R.I.P. Rockstar – Eulogy

R.I.P. Eric Brooks...Rockstar

Practicing air guitar riffs in the late 60'sI always wanted to write my own eulogy. Who better to sum up a life than the person who lived it. All the secrets, the joys, the sorrows, the triumphs…and finally the fall…

Perhaps a lesson is to be learned. Either some things weren’t meant to be or things WONT be if you don’t want it to be. Truth is, for as long as I can remember; I saw my name in lights, my picture on magazine covers, I saw myself in the Rock-n-Roll hall of fame.

I saw the future…and it scared the living hell out of me.

20 Years later...ready and rarin' to go in the 80'sIt’s time I shared with you all the story of Eric Brooks, rock star. And bring closure to a chapter of my life that I have struggled with all of these years. The headstone above isn’t mine, but for a dream that died a painful death….

 

 

Eric Brooks - If I DareR.I.P. Rockstar Soundtrack – Various recordings I’ve done over the years. Most of them either rough mixes in studios or done at home with MIDI and my Tascam Multitrack.
All songs Copyright ©1986,1989,1990,2002,2006 Eric Brooks.

Eric Brooks

Musician, Programmer, Graphic Designer, Evil Clown - A thorn in the Internet's side since 1997 with no intention of stopping any time soon.

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The JSN Award (A/K/A Award pages suck!)

A must in all fine websites is the adornment of awards.

For what is the measure of a website if not for the acknowledgement of your peers, and the accolades of your contemporaries? By receiving an award, you proudly show your superior HTML prowess, your mastery of Javascript/CSS/Shockwave/DHTML, and prove your worth as a web designer.

The more awards on your website, the better your website is. The better your website, the higher form of human being you become…..

Yeah right. If I read that crap long enough…maybe I’ll start to believe it!

Once upon a time, I would have loved an award for all my hard work on this and many other websites, and homepages I created…then I grew up and realized that many of these so-called awards were merely links to someone else’s site. Usually, that’s their only means to drive traffic there.

While reading source codes on any given awards page, you also realize that many homepages and websites shamelessly “right click” an award off someone elses site and put the GIF right into their server. Some poor souls longing for recognition even make their own awards.

If you keep your website in one place long enough, some loon will offer you their award. Ironically, my offers came right after I decided I didn’t want them. So before you offer me the source code to your 7KB GIF eyesore…just know that I will not accept them. Unless your “award” comes with a cash prize, a trip, or something of value, then you’re pushing a link as far as I’m concerned. You can submit your link here.

Good, quality work comes with its own awards built-in. The check from a business when you build their site; the excitement on my daughter’s faces when they go to their site and see their guestbook entries, and the counter stats; a kid coming to me for advice about his homepage, and taking the time out to write a thank you note. (One even sends me cool fonts that he comes across while surfing the web from time to time.) And most important of all…referrals of new clients from previous clients.

These are things my peers and contemporaries can never give me.

Do you really deserve an award for your website???

GET SHOCKWAVE!!!!
JSN Winner
Your Site

Of course you do! A lot of hard work went into your website. Constant updating, formatting, something-always-going-wrong/not-showing up. Hey man, I’ve been there.

Now your old cyberfriend is asking you to step up to the plate, and join the new generation of the Web-Elite and “just say no” to those silly awards….

Still debating, huh? Well let’s weigh the pros and cons, shall we?

An Awards page on my site…
Pros Cons

-Ability to find those obscure "members.aol.com" webpages that you wouldn’t ordinarily find.

-You spare people’s feelings as they treat their award like it’s a tremendous honor.

-You save yourself 10 minutes of getting RSACi approval because some housewife in Dubuque, Iowa declared your site to be "safe surfing for children".
(Goes over real well with your browser’s security settings.

-Your website is better than mine because you have awards and I don’t.

-Your site becomes better than Microsoft, Lycos, Netscape and many corporate websites combined… because they don’t have awards pages either.

