April 9, 1996: Fortysomething blowhard, exhibiting a curious willingness to squeeze a few ideas into the maximum amount of Web space, first goes online with seven whole pages, including the first installment of what he called The Vent.

Five years, sixty thousand visitors, and astronomical quantities of bloviation later, just where the hell are we?

The answer is "Pretty much where we were five years ago." Despite the fact that every single page on this site has been redesigned at least once, nothing much has changed. The subsections are mostly intact; navigation has remained the same; and far more people come to read the resource material than the commentaries. (And hardly anybody reads the Scribbles.)

One fair question might be "Has The Vent suffered since the daily log was instituted last summer?" I don't think so. For every really good Vent, there's always been a fairly awful one, and the proportions haven't changed a whole lot. A few topics covered in the log could just as easily have been done as a Vent, but the eight-day (more or less) Vent cycle doesn't always permit the level of immediacy I'd like, or that I'd like to think I'd like. Besides, 3.5k, the average for a Vent, is a bit long for some things I'd like to dismiss with the text equivalent of a Dr Gillespian tug of the lapel: sometimes, a one-liner is all that's needed.

As for those resources, they remain here because there's really no substitute for them, because they perform a valuable public service of a sort, and because reading some of the referrer logs can be hilarious. Once upon a time, someone wound up on the FIdb after plugging "rubber pony girls" into a search engine, and while he undoubtedly went away frustrated — next time, pal, try grouping the words into a complete phrase — it does my heart good to see such, um, unbridled passion from a visitor. (It occurs to me that should he subsequently take my advice, he'll wind up on this page, which likely won't make him feel any better, but that's cyberlife.)

And anyway, it's all part of the plan. If anyone ever makes a movie about an invisible girl who drives a Mazda and gets a recording contract with Warner Bros., I'll be on the Web equivalent of Easy Street.

The Vent

9 April 2001

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 Copyright © 2001 by Charles G. Hill