This 16-year-old blog

I was a 39 on this day in 2007, when I started this blog. 39! I hardly remember being that age. But I clearly remember the early days of this blog.

Then
Now

My son Damion made the photo of me in my denim jacket. I chaperoned his school field trip to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. We ate box lunches at picnic tables on the grounds. Damion picked up my camera and made this terrific photograph of me.

In 2007, Damion was 10. Now he’s 26! His brother Garrett is 23. I blogged all through their adolescence, and then their university years. Now they’re independent adults, and I’m still blogging.

For years I never used to give any of my children’s names or show photos of them here. I was concerned about their privacy. That ended when they became adults. A lot of other things have changed in my life and on this blog over the years. In 2007 I lived in a sprawling four-bedroom ranch that my church owned. They often let people in transition live in it rent free, and I was definitely in transition as I was freshly divorced. I couldn’t afford high-speed internet, but I had a landline phone and my computer had a modem card in it. I signed up for America Online and then signed up for a free WordPress.com account at jimgrey.wordpress.com. I wrote the first six months of this blog on dial-up Internet!

My church’s parsonage

At first, I posted here only when I had something to say. That happened 35 times in 2007 and 95 times in 2008. I published the minute I finished writing a post, whether it was 7:45 am on a Monday or 8:30 pm on a Thursday. In April of 2009 I started posting regularly on Monday and Thursday, and scheduled posts in advance to appear at various times in the wee hours of the morning. In October of 2010 I started scheduling posts to always appear at 5 am Eastern time.

From my publishing calendar: October, 2008, was a busy month on my fledgling blog

In October of 2011 I changed this blog’s address to what it is now, blog.jimgrey.net. Then in September of 2012 I started publishing Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Finally, in July of 2014 I started publishing six days a week, Monday through Saturday. I started that schedule with the very first Recommended Reading post, which you can read here. I’m surprised by how popular this weekly feature has become!

I published articles on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and single photographs on Tuesday and Thursday. In 2022 I finally changed that, and started slotting particular kinds of posts on particular days. I haven’t been slavish to it, but generally it’s been:

  • Monday: Gear reviews, film reviews, and film photography in general
  • Tuesday: Essays, personal stories, and faith.
  • Wednesday: In 2022, I posted a bunch of photos of the same subject, such as 15 hubcaps. This year I’ve been writing essays and stories about a single photograph.
  • Thusday: History and preservation.
  • Friday: Road trips.

I’ve updated this blog’s look and feel three times since I created it. That always involved choosing a new theme. My blog became more and more about my photography in its early years, so in March of 2014 I switched to a theme that let me display my photos larger. That theme had a lot of bugs, and I was tired of opening support cases with WordPress.com, so in December of 2015 I switched themes again. I kept it until just a few weeks ago when I changed themes yet again.

Meanwhile, my life continued full force. I moved out of the parsonage and bought a house. My kids grew up and became independent. I remarried and gained four more stepchildren. I sold that house and moved in with my wife. I progressed in my software-development career from Manager of Quality Assurance, to Director of Quality Assurance, to Director of Engineering, with a few bumps and scrapes along the way. We’ve had great joys, including seeing Damion and Garrett graduate university, and trips to Ireland and Denmark. But we’ve also had a lot of tragedy and loss, including the death of our daughter-in-law, Margaret’s mom, my father, my oldest child, and finally my mother.

Through it all, I’ve persisted in publishing this blog. At first, it brought me a feeling of connection with the world at a very difficult and lonely time in my life. Little by little, this blog found an audience, and that feeling of connection only grew. That’s why I persist.

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Comments

39 responses to “This 16-year-old blog”

  1. Greg Clawson Avatar
    Greg Clawson

    Jim, congratulations on your anniversary! Wow 16 years!
    I have been visiting for about 10 years and I still read it daily and really enjoy your posts and recommend reading
    You sir have also turned me on to some great blogs and articles that have helped me, and I’m sure I am not the only one.
    Last but not least, I want to thank you for your honesty and transparency in your writing and administration of this blog. People can come here, comment, and agree or disagree, and not be ripped to shreds. Thank you Jim for sharing your writing and photography, and wishing you many more

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Thank you so much, Greg! I appreciate your faithful readership. I also try hard to make this blog into what I wish the whole Internet were in terms of polite discourse.

  2. Shirley B. Avatar
    Shirley B.

    Congratulations! I am very happy I found your blog and even happier that you continued it. I hope you’ll continue blogging for many more years to come!

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Thank you, and I’m glad you’re here! I can’t imagine not doing this. All things eventually end, but the end is not in sight.

  3. brandib1977 Avatar

    Congratulations! I’m so glad you took the plunge sixteen years ago. In addition to building your own community around this blog, you have inspired many others to open up shop and start writing as well. I lurked here for years before ever commenting but you should know that reading your blog made me think I could do it as well.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Awesome! I’m so glad you started.

      1. brandib1977 Avatar

        Me too. Thanks!!

  4. bodegabayf2 Avatar

    I believe it was 2010-ish when I found your blog. It’s a pleasant part of my morning routine; coffee and Down The Road.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Thank you John! I’m glad you found my blog too.

