One lazy Saturday afternoon not too long ago, I was knocking back a few brewskis at The Powerhouse, a decidedly-cruisy, somewhat dirty, very-leathery bar in the SoMa district here in San Francisco. I ran into an old buddy of mine, Timmy, who happens to work for Friendster. I hadn't seen him in months, and we caught up and took advantage of the $1.25 drafts and free popcorn.
Hey, cheap beer and free popcorn in a sleazy bar in a sketchy part of town are Good Things. More on my conversation with Timmy in a bit.
For those of you who remember Friendster in its original incarnation, it was actually quite a hopping place, frequented by lots of gay men, freaks, bohemians, and other creative individuals. "Fakesters" popped up left and right, and made the website quite entertaining. If you who don't know what a Fakester is, it's a fake friendster profile of a celebrity, fictitious person, cartoon character, or even an inanimate object that happens to have a Friendster profile. In fact, on my friendster profile I count among my friendsters Donatella Versace, the Rehab party thrown by my friends Marcia, Ryan, and Darwin, and of course Violet Newstead, Doralee Rhodes, and Judy Bernley from the movie Nine to Five (and there's even a profile for the office snitch, Roz Keith). Now, before anyone says anything, Nine to Five is probably my favorite movie of all time and I can almost recite it line for line as I'm watching it.
Yeah, I know. I'm a nerd, but at least I can tell the difference between Rid-O-Rat and Skinny-N-Sweet (they look almost identical, but Rid-O-Rat has a little skull and crossbones on the label...duh).
Now, I was guilty of creating a few fakesters myself. I created one for former KNTV-11 and KGO-7 anchor Terilyn Joe, notoriously known for her Big Huge Hair and Way Too Much Makeup (she looked like a drag queen) and her produce defenestration stunt (click that link...you won't believe it really happened). I also created a fakester for Mr. Chau, a local Chinese fast-food chain. If you who live in the Bay Area, you may have seen the Mr. Chau late-night commercials with a cartoon Chinese guy who bounces around and says "I'm all ovah da place!" Mr. Chau deserved a fakester as well, I thought.
Sadly, both Terilyn and Mr. Chau are in fakester heaven...they were deleted in the summer of 2003.
However, my most successful fakester, deleted because it had over 250 friends, was for the N-Judah, a popular, heavily-utilzed subway/streetcar line that runs from the CalTrain station, past SBC Park, through downtown, winding through Cole Valley and the Inner and Outer Sunsets, eventually stopping at the Pacific Ocean. I had been wanting to make a fakester for it, and I noticed a few New York subway lines had fakesters, so I created it.
It was an instant smash.
Every day, I had dozens of people wanting to be the N-Judah's friend, and of course, I accepted every single one (well, I didn't accept a particularly vicious and nasty anti-Gavin Newsom fakester friendster request, but that's about it). The N-Judah was friends with lots of other fakesters as well...the Transamerica Pyramid, various San Francisco neighborhoods like Chinatown, the Sunset, the Mission, and the Haight, Buena Vista Park, San Francisco's fog, a taco truck, BART, CalTrain, the F-Market historic streetcar line, the Golden Gate Bridge, The Endup, a houseboat, and Professor Poopypants.
People started writing beautiful testimonials (52 in all) for the N-Judah, all revealing very personal things about what happened on that train. Apparently, a lot of people have emotional ties to that line, and reading all the testimonials as I approved them was absolutely fascinating.
However, its sheer popularity caught the evil eye of Friendster's founder, Jonathan Abrams, who created Friendster as a way to meet girls. Fakesters were NOT a part of his plan, and he ordered ALL fakesters killed, N-Judah included. Unfortunately, it proved to be a horrible mistake, and incredibly short-sighted.
Okay, back to the point of this whole post.
I was sitting there in The Powerhouse talking with Timmy, and I asked him what happened to all those fakesters. He told me they all still existed in archive form on the servers, sans photos. I told him about the N-Judah's profile, and he laughed.
"Sounds funny, I should restore it," he said. Timmy is one of Friendster's tech guys.
"You can do that?" I asked.
"Easy. The photos will be gone, but everything else will be intact."
"Dude." I couldn't believe it. "You'll do that?"
"Yeah, tomorrow when I go to work."
Timmy made good on his promise.
I present to everyone...the now-resurrected N-Judah fakester. All my really cool N-Judah photos I took in the summer of 2003 are gone, and I can't access them because they're on a broken laptop that no longer recognizes its own operating system. However, I googled a bit and found some suitable ones.
If for some reason you can't load that fakester, here's what it says:
joined Jul 2003 | last login Wednesday, August 13, 2003
Interested in Meeting People for: Relationship Men and Women, Dating Men and Women, Friends, Activity Partners
Location: San Francisco, CA
Zodiac Sign: Capricorn
Hometown: Built in Pistoia, Italy
Occupation: streetcar/subway line
Hobbies and Interests: Going from 4th & King out to Ocean Beach and back over and over and over again, spanking, long rides out to the beach, cigarettes, a good shiraz
Favorite Books: Anything by Judy Blume...betcha you didn't know I could read huh?
Favorite Music: My buddy C-Train from NYC hooked me up with this killer band called the Screeching Wheels, and I love that little ding-ding or bong-bong sound they play when I come pulling into the underground stations.
