Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Message Bored

Ah, the year 2002. (Sometimes I feel like the Highlander in his room full of memorobilia, remembering something that happened 300 years ago.) A Russia without advertising everywhere. . . the original English Teacher X website.

Here today, I present (or re-present) one of the first things that I wrote for my first attempt at a website in its Angelfire incarnation, at the end of the cold winter of 2002.

This was before blogs, before facebook, before myspace, and WAY before twitter -- and I was writing on a huge clunky Pentium 1 desktop that a student had given me. (For some reason, the color function had been turned off and everything was in black, white, and shades of grey. That's why the colors are so strange on that original website -- I couldn't see them.)

Anyway, the only big well-known site about English teaching abroad was Dave's ESL cafe, which had a well-trafficked message board. I found it to be a huge monument to misinformation, whining, and hypocrisy. Negative posts were often quickly deleted in those days.

I wanted to make a real uncensored message board -- and I actually had it up in a couple of forms for a while, but at the time couldn't find a good one that didn't immediately get filled up with spam and even viruses.

So I made a fake one, while I was working on the real ones, which can be seen here:

The original fake message board on the Angelfire Website

A slightly better looking version from the later website, in the wayback machine archives.

It's one of the few things I've ever written that actually made me laugh out loud -- of course, that doesn't mean you're going to . . . but I think I very accurately captured the bombastic yet completely anonymous and shady feel of an ESL message board.

There are two stories there -- the first is a flame-war between Charles Pangolin, a DOS in the Phillipines, and an employee named Robert "Snake" Pliskin (a none-to-subtle homage there -- if you don't get it, do a Google search and then go see one of the most awesome films ever made.) The second involves the Candide-like misadventures of a bright-eyed idealistic young newbie in Thailand and the Phillipines.

Somebody suggested in the comments that I do some fiction? Well, this is the closest you're probably going to get to that.

Prior to about 2002, there actually used to be so few people on Dave's message boards that they were vertically linear -- there would be a list of posts, straight down the page, which you could post on, generally without registering. Check it out via the Wayback Machine, here.

Dave's Message Board in 2000:

At little research there reveals that Dave changed to the current registration type board in 2004 -- I know that's when I started spamming as Charles Pangolin, with extremely funny results -- regrettably they don't seem to be stored in the archives and are thus lost in time.

The fake message board attempts to replicate, not very succesfully, the look of the old linear type board.

I suppose I could make a fake message board that looked real, easily enough, but, now, who cares. . .


TEFL SecretAgent said...

you can just make a real message board and see if it gains popularity, I'm sure it would. Plus you could write some fake shit on there from multiple accounts to give it life if needs be.

Anonymous said...

How many hits do you get on this blog x?

English Teacher X said...

on average, 50 to 60 hits a day. not going to put Google out of business anytime soon.

Eve said...

"The “allegations” of improper sexual conduct were just that, and the police clearly took my side in the case, as witnessed by the fact that the family took no legal action against me despite what they claimed was substantial “evidence”." - HAHAHAHA! Jesus man you've got an imagination. Hilarious! Really ought to package it together into a book.

Eve said...

English Teacher X, I cannot even tell you how much I am enjoying this.

"In Chinese culture, very bad luck have teacher with no hands, maybe devel."

Actually laughing so hard I'm crying.

Thanks for posting this - I needed a laugh today. And for godsake, get your manuscript together.