Yesterday I was super fortunate to get to hear Chris Mills of Opera talk about HTML5 and CSS3 (which totally made up for that fact that I couldn't go to NISO -- one day....). He really focused on crossbrowser compatibility and standards (excluding IE, which we all know never seems to play by the rules much to the bane of web designers everywhere... yeah, yeah, I know about IE 8 and 9 and ... but they still fall short).
When I first starting hearing words like "transparency" and "opacity" using CSS, I immediately (truly) created a website with transparencies and layered graphics. Unfortunately, it was a big dud in at least half of the browsers. The website that was going to be so cool (it had a "seaweed" theme in deep greens with swirly seaweed throughout) was just plain out ugly and WONKY. For one the opacity didn't work in all of the browsers and to top it off, I used PNGs w/ transparency (which I had no clue at the time) were not transparent in IE without a workaround. My next few HTML (or php) + CSS sites were fine, nothing too exciting because I was afraid they wouldn't render properly in various browsers. They were almost all the standard 2 column layout w/ header + footer (aka traditional, classic, or boring -- I suppose all of those apply). Throw it all into a wrapper, control everything, and add in hacks just to appease IE. Cleanup the code as much as possible and aim for elegance. You know, the "code is poetry" mindset.
..and then I met a CMS. It enticed me with all of the possibilities. I enjoyed mucking around in the databases, wrangling with Expression Engine templates, Wordpress plug-ins, Coppermine code (whoa, did I hack that), and Drupal modules.
I tried just about every opensource software out there. Yes, I was an opensource junkie.
So, yesterday was really good for me, because it reminded that I CAN start with a blank canvas...and I need a site redesign anyhow. I will still use Drupal to feed the content (it's just too easy to use to create and maintain content quickly), I do have spots of my website which are not controlled by Drupal (it's fairly seamless now as design elements are mirrored across my sites as well as my blog).