“Thoughtcat” began as a personal blog in 2003. I write about what I like, when I like (or at least, when I get time). By and large I comment on stuff in the news, which roughly divides into things that annoy me and things that make me laugh, but I’ve also written longer posts such as my interview with “The Graduate” author Charles Webb and the time I didn’t meet Leonard Cohen. Professionally speaking I’ve been a web content/social media manager/tech support guy since 2007 and a Drupal sitebuilder since 2010.
This blog doesn’t get updated very frequently these days. Much more often, I post odd snapshots and original paintings on Instagram. I have also been known to tweet, though I semi-retired from this in summer 2021 after 13 years. I have sometimes attempted to record videos of myself playing guitar bits. I built and maintain the “official” Russell Hoban website russellhoban.org having been an organiser of the 2005 Hoban convention. I wrote a book in 2006. I’m from London, UK and live on its outskirts. I do not vote Tory, and I have two children and an anxiety disorder.
More boring history
I was a bit of a late starter in web terms and in the early days I wrote the content of Thoughtcat (which was more like a “webzine” then) in MS Word and uploaded the pages to a cheap hosting with Terrapin FTP. I remember I had to pay actual money for the FTP software and it had this cute animation of a terrapin moving from one side of the screen to the other to indicate upload/download progress. I had no idea how to use FTP for things like changing file permissions, and remember emailing their support and getting a lovely detailed response from a female member of staff. I later “graduated” from Word to FrontPage, which only made my HTML even lousier than it already was.
Eventually in March 2005 I got myself a proper blog at Blogger, and ran that until June 2009, when I set up a free blog at thoughtcat.wordpress.com, with the aim of transferring to it all my very non-techy hand-“coded” blog pages. I actually much preferred the Blogger platform for blogging, and only switched to WordPress because it allowed you to add static pages to your site instead of just time-specific blog posts. (Blogger eventually caught up but only with 10 pages, as I recall.) My idea was that once I’d migrated all my content to it, I would eventually have a free, dynamic website and could eventually ditch my own hosting and its associated expense and nightmares – but of course I ended up working in web development, so there went that dream. In the meantime I did start migrating the static Thoughtcat stuff to the free WordPress blog, but never finished this; I suppose if I’m ever bored enough I might revisit it, but all the original Thoughtcat blog posts and other stuff can still be found here if you’re truly desperate. The site you’re now looking at (hello!) is a self-hosted version of the original WordPress blog, set up in July 2013. I automatically migrated all the content here from the free blog and since 2013 have been keeping busy not going through it to check all the in-page links etc are up to date, so in the meantime you may still find some of those manual links go to the original WordPress-hosted site, which of course no longer exists. As a Drupal guy incidentally it may seem odd that I didn’t use Drupal for the blog, but it was easier to migrate from WordPress to WordPress, plus WordPress has better out-of-the-box blogging facilities. There is an on-off Drupal site at thoughtcat.com and I have often thought of bringing everything there under one roof (blog, writing, videos/music, painting and web development) but it’s such a mammoth task that I can never quite face it. Maybe one day.