Snake gets nostalgic with the new Blog Archive

Over the weekend, I finally got around to coding the new blog archive. As one can see, it displays a list of the most popular tags in one table and a calendar broken down into years and months in another. This is, of course, leaps and bounds better than Coranto’s single column list of months, which was getting absurdly long.

This was the first page in a while that required me to start from mostly scratch. Although the style is similar to the rest of the site, the design is different. Before I even touched the code, though, I had to make sure my design would work. One of the key features of the design is something I’ve used before and been quite pleased with: adjustable numbers of columns for different frame widths (i.e. from different resolution monitors). It uses a bit of JavaScript to calculate the optimum number of columns and then reloads the page to pass in the number; then, the page’s script adjusts the tables accordingly. The code consisted of two major tasks: loading the data into an acceptable format and then outputting with HTML formatting. Instead of doing a lot of SQL queries, I decided it was more efficient to just parse post dates and store them in a multidimensional array of years, months, and posts. Finally, outputting merely requires array traversal with some iterative control structures, printing HTML as you go. It loads surprisingly fast for the amount of data it handles.

news258Since then, I’ve been reading back over old posts to fill out the tags–understandably, the popular tags list looks more impressive when there’s something there. One side effect, though, is that it’s making me rather nostalgic. It’s actually quite interesting seeing the number of posts …my life splayed out over time; it puts things in perspective. One may notice the two large voids in posting around summer 2000 and March 03 to May 04. Although there’s not many posts to go by, these were actually the most satisfying times in my life–they were so great, I couldn’t even be bothered with posting (that and Danky broke the news system in 2003).

news256In early 2000, Loogie and I started getting into our first online gaming experience with Team Fortress Classic. We played so much that in May we started our own clan, S&L. We spent many a night honing our skills with clanmates against our arch-nemesis, the CDD clan. And although we kept playing TFC for years, nothing quite lived up to that first summer.

In March of 2003, I started dating Beckie, my first girlfriend. Things were fast and crazy around that time (graduating high school and all) and I scored. There were so many awesome and horrible feelings and situations that it was an orgy of senses and emotions. But it got boring after a while and would never again live up to the first few months.

But what I’m trying to get at here is that our first real experience with some amazing social ventures, like dating or online gaming, may just be the most gratifying times of our lives in retrospect. I’m not even sure if timing or the persons or places (games) involved make that much difference to this fact, just that it is our first time. I also don’t believe that there’s any moral to this story; I just hope that if you took the time to read this, maybe it has attuned your sensitivity to memories of such things.

Perhaps these feelings may make us slaves to the memories of our former selves, always trying to recapture our best times. While this may be true in part for me, it’s also given me a need to sample as many things as possible (within comfortable limits, of course) to find my next great first. (Maybe I won’t even know I’ve had one until I look back.) Though, I’ve always been bitter that my first relationship got in the way of my one true love: computing. I know some of this sounds bad for my current girlfriend, but I want to assure her that she’s my number two. Hmm…no, lemme try again: You’re my favorite person in the world, Kaylen.

Sorry I got all personal on this post. I’ll try not to let it happen again. 😉

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