The range is broad, shifting slowly, constantly over time. But a few things remain foundations ... art and photography, design, applied digital technology, environmental issues, local New Mexican 'color,' political rhetoric. In short, eclecticism whilst searching for originality of style, perception and voice.
Who writes this?
My name is Garret P. Vreeland, and dangerousmeta is my personal weblog. I own and operate a design studio in Santa Fe, New Mexico with my wife Sandra as my partner. I handle web design, audio, video and photography, while she handles graphic design and illustration.
History of dangerousmeta!
The official 'birth' of this weblog is a little complex. I actually began posting chronological entries via content management system on my business website in mid-1999 with Userland Frontier. So my personal history of 'weblogging' really begins there. The political discussions (about the Clinton impeachment hearings) in the forum attached to Scripting News, along with Dave Winer's posts about the benefits of using a database to generate content in different templates, caught me and reeled me in. I wanted to be able to express my opinions just as readily. [Note: Some like to believe political discourse on the internet only started with 9/11. That is a misperception. The media only began to pay attention to weblogs the summer of 2001. Prior to 9/11, weblogs were about as interesting to the media as a manky old boot. There were fewer of us then, but we got just as exercised over Bush/Gore 2000 as we did the Obama/McCain 2008 election.] When Userland debuted their Manila weblogging software, and set up the free Edit This Page weblog community in late 1999, I jumped on the bandwagon to learn how to use it. Thus, many consider my 'official' entry into weblogging as December 22, 1999, when I joined that group. This site was called "array.editthispage.com" back then. The Wayback Machine can show you some highlights, since Edit This Page is now offline.
Eventually more content management systems appeared, and my curiousity got the better of me. I made a move to Zope [a Python-based CMS] late in 2000. I switched to the uber-popular Movable Type in August of 2004, and it served wonderfully until January, 2005. Being the oddball that I am, having the 'popular' weblog software didn't satisfy, and I switched to less-popular (at the time) WordPress, which allowed me to utilize my PHP skills more discursively. Around this time I dabbled in all the major PHP and Perl blog constructs ... PMachine, Greymatter, Geeklog—some really skanky flat-file solutions, too—always searching for that 'perfect' weblog environment. In 2004, Ellis Lab debuted Expression Engine (the next iteration of PMachine), and I took the dive into building various client sites with this new tool. In December of 2007, Chris Ruzin challenged me to switch my site from WP to Expression Engine, since I spent so much time talking it up. I feared a difficult switchover, given the amount of posts I had, but the templating features of EE made it relatively simple and painless. My EE install here controls just over 49,000 entries without a hiccup. As of 1/14/16, my visitation count is somewhere near 36 million individual page reads, not including my '03-'05 CMS files and pre-'03 static PHP entries, which likely almost double those article # and page read counts.
Quick Update: EE1 gave up the ghost at being abused. Over nearly 50,000 entries, and the ability to comment is failing. On my (friggin') birthday, October 16, 2016, I've set up this Squarespace blog to take over the heavy lifting until I can figure out what I do next.
Why do folks read this weblog?
dangerousmeta! is more well-known nationally than in its birth city and state (Santa Fe, NM). Its reputation was built on being a wide-ranging, concise news aggregator in the early days of the weblogging revolution, and the audience is strictly national and international [New Mexico was empty of weblogs in 1999, primarily because internet hookup speeds were still heartbreakingly slow dialups]. I am a recognized expert at the link-and-comment style, posting upwards of 50 items a day during the early '00's. Stylistically, I chose to run as a hybrid of Robot Wisdom and Scripting News. I was more verbose than Jorn, but couldn't possibly shove a fiber-optic cable into my brain, as Dave seemed to be able to. The style was very popular at that time, running at about 50,000 page views a day. On the now-defunct Blogdex in 2002, the earliest record I can find online, this weblog was the #4 meme-generator among webloggers, and rated just as highly in previous years. Scholarly research on blogs in the '00's categorize this blog as an "A-list" (top) blog, but I never thought of myself in that manner. I was not writing from one of the two coasts, with a large community of support around me. I was a solo, learning as I went, bringing readers along. Twitter, RSS and other technologies have robbed me of a large percentage of my former traffic from those days. My style is currently evolving. This weblog's been quoted a couple of times by the Columbia Journalism Review, and linked by the National Review for being first to use the word "blogotry" (actually, from a series of posts tagging 'blog-' onto just about every word I could find, making fun of those who turn creating 'blog-' terms into online gravitas. If you've coined one yourself, chances are at least a dozen weblogs have done so before you.). I have also been described as the "Benjamin Franklin" of webloggers, and a "one-man Metafilter", but alas, my memory fails as to who gifted me with the accolades. Kudos from past actions don't stick very well in the metacosm; as with everything 'net, you're only as good as your last posting.
