Ten years (and not more) of fourstones
I was flying home (to Seattle) from San Francisco yesterday when it occurred to me that the domain 'fourstones.net' should be about 10 years old. The flight had not taken off yet so I grabbed my phone and did a Google search for 'whois fourstones.net' Right there in the results listing was a match phrase "Record created on 26-Mar-2001"
The mind is a funny thing. Sitting there, I could not, with certainty tell you what the date was yesterday (it turned out to be March 25th) and yet, somehow, I knew a 10 year anniversary of something symbolically important was about to cross my life's path.
It seems like I should say something about the moment - and perhaps the last 10 years of moments.
To get etymological for a second, I was having trouble explaining to my wife why we would need this thing called a 'web site' but when she heard that it involved our family (which, of course, was pretty bullshitty of me) she suggested the term 'four stones' in order to represent me, her and our two sons. By the time my sons were at a place they wanted to post stuff to the web the last place they were interested in doing so was on "dad's fucking web site."
The first post to gain attention beyond my friends was an essay I wrote about the Open Source movement. It was bitter and sarcastic but I still really like the writing. Some early Web bigwigs like Dash and Winer linked to it and my punditry was in play. I should have picked up on the fact that nobody was discussing the actual premise of the piece - that all software was fueled by personal neurosis. Instead I was enamored with myself and the attention. I don't think it's a stretch to say the Web was a vacuum in search of justification. You know, like me.
A few months later I asked my loyal list-serve followers if I was already a "weblog" - they said "huh?" The fourstones blog ran out of steam as early as July when I quit writing on exactly the day blogger.com named fourstones a 'blog of note.' HINT: Not a coincidence.
In November '02 I got one of those typical "how'd you get that sound" email that musicians are always firing off to each other from some guy named Brad Sucks about a MP3 mix he stumbled onto. Brad was (and is) a natural 'Net star - not the most productive guy I've known, but definitely one of the most talented and great to hang with.
November '03 brought about an attempt to squeeze a few pennies out of the site with a blog amied at musicians called Virtual Turntable. Originally a .biz domeain, I achieved my goal of squeezing a few pennies (and no more) and later converted to a .org and kept rolling.
Along the way fourstones became a persona that I cultivated online - at various times an electronic musician and digital freedoms activist and often some combination of both. It was a good run -- if ccMixter (and dig) are my total online legacy -- well, fuck me, that's pretty great.
About a year ago I was in the midst a fair amount of personal upheaval. I announced that 'fourstones' was fading. Well, consider it faded.
The catch phrase for the website, from day one, became the string of admonitions to
"Don't belong. Never join. Think for yourself. Peace."While researching this essay, I found through the Japanese MSDN site that translated that phrase, that if you then translate back again you end up with:
"Part. A flock. Go figure. Peace."
Which is just too brilliant. So, with that, its on to the next thing.