It's been a while since I posted anything with a significant amount of River content; little
things like life, the universe, and everything have been conspiring
against me. I'm sorry to disappoint you again, but it seemed as though
this was a good time for a sort of re-introduction and status report
before we continue our journey.
The River posts
started out as a journey of personal exploration, concentrating on mental
states, emotions in particular, interpersonal communication, and
relationships. Along the way they seem to have acquired a second theme of
advice, primarily for geeks like me and people in relationships with
geeks. (I'll get into definitions in a little while.) How this geeky old
bear found himself in the role of slightly bemused relationship counselor
is a longish story that has yet to be told in full, but you'll find bits
of it in the archives if you're curious.
There seem to be three main types of River posts. There are, of course,
general posts that have a brief mention of a River-related topic -- those
usually just get the tag. There are the ones that report on, and usually
analyze, a specific incident or event from a riparian point of view --
often these have the phrase "on the River" in their title. And finally
there are the more carefully-considered posts, of the sort cflute calls "The Mandelbear waxes philosophical", which usually
have titles that start with the "River:" keyword.
At any given time I may have a half-dozen or so posts in various stages of
writing, and another dozen in the form of a title and a few notes. They
often stay in this state for months, until I either get tired of beating
on them, or they get triggered by some event, usually on my friends list,
that makes them suddenly relevant.
Although there are plenty of terms I use in a somewhat non-standard sense
here on the River, the only two I want to highlight here are geek
and human. I believe I first started using the pair of them in a
technical sense in a post titled Humans are from Earth,
geeks are from Saturn.
- This is intended as a humorously self-deprecating, fairly general term
that covers anyone who, like me, has trouble relating to and getting
along with "normal" people. It covers a fairly wide range, including
aspies, people with adult ADD, loners, and in some aspects people who
are simply terribly shy. Geeks often have an easier time relating to
computers than to people; some of my earlier posts have mentioned
"hackers" in this connection.
- This is meant as a less disparaging term for "normal" people than
things like "neurotypical", which is common in the Aspie community.
I'll note immediately that I'm well aware that many people -- probably
including most of my readers, fall somewhere in between the two
categories, or have aspects of one or the other in different situations.
Here are the tags commonly used for River subtopics. This set changes over
time, and posts will occasionally have tags that are used more widely.
- Calibration -- getting or soliciting feedback or corrections (outside
of LJ -- inside LJ I'd use "query"). You may have met the practice of
using a number to stand for the number of omitted letters in "i18n",
the common abbreviation for "internationalization".
- Definitions. Often also have "Defining my terms:" in the title.
- The whole "being human" thing (usually in the context of my abject
failure at it).
- A post about posting. This post, for example.
- N-person relationships (where n>2). The definition of
np-complete and np-hard are left as an exercise for the reader.
- Public Service Announcement. Something I want people to know about
- Psychology, including mental states, psychopharmacology, and so on.
- Questions of the readership, often for calibration purposes.
The River seems to have spawned some related writing projects. The first,
thought of a couple of months ago and introduced in a post titled The River: it's not
just a tag anymore, was the comparatively straightforward idea of
turning the first year's worth of posts and some selected comments into a
book, A Year on the River. It will require some serious
editing, of course.
The second, and more recent (as in just this week), is the idea of writing
a pair of somewhat more organized self-help books, tentatively titled
Relating to Humans -- A Manual for Geeks and Relating
to Geeks -- A Manual Mostly for Humans. I envision them being
printed back-to-back, like one of the old Ace Doubles. Anybody else
remember those? It would make sense because, as I've noted above, many
people fall somewhere in the middle. And, of course, because geeks have
most of the same problems relating to other geeks that humans do.
(The initial phrase, currently "Relating to", is up for grabs; additional
possibilities include "Living with" and "The Care and Feeding of".)
Naturally, both of these projects will start out as wiki-like websites, so
that I can get some help -- I'll need it.