Vox_export

5 Word Challenge: Nowhere Man

How it works:
Write an entry of any length or style using five assigned words. Bold the five words. Tag your blog post with ’5wordchallenge’ and any other tags you wish to add. Feel free to pingback to this post or provide a link to your entry in comments.

This week’s challenge words were chosen by ME!:  monochrome, stilted, affluent, trestle, anachronism


I trudged along the edge of the road, always two steps away from the gravel-and-dirt embankment that loomed next to me.  It rose to twice my height as the road slowly sloped down towards the river. I knew that on top of that mound of packed earth and stone ran twin tracks – remnants from an era when travel by locomotive was the rage.

Back then, a train would have passed by this spot every hour, cars full of passengers awash with the novelty and decadance of travel by rail.  Affluent couples would dine in the epitome of sophistication, their every whim attended to by waiters dressed in monochrome uniforms, while those unable to afford such an expense would whisper enviously from their coach-class seats three cars back.   Young boys, playing out near the tracks after school, might have paused their game of Cowboys and Indians to watch the train pass by them in a rush of wind infused with hot metal and the clattering of many wheels.

Those gleaming steel tracks didn’t shine anymore; I had already climbed the embankment once just to check.   Rusted orange-brown, it was hard now to picture them ever looking new.   Like the junked engines slowly rusting away in the railroad graveyards, the railways were outmoded.  Outdated.  Relics too worthless to salvage and too expensive to restore.   Anachronisms overlooked and ignored by the millions who daily drove their automobiles over, under, or around the railways without a second glance.  Yes, that felt right – invisible anachronisms.

I knew it was so, but I knew more: I was an invisible anachronism, too.   Stuck in a dead-end job in an industry that itself was on the skids, I had nothing in my professional life to look forward to for the 15-or-so years until I could even think about retiring.  My strict adherence to a code of ethics and conduct that had been out of date for at least thirty years didn’t help to win me any friends, and the few times I had made an effort to hold conversations with my coworkers, everything I said came out stilted and shallow.   If I disappeared this afternoon, nobody would even think to look for me.  Or care.  Just like the railroad tracks.

I scrambled my way back up the embankment, clawing at the slope as the loose debris sheathing the hill shifted under my boots.   At the top, I clapped my hands against my jeans, brushing off the black dirt and ochre dust they had picked up in my short climb to the top of the tracks.   Ahead lay the old railroad bridge, spanning the stream that in wetter months might actually grow wide enough to earn its title of “river”.   Right now, however, it was only a trickle of water just barely too wide to leap across, and looked almost comical set in the middle of the wide gorge.  The top of the trestle bridge stood nearly thirty feet above the water’s slow-moving surface.  It looked sturdy enough to walk on, but I planned to go slowly and test my weight each step of the way.  Morbid thoughts from earlier aside, I wasn’t about to help the world forget about me and my solitary existence.

No, today, I just wanted to keep walking.  I might be alone, but then again, I was always alone.  So for this afternoon, at least, I chose simply to embrace my solitude.  Just a couple of invisible anachronisms, out in the middle of nowhere, doing nothing in particular, in the company of nobody.


Goodbye Vox! *sniff, sniff*

NOTE: This was a post over on Vox that I’ve exported over since the service is shutting down.

Tomorrow’s the last day you are allowed to post anything on Vox, but this will be my final post here.  I’m planning to keep up my writing over at http://rossotron.com and hope folks will continue to stop by over there.  Everyone who has sent me posts or comments with their new blog addresses have had their new sites bookmarked and I’m adding everyone to my RSS feeds, WordPress Subscriptions, and whatnot.

I started a blog back in March 2002 on a site called Diaryland, after a friend of mine started writing there [edit: wow, I just checked and the content is still over there! Crazy…] When I transferred my blog to a self-hosted MovableType installation in 2004, I hand-copied and pasted all my entries over to the new blog.  That was fun for a time, but I didn’t really have anyone reading my blog there, since it wasn’t publicized in any way and I didn’t really go through any effort to spread the word.

Things got a whole lot easier and a whole lot more fun when I joined Vox in early 2007, and started adding people to my Vox neighborhood.  Suddenly there was a whole community of people who were warm, kind, thoughtful and thought-provoking, all of whom seemed ready to extend a welcoming embrace to new Vox members.  I posted 370 entries in the last 10 months of 2007 (about 8 posts a week), and made some lasting friendships that I value dearly.  Although my posting activity declined in the following years, I became a more active participant in other people’s blogs and comment-threads, and love that even years later, I can go back and read some of those threads and get as much enjoyment and entertainment out of them as I did the first time I participated in those dialogues.  One of my favorites, looking back, is “If Real Life Were Like Vox” – definitely brings back memories of all the good times the folks in my ‘hood had here.

