Monday, October 26, 2009

Goodbye Geocities

Today, with a relatively quiet whimper that hardly does justice to its lasting legacy, Yahoo! finally pulled the plug on longtime web hosting site Geocities. In an instant millions of long ignored, aesthetically bankrupt, badly formatted pages suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced. Perverse slash fiction websites, "unofficial" celebrity fan pages, esoteric web rings and clubs, countless web counters; all now the forever lost recorded ephemera of the primordial era of the Internet.

As part of the generation that was born with and grew up concurrently with the personal computer and eventual evolution of the Internet, the death of Geocities is definitely a somber moment. For many of us our crappy personal Geocities page was our first innocent baby steps into this omnipresent force in our lives called the Internet. One can only look back with wistful pixelated nostalgia about a time when having a scrolling marquee or a three frame animated gif on your page was a big deal, where you could find an AOL trial CD in your mailbox every week, when a thirty second wav file took half an hour to download and a thirty second lo-res porn clip took half a day, when "The Net" seemed like cutting edge futurist cinema. Simpler times, indeed.

Although I lost track of it nearly a decade ago and I doubt that it even survived this long, when I heard the news of Geocities imminent demise I still wondered if one of those doomed long abandoned pages was my first web page made back in middle school. Like a great majority of Geocities sites I spend all of an hour setting it up and nothing more afterwards. It was basically a single homepage with some generic background wallpaper, a picture of Mr. T (I used to love watching reruns of the A-Team growing up, some neon scrolling font welcoming people to what I called my "Super Fun Happy Website", and some random greeting message to anyone fortunate enough to come upon my site. In a way it can be viewed as the proto-Victor Sells Out.

While we'll never know if my site still existed up to today, for the benefit of all you readers out there, I have managed to create a crude artist's rendering from memory of what it may have looked circa 1997, right down to the Netscape browser:

That counter should be closer to 10.

Misty poorly coded memories, of the way we were...

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