September 7, 2000 . . . five years ago tomorrow, I posted the following paragraph on my website:
“Blog” is a portmanteau word for “web log,” a diary-cum-bulletin board posted online, the place where one’s hubris is hung out for all, some or (usually) none to see. For background, Rebecca Blood has written a most excellent blog history and has posted it on Rebecca’s Pocket, her own fine blog. Which is a beautiful looking website, I might add, in all the ways that jericsmith.com will most likely never be–in part because I don’t have the web design skills to make it so, but also in part because I consciously choose not to have the web design skills to make it so. I’m word oriented, see, as a writer, so I want to make sure that anything containing my words puts the focus squarely upon them–and not on spinning animations and lush backdrops and complex tables and distracting, browser-killing frames and nests and scripts and applets. So all the sites that I’ve designed (and I use that word lightly) have similar, simple, streamlined designs (and I that word lightly) that make each site (hopefully) worth visiting in the first place. It should be clear that what started as technical limitation has now become stubborn ideology. Or maybe just a brilliant rationalization for technical limitation, who can tell? Hopefully not you. More here soon.
So I guess I’ve been a blogger for five years now . . . which probably puts me in the relatively early vanguard of blogging, before it exploded with the advent of free and easy blogging tools (my original blog was all hand-html’ed and coded, and was very annoying to update, which is why it died a couple of times before I revived it with Blogger in 2003).
Come to think of it, 2005 probably marks the tenth anniversary (or maybe even eleventh) of me having my own website too, although there were two other versions of it, on other people’s servers (Oh, the glory days of “We need content providers!”), before I registered jericsmith.com and started doing it myself, probably in 1998 or 1999, I guess. I think that makes me very old in Web Years.
When I started using Blogger to handle my blog, I converted over some of the old blog, but left some other stuff out (including that post quoted above), if I thought they sounded goofy or dated or whatever, and didn’t merit repeating. By 2003, having to explain blogs in your first blog post was definitely a newbie mistake.
Some other lost tidbits from the first month of the blog . . .
It looks like they’re finally going to fire that evil troll Bobby Knight today as “coach” (I can’t call him that with a straight face) of the Indiana University basketball team today. Everything you hate about modern day sports starts with this dude, so here’s wishing him a long, painful, bitter retirement, one where kids periodically stop by his home to throw chairs at, kick or curse him. He’s earned it . . . (Oops . . . he’s still coaching at Texas Tech, although I still don’t like him any more than I did then).
Or . . .
I was all excited when “The Ninth Gate” came out on video, since I like Roman Polanski movies, and Johnny Depp movies, and scary movies. Unfortunately, “The Ninth Gate” was a pretty lame example of all three types of film–redeemed only (and barely) by the fairly interestingly-developed concept of an untranslatable manuscript that was apparently (or allegedly) written by a supernatural being. Even more interesting: the Voynich Manuscript, a real world example of just such a document, maybe, or at least so some say. Creepy, you bet. (This seemed to the low point of Johnny Depp’s career, which has blossomed spectacularly over the past few years, which makes me happy, since he’s a darn fine actor).
Or . . .
When it rains, it pours: my living room CD player died earlier this week and had to be replaced ($135) and my car stereo died yesterday and had to be replaced ($275). It did give me the opportunity to upgrade the car from cassette to CD player . . . although I’ve not yet digested the ramifications of this change, since the car stereo has long been the place where mix tapes are previewed, reviewed and enjoyed. Does this mean the end the mix tape era for me? Or does it just mean that I have to go buy a CD recorder? (Yes, it was the end of the mix tape era, but it took another couple of years before I got a CD burner).
Etc. Etc. Etc. Happy Birthday, Flexible Tetragrammaton. I’m not sick of you yet.