Abandoned Site Spotlight: Nick’s WCW Page

A large amount of my internet time in the late 90’s was spent researching professional wrestling. Learning wrestler’s real names, the names of moves, rumors of who might jump between organizations, listening to MIDIs of theme songs, and playing fantasy wrestling were all major sources of entertainment for me. It was because of my love of wrestling I discovered Napster, when chatting with an online user who had some wrestling theme songs in mp3 that I wanted. Wrestling was my everything.

I once ran The Ultimate Taz Website, dedicated to ECW wrestler Taz. I had a page dedicated to Wrestlemania 2000 the video game and a fantasy role playing league. Sadly, I no longer have any of these pages nor are they available online.

When I get nostalgic for this time, I go digging for wrestling websites still up on Tripod or Angelfire. I love reading all the rumors that were incorrect and seeing the excitement people had for the nWo. One night while searching, I came across Nick’s WCW Page and it stopped me in my tracks.

At the top of Nick’s page was a tribute to him. He was killed in an ATV accident and his mother updated the site to let his readers now that his passing was the reason for the lack of updates. It was an incredibly touching message that demonstrated how connections once existed online. We were anonymous, but not strangers and that meant something.

Over the years, I’ve thought about Nick’s page often and even fashioned a page that hosted all my wrestling articles after his site once. I didn’t know Nick, but I was a lot like Nick. A teenager who poured his soul into creating something to honor the things that he loved and in hopes that others would find it entertaining. One day, my blog will serve as a memorial for me, but I doubt my wife will know how to update it and once my domain fees go unpaid it’ll be lost forever. It’s nice to know Nick’s page lives on over twenty-years later.

Looking for a Quote – Web 1.0

Earlier today, I was working on a writing project when I needed a quote from a television show. My go-to for such a request is IMDB, which sadly no longer promotes their quotes section and I believe it may be phased out with the next update. The quote in question was not there, so I visited the dedicated Wiki for the television show. I didn’t have the quote nor did the regular Wiki. I decided to give it a DuckDuckGo search and I found an archived Geocities page full of quotes from the series.

Amongst this massive page was tons of quotes from almost every episode that had aired for nine seasons. It was wonderful and I was able to pull exactly what I needed from it.

The page I found was The King of the Hill Information Site, a fan page that looks like it was last updated in 2006. This fan has article archives, minor cast voice actor pages, info on the writers, and more. This was the type of detail that I LOVED from old fan pages. You could tell the page was a passion project by someone who truly loved the material they were writing about. Those quotes were most likely typed while playing back episodes recorded from the TV or on DVD. That’s dedication.

I really, really miss pages like this. Pages that exist almost like of a book of knowledge. The content is just as relevant today as it was in 2006. I think the invention of Wiki’s made people think that fanpages were useless, but when I see something like The King of the Hill Information Site it makes me wonder. I book marked the site and spent quite a while exploring all the in’s and out’s and I love that about web 1.0 sites. It was sort of what I was hoping to accomplish previously with my blog. Just a place to explore and dig around.

I’m thankful for all the folks who archived the Geocities sites and I’m glad I can still find Angelfire and Tripod sites online. Those deep dives are a lot of fun and I mourn all the exciting, creative, and informative sites we’ve lost in our transition to Web 2.0 over the years.

Once I get my Links page up and going, I have a list of old web 1.0 sites still online as a category.

You can find some articles I’ve written about Web 1.0 sites here:

A Look Back at Some Scream Fan Pages

Abandoned Angelfire Horror Websites (Circa 1999-2007)

Abandoned Angelfire Horror Websites (Circa 1999-2006) Vol. 2

A Tribute to House of Horrors and Horror Speak

Alternate Social Media

Recently, I discussed the problems with Pixelfed. It’s been a few weeks and I’m struggling to find a reason to keep engaging. So many people abandon the platform so quickly and I haven’t really found anyone providing the type of content I’d be interested in. I’m trying to hold off until the Pixelfed app is launched to see what type of new users that brings in, but I’m not holding my breath that Pixelfed ever being a product I use daily.

I’ve been experimenting with some other forms of social media over the past few weeks. I was just curious if there was a place for someone like me (late 30’s, enjoyer of retro and pop culture, tech interested, etc.) and well, the results have not been promising.

