The reasoning behind the blackout

Now that the MCCH is back up and running again, I thought it would be good to highlight the case for Adminstor’s (God donut, auto cucumber) reasoning behind The Gathering close down.
This is a little long in length – my thoughts are noted below the main text in bold and italics. It was placed on the MCCH as a holding page to the forums prior to the magical re-instatement of them.

Originally Posted by Mark Curtis, Senior Administrator @ MCCH 
Saturday Evening, July 21, 2012 

Dear Friends- 

Well Howdy! My, but my ears are burning! 

It is not like I have much to do this weekend, so when asked if the database that runs the forums could be turned off to facilitate an update to the server, I agreed. It cannot be active during an update, or the database goes wonky. Becca is working on some of the development pages. We are finding a solution for getting the Pat’s box site back up. Well, I tried to patch and upgrade the vBulletin, and I really messed it up. Good thing there is a backup. It was also complicated by my required jury duty this week.

KD: Greetings Adminstor (God dount, auto cucumber). Thanks for letting us know, it just puzzles me – of all the days in the year you had to do this, it is done on the Friday of the Gathering and restored on the Monday after the Gathering had finished. Amazing co-incidence I think.

Yes, I also did not really want to see what I was missing with all my friends there in Albuquerque .

KD: So are you saying that you timed this to happen with the Gathering then?

When Keith Borden and I started planning the first Matchbox Collectors’ Community International Gathering of Friends From Around the World in late 2001, it was not meant to be a convention. It was simply a gathering of friends who had not had the chance to meet each other, and a dinner party with which to meet. Kind of like the Scots returning to the family and homelands for a festival. I really wanted to avoid the “Hot Wheels – Strauss” events, which seemed more of a grab for money. I was talking with Jim, and he said we could meet in Albuquerque and have a dinner. Then he could put together a toy show on that Sunday… Well, it happened. From that seed grew an event with which I was proud to be a host, along with Jim. 

All I really wanted was to obtain funding for the MCCH. Yes, it was an ego boost too, being associated with the most successful Matchbox event in the USA . It was a good time. Loads of friends and an overload of Matchbox. It went on with an informal agreement between Jim and I, with Jim being the promoter. “This is my donation to the MCCH to help it continue.” It has to be so to facilitate business licenses, permits, insurance, taxes, contracts, and all that. 

I was happy to let Jim use his talents to do this. He was happy to ensure the MCCH was funded. It got more involved and expensive. He has a substantial investment in making it happen.

Indeed, in 2009 I grew ill and had some various health issues. Jim and Shaun and the whole bunch there took up the slack. I simply could not function, and Jim and his folks made the MCCH International Gathering of Friends happen. Looking back, There are entire blocks of time I do not remember in 2009 and 2010. In fact, while photographing the items for the 2009 Gathering auction, my wife found me incoherent, wandering around the neighborhood, camera in hand. She asked me what I was doing, and I did not know. To this day, she says it was one of the most frightening things she has seen. I do not remember it. I survived and have some permanent long term organ damage from the entire ordeal, but I am doing far better.

KD: If this indeed is true, I am glad you have recovered.

With a management issue, came conflict. I could see it brewing long before it happened. Many people I talked with expressed reluctance to return last year. There was an undercurrent of problems I promised to change for this year. Then, Matchbox made a major turn of focus in the line, and that became a distraction. The Moderators and Administrators worked overtime trying to keep a positive, welcoming site, without bashing and mean-spirited posts that really got personal to those who make the toy line what it is. 

KD: Er, what are you referring to
Adminstor (God dount, auto cucumber). Please give examples.

I acted to make known that though people could criticize what they did not like, they could not make it mean and personal.

KD: Ah-ha – so you are referring to the disappointment of the Matchbox line that had changed direction in 2012. Because in 2011, everyone was really happy with the way things were going with the 1-75 range.

There were few that sought to drive a stake into the collector world

KD: Like who? Oh, you mean me and a few others do you
Adminstor (God dount, auto cucumber)?
All that was wanted were open and honest answers – after the success of 2011, there was a sudden change in direction for no logical reason – if it ain’t broke, don’t fix –

Only through the conversation I have had with others had it now been advised that the fault was really with the bean counters at Mattel rather than the design team who wanted to put out a decent range but were shackled to do so.

