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May 3, 2013 3:13 pm

New pink and aqua theme!

Wednesday afternoon, I was struck with inspiration after reading some articles on the “flat design” trend happening right now and after a couple of days of off-and-on work, has its first new design since (oh gosh) AUGUST OF 2008?!

I’d been meaning to update my previous theme for a while; it didn’t support threaded comments, I was using images for everything (vs web fonts) and, while I still really liked the design (semi-flat! before it was popular!), the copy was really tiny and I kind of like the giant copy trend happening at the moment.

This was one of my first experiences “designing in the browser” – I barely used Photoshop at all. It was also my first time using SVG graphics. I don’t get to do a lot of this kind of stuff at my job, so it’s nice to be able to experiment with HTML5 and SVG and mobile-friendly themes. This theme also has an updated favicon and Apple Touch image, so if you bookmark my site on your mobile device (no one will do this but hey) it should have a nice bright pink logo.

Still to do:

  • Fix some weirdness on the mobile layout
    Now that I have an iPhone, I actually care about this sort of thing! I think the threaded comment links are missing and it could use some pixel-pushing, but it’s readable as-is for the most part.
  • Update logo to SVG
    Desktop looks fine – you can’t tell – but oh gosh, what a difference this would make on the mobile layout. I think the logo would be an okay SVG candidate as it’s pretty vectory anyway.
  • Other refinements
    The archives page is kind of broken (I think the jQuery UI isn’t coming in or something) but it’s still usable.
    Type-related quirks, like sentences getting messed up if it contains an ellipses.

If you notice anything that looks really out of whack, PLEASE tell me and I will do my best to fix it! Also, let me know if you miss the “most recent tweet” gizmo – I debated on whether or not I should keep it and decided that I’d ditch it for now unless somebody says otherwise.


November 4, 2012 11:36 am

SimpleTwitter RSS URL Update

The other day, I noticed that the Twitter feed on my website was stuck on a status from several weeks ago. Upon investigation, it looks like Twitter updated the URL for RSS feeds, and because the SimpleTwitter plugin I use is so ridiculously old (last updated in 2007) it was stuck on the last message before the RSS feed URL was updated.

I did some investigation, discovered the new format for RSS feeds, and fixed the plugin for myself. If you’d like to fix your copy, here is the change you need to make:

  1. Find line 140, which should look like this:
    $url = ''.$twitterId.'.rss';
  2. Change it to:
    $url = ''.$twitterId;
  3. Save and upload!

Use at your own peril, I make no guarantees with regard to this code, etc. etc. It was a super-simple fix and worked for me so I’m posting this in case it will help someone else.

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August 31, 2008 2:31 pm

Surprise, surprise

RSS readers, you are totally missing out. Come on over!

This is the first new layout I’ve put up in a loooooong time, but I am thrilled with it. I am still working out the kinks, so please excuse any dust for the first couple of days.



April 4, 2008 11:31 am

Thoughts on WordPress 2.5

I have played around with WordPress 2.5 for a bit and I have a few annoyances with regard to the new admin interface. I managed to change my color scheme to “classic” and that helped me out a bit, but my thoughts on the interface are as follows:

Things I Dislike

The big blue area with your site title and nav
My problem is not so much with the large blue area, but the fact that the main admin navigation sits within it. Pre-2.5, the nav is within a lighter blue bar with a top border, so it is separated. I find this easier to parse through visually; the new version makes it seem like it is part of the same area when it is not. Also, why is Design before Comments? Surely people check comments more than they change their theme?

Text styles
Since I am not on a Mac and am not using IE7, the main nav text looks aliased to me. It’s unpolished and chunky – not sleek and smooth. In the “Manage” area, I dislike that the page/post titles are tiny and bold – I wish they were normal-weight and larger. I’d also love to see the sub-pages with the em-dash next to them be tabbed in a bit, or the dash lightened. Right now they still sort of look like they’re on the same level.

Relative time
I really, really dislike the whole relative time thing. Instead of being able to glance at a date and know when a post/page was created, I have to glance at the date, see how long ago it was, figure out what time it is now, and do math. HATE.

“Published” instead of “View Page”
It also took me a minute to figure out that the link that says “Published” is a link to view your page on the site. Not sure that is very clear. Or maybe I am just slow.

No visible post/page IDs
Lots of conditional statements for templates are made using post/page IDs. I prefer this to page names, since you might rename a page and screw up whatever formatting you had based on the name. Problem is, the ID is not visible anywhere in the “Manage” section. You can figure it out if you hover over the page title and check your status bar to see “action=edit&post=3” and deduce that 3 is the ID, but UGH. Complicated. I want to just LOOK and see what ID something is.

