I decided to write today's update about the girls' volleyball game I attended this weekend because I wanted to see if I could make something as boring as that into a humorous writeup. I do not know if I succeeded, but I at least had fun writing it, although I will never do it again.
I cannot overstate exactly how ugly some of the people attending the game were. I'm no spring chicken myself, but these people were - haha, boy I'm a faggot for seriously using the phrase "spring chicken." Who the hell honestly says that these days? Withering spinsters? Flappers? Regardless, the folks there were disturbingly ugly. It was like Wal-Mart held an impromptu beauty pageant in the adult diaper aisle.
It has come to my attention that 90% of the people on the Internet are incapable of reading. There appears to be some sort of trend where people form an opinion of what they're going to read before they actually begin reading it, glance over the paragraphs, and read key words in no particular order, just as long as these key words support whatever preconceived notion they put in their head before they started reading. The DD update I did last week regarding Google's horrid Web Accelerator program brought these people out of the woodwork.
None of the negative email I received actually mentioned any valid points. It's like the people read the title of the article, saw key words such as "Google" and "Microsoft," and didn't bother reading the critical words in between them before they fired up their email client. Half of the complaints about the article were from people who clearly stopped reading before the last paragraph. The other half were from people who didn't bother reading anything but my email address apparently. The entire point of the article was to point out the double-standard some Internet folks use when thinking about Google. They blindly worship the company and fail to take into consideration the fact that it's a company just like any other company.
Let me clarify: the same scrutiny people use on Microsoft should be employed on Google and any other company. We should not question one corporation less than another just because they employ a better PR team. Once a company decides they can do no wrong, they start doing just that. I wasn't saying that the pursuit of money is evil, I wasn't saying Google is evil, I wasn't saying anything is evil; I was just pointing out that placing blind faith in a corporation who preys on you is stupid, no matter what the corporation is. I like Google's web search and other products, I just find this Web Accelerator program to be a colossal mistake, and I'd like people to begin questioning Google before blindly throwing themselves into each and every product they release.
It's tomorrow. I'm going to be 29. I've never been a big fan of birthdays so my wife and family and I are probably just going to do something low key, like go out to dinner or rob a convenience store or something.
My wife and I are going to E3 next week. We're coming into Los Angeles on Saturday and leaving the following Sunday. We're probably going to drive up to OC and stay there a couple days, where I will show her my old apartment and all the places I used to go to when I lived there a few years ago. Then we'll travel back down to LA, stay there on Wednesday, and then go to San Diego for a couple days. This is going to be the last vacation we'll be able to take before the baby comes (due date: July 7th), so we plan on enjoying it. Everybody says your life truly changes after you have a baby, and I tend to believe it. For example, there's now a baby in your life, whereas before there wasn't. That's a huge change! If you're some gaming person doing some E3 thing, drop me a line. This includes you too Chris Taylor; I WANT TO PLAY DUNGEON SEIGE 2 EVEN IF THERE AREN'T PIRATES IN IT!!! Oh Jim Black and Chris Donahue too.
I have a terrible memory, so I'm just going to ramble on about crap I can actually remember regarding SA's history.
Before I started SA, I worked for Gamespy and ran Planet Quake. Working there was cool at first, but eventually turned into a hellhole when they decided to start expanding faster than they could handle. The CEO of the company, Mark Surfas, tried really hard to transform his group of underpaid nerds into a real company, although he lacked any knowledge of how to accomplish such a thing. His strategy was to employ countless meatheads like Sal "Sluggo" Accardo and Darren "Dakota" Tabor to manage people. Sal was clueless but fairly harmless, like a big jolly pig in a candy store. Darren, on the other hand, was a petty weasel-like creature who'd stab you in the back if he thought cash would flow from your wound. He and Mark would make all these ridiculous milestones for me to reach with Planet Quake, causing me to work 16-hour workdays. They had some stupid goal of unique users they forcefully encouraged me to hit, and when I finally did after a shitload of hard work, you know what they rewarded me with? A GODDAMN BACKPACK. Yes, Mark gave me this stupid backpack he got for free at some conference. Inside the thing was a mp3 player which I promptly sold to a guy named "Knower" for $20 I believe. It was terribly insulting, especially considering they were paying me $24k a year there, in southern California, which is like $15k in any other state. I could probably make more than that flipping burgers at In & Out.
Eventually I stopped giving a shit about that job, since I was tired of having squinty-eyed weasels like Darren, a professional LAWYER, tell me how to run a creative site. Darren decided I needed some help to run PQ, so he let his friend, a withered hag named "LadyICE," come aboard the team. This woman was as old as god Himself, and had the personality of a rusted spittoon. I ended up having to work even longer than before due to her incompetence. She couldn't write worth a shit, she didn't know how to code, and everything she touched grew infected with incompetentitis. I wrote a Cranky Steve update around that time, making fun of her and pointing out how useless she was, which she read and promptly forwarded to Darren to tattle on me. Darren called me into his office and barred me from leaving until I signed some documents agreeing I would be fired in exchange for a month's pay. They didn't offer Cobra or let me read over the shit; they made me sign it. I didn't know better or care, so I did, and that ended my career with my first company in the Internet business. Mark ended up selling Gamespy to IGN and settling down with tens of millions of dollars, Darren either got fired or quit, LadyIce fell back into the realm of obscurity, and Sal is still a fat happy sausage. And Fargo is still somehow convinced he's funny. FIRE THE LASER!
