August 8, 2004

Birth, Death, Rebirth

First off, a slight history lesson. I started building what ultimately became Brainside Out in January of 2001. At that time it was called Cromlech, and it was clumsily spun with the help of Go Live and Dreamweaver.


The first Cromlech was called Version 0.001, which I relaunched for a few weeks in January 2004 to test my new l33t sk1llz with CSS and XHTML. Version 0.001 was replaced in early February 2001 by version 0.002, which was in turn replaced by 0.009. They were all strikingly similar, but each involved enough work that I considered them relaunches. In late March I replaced Version 0.002 with Version 0.01, whose artistic direction was inspired by the popular snowboard graphics of that year.


In May 2001 Version 0.01 was succeeded by Version 0.05, which I designed while under the influence of mono, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and essays written by Kentucky 12th graders. Version 0.05 used stolen pictures of brick walls and thick Photoshop bevel filters, which signalled my first venture into using photographs to determine art direction.


In October I redesigned and released Version 0.09, which incorporated hot pictures of Tettegouche State Park and the Baptism River, and took advantage of frames for consistent navigation. Version 0.09 went through a few iterations until it was stable enough to be considered Version 0.10. When March of 2002 rolled around I launched Version 0.15 with a design inspired by the mishmash of found objects that my life had become. I scanned agates, concert tickets, 35mm film, typewritter ribbon, and anything else that looked cool and could be carried or dragged kicking and screaming onto the scanner bed.


Version 0.50, launched in May 2002, saw a considerable redesign. With my site still running on the UMD server I had figured out how to run CGI scripts, and thus installed Greymatter to automate (and decentralize) my blogging process. The design was pink and blue for some reason, and it actually incorporated the same shocky fellow we see in today’s footer. The school year ran out before I could get a solid design in place, but thanks to Greymatter I was able to post updates while working at camp for the summer. Trés cool.

Finally, for September 2002 I pulled up my roots from the UMD server and grafted my existence onto a platter at Pair Networks. Version 0.51 was a temporary design more than anything else; a proof of concept on the new server under the guise of Dane’s Bored. Oh yeah, and it was less pink. That was good.


However, thus freed from the surly bounds of the University, in late September 2002 I finally got an installation of Movable Type up and cookin’ on Dane’s Bored. A rather hideous and painful period of growth followed, as I quickly realized I didn’t have nearly the expertise with HTML (nor CGI plugins and templates, for that matter) to actually change anything. It was only four months ago when I had learned enough HTML to muck around and get Greymatter working, and Movable Type demanded a new degree of sophistication.

Finally, by January 2003 I had enough figured out that I could launch new Movable Type templates with pictures of Colorado mountains, Derek’s sled dog puppy, and certain things like this and that, this and that, this and that. Throughout this period, each design gruesomely cannibalized its predecessor, so there is little known record of what existed at this time.

During the spring of 2003 I tried to create my own XHTML/CSS tableless layout, with a design inspired by the graphics and colors of Atari gaming. It kinda worked, but the design was hell for anyone who wasn’t using a computer with the exact hardware and software configuration as my own. When I moved to Hood River for the summer I went back to the drawing board, registered, killed, and soon launched Brainside Out: The Cowboy Edition.

Cowboy Edition managed to be tableless without the tortured code structure of Atari Edition, and it was attractive enough that I survived on it until I moved to Bend in November 2003. Why, I’m certain that there are sections of this website, tucked away from direct sunlight, that are still using Cowboy Edition to disasterous effects. While living in Bend I have experimented with testing a few different designs, and finally settled on Rugged Edition for some time.

Rugged Edition was inspired by the album art for Nature of Maps by matt pond PA, and tried to incorporate scanned topo maps into a design with subtle colors to match. It never really worked to my satisfaction, and despite attempts to rescue the design by adjusting colors or adding gradients, it always look so… pink. At its prime, however, Rugged Edition was by far my most sophisticated, compliant, accessible, semantic, and flexible design to date.

But now that is all behind us. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you Brainside Out: Wounded Knee Edition.

The answers are coming.