Enter the Matrix.
kitten   May 31, 2003

By popular demand (yes, really), I have decided to share some of my thoughts regarding Matrix: Reloaded. I had not intended to do so, because there are thousands of others out there who have written commentary and criticism already, many of which are more articulate than I.

First, let's get my opinion out of the way. The movie has been subject to mixed reviews. Overall, they have been positive, but there's enough ne'er-do-well jackanapes out there who seemed to have one issue or another with the film. I myself thought it was absolutely fantastic and I enjoyed it immensely.

To begin with it helps to have a cursory background of Gnosticism and early Christianity, in order to understand some of the nuances of the movie. It could safely be said that the entire trilogy is a modern-day Gnostic tale.

I am not particularly well-versed in Gnosticism, but it's the fundamental of the view that's important here. In Judeo-Christianity-Islamic religions, the world was created a perfect place, and ruined by imperfect humans. (One wonders why humans were created imperfect if the rest of the universe was not, but I digress.) Gnosticism holds that the world is imperfect not because it was fouled by bumbling humans, but because it was created imperfect, using imperfect means, perhaps by an imperfect God.

In the first movie Agent Smith hints at this, when he discusses with Morpheus (lectures Morpheus, actually) on why humanity failed and continues to fail - and why the Matrix itself is flawed.

In Reloaded, Neo meets the Architect - the designer of the Matrix, who carries this forward a bit, explaining that there are root and fundamental issues with the way the Matrix was designed, issues that cannot be escaped.

As the Architect explains it, humans will only accept the reality presented to them in the Matrix if they are given a choice, even if they are not aware of that choice at a concious level.

ARCHITECT
While this answer functioned, it was obviously fundamentally flawed, thus creating the otherwise contradictory systemic anomaly that if left unchecked might threaten the system itself. Ergo those that refused the program, while a minority, if unchecked would constitute an escalating probability of disaster.

In order to work around this problem, the small percentage of people who refuse the Matrix are permitted to "escape" to Zion, which is of course exactly what the machines want; Neo is the sixth "One" to meet the Architect, and by doing so, is in the process of ending this sixth iteration and beginning the seventh.

The Matrix is inherently flawed because it was created to be imperfect.

The movie touches on other theological aspects, such as determinism (also related to choice). During a discussion with the Oracle, Neo is offered a piece of candy. Neo asks if the Oracle already knows whether he'll take the candy or not, and she replies that yes, she does know. "Then how can it be a choice?" Neo replies.

It's an ages-old dilemma: Humans are supposed to be endowed with free will, according to Christian theology, yet God is also supposed to know everything. If our every action and thought is known to a third party in advance of our doing it, then how can such actions or thoughts be "free" or considered to be a choice?

Smith has choices to make as well. Neo didn't destroy him at the end of the first movie - simply removed him from the area temporarily. Whatever Neo did, it altered Smith in such a way that he is no longer an Agent as such - he is now a rogue program, a virus of sorts, that answers to no one. His worldview as an Agent was based on order and purpose, and Neo took that away from him. Smith reveals to Neo, before their fight scene, that his quest is now to regain a sense of purpose.

Smith, as well as the Oracle's discussion, help to reveal more about the AI's - what their lifecycle is like, and that they are "born" and can indeed die. The AI's within the Matrix are subject to evolutionary pressures in a sense - when a better program comes along that can do the same job, the old program is removed, deleted, or shifted away. The Merovingian's henchmen, I believe, are what previous iterations of the Matrix used as agents. When the modern Agents came along, the previous ones were no longer needed, so Merovingian uses their programs for his own personal benefit.

These sorts of things allow us to learn more about the humans, the AI's, and the general universe of the Matrix.

Now on to the criticisms.

First, there's the people who bitch that the Smith/Neo fight looked "fake". I honestly didn't notice the CG work, and it is my opinion that by "fake", they mean "unrealistic" - which is, of course, the whole point. It's supposed to be unrealistic because it isn't real. If you had two martial-arts experts who could bend or break the laws of physics, the fight that would occur would look unrealistic, with all the exaggerated movements and so forth. Guess what: In real life, you also couldn't stick your hand into someone and turn them into copies of yourself!

Then there's people who whine that there was "too much philosophy" or "too much talking, especially from Morpheus". This is inane. You don't have to look at the philosophy in order to appreciate the movie, but it helps. If anything, the first movie had much more philosphy than this one, which is part of what made it so wildly popular - it was exposing a viewpoint that most people don't bother thinking about unless they've read up on their Descartes and Socrates.