Vero was one of the first places I looked. I always thought Vero had a leg up on Instagram in regard to app design and features, but it’s never built much of a community. Surprisingly, they are still around, and their big users include Zach Snyder and Madonna, but the app is a clunker these days. They’ve maybe crammed a bit too much into it and well… there just isn’t much of a community there. It seems like the few people that do exist mostly just port their photos over from Instagram and aren’t very active.

Tumblr is another site I’ve been experimenting with. I was delighted to learn that Automattic, the owners of WordPress run the site now and while I was never a tumblr user, I was intrigued to see this creative space gaining some momentum as nostalgia has kicked in for old users and Gen Z is discovering it’s weird, anonymous space.

Sadly, there isn’t much of a space for my content on there. I’ve tried to isolate some small groups and communities, but there isn’t a “Growns Up” filter. Sadly, it seems like most of the site are gifs and random anime drawings which I’m really over seeing online. Seriously, if I click on another website and see another anime drawing I may just quit the internet altogether.

I decided to auto-publish my posts from Fat Kids over to tumblr just to see what happens. Instagram has been a total waste in regard to growing an audience for the site and I doubt tumblr will be much better.

SpaceHey is another service that I want to love. Fashioned after MySpace, SpaceHey has that creative, quirkiness that I miss so much. Sadly, I think I’m just a bit too old for the site. It caters to the Gen Z and outside of a few users, the site is dominated by them. Anime pictures are scattered amongst the profiles and well… I’m just the old man on the outside looking in.

The problem with social media is finding the type of content you are interested in seeing. When you have a massive number of active users, it’s easy to find folks with similar interests. You also will most likely find people you know in real life on a mainstream social media site. Sadly, none of my friends are all that adventurous and I don’t blame them. Why come hang out with me in some social media desert hoping someone comes along to hang out? Also, I’ve seen what social media has turned a couple of my friends into and I have a feeling a less dramatic space is not what they would find enjoyable.

I’m going to keep poking around, but I don’t have much hope for an online presence outside of this blog. I may return to Fosstodon eventually, as it is most in line with my values and interests. I think the magic perfect social media that I’m looking for may not exist and maybe that’s for the best. Maybe it’s better for me to spend time creating here in my own space and hope that some likeminded folks will find their way here and connections can be built that way.

What Happened?

I’ve always been a bit of a dark and brooding loner. Nah, not the cool vampire dark and brooding, just the guy who tends to lean a little too hard into his anxiety and is somewhat comfortable there. It takes effort for me to stay in a happier, hopeful place.

Recently, I restored all of my old blogs from January 2020 to current. The reset I made in my writing in 2020 was the beginning of the new stage in my blogging. I approached my blog with enthusiasm after taking a long break and I worked hard at keeping my content positive and trying to infuse a little fun into my writing. I didn’t want to trail off into rants or depressive reflections which I’ve been known to do.

Life was decent at the time. My job had settled down a bit, I was newly engaged, and for the first time in a long time, life was feeling pretty good. I had motivation to try and channel that positivity into my writing and so, I did.

While reading over these old posts and correcting some formatting issues I realized how much I missed this time. It was right before COVID and I think life just beat me down a few months into it. Working in a hospital was stressful, my wife lost her job, we lost our apartment, our oppertunity to buy a house, and so forth. That contentment I felt while writing slowly eroded and my writing transitioned into a new area that was less ranting/complaining, but definitely not what it was at the turn of 2020.

Reflecting on this is what inspired the recent post Is Happiness a Choice? I remember intentionally making choices to enhance my potential for positivity in those early months. I eliminated all negative entertainment. Anything that would cause stress or my mind to lean into something dark, I avoided. Instead, I consumed joyful and funny entertainment. I focused on only taking in the good and I really think that helped keep me on a good path.

I want to get back to more cheerful living and blogging. In fact, I NEED to get back to more cheerful living and blogging. Life is making me hard and I’m not a fan of that. I don’t want to fall into the same grumpy old man “the world is screwed” mentalitity so many of my friends and family have. It’s so tiresome and all it does is fill your days with more anxiety and anger.

I was rationalizing my own feelings that the world is screwed, but then I started noticing things. Things like the 90’s TV show Millennium dealing with those same sort of feelings. Nicolas Cage in The Rock discussing how much he doesn’t want a child in a world like today. Steven Spielberg in James Cameron’s History of Science Fiction discussing how every generation thinks the clock is five minutes to midnight. Is that to say the world isn’t crummy? Nah, but I think it just shows not all that much has changed. The world has always sucked in it’s own ways and it’s up to us to try and find the brightspots to live in. We didn’t start the fire.

