An Ode to the former web

Written by  on July 21, 2018

Depending on where you’ve gone on the internet the past couple of years, you might have encountered this image:

For me, that actually does seem to have validity. Older people who have been online since its inception in the early 90s also have their own opinions, eg. “Eternal September”. Think back for a moment, when was the last time you randomly browsed a site other than a social media site (also include Reddit into this also)?

Okay, now don’t count news sites. At most, you probably visit only a few sites when browsing, most of which are related to social media or a large corporation such as Amazon or Google. Maybe also a news site or two.

A poster on Reddit which I screenshotted several years ago (around 2013) summarizes it perfectly:

Reddit post about internet history of the previous decade

Personally for me, I’ve had an internet connection of some sort since 1999.  I recall joining forums as a kid in the 2002-2003 time frame which linked me with tons of like minded people, you could come across websites that people generated, although some were on Geocities (I was one with a Geocities site) where people spent time crafting up informative and educational content, jokes, entertainment or some made their own computer programs or games.

Earliest thing I can remember was playing some browser based games that took a while for each page to load due to my family’s dial up connection back in the day. I wished I could remember the name of it, although like most things back then, it probably was either absorbed into a larger company or they just shut down.

When I really started spending time online was the day I had enough  money saved up to buy my own modem. My parents had two phone lines in the house, one of which was for my dad’s job. If he did something work related, I was forced to disconnect and I’d go do something else. We also had just moved to a new place and I was enrolled in a high school where I did not fit in like I used to.  My younger self was slightly more of an outdoor person, I’d go camping with friends, sometimes in the dead of winter just to see if we could tolerate sub zero temperatures. When we moved, I started dealing with depression due to various things happening in the new school I moved to, I didn’t have friends, and most people despised me. It took until my senior year and when I finally was walking away from that place for that to change.

I was a fan of the cartoon “Ed, Edd, n Eddy” in middle and high school, as it reminded me of my old friendships before my family moved. One of the first independent things I ended up doing was finding fan sites related to it. There were several, and lots of places wrote fan fiction related to the show. I joined in with those, making my own Geocities site and publishing several I made myself. I kind of considered publishing those here again in the future, however reading a few the last time I looked, made me incredibly embarrassed. I also did Star Trek fan fiction and was a part of fan sites related to it also.

Some time passed and I spread out to other things, such as games and other topics. My computer was a fairly old machine so I never had a chance to play a lot of the top of the line games. I started with a 486DX2 with 32MB of ram running Windows 3.11 in 2000 and then upgraded to a Pentium 233 with 64MB of ram  running Windows 98 in 2002. Trying to figure out ways to make money as a younger teenager I decided to start reading up on how to fix machines. I routinely reinstalled Windows on my computer, saving my files on ZIP disks back then as I got a drive and a pile of diskettes for free. I eventually found my way to computer forums and finally found places to fit in. I could remember having tons of browser windows open, posting and reading posts from various forums.

I eventually made enough money to build myself a new desktop, a Pentium 4 with 512MB of ram and a top of the line graphics card. Because Windows XP required activation, I didn’t want to bother pirating it over dialup so I managed to get a copy of Windows 2000 on CD for free (I actually got it from a dumpster dive). I used that machine until I bought a laptop in college since I was always traveling. During that time, I joined forums, IRC networks and played games with likeminded people. There was one forum I was a part of for well over 10 years until certain actions caused me to part ways. I found my first girlfriend via forums back during then, and she only lived 45 minutes from me. I still remember when I finally met her in person for the first time and the fun we had that evening hanging out. I ran small websites and forums with some people and generally had a place to withdraw from when I had issues with my school life. I generally think that the internet in that form kept me from doing something insanely stupid or possibly ending my own life due to depression I was dealing with.

What’s this have to do with the present day internet? A lot of things. The internet as a whole is not like it was in the 90’s, or even the 00’s.  With everything centralized, and everyone using their real names, there’s no longer any escapism that used to be there. You can’t have a conversation that’s questionable and can make you think as easily anymore. People can track you down and haunt you for any action you make now. Not as many people actually create content anymore, it’s all consumed. Discussion is controlled now only through a handful of people. Although ads are significantly less annoying, everything tracks you and datamines you for their profit.

The internet was tamed and colonized.  And that’s a sad thing.

