Broken Links Corrected

I've been working on the railroad

I did a design theme update to the site, so it looks a bit different these days. There will be some more tweaks as I customize the theme a bit more, but it looks a lot more simple than it did.

I have also gone through the entire site and updated all of the broken links to either go the correct places or be unlinked if there were no places to update. 8,655 links were fixed. I am truly excited about this. Here’s hoping that will reduce the amount of GPU overage charges I get for the site.

Captain Tightpants Dancing
Continue ReadingBroken Links Corrected

Online Housecleaning

I’ve been doing a lot of housecleaning, site-wise over the past several weeks. I’m in the process of converting over some of my older blog sites to wordpress, shuttering others, and putting up fresh new “coming eventually” pages at all of the URLs I own. I’ve been playing with Foundation by Zurb as a CSS framework, in preparation for working on a portfolio of my design work. has fresh new face. It’s pretty bare bones and needs a little more style, but for now it looks better. I’ve never used it for much except listing out the various sites I own.

I’m struggling with making my fortune cookie site do what I want. I’d like to be more than a blog site, but the template I’ve chosen seems to want to fight with me. I’ll get it done eventually.

Continue ReadingOnline Housecleaning

Well, Howdy

Hey, I finally got my site all moved over to my host and just as importantly, to my new content management system. The design is quite different, and not yet mine. I’ve done some customization of the theme, but I have a lot more work planned on that end. And there’s a lot of clean up of old posts to be done. But the worst of the move is over and I can ease into the rest as time goes by.

And even more important – I can post more often and the technical workings of the site are much more efficient and easy to update. I’m really excited about what I can do now.

It was worth the wait.

Continue ReadingWell, Howdy

IE7 Fixes

I figured out my IE 7 display issues finally. Sorry for the delay – normally I don’t let problems like that linger, but I was having trouble finding a free hour to troubleshoot. Thanks to Wil for helping me pinpoint the problems.

Continue ReadingIE7 Fixes

Drop-Down Fly-Out Navigation on my site

I’ve been dissatisfied with the navigation methods here on my site for a long time – I was very frustrated by the long, unwieldy category list from the sidebar – I’ve always organized by category, but the display of that navigation sucked, because it was hard to tell that there were categories and sub-categories, and the list was way long. The sidebar looked cluttered, and in general I didn’t feel like writing because I hated the way my site looked.

I knew the solution was to approach it differently; I needed a drop-down, fly-out menu bar along the top of the site. But I was afraid to tackle the task because tangling with the lack of support materials for Movable Type has been problematic in the past. (see the related categories at the bottom of this post.)
But I spent a bit of time with this post: “Creating Drop-Down Navigation with Movable Type” and worked it out. I knew I didn’t want to use the MooTools solution he offered, so I adapted his work and integrated it with this “Simple jQuery Dropdowns” solution, because I knew I want to use jQuery for some other rich behaviors on the site in the future.

Now the categories make more sense because you can see sub-topics and sub-sub topics. And it’s all neatly folded up along the top of the site. I had some testing problems in IE7 – dunno if I cleared them up completely yet or not. I may need to do some fixing there still.

Because it’s cleaner and neater, I didn’t mind adding some categories that I needed; stuff I’ve been writing/posting links about like feminist issues and photography, and yes, your favorite and mine — knitting. I still need to step back through old blog posts and move them to the appropriate categories, but going forward, things will land in their own spots.

And the change in categories helps me re-think and get excited about things that I used to write about that have fallen by the wayside.

The removal of that long category list down the side means I had a lot more room in the sidebar and you can see items there much better. Many of the pages aren’t as long now, and all of them can breathe more. I rearranged my ads a bit because those help pay for the site.

So I’m feeling fresh and clean and exciting, like a feminine hygiene ad. I may go walk on the beach. While knitting. And then I’ll tell you all about it.

Continue ReadingDrop-Down Fly-Out Navigation on my site


Way back in the dark ages when I started this site, I didn’t manage to keep track of the date. It was before blogger software, and before it was even affordable to own a domain name for a personal site (it cost in the $200 range to purchase one). I believe – but am not entirely sure – that I put my first pages up in November of 1994. My “site” was hosted at my local ISP. I had the pages of jokes up, and an article I’d written on the National Women’s Music Festival (Cringeworthy! Don’t read it!), and various news stories I’d cribbed from around the internet. And a bunch of “essays” on love and life, some of which aren’t up anymore because I’m embarrassed at how ridiculous they sounded upon reading them later. One of my first site iterations has a treasure map image map on the front page, and all the sections of content were items on the map. It was deeply cheesy and I’ll have to dig it out, because it was hilarious.

Time Flies The consequence of all of this is that I’ve never had a “blogiversary” date to celebrate like other sites. So I’m making one up now. November has just past; this site is at least 14 years old. Woo ha. Party hats for all.

I haven’t written much lately; summer is always hectic, and we’ve got lots of outstanding projects.

The rental house is again empty, and we have again have lots of repairs from tenant neglect and abuse of the property. We’re working on those and hope to have a property manager so we won’t have to deal with this sort of thing for months on end every freaking year. It amazes me how little people care for where they live if they don’t own it. It’s really sad, and frustrating for us, since we have to put time into it when there’s so much to do at our house, too.

We’re also working on lots of stuff around our house. We’ve made some progress here and there getting stuff in shape and clutter-busting. The guest room has been a particularly knotty problem for us. It turned into the catch-all room when we were moving in and didn’t know exactly what to do with stuff, and consequently, we have boxes and boxes that need to be sorted — all piled up in front of the Murphy bed cabinet. At one time or another, one of us would wander into the room and attempt to figure out how to put stuff away, get overwhelmed, and scurry out again.

