stuff appearing on the main menu, as greeting
to new visitors...
very little attempt to organize this so it's easy for you to read...some stuff i didn't even put dates on...just thought I'd keep all this stuff somewhere on the site, especially since some of the entries that have appeared on the main menu have some comments about awards and events in my life in whatnot...this is for you, anna.
11.11.97 - "Falling Into My Lap."
I suppose I should adopt a more conciliatory tone since I've been nominated by The Show as being one of the Web's most exciting people. Fancy that! I didn't even have to post my experiences of torrid, tawdry sex affairs to do it!
So the contest awards both those who are nominated and those who vote for them by giving them prizes. I'm running against Miss Maggy Donea and quite a lot of other people, and I'll need some support to beat them. So read the rest of this and look around -- then decide if I've created with my own two hands the best site you've ever seen, or close to it.
I suppose if I have any claim to fame, it's backing up what I believe in and say in public with plenty of examples and merits. I raise a ruckus for sites to have actual content, to give readers what they're most likely going to look for. I have that content. I criticize other peoples' actions quite often, but I'm not beyond myself to admit when I'm wrong and to apologize for what I've done. Through this web site and the critical stage of my life when I pass from adolescence to adulthood, I've become a stronger individual, one capable of rational, free thought, loving the world and the life it has given me. I have a personality, and you're going to see how it developed in recent years in this site. You just won't find that degree of insight and growth anywhere else.
Where is my content, you ask? Besides the more obvious sections, like the Robin Hood pages (which still get the most hits), I write about a lot of my views in the Soapbox, or the 'Box, as it's more affectionately known. Some of the most important things I've ever read written by other people can be found in the things I wish I had made section and the other documents section. From "Porphyria's Lover" to an article my father wrote for Forbes ASAP to a form you can fill out to compare your religious preferences to mine without knowing what religions you're reading about, there's plenty to look at and soak in.
A few people I know have thought completely differently about this site once they looked at the sitemap, which lists all 200+ documents I have on the site. I'm telling you -- there's a lot to see.
Go vote for me at The Show. I have to hand it to them -- they actually gave me a good review.
That's a first. ;)
Okay, enough self-promotion. I feel dirty now. Go piss off.
11.1.97 - "This is who we are."
I'm very good at finding quality shows and products and software and especially quality women. Whether it's the Primitive Radio Gods or "The Critic" or Comedy Central as a channel or Anna as my woman, I've had moments where I just soak it in and know it's going to be successful. I really should get into stocks and whatnot -- my instincts are uncanny.
One of my most recent finds is "Millennium", a show created by Chris Carter, maker of the X-Files. I've been watching Millennium since the first episode and I've always known it's been outstanding. While everyone else who was watching Millennium with me were saying things like "Oh, wow. He's psychic. Big deal." and "This show is boring and makes no sense," I was watching intently.
What do I love about the show? Well, I must admit the show is many times better in the second season than in the first, if that's possible. The show is similar to the X-Files in its well-done, dark lighting and in the protagonist being part of an elaborate game which he has little knowledge of. But where the show shines is in its psychological profiling. You get a reasonable sense of the murderer's reasons for committing such atrocious crimes and you see how Frank Black, the main character who has temporarily lost his family because he's chasing the devil, detects evil as a skill he was born with.
In the second season, Frank Black finds that he is merely being trained by something called the Millennium Group, which is a group of all the psychics like Frank Black. Their deal is that they know something is going to happen May 5, 2000 (or should it be 2001? Oh who cares...) and they are trying to stop it. Frank finds he is not special within the Group and Millennium goes much, much further than he could ever imagine, being in existence since the ancient days.
This show makes you think. It's one of the only shows on television that does. It makes you think about whether evil is actually a physical form or if it's just a human trait. It makes you wonder if God is speaking and we're not listening. It makes you wonder about who we are at our cores.
Watch this show, dammit. X-Files has nothing on Millennium, and in many ways, Millennium is much, much better. Even with the X-Files premiere this Sunday, I'm not sure it'll be better than the special Halloween episode which was on last night.
Millennium's the kind of show where its main events are very subtle and hidden -- the sort of show that would leave some people saying, "That's not an ending! There's no point!" when the point was very profound indeed.
Okay, so that's my little opening note for the month. ;) If you want to know more about me, I suggest first reading the autobio to find out who I am and then the Soapbox to find out what I think. If you get lost, see the sitemap.
10.15.97 - "Felicitation."
Apologies to anyone using Netscape Navigator as of late and getting a blank screen on this page. I'm not sure I've isolated the problem, but it doesn't happen to me anymore. If you have any ideas or experience any problems, please tell me about it!
Here you are at benturner.com, a site gathering about 1000 hits total to all 200+ pages or so on good days. Pretty amazing how traffic has picked up at the site as of late. Soon I'll have surpassed 10000 hits to the intro page alone!
Well, it's good to see a good variety of HTTP_REFERER sites in the logs. Before, I don't know where the Hell people popped in from, but now I have some idea -- thanks to those who have me listed on their sites. And thanks to some of the search spiders for finally getting to my damn site, after a few years of not getting around to it. Jesus. I'm just NOW getting Lycos and Webcrawler hits. I sent requests in 1995 or something. ;)
Just a quick reminder: this greeting entry isn't updated regularly, so don't think if it's dated January 23rd, 1975, I don't update the rest of the site. The Soapbox is updated weekly and periodic changes are made to the Robin Hood area, the most often visited portion of benturner.com. The Nobody's Children clan page has a bit of a fresh new look to complement our recent successes in various scrimmages and leagues.
No, I didn't Photoshop the Hell out of various images to forge this one. But eh...is he holding a piano wire? And what's with that diabolically vile look on his face? Is he up to no good? Nah, Bob's cool. He's from a small town where everyone knows him, but STILL he needs a form of picture ID since he doesn't have a Visa check card. What a guy!
I know, I know...I'm no Aristophanes.
Planning on adding some things to the other documents listing. Have any neat things you've picked up? Send them my way. Be sure to take the quiz of philosophies and see how you actually feel about the various religions. You'll surprise yourself.
