This site was adapted from my old, static HTML website. I wrote the original site way back in high school (with many updates throughout college), and it was beginning to show its age. The biggest issue was that I didn't create it with any sort of templating to begin with, so when I wanted to update the appearance, my changes had to be manually propogated to every page. Enter jekyll and octopress.
I knew for a long time that I needed some kind of templating engine for my webpage so I could separate the appearance from the content. Unfortunately, I was only aware of things like Wordpress, which really didn't give me the control I wanted - I wanted to be able to open up the tool, try things out, and generally just hack around. Fortunately, I eventually stumbled upon jekyll, a very hackable framework that allows you to write content for your pages in markdown, and create the style using CSS and HTML templates.
A little while after I started playing with jekyll, I also found Octopress, another framework built on top of jekyll which adds some nice features like a nifty default template and a ruby plugin architecture. Once I saw that Octopress calls itself "A blogging framework for hackers," I knew I'd found what I needed. I converted my original project pages to markdown with the help of heck yes markdown, added some plugins, created a custom page just to list my projects, and I was good to go.
This is by no means the final iteration of this site, I fully intend to continue to fiddle with my templates and try out new things. After all, why bother using a templating engine if you don't ever change the templates?