It’s time for another old Rantlister Interview!
During my time at Rantlister I made quite a few friends. One of those friends was Kobra, owner of Kobra’s Corner.
I’ll admit, I didn’t really read Kobra’s site as much as I did some of the other List sites like SnipeMe or Arthur’s Hall, and looking back on it I kind of regret that. Kobra was one of those guys that was usually busy with school and his own projects, but when he had time he’d pop in and always have something interesting or cool to add to wherever conversation was going on. Whenever I’d log in to the Rantlister forums and see that there was a new post from Kobra I could be sure it was going to be something good and engaging. Kobra was one of the smartest guys on the site, and I really wish he had had the time to be more active.
Kobra was also a member of the AJnet Forums. His presence there was just as sporadic as his presence on the Rantlister Forums, but just as enjoyable. Kobra’s computer knowledge was second-to-none, and more than once did I find myself going to him asking for help fixing some coding-related issue with the site (this was back in the pre-WordPress days of the site, when I still designed the layouts myself in Adobe Dreamweaver). At one point he helped me set up a chatroom hosted directly on the site’s server, though we ended up going back to using TinyChat because it had webcam and microphone integration. He also introduced me to the miracle that was Zend Studio, a program which allowed me to find and replace lines of code across multiple pages. Any coding questions for the site, I knew I could always shoot Kobra an email or initiate a chat on Gmail and ask for his help. Compared to me, who was only tech-literate enough to take someone else’s code and modify it slightly for my own purposes, Kobra was a computer genius. In fact, Kobra was so smart that he would go on to take part in a hack against a cybersecurity company. It’s not my place to share the details on that one though.
As I reread these interviews, I always kick myself for how dull and generic the questions are. Why, oh why, did I ask everyone the same damn generic questions? This is how I know we had a talented bunch of writers on the List, they always took my shitty and weak questions and managed to give stellar answers that made for fun interviews. But damn, if I could go back in time, I’d have asked way better questions.
This interview with Kobra of Kobra’s Corner was originally posted to Rantlister in February 2011. I’m not sure where he is now or what he’s up to these days, but I hope you’re doing well bud.
This month’s Rantlister Interview features Kobra of Kobra’s Corner. Three months in a row now. Fuck you, apathy.
1. Why did you start writing?
When I was in high school, my extracurricular activities consisted mainly of arguing with stupid people and making fun of anything and everything. Regarding the latter, a friend of mine said, “You’ve got really good ideas, but you REALLY need to work on your delivery.” So I started writing them out on a shitty PHP script over the summer, including crappy MS Paint art in the process. At the time, I figured it would keep me mellow and I wouldn’t act like as much of an asshole on my other website, Kobra’s Realm. Then a few months later, there was a datacenter disaster and I lost everything. Around that time, the bullshit in my life reached an all-time high so I said, “Fuck this, I’m gonna rant about the things that piss me off.” And so Kobra’s Corner was (re)born.
2. How would you describe your site?
The tagline is, “Rants, Editorials, and Other Bullshit,” but despite its origins as just a place to vent my anger in a rational manner, I think of it as more of a catalog of my arguments against socially acceptable stupidity so I can just copy and paste links to forum/chatroom/IM conversations and avoid repeating myself and tripping over my words the second time around. I also have used it as a medium for publishing software algorithms (in both instances these have been denoted by “Tech:” preceding the title), which is only a slight departure from the “X is wrong because Y and fuck you” format of ranting if you consider that writing new software is like saying “this is better than anything you fuckers have suggested.”
3. Have you ever thought about taking your writing to another medium?
I’ve given it serious consideration, but I can’t picture anyone paying me for the kind of writing I enjoy while simultaneously allowing me to have complete creative freedom over my own work. I’ll have to settle for earning my degree in computer engineering and making a buttload of money every year at a kick-ass job.
4. What’s your favorite website, other than your own?
I’m going to have to go with MS Paint Adventures (http://www.mspaintadventures.com) for being consistently entertaining over the past couple of years. Though if you mean rant website, I’d have to say it’s a toss-up between How To Not Suck and Snipe Me.
5. How did you hear about Rantlister?
At one point, my life was boring and unfulfilling so I spent a lot of time typing stupid shit into Google. Eventually I came across Cesspool Messiah and Bob Smash and saw links on both to a rant list. I thought, “These guys are pretty funny, I wonder who else is on this list?” Then like a week later I was a member.
6. Describe your perfect day.
The year is 2021. I have a Ph.D in computer engineering and am a successful billionaire with my own company that I run my way. I wake up next to whomever I’m married to/dating at the time, take a hot shower, eat steak for breakfast, and go to work wearing whatever the hell I feel like. Everyone else in my company arrives at more-or-less the same time I do: 10 am when all the other companies have been at work for an hour, because fuck it, they NEED a head start if they want to try to compete with us, and none of my employees need to deal with the traffic jams their dumb conformity breeds. My 11 o’clock meeting is conducted in the usual fashion: Shoes off, swords drawn, and sake warm for when me and my martial arts master/best friend/business partner reach a resolution. To all the workers in the room, this is the norm. This is how real men broker deals. After all the formalities are concluded, I go into the lab and get to work on whatever project I’m excited about today. There are so many to choose from, and I’m careful not to neglect any. Periodically, my secretary sends researchers and upstart inventors to ask me for funding. On this day, it’s a high school student who wants to develop a nanobot system for medical purposes. He’s asking for ten million. I gaze up from the documents and say, “Sorry, I can’t do ten million. That would be awfully irresponsible. You’re getting twenty.” I then shake his hand, inform the necessary people to release the funds and handle the paperwork, then go back to what I was doing. Around two-thirty, lunch is delivered. It’s chinese today. Fuck yea! At four, I evaluate whether or not we need to stick around for another two hours doing boring shit just for the sake of maintaining a schedule. On this day, I decide to send everyone home to their families. All our work is done. It always is. My people are the best at what they do, because I encourage them to be the best. Only a last-second catastrophe is usually ever cause for delay. On the way home, I pick up some parts for the latest project I’m working on in my home laboratory. I am greeted as I walk through the door by my sensei’s sons. It is a Tuesday, so I spend the next hour teaching them math, physics, and robotics. I generally make it as fun as possible so they actually want to come to my tutoring sessions. Shit fucking blows up. My sensei and his wife come over for dinner. I lost the coin toss against my significant other, so I’m cooking this time, but I don’t mind. We sit around for a couple of hours laughing about various topics of interest and talking about the plans we all have for the immediate future, and generally enjoying the present. His kids spend time playing in the VR gaming room before they all head home for the evening. The rest of the night consists of hot kinky sex and then snoring.
