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April 1, 2002

Web Entities That Died On Me

It should be fairly obvious, given that I've been writing a weekly column for Gordie for two months now, that I spend a healthy (ahem) amount of time online. My morning routine is set: get in to work, read through (and possibly reply) to my e-mail, and then I fire up the web browser and check through my comics, automotive-related sites, and then onto the news-type sites. Then I can start getting work done.

This routine hasn't been with me for too many years, but I have been an avid web citizen (sycophant?) ever since my university days. Having been online so long, it's no surprise that the web has changed a lot from when I started. Bigger sites, better sites, more content, improved searching capabilities, and of course, a lot of content has dried up and blown away, some has simply died. Today I lament the sites that are either floundering or have outright expired.

I mentioned that comics are a part of my online morning routine. I currently have 5 comics bookmarked that are updated daily, plus one more updated 3 times a week, 3 more that are weekly, and two that are updated... well, whenever (Gordie being one, of course). Comics are good. You can then imagine my dismay when I found an excellent comic, made by a Canadian no less, with a suitably weird and sick sense of humour, only to watch it shrivel up like so many frat boys swimming in Lake Huron in early May.

I talk of the galaxy-class interstellar sodomite Spacemoose, a creation of the once-fetid-yet-fertile mind of Adam Thrasher, way out in the tar sands of Alberta. Sadly, I found Spacemoose when it was on the decline, and updates were getting spaced further and further apart. Luckily Adam is kind enough to keep a full and authoritative archive, so that even new readers can enjoy Spacemoose in its entirety, right from day one through until present. The site is still active, and has everything that it's ever had on it still, but there hasn't been an update in a long time now. Bald Dwarf will probably be the only one to cheer the seemingly unavoidable demise of Spacemoose.

Comics are not the be-all and end-all of existence, however. (Food is, but that's another article.) Sometimes one just wants to go shopping. My online shopping experiences have been rather limited, however, and are almost solely comprised of eBay auctions. Now eBay is great and wonderful and you can find just about anything you need on there, but dealing with an America-centric site always has its pitfalls. Now more than ever the exchange rate is the big impediment to eBay purchases, but payment and shipping exercises also dull the excitement. I was quite happy to find a Canadian alternative at was anything but just another It was based in Canada, and hallelujah, it had Canadian people auctioning Canadian items in Canadian dollars. Wow!! Sadly, the volume of items was rather anaemic, and it appeared (to my eyes) that most of the items were located in Saskatchewan, of all places. About a year after I discovered it, closed its doors forever, leaving Canadians to the mercies of currency conversions.

Back before I even knew that existed, I was submitting articles to a quirky e-zine based in Ottawa called papmag. Strange name, strange people, and 3 wonderful articles published each and every week. Well, for a while, anyways. Things were going swimmingly until the summer came, and the staff decided to spend summer like so many of us would - away from our computer and desk. Not to leave their readers stranded completely, they kept publishing once a week.

The problems began after the summer was over. The banner "publishing once a week, 'cause we're on summer vacation" stayed up through August, September, October... and just kept staying there. Eventually there was a small flurry of activity, but since the brainchild of the site and concept had moved, things floundered. I fear that, although not quite dead, papmag is well on its way to taking the Big 404 Sleep.

I found out about papmag through another site that I had much more involvement in, (Buzz and papmag were going to try to exploit each other's strengths and collaborate, a.k.a. "utilizing synergies", to bring up each site's readership. Sadly, that never happened). was a slash-based site that sprang to life just before the recent-ish federal election, focusing exclusively on Canadian news and views. It provided an excellent forum for discussing the hot Canadian topics of the day, as well as a more than a few rants and raves of a Canadian bent, and lots of Canadian politics.

Now, I can't really say that is dead, and maybe it shouldn't be included in this list. But this particular beaver is somewhat endangered. A few months back the author of decided that wrangling slashcode (the powerful program that ran the site and allowed its legendary flexibility) was just too much for one mere mortal, and decided to look into alternate methods of running At the same time, he was going to move the site from an expensive $100/mo host onto his own machine running over a DSL connection. Sadly, this meant that the original site never got transferred to the new server. So Slappy the beaver is in limbo, showing only a to-do list. I know he's busy, but there's a lot of us that hope that eventually will be returned to its former glory, and then some. I miss the white phallus, dude.

Coming full-circle we're back to another comic strip. Thankfully, this one is not dead. It's still being updated fairly regularly, but it is showing the classic signs of falling by the wayside a la Spacemoose. I am talking about the unbelievable The Parking Lot Is Full. I won't even try to describe the style of this particular comic, as it has to be experienced. The duo who create this strip are a strange pair. One lives in Canada, the other in Korea, and they collaborate via e-mail. I first saw this strip in the rag of a university student newspaper back in my university days, and have been following it ever since. I even own a copy of both of the collections they published, and I've won a 3rd collection, whenever it happens to come out. They're my kinda guys - if you're into really weird stuff, and like offending people just to get a laugh. I sincerely hope that the fire hasn't died on them, as they really do have something worth keeping alive. Unfortunately, the recent turn of events leads me to think that greener pastures are calling both of them elsewhere, or at least away from their current project. Only time will tell.

Don't feel bad - I still have lots of comics and such to read during my morning routine. All I can say is I hope that the other beaver I love so very very much will stay quite healthy. After all, I'd hate to lose yet another good, clean, waste of time.


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