Got lost, did you? Go to the sitemap to get your bearings. It's quite a long listing of all the documents at benturner.com.
Again, you're at benturner.com, the largest personal site you'll find which hasn't made it bigtime. Like what you see? Join the benturner.com cult, its loyal band of followers who have given up trying to convince people it's a good site and have decided to selfishly hoard it to themselves.
9.23.97 - "Update."
Okay, so you explain it to me. There's someone at Intel or some program/robot that keeps spamming my logs with some sort of Scapstone thing. Anyone know what it is? Now, I keep thinking that it can't be a real person, because that person visits FAR too often. But I don't believe Intel is running any sort of search spider. I'm very perplexed by this. Anyone have any ideas? Will the guilty please rise?
AT&T is so dreadfully slow, for whatever reason, in answering spam complaints. Apparently, the promotors for some adult site called SchoolGirlz.com thought it would be neat to send a spider through my site and extract all the e-mail addresses (of which I probably have no duplicates here) to add to their advertising list. So I've received about thirty to forty e-mails from SchoolGirlz.com telling me to go pay to see their underage chicks. I can't believe people like CyberPromotions stand up for scum like this. Let me tell you, I've got my own chick and I'm tired of shuffling those e-mails off to AT&T so they can be filed to dev/null.
Another thing. How come everyone comes to this site just for one of two things? Either they come to look through the Robin Hood section, which is by far the most visited area at benturner.com. I guess that's understandable -- I mean, most small libraries don't have enough money or enough common sense to invest in good Robin Hood literature, so people resort to the Web for aid. Unfortunately, there is still an anemic number of Robin Hood sites online. That's changing, gradually. So people come to my site to see what they can extract from it. I know it's not the best, and I certainly don't have as much information up as I have access to, considering I'm at one of the largest universities in the world, but...oh well. Can't feel guilty about that. ;)
The other place people visit is the Soapbox, and even its hits are painfully low. People tend to read it every few weeks, which is allowable, although it doesn't help me at all, really. People also tend to only read it because they think of it as some sort of circus performance or act. Like I'm just providing shock value for people. Well, whatever...
I suppose you can't work your mind too hard, or else you'll be too tired to watch the Sally Jesse Raphael tapes of this afternoon or sob during another dramatic Melrose Place episode.
There is a lot more good content here than what was mentioned above. I myself like the other documents, and since I haven't updated it in awhile, I have a lot of stories and letters and essays I'm considering posting there. It's just a collection of random things, all interesting.
The autobio hasn't been updated in the longest time, but the interesting thing is that it's perfect the way it is. At least I think so.
Just look around... The content at benturner.com surpasses the content of perhaps five to ten other personal sites out there -- that's enough to keep you lackeys going for a few weeks! ;)
9.3.97 - "Getting Back on Track"
(Addition: Read the Soapbox for this week. Read about the man the Reverend Jesse Jackson calls "an educator who has a philosophy of radical resegregation" and who "[espouses] a fascist ideology." Please, Jesse, you're overreacting. No wonder you failed horribly in your bid for president. And please don't come speak at UT Austin again. Your cacophonous voice isn't something I want to hear before going to an 1 1/2 hour long class.)
Got the phone line. No more complications there. Now, in its place, I receive hours upon hours of studying and maintaining communication (as little as possible) with the outside world.
I apologize for not answering e-mails. Usually I'm bad, but there's reasoning that goes behind it, in responding, but this time it's just because I've had inadequate time and resources to write back with a suitable response.
I have some new Hood's Hut entries to post, as well as several other updates.
Some quick opinions...
THUMBS UP to UT Austin for not screwing up any of my classes, financial aid, or anything else...yet.
THUMBS DOWN to Madison House/Contessa dorms for not taking care of all the problems before the damn year started.
THUMBS UP to the US Open, which is one of my favorite tournaments. My favorite tennis is that which is played in searing heat, for hours and hours, a test of endurance and of wills. Reminds me of the Dallas heat which I befriended during those summers of playing rigorous tennis. Too bad Sampras is out of the tourney, but oh well.
THUMBS UP to Netscape for miraculously making its standalone Navigator 4.02 a robust browser (even compared to 3.0). That is a shaky thumbs up, though, since the stylesheet support and browser customization (disable frames, please?) support are intolerable.
THUMBS DOWN to anything having to do with Lady Diana's death. The paparazzi, the intoxication reports, the coverage, the pointing fingers, the talk about all of it, and the backlash against all of it. I'm just sick of it.
THUMBS DOWN to myself, for several things which have taken place so far this school year. Lack of experience is what it boils down to.
This last paragraph was the most important one. It's about me. Just about me. An exercise in self-indulgence and self-backpatting. Whatever.
Whatever you'll find here at benturner.com is about me, in some way. What you'll find here will be more pertinent and will probe deeper than any of that trash you'll see elsewhere on the Web.
I have no problems with my saying that. Do you?
8.27.97 - "Notice of Delay"
Ben is very busy, what with moving into his apartment at UT Austin and getting all settled.
Deal with it. He'll get back on schedule soon. In the meantime, the Soapbox ought to piss you off enough that you won't come back by the time Ben is up to full speed again.
Ben's e-mail numbers in the 30-40 range, but he probably won't start working on answering them until he gets his permanent phone line next Tuesday. Hey, those who wrote, you have it much better than Ben does!
Unless you're my Anna, you won't hear from me for awhile. But it's nothing personal.
8.9.97 - "youth.Love(Anna,Ben);"
Alpha version of zMUD 5.0 released. Hexen2 beta coming soon. Quake2 final rumored to be released in October! fX to air The X-Files every weekday, starting late August. Woo hoo! I'll never get any work done.
It's been a busy week...for other people on the Web.
For some reason, I have a renewed interest in programming. I think it's mainly because that's the next logical step in my learning process with computers. One starts out using a computer to use and consume, but gradually begins to contribute, and finally figures out how to create.