I’m more than a little sad about the Vox Diaspora that has taken place.  My neighborhood has been scattered to the ends of the internet.  Some folks ended up over on TypePad, some on WordPress, and others chose different routes, including LiveCloud and self-hosted blogs.  I hope to be able to keep following everyone, but in my heart I worry that some of the bonds we’ve formed over the years will be weakened, or even broken.  I am not sure there’ll be another Vox in our future, but we’ll all cherish the fun times we had as a Neighborhood, and I know that I’m going to use this as an impetus to get writing again, and hopefully move forward.  It won’t be the same, but hopefully it’ll be just as good.

Goodbye Vox.  I’ll miss you.

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Goodbye Vox??? (aka How to Pack Your Bags and Regroup)

NOTE: This was a post over on Vox that I’ve exported over since the service is shutting down.

Edit: Upon re-reading my post, I realize I sounded a little bitter and accusatory of SixApart.  I am sure their decision to scrap Vox and move everyone out is not one they made easily or without consideration for the dedicated members of the Vox community.  The efforts they have gone through to provide export tools to TypePad and Flickr shows that they do care about the people that made Vox great, and they hope that those folks will have enough faith in them to follow them over to the platform that they DO plan to focus their attentions on.  I’m revising my post below to be a little less negative and try to focus more on what people can do to keep their content, wherever they decide to go from here.

I’ve been away from Vox for quite some time now, for work reasons and family commitments.  In fact, I probably wouldn’t even be posting this today if it wasn’t for the announcement that Vox has decided to close its doors and bulldoze the community that has been slipping away quietly in dribs and drabs as people became dissatisfied with what in the recent years has become a sort of pariah of the SixApart group.  As support for the Vox platform declined, so did the number of users who cared to deal with the idiosyncrasies of the tools, poor server loads, and influx of spam comments.  But now even those who stuck around through it all will need to make a decision.  The word is out folks, and it’s time to pack your bags hit the road.  Luckily, there’s a lot of handy tools and helpful instructions out there to insure that you don’t lose your content, and can hopefully transition on to bigger and better things on another blogging platform.

SixApart’s primary suggestion is that you transition your Vox blog to TypePad, another one of their blogging products, and one which, based on Steve’s recent post and comments below, looks to have A LOT of good people and support behind it to make it a fun and worthwhile product.  Although I have not used it (and thus really can’t express an opinion on it), I do recommend you give their Export to TypePad tool a chance and see what all the hooplah is about.  If you don’t like it, there are other export options that you can do that I’ll go into more detail about.

Right now, your options to export your Vox blog are as follows:

1) Export your blog (posts, photos, and audio) to a free TypePad blog
2) Export your photos and videos to a Flickr account (free or paid Pro)
3) Export your blog (posts, photos) to an alternative service such as WordPress or Posterous

Note: These are not mutually exclusive – you can export your blog + photos and audio to TypePad, and then export your photos + videos to flickr, and do another export of your blog to WordPress or the like)

Vox has #1 and #2 covered in pretty good detail – while logged in, go to www.vox.com and read the info there to see the links to export to TypePad or Flickr.  Also, more info can be found at closing.vox.com – including details of when you’ll not be allowed to post anymore, and when you’ll not be allowed to get your data any more.

As for #3, my suggestion?  Export to a WordPress blog.  Even if you don’t think you’re going to use WordPress, they will automatically import your Vox blog (posts and pictures – sorry, it still doesn’t do video or music) using their import tool.  Once there, you can easily export your entire blog contents to a single file that can be imported to almost any of the big named blogging platforms out there (there’s either direct import or conversion tools).  Plus, your pictures will be hosted by WordPress until you can find somewhere else that you want to host them.

Please note that you can either do a WordPress.com blog (i.e. they host it there) or a self-hosted installation of WordPress on your own site.  If you want to import to a self-hosted wordpress blog without any intervening steps, follow the instructions here to install the import plugins on your self-hosted installation and go to it.

If you’re not a WordPress fan and don’t want to try TypePad, you can also check out Posterous.  Vox has details and the link to export to Posterous here.  There are also tools that will allow you to import a WordPress blog into Blogger, if that’s more of your thing – just export to WP and then use one of those tools to transfer over.

I’d love for my Vox neighborhood to leave me comments to this post for where I can best keep in touch with you.  Just because I’ve been absent from Vox doesn’t mean I want to lose touch with those folks I used to converse with regularly.  It’s still going to be a little bit before I’m back in the office and around a computer all day (and thus have time to start posting again) but I’m not giving up on blogging and don’t want to stop reading everyone else’s funny, insightful, and entertaining blogs just because SixApart decided to nix Vox.

If you guys want to find me, I’ll be porting my blog over to http://rossotron.com .  I’ll transfer over any comments from this post, too, so if you want to use this as a reference for where to find people, you can check for the related post over on that site to see where people think they’ll end up, at least in the interim.

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