Abandoned Site Spotlight: Lincoln’s Trip to Dawson’s Creek

A few years ago, I began a series called Personal Site Spotlight. This series was designed to promote small blogs and websites, especially those of the Web 1.0 design. I intended on the series to be something regularly published, but life happened, and I never got past the second post.

Today, I change that.

In addition to spotlighting the ocassional personal site or blog I would like to share, I’m also going to focus on some abandoned sites that are still available online. Sites from the 90’s or early 2000’s that are still hosted online thanks to Anglefire, Tripod, or a Geocities archive.

The site I want to talk about is Lincoln’s Trip to Dawson’s Creek.

Lincoln’s Trip to Dawson’s Creek is a website designed to highlight one young girl’s trip to the set of Dawson’s Creek. I’m going to say I doubt if this eleven-year-old designed the site completely on her own or wrote anything found on the site, but either way the site is impressive for the time. Thirteen pages contain personal photos from two trips to the set of Dawson’s Creek.

I’m not sure if the author of the site had a connection to the production, but the photos and behind the scenes things she gets to see and interact with are quite incredible. There are photos of her wearing Dawson’s jacket, sitting on Jen’s bed, and even getting a kiss from Pacey himself. It is noted on one of the page that Lincoln suffers from an incurable skin disease and there is vague tribute to a famous person who is kind and generous, which makes me think that one of the cast members had something to do with arranging these visits.

Lincoln’s Trip has everything you’d want in a website from this period. There are multiple web rings, neat gif banners, wild wallpapers, and even website awards. It’s easy to navigate and shares something with the reader that is unique: personal photos from a popular television show’s set.

I really enjoyed checking out this site. It’s a nice snapshot in time of a very special moment for a young girl.

Is Happpiness a Choice?

I’ve spent a lot of time over the years talking about the content I consume. I’m fascinated by how the media which I listen to, watch, or read, can affect my mood for days or even weeks afterward. Sometimes, I even quit TV shows I love, (I’m looking at you Mr. Robot) because it hits too close to home and stirs up too many negative emotions.

Years ago, I conducted an experiment regarding my commute home from work. My hour-long drive was stressful and left me exhausted and frustrated by the time I arrived home. I decided instead of listening to 90’s music or podcasts, I’d substitute it with classical. I did this for over a month and monitored my emotions when I got home, and it was astonishing what an improvement I experienced. I was more content and less anxious when I walked through the door. Sadly, I didn’t stick with listening to classical all the time, but now I know if my drive or even life is getting stressful, maybe it’s time to change up the playlist.

I’ve also witnessed this sort of response in the television and movies I consume. If I watch comedies, I tend to have a better outlook on life. If I’m watching the news or true crime documentaries, my outlook is bleak. It’s one of the reasons why I’ve eliminated true crime documentaries, the news, and any modern warfare movies for years now.

My theory is I’m sensitive to storytelling and the empathy I feel for the characters ends up mirrored back in real life.

Despite all the fantastic television being created these days, I do sometimes wonder if the lack of hope and optimism is playing a part in our world’s struggles. We’re surrounded by negativity online and when we attempt to escape it with entertainment, we’re faced with options that are dark and dreary. The traditional sitcom is on life support (I do have a feeling it will come back around again sometime) and those mid-budget comedies of the 90’s and 2000’s are no longer being made. And I’m not even sure when the last family show aired. There is not much hope found in the choices that we have.

This brings me a question that occurred to me this morning, is happiness a choice? Obviously, under extreme distress happiness is not an option, but is there something inside of, that is controllable to generate positive emotions. These emotions are easily manipulated by algorithms and storytelling, so is it possible that we could tell ourselves our own story and create happiness? Could we harness some sort of thought control in order to stimulate positive thoughts?

I understand Stoicism, Buddhism, and a ton of other ‘isms’ look at devices such as mindfulness to help control our thoughts and be less susceptible to outside influences, but I’m thinking something a bit more in your face.

For example, I cannot tell you how many times I’ve heard, just be happy. Every morning you have an option to either be happy or not. (I’m taking mental illness out of the equation in this discussion.) My first reaction to this is negative. How dare you tell me how to live. How dare you make such generalizations about my mental wellbeing and just assume that I choose to live miserable every day. But… when I take a step back, I realize there is something to this sort of comment. People DO choose to be miserable every day. It’s where they are comfortable, it’s where they live.

