Obsession

Somehow this turned out to be one of those “theme” days, where everything all ended up tying loosely together. Today’s theme was passion and obsession. Not the creepy stalker variety, but The Orchid Thief-style passion over seemingly mundane things, and how we define ourselves.

I had breakfast this morning with Rachael, where we talked a little bit about job satisfaction and how to make a job a creative outlet instead of just a job. Later I had three separate AIM conversations with people talking about what they want to do as a career, hobbies or projects they’re passionate about, and trying to find a way to make it work. And over the course of the whole day I’ve been following web links digging deeper and deeper into the scary world of the “blogosphere” and web designers.

Now these are people who know a thing or two about obsessive-compulsive behavior. Lengthy criticisms and analyses of webpage layouts. Opinion pieces about the proper use of XHTML tags. Favorite fonts and ones to avoid. Intellectual theft squabbles over page layout techniques. Dismissive comments about Javascript and browser-specific markup and, of all things, gradients. And the same link passed from blog to blog to blog, all of them connected and cross-linked and referencing each other as the Elite of this community.

Several hours of digging through all this stuff left me with a very odd feeling. Not so much that I’d wasted the entire day, but that I was seeing a flavor of passion and obsession I hadn’t seen before — I’m used to this kind of thing with the geek fandom crowds and the “hardcore” videogame types, and always assumed it was limited to them. It’s the kind of lengthy talk about a subject that only comes from a combination of ego (essential to any blog) and pedantry. It was odd at first seeing people go on about typography, the BODY element vs. the HTML element, the same way I’ve seen people argue about a Star Destroyer vs. a Federation starship or Python vs C# — art geeks instead of computer geeks. (Of course, there’s a lot of overlap what with this being the internet and all, but these are mainly graphic design types.)

But then I realized that it’s all the same thing, and I’ve heard the same types of obsessive commentary on bands, clothes, sports teams, and movies as much as I have about operating systems and television series. And I realized that I’m not quite on the outside looking in, since I do have to admit to having a favorite font (Futura) and browser (currently Safari). So maybe all that’s required is the ego and the pedantry, in which case I’m all set.

Highlight of the whole trip was finding Airbag, which is easily the best-designed weblog I’ve ever seen.

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