About Me: I am a nice, friendly Breda Costruzioni Ferroviarie train
full of grumpy people, especially in the morning. I really don't care if you drink coffee on me but don't sit on that little wall that separates the seats from the rear doors...tell you what, anyone who sits on those side-facing seats has to look at your jiggling ass 2 inches from their face and that just isn't very nice. Grab a pole already.
Who I Want to Meet: I want to meet that woman who announces me when I come pulling in the metro stations..."Bong Bong...Approaching...Inbound Train...Two Car...Mission Bay...followed by...One car...Embarcadero...in two...minutes..." My god, she is sexy. If I had a weenie it'd be hard. If you want to be my friendster, my full name is N-Judah Muni. Write a testimonial...I'm a fucking train and I don't get a lot of excitement unless some homeless guy pees on someone's leg.
Here are some of my favorite N-Judah testimonials, with links to the Friendster profiles of the San Franciscans who composed them:
Dave: I grew up next to the N-Judah when I lived on 47th Ave. I remember how my sister and I used to take you to go to gymnastics classes since my mom was always too busy to take us. Above all, you only cost us all of 25 cents I believe. Good times... except for the rumbling we had to endure at night.
Stereo: N-Judah. I call it the ZEN Judah because it never arrives until I meditate my mind clear of all conscious thought.
Feodor: Ah, N-Judah, my old friend, it's been so long. You were always there when I needed you. Well, perhaps not at the precise moment I needed you, but give or take ten, twenty, thirty minutes or so... ...I can recall one unseasonably warm, summer afternoon when I was returning home from work and the gentle hum of your electric motor lulled me off to a blissfull sleep. Who knew molded, plastic seats could be so comfortable? Granted, I did miss my stop. But then, you probably knew that I needed the rest. And I did have to walk about 15 extra blocks to get back home. But then, you probably knew that I needed the exercise. N-Judah, you are Muni's bright, shining star. Oh, some will say that the J-Church has all the beauty with her sweeping, panoramic views of Dolores Park. And still others will declare that the M- Oceanview can lay claim to a good percentage of the City's hot, young coeds as it rumbles past Stonestown and SF State. Of course everyone knows that the L-Taraval is really just the poor man's N-Judah. And the K-Ingleside? A terror-filled journey into the seemy, underbelly of our fair city. But you, N-Judah, you have all the personality. And you take us to the ballgame! Huzzah!! Kudos to you, N-Judah! Roll on, old friend, roll on.
Tamara: When you roll past my house every few minutes, you're like Magic Fingers for my bed and an instant little earthquake in my apartment. You're a force to be reckoned with!
Rebecca: Oh N Judah. You rumble past my house every day and all night, carrying all the cute boys who just NEVER look up into my bedroom window. Some day, will you carry my love to me?
Derek: You haven't really ridden the N-Judah until you pull the "Jesus Move." This is quite simple. When exiting the tunnel at Church and Duboce, stand on the step closest to the door that will be rising. Extend your arms so they are parallel to the ground, about chest height, and about a 120 deg bend in the elbows. Right before the stairs start to move, stare straight ahead and say with conviction "This is my Jesus Move!" You will then instill awe and wonderment into anyone looking as you magically levitate towards our almighty Father!! J.C. in the house!! Yes!!
Shannon: You made me hella run for you the other day Jude baby. I was in Starbucks and all of a sudden there you were, no warning. I thought I told you to call first! I even waved and showed a little leg, but it was like you didn't even know I existed. I ran to your waiting doors and jumped in, but you made me stand the whole time, what's up with that?? Show a girl a little courtesy dude. But you did get me to the Giants game on time. How do you feel about vinyl Judey? Ya like that - I know you do. Tell me you like it, tell mama you like it.
Kyle: haiku: silver sleek and mean...
rolling down those tracks so fast...
n-judah rail car
Brendan: Thank you, N-Judah, for taking me to my psychiatrist every Thurday. Some day, I will be able to finally find happiness.
Lysley: I first crossed paths with N-Judah back in 2000. I think it was on Irving, corner of 9th? I was on the sidewalk, ready to cross, and N-Judah chugged by...no eye contact was made, at least not on N-Judah's part because I guess N-Judah doesn't really have eyes. Anyhoo, for some reason I couldn't take my eyes off of N-Judah... Oh wait. That's because I was supposed to take N-Judah somewhere, but I thought N-Judah was someone else, the M, I think. Sorry. My mistake.
Rob: Ahh beloved N-Judah, the sonorous clatter of your bell resonates in my mind even when I am in my lifeless suburban breadbox. I hope you'll forgive me for the time I ditched you after the Giants game and eloped with a passing 30-Stockton.
Eileen: All my life spent within miles of his track, and although I’ve watched him service myriad other women, I've never had the pleasure of riding this sexy little demon. Amazing. Maybe I’ll pay the N-Judah a surprise visit… sneak on from behind and ease myself into one of his seats… and maybe I won’t wear any panties… and maybe I’ll catch a frickin disease - *ICK!* On second thought, maybe I’ll wear panties and drive my car instead, cuz that’s what you gotta do way out here in the damn burbs, north of the park. I’m green with envy - what I wouldn’t give to have N-Judah push himself into my neighborhood and slide along my quiet streets...