Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Goodbye To All That

Four and a half years ago I started this blog and through many permutations have reached a place today where it is time to start again. Chuck of Old Town Key West and I have been talking for a while about combining our blogs into one place and offering additional pages to people interested in Key West and the Lower Keys. We believe we have found a formula that will suit you the reader and will perhaps find it to be a better way of seeing the islands that you enjoy viewing and visiting. I started riding and taking pictures trying to create a record of these islands in June 2007 as I went about on my Vespa 250 GTS. My blog page was called Key West Vespa. But I soon discovered writing about a scooter was limiting and boring. I branched out and took pictures of my life in Key west. I used the blogspot format because it was easy and efficient and accessible. These are qualities that Chuck and I both hold dear and will continue with our new combined project. Too often we are offered "new and improved" as though change is automatically a good thing. Frequently change sucks big time and the changes offered are actually for the benefit of someone other than the reader. Believe me when I say I have struggled with this conundrum so I am pretty sure of myself when I say that the new website will not be too jarring at all and I think you will actually, truly, find it improved.

My idea is to use a font, background color and title colors that closely resemble this format that I found on blogspot and that much to my surprise is a font that has not been used by anyone else. The front page of our new magazine format will be composed of two daily essays in long format, morning and evening by Chuck and myself on whatever takes our fancy. You will come to the new page on January First and you will open it to find a fresh essay of a dozen or two pictures just as you find now on either blog. Alongside we will have recent post and recent comment windows. Chuck and I will keep the comment section lively but my promise is you will never have to do more than open the page to get the latest picture essay on Key West and the Lower Keys. And Cheyenne will continue to figure in my life as much as ever.
That however is not the end of the story because if it were, what would be the point of the change, right? What Chuck and I envision is that beyond the daily blog entries there will be pages of stuff about the keys that will be of interest to you and that you will want to read. We are open to suggestions as the new website is expandable over time and we have designed it to be flexible so we can adapt what we offer to you the readers. At this stage we plan to start out with pages devoted to our favorite pictures of the Keys. we will be adding pictures to the gallery as the mood strikes us of places and people and scenery we find appealing. We will encourage you to help us select memorable pictures for our Gallery page. You will be able to download these pictures for free and use them yourselves, just as you can now as long as you mention our website.I first came to Key West by Vespa in 1981 but despite many return trips over the decades, by boat and by land the urge to settle down didn't overcome my wife and I until 2000. Chuck on Fleming had no such qualms and came saw and settled three years ago from the frigid Upper Midwest. We both enjoy living here, he in town and me in the suburbs on Ramrod Key. I enjoy commuting by motorcycle and while Chuck enjoys tinkering with his bikes between rides he likes to commute on foot. We both like taking pictures, and we hope those of you who come to Key West and the Keys and who take your own pictures will be moved to add them to a page we will be calling Reader Contributions. This will be your page for picture and word submissions, any way you like. Your views of Key West scenery, your memories of life here, or of vacations here or you add a vacation photo that moves you.

On January 1st Key West Diary will be no more as a daily record. It will become a static page on the Internet, apparently one more of those "I lost interest in my blog" public deaths by indifference. In fact it will be a static monument to my perseverance though innocence, stupidity, self doubt, and lack of confidence. With about 2500 photo essays since June 2007 I do not look back as my blog as a failure, far from it. I am actually feeling rather sad about abandoning this page that has been such a part of my daily life for so long. Nevertheless I have not lost interest in doing what I do in my free time. Giovanni, my childhood buddy in Italy has no free time because he's a busy cardiologist so he smokes compulsively instead. He envies me my free time and my life in the sun. If he lived in Key West Chuck might include him in his list of People of Texture features that we plan to include. We will talk with people who live in these islands and include their stories and their pictures on our front page. Then we will store the essays on a separate page which will be available for you to check out any time you want. We plan to build an online treasure trove of pictures and stories and people.

