DECEMBER 6, 2011 11:35AM

Turn & Face The Strange: Three Years of OS

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     Let's see now. Mickey's big hand is on the 11 and his little hand on the 5, so it must be ... ahhhhh ... three years since I joined Open Salon. More or less. I think it was today, anyway.

     Someone (it's Scarlett Sumac's fault) called me out recently for not writing any more. And someone (it's Scarlett Sumac's fault) suggested it would be interesting to know if I had any OS insights after three years.

     I'm not really qualified to have OS insights, or indeed, to comment on the changes that have taken place here. For such an analysis, you'd need one of the Beta Babies, those who were here before the doors were thrown open to odious parvenus and lowlifes like me. Many of the old originals are gone now -- most of them in disgust, if their flounces were anything to go by. Well, sic transit and all that.

     I do have some thoughts, memories and reflections, though, as well as some answers to questions I've been asked over time.

In The Beginning: My first iteration used the avatar you see at the top. I had no idea what I was getting into, or whether this was even a legitimate website. So I paranoically registered using a free e-mail service address, which, although real, is loaded with misleading information. The avatar is my old denim riding jacket (with Triumph wings on the back), helmet, goggles and half-gloves. The jacket doesn't fit any more -- time must have shrunk it.

Why a Pseudonym: As I mentioned, at first I had no idea whether this was a legitimate site, but since then, I've found that writing under a nom de plume has liberated me from the mental strictures and shackles imposed by my erstwhile career. Without my real name on something, I am free to reinvent my style and choose my subject matter.

Why Boanerges1: That's down to my lifelong admiration of T.E. Lawrence, who called his succession of Brough Superior motorcycles Boanerges. Also, since I'd used it elsewhere on the Internet, it was easy for me to remember. A name originally given to the disciples James and John, Boanerges means Sons of Thunder. Anyone like me who's ever heard -- and loved -- the sound that comes from a thundering, classic Brit twin or single will know how appropriate that name is. The numeral "1" was tacked on because OS wouldn't allow it any other way, for some reason.

The Tiny Perfect Redhead: All you need to know is addressed in what I wrote about our only travelling vacation. "Seeing Red (With Editor's Notes)" was originally a response to the legendary Will Someone Feed the Cat's open call for posts with a colour in the title. I wish Cat was still on here, but the TPR is just a room away in real life. It's been more than 30 years since I got very lucky, and I wouldn't change a minute of it. And, yes, we got married on Armistice Day.

Monte Canfield: My first OS Friend, and the one who persuaded me a couple of weeks later to write something instead of disappearing as I was planning to do. Monte isn't around here any more, and I miss his gentle wit and wisdom. Besides, he's even more of a high-mileage motorcyclist than I am ... and I used to ride a lot back in the day. I wish he'd come back.

My OS Friends: Old habits die hard. You'll always be Friends to me (whatever OS now decrees). Each of you was chosen deliberately because you made me laugh or think, and, in a couple of memorable instances, brought me close to tears. Each of you was asked if you'd mind being on my list; each of you kindly said yes. Some are gone, alas, and I miss every one of those unique voices.  But I thank you all, from Monte to the latest, Frank Michels.

That Damned Cat: He (It?) gets special mention because we're both head-cases and because I pretty much share an enlistment date with his familiar, Tinkerertink69, whose semi-demented, sleep-deprived, psychotic-break overnight ramblings from the IT bowels of a casino made me howl. He is Open Salon's very own BOFH (Bastard Operator From Hell), and he's a one-off. Have a Free Beer, Tink.

OS Dust-ups: I nearly quit again when I got sucked into a dust-up here about six weeks after I joined. Not because I got flamed and was all broken up about it -- I'd been done over by international experts on the now defunct Guardian Universal Talk site, among other places -- but because I'd thought OS was somehow different. In the end, I wrote "On Illegitimate Rodents" about how I'd miss you rat bastards if I left. Since then, I've stayed away from dust-ups ... with one notable exception.

With the Best of Intentions: I've written a fair amount about military history on this blog, particularly the exploits of the Canadian Corps in both world wars. However, I was chagrined -- horrified, even -- to learn that many assumed I was a veteran. I'm not, although I most assuredly wouldn't be ashamed if I was. I never had to make the terrible choice of whether to volunteer or not, and I'm glad for that. I'd have been a terrible soldier.