Lightbox for image adding
Lightboxes for core functionality make me nervous. For an image zoom or something superfluous, I think they’re fine. I just don’t like that the image uploading/adding is within the fancy lightbox business because it doesn’t seem stable. What if my browser is running slowly and the lightbox takes forever to load?

Image upload errors
To my knowledge, I don’t have any weird settings on my server. I have never run into image uploading problems until installing 2.5, whereupon I immediately got a “HTTP ERROR” when I hit “Upload.” I tried over and over to get my image to work, but until searching through the support forums and finding some bizarre .htaccess fix, it wouldn’t work. I have no idea what this fix really does, but all I know is that it’s crappy to make people do that to get image uploading to work. Stupid flash uploader. If they wanted a Flash uploader, why couldn’t they have modeled it after Flickr’s image uploader? You know exactly how much of your image has uploaded, and it’s on a PAGE, not a lightbox, and it works.

Needs some padding or a very faint dotted line or SOMETHING underneath it to break it out from the main content. I get that it controls the main content area, but it’s too squished up to the content for me. It also seems easily ignorable.

Do people really change their themes often enough to warrant a large button on the Dashboard for it? Also, I wish the placement of the “Write a New Page” and “Write a New Post” buttons was customizable. I rarely create new pages on my site, but on sites that use WP as a CMS, they may create many more pages than posts.

On my other monitor at work, the admin area cuts off awkwardly and there’s a ton of extra white-space on the right. However, the “utilities” nav is still squinched off to the right. I think I’d prefer it to all end at the same point, whether that’s narrow or full-width. Better yet, let users enter what width they want to use, and default to a mid-range width otherwise.

Post/Page options all beneath post text instead of in sidebar
A site I’m working on at the moment is primarily using pages, not the blog posts, and there are several different sections of the site that have different color schemes. Therefore, I am using page templates and parent pages a lot. This used to be in the sidebar, and draggable to re-order if need be. Now they are stuck permanently at the very bottom of the page, underneath the Custom Fields (which I am not using), Comments & Pings (which I am not concerned with), and Password Protection (which I am not using). How crap is that? I want to be able to move these around based on what the site uses the most. Also, for posts? Categories being at the bottom is also not that helpful. There is a sidebar! USE IT!

Things I Do Like

That cute little comment image in the “Manage” section
Clever, and adds a nice visual touch to an otherwise imageless page.

Itty-bitty rounded corners
The buttons look nice. Plain, but nice.

Um, that might be it.


I feel like they’ve made WordPress a lot easier for newbies to use, but more difficult for people who know what they’re doing. I don’t need something super fancy that doesn’t work to upload my images. I just need a browse for file area.

Who knows – maybe I will get used to it eventually. In the meantime, I am cooking up a scheme to make a custom admin theme so I am not sad when I go to write a post (however infrequently that happens nowadays).


January 15, 2008 1:12 pm

So glad I don’t use DreamHost.

Never have I been so happy to be with Site5 for hosting. Apparently, DreamHost ran some kind of script recently to nudge delinquent customers into paying their overdue bills. As it turns out, what they really did was run the script on 2008 customers instead of 2007, and in some cases it ran twice, causing massive overbilling and chaos.

Several people mentioned they were out $9000! The mildest offense was still over $100. I was sort of surprised to see how many people were overdrafted by this error, but I suppose if you’re only counting on paying $10 per month and that’s what you can afford, a $200 bill is not going to make you very happy.

A few people mentioned their credit being on the line – mortgage payments, credit repayment programs, etc. I hate to think how many people were totally screwed due to this massive mistake.

I should mention that I have not used DreamHost’s services. I’ve had two hosts, the first being Cyberpixels and we all remember how that went down, and now I’m with Site5 and couldn’t be happier. Still, I was surprised to see how many people host business sites with DreamHost – I always assumed them to be sort of… well, the sort that have a spare server in their parent’s basement. I know they host a huge number of sites, but they always seemed too unprofessional for me to even think of using them for a client site. I feel really awful for the people who now have to explain to their clients why all their sites are down (many of the overcharged sites also got suspended, presumably for non-payment).

I’ve read about DreamHost’s screwups before. The last one I heard about was when they had massive downtime and then sent out some ridiculously flippant email about it, like, HEY WE’RE REALLY DUMB HERE’S A RABBIT AND A PANCAKE TO CHEER YOU UP.

Messing with hosting is one thing, but deducting hundreds of thousands of dollars from bank accounts all over the world? No. Grow up. Stop fucking around and own up to what was probably the stupidest mistake in your hosting history. Refund the money, cover the overdraft charges (or work with banks to negate them) and learn to proofread your code.


