121 Rue Bienville: the Return and Ontological Myth
It all started when I found out that the band Niacin had played a show in Pittsburgh and I had missed it (1999? 2001?). I would have driven from Cleveland to Pittsburgh for that show. My friend, Andy and I are continuously vexed and dismayed by the fact that we are on the Email, Snail Mail and personal phone lists of thousands of artists, musical and otherwise, yet we can not be informed about artistic events in a timely manner for the most part. So I said, “Dammit, I’m going to make a list of links that I can just plow through, one after another, and check the tour dates or ‘Events’ sections on a regular basis from anywhere and keep myself updated on the meanderings of artists and their wily ways.” Or something like that.
Now my only limitation is the artist’s ability to keep a website online. This was relatively early in the internet game and it was not given that a musician would necessarily have a web page, or would be able to maintain paying his cousin to keep it updated. We’re not talking about U2, here. Most of the artists I enjoy don’t have a lot of money (and many have unsavory feelings about such loathsome things as self-marketing, bless their dumb hearts). It’s a website, to market your talents and wares, not a cup full of pencils.
Of course nowadays, no one can afford to tour. Once we have the added cost and inconvenience of T.S.A. searches at every public event, websites will be their only way to reach an audience.
121 Rue Bienville was a site to contain my collection of those internet links. It eventually grew to support all of my hobbies, not just music & art. It had photo albums, a calendar for social events and occasional collections of thoughts about events, books media (blog posts, essentially). It was mostly for my own use as I access many computers at home and work- but I welcome anyone into my little world in case we have something in common and don’t know it.
It started off as a Geocities page, then I learned a little HTML and hosted my own. Then Google came along and made each of those things, assimilated my behaviors and I performed dutifully as a consumer of comfort got lazy and neglected my site. I started the Riverside site as a creative outlet and 121RueBienville was just utilitarian and out-dated as I started keeping everything in a Google calendar, Blogger, RSS readers, Myspace etc. OH, and then the suck-in of Facebook. Well, not everyone is on Facebook and I’m not super keen on its presentation, anyway. But that’s where most of the peoples is.
THEN ONE DAY
I got peeved. I use 1&1 Webhosting and have always been really happy with their service, availability, etc. My websites were always online and I could always get them on the phone when I needed. Eventually, however, life got busy and I decided I didn’t have time to have these sites as creative endeavors, and decided to let them expire and not renew service. In doing so, I ran afoul of a little stunt that stuck in my craw. Apparently I neglected (my fault) to notice the part of our agreement that stated that I had to give 30 days notice to let something expire. I can see this policy in physical rental property where the space needs to anticipate repair or special marketing that only happens when the place becomes available. But server space? So I owed them money and wasn’t really sure why (or how it was justified).
I said, “It seems like a normal fiduciary situation: I give you money- you host my sites. I stop giving you money, you stopped hosting my sites, yet I owe you money?”
1&1: “That’s right”
Me: “Did you give me service for which I have not paid?”
1&1: “Nope. But it’s in the contract. Pay up, asshole.” (I may be misremembering that last line)
Me: “OK, fine. How much do I owe you?”
1&1: “Oh, we’ve already sent you to collections.”
Me: “Really.” Deep sigh, “I guess we’re done here, then.”
So this was totally my fault. I just stopped caring for a while. I investigated a few other hosting packages, but I figure it would be easier to re-up with them and if I wanted to jump ship, do it later rather than try to wrestle all of my stuff from them. But I waited a long time. I will continue service with them presently, but now I know they aren’t any less skeevy or slimy than other businesses (I really thought they were great). And it cost them a lot of money to pull such a (in my opinion) dick-move. I could have been giving them money all those months or years.
This week I find that they have taken the liberty of rolling all six of my domains (including one I had no intention of renewing) into one billing package so that I get one bill for domain use instead of six, each on the anniversary of when I purchased it. And that would be fine except that they are more than a year ahead of schedule.
This is like the scam when you buy a magazine subscription and they send you a bill within eight months. Since you don’t remember when you started the subscription you pay, and they start your second year with the new issue. Buyer beware, people.
I have another problem, however. I have NO IDEA where my backup of the Riverside site is. I know I regularly backed it up. I think it’s on a DVD somewhere in my chaotic construction-zone/Zoo/science-experiment-gone-wrong of a house. This is also my fault. I am sort of OK with this. I had years of work into that riverside site, but there are bigger problems in life, I guess.
So here we are, starting over. I haven’t done any development on this site, just downloaded WordPress and the theme. I’m not a WordPress or CSS wizard, but I’m not afraid to learn in front of you. Like a blind man at an orgy, I’m going to have to feel things out. Check back if you like. My posts are long, rambling, too introspective and for the most part, boring. If you can stand it, welcome.