Twenty years ago today, I opened this account on the VWVortex forums (I had lost two previous screen names to server crashes in May of 1998 and August of 1999, but I didn't post much at all, mostly in the Mk3 forums). I was twenty-five years old. In the time since, I've gone through two dogs, five states, a marriage, and twenty-seven cars (including two Miata's and three BMW's, now up to 55 vehicles total, I think). Santana's 'Smooth' was number one on the radio (remember radios?), Toy Story 2 had just come out a week before at Thanksgiving and was number one at the box office, and as my office's network administrator I was up to my nuts in Y2K software patches. There was no Car Lounge yet, and there were only about five thousand users (I believe this username is member number 5,051 - in the summer of '98, I don't think there were much more than a thousand).

This is what I had in 1999, a '98 Jetta GL five speed, my fifth Volkswagen to that date (of what would total eight as of 2019).



And this is what I have now, twenty years later, a 2011 Nissan Leaf and a 1993 Suzuki Cappuccino:





(The 356 is not mine, sadly)

A lot has changed since then - automotive fandom, cars themselves, online communities, technology in general. I've met some lifelong friends on here, a couple of whom I consider my very best. It's an odd little corner of the internet who's time has probably passed long ago. Interesting what turns are taken, how things run their course.

In closing, I leave you with two pieces of advice, having learned from two decades of arguing with people on the internet:

1. Be nice.

2. BAN HAWC.