Good Times: The two most memorable weekends I've had on OS were (1) the vain attempt to rewrite the outcome of the War of 1812 and (2) the Revolt of the Pirate Wimmin. In the former, the so-called "Shock and Thaw" campaign launched against Canada from somewhere in the U.S. Midwest was repulsed by highly irregular combat forces under the command of the Generalissimost; in the latter, the Most High Admiral put her distaff buccaneers firmly in control of the OS feeds and ordered them to run amok, which they did. In both cases, the cannons follied and blundered and the virtual blood ran freely. It was great fun.

Seasons Change: I thought I was done with motorcycles when I sold my last Brit bikes, even taking down the banner the brilliant RicTresa had so thoughtfully produced for me. I was considering an entire name change, since it marked a milestone for me personally, but someone (it's Scarlett Sumac's fault) wondered how anyone would know it was me afterward. So I just modified the persona by adding "Redux".

Boanerges Rides Again: Last August, I couldn't stand it any longer and bought another motorcycle, this time a medium-weight Kawasaki. Surgery on my thumb and wretched weather kept me from piling up a lot of mileage, but, despite the fact it doesn't sound like my old Triumphs (and doesn't leak oil or vibrate like a tuning fork, either), it's been great recovering my semi-dormant riding skills -- and having the wind in my face once more. Oh yes: Ric? The banner is back, and thanks again. 

"A skittish motor-bike with a touch of blood in it
is better than all the riding animals on Earth,
because of its logical extension of our faculties,
and the hint, the provocations, to excess conferred
by its honeyed untiring smoothness... ."

-- T.E. Lawrence, "The Road"

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This was fun. I had noticed that you did not write much but I am not on often either.
i think i am three years here too. great post! thanks for the memories
My own visits to this site are becoming fewer and fewer so I was very excited, this morning, to find this entry from one of my favorite writers. You are a class act, my friend and your absence takes much away from OS.
I have been visiting OS for a couple of years as I enjoy many of the writers here and just started posting this fall. I appreciated the look back! I hadn't realized there had been an issue with pseudonyms...I use one because like you, I feel there is a sort of liberation in being able to just write and let it be about writing. I barely have time to write under one name though, I don't know how anyone supports multiples!!! Anyway, I enjoyed this and I look forward to more!
Congratulations on the 3 year mark...not quite there myself yet. Your recap was done in only a style suitable for you, and it is a Triumph!

Thanks for your friendship, it means the world to me. Say hi to the TPR for me. I'm working on a blog due out 2 weeks from now. Yes, it will be about what you think!!!! Happy Holidays!
So that's where that name comes from. Now if you could just teach us how to pronounce it....
Good to see you again, my friend. My own visits to the site have been few and far between, with posts being even more infrequent. Still, I do like to stop by and one day again I will write something.

You can take the man off the bike, but not the bike out of the man. Glad to read that you're riding again. My best to the Redhead.
Been kickin' arounf here a while me own self. Not always under this name. Was here for the attempted invasion of Canada by ....... was it Nana? I remember that it was the first post I'd ever seen with more than 300 comments on it. General Brady (Toronto) led us Canucks to victory as the last remnants of the yankee militia retreated to Baja after doing a "Viet Nam" style "declaration of victory" coupled with withdrawal.

Caught bits and pieces of Zuma's Pirate wimmin's revolt too. Much fun!

May the road always be open before you and may you never throw a rod........!

I remember Monte. We had our differences when he started preaching, but undoubtedly a good egg.

It's hard to recreate those early times--already--when there was so much excitement about what OS would become. I especially remember Stellaa and the early Cartouche.

Also, there was a marvelous woman novelist who came down with breast cancer. I can't remember her name now, damn it, but god her sentences shone.

I was a beta-baby. What I see now are more readers but fewer participants and an editorial policy I can't make heads or tails out off, but that's not new. I also note more pros are making their way here having figured out twitter is a dead end and you can actually have a conversation here if you so desire. I don't know about all the defections, except that you are almost guaranteed a readership when you decide the grass is greener elsewhere. I'm too lazy to go through all that, not when I have the material I've put down here.

If the site goes down, I think it'd be a loss.

