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    - Brian Jacques has passed away.

    - The Sable Quean released in paperback.

    - The Rogue Crew released.

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 August 15th, 2013 - The Long Patrol's 17th Anniversary
Sorry, folks, but the 17th Anniversary update has been delayed due to unforeseen circumstances. Please check back this weekend. Appreciate it!
 August 15th, 2012 - The Long Patrol's 16th Anniversary
16th Anniversary

It has been sixteen years since The Long Patrol was first put on the world wide web. It was naught but a basic HTML page designed by someone who, at that time, knew very little about HTML. It's easy, I think, to forget what the internet looked like back then, especially in the era of social media. We live now in an age of "fill in the form" web content and the days of coded-from-scratch websites have, for the most part, passed us by.

Work continues on the redesign-- I'm very conscious of the fact that, come November, the current design will be ten years old (by comparison, when it debuted the SITE was only SIX years old). But 16 years also means 16 more years of responsibilities and obligations that eat into the time one has available to devote into coding-- especially from scratch. I've considered going the WordPress route with The Long Patrol-- it remains a distinct possibility and would allow for a more rapid upgrade-- but I'd honestly prefer to maintain the "coded from scratch" nature of the site. We'll see how it goes.

However, since it's not done, what I thought would be fun to do is retheme the main page (for awhile, at least) in one of the Long Patrol's earliest designs. Take the site of today and stick it back at the beginning-- 16 years ago. This is The Long Patrol as it existed circa September 1996 (our first month actually lacked a colored background). A sparse, simple page-- links at the top, message further down. Links below (although I left that section on its separate page). That's more or less our original introduction up there, too (complete with "TLPWP" shorthand). I have also included an anniversary image, unseen since our 12th Anniversary four years ago.

It's not much, but I hope you enjoy the glimpse of the Long Patrol's beginnings and that the eventual redesign will be worth the wait.

If, by chance, you need the "standard" main page, you can find it here.

 August 15th, 2011 - The Long Patrol Celebrates 15 Years Online
Fifteen years is one of those milestones that few fansites ever reach. That The Long Patrol has endured this long, even through our spate of sparse updates, is a testament to the special people that still come here.

Regretfully, the feature I've been working on for today was not finished in time. It's a project that is very in keeping with both the anniversary of the site and the tumultuous times Redwall fandom finds itself in with the death of Brian Jacques six months ago, and one I'm anxious to go live with and share with you all. However, given how personal the project ultimately is, I don't want to go with just 75-80% of it complete. You guys deserve 110% all the way, and so the feature will be delayed, hopefully by only a few weeks.

In the meantime, the recoding of this site goes well and I hope to have it ready to go live at roughly the same time (it would have been nice to have been able to do both today, but alas...) Fifteen years ago this site started as a few lines of HTML code typed into a text file from scratch. It grew with the people who took it into their hearts. While its sister site, the Newsline, has migrated into a WordPress powered interface and the Forum has relied on vBulletin, The Long Patrol has, at all times during its fifteen years online, been coded from scratch. That's an aspect of the site I don't want to lose and is responsible for the time the recode is taking. As always, thank you for your patience.

These fifteen years are full of milestones and treasured memories. I can't wait to see what the next fifteen have in store for us, because The Long Patrol endures. Eulalia!!!!

 February 19th, 2011 - In Memoriam - Brian Jacques - 1939-2011
I've been collecting my thoughts since hearing the news of Brian's passing and have assembled them into a (what I hope is fitting) tribute. Since it is rather lengthy, I will not be posting it here on the main page.

Instead, I ask you to follow this link.

Thank you.

 February 7th, 2011 - Brian Jacques Passes Away, 1939-2011
Brian Jacques passed away this past weekend on Saturday, February 5th, reportedly from a heart attack. He was 71.

BBC News' coverage can be read here.

Brian's hometown paper, the Liverpool Echo, can be read here.

Sci-fi and fantasy magazine Locus Online's coverage can be seen here.

There will be more coverage in the coming days. Words simply fail me at the moment, as they have since Long Patrol Forum member Agravaine relayed the news.

Brian Jacques was a master storyteller whose work touched the lives of many. He will be missed.

 August 15th, 2010 - The Long Patrol's 14th Anniversary
Today is The Long Patrol's 14th Anniversary. To mark the occasion, here's some insight into what's coming for the site, which hopefully explains why you haven't seen much activity here in awhile.

The site is undergoing a massive redesign on the coding side of things. I've got two thick volumes on CSS and XHTML that I've been reading to try and brush up on my coding skills and would like to add some PHP and MySQL functionality in there, as well. I've always coded my websites from scratch-- text files with every bit of HTML typed out-- with scripts like the Forum being the sole exception. When it comes to basic HTML, I got very, very good at getting pages to turn out how I wanted them to, manipulating tables for layout purposes and so forth. But, as anyone who's done any coding knows, tables are downright archaic in web design and virtually everything these days is done using some form of CSS codes, PHP, MySQL, and combinations of the three. Having not really pushed my coding chops since, oh, 1999-ish when the AOL "Web Diner" area closed (back in the days when AOL had honest to goodness areas), it's a lot of ground for me to cover.

I have some-- I'll be conservative and say "adequate"-- CSS coding skills now, but I'm playing around and trying to get them better and get an easy-to-use design that looks the way I want it to. Coding, of course, is only half the issue, because I'd also like to swap out the color scheme of both the site and the Forum when I go live with the redesign. I'm currently exploring options here-- I'm leaning towards something on the green palette-- but am open to suggestion (and have often thought about putting it to a vote for the guys on the Forum).