Morpheus only makes one big speech in this movie, and it didn't last long. Get over it, people. In the first movie, he was making a speech every couple minutes, in order to lecture Neo about the new reality.

There's also the people that whinge about the "rave scene". Ladies and gentlemen, if you just found out that the first twenty or thirty years of your life were complete fabrications, you'd probably be acting that way too. The scene served to underscore the differences between man and machine - the humans were wild, reckless, lustful, savage, and the machines are smooth, cold, and precise. Yes, the rave scene was centered around sex, but this also has a point - the primary goal of the humans is to rebuild their population. And here's a news flash - most of our recreation is centered around sex as well. Bars and clubs exist for a reason.

Besides that, the scene lasted for, what, two minutes? Three? If it bothered you that much, deal with it. Sheesh.

It's also important to realize that this movie was far more interstitial than the first one. It has a definite beginning and end, but it's not quite as self-contained as the first - we'll need to wait for the third to understand exactly where Reloaded is going. To those that whine that Reloaded wasn't like the first movie: Hey, if you wanted to see the first movie, you could have thrown the DVD in and watched it. This isn't the first movie, so stfu.

All in all I thought Reloaded was tremendous. The plot was just as convoluted and thought-provoking as the first, the fight sequences were spectacular, the special effects were amazing, and I for one was not disappointed in the slightest.

kitten has spoken.

-- Update, 6.4.03, 0432 --

Last night I went to see it again, and this time I made sure to pay extra attention to the Smith/Neo fight scene, trying to suss out exactly what people were complaining about. And ladies and gentlemen, I still don't see it. It looked flawless; not at all like a computer-generated image. Even my father didn't see any problem with it and he's prone to griping about the overuse and flaws of CG animation. Honestly, I don't understand what everyone's problem is.

The logical choice.
kitten   May 21, 2003

I'm of the opinion that the world would be a lot better if, instead of having kids, people just adopted cats instead.

It amazes me that places like fertility clinics exist, and that people are willing to spend years, and untold thousands on medical procedures, all so they can spew out yet another screaming snothouse of a brat.

The overwhelming evidence is that cats are better than human children in every conceivable measure.

First we must consider the ease of raising a cat. They are extremely self-sufficient creatures, requiring a minimum of hand-holding. They can look after themselves for hours or possibly days at a time, so long as food and water is provided. They clean themselves thorougly and do not require litter training.

To raise a cat to decent standards requires food, water, a clean litterbox, toys, and attention. Feeding is as simple as putting food in their dish every morning - they'll eat when they're hungry, drink when they're thirsty. Their litterbox must be cleaned every day or so and emptied periodically, and they should be brushed at least once a week. It's good to play with the cat every day - this can be as simple as waving a feather duster around on the floor for her to chase. They need to be kept up to date with their shots, and perhaps given an annual medical exam. In general, cats are well-mannered, can be trained with a minimum of effort, and are well-coordinated enough to avoid hurting themselves.

That's about it. A cat is easy to take care of, easy to keep happy, and will be one of your best friends.

A child on the other hand can barely manage to keep itself from being killed or maimed if left alone for more than a few minutes. They require constant, continual supervision. They must be fed at regular intervals, often refusing to eat what's offered to them, and even more often making a huge mess in the process. This feeding process may take upwards of an hour or more as one cajoles, bribes, threatens, and otherwise attempts to convince the child to eat.

They cannot be left at home for even a few minutes - they must be taken to each and every little errand, usually requiring an elaborate support system composed of toys, crayons, video games, diapers, snacks, strollers, high chairs, and other trappings and diversions. They must be clothed, and new clothes must be procured every six months or so, depending on the seasonal changes and growth of the child. A school must be found, transportation arranged, and babysitting or daycare accomodations made for working parents who cannot be at home when the child arrives home from school. The parent must teach the child every nuance of basic life - how to walk, how to tie a shoe, how to read, talk, eat, drink from a cup, bathe, brush their teeth - everything. The child must be taught how to conduct itself in the presence of company, and nine times out of ten will fail to heed these instructions, causing mayhem, destruction, or at the least, embarassment. They are prone to causing injury to themselves, requiring expensive and time-consuming visits to the doctor or emergency room.