I spearheaded, with the help of others, the "Behind The Curtain" project in September 2000, an attempt to get all the early webloggers to photograph themselves, their lives, so we could take a peek at who was writing all these compelling posts. Webloggers had no 'face' at that time; digital photography was just starting to become affordable. This BTC project predated all the current photo-sharing sites; all participants built their own image galleries and posted them, with creative and fascinating results. I've been told the popularity of this project influenced many subsequent group photo sites such as Flickr and others, but I've never had that corroborated by an authoritative source. I still get asked 'when will you do it again?' One of these years, I might ... if there is enough outside interest. It would be great to do an 'update' with those who originally participated.
This weblog is also, if not the first blog in New Mexico, then one of the first in New Mexico. At the time, I only heard my voice in the NM wilderness. Certainly the longest-running weblog in NM, using recognized weblog software. Whether 18+ years of weblogging is generally admirable or patently insane is a more interesting question. I'll leave that judgment to you, the reader.
When I read a weblog, I like to know about the author. Character can be made manifest if the writer is skillful, but more commonly background information gets parceled out very slowly over a long period of time. We live in a short-attention-span society, so I will give you the quick rundown on myself, so you can judge of my opinions better.
I am 58 years old, weigh around 185, and am 6'1" tall. I am married to the svelte, lovely and patient Sandra, who is not an aficionado of weblogging. But she will, from time to time, cheerily play a photographic Passepartout to my Phileas Fogg, so her influence reaches the metacosm eventually.
It is common knowledge that children rarely venture far from the political opinions of their parents. My parents were Democrat, yet my adopted grandfather was a steadfast Republican (of the Teddy Roosevelt philosophy, until Nixon obliterated this convenient little fantasy). I like to think of myself as a fiscally-conservative liberal, a rationalist and a humanist. My historical religion is Dutch Reformed on my father's side, Southern Baptist on my mother's. I have spent 99 [and 44/100ths] percent of my time away from religion, and most of the time I spend in churches is for photographic purposes only. I prefer the Founding Fathers' "Nature's God."
I am also a member of the ninth generation descended from Michael Jansen Vreeland, who travelled from Texel in the Netherlands in the ship 'Het Wapen Van Noorwegen', arriving in New Amsterdam (Manhattan) in early August of 1638. He and his family were some of the survivors of the Pavonia Massacre of 1655; family oral tradition credits that he traded furs with the natives for his survival (he and his family got a 'safe conduct' for being fair traders?). Tracing into the Netherlands has been only mildly successful. A dab of French and Italian to spice up the paternal mix. On the maternal side, seemingly untraceable Tennessee Cherokee; or at least, we can't correlate those with obvious Native American ancestry to the rolls; mine is the first generation to not have the obvious physical characteristics (Update: a family member has found that the Native quantum goes back four generations. And that may not be full-blood, though there may be more than one individual. Family oral history was accurate, just not too current). Add to that the common Southern Scotch/Irish heritage, and a smidgen more Dutch hybridization. Don't they say that mutts and mongrels are more hardy? I hope so, at any rate.
