Way back in 1996 I had a second job at Consumers Distributing, a Canadain catalog retailer, and I was putting some dolls away in the toy aisle of the warehouse and I noticed they had a rather strange name, "Sailor Moon".
Then one day I noticed this show on TV by the same name so I was intruiged enough to check it out. The first episode of Sailor Moon I watched was "Ice Princess", needless to say I found it so hilarious that I was now hooked. ^_^
This adiction, er, um, interest took off as I taped every epsiode I could off of YTV and started looking around for Sailor Moon stuff.
Then sometime after I had amased a collection of all 65 eps. someone let me use the internet on their computer for an hour or so and I decided to use it to do a search on Sailor Moon. I stumbled onto the SM FAQ at which point I discovered that there were many more epsiodes of the Japanese version that hadn't been brought over here.
I had the chance to buy a 486 cheap when Consumers Distributing closed so I bought it and used it to get on the internet. I figured that with so many more episodes in Japan there must be someone like me over there who had been taping them all like I had and I could maybe get them to make me copies. So once I was online I headed straight to the usenet group alt.fan.sailor-moon and started reading it religiously every day. (I had done a bit of research about the internet by reading books and local BBSes on my 300 baud modem and C-64 before I got on so I knew where to look for stuff. ^_-) Then I started to discover a few things...
In December of 1996 a man in Vancouver posted in the NG that he had accidentally recorded over his daughter's favourite epsosde of SM and gave a description of what he needed. I E-mailed him and helped him figure out that the epside he needed was "A Curried Favour" so I told him to put together a list of 4 other epsides he wanted and I'd make him a tape with all 5 eps. for $10 and mail it to him. This was the beginning of something big.
From reading the Newsgroup I discovered that SM had in most parts of the U.S. ran once then disappeared leaving a huge number of American fans disapointed and wanting to get their favourite episodes on tape. Since I originally went on the internet looking for help I felt that I should help in the same way so I put together a list of ordering instructions with my episode list.
This list was put up into my then dial up provider's member web space as a text file early in 1997 and was eventually made into an HTML document. This web space started with the URL http://www.autobahn.mb.ca/~glenap/ later they migrated user's web pages onto a separate server so the URL beginning changed to http://members.autobahn.mb.ca/~glenap/ the old URLs continued to work for as long as the members server was up because the ISP's main server gave a 302 redirect. They didn't really explain this to members with any kind of notification so I didn't figure this out until many years after they made the change. Their main server still gives the 302 redirect to this day (Jan. 1/2013), except it now redirects to nowhere. -_- Autobahn Access Corporation no longer offers services under their domain name but leaves _their_ homepage up, I'm guessing to monitize with ads.
I also discovered fansubs, a man in Alberta named Val Lam was at that time offering the 3 SM Movies and starting to subtitle both SMR and SMSS. So I started ordering these from him.
Eventually I noticed when making up tapes of all 65 dubbed eps. for people there was room for a few more eps. At this pooint I asked Val if it was O.K. to also copy his eps. this way I could totally fill out a tape and said yes. (I later found out that this kind of re-distributing is normal with fansubs.)
Eventually after I figured out that the Cantonese dubbed eps. I'd bought in downtown Winnipeg were bootlegged and how much legit ones cost I decided to add this to my distribution listings. So I now had 1 1/2 seasons dubbed, the end of the second season subtitled by VKLL, and the 3rd season in Cantonese as well as a few odd French eps. I had taped off CFTM Montreal which I got on cable here.
Then in the fall of 1997 2 big things happened. The first is that the remainder of the second season of SM was dubbed and aired on TV here in Canada but the U.S. wasn't getting it. Suddenly a huge number of American fans were coming to me for these. The other thing that happened was that annother fansub group known as Studio Chikashitsu formed to fansub the first season and a half that VKLL wasn't doing. but they weren't going to distribute directly and insted select a few official distros who they would make masters for. Since I would be re-copying anyways I asked if I could be one of the distros to keep up the quality I sent out. Steve who ran the group said they only wanted to master in SVHS for quality reasons so he asked if I had a SVHS deck. I told him I'd buy one and the deal was done. ^_^
At the same time I was checking out other shows like Fushigi Yuugi (this was long before Pioneer picked it up and it was still in the course of being fansubbed) for my own viewing. In the summer of 1998 when the Sailor Moon rush was dying down a little bit (or maybe just the equipment I was adding was finally catching up with demand ^_-) I decided to start adding other stuff starting with Fushigi Yuugi. The Tomadachi Anime page specifically mentioned other people re-distributing their work so I figured there was no need to specifically ask this time.
The 3rd series I added was Magic Knights Rayearth. At this point I started my non-Sailor Moon listings page. Of course I gave detailed descriptions of each show not realizing how many shows I would eventually add. So now you know why my page got so darned long. ^_- (I still have to add the descriptions back to the migrated web site. ^_-)
During this period I was checking E-mail using the somewhat more cumbersome webmail. Basically by the time I was done deleting all the spam I was too tired to reply to anyone so only a few very persistant people got replied to and even that took a seriously long time.
It wasn't until the closure of my original dial up ISP was announced that I pretty much had to give up on recovering the old hard drive and install Eudora on my current computer and download all the old E-mails before the mail server was taken offline. (I was fortunate that the final operator of Autobah Access dial up gave adaquate warning.)
Basically my current set up is I have 2 instances of Eudora on my main computer, one with the legacy E-mail I downloaded which also captures my E-mail from prairie.ca who is now handling E-mail for the Autobahn domain, the other a slightly newer version of Eudora capturing E-mail from my own domains that is now handled by EasyDNS. (Previously E-mail from my own domains was forwarded to the Autobahn address so all E-mail up until the end of 2011 is collected in my legacy mailbox.)
