Grateful 365 #33 -Those Times When the Internet Makes You Proud

jewwarionLoss is never easy, but one of the beautiful things that comes out of it is the way in which people come together to show love and support. As many fans of Channel Awesome and Youtube already know, a fantastic contributor, Justin Carmical –also known as Jew Wario–took his own life on the 23rd of January. The effects are still being felt today across all sorts of outlets on the internet.
It’s so easy to assume that on a forum as large and anonymous as the internet loss goes unnoticed, but watching responses from Youtubers, video game sites, and the That Guy With the Glasses affiliates definitely proves otherwise. Although I’ve never met Justin, I enjoyed his videos and those he’s left behind have really done an amazing job highlighting and celebrating all the qualities that made him great.

I’m not grateful for the tragedy of his passing or for the emotional burden his friends and family are dealing with now. I am grateful for his memory being held up, for people remembering the best things, and for the internet as a whole pulling together in an effort to show Justin love. In doing so, I can’t help but think they might be helping others know how important a single life can be.
Whether you’re a doctor or a teacher or a construction worker or someone on youtube talking about import games, none of us make it out of this life without touching others. Every life is important.
The internet can be a den of terrible, horrible things…but every now and again it shines brightly with all the best qualities of our species. Every now and again, it makes you proud.

I’m glad that this was one of those times.
My heart goes out to Justin Carmical’s friends and family and to everyone affected by his loss. I hope we can all learn something and continue using the internet to celebrate the best in all of us.
I’d like to encourage everyone to watch the video below from one of Jewwario’s streams even if you’ve never seen anything else of his work. It’s a beautiful legacy to leave behind and something everyone needs to hear now and again. Thanks Justin Carmical- you will be missed.

JewWario’s channel

Angry Joe’s Tribute

The Game Chasers Tribute

Doug Walker’s Tribute


Before Youtube- Installment 1: The Hampster Dance

Dearest internet-denizens. Today, allow me to take you on a trip. A trip to a simpler, but not easier time. An era filled with gifs, flash and quicktime. A period of  history when just about everyone on the block had the web, but you all commiserated en masse about just how long things took to load. A time before 2005, when former Paypal employees would finally create that media sharing device we all cried out for. Before there was one spot- and only one spot- where we could all go for amusing, inane videos and meme fodder.

A time before Youtube.

No. no. Not before Youtube became a subsidiary of Google in 2006. Not before people started blogging about how it changed the world and shrank our social circles. Not before the absurdists and unmedicated ADDers came up with “Youtube Poop”.

Before it existed.

Do you remember that time, dear interwebz?

Back in the early days, you had to know what page you wanted. You had to know where the funny or the entertaining or the weird was. You had to type web-addresses.

And once you did know, you desperately wanted to share.

In future Before Youtube posts,  I’m going to take us all down a little side road I like to call nostalgia and bring up a few videos you may or may not have seen along with some history on when and where they spawned.

To kickstart our little journey, let’s talk dancing hampsters. You remember that, right? You typed in ‘’ and you got a simple page filled with spinning, bouncing gifs set to the tune of ‘The Whistle Stop’? That damnable, un-unhearable, catchy as hell tune from Disney’s “Robin Hood”, but all sped up just to make it even more of an ear-worm? That melody that you catch yourself whistling despite yourself even now?


Even if there wasn’t a photo above, you could still see the hampsters…couldn’t you?

It was 1998, and a Canadian art student named Deidre LaCarte engaged in a friendly competition with two other young women to see who among them could generate the most traffic. (I’d assume it fair to say that LaCarte won. Hopefully she enjoyed her hockey tickets and bottles of maple syrup. (That’s currency up there, right?)) Her inspiration came from her hampster and the end result was a page filled with his likeness along with several other bobbing, animated gifs of creatures she would later dub Dixie, Hado, and Fuzzy. One might argue that it wasn’t exactly an artistic concept, but here’s the interesting part—

1998 to 1999? 800 visits. Maybe four a day if that.

Suddenly in 1999, the number of visits per day skyrocketed to an astonishing 15,000…per day! 15,000 views per day was not something a random Geocities page did! (Sleep well sweet pagehoster, btw…)

Maybe it was the catchy music. Maybe it was the origin of the internet and adorable furry animals playing well together. Maybe it was the fact that if you set a co-worker or a friend or a parent’s homepage to this looping 9-second loop of sped-up, high pitched music hilarity ensued. Maybe it was the fact that this particular facet of HampsterDance brought some mainstream televised attention to the site.

….Either way you cut it though, it was clearly magic.

I remember at least one entrancing afternoon spent watching the hammies boogie until they went out of sync. If you’d like to relive that magic, just click below: