And so we begin, not with a bang, but with a whimper!

On most days, I find that a great many thoughts will lodge themselves in my randomly-misfiring brain – funny thoughts and silly thoughts, but also the occasional insightful thought or enlightening thought. I have no shortage of opinions, beliefs, projects, information, all sorts of tidbits buzzing around that rarely if ever see a release to the outside world. And so was born … The Mook.Net.

My first website ever went online, I think, sometime in the late 90’s. I still have an archive of it somewhere that I might throw up (well put!) for posterity. Oh, it was an ugly thing, to be sure – but it was fun to do, and interesting to teach myself HTML, so I did it. For these past 5+ years there has always been The Mook.Net, in various stages of completion, and so today the tradition continues. This current incarnation is likely the cleanest looking, and the easiest one to maintain (thanks to the glorious open source Mambo) – so I’ve been slowly puttering around with it for the past few months in preparation for this grand release.

It occurred to me a couple of days ago, though, that there really is just too much stuff I want to cram into this site – if I wait until I’m in any way “done”, it’ll be still another 6 months or so (given my frequent lack of motivation) before it gets going.

Which brings me nicely to the topic of today’s Mookism lesson – Life is Messy. This would be one of those little life-lessons that we have all likely realized at one time or another – but if you’re like me, you learn life-lessons slowly. Really slowly. Painfully slowly. So the more times I can realize the same Truths, the more likely I’ll have a shot at actually learning them!

Life is Messy. I wish it weren’t, but it is. Honorable people have horrible, evil things happen to them, disgraceful people are rewarded time and again; there is vastly, nearly infinitely, more in life that you have absolutely no control over than that which you can control. I forget that a lot because I try to keep my own life, my own corner of the universe, at least tidy…orderly. That’s when I fall into the familiar rut of getting nothing done because I want to do everything – the website isn’t entirely done, so don’t release it at all; there isn’t enough time to sit for a marathon session of game writing/creation, so don’t even bother ever starting; that sort of thing. It’s ridiculous, and in these moments of lucidity I realize it’s ridiculous, but then I get all caught up in life again and find myself forgetting all over again. So dammit, listen to me – if there’s something you want to do, something you need to do, then just freakin’ do it already (no apologies to Nike). If you can’t write a page, write a paragraph; if you can’t read a chapter, read a page.

It’s so simple! Why do I (we?) keep forgetting?

So that’s why The Mook.Net 2005 isn’t languishing on my hard drive while I endlessly obsess over tweaking every little thing – there’s a million things that still don’t work, but it’s at least limping along enough for me to post here and there, and chat with everybody over in the message boards, and get our Soldier of Fortune 2 clan the Laid Back Assassins back in full swing, and concentrate on getting in some quality World of Warcraft time, and work on the GURPS game I’ve been wanting to run for like 5 years now, and figure out the meaning of life to share with all of you, and fiddle with the website to add all those odds and ends (arcade games, some interesting links to share, and files to upload, some avatars and smilies to round things off, maybe a ranking system on the forums), post some pix in a photo gallery – basically, just Be Creative.

That was another Mookism realization from a few weeks back, about how I am just completely and utterly miserable if I’m not able to create something/anything, but I’ll file that away for another day. Instead, a quick note about the message boards.

[Note: the message boards are no longer split — Mook]
I’ve taken the unusual step of splitting The Mook.Net forums into two separate boards – there is a PG Message Board, and an NC-17 Message Board. They have an identical structure in terms of what the forum Categories are (Movies, Games, Chatter, etc.), but the tone, settings, and actual posts of the two boards are entirely different. The reason for this is because the visitors who nose around The Mook.Net may not be huge in number, but they do represent an amazing variety of lifestyles and outlooks. I seem to have a lot of social circles in my life (when I’m social!), and those circles don’t always overlap. Some know me only through the Church, some only through role-playing games, some only through work, etc. – what I’m getting at is, a lot of people who swing by here may have only experienced me through one (or two, or three) of these circles, so the environment could potentially be very different than what they’re expecting. Some of my friends are devout and faithful Christians, some are ardent wiccans, some are thoughtful atheists and agnostics; some can curse to put a sailor to shame, some would blush at anything stronger than ‘damn’.

I split the message boards because that is where the majority of community interaction takes place. So the PG Message Board is polite and civil – still for adult conversation, but without gratuitous swearing, without a lot of controversy, without avatars and sigs showing God-knows-what. The NC-17 Message Board will remain the way it has since it began as a place for the Laid Back Assassins to hang out – that is to say, if you choose to hang out there as well, you have no grounds for being offended because you’ve been warned. The two boards have entirely separate User Accounts and Member Lists – you can join one, the other, or both, use the same name or not, it’s totally up to you!

So, I think that’s about it for the first posting. Just be aware that I’ll still be adding things here and there, and trying to fix a lot of the things I know are broken, but the basic barebones functionality of a website should be in place.

In addition to the message boards, you also have the option of registering (free of course) with The Mook.Net itself – this gets you one more little menu on your page, with stuff (now or soon) like a shoutbox, live chat, simple streaming mp3 player, template chooser, polls, comments posting, things like that. Sorry if that’s a bit of a hassle – I was hoping to have some way of merging all three registrations, but nothing panned out. But of course, they’re all optional anyway, you shouldn’t actually need to register for any of them to just come and explore.

For now, I’m off to play World of Warcraft. Hope to hear from folks soon – let ‘er rip!