So we hired an organization guru to help us. So far, she’s spent 2 hours with us in the room, working on sorting out boxes and choosing what stays, what gets trashed, and what goes to goodwill. Having someone other than yourself ask you questions about your stuff is REALLY helpful in focusing your thinking. She doesn’t have all the hang-ups and blinders, so she can ask what the item really means to you. And she can keep your attention on small chunks of the organizing so that you don’t get overwhelmed by the full volume of stuff. We got so much done in the first two hours that I was excited for days afterward. We can see large sections of the floor! The Murphy bed is within reach! We can have people stay over soon! Maybe! I’m not sure Stephanie was equally thrilled, which worries me.

Last night I went through and reorganized much of our Christmas decor in the basement. Inside, we’re only decorating modestly and putting up the small tree to keep things simple. We plan on decorating the porch with lights for the first time (we had an outlet installed this summer) so I have to work out a lighting scheme. Last night we also went through all the strands of lights we have available and tested and fixed many of them. I really enjoy that. I kinda wish we had an art project using lights.

I’m looking forward to Christmas, although it’s hectic at work and we’re already shaping up to have too many parties to attend. But it is at least some respite from the down-in-the-dumps feelings I get every year when there’s no sun and it’s too cold. I really would just like to curl up at home and stay there and never venture out into the weather. The news and worrying about the economy and financial considerations of loved ones also has given me the blues in a serious way; hence the lack of real writing here.

There’s so much that seems out of my control that I feel helpless a lot of the time, and angry, too.

Continue ReadingBlogiversary?

So NOW they create a sandbox template!

After I pretty much got everything in place, Movable Type comes out with a plugin and set of sandbox templates — similar to what WordPress has — that allows you to install a really basic default set of templates and then create your own design on top of the template elements — similar to what I was wishing for in this post the other day.

That’s actually really funny. I’m not going to rework everything yet again right now, but good that they’ve done one. I’ll definitely go that route in the future when undertaking a redesign. And refining all my content at this point will help immensely with future design undertakings.

Continue ReadingSo NOW they create a sandbox template!

More site updates

I’ve been doing some further site tweaking over the last several days. The major thing I accomplished was getting my Big Things photo galleries into the content management system, which will make it infinitely easier to edit the content on those pages. Which I desperately need to do. There are lots of new photos I need to add and some broken links I need to fix, and at least one thumbnail display issue I need to address also.

The other advantage to having them in my database is that now people can comment on the pages; something they’ve never been able to do before. And I can track those pages in google analytics much better as well.


I also altered the search results templates to display only an excerpt of each entry, rather than the whole entry, which makes scanning results much easier. I’m still not thrilled with the display and want to tweak that page further, but it’s much better. Incremental changes.

There are two more major design change I need to make — a real header design for the site, instead of the rather simplistic logo and site name that’s up there. And a consistent treatment for photos I post from flickr.

And there are two other content changes — retroactively adding my flickr photosets from events back into the site, and cleaning up the tagging on all the site entries so related entries lists are accurate and complete.

And I should probably also WRITE SOMETHING interesting to keep people coming back to the site, shouldn’t I? 🙂

Continue ReadingMore site updates

Movable Type 4.2 upgrade recap

I’ve got my Movable Type software upgraded to 4.2 and replaced my old templates with default ones, which I’ve done some customizing on, with more to come. So far, so good. It’s MUCH faster – my faith is restored. For the most part.

I started by installing the Professional Pack templates, and after I got them all customized, I changed my mind about that. I did another refresh with the Mid-Century templates instead and started over with my custom coding. The Mid-Century had a few more objects already built that I wanted to play with.

Either way — it’s a little odd how they install “themes” and I wish they had a professional users way of doing it. The idea behind themes is allowing people without design backgrounds to refresh and change their sites. I’m not really interested in doing that — I wanted a basic set of templates so I wouldn’t have to cobble together all the code myself given their rather Byzantine documentation. So I wanted to use a theme as a jumping off point for my own work.

But their themes install into a static directory, and they allow you minimal ability to customize via the interface. I should have started by yanking their stylesheets and images out of the theme and putting them in my own directory and working from there, but I didn’t. I just started coding the css in the stylesheet they allow you in the interface — one that imports their theme stylesheet. That’s rather clunky, as I have to use the !important attribute to overwrite their styles a lot. I need to revise how I do it and take over all the stylesheet work.

I need to do a lot more stylesheet work to better incorporate my branding, but I’ll tackle that further in the future. Right now, I’m working on the tags for my site. The “related entries” object is driven by tags, so I’m revisiting past blog posts and either cleaning up the tags or adding them if they’re missing, so the related entries show up correctly.

I had hoped to spend most of the week doing this task, rather than installing templates, but it didn’t work out that way. Taking the week off work was primarily meant to accomplish editing every past post. So I’ll just be working my way through those slowly over time. Sadly, that’s a task I’ve started at least 4 times in the past and never finished. I wonder if I’ll ever manage to finish?

Continue ReadingMovable Type 4.2 upgrade recap

blog software update day(s?) – AKA ‘wreck stuff day’

A while back I put off upgrading my blog to Movable Type 4.2 because the upgrade would break the site, according to my webhost.

Well, now I’m on a blogging vacation, and I’m ready to blow this puppy to smithereens. Because my custom templates are centuries old now, I’m going to install default templates and edit the design back into something resembling my site from there.

I’m backing everything up, putting on my flak jacket and diving bell, and arming myself with my lion tamer’s whip and a spare banana. I’m ready, steady, go.

I’ll see you on the other side.

Continue Readingblog software update day(s?) – AKA ‘wreck stuff day’