-Your viewers wind up somewhere in Geocities, where they are spammed to death by their corporate sponsors…
THEY
WILL BLAME YOU FOR THIS!!!!

-You actually care what people think.

-The cretin that gave you this award was also its first-ever recipient.

-Dangerous levels of testosterone abound as next you compete with other websites and make your viewers vote for your site.

-Awards and popularity quickly replace speed, quality & content.

Real awards come with prizes.

-You know you’re good! You need that award/link like you need another Chia Pet for Christmas…

Ready to “Just Say NO”, yet?

Well, congratulations kid! You are the proud recipient of the 1999 JSN Award. I knew you had it in ya!

Press “Download now”. I also enclosed a little trick that prevents those envious little web pirates from taking your award.

Remember to change the words in blue (in “Read Me.doc”) to the page where you want the award to link to and the name of your site.

Download Now

Alright…maybe
I accepted a few awards…..

 These are nice
awards, by some cool people:

 * Award of ExcellenceBy Home & Hearth
 * Design Excellence Award – By The Family Corner
…..But no more, OK?

Eric Brooks

Musician, Programmer, Graphic Designer, Evil Clown - A thorn in the Internet's side since 1997 with no intention of stopping any time soon.

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Just another failed 70’s child tv star

I was a child star of the 70's

Definitely NOT something I want to admit, but yes it’s true…I’m flooded with e-mails all the time from people that say “where do I know you from??? You look familiar…”.

Well for reasons that completely elude me to this day, I remember when my mom took me to see “The Champ”, back in the early 70’s. All because that kid made everyone cry with “Champ, wake up…” (Why the hell didn’t he call him “Dad”, anyway???!!??) my mother broke down and confessed to me that I could have been the next Ricky Schroder…(?). Well it turned out that I was a child star during the seventies, and was too young to remember…

Here are some clips of shows I appeared in….

Yep, that’s your old CyberPal doing his first gig…the pilot for "The Brady Bunch". I was the original Bobby, until Sherwood Schwartz decided that all the boys should be the same age as the corresponding sisters…

Out went Eric Brooks and in went Mike Lookinland…

Oh well, I ended up having hair of gold…like my step-mother a year later…


In a guest appearance on "Sanford & Son" an ex-girlfriend of Lamont’s pops in and suprises Fred with the news that he has a white grandchild…

NBC never aired this episode. They felt that TV wasn’t ready for this subject yet…

More pics coming soon….

*All Photos courtesy of Bob Turner’s book: "Losers And Has-Beens Of Yesteryear: WHO CARES what they’re doing now!"

Eric Brooks

Musician, Programmer, Graphic Designer, Evil Clown - A thorn in the Internet's side since 1997 with no intention of stopping any time soon.

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A Tribute to Cartoon Redheads

Hey, what can I say…unless someone out there has the guts to admit the same problem…I must have been the most perverted kid out there. I don’t know if it can be attributed to being a sheltered, only-child, and not having the normal relationships with my peers, but yes…I was crazy about cartoon redheads as a kid…

Ok…. I still do.

They say you never forget your first love…mine was Daphne Blake from Scooby Doo. Come on look at her!!! Always wearing miniskirts, more money than God, and always being tied up by the bad guy…(I’ll refrain from telling you what that did for me…).

Then there’s Ariel…another toon babe!
Sure she’s only 16…
but then again Hans Christian Andersen made her that age, what, a couple of hundred years ago…?

So does that make me some kind of pedophile? I think not.

The way I see it…she’s always going to have that hourglass figure, and barely covering herself with those purple seashells long after my ungrateful kids ship me off to a nursing home…..

Besides she has a thing for guys named Eric…..

Just think about how fast George would
have made vice president if he had
offered
this to Mr. Spacely…
Exceptions to the rule:
  • Betty Rubble did it more for me than Wilma.
  • Melody was my favorite Pussycat over Josie.

Jessica Rabbit…the ultimate celluloid dreamgirl!

