23 October 2006

Why I'm not doing more web design

When I went back to school six years ago, I really wanted to be a web designer. As it's turned out, I'm not doing it for a living, so I piddle around with my own site, and try to help others with theirs. But having been burned a couple of times, I'm feeling the urge to rant.

Let me tell you about my recent experience with web design. A few months ago a friend approached me to help her out with a pro-bono project for a woman she met last summer. This woman is a former peace activist in her late sixties, lives very simply on about $400/month (or so she says), and makes jewelry from recycled items. My friend designed a logo for her and agreed to to all the print work, could I do the web design. Sounds like a great and worthwhile cause, right?

Well, after we meet and I tell her I can have a minimal, bare-bones page up in a couple of weeks, she starts hounding me: When are you going to get the rest of the pages done? When will there be images up? I don't have a CD burner, will you come up to my house out in bum-f*ck Egypt and get the files? Can I call you at work every day and talk for 20 minutes? What's taking so long, all you have to do is post the images, why is it taking so long? It would be so much easier if you'd drive 30 miles to my house... You get the picture.

No, I wasn't cranking things out in record time, but A) I work full time in front of a computer all day, B) she said she was not in any hurry, and C) just because it's on a computer doesn't mean you just push a button. I was having to edit some really bad photos (which she kept complaining about, saying things were upside down or sideways. How the hell was I supposed to know?) and it takes time.

I cut her loose, and she was flabbergasted. She just does NOT understand, she's been SO grateful for all my help, what is the problem? And she is still calling my friend, asking her to print up business cards. On her employer's equipment. With no compensation, of course.

A few months later, another acquaintance approaches me about building a site for him. He's a very talented comic-book artist/author. Says he wants to pay me, doesn't have much now, I say no problem! when you get rich and famous I'll send you a bill.

He sends me a really well prepared layout of how he wants things to look. I build him a basic structure with a template, several pages, rollover buttons, spent god knows how many hours on it. Wait for feedback. It's fabulous, MARVELOUS, he could not be more pleased. OK, send me some images. Nothing happens. Time goes by.

Suddenly it's time to get busy. Gotta have something done this fall in time for a big show up in Portland. Where are you? Answer me! did you get the images I sent you? No, I didn't, could you resend them? No answer. I write again, hey, what's happening, images? Are you alive? No answer.

Finally last week I wrote a rather terse note asking if he was indeed still alive, as I'd like to clean up my hard drive and erase the files if they're not needed. Aha! an answer. No, sorry, I got someone else to do a much fancier site for me, sorry I didn't let you know.

So tell me, am I just having a string of bad luck here, or should I abandon all hope of doing favors for friends and keeping my sanity?

16 October 2006

Get a ROOM!

Saturday afternoon Michael and I were out running some errands and decided we wanted some Chinese food, so we went to our favorite, Ocean Sky. When we left it was still early, probably a quarter to six or so.

The parking lot was more crowded than normal, so we had to circle clear around the far end. Almost every space was full. Michael was driving, and we were in my truck which has great visibility.

As we came to the end and started to circle to the right around a bright blue Honda Civic, I noticed something looked weird. Like there was someone in the drivers seat leaning into the back seat. As we continued, I could see that there was someone in the driver's seat alright. The seat was all the way reclined, some guy's on his back, and a girl wearing a hoodie is astride him. Trouble was, there was nothing on her BUT said hoodie.

As I declared loudly through the open window, "Holy shit, they're DOING IT!" the girl looked over, laughed, and went on about her "business."

Now mind you, this parking lot was full. It was broad daylight. AND the Amazon bike trail and a bunch of open area where kids were playing are really close. The car did not have tinted windows, I'm thinking they weren't even closed. It's a family restaurant, not a strip club.

Christ, even the neighborhood cats wait until it's dark to go whoring about.

Is it just me, or is this a really disgusting story?

04 September 2006

One more week. One more week. One. More. Week.

Oh. My. God.

I cannot wait until I get cable internet.

I’ve always had dialup at home. It’s a pain in the arse, but cheap. And the company I went with was a non-profit that charged a bit more, but in turn supplied cheap and/or free access for low-income folks, so it was all good. I’d had some problems with the speed, so was given a different phone number to use. You only got it if you complained, and it was faster and acceptable.

Recently the non-profit was bailed out by a for-profit entity, and I wondered how soon it would be before it all went in the crapper.

Hmmm, about a year or so.

They recently, for whatever reason, changed the phone number. It’s been horrid, all sorts of trouble connecting, unbearably low speed. I’ve sent several emails, and the most recent response said, basically:

  • This stuff happens.
  • You probably don’t have it set up correctly.
  • Oh, and if you want to cancel (as I had threatened), be sure to call our billing department.

That’s nice. Lovely way to treat someone who’s been a customer for over five years.

