Heart Thunder

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IRL <3thunderstorm

[edit] The story of <3 thunder

One day Glench was enjoying some thunder.

< Glench> yay thunder!

We agreed:

<%shoofle> <3 thunder
< xkcd>    <3 thunder
< lapilofu> <3 thunder

Sadly, lapilofu's line didn't line up with ours, so we decided to say it again, but further out:

<%shoofle>   <3 thunder
< xkcd>      <3 thunder
< lapilofu>  <3 thunder

It worked!

Then other people saw the column and, after some spacing confusion, joined in:

< lapilofu> <3 thunder
< xkcd>      <3 thunder
<%shoofle>   <3 thunder
< Glench>   <3 thunder
<%shoofle>   <3 thunder
< xkcd>      <3 thunder
< timotiis>   <3 thunder
< Glench>    <3 thunder
< lapilofu>  <3 thunder
< airtank> <3 thunder
< timotiis>  <3 thunder
<%shoofle>   <3 thunder
< timotiis>  <3 thunder
< xkcd>      <3 thunder
<%shoofle>   <3 thunder
< Glench>    <3 thunder
< lapilofu>  <3 thunder
< timotiis>  <3 thunder
<%shoofle>   <3 thunder
< Uhmerwell> WHAT THE FUCK
< airtank>   <3 thunder
<%shoofle>   <3 thunder
< airtank>   <3 thunder
<%shoofle>   <3 thunder
< xkcd>      <3 thunder
< airtank>   <3 thunder

It went on for a few hundred lines and then petered out.

Then, a couple weeks later, someone started it again. This time, it went for about 500 lines, and freaked out all the new people. There was one more <3 thunder storm a month or so later, and then I decided that was enough of that and created a separate channel for it -- #<3thunder. In this channel, actual humans pressed actual keys to type "<3 thunder" to each other, all lined up, kicking anyone who didn't play along. It became a game. They would tack on messages after the <3 thunders to chat back and forth. It was kind of nice, knowing that someone out there was tapping at some button in time with you, even if they weren't saying anything. It was profoundly silly, but nevertheless somehow satisfying.

Eventually, the novelty of the channel wore off and people stopped visiting it. But as the months passed, #xkcd grew. New folks, many from Digg and related sites, flooded in. The crowd changed, got noisier, less cohesive. People didn't know the old jokes anymore. An 'old-timer' beheld, as it seemed to him, the utter ruin of the channel. After some deliberation, he typed:

<@Glench>     <3 thunder

The carnage was total.

<3thunderstorm tagged "emad"
<@airtank>    <3 thunder
<@cerise>     <3 thunder
<@shoofle>    <3 thunder
<~xkcd>       <3 thunder
< grul>       <3 thunder
<@airtank>    <3 thunder
<~xkcd>       <3 thunder
< Kitty>      <3 thunder
< encryptio>  <3 thunder
<@zigdon>     <3 thunder
<@cerise>     <3 thunder
< Geekthras_> <3 thunder
<&davean>     <3 thunder
< grul>       <3 thunder
<@airtank>    <3 thunder
<~xkcd>       <3 thunder
<@cerise>     <3 thunder
<@airtank>    <3 thunder


Everyone who remembered the old game joined in. "<3 thunder" flooded through the channel, unrelenting page after page. The storm lasted for hours. Dozens of new folks, angered by the nonsense, stormed out angrily. Dozens more saw the game and took part. It was a brief period of togetherness, a celebration of silliness in an all-too-serious world. It was insanity. It was Zensanity.

The last thunderstorm was started by cerise on February 18, 2008. It was recorded on video and uploaded onto YouTube [1].

<3 thunder is done, for now. There's no need to interrupt perfectly good chat to beat an old meme to death. Let it rest in peace. And then one day, when everything's become too serious, too angry, too alienated, and too unwilling to step back and be silly -- it will be time for another thunderstorm.

[edit] See also