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02/01/2004: "Reflection, Introspection, Suggestion?"

NFT Feature|AMP|#160;|AMP|#160;This week marks the 2nd anniversary of Not From Toronto. Way back, in what seems like another world altogether, I started writing for, never thinking that I would keep it up for two years and beyond. Not From Toronto has turned into a very enjoyable hobby of mine, and allowed me to hone my writing skills and style at the same time. Thanks go to the unwitting audience that stuck with me past my rants, long essays, and bizarre myriad of topics. Unfortunately, one aspect is still missing, and recent events make me wonder if it's not more crucial than I think.

If I were to list the happiest things that have happened to me due to writing Not From Toronto, I would have to list two things. The runner up would have to be the great t-shirts that have become my annual salary. I'm a sucker for free t-shirts, and their guaranteed uniqueness is icing on the cake. However, the best thing that has happened to me as author of this column is feedback. I have received lots of feedback from my weekly ponderings, and this feedback has helped shape my writing style, my ability to edit, and generally improved what Not From Toronto is. Unfortunately, 99% of it is from one person, my best friend. While it's quite helpful, it's not a source of inspiration.

The remaining 1% consists of two e-mails that I received from Not From Toronto readers completely randomly. The first was in response to my Handy Samaritan article. This person had been searching for someone to do some work on his house, found my article and its glowing review of the extremely helpful guy that got my family out of a jam, and hired him. He was quite impressed and happy with the work, and simply wrote to thank me for the article and my recommendation. I was equally happy to return the favour to the Samaritan by giving him business.

The second response came from my expensive vacuum article. The respondent in this case simply wanted to write and say that they too bought a Filter Queen, for $300 back in the 1960's. I was glad to know that I'm not the only one to have one (and be satisfied with it), but very satisfied that my writing had reached beyond my own demographic. Both of these unprovoked responses really lifted my sprits for a time, and made my weekly writings worthwhile.

Fast forward to present day Gordie gets an entirely new look and feel, supported by custom-written software that is being administered by the author. Unparalleled flexibility and brand new features abound, and slowly the Gordie community starts to re-gel. Unfortunately, some bad blood developed between the site admin and myself, which lead to strong discussions, heated words, continual chaffing, and eventually the admin's recent withdrawal from

I really wanted to simply write about one of the multitudes of other topics I have currently simmering on my plate, waiting to become the next NFT article. However, try as I would, none of them would co-operate, as my heart was heavy with the past week's snipings, threats, taunts, and even logical, though-provoking discourse. No matter my opinion on the admin, I have likely played a very central role in having this person leave Gordie, and that worries me to some degree.

So, what to do about it? At this point going to him and trying to start a new dialogue is likely out of the question. I have no doubt in my mind that I have become a much-hated nemesis, which is a rather tough pill to swallow, even coming from someone I disagreed with so often. I could simply move on, try to forget about it, and allow time to smooth over what's been done, allowing it to pass into the background quietly, but that smacks of denial, and would be an awful waste of an excellent opportunity to learn more about myself and grow from it. I could convince myself that I'm entirely right in the matter, and that everyone is better off as they now stand, but my ego isn't that big, and it completely ignores the little voice in my head telling me that I may have gone too far. I too could leave Gordie, but it's already enough of a tragedy that an excellent site admin is leaving. My leaving would have no purpose that I can figure other than to provide total wholesale closure, which may or may not be wanted.

The only avenue that I see is left is feedback. I have pondered asking for feedback before, but have never done so. In this case I want to hear from long-time NFT readers and visitors to the new, re-launched site alike. Tell me - no holds barred - what you think of the situation, and very specifically, my involvement and reactions within that situation. Everything you need is archived at, all the complaints, arguments, claims, and everything else. If you don't know what I'm talking about, then don't bother yourself with it. If you know all too well, I need to hear from you.

Unlike the previous two year's worth of articles I've written, this one has no conclusion, no real ending, and does not dismiss you to go about your life for another week until I write again. I am asking, pleading, begging you to provide your feedback to me. You have choices in the matter; you may either send me an e-mail at, or you can leave a comment at Whichever you choose, know that your response will be read and taken at face value, for better or for worse.

Sigh. I'll bet Wil Wheaton doesn't have problems like these.


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February 2004

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