I searched all over the web for Jessica Rabbit clip art for this story…both of the pictures used were from porno sites…

In fact, with the four search engines I used, only two sites found weren’t pornographic….so maybe my weakness is a little more common than I thought…

In conclusion: I just have to share with you, my people… (who seem to love and care for me…no matter how bizarre I get!)…
We rented Scooby Doo on Zombie Island this week.

It was great to see Daphne again. After twenty-some-odd years she still looks great!

My wife (a Strawberry Blonde…coincidence?) elbows me to bring to my attention my 18-month old son.

Bottle in one hand…the other hand down his diaper….

– That’s my boy –

Eric Brooks

Musician, Programmer, Graphic Designer, Evil Clown - A thorn in the Internet's side since 1997 with no intention of stopping any time soon.

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Got Bored…E-mailed the President.

Thank God. They finally left…..

I made a mention in my September 28th entry to WHUZZUP that I got bored and e-mailed the President of the United States.

Since then, a black 4×4 with two guys in it have been camped in front of my house…

Can’t mistake ’em…well dressed, mirrored sunglasses, earpieces, and constantly talking into their right sleeve…guess who? The Secret Service.

They just took off. I guess after two months of not receiving Communist Newspapers or sporting an AK-47, they finally realized I’m just a well meaning American showing his leader some support through a rough time in his career…

Monica now.

 

Previous Job.

Personally, I don’t think I wrote anything that would warrant such scrutiny…I guess it’s just their job. I always heard stories about how they open files on people that call the White House or write to the President…. Or maybe it’s because I’m Republican….Anyway, here is what I wrote…..

To: president@whitehouse.gov
From:
moi@ericbrooks.com <Eric Brooks>
Subject: Hang In There!

Dear Mr. President:

Just wanted to tell you that you're doing a great job. And coming from a lifelong Republican that voted for your re-election in '96 that should tell you something!

Keep up the good work and hang in there!

Sincerely,
Eric Brooks
moi@ericbrooks.com


www.ericbrooks.com - Biz
www.ericbrooks.com/fonts -Fonts

www.ericbrooks.com/personal -Private...keep out!
www.ericbrooks.com/free -Free Stuff!

http://vault.to/whuzzup -The Newsletter Archive
www.ericbrooks.com/8ball/ -Need advice?

                     Consult the  Magic 8-ball!


You’ll note my standard email headers on the bottom…that plays an important part in the story later…I immediately receive the following from the White House:

To:
moi@ericbrooks.com <Eric Brooks>
From:
autoresponder@whitehouse.gov

Subject: Re: Hang In There!

     Thank you for writing to President Clinton via electronic mail. 
Since June 1993, the President has received over 2.8 million messages from people across the country and around the world.  Online communication has become a tool to bring government and the people closer together.
     Because so many of you write, the President cannot personally review each message, though he does receive samples of his incoming correspondence.  The White House Correspondence staff helps him read and respond to the mail.  All responses are mailed via the U.S. Postal Service. This is the only electronic message you will receive from whitehouse.gov.  No other message purporting to be from the President or his staff with an address at whitehouse.gov is authentic.
If you have received such a message, you have received a "spoof."

     We appreciate your interest in the work of the Administration.

          Sincerely,
          Stephen K. Horn

          Director, Presidential E-mail
          The Office of Correspondence

Jeez, what a gyp! I wrote to The President, not to this guy! I bet he’ll never know I wrote to him…


Or so I thought……

I recently received an entry to the Guestbook from Heaven from a “Bill C” who received peace of mind through the amazing accuracy of The Magic 8-Ball. Yes, I admit I altered the e-mail address to the guestbook entry to read the generic Presidential E-mail addy, but according to my logs, the person who signed my guestbook has the same IP address as www.whitehouse.gov , and I felt it was best to protect their privacy.
Guess who?

Unless a White House Staffer or Secret Service agent had their sense of humor surgically reattached, this site was surfed by The President himself!

One hell of a cool President! The last time I had a moment this great was 13 years ago, when I saluted Reagan in a passing motorcade in downtown Manhattan, and he saluted me right back….!

