Or in which we learn who is Roger and why should we be reading these Ruminations?
A very good question.
I’ve been online since the Dark Ages. Back before the Internet even. Yes, when dinosaurs walked online. My first computer experiences were in the early 70’s at the Lawrence Hall of Science at Berkeley. If you have ever seen Colosuss: The Forbin Project, that’s the LHS buildings. Everything from games (especially Lunar Lander, at which I eventually became quite good at safely landing with enough fuel to take off again) and printing ASCII photos. Using a teletype terminal (printing on yellow rolled paper) and if you really got good at things, you could save your work on paper tape. Later I moved on programming in Basic to an early HP mainframe at Diablo Valley College in Pleasant Hill, CA. Unlike others, I never punched cards or learned Fortran or Cobol or any of those other programming languages.
My first exposure to home computers came in the form of the Radio Shack TRS-80. A friend had an Apple ][e, I bought used from him. My first product purchased directly from Cupertino was an Apple][si (with a color monitor, the really big step forward) paid for with the Apple Credit card. That led me online to local bulletin board systems using a dial up connection. Somewhere stored away, I still have that 300, 600, 1200 baud modem from those days.
I charged into the online world thanks to a friend who had joined the new America Online service – then only for Apple computers, no PC’s! An experience with online chatting (anyone from those days remember the Best Little Chathouse?) got me to sign on and eventually lead to a volunteer role hosting a weekly chat for fans of the Quantum Leap television series. I also had accounts on GEnie and eWorld (Apple’s stumble into and out of the online world). My first Macintosh came in the form of a Mac SE with a Seagate 40 meg external hard drive. Hooked I was…
My role with AOL shifted as I became part of their Remote Staff, managing the Television Viewer Community. What started as one simple chat room grew to encompass message boards, file libraries and multiple chat rooms. And we added lots of content including Soap Opera, Star Trek and X Files viewers communities. Compensation was in the form of royalties. A percentage of all of the hours spent by AOL users online; back in the days when AOL charged customers by the hour. AOL was a mighty interesting place in those days before the Internet. But with the arrival of online communities and web sites that you could use for free, AOL was bound to change. Folks like myself found things moving in a different direction that did not include us.
My Disney fandom? Online, that goes way back to the first Internet communities. Officially, rec.arts.disney was where it all began. I got to know some good folks online and met a few of them in person from time to time. But when web sites started to spring up, I joined in the discussion there and grew an even wider circle of friends all sharing the same interest. After one experience at Disneyland, I wrote a piece and submitted it to a site hoping to go on board as one of their writers.
While that did not happen, I eventually pitched the same story to another friend who was starting up a site for her ex-husband. That became Jim Hill Media, now one of the most popular sites for stories on all facets of the Disney universe. I wrote over 200 stories for JHM between October of 2002 and August of 2006. Originally, my take was to write a piece once a week that exposed Disney dweebs to something other than Disney. That morphed into all kinds of things and I took up a title for my columns – Ruminations. All over the map and then some.
After a rest, I took up blogging, although resisting that title for some time. Call it an old school thing, but to this day, I like to think of writing a column, in the newspaper sense of the word. But what is a blog anyway, but an online column? Hence, The Blue Parrot was born (as part of Apple’s iWeb) in January of 2007. The name for the blog came about after one too many late nights of watching “Casablanca”. You may recall that The Blue Parrot was the cafe owned by Signor Ferrari (played by Sidney Greenstreet). My pal Ken Mitchroney recreated some art for me inspired by the film and away we go.
A couple weeks ago, I made the jump from iWeb to WordPress. And thanks to Mike Mueller (an old high school pal), I have taken up the challenge of blogging every weekday in April. A good way to relaunch things.
Now that is nowhere near all of the story of who Roger Colton is and why this blog is here. But, loyal readers, it does give you something of an idea of where it came from and where it be headed.
Hopefully, you’ll enjoy what comes. And take some time to check out the links up top in the right corner. There are stories from The Blue Parrot since 2007 as well as most of the stories from my Jim Hill Media days. It’s been a long strange trip so far and I’m gonna keep sharing tales from along the way.