ASCII by Jason Scott

Jason Scott's Weblog

Goodbye, Milky —

Without a doubt, the absolute worst way to find out about someone’s death is through referrer logs.

Among the people I interviewed for the documentary were a couple in Toronto, who for the purposes of identification were called “Milky and Liz”. We talked about diversi-dials (ddials), early BBS culture, BBS meets, and a whole other range of BBS-related subjects. All told, I interviewed this couple for about three hours, one of my longest interviews.

The interview was conducted in 2002, at the beginning of my interview sets, and since I didn’t know how many interviews I’d ultimately have, we covered everything we could. They were tolerant of my all-over-the-place style (I got better) and my talking too much about myself (I got better).

Ultimately, a good amount of the footage from their interview got in, comparatively: probably 2-3 minutes of clips across all the episodes. They were a happy, bouncy couple who had a lot to say and were wonderful to talk to.

I talked to them one more time after the interview, this year, to get a spelling of Milky’s favorite BBS for the subtitles, so it would be spelled right. They sounded different, but I assumed it was just me catching them on a bad day.

Today, from referrer logs, I found out Milky has died of cancer. He was around 30 years old.

Milky had another name, which I didn’t put on the documentary at his request. It was Ninjalicious, and he was the editor of Infiltration Magazine, a zine about urban exploration. He was a giant in this hobby, a figure many looked up to for advice and fun stories. His website is at

Stories are pouring into the thread that started showing up in my referrer logs. It is heartbreaking.

I am now digitizing their three hour interview. It will go onto next, a memorial of sorts of a very fun and brilliant man who touched my life like he touched so many others.

Update: The interview is now up, in three pieces: hour 1, hour 2, and hour 3.

In the last months of his life, Milky worked hard to finish his book about the art of urban exploration. I don’t know what I would do if I was given the news of a terminal condition with regards to my current projects, but he finished his. The book is available for sale from his website and I would heartily suggest purchasing a copy; reviews have been very positive.

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  1. Krisjohn says:

    The interview doesn’t appear to be properly associated with the other BBS Documentary material, in particular it’s not coming up on the RSS feed. Just FYI.

  2. Jason Scott says:

    Yes, I am aware. They changed how the permissions are set, and in doing so, basically broke me. So I’m associated with the wrong collection, and have lost admin of my own collection. I’m not happy about this, of course. I’m trying to get it fixed, and in fact the other hours of the interviews are done and are waiting for this problem to be repaired.

  3. Fluffy Bunny Feet says:

    Milky was a fantastic guy, and the world is a lesser place without him. I met him through the YiP network of BBSes back in the early 90s, when I ran my on BBS system off an old atariST520 (Fish Stix)

    I have a bunch of old YiP zines laying in a box somewhere which I’m going to dig up. I remember they couldn’t print too many because it got expensive. I was fortunate enough to get a chance to say hello to him earlier in August, and told him that his urban oases site inspired me.

    My deepest condolances to the family, my prayers are with you in these tough times.

  4. Boing Boing says:

    New urban exploration book

    Jim Munroe says: “The editor of the zine Infiltration (the zine about going places you’re not supposed to go) and the guy who coined the term “urban exploration” has self-published a how-to book being launched next week. Like his zine, it’s a very wel…

  5. Mulf Hardaway says:

    I’m sure this Milky was a great guy. But I tried listening to the interview, and lasted only about five minutes. It was painful to listen to. This interview is a good case study of how NOT to conduct interviews, asking specific short-answer questions, as opposed to open ended ones, and digging into irrelevant technical details like “what brand of modem were you using.” It seems there is a bit of the interviewer trying to impress the audience with his self-inflated sense of his knowledge of old modem hardware. Not sure how much of that stuff I culd stand.

    You should consider culling some choice excerpts from the interview (and no, your interview questions are not what I have in mind as “choice” excerpts), so it isn’t entirely wasted.

  6. Jason Scott says:

    Mulf, you are operating under a misunderstanding, and that’s OK, since you’re coming in cold from the BoingBoing mention.

    The interview footage on the site is not meant to be “finished”, properly edited footage; that already ended up in the BBS documentary, which took Jeff/Milky’s interview, along with 200 others (250 hours) and culled it down to about 330 minutes in 8 episodes.

    Having finished that project (the documentary), I have begun the process of making all the interview footage I shot available, for free, on the website, so it might have additional use/information in the future.

    Regarding the specific style of the interview, I am sorry you decided after 5 minutes how the 3 hour interview went, but in the case of Milky and Liz, I chose a specific conversational style with them in the beginning, helping them remember events and items from over a decade ago, and then, later, giving them the open-ended questions you endorse.

    The interviews (this one included) were intended to be about bulletin board systems, and in the time of this interview, I was not sure how technical or not technical we would be getting in the final work, so we go into technical information quite a bit throughout all of the 200 interviews.

    This was not a memorial to Jeff. This was not meant to be a “best of” showing him answering a set of specific/open-ended questions about his work in Infiltration; this was a collection of questions for a documentary about Bulletin Board Systems and stuff that got in outside of that subject were a bonus.

    This is, looking at it another way, about 2 and a half hours of Jeff recorded, talking, laughing, interacting with his girlfriend (later his wife), and being himself, which has a different set of value to the people watching it.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Oh, this is terrible. I met him back in YiP too, he was such a nice fellow.

  8. flamoot says:

    I thought I recognized Ninjalicious so when it said “Milky” I googled for the names (juxtaposed) and he’s the same person after all.

    Oh my god