Regular readers of Blue Ridge Muse or Capitol Hill Blue know I was an early user and content provider for the World Wide Web/Internet.
I spent Monday evenings with a web-oriented group that used to gather at a restaurant on Wilson Blvd. in Arlington VA. Others included Steve Case, founder of America OnLine.
We all had grand plans. Some, like Steve, achieved their dreams.
I could write and design websites but did so more for fun than profit. I started Capitol Hill Blue as an web-based political newsletter on Oct. 1, 1994 and it remains as the oldest continuously published political news site on the World Wide Web.
In May of 1996, I covered a tragic road accident involving a dangerous driver who lost his license but continued to drive. On May 7, 1996, I started a new website called DC Darkside to explore the darker side of life in the nation’s capital.
The darkness extends beyond the corruption and lies of our government and political leaders. It seeps into many other parts of life.
Darkside became a favorite for readers not only in Washington but elsewhere in the early days of the World Wide Web. Internet magazines published positive reviews. So did The Washington Post.
Darkside never carried advertising and I ignored people who said it should make it commercial. I stopped writing articles for it after we left the Washington area after 23 years and moved to our current home in Floyd County.
However, the site still has readers and I have also received information from DC residents with material that could make new articles for Darkside so I’m researching one case that could make a new story and Darkside will be reborn.
It will remain a personal project, not a commercial one. In some ways, Darkside was a blog before that craze began on the Internet. I used Microsoft’s web publisher (FrontPage) to create and support the site and it no longer works with current web technology and I had to move the data on old-fashioned html pages to an SQL database and WordPress.
Some of the articles were missing but the Wayback Machine had the old pages intact so I could copy the text over to the new system. I’m still working to restore the photos, illustrations and other art but the articles are in pace and intact.
The readership and responses from 1996 until 2004 brought surprises. When I wrote about a high school teacher in suburban Washington because a film student produces a short video that included four-second clip of a female student applying makeup while wearing a bra, I later heard from one of his students who worked at Virginia Tech.
The teacher removed the clip from the student’s video but the school system fired him anyway, even though students rallied to his support, and he went into a deep depression that ended in suicide — another dark side of life in DC.
I reread the articles while working to restore the site. It brought back many memories and convinced me to write for Darkside again.
It you want an understanding of the dark side of life in the nation’s capital, one that exists beyond the darkness of government and politics, please give some of them a read and let me know your thoughts.
Unlike the old days when comments were not part of the articles, readers can post their reactions with the articles. Past comments appear on the Feedback page. An index of articles appears in the Graveyard.
Be warned. The content is rough and so is the language in some quotes.