You know what the hardest part about programming for fun is? It's not learning the language, at least for me. Working with various languages has helped me become familiar with how programs should look in most any language. The hardest part is finding a reason to program. I seriously have little to code, which I could accomplish at this point. I mean, I could think of some good Internet programs to make, but I have neither the time or the knowledge it requires. So I'm pretty much reduced to fidgeting with random strings and making small games or whatnot. Little motivation. ;)
I will have to find something reasonably large to program if I want to plunge into using Java or C++. This would be a Hell of a lot easier if I was working at a company which required me to construct a component of their software or something. ;) I'll probably just see if I can convert the Pascal programs I wrote into Java.
Ah, but what do you care? You're probably sitting there, content with the anemic writing on other sites on the Web, lusting over sites like David Chan's and, well, let's not turn this into a witch hunt. I just don't understand some aspects of the Web. Most aspects of it I'm very keen to, but successful personal sites just boggle the Hell out of me. I think, after ruminating over it for awhile, that a successful site is more often about the conversations which take place around it more than the actual site itself. That's my conclusion. Sure, some sites like GlassDog just blow you away because they look so sharp, but some of these other award-winning sites just have no redeeming qualities. I think there's a lot of e-mails we don't see or hear about, but which influence what we get to read very heavily.
I've come to accept my place on the Web. Hell, it's part of what defines why I'm here. It's part of what defines my place in the world. I'm one of billions of people on the planet, so like them, I am often overlooked. But I persist because I enjoy living and because the way I live has brought me immeasurable treasures, people to love and stay close to, people like Anna, who I met through my site.
It would be nice to be recognized by the community I give so much to, but it must be understood that the Web doesn't work solely around the quality of the content. There's a lot of namedropping and asskissing going on back there.You walk through life deaf, dumb, and blind,
But when it calls, you'll have to find.
Why must we all be so unkind?
I can't believe it's come to this.
The marks I make you can't dismiss.
I have to wash my hands of this.
-"1000 Points of Hate" by Anthrax.
If my site brings me the knowledge and experience associated with creating hundreds of HTML documents, brings me the delightful people who correspond with me, and brings me the woman I truly love, the woman who understands me, then that's all I need.
I dissolve all ties to your community. Enjoy mediocrity.
7.28.97 - "Anticipation"
I really miss Anna. I'm getting over the intense longing, accepting the fact that it will be some time before we're united once again, not victim to the cruel distance of thousands of miles. I'm learning more about all of this, this powerful notion of love which has intrigued poets and writers for centuries. It's wonderful. Thank you, Anna. I can hardly wait until you get back home!
How's the Internet? Just the usual brainsuck of vapid, clueless writing under the guise of over-bevelled and over-pluginned Photoshop images. Plenty of Microsoft bashing, plenty of bad HTML markup, and even more bathroom reading of sex stories and cooking experiences shared with friends meeting through the 'Net.
No wonder I've been using the Web less for entertainment and more to get certain tasks done. At least Alexis is still writing wonderfully, being delightfully questioning of herself, but her work isn't done on the Web anymore. It's done through e-mail. Lance is waxing technical still, but he does it so well. My original inspirations are still doing what they do, and that's at least a shred of good hope.
At least people are contributing, when they finally make it here. I've received some wonderful e-mails which I'm only now finding time to answer. Getting plenty of stories and tales about Robin Hood and finding feedback for other areas of the site. How many of you have actually looked at the site map and browsed the neat little things tucked away in the other documents section? You might like the page that lets you give a rating to different religious philosophies. Or the page that shows the transition from old English to modern English. You might...well...you probably won't take advantage of the freedom granted you. Can't expect too much out of a visitor these days. They just look for the badges of approval before they decide whether it's worth writing to the author or not. Hey, why write if it doesn't get you cool friends, right?
Stripped to the bone,
Write it because that's how you feel, that's what you mean, that's what you couldn't feel good about yourself if you didn't send it to someone who does his best to give meaning to the vast wasteland of the Web.
7.18.97 - "Absence"
There is only one thing on my mind right now, and that is Anna, for I just returned from a perfect, romantic week with her in London, seeing her for the first time.
I miss you tremendously already, Anna, and I hope that the two weeks it will be before you return from London go by quickly, so that my heart that loves you so completely does not become too depressed. Take care, have fun, and think of me always. I am here, waiting for you to return, as only phonecalls and letters can suffice as communication at the moment.
I have little else to say at the moment, as my thoughts keep me silent and in tears at times, missing mine Anna. I remain awestruck by how well our week together went, and how much power it has had over my philosophies in life. I could not have asked for anything better than those few days with Anna in London, and I could not have thought of a better way to spend the money it cost to fly overseas.
Forgive me for choosing to reserving my thoughts, as I am so completely taken by Anna, instead of openly talking about anything and everything on the site. I just don't feel up to it right now, and you know, that feels like a great thing.
Read the Soapbox for some insight.
I love you, Anna. And I am so overjoyed that you love me as well, in matching strength.
Few are privileged to the feelings we have for each other. We are special.
6.27.97 - "One Day Closer, Dear..."Hey, I could brief you on some of the current events like some other personal sites do, trying to be the CNN of autobiographies or whatever they're thinking... I mean, wouldn't you like to hear even more babbly reports of how the part of the CDA dealing with the Internet was turned down by the Supreme Court (the U.S.'s court, mind you, but it seems like it's the world's court to many), of how Maggy decided to quit again, of how it's just raining like a bitch everywhere in the States, including here, of how Wimbledon might be extended past the scheduled two weeks because of inclement weather?
Of course you wouldn't. Well, at least, you shouldn't. You're at my site now and it's my task to show you my site. It is, after all, mine.
So I thought I'd instead treat you to some of the more notable events happening to me online...
In our first season, clan Nobody's Children has qualified for the playoffs of the High Ping Capture League. I got voted MVP by the clan (thanks, guys), and I'll get to compete in the all-star game held during what I'm guessing is the finals weekend. Hey, don't laugh -- Quake's big business right now. Hexen II and Quake II, which look gorgeous with the ambient lighting and textures, are coming out soon and E3 just took place, which offered as the prize John Romero's Ferrari! Just for playing a computer game! I'm telling you -- the interactivity Quake brought to online gaming is going to be a driving force in all aspects of the Internet in the future.