Any life is the story of many journeys. I grew up in Princeton, New Jersey, lived briefly in Knoxville, Tennessee, and now reside in Santa Fe, New Mexico. My life's occupations include the care of over eighty orphan newborns (I have diapered more butts than you, no matter your sex), service station attending/postal clerking/toilet scrubbing/store clerking/cactus mowing [and wandering countless hundreds of miles on forgotten trails] in Big Bend Nat'l Park TX, casting porcelain at Edward Marshall Boehm in Trenton NJ [Nutcracker figurines, and petals for their exquisite flowers], pouring prestressed concrete at Southern Cast Stone in Knoxville TN ['double-T's'], building slideshows for CBS Records NYC, updating Control Data financial databases at Moseley, Hallgarten, Estabrook & Weeden in NYC, teleprompting for Chairmen, CEOs, Executive VPs in the Fortune 100 & 500, winning individual Telly Awards for my work as video graphics artist, video production, video editing, and direction for Comart Aniforms of NYC (I also spent too much time cleaning up after Roscoe), freelancing TVL video graphic speaker support in NYC for the same aforesaid members of the Fortune 100 and 500 lists, freelancing Macromedia Director productions, freelancing 3-D animations in Form*Z and myriad rendering packages to create video animations for various clients. Time was, I was in the quarter-million mile club of American Airlines for multiple years, doing all this work on-site with no sleep!
I continue to ride the waves of computer technology, preferring to explore the areas between genuine human creativity and computerized enhancements thereof. I like to live intensely, in many different directions at once, on the frontier - before the homesteaders show up.
Post-9/11, a certain subset of people seem to view the name of this weblog with trepidation. There was a warning posted in late 2000, to be on the lookout for 'dangerous meta characters' in your code. After a long sleepless night of programming, I looked in the mirror and saw such a character. Thus was born the name of this weblog.
Further, we who took part in the early years of weblogging believed we could change the world, make it a better place, through a keyboard. At least, I did. My opinions on world events are 'meta-' opinions, opinions of opinions, since our sources of information are, at best, second hand. Given the fact that I'm commenting so far from the original facts, and with a slant that is not necessarily mainstream, I humorously interpret that as the 'dangerous' in "dangerousmeta!".
I should know better than to tell a joke that needs to be explained; prior to 9/11, such explanation wasn't necessary. I get asked about it regularly now. This displays how fearful a society we have become. Go out and read some Edward Abbey, and damn the current fashion of lily-livered propriety.
Why the biohazard logo?
After 9/11, I frequently found myself having to explain this, also. New readers feared the symbol. My use of a modified biohazard logo long predates the anthrax attacks on the east coast of the United States. It is a personal joke, really, to illustrate the name of this weblog appropriately. Consider it a harmless bit of weblogging surrealism. Even more surreal, when you realize those anthrax envelopes were mailed from a postal box not two blocks from my birth home in Princeton! An odd synchronicity.
Do you make money from this website, either by promoting products or ads?
This weblog generates no money. Any products I wax eloquent about, are ones I enjoy using. If this situation ever changes, I will be sure to inform my readers. I handle requests for photos I've posted, and web design projects. As of January 2008, I offer some of my photographic work for sale on this weblog. Some might consider this a second-hand form of income from the weblog, but the amount wouldn't keep a cockroach in fashion jeans for a year. I do not believe that every single bit of information needs to be, or should be, monetized.
May I use some of your graphics or photographs?
If you ask permission, or pay for the privilege. No linking graphics from my server, please. Not unless I give you specific written permission to do so. All creative works are © 1999 - 2018, Garret P. Vreeland, All Rights Reserved. If you see something you like, feel free to drop a note [garret - at - dangerousmeta - dot - com]. I usually have something much higher resolution on my hard drive, ready for use, that will serve your needs much better.
I do my best to not have to moderate the comments on my posts. I expect commenters to behave with respect - and, most importantly - any disagreement can be resolved by an agreement to disagree. This is my virtual 'home', and you will obey my rules or be (respectfully) invited to leave.
Ah. Smile spontaneously, and do at least one nice thing for someone else each day.