Or, more like 3.0, am I right? Huh? Yeah?? Look, cut me some slack… I’ve spent the past few months rebuilding this site from the ground up, and I’m a little tired.
So, obviously, the big news about this site’s third year is something rather evident to anyone who has visited my site before. Forget Disneyland… I’d like to welcome you to the TRUE world of color. Though I often received slack for it, creating that black/white/gray color scheme and layout for a failed video project (yes, the B/W was for another site before mine) is actually what inspired me to finally start my own site to begin with… so it definitely had its place. That was then, though, and after two solid years of it, I was ready to move on – to version 3.0.
Why version 3.0? Why do I feel so self-important as to label my own site with version numbers? Regarding the second question – screw you. As for the first, it actually started as a joke I made, but it’s still mathematically sound. Version 1 was when I first started the site. I was using a forum in lieu of regular comments, so once I set up an actual comment system, that was version 1.5. I was actually writing every entry out by hand (what the heck was I THINKING?), so setting up my first blog system jumped us to version 2. After that point, there were minor updates and changes, here and there, but I’ve never done a complete overhaul of my site like this before.. so here we are at 3.0.
Why the change? What IS all of this new, strange, frighteningly colorful stuff? Read on, young wanderer… read on.
First, the “why”. Why not? Haha, no… but I think it’d be hilarious if I just left it at that. The “why” is actually multi-layered. It officially started with my Brandi Carlile post, when I started adding a top image to every post, but it actually has been a long time coming. The previous blog system I used, Serendipity, was nice… but it had become very cumbersome. It’s not the most used format, and those who ran it were always exceptionally helpful when I needed help, but it came to a point where I was walking on eggshells around a system that was precariously placed on the edge of a cliff. I used one plug-in to alter something, but then I could no longer use the auto-save feature while writing posts – and I lost more than one. Serendipity is still a fine system, but the final straw fell when I started looking to revamp part of my website (while still in the black and white)… and realized I couldn’t because of the aforementioned cliff-edge balance trick. I’d been a supporter of this blog system, despite using WordPress for other sites I’d worked on, but I decided that the time had come to switch over.
If I could.
I had over 2.5 years of entries and comments that I’d have to be able to move without a major hassle. That was the “sign” for me to go ahead with it, and, thankfully, I found a way. I would love to thank the countless blogs, forums, and tutorials I made use of during this massive redesign, but I don’t have the time (or the memory) to do so… but I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the one that made it possible. By employing the techniques of someone who had successfully made the same transition I was hoping to do, I gave myself the chance for a completely fresh start. The scary thing with a completely fresh start is just that, though… it’s COMPLETELY fresh.
So, I had my posts and comments in place, but what the heck to do with them? A website is more than just text on a page… it’s design, as well. I had no clue what to do with my new site. I had concepts ranging from sleek design, to underground layers, to inspiration by the animated Alice in Wonderland, and things even more whimsical. The one through-line, though, was personalization. I wanted the site to visually remind you of its namesake – me, Mark Mushakian :). So, that’s how we ended up here. If you’ve ever seen my actual bedroom (ooh, kinky), the walls are a dark green and every inch of them are covered in frames and decoration. My room is stuffed with things that help represent me, and I am happy to bring that idea to this site.
As for everything else about this re-design, it can mostly speak for itself. The “social column” has labeled boxes.. an effort to make my online activity a bit easier to see – whatever I have planned will be listed in my Google calendar, I’ll be using Twitter much more now that folks can see it, and so on. That was the secondary goal of this re-design.. to get everything into one place. Most everything from my old site (Reasons to Enjoy Life, the various pages, etc.) will be, or already has been, transferred here – it’s just going to be a lot easier to see what I’m up to. With this new system I’ll be a lot more free to bring some new features to this site, but I can’t leave without being sure to point out one that’s already in place. At the bottom of the left column, there, I present to you Random Beauty – a new example of beauty every time you load a page :). You’re welcome.
This new design took far longer to implement than it should’ve (blame a lack of ambition on having no job and the months when I didn’t even look at this site), so it wouldn’t quite be fair to talk visitor numbers like I have in years past. More than either of my site anniversaries before, though, I can tell you (with a big smile on my face) that I’m very excited about the new things I’ll be able to bring you during this next year. This site is never “done”, so I still have quite a bit to add and polish up – cleaning up the archived posts/comments, adding everything to categories, playing with the new design, etc.. I’m sincerely glad to be back in action, though, and I’ll be writing a massive catch-up in a few days to go over the things I’ve missed talking about over the previous months (marriages, cell phone purchases, horrible horrible times, Red Dead Redemption, etc.). This is a very exciting time for me, personally, and now for this site, as well. But, with all my talk of a new, fresh start, don’t be afraid – some things will never change…
It’s nice to be back :).
P.S. – Besides the things I mentioned above that I’m still working on, if you see any irregularities – please let me know. We’re all using differing browsers on differing operating systems, so if you come across any strange quirks – I’d appreciate a heads up, or I may never know about it :).