social networking IRL

I’ve decided to end my streak of bitter misanthropy and actually get out and socialize every now and again. Luckily this coincided with one of my oldest and prettiest* friends moving to Portland, where it is much easier to convince her to while away one evening a week passing judgment on everyone who is not us. Well, and drinking beer. I guess I like beer now. This is weird, y’all – I’ve never liked beer, not even a little, and now here I go drinking it on purpose. More than once! And in quantities of two or more!

So, whatev, apparently my big midlife crisis involves an appreciation for hops. This is encouraging, if only because it means I can go out to a bar and not end up either a) bored, b) trashed or c) spending the next 24 hours puking my guts out and swearing off all forms of alcohol including cough syrup and vanilla extract. IN FACT, the last time I had a drink that was not a beer I got such righteous alcohol poisoning that I had to cancel my flight home the next day. And you know how many drinks I had? ONE AND A HALF.

I do not make these things up.

*Seriously, she still looks exactly like she did in high school, and in high school she was what one would objectively call a knockout. Of course this does not make me feel like an elderly bag lady, why do you ask?

startup mama

The internet. I love it, and yet it sucks the lifeblood right from my veins.

We’re dealing with the Terrible Threes, not only with the kid but also with the business. Both are growing at an alarming rate. Both demand huge amounts of time and attention. (Only one regularly elbows me in the sternum, however.)

I’m beginning to think that finding a balance is code for something else, like Discovering Valium or Hiring a Nanny. It doesn’t help that the last couple of months one or both of us has either been sick, out of town, or working through the night in order to catch up on the work that being sick or out of town interrupted. And since Not So’s job comes with more exciting deadlines than mine, guess who nobly “works” from home with the kid? Yes, because a clinging preschooler is an excellent business partner, let me tell you.

I’m behind. I’m stressed out. And it was 107 degrees in Portland today.

Oy.

to ie or not to ie

So, show of hands: how many of you are looking at this site on IE?

Yeah, that’s about what I thought.

I’m debating making my graphics into PNGs, because GIFs are lame and full of lameness, but there’s the whole “IE can’t handle PNG transparency” thing* and it just makes me sad to think of poor backward IE people, looking at my site and going “Why did she put all her graphics in white boxes?”.

But who is thinking of me in this scenario? No one, that’s who.

I could check my stats, but that would be too easy. Plus it doesn’t involve ticky boxes.

Fill out a survey! You know you want to.

(If you can’t get the pop-up to load, click here.)

*Yes I know there are hacks, but I’m allergic to javascript & refuse to ask Not So for help. SUCH IS THE STORY OF MY LIFE. I do the same thing when I need to rearrange furniture.

i feel pretty

Oh hey, look at that: the site, she has been prettified. I finally got the new template looking the way I want (which isn’t the way I thought I wanted it to look, but isn’t that just the way?).

sneak peekThis is the comp I did when I was messing around with ideas (and was testing out background textures – basically, this all started with a yummy leather texture I found on iStockPhoto). The original iteration had each feed item making a stripe across the entire screen, with the main content in a nice container on top of that. Which is one of those things that looks lovely and simple on paper, but turns out to be the world’s biggest pain in the ass in practice. Yes, I know, it’s all about z-index and what have you, but there were floats, and they were actively campaigning against me, and…wait, you totally don’t care about any of this, do you? Especially because, once I finally got it to work, I decided it looked ghetto and nixed the stripe idea.

PipesThis marks my first foray into Yahoo! Pipes, as well…and it was, surprisingly, much less painful than I’d thought it would be. Sure, it’s ugly, and I could probably have done it more efficiently if I had any bloody clue what I was doing…but it works, and isn’t that really the point? I’m pulling in feeds from all sorts of different places, and spitting them into my sidebar all neatly styled and prettily updating, and I’m quite pleased with the result. Especially since I used PHP to handle the feed. Which I totally don’t know! But I managed to hack my way through it without asking Not So for help, even once.*

Let me know if it looks funny to you. I mean, weird-funny, not funny-funny. Or maybe I don’t.

*Full disclosure: I did ask Not So for help, but not about the feed/PHP thing. And I ended up not needing his help anyway, so it’s totally like I did it by myself. Right? Right.

stuff and fluff

Started to do a new theme & lost interest after opening several tabs. That’s the drawback of tabs, isn’t it? All that instant gratification is perfect for my attention span deficit, but by the time I actually click over I’m on to something else. This also may have something to do with the fact that I’m so sleepy I can barely see straight. And yet.

illustrationI did get Step 1 of the Great Blog Revamp finished, in the form of an illustration I actually like. Lookit, it’s me! Only, you know, illustrated, with Anime eyes and slightly better hair. (Aside: We took a “vacation” to Bellingham last weekend, or possibly the weekend before, and my hair looked like crap the entire trip. A sign? I say it was.) Oh, and I guess if I’m going for accuracy I ought to have a hole in the toe of one of my socks, because apparently I have a sock problem. And no, I don’t want to talk about it.