Say or believe what you want about Clinton…
All I know is we’re in a state of prosperity now and as far as the whole Monica Lewinsky/Impeachment fiasco…I believe that… Aw Crap! The Secret Service is back in front of my house!!

They apparently stepped out for Philly Cheesesteaks at the deli down the road….

*groan*
I’ll never write again… I swear.

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Eric Brooks

Musician, Programmer, Graphic Designer, Evil Clown - A thorn in the Internet's side since 1997 with no intention of stopping any time soon.

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Schizophenic Websites

I just don’t get it….
I just finished another nightly surf through the web and stumbled across a few web designer’s sites.

………and they all refer to themselves in third person plural….

Yeah I admit it. I was guilty of that once. Don’t let your client know you’re the only guy in the office. Doesn’t look professional, right?

Wrong.

Technically, that’s the first lie to your client, I figure. There’s a little piece of trust lost right from the get go.

I’m shooting for honesty here. Technically, Erox Graphix can be referred to as “we” or “us”, because my wife Carole does handle the finances, gets me a lot of business through word of mouth, and keeps buying me those wee little vivarin pills that keep me going all night long working on websites. I also pull in a lot of freelancers to help me when I’m swamped. But still, you’re primarily dealing with sweet lil’ ol’ me for the majority of it.

  • Anyone out there have a problem with just one guy taking total care of your project?
  • Making sure it’s done fast and done right?
  • Working his butt off to make sure you have the best quality & service in Cybertown?
  • Well, with the exception of one smart alec way in the back (probably competition), I think we are all ok about it….

Anyway back to this guy’s site…
He even went as far as talking about his “curteous staff” taking care of his clients…

When was his courteous staff going to let him know that “their” website has at least two or three spelling errors on almost every page I read??!!???

Yes, even his clients had a few spell-o’s.

Now we’re not talking about some fool on Geocities….we’re talking about a “.com” website here…(Of course I’m not going to humiliate this designer by giving out his webaddress…)

Another favorite tactic is a reference page which they say “here are just a few of the websites we have designed…”

That’s all of the sites they’ve done. Trust me.

GRRRRRrrrrrrrrrrr……

Eric Brooks

Musician, Programmer, Graphic Designer, Evil Clown - A thorn in the Internet's side since 1997 with no intention of stopping any time soon.

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Information Please…

(Author Unknown)
Here’s something that will screw you up for the rest of your life…

When I was quite young, my father had one of the first telephones in our neighborhood. I remember well the polished old case fastened to the wall. The shiny receiver hung on the side of the box. I was too little to reach the telephone, but used to listen with fascination when my mother used to talk to it. Then I discovered that somewhere inside the wonderful device lived an amazing person – her name was “Information Please” and there was nothing she did not know. “Information Please” could supply anybody’s number and the correct time.
My first personal experience with this genie-in-the-bottle came one day while my mother was visiting a neighbor. Amusing myself at the tool bench in the basement, I whacked my finger with a hammer. The pain was terrible, but there didn’t seem to be any reason in crying because there was no one home to give sympathy. I walked around the house sucking my throbbing finger, finally arriving at the stairway.

The telephone!

Quickly, I ran for the footstool in the parlor and dragged it to the landing. Climbing up, I unhooked the receiver in the parlor and held it to my ear. “Information Please,” I said into the mouthpiece just above my head. A click or two and a small clear voice spoke into my ear. “Information.”

“I hurt my finger. . .” I wailed into the phone. The tears came readily enough now that I had an audience.

“Isn’t your mother home?” came the question.

“Nobody’s home but me.” I blubbered.

“Are you bleeding?”

“No,” I replied. “I hit my finger with the hammer and it hurts.”

“Can you open your icebox?” she asked. I said I could.

“Then chip off a little piece of ice and hold it to your finger,” said the voice.

After that, I called “Information Please” for everything. I asked her for help with my geography and she told me where Philadelphia was. She helped me with my math. She told me my pet chipmunk that I had caught in the park just the day before would eat fruits and nuts.

