14 April 2017

Archival footage: old signature file

I dredged up one of my old signature files from the 1990s recently, while searching through archived alt.mountain-bike Usenet threads. Always liked this one, felt it was worth preservation:

Looking around this old online group, I was fascinated to find Mike Vandeman still posting daily vitriol to the forum about the dangers and destructiveness of mountain biking. After all these years, alt.mountain-bike looks to have become his solitary domain, a forgotten corner of the Internet that he's somehow become entrapped within, like the Phantom Zone, a bleak repository of hate going on for page after page, amounting to literally hundreds of posts bearing his now-infamous name and a simple note: 0 views.

A denizen of Usenet forums as I was back in the day, Vandeman was an aggressive and combative hater of all things mountain-bike from the very beginning of our sport. And, once he found the Internet, he let his disgust be known, often in terribly pugnacious ways, all over mountain bike-related Usenet groups. Vandeman engaged vociferously and condescendingly with anyone who tried to debate him and commonly wrote long, contentious, purportedly factual posts about how much of an assault mountain bikers were on the environment and on the experience of other trail users, too. He prided himself on knowing far more about these issues than anyone else and commonly touted his Ph.D as evidence of his elevated intellect. To my knowledge, over the course of many, many years standing in opposition to mountain bikers, Vandeman never admitted defeat, never stood down, never failed to submit yet another long, curmudgeonly reply to a given argument. There was no winning in a debate against Mike Vandeman's bloviations. He never conceded, never relented, until his victims wandered away, exhausted and befuddled.

IRL, otoh, Vandeman was put on trial in 2011 for six counts of assault and battery against a group of mountain bikers who he encountered using restricted trails near his home in northern California. According to one website, "On 11 April [2011] in Oakland in California he was sentenced to thirty days on a Sheriff’s Work Party... Since he [had] already spent eight days in a cell on remand, he [served] 22 days."

I don't miss Mike Vandeman. But I do kinda miss Usenet, even though it's not a place I've visited in forever. I spent a lot of time there when I first got goin' on the info-superhighway, back in the '90s. These days, my compulsion to foist my opinion/opposition/advice onto the mostly nameless-and-faceless, is generally satisfied by my occasional participation in various forums at mtbr.com.

My sig-file there is a lot simpler and accompanied by a classy avatar:

Slower than you

"May your trails be winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view." - Ed Abbey
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. -- Ed Abbey