Archived entries for

Server move

I’m making plans to move servers over the weekend. I’m not sure when it’s going to get started or when it’s going to be finished. I’ve got some projects in the works that I hope to be bringing up once the transfer is successful so I’ll definitely be keeping busy until then.

Edit: Hey if you can see this it means the domain has propagated! Updates will be resuming shortly.

Not Aesop’s fable

It’s been a while since I’ve started a console game. I haven’t seen any that I’ve been interested in and quite frankly they’re expensive. A couple of weeks ago my husband started talking about Fable II and how he thought I would really enjoy it. He decided to trade in some of his old games and brought it home Wednesday. Since Wednesdays are ANTM nights I didn’t start playing it until yesterday.

He was right. I do like it except for one thing: even though the graphics are gorgeous and effects are nicely done some of the stuff on the screen is just too small to see. One of the features of the game is the ability to show expressions. These expressions are used by pressing up, down, left or right on the d-pad. However, these icons, while quite detailed, don’t clearly show what expression you’ll perform by pressing that button. Since your expressions affect what NPCs in the game think of you it’s important to know what each one does. You have to access a different screen to see the name of each of these expressions, which I found out later. Before then the following conversation took place:

Me: Honey, what does that icon mean?
Him: I’m not sure. This game was made for a bigger TV.
Me: …oh I see.

I joke that he bought the game as a ploy to get a bigger TV. We have been looking at getting a wide screen TV but they aren’t exactly cheap either. I should start looking around for Black Friday ads to get an idea of what the prices are going to look like around Thanksgiving and Christmastime. It’s hard to believe that October is almost over and the holidays are upon us.

Things I have learned

What I’ve learned while working on this new design:

  • Margin collapsing is irritating and useful at the same time. Thanks to Becky pointing that site out to me I figured out what I needed to do to fix the part that was irritating me.
  • Overflow fixes an issue that I’ve been having much more cleanly than my workaround.
  • IE is still the devil. It is way too forgiving of mistakes. It also does things the wrong way, but in a way that makes me think it’s right. I’ve learned, though, that IE is never right.
  • It is apparently not acceptable to use <p /> inside a blockquote. One must instead wrap the contents of a blockquote in <p>these tags</p> or the site won’t validate as xhtml strict.
  • I hate styling comments most of all.

However, it’s finally done! Things were probably looking rather wonky before as I tried to fix some errors in my template files. All should be well, now. With this theme I was able to incorporate some things I had left out of the first, such as the link to my RSS feed. That as well as a few other things are located in the sidebar under Misc. I couldn’t come up with a better name for that section because it really is miscellaneous. Those icons are from a set that can be found at Vikiworks. Additionally, I found myself using Twitter more than I thought I would and wanted to include more tweets. My previous footer design didn’t work so well with showing more than one tweet so reason #5 to have a sidebar. (Yes, I did just make that number up.)

I still have some tweaks to do but for now I’m calling it quits. Time to do something other than stare at CSS and XHTML and pull my hair in frustration because the validator doesn’t like my placement of <p/> tags!

(As noted on the domain page I am aware that the footer doesn’t show up in Firefox 2. It’s weird and I’m not sure why.)

Stuck

This week I’ve been working on a redesign for this site. My color palette comes from this photo. I was a little wary of using the colors I did because they’re not what I would normally use. It’s turned out much better than I had thought. So far I’ve got most of the content arranged to my liking. I say most because I got stuck on another part of the design before fleshing the content structure out: the header.

Since I’ve “come back” to the blogosph— wait, I haven’t mentioned how much I hate the word ‘blogosphere.’ Overall it sounds extremely pretentious. What’s wrong with calling it ‘the blogging community’ or even ‘the blogging world’? I want to choke someone every time I see it. I digress. (I’m tempted to give my blog the tag line ‘easily distracted’ because I keep going off topic. Then again it seems a little negative.)

Let’s try that again. Since I’ve “come back” to the blogging community I’ve noticed people calling the top portion of their site a masthead. I was wondering what that meant but two seconds with Webster told me that a masthead is

1: the top of a mast
2 a: the printed matter in a newspaper or periodical that gives the title and details of ownership, advertising rates, and subscription rates
b: the name of a publication (as a newspaper) displayed on the top of the first page

I suppose people use it for the same reason they use colophon for the ‘about the author’ section. I am resistant to change so I will continue to call it a header.

