Horrid, isn't it? Way out, man.
I was the first and for a while the only one of the Russian Usenet community to get on the WWW. Hence there was no reason to make a Russian- or Usenet-related page, though I had archives in abundance. The situation quickly changed; the change was prompted by Igor Chudov, who created SCS White Pages (scs stands for soc.culture.soviet). These pages have not changed much from the time of their origin, though of course the there are new links for folks who got homepages. Chudov requested the picture, and a couple of words which tell most about oneself. I spent a couple of hours creating the picture which is seen on the left; it was made from some bitmap files which I created in 1993 for the Orc Wars period which I wrote for Xconq game (Xconq is a really advanced version of the strategy conquest classic Empire, written under GPL, which works with X as well as on most other platforms; great for hacking). A miniature version of this picture became the logo of these pages, though the huge one never saw the light untill now.
After the Chudov's pioneer work, a lot of people on scs became aware of the WWW and I decided to build a page of the funniest bits from my SCS archives. This work took most of the February 1995. Several months later, L. Delicyn worked the same routine automatically by running the mailbox-to-WWW program on his archives. He called the resulting page Delicynzine, and tried to get some advertisement bucks from the proceeds, to no avail. I am fairly proud that none of my (or my wife's) writing graces the pages of Delicynzine. Delicyn also tries to claim the credit for the first archive of scs writing on WWW, which is plain stupid -- but hey, stupidity is his business.
The Usenet Archives page emerged at the end of the February, and took its current form at March 3, when Bill Palmer posted his unforgettable verse. Of the three currently present pages (poetry, politics and crankery, only the poems archive was present. For a couple of months, I rested on the laurels, and in the June I performed an abortive attempt to create the politics archive of soc.culture.soviet. Abortive because I never had enough enthusiasm or energy to finish this page; it stays here, looks pretty, and has links to a couple of archive files, but most of my archives I have not added.
The cranks page is the latest addition to my scs archives (November 1995). Its appearance was caused by the endless flamewars on soc.culture.soviet, when the losing side was constantly complaining to the bosses of the winners of the debate, and infecting the rest of the Usenet with the same type crap. This page prompted my downfall, vis a vis Usenet writing: the weirdo gang (lead by Dmitry Vulis) decided to spam a certain professor of my department with megabytes of my old articles, and in addition made him a ton of telephone calls and wrote several anonymous death threats. The first half of this experience is chronicled in this letter, which I send to people in attempt to explain why I decided to pull myself from the Usenet. Much regrettably, it turned out, because the rival gang of equally no-good-shits (lead by Peter Vorobieff, a Vulis' twin) made a semi-successful motion to censor the whole Russian-related discussion, instead of splitting it reasonably into several thematic boards. I argued against it, but without publicity, it turned to nothing.
Aboout April or May 1995, I put to WWW the book of Sasha Shen Programming: Theorems and Problems, distributed under GPL. Shen was around at the moment, and he need the files for something (I think he was going to print them), and I decided to copy the book to my homepage. The book became quite popular since then. For the record, Shen was responsible for the advanced math study in my class of 57th school; among other beneficiaries, were Yulya Fridman, Pasha Ivanov and Misha Entov (I list and only those present on WWW).
About the same time as I made the crankery page (end of 1995), I decided to gather together the nice non-Russian texts from the Usenet and otherwise which (for variety of reasons) I kept around my site. The result became the Well of Beauty page. In a sense, the whole page is built by adding things to the Recipe for Success text, which I received from Throbbing Gristle mailing list.
The lossage of my Usenet output resulted in increase of attention paid to WWW. In February of 1996, Yulya typed several poems of hers and mine, and I created the page Love, Lithium and the Loot of Lima for our writing. The title refers to a novel written by a schosophrenic, which is quoted in part in Adam Parfrey's ``Apocalypse Culture''. The picture of old lady (symbolising futility of existence, or whatever) was found in some export-bride-from-Russia WWW marriage ad, and transformed using xv. I used a monochrome monitor, and still think it looks better in grayscale.
I needed a separate picture for Yulya's page, so I used xfig (which is beyond crude) to create the picture now found on Real Art of 1000 Monkeys page. When I obtained access to a scanner, this picture was removed for good (replaced by a nice photo), but its fragment still looms faintly, in a way of Yulya's logo. In February of 1996, I put on WWW another work of Yulya -- her translation of Alexandre Grothendieck. About this time, I perforce switched from Mosaic to Netscape, which I learned to hate with passion.
The middle of March 1996 was the moment when I suddenly obtained an access to a scanner. The scanner sucked, but I was able to scan some photos, subsequently processed with xv. I am mighty proud of my work on my own picture, on the title page -- it's linked to the original photo, so you may compare which one is better. I also scanned a couple of my artworks, but, comparing with what I have now, the scans were awful. For an illustration, s ee the bottom two pictures at my Pictures which suck page.
We left States in March 26, 1996, but during the March I have made two more pages. The Russian Poetry page was created primarily as a vehicle for the works of our friends Katya Kapovich and Philip Nikolaev, professional writers living in Boston. Here is also an interview with Timur Kibirov, taken by Philip and Katya, and some other related bits, plus links to Russian professional poetry elsewhere.
During the March of 1996, my music archives took the 3-part form they have now. My hotlist was annotated and made public earlier, some time around Spring of 1995; during the Fall of 1995, I archived the Russian articles about extreme music. In March of 1996, I made public some of my archives of old Usenet postings. Deja News archives articles posted after mid-1995, but the earlier stuff is still scarce.
Misha Verbitsky Apr 11 1997