Last week someone wrote me that my website, funonmars.com, was down. I was surprised, went to check and saw this message.
Suspended? But I paid a few years in advance. Then I checked the web hosting site, which I've been using for more than ten years, and it too was suspended.
Yikes! Then I came to this blog thinking I'd write about what happened, (after ignoring the blog for two years), and it looked weird too, because all the Flash files that surrounded it, which I coded furiously to put in place, are vanished in the cloud that was.... Although I still have most of the files, it would be a crazy venture to try to put it back together again. I grabbed the generic files to make it look like a blog again.
Losing this website makes me sad, and made me think back on all the changes it went through. I started my own site around 1997- a long time ago on the internet. At first I just used the free space earthlink allowed. Small file size was key, so I came up with a design that I thought would work to carry a story via gifs, the only animation format that seemed available then.
Starbucks was just getting going on its colonization of neighborhoods, and I decided to tell the story of two gal pals, Anita and Whinsey (a horse) as they met over burned brew at Charbucks. By keeping them in a frame, and sitting at a counter, the file size was small.
Later I retold it in a Flash version. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y2F1Af7nx0Y
Oh and do I love youtube? NO! Almost 3 million views of my videos, not even $250 paid back. But that's another story.
I put together this part of the story in a Flash video too, but those videos never caught the goofiness of the original gifs I thought.
I tried multiple endings:
In 1999 someone named sada/exposada in the Netherlands invited me to beta test a program which could create animation from jpegs and gifs. I managed to get my two girls, Anita and Whinsey, on board the Titanic 2, part of a story idea I'd had since the 1970's. I built an extensive story with a pictorial map you could follow to get from episode to episode. The entire story comes up as a blank page in the Wayback Machine. aah!
Every one of the images in the map linked to a separate episode.
(I don't hear the music, Big Fish!)
As I look through the vast amounts of work I put into the site it is pretty depressing. I went through a creative explosion when I was first working on this site, thrilled by the possibilities of interactive animation and free publishing. If you wonder what I was doing in the 2000s it was experimenting with interactive animation and working on my Charbucks site.
Maybe I'll write about Flash in another post. I feel about it the way some people feel about ex partners. "Why did I waste all that time?" Enough for now.