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Dog Tricks and Net Awards

Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks?

We’ve had our dog for about 6 years now, and she was 5 when we got her. That makes her 11 years old. In that time, I’ve trained her to chase a ball, to walk in circles on her hind legs, to roll over, to play dead, to hunt her “bunny” (originally a stuffed rabbit, but now a stuffed squirrel dog toy), and just recently, how to speak. Well, dog speak. Anyway, I had to share that because like most dog owners, Jean and I are pretty proud of our pooch.

One other quick point. Two people told me they thought I was laying some kinda guilt trip with the ending of my last rant. I got news for ya. That’s exactly what I was doing!

And now for the meat of my rant.

What I can’t quite figure out is how last year, when I was so down on CSotY awards, I was pretty much blacklisted (well, what else would you call “ignored”?) by most of the supposed “web ‘leet”, In fact, many people I knew (or knew of) were gaga over the CSotY last year. Yet this year, many of the same people are putting down CSotY more than I ever did? So what’s up with that?

Hrmm, actually, I can sort of figure it out, but I’ll keep those thoughts to myself.

The point is, last year I had a 5 month, off and on again ranting obsession against award sites, and CSotY in particular. Here’s a few for ya to sample, but heck, don’t forget to come back here for the rest.

This one was good.

This one pissed off three people.

This one wasn’t very well written.

This one. Hrmm, you decide.

And don’t forget this – some responses from people around the net to a particular rant I had up.

(above links removed).

What I find a strange coincidence (I can’t say ironic, because I’ve recently learned from George Carlin that the word ironic is mis-used int today’s society) is that much of the stuff I was spewing on about (like the commercialism crap, the awards for hits bullshit, the awards for banners stuff, etc) is now the same kinda crap others are saying. The same “others” I refer to at the top.

I just remembered why I gave up on people like this about a year or so ago, and why I said I wasn’t gonna spend more time bitching these things… sigh, here I go again.

Changing gears a bit here, I have to say that I’ve sort of given up on the increasing crass commercialism over at projectcool. Project Cool used to be just that. Cool. It was a source of inspiration for me. When I was really stuck for design ideas, I went to projectcool to check out Glenn’s latest picks, and many times, I got inspired. But it seems lately that most of the stuff he picks is of commercial nature, and I get really really tired of visiting his site, what with all the rotating banners and stuff.

So where the hell do I go for inspiration online these days? Not too many places. I think Flash is the future of the net, so I go to the Flasher.Net site quite a bit, but I feel that site is too limited, and too ruled by internal politics and net bullshit. There is a relatively new site online that features cool web pages,, which sort of shows promise. I found out about the site because my site was “awarded” a cool site badge.

Now, most of the time I get these things (not all), I just ignore them after giving the awarder a hit or two. is set up pretty much like other award pages, and they like to generate hits by having you place their badge on your site. But, it is new, it is fairly well designed (though it sort of follows a cookie cutter, late 1998 look), and there were more than a few listings there for sites I had never seen before, and I really, really enjoyed.

So I’m not telling you to visit the site or become a fan, as I’m not. And I’m not being hypocritical here (hey, nifty word, eh). I am not giving an exception to this site simply because they badged me. I’m just giving them a fair shake because a) a site they featured helped me get rid of some designers’ block I was suffering, and b) I’m hoping beyond hope something will happen…

See, I think the web sorely needs a true, not for profit web awards or recognition site, one that searches first and foremost for quality in both design and content. One that allows open membership by anyone who can design a decent site. One that doesn’t expect massive hit counts to push some banner ads. One that exists purely for the purpose of recognizing excellence. I saw some attempts at this (one is still pending, and I’m hoping that will come true, but two or three others seem to be failed starts (and one of them had a code lifter on it’s board! Yikes!)

I kinda miss The Net magazine. Their blue pages held real promise, and most of the time they delivered. This site wasn’t geared at generating awards for hits. Sure, the “blue page” concept for the failed magazine in the print edition was designed to help sell the magazine, but that’s okay. I found some of the coolest sites of all time in those listings, and I really miss that magazine. Maybe we need something like that again today. And the first person who suggests Yahoo Internet Life is gonna get smacked.

I got a miniscule write up in YIL, but I don’t really respect the magazine (after all, they picked me, didn’t they?). I actually do really like some of the writers (like Angela Gunn), but most of the sites they select for their sites of the month are your typical Discovery Channel clone bullshit, and I have no respect for that. If you pay a million dollars or more for your site design, then you better damned well get a well designed site. The sites I want to see recognized are the sites put together on a $3,000 budget, but still blow away some million dollar sites. Better yet, I wanna see more websites designed using nothing more than the sweat and effort of a really dedicated person, a person dedicated to creating perfection, or as close as he or she can get to it, on the web, for no money. Gratis. No ads, no banners, no payment. Just a love for their form of art.

It don’t exist.

Which in absolutely no way brings be back to CSotY again. If you read this article, one might get the impression that some people are pissed with CSotY not because it’s crass commercialism, but because the awards aren’t totally geared to award a small group on the Net. Well heck, that’s the impression I got. In the past year, I’ve visited many, many personal sites, and believe it or not, I’ve visited many that are better than many of the sites listed in these articles. Take for instance Kymm Zuckert, one of the few diary writers online I actually read? I find her so much more real than many online.

How about Neil, another diarist I read from time to time (and hey Neil, time for another update buddy…) Almost his entire site is done in grayscale, and it works. I like it when people pick a theme and run with it.

And then there’s Beth Campbell’s site, which is her alter ego. You have to visit This site has so much diverse, funny, sad, and downright cool stuff, it hurts. It hurts me to see this site. I am very, very jealous. Very simple designs to be sure, but the point of this site is that the content rocks. It’s also buried, but hunting around makes it fun. I love Beth’s stuff, and if it were up to me, she’d take cool personal page of the last two years.

There’s a lot of other gems in my bookmarks, but I’ll share them at another time. The point I’m trying to make is that the web isn’t just a couple of ‘leet types, and then the rest of us. There’s a lot of really cool, really hip shit out there, but sometimes you have to go outside of your own little set of daily bookmarks to see it. Then again, some people have to realize that there are those cooler than they are, in writing, in design, and in style.

Which brings me back once again to my in vain search for an award / recognition site that I could respect. This hypothetical, never happen site will have to search out stuff like and give it’s just reward. It will have to search out some of the way cool flash work done by people in Italy, and give them their just reward. It will have to visit the javascript expert who lives in London, coding code during the day, and painting pictures at night, and give him his just reward.

But, it will never happen. The lure of money for hits, money for banners, and the picking of million dollar budget sites will always end up being the sole purpose for every major award site.

Blah. Maybe I’ll write some more on this later. Till Next time… you know the score…



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