I'm glad you're here. I like your thoughtfulness.
It has been fun, Snark, but I for one wish you'd write more.

Thanks, Snowden, and you're more than welcome.

Torman, you know where you stand in my personal pantheon. I miss the updates from Almosta.

That dustup was memorable, Jersey Girl. And I'll continue to defend the use of alter egos -- for obvious reasons. I also don't know how some people do it.

Right back at you, Buffy. I can still remember when I first discovered your posts on here -- they're that vivid. And I look forward to your next.

Ah, John. Someone else who doesn't write nearly as often as I'd like. It's pronounced boh-uh-nur-jeez. I think.

Smithery! Happy to see you here, and thank you. I hope you do post something soon. I'll pass on your regards.
Yeah, Sky, it was Nana who started it. I think he got bored one Friday night and didn't realise what he was getting himself into. It was indeed Generalissimost Brady who led the counter-attack. I didn't know you'd been around that long. I think Zuma is headed for another revolt.

Thanks, Ben. I don't see many of the originals around here, and I appreciate your thoughts on the early days. What caught my attention with Monte were his motorcycling posts (naturally), some of which made me exhale coffee through my ears. And I agree it would be a sad day if OS shuts its doors.
Congrats my friend. I miss the Cat too! I also wish you would post more and, we are after all, Brothers-in-Red!!
I am not on here much but am so glad you have written again..
The redhead must be proud.. Glad to see you
David Bowie fan?
I'm glad to have met you here on OS as well.
Husband read your bio and declared that could be his bio as well : )
although my 'red' has faded somewhat these days...that comment made my day.
Congrats on your anniversary. As for this -- "his succession of Brough Superior motorcycles Boanerge" -- I knew Lawrence rode, but I confess I've never heard of this breed of bike -- thanks for filling me in.

I also confess, my desire to own a bike again has not subsided, tho my badly damaged left knee continually reminds me of the danger riding a bike in traffic poses -- and that was long before people were talking or -- god forbid -- texting on cell phones, whilst pretending to drive. God help us all -- especially bikers.

By the way, I did take my brother's Heritage Soft-tail out for a spin last summer -- and once again I got that old feeling, that old feeling is still in my heart.
Bo: Sure, blame me. I mean ... all I did was suggest to you post something for a ch-ch-ch-change in repsonse to the "frequency" comment you left on my blog. Now, I'm glad I did because I have direct links to your archives. Even without them I still remember "Christmas in the Darkroom" or "Confessions of a Hard News Junkie" ... " flash wind, flash, wind."

p.s. glad you're back in the saddle (or whatever you call it ...) Cheers.
I don't get back here often anymore, but I still try to poke my head in once and a while. There are voices here that I miss greatly, yours being one of them.

You've given me the gift of your own written words, my friend, which (coupled with your keen observations) taught me much about the art of writing. I hope to always stay in touch with you in one fashion or another.

Thanks for always being a class act, fella. Especially when many of the rest of us couldn't.
Congrats on joining the three-year club. Our meetings seem to include a lot of "Has it really been three years?" comments. It's always nice to see your name pop up.
It's always a delight to see a post from you, my friend. This one was particularly enjoyable - love the trip down memory lane.
What a fun retrospective. You hit home on a few major OS cultural icons, including that psychotic and sleep deprived cat!
Thanks, ScanMan: Yes, we are Brothers in Red. They're special, no?

Hi Linda, wish you were still around here.

JT, I hadn't realised you're another redhead. Your husband's a lucky man, as are all those smart enough to love Titian tresses. Not a true Bowie fan, but I really liked that song back in the day.

It never goes away, Tom. The sale of my kick-start Triumph was down to a remarkably stupid incident more than 30 years ago that left me with a dodgy right hip. I thought I was done with bikes for good because I so loved the breed I couldn't see riding anything else. After all, they were born in the British Midlands, same as the TPR. "The Road" is a great piece of writing featuring a crazy cross-country race with a Bristol biplane, which Lawrence and Boanerges won.

Yeah, it's your fault, SS. But thanks for remembering Last Call and Confessions. Look out, you rock 'n' rollers.... I'm glad you're on OS. And "back in the saddle" is the right term.

Bill, yours is one of the voices I miss on here. I don't get to Fictionique as often as I should, and so lose out on your fine prose, poetry and photography. And do keep in touch, 'K? Anytime.