December 1, 2007 11:24 pm

That pink tree is awful.

A few weeks ago, I suddenly became convinced that Christmas shopping was really important and I started planning out what I was going to get everyone. I am pretty sure Daniel thought I went a bit crazy, but I really think gift-giving is fun and I like finding things people will appreciate.

I got a bunch of stuff on Black Friday (the day after Thanksgiving here in the U.S. – for some reason it’s a huge shopping day) BUT! I did not leave the house at all because I didn’t want to get swarmed by mobs of people trying to get their holiday savings. Instead I shopped online and got a TON of stuff taken care of ahead of time. Yay me! The only glitch has been that I accidentally typed a “2” where I wanted a “1” and now I have more than one of the same present for someone, and as it turns out, it will actually cost me money to return it to Amazon (the error was my fault so I have to pay for shipping) and now I don’t know what to do with it.

I have also been intermittently making crafty things for presents. That’s the one sucky thing about handmade gifts – I can’t very well post them online because then the giftees will see them ahead of time. I even made a Christmas tree ornament today, after reading about them in the latest Blueprint magazine. You’ll recall my pathetically cute avocado tree, yes? I’m thinking it will probably be our Christmas tree this year. Once I get more than one ornament on it I will take a photo and we can all laugh about how it has grown. It filled out a bit up top so it’s less stupid looking, and we transplanted it into a hip IKEA flowerpot so it is not a victim of a cheap plastic living space any longer. It is still mostly a stick with leaves but it has more leaves now.

Now that NaBloPoMo is over, can I say something vile and snarky about it? I applaud everyone’s efforts and this is not a comment about you as a person, but I am not impressed. At all. I spent a couple of years posting every day (or nearly that) so I know it can be done. I started thinking that since my posting habits have absolutely fallen through the floor lately that maybe it would be pretty hard for me to have done NaBloPoMo at this point in my life, and then I thought, WHAT? You honestly just have to make sure to have computer access every day and you are golden. I used to have some anxiety about posting every day, as though I had all these fans that were just clamoring for my every word. This was not the case. This is still not the case. Lots of my posts back then were totally asinine and I’m embarrassed for having written them, but I just got it into my head that I “needed” to post every day since I had a blog and I got my knickers in a twist if I couldn’t get to my website in time so I posted whatever came to mind.

Everyone hates it when people apologize for having not posted in a long time, and I can see how that’s obnoxious. I honestly really don’t know how I’ve gotten into the habit of neglecting my website, except that I seem to have decided that posting super often is just less crucial. I have made a couple new friends recently, and I’ve been keeping busy at work and crafting things at home and managing to post every small thought I have so I’ve got something up daily is apparently no longer a priority. Part of my problem is that I’m reluctant to post things that I haven’t thought through, so if I can’t come up with some coherent thoughts on a topic I don’t post it, where in the past I would have. Like the bubble-gum pink tree on the front of the Blueprint magazine, for instance – HATE. Burning, fiery hatred. But that’s really all I have to say about the matter so it gets left out.

I’d love to get into some kind of predictable habit, like maybe every third day or every other day. Something semi-regular so you know when to check back and you don’t get faced with the same stupid post title day after day (that irritates me to no end on other people’s sites yet I do it to my own readers all the time. How lame of me.) if you are the sort of person that does not use feed readers. I’m finding that I’m doing all right with keeping up on Twitter and once I eventually do a redesign of this site I’m planning on having a space for my Twitter updates.

My workplace moved offices on Friday and all of us helped out, so every muscle in my body is on fire and I have bruises all over my legs from hauling boxes. Our new space is super rad though – it has exposed brick walls in some spots and hardwood floors all around. It’s very hip. Some of us also came in this morning (yes, on a Saturday) to finish some stuff up. Hoping I get lots of brownie points for that.

I bought two really embarrassing Christmas music albums lately – the first, as documented by the wonderful Kerri Anne, was by Julie Andrews of Mary Poppins and Sound of Music fame. The second was “Merry Christmas from the Beach Boys.” So far, I vastly prefer the Beach Boys, but then again, that one is on CD and Julie Andrews is on vinyl and there is just something about vinyl that sounds nice.

I have also read several books, most notably “The Poisonwood Bible,” and LET ME TELL YOU, I did not think I was going to like it at first, but I had DREAMS about the characters. The premise of the novel is that a family of six moves to the Congo as missionaries. The characters include the father, who is a pastor and terribly hard-headed, the mother, who attempts to be the perfect wife while facing incredible hardships in their living situation; Rachel, the oldest daughter and the typical 1950s teenager, Leah and Adah, twins who could not be more different, and Ruth May, the 5-year-old baby of the family. The narrative switches between all five girls who tell the story in their own words and it is positively captivating.

