Author’s Note: I’m currently in the process of migrating old blog posts to this new system. That may mean some links, syntax highlighting, and other details are broken or missing temporarily. Sorry for the inconvenience!

An Absence of Cake
==================
2016-12-16

Author's Note: Hi! Welcome to CheersKevin.com!

My name is Kevin, and I'm rebooting this blog. It's gonna be a hot mess. I
hope.

## Beginning

I'm a very stubborn, opinionated person. I find it hard to commit to projects
that aren't nutty in some way. That's why the site looks like this right now.
Because I want to build it up over time. I want to explore *why* we make things
the way that we do, rather than just blindly try to capture your attention.

So, the site looks dumb. In fact, right now it's just a text file. I can't even
link you to stuff from here. Here, watch, I'll try:

<a href="https://cheerskevin.com">https://cheerskevin.com</a>

That didn't work. You can't click that. How disappointing. If you follow that
link manually (we used to actually type URLs manually sometimes), you'll get an
automatic page generated by my webserver (at least, at the time of this
writing). It doesn't do anything. Boring.

I can't add any formatting either. This should render in your browser, but the
font size is a crapshoot. If you're on a desktop, maybe you can resize it. If
you're on a mobile device, maybe you can pinch to zoom.

## Hypertext Markup Language

This is why we have HTML. The original spec for HTML was released in 1993. I
was four years old (I wasn't writing HTML at the time, but I was probably
playing Commander Keen!). Entertainingly enough, you can read the spec here:
https://www.w3.org/MarkUp/draft-ietf-iiir-html-01.txt It's not too long, and
it's a text file! You'd think they'd be pumped enough about HTML to release it
as an HTML file, but apparently not.

Why was HTML a big deal? Honestly, more for the links than for anything else.
Oh sure, it's great to have a standard for how a document is supposed to look,
but hey, text files can have formatting!
    _                                                  _       _     _  ___
   / \__      _____  ___  ___  _ __ ___   ___     _ __(_) __ _| |__ | ||__ \
  / _ \ \ /\ / / _ \/ __|/ _ \| '_ ` _ \ / _ \   | '__| |/ _` | '_ \| __|/ /
 / ___ \ V  V /  __/\__ \ (_) | | | | | |  __/_  | |  | | (_| | | | | |_|_|
/_/   \_\_/\_/ \___||___/\___/|_| |_| |_|\___( ) |_|  |_|\__, |_| |_|\__(_)
                                             |/          |___/

That may look absolutely terrible on mobile devices. I apologize if so.

Really, the critical thing that HTML provided was the links. A quick way to
point the reader at something else, rather than making them look it up on their
own. And as fun as it is to play minimalist, I think that's a good idea. We
should use HTML.

...soon.

## Style and Substance

It's perhaps just my own jaded opinion, but I get frustrated with a lot of
media. If feels too caught up in "being" media, rather than having something to
say. I want a message. I want content. I like to feast on ideas. Lately, I've
found a lot of stuff wanting.

But if you dress it up underneath banner ads, add a pretty font, update the
line height (the vertical spacing of the text), who knows. Maybe that'll pass
for real content.

And that's easy enough to do. Medium, Wordpress, SquareSpace, they're all there
and waiting. There are great free static site options too. Jekyll, or Phenomic
(I really like Phenomic, actually; I was tempted to use it).

And sure, when there's enough substance there, maybe that's an appropriate
decision to make. Let the context communicate as much - if not more - than
substance. Context *can* lead to real insight and meaning. That's what our
English teachers used to call "juxtaposition", right? The meaning isn't in the
message, it's in *where* the message is.

(Though I doubt our English teachers would have ended their sentences in
prepositions).

The risk, for me at least, is that I can become far too enraptured by the
desire to maximize the surface details. And forget the substance. I'm scared of
spreading frosting on an absence of cake.

## Bootstrapping

As you can probably tell at this point, I'm not 100% sure what this post is
about. I've let my writing habit slip. I want to build it back up again. It's
such an important habit, and I want to dedicate time to improving it. Hence
this blog. Again.

I have a strange excited obsession with the idea of bootstrapping. Take a
programming language and *compile it in itself*! That's crazy awesome! You can
write LISP in LISP! Wow! (Please don't, but I mean, you can!)

But bootstrapping is what we all do. We design our lives from within the
context of our lives. We build our world from within the context of our worlds.
It's pretty remarkable. And it's an idea that really resonates with me. I like
the idea of projects not just being about the result, but about the process of
producing a result as well. Hence this blog. Again.

The next post won't be a text file. But we'll talk about what it is, and why it
is what it is. Maybe I can find a way to make it entertaining for ya as well. I
can certainly hope.

-Kevin

P.S.
Another unfortunate thing about text files: no real comment system. Reach out
on Twitter, I suppose? @cheerskevin over there!

***