As the child grows it may begin to resent the parent. Arguments with the child are frequent; arguments with a spouse regarding the child are even more frequent, and are the cause of many divorces. Children misbehave, often deliberately, in class and at home - the solution for many parents is to throw more money at the problem, taking more time out of their lives to drive back and forth to various psychologists, psychiatrists, getting prescriptions filled, convincing the child to take their medicine. The child may destroy property for "fun" or "because he didn't know better".

By the teenage years, he or she must be supervised in all matters of schoolwork, and relations with the opposite sex (or same sex, for that matter). A driver's license may have to be secured for the kid, costing hundreds in insurance money, thousands if the parent buys a car for the kid, and untold amounts of worry every time the car pulls out of the driveway with the teenager at the helm.

A college will likely have to be found, loans taken out, entrance exams, tours of the schools, living accomodations made, and when all is said and done the odds are high that the now-grown child will reduce contact with the parent to a bare minimum.

Ah, the joys of parenthood!

The most damage a cat will ever do is to scratch up your furniture. This is a minor consideration for most, and there exist a number of easy-to-implement solutions for it, such as putting sticky tape on the furniture or obtaining good scratching posts. (I am against declawing the way the Pope is against abortion.)

A cat will not wreck your car. A cat will not stick things in electrical outlets or kick holes in the wall. A cat will not be brought home at 2am by the cops after spraypainting the side of the Wal Mart. A cat will never say "I hate you" and curse you because you didn't let it go to Becky's birthday party. You will never go to a parent-teacher conference because your cat keeps hitting young Billy during recess. A cat won't hit baseballs through your window, destroy a neighbor's yard with his bicycle, lie, cheat, or steal.

A cat provides tangible benefits to her owner. Cats decrease blood pressure, whereas the stress of parenthood often increases it. Cats can lower cholesterol and reduce the mortality rate related to heart disease. (Friedmann E, Katcher AH, Sthomes SA: Social interaction and blood pressure: Influences of animal companions. J NERV MENT DIS, 1983;171:461) Owning a cat means less minor health problems, and less doctor's visits. A cat can reduce the isolation that can accompany depression, whereas a child is often the source of depression or at least a major cause. A cat will never judge you. When a cat appreciates you, she'll show it by snuggling you or purring at you, instead of making craptastic, ass-ugly drawings of mutated stick-figures.

Then there's financial considerations. According to the USDA:

WASHINGTON, April 27, 2000 Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman today
released a new report finding that a family with a child born in 1999 can
expect to spend about $160,140 ($237,000 when adjusted for inflation) for
food, shelter, and other necessities to raise that child over the next
seventeen years.
Two hundred thirty seven thousand dollars. That's not counting college.

I just did a rough calculation of what it costs to take care of Molly. I paid 90 dollars to an adoption agency to get her, which is a one-time cost that included spaying (something I encourage every animal owner to do).

A five pound bag of food seems to last her about a month, and costs about ten dollars. It's also the highest-quality food I can find, so I'm not cheating by getting her the crappy stuff. Five dollars a month times twelve months = 100 dollars.

A bag of treats for three or four dollars lasts a month or more. 48 dollars a year for treats.

Molly drinks water from a fountain thinger that has filters in it, which I change monthly. A two-pack of filters is six dollars. 36 dollars a year for those.

Her litter costs about six dollars, and a container lasts about a month. 72 dollars for that, per year.

She's only gotten sick once, and that was a 50 dollar visit to the vet, for an examination and a prescription for ear drops. That was a minor case. I'll overestimate this, and assume that it costs 150 dollars a year for routine medical care, including a checkup. But cats have good immune systems - much better than ours. An indoor cat is unlikely to get sick very often at all.

I spent about seventy dollars for various toys, scratching posts, her litter box, her food dish, and other things, when I first got her. Most of those are one-time costs, for the most part - you probably won't have to buy another litterbox or food dish for years, or maybe not at all. I do like to buy her new toys now and then, however, so I'll overestimate this one too and say I spend 70 dollars a year on toys for her.

Total cost per year for food, water, medical care, toys, and litter: $476.

Average lifetime of a cat is around fifteen years. Total cost for the lifetime of a cat: $7140.

Let's summarize:
Total cost of owning a cat, who is easy to take care of, provides definitive benefits to you, is a minimal hassle, and who will always love you: 7140 dollars.

Total cost of owning a child, whom taking care of is a full-time job, provides little to no benefits, consumes much but produces little, causes emotional distress, divorce, and depression, and who may grow up to resent you: 237,000 not counting college and incidentals.

Make the logical choice.

What if the prophecy is true?
kitten   May 15, 2003

T minus ten hours.

