Starting over again, one more time

Longtime fans of my blog will react to this post with the same excitement as the crowd at a Paul McCartney concert when he sings the first two words of “Hey, Jude.” “I’m trying to figure out a new scheme for this blog” is one of’s all-time greatest hits. Oh, sure, I get more excited about performing my newer stuff. But then I see all of you swaying together and singing all of the words and I’m right there with you.

If you were dragged here by a life partner or a school friend, here’s some background. I launched this blog in the Nineties (before “blog” was even a word, and long before there was software for publishing one. So I wrote my own. Eventually, WordPress came into being. I switched to WordPress in about 2005. By 2006, the blog looked and worked about 90% like how I dreamed. I’ve been working on it ever since. I think it’s now at, like, 92%.

I could be wrong. The CSS style selector for that number keeps rendering it in white on a white background, 744 pixels outside of the window’s visible canvas area. I’ve no idea why and every time I think I’ve figured out how to target the style correctly in the site’s WordPress theme, another style sheet somewhere else overrides my changes.

I don’t regret moving to WordPress, of course! My own code ran the site just fine throughout the Clinton administration but by the Bush era I needed something better. And I sure know a lot more about servers and webapps and security than I ever would have if I were just studying that stuff academically instead of getting my hands greasy.

It’s just that I sure haven’t been doing very much actual posting in the past few years. Don’t blame WordPress. Blame me for wanting my site to look and function the way I wanted it to. And then maybe blame WordPress for making that so bloody difficult. There’s still room on the Blame Bus for the publishing industry, which doesn’t pay me nearly enough to just throw a couple of bricks of simoleons at actual web developers and designers who could do the job for me.

Lord knows I’ve kept trying. I’ve had lots of Great Ideas of how a certain new framework or a specific set of plugins might please dear God put an end to the journey.

Well! Good news, everyone: I had a whole new idea on how to approach the problem!

It’s simple and elegant. Like the long-sought proof for computer science’s “sensitivity” conjecture, it can even be expressed in the space of a single Tweet:

“Andy pretty much gives up on his ambitions and settles for just having a blog again.”

Yeah. I really want to blog regularly again. So I’ve metaphorically ripped out the section of my brain that’s aware of WordPress’ potential. I’ve also somewhat less than metaphorically ripped out every last plugin that WordPress doesn’t absolutely require, and downgraded the site’s theme package to whatever was Stock WordPress in 2012. is now, in function and appearance, not very different from what it was when The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air was still on the air.

But though it’s lost a lot of style and ambition, the blog now has at least one aspect that I’ve been unsuccessfully chasing for more than ten years: there’s nothing about the design that I hate. When I’m inspired to create a new post, I can write a new post. In the blog’s previous incarnations, I would open the admin page and my trackpad’s pointer would find its way to the code editor because GOD DAMN IT if I’ve told this theme not to attach an author photo why the BLOODY HELL does it still add ten square inches of white space for the spot where the photo would have gone?!? And the idea I had for a blog post is cast to the land of ghosts and winds.

Let’s keep our fingers crossed that the synapses leading to the Caring About Anything But Creating Content centers of my brain remain resolutely cauterized. I’m optimistic because holy cats does it stink in here.

On to the new stuff. After I open a window.