Sometimes i wonder if anyone ever sees my site. As i sit here, lonely in my cubicle, drinking instant coffee and warming my hands on the CPUs in the dead of the night, i wonder if my message in a bottle ever washed up on anyone's shore, and if so, do they just toss it back into the surf? Do they stop to read, and if so, do they actually like it?

Generally, i beat myself up for my perceived deficiencies. My internal critic says that 'washed ashore' is dull and impersonal, lacks humor, is poorly written, and my layout and design sense is downright unimaginative. Then, every so often, i'll get an encouraging word, and my day (or night, more likely) gets a little bit brighter.

"I like the name." - Mom

"A lovely and extremely interesting (yes, in the *best* sense of the word) site you have." - Magdalena Donea, member of the web elite :)

"Ben took to the Web like a spider on acid. Check out the cool map of his surroundings." - chick jesus

"we were checkin' some pretty groovelicious sites, so we took at yours, which I would have to say, take the groovelicious cake." - Rob

"Ben's web page keeps me 'current' and most of his links are thought provoking and very interesting to a web novice like me. Sometimes he feels like my personal editor..." - Cher

"your site is excellent. i love the new additions and your taste in music is just overwhelmingly magnificent. :)" - stephen | symbiont

"Love the new page layout. Looks kinda like a travel agency when it first comes up..*L* But I dig It."- tHUNDERhEAD

"Ben Discoe: terminal technowizard. Well worth the trip." - Nino

"I've been spending the better part of the afternoon avoiding work by wandering through your site. I call it education/inspiration/whatever. Beautiful. I like the simplicity you maintain while remaining content-dense." - Rob / Mantid

"I really like the 'washed ashore' picture, and what you did with the tables. A lot of stuff without looking cluttered." - Shawn Fumo

"Your web site is fantastic (quite elaborate)" - Miechelle

"Your website is really cool. Great design, layout and flow. This shows how the web, contrary to popular belief (which is swayed by those who know little), is quite personal and individual." - Nathaniel

"your page just put a smile on my face. its just too true" - Mark Spencer's girlfriend

"Just thought I would drop you a line and tell you how much I liked your website.... It's nice to find a place where I feel like I'm actually keeping company with someone, conversing with them and wandering from topic to topic.   The web is funny that way, lets you peek into places and people that you would never know otherwise.
PS I've decided to steal your webmosaic idea and start making my own." -
Heather :)

Perhaps the most intriguing email i've received:

Date: Tue, 12 Jan 1999

Here is a short version of the initial story:

I am a schoolteacher in West Hartford, CT. I teach social studies to eleven-year-olds.  (I was Connecticut, Middle Level Teacher of the Year 1997.)  For the past few years, I asked my students write messages and put them in bottles.  The hundred bottles or more bottles are thrown into the CT River.   Some bottles are found along the Connecticut, on the Long Island shore, and some land on near-by islands.  This year a bottle was found on the shores of Ireland. That is about 4,000 mile away.

Your site told me I should share the story.  It was on TV, newspaper and mag

Yours truly,

On January 23, 1998 i actually got one of those awards... "Cool Stop: Best of the Web", for "easy navigation and original, creative and interesting content."  I don't know if it means anything, or if it's just a way for a ratings-site to attract attention to itself, but it felt nice to get anyway.