NEO
Hi, fellas.

JONES
It's him.

BLACK
Do we proceed?

JONES
Yes. He is still --

BLACK
--only human.

Did I mention how stoked I am about this?

Having had my tickets ready for four weeks now, I'm ready to go see this at 2200 tonight with Brian. Actually, I've been ready to see this for four fuckin' years, but I expect I shall not be disappointed after waiting for so long.

Now as it happens, I have kind of a job.. thing.. tomorrow. I registered with this placement agency, under the notion that they could find me a job. As it turns out they're not exactly a headhunter, more of a temp firm, and I have an "assignment" tomorrow and into next week.

I really hate temp work. This is exactly what I did not want. There are few things worse than being a temp; in a Real Job, you get to know the people, make some friends, build something of a career perhaps, or at the very least gain marketable skills. But with temp shit, you're just The Temp, and that's how you're treated at the office. You feel like an outsider the whole time, because that's exactly what you are.

Sure, it pays, and that's important. For the past couple months I have, unfortunately, been living on unemployment checks. Let me tell you that getting unemployment checks is one of the most humiliating experiences ever. You show up at the department of labor office asking for free government handouts, sitting amongst a vast sea of slavering mediocrity comprised of the other jobless bums - and you're now one of them. Then once a week you get a little check in the mail, clearly marked "DEPARTMENT OF LABOR", and you have to take that check to the bank where the teller doesn't actually say anything, but you know what she's thinking.

Maintaining a sense of dignity is difficult when you're cashing a goddamned welfare check.

Temp work is a very, very slight grade above that on the humiliation scale. Yes, it's honest work, and yes, it pays - but it feels somehow degrading, like you're just barely getting by, hopping from assignment to assignment without making any impact whatsoever on anything.

An IT manager from a corporation emailed me yesterday, claiming he saw my resume online and wanted to set up a phone interview, so we'll see how that goes; meantime I think I really need to discuss my options with this temp firm and see if they can get me an actual job, instead of mere temp work.

The immediate upshot of this is that I'm going to be very tired tomorrow after staying out all night with the Matrix and post-movie analysis/beer. But, so be it. I've waited long enough for this, and nothing will stand in my way.

On another unrelated, but rather eerie note, we have this snippet of an IRC log.


[Danelope] http://members4.cool.ne.jp/~samael/top/jin.htm
[bda] er.
[bda] That looks like fucking kitten.
[Danelope] YES.
[bda] hahahhah.
* Danelope points
And it really does. It's somewhat disconcerting. Even minor details like the forehead and the cheekbones - right down to the cut of the suit, the color of the tie. In fact, the only part of it that doesn't look like me is the part where the lightning is coming out of the guy's cigarette. I'm working on that.

I guess my hair is a bit more spiky than that, but given the "smeared" look of the painting such details wouldn't show up anyway. Still, it's beyond strange.

Keepin' it real, yo.
kitten   May 12, 2003

The folks over at The Source for Youth Ministry have created a helpful guide to "teen lingo".

Inspired by this, and armed with the understanding that many people have difficulty understanding the references to all things in pop-mirrorshades culture, I have taken the liberty of preparing a mirrorshades-oriented lexicon, which will probably not be in the least bit helpful unless you already know what it means.

Thanks goes out to Dan for his assistance.

AD 2101 (n.) A sign of impending doom. "Shit, I think I just failed my math test. It's AD 2101, dawg."

all your base (n.) To flaunt large sums of money. "Man, did you see Billy's new Mercedes?" "Yeah. All your base are belong to him."

arrow (v.) To distract from a situation by diverting attention to a less meaningful topic. "Dawg, you theivin' my ice?" "Shoot no, did you see the movie last night?" "Don't be arrowin' me now!"

bretarded (adj.) 1. Overwhelmingly inane. "Man, Rick was making no sense back there. He's totally bretarded."
2. (n.) A person who makes an error while typing. "Haha, he just made a typo! What a bretard!"

Bryan's pants (n.) The condition of being conspicuously absent. "Jason wasn't in class today, he must have been Bryan's pants."

CNN.com POLL (n.) Something that makes no sense whatsoever. "You be trippin'! I stared at this algebra problem for five hours but it's CNN.com POLL."

cloud (n.) A myth or legend. "Hey, I heard the house over on 49th is haunted!" "Aw shit, dawg, that's just The Cloud."

