Goodbye, Evening Star. Goodbye, Crunchland.

Wow, two endings of note:

1. After eight years, The Joe Chiocca Band has lost its standing weekly Monday gig at The Evening Star Cafe in Alexandria. I have played there on and off with the band for many years, and steadily for the last nine months or so, but we knew the end was coming. We weren’t drawing well, and the restaurant (which has many new neighborhood competitors) doesn’t seem to pack ’em in like it once did. That’s a bad combination and it’s led to changes.

We still think we’ll play there once a month on Mondays, but that has yet to be determined. I have to hope The Evening Star isn’t in deeper trouble — it really is a wonderful place.

2. Crunchland is no more. It says so right on the website. It’s existed — first as a computer bulletin board, then as a web message base — since 1991 and its departure makes me profoundly sad.

I met many friends through Crunchland, and a couple of them introduced me to the woman who became my wife. I was known among the regulars as the Crunchland Senior Citizen — the person who had been on the site the longest, having first logged on to the old bulletin board within a couple of months of its inception. I still proudly display my two Crunchland bowling tournament trophies (and my wife has a ‘Most Pins Missed’ trophy as well). The original George Bush was president when I first logged on.

But Crunchland always struggled in the Web era. The ‘real life’ social interaction events and parties that were at the heart of Crunchland faded over time, as the regulars got older, got married, became parents and just moved on with their lives. The end came with no warning, no announcement, no way to contact anyone, just a black screen at the old familiar url.

Crunchland deserved better. When the old computer bulletin board was eliminated, the regulars got together, put the old servers in a pile and set them on fire. We don’t get together any more, though, so a black screen will have to do.


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