Another day, another journal
Last Saturday, I tried to convince Els to come with me to the online journallers' meeting. I figure that there would be a number of interesting and creative people she could intermingle with. Plus, I had told her about it and pointed her to the website and she became instantly enamored on some of the journallers listed there.
My family knows that I've got an interest in online journalling, but it seems that no matter how many times I point them to my site, they don't seem to read it. I suppose that's primarily because my mother has little to no desire to surf the web and my father does it only minimally when he tries to find bargain DVDs. Els does some surfing, but primarily fan sites of her favorite groups or writers, no personal websites. So, when she checked out the great journal sites listed on the site, I think she flipped or something.
She wanted her own online journal.
I suggested names Saturday night to her and I think she really liked the term I've been pimping around:
I first heard the term when I was in high school: one of my best friends, a budding writer and poet, wrote a poem called "imago" and I looked up the word. It joined the short list of "words I think are cool", like defenestration and omphaloskepsis.
1 : an insect in its final, adult,
sexually mature, and typically winged state
2 : an idealized mental image of another person or the self
Her poem was about puberty and growing pains. I recall very little of it except for the title. Once I got into online journalling, I decided that it would be a great name for a journal (although by that time, I had chosen and started using The Mind's I and I had no desire to change it). So, I've been pimping it around but no bites until Els decided that it was a great word for her to use. Plus, she could use insect imagery and she loves insects.
So, she worked on a design on Saturday and yesterday afternoon, I went over to my parents' house to help her get her stuff working and on the web. The design was initially very pretty but plain. She asked me what resolution she should design for and I suggested 640x480, but when I saw her design, I realized that she didn't think about what would it look like if the browser window was larger than that. I gave her several possible solutions, but she opted for the box idea. Her site now looks like something that I would have designed.
I showed her a number of Photoshop tricks and demonstrated effective use of the gradient tool. She found its use fascinating and applied it to the coloration of her site. While she would play around with Photoshop, I nestled into my parents' bed (the computer that she was using was my father's machine which is in his room. We use his machine often and, in our household, my parents' bedroom is a common living space. We hardly use the living room by ourselves) and watched television. I haven't watched a tv in over a month, so I kept thinking to myself, "hey, I remember this! Hey, I like this!"
My sister loves to watch tv. I had to remind her a number of times to "continue working" because she would get distracted. After a while, she asked me if I could apply the gradient to the lines making up the sides of the box. Oo! A challenge! I thought I could do it but I would have to experiment and tool around a little. It turns out that it was much simpler than I thought it would be.
<Technical Bit> In order to get the borders to be one pixel, I help it with a 1x1 invisible pixel GIF in the space and the color is provided via background color for the cell. I could easily replace that 1x1 GIF with a, say, a 1x300 line that has a gradient applied to it. Then, I would set the table cell's VALIGN to BOTTOM or TOP depending on where the gradient should be applied. That way, the height of the table can be as high as you want it to be (variable content) and the gradient will say nicely in place. </Technical Bit>
I loved the effect of the gradient and decided to apply the technique to my own. What do you think? Maybe I'll change the stripe colors every few entries or so. Whatever strikes my fancy.
I helped Els more on her subpages, since she wanted a number of different elements, like a sidebar. Throughout her design changes and development, I kept thinking about how I can create templates for her that are really simplistic to use. She's not particularly interested in learning HTML, so the fewer tags she had to remember, the better. Plus, the less she has to pick through the code the better. That way, the design is all static and unchanging and she doesn't touch it at all but the space for content she can play with all she wants and insert images and the like without it bothering the design. I decided to use an image map for the front and back navigation arrows and I showed her how to update the image map links to go back and forth with the names of the files. That was much easier than showing her how to find the individual right, left, and up arrows and explaining how to define the A HREF links around those images.
I think the site ended up being very beautiful. What do you think? She's a great writer and artist (remember, she's got the creative bones while I got the technical ones) and I'm sure her journal will be delightfully interesting. I told her to start reading some journals to get an idea of what she can do in her own journal to make it unique and interesting. She indicated to me that reading my journal would make her feel "kinda squicky".
No matter what I do, it seems members of my family just won't read my journal...
Since I finished reading Lord of the Rings yesterday, I decided to go to Barnes and Noble today after my coworker and I went to this little falafel place near my work.
The little falafel place is called Jerusalem Pita and isn't very wide but is very very narrow. The front portion of the eatery has about 5 or 6 small two person tables and a large grill and veggie area. It's a Jewish-owned establishment, so I ordered chicken shish-kabob in a pita with hot sauce and tahini. FYI: tahini is a peanut butter of sesame seeds. It was delicious! They stuff the pita with the grilled chicken and add lettuce, some freshly grilled vegetables, some shredded cabbage and onions. I dumped out the contents into a small place and ate it like a salad, topping it with more hot sauce and tahini taking occasional bites of the pita. I had forgotten how much I love tahini and I made a mental note to pick up some more at an ethnic food store. I mentioned it to Mike later in the evening and noted how he can use it like a salad dressing, since he typically dislikes dressing because of the vinegar and is always forced to eat his salads naked.
At Barnes and Noble, I decided that since I just finished reading three very good books in a row, I should get a crappy book next. Not bad that I wouldn't enjoy it, but something with little to no real literary merit. So, I got Book Nine in the Star Wars X-Wing series. Pure, unadulterated hedonism. It features Wedge's non-existant love life, which I always find amusing since I have a thing for the Rogue and Wraith squadrons' leader. Everytime I read how lonely he feels I just want to yell out, "Take me Antilles! Take me! Look, I'm kind of cute! I can paint your X-Wing! Here, let me bake you a piece of ryshcake..."
Hey, atleast I don't have a thing for Luke.