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Here is a JSON object representing the poem “Ozymandias”, by Percy Bysshe Shelley. In case it ever comes in handy (warning: plays sound, maybe).

So here is a number one problem of mine: I don’t have any of my early web pages. Tables, iframes, transparent GIFs--all shuffled off to great place that web pages go when you stop paying your hosting bills. And there were so many of them (mostly bad) and there are all now gone.

Tacky as they were, I miss them like Marcel Proust misses fancy French donuts, and since he got to write a whole novel about those, I feel like I should be allowed to memorialize my lost pages here, on yet another page that is also definitely, unquestionably, going to vanish someday.

In Memoriam: My Early Web Pages, 1995

I remember very little about this page other than that I overheard somebody talking about <font color> and man did I go to town with it.

The official web page of the Bard College Music Department, 1995

For this page, I spent approximately 17 hours in Photoshop making the grodiest, most dithered GIF in the history of the Internet. It was primarily brown. There were very blurry musical notes. The font... Courier? Probably Courier.

Actually, you know what, Courier is rad and I am bringing it back.

So anyway, I’m so proud of this music department page when I’m done with it that I submit it aggressively and constantly to Yahoo in every possible category. I can still remember the little New! badge1 they put on it when it finally showed up. It still blows my mind, by the way, that it was somebody’s job to update the categorical directory of every web page on the internet.

Okay, I’m over the Courier thing now., 1996

So that made me a designer, duh. I signed up for dialup service with a local company called You want to see their logo?

Awwwwww yeahhhhh.

So of course you also get a free web page, and since I hoped to make a little of that sweet web cheddar to help pay for the rough early days of my opera career, I made up a company name in exactly ten minutes and put a tilde in front of it. The rest is history.

Literally, it is history. I remember seeing a directory with the files for this page roughly eight years ago and thinking, “oh hey data is forever no biggie”.

Let’s see, what did it look like? The background was black—that much is certain. There was a scanned illustration from the cover of a book of poems by Rumi. Also: my drawing of a flock of sheep. Remember, this is all ostensibly marketing for a web design business.

Oof., 1999

I already know I’m forgetting a bunch of things. Let’s just move on. Damnsel was an excuse to throw elaborate birthday parties for my friend Lisa. I was, by this point, trying to be a DJ. I hesitate to put this here, but this seems like a good place for honesty and horrible pictures:

There were a lot of pictures like that. What else? Oh, at one point, we used the site for political agitation of the William Upski Wimsatt Bomb the Suburbs variety, but I am fairly sure that nobody ever saw it but us. Again, I used the Photoshop blur tool a lot.

The original, 2003

I was super into wiki when I started blogging. I hacked away at some perl-based wiki software until both the software and I lay bloodied on the earth, linked arbitrarily to random bits of ourselves. CGI was magical, and I used it to publish insufferable articles about how much I hated winter. This box appeared in the sidebar:

Oh, do you?

This blog is also the source of the name “Tangentialism”. I’m sure you’ve judged me privately; I know I have. Anyhow, blame this guy.

This page stayed up for about two years before I switched to Movable Type [r.i.p.]. I have no backup of the perl code itself, but snapshots are on the Internet Archive. I’m either too lazy or too embarrassed to link to any one page of it.

That’s all the web pages I’ve lost. Vast and trunkless legs of stone, etc. I gave myself an hour to write this down so now I’m done. Love you all. Thanks, Paul.


1 I found this “New!” badge on, which I wish had been a much bigger thing when I was making my earliest crappy web pages.

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