Hyperlinking Down Memory Lane II

Welcome to part two of my look back at the development and evolution of my early blogging history through the magic of The Wayback Machine’s historical screen capture technology at the Internet Archive.

In part one, I looked at the initial launch design of my blog back in February, 2001..  Part two will focus on the changes made as of June, 2002, a little over a year after launch.  Note the addition of the quotation added under the new banner.  Would have been nice to have an automated function to change it daily, but I had to do it manually, so it didn’t change that often.  I thought it added a bit of style and interest to the new layout.

Banner Boldness

Even in those nascent days of internet design, I avoided the dreaded “MySpace” look like the plague, opting for a more conservative layout.  I kept the lights, bells, buzzers and assorted web whistles muted to aid in readability and to shorten page loading times.

I am that old guy who rants and raves to the kids about the horrors of that bygone internet era, when simply surfing personal web pages was a surefire ticket to a throbbing migraine, if not a full blown epileptic seizure.

We had to click our way two miles uphill and in the snow, just to get one crappy song off Napster @28k dial-up.  An era when you could have actual sex faster than you could download porn.

You know, the good old days. But I digress.

My lifeless, but entirely utilitarian silhouette banner needed an update.

It would be replaced with a combination of personalized caricature and an animated Tim Times GIF logo as shown in the static screenshot above and experienced in the fully animated version below:

I carried over my web slogan, “Sensibility Without the Static“, matching the blue color to my custom GIF logo.  I am a sucker for the color blue.   Is it the sky, the water, or my baby blue bedroom eyes that influence my favoritism?  I don’t know, but bury me in a blue neon casket and I’ll be as happy dead as I surely am alive.

Enter Gravatar

Gravatar had just come up with the idea that they could standardize your personal profile and icon avatar across different web venues automatically, saving you the hassle of having to load picture avatars and profile info at each different site you posted or interacted with.

I’d liken it to a more primitive version of the social linking that Facebook now allows, whereby you can access and join many different sites just by connecting them to your Facebook (or Twitter) account, often with a single click.

My Gravatar icon was based on the original 12″ x 16″ hand drawn caricature that Bob Pennebaker drew.  After scanning it into my PC, I did my best to shrink the drawing down to an icon graphic suitable for use across the web (through Gravatar).  This was no easy task given the extreme difference between the size of the original and the miniscule nature of icon graphics, but the outcome was passable, and thus the caricature was born.

About to Hit the Big Time

Driving home from work one afternoon, bored and listening to right-wing lunatic talk radio, I happened to catch a squawker, Kim Wade, on the local Fox affiliate talking about gun control.  There’s just too dam much of it according to Mr. Wade!  This hardly jibes with the facts on the ground in most of the United States, let alone Mississippi, where gun shows and their purchase loopholes make for a shooter’s paradise.  It made me wonder, “Who is this crazy black guy pretending to be Charlton Heston on meth?”

I didn’t know it at the time, but I would soon learn that Kim Wade could mimic the angry racist lunatic “white guy” mode with considerable aplomb, and nary a concern for negative public feedback.  The Mississippi on-air radio rules seems to be that if you are black, you can say any racist thing you want, without the kind of nervous second guessing your typical white guy struggles with when dealing with sensitive race issues.  It helps that Kim was drawing a check from the Fox Network.  Lord knows they could give a rat’s  ass about black people in general, and paying one to bash all the others must have seemed like a corporate coup of epic proportions to the “white power” station owners.

It turned out that Kim Wade is the the kind of black guy that never met a black guy he liked, and is more than happy to go on the airwaves and berate them for their many perceived foibles.  This skill-set pays pretty well in a state where white people are the predominant wealth holders, and most of them haven’t met a black guy they like either.  I only wish I was making this up.  But I digress.

The unrepentant liberal in me was tweaked by this idiocy, and I was motivated to call in and add my two cents to the discussion.  I decided to go into full-on gun nut mode if I somehow manage to get on the air.  A radio version of Poe’s Law.  So I dialed the station and the producer answered, asked me a couple questions, and then immediately put me on-the-air with Kim.  I started ranting about the lunacy of believing that a lowly M-50 fully automatic machine gun, (or even an RPG launcher) could save you from a government out to get you.  Since our government has standoff Apache helicopters that can kill you before you can even see them, I stressed the necessity of owning surface-to-air missiles to level the playing field.  My memory of the call is a little fuzzy now, but it’s better than even money I tossed in an aside to the second amendment as a little bluing to burnish my banter.  About that time, Kim breaks for a commercial and puts me on hold.

During the break, Kim cuts into my phone line and asks me if I would be interested in doing some co-hosting with him.  Based on nothing but our brief on-air conversation, this guy is wanting to put me on the radio?  My curiosity piqued, I question Kim on how he can so quickly judge me worthy of handling such a demanding extemporaneous conversational situation, based solely on a few minutes of airtime.  He assures me that I will be great.  I thank him for the offer and tell him I will get back with him about setting up a future in-studio appearance.  The seed has been planted.