It's a little bit of old news, but my father's site, Genesis premiered a few weeks ago. Fred Turner is the most intelligent man I've ever met, and I don't say that just because he's my father, or because he contracted me to build his site for him. It really is true, and once you've explored his site, you'll understand better why I feel that way.
Yeah, you may have noticed there's a new look on the main page. I recently added a new graphic at the top, but I didn't like how it turned out. It just didn't LOOK like high quality schtuff. I think the new title pic looks much sharper and more professional, don't you? I guess I can do some great stuff with Photoshop if I'm lucky enough... ;)
The archive of past main.php introductions is now available, so you can read what I've said in the past. I was planning to mark it up and put it online awhile ago, but I never got around to it until Anna spurred me on to complete it.
Speaking of Anna, I'll have a big announcement to make soon, probably in the 'Box, and I want to make it now, but I HAVE to wait until it's closer. Argh! Oh well, I know Anna loves me talking about her on this site, since she fell in love with me through it... Thanks for all the cards, love -- they made me feel much, much better.
And I think that's a good stopping point, don't you? All awwww-y and whatnot. Now go get lost in the site, and refer to the sitemap if you get confused.
Sunday, 6.15.97, "Being Sarcaustic"
Welcome to benturner.com, the unofficial and near non-existent home of the We-Hate-Bill-Walton flame site. Yes. You know who Bill Walton is, don't you? Didn't you watch the basketball playoffs on NBC?
Mr. Walton's presence is quite characteristic: perhaps you've heard this little gem before? "Being in a slump is like shooting a basketball. Once it leaves your hand, there's nothing you can do about it." Or maybe you were blessed enough to catch his other witticisms critiquing Karl Malone's play inside the paint? "Don't even worry about the fade-aways. Take it strong to the hole! This is NOT an MVP performance!"
Walton was the only part of the playoffs I absolutely hated. And I know for sure I am not alone in my dislike for Walton. His whiny voice creeps into my thoughts and plagues them, my ears taking the most damage. Since Walton has been on NBC for awhile, he must have a strong backing somewhere from the fans or from the channel, so we must be strong and fight this bane to basketball. We must rise above the injustice and throw out our oppressor!
<gets handed a note>
What? Bill Walton has been assigned to do commentary for beach volleyball which no one watches because it's not popular enough and it's on TV infrequently and at bad times? Well then, that's a punishment far worse than anything we could do... Back to work, folks.
I'm glad you won again, Jordan. And I'm glad Rodman pointed out that he wasn't attacking the Mormon religion, but the Utah fans in particular. If you guys take Rodman that seriously, in the name of religion, you deserve to be mocked and insulted. But most of all, I'm glad Steve Kerr got the last laugh on John Stockton, with his game-winning shot in the final game. That's my boy!
In other news, my Soapbox was selected by Pam O'Connell as one of the best sites for her Mining Company personal award site for the week of the 15th. This is the first time the 'Box has been recognized specifically and I'm very appreciative of the award. Pam's site seems to be a very honest attempt to award content in personal sites, and you know I'm the first to support that. Thanks, Pam!
Enjoy your stay here. Please do make the most of the "half-empty" content I have here, as the clueless reviewer Sandra Stewart put it. Those 5+ megabytes (all listed on the sitemap) of two whole years of Soapboxes (my weekly rants), some of my writings, one of the few Robin Hood sites on the Web, my top software picks, and much more really don't constitute as content anymore. I guess what you need for content these days is a lot of Java, scanned images, and kissing the asses of other people on the 'Net. Nevermind getting into the head of the author, or finding solid information on a subject you're interested in, or seeing layout which may not be beautiful but is at least clean and technically valid. Oh well...I was so close to being good. I was such a fool to think text, thoughts, and feelings were the ways to go!
Tuesday, 5.20.97, "Dazzling Iris in Her Radiant Dress"
Blue. Deep Blue. Why is everyone so surprised? If you ask me, the boys at IBM should have been ashamed of losing to Mr. Gary Kasparov before. I mean, look, Deep Blue is a mammoth computer -- it's like the old ENIACs. And the people working on it were both people very good at logical operations and people who were very good at chess. With all this collaboration and time spent to design a computer that is more fit to win at chess in its mathematical brawn and always indifferent countenance, the IBM guys should admit their lack of success.
Mr. Kasparov, on the other hand, is someone I've grown to like very much, and that's saying quite a bit since I don't like chess. He willingly put his reputation on the line to face Deep Blue and he expressed in his matches against the computer why humans are so superior to computers -- they have real emotions that affect their chemical and physical makeups. Kasparov is ferocious and tenacious, frightening his opponents. He knows how to play chess against a human opponent. He knows how to find a weakness, no matter how small, and exploit it. When something has no weakness and is not affected by emotion, it is invulnerable. No challenge whatsoever.
But I guess we're used to being disappointed with the boys at IBM.
Brown-grey. The rain came fast and furious yesterday. Nature does not let us realize enough how powerless we are against it. Driving around town today, seeing debris and entropic conditions... That's a scary thing to think about. All because of a short period of the day when it rained quite hard. "Quite" not for intensification.
Transparence. It is all clear now. I know where I should be going.
Gold. As in blonde. As in the Blonde Ambition Hit List. Yeah, I got nailed with it. An award. Just put me in my place, temporarily removing my derisive snort. It won't last long. But I appreciate being selected. Thanks Shauna.
With blue eyes. Much more my type. The type that, paired with a keen, intelligent mind, grabs my attention and holds it in place with shackles forged by Hephaestus -- unbreakable.
Black. She looks so damn good in black, even though I've never met her. I know, regardless. Killer.
What do you first feel about a color when you think about it? For instance, I'm more likely to see red as blood, as life, as something alive in itself, than I am to see it as passion, as love. Please e-mail me with your opinions. Yes, it's an open-ended question. You have to think.