Predictions (2016)

Written by  on October 6, 2016

I always wanted to finish a collection of stories in which I had plots set up for many years, with the motivation for me to dedicate time to finish them being fairly low. Space Junk is a good story which is an example. Even though I have several chapters basically done, I never gotten around to publish them or end up revising them several times over before I even get to them to the point I wanted to publish.
Even though I never bothered getting them out the door, I’ll spoil a part of a plot of that for this post.
I predicted in 2007 with one of the latter chapters of Space Junk the following:

  • Hilary Clinton would be President of the United States in the future.
  • A US President afterwards in the future would be some multi billionaire that would be self centered and drive the country further into the ground with the previous one. I think I named the guy Robert Docshea. (Think of his last name being synonymous with “douche”.)
  • There would be some mechanism that if you posted ideas counter to the established train of thought given by media organizations you will end up punished, either with social or civil penalties. This might be enforced by an AI or by people who think they have moral superiority, but in fact were brainwashed by powers in control.
  • The three main characters would end up having to use darknet (think I2P or TOR) to have conversations with likeminded people online.
  • Cell phones, cable boxes, and other internet connected devices will constantly blast advertisements to people based on their discussions.

I tried to design this with what I was seeing going on in 2007 with the advent of social media, economic issues and laws being proposed. This was before Obama was nominated by the Democratic Party to run for President of the United States. After that occurred, I assumed Clinton would probably run again in the future. I apparently was correct on that as she is currently the Democratic Nominee for President in 2016. Not bad for a kid in college at the time.

I’ve been taken a bit by surprise by my second prediction coming to the front at the same time as the first one. I’m not sure what to say about Trump honestly at this point, I get the impression of a snake oil salesman, however at the same time the unfiltered personality of him does seem to bring a bit of fresh air into politics that I never have seen my whole life.

Looking at the media and how they’re painting him, it’s a total smearjob on him 24/7. I get the impression the media will end up regretting that somehow in the future as everyone I talk to on both sides alike assume that any publicity, even negative, is good publicity. Clinton on the other hand, actually scares me to an extent.  Certain things she says give me the impression that the US will yet again end up in another war in the Middle East, which I personally think is pointless.

I’ve been paying attention to the whole gamergate/anti-SJW (Social Justice Warrior, aka social media mobs) movements going on. I’ve always wanted to write something up on the whole issue the entire time it’s been going on, but have sat on the fence and couldn’t agree with them or the other side of the issue.  I do see a lot of social media outrage on Trump’s comments and I get the feeling a lot of people getting annoyed with the outrage mobs will side with Trump. The US election is in a few weeks and we will likely see what happens.

On another note, the outrage mobs are getting annoying enough I might do a parody of them on here for kicks eventually.

An Example of Over-reactions

Written by  on June 6, 2015

Something that gets noticed a lot is when people jump to conclusions right off the bat when it comes to breaking news. Even though not all of the information is out there or the situation hasn’t been fully evaluated yet, people always jump to a conclusion based off a few headlines. All humans are basically guilty of this, it’s part of human nature.

I’ve ran into a few different and odd situations where people’s conclusions put the people around them into rather dangerous situations. An example of this occurred with me several years ago when the auto industry in the US was bailed out.  Around that time, I and a few of my college classmates were about to celebrate our 21st birthdays. Just for kicks, we took a trip down to a local bar in a busy part of town that had quite a few places in terms of nightlife. Since most of us lived far enough away that it would require someone to drive, one of us who was yet to be 21 had to drive us there, and from that place after we were done, we were planning on going to my apartment to finish studying for a midterm that was going to happen at the end of the week. Seeing that it was a Monday, the four of us doubted that the area was going to be packed, excluding a lot of frat/sorority people who never went to class and just spent their entire college career drunk.

So we picked a random bar, it was a sports bar, and it was nearly 6pm that afternoon when we went in there. As we expected, the place was rather empty, except for a few guys, one of which looked like your stereotypical redneck you’d see if you do a images search for “redneck”.

This place had quite a few television sets all over the place. The barkeeper had one of them on a broadcast TV station, one of your big four stations that do their 6pm local news and then their 6:30pm national newscast. I think this was NBC, a channel I couldn’t stand due to their views on file sharing and tech. Now that I think about it, I still can’t stand them.

So they go on about talking about the auto bailout, and how GM was going to be getting a ton of money to stay afloat. We were already sitting a few seats away from two of the redneck guys who looked like they were slightly buzzed or drunk already. I think they were construction workers or something. One of the redneck guys turned to us, and starts saying:
“Whoever disagrees with that bailout is supporting communism.”

Now, a rough definition of Communism is as follows: An economic system where the state controls the means of production. The United States doesn’t technically fit that definition, the opposite system is a Lessie-faire (free-market) system in which the state doesn’t manage any means of economic function, except for levying taxes. The United States isn’t a total free-market system but isn’t a communist system either as regulations and restrictions on certain functions exist. One of my friends at this bar had this going on in his head and decided to rebuke the redneck guy.