To be honest, I wasn’t really sure if Kim thought I was a raging right-wing gun nut, or if he was able to see through the mockingly sarcastic over production I did on the radio in regards to the gun issue.  All I knew for sure was that I had an open invitation into the belly of the Fox Media Beast and there were dam few liberals with that opportunity, let alone any as forceful, dynamic and persuasive as myself.  I was prepared to take on the vast right wing conspiracy single-handedly if necessary.

Radio Daze

Here is the banner that I put on my website to announce my acceptance of a co-host spot with Kim Wade every Tuesday from five to six p.m.  There was never any offer of compensation, nor was any ever expected.  The work I did on the radio was performed as a public service for what I considered to be the public good.  It was done after hours of my normal job on my own personal time.  My website slogan, Sensibility Without the Static, was created long before, and without any idea that I would end up doing radio.  I find it serendipitously ironic that I ended up broadcasting on static prone AM radio, but at least on my website there really wasn’t any static, so it all kinda flowed together well.

In part three, I will give an inside view of my radio experiences while taking a look at the final iteration of The Tim Channel as it appeared in 2007.

Enjoy.

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Hyperlinking Down Memory Lane

Part one of a special hyperlink trip down The Tim Times memory hole, made possible by the Internet Archive. using their web archival search engine, aka The WaybackMachine. If not for the courage of that fearless crew, The Tim Times would almost certainly be lost.

The Adventure Begins

I figured it might be fun to look back at the history and development of my website over the last decade.  My online scribblings begin somewhat earlier than 2001, but that is the earliest I can document via the WaybackMachine at this time.  I cannot explain my early fascination (nor my present obsession) with blogging, but it seems to serve as both a way of preserving my ephemeral experiences as well as a vehicle for practicing and improving my personal writing and blogging skills.  I have invested a lifetime acquiring a broad category of expertise in a wide range of subjects, and then blogging it into the sui generis salad you see in your browsers today.

A Blog is Born

My first foray into what is now called blogging began using server space provided by my original internet service provider back in the 1990’s.  My web address included the very clumsy inclusion of a tilde symbol in the URL, making it an obnoxious blotch of a thing to try to easily disseminate.  All web posting was done through FTP protocols, and all web design was primitive.  Bandwidth dribbled.  Lack of blog management software exacerbated an already complex process.  Particularly challenging to me was the proper archiving of old posts and display of new blog posts.  Each new blog update was so difficult to incorporate properly into my existing mix, that it limited my ability to update my blog.  Databases?  Fuhgeddaboudit.

Then, along came Pyra Labs with the very blog management solution I needed.  I was blogging on Pyra Labs software long before Google bought them in 2003.  As early as 2001, I was an already an official dot commie, self-hosting my own web domain at http://www.thetimtimes.com.

The Tim Times 2001:

From top to bottom.

The Birth of a Logo

My home-made logo incorporated a silhouette profile that obscured my radiant youthful beauty ( I didn’t want to be successful just for my ruggedly handsome good looks) and doubled as a link to an actual profile photo of me (that fully supports my self assessment.  The Gravatar-ready silhouette portion of the header served as my online avatar until I replaced it with the caricature than Bob Pennebaker drew for me.  Here is Bob working his magic in a YouTube video.

My Profile Picture

There’s just enough of a touch of gray in my hair to exude the proper gravitas necessary to be taken seriously, but the carnival background belies my true spirit.

The Birth of a Slogan

I coined the phrase: Sensibility Without the Static to use as my web slogan.

The Forum

This was a link to a long abandoned forum that I set up back then.  Those were the days when having your own web forum was sorta like having a mini-Facebook.  It was also another way of offering a web service that was outsourced to a free third party provider.

The Nasa Moon Hoax

Given the “tinfoil hat” nature of the early internet, is it any wonder that this link got the most traffic of any of my early on-line postings?  Click the link or the graphic to see evidence I presented to back up my claim that NASA faked the moon landings.

The Blogs

Those permanent links running down the left hand side of the page allowed me to incorporate the features of automated Pyra blogging without having to update my website (via FTP), while simultaneously adding a nice stylish column design to my site.

My early attempts at site branding are obvious in my selection of blog names.  I still have all those early blogs. and I often tag posts these days using #timplates for food and #timages (or #timpix) for photos.

Since most all my actual content was being hosted by Pyra, my homepage loaded like lightning, even in the days of “Timmy and the Tin-Can telephone” internet speeds.

Animated Graphics

       

I embraced the visual panache that animated gifs brought to web design, but I used only a few small ones to keep my page-loads fast.

Missing Antler Publishing

Version of logo I plan to use when I go into the retail book writing business.  “Antler” is an amalgamation of last names. Mine, and an early writing collaborator friend from high school, John Antolik, who was killed (re: “Missing”) working his way through college at a factory job.

End part one.

Stay tuned (subscribe) so you won’t miss Part Two of  the series wherein The Tim Times continues the move towards the big time.

Enjoy.