Then, there was the time Petey, our pet canary died. I called “Information Please” and told her the sad story. She listened, then said the usual things grown-ups say to soothe a child. But I was un-consoled.

I asked her, “Why is it that birds should sing so beautifully and bring joy to all families, only to end up as a heap of feathers on the bottom of a cage?”

She must have sensed my deep concern, for she said quietly, “Paul, always remember that there are other worlds to sing in.” Somehow I felt better.

Another day I was on the telephone. “Information Please.”

“Information,” said the now familiar voice.

“How do you spell fix?” I asked.

All this took place in a small town in the Pacific Northwest. When I was 9 years old, we moved across the country to Boston. I missed my friend very much. “Information Please” belonged in that old wooden box back home,and I somehow never thought of trying the tall, shiny new phone that sat on the table in the hall.

As I grew into my teens, the memories of those childhood conversation never really left me. Often, in moments of doubt and perplexity I would recall the serene sense of security I had then. I appreciated now how patient, understanding, and kind she was to have spent her time on a little boy.

A few years later, on my way west to college, my plane put down in Seattle. I had about half an hour or so between planes. I spent 15 minutes or so on the phone with my sister, who lived there now. Then without thinking what I was doing, I dialed my hometown operator and said, “Information Please”.

Miraculously, I heard the small, clear voice I knew so well, “Information.” I hadn’t planned this but I heard myself saying, “Could you please tell me how to spell fix?” There was a long pause. Then came the soft spoken answer, “I guess your finger must have healed by now.” I laughed. “So it’s really still you,’ I said. “I wonder if you have any idea how much you meant to me during that time.”

“I wonder”, she said, “if you know how much your calls meant to me. I never had any children, and I used to look forward to your calls.”

I told her how often I had thought of her over the years and I asked if I could call her again when I came back to visit my sister.

“Please do, she said. “Just ask for Sally.”

Three months later I was back in Seattle. A different voice answered “Information.” I asked for Sally.

“Are you a friend?” She said.

“Yes, a very old friend,” I answered.

“I’m sorry to have to tell you this, she said. Sally had been working part- time the last few years because she was sick. She died five weeks ago.”

Before I could hang up she said, “Wait a minute. Did you say your name was Paul?”

“Yes.”

“Well, Sally left a message for you. She wrote it down in case you called. Let me read it to you.”

The note said, “Tell him I still say there are other worlds to sing in. He’ll know what I mean.”

I thanked her and hung up. I knew what Sally meant.

Never underestimate the impression you may make on others

-Author Unknown-

Eric Brooks

Musician, Programmer, Graphic Designer, Evil Clown - A thorn in the Internet's side since 1997 with no intention of stopping any time soon.

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First Amendment Rights and the World Wide Web

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Amendment 1

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

-The First Amendment of the Bill of Rights-

Well, there it is.
The First Amendment written word for word. It’s amazing how many people will use the First Amendment; and hide behind it as a “license to say whatever I want”; and yet never really read it. Most people think that the First Amendment merely means ‘freedom of speech”…and that’s it. Yet, when you look at it in its full context, that’s not what it means at all.

Brilliantly drafted and proposed by Congress in 1789, it was written to insure that the government wouldn’t interfere with religion, news, or citizen’s opinions. It had no specific medium in mind when it said “abridging the freedom of speech”. Phones, television, radio, entertainment, and the internet were inconceivable at that time…yet they managed to cover all the bases. It was written to insure the population that the Government will not control their thinking like many monarchs and tyrants did in those days (and still do).

However…

It does not say (as hate mongers, and controversial celebrities would like you to believe) that you have the right to say whatever you want; to piss anyone you want off, and they have to take it. It’s like saying that having a drivers license gives you the right to run over anyone you want with no penalties.

The First Amendment merely means that the Government (Congress, specifically) can’t stop you from doing this.

It would have been nice if it had said “responsibly-used freedom of speech”, but I’m not going to suggest that we should change something that has been in our Bill Of Rights since 1791.