If I recall, his comment was something like: “Um, that’s not communism. The government owning shares in a company and having a controlling stake is more communism than isn’t.”

This redneck guy immediately flips his lid and gets angry. Next thing that happened is the guy is pointing a handgun at us, starting to yell at us about how we were communists and kids don’t know anything about how the world works. At that point, I think all of us were nervous we’d get shot by this drunk guy and that would be the end. The guy behind the bar though had a different reaction. Before anyone could react, he jumped the bar and ripped the gun away from the guy and pointed it back at the redneck’s head. Later we’d learn the guy was an ex-navy seal or something like that who also taught MMA fighting on the side besides his bartending job. While the drunk was stuck in that chokehold with his own gun pointing to his head, the bartender decided to give him an lecture on economics. The police arrived about twenty minutes later and arrested the guy.

So what does this story have to do with overreactions?

It seems that lately, there’s always a social media outrage with people having a mob mentality jumping to conclusions before all facts are known. A good example is that one dentist who traveled to Africa to go hunting, following all laws even with a guide and killed a lion. Even though it seems that is acceptable on that side of the world on what he did, the rest of society in the west decided to grab pitchforks and do everything they can to destroy that guys reputation with comments like “how dare you kill that animal”. This has been happening more and more it seems and it seems only a matter of time before some people get so numb to the outrage that they will cycle outrage mobs as much as they can to cause even more issues. This can even possibly start causing loss of life the way it’s going.

This is something I kind of want to follow more going into the future as this has gotten more and more common with the growing presence of social media. Maybe it’ll be story worthy.

I’m in the mood to make fun of myself

Written by  on July 4, 2014

So while I was moving into my new place, I came across several notebooks from elementary school all the way up through high school. Looking at them now, I have to laugh at my inability to spell and some of the random drawings I came across. I decided I’d show off some of the ones I found since they seem… quite strange.


Apparently as a kid, I couldn’t spell “Hitler” correctly. Why I selected that as a word for that hangman picture, I have no clue. So supposedly Nazi Germany used to say “Hail Hithler” instead of “Hail Hitler” . Also, “donut” planet? I didn’t know there was a planet of doughnuts.

Speaking of Hitler, I watched the cartoon Dilbert on Netflix and got these as suggestions:


old spacejunk character list

Old  Space Junk character list. Only three of those characters remain from the original list I created over 10 years ago, and they’ve changed compared to that. Also reminds me to get off my butt and complete my book. It’s now three years past its due date. I didn’t realize I came up with the idea that early though, apparently two years earlier than my first word document.

space junk ch1 03

The old Intro from Space Junk in 2003-04. Only thing that still remains is the first sentence, minus the character name. I enjoy seeing all those spelling errors. I think I wrote that while being bored in my high school English class.

old space junk species list

Old species list from 2003-04. None of those are used. Hell, even the later part of my plot was tossed not too long after this picture.

Going even older (the 90’s)…

Boyan Attack plane

This was in a book that was dated from 2nd grade if my years are correct. 999mph is kinda slow for a spacecraft or airplane. Also the amount of fire coming out of the engines is concerning. I had a habit of labeling who was the pilot/copilot, me and a childhood friend flying Swat Kats style (big cartoon when I was a kid). Also, why is it bombing an empty platform? Waste of ammo (or energy).

I actually drew a comic book series around the same time as the picture above that when I saw years later cleaning out trash in high school. That comic book series is actually what Space Junk came out of, although the original story and meaning has long been trashed and replaced with stuff that makes more sense. Who knew that random drawings from my childhood would give me an idea for a book 7 years later (well now 17 years later)? Maybe I’ll scan that eventually, I still have it with the other stuff.

The story of “Bob” and his stolen life — Based off of a true story

Written by  on June 15, 2013

Last year, I moved into a new apartment complex in a lower cost suburban area outside of town that was a bit cheaper than living on campus. It was somewhat of a low class housing complex, housing mainly bachelor’s in the 1-bedroom units. A week or two after I moved in, I was taking some trash outside to the nearby dumpster when I met one of my new neighbors. For terms of anonymity, I’ll just call him “Bob” for this story. Bob, seeing that I’m fairly young, asked me if I was a college student or not, seeing that I was living alone. I answered yes, that I was studying engineering and was intending to attend graduate school and study physics after I graduated. He then told me that he was in the apartment directly on the right of mine. I really had no interest in conversing with any of my neighbors, as I didn’t have the time then to really bother.

