Since returning to Ciao several weeks ago after a nine month absence, I’ve had re-organize my COT again and sadly have had to take people off that have not been active in awhile. For me, it is a difficult thing to do because, first off, I never don’t know for sure if they are gone for good; however, it’s frankly rather sad for me because there are some people I have built a genuine respect for and even became friends with them. I’m sure most of you have gone through the same thing here on Ciao, maybe even several times; while skimming through the old list I had of people that trusted me in the first two years or so of joining Ciao, I was struck by how many people I missed who left for reasons known or unknown. Most of all, I just miss their reviews, as they were all fine writers, and I always looked forward to what they were going to write on next.
At any rate, I recently got this idea to create a Ciao Café op where I would list those members that I had forged a special connection with though who are now long since gone (or, as I like to call, “abandoned” members); granted, looking at their guestbooks I kind of gotten the feeling they might have come in for a day or two at one point, though they have not written reviews since 2005 and earlier. I’ve been a Ciao member for 4 years and it’s just amazing when you realize how many people come and go…even though that’s the way in real life also.
Another reason I’m writing this op is because I’m hoping that this will----in some way---inspire them to return. I’m not sure how many or which of these members you all remember, though I’m sure there is a few. I’m sure that all of them have their reasons for leaving, and I surely do respect those reasons and also if they choose not to return. However, I want to celebrate their history on Ciao and explain how they made a difference in my life on this great website; in other words, I would like to honor them and let them know they are greatly missed by many people, including me. I have limited this list to the 10 that I miss the most, even though they are many others I miss as well, and I will list them now; please feel free to check them all out and read some of their wonderful reviews.
Buenosdias --- This awesome guy disappeared back in 2004; he was great writer and always had something respectful to say. carminator --- Another fine writer who left at a point where he was at the top of her game: having a Diamond and also having an overall Exceptional review.
Critchyboy --- We both joined at the same time and remained buddies for 2 years, at which he left for unknown reasons. damncoldnightdotnet --- I got to read some of her reviews just before she left; her last one, on which detailed her ordeal on getting a tooth extracted, was chilling to read.
DarkMark --- We both joined Ciao at the same time soon, and we became buddies mostly because we both watched and wrote about movies, and we agreed on most of them.
ElizaF --- Elizabeth Fiennes I met in October of 2003 after a 6 month absence, and she became one of the first people to add me to their COT; a wonderful writer, too.
Emma1973 --- I actually met her when we went to a Ciao Meet in 2004; we even drove there together…awesome girl!
herby30 --- This person was really my unofficial Ciao mentor, who taught me everything about the site when I originally joined in March of 2003.
Kelmisty --- Still remains the very first member to put me in their COT, and I always looked forward to her reviews.
LR17 --- Leila was one of my favorites who hasn’t a review in 2 years…to the day in fact!
L. Yeomans --- One of the very first members I got to really know, she left mysteriously shortly after having her 2nd child.
NataliePhelan --- She left shortly after acquiring her 2nd degree, liked her writing as well.
pinkprincesskt --- I may be wong here, but Katie very well have written the first review I ever commented on; she returned briefly in 2004, but has been silent since.
ruth_cole --- Despite the Ciao name, her actual name is Alex, and she was a very talented creative writer. Hope she comes back sometime.
Soph. E --- One of those few that I have a feeling will never return, since she hasn’t logged in for over 3 years; we met in October of 2003 and became
fast friends, and enjoyed each other’s writing.
SophieWehr --- Another writer I met in 2003 when I first joined who I got to know quite well; liked her writing very much too.
Wearsidelass --- Julia was another fine writer that I lost track of somewhere along the line.
****************************************************************** TOP TEN CIAO WRITERS I MISS DEARLY ******************************************************************
10) Zoe --- One of the many writers I forged a connection because of our love for movies, this member has won several diamonds (4 in all), including one for a truly impressive review of SPIDER-MAN 2 shortly after it was released in the summer of 2004. A native of Nottingham, Zoe has remained missing in action for over 2 years; ironically, she won a diamond for her last op, which was on THE LIFE AQUATIC WITH STEVE ZISSOU. Her style was very much different than mine and, if anything, I did everything I could not to emulate her, as she was such a damn good writer.
