“Time goes much slower when you're moving at around 130 mph.” – The Anu on time
Far out in a small unregarded corner of the Internet lay a message board frequented by about twenty or so regulars. Years spent in unyielding defence of one of the most maligned actors in Hollywood had hardened most of them into cynical misanthropes whose hope in humanity was steadily diminishing with each repetitively-uncreative and usually arboreal insult. Someone dubbed us the 'Keanu SWAT Team', and that is the name we now go by.
One day, I decided that having a website to link to would save a lot of time and trouble; because there are really only so many times one can insist on Keanu's lack of plant cells before one starts getting mad and destroying furniture.
And so WINM was launched in January 2008, initially consisting of no more than a stock supply of counterarguments against common attacks on Keanu's acting. The site eventually extended into a full-blown fansite, and is now possibly the biggest English-language Keanu Reeves fansite out there, home also to the largest Keanu articles and interviews archive on the web.
|WINM and the Keanu SWAT Team came into solid existence on the 11th of January, 2008. We did exist prior to that, but we didn't yet have a cool name.
Well, technically, we only started to be known as the Keanu SWAT Team some time later, and initially were just known as that bunch of sad losers who kept trying to defend that guy with the sucky English accent from Bram Stoker's Dracula.
...And admittedly, some people still know us as that. But that's not important.
This site was created by Anakin McFly over the period of four days. The original design was too green and hurteth the eye.
And ckage saw that it was too green and hurteth the eye, and said so.
|14 April 2008|
|So the colour scheme was edited to more trunk than leaf, and the site was launched onto the Internets and advertised in all sorts of places. Due to a lack of money, WINM had to be hosted on a free web host, and its first address was http://www.freewebtown.com/whoaisnotme. That link no longer works, so don't bother.
And there was evening, and there was morning – the first day.
People visited the site and gave nice comments. That was nice. Other people mistook it for a Keanu hate site and gave angry comments or cheerfully agreed. That was not so nice.
And there was evening, and there was morning – the second day.
And the third day.
And then on the fourth day, the hit count spiked up to over 680 and nearly killed the webmaster with a metaphorical heart attack. Further investigation revealed this to be due to being featured on the front page of KeanuWeb.
And the webmaster spent the rest of the week scaring people by being violently happy at them.
And there was evening, and there was morning – the fourth day.
On the 21st of January, WINM got linked from the Club-Keanu homepage. The WINM Forums saw life on the 26th of February at the free forums host invisionfree.com; and two days later, the archived raids of the Keanu SWAT Team were put up on the website. (All the content from the old forum has since been imported over here.)
WINM was linked at Wikipedia under the Keanu Reeves article. This created another spike in site traffic and made the webmaster happy.
On the 17th of April, WINM was mentioned in a column in New Jersey's largest newspaper. Sadly, after they revamped their site and cleared their backlog, the article is no longer available on the site itself, and its only copy is up on the WINM forums.
WINM was removed from Wikipedia for being spam. This made the webmaster unhappy.
The WINM blog went online on the 13th of May, 2008, but hasn't seen much activity for the past decade.
|2nd September 2008|
|WINM got another layout revamp on the 18th of July.
After much hassle and angst and frustration on the part of the webmaster, directed towards such varied things as PayPal and various domain name registrars, on the 2nd of September – Keanu's 44th birthday – WINM left FreeWebTown and struck out on its own into the dangers of the Internet with its own domain: WhoaIsNotMe.Net.
The site was launched from a laptop perched in an awkward position on an endtable with the webmaster sitting on his bed in a poky little dorm room at university. Weird Al Yankovich's "Hardware Store" played in the background, and will be forever associated with that happy time. Midnight passed. WhoaIsNotMe.net was live.
|Late 2008 / Early 2009|
||I later ditched the three-column layout (as I now ditch the third-person POV), moving all menu items to the left to give more space for the middle bit.
After Club-Keanu crashed later that September of 2008, I offered to help rebuild its articles archive. Once that was done, I realised that there was no point in stopping there, and so I continued collecting articles that people had been sending in, adding them to those that I discovered from other parts of the Internet. WINM thus evolved from a mere defence site to also incorporate what is currently the largest online archive of Keanu Reeves articles and interviews.
I linked the archive from Wikipedia. This time it stayed up.
As the site became more articles-focused, I moved the list of newest articles up to the front page, reinstating the three-column layout.
From its initial bare-bones plain-text format, the articles archive also got redesigned. I separated them by years into roughly equal portions, created banners for the lot, and experimented with that cool transparent CSS background thing because I thought it was awesome. I then embarked on the massive quest of manually tagging each of the 840+ articles with the movies and other subjects it focused on or mentioned. This took a very, very tediously long time and made my wrists hurt.
|13 February 2009|
|And then one day, in a fit of web-design creativity, I decided it would be a great idea to revamp the entire site. The new design was launched on the 13th of February 2009, a year and a month after WINM first came into existence.