So I have this great illustration and a brain full of…well, mush is a good word, and a kid (have I mentioned the kid?) who is somewhat less willing to sit quietly while mommy works than one might expect, at least not after mommy has already spent the day working on things that actually pay, in theory.

I have ideas, though. Most of which seem to involve bending WordPress to my will and forcing it to dress up like a pimptastic version of Tumblr (or maybe Swurl – Swurl does all sorts of thrilling things with file types, which would fill me with joy if only I could customize it a little more)(and by “a little more” I obviously mean “rip its guts out and tie them into pretty bows and then reattach them in an entirely different configuration,” and if you aren’t craving some Burton* right now, I clearly haven’t done my job).

But I do have ideas, and that’s something. I also have dark chocolate gelato. So if you’ll excuse me.

*And I still haven’t seen Sweeney Todd, can you believe it? I mean ever, not just the Tim Burton version, which is obviously superior to all other versions, because hello, Tim Burton?

in which my long unexplained absence remains long and without explanation

You’d think, after disappearing* for the better part of a month, that I’d have some elaborately concocted excuse for why I haven’t blogged or posted one of my hilarious** video clips. You’d think that, but you’d be wrong.

Among the excuses I could give (the business, the kid, the OMG SRSLY OUR BANK BALANCE IS WHAT?!?), the one that comes closest to explaining my inexplicable Lack of Post is completely superficial.

I mean that literally. Despite all my recent redesigns, my blog? Does not fill me with love.

Oh, don’t get me wrong. There are things I like about it. The video section, for example. I like that. Well – I don’t hate it, anyway, and that’s almost the same as like. But the handwriting is so played out, and I was never married to the color scheme to begin with, and the teal*** looks much, much different on, oh, 98.9% of monitors which are not mine (and different, in this case, is not better), and it’s just boring as fuck, and frankly I can barely stand to look at it.

There. Glad I got that out.

BUT I’m working on a sooper seekrit**** illustration/theme revamp thing which I might even finish sometime this century, assuming I don’t forget, lose interest, or die. So the blog love, it might come back. Maybe.

In the meantime I’m going to force myself to post, much in the way one forces small children to take a bite, JUST ONE BITE, OH MY GOD IT’S NOT MADE OF POISON and besides DON’T YOU LIKE CHICKEN?!?!!***** Because otherwise the not posting will turn into its own reason not to post, which will then compound my rabid dislike of my blog design, which will in turn develop feelers and teeth and wee little claws and eventually devour me in my sleep.

*I say ‘disappeared,’ but seriously, people, I am one of the most compulsively findable people I know.

**Other adjectives may apply.

***Yes, it’s supposed to be teal. Shut up.

****Not all that seekrit, apparently.

*****And the less said about that, the better.

love is a social disease

(Bonus points to anyone who gets the titular song stuck in their head. Congratulations: you’re old like me!)

Oh, I’ve been busy, and by “busy” I mean, of course, “compulsively signing up for every new service I run across like the addict I am.” It’s kind of funny, because in real life I’m not exactly a social butterfly, but online? Oh, online.

We’ve got, of course, the Facebook and the MySpace (which, despite its recent spate of updates, still makes me feel dirty), the Virb and the Plaxo and the Pownce. There’s the obligatory Tumblr, the lesser-known (but somewhat cooler) Swurl, Twitter and Jaiku for snippets of thought (updated, of course, through Ping.fm) and things like BrightKite, which I never use. But then there’s bookmarking (Ma.gnolia, and, coming in a distant second, the newly revamped Delicious) and event planning (Upcoming and Sonic Living to find stuff to do, Pingg for invites, because I hate evite with the heat of a thousand suns) and calendar syncing with the newly-free Calgoo. I keep my books on Shelfari and my crochet projects on Ravelry. There’s even a place called Mon.thly.info where you can chart your menstrual cycle online (…don’t worry, it’s not a “social” site & that link just brings you to the front page…although the idea with connecting with other women on my same cycle = SO VERY FUNNY TO ME).

And that’s just the online stuff. Don’t get me started – seriously, don’t – on the apps I’ve downloaded in the last week.

The point of this post is I’m back, people. Developers, lock up your betas: Cranky Mama is on the loose.