9) Ryan74 --- Reportedly, Ryan left Ciao because he was making significant progress with his journalism career, and I haven’t heard from in 18 months; he was one of the first people I ever put in my COT on Ciao, naturally because I liked his reviews on music. Ryan wrote on every genre of music, and some of my favorite reviews by him are on Green Day’s “American Idiot,” “The Best of Stevie Wonder,” and Abba’s “Definite Collection.” His reviews on the “X-Factor” and the film ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO’S NEST garnered him diamonds; another fine writer who sadly has disappeared, though I wouldn’t be surprised if he is writing for some British music magazine now.
8) mizzjasmine --- I met Jasmine by means of another Ciao member (jamesmonkey4u), who she lovingly referred to as her Kenicki; you guessed it, we have a GREASE fan here. We hit it off immediately, and would talk for endless hours on end sometimes. Despite the fact that she has only written 13 reviews, she has also won a couple of Diamonds, on reviews that talked about Eucryl Smokers Toothpowder (“Eucryl Dazzle and Delight”) and Derbac (“Prioderm V Derbac: A Fight To The Death for Lice”). Sadly, she also has not been heard from in so long, and I hope she does return sometime to write another op or two, or just to chill out and chat.
7) Kirsty1 --- A truly passionate writer, Kirsty joined Ciao in May of 2002, and started writing reviews on a wide variety of subjects, making it completely unpredictable what she would write on next. She is also the winner of 7 Ciao diamonds; among all the reviews that Kirsty wrote, the ones I loved and admired most were her ones on classic literature, especially on works that I didn’t care about when I first read them---yet Kirsty was so influential in her writing style that she made me look at these written works in a different light. Some of my favorites include her reviews on Tom Stoppard’s “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead,” “The World According to Garp,” by John Irving, “A Clockwork Orange” by Anthony Burgess, “The Virgin Suicides” by Jeffrey Eugenides, “The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Shakespeare’s “As You Like It.” My absolute favorite though is her Diamond-winning “Is Beauty Truth?” on Virginia Woolf’s “Mrs. Dalloway”; I was just getting into Woolf at the time, and her review drove me to buy the book and read it. One of her best was also her final review, which was on Kurt Vonnegut’s “Slaughterhouse-Five,”; if anything, I’m sure if Vonnegut himself---who died only a few weeks ago--- had read the piece, he would have been proud.
6) OKkaraoke --- Her real name was Becky, and she was a fellow writer who loved films as much as I do, and I embraced her writing as being so observed and persuasive; I must stipulate that Becky may very well be the only Ciao member to have not only won a Diamond for her very first review but also win Diamonds back to back…for February and March of 2004 (she has won 4 in all). My personal favorites among her ops though include “Sex, Drugs, Mick Jagger, and Coats of Androgyny” (still the best review I’ve ever read on the 1970 film PERFORMANCE), “I’m Afraid of America --- They All Own Guns” (the first review I’ve read on BOWLING FOR COLUMBINE, and it drove me to watch the film and even write a review on it recently), and “Make Some Cash You’ll Never See,” in which she emphasizes beautifully how superior Ciao is to www.epinions.com (I didn’t see anything in the latter website either). Of course, there is also her review on her favorite film, the 1965 psychological thriller BUNNY LAKE IS MISSING; after reading it, I made it my mission to track down the film---I loved it…bizarre, original, and genuinely creepy. The last time I heard from her was a particular pleasure: it was a comment that she left on my review of the 10 Best Films of 2004. My title was “I’m Sure Hilary Swank Would Love To Knock Bush Out,” and she submitted to that, and included a picture of her and Hilary together with Chad Lowe, Swank’s then husband. I miss Becky now dearly, and hope she does return some day, though it doesn’t seem like it now.
