It was an interesting period, this time with Everything2. I suddenly had to find something else to do on the internet. But where else could I find a page telling about someones feeling on The difficulties of keeping to an ideal or Live Nude Lesbians.

So what did I find? Well I proofread a couple of dozen pages for distributed proofreaders. Although this gave me a little warm fuzzy feeling inside from the fact that I was doing something to help humanity in the future, it just didn't have the same feeling of really giving something right now that people could appreciate.

So I turned to wikipedia. Now here was something like Everything2 but it still isn't quite right. I found it to be too structured - anything you wrote in an article had to be on topic and in no way show any opinion that wasn't held by a certain group. So you couldn't say that you hated Gigili, you had to say that every critic in the country hated it.

And then there was the fact that there were no stories, or stupid writeups about the time someone crushed their foot under a huge boulder or whatever.

Also I missed people linking ideas to emphasise them. Or linking a phrase. It all just seemed a bit sterile. There wasn't a community, just a whole lot of people worldwide who daily went to the same website.

But there were things that I like about wikipedia. If I didn't like an article I could change it. Of course this wouldn't work at E2 were personal opinions are allowed. But there were everything had to be Neutral Point of View it does and allows articles to grow.

I also liked the markup language that meant I didn't have to worry about paragraphs etc - I could just type away and it would present the page in the correct way.

So anyway this time without E2 has allowed me to discover that there is something other than this website to spend all my waking hours at. Something that helped was the fact that we never knew when it would be back online. You could log onto the internet everyday wondering whether today would be the day - only to be met by a picture of a computer or someones car.

On completely unrelated news I've finally finished my secondary education and move next year into tertiary education at the University of Canterbury in Christchuch, New Zealand. And I was named Dux for 2003 at Verdon College. This is the highest academic award at a secondary school and basically means that you were the smartest person of that years leaving class.

I’m gonna buck the inevitable trend and not write something about E2 being down and how I spent my time. Needless to say, I missed the place and the users a great deal and am happy that things are back to “normal”.

I think I did something nice the other day. (Which by now, is over a month ago...sheesh!)

Did you ever take pause to reflect on your life and realize what influences certain people might have had on you? As I’m rapidly approaching my 50’s (ouch!) and had some “down time” at work, I had the occasion to do just that. I thought about my bygone days of grammar school and even though I had done this type of thing on many an occasion, for some reason I decided to look up on old teacher of mine. But first, a little back round music…

Being the product of a so-called Catholic education, most my early teachers were brothers in the Franciscan order and were basically of the cookie-cutter variety. I don’t think you need to attend Catholic school or be the product of a private education to know what I’m talking about. They consisted of teachers who seemed disinterested and had there own agenda, the ones who could barely wait for the 3:00 bell to ring so they could dismiss us and get on with their lives. The ones who, instead of educating, thought it was their job to ridicule you into learning or to dole out punishments for imagined infractions of school policies. The ones you sorta lived in fear of as you passed them by in the hallways as they gave that holier than thou condescending nod that barely acknowledged your existence. In retrospect, the message that they (or most of them) sent seemed to say “You are here for me” rather than the other way around.

He was the youngest teacher in the school and he cut somewhat of a dynamic figure when compared to the rest of the staff. . His methods were considered unorthodox for the time and there was an undercurrent of resentment from other members of the faculty that was apparent to even to us ignorant little 7th and 8th graders. Little shits that we were, at the time we didn’t realize how lucky we were to have him as our teacher and, as our friend.

During grammar school, the noon lunch hour meant wolfing down some putrid food from the cafeteria and bolting out to the schoolyard to shoot some hoops. It served as a brief respite from the classroom that seemed to always be overcrowded (35-40 per room), and either too hot or too cold. We were free from the teaching staff unless the occasional disagreement blossomed into a full fledged fistfight and they would come swooping out of the doors hell bent on restoring peace to the playground. That all seemed to change when Brother XXXXXX started to do things differently.

Rather than spend time with his fellow teachers, Brother XXXXXX started hanging around the schoolyard. At first, we were a little dismayed and his presence seemed like an intrusion into what was supposed to be “our time”. Almost like a shy little child who is wary of getting to know other the children, he would stand off to the sidelines, looking somewhat disinterested but all the while, keeping a wary eye on his potential friends. The only difference was that he was dressed in the brown robes of his order and the lit cigarette that he held cupped in his hands. It was if he was trying to avoid detection, I don’t know if it was from us (the kids) or from his fellow teachers and I guess I never will.

