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.