With no full time job, I begin to concentrate more on SA. SA's first tech guy was a person who went by the name "Cozmo." I met him through a Quake 2 server I used to play on in 1997. Cozmo helped me set up SA tech-wise, as well as the first forum software we used (UBB, which was horrible and still is). Back then, SA's design was this terrible orange color which looked like a radioactive pumpkin after it fell into a jet engine. It was really horrible and I don't even have any webpages displaying it saved. The forums started up pretty slowly but started attracting a close knit group of people in early / mid-2000. Some of these people are still around, but most of them went insane long ago and have taken to hiding in the shadows like a lurking monster. Oh yeah, as a humorous aside, Cozmo sold his website, www.cozmo.com, to Cosmo for around $17,000. Too bad their company isn't around still, I rather liked their service.
Early 2000 was still in the dot-com bubble days, albeit the tail end of it. Most people knew the free ride was coming to an end, and the days of $60 CPMs were long gone. Apache, the guy who does something for IGN and Voodoo Extreme, used to make crazy cash off his Unreal site back in the heyday, netting something like $70 per ever 1,000 banner ads served when he showed a new Unreal screenshot. Can you believe that? All he had to do was put up a picture that another company sent him and he'd make all this crazy cash. It was insane back then.
Unfortunately, I pretty much missed the bus on this one. By the time I joined the Gamefan Network to actually earn some money from SA, the standard CPM was around $2.00 (which means you earn $2 for every 1,000 ads shown). Of course SA wasn't hardly pulling in any traffic, since it was brand new, but that was offset by the fact that Gamefan never bothered paying me. They kept jerking me around and saying "oh, the cash is on its way, we're just having a tough month" and all that crap, which was the beginning of a trend in my life. They eventually roped me into working at Voodoo Extreme, basically cleaning up after Billy "Wicked" Wilson got hopped up and wrote insane shit on the front page at 2:30 AM. That guy was a real piece of work. I mean, he was awesome and nice and a great guy, but he had a lot of personal and emotional issues. He died from some kind of liver damage a month ago I think, which is too bad because he was a good guy. He was just a little flighty in the head.
I think after Gamefan went bankrupt I moved to the Backbeat Media Network. They were all nice guys who worked there, but they didn't really pay much or do much. SA was on their network amongst a bunch of Mac-related sites, so we really didn't fit in either.
Then came eFront. I heard good things about them from Tycho, the chubby guy at Penny Arcade, so I went there. Unfortunately, I joined them at the end of their reign of terror. Month after month I was promised checks and they never delivered. Eventually I said to Greg Panos, the web relations idiot, if he didn't pay me that I'd leave. He said that, once again, their company was going through rough times and blah blah blah, but if I agreed to work with them full time as a web relations guy, that would surely make the payments to me speed up! I was broke at the time and I needed the thousands of dollars they owed me, so I reluctantly agreed. I additionally figured that if I could become a web relations guy I could help communicate the problems their hosted sites had with the tech support and upper management people, problems which I experienced firsthand under their incompetence.
Oh how wrong I was. The upper management and tech support people didn't give a shit. No matter what I did and who I talked to, nothing changed, and I still didn't get a paycheck. About a month or two after I joined, the infamous eFront Sam Jain chatlogs were leaked, where he talked about "raping and spitting" on a hosted site's webmaster, and the company shut down. I, once again, was left without a paycheck. To make matters even more infuriating, the tall skinny asshole Gabe / Mike Krahulik from Penny Arcade began some ridiculous crusade against me, making ridiculous claims that I profited when eFront was screwing their site. Yes, Penny Arcade, which was making around $7,000 a month at that time from eFront, was claiming SA, which was making $0,000 a month at that time from eFront, was somehow racking up the big bucks. That's when I learned what an absolute stupid fuck that Gabe guy was. He made some monumentally stupid comment on his comic site implying that I was getting rich while he was suffering, when in reality it was exactly the opposite. I still hate him for it, and have carried my grudge against him longer than I have anybody else. Now Tycho, he's a great guy and really funny and I like him a lot, but Gabe, he's just a dick.
Oh yeah, one small funny thing about the eFront affair; Kevin "Fragmaster" Bowen worked with me there at the time, and he stole a chair from them. When he quit, he took the chair with him, pushed it into an elevator, rolled it through the lobby, rolled it through the parking lot and up into the back seat of his car. Why did he steal a $20 chair? Who knows, it's Frags.
I think we're at early 2001 at this point, and I'm tired of writing, so I'll continue next week.
"WAO~" says someone in the audience, amazed by a simple layup. It's the thing that Americans yell when they yell, which is all the time.
Former Navy SEAL Jeff Caliber survived tier one special ops and is now studying creative writing at Sarah Lawrence College in New York. And fighting terrorists.
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