Galstaff (n.) To be "straight edge", to not use drugs or drink. "Hey Billy, you want some of this dank?" "No, I am Galstaff, sorceror of light!" "Then how come last week you cast Magic Missile?"

gay belt (adj.) Disastrously uncool, as in fashion. "Check out Marcus' New Balance. Dat shit's so gay belt."

goats with boats (adj.) To be disgusting or unpleasant, as in design. "They painted the pool room green. It's totally goats with boats."

graphic novel (n.) Something that should not be discussed. "Hey, I scored some great weed for tonight." "Shhh! The teacher is right there! That's a graphic novel, yo!"

honeybunch sugarplum pumpy-umpy-umpkin (n.) A close friend. "You're my honeybunch sugarplum pumpy-umpy-umpkin. You're my sweetie pie!"

Jerry Seinfeld (n.) A clumsy fool. "Did you hear what Bret said earlier? Dat nigga be Jerry Seinfeld!"

justin (n.) Someone who lives under a bed. "Hi Justin." SEE ALSO: James, Jarvis, Jeeves, Jehosephat, Jim, Joseph, Jerry, John, Jason, Jim, Jackson, Johnson, Jordan, Jake, Jehovah, Jean-Claude, Jean-Luc, Jesus, Jaymes...

Luke Skywalker (n.) To be unlucky with the opposite gender. "I went to da club, but I didn't get any friends. I'm Luke Skywalker."

Mac (v.) To spend far more than something is worth; to get ripped off. "You paid three hundred dollars for that gay belt? You got Macced."

mackle (v.) To do something obviously dangerous and/or stupid which results in severe injury or death. "Last night my boy Jeff played Russian Roulette with an automatic. He totally mackled."

main screen turn on (n.) To express approval or affirmation. "You wanna check out my phat ride?" "Main screen turn on!"

magic missle (n.) Narcotic pills such as qualludes or tranquilizers. "I am though, if you'd listen. I wanna cast Magic Missle."

molly (adj.) Deceptively deadly. "Mah boy Tommy might look small, but he's molly when he in trouble."

Mordenkannen's Magical Watchdog (n.) A group of friends, often used as a threat. "Shoot, you messin' with my chassy? I should straight up clock your grill!" "How can you do that? I have Mordenkannen's Faithful Watchdog!"

move zig (v.) To strike back, as in defense. "I'll bust yo' grill fo' that!" "Yo dawg, you touch me an' I be movin' zig!"

nevertrustamonkey (n.) The worst condition imaginable. "Y'all see Cindy's new ride? That shit's like nevertrustamonkey."

official (adj.) Official. "It's OFFICIAL."

optical drive (n.) The most desirable features, often leading to a superior experience. "Shit, dawg! Check out dat ho! She got da optical drive!"

plus nine (adj.) An advantage, especially from a possession, for dealing with a certain situation. "Oh shit, the 5 0 is coming!" "5 0? Man, I got a 5 0-slaying gat! It's got a plus nine against 5 0!"

*POP* (n.) The condition of being entirely unhelpful. "I was tryin' to do my project with Heather but she was all like *POP*."

seg (n.) To leave in a hurry. "The po po is comin'! Let's seg!"

stevers (n.) A condition by which one is always at a bad angle, as in basketball or photography. "I thought I was gonna make that three-pointer but I got stevers."

triad (n.) Giving a false impression of value through elaborate obfuscation. "She act like she blingin', but I know Missy's triad."

the controller (n.) The person in charge of a group or situation. "If you give Eric some grain, he get hook you up with mad 40s. Dat nigga's The Controller."

the creeping doom (n.) A person of a disreputable or hostile attitude. "I can't beleive our teacher gave us that paper over da weekend, yo. She totally be the Creeping Doom."

two Jesuses (n.) A difficult task. "Did you get that essay done yet?" "Yeah, but I had to use two Jesuses for that."

Vince Neil (n.) SEE Jerry Seinfeld.

with you always (adj.) To be a concerned friend or savior of man. SEE ALSO: got your back. "Don't worry, dawg. I'm with you always."

you're the man now dawg (n.) An expression of approval for someone's actions. "You're the man now dawg! You're the man now dawg! You're the man now dawg! You're the man now dawg! You're the man now dawg! You're the man now dawg!"

zee german (n.) The only one in a group that has some sense. "Shit dawg, that's a good idea. You must be zee german."

ZebrowitzX8000 (n.) (abbr. ZX8k) A high-quality electronic device, usually a stereo. "Did you see Billy's new system? It's totally ZX8k!".

