Personal Site News

Ten years of blogging

The first day of posts at The Realm.  (World, I am so, so sorry.)
The first day of posts at The Realm, the predecessor to (World, I am so, so sorry.)

March 31, 2010 marks ten years more or less “blogging” (the term had not yet taken off in 2000). On March 31, 2000, I decided to restructure the front page of my high school personal site, The Realm (of Jared Smith), and start posting more or less daily updates on the things that really mattered. You know, such as the strange people I talked to in class, how NSync was a major threat to America and that my generation should be listening to Van Halen and Extreme instead, and little snippets about the doomed dot-com I wrote tech articles for (yes, at age 15). It was juvenile and definitely written from the perspective of an extremely socially maladjusted teenager. It was a series of good times that I maintained for about three years until I entered a hiatus from blogging as my college years really kicked in.

How’d I do it? Every day after school, I’d pop open Microsoft FrontPage 2000, open main/index.htm (the main homepage inside the frameset — yes, a frameset!), tack on the day’s updates to the top of the page, and FTP upload to Freeservers. Bam, update done! At the end of each month, I would manually create the month’s archive page, cut from the homepage, and paste into the archive page, leaving a blank slate for the next month’s worth of updates on the homepage. There were no permalinks, there were no trackbacks — just static pages with completely unnecessary, IE-only animations on load. I don’t know how I kept it up, but I did.

It’s amazing how things have changed in ten years — I’d like to think I write less cringe-worthy material, and I have vanquished lime green from my designs. That’s improvement, right?

What’s been the most fun, though, is that I still talk to a lot of the people who were there from the beginning — especially Patrick O’Keefe, Brad Kelly, and Ray Angel. It’s been fun trading laughs with them today and every day over the last 10 years. Here’s to ten more!

News Personal

An ode to Norm’s

UPDATE: A tweet from Clay Taylor (@imallergictocats) indicates that Norm’s will be back next year after a renovation. I sure hope that’s the case! Original post below:

As you may or may not know, Norm’s Pizza and Subs — home of the fabled Nerd Table and an otherwise very important part of my college experience — is closing for good today. (The original closing date was December 1, but the restaurant got a 11-day reprieve, opening from 5-midnight in December.) Word is they’ve run into lease issues, among other things. It’s quite a shame, because there stands to be a great deal of College of Charleston students who will never understand the importance of Norm’s takeout during finals week. A great deal of the MUSC community is also going to have to find a new place to get lunch — not necessarily an easy feat on the western peninsula.

As long-time followers of this blog know, Norm’s was a staple of mine in the several years I lived downtown. I found it to be a wonderful place to swap stories, make new friends, or even just a place to sit back and step out of the madness for a little bit, no matter how full it may have been on any given night. While living in West Ashley had made it difficult to stop in over the last year and a half, I still managed to make it in for lunch a fair amount, and did my best to stop in during the evenings as well, even if it wasn’t as often.

Thanks to Traye and the crew at Norm’s for the memories over the last several years. You’ll be missed.

Personal Weather

Hurricane Hugo

There’s lots of remembrance in the Lowcountry today in recognition of the 20th anniversary of Hurricane Hugo.

You might be surprised to know that I wasn’t here for it.

My family moved to Charleston (specifically, Goose Creek) in the summer of 1988. But during the summer of 1989, my dad’s job relocated us to Dalton, PA (yes, I lived near Scranton before it was popular). We rented out our house (with the full intent of returning once my father was finished with his assignment in PA), and watched nervously as Hugo made a direct hit on the Lowcountry. Fortunately, just the fence took a bit of a hit, and we only lost one tree (and it evaded the house). We returned in the summer of 1990, and in the winter got a fun snowfall (that has unfortunately yet to really repeat itself).

I was a weather nut before Hugo, but I have to wonder what my attitude toward hurricanes would be today had I gone through it. I remember talking to a lot of my peers when we returned, and most said they slept through it. But others told tales of howling winds and trees snapping and general chaos — and the silence of the eye. The stories of the eye were the most fascinating to me, and are probably a driving force for me to try to experience what it’s like in that eerie calm, on the stage in a stadium of destructive power.

But somehow I might find that what happens prior to and after that calm might dissuade me.

As Per Whatever


My brother and I, Halloween 1991 or so.  I'm a cumulonimbus cloud.
My brother and I, Halloween 1991 or so. I'm a cumulonimbus cloud.

It’s Halloween again, which means it’s time to don a costume and run amok. It’s particularly helpful that it lands on a Friday night, and the weather is expected to be most excellent.

My plans for tonight? I’ll be headed back to Norm’s with Tom to commemorate the one-year anniversary of us being called nerds at one of the tables. We were both just not in the Halloween spirit last year, and so we spent that evening at Norm’s shooting breeze and downing pitcher after pitcher of cheap beer when the incident happened. I’ll be wearing something that deviates slightly from day-to-day wear; it’s not elaborate enough by any stretch to be considered a costume, though. (Photos will be forthcoming.) It screams “me,” though. See, I’m a big fan of costumes that really pull my personality out. The above photo is of my brother and I back in, oh, 1991 or so. I’m on the left. It’s my favorite costume ever; my mother turned me into a cumulonimbus cloud on my request. I’m not sure that there are too many other people who can say they were a towering supercell for Halloween AND won a prize in a costume contest. :)

What will you be doing tonight? If you’re not sure and you’re in Charleston, check out The Digitel’s Halloween roundup. You’ll find something. :)

Happy Halloween, everybody. Or, should I say — Happy Failoween.

In Brief Site News

I used to do some really sweet DHTML

Managed to add another page to the About the Site section, this time covering the tortured development of what would have been Realm 5.0, the fifth generation of my old personal site that was supposed to bring world peace and end hunger on four planets. That didn’t work out, though…