The Fleeting Permanence Of PermanenceTuesday, January 04, 2011
The events that conspired to make my web page and corresponding blog to disappear yesterday, January 3 and even as I write this today at noon (others can see the web page and blog but I cannot) has again brought to mind how impermanent are those things we take for granted. In fact I would simply assert it as the impermanence of permanence.
For me nothing brings that idea as succinctly as my memory of that 1960 film The Time Machine, directed by George Pal and with Rod Taylor and Yvette Mimieux.
Rod Taylor finally has his time machine and he sits in it. We would now consider that machine as a splendid example of William Gibson and Bruce Sterling’s concept of Steampunk. Another brilliant one would be Captain Nemo’s submarine in Richard Fleischer’s 1954 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.
Rod Taylor sits on this wonderful chair/time machine and with the lowly special effects of the time you can see as time passes quickly into the future. Cathedrals and mountains come crashing down; trees grew and then fell, fires and explosions suggest WWI and so on. In a dizzying speed of images The Time Traveller reaches 802,701 A.D.
Those ever-so-quick images of time passing hit home when I first saw the film. I began then to realize about my mortality and the impermanence of all I knew and thought to be permanent.
Sometime around 1987 Malcolm Parry, then editor of the exciting city magazine that Vancouver Magazine was then, decided to give me a job. I was given the lofty title of Director of Photography. At the time the magazine had no art director and Parry and a few others did the paste-up which was a pre-digital, dirty, elaborate method of putting a magazine together before it was sent to be printed. With my job as Director of Photography (a jazzed up title equivalent to photo editor) I was responsible for seeing the portfolios of illustrators and photographers. Parry would give me stories for which I was to find suitable people to illustrate. I took the job so seriously that I took myself out of many jobs I would have died to do but I found it a conflict of interest to do so. There was one job where I suggested a particular photographer and Parry simply said, “This job is particularly tailored for your talents, so you, must take it on.”
I enjoyed, even though I was still nominally a freelancer, the idea that I could go to my “office”. I liked being addressed by the people who worked at the magazine as one who now had a vaguely lofty duty.
The magazine went well for a while but I thought that the pressure of putting a magazine together while still editing it was becoming a strain on Parry. I suggested we look for an art director.
At the time I was highly regarded by Saturday Night art director, Bruce Ramsay. I had recently contributed a photograph of Peter C. Newman for an essay on how Canadians perceived water. This was for the one hundredth anniversary issue (derided by many to call the cover, which was a dull and uniform gray, the tombstone). I called up Ramsay to ask him to look for candidates in Toronto who might be keen on the job of moving to Vancouver. A couple of days later he called me to say, “Alex those who can don’t want to, and those who want to, can’t.”
I told Parry that the situation was getting desperate and that we needed to find a local art director. I knew of one who was working for a competing magazine and I knew he was not happy at his job there. Parry gave him the job.
One of the first orders of business for the new art director was to call me to his office to tell me, “You are history, here, as Director of Photography.”
Suddenly I had no office and nobody kowtowed when I subsequently entered the premises just as a photographer. I no longer had photographers and illustrators calling me up to invite me for lunch. I was suddenly and most definitely a nobody.
I learned my lesson and I never again accepted any kind of job that would have given me administrative obligations and a title. I have fiercely, to the detriment of good paying work, stuck to my guns of remaining and independent, a free lancer.
Back to Net Nation, who without prior warning (they used to send me cautionary emails in the past) pulled the plug on my web page with its ancillary blog yesterday. The reason was the non payment of a $13.38 yearly fee controlling under their wing my domain name (alexwaterhousehayward.com).
Once I dealt with a pleasant Rumanian tech-support man talking to me from his home country last night, I thought it would all fix itself. He told me that the auto-renew segment of my web page account was not set to that. I had made sure last year that the folks at Net Nation fixed so that this would not happen. But it did. The pleasant Rumanian predicted it would take 24 hours for my web page to come back.
Net Nation sent me emails in the middle of the night to inform me that I was up. This was not the case and I insisted they look into it.
We are sorry for the inconvenience caused; we can assure you that your website is up and running. You were not seeing it on your end most likely because of a DNS cache, in other word, your local computer "remembered" the old information (the website being down) and that is what you see. The DNS should be refreshed after you reboot or after a while and you should see your site up and running.
I first purged my DNS Cache (they told me that my computer was still looking for the address of the previous address). I was proud of myself that I was able to do that. No web page.
Then they asked me for my IP Address and for something called a traceroute output:
If you are still unable to load your website, it is possible that the cause is an IP block set on our end. In order to determine if this is the case, please reply back and provide us with:
1. Traceroute output to the website.
2. Your local IP address.
The first will show if you are unable to load the site from your location due to an IP block that has been set on our end. The second will let us know which is your IP so that we can unblock it.
We await your reply.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us again.
This I have done, and am I proud of myself! But no web page. No blog. In fact I am going to post this now. You will see it, I will not! To be fair, Net Nation has been polite and helpful (still no web page, no blog) and it is fruitless for me to get angry. The web page and the blog will come back, but more than ever I will understand just how fleeting is what we think of permanence. And so much for my permanent presence on the web.