Just like the shy kid I described earlier or some kind of timid animal, as time went by he neared closer and closer to the proceedings. Finally, one day the ball we were playing with came his way and rather than toss it back to us, he took a couple of dribbles and in what seemed like an effortless motion, drained a shot from the top of the key. We had never seen even another Brother at the school even attempt such a thing and to see him do it dressed in his robes is an image that has lived with me up to this day. It wasn’t long before he began critiquing our games and offering up some tips on how to improve our play. Besides earning the earning the unofficial nickname of “Coach” he had earned our respect. He even started playing full time in the three on three pick up games we indulged ourselves in. Although, I kinda think he took it easy on us, he never failed to point out our mistakes and always seemed to encourage the concept of ‘sportsmanship. None of that “in your face” style of play that is so prevalent today would ever be tolerated.

I was fortunate enough to draw Brother XXXXXX as my full-time teacher for the next two years. His classroom style was no different from that in which he initially displayed on the playground. There seemed to be no method to his style and he didn’t seem too fond of sticking to a particular regimen or curriculum. He would often start his classes off with something like “Okay, what do you guys (it was all male in the 7th and 8th grades, we were, after all getting to the hormonal stage and the school separated the girls from the boys) want to learn today?” Huh? No lesson plan, no reciting chapters from Catechism or memorized spelling words, no being called up to the chalkboard and having your lack of knowledge flaunted in front of the class? What the hell was going on?

Usually the topic would turn to the events of the day. The Vietnam War was still in full swing as were the protests in our neighborhood and around the country. Pollution and the environment were also a big deal back then as were Richard M. Nixon’s bid for re-election and race relations. Usually, as kids, we would spew out whatever viewpoints our parents held and were never called upon to think for ourselves. Growing up in what can best be described as a “conservative” household, I held firmly to my parents take on thing. Here they are in brief…

War = Good, Protestors = Communist Hippie Faggots, Pollution/Environment = Hoax, Nixon = Saint and “Niggers, Spics, and Jews” = Bad. (Italians and Irish were okay because they were quiet although I think there were reservations about the Chinese and other Asian people though.)

While not directly contradicting my parents, and other parents as well, Brother XXXXXX taught me how to look at life through a different set of eyeballs and to form a new perspective. One that was my own. He taught me to think that matters of such importance are usually best handled by clear thought and not knee jerk reactions. That a rush to judgment is usually a rush in the wrong direction.

Brother XXXXXX teaching was not limited to the schoolyard and the classroom. In the evenings, he would stroll through the neighborhood and encounter kids hanging out and start shooting the shit with them. It used to be a familiar sight. From a distance, you would see him walking down the block, robes and all, he would be accompanied by five or six of students. We weren’t kissing his ass looking for better grades, we were looking for insights and wisdoms on how to deal with the world we were bound to inherit and inhabit. He never turned down our requests for just such things.

It wasn’t long before I, and I imagine, many others, began taking our “new” philosophy home. Needless to say, it wasn’t received well and Brother XXXXXX was soon the topic and the target of many of the parents.

I guess popularity, especially among the young, has its price. Brother XXXXXX didn’t seem willing to change his ways and he lasted only a couple of more years at our school. Nothing scandalous mind you, more of the “You don’t fit in here” kind of thinking that he was so adamant to free his pupils from probably finally got the better of him. With little fanfare or much protest, he was soon gone and answers to questions about his whereabouts were addressed in vague terms.

As I mentioned, I’ve thought about Brother XXXXXX many times in the ensuing years. I did a Google search and found a Brother by the same name teaching back in Brooklyn, New York, my old stomping grounds. After a little thought I fired off an E-mail, the text of which read…

I know this is going to sound like an odd request but do you know if this is the same Brother XXXXX that might have taught at Our Lady of Angels in Brooklyn, New York many years ago? If it is, please pass on my heartfelt thanks for I was one of his students (7th and 8th grade) and the impact he had on me then as a teacher has stuck with me for the rest of my life. I think of him often and would just like to pass along my gratitude for teaching me to look at things with an open mind and a caring heart. Those values, as well as countless others were not being instilled in my home and I am eternally grateful for his patience, wisdom and kindness to what was then a pretty bratty kid.

I'm sorry if your Brother XXXXX is not the one I'm referring to but I just felt the need to pass on some very belated thanks to a man who changed my life for the better.


Borgo – aka me (I think I graduated OLA in 1972)

I haven’t heard back yet but if I do I’ll probably node it…

One last thing if you’re still with me. Remember back in the beginning of this w/u when I mentioned that I thought I did a nice thing? Well, even if it’s not “my” Brother XXXXXX, I still think I did. I related the story to borgette the other night and she thought it was pretty “cool”. And you know what, today, I’ve got a bounce in my step and tune in my head that wasn’t there from the day before. I don’t know how long that will last but for the time being, I think the feeling comes from the fact that I know that at least I’ve tried to say thanks. Take that for what it’s worth…

Note: As of this writing, I still haven’t heard back. I still feel good about my intentions though…

Noder Interrupted

Or how I spent my E2 vacation

....and then, one day, our little internet town, just disappeared. This sort of surprised a whole bunch of us.  On Tuesday, we were hanging out in the Chatterbox, just like most of us normally would be on a random Tuesday.  Only this Tuesday, we were kinda doing a countdown on when the servers were going down so our community could be loaded into a car and driven 3000 miles east for eventual relocation at the University of Michigan.  Finally, in the late afternoon somebody pulled the plug and our little town went up in a puff of digital smoke.

