling that somehow, someday, I’m going to find something really, really cool in that bin. It may not even be a derailleur. It may be—oh, I don’t know, a watch or something. A Patek-Phillipe from 1905 maybe.


I have my derailleur bin issues under control. For now. But then something even more attractive came to my attention. I discovered Boing Boing, the “directory of wonderful things.” It’s the derailleur bin of technology blogs.

Yes, I know I’m late to this party. But let me expiate by saying that I’m a long time Slashdot reader. I was a die-hard Linux user from 1994 until last year, when I went back to the Steve Jobs crackpipe (and, I must say, the pipe is good…mmmmm….good).

So, I’ve got my geek bona fides. I was never a Black Belt in Geek-Fu. But I was a solid Brown Belt.

And for a while, Boing Boing was drawing me to it, just like that bin at Recycled Cycles. I looked over the posts about Fembot Jui-Jitsu and how-to articles on making your GI Joe into a vibrator. And then, today, I realized something—Boing Boing isn’t a directory of wonderful things.

It’s a directory of uselessness.

It’s just random garbage that’s worth about 1 second of attention, if that. Like today: ASCII versions of Google maps. I love ASCII art as much as the next guy, but something in me snapped and I unsubscribed to the feed. It was too much. Too much useless clutter. So I leave Boing Boing and it’s ilk to the guy with the brake-lever glasses.