Skrip - tyur' - i - ent: adj. Possessing the violent desire to write.


#017 In which our hero presents his clip show.

There once was a time, which probably lasted all of two weeks, when I was as up-to-date on the goings-on of the Internet as just about everybody else. This was around 1991, just as things were really starting to take off, when people were discovering how cool it was to surf around and have access to damn near anything; medical advice, recipes, free porn. It was magical.

During this time I threw up my first website on AOL's homesteading area. I called it The Cup 'o Fear Coffeehouse.

Tangent #1: the name. My friend Tim and I used to talk at length about how great it would be to open our own coffeehouse. Of course, we were both 24, hated the customer service jobs we both had, and spent a lot of time hanging out in a coffee shop in town. Tim had read something about caffeine having the same affect on the body as when the fear reaction was provoked... not adrenaline per say, but something akin to that. Coffee's like drinking a cup of fear. I like to think that I came up with that name, but I can't remember, really. But we thought it would be great to run the Cup 'o Fear Coffeehouse, hang out with cool people such as ourselves all day, drink coffee, and play cards. I went as far as doodling some logo designs and conceiving of a coffee menu (the strongest, most caffeinated coffee I could find would be brewed dark and served up in a special mug: The Cup of Fear!). That or run a comic book shop.

Tangent #2: I still have an AOL account, if you can believe it. Not that same one as I had back then, mind you, that shared account went away with my girlfriend at the time of the break-up... but that's an entirely different story.

No one had coined the term blogging, yet, but that's what I was doing. Not that I had any sort of dedication to writing; I may have written four or five times before losing interest. My site looked like everyone else's... here's what's on my mind, here's the links I like to visit, here's a little about me... real typical stuff. I went through a lot of different designs, with no continuity between them. Looking back, the site was always more about the way it looked than what it said. The sites I really admired back then looked fantastic; flashy graphics, clever coding, great design. I was deeep into David Siegel's "Killer Web Sites" at the time. It was my Bible. I wanted so bad to make something like what I saw in those pages. But, my lack of talent finally shouted down my enthusiasm. That's what I wanted my site to be, and sadly, it was never even close. I've always enjoyed writing, and my skill at it has always far surpassed any drawing or design skill; it's strange that I never made the connection, closed Photoshop, and just wrote.

Anyway, that site still exists. Alone, never visited, the "last updated" notation forever stuck at January 23th, 1998. (Yeah, you read that right. I just noticed that I screwed up the date's notation, most likely when changing it from the 20th. The twenty-tirth? What the hell is that?) It sits as a odd time capsule of what I though was cool at the time. The links page is especially telling. Let's take a look, shall we?

Water. This site was everything I wished mine was. Great design, evocative writing. I read it day in and day out until... I stopped. I'm not sure why. The address is still valid (even if it's not called "Water" any longer and I'm not so enamored with the new design), but I just moved on. Strange.

The Fray. Another wonderful site; maybe the first real collaborative story-telling site. I actually submitted a story or two back when he still accepted unsolicited submissions. My stories were never picked up (most likely because they were self-pitying weepers that I thought were clever and insightful. They weren't). I still visit this site from time to time, but not as much as once I did. I changed jobs and no longer had access to the email address where I received Fray updates. Never bothered to re-subscribe to the list, and didn't keep up with the new stories.

Dark Horizons. This is a movie news and rumor site (and more, actually, but I only ever read the news part) in the same vein as Ain't It Cool News. I read this site religiously until just a short while ago when the owner changed the design and added seemingly endless pop-up advertisements. I haven't been back in months.

The Internet Move Data Base. Ah, my favorite. I still visit this site at least twice a day. I don't know how I ever got by before it existed. In the past, I would just have to wonder who played the head camp councilor in Meatballs (Harvey Atkin) or what movies that "Augustus Gloop" kid from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory went on to make (none). If not for the Internet, these questions surely would have driven me insane by now.

The Onion. Still a hilarious read.

Alt.Culture. And now we get into the links that are mostly lost. This site, at one time, was a searchable encyclopedia of pop-culture stuff. At one point a year ago or so I looked and it had been absorbed by a larger entity on the Web, but now the link doesn't respond at all. Very sad.

The Amazing Anacam. One of the earlier webcams. Ana is (was?) this artsy/hippy girl that rigged her apartment with a real-time video feed so you could watch her eat, sleep, and make her weird art. Oh, and she often walked around naked. I was obsessed with this site, and constantly went back there. I even bought her strange music/video CD, which I have to this day. But, like so many other of these links, I eventually got bored and moved on. The site still exists, but it seems to be mostly a pay site now. I wonder if she still walks around naked?

The Disfunctional Family Circus. At it's heyday, this site killed me. The site owner would take one of those insipid Family Circus cartoons, remove the dialog at the bottom, and ask readers to submit their own captions. I did this many times, and often had my caption included on the page. Now, the reader-submitted captions were all about being as raunchy and filthy as you could be, often to hilarious effect. It was finally shut down when Bil Keene, the real Family Circus author, contacted the site owner and asked him to remove this feature. Which he did, much to the chagrin of his faithful readers. RIP.

More to come...


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