Dumb Things I Have Done Lately

Friday, February 29, 2008

An Unexpected Blog Makeover

For a while now, I've been using a modified Snapshot Sable template; in addition to the usual sidebar tweaking, I'd also widened the main content column so it could take 500px wide photos (the Flickr medium size) and customized the header images.

Sometime overnight, one of the external CSS files changed. Or something. It ended up disappearing my text. So this afternoon, I did an emergency template switch -- I'm now using TicTac Blue with similar modifications, just as a stopgap measure. Though there are still a few problems with the layout that I need to adjust.

The reason why it's a stopgap measure is that I need to move to a new platform. I've pretty much hit the wall with Blogger. Plus, it doesn't help that my category pages are a mess -- the "dumb things" and "photos" pages are frickin' huge, since they're just one big page.

Plus, I want to add in a few new features, like private posts on a per-post basis. I also need to create a separate blog for the social media and community stuff -- it's getting too messy keeping everything together. So that means Wordpress.

Anyway, that's the plan. I've mentioned it before, but I really need to get it done. I just need to make sure I can migrate all my content and retain the URLs (I've bookmarked the appropriate articles), since I don't want to lose my superior search rankings for, say, the people looking for Reston strip clubs, who think "virginia" is a portion of the female anatomy, Asians trying to fight the flush, and the rest.

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Thursday, January 24, 2008

What Is, Stumbling My Way Into the Championships?

Back in September, I blogged about winning at Jeopardy night (sorry, "JOTTpardy" night) at Jimmy's Old Town Tavern (primarily because the frontrunner forgot to answer Final Jeopardy in the form of a question).

I got a call this week from Jimmy's saying, "Congratulations, you're in the finals." I replied, "Huh?"

I knew the three best scorers from all the weekly winners would get to play in a championship game, but I figured that my point total was low enough to keep me out of the Top 3, so I pretty much forgot about it.

I was sort of right -- apparently, one of the top 3 finishers had been an out-of-towner and wasn't going to be available, so I moved up into the championship game. (Kind of how Maverick and Goose made it to Top Gun after Cougar turned in his wings.)

Anyway, since crowd participation is allowed (and even encouraged -- you can shout out the answers), if you're going to be around next Tuesday night (January 29), stop by Jimmy's Tavern in Herndon about 8:30 pm or so and give me some help, and I'll buy you a beer out of my (presumed) winnings.

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Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Just in Time for the January DC Blogger Meetup: My New Cards

Reminder: the January Washington Blogger Meetup is tomorrow, Wednesday, January 16, 7pm at RFD, across the street from the Verizon Center (come earlier if you want to load up on happy hour drink specials).

Early attendance estimates look strong -- must be New Year's resolutions. Please join us -- all are welcome.

Just in time, too, I'll have a fresh batch of business personal calling cards:

You wouldn't believe how hard it was to get that phone number.

I'd been working on the design for a while (such as it is -- as you can see, even when it comes to graphics, I work in text), but I only got around to ordering them after I got a VistaPrint coupon in a recent Amazon order.

I ordered 500 cards, plus a self-inking address stamper, and some Joelogon post-its that I don't need (except as filler to get to $25 and free shipping).

It was mostly in the nature of an experiment and I was expecting the worst (which is why I didn't spring for the premium card stock), but I have to tell you: I was pleasantly surprised by the results. The very first card was miscut (there was a white border showing on one edge), but the rest look fine.

I'd ordered them on January 10th, they shipped on the 12th, and got here today (the 15th). I was pleased, which shows that it's all about managing expectations, since the note on free ("Slow") shipping said up to 21 days.

As to the design (such as it is):

* The ASCII face is not, strictly speaking, a logo -- it's just something I've been using in my mail .sig since the 90s. Nor is it really supposed to be me, I guess. Though it has glasses and looked slightly more like me when my hair was short and spiky.

* The blue is just... blue. It's a web-safe blue, though. (It's also not as spotty as the photo suggests.)