So much for the afterglow.
kitten   May 9, 2003

Like beanbag chairs, lava lights, plastic lawn flamingos, or an old showing of Clutch Cargo, kitsch is all things tacky yet irresistable. Although some say that today's digital world is a soulless age, devoid of the sort of down-to-earth charm of yesteryear, I have found that the web itself is a treasure trove of kitsch, if you just have the right frame of mind. In the silicon realm of switches and routers, 1993 is as good as 1953; a new culture and world, just beginning to take its first tenuous steps into a modern era, not quite matured but gloriously kitsch all on its own.

An excellent place to start is here, a "home page" dedicated to Greece. Take particular note of the embedded midi, a popular choice for web-kitsch enthusiasts. This site makes good use of frames as well as animated buttons and various .gif images.

Although this site incorporates a hit counter, this one is actually functional, and thus ranks somewhat low on the kitsch scale. However, additional points are assigned for the dying but charming practice of having several dozen banners and award icons at the bottom, as well as being part of a web-ring.

Ah, now this is a cornucopia of kitsch delights. The first thing we notice is the background, a tiled pattern that makes text difficult to read. From top to bottom, this site is chock-full of rainbow scrollbars, animated "Welcome!" banners, running doggies, broken links, and clever but deliberate misspellings. The content itself is truly a gem for the kitsch connoisseur. From the endless song lyrics to the cut-and-pasted jokes, from the doll-maker to the pithy quotes; one look confirms to the viewer that the self-styled "web master" has little to nothing to say. Seekers of kitsch will be most delighted to note that all content is on one large unbroken page, and everything is between < center > tags, a common practice in the homepage world.

The creator of this goth site truly understands the wonders of web kitsch. Dripping-blood underlines combine with dozens of laughing, animated skulls to create a surreal and spooky experience for the uninitiated, but a feast of kitsch treasures for those in the know. The burning fire lettering, which goes hand-in-hand with the animated torches, rounds it all out for an especially nice touch to this fine page.

In fact, goth sites in general are worth checking out for their appreciation of truly hip kitsch. Here we have again the tiled, dark red background which makes reading the red text a virtual impossibility. The designer took an unexpected turn here and opted for the Quicktime music rather than the traditional embedded midi - keep a sharp eye and ear out for this trend in the future. The hit counter is broken - a sure sign of kitsch - and at the bottom, almost unnoticable to the untrained eye, a single spinning pentagram, a practice that is sadly being phased out in favor of the more esoteric rotating anarchy symbol.

I myself am quite fond of banners that do their best to clash with the background. This homepage displays an excellent execution of this concept, and as a bonus, an midi of Grieg's "In the Hall of the Mountain King" is heard for your aural pleasure while you browse the, er, content. Actually, the lack of content may be overlooked, for the thrill of the kitsch-seeker upon discovering the "Under Construction" image, carefully hidden, will overshadow any other concerns.

"Under Construction" sites are gemstones amid coalsacks to the web kitsch hunter. This page chose to go with the quietly understated graphic approach, while the CPCUG Build Team used the ever-popular stick figures shovelling dirt. Still others find various ways of letting people know that to them, writing HTML is much like road construction and that they make loud whirring machinery noises while working on their page.

One commonly underappreciated aspect of cyberkitsch is the cursor trail that follows the movement of the cursor with cute blinking icons, animated trails, scrolling text, and other imaginative features. Still others have discovered that with a bit of tweaking, the cursor itself can be altered to something other than the run-of-the-mill arrow. Crosshairs are popular among kitsch enthusiasts, but even this takes a backseat to custom cursors which must be downloaded before the site is viewed.

No examination of web-kitsch would be complete without delving into the practice of site requirements. When a site declares up front that it will only render correctly in a certain browser under a specific resolution, you know then you've struck a kitsch-laden goldmine. Still others go the extra mile and announce all the things that went into making their page. It's a way for the webmaster to tell their viewers that they really care, and that the viewer better damn well appreciate all that the webmaster has learned in order to make the experience as retro-kitsch as possible.

So go make a cup of coffee, sit back, relax, and enjoy the wonders of cyberkitsch, the twenty-first century homage to the early 1990s, like seeing a Coca-Cola ad from 1940 or chuckling quietly at an old Burma-Shave poem. Perhaps you've got your own special corner of the web you look to when you're feeling nostalgic for the more simple times of home sweet homepages. Whatever your memories, do not feel ashamed. You're not alone. There's a little kitsch in all of us.