The Website Mary Celeste

You know these websites: no updates in months, seemingly as if everyone abandoned ship. But things are changing, at least for this site.

Welcome back children of the revolution. It’s been a while, at least here.

I was asked: why haven’t you been updating your design site? It’s a fairly straightforward question, but one that has been months with numerous delays and even the COVID pandemic hampering any real progress.

Prior to this week, this site had not been updated since October, 2020. It was just before then that my previous employer, whom I had been waiting for six months to hire me back, decided to say they were letting me go.

One of the things I did that many promised themselves they would do but didn’t during the pandemic: teach myself a valuable new skill. Mine was video editing and creation. Here is a clip for an International Jazz Day archival program.

During that time, however, I was far from idle. Both my guys here were facing numerous health problems at the beginning of the shutdown, and my days were just filled with taking care of them. I was still doing work, and even taught myself a new program called Adobe Premier, with books I got from the library.

However, freelance work pretty much just stopped, like the rest of the world did. Add to this a poor economy, layoffs everywhere and you get the perfect storm of someone who wants to work, has talent, solid references and, in my opinion, a well-rounded portfolio, who still can’t find a job. Of course I needed one with benefits, and in addition to just not hearing from people, no one was hiring anything even resembling full-time work in any field, at least not until the end of the craziest election in recent memory and the passing of the holiday season.

My favorite meme about counting the 2020 Presidential election ballots, featuring the slow-counting character The Count from Sesame Street, poking some much needed fun at Nevada’s slow auditing, which dragged the results out for so many days it seemed they would never be completed.

I spent my days drinking far too much due to depression from being unemployed for such a length of time, and I ballooned to over 280 lbs. I took a chance at a job I knew I was terribly over-qualified for, and then was surprised I actually got it. It’s very physical, at a local grocery store, and the shift begins at midnight. I started on the last day of January 2021.

Since that time, I have gotten into a routine with my odd new hours, and have lost 25 lbs. so far. When I say physical, I couldn’t be more serious than a heart attack, as in an eight hour shift, I am walking the equivalent of 10 miles and hauling a cart that can exceed 350 pounds.

Yes, work is hard on my 52 year-old body at times, but once in a while we still get to have fun. An Easter rabbit display made up of different types of seltzer water.

I told myself that once things got settled, I wasn’t going to let this website end up like the Mary Celeste. For those unaware, the Mary Celeste was a cargo ship that left the U.S. one day in 1872, bound for Genoa in Italy by way of Gibraltar. It was discovered adrift off the Azores, an island chain west of the Iberian Peninsula in the Atlantic about a month after it sailed out of New York harbor. Its cargo was intact, and so were the possessions of those who were on the ship. One lifeboat was missing, and the passengers were never heard from again.

One of the many “theories” about what happened to the crew of the Mary Celeste, the most famous ghost ship in history.

Speculation still runs rampant to this day about what happened: The Bermuda Triangle, UFO’s, pirates, a severe storm and even giant sea creatures have all been, well, floated.

Of course, the new Mary Celeste is an abandoned website. They sit like a time capsule, and you just wonder what happened. Did someone die? Did the business go bankrupt? Because hosting and domain name services can be purchased in advance, and site updates, like WordPress can happen automatically, a site can be built today, and it could be as many as two years before the URL stops working.

I am very active on Instagram, mainly because it’s fast, easy and fun, especially when so much of what is online isn’t. So active, in fact, I have created a page on this site that displays my Instagram feed.

People become accustomed to seeing you in a particular place on the internet, not unlike seeing a co-worker waiting for the bus five days a week. When I dropped Facebook over a year ago, everyone was literally “What happened?” Gee, it isn’t like I am not on Instagram, Tumblr, Twitter, host two online sites, etc., right?

Which gets us back to the updates. Just yesterday, the first free poster download since October happened, and of course it is for International Jazz Day 2021. I am also slowly updating and uploading the audio educational programs, a few at a time. And even though my digital content creation freelance work is practically at a standstill, I still created a one page website (a first for me) for a new client that she loves.

I have decided to go for broke, because being anonymous isn’t paying the bills or furthering my career. These are actual Webby Awards, the “Oscars of the Internet”. Wish me luck.

Oh, and I also entered into two different international contests, including the Webby’s, the biggest one of them all. You can’t win the lottery if you don’t buy a ticket, right? If I win, tell everyone you knew me back in the day, and that I was an asshole even then.

Love to you all.

Ben “Daddy Ben Bear” Brown Jr.


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