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Max Barry wrote the novels Syrup, Jennifer Government, Company, Machine Man, and Lexicon. He also created the game NationStates and once found a sock full of pennies.

Blog

Mon 31
Aug
2015

Sport is Squiggly

Max

Maaaaaaaaaaaaaax! Why is The Squiggle hidden away as some kind of secret page/club instead of being linked from the front? Are you ashamed of your love of AFL? Your love of Richmond (it’s ok, there’s dozens of you. Dozens!)? Talk about the footy some time, educate the Americans.

Bob

I have actually blogged about Australian Rules Football once before. I shouldn’t have, because no-one cares, but I did. If you’re not familiar with AFL, here is a summary:

What I love about sport is how pointless it is. There is literally no reason to care who wins anything. But if you do care, it’s full of drama and stories. Sport for me is pure entertainment because I can stop thinking about it any time with no consequences.

Anyway, because I find this kind of thing fun, about 15 years ago I wrote a computer program to predict which team would win football games. Then I forgot about it until a few years ago when I rediscovered it on my hard drive and noticed it had performed bizarrely well in the meantime. So I made it into a chart and posted it on a football forum. I called it the “squiggle” because it has squiggly lines.

Now my website traffic looks like this:

A flowchart showing worldwide traffic visiting a directory named lexicon while most Australian traffic goes to a directory named squiggle

That’s most of the world visiting my site because of Lexicon, while Australians don’t give a stuff about my novels and head straight for the football chart.

Here is a pretty version:

But the one here on my site auto-updates, so you can check it during games and see how well your team is squiggling. This is addictive because if your team is doing well, what you most want to see is animated graphical evidence.

The Richmond Tigers are headed for finals for the third year in a row, which is awesome, because we were terrible for about twenty-nine years there. Our supporters are like those people who were kidnapped as children and kept in a basement and now we’re stumbling around trying to function in adult society. We don’t know how to act. It’s pretty great.

Update: This is a genuinely good introduction to Australian football:

Comments

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Machine Man subscriber Dave (#4100)

Location: Melbourne
Quote: "Quotes are like words. And stuff."
Posted: 1234 days ago

Wow, that squiggle is awesome.

Karan (#1376)

Location: Sydney, Australia
Quote: "Quid Quid Latine Dictum Sit, Altum Viditur - Anything said in Latin sounds important"
Posted: 1234 days ago

I had no idea this existed and I've been reading your site for years. This is awesome and I'll be paying attention to this next season for sure...

(go Swans! We're right between our 2005 and 2012 premierships, we're onto a winner!)

Machine Man subscriber David (#1456)

Location: Sydney, Australia
Quote: "Why are the pretty ones always insane?"
Posted: 1234 days ago

I didn't give a rat's about AFL before this post and I still don't. But I do love your novels. Also, the squiggly charty thingy is... confusing. Needs more straight lines.

Comments are now closed for this post.

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