IMR: 1998: January: 03 -- Saturday, 11:50 p.m.
Our Apartment, Waikiki, Hawai`i

Comedy Central was showing one of its cheese-intensive movies tonight; something about two jokers buying a run-down Hawai`i-themed bar. I watched ten minutes of it before even realizing one of the jokers was John Travolta.

He was thin. Young. And he would have probably died on the spot if someone went back in time to show him the hose-down scene in "Pulp Fiction." (To think that movie revived his long stagnant career.)

And you know, John Travolta was Paul Reiser before Paul Reiser was Paul Reiser. The similarity in mannerisms is uncanny.

The entertainment landscape on the web was far more thought provoking.

Meandering through the deliciously convoluted lifesite of the infamous Justin, I came across a choice example of the web elder rant.

It made me puff up my feathers, looking to show off my wrinkled pixels. "I cut my teeth in gopherspace and USENET!" I thought. "I designed my first page for Mosaic, for chrissakes, Mosaic! Domain names were practically free, the <CITE> tag made sense, and AOL was just a big, ugly BBS!"

But let's face it. There will always be something to get misty over. Today? "Remember when CompuServe was home to the 'real geeks' of the net? Remember when the JenniCam was black-and-white (but free)?" Tomorrow it'll be, "Remember Netscape?"

We're all a bunch of whiners. Each of us stumbled across the sandbox in one incarnation or another, and we pout because more people want to play in it every day. Publically we wax poetic about how the net will change the world for every little boy and girl from Georgetown to Ghana, but our inner elitists are pissed.

We're trying to make a living. Magicians would have no trade if everyone was in on the act, or if everyone knows how to work the strings. And now, we're trendy. We have to point to the "Copyright 1995" (15 June 1995!) footnotes on our oldest, gray-backed pages to prove we're not part of the contemporary herd.

I still believe there was a "good old days" of the web, and having tasted the final crumbs, I'm going to suck as much empty self-esteem as I can out of that fact.

But there is one sentiment common among the best old-timer rants in which I deeply believe. That after the shine is gone, after behemoth commercial websites become money pits, after every gradeschooler has mastered FrontPage and webmaster jobs vaporize, there will still be something worthwhile out there.

Joe Bob's sharpei grooming page, Annabel's Toby Keith Jr. fan page, a million and one mind-numbing "what I did today" diaries. Collectively we'll have a community that simply could never have developed anywhere else on Earth, and a few gems will make browsing worthwhile.

"There was a time on the web when having a good story to tell, and a lot of personal passion to tell it, was the most important thing to generate a lot of hits."

Said so well I wish I said it.

Otherwise, 'twas a typical epiphany-free day in the life of a backalley webmaster.

I finally did some way, way overdue work on the 'Venue site, putting up a couple of new comics and -- more importantly -- webbing up the articles from our third issue.

Seemingly simple work, but it consumed most of my afternoon.

I haven't the creative spark to put together a new Page One, but it can wait. The site has probably seen no more than three visitors since the end of the fall semester.

As webmaster, it's disappointing that the site never caught on. We've gotten very few hits from UH, our key audience, and the fact that no one's noticed the cobwebs is a little upsetting.

But I have to remind myself, a web presence was a central element of the 'Venue project; it made us all the more attractive when the newspapers and TV stations found out about us. And on the basis of principle, I suppose it still is. We've made campus news available to the world, the out-of-state hits proof that someone, somewhere, appreciated it.

Whether or not the 'Venue continues this year, the information we've prepared to date is now out there. You never know when someone will be looking up Linda Lingle, or researching welfare reform.

When I daydream, I imagine the 'Venue continuing to be a media presence on campus, but one both limited to -- yet also enhanced by -- the web. We'd get the news out faster and better than the other guys, but no longer lose hundreds of bucks buying paper that essentially goes straight to the trash can.

But then I realize that save for a few exceptions, UH students just aren't wired. And I'm not sure if a month from now I'll have the time or energy to properly maintain a news site.


© Ryan Kawailani Ozawa · E-Mail: · Created: 3 January 1997 · Last Modified: 4 January 1997