First Blood

When I start writing code, the message I attach to the first save is FIRST BLOOD. Every. Single. Time.

The phrase comes from a sound-file built into a number of competitive online games that is played the very first time a player has been eliminated this round.

The attached note the first time I used the phrase in my code is:

Extracted from YKNightlights and retrofitted for general purpose usage

YKNightlights was a lifestyle blog I worked on for a friend and his buddies back in 2012. It was a pretty ambitious project on both our parts. The layout was very custom.  To build something that complex, I pushed my knowledge of WordPress, PHP and Javascript to the limit. The closest thing I’ve seen to it since then is Life+Times. I’ll take that as big plus since I like Jay-Z.

header-sample

We worked really hard to deliver a unique experience. Keyboard arrow keys were scripted for easier browsing. Left and right to tab through the picture grid that served as content navigation. Up and down to jump between header, navigation and content.

sample-post

If the link you visited had content on it, the browser jumped directly to it. We had fun working on it, injecting our humor into it. Like what happens when there’s no search result to display.

no-search-results

Not only was the front-end custom, the back-end was too. I wanted to make it easy for them to run the site, so I designed and implemented panels that didn’t come with WordPress just to make it happen.

cover-photo-yknightlights

post-curation-nightlights

The more I did freelance work in WordPress, the more I needed to make custom control panels for clients. I got tired of having to jump into the project to get that bit of code or remember which project has the most updated version of it, so I extracted it from YKNightlights and retrofitted it for general purpose usage.

That piece of code became my first open-source contribution and I was really excited to publish and update it. I’m probably the only one that uses it, but I’ve kept it up-to-date to the best of my ability. I use it religiously when I have to customize a WordPress backend. Not because it’s perfect. It’s never been and probably never will be. I use it because it’s in public space and it’s now my job to keep it in ship shape for whoever happens to find it and use it.

In a way, it’s the perfect metaphor for this blog.


I’ve always wanted to have a blog. I’m a designer and a developer, so I always wanted something unique that showcased that so I planned accordingly. Somehow I’ve spent the last 5+ years planning, sketching, conceptualizing, daydreaming and I’ve never gotten around to it. Until now.

I bit the bullet and threw up a WordPress installation, didn’t even switch the default theme and just started writing. I’ll design it later. I’ll make beautiful illustrations for the site later. I’ll code up some amazingness some other day. Not today though.

Today is the day I draw First Blood on my own corner of the internet.

I’ve downed my first opponent in the battle for my own beautiful corner of the internet, but there are many tougher challenges to surmount than just starting. I’ll draw inspiration from my time working on YKNightlights and push with every fiber of my being to make this space exactly what I want. I may never succeed but heaven, earth and hell will know I never gave up.

FIRST BLOOD

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  • Adim

    Yo man, love the blog, great post too! You definitely have drown first blood, cause I thought I was gonna win the race for this one but you did it smarter than me. I have spent stupid time designing the site that will link to my blog (not even the blog). LOL. I will take a page from you here and just get it up and running. Good move man love the images and the simplicity!

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  • “First blood”
    Great concept! Great life advice! I shall have to remember this one for the next time I catch myself fussing over tiny details.

    • akamaozu

      At the beginning is probably the worst time to worry about getting tiny details right, since that’s the point you know the least about everything.

      Nothing wrong with fussing over details, but they shouldn’t keep you from starting. What is done typically can be undone or redone.