If I was to wake up every morning and before I poison my mind with thoughts from the internet and work, and I took a moment to mentally tell myself, “Today is going to be good. Today I will be happy and grateful. Today when it storms, I’ll open an umbrella.” Would this type of messaging help or is this some sort of New Age affirmation mumbo jumbo? Could I will myself into happiness or maybe more realistically, contentment?

I’m not sure if it’s possible, but it’s something I want to explore in the near future. Recently, I eliminated as much of the online chatter and negativity that I could. I feel like this frees up my brain for take in new messages and I want those to be more positive. Unless I can find a source of positive messaging, I may have to create it for myself. I’ll post any updates once I commit to any sort of experiment down the road.

You Can Only Play One Game at a Time

I worked at EB Games back in the mid-2000’s. Like many jobs, the people I worked with were great, but the job itself stunk.

While working there, I learned some great lessons from my manager Greg. He was a decade older than me, and his life was a mess, but he was great at putting things into perspective. He had this natural ability to see through all the chaos and point out some of the simplest solutions. There were several things he said to me that have stuck in my head almost twenty years later. One of my favorites was, “You can only play one game at a time.”

He said that in response to someone who was trading in a huge collection of games and was struggling. The customer’s video game addiction was causing issues in their life and so, they decided to sell their collection, and only own one game at a time. As the customer went back and forth, obviously torn at his decision, Greg chimed in casually with, “You know, you can only play one game at a time.”

This seemed to alleviate the customer’s concerns when he realized Greg was right. You can only play one game at a time, and by having just one game, the man could save his marriage. The customer traded in his collection, got the cash, and bought just one new game. He left the store smiling.

I think about this comment a lot. In a world where we are oversaturated with choices, it’s a humble reminder that we can only do one thing at a time. Recently, I was advising a friend who was struggling with his finances. He had half a dozen streaming services and couldn’t stomach the thought of not having them all at his fingertips. I thought of Greg and the quote, and I reminded my friend, you can only watch one thing at a time and that any single streaming service had more entertainment than we had access to our entire childhoods. This seemed to put things into perspective and my friend managed to close several subscriptions.

Recently, I’ve been experimenting with this idea myself. I put a couple of my streaming services on hold, and the Roku stick I have in my living room only has Paramount+ logged in. I decided this week to leave it that way. Although, Paramount+ doesn’t get a ton of a play in my house, I do have a list of things to watch on there. So, this week, my lack of choices forced me to pick from what I had on Paramount+ and ya know what? I survived and arguably even thrived.

I didn’t waste near as much time as I usually do bouncing between services trying to find that perfect thing to watch. I managed to get caught up on EVIL and even watched Patriot Games, a movie I hadn’t seen since I was a kid and probably wouldn’t have watched otherwise. And ya know what? I enjoyed the heck out of it.

When I reframed my mind that whatever was streaming here was all I had to pick from, it was easy to choose. I filtered through and picked the best and most appealing and I enjoyed it. I was able to just commit to watching whatever I chose instead of the normal, “Do I really want to watch this or am I feeling that new show on Netflix?” I cannot even begin to count how many times I’ve started a movie or show and turned it off ten minutes and go to another streaming service, watched ten minutes there and then gone back.

I fondly recall those days of renting a movie at the video store and being stuck with it. Good or bad, it was all you had to watch so you usually sat through it. Who knew, I’d ever be nostalgic for less choices.

Electronic Ghosts

I’m pretty meticulous about deleting accounts online. I do my best to never register unless I have to, and whenever I’m done using a product I go through all the necessary steps to delete it. So, it’s pretty rare for me to get an email about a forgotten account.

On Wednesday, I received an email from Marco Polo, an app I didn’t remember existed. Apparently, I had an unwatched video message from 2,135 days ago. That’s right, I got a notification that I had an unwatched video from September 21st, 2016.

I wonder what was going through the developer’s heads? Man, our app is lagging with engagement, let’s spam everyone who has an unwatched video despite when it was recorded.

What made this awkward for me is that the video message was from my ex-wife. Seeing an email with her picture and name pop up was already startling enough and then I had to figure out how to proceed. Do I just ignore the email and hope that no more come? Or do I install the app, so that I can delete my account and put a permanent stop to this?

Of course, I went for the full deletion. I had to install this app, get it synced back to my phone number, and then go in and delete my account. All the while being pushed images and videos from my past that I’d preferred not to have.

All-in-all the process took less than five minutes, but I couldn’t help but feel that I was haunted my digital past. It makes me think there should be some sort of expiration date on unused accounts. If an account is inactive after two years, then the account and all the data should be purged.

