Wednesday, September 26, 2012

My First Web Design Project

The first web page I had was mostly created by a friend of mine, back in 2003 when I was just getting started with using the internet. She had me make a sitemap/basic layout for the project, but she did most of the work. (She had the patience of a saint because my directions and preferences were extremely vague!)

At first, she did most of the updating for this site, but gradually, I started working on more things as I picked up more HTML and learned how to use ftp clients. I did not have Dreamweaver or any other web design software at the time. What I used was the “hand code everything into a text file, change it into an html file but save it as text” method. (I was frankly, a little bit scared of Dreamweaver at the time, and also, I could not afford it.)

The first design was very clunky with a very “personal home page with gifs” design. It was mostly organized with tables, because I was very hesitant to try using CSS. (And by hesitant, I actually mean that I was even more terrified and confused by CSS than I was by HTML, which I found to be extremely confusing.) There were also some readability problems, because I was using red text on a black background or white text on a black background. (If I recall correctly, I was also using Comic Sans. It kind of embarrassing how much I liked using Comic Sans back then.) It was a very 90s webpage.

The second and third editions followed the same format, though I dropped some of the images I had been using, and changed the font. The second edition was mostly a color overhaul where I concentrated on making things as readable as possible. The third edition, which I never really completed due to school, was the first time I started using CSS.  

What I mostly learned from these experiences is that planning and organization is extremely important! My first website was a fan and writing site for TV shows I was watching. Because I didn’t have a clear idea of how to create a site map, I had to keep revising the navigation for my web page every time I added a show. (By “didn’t have a clear idea,” I actually mean I didn’t think it was necessary because I didn’t think the website was going to be that big!) I think I was able to successfully apply what I learned on my own when I was in the Web Design program, even though I was (and still am) a little shaky with my HTML and CSS skills. (This is something that can be improved by practice. Now if I knew what I wanted to do by way of practice...)     

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Book Review: The Care and Handling of Roses with Thorns by Margaret Dilloway

354 pp.

The Care and Handling of Roses with Thorns is Dilloway’s second novel and shares some of the same themes as her previous novel, How to be an American Housewife. The book is about the complicated interactions of friends and families, and one of the major issues is estrangement caused by a difficult family situation. It also has the same gimmick of opening the chapter with a quote from a book. (In How to be an American Housewife the book was a  fictional guide book for Japanese brides, in this book, it is a guide book for growing roses. )

Monday, September 24, 2012

GBE2 Blog On Prompt 71: Lunch Date

Have some fifteen minute fiction.

“So basically I find out that she does not actually remember the part where she was a horrible bully,” Carly said.

“Somehow I am not surprised at all, considering that is what I told you would happen,” Angie said, not looking up from the yarn she was savagely crocheting into submission. “People generally do not like remembering they were assholes, because everyone is the hero of their own story blah, blah, blah. So, other than discovering the Convenient Amnesia Effect, how did the lunch go?”

“Okay, I guess. She mostly talked about her family,” Carly said. “She has a little girl and an older boy, her husband is a lawyer, she’s a school counselor...”

“That sounds scary considering what you’ve told me,” Angie said.

“Yeah,” Carly said. “But I was good and did not do anything creepy like interrogate her, or rant at her.” Carly glanced sidelong at her friend. “Should I have?”

“I don’t know. Probably not, I mean, you can’t tell from one conversation whether someone’s turned over a new leaf or not, right. And even if she doesn’t remember the crap she pulled on you, that’s no reason to think she’d be a bad counselor.”

“Or a good one,” Carly said.


Monday, September 17, 2012

GBE2 Blog On Prompt 70: Badonkadonk

When I was working at the market research call center, there were a number of older coworkers who can best be described as “characters.” That is to say, they were somewhat eccentric and occasionally kind of off-putting. (This is not to say I was not also eccentric and off-putting. Because I can be.) There was one co-worker in particular who managed to get onto my radar (or I ended up on hers) when she decided to verbally attack another co-worker for using the word “guy” as a gender neutral term. I will call her Ms. Bottom.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Demonocracy, or, this Utopia is Pretty Darn Dystopic

During one of my forays into higher education, I had to take a composition class. One of the writing exercises was to create a “Utopia.”  Since I like worldbuilding exercises I did initially not have a problem with this assignment, even though it was a group assignment. (I do not like group projects because many of the class-project groups I have been in were extremely disorganized and nothing really got done except by one or two people in the group.)

