After nearly 10 years at the helm of this site, directly overseeing three redesigns (versions 3, 4, and the present version 5), seeing many members come and go, and seeing so many ups and downs, I am ready to let someone else run the show.
For much of my time here… the site was my life. I started out as a member, became the first chat mod, helped with the transition to a merged site (since the forums were on its own domain), and eventually got to the point where I made day-to-day decisions regarding the site. At my peak, I had even built the server ThrillNetwork is hosted upon. Shortly after that, I moved to the state of Tennessee, which oddly enough, shares the “TN” abbreviation with our site.
However, in the past year, I’ve had several major things happen in my life that has been helping to trigger the decision to take a step back.
- My dad died in late April. It was expected, but it helped trigger some thoughts in my head nevertheless.
- Nashville, my home of over five years, experienced near-record flooding. I was up in Michigan dealing with my dad’s passing when the floods hit, but I had to deal with much of the aftermath firsthand. Even now, life is not what it was before the floods hit.
- The redesign of this site also had a lot to do with it. We tried, and failed, to launch back in October. Part of it was I planned too tight of a window, while running into some major issues that were frustrating to deal with. In the midst of it, I actually deleted the entire site by accident. Thank goodness for backups that I had created, but none of us were ready to start the process all over.
- I realized I had not been to a park in almost 2 years, and still have yet to go to Holiday World or a few other parks.
- My own interests have shifted. I am now an active storm spotter, while getting more into photography and other activities.
After several months of soul-searching (and figuring out why the upgrade attempt failed), it was in February I broke the news to staff of my intentions… to launch the new site April 3, and retire from my top spot a month later.
Thankfully, the upgrade went smooth (even more smooth than I thought). We even managed to have a little epic fun, where my mind talked like a former citizen of a Soviet bloc country on a fake site while the real one was being upgraded. We had one real naysayer (who will forever go down as being the only member to be banned while the real site was down due to his actions).
May 3 will be my last full day where I will have a say as to what happens. On May 4, Katie will be taking over my spot and do much of what I was doing. In the meantime, I will be stepping back to handle the tech issues only, while allowing myself to be more free to contribute, helping out in a pinch, offering my suggestions (on a consulting basis), and most of all, be a member, and enjoy doing so. I will also be able to focus on putting together a timeline of events… a record of sorts of things that happened on this site. Look for the beginnings of it soon!
With that, I just want to give some thanks…
- The members of this community. Without you, this site wouldn’t be possible, and with many of you, it’s been a blast.
- Many of my closest staff members and friends (both current and former)… Katie, Brian, Jimmy, Jerry, Andrew, Wes, Chip, Tom, and Graham… you’ve been a huge help on here.
- I also want to thank the other current and former staff members… Antoine, Byron, Shawn, Leo, Marcus, Jeff, Ryan, Scott, Bryan, Racer, Steve B, Erik Johnson, George (Sir Willow), and several others who have been good staff members.
- Alex Westerman, for keeping the site alive back in 2001, and helping to keep it alive now, and for listening to us.
- Our banned members for being pains on our side.
- Many others who run their own sites, yet contribute to ours in more ways than one
- Several in the amusement industry for inviting me to look at what’s new, and in one case, review what’s on the cutting edge before parks even get it.
- The people I worked with at Cedar Point and at Michigan’s Adventure… it was a blast to run the rides, especially my favorite coaster, Magnum XL-200.
- My family. They put up with me when stuff was happening on this site.
- My girlfriend for putting up with me (I’ve always had a thing for teachers, nurses, and ride operators… she’s two out of the three!).
- And last, but not least, the server itself… as I was trying to finish writing this… it decided to spike (thanks to high traffic from StumbleUpon linking to a member’s blog), forcing a reboot of the server. Don’t worry, amnesiac, I already blamed Shawn C. for it, and you’ll see your blog entry back soon.
Here’s to the close of our first 10 years, more importantly, here’s to another 10 years, and for that, I just want to ask that you continue to Sit down. Log in. Hang on!