(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.

1890: december 2010

One of an occasional retrospectives to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the viaduct. 

Wednesday was my second day of being home alone while my wife is in Alabama. I haven’t done anything terribly constructive, but I did get to have a more or less hermit day Tuesday. I miss being to have limited communication with humans every once in a while. I need to enjoy it while it lasts, because kids are on the horizon at some point and it could be at least 18 years after that before I have at least 24 consecutive hours alone again.

One of the things I’ve done with this alone time is contemplate a few things in general. Like not meaning of life but stuff like how long I’ve known people and how it seems like some things happened yesterday.

Like buying A Typographic Map of Metro Richmond back when I was 27. I got one of No. 89 in the original run of 250. It wasn’t the best use of my money at the time in December 2010, but I figured I’d kick myself if that was the one and only printing.

Also in 2010, LSW5 was only a month old. In December, I bragged about how fast it was compared to LSW4. I had hoped V would last until this year at the earliest.

I was planning my epic road trip of 2011. I toyed with going to Boston for the first time. I wound up going to New York that March, and that trip indirectly led to last December’s trip to Boston.

(In 2010, I was still using LiveJournal, and the coding for special characters worked.)

We had a White Christmas. I took me a while, but I just figured out how I spent that Dec. 31. That was a great night I”m not explaining.

But anyway, December 2010 marked the end of my first full year in Richmond, and I was well on my way to feeling like I owned the place. And not just because I had a map of it on my wall. It doesn’t seem like that was nearly four years ago.

viadecade

TEN YEARS AGO TODAY, I was a rising senior in college. As I was wondering where the road would take me, I decided to chronicle my senior year and my experience as one of the charter members of what was our fraternity house. When I started, I had no idea how long this would last. I definitely didn’t think I’d be reflecting on blogging for a decade. We’ve gone from the halcyon days of college to slouching through young adulthood and, now, marriage.

I nearly shut the viaduct down several times in its early years. There were a few points when this blog all but faded away (such as January 2013 when there were exactly two entries, as compared to 46 in the first month). The name of this blog went from Langley Park to the S p r i n g h o u s e to the viaduct. The viaduct endured some awful, awful designs along the way and migrated from LiveJournal to WordPress. Exit265c.com went from a blog to almost a website with a blog included.

Through it all, though, it’s always been what it’s always been: A blog for everyone and no one, a public collection of my private thoughts, a relevant way for those who know me to keep abreast of my irrelevancy.

As the countdown says, now that’s it’s finally ticked down to 0, it’s been a crazy 10 years. But you know that. We’ve gone from college to unemployment to eight years of journalism. We’ve been from Rochester to Miami, Boston to Baton Rouge, Nashville to Norfolk. I’ve had some of my highest highs and my lowest lows expressed in words on this exit265c.com.

And I don’t regret a single word. Except for that one time. Then I got over it.

But I digress.

It’s time for a celebration. A month-long celebration! Today is the start of Year 10. My wedding is in 21 days! The 10th anniversary of me turning 21 is in 22 days!  There are many more miles to go, things to experience and people to see.

As I’ve said nearly every year, I’m taking you with me.

We’ll end this, and start the next decade, with our first refrain, the last words of Entry No. 1, June 1, 2004: sit back, relax and vicariously enjoy the randomness that is me.

diez en veinte

Once I realized that the viaduct was going to make it to 10 years, I wondered what the 10th anniversary entry would say.

It’s within 20 days now and I have no clue.

I don’t even have a corner of a clue.

Sure, at this point, the anniversary is roughly the midpoint between now and the wedding. But it’s not the day of the wedding. We’ll be frantically wrapping up little details. I’ll probably be angry and stressed and nervous and angry and excited and happy. Yes, I’m aware that angry is in there twice.

I guess what I’m saying here is that you shouldn’t get your hopes up June 1.

For the past couple years, something awesome has happened that has been an appropriate anniversary post. Who knows, perhaps I’ll be utterly inspired that Sunday. Maybe I’ll wax poetic yet again about sitting on that threadbare blue couch in the living room of 210 Deep Creek Road.

All I can say now is that I am kicking off the 10th year pretty big with this whole wedding thing. Now, if I can wrap of the 10th year with a contract for Brown River Blues, I’ll be willing to overlook the potentially piss-poor physical anniversary entry.

turning back the clock prototype

AUGUST 2012

A year ago Sunday (Aug. 18), I sent an email to the publisher of my current newspaper. I had an interview date set up two days later, which led to a secret “I have a job interview” post. I had a job offer before the week was through.

 

AUGUST 2011

I contacted an editor in North Carolina, which led to a secret “I have a job interview” post. Then Hurricane Irene. A novelist couldn’t have plotted out the remainder of that year and the way those two events factored in.

Additionally, an earthquake near where I would eventually work.

 

And then, each month in 2014, I would do this all the way back to 2004.

I wrote this now because I woke up this morning remembering that this was the week coming to Charlottesville was set in motion.

And to point out that this isn’t the third year of a secret “I have a job interview” post.

Oh, while we’re at it …

 

AUGUST 2010

This happened. A few days later, someone tried to get me fired. I still don’t know who because the publisher refused to tell me anything beyond someone was trying to get me fired, that he disregarded whatever he was told and that I should trust no one in our coverage area. Because it was like that out there sometimes. Oh, but I was thinking about saying goodbye to the Tri-Cities then.

 

Well, I did nail down moving upstairs earlier this month. I guess this is just the Month of Transition for me.