White. That's what the color of love is to me. That's how untainted my expressions of feeling are for her. That's how I always want to feel when I think of her. A combination of all the colors to form something beautiful. A combination of everything.
I don't believe in blue for sadness and all that generic nonsense. That's all the, uh, colorology you look for in books and metaphors and whatnot. I believe in white and black, but not so much for purity and impurity. More like light and dark, each of which is good and bad. Teeming with duality. I like the dark more than the light, but I don't see the darkness as evil.
But I suppose that's just one of the things that makes me different. It's what makes me vibrant, colorful, and alive. Can you say the same about yourself? You don't have to answer now. Spend some time here first, then consider your response.
Sunday, 5.4.97, "Worth..."
Businesses are at it again. Up to no good on the Internet. I mean, it's really getting pretty hectic, keeping up with the crap companies are willing to put out there in order to make a buck. Where are we supposed to go to see anything decent anymore? Will we have to start browsing through astronomical charts at some web site hosted in an educational observatory in New Mexico? Is some guy called DeezNutz going to have a page we'll just have to read because all the good homepages have been snatched up by companies seeking intellectual property? Where does it all end?
Man, no one produces what I'm interested in anymore... I'll occasionally find a good site that gets the writing right, that actually shows a struggle between two options and a conflict between what is right and what is perceived to be right. I'll pick up the sporadic URL off someone, but most of my explorations on the Web these days are confined to checking in on friends of mine, monitoring the Quake High Ping Capture League, or mucking around with search engines. But I guess I'm just busy with finals and am especially distracted (read, enchanted) by her.
The Web's just so damn disappointing right now...
If it wasn't bad enough that CyberPromotions, the look-the-other-way spam spawners, was moving into hosting porn sites and distributing porn junk e-mail in the name of free speech, we now how to deal with the whole domain name mess. Radio Shack found Bianca's Smut Shack to be an intrusion on Radio Shack's ownership of the word "shack" and even my favorite computer company, Gateway 2000, bullied the domain name gateway.com off some smaller business that couldn't afford to compete. At least Gateway 2000 answered my CD-ROM question in less than an hour... I guess as long as you don't deal with the legal and marketing schmucks, you're fine.
Things are not all bad on the Web, I guess. Sure, newer personal sites are taking so much inspiration from the veterans like Maggy, Alexis, and Lance that you can barely tell them apart, but there's still hilarious sites out there to spend time at.
There're even some innovative ideas coming out of the software world, like ICQ, a program that sits in the Windows95 taskbar and logs into a server while you're online. The cool thing about it is that your friends can log in too and you'll know if they're online or not. Send a quick message, chat request, URL, or whatever to them. I haven't been so impressed with a Win95 app since I registered HomeSite, which, in the new version, is so unbelievably fast it's sinful. My info on ICQ isn't public, so if you get it and want to add me to your contact list, just ask...
And some companies are actually polite these days! I already mentioned the Gateway 2000 tech support response... But I didn't describe my roommate's ordeals with replacing his worn Jansport backpack. You see, students are rough on their backpacks and sometimes the straps break off or something. He sent in his backpack to have it replaced, and he got a response with his new backpack, and it was actually interesting to read! Imagine that...
So I guess companies still are a mixed bag, but we know from television that as soon as the commercial infoglut lowers the quality of the medium, we're doomed to despise the Internet so much that we'll come up with silly notions like thinking TVs are the tools that will bring about the demise of society.
And we all know it's the people who think that who are the demise of society...
Oh well. Screw it all. Go ahead and fill out the WWW User Survey. You'll feel a bit better about the Web once you do.
Excerpted from Turner's Historia Imperii, Vol. I, Book 5
"...And so he spoke, still grieving with a heavy breast for the death of both Julius Caesar and of Rome, to his fellow mourners who gathered in the main road to share in their sorrow.
"He warned his fellow Romans to prepare for the punishment of the gods for destroying all that which was conceived in order and prosperity. Like a ram being sacrificed while still alive, he painfully described the scourge about to strike the city, the seven-headed serpents silently slithering across the tar-black waves of the Mediterranean. His listeners began praying for their lives, without hope or happiness.
As the prophet gradually increased his ranting to a frenzied and furious state, he claimed to be seeing visions of the future, and his frighteningly descriptive accounts of them only worked the listeners up more. He saw towers of sewn-together flesh of sinners, cultists bearing the wing of Nike, and desolate swampland trading hands with sinner's money.
"The prophet also foretold of the coming of a demon to ravage the new lands (a copy of the original manuscript, found in Persia, Fig. 1.5.3), speculating these new lands as the next home of the doomed Romans. The demon was depicted as a fallen war angel who came to the physical world disguised as a leader and a helper, but shed his false skin when the time came right to infect the lands with strife.
"In literary history to date, this is the only reference to such a demon. The prophet was regarded by the majority as insane and his words were forgotten.
"To date, this demon remains unnamed and unknown..."
Welcome to benturner.com, where I'm intent on alienating one Internet newbie/celebrity at a time. Heck, those who say ignorant things about the 'Net without even caring to do research don't deserve much friendliness from the online world. So go ahead, yell at Walter Cronkite or Cokie Roberts in Usenet or on your page! They'll never read it anyway!
[Just kidding, Mr. Dole. Found a great picture
You're walking on campus and you come up to the main Union Tower, which overlooks the large, verdant lawn, the "Six-Packs", and the capital of Austin. You admire the fine architecture of the university buildings and notice the specific details engraved into the buildings. Did you know the Union Tower has one face covered with square panels for each of the letters in the Greek alphabet?
Students are congregating on the lawn, talking, sleeping, or studying. The temperature is just right, there is a gentle breeze, and you detect the scent of higher learning.
The bells chime in the Union Tower, the sweet sounds carrying out strong throughout the whole campus. You listen to the melodies as you walk to class, sometimes even stopping to soak in everything around you. You're ready to learn -- you're ready to indulge in the college experience. This is where it's all happening.
