(not quite) 10 years of headers

Of course I feel compelled to do this when I need to go to sleep.

In the beginning, there was Green Flame. This image served as my blog’s very first background. It’s a long exposure of one of my fraternity brothers twirling a stick from our fire pit. It wasn’t the background for very long.

Also, this entry has very little to do with this photo. It’s mostly here for posterity.

This took a few tries because I didn't know what I was doing.

The crappiness of that digital camera turned this flame green.

This is what this is all about:

Hoping the road of life isn't a beltway

The image that spawned a title.

This is the viaduct. The viaduct that is the viaduct. I’ve told this story before: I was fascinated as a kid when I first saw Interstate 664 slant across 39th Street and Madison and Marshall avenues in the East End of Newport News. I once said I wanted a picture of it. One day, in 2004 or so, I finally did it. It wasn’t the best photo that was ever taken and I’ve lost the original.

Here’s the story of how that image evolved until it was ultimately retired.

When I did one of my first redesigns of what was once a Live Journal blog named Langley Park, I discovered that I could have a header image. Since I was about to make a photo of the I-664 viaduct a prominent part of my blog, I saw it prudent to change the name of my blog from The Springhouse (what was to be its new and final name) to the viaduct. It’s always lowercase. Always.

I made some weird variations of the above image because I got bored with a static photo. Then I discovered I could do some coding and make it an image map. That lead to this:

the font is called Fluoxetine

I’m surprised it’s in color because I have an affinity for greyscale.

The navigation was esoteric. I did not care.

  • Beyond the viaduct went to a variety of things. Mostly, it linked to my college newspaper.
  • Interstate 664 was home
  • Marshall Avenue went to the archives
  • 39th Street went to a list of blogs I followed (stylized Friends, real and imaginary)
  • Madison Avenue went to my profile

I barely explained it. I eventually added alt text to help.

A sliver of sunlight in the median took me to the content editor. Once I killed the traditional navigation bar, I took away the only way to update anything without going to my profile first. It took me a few days to realize that.

I almost want to bring that font back

There were some variations I rotated out, but it was mostly this image.

Next up: I greyscaled the photo, because I apparently hate color. I also added a subtitle: “hoping the road of life isn’t a beltway.” Translation: I hope wherever life takes me after college doesn’t involve living in Hampton (Roads) again. I have a love-hate relationship with the 757. Also, I considered remaining there to be a failure because it was the area I grew up in and there was so much world out there. I meant no offense to anyone who remained. Hell, I later decided that deciding to come back after seeing the world was acceptable.

483 of them were crap.

It’s a celebration!

I once again got bored with the image being the same (mostly), so I celebrated 500 entries. Look how fancy the non-Fluoxetine font is! I loved that Fluoxetine.

I started considering taking the photo again right about now.

Now with sepia!

Then I celebrated 600 entries with sepia.

At this point, I regretted losing the original image

I thought celebrating 700 was a bit much.

Then I refreshed the fonts. I did a poor job flattening the layers the first time, because I didn’t know what I was doing.

This was me trying to color-correct the sins from the first editing.

In Technicolor.

Then, upon realizing my blog’s color scheme was dark green, black and a grey image, I tried to fix the disasters I caused when I lost the original image. The only other thing I did to brighten up the blog itself was that I went from reverse type to yellow type. I had a drop cap for the first word as well. It looked terrible.

Long story.

Happy New Year.

In January 2006, I discovered one of the fonts I hated the most. So I added it to my header because I can be a masochist at times. If you can’t read the sub-subhead, it says “Ringing in the new year with a font too festive for its own good.”

Why I still clung to the subtitle, I don't know.

Radical!

After hating myself for long enough and going back to the color image, I redesigned my entire blog, which led to no more image map. Giant headers were out. A header that had some minor Photoshop surgery done was in. It was far too late to fix the image any further than this, in my opinion.

There's at least three text layers

Couldn’t leave it alone.

Then, out of boredom, I slowly started trying to get fancy. At this point, my interest in layout and design started coming to the forefront. Little did I know, designing newspaper pages was going to happen soon.

It took entirely too long to do this.

Roughly March 2009

In 2009, I moved to Richmond and I considered it to be a very important point in my life. It was. The house is the first one in which I rented a room in my new city. This change falling around the time of Year 5 also played a role in this header.

It doesn't seem like five years.

I missed my domain name anniversary.