  5. sonny rosenberg Avatar

    I love the way you condensed the history of the blog and you. Interesting read! Kudos for keeping it going!

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      I had never pinpointed the dates of the many changes of this blog before. But with that Calendar plugin I now have, I was finally able to do it fairly easily.

  6. Paul Russell Avatar
    Paul Russell

    I discovered your blog a few years ago, while looking for information about some of Indiana’s named highways (Lincoln Highway, Dixie Highway, Yellowstone Trail, National Road, etc.), and I’ve been following you ever since. I enjoy your road trip reports and accompanying photos, especially when you do a follow-up report on what has changed since the original road trip. Keep up the great work!

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Thanks! I’m always happy to meet another roadie!

  7. tbm3fan Avatar
    tbm3fan

    Sixteen years writing a blog is a long time for something like that. That is like me when I think about going into my 26th year restoring and taking care of the USS Hornet. Unlike an occupation, it is something we don’t absolutely have to do but do for our inner selves. Now I don’t know if I could write for 16 years but I do know I can scrape paint for 26 years. Want to trade for a month, nah a week? I can do camera reviews since that is how I found you and you can paint steel since you paint with words. So congratulations, Jim…

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      I’m sure I prefer typing to scraping! :-)

      1. tbm3fan Avatar
        tbm3fan

        Why, it is like Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.

  8. Kate Sullivan Avatar

    I so enjoyed reading your look-back on your blogging experience and life. More power to you. I love reading your blog and especially your photos.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Thank you! And thank you for coming along for the ride.

  9. brineb58 Avatar

    Congrats!!! Always a pleasure to read your blog!!! Here’s to 16 more!!!

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Thank you! Here’s hoping I continue to have the ideas and energy for the next 16 years.

  10. Suzassippi Avatar

    I enjoyed the backstory. Coincidence: I started my first blog in 2007 also, on Blogger. I remember reading your comments on Andy’s Urban Decay. I enjoy your photographs, and essays and especially the road trips!

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Ah, Blogger! I considered that platform for a minute when I started blogging. I’m glad I went with WordPress!

      1. Suzassippi Avatar

        I did not learn about WordPress until much later, and although Blogger did a lot of things I liked, I finally made the switch after 5 years. I even tried to keep them both going (with different names and different focus) but it got too difficult.

  11. DougD Avatar
    DougD

    Congratulations! Indeed a day for good things, it’s also my daughter’s 20th birthday!

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      An auspicious day then!

  12. Kodachromeguy Avatar

    16 years! I’m impressed by your energy. I think I prefer your poofy hair from the old days 😀

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      I loved the hair I had then, but it was work to make it look good — a half an hour with a round brush and a blow dryer. Now my hair is thinning on top and I don’t want to be That Guy who vainly tries to hold onto his youth.

  13. Ted Kappes Avatar

    Congratulations Jim. Quite an achievement to keep a high quality blog going for this long. I think I kept one going for about a year one time, however once I stopped I have never been able to get it going again. I imagine one day your blog will be a great resource for you family. It could be that your ancestors may be reading what you have written hundreds of years from now.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      I enjoyed your blog! But all things do eventually end.

      So far I don’t have any blood grandchildren! Maybe it will happen.

  14. Daniel Brinneman Avatar

    Cool, Jim. I enjoy reading your posts and I am not always following but I seem to come back often within these last two years. Thanks for commenting on my blog too.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Thank you Daniel!

  15. andytree101 Avatar

    Congratulations! That’s some achievement, you should be justly proud! Your blog and therefore you, do the film community a good service (in more ways than one), and as for some of the “life” posts you write, I’m not sure you realise how important and helpful they are they are. They’ve certainly made me think. Congratulations – Andy

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Thank you Andy! I’m always pleased when my personal posts connect with others.

  16. Steve Mitchell Avatar

    That is an achievement. I started my blog just on four years ago when I stumbled back into photography with film, and I guess it documents my progress, or lack thereof along the way. One of the things it does is to keep me engaged with my photography when it might be easier to to do nothing! And I enjoy the friends I have made along the way, including you and many others here!

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Yes! I’m not sure I’d shoot nearly as many photographs if I didn’t have a place to share them.

  17. Christopher May Avatar
    Christopher May

    A belated “Happy Anniversary!” to one of my favorite blogs around. Here’s to many more years of cameras, roads and the wit and wisdom that you share with all of us!

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Thank you so much, Christopher!

  18. J P Avatar

    Congratulations on this accomplishment. Yours was the first blog I started to read, but that was only after I had met you through another website we know so well. Yours was also the blog that planted the seed that maybe I could write one too.

    I appreciate your takes on topics of all kinds and have learned a lot from them. I marvel at your ambitious publishing schedule. May you have many more years of worthwhile things to say!

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      The discipline of my posting schedule is very good for me. I started doing it in part because I was struggling with some depression and thought maybe having something like this that I needed to keep up with would help me. I was right. What I’ve learned from this is that I sometimes just need to write something for the blog, and if I just grab a photo and write whatever comes to mind about it, I will often surprise myself by discovering what I think.

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