I am glad lots of people have enjoyed looking at pictures of this highly enjoyable place to live. Lots of people love Key West, and some want to live here while others keep coming back year after year to enjoy an escape on vacation. I have included pictures of my own escapes back to Italy because this was my diary......but from here on out the focus of the daily essays will be the Lower Keys. To that end Key West Diary ends on the 31st but the pictures and essays will continue on the web at http://www.thekeywestlocal.com/ Chuck and I and our wives and friends have been butting heads figuring out this new web magazine that will continue to provide actual online content that is worth looking at several times a day with all the pictures and wry ironies that Key West and environs offer us daily. We will be better equipped to do the social media nonsense that is so important these days and links to the ubiquitous Facebook and Twitter will be included and mobile machinery will have easier access in the future as well. Our new website is the fresh manifestation of our continuing commitment to these islands and to recording the passing of the days and the people who inhabit them. Now it is up to you to bookmark http://www.thekeywestlocal.com/ (don't ask how complicated the search was for a suitable domain name!) and keep us on our toes. We do not plan to let our combined website become stale not only because we are committed to it but because we want you to become committed to it too.Meanwhile I will post one essay a day here for the rest of this month as we work on setting up the new site where I have no doubt we will see you on January 1st.

"The time has come," the Walrus said,
"To talk of many things:
Of shoes--and ships--and sealing-wax--
Of cabbages--and kings--
And why the sea is boiling hot--
And whether pigs have wings."

Good night, good luck and thanks for reading this blog.


Anonymous said...

Man, at least you did not say "so it goes".

Chuck and the Pheebs said...

We are but on a merry-go-round; ending and beginning at once.

More of Key West and the lower Keys - all in one place. How cool is that?

Anonymous said...

I think you made a mistake on your bookmark. Missing a w.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like "it's a profit deal" -- The Jerk

Anonymous said...

It's Been a Lovely Cruise...Scooter Vic

Edward in SC said...

Wow, "The Dream Team!" Exciting news. Huge fan of both of your blogs.

Just added the new site to my bookmarks.

Anonymous said...

Personally, (and I may well be in the minority) much preferred the escapades of Mike, and his dog and the happenings at work and at home.

Location was a bonus.

I the foreigner from up north who would have much difficulty going
stateside for any number of reasons
find (found) it refreshing to see
a vastly different spectrum of the world.

Isolated and yet sadly connected to the unreal (or real) world of a country slowly going down the

Maybe at some future date the physical link between the mainland and the islands can be broken; perhaps an island republic of its
own, with ConchScooter as the official public relations town crier?

Chuck and the Pheebs said...

Michael approached me with the idea of combining the two, his idea and one I enthusiastically support. We have different yet similar perspectives; we felt we could provide more content in a single place - giving folks in need of their daily "Keys fix".

Where it will end up? We don't rightly know. We do know that in a world of aggregation and minimal original content, we'll be giving readers more of what they've come to enjoy.

A logical evolution, this.

Anonymous said...

Looking forward to the new beginning! Bookmarked the site.

salt life

Conchscooter said...

Bryce- work got complicated when too many people found my blog so I had to drop that and cannot go back. I love my job but my sense of irony in certain areas is best kept to myself. For the rest nothing will change, I am who I am and I write as I write and that will continue. Indeed were the new site to shut down for any reason I would continue here taking pictures and writing because the blog format is what I enjoy which is why the new page will be a daily commitment for me and for Chuck. My sense of irony will not desert me, my pleasure in life here hasn't changed. It's just there is no page on the web like the page I have in mind and that I cannot do alone. Chuck is the perfect fit, wait and see.

Conchscooter said...

Scooter Vic and salt life- it will continue because it will be an expression of me and Chuck and I can only write as I am.
Edward in sc - I won't let you down.
Jerk- says it all. The Internet is an ideal forum for you to tear down anything positive. Keep it up and you'll find Chuck is more than a match for you!

elzregina said...

A great idea as I love both of your blogs. We are now being more active in our consideration of moving south, having talked to realtors, set a tentative date to come down for further research (ride alongs for me; meet and greets for him) plus looking at rentals to start (before purchasing). As an HVAC tech he is worried about consistent work; I should have my FL medic cert by the time we head there to check things out. I will continue to read the new website with great interest.

Anonymous said...

I've been reading this blog since the start and applaud your ambition and new direction. Personally, I thought things were starting to get a bit stale on the blog lately and while I don't think you were bored with it I think you needed a new challenge.

