Welcome, this blog is Under Construction!

It wasn’t too long ago that I would have railed against “Under Construction” pages as a sure sign of web incompetence. If you don’t think the page is presentable yet, then why is it live? And I’m not the only one who felt this way.

Of course, not too long before that, I was guilty of doing it myself (no link, I eventually finished that page).  But I learned my lesson when I first came upon this page which states “This (under construction) icon says more about me than it does about my web page”.  I’m glad to see that page is still live after all these years, their suggested meanings for the different “under construction” images are priceless.

But the fact is that I secretly love the animated Under Construction signs. They tell a story. They reveal a lot about people and procrastination. And they evoke a kind of diorama of a time when Pee Wee/OJ/Lewinsky voyeurism was giving way to “reality” TV voyeurism, but everyone who could tear their eyes away from the teevee was noticing this whole World Wide Web thing. You’ve heard of Web 2.0, this was Web 0.6

Holy Crap, whaaaat is Stickly Man doing to his computer?

And with our first tentative steps into this uncharted Net “scape“, we became a veritable army of total n00bs, destroying everything beautiful in our path, like that horde of kids escaping from the mines in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. Good design and usability were laid waste by our midi-playing home pages with pink text on red and yellow patterned backgrounds the likes of which is now mostly confined to preserves like MySpace. It was a more innocent era when major corporations couldn’t be bothered to spare the resources needed to finish their web pages, and were perfectly okay with saying “One day this site will be a cornucopia of sights and sounds, but in the meantime, check out this awesome animated gif of a shovel-wielding Stickly Man!”

Yep, most of late-nineties web design could be summed up by the phrase,”Holy crap, look what I can do!” Or at least: “Holy crap, look what I’ll be able to do if I ever get around to finishing it!”

It was a time when design start-ups would put “New Media” right in their name, as if in their business plan they projected that New Media would still be New in five to ten years. Macromedia Director could never lose its freshness.

But I shouldn’t be too hard on the nineties; it looks like the problem has only worsened. In 1996, an AltaVista search for “under construction” yielded 400,000 results. In 1999, 8 million. A Google search today: 79 million.  Tomorrow: 79 million and one.

The Purpose Statement
It’s only a short narrative leap from the Under Construction page to another awesomely lame nineties web artifact: The purpose statement.  “The purpose of this page is X” after which follows assorted material on everything but X, interspersed with a few desperate attempts to stay on topic. I’d prefer not to make any such promises. My interest is Narrative theory, and how everyday words, symbols and actions tell a story. But I also dig comics, wordplay, stories, mythology and making fun of bad grammar. Along the way, I plan to take the cartoons I drew back in high school and recreate them with better art and stories, a process which I will document here for some light mockery and feedback.

So here is my purpose statement: I’m going to go get a coffee, and learn how to draw again, and write some stuff, and while I’m working on that, check out this awesome animated gif of a guy pounding his head on his keyboard!

I confess, I left this one on a site for three years.

I confess, I left this one on a site for three years.