Yeah, Stim, I actually have to think about how long it's been. I told someone once I joined in 2009, and then had to correct myself. Embarrassing. Is the Three Year Club like the Mile High Club?
You are good people LeBoanerges1
LOTS OF FREE BEER!!!! Ah, my friend, been a ride, hasn't it? Three years and lots of fun!! Theres been some rough spots, but those were fun too!!!

I always dropped the 'ges1' and have called you boaner, cause, well, it sounds like boner and I've always wanted a boner for a friend, so.....what?

~leaves a case of beer and wanders off into the thorn bushes, hitting rate with his tail~
Unbreakable, what a trip it's been all right -- long and strange, but worth it for the friends I've met along the way.

Yeah, Zuma, the Damn Cat is indeed an icon. Not to mention ... well, not to mention the Admiral. And the Wimmin.

Thanks, Trig, old son (even though I know you aided and abetted Nana in the dastardly invasion plot).
Tink, you're one of the reasons I come back here time and time again, despite my better judgement. Ever since I first saw the particular brand of crazy that was emanating from the depths of the Indiana night, I've been hooked. Yeah, there've been some rough spots along the way, but who else would put up with us? Thanks for the beer -- and for the forwards from your online lovers. And you can call me anything you like.
Has it really been that long? I guess it has, and my own three year anniversary was just a few weeks ago; time flies when you're having fun! However long it's been, your presence in this zoo has been much appreciated. Like you, I miss the Generalissimo and lots of other folk that are gone, but without her around Shock and Thaw V.2.0 may have a fighting chance. I'll check with the Most High Admiral to see if a renewed offensive seems advisable...
Congratulations on three years Boanerges.

Hmmm ... a Kawasaki.
Boanerges, not sure when we met here, but it was early on, ( here a bit over two years) we talked of redheads and moons, wind in our hair and pirates. Whatever or whenever, glad to count you here. And thank you so very much for all the support you give me on the poetry, I always appreciate seeing you there.
Yes, the Three Year Club is exactly like the Mile High Club. Except for the sex. But we do more drinking. Because of the lack of sex.
Yup. What Stim & Rita wrote ...
rita s. bumps with lame farmers.
She smell like sea salt and beer.

I'm shy. I smell sandy grit.
I need a blue tuxedo jacket.
Nehru jackets look stylish.
We ought' to have OS party.
We can rub olive oil on nose.
We can wiggle toes and blog.
goofy. I almost did not blog.
I came to see the beach temp.
Hot, sweltering, lay in sand,
and look for CA Lune-Coins.
We can hush-ups a`heehaw.
T.E. Lawrence's book ...
Thomas Hardy's book ...
Far From Maddening Crowd.
Hey, Nana, I'm so glad you're still around when so many good 'uns have left. JK was sort of our Gen. Brock, and I don't know how well we'd do with out her leadership abilities. I've asked her to come out of retirement, and I hope she will.

Thanks, Larry. Yep, it's a Kwacker -- first one I've ever owned. I like it a lot.

Rita, I remember the exchanges. And I wouldn't have said what I did if I didn't believe it. I'm not noted for being nice for the sake of being nice.

Stim, that explains a lot. Just don't tell the Damn Cat, or he'll drink all the Free Beer.

Art, I don't believe I've ever had a comment/poem from you before, so thank you. Hardy and Lawrence were friends. In fact, if I recall rightly, Hardy was one of the first to read the original version of Seven Pillars of Wisdom.
Wow, 3 Blogging Years on OS? That's like 20 Regular Years!

