Derailleur

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.

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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.

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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.

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