|VANGENERAL IS EVEN NUTTIER THAN EVER
Apr 18, 2002, 12:05am
So I'm wrapping up a long day of work (today it went from 9:30am to about 5 mins ago, with a couple of meal breaks), and I was bored. I decided to check out the newsgroup van.general (for vancouver.general), to see if it was any worse than the last time I checked it out - about 2 years ago.
Yep, it's worse.
See, I used to post quite heavily to van.general, as far back as 1994 when I first got on the Internet. For a while it was quite a good place to "hang out", share some tips and tricks about living in Vancouver, and have general discussions and debates. They got heated at times, but mostly the "regulars" were okay. I even made a few friends with folks in van.general, and Wayne, my lead programming guy, knew me from the newsgroup.
Around 1996 or maybe 1997, the newsgroup really started to go downhill. I trace it to four things:
- a few racist bastards discovered the newsgroup. One I remember well is someone (a guy, I'm 100% sure on), using the name "Karen Gordon". Others filtered in and out, but more in than out. Too many van.general "regulars" and newbies fell for their bait. I probably did more times than naught, but within a month or two of Gordon's arrival, I had it killfiled. Unfortunately, others didn't.
- around the same time, a bunch of bible toting, anti-abortion, gay bashing, mens-rights types also discovered the group. Wow, fascists and right wing religious zealots, at the same time - who woulda thought.
- a couple of the regulars, including a guy with the initials MM, started exhibiting their slide into complete weirdness. By the end of 1997, it got so bad that MM was attacking many of the regulars (including myself) with verbal slurs, insults, and really strange arguments. His fave tactic? Posting new threads saying something like "Chris Jones is a lying bastard who steals for a living" or something to that effect (yes, he used real names). Preserved for posterity, of course, in DejaNews (and now Google Groups).
- Many of the more rational "oldbies" started leaving. I left too (not to say I was one of the rational oldbies :))... I think I hung around until early 1998, but then I gave up. I think MM, who by that time felt he "owned" van.general, proclaimed triumphant that he chased me off. Oh well, delusions are great.
Anyway, like any addiction, from time to time after I "quit" the newsgroup, I couldn't help but drop in to check out the headers. They kept sliding downhill. So eventually I lost all interest. About 2 years ago was the last time I checked the NG out in any sort of regular way.
Tonight, I stopped in, saw some 2000 posts archived on my newscene server, and downloaded them. I saw message headers like:
GAY ACTIVIST MP DEMANDS APOLOGIES BUT REFUSES TO MAKE THEM
Wanted : Racists...
PRIEST SCANDALS ARE HOMOSEXUALITY, NOT PEDOPHILIA!!!
High incidence of mental illness among gays: study
What's worse is most of these idiotic, baiting, trolling, hate-filled posts have many, many replies to them. And many of the old "regulars" whose names (or nicknames) I recognize are participants.
Sure there's genuine threads here and there about actual Vancouver stuff, some questions about the city, where to go, where to get something fixed, where to buy something, etc, but the newsgroup is ovewhelmed by the very things that made me leave it years ago. And it is much worse today.
I even saw Karen Gordon's name as a poster about 300 times. But hey, no MM! Maybe he changed his nickname...
It's really too bad (not his absence, but the NG in general)... it used to be such a good place to hang out virtually...
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Photos from Algonquin Park
Photos from my trip to Algonquin Park this fall with my Mom and two brothers.
Making Snow for the Fortress
One of the worst jobs I ever had... till I got out.
Tools I Use
The tools I use to build websites and lead a tech life.
iPod and iTunes Offline
iMark's iTunes and iPod isn't iPlaying anything right iNow.
Most Recent Songs
Fiddlers Green by The Tragically Hip
Around The Bend by Pearl Jam
Here With Me (Rollo's Chillin' With the Family Mix) by Dido
With arms open wide by Creed
truffle pigs by Matthew Good Band
In the News
Burundi and Beyond - NY Times
Great article by Peter Meehan - provided some background.
St. Petersburg Times
Side mention in an article about good machines
AP Story on Espresso
Background and information provided
NY Times - Grinders Article
Especially proud of this one - got the reporter to focus on grinders
Globe and Mail
LOL - showing bad reporting, dude says I'm an American-based site!
The Olympian, WA
Talks about my love for the El Sal Siberia Pacamara
Seattle Times - Clover
Interviewed for comments on the Clover brewer
NY Times - How it Works
Background and information for various espresso machines
Time Mag Article
Just a brief mention, article about roasting beans.
Front page article about consumers getting into specialty coffee.
Quoted reference to what I wrote in an article at CoffeeGeek.
USA Today - Barista Jam
Intereviewed for my thoughts on what the epitome of espresso is.
The Wall Street Journal has interviewed me 3 times. This is the first time my name got in a story.
Interview with Reuters, Jan 2 - this is the USA Today version.
My Other Stuff
Launched Dec 22, 2001, this is THE online community for espresso and coffee fanatics.
It's all new, as of March, 2002. My personal coffee obsession site.
My company's site - needs an update!
Hey, if you feel the need to buy me something, check here!
Great gadget site run by the guy who used to do Gizmodo.
This is how I get my daily news fix.
The most active forums for digital photography online today.
Need my Daily Zen fix!
A blog about car stuff. Vroom Vroom.
An industrial design blog. Very cool stuff.
Friends and Family Plan
Beata's got her own blog! She updates it most days.
Riddla on Flickr
Matt Riddle's flickr account, updated regularly
Irdy, my friend from Jakharta, on Flickr
Canon EF 24-105 f4 L Lens
The best lens I've ever owned. Super sharp and quick.
A full frame dSLR, with luscious colour reproduction.
Alzo Digital Lights
Some amazing florescent cold lights for product photography
Canon Xsi dSLR
Amazing technology and image quality in a tiny package.
Latest prosumer camera from Canon - a much better upgrade than the 30D
Great 2.2lb computer that does most of my travel / writing needs
28mm f1.8 Lens
A great lens for closeup work and full picture photography
Finally got the right tools for freezing green coffee.
Canon 50mm 1.4
Most amazing lens I've ever owned. Produces stellar photos.
Super wide angle (full frame fisheye) zoom for my Canon 20D