Goodbye Sopranos

“What the *bleep*?” was heard across the country as the final episode of the Sopranos ended. I know I yelled it, I know you did, and as I read on forums online, and heard on the radio and in podcasts, so did everyone else. I knew an unconventional ending was coming, but the last thing I expected was an ending that would make me check if the recording had been screwed up. They might as well have put “To be continued…” on the bottom of that black screen.

If David Chase wanted to show the audience that life goes on, he didn’t need to resort to a gimmick. There were plenty of loose ends and possible demises for Tony. Even with Phil dead, there was no guarantee his second-in-command would back off forever and if Tony didn’t get whacked, the Feds were coming after him with another case. The show could have faded to black with the Sopranos happily enjoying their corrupt, hypocritical, fake, ridiculous family dinner and I would have been happy. But instead Chase basically ended his story in the middle of a sentence by building up all the tension and then abruptly cutting to black. What a cowardly way to end such a fantastic show. I think I understand what he was trying to do, but I still hate it. There are other, better ways to leave an ending ambiguous and up for interpretation besides just crudely cutting it out.

I liked the episode, at least everything up to the final 10 seconds. I just wish that was executed differently.

A Look Back at PAC

A week from today it will have been a year since pacult.com closed shop. Can time really have flown by that fast? Well, I’ll skip the cliché’s because obviously, it has. When we (Kristin, Bill and I) made the decision to close the forum and by extension the entire site, we talked of recreating it from the ground up. That, also obviously, has not happened. In fact other than a few times shortly after the closing we haven’t talked about the website at all. Everyone pretty much moved on. I was so shocked, annoyed, frustrated, and hurt by the reaction from the community that I distanced myself from it for almost a year now. I think we’ve both been better off for it. But am I still the people’s enemy? I wonder, but not enough to ask them. I also wouldn’t want to open any old wounds.

However I did make a visit to their site today, just to see how things are going. Thanks to the community and to Skorpion and Paladin specifically it seems, the forum appears to be humming along quite nicely. I’m glad to see that; I really am! Because I’m human, I couldn’t help but search for my own name. Nothing has been spoken of me since November as far as I can tell, which is fine. The last post was made by Paladin and it reads like so:

“Did you know that Sim has all the stuff he did for PAC on his resume? Not sure I’d think that was very impressive as an employer. Maybe the kind of work he does it makes sense to put it on there but it seems a little cheesy to me. I think he is going through a rough patch right now.”

That made me laugh at first but it also really bothered me. Why should it? It’s just some stupid comment that he probably doesn’t remember typing, but for some reason it gave me this terrible feeling in my stomach like I’d just been kicked in the balls by a small child. I think it bothers me so because it seems to reflect the attitude that a lot of people had about the Cult. They didn’t respect the work that we (again, mostly Kristin, Bill and I) did for it. Because they spent a couple hours a day chatting with their friends, a lot of people felt they had more ownership over the site than we did. While I agree that they were and still are the community and that the site would have been dead years ago without them, I still don’t see how that entitles them to ownership of the site that Tycho paid for, that Bill’s dad hosted, that Bill built from the ground up, that I invented, and that Kristin dedicated her time to running.

I understand that it was a low blow out of nowhere to shut down their favorite forum with little notice and I wish I hadn’t done that. If I could go back in time I would definitely change the way it was handled. But to this day I cannot understand how certain people can say that we “took” something from them by closing our website. We closed down a phpbb forum. It only took a couple days for Skorpion to put up a new one (on his own dime I assume). The community popped right back up! It was impossible for us to destroy the community because it was and still is an entity far out of our control. The only thing we “took” was an address. I can’t believe that would incite such venom.

After reflecting on all this for the first time in months, I came to a realization as to why it all bothers me so much. I believe that most of the forum members used to respect me. I think I earned it by the amount of free time that I put into the website from its creation to closure. Well I lost all of the respect I had built over those six years in one fell swoop. And it hurts to see people that I respected turn around and disrespect me. I can only hope that by being forced to run the community themselves, they have gained a little bit of respect back for the work we did.

Oh and to address Paladin’s post (unfortunately seven months late), yes, putting all the stuff I did for PAC on my resume did help me land the job I’ve been at for the past two years. Since I only had one real previous job working as housekeeping for a hotel, I needed something more pertinent on there. I figured it would relate since I was applying for web design work and as it turns out, I talked about it for half the interview and I’m pretty sure it helped get me hired. So no, I’m not going through a rough patch right now.

For anyone from the old forums who actually reads this: I’m glad the community is still alive, I thank you for the years of entertainment you provided, and I wish you all the best of luck.