* This came to me late in the game, but I tried to put the viewable stuff next to the eyeglasses, and the ways you could "speak" to me next to the mouth. Though I didn't want to load up the card with too many Web 2.0 companies (especially since I try to sign up as joelogon whenever I can -- hence the "etc." I probably should have listed Twitter, though. Facebook, too.)

I probably should have tried harder to line up each facial element with its associated info, but I wanted to keep the spacing even to make it more readable. Which was more important than a metaphor of dubious utility.

* I stayed with a matte finish, and kept the back side's background plain white. Mostly because it was cheaper that way, but I like being able to write notes on people's business cards ("knows so-and-so," "hound mercilessly," "avoid at all costs," etc.), so I wanted to make it easy to do this.

I've already given one to a former cow-orker I ran into this afternoon at the coffee shop; we'll see how long it takes to get rid of the other 499. Come to tomorrow's meetup and I'll give you one.

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Thursday, January 03, 2008

These Are Not New Year's Resolutions

These are simply things that I have to do.
  • Get a Job: Not a resolution, a necessity. Prerequisites being "look for a job" and "do that damned resume update." While I have plenty of financial leeway, the purposelessness is starting to get to me -- I like a little more structure in my life.

    I'm looking at opportunities involving online social media and community, which pretty much encompasses anything online, social, media, or community these days.

  • Obtain the Body of an Underwear Model: Not sure where I'll be able to keep it, though. Which ties into...

  • Clean Up the House: Also not a resolution, more like addressing a psychological condition. Packrat-ism, verging on hording, seems to run in my immediate family. See my future entry, "Clutter Is Armor."

  • Resolve the Identity Theft Thing: I'm not doing my credit rating any favors.

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Saturday, December 01, 2007

NaBloPoMo Is No Mo'

This year's official edition of National Blog Posting Month is done with -- I successfully completed the quota, and while I didn't resort to any filler posts (well, maybe just one), I didn't tackle most of the more substantive entries I've been percolating on.

I do appreciate the imposed deadline, even if it was just as simple as "one a day." I usually work better with deadlines, even arbitrary ones. But it'll be good to not worry about it for a while.

I do want to do keep to at least 5 substantive entries a week. And by substantive, I mean that right now, I have probably two dozen draft Blogger entries, ranging from hot drafts that just need a litle further refinement, to rapidly cooling ones that will age out and go to the bottom of the pile until a new current event hook comes by to make them relevant again.

I also still have to process my NYC pics from last week, answer a meme I was tagged for, and recategorize my blog and pick a new template for it. (As well as deal with, you know, real life.)

The re-doing of the blog categories is a lot more complicated than I thought it would be, which is why I keep putting it off. It's a challenge that's partly taxonomic, partly aspirational. I'll will try talking it out a little bit more in the blog.


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Tuesday, October 23, 2007

So Now What?

Today officially marks a week since the layoff, so I guess I should figure out what to do. Step One is to get out of the house a bit more (bonus: I get to avoid doing around the house stuff), so I'm in the local Greenberry's right now, taking the laptop out for its first field trip.

Some things I need to do.

Small stuff:
* Make some appointments for some checkups. It's been a while, and I might as well do it while the health insurance stuff is still the same.

* Macbook: Mail isn't quite working right, so a little more tweaking is in order.

* Personal calling cards. Get some.

Middlin' stuff:
* Blog Housekeeping: Overhaul the categories, which are a big steaming mess. A few adjustment to the template, especially the main page. Fix that stupid top nav bar, which I just hacked together after the Blogger beta transition screwed it up a while back.

* House Housekeeping: It's still a mess. The addition of 3 boxes of office crap didn't help things.

Big stuff:
* Identity Theft: I have a situation that I need to resolve. It's a pain and I've been avoiding it, but I got plenty of time right now, after all.

* Fix Up the Office: I have plenty of things to fix in the house, but now it's going to be pretty critical to finally fix up the extra bedroom into a real workspace.

Other than that, I guess I should think about a Halloween costume and do a few other things. Also get to blogging some more, and not just about stuff I need to do.

I'm sufficiently wired on coffee now, so I think I'll go home and play with some boxes.