Congrats ... and now I know what your moniker stands for.
Since you mentioned my name more that **once**, I get to comment twice. Besides I can think now that I'm home. Okay, I'm glad you stuck it out. I like to think of you and TPR (lucky "feels like the first time" folk according to recent comment on RS's blog)... keeping watch over the Banana belt down there in the deep south by my favourite lake ... even though last time I was in Pelee the ladybugs were thick as [biblical] locusts and bit me on the ass every chance they got. You been a good friend, here and elsewhere. Looking forward to more frequent posts ... ;)
A lot of wisdom in just three years. Does that mean our OS ages are accelerated or concentrated? I vote for the later! Either way, I'm glad you're still around.
I've cleaned my blog a bit, but the first post I have there in 2009 you commented on a poem for my mom.
It may have been my first post but surely one of the first. Thanks again!
Happy aniversary! May the wind be at your back and the mosquitoes off your teeth on that endless highway. R
Bo, I'm six months or so behind you, so I missed the earliest rout of the KC insurgents by the pirate wimmin and the record-setting comment string on Janie's blog. But I do recall your sterling presence on later ships flying the jolly roger and your many, many sterling posts on this old Open ship. I'd miss you like crazy if you left, so don't even think about it. Happy anni, friend. This place needs more people like you.
Nice summing up Boanerges. Happy third.
VA, thank you. It doesn't feel like 20 years -- or three years, come to that.

Scarlett, that's your favourite lake in the photo (but you knew that). The ladybugs are bad, but the mozzies are worse. I won't mention the biting black flies whenever the wind is on-shore. And you've been more than kind to me, here and elsewhere.

Don't know, BV. Sometimes I feel like I haven't learned a damned thing. And "concentrated" it is.

Rita, if that's the case, then I'm even more pleased for having recognised quality that early in your OS "career". Poetry was something I really studied hard, back in the Stone Ages. I could never do it, any more than I could write fiction, but I've always appreciated the good stuff. That would be you.

Thanks for that thought, Trudge. The mosquitoes don't bother me, but the june bug that whanged me in the helmet just above my goggles at about 80 mph years ago certainly did. Well, it got my attention, anyway.
FF, my "sterling presence" in the pirate revolt was largely about swabbing decks and cleaning bilges, which was OK, I guess. I know when I'm outgunned (and outclassed). As for the "invasion" ... HA! JK did 'em in. I'd miss you awfully if you left here.

Thank you too, Abrawang.
Well, a few days late to wish ya a happy three years dear friend..but at least ya know I read this piece....
Hi there, Mish. It's so good to see you, and I'm really pleased you took the time to drop by. Thank you.
Congrats on your tri-blogoversary, BR. I enjoyed the recap, and some of your memories are mine, as well. My duo is coming up in less than a month.
Happy Third Year Anniversary. You are one of the reasons I enjoy OS.
To another great one, Cheers!

Thanks, Matt. I was hoping there'd be a certain ... ahhhhh ... resonance. Hope you post on your anniversary as well.

Fusun, that's very kind of you to say. Glad you're back and looking forward to your next.
enjoyed this! good to hear from you
Thanks, KK. I'm very glad you are still here to read it. Now ... when are you going to post something?
Sorry I missed this a week ago. As is said, it explains a lot. We've all yearned to feel the wind in our hair, haven't we? I'm what I guess you'd call and ex-mini-biker. A long time ago I inherited a Honda 90 Trail Bike from a French teacher who was going through a divorce and didn't know that the carburetor had a filter on it. (But, that's another story.) For two summer I commuted to campus on one tank of gas, and then in August it was time to load it on the back of the VW microbus and head for the U. P. in pursuit of native brookies. Tearing toward the Brule through the woods was where those 9 ccs showed their true worth.

But, enough about me; your summary and my vicarious introduction to others I've seen on these pages was as entertaining as it was insightful. KIU.
Thanks for stopping by, John. My first "mount" was a very lightweight Suzuki I could pretty much ride anywhere, so I know what you mean. And economical on gas hardly begins....
Boanerges: Congrats on the anniversary! Your posts maybe few and far between but they are usually worth the wait. So glad to have "met" you on OS, we photographers need to stick together. Now as John B said, if only I knew how to pronounce your name. :)
Thanks for dropping by, 'Bug, and for saying that. And why haven't YOU posted anything for awhile? (It's pronounced boh-uh-nur-jeez, or so I've been informed.)
I just kind of wandered away, myself and one time I did come by your blog and found the banner gone, (and was bummed a bit, but you know.. nothing lasts forever.) I drop in every once in awhile to read posts from the old crowd but rarely post anything although I am due for a, "one year update," kind of post just to let the folks that aren't on Face Book know I am still alive and kicking. I really enjoyed making your banner.. it was a hard one along with Monte's. A real challenge because the banner size space is so darn small. Come over to FB and I'll make you a new one to fit the new you. The banner space is nice and large.