Scott launches the seventh and final version of Scott's Home Page, which has been his web presence from the very beginning but is increasingly irrelevant now that the site exists at celebritygoogame.com and each section has its own unique design. Now reduced to a bio about Scott, a photo of him with his bald head, and a list of links to the other pages on his site, Scott keeps this version live for a little over a year before he finally accepts that there is no place for his home page in his evolving web complex. When it disappears, it would be the last time the site contains any content specifically written about its webmaster for another four years.
Scott's passing pop-culture interests have inspired content on the site before, like pages about Nintendo 64 and Taco Bell in the site's first year, but this time he gets literal about his obsessions, by creating a page called Obsessions within Tragic Comedy. It lists the movies, books, TV shows, video games, musical albums, and other cultural content that he's currently enjoying. The plain white page simply shows their cover images, each one linked to the item's listing on Amazon.com. The first item is Super Smash Bros. Melee, a game that Scott has been playing extensively with friends that spring. The page survives through several iterations of the site, eventually becoming a feature in Exquisite Corpse where other bloggers could upload their own obsessions. Scott even utilizes an API so that Netflix subscribers can make the page automatically display what DVDs they currently have at home. Eventually people forget to add new items to the page, it falls into disuse, and Scott takes it offline, but the idea of sharing current pop-culture obsessions survives years later in site features like Song Crush.
Since Tragic Comedy has become much more of a forum than a journal, Scott decides to switch to software designed for just that: XMBForums, a software package provided by his web host. Re-launched with a fiery logo, the new forum is a flop, as only Lori Lancaster and Anna Gregoline begin new discussions and several members complain of the technology just plain not working. Knowing that the software is doomed, Scott tolerates a troll for the only time in the site's history, allowing Erik Nelson to start flame wars with other members under the alias Jim Stevens, in particular annoying Jackie Mason. Within four days Scott reverts back to Graymatter, but this time the blogging software is buggy and unreliable, and Scott is at a loss to fix it. He knows the time has come up for a custom-written PHP version of the forum, and hires Matthew Preston to get to work on one.
Since his Matrix game renewed his interest in RPGs, Scott uses the hobby to find friends at his new home in Florida. Within a few months, he has kicked off a new game called The Weekly Curiosity, in which John Gunter, John R. Edwards, Tom Bruser, John & Edee Viola, and others (including guests Kelly Lee and Matthew Preston) play reporters at a tabloid newspaper of the weird like Weekly World News. The oddball game enjoys a good two-year run, driven in part by the web site, which is formatted as if it's the official site of the newspaper and presents character and adventure details canonically. One feature even lets visitors submit questions to the TWC reporters to answer in-character.
For the first time, the site becomes a self-sustaining entity independent of Scott, when he pays Matthew Preston $500 to code a PHP-driven new site for him. Now when members submit forms the site handles their content themselves, and it's capable of publishing updates on a timed schedule, without necessary involvement from Scott. Each section of the site gets a new look, and Scott gains a powerful admin to control the whole thing. Matthew more than earns his paycheck when Scott requests round after round of changes after it publishes, a fate Scott karmically suffers himself when he builds sites for a living a few years later. Scott studies Matthew's code and begins to learn it on his own.
June 14, 2005: Competition in the now-daily goo game becomes so intense that victory seems a privilege reserved for a few dedicated experts, especially Mike Eberhart, Russ Wilhelm, Megan Baxter, Jerry Mathis, Elliot Farney, Denise Sawicki, Todd Brotsch, and Steve West. Read more...
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