So I logged onto Comcast cable. Signed up online. Simple as pie. I’ll get my self-installation kit and FREE modem in a week or so. Then I’ll be able to actually SEE all my friends’ MySpace pages without waiting for hours! Possibly keep my own page updated! Upload stuff to my website in minutes! Who knew?

More expensive, but hey, some of the best things in life are NOT free, unfortunately.

03 July 2006

So you want to send me an email

Let's go over the ground rules, shall we?

Email is fabulous. I could not live without it. But I've been finding some little jewels in my inbox that I'd just as soon not live with.

Got an opinion about the immigration conflagration that's going on? Have some strong feelings about patriotism, the American flag, the current political atmosphere and the war in Iraq? Sure you do. We all do.

But here's the deal: I am an unabashed, unashamed, unapologetic liberal, for the most part. I tend to favor the death penalty and I don't think there are enough law enforcement personnel available in my city and state. That kind of knocks my claim of being a bleeding heart liberal into the pooper, doesn't it? But here are a few little advisories to consider before adding me to the list of recipients in your next email forward.

1. Is it true? This doesn't apply to jokes and sarcasm, of course. But if it's allegedly a letter someone has written, or one of Andy Rooney's pieces, or the latest computer virus or safety warning, do me a favor. Check it out. Snopes is a good resource. Google it.

2. Is it expressing a narrow-minded viewpoint? Keep it to yourself unless you are 100% positive that it's a narrow-minded view that I hold myself. Since I try to keep an open mind, it's probably safe to assume that I won't find it humorous or interesting.

3. Does it require the outlook of organized Christianity? Then it probably falls under category #2 already.

4. Did you send it to me last week? last month? last year? Is it one that's already gone around multiple times? Then why send it again?

5. Is it strictly "cute" with lots of animated GIFs, drawings of cute bunnies and such? Hmmm, I think I got that one last week. Thanks anyway.

6. And for the love of (insert your favorite deity here), if you find yourself forwarding more than one or two emails per day, carefully examine your motivation. Have you read them? Are they funny? Do they pass rules one and four, since those views are shared by almost everyone? Doubtful.

Now you know.

25 May 2006

Rainy Memorial Day? What a surprise.

So here we are. Almost Memorial Day weekend, for what it's worth. Last week? Hotter'n hell, well, for this time of year anyway. Now?


We needed rain, yes. But now my damned garden plot is mud again. Thank god I got it mostly worked up while it was medium-damp, so it won't be as hard to work with if it EVER stops raining again.

I hate people who complain about the rain, don't you?

03 May 2006

What, you couldn't write once in a while?

A certain friend of mine who shall remain nameless keeps hounding me about the delinquent status of this blog. And he's right. What's the date of the last post, January something? Despicable.

Truth is, I've gotten sucked into a message board. One of those Yahoo groups. Hush up -- I know, sounds fairly lame. But these women are my soul -sisters, my homies, my peeps. Not that you aren't, oh no no no. It's just -- oh, you wouldn't understand.

There's only so much time one can spend on the computer, writing brilliant quips and such, at work and at home. Oh, just on my breaks at work, don't get me wrong.

Here's another reason: All I can come up with for writing material is bitching, whining, kvetching, and complaining. Do any of you really, honestly wish to read more of that? I didn't think so.

So here you go. Perhaps this will free my inner author and I can bore the hell out of you repeatedly in the future. Cheers!

09 January 2006

Helpful Hints for Spammers

It has come to my attention that there is some confusion in the minds of spammers regarding topics that would interest me enough to actually open their emails before deleting them.

So here's an important clue: when you see the name "nancy" in an email address, think female. As in not interested in Viagra or Cialis or what have you. You may be thinking of "nancy boy," but in that case giving HER something to smile about would not be of interest, either.

I am not interested in adding to my girth, thank you very much. I have more than enough. Length, sure, if you mean height, but I don't think you do.

To answer the other descriptive subject lines phrased in the form of questions, let's just say that no, I have not and never will.

05 January 2006

A new calendar year, big deal

Every year, the same story. Magazines full of articles on changing your life, organizing, losing weight, all those New Year's Resolutions everyone supposedly makes. A new calendar, a new year, a new you. While I have no problem with anyone trying to improve their lives and thereby their happiness, I do have a problem with the assumption that putting a new bound-stack-of-paper-with-pictures-and-dates-on-it up on the wall changes everything. Doesn't it seem more logical to fix problems as you recognize them, and when you've just HAD IT and things just have to change?

Besides, to me the new year starts in the fall, back-to-school time. What's new about this time of year besides having to buy a new calendar? Same old long winter nights, rainy grey days. Spring would make more sense when it comes to new beginnings, and would make it a lot easier to stick to those exercise-related goals.

Happy New Calendar Purchasing Season.