Likewise, you've made the HTTP request to this site and the front pages inspire you to read and experience the meat of the site. You're still drunk, you're sleep-deprived, and you have been procrastinating. Still, your environment motivates you to explore the campus of benturner.com. Start with the Soapbox, your eclectic freshman 301 course.
Are you lost? Don't know where to go? Don't know what you're interested in here at the site? Those spiffy question mark buttons take you to summary pages for each section ('content', 'contact', whatever).
A lot of people seem to hit the Soapbox, the home of my weekly rants, the X-Files page, a useful beginner's guide to Fox's highest rated show, or the Robin Hood page, the only biography to the outlaw on the 'Net.
But there's oh so much more that most people miss out on! If you're into profiling personalities and then flaming the person with your psychological gibberish, look at the autobio, the other documents, and the stuff you wish you had made.
Win95 users seeking good software should see the software guide. I spent the time finding the most efficient programs available for Win95 and you might just find something you missed. Or if I missed something, you can let me know.
The Quake clan, Nobody's Children, now has a site, designed by yours truly. It'll have full player profiles and demos up shortly, as soon as I can get everyone coordinated for the small effort. You know how Quake players are: they're kind of like UT Austin students, only more belligerent!
There's just so much information steamrolling out of the site -- are you really going to just pass it up to look at some gaudy commercial site?
The Pro-Tech technical bookstore awarded me as winner of their best web site contest -- how about that? Thanks, guys, it means a lot!
I'm a survivor of the Great Four Hour Austin Power Outage of 1997. When one of the generators exploded at the local power plant, all the power went out in our area and most of Austin. UT was still running, of course, since it generates its own power and is seemingly geared up for nuclear winter or a cultist compound standoff. All the power went out at Dobie Center too, so when it got dark outside, the usually disgusting lights of the building were absent. We thought the building looked like a rebellious Borg ship or something. It was scary, the power outage -- for awhile there, everyone was outside and talking to each other. Thank God the power came back on -- everyone went back to slouching around watching TV and talking about nothing important with close friends.
Yep, the unsolicited ad spammers at CyberPromotions are going ISP. They're encouraging "bulk e-mailers" to sign up with them and spam as much as they like. You know, it's interesting that CyberPromotions is trying to be the champion for the cause of the individual deciding what he wants to receive or not, when CyberPromotions knows that there aren't adequate tools for choosing whether to block e-mail or not. Can you block domain names or IP addresses? Only with your sysadmin's help. The best you can do, right now, is use a filter, which is only a poor hack for a solution. Do us as favor, CyberPromotions, and give up now before you're exposed for the hypocrisy you spring from your lying tongues.
And ol' Ben here is trying to figure out how to complete a couple chapters for two separate books, complete some others' web sites, and study The Age of Bede for Medieval history (taught by a woman with absolutely no social skills). Whine whine whine, bitch bitch bitch.
So "that's what's happening in Lake Wobegon..." You're free to indulge yourself on more of my life and interests if you want. Just look around and don't be afraid to have an open mind.
So hey! What's with print designers passing themselves off as Web designers? It wasn't such a big thing in the past, but now kludging desktop publishing (DTP) techniques onto the Web is encouraged behavior.
HTML ain't a design and layout language, folks. You can't get what you want unless you cater to just one or two browsers out there. Goes against the whole idea of the Web and more generally, the Internet.
The sites in question look amazing and all, but only if you use the right browser. And people like me are stuck using Netscape Navigator because of this.
Before you publish serious stuff on the Web, please learn how to do so correctly.
Are you feeling tired, cranky, and sad? Are you cold? Does that horrible Austin weather make you sick? Too much freezing rain and high winds? Did you step in a puddle? Are your shoes wet?
Don't sweat it! Things could be worse -- you could be subjected to the hypocritical tauntings of those fanatical preachers out in the West Mall! Hell indeed!
Go ahead! Stay inside today! Kick back in your comfortable sweater in your stuffy dorm room and spend some time reading the products of procrastination I have to offer here at the site! It may make you nauseous, but it won't send your body into antibody overload like a cold from staying outside in the cold rain would. I promise.
Wisdom from the holy, omniscient Augustine, from his splendid literary work, the Confessions:
I was much attracted by the theatre, because the plays reflected my own unhappy plight and were tinder to my fire. Why is it that men enjoy feeling sad at the sight of tragedy and suffering on the stage, although they would be most unhappy if they had to endure that same fate themselves? Yet they watch the plays because they hope to be made to feel sad, and the feeling of sorrow is what they enjoy. What miserable delirium this is! The more a man is subject to such suffering himself, the more easily he is moved by it in the theatre. Yet when he suffers himself, we call it misery: when he suffers out of sympathy with others, we call it pity. But what sort of pity can we really feel for an imaginary scene on the stage? The audience is not called upon to offer help but only to feel sorrow, and the more they are pained the more they applaud the author. Whether this human agony is based on fact or is simply imaginary, if it is acted so badly that the audience is not moved to sorrow, they leave the theatre in a disgruntled and critical mood; whereas, if they are made to feel pain, they stay to the end watching happily.
In other words, "If you don't live your life the way I do, then you're a poor wretched creature who hasn't found God." Genius at work.
I've now seen nineteen birthday shadows, sharing the same holiday as a fat, furry groundhog who wakes up to a full entourage of media reporters on the 2nd. To the people who care, thanks for making yesterday one of the most thoughtful days I've had.
Oh, and as for Netscape Navigator 4.0, let's just say that it isn't very Java-friendly. That means a lot of crashing for me. <grumble>
You know what's fun? Walking down the street and picturing everyone as evil.
Try it. Stroll around (in your own manner) and just look at every single person and wonder what great burdens and evils he carries with him. Do this even with the most angelic-looking people -- surely they're hiding something deep and sinister, something so twisted they hide it behind a wall of unadulturated innocence.
Look at that person over there! What circle of Hell would Dante place him in? Treason or malice? What is he thinking about? Will he snap right in front of you?
