Ten years ago, I was sufficiently worried about my job that I decided I needed to have my own web site. I”‘m a developer, I should have a site”. About what, I really didn’t think much about; I figured I would post items about web development, but the main point was to have a site with my own design and my own CSS.
It took me a while to get going. I procrastinated for a while, and then it took me a while to settle on a hosting company. I didn’t trust any of the hosting reviews, as they were either complete raves, or complete rants. I ended up at DreamHost, and I have to say, I haven’t had any serious problems over the past 10 years.
Once I’d decided, it took me a couple more days to bring myself to pull the trigger, and I finally signed up and registered tedohara.net, tedohara.org and tedohara.com on August 11, 2011, which was a Thursday. I set up tedohara.net to be hosted, and set up the other two domains to redirect to tedohara.net. The domains became live on the internet the next day with a parked site, and I spent Friday night playing with the features of the DreamHost control panel — configuring things, and setting up email addresses. (One thing I love about having my own domain is that I can set up multiple addresses I can control).
I knew I wanted to use WordPress, and I knew I wanted to set up my own theme. On Saturday morning, I downloaded WordPress, and uploaded it to the site, and set it up. Then I signed into the WordPress admin for the site for the first time, played with some of the configuration options, and dashed off my first post.
It took me a couple of months to make it look the way I wanted it to look. It turned out I liked the big banner image at the top of the page, and it turned out it was easier to create a child theme of one of the existing themes than it was to build out my own theme from scratch. I settled on a font I like, and a color scheme I like, and deployed it New Years Eve of 2011, and haven’t really wanted to change it since. I know I probably should, but I still like the way it looks, and I occasionally still tinker with it; for example, at the beginning of this year, I made the theme responsive, and I have a set of Christmas overrides that I enable around the beginning of December.
In terms of content, it’s kind of become whatever I feel like talking about, when I have something to talk about, and have the time to write. I kind of lost interest in writing about web development a while ago — the last thing I got excited about was a post about AngularJS Promises that never came to fruition It’s mostly evolved to social commentary, like my last post, and photography.
I do like rereading my old stuff, and I do have my favorites. I discovered pretty early on that I liked chronicling my vacations, especially my trips to Bonaire. Blogging on vacation takes a little bit of discipline — I need to set aside time to quickly review the pictures I’ve taken during the day, pick a couple that I can color correct and edit easily, and then write up the day. By the end of the week, I find myself kind of bleary-eyed, posting after a day of diving and then going out for dinner, but I’ve found I really like these posts, and people tell me they like them too. Then, once I get back, I process all the pictures, and post photos from each day of the trip. It takes a lot of time, but I am so glad I did it — It’s fun on a cold winter’s day to look at past trips.
Of the personal posts, I think “Hard to Believe, But Not Hard to Believe“, about the 35th anniversary of my father’s death, is the first one that comes to mind. Not only is the subject matter important to me, but I think the writing is good too. There is a rhythm to it that I was striving for, and I think I achieved.
- I Expect My Leaders to be Grownups, about the Supreme Court nomination, actually got a little bit of traction; I at-replied to Marco Arment on Twitter with a link to it, and he retweeted it to his 100,000 followers. I remember being nervous about posting it and tagging him on it, but I got an overwhelmingly positive response.
- The two posts about the 2016 election, “How Did We Get Here” and “So Trump“. I think my analysis of how we got there is correct, and unfortunately, Trump turned out to be much worse than I anticipated, because he did not believe in the rule of law.
- The posts about my Christmas Cards. I’ve long had a personal tradition of creating my own Christmas cards, and in 2013, I started writing about them. I still think both the 2013 card and the post about it was the best.
- The Perfect Tree, about the quest for a perfect Christmas Tree
Of course, I don’t always succeed. It seemed for a while I was writing, but not quite making the point I wanted, or not writing with the kind of voice I want. I think my biggest recent whiff is the piece about the January 6 riot at the Capitol, “This is why you teach history” I think the post kind of meanders, and never fully makes the point I wanted, which is that an informed, well-taught electorate wouldn’t fall for the kind of candidate who would lead them to insurrection.
I never have been able to keep to a regular posting schedule. Up until Mum’s first stroke, I always aimed for at least one post a month, but it’s been hard to keep up with that. It’s easier when I’m doing stuff that gives me something to write about, like a vacation or trip to London. I’m noticeably more active in the summer, as I (used to) dive then, and take pictures. I’d like to get back to that, sometime, but I have very little time for myself now. But I do still like having my own website, and having a place of my own that I can post my pictures or say what I want, and have it be mine, not some social media platform, even if no one other than family is reading it. And so, I couldn’t let this tenth anniversary pass.