That night, I sat down on my bed and decided to read a book before I went to sleep. I then heard some noises coming from my wall and out of curiosity, I got off the bed and placed my ear against the wall to listen closely at what I was hearing. It was a crying noise, and someone yelling “Why me? Why does bad shit always have to happen to me?!” I walked out side to look at the apartment number that was next to mine. It was Bob’s apartment. I went back into my apartment and laid back down on my bed. By this time, the crying was getting louder, and since I had to be up the next morning for a 8am class, I walked into my living room and fell asleep on my recliner instead.

The entire night and morning, I couldn’t stop thinking but wondering why a grown guy would be balling his eyes out for. That night, as I fell asleep again, I heard the crying again. Seeing this was the second night in a row I head the crying, I decided that I would ask him what was up with that. The next day after classes, I returned back to my apartment and started cooking myself dinner. A few hours later, I noticed Bob’s two-door Ford Focus pull up and park in his assigned parking spot. By this time, I was about to sit down and eat, but the eating curiosity on what was going on with this guy and why he was crying all the time. I decided to walk next door and ask him directly. I knocked on his door and he walked out.

“Hey, what’s up?” was the first thing he answered with when he came to the door.
“I was wondering why you were crying your eyes out the past two nights.”
“Oh, you heard that? Shit! I didn’t think I was that loud.”
“A grown man normally doesn’t cry like that unless something really bad has happened to him.”
“Have you heard of a thing called divorce? It does that to you. I lost everything I had built up over the years, and nobody could do anything about it. ”
“Uh, don’t those usually split 50-50?”
“Typically, but she emptied all the money from all of my accounts, including the 401k before she filed for it. I should have been more suspicious when she’d leave every few days and return the next morning like she just crawled out of bed.”
In my head, of course something like that would be suspicious. Even a guy like me who rarely if ever has a girlfriend would notice that right off the bat. So I said that.
“Well, that certainly is suspicious,” I said. “It would set of a lot of red flags in my head.”
“Well it did for me too. After seeing this happen a few times in a row, I decided to confront her. That evening when both of us were home from work, I decided to ask her if she was having an affair on me. She denied it, and said that I was just never around when she came home and left again for work. She claimed that she was working two jobs, which I couldn’t understand why, because I made more than enough money to support the two of us. After a while, she went back to repeating her little vanishing act again. A month later, she comes to me and tells me she’s pregnant.”

Personally, hearing that kind of events, red lights would definitely go off in my head telling me right off the bat that this woman is cheating. However, a while before that, I decided I would try to take a more objective approach in life, and be a bit more questionable than I usually was. Sometimes I wish I would actually do that more often than I normally do.

After a pause, he continued.

“I knew by then, she was cheating on me. That was a fact, since I had a vasectomy performed on myself to keep from having kids at a early age. I’d rather have kids a bit later on, mainly when I had more than enough money saved up to cover the costs of everything in case something drastic happens eventually. Also, I do recommend you have one done on yourself too, because you’re never the one really in control of who gets pregnant or not when you find a significant other.”

“Uh, I’ll keep that in mind…” I answered to him.

“So, I decided to confront her. With the fact that I knew now that she cheated on me, I wanted to have a heart to heart conversation with her to see is she really loved me or not. I sat her down at the kitchen table and started to talk to her. She kept insisting that I was wrong and was being paranoid.So I told her outright that I couldn’t have a kid. Her response back to me was that ‘You’re full of shit, it’s yours.'”

“And you brushed her off and kept on thinking that you were mistaken, right?”

“Yeah, I decided at that point to wait and see what the kid would look like. ”

I started to think this guy likely picked the wrong type of person and that would have likely been the root of all his problems. So I asked him, “Where in the world did you exactly find this girl to begin with anyways?”

“A bar.”

“You got to be kidding me.”

“Not kidding. I’m guessing you’re the type of person who never goes to one.”

“I did once, right when I turned 21. I had a gun pulled on me when I told some redneck guy that I didn’t agree with the auto bailout. Some random guy asked me for no reason if I thought Detroit deserved the auto bailout. I told him no. The guy then went bezerk and said that I was ‘unAmerican’ for not wanting to support an American company in their time of trouble. When I told the guy that’s not how capitalism works, he pulled his gun out at me. I had two friends with me too, and we all left after that. The guy followed us out and decided to bust out all our windows, calling us ‘motherfucking communist traitors’. The cops refused to do anything, just standing there watching. Never went to another one again.” (Aside: I could do a nice blog entry on this more than likely. That guy was definitely ignorant on definitions and should have paid more attention in school.)