Or that woman! How furious has she been in a certain situation? How did she react? Did the target of her fuming emotions walk away unhurt?
Try this with any trait you may think is intrinsic in all humans. Sitting there wondering if all people are "evil" is fun for me, because that's just how I think. You may choose to think about what good deeds someone's done, or how obsessive people can get, but me? I loved Dante's Inferno. I'm sick that way.
Just so you know, benturner.com encompasses every emotion at various times in its existance. Just for fun, try to find each emotion throughout the site. Enjoy, and indulge in your efforts.
I'd just like to give a quick thank you to all those hypocrites on the Web who claim to support the individual, when in fact they just ignore the individual. It's hard to act on what you say, isn't it?
Also, keep in mind if you send me some unsolicted e-mail advertisement for some scam or product, your postmaster will be notified. And changing your personal information won't help. False sense of security.
Can you imagine what it must have been like to experience the sights and smells of fresh, hot blood and sweet, delicate air as they mixed together on battlegrounds in England in the Battle of Hastings? What were the dying soldiers thinking about? Did they think about their families, or how close or far they were to their gods, or did they just think about the pain they were feeling as the life so generously breathed into their bodies was dragged gasping and screaming from every pore in their bodies? What would happen to the battleground and the decaying bodies afterwards?
What was it like to be in Vietnam during the war? I wouldn't know -- I'm only eighteen. What would it be like to push apart fronds of human-sized plants in waist-deep vegetation in the rain, knowing full well someone may have a machine gun pointed at your forehead? Would you experience the full beauty of the forests? Would you notice the unadulterated smells and light, the freshness of everything around you? How would you sort out the clashing emotions in your heart from such an experience?
When the first humans began to see beauty (not necessarily understand it), how did they perceive the amazing ecotones and biomes in their world? They were surrounded by many other creatures, large mountains, and seas glittering in the sun's warmth and light. Did they ever appreciate any of that, or were they just concerned with their family and finding food?
Beats the Hell outta me. For right now, unfortunately, you're stuck in my world, benturner.com, so you'd better sit down, appreciate it, and experience it, so you'll know the answer when someone asks you the same sorts of questions about this realm.
I'm using my brother's Netcom account to use the Internet while I'm home for Christmas. Boy are these large networks good at blinding their customers.
Down the dark, twisting hallways of HTML debate rooms looms the argument of WebTV vs. computers. If you don't know, WebTV is a device which plugs into your TV and lets you read e-mail and use the Web. You can also do some other things, but for right now you have to use them through the Web (like Dejanews for Usenet). Naturally I find WebTV a good concept for the future of computers (we all want computers which fit more seamlessly into our lives), but I find they are too restrictive. And I think people are better off buying a computer and learning how to use it, so they pick up basic skills which will be almost necessary for at least the next five to ten years. For this opinion, I am labeled a snob. I'm a computer geek who needs everyone to do things his way, apparently.
Products like WebTV, Netcom, and AOL make their money by convincing "regular" people that they are too stupid to figure out how to use a computer. Advocates of these products claim the services merely make it easier to get information. The companies behind the services don't care about providing information -- they want to convince people that they're simple-minded. How can someone advocate a company which does this?
Right now I'm connected at 26400bps. I have a 33.6kbps modem. Netcom apparently doesn't think its users will want to use 33.6k or 57.6k connections, as it states on its site somewhere that it has no plans to upgrade. I'm not even connected at 28.8k, which is what they claim to support! And in order to connect, I have to put up with numerous busy signals, hang-ups, and ring-throughs! On top of that, Netcom uses unorthodox login procedures for its silly Netcruiser software! For someone who has the software he wants to use, this takes a little extra work connecting to Netcom.
I hear AOL is being overloaded now that its users are on unlimited time plans. WebTV advertises to couch potatoes. Netcom has the problems listed above. And I could go on and on for these types of networks. Your Internet connection does not have to be this way, folks. Getting onto the 'Net is not difficult. Heck, my dad just logged onto the 'Net the other day by himself and was almost instantly using Excite to search for things! And he's as computer-phobic as you can get (well, almost).
At UT Austin, I can connect at at least 33.6k, and I think it can go even higher. When I upgrade my modem to 57.6k, I'll see if I can connect at that speed! The servers are stable and they aren't lagged. I have a very fast connection. When I was using CyberRamp, I connected in a matter of ten minutes and instantly had a fast web server and connection. There is quality Internet access out there for very cheap prices -- you just have to look past those disks you receive in the mail.
It is not elitist to expect quality. It is not elitist to dislike condescension of customers. It's seeing past the hype and the marketing and getting your money's worth.
Try The List for a list of Internet providers, searchable by your region, state, city, area code, etc.
When you log in with a quality provider, come back here and enjoy the experience without lag, crashes, or disconnections. Read about my lagging of thought, my crashings of emotion, and my disconnections from reality instead.
I love college life. It is currently Finals Week, or as the local Eckerds stores know it better, Stimulants Week. Yes, frantic kids wander around at three in the morning, trying to remember calculus formulas while downing a few Vivarins. All-nighters? You bet. It's scary, yet amusing at the same time.
Meanwhile, it's smooth-sailing with ol' Ben here. Sure, I have finals too, but I've spaced out my studying a bit better. That gives me some more relaxed time where I have nothing to do. So how'd I spend that time?
I downloaded Opera v.2.1, one of the "other" web browsers out there. The reviews it had been getting from the more serious posters in the HTML newsgroup were very good, and I had been looking for another good browser to try out.
I was looking pretty much for a graphical version of Lynx, the text browser. You see, Lynx supports the newest tags, but implements them according to the HTML standards, and not towards the browser author's specific agenda.
Opera seems to be as strict as Lynx for the most part, and it is extremely customizable. I can disable frames, cookies, and all the other sometimes annoying parts of the Web. I can change how virtually everything is set up. I have about six other various versions of web browsers, plus Lynx on a remote account, and none of them are as customizable as Opera. This isn't a big deal for me, really, as I don't change my settings very much -- I view sites with the default settings. Very useful to have customizability for other Web users, though.