It boils down to this…CHOICE.

You can choose to be mindful of someone’s feelings when you say, write, record, or publish your opinions. You can also choose to ignore and not listen to what to what you don’t agree with. The topic of “free speech” was left as a gray area in our country. Let’s keep it that way. I will always respect a person’s opinion, whether or not I agree, and acknowledge that this is merely their opinion. I, personally, would never try to censor a person (no matter how stupid or ignorant). I have the choice to walk away, and never listen to them again.

The World Wide Web


Well, there we go again. A new day and age, and a new medium. This page I am writing can be viewed, via the internet, all over the world. As an American I can voice my opinion freely on this website…

But does this apply to the rest of the world?

Well, that is not for me to decide. That is someone else’s headache. As an American, who cherishes his freedom, I sincerely hope the powers that be would adopt a “world wide standard for freedom of speech on the internet”, or if it has already; I sincerely hope they keep it.

Our right to have Congress not abridge our freedom of speech, has given way to new ideas, and new innovations, that advanced our country beyond anything our founding fathers could have conceived. Would a censoring country allow Alexander Graham Bell to create a device that would allow citizens to speak privately from home to home? Or allow Marconi to create a device that would bring broadcasts, entertainment, and information into a person’s living room? Think about it.

The World Wide Web, if left uncensored, can do the same for the world…

Examples of Censorship


I have seen many attempts at censorship on the web already, and honestly, it saddens me. A recent case involved Rik Havyk, who merely spoofed a concept, and had her web page removed several times from several hosts. From a business stance, I can agree with these companies. They state in their terms of service that freedom of speech does not apply on their site, and reserve the right to remove your page without warning.

Why? Well, again, from a business stance, is the expense of fighting a law suit (with or without merit) worth the free space you give a member? Not really. But then again, it’s a sad day when you have to worry about your page being removed because of offending someone. To this day, members of that group still hunt her down on the internet and threaten webmasters with the FCC and lawsuits for having her on, no matter how docile her website is.

My question is, have you seen what takes the place of the pages they have removed? On the Geocities site, that web address now holds a spanish page with pictures of nude fat women. Far more tastless than Rik Havyk’s spoofs and satire. I wont reveal the address of that page, because I will acknowledge that person’s rights and freedom (though it is against Geocities TOS) and will employ the mature choice of simply not going there.

These are of course cases of sites on commercially hosted domains. Private domains emerge more victorious, as these authors are their own webmasters and aren’t afraid of telling the offended parties “Tough, buddy…you have to deal with it…”

One such case is the irrepressable genius of Halcyon Styn on Prehensile Tales. He wrote a parody of a product that the company that manufactured it didn’t find so amusing (actually, they were the only ones who didn’t find it funny). He was slapped with a cease and desist order, and threatened with legal action if he didn’t remove the parody. Styn held his ground and, in effect, called their bluff..and they backed down. A major victory for the freedom of speech.

My hero and mentor, Jeffrey Zeldman lost all of his corporate sponsors on Jeffrey Zeldman Presents when they discovered he had an “adult” section on his site. They freaked and abanoned ship; when the “adult” section was, in reality, a hard hitting, thought provoking statement about…well…you’ll just have to see it for yourself. [ Go ahead, I’ll wait.]

Zeldman’s many friends and fans came to bat for him. A letter-writing campaign was launched that was so powerful and so damaging that they all came back, and learned a valuable lesson…

LOOK… BEFORE YOU, BAIL


Summary


In conclusion to my installment of this soapbox, I have three words: RESPONSIBILITY, RESPECT, and RIGHTS.

The new 3R’s. Voice your opinions responsibly, respect other peoples opinions, and acknowledge their rights to freedom of speech.

There are 5 1/2 billion points of view on this planet, and no one is 100% right.
Let freedom of speech become a global standard, and we can change the world.

Eric Brooks

Musician, Programmer, Graphic Designer, Evil Clown - A thorn in the Internet's side since 1997 with no intention of stopping any time soon.

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