So a day went bye, then a couple more, no worries, crossing the United States on the autobahn takes awhile.  But then, not unexpectedly, we all started to get lonely.  It was like there just wasn't anybody around to talk to anymore.  We were all in our places, but everybody else was gone.  At least everybody from E2.  Real Life™ was suddenly more real than usual.  All sorts of projects that had been gathering dust came to the forefront and, as a group, we noders made a significant contribution to the recent jump in the U.S. productivity rate

After a week or so, even the most stoic of us began to get desperate, and so we resorted to IRC, and email to hook up with our closest E2 buddies for a quick dose of virtual companionship, and a furtive exchange of E2 rumors and innuendo.  What if it never comes back?  That question hung over us like a pregnant raincloud.  This had all come to pass so quickly that nobody seemed to have the whole story.  Information was hard to come by and compulsively checking the placeholder homepage wasn't particularly revealing or satisfying.  

We were delighted at finding that a picture and a snippet of positive-sounding text appeared one morning on the temporary E2 homepage: "We were always coming back..."  Several Byzantine interpretations of this pithy proclamation appeared on the site, where many of us had temporarily taken up residence.  The crowd of E2 exiles began to get restless and uneasy, but at long last, our curiosity was assuaged by the gentle and wise JayBonci, who enlightened on the progress that had been made and the tasks that lay ahead.  

We'd made it to Michigan in one piece, thanks to Nate, and we were awaiting installation in the bosom of the UMich server cages.  If all went well, the E2 servers would be hosted in a facility with multiple broadband pipes, backup generator power and secure server rooms.  All at a sweet price.  Great news, but all these positive outcomes dangled out before us like forbidden fruit.  Nobody could say with certainty when E2 would come back online, only that it would.

Take the red pill

This was, the hour of my discontent.  I'd already caught up on every project that needed catching.  I'd avidly exhausted every scrap of news available on LiveJournal, and had a pleasant email correspondence with some of the gang, and even blown off five days on a family Thanksgiving roadtrip that took us over 1500 miles in five days and included a micro-nodermeet with a dear old friend along the way.  I returned home to a new picture on the temporary homepage and more reassurance from Jay that E2 would return....sometime.

Caught at my weakest moment, so to speak, I succumbed to my lower instincts.  I'd read several months worth of the New Yorker magazine, listened to Heart of Darkness on tape, and annoyed all my consulting clients with my sudden and anomalous attention to their needs and desires.  In short I was bored stiff.  So I did what all good nerdboys do when they're bored and bought myself a new gizmo and learned how to make it sing.  

After a week of prowling tech specs and consumer reviews, I slammed the plastic for some minor ducats and received a shiny Philips DVDR-80 DVD Recorder on the doorstep.  I've totally resisted DVD Recorders up to now because of the "format wars" the DVD manufacturers have been struggling with.  There's also that sucky copyright bullshit on commercial DVDs, that makes the recorders less useful than they might be. But I have a ton of family memories on aging VHS tapes that are starting to wear out, so I justified the purchase on that basis.  Yeah, an early Christmas present for the family.  That's my story and I'm stickin to it.

Now if you knew me well, in fact if you knew me at all, you might know that I don't watch much television.  When our first child was born, my wife and I both decided that we didn't want the constant river of drivel flowing through our kid's lives, so we just unplugged the cable.  That was over 16 years ago.  We watch movies though, lots of movies.  We go out to see them and we've rented a zillion of em from Blockbuster and more recently Netflix.  So the television gets a workout, but none of us have ever seen an episode of Seinfield, or Cheers, or Survivor or even The Simpsons.  

And that, my friends, is why it was a little strange for me to hook up the DVD Recorder and have it suddenly present me with an onscreen TV Guide showing every program coming in on my cable (which we have for broadband net access) for the next couple of weeks.  Thousands of em. And every one had a nice little plot synopsis, and a button you could push to capture it onto the DVDR-80.  

The last time I'd checked in on evening TV, JR Ewing was plotting against Sue Ellen on Dallas and unless you had a satellite dish, you made your choices from the half dozen channels that made it to the antenna on your roof.  I think that the DVDR-80 automatically found over a hundred channels available on our cable and, according to the instructions there's a good chance it may have missed a few.