I spent quite a bit of time yesterday visiting a variety of sites in an attempt to gather ideas for my header. From this and previous observations I’ve noticed several trends. Trend might be too strong of a word for some of them as they’re pretty basic. However, things I’ve noticed:

  • Scalloped borders. I think it’s safe to call this one a trend. A fad, even. Sure it’s more interesting than just a straight edge border but I’ve been seeing it all over.
  • Name tags. These are usually found in designs that try to capture the scrapbook look.
  • Site name only (sometimes followed by a ridiculous tag line). I suppose the creators would call this simplistic or minimalistic.
  • Flickr streams. These usually consist of the site name with the person’s 5 latest flickr uploads beneath it.
  • A single photo that has the same spacing around it as the content of the site. That’s not too specific but I find it rather boring.
  • Illustrations. How could I have almost forgotten these? Illustrations seem to be a designing trend as a whole lately. I’m referring to the cutesy cute ones.
  • Vertical lines. I know, how can that be a trend. However, it is something I’ve seen quite a bit. They’ll usually at the very top and bottom of the page in a tiny line.
  • Large (and often loud) background images. This one really isn’t a header trend but I’ll put it here anyway. These are usually seen in designs that have a very simplistic header and seem to be compensating for it by having a very busy, colorful background image.

Despite my criticisms I’m really not taking a ‘holier-than-thou’ approach or condemning any site that implements one or more of the trends I’ve noted above. The truth is I’m being harsh on myself. I don’t want to make something that just looks like everything else. I’m aware that I could fall into that without realizing it so I’m making an effort to look around me and see what’s going on. There are reasons you see so many repeated themes in designing: most of them just work. They’re visually appealing and often easy to execute. It’s easy to think that being unique means you have to do something radically different which may or may not work so well..

Another part of the design I’m stuck on is a little area I’ve temporarily dubbed “Socialize.” That’s not really the word I want for it, though. One thing that bugs me about the current design is that I didn’t include a link to my RSS feed. Firefox shows me that a feed is available through the status bar but I’d like to make it a little more obvious mostly because I hate having to search for a feed link. I say that to say that I found a nice set of icons that include ones for RSS, Twitter, WordPress, and Flickr. I’d like group those together in a section but I haven’t found a name for it yet. Socialize isn’t working for me because only 2 of the 4 are really social sites.

Maybe I’ll just throw them together opposite my navigation that will be in a small bar that spans the top of the page. The navigation on hover will, of course, be surrounded by a rounded corner box in a contrasting color.

I’m a hypocrite

I’ll admit it. When my husband or anyone else claims they’re sick I’ll immediately tell them that they should go to the doctor or stop complaining. The last is said under my breath… most of the time. But after I woke up Friday with an extremely sore throat I resisted going to the doctor. I had all kinds of excuses: it’ll go away soon. It’s just allergies. They’ll tell me that it’s something viral and that I’ll get over it in a few days anyway. I was able to resist until Saturday night. By then I was feeling so miserable that agreed to go to an after hours clinic the next day.

I expected a rather long wait. Every time before that I’ve been to an urgent care clinic there have always been lines. Not so here; it took longer to fill out paperwork than it did for my entire visit. Yes, that’s right. The whole visit. The nurse weighed me, took my temperature and blood pressure and finally asked me some questions before the doctor came in. He came in, looked at my throat for all of 2 seconds, jammed that thing in my ears, asked if I had a cough, where do I work, do I have kids, might have said something about strep and sent me out the door with a prescription for a z-pack and Zyrtec. It was over before it had barely begun. Also, it didn’t help that I really couldn’t understand him. The whole visit was an example of the worst bedside manner I’ve ever seen.

With nothing else really that I could do we went to CVS to fill my prescriptions. That took longer than the doctor’s visit, too. When I got home to take my medicine I noticed a discrepancy with the instructions for one of them. The bottle said “Take 1 tablet every day for 5 days.” That might be a problem since there were only 3 pills in the bottle. Through the magical powers of Wikipedia I discovered that one was supposed to be my z-pack. The z-packs I’ve taken before were 5 pills on a cardboard packet so I was more than a little confused. A call to the pharmacist told me that due to the way my prescription was written (kudos to him for being able to read it; I couldn’t), something about restrictions my insurance placed, and the fact that a 3-day z-pack exists allayed my fears. I’ve taken 2 of the 3 500mg doses and will be taking the third tomorrow morning.

While I’ve been sick I’ve done a good deal of reading and watching some shows online via hulu.com and, of course, youtube. Reading reminds me that all of the books I have listed in the “upcoming” section on my Books and Manga page are out. I just need a way to get my hands on them.

Excuse me now as I go in search of something I can eat that isn’t ice cream or a baked potato. I’ve had enough of those these past few days to last me for a good while.


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