Tuesday, November 24, 2009

And The Merry Go Round Broke Down - Volume 10

Want More Free Art? ...Visit the new angelis deZines on the web at jeremycrow4life.com/angelisdezines

This is a continuation of "And The Merry Go Round Broke Down - Volume 8" and "And The Merry Go Round Broke Down - Volume 9" .. you may want to read them first ..

I languished along with my writing for a bit, until it got rather boring talking to myself. Every once in a while someone would come along and tell me they miss me here, or miss me there, and I would get that glint in my mind. I also got the idea that I didn't want to write anymore. As time went on I simply wanted to do other things. Of course I didn't actually want to go out into the real world or anything, but I wanted to do something different, and the idea hit me when a friend of mine sent me an e-mail with a dirty picture in it. I like dirty pictures after all and this one was stereotypical of the ones that get my attention. The border of the e-mail was of a very sexy pair of legs in stalkings and garter belts {I never said I wasn't a pervert} and I wanted to know how the e-mail was made.

This friend of mine told me about an e-mail program called Incredimail which would display all of the e-mails with the beautiful graphics. I was curious about it, and joined a few groups that did Incredimail “Stats” {The common word used for stationary} and once again became somewhat popular because of my snarky comments on people's e-mails. Throwing myself into the making of stationary was a natural conclusion to all of that, and people told me about Paint Shop Pro, which somehow, someway, I managed to learn and perhaps master really quickly. I don't think anyone really gives enough credit to the “hacker” mentality in general. My years of taking apart computers and cross engineering software might appear to be a mental disorder, but it is really a major curiosity that creates the need to learn things. This was no different.

Long story short, I started having a whole new legion of followers, every time I created something “artistic” in nature and glued it to an Incredimail stationary and sent it out to the masses. The concept of “Snagged and Sharing” was building me a huge base of people for me to rant at, and giving me the ego candy of thinking I went from creative writing genius to artistic styling genius. Some would argue that I might have been both, and others would argue that I was neither. Most would say that I have some talent, and regardless of my ego, I probably do. Balancing whatever online fame I acquire with the duties of being a single father, often left my kids being neglected in one form or another. My need for ego gratification whether it be in my writing, which started making a comeback, or my artistic stylings which was in full bore was as always a daunting expedition. This was when I had gotten an invite to a different online service which at the time was called Lost Cherry, {LostCherry became CherryTap which later became Fubar and I like to think I had a bit to do with that} and my ego was ripe for this.

This was the Constantinople of my Online identity, but worse than all of that it was where every last good part of my online humanity was completely stripped from me in favor of all of the bad that I had accumulated through the years. It was a fabulous disaster in the making, and in the end it was probably the greatest chaos ever seen in an online service take down. In the older days, I had come across an online community with less understanding of how it worked, and more curiosity for how it was developed, and CT was either the benefactor, or victim of a different attitude. I walked into my little slice of CT knowing full well what it was, how it worked and how to exploit it. I have no clue how Fubar is making out, or how it is doing because I really did give it up for lent when I was finished with it. What I did might be humorous in it's shamefulness, but it did end me as an online entity for my own salvation.

I started my CT page perfectly innocuously with a showcase of me, my writing, my artwork and my ingenuity. The system itself was set up in a “look at me” style that I had exploited enough in the past. It was perfectly interchangeable through a “what can you do for me” architecture, that I also knew I could exploit. My ability to write, to create “stuff”, to program CSS code, and to manipulate the greedy and lazy were horrific allies in this war I probably set out to attempt from the get go. Sure I needed the ego gratification from blog comments and art comments and unlike my other “online” ventures CT had space for both. It had a rating system that would grow your online identity for no other reason than bragging about it. There were frauds on there that exploited the system by “not” being themselves and there were good honest people that built their presence by being themselves, and then there were people like me, who did a little of both. I like to think I was wholesome and truly me, but I wasn't. I was “real” and I was “honest” but I was also disingenuous through being real and honest.

My popularity soared through collusion. This is how the “what can you give me” part of CT was doomed to failure. You could “snag” other people's things and use them as your own. My creativity was so in tune with this that I used my artistic brilliance, and my programming brilliance to make piles of theft-worthy backgrounds, and homepage skins, and actively promoting them to everyone on the system. What nobody really noticed {or even cared about for that matter} was that all of the CSS code I used targeted all of the images to MY OWN server so that when your profile loaded up and showed off all of the graphics, they were being served directly from my web domain, which nobody could edit or change but me. The CT system itself was so inherently flawed that the owners of the system couldn't even undo the very page skins that each user was using without banning the person outright.

I started fighting openly with all of the “frauds” on the system and started becoming a bit of a champion to the “real” people on the system. The owners of CT were either in bed with a lot of the frauds that were victimizing people, or they loved the middle school style drama that filled the place. In either regard I didn't care, I just let my ego fly away, and jumped into the sandbox. My blogs were all in the top ten of their rating system {which through flawed architecture couldn't be removed} and at least half of the profiles on CT were using my skins and graphics as their desings, all of which were being served from my server. Do you see where I am going with this? When we mix this in with another one of the horrible things the owners of the system did, which was not allowing people to delete their profiles {which was the way people and the owners could keep people around and humiliate them after they quit} it was a beautiful opportunity for someone like myself who does incredibly horrible things, in the name of doing good.

