Neal Sheeran

Rants, Raves, and Geekery

In the Beginning


Shawn Blanc’s tweet and blog post relating to why he started blogging, in addition to Zeldman’s mention of an old A List Apart article reminded me of an entry in my mental ‘things-to-blog-about’ list. Why does this site exist? How did it get here?

It shouldn’t be a surprise that I started blogging as a result of reading blogs and thinking, “hey, I can do that.” I started off in October 2002 with a Blogspot site (embarrassingly, it’s still there). I quickly grew tired of Blogger after about three posts, got my own domain and started using Movable Type.1 In those days, I wrote mostly, and not very well, about politics: ‘fisking’ articles written by liberal columnists, making fun of people, and spending time seeing what other bloggers put me on their blogroll. Lameness abounded.

Eventually I decided that if I was cool enough to have my own domain name, my site surely couldn’t be one of the templates that came with MT. Thus began a new interest that still plagues me to this day: I dove into topics like web design, HTML, and CSS in a quest to design my own website from scratch. And in the years since, I have unfortunately found myself more often than not interested in the technical aspects2 of having a website than actually writing one.

I literally started off learning HTML and CSS by hitting View Source on sites that I liked and looking at their markup and style declarations. One of the first books I got on the topic was Zeldman’s Designing With Web Standards (the orange first edition). Lots of books and blog articles later–the Taming Lists one linked above–I relaunched my site in 2004 with my very own design. Probably for the better, that design and all the archives prior to it have been lost to the ether.

Further entries were sporadic for various reasons: work, having two children, another re-design–the one you see now–sometimes months would go by without anything (or all of 2005). I’m attempting to be write more regularly and to concentrate on the writing and less on the bells and whistles.3

I’ll probably write less political stuff, not for lack of interest by any means, but the blogging landscape as changed significantly in the last seven years. Large sites such as Red State, Big Government, Politico, and The Daily Caller are all over topics from the get go. Although it is good to see that Instapundit, one of the first blogs I started reading, is still at it. I swear that guy is a robot.

Now if I can just redo that header image, it definitely needs some kerning…

  1. Back then, when I had an issue getting MT installed, my question posted on the MT forums was answered by Ben Trott himself.

  2. Like implementing a cooler way to do these footnotes.

  3. And avoiding my temptation to convert all this work to WordPress.