Lost Conversations is the title of a series of blog entries that have
been sitting in draft form for too long; it’s my attempt to do some
“spring cleaning”. This is the fifth in a series — the other three are:
- Lost Conversations #1: Matchmaker
- Lost Conversations #2: Two Fandoms, One Approach
- Lost Conversations #3: Toronto the Good or Toronto the Redoubtable?
- Lost Conversations #4: A Resounding Yawn from the Developers
I started this post near the beginning of August.
I was away for the long weekend (the first Monday of August is “Civic
Holiday” in Canada), so I didn’t get a change to respond to any of the
comments to the Quick Boys story posted last Friday. Of all the
comments, one in particular stands out. If you’ve read them all, I
don’t even need to tell you which one, but for the purposes of this
article, let me reprint it below:
Re: At Last, My Blog Lands Me in Hot Water!
by Anonymous on 2005.07.29 06:00AM EDT
You are getting married soon and you have your whole life ahead of you.
Why mess around with a bunch of Eastern European thugs like this?
When a person’s livlihood is messed with, they can get really nasty. I
think the last thing you should do is expand the story. Think of you
fiance, your future children, and yourself.
Expanding the story is only going to mess up their google search even more and enrage them further.
Forget all this macho stuff and be a real man.
You may not know this, but in the control panel of the
blogging application I use — Tucows’ own Blogware — the IP (Internet
Protocol) address of the machine used by the commenter is reported.
This particular comment was submitted from a machine whose IP address
was 220.127.116.11. A cursory reverse DNS lookup identifies this address as “caching6-true.asianet.co.th”, a server that belongs to True Internet, an internet service provider that is — as you might have guessed from the top-level-domain — in Thailand. (“TH” is the ISO two-letter country code for Thailand, and “.th” is its country code top level domain.)
I have made the assumption that the commenter is not
remotely accessing a machine in Thailand in order to obscure its
origin, but actually using a Thai ISP. This would confirm my belief
that the comment was a critique of my ability to assess risk and not a veiled
threat. Hello, my reader in Thailand!
After doing the reverse DNS search, I was reminded of the last time I
received unusual comments from someone in Thailand: on July 28th, for this blog entry. All the comments posted on the 28th come from the 203.144.160 block of addresses, which leads me to believe that the commenter is the same.
There are two ways to interpret the comment:
- Concern for my safety and a
probable investor in the company for which I work? This person can’t
be too bad — s/he’s already scored two points in my good books.
- “Dude! You’re one of the highest-profile employees of the
company I’m investing in! Please don’t get yourself killed — well, at least not until it’s
trading at $2.50!”
I’m a nice guy. I’ll go with interpretation 1.
As for Quick Boys, the most threatening thing they’ve done is play the
“we’ll sic our lawyers on you” card. It’s a far cry from sending a goon
squad my way. It’s also bit of a leap from having an Eastern Euro
accent to being cosy with the Russian mob.
[Additional note, August 29th, 2005: I have never heard from Quick Boys since their two phone calls at the end of July.]
I would hardly characterize myself as “macho”. In fact, people who know
me will say that I’m a pretty easygoing laid-back kind of guy who’d
sooner negotiate a solution than resort to fisticuffs. However,
I refuse to be an easily-bullied pushover.
and expecting people inside China to risk arrest and torture by Chinese
authorities by using it, it would be hypocritical and just plain wrong
of me to take down comments I believe to be true just because a moving
company nastygrammed me. At their core, most bullies are craven cowards
who attack only when the odds are clearly and overwhelmingly stacked in
their favour. The world would be a better place if more people called
their bluffs and stood up to them.
I’ll close with something I wrote a couple of years back:
The other thing to keep in mind is that life, as The Stranglers
song goes, shows no mercy. Sooner or later, you’re going to be sitting
in the back of the Metaphorical Pickup Truck of Life and realize that
there’s a guy in a Pikachu costume smoking crystal meth in the driver’s
seat. His foot is jammed hard on the accelerator pedal, he’s drenched
in sweat, he has the look of death in his soulless eyes, he’s slashing
his own leg with a stilletto knife and screaming “PAIN WILL BRING ME
CLOSER TO FATHER!”
Lesser people — those who can only thrive when the cards are dealt
in their favour — will curl up in a ball and wait for the truck to
eventually go off a cliff or slam into a bus of orphans and puppies and
explode John Woo-style.
Those who know that winning isn’t in the cards you’re dealt, but how
you play them, would hop over the cab and onto the hood, Indiana
Jones/T.J. Hooker style, smash through the windshield, pummel the
driver into submission and bring the vehicle to a complete stop. And
then take everyone out for ice cream afterwards.
I hope to be one of those people.