Some People Just Can’t Let Go

The first funny (to me) thing I ever did online: the Tahoma Infatuation banner.

The first funny (to me) thing I ever did online: the Tahoma Infatuation banner.

I have seen a lot of weird things in nearly 15 years of Internet-connectedness. That being said, I dare anybody to try to top what I saw last night.

In high school, two things I really liked were A) satire and B) the Tahoma font, first introduced in Microsoft Office 97 and eventually rolled out as the primary interface font in Windows 2000. During a period of extreme boredom over break in the winter of 1999, I decided to merge these two loves at the expense of a long-since defunct Britney Spears fan site. Tahoma Infatuation was the end result. I submitted it to a few directories (SEO, 1999-style) and got to enjoy the fact that people would laugh at how much I claimed to love Tahoma. Over the years, the site remained up; I never really touched it again other than referring to it as a recurring inside joke. At some point in the late 2000s, the Freeservers service where it was originally hosted discontinued my account; thus my old personal site, and by extension Tahoma Infatuation, lived on at the Internet Archive — an appropriate resting place, I thought.

Last night, as a result of some noodling around on Google, I came across an old page I had done for a class about a fictional CMS. One of the sites I claimed was using the CMS, of course, was Tahoma Infatuation — and it was linked to the original URL and everything. I clicked through and lo-and-behold, the site was there, almost perfectly intact. My first thought was that my account was actually only temporarily unavailable — they must have preserved it after all! I clicked one of the links back to where my personal site was supposed to be, but instead got something vastly different — essentially a modified Tahoma Infatuation page, with text that read “I giggled.” Hmmm, weird, I didn’t put that there. To the source! The source was the pretty standard FrontPage sea of spaghetti…and then I saw this bit of JavaScript:

// FILE ARCHIVED ON 20050119213021 AND RETRIEVED FROM THE
// INTERNET ARCHIVE ON 20100527115627.
// JAVASCRIPT APPENDED BY WAYBACK MACHINE, COPYRIGHT INTERNET ARCHIVE.
// ALL OTHER CONTENT MAY ALSO BE PROTECTED BY COPYRIGHT (17 U.S.C.
// SECTION 108(a)(3)).

It hit me pretty quickly — this was no longer my account. Somebody went to the trouble of retrieving the page from the Wayback Machine, re-establishing a site at realm.htmlplanet.com, and uploading Tahoma Infatuation back to its original location. I don’t think I have ever seen this before — has anyone else?

It’s nice to know that 11 years later, Tahoma Infatuation still makes people giggle. And it’s nice to know that perhaps I’m not as screwed up as I think I am, because, after all, it took actual effort for someone to restore the old site to the original location. I’m not sure if I should give kudos or suggest therapy. Of course, their restoration wasn’t perfect, as Internet Explorer users won’t get to hear the MIDI rendition of “Take My Breath Away” that played in the background. Never fear, IE friends — you can find an ad-free, full-fidelity, MIDI’d and <marquee>’d version right here, because Tahoma Infatuation apparently was meant to live on.

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Jared Smith

Jared Smith, 30, is a web developer and weather enthusiast living in Charleston, SC.

  • http://jameswilliams.me James “willia4″ Williams

    Wow. I forgot how much Javascript we spewed everywhere back in 1999. Good times.