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

GBE2 Blog On Prompt 69: The Opposite of

This is going to be a very short prompt because I am not an impulsive person. In fact, I am very much the complete opposite. When presented with a decision or an opportunity I tend to be extremely cautious. I want to know everything about my options before doing something. (I am basically a huge coward and have been a huge coward my entire life.)

The closest I’ve been to “impulsive” have generally been situations where I spoke too quickly or out of turn. These situations generally led to extreme embarrassment and an increased unwillingness to take any risks whether of action or of speech. There have been very few cases in other words, of situations where being impulsive has caused anything good to happen to me.

One of the few occasions where being impulsive actually worked for me was back in 2004, when I decided to quit my job so I could get a job working at a market research call center. (It was not a job where I could have done both of them, since the management at the store I was working at were extremely uncooperative when it came to scheduling, and the call center job was a night job.) This was a fairly risky situation, since I was just going in for (paid) training and technically, had not gotten the job yet. (Unfortunately, the job did not last nearly as long as the second job. The call center closed in 2008.) 

Since I am not impulsive, and this is a boring post, have Wilson Phillips, "Impulsive." 

Friday, September 7, 2012

Aftermath of a Dissertation

Prompt: Two People Come Out of a Building and Into a Story

“Are you sure you’re all right?” I didn’t want to hover (even if I was, essentially hovering) but Drew was a mess. No broken bones, but he was limping carefully down the shallow steps, and his face was one big bruise. He had done really well during the presentation and follow up questions. It had been a very tight, well researched paper, and he hadn’t flinched once during the debate or challenge phases. I thought his footwork had been a little ungraceful and some of his arguments a little too glib, but overall, it had been a great dissertation.

“I’m fine, Kay,” he said. “Quit fussing, girl.” From the slight grin he shot me and his tone, he had apparently decided to be amused by my concern. “It’s not like I lost any teeth or broke any bones.” A beat. “Or maybe you’re just worried that someone will think you’re beating me up.”

“I’m told making domestic violence jokes is in very poor taste,” I said. As a means of revenge, I looped my arm around one of his. He did not attempt to pull away, which was nice, even though I was now supporting him as he limped along. “I’m more worried that people will think the panel went too easy on you, for political reasons.”

“First human to pass the weird space elf bar exam.”   

“First human to be crazy enough to want to become an adjudicator in the first place,” I said. “It will be even more fun working with you as a junior partner than it was as a consultant.”

“You think so?” Drew asked.

“I know so,” I said. “What should we do to celebrate?”

“Right now I mostly want to celebrate with some ice packs,” Drew said. “And maybe sleep for about a million years. But maybe we could go out later in the week. Maybe have a party?”

“Sounds like a plan I can be happy to endorse,” I said as we walked toward the car. “I’m driving,”

“I can drive, it’s not like I’m concussed--”

“I can hear your voice, but it’s just sounds that make no sense,” I said. “Are you sure you didn’t hit your head?” I gave Drew my very best (and sharpest) smile. Grumbling, he went to the shotgun side and got in. “I let you drive on the way here, even though you were so nervous you really, really shouldn’t have been behind a wheel.”

“And you didn’t say a word, just held onto the ‘oh shit’ handle,” Drew said.

“An aptly named car feature given the way you drive,” I said.


Wednesday, September 5, 2012

GBE2 Blog On Prompt 68: Have a Few Reoccurring Dreams

I don’t think I’ve really experienced Déjà vu unless we are talking about my stint in a market research call center where I could swear that I was talking to the exact same five or six people over and over again. (I wasn’t. I am not good at differentiating or recognizing voices and the “sameness” gets worse when I’m listening over the phone. I also have trouble recognizing faces but that’s not quite on topic.) Another instance of possible Déjà vu might be that sinking feeling when I realize that once again that I have failed some essential social test due to not comprehending what I did wrong this time.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012


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Basic Layout Considerations for Your Blog

The layout of a blog is extremely important, and should be one of the first things to consider, aside from what you are going write for it. (I tend to use similar layouts and themes for specific blogging platforms.) Many blogging platforms allow you to change the appearance and layout of your blog via directly editing the HTML or the use of WYSIWYG editors. The following tips are things you should consider when creating a layout for your new blog.