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I never should have sat back down at the computer.

Regulars here in the Ratlands know that I don’t sleep much.  It isn’t that I’m not tired or that I don’t need sleep, it’s just that I don’t.  Rather than lay awake at night and watch TV, or look at the ceiling, or (worst of all) watch the numbers change on the digital clock, if I can’t sleep I get up and read or write.  For reasons too convoluted and mundane to go into, the Head Rat and I started to go to bed around 11:00 tonight.  But, Rat Jr. and her roommate came over to watch True Blood so I talked to them for a few minutes.  Then I set up my pill box for the week (I’m sometimes so groggy in the morning I can’t remember whether I’ve taken my blood pressure medicine; if I put the pills in one of those daily boxes and today’s is empty, I know I did).  Then I came into the office to turn off the desk lamp.  Then I sat down at the computer to see what had posted in my RSS reader¹.

Well, that was a mistake.

One of the articles that posted in the last couple of hours was this one from Borepatch in which he says

You all know that I never shy from using three words where one will do. And while it’s all very gratifying to hear people say that I’m a “wicked smaht bastahd”, if I was so danged smart, I’d blog like this.

Given that I suffer² with the same 3 for 1 affliction Borepatch refers to (as evidenced by the rambling, mostly irrelevant opening paragraph of this post), I figured I’d just go see what he considers good, smart writing. (It was only going to take a couple of minutes, right?)  So, I followed the link in his post and found the blog Random Acts of Patriotism.

Borepatch is right³.  The post linked above is easily the most eloquent bit of writing I’ve seen for quite a while.  Of course, having followed the link and been suitably impressed by the post, obviously, I then had to check out some of the previous posts by this gentleman who refers to himself as ASM826.

It’s good stuff.  Good enough that I’ve added Random Acts of Patriotism to my favorites list.  As a taste, here’s an excerpt from a few days ago:

At the same time, in Florida, a local preacher has captured world headlines by announcing he plans to burn a Koran. Street protests, flag burnings, threats from Muslims, and a general condemnation from all sides has occurred. Here’s a question to put it in perspective. If someone took a pile of Bibles, added some copies of the Torah, threw a Book of Mormon, a copy of the Hindu Sutras, and then put the Koran on top and burned them all, who would be offended? Who would threaten violence? Who would commit violence? That’s what I thought.

He appears to include a quote in every post.  Consistently providing random cool quotes is a bit of work.  Consistently providing relevant cool quotes is seriously hard work.  Among the ones I really liked is one from Mitch Ratcliffe, (quoted here):

Computers have enabled people to make more mistakes faster than almost any invention in history, with the possible exception of tequila and hand guns.

So. Instead of going to bed at 11:30, I’ve read some good writing, picked up a new favorite blog and written a rambling post.  And it only cost me an hour and a half two hours.  Like I said, I never should have sat back down at the computer.

¹ I use Brief as an RSS reader.  It is an add-on for Firefox.  If you’re not familiar with RSS readers, they are sometimes called aggregators.  Every hour or so, Brief checks all 49 of my favorite web sites (I’ve dropped a couple from my “favorites list recently) to see if anything new has been posted, and if so, imports the text of the article to a tab in Firefox.  That way, when I’m ready to read all those web sites, I don’t actually go to each of them, I just read the new stuff which has been collected all on one tab.  It saves a lot of time, but it can also lead to the “I’ll just check to see what’s new” behavior that is getting me in trouble tonight.  Still, I highly recommend Brief if you read several web sites regularly.

² Or perhaps it would be more correct to say that YOU suffer from my 3 for 1 affliction.

³ Borepatch is right about a lot of things.  He is, however, being modest, in my opinion, as his writing is consistently good.  If you are a fan of Sturgeon’s Law, Borepatch would be one of the 10% who’s writing is “not crap”.

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