So the browser seemed pretty good until I started using it a lot. It just didn't seem as convenient, as cozy with the Web as Netscape Navigator (NN) is. (Microsoft Internet Explorer (MSIE) isn't at home on the 'Net yet either, I feel). Opera just didn't do the little things I wanted it to do. And it couldn't handle some animated .gifs or bad markup. NN has been dumbed down so it handles shoddy markup, which is not uncommon on the Web these days.
Well, I'm on the Web to view things, not be restrained from them, so I think I'll have to keep using NN and MSIE. Besides, they're free for students and Opera isn't.
What I learned from this whole episode was that NN and MSIE aren't all that bad -- they've done the little things that we may not notice, but we miss when we don't have them. NN may be adding proprietary markup to the Web, but it's a very useful browser. That's Netscape's fault, and that's why I eagerly await for MSIE v.4.0 to come out. Microsoft will finally take over the browser market.
I also had a glimpse at how bad the markup on the Web is. When a page doesn't display in your browser, you know the author did something horribly wrong. This rarely happens in NN, but in Opera it happened a few times. Text wouldn't show up, whole pages wouldn't show up, etc. Just because NN supports bad markup, don't do it on purpose. Go to a good HTML guide and learn how to do it right. Those who use the "other" browsers will thank you.
Oh, don't worry -- I'll stay away from compu-geek ramblings on the main menu from now on, honest!
Just a reminder: Ben's software picks page is premiering soon, as is another little surprise...
"Well-timed silence hath more
eloquence than speech."
-Martin Farquhar Tupper
Mom, I know you're reading this. Don't!
It's very serene and quiet on campus right now, seeing how classes are ending and the worries of finals are not quite upon the poor students. My computer came alive with warnings of soon-to-expire beta versions of software, so I pretty much spent what was left of my afternoon downloading schtuff from Windows95.com. Not much to do after walking to class, hearing radicals yell out things like, "Evolution is false!", and attending ten minutes of the last lecture in biology before being dismissed.
I'll be adding a list of apps I recommend soon, when I get around to it. Shouldn't be too hard. The list will contain everything as common as web browsers to things as obscure as HTML form formatters. Hey, I've been on the 'Net awhile -- you can trust my picks. May even put the programs up for download, if their sites aren't stable enough to be trusted. Other projects for the site are on hold -- Christmas is approaching and I'll probably have some time to kill when not reading or shopping for presents.
Oh, got some mail. I don't seem to get the thought-provoking e-mail that my peers get. I get bug reports and mild complaints. The text is too dark on black backgrounds, some say. I'll lighten any pages you have problems reading. I guess I have my contrast set higher than most people. But the little snipy comments are intended to be hard to read -- they're kind of under-my-breath annoying little things.
So there it is. A day of downloading and deleting. That's essentially what you're doing by reading my site. But you don't upload and create information like us web authors do, do you? (yes, You, the person who keeps e-mailing me, get off your butt and create that web page!)
Isn't installing and uninstalling software a bitch? I figured out how to partially clean my registry today, after messing with some big, burly, dangerous Microsoft apps. Microsoft applications are getting downright hazardous these days -- they're intertwining themselves into to Windows95 OS so much these days it's ridiculous. The user gets strangled in the mess. Specifically, I had installed the Personal Web Server and ComicChat, just to see what they were like. Download the software, extract all the megabytes inside, install it, let it rebuild your driver database, and then reboot to complete the installation. Cripes. The Personal Web Server didn't work and ComicChat's just plain absurd. Call me a purist, but I prefer plain text to cumbersome cartoonish versions of IRC.
Well hey, all I had to do was delete the directory, right? Wrong, you can't
do that anymore. You have to get the system to uninstall the program using
log files created at installation. Had to do this, dodging some messages
about refusing to delete newer versions of
.dlls and whatnot.
Looked at the list of apps still in my registry, and I was shocked. Some
stuff I had installed a year ago!
Ben lowered the brim of his hat -- his perfectionistic standards would not stand for this.
So my roommate went off on an epic journey to find a program capable of cleaning up registries. Try as we did, we turned up empty-handed and ended up doing things the old-fashioned way. Help files. Opened the registry and was attacked by cryptic extension codes and acronym compugeek cyberbabble. We were deluged with incomprehensible jargon.
But we eventually found what we were looking for, and we deleted the
outdated program references. My roommate incurred no damages, but my
Eudora was hurt. A quick reinstallation fixed that. The deed was done,
regedit.exe was closed, and the computer rebooted cleanly.
So be careful when you're taking in new programs, software, or ideas. Trying to get rid of them quickly may leave malicious residue.
Ah, but what do you care right now? You're here to spam my access logs for a good five minutes, right? Sure you are. Don't get lost in my web site, like I did in my computer today.
You tense up, every muscle tightening for the encounter ahead. You've just located your destination, the hidden fortress of benturner.com. A cursory look at the exterior walls of the fortress revealed a small door on the western side, unguarded and vulnerable. You begin work on it with the latest web browser, built specifically for the task of World Wide Web artifice. One push of a button and you're inside.
You make sure you are mentally prepared for the dangers which face you, but you are quickly overwhelmed by the magic and depth involved. Rounding a corner, you find yourself in the Soapbox, and all your insecurities, fears, and failures are amplified in your mind. Ben's words appear behind you and strip you of your protective armor and shield with some arcane magic you are not familiar with. Ben's words then disappear, for you to find. You are left naked, to explore on your own, to face your fears in Ben's realm without anything comfortable to fall back on.
In time wandering around the numerous halls and passageways, you are lost in the darkness and twisted nature of the place. You become a slave to benturner.com's methods, and you are soon sucked into the whole experience. You are inside. You are experiencing it to the fullest. You have no escape -- even your web browser has deserted you.
A voice is emitted from somewhere in the blackness. "Use your mind. Experience the darkness while you are a victim of it. It will make you stronger, strong enough to escape by your own will. And when you finally do escape, you will yearn to come back in time, simply because you've learned so much about yourself here."
Your quest begins.