Friday, November 9, 2012

Dreams from my Milchcow

"And not many days after the younger son...took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living"

I'd like to thank my one reader/commenter for keeping the faith all these years - I haven't Blogged since 2009 in any serious way1, but I came back to find 37 unapproved comments from my loyal reader. Here's a sample:
"I read your blog and found it very inquisitive. It was a useful addition to my knowledge of the subject"
So thanks Mr P3N1S L1MP? V1@GRA C1AL1S  D3LIVERED D1RECT. You're the reason I came back. You are the wind beneath my Wang.

I'm going to use this space to record my thoughts on the 2012 Election campaign, and hopefully there'll be a bit of travelogue too. I've been appointed a Deputy Field Organizer for the Florida arm of President Obama's campaign, and I'll be out there knocking doors, calling, corralling volunteers, persuading but mostly taking notes on and for the greatest political data mining operation in the history of Electoral politics.
To the three of you still reading, I promise there'll be stories about Floridians eating each other's faces too2

But before all that begins, I'm going to tell you the story of another Naughties dotcom artifact that seemed like a good idea at the time. It is the story about how I came to own, lose and regain the coolest domain name in the world.


This is a love story, and like all great love stories it's a story about milk. Fizzy, fizzy milk.
In 2002, there were two sites I read from top to bottom every day, Metafilter and Salon. Salon rode the crest of the new dotcom wave - It was Vanity Fair for the Digerati.Their best journos were Rock Stars. Bring your dog to work. Wagner James Au would tell us about the coming techno singularity while Andrew Leonard would assure us that *this* would be the year of the Linux desktop. Stephanie Zacharek would like all the movies I liked for the reasons I liked them, validating me and my choice to wag PE and sneak off to the movies instead.
Salon was everything High School me wanted to be  - Niche-y, but popular. Smart, liberated. Trying new things.  Salon was the first thing I ever bought on the Internet, because I *believed* in it.
Then in July of 2002 it cratered. The online advertising boom that let it swell to unimagined heights turned to a nasty bust, filled with recriminations and flash banners. A million monkeys went unpunched, and Salon teetered on the verge of bankruptcy 

Heather Cochran, herself surrounded by the smoking ruin of the dotcom exuberance bubble, sat down to chronicle the craziness, but particularly those nascent ideas that never quite made it to IPO. Not the Hasbeens, more like the never-wases.
It's a good bit of writing, and you can still read it at

Of all the domains she mentioned, I couldn't help but be drawn to one in particular -

It was a garage startup so perfect it could only have existed in 1999. Two crazy kids: One with a Stanford MBA, the other a gearhead with a passion for disintermediation. Together they dreamt of a brighter future, a future effervescent with possibility. Bam! - Instant $1m IPO.


I never actually found out much about the former owners, I presume they grew up and got regular jobs without ever shipping a single can (bottle?) of carbonated milk.

Still, there was something absurd and hopeful and funny about it, and I really needed a domain name.So I bought it - - A monument to the idiocy of Venture Capitalists, the exuberance of geeky kids and the clusterfuck of stupid that brought us  the $150million IPO. (Mail order pets! What could go wrong?). It summed up everything I liked about the Internet, and it's been the home of my email for almost a decade now.

So that's me and Carbonated Milk. I am carbonated milk and it is me. I hope to own it until the day I die. I hope we'll grow old together, and that my story and CarbonatedMilk's will be intertwined.
But if one fateful day I forget to renew it, I hope the next owner treasures it like I do - Remembers that like an old house it has a history. It's seen love. It's seen loss. It's seen happiness and calamity...
And milk. 
Fucking gallons of it. 
Seriously, what am I ever going to do with all this fizzy fucking milk?

Send suggestions -

1. Like many things of the second dotcom boom, it seemed like a good idea at the time. 
2. I bet Hemingway never had to call 375 Jewish retirees from a strip mall office in the Suburbs, he just got to fight bulls and screw Hadley. So we all have our cross to bear

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