Separate banners were created for the top-right corners of the various sections – Home, Defending Keanu, Characters, Articles and Miscellaneous. (All these old graphics and more are now stored here in the gallery.)
|1 May 2009|
|I decided to spend my first ever summer vacation – May-July 2009 – teaching myself PHP programming. Having skimmed through the basics while away on holiday in December 2008, I got down to learning PHP proper towards the end of April 2009, while term was technically not yet over. It filled my study breaks, and by early May I had managed to program a basic users system for the site – allowing people to create accounts and add articles to favourites lists.
And the dinosaurs came; because what good is a Keanu Reeves fansite without any dinosaurs?
|8 July 2009|
|Time passed, I spent too much time hanging out at programming sites, and as I grew in |
For the first time, I also gave WINM a fixed-width layout instead of the previous fluid layout, making things more compact and consistent for viewing.
A lecture at university on pictograms inspired me to pictogramise Keanu films for the lulz. (The whole series is available here.) WINM thus became slightly more image-heavy.
|20 October 2009|
|I simplified the navigation a little, removing the top level list of buttons and incorporating those links into the main and sub menus. I added a Dogstar section to the site, with music and lyrics.
Eventually, I also programmed the forums from scratch and made them into a part of the site. Due to my general lack of advanced skills, the forums were pretty straightforward at first – just giving members the ability to start threads and add signed posts to them.
But this gave me complete control over the code and design, and so for fun, I had the forums follow some vague virtual world scenario whereby each board described a different section of the Keanu SWAT Team's headquarters: the front desk, tech support, library, offices, ready room, and so on. The descriptions are still there at the top of each subforum page, though the accompanying pictures no longer are.
Meanwhile, on the main page, I started using actual pictures to accompany news articles – usually those where photos or scans accompanied the article.
|22 December 2009|
|In December 2009, I tried to aim for a more professional look and revamped the site again, abandoning the tree-based colour scheme for all black emo-ness and gold trimmings. This design actually spawned from a vague desire to create a Zachary Quinto fansite called Quintology.net, just for the name; I'd had ideas for a fairly in-depth site similar to WINM, articles archive and all, and had come up with something similar to this design for it with a black/white/gold colour scheme.
Eventually, I decided that running two huge fansites would be too much work. and I abandoned that idea. (I did eventually launch Quintology.net – albeit as just a feed aggregator compiling updates from various fan sites, rather than a full-blown site itself). I still wanted to use that design and colour scheme somewhere, and so WINM got it instead after some tweaking.
|10 August 2010|
|Later, I decided that dark green text on white was easier on the eye than gold text on black, and so I went back to the faithful #003300 and #002200 greens for trimmings and text that I'd been using since earlier incarnations of the site.|
|10 December 2010|
|The site got another layout revamp in December 2010, in an attempt to leave the emo phase and counter Sad Keanu's sadness with a brighter look.
Colour scheme and menu placement were changed; banners no longer rotated, though there was a different one for each section.
|15 April 2011|
|In April 2011, I took a web design class and was forced to face my terrible coding habits that I had for some time been vaguely and guiltily aware of but never really did anything about. This then led to the biggest – structural-wise – revamp of the site, removing bits of redundant and useless code and reorganising the site. I also tried to unclutter the home page and make things cleaner and more streamlined, and managed to sort everything under just the main menu.|
|12 October 2013|
|A couple years later, the site underwent a light revamp into what would end up becoming the longest-lasting look for the site, so far. I changed the banner and cleaned up the design a bit more, with larger changes beneath the hood to optimise and update the code.
In 2015, I finally gave in to the pressures of this age and turned the site mobile responsive, making it what was then the only mobile-friendly Keanu Reeves fansite on the web.
|16 December 2017|
|Code tends to get unwieldy over time after more code gets progressively dumped on top of it, and when late 2017 rolled around I decided that the site was long due another optimisation. I combined a few scripts and streamlined the code, allowing for a faster and lighter site.
I also changed the banner in honour of the Army of Johns.
At present, this is more or less where it's at. I continue to use WINM as proof that fandom was not a waste of time. In the course of running this site, my web development skills improved drastically: from practically nothing to the point where I'm now working as a professional web developer. Meanwhile, all that defence of Keanu and his acting honed my argumentative skills and taught me many valuable lessons about human nature and the art of persuasion.
WINM changed my life for the better, in a very big way. I am eternally grateful to all the friends I've made through this community, which now numbers over 700 members. It's one of the best communities I've ever been part of, and a rare place of warmth and kindness on the internet.
We were inspired by the best.