Biographical Folderol

My name is Julia Hayden. I'm an artist, a designer, and an antiques/collectibles dealer based at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains. I grew up here and moved back several years ago. I used to be a user interface designer (and manager and ui/ia architect) in the high tech area around Washington DC. You might also know me as an early pioneer of web content - at a local (Charlottesville Online), international (The Ancient World Web), or an industry level (I was an early contributor to A List Apart).

I've been online since 1986, and building the web since 1993. (If there's any term that will mark me as an old-timer it has to be "building the web." Ask me about horseless carriages some time -- or gophers.) There is a lot of content archived on this website - digital books and odd little widgets, huge swaths of text and pretty pictures, rants and raves and everything in between, and a variety of projects of all ilks. Perhaps my greatest claim to fame is that I used to be the "I Feel Lucky" result for "craptacular".

Local folks may have seen me at the Farmer's and Artisan Markets in Nelson, at my antique booths at the Tuckahoe Antique Mall in Nellysford, or skulking around town. I tried to organize a weekly knitting get-together in Crozet that I really wished had coalesced; I run a popular Crozet-area-twitterers list; I am currently the secretary of the Charlottesville/Central/Western Virginia Smith Club. I've helped some local businesses get up and running on the web and social media, and I recently had to eat my own pessimism that our fabulous new local library branch would ever be built. (Tastiest words ever!) I grew up in the area, so I have strong opinions about things like cider, courtesy, zoning, and how one's ability to square dance (or lack thereof) really shouldn't haunt you long into your adult life.

If you've been around online for a while, you may remember some of my semi-greatest hits - or not. Many don't. I was an early adaptor to the web, which means the first 4 versions of my website predate the Internet Archive, which is both a huge relief and a bit of a disappointment. I was building information systems before the web came to be, so it probably isn't surprising that the first part of my professional career was building more of them - along with websites, intranets, web-based apps, software of all ilks, plug-ins, widgets, and industrial-strength information systems for everyone from mom & pops to government agencies, not to mention the startups and the Fortune 500 companies, major internet companies & academic projects, and just for fun. (If you are one of the 9 known people to use one of my designs as a tattoo, send me a picture! I want to see them.)

I prefer Austen over the Brontes, pepper over salt, oranges over apples, cider over beer, cats over dogs, hand-coding over coding tools, optimism over cynicism, brussels sprouts over carrots, knitting over crocheting, American art glass over Italian art glass; heist movies over car movies; TCM over AMC, small towns over major metropolises, and goldfish over koi. Rosemary is my favorite Clooney.

I prefer road trips over airplanes, independent news organizations over traditional media, curling over figure skating, tea over coffee, croquet over horseshoes, clogs over sneakers, pens over pencils, cardinals over blue jays, cones over bowls, local over chain, journalism over opinionated nattering masquerading as journalism, function over form, defense over offense, and frogs over snakes. I like cheese.

I have written many biographies over the years: wordy and brief, blunt and coy, oblique and transparent, informative and non. I have written them as CVs and artistic statements, as explanations and exhortations, as biography and autobiography. Like this one, they've all been ridiculous in every single sense of the word. I tend to humor and verbosity, eliding over things major to settle down among the minutiae. I am the sum of my years and my experiences, and it's funny which ones pop out of the stream of my life at different times to glint and lend light on the now.