Mike, that really explains quite a bit and fits everything together like a puzzle. This webring sure does have it's own story to tell, doesn't it? Let's SEA, maybe Donna could add a little more to the story ~
I had setup my Southern Belle website in December 1996. I was new on the internet, but I learn fast. In February 1997, a nice man and very dear friend, Ed Veitenthal, visited my website and signed my guestbook. I wrote him a thank you note and we started exchanging email. He introduced me to Billy by sending Billy to my website and me to Billy's. Billy being his typically friendly self wrote me and sent his parrothead friends to visit my site, especially to listen to the Floyd Cramer midis I had on my jukebox. Many of the parrotheads came by and indoctrinated me into the parrotheadism philosophy.
Up until that time I had enjoyed Buffett music but wasn't aware of the Parrot Heads. I was enchanted by the beautiful spirits that these crazy, wonderful people had.
Around March 1997, I had suggested to Billy, after several weeks of listening to his stories of PHs and, of course, his grandchildren in email that he should setup a webring to connect all the sites together of his parrothead friends. He said he wouldn't know the first thing about the setup or management. I suggested he talk to his friends to see if he could get a couple to help him. He came back to say that he couldn't find anyone and asked if I would do it. I had already had a lot of experiences, both good and bad, with other webrings. I told Billy I would do it, but I wanted to setup the management of this ring differently from other rings. And that I wasn't going to do this alone, that we should setup a team effort. This way if personal business interfered with management of the ring, the other team members would just step in to take over. Also, I didn't want sites to be added just because they applied. I had wanted the integrity of the ring to be maintained. We were, after all, presenting a lifestyle, attitude, and some of the best music ever written to the internet public. If we were going to do justice in introducing Jimmy Buffett to others, we needed to do it right. At the time, I had little experience with graphics, so Billy asked Raubyn to help out. Between the three of us, we worked together sharing all the jobs setting up and launching the webring by April 25th, 1997. Most of our initial PH group of friends joined up immediately.
By June, I had started a newsletter - simple at best, but I had wanted to include the membership in as much of the ring's activities as possible. The Ring wouldn't be a ring without the wonderful members we have. By July, the Ring was getting to be a handful - so we 'hired' a newsletter editor, Mike Blair, and started having Staff meetings with ICQ online to discuss Ring business. These events created a snowball affect - we then 'hired' a Secretary, Lisa Harraden. These two good members have since had to step down to handle other priorities, but without their hard work, the Ring would not have had such a great jump start. (A thank you to both Mike and Lisa from me.) By Fall, we needed help monitoring the Ring to help maintain the quality and assurance of presenting Jimmy as we had originally hope to. Hence, another Staff member joined our team, Mike Nichols. Chip Blackburn came on board to assist us with our legal issues such as copyright laws, etc.. As well as design the wonderful graphics of our Mascot, MAC. The winner in our first contest of the Ring. By February of this year, I could no longer do the newsletter and my Ring Manager duties without each suffering a bit. I met a wonderful northern lady, Michele Hanson. What a character!! And so easily conned into doing things...such as the newsletter. She came on board as an assistant editor, but didn't take her long to 'TAKE OVER'...LOL. No, she is a very creative, dedicated, and sweet person. She has done this Ring justice with the quality of the newsletter issues that have been created. (Thank you Michele.)
As the Ring continues to grow, so do the duties...and the ideas. I foresee many good things for this Ring and our internet community down the road. Without these wonderful staff members, we would be just another webring. I'd like to send my deepest gratitude to Billy (and Miss Buddy), Raubyn and Chip Blackburn, Mike Blair, Mike Nichols (and Miss Gillie), Lisa (and Master Ernie) Harraden, and Michele Hanson for all your hard work and dedication....and for putting up with me and my big ideas. I'd also like to send a very special 'Thank You' to Ed Veitenthal for introducing Billy and I and to Sal Grippaldi for his wonderful spirit and midis that helped shape the themes of our lives and websites with Buffett midis. And my love to all our Ring members - for without you, we wouldn't be as great as we are. You are da' BEST!
Due to personal responsibilities - I handed over the position of Ring Manager to The Woodro (Raubyn), on Jan. 21,1999. Everybody wish her the best of luck. This is the BEST Ring on the big ole WWW!
Hey! Here's Michele's story. Michele is our NEW Newsletter Editor - WELCOME! For the record, I stumbled upon the ring one lazy afternoon while I was
doing a web search...my search word was "Buffett." I found "The SPOT" and from there I followed a link to Mike's Little Miss Magic Tribute page. I send Mike a comment on everyone's efforts to help Danny, and he responded, and I responded and he responded... (the Netiquette thingie -- you know?) ;-)
I finally got the courage up to create my own page, and applied to the ring. And the night my page was added to the ring I somehow found myself in 4 separate ICQ conversations -- with Donna (who up to that point I thought was trying to deliberately avoid me -- my mail kept being returned by her server), with Lisa, with Billy and with Mike. I was warmly welcomed, and
soon railroaded into helping with the newsletter. So far, it's been a lovely cruise . . .
So since I was the last member of the staff to sneak in on the ground floor and then quietly slip away, and being the narrator, I guess I'll finish up with how I remember the time period I was on the staff......
Geez, I don't know if I can top any of your stories.... I was a late runner to the "infamous gang"....but I'll try to add just a tad.
Sometime in the fall of 97, I think, I was just starting to mess around with the internet and experimenting with creating a webpage.... started looking over a couple of searches and somehow came up on Woodro's site. Mystery Song if I remember correctly. Something about naming a mystery song. Yeah, that was it! It was a contest I came up against on the Woodro's page..... only Billy responded to my guesses, so we got a couple of e-mails going back and forth about this here mystery song, and he invited me to put some Buffett on my webpage (as pitiful as it was at the time) and apply to join the Webring, still in it's infancy. Ah, well it sure sounded like a great idea to me, and Billy was such a character... who could resist. And I didn't win the cheeseburger candle for the Mystery Song anyway.... even if I did, he wouldn't give it to me.... but that leads into another story.
Anyway, I put a couple Buffett thingies on my page, and applied. Next thing I know, up pops Raubyn and Chip with the Woodro not too far behind. Raubyn wanted to help me with some graphics on my site, and I said "Please do". And all of a sudden, there was a magnificent Blue Front amazon cuddling with Mr Buffett right on the top of my home page. Next, the "Parrothead Personalities" were created! They were from a creative combination of Raubyn, Chip AND Billy, so I know they wanted me to hang around for a bit! No one, but no one, has Parrothead Personalities! The next couple of minutes were a blur.... I remember being added to the webring, and then 30 seconds later, getting the title of secretary. Guess everyone thought I would fit right in with the crazies! Think they were right!
Anyway, that's how I got involved with this crew. That's my story, and I'm sticking to it!
You know, there are so many others who helped get this ring up on it's FINZ, I just can't name them all. But it sure has grown since it's early birth and will continue to grow as long as there are Parrotheads out there.... and that's gonna be for a very long time!
Hey Billy, didn't you say that Ed Zeiser was asking you about how this webring started? Did you take any notes for him? Maybe we should write this all down and sent it to him. Better yet, let's go visit him.... He is in the queue for the ring right now! LET'S GO!
"Will it ever make sense, will it ever ring a bell? Only time will tell"