Well, I'm embarrassed to admit it, but I caved in to the this vast treasure trove of entertainment delights.  Solely in the name of science you understand. One must fully explore the capabilities of ones technology, right?  So I scanned the listings carefully for something on which to test my new techie prowess and there before me was a show I recognized: The Simple Life.  

I recognized the name of course because it's somewhat notorious.  This is the show that the new "It" girls Paris Hilton, and her buddy Nicole Ritchie finished making just before an ex-boyfriend of Paris' leaked a video of he and Paris having sex onto the Internet.  So Paris and The Simple Life got a lot of exposure lately and since it was the only show name I recognized, I pushed the Green Button to automatically record every episode.  Stay tuned for details.  

This was roughly equivalent to eating the red pill and heading down the rabbit hole and is probably best saved for another time.  Suffice it to say that after a headspinning brush with some razor sharp technology and a sordid wallow in the bathos of pop culture, I awoke to find that Avalon has reappeared in the mist.


Howdy everybody, it's good to see you all!


PS, pls drop me a /msg if any of the E2 migration details above are incomplete or incorrect. I'll happily update.
And so Everything is back on line. I have spent days during the Down wondering what one could write when our favourite site would be back, and then I have no idea. I'll go for the Hello World phrase, and that'll be it.

I wrote Personal Command Line Everything as a joke, and also not to forget how to put things in square brackets. I discovered LiveJournal, got the monk on Perl Monks and annoyed everybody on Kuro5hin by posting my grief and despair for e2 being down in the Diaries section.

I arranged things in a text ad exchange so that people having a site on everything2 can exchange each others' text ads on their personal pages. I hope you'll like it..... if anybody is interested, please /msg me. I'll write a node about it soon.

And yes, I'm glad to be here.

  1. I think I aced my LSAT, but I'm still not sure. I made sure to apply to some really good law schools just in case.
  2. I briefly became addicted to Wikipedia. I don't know if I'll ever be able to fully reacclimate to E2.
  3. I also dawdled around C2 (which should actually be called !E2, because it's basically a copy of E2 that defines itself as being not E2, even though it's the same damn thing; contrast the US and Canada).
  4. I also started a xanga site, which may make me stop doing daylogs.
  5. Last night, I spoke before the Student Senate for all of 45 seconds, and basically set the frame of debate for the remainder of the session. It was righteous. The issue was over starting an Asian cultural institute alongside the existing black and Latino ones; my final statement was "We are all Asians, and this is our institute!" I still won't become a senator, though; it's just something pointless to put on your resume and sound important.
  6. I saw Lost in Translation, at dannye's urging; it was a great movie. But I'm torn, because Kill Bill and The Last Samurai were similarly kick-assy. I'm gonna have divided loyalties come Oscar time, not that I ever pay attention to the Oscars.
  7. Al Gore sucks.
  8. But George W. Bush could still make Paris Hilton jealous.
  9. I also turned 20. It was a lame birthday. I didn't even remember it until somebody pointed it out.
  10. I'm tired. I don't think I'll node tonight.

During my e2 hiatus I...

  • Taught myself even more European history than I already had done.
  • Grumbled about e2's absence, and whined about various things that had been bugging me about the site. Well, some of them still bug me, but I'd like to apologise for being a whiny git, and thank the powers that be for their hard work.
  • Allowed life to get to me, as I do periodically. I also apologise to anyone I treatly badly as a result.
  • Had a successful appraisal meeting, and thus seem to be doing OK at work.
  • Made extensive use of other sites, such as Amazon UK and Community2. E2 is a community, but it's not the whole world.
  • Attended a decidedly split LBM nodermeet. We'll get it right next time.
  • Began taking steps toward applying for an MA degree in history.
  • And I missed you all, especially the ones I was too stupid to contact by other means, or whose addresses I'd lost (apologies again), but also the rest of you, whom I still see here as often as anywhere.

Now all I need to do is get around to finishing some writeups.

Ah yes, the glorious Everything2 has returned. Everyone needs a vacation and I guess that includes the database. For as long as it had been gone though I half expected to hear that it diverted from its travel plans and hopped a plane to South America and one night one of my writeups would call and ask for airfare home. But no matter, it's returned to us and it's time to get back into the noding game.

But first I have some news to share: I've been promoted at my job. For the past four years I've been working at my college as a web designer, but during the E2 hiatus I was offered full time work at the same office. I essentially do the same job as I always have plus a few extra duties, only now full time with a 40% pay raise, benefits, paid vacation days, and all those nice goodies. The position begins on January 5, right after I get back from my vacation to see my family for the holidays. I'll work by day and take classes in the late afternoons, continuing my degree program.

Now then, back to the node mines. I have much to share and much more to read.

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