No one was trying to cause a rift – but why are there so many happy, happy people on the MCCH who refused to acknowledge the failure of the 2012 range – especially when Mattel made it clear they weren’t interested in the MCCH anymore.

through their (still continuing) diatribes.

KD: I will continue to blog about this episode so that it is documented for all to see. You do not have the ability to ban me anymore from participating in your realm – so I will express my opinion through this medium and other diecast forums.

They actually succeeded to a great degree. The Moderators and Administrators excised them from the MCCH. They got ever more personal.

KD: Personal to who Adminstor (God dount, auto cucumber)? Geez, that HW FocusRS post must have really pissed you off. And it was a good debate before you stepped your fat arse into the ring –

To put it bluntly, Jim decided to require that people who were enjoined from membership at the MCCH (who were dropped long before the whole melee described above) be allowed to rejoin the MCCH.

KD: Jim was trying to do the right thing Numbnuts.

They could return to wreak havoc, without any promise to anyone but Jim, to be polite and follow the long-standing site rules.

KD: and what gives to whole hearted evidence of this – are you telling me that some were deliberately there to cause a shit storm? Far from it – those that were perceived as trouble makers were challenging the masses – why should everyone conform and sing from the same hymn book ? Why did members have to tow the line and be supressed in their opinions?

The Moderators and Administrators did not desire to go along with Jim’s insistence upon allowing them to rejoin, and stated so in an area of Moderator discussion where the public does not have access. Jim even said he would go along with the opinions of the many.

Suffice it to say that I considered the arguments, and sided with the Moderating group of the MCCH. Jim harassed me by phone and email all weekend, and then we spoke on Monday night. Maybe I should have taken his 73 calls all Saturday and Sunday. When we talked, he was furious. He called me a liar and that he had taken careful notes of what I said. Whatever he thought I said, we were not allowing purposefully divisive persons to return to the MCCH. He said “I threw him under the bus.” I did not. Whatever he thought he heard through endless rewording of his argument, was never assent to his demands.

Our last spoken words were me listening to Jim, and understanding very clearly that I would not be treated well at the Gathering. That he was shifting it away from the MCCH. He made it clear that I would not be welcome.

KD: I don’t think that this is true – Jim left the door open for you to attend – I am certain that you brought this upon yourself by banning yourself from attending. I also find it hilarious that you want a model from the Gathering even though you have publically declared that you didn’t know of any such event!

I thought about it a while, and decided to end my association with the promoter of my event and cancel my event. Obviously, that promoter can do as he pleases to recover the tremendous financial outlay he has in the event. I simply ended my relationship with him. 

KD: Yes, but Jim was running this, so how the fuck can it be your event?

So, here you are, having a great time. Fine.

KD: I think many did Adminstor (God dount, auto cucumber).

I really wish I was there.

KD: I think many were glad you were not.

Have a wonderful weekend! Spend your money on an auction where the choice was made to focus upon a worthy charity! Seriously, notwithstanding Jim’s contractual and personal stake in the charity, it is a worthy cause and you should support it. I did.

KD: So please tell me why you wanted to hijack the Landy and cause problems with it? It will be auctioned off for charity, yet you choose to try and de-rail the process. And now you are stating that you are behind it all to make yourself look good and to cover up the complete fuck up you made of the Landy?
Anything I ever bought in the MCCH auction, that amount was donated by me of my own funds to that charity. Jim and I made sure a certain level was attained for the charity during the auction. Please have fun and donate through this auction to the kids who need some light in their lives.

But, that now brings me to the MCCH… The budget, always previously stated and explained, is very much smaller. The MCCH simply does not have funding to do everything it always did. Last year’s budget was $420 per month.

KD: I don’t get this – you can get web based, open source forums for nothing. So why are you pissing up the wall $400 a month?

That’s $5000 per year, and much more than half of that went just for the server, domains and other expenses of maintaining a site of the size of the MCCH on the net with no advertising. Software, licenses, taxes, paid help when I found myself needing it, postage, office supplies, and a whole bunch of little things all add up to that above figure. (Mattel asked for an accounting of this, and got it. They never required receipts to my knowledge.) 

