Getting out of my own way


With this title and photo, this post could be about so many things. This photo was taken in Joshua Tree a few months ago, where I had the most amazing time up on those rocks. And doing a bit of getting out of my own way. But, this post is about this website.

I’ve always created my own. Like, since FrontPage and the time when Dreamweaver was Macromedia. Last year I decided it was time for a drastic change, and I wiped out the 300–400 pages that made up my art and personal site. Ouch! Countless hours of time were put into all those images and files, which I had thought so smart for when I someday wanted to redesign, with each element defined in CSS and in cascading Dreamweaver templates. Well, it was smart in theory (excluding the table layouts), but it wasn’t quite so easy to change after all. It had become a conglomeration of styles as I redesigned portions two or three times away from a complete but so-over-it design, loving some of it but not so keen on others. Down it all went, and up went the new with only a handful of pages and images.

What I had wanted out of a website (for one) was to use the lowest technology so that I understood what each bit of code did. That meant using straight HTML and CSS. I really did like it, and it scaled beautifully from big screens down to phones. It was easier to rearrange things. But the feature (or lack thereof) that it shared with every other iteration I’ve made since the beginning was that it was just so . . . manual. Every single image from thumbnail to main to zoom was painstakingly cropped to exacting dimensions, sometimes watermarked, and I had to mess with code to insert it. Hundreds of image files. Maybe even a thousand. In the older, wiped-out version, the journal/blog pages were stupidly manual and there were five gazillion PayPal buttons defined. I just haven’t wanted to spend that much time on it anymore (nor been able to), so it never got updated. There’s paying work to do and life to live, come on now! Especially when there’s technology available to make it significantly easier. So there it sat, unfinished yet again, though at least clean and consistent :).

Unrelated side note: I really think my cat has hiccups right now.

Another reason I’ve always created my own is out of some sense that because I’m a designer, I should do it myself. 100% from scratch. I don’t even like doing web design! At all!! It was time to let that (ego) go and to release those concerns and the burden of time commitment to the wind so I could move on with it already. And this time move on with real functionality that is easy to add content to! So here we are: a new system. It’s still a pretty big learning curve; fairly different from what I’ve done prior. I don’t love all of it yet at all, and the typography is not great in places that I haven’t figured out how to fix. But, I can work on it and migrate content to it over time. Woohoo!