Oh, and the video that auto-played once I got logged in and gave the app permissions to use my camera and microphone (otherwise it wouldn’t allow you to do anything in the app) – A two second clip that seemed to have been pressed by accident.

Beavis and Butthead Do The Universe Review

This post originated on Middle-Aged Fat Kids.
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Eleven years since their short 2011 reboot, Beavis and Butthead returned to the small screen in the Paramount+ movie, Beavis and Butthead Do The Universe. I was so excited for this movie, I began watching it on my lunchbreak while at work and quickly finished it as soon as I got home. The movie captured all the goofy, stupidity that Beavis and Butthead is known for while getting a bit of satire in for fun.

What the Movie is About:
Beavis and Butthead find themselves in 2022 and are looking to score, but are also tasked with not allowing the universe to be destroyed.

What I Liked About It:
-The voice acting is incredible by everyone involved. The comedic timing is spot on and I feel like the pace has picked up just a bit for modern audiences and it works well.

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-The story is actually good! I enjoyed it even more than Do America and that’s saying something. I’m getting tired of multiverses, time jumps, and so forth, but Do the Universe handled it so well. It was intelligent, but in a Beavis and Butthead type of way.

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-There are some serious laugh out loud moments in this film. There is a scene where Beavis and Butthead find their way into a college classroom… I won’t ruin it but I honestly cannot remember the last time I laughed that hard. It was by far the highlight of the movie for me.

-The movie did an excellent job of acting as a prequel for the new series. It allows for a bit of a fish out of water situation while also giving Beavis and Butthead a whole new generation of things to make fun of.

What I Didn’t Like About It:
-N/A

Interesting Facts:
-Daria has a very brief cameo.

-The entire production was conducted remotely via Zoom conferencing due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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-It’s the first time that it is mentioned that Highland is located in Texas.

-Michael Bolton’s How Am I Supposed to Live Without You is featured in the movie and was also featured in the episode Trouble Urinating.

Rating:
Beavis and Butthead Do the Universe exceed all my expectations. It was a brilliant flash back to a simpler time when things were just funny and didn’t have to be groundbreaking. The show made me excited for the new season and I can’t see where Mike Judge takes these two characters next.

Beavis and Butthead Do the Universe is a solid four out of five stars.

Alright, Let’s Quiet Down in Here

I’ve spent a lot of time contemplating this week. My wife is teaching color guard twelve hours a day, so I have some free time on my hands. I’ve spent most of it writing, reading, and examining my own spiritual beliefs, which seem to be shifting.

On Saturday, I found myself in a state of distress. I believe the idea of changing something so personal (or maybe, no longer ignoring it), combined with general anxiety from the world and my loud, stinky neighbors created a perfect storm of panic. I couldn’t deal with it anymore. As I found myself bouncing room-to-room trying to find some relief from my very anxiety-ridden thoughts, I sat down to meditate/pray/think. One thought came to mind: it’s time to hear less.

There is so much noise in the world. Not just physical noise pollution, but so many opinions, hot takes, and what not. I read somewhere that on Norm McDonald’s last comedy special, he mentioned how people back in the day weren’t so opinionated. They had like three opinions and those were about food. I miss those days.

I do a good job of avoiding the news, but I still see comments everywhere. Reddit, YouTube, Mastodon, etc. These large groups will always contain negativity, and I can’t deal with it anymore. Recently, I found myself looking at a simple post on reddit about television shows, and I see an opinion on the show Evil, which I’m enjoying a lot. It was negative, and for whatever reason, that negative thought stuck in my brain. Am I stupid for liking this show? Was this anonymous commenter, right? Had the show jumped the shark?

That stupid comment put all sorts of doubt into my mind, none of which were helpful. I see opinions like this all day long while I’m online, and while I enjoy opinions from my friends and people I have things in common with, I’m just done with this anonymous negativity online. So, I finally pulled the plug on reddit. I deleted my account and apps. I went ahead and took out Mastodon and installed comment blocker extensions for big sites like YouTube. I still want to enjoy comments on smaller blogs and places where “real” people interact, but these quick bites amongst the sea of people I’m over.

Every day we are badgered with so much information. I feel like I do a decent job at filtering most of it out, but there is a time when the negatives are outweighing the benefits. I feel like I passed that threshold this weekend and ya know, five days later I do feel a little better. It’s not a dramatic improvement, but every little bit helps.