Once the coding and color scheme is picked out, I can start working on the site's image-work... new banners for the various sections, probably not an image-button navigation approach (you'll probably see the return of a sidebar, or at least a non-image map masthead). The trick here is that I've always preferred the site to maintain some feeling of "Redwallishness". Tapestries, parchment, vines... have I always achieved that? No. And it's some of the impetus behind the redesign (that and this one has been in use nearly eight years). So locking that down is a lot of trial and error. If I had the time to devote to this the way I used to, it would probably already be done by now, but unfortunately...

Content wise, The LP will probably move towards an archival look. There will be a static introduction page with the full navigation, dynamic updating might be relegated to a blog feature. Instead of a rundown of what's new on the site, it would likely be home to a series of one-off essays-- likely informal writings (because I can edit formal pieces to death) about the books, BJ, club, etc.-- that keep the ball rolling, but don't require fresh coding each and every time.

Elements like the Book Reviews would be brought up to date (I've honestly got a fairly large stack to wade through in terms of writing them) and maintained, but that would probably be the only section to continue in the current fashion.

The Editorials page I'm looking into options for. The three that immediately come to mind are either maintain the present articles strictly as an archive and close off new submission, take down the section entirely, or integrate some modified, moderated blog and have submissions handled that way (allowing for active commenting and bringing in some editors to help maintain the section without needing FTP access).

The pass-a-long is a low priority, because it's not going anywhere... but when I get around to it, there will probably be a notice posted, a story planning session held via something like AIM, and then a core group (or just myself) would proceed to wrap it up so that some semblance of an ending can be achieved. Think of it as a writer's retreat like the ones used for TV shows or comic books.

The BJ section probably needs an overhaul-- at least a new introduction by me, since I wrote that thing back in 1998 (and I'm a much better writer now than I was back then). It's still in brainstorming stage right now.

Releases I'll probably drop altogether. It's a weird carryover from when I split off the Newsline as something separate that was kept around because it was handy, but it's been a bit superfluous for awhile now.

Links I'll probably cut even more. I haven't gone through that list in ages, I imagine there are several dead links there now, so that'll be addressed.

The thing I think you guys will find most interesting is the launch of the Feature section. Honestly, it's probably where I see the site going as it moves forward. There are four or five subject matters I've got in mind, there will be in-depth analysis, accompanying images/multimedia as the case may be, and an exploration of areas of Redwall that frankly interest me more than "Who's your favorite character?" or "Was Veil good or evil?" (Although, on that note, I will probably get around to editing and posting the mock-trial the LP role-played out back in 1998 tackling this very subject. It was an organizational nightmare, but very rewarding.) For instance, one of the things I'll be tackling is prior expectations to Redwall. When I started reading the books, I was given a list of all of them (although Mattimeo was misspelled "Mattimo") and as I worked my way through the list, each title brought to mind an image-- a cover, an expected plotline, an atmosphere to the world-- that wound up being completely, entirely wrong. But I still remember enough of those expectations that I can share them and see if you guys had an experience similar. That's probably the most mundane of subject matters, but it gives you a taste. The rest I'd rather surprise you guys with.

Oh, and something I've long thought about doing is archiving the old "Remark on Redwall Week" discussions from the Forum as part of the site, since they can provide some interesting examinations in their own right. Beyond that, special book-centric chats whose logs are also archived on the site is something else I've long considered doing.

So, that's a lengthy bit of insight into where I see the site going. It's all hostage to code-work, image-work, color-scheme, and above all, time. That's the sad truth. I wish it weren't so, but unfortunately it is.

Incidentally, afore-mentioned plans regarding the Newsline are something wholly separate. Those I'll keep to myself for now. ;) I can promise you the site is neither ignored nor forgotten. But I am going to give myself the time to do it all right rather than rush something to "print" (as it were).

Thanks for your support! Happy Anniversary, all!

 August 15th, 2009 - The Long Patrol's 13th Anniversary
As of today, The Long Patrol is 13 years old. It's truly amazing-- 1996 seems like a lifetime ago.

Unfortunately, breaking with tradition, I have neither an update nor an anniversary image to share with you. I'm in the midst of a site redesign, which unfortunately is not quite ready and spread out over several computers. Rest assured, you'll see it in the coming months. Just not today.

Until the site redesign is complete, you won't find much in the way of new content. Once it's done, though, I've got some interesting stuff coming your way.

As always, thanks for visiting!

 August 15th, 2008 - The Long Patrol's 12th Anniversary
12th Anniversary

Today marks 12 years since HTML was first put to text file and The Long Patrol was born. I find that as more and more of these milestones roll around, none of the feelings of awe and gratitude go away-- they're only amplified. That this site has been able to attract such a loyal group of visitors who make it all worth while is humbling. That it has served as a gateway for me to interact with various creators who have worked on Redwall over the years is amazing-- something I know I didn't envision back in 1996.

On that note, we actually have an update for you today-- The Long Patrol's interview with Troy Howell is finished! Read it here.

Troy's been with Redwall since the beginning, giving him a unique perspective. My heartfelt thanks to Mr. Howell for taking the time for this interview. Be sure to check it out!

More updates are on the way. Thanks for your support over the past twelve years-- I hope you'll stick around for twelve more!

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