KD: WTF? Office supplies?? For what? Who are you posting to? And more importantly what?

Last year, actually this year we were hacked three times. The most serious one was through the MS Front page that the boxes site was relying upon.

KD: Numpty – MS Front page? Who the hell uses that anymore?

We have now closed that and are fixing it. The other two times…. Well… Let’s just say that a certain disgruntled promoter bragged publicly that the MCCH security was weak. I actually found myself locked out of my own site during this management issue… The logs clearly showed who it was. One thing about running your own server like the MCCH? You have access to all kinds of records. They should be ashamed. 

KD: Publish it then –

We will carry on.

 KD: You can’t survive without it as this is all you have got.

Indeed, now that Becca has graduated with an IT degree, she is working on doing things for the MCCH which I never could. 

KD: Sincere congratulations to your daughter. No, this is not a piss take – anyone who graduates has done well for themselves – I wish her every success in her career path.

This brings me to another rather interesting thing… I have been much the object of innuendo and falsehoods. Some of it passed out by Jim himself, and dubiously embellished and distributed by others… A few of which I am aware. 

First falsehood: “I put my children through college with MCCH funds.” We are in Georgia . I have two very bright kids. The “HOPE” state scholarship pays for any student maintaining grades above 3.0 at rates from 100% to 80%. Both my kids were on the Dean’s Lists (want to see the letters from the Dean?) with grades from 3.5 to 4.0 for repeated semesters. Becca fell below that one semester, and she scrambled selling toy cars, worked her butt off, got a couple of other scholarships (one was from the Frozen Food Manufacturers Association), and got one small student loan. She is paying that off at $17 per week. She was HOPE reinstated the following semester. Kimmy has not ever asked for one dime, not one. She has worked her butt off, has the full scholarship, and has achieved a 4.0 for her entire freshman year. 

Second falsehood: “I Fixed my children’s dental problems with funds from the MCCH.” Wow. As if the small amount that was gained from the MCCH auctions was anywhere near enough to pay for all that! For your information, both my girls have had very expensive dental work. We have very good insurance. Any amounts not covered by that was paid for entirely by their grandparents. Completely, as my parents have been blessed to be quite wealthy. Their philanthropic nature starts with all their grandkids. 

KD: I will not comment on these two things as I do not have any evidence for or against.

Got any more rumors, innuendo, or concerns? Call or email me with them! I will address them.

KD: Firstly, I have better things to do than to speak with you. Secondly, there will be further blogs this week about this episode and how the whole thing is contrived. Thirdly, I am sure that as I have a web based e-mail, you would reject it via your spam filter.
Jim actually encouraged me at one time to use the MCCH funds to pay for a small emergency that arose. I did not because I had prepaid all the services for the MCCH at that time and could not do that! 

KD: I will not comment on this as I do not have any evidence for or against.

So, have a great time. Enjoy the friends and the party. Celebrate! Add that special thing, that “Holy Grail” to your collection. 

KD: Jesus H Christ, here we go again…..

I am sorry I am not there, but it was made untenable and I unwelcome. The site and non-working functions will hopefully return sometime tomorrow. I am awaiting word on some things yet to be fixed that I inadvertently changed.

KD: I see no difference in the site whatsoever – in fact I think you are talking bollocks. Surely if you wanted to highlight the changes made, you would have stated them on you opening post today (23/07/12). And again, why wait for the Gathering to do these changes – you have 365 days to choose to do this!

MCCH Senior Administrator,

Mark Curtis

PS, This will surely be copied, bandied about by malcontents, and picked apart. So be it. Like water off a duck’s back.

KD: Again, more bollocks – you can’t help but reading this blog, nor other boards – and it fuels your anger – so how can it be water off a duck’s back?  Stay tuned Adminstor (God dount, auto cucumber)!


One thought on “The reasoning behind the blackout

  1. Very funny read, both parts. Your part was funny in the acuracy of your responses and Marks part of the story just cracks me up everytime, specially because I cant believe he could be so stupid as to think people actually believe his continued insane rantings.
    Well done !!!


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