December, 2007 Vol. 7 No. 5
Hi. I am Cyn the new cyberbarf cyberLady. I am new here so I thought it would be a good idea to do a quick tour of this site to bring the readership to up speed on cyberbarf. com. If you are new to this web site, you probably are wondering why it is called cyberbarf. The site was created by a guy called Ski from Chicago. He found that the internet mania of the 1990s was pretty much out of control. This was before the stock bubble burst. He would go to the book stores and find internet magazines thicker than telephone booths but filled with more and more bull patties.
So Ski coined the term cyberbarf to described the unchecked nature of glowing conclusion that the internet was going to change everything. He highlighted part of the webzine's name in green in order to emphasize the puke aspect of early internet magazine coverage. Now Ski was no stranger to publishing commentary on society, politics and culture. Since 1980, he has produced a zine called The Real News, which features his slant on life and editorial cartoons.
His friends had been demanding more Real News editions. So he was pushed toward publishing his zine digitally. So instead of merely porting his printed version into pdf copies on a single web page, Ski habitually went overboard in early 2001 to develop three web sites: skirealnews.com, cyberbarf.com and pindermedia.com.
The Real News site, skirealnews.com, was the digital publishing of his existing zine. Instead of a quarterly written publication, he used daily to weekly updates of editorial cartoons, special pages, and his wire service to give quick commentary or updates. This was blogging before the term was hot zoned in the national press. The pindermedia.com site was to be the catch-all hub, where Real News archives would be housed, plus other interests such as art and animation could be explored at a later time. Apparently, that beast called Work keeps a stranglehold on Ski's free time. He is basically running three web sites in his off-hours.
This web site was intended to be a monthly e-publication. As a veteran of desk top publishing on the fly, Ski believed that a monthly webzine on the internet was something he could handle. The project was a simple premise that he incorporated into the site's banner: examine the net way of life. What does that mean? He would use essays, stories, commentary, opinion and editorial cartoons (that he calls iToons) to observe and dissect the phenomena of the world wide web.
The most popular stories tend to be the ones in which techology turns into a biting misadventure to Ski. This mirrors real life experiences of normal web users.
If you want to check on the progress of the site, there are several archive pages. For past issues, go to the Archive Home page. If you are looking for a specific topic, there is a cyberIndex page listing all the headlines for each issue. And if you are looking for a long review of the Ski's cartoons on the web, technology and society, check out the iToons archive page. There is a lot of material there. Well, what would one expect after more than six years of examining the net way of life!
In all the years of this web page, Ski has not missed his self imposed monthly deadline (plus or minus a day). He strives to get an interesting page uploaded by the first of each month. Some friends have asked him to update the site more often, but in his hermit, grumpy standard reply, would you like to do the updates? I guess no one has taken him up on THAT offer! With all his other sites, there is no need to juggle more websites on a daily basis.
So it appears that cyberbarf.com has matured into a loyal e-zine, with an established readership akin to the literary magazines of earlier days. With the millions of web sites available to surfers, with billions of new pages being created on a regular basis, it is nice to have a loyal readership base. And Ski does appreciate your viewership. So he strives to keep things interesting, with new designs and new features. Some of them have been, honestly, not really firecracker successful. But his last two efforts have caused a pretty good buzz. Honestly, I would not want to run into either one of these guys in a dark alley:
The Rapter Agent, below, and Dr. Philistine, right, are Ski's two new Komix. Rapter Agent is the farce of a growing quasi-professional sport of gaming. Dr. Philistine is a lonely web surfer whose contacts have turned jim into an internet counselor.
Dr. Philistine is popular enough that Ski has created a QuickTime promo video for the comic strip. Check it out and remember to back click your browser to continue with my tour. The promo shows the inner conflict of Phil and his first internet muse/client. Ski uses cartoons as a medium to comment on the good and evil aspects of internet life. If you want to check out the serial nature of each strip, go to the Komix Archive page. And while we are here, I think it would be a good idea to debut Episode 12 of Rapter Agent (for which Ski used the japanese spelling just to be difficult) and Dr. Philistine:
EXAMINE THE NET WAY OF LIFE
Well, that's the end of my tour. I still have to explore this site myself. I'm gonna get me one of those cyberbarf tee shirts. I don't know really what my job will be on this site, but I hope I have another guest appearance real soon. Maybe as a bikini model (wink).
As we continue to click along in cyberspace, finding the good, bad, the ugly, the funny, the stupid, the beautiful, and the head scratching lunacy of the human condition, remember that cyberbarf.com is here for the Ride. That's for viewing. We'll see you next month!
EXAMINE THE NET WAY OF LIFE