Oh, la, what to say. Here’s where I am now.
I somewhat recently had some malware infect all the wordpress sites I had going. Which were my own site, my mom’s site, my step mom’s site, and my partner’s site. This happened shortly after my computer had some funky shit going on with it and my having dealt with that whole mess (Coincidence? Well yeah, probably just a coincidence. But no doubt spurred by my lack of taking serious measures to protect these kinds of things.) When I reset my computer I backed up almost all my files, but I did not backup my Xampp directory. I originally intended to back it up, but my external hard drive was full and I figured, “Well, those files are all online so I’ll just back them up from there once my computer is reset.” I did not get around to this before the malware nonsense happened. I was able to salvage the databases, and I have all of the images/content from all the sites in my other files. It’s just the whole wordpress file structure was wiped out to the point that it would have taken forever to get it back in order.
Before any of that even happened, I was already pretty bored/fed up with using wordpress because it was such a pain to keep updated when I wasn’t using it all the time. I took this all as a sign and an opportunity to start fresh and simplify a lot of things. I wasn’t even all that stressed out about it. It was just like, “Ah. Okay, so that just happened. Time to move on I guess.”
I decided that most of those websites didn’t really need to be on wordpress anwyay, or any kind of content management system at all. I think when I set them all up originally, I had this romantic notion that by putting them on wordpress I would enable the people who I was making them for to make some simple updates down the road. But my step mom and partner are both Ludites when it comes to computers, and of course they’re not going to learn any kinds of anything to do with wordpress. Then I thought, since I’m going to be the one forever updating their sites for them, why not make them super simple one page websites. I know HTML and CSS and all that crap, so why am I adding all this complicated database stuff to websites that are 1)rarely going to be updated and 2) when they are updated, the update consists of adding maybe a few portfolio images? No reason to deal with all that mess, so bam, simplified. Small. Fast. Easy. Yessss.
My mom is way more with it, and she was working out the wordpress thing just fine. But after getting her website totally up and running and ready to go, something got fucked up and wordpress stopped finding the database and I was just ooooveeerrr iiiiitttt. I had such wonderful experiences with the other websites that I decided to go ahead and do the same thing for her. I’m not sure if she’s really all that into it yet, because I think she was probably getting into the swing of things with wordpress (after I had talked her out of using Wix or Weebly or whatever she had originally wanted to use) and here I am emailing her html files. But I figure it’s a good trade off, because it will be so quick and easy for me to help her get it fixed up if she tells me what she wants.
Now for my own site, I had at least had something to put up while deciding what direction I wanted to go in because I had made a very simple portfolio site about a year ago, which was the original site for this domain. It was an alternative to my blog website, Un Petit Squab, and my then project website, 100 Baby Sweater Patterns, that I could point people to to get an idea of what I was all about. Eventually I had replaced this website with a wordpress site that was pretty much a combination of all three of those things, and that was just fine and dandy for a good while. I had all those files still on my computer from this simple portfolio website, so I just uploaded that as a place holder while I decided what to do about my crashed wordpress enterprise.
Sometime either before the malware deal or shortly after I found out about Jekyll. When I started reading the page it was like it was written in an alien language. I barely knew what github was (confession: still barely understand it, but I’m sure that in about six months from now I’m going to look back at myself and laugh at my pitiful ignorance) and while I feel like I’m pretty savvy about a lot of web development stuff, it just wasn’t making sense to me. What I did understand, though, was that this was some kind of bare bones content management system, and it was very intriguing. I couldn’t stop thinking about it and going back to see if I could figure out what was going on.
I wasn’t sure if I wanted to even deal with having a blog anymore, because I hadn’t blogged in over a year when my site crashed. I thought maybe I should just make a better portfolio type website, and I was thinking about a lot of different ways to do that. I kept going back to jekyll, reading a little here and there before thinking, “nope, still have no idea what this is”. Then about a week ago I decided to settle in and figure that shit out, and to design my damn website already.