A month later, I bought my domain and ditched the subhed. Then I celebrated five years and figured I needed to at least note that the viaduct definitely is my brand. I wanted viaduct.com, and I’m glad I wasn’t able to get it, in retrospect. I would be kicking myself to this very day if I didn’t own exit265c.com. The domain not being what the blog was called bothered me, though. Also, I fully intended to make that my email address. I currently don’t plan on it.

There was a squatter on the viaduct site when I wanted it. I didn’t want it bad enough to purchase it off some prospector. Currently, there’s nothing there because he or she gave up. I have no intention of ever taking it, since my online presence being EXIT 265C was established well before the viaduct.

I got restless for another reason after this header.

Once again, I decided I didn’t need to mark every milestone.

After marking Year 6, I figured there was enough distance between me and college/Hampton Roads to ditch this sorry image and mark a new era. I needed a new viaduct.

I wasn't satisfied with this one.

End of an era

This appeared in June 2011 and was promptly replaced by the same tracks from a different angle.

Now what?

Goodbye Fluoxetine.

After this, I changed to the current header, dropped the Official viaduct Font and this became a website named EXIT 265C.

I also sorta adopted a new subtitle: “home of the viaduct … and, possibly, the whopper.”

I have mixed feelings about the current header. That is very much not my exit and it’s not exactly a viaduct either. I essentially shot my own stock photo. Given the infrastructure-related title of the main blog and the site itself, I don’t think there’s any suitable image.

Whatever.

At least I’m not putting stupid words all over it all the time.

the flurry peril is no more

Either last year or the year before (I forget which, and frankly, I don’t care), when WordPress had a box to check about having a snowfall effect upon one’s site, I said, “That’s stupid. Why not?”

For the past four days, I’ve been wondering how to switch it off within the site’s new back-end interface.

I finally killed the wintry bugger.

On a related note, I’m getting the site redesign bug again. I have next to nothing to do tomorrow so who know’s what will happen beyond ensuring that feldgrau, the official color of EXIT 265C & the viaduct, remains.

I could spend that time, I don’t know, actually writing an entry of substance.

Shut up.

I have a change on the back burner I can’t talk about now and, notwithstanding, there will be a lot of wondrous and exciting things to talk about as we approach the second half of 2015. Oh, yes. There will be glory, majesty and wonder.

1700: the new exit265c.com

Well, I’ve finally done it. After talking about it since at least this past June.

I don’t quite know what to put on the home page exactly, but there’s now a home page. This blog is now under its own page called the viaduct. In fact, only the blog is called the viaduct now. The website is now EXIT 265C, which makes sense, considering that we’re at frigging exit265c.com. Also, I changed my user name to “the viaduct” so all the dynamic pages (i.e. the blog and its sub-pages) are identified as such.

Obviously, the new header image is neither a viaduct nor the eponymous exit. If you’ve ever seen Exit 265C (scroll down a bit), you know it’s not much to look at. (ASIDE: I was in Hampton that day in 2010, and I can’t with 100% certainty say that is not my car taking the exit when this photo was taken … especially, if you go back to some previous photos and that car makes a maneuver I very well would have at that moment. But I digress.) The photo is the junction of the Downtown Expressway and Interstate 95 in downtown Richmond.

As for the nav bar, the About Me page is pretty much the same. I killed the direct link to my page design and my résumé since I’m not on the market. There’s a link to the CLOG stuff in that section instead of on the front because it’s not timely anymore and I probably won’t update it ever again.

The third page is the wedding page, which is under construction. That pretty much sparked the whole redesign. I figured we needed a wedding site and I then thought to myself, why get it hosted somewhere when I can just create a page on my own site? I didn’t want to have a blog site with a wedding site attached so I now have a site with a wedding site and a mostly unrelated blog attached.

At least I got provoked into action.

Now I just need to finish everything I need to finish with my novel so I can also shrill my book here as well so this truly becomes The Official Website of Elliott Robinson.

1695: definitely need to do a redesign

I’m doing some back end work on this site to create our wedding page. That said, we are getting close to the tipping point of, although this site is primarily my blog, the front page needing to be not my blog. I knew this day would come but I figured it would be closer to when I finally let the world see my novel.

Anyway, be on the lookout for wedding @ exit265c.com (once enough of the work in progress is ready, I’ll go live) and for this main page becoming more of a main page. I’ve never had any formal web design training so expect a spectacular display of fail during this transition.