I challenge anyone to make that day any better.
7. Who or what do you hate most?
Above all else, I hate people who act without conscience for the sake of acquiring social acceptance. These are the people who smoke and drink profusely, go to parties just to do drugs and brag about the crimes they’ve committed, work out at the gym after swallowing crates of creatine just so they can build water muscle and intimidate their insecure friends, and try to manipulate others for their own selfish ends. Manipulators piss me off, and I go out of my way to destroy their hold on other people whenever one tries to ensnare me. Serves you right, assholes!
8. Do you read any of the other sites listed at Rantlister?
I actively read How to Not Suck, The Second Best Page in the Universe, and Snipe Me. Beyond that, I scroll through Rantlister looking for interesting headlines when I feel like reading something. I think I’ve read a fair bit of Angry Jerk, Arthur’s Hall, Bob Smash, Jesus And Beer, and Golden Literature that way. I recommend all of them. Whenever they don’t make a good point, they’re usually being sarcastic.
9. Being a ranter, it is almost inevitable that you have been compared to Maddox from “The Best Page in the Universe” or accused of ripping him off at some point. What is your opinion of Maddox and his website, and your response to people who compare the two of you?
I like Maddox. He’s pretty consistently answered my emails (the most recent: I submitted to him a recipe for a “strongboli” which consists of cooking a london boil steak and filling it with beef jerky and whatever else you want; he recommended a bed of onions, raw or sauteed in whiskey). I’m not sure if that’s because I don’t ask him mind-dumbingly dull questions, or if he has received a lot less email after his website became less popular due to inactivity. From what I can tell, he’s an intelligent and laid back guy who likes to laugh at people for failing at everything they do.
When people compare me to Maddox, I typically just say, “So you mean to tell me if two people write similar, one is necessarily copying the other?” If I’m a Maddox ripoff, it wouldn’t be too far off to say Maddox is ripping off George Carlin, Sam Kinison, Johnathan Swift, and a plethora of men who have used varying degrees of ire and irony to get their point across to people with varying degrees of dumbassery?
Personally, I think this whole “Maddox ripoff” witch hunt began as a result of this article. His fans are constantly on the lookout for people who plagiarize his writing. Anybody who plagiarizes Maddox who is visible enough to get caught by his fans has most likely already been caught. Consequently, they look at us desperate for that chemical release from the reward center of their brain, and half-assedly decide that we’re stealing from Maddox just so they can feel like they succeeded in finding one. I think their time would be better spent masturbating to furry porn.
They really ought to read the part that says, “I’ve had people bring the plagiarism to my attention, and it’s usually just someone with a personal site who had the email forwarded to them and they didn’t bother checking the source. What really pisses me off though is when commercial sites that sell advertisements post my material. They’re essentially making a profit off of my hard work.” Even if we were ripping Maddox off, he doesn’t really care; neither should you.
10. Picture yourself being given unlimited and unconstrained authority over the United States. What are some of the main things would you change?
First and foremost, all of the ports on American soil are now America’s again. Tariffs would increase across the board until our economic depression ends. I would give all of the American companies that have “globalized” by manufacturing in other countries an ultimatum: Shut down their overseas industrial operations and support centers and start them back up in America, or I will seize all of your assets and charge everyone in your company with treason and conspiracy to weaken the economic foundation of our country. Then I would tax the churches and cut all funding to faith-based initiatives (including abstinence-only bullshit). The money from that will then be used to fund science, education, and venture capital for young inventors. Put that all together and what do you have? A country that exports more than it imports, actually makes money (thus reducing the deficit), doesn’t waste resources on religion, and constantly invests in the future instead of borrowing from it. Then I would work run chkdsk on Congress.
11. How often do you receive fan mail?
On average? About one per week. When one page gets a sudden spurt of popularity (thanks StumbleUpon), I generally get two to five in a day.
12. Favorite musicians?
Maynard James Keenan is probably the only musician I know by name, besides my brother (who does rap music and is not very well known). I think I mentioned the bands I listen to at some point a couple of years back, but I can’t be assed to dig up a link to it.
13. What made you choose the name “Kobra”?
Way back, before I even started middle school, I used to do chatroom roleplaying under the name “Comet.” Then I decided that was kinda tacky and didn’t really like it, so I pulled the name “Kobra” out of pretty much nowhere and began using that as my online identity. If I had a psychologist, they would probably be able to tell you why. Kinda anticlimactic, now that I think about it.
14. Why don’t you update more?
Because everything that needs to be said about everyday life has already been said, I think repeating myself is a dumb and irritating waste of time, and I rarely encounter something I think deserves mentioning on Kobra’s Corner.