Jekyll is definitely one of those things that’s way easier to understand if you just dive in and start doing it. (As, I imagine, github will be.) All of the sudden it just clicked, and oh my god I freaking love it. It’s totally up my ally. Such a stripped down way to do things! Everything just text files, everything so organized. I suddenly became inspired to revive my blog. I can write blog posts without having to deal with crappy TinyMCE, don’t have to sign into some slow loading wordpress site to do it, don’t have to sign into ANY slow loading website to do it… this is just like, writing in a text editor diary! SO SIMPLE.
But of course, now that I’d decided I want to give blogging another shot, I didn’t want to just abandon all my old blog posts. Unfortunately, since none of my shit besides the database was backed up, the only way I had access to most of those old blog posts was in one giant XML file.
So that was fun.
I pretty much went through each blog post by hand, put it in a very handy HTML to Markdown converter, (I really like the markdown format for blog posts–it makes so much sense!), saved it with the properly formatted filename, and after three days, voila! Lovely blog posts, easy to back up, all in simple markdown text files. SO BEAUTIFUL. With a few typos fixed here and there and a few embarrassing moments edited out to boot. (But only a very few, there is still plenty of embarrassment to be had reading over some old posts.)
Albeit a slow process, it was a really good experience. It forced me to actually read over my whole blogging past. It made me realize a lot of things about myself, and recognize a lot of patterns. Like–I am really, really good at trying out new things and getting really excited about new ideas, only to do them maybe once or twice, and then abandon them forever. I also used to be really good at writing a lot of posts talking about how “it’s been so long since I last blogged! I swear I’m going to do it more!” Only to not blog for another month and do the same thing. Like anyone fucking cares! Thankfully I eventually realized that it was stupid to do that kind of thing and stopped, but man, in the early days.
I didn’t import most of my posts from 100 Baby Sweater Patterns, because most of those posts were posts about the individual patterns, which is all info that can be found on ravelry, serves a purpose there, and has no real need to be repeated here. Or generic ass “five faves!” or “resource roundup!” nonsense posts. I mean, whatever, they made sense at the time, and they make sense for a lot of blogs, but it makes no sense to import that kind of thing to a website where it has no context that is now a lot more personal. It would just be a total waste of time importing all that crap. The only thing I brought over from that website were the tutorials, because I still think they’re probably useful to anyone who might stumble upon them.
Another thing I realized in reading over all my own posts was how, pretty much over the course of my entire blog spanning all the way back to 2008, the tone on my blog is sooooo bad. And by bad I mean just phony as hell. It’s kind of hard to read. I get why I always wrote that way, it’s because I have a lot of fairly conservative and older family members, and I did a lot of blogging with the idea that it would be a way to share what I was doing with my family. I did a lot of cross posting on facebook, and I did a lot of self-tone-policing based on the assumption that most of my readers were going to be my grandmas.
Now that I’m blogging again, I kind of have it in my mind that I’m going to be a bit more casual about it (like in the early days) and I’m not going to be throwing any more “oh my goodness!”es into my posts ever again. (I mean what the hell is that. What is that.) I don’t really have an idea of what direction I’d like the blog to go in at this point. I’m not trying to do it in any kind of professional or entrepreneurial manner. I kind of like the idea of continuing to post crafty things. I’m getting into computer programming more and more now, so I’d like to start writing about that, too. I also really like being able to photo dump on my blog whenever I’m feeling more photographer-y. I kind of just like the idea of journaling and writing about the things I’m doing as I’m doing them, posting projects that I’m excited about, and not feeling very pressured about anything in particular or feel like I have to be particularly organized about the whole thing. I like the idea of having it as a form of self expression again. (Maybe I should archive all of my old livejournal posts on here, guys! Then you can really see me embarass myself. Like, reeeeally. I started that shit in middle school and I didn’t stop until about 3 years ago.)
I mean, realistically, the most likely scenario is that this will be the last blog post I’ll get out of me until 2016, given my track record, so all of this is kind of a moot point.
So here’s to new horizons. I’m starting school again in 2 weeks. I just ordered some yarn for my next sweater pattern. I have a lot of vague ideas of projects I’d like to start in the next year or two related to both knitting and programming. Here goes nothing.