When I finally got sick of all the fighting, and bickering in all of the popularity contests, I had decided to just delete my profile and go back to the real world. I admit that I did know that I had set these guys up completely if they decided to play games with me. Most of the people that had tried to leave CT were still floating around there as “ghost” profiles so people could steal their pictures and Photoshop them, have horrible things written about them with links to their profiles that they can't even get into, and basically the abuse of an angry mob of rejects attacking their dead profiles until the end of time. I also knew that the owners supported this behavior since they could have easily gotten rid of the profiles if they wanted to. I was already years into these type of games and I had gone into CT with an exit strategy from the getgo. When I noticed that my profile was still there and all of the frauds were starting their photoshops, and writing their crap, and linking my profile, I simply sent an e-mail to the owner telling him that he didn't want to play this game. He rejected my appeal outright and even had a few words to point out how he had “gotten” me, and I should just deal with what was happening.

I'd be lying if I either said I was ashamed of what I did, or I am proud of what I did. The fact of the matter is I am a little of both, but more in line with being a bit null to it all, and why I never really talk about it all until now. I was, of course furious and smug at the same time, and with the encouragement of my greatest evil co-conspirator in the online world, I attacked. It was the type of assault that would have gone down in the record books if CT was a more important site, or if they hadn't changed the name pretty quickly afterward. I started changing all of the core graphics to the over fifty percent of the profiles, on CT and I changed, and locked out all of the blog entries that dominated the top ten. The blogs were all horribly rotten commentaries on the system and the people that made it horrible on everyone else, and the graphics were changed to Photoshopped pornography of two of the most famous frauds on the system. It was swift and it created complete and utter chaos. Imagine opening up your friends page on any online community and the first thing you see is one of your “friends” having sex with another one of your “friends” and now imagine seeing that on ALL of your friends pages and most likely your OWN as well. Yeah I been there.

The owners of the site were in an absolute frenzy trying to fix the chaos. At first they started deleting the profiles they saw with the images. They ended up deleting hundreds of profiles of people that were simply innocent victims of it all. They then tracked back to the server the images were coming from and started threatening the owner. The owner {meaning me} started sending them messages back say “Who's who's bitch now?” and they were going mental over it all. I did tell them that all they had to do was delete my profile and I would take down the images, but I guess their egos were a bit above that as they told me off and continued to try to fix it all themselves. My friends that were still on the system were giving me plenty of updates, and it started coming down to a race against the clock as people were quitting CT left and right, and others were being deleted. I can only imagine the flow of hate mail they were getting from angry users, cuz I know I was getting plenty during the 24 hour stand off. They even tried to get some sort of legal retribution and yet another failure, since the images were technically being “stolen” from me. As I said, I learned over the years that you can't demand free speech on other people's property, well you can't demand people stop speaking freely on their own.

The war was pretty bad. Most of my friends on CT came strait over to my blog to see what the hell had just happened. They understood and were pretty happy about it. The frauds on CT were furious because they didn't have any retribution over what I had done except to kick my profile around, and when the owners of CT finally came to me {hat in hand} through a mutual friend, I made damn sure they had my profile destroyed before I took down the images. All of the hate blogs remained until they finally killed EVERYONES blogs just to get rid of them. All of the haters on CT were publicly enraged with nothing to do about any of it. There was no “offsite” retribution because their entire “power” base was completely contained to the owners of CT, and off that site they were total nobodies. Of course after that war I was a total nobody too, but that was fine by me. For the first time in all of my online delusions I was thrilled to be a nobody.

That wasn't really the end of me. I had enough friends around to continue to play on online sites. I had a run on Facebook, until I got sick of wasting a lot of time there. It was nobody's fault but staying on top of all the popularity contests took away from my real life, and I just quit. There's no fanfare and the page is still there getting dozens of requests to be facebook friends a day, which get ignored. Cold Turkey is the only way for me to get over my addictions after all. I'm still a writer, albeit not a very popular one. I still create artistic things, mostly to create anti Obama propaganda, which mostly gets ignored. I still hang out on Twitter, which aside from all of my online antics seems to keep my ego in check. I often find myself thinking back to different days, and watching other people commit my dumb ass mistakes, but most of the time I just sit back and hope they learn like I did. Maybe they will, maybe they won't but in either instance I like my new philosophy that I only have to play in the sandbox if I choose to. Today I don't choose too ;8o)

Other Crap This Weirdo Publishes... Mental Notes & Random Musings {Daily Blog} The Crow's Nest {The Homepage of Jeremy Crow} Jeremy Crow on Multiply {For Community Types} Blogaholics Anonymous {E-Mail Blogging Group} Itching For Coffee {Community Blog}

Nothing that was printed here was intended to offend anyone, and if it did, screw ya, you begged for it. If you believe that there are some measures that can be taken to change me, then please feel free to pray for me, and while you are at it yourself, because you read this far, and if you hated every minute of it, then you are an idiot, not me, or the other people who like what I have to say! .. Jeremy

All writings Copyright © 2009