5) Pumpkin --- Known more to her fellow Ciao readers as Hannah, I will reveal now for the first time that I had a actually had a small crush on her…not only because she was drop dead gorgeous, but also for the fact that she was a fantastic, talented writer who wrote a cornucopia of excellent reviews; like Kirsty1, she also won 7 Diamonds, on reviews discussing everything from Tesco Sundried Tomatoes to VW Polo GTIs to Moisturizing Body Wash to Carmex Lip Balm. Oddly enough, I was the only one that gave her an E rating for her review of Las Vegas entitled “VIVA…VIVA…!”---and she later won a Diamond for it! Some of the first reviews I read from her were on Ciao in general, as well as on Harry Potter books (she was quite a fan). In addition, she also wrote her fair share on movies that I liked, particularly on MONSTER, MULHOLLAND DRIVE, and MURIEL’S WEDDING---all of which I wrote reviews on too! What I will never forget is her MONSTER op, which inspired me to watch the film and wrote my own review on it one month later; she gave me an E and left me this comment: “An exceptional review of an exceptional film. I love the way you’ve used lines from Don’t Stop Believin’ (one of my favorite songs ever, despite the fact it wasn’t a big hit in the UK) to section your review. Fantastic stuff!” Yes, Hannah was the ONLY reader who actually pinpointed out that device I used. One more thing: she joined Ciao 5 years ago today!!!
4) 29th_Candidate --- Now, this guy…oh, shit, he is without a doubt the funniest, most clever, and most controversial member I’ve ever met on Ciao; in addition, ask any of the female members who remember him and they will say that he was really hot too, lol. His name is Jim, and he actually hails from Hollywood, California; his reviews are often sardonic and gaspingly hilarious, as in “To The World’s Breasts From Their Handling Attorney,” an essay he wrote in 2003 that could have easily been a one-joke piece, but he wrote it in such a way that people wouldn’t find it offensive and it was just so original. There is also his unforgettable “These Celebrities Render Ipecac Superfluous,” in which he bashes annoying celebrities, and puts them in categories such as “painful rectal itches” and “pathetic emetics”; what shocked me was his #1 (all six “Friends”), though I agreed with it completely too. When it comes to Jim though, this is what I will never forget: several years ago, there was “The Ciao Soap Opera,” in which a different member would write an episode in an ongoing saga which had soap opera elements. I wrote episode 12, in which had the clever touch of commercials (which many people found hilarious), because I wanted to add some deadpan humor to it so that those that don’t like Soaps in general would be amused. However, Jim’s episode (#14) was so funny and inventive that it bordered on satire; he even invented his own language (“Jimspeak” you could say, lol) which brought the Ciao soap to a level nobody expected---and people loved it, including me. Hey, anyone that makes fun of sailors as he did gets my complete respect…I was a sailor myself, so I can relate. I know I’m not the only one out there who misses Jim and his ingenious, riotous writing; if I may be so bold, even though he never won a Diamond, I think many of his reviews were truly groundbreaking.
3) jillmurphy --- I’m sure most, if not all, of you have read a review from this brilliant writer, and I think she is now become legend when it comes to Ciao; she mysteriously disappeared sometime in 2005, and now she is perhaps missed by more Ciao members than any other.
Pictures of Internet relationships
29th_Candidate (aka Jim)
One of the first members to join Ciao when the website was founded in 2000, she was extraordinarily active and served as a source of assistance for newbies in particular---including me. She was also a magnificent writer, winning an unheard-of 16 diamonds (a record that remains unbroken I believe) and even won Best Ciao Writer Award in 2003 and the Life Achievement Award in 2004. However, what I admire about her the most is for being so supportive with her advice and encouragement; she had the ability to give you initiative with anything, not just writing. On top of that, she was just so happy and sweet, and I know she did love this website with all her heart; so, Jill, wherever you are, thank you for everything…you will always be missed!2) Lancashire_Angel --- Her name is Sharron, and she really was a wonderful person (I’m sure she still is) in addition to being a wonderful writer (which I’m also sure she still is); reportedly she has a website out there on crystals and angels, though she hasn’t returned to Ciao for what seems forever (a bit over 2 years I believe). She did win one Diamond, for her exquisite review on Zante, Greece, though I still think her best reviews are the ones on the Red Hot Chili Peppers…we both shared an obsession for them, and they still remain my favorite band of all time. Sharron wrote on a variety of subjects, however, and I loved her poetry (“Poetry From The Angel Archive, Parts I and II), as well as her Ciao Café ops as well. Above all, she seriously touched and moved me when she poignantly mentioned me in her COT Introduction op (“An A to Zee of my C O Tee!”): “At Christmas, in my long hours plonked before my PC Ciao’ing away the day, I “met” a cracking writer with a big personality by the name of EVE6KICKSASS who had read and left lovely comments on some of my writing and added me to his COT. He specializes in film reviews and they were like none I’d read before, very original and fresh---hence my COT beckoned, as I love my films as well.” Needless to say, we chatted a lot when we were online together, and had a truly special respect for each other as writers; man, I miss her so much.
