Everything new is old again

Life 1 starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall. ~ F Scott Fitzgerald

If you’re reading this and you’ve read something on this site before you might notice 2 that I have – yet again – changed the design of my site. (I blame Pelican for making it so painless.) This most recent tinkering brings the tally up to around seventy bajillion in the past eight months, if the theme commits are any indication.

Eight months ago – aka start of 2014 – I relaunched this site on a Pelican/S3 stack, with a nominal goal of publishing something once a week (because writing is an important exercise) and growing my pageviews (because I am hopelessly vain). I’ve more or less succeeded with both goals: I’ve published around twenty-five articles in thirty weeks, and I’ve gone from a couple dozen monthly pageviews to around ten thousand.

Still, I have an awful habit of picking away at things, and here I am.

There’s still quite a bit of work that needs to be done with this current iteration: I want it to be at least a little responsive, and I’m contemplating just axing Disqus altogether since it looks kinda gross. But I’ve stopped thinking of the look and feel of this little corner as some apex to be reached, some definitive end point of usability/design/twee/etc. that I’ll reach one day and never touch again.

I initially switched over Pelican so I could stop fiddling with design and just start writing (upload a markdown file, hit make s3_upload, and that’s it!), but I’ve grown to realize that I actually like the whole constant state of flux thing.

I can’t help it, okay? I wake up one morning and binge through TypeWolf and decide that I want to burn it all down. I might be a heretic for saying this, but there’s something deeply satisfying about messing around with CSS for a few hours. The (mostly wonderful) truth is that I don’t spend that much time doing front-end stuff nowadays, and it’s nice to indulge that side of my brain even if I still break down in angry sweats whenever I need to vertically align text in a div. 3

I do want to be better about actually making this a usable and adoptable theme, though. It started off with that goal but quickly collapsed under the maelstrom of my whimsy, and actually making this an open-source thing beyond the fact that it’s stored on GitHub will go a long way. (I love Pelican, but the themes look largely awful, even compared to the Jekyll ones.)

And I’m kicking myself for not writing down a brain-dump of Pelican tricks I’ve acquired – both for this and my latest project – so hopefully that will be published shortly.

(And, more than anything else, I want to keep writing. I am never writing enough.)


  1. And blog themes! [return]
  2. If you didn’t, that’s okay too. I’ll just be a little offended. [return]
  3. When the canonical way of doing something involves display: table-cell, it is a bad sign. [return]
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Justin Duke is a writer and developer in Seattle.
He likes good, practical things.
(And writing in the third person, I guess.)


@justinmduke
me@jmduke.com