The idea of interviewing people and in a sense going deeper into Key West is a great idea that takes advantage of your natural curiosity. I'm thinking you may eventually need to abandon your increasingly tenuous claim to being a misanthrope.

BTW, Chuck takes better photos than you so let him at it ;>. OK, maybe he just has a better camera.

Best of luck.

Singing to Jeffrey's Tune said...

It sounds like a great endeavor and will keep you both challenged. I look forward to it in the new year.

Best of luck, not that it will be needed.


Chuck and the Pheebs said...

One of the things Michael wants to encourage is greater reader involvment - more than a blog, but not quite a forum. Having been an admin on more than one forum, I've some experience in this area. Ever the misanthrope, Michael struggled with comments, whereas I see dialog as an avenue to new thought.

Two caveats:

1) I do not suffer fools glady.
2) Pop taught me never to argue with idiots in public.

As a recovering misantrhope, I understand Michael's reticence, but the sheer joy of being able to live and work in a place as welcoming as Key West has had an impact.

This blog is for the people who choose to call Key West home - and those who desire to do the same - even if it be but for a few weeks of the year. It's so much more than Lower Duval's five buck beers and T-shirts; our desire is to illustrate this for your benefit.

As for the photos - the camera is cheap. The "blind squirrel" approach is used; that is, take enough photos and a few turn out. Pure luck facilitated by quantity. Glad you liked what made the cut!

Chuck and the Pheebs said...

elzregina -

HVAC techs who:

a) Show up
b) On time and;
c) sober

Are in high demand down heah. if you go to indeed.com , there's usually 3 or 4 HVAC tech jobs open. With A/C in use year round, there's no such thing as an A/C season.

Best of luck on the move!

Garythetourist said...

Carry on gentlemen. I think you guys will make a FANTASTIC team. Just keep my daily dose of the Keys coming. Gilbert and Sullivan, Lennon and McCartney, Watson and Crick, Michael and Chuck; creativity comes in twos. Have a blast and go make it happen.

Anonymous said...

thanks for all the great info and pix! keep on riding...

Conchscooter said...

Hey! Jeffrey's back! And spared me sending you an e-mail.
I knew I needed a new challenge but until I saw chucks consistency when he came back to Key West with his new blog I wasn't sure what to do. So then, driving back from Asheville after a week away I had the germ of an idea. I think it will work because as you can see he's great with the comments!

Chuck and the Pheebs said...

You forgot to add that I'm incredibly good looking to boot.

Anonymous said...

Cool. I am looking forward to new format.

Singing to Jeffrey's Tune said...

I am interested to see what technology or format, coupled with your process to have it between a blog and a forum.

However, I guess we will just have to wait.

David B. said...

I don't see anything but great possibilities here - looking forward to the next adventure. All you both have to do is keep up the good work.

Anonymous said...

I have really enjoyed your blog, from the time it was Key West Vespa. I appreciate your information and updates and enjoy your pictures. Good luck in your new endeavor!

Len said...

Can't wait to see what you two come up with. I'm sure it well be awesome.

Thanks for all you've shared over the years and best of luck in the new year.

Happy holidays and all that jazz.


Conchscooter said...

I am anxious to see the first draft of what the page will look like but the idea is that the latest essay will be right there just like it is now. We plan two long form essays a day-one each alternating morning and evening with additional pages behind additional buttons.
Best wishes to you too.
I am trying not to get stressed-change is never easy!

combustibletuirnip said...

Good luck to both of you and the new blog.

Anonymous said...

So many just walk away. You're going to be new and improved. Remember that the only constant thing in life is CHANGE. Hope to keep following you and your daily musings. It's been a daily read for quite some time. Thank You :-)
Mike and Arlene, Somerset NJ

Conchscooter said...

The new page is looking good. I am starting to look forward to this new format! I still hate change though...

Key West Steps said...

A very exciting development!! I will get a link to your new site on keyweststeps.com as soon as you are up and running. Sounds like your new efforts will be a wonderful complement to what I'm trying to do for new visitors. Can't wait to see what you create.
~ Lou