“Well that’s understandable then, I guess..” He replied.

“I do know quite a few people who frequent bars on a daily basis. They’re all single mothers now. One of them I know goes to bars to try and find guys to raise her two kids, and she’s actually 19, but uses a fake ID to get in. Nobody usually knows that. That’s where my you got to be kidding remark came from. Anyways, what happened after that conversation?”

“We eventually learned the child was to be a girl and when she came out, she looked nothing like me. I pulled the doctor off to the side and asked him to do a DNA test while they were processing her. Looking at her and me and realizing the child looked nothing like me, the doctor decided he would comply with my request even though that wasn’t the formal procedure. I had the results delivered to a PO Box I used for work. They came in a few weeks later and my suspicions were correct. It wasn’t mine. I took the results and confronted my wife about it. She got really pissed off about that test, saying she should have been told and that I didn’t want to man up and deal with parenthood. After a few hours straight worth of arguing, she finally came clean and admitted it wasn’t my child, that she was in a relationship with 5 other guys.”

“Uh, did you just say 5 other guys?”

“Yes, she was married to me and another guy, and was having an affair with 4 other people. She gave this excuse that she would stop all of that and focus only on me and the child, and when I asked her whose child it was, she wouldn’t answer still. She slipped something into my drink then that night and I don’t remember anything after that. She didn’t realize I was recording her that entire evening with my phone. I woke up the next morning and decided to play it back, and was disgusted with what she was talking to with someone while I was passed out. I learned who the real father was, which was a bartender at the same bar we met at, and how useless I was except for getting money and she didn’t really love me. I filed for divorce papers the next day. A week later, I started getting calls from the bank that my balance was withdrawn and I was at a negative balance. Things started to randomly disappear from my apartment. I got a lawyer and asked him what to do. I eventually just left that apartment completely and got this place here. I opened up another bank account and closed my old one, however she somehow figured out the new bank account location and number and started taking my money back out again. Meanwhile she was also taking all the money out of my retirement account and I had no clue.”

“Isn’t that some type of felony?”

“I think it is, we finally went to divorce court. The judge was female and seemed to be biased towards my wife. Even with the evidence that the child was not mine, she ruled in favor of my wife, and demanded I pay child support. I was stuck with all the bills too, and she apparently bought a Mercedes the week before in my name. We went back to court again, this time she claimed she was unemployed and needed extra financial assistance to pay for her bills. The judge agreed and child support was raised to 65% of my income, which I think is actually illegal. I also was required to take on all her debts, $300k worth. My lawyer and I are still fighting that. All of that is illegal.”

I personally took skepticism to the 65% remark. No judge would require someone to pay 65% of their income in child support. The judge would be dooming that person financially.

So the conversation ended shortly after that. I went back over to my apartment and decided to watch a hockey game on TV and finish some homework for school. A few days later, I can’t remember how many exactly, he vanished. A knock on my door came later and I answered it. It turned out to be a blonde female who was driving a Mercedes convertible. I asked her “Can I help you?”

“Yeah, where’s asshole?”

“Uh, who’s asshole?”

“The talking dick who lives next to you.”

“You mean Bob?”

“Yeah, Bob the talking dick.”

“He’s not a talking dick, and I haven’t seen him for a week or so now.”

“That’s all you men are, talking dicks who pay the bills.”

I slammed the door in her face. I kinda found that comment offensive. I do have to admit though, for a technically unemployed woman, where in the world did she get the money for to wear super expensive clothing and drive a super expensive car? I started to take Bob’s comment about what happened a bit more seriously then.

A month later, the landlords issued an eviction notice to Bob. Nobody there had seen him for over a month, and all his stuff was still in there, minus his clothes and a handful of electronics. As the landlords were dumping the furniture outside for auction and or trash, I walked over to the guys. I asked them if it was possible I could take some of the items myself, since my apartment was kinda empty. They agreed, so I took the xbox, microwave, tv stand and end table. I powered on the xbox later that night and got a message from someone who claimed to be one of his friends. I asked for Bob’s current address and he gave it to me. I boxed up his xbox and mailed it to that address. That was the last I heard of anything about him again.

So wherever you are dude, I hope that eventually your situation gets dealt with and your life is straightened up. I’m using this as a personal experience myself, first off, don’t pick up women at bars, and be really skeptical when you think someone’s lying a lot. I’ve seen stories similar to this online quite a bit lately, which makes me wonder if the system is really corrupted. Hopefully, people will begin to notice and changes will be made for the better….