1) Lil_Miss_Pink --- Since I joined Ciao, I have forged so many friendships with many fellow writers, and one of the many lovely people among that long list is the jovial, lovable, precious, cute, and charming Samantha, and she is probably the one I formed the closest friendship with within my first 2 years of writing for Ciao. We kept in touch pretty much constantly until the beginning of 2006, when I was on a deployment to the Mediterranean Ocean, and she moved down to Australia for an unknown period of time, and then we lost track; losing her email address was more than a disappointment, believe me. Samantha joined Ciao in January of 2004, and I was one of the first people to read her reviews and comment on them, and she was eternally grateful for my kindness in allowing her to warm up to the website and keep on writing. She loved my writing as much as I loved hers, and we would spend some nights just chatting in our guestbooks about so many different things, such as our love for Australia and films in general. I don’t know what else to say, except that I miss her probably than anyone else who I have met on Ciao, and I would give anything to just to chat with her again and read her reviews. Plus, who could ever forget her “flowers” that she used to put in everyone’s guestbooks; those who remember know exactly what I’m talking about.
In closing, I just want to say that every single one of these member’s profiles remain open to this day, and I go back to them every now and then to see if they have ever returned, as well as for nostalgic purposes, as I miss all of them; I just hope that Ciao never removes them for being inactive for so long now. If any of you want to read any of these member’s reviews that I have a mentioned, a good majority of them are in my Favorites list. One last time, I want to say that if any of these members return to Ciao and read this, I hope they realize how much they are missed on this great website; plus, it would be awesome if they would return with a review or two and become active again. Thank you ever so much for reading this review about the Ciao members who I miss dearly, and please feel free to comment on this op with remembrances, memories, or anything else on these wonderful people. Take care and stay safe!
Awww, that is such a great idea, and so kindly written, you ol' softy you!! Actually it was brilliant for me to read because so many of the names on here are the ones I immediately checked up on to see if they were still around, only to be disappointed. Still, maybe they will reappear out of the blue one day :o) Kirstyx
Lancashire_Angel 14.04.2009 22:59
You just made me cry! I'm so sorry I disappeared. I think life just gets totally in the way sometimes. I'm really, really touched, my friend.
I rated this "E" because it IS exceptionally helpful to newer members who might enjoy reading some of the writing by some of the people on your list. I'm sad to see a few of those names up there, I was hoping to find lots of people I still knew when I stumbled upon Ciao and it all came flooding back the other day. But anyway, thank you so much. It was lovely to come back and find this. LA xxx
29th_Candidate 28.10.2007 08:13
Hey, Chris! I know a bunch of those Ciao M.I.A.s. They're all up in Ciao heaven. I'm the only one of the group who ended up in Ciao hell (my ops were all deemed devoid of any consumerly-helpful redeeming value), so I don't get to see them too often. Damn, you write the nicest requiems. I wish I could disappear twice just so you'd write another one. I didn't imagine anybody would even notice the consumer-advisement vacuum left in the wake of li'l ol' 29th's impromptu Ciao sabbatical, as I neglected to throw a going-away party to commemorate the event. /// Normally, I could only award a review that has the effrontery to endorse a ne'er-do-well scoundrel like myself, an SH at best, but your 29th tribute was so accurate, objective, factual, and spot-on true, that common decency and fairness compel me to award it an E. I had no idea you were such a keen and astute connoisseur of consumerlicious reviewmanship. What fine, fine work. I'm going to petition Ciao hell for a temporary leave of absence so that I might squeeze out a Ciao review or two. Thank you much for the kind words, C-dawg. --29th