I am now responding to new E-mails relatively quickly (mostly within a week or two) and slowly slogging my way through about a decade of legacy mail getting back to people. Eventually I should get it all done.
So this is why the obsolete web page hung there for years on end and I wasn't able to put my AIM contact on the Autobahn pages which would have made me more reachable.
I noticed everytime I tried putting my URL in starting with www.autobahn.mb.ca/~glenap/ it would get changed to members.autobahn.mb.ca/~glenap/ (I later learned this was called a 302 redirect), since it worked either way I never gave it much thought initially. Eventually I figured out this probably meant they moved member pages to a separate server (because of the different host name) but put in the re-direct so the URLs would work the old way.
What this means is I was trying to FTP into www.autobahn.mb.ca (the way I was originally instructed to and had always worked before) when I should now be FTPing into members.autobahn.mb.ca and that's why it wasn't working. It would have been nice if Autobahn Access (which at that time was still being operated by it's original owners) had sent out an E-mail to advise members of the change. -_-
Point being I was fortunate to have figured this out shortly before the Nairn RPO shut down and my old PO Box disappeared.
When the Nairn RPO closed and my old PO Box there was being discontinued I realized there was way too much old info on the Autobanh site. (Which would now include the mailing address.) So to deal with this and avoid the risk of people trying to mail orders to a no longer existing mailing address I finally implimented the move to migrate everything on my web site that was fansubs related into the fansubs.ca domain and put up my new mailing address.
I had previously considered movings my fansubs content into the fansubs.ca domain but held off because I figured a professionaly run server would have better uptime than my personal web server and most of the content wasn't that bulky. The trade off at the time was Autobahn's server was more reliable than my NT box but the NT box had more space than I had on Autobahn's server. So I originally just used the NT box for my bulkier web pages. However by this point the Autobahn members server was already a bit on and off. So since I'd previously had trouble making changes it was time to bring everything fansubs related onto my own domain and server.
At the same time I was moving fansub related content from Autobahn to fansubs.ca I also moved any fansub related content I had on moonie.ca into the fansubs.ca domain and put up re-directors on the old moonie.ca URLs in order to be consistant. It had been spread around as the "core" information needed to order was on Autobahn but the bulky content like downloadable cases and labels had been historically kept on moonie.ca
Originally the fansubs.ca domain name was registered in late 2001 before a major local event so I'd have something shorter to give out to locals than the big long Autobahn URL. When it was new the domain's top page simply consisted of a series of links back to my Autobahn site.
From this point I started taking orders again on a case by case basis from people that contacted me by AIM. (This occured a few years before I got my e-mail sorted out.)
At the same time I moved all the other content I had on Autobahn's web server that wasn't fansub related into my other domain moonie.ca The main driver of this was that by this point I'd noticed the Autobahn member server was more and more often offline. It would come back but the outages were exceeding what would happen on my own server on average. So since I was making changes anyways I might as well migrate everything over and put up re-directors.
This turned out to be good timing as I had everything moved over and re-directors to my 2 domains on my NT Box a few years before the old URLs became unavailable due to the closure of Autobahn Access.
Although the closure of Autobahn Access has lead to link rot all over the web the good side is that it gave me the kick in the butt I needed to get my E-mail back under control so I'm a little more reachable now. ^_-
I've been gradualy adding content back at fansubs.ca site since then. ChibiBoi has been both helpfull (label designs and new fansubs) and motivating (getting tapes for himself, after all I do this because people want tapes! ^_-) in this process.
Unfortunatley I had an order from Singapore for tapes in PAL format which was being problematic. I had a tape that wasn't recording properly so I thought it was the recording mechanism going in the Aiwa deck. So I thought I'd buy a new PAL deck that didn't have converting capabilities, use the converting part of the Aiwa deck and make his tapes that way. (It was a lot cheaper than a converting deck.) It wasn't until it arrived that I found the probelm wasn't in the recording mechanism but it was in the conversion feature of the Aiwa deck. -_-
I figured I'd think through what I should do at this point, then before I really got money together for equipment or figured out how I was going to handle it I got distracted with other things part of which was the job I was in at the time. Since my E-mail was disfunctional and I'd often go months of not getting to check it because I broke the habit of checking it I'd not been as communicative with him as I should have been.
Eventually when I was changing P.O. Boxes I realized by that point there was no way I'd ever get PAL capability running again so I dug through the still messy E-mail pile found my Singapore person's E-mails and contacted them back to arrange sending their money back to them. They no longer had the same E-mail address so I send off a snail letter, they got back to me from their new E-mail address and after a few verification steps I sent them their money back.
It was during the period where this order was in limbo that I had been non-responsive to even postal mail.
I didn't really want to get into new orders until I sorted this one out but of course since I didn't have control of my Autobahn member webspace (or at least didn't think I had) I couldn't put up a closed notice.
The few letters that came in during this time I set aside as I didn't want to cash their checks when delivery date would be highly uncertain or even communication with me iffy. I figured I'd contact them after the Singapore order was sorted out to see if they still wanted their order at this point. Unfortunately that took way longer than I initially intended. -_-
I'm now opening these letters and going through them now contacting people asking if they still want their tapes or if I should mail their checks back so they aren't "floating" out there. To this group I appologize.
The other downside of this job was we had a manger who on the side was in a rock band and he was one of those "copyright nazis" and all his crap pratling on about how "you shouldn't copy stuff" really contributed to sucking the life out of me. Fansubs had always been something I'd had enthusiasm for and being around this guy was really killing the enthusiasm.
My current job is at least not so "all absorbing" so I've been able to re-build things here at fansubs.ca.
I've learned a few things about letting stuff get away from me so I shouldn't repeat any of these mistakes again.
The case and label archive will remain online as well.