And hey, if any of you are on any of those, feel free to friend me.

revamp

Yeah, I re-did the site again. It’s pretty, no? What with all the pink and the scribbles. That’s what it’s like inside my head these days. Pink and scribbles. Wait, that sounded weirdly porny. Okay, scratch that – it’s just that pink is the color of the future (yeah, that’s it) and scribbles are…

Whatever. It’s redesigned. Took me all damn weekend, too.

I’ve also got video (whee!) down there in the lower right. Now you don’t just have to settle for me bitching and whining in print: you can also hear my dulcet voice! I know, you are overcome. Don’t speak.

There’s still some tweaking to do on the site design, so if you notice any particularly egregious errors please point them out in the comments. I apparently can’t be bothered to check the site on a PC, so IE people, I’m looking at you.

lazy people like the holidays too

Santa was good to me this year, if by “Santa” you mean Not So. He got me a sewing machine (I’m thinking of calling her ‘Esme,’ but Not So suggests that it is a boy and should be called ‘Eduardo,’ because we are big, big dorks)(points if you get the ref). He also got me a blender – this was the year of the housewares, apparently – which I’ve been wanting for, oh, ever, and a new camera to replace the one that went all wonky and decided that all colors were purple.

I hear you, by the way. You are saying something to the effect of “A new camera? But you have the D70! You do not need a new camera! Also, children are starving.” To which I reply “Yes. I am obviously part of the problem. Also, I will gladly give them my old Canon, which I hear makes a lovely stew.” I am a firm believer in the point-and-shoot for spontaneous picture-taking moments. Do you honestly believe I am going to lug the D70 every time we leave the house? Because, no. The baby, he is heavy enough. Also, I am lazy.

And the D70, while rocking like a rocking thing in all other respects, does not do video. The little cameras take surprisingly good video clips and are much easier to wrangle than the camcorder. The upload is simple as well – there is no searching for the adapter cable, hooking it up, plugging it in, converting the video. There is just plug. I like things that have only one step.

(All of these, including the self-portrait at left, were taken with the new camera. I am, as always, blisteringly photogenic.)

The new point-and-shoot is a Nikon Coolpix L3. It is very, very wee. Hey! That made a rhyme, and I could follow it with a ditty about how I do not know I am a poet, but I will not. Merry Christmas!

The camera’s great, but it has what I have learned to think of as “Ugly Screen.” That is, everything on the preview screen on the back of the camera is rendered in uglyvision, and it isn’t until the shots are uploaded that it’s possible to tell which ones are good. Also, it handles color in a way that can only be described as “interesting.” I look like a thug in most of the pictures, but my eyes? Very blue. It’s a trade-off. All hail Adobe Lightroom, that’s all I have to say.

It does excellent video, though. I am all about the love for the L3 video. I could compose odes to it, but I won’t, because…lazy. Instead I will let you be the judge: check out the little test video we shot (before we set it to max resolution, even). Also, my kid? Cute.

http://video.google.com/googleplayer.swf?docId=-8423189249165959578&hl=en

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lack of creativity = weekend round-up

My creative muscle (which I think is located just below the base of my skull, if the headache is any indicator) has been stretched to the limit this weekend. Not only did I have the beginnings of a final project that kicked my ass all up and down the block, but we’re getting ready to launch both the official couldbe studios site and my pet project (one of them, anyway) copywriting service. And I’m almostalmost done with the site we’re designing for my first client. So: busy! But not too busy to update in list form. I’m never too busy to make lists. Other things I never am include well-rested, conservative, and frugal.

* I finally managed to take my kid to storytime at the library. The verdict? The kid had a grand time, and I really need to work on my social skills. Show of hands: who is surprised by this? Also, there are more hip parents in St. Johns than I would have thought. This is a good thing.

Note: my Cranky Mama flickr account is out of space for this month, so all these pics are from our other account. In case you were confused. Which, I would be.

* I take lots of pictures of my kid. It’s only because he’s so much cuter than anyone else in the world. Except maybe his dad. The two of them together? Cute overload.

* We figured out how to set the shutter speed on the camera. Yes, I know, but who has time to read the manual? I still need to figure out the whole f-stop thing. My photo-geek high-school self is mocking me right now.

* My head has hurt for almost two weeks now. Stupid sinuses.

* Happy Fun Baby figured out how to clap and wave this weekend. His favorite part is getting us to mimic him. Who can resist a baby clapping his chubby little hands together and then looking expectantly at you? The grin he gets when we do his bidding? Totally worth it.

* I have no other bullet points.

Right now the kid and the cat are snuggled up together on the couch, napping. I could take a picture, but I’m not going to. This one I want to keep for myself.

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