I do have more to say (remind me to tell you about my holiday dress!) but in the interest of good sleep habits and your personal free time, I will stop here. Until next time!


October 5, 2007 11:51 pm

Lousy Qbee Member

I first joined the Quilting Bee the winter of 2005 – December-ish. I was a mere student back then and somehow had loads of free time with which to trade, participate in activities, create new patches, and post on the Bee*Bee*S. I found the Qbee community to be insanely warm and friendly, and I loved having a very positive, helpful message board to contribute to.

Somewhere along the line, life got in the way. I began preparing for graduation and then I was in the midst of graduating and getting a job and then working full-time and then… Well, it’s now October and I haven’t washed my quilt in ten months. I have traded since then, but not nearly as much as I should’ve. *sniff* I have been a bad Bee.

A few months ago, I went through my huge backlog of Qbee-related emails and added the appropriate gifts, awards, and miscellaneous patches. I felt horrible when I realized I had accidentally ignored a trade request for nearly three months. I always respond to trade requests! They are the easiest for me to keep updated! Argh. My apologies to the Bee in question. How embarrassing.

There were still some things to be worked out, but for the most part I felt reasonably well caught up. And then… it has happened again. I got a reminder that I need to trade twice a month to remain in the club. Eeep! I have poked around the new site a bunch and created my profile, and I am really getting a kick out of the less-awkward site.

The current activity is “Cauldrons of Goo” in which you trade pixeled cauldrons (or patches, if you prefer). I have just sent off my official submissions so hopefully I can begin trading those soon. I’m sad that I missed out on the other activities this year like the Eggies or the Golden Honeybear Awards but I am looking forward to this one. If you’re a Qbee member, don’t hesitate to request a trade! I love meeting new Bees and finding out more about the members.

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March 4, 2007 2:45 pm

Disable Snap Preview

:note: the shower

Turns out you can disable those obnoxious Snap previews that people keep tainting their websites with. Simply click on that link in Snap’s FAQ to disable them globally (it uses cookies).

(P.S. Still working frantically on the new layout. Crossing my fingers for having it done tonight!)

Edited to add: Decided to edit layout on the fly. Things look weird, I know, but should be resolved soon.

Edited again to add: Going to bed. Footer still looks not-so-good, and I know I need quite a few IE 6 fixes, but it is an improvement, yes? I’m rather fond of this look.


February 23, 2007 1:21 pm


:note: Otyg – “Sagovindars Boning”

I have a confession to make.

I’m sick of this layout.

I have been working on another, far better one for weeks now, but I don’t have a lot of time to work on it and so things are slow-going. I will say, though, that it’s far less “dorky personal site” and a bit more “design-y.” I don’t know how else to describe it. I haven’t had a layout like it before, and I think that’s why I like it so much.

On the plus side: there is far more attention to detail. Things have padding and white space and do not feel scrunched or amateur. Comments look beautiful, if I do say so myself. It’s slightly based off of newspapers, in the sense that I am actually using some serif fonts and drop-caps. It’s kind of Web 2.0 but not excessively so. I am not using pink or this same background image I have now.

On the neutral side: I am deciding to drop support for 800×600 users. They make up a small percentage of my userbase, and part of the reason I can’t stand this layout anymore is because a 3-column layout that is optimized for 800×600 is revoltingly narrow. There’s no white space and I can’t handle it anymore. If you are an 800×600 user and are sad about this change, I offer my apologies because I do feel bad, but I am moving forward.

On the negative side: I haven’t begun coding the new layout yet. In fact, I’m still not sure what some elements in the sidebar are going to look like. I’m hoping though, that by posting this it will jump-start me into working on it more and/or faster. If you want to shame me into working faster, I would be okay with that.

My thought is that if I get a really solid, nice-looking layout, I can keep it for quite some time without deciding I hate it. I usually only decide I hate layouts when I know they’re kind of shoddy to begin with and I don’t have the time to fix them. My mission is to not put up the new layout until things look how they should – I don’t want to upload it, activate it, and still have it require some serious work. That’s not ideal.

I find that I tend to design for what I know I can build, which is incredibly limiting. If I can find an excuse not to use an image, I won’t use it – if a font looks awesome for a header but it’s not really necessary in my mind, I’ll use web-text instead. If I have something I don’t know how to build right away, I’ll just get rid of it. What I’m trying to do with this new layout is suspend my “production” side and just focus on my “design” side and assume I’ll figure out how to build something if I don’t already know.

P.S. If you have a brilliant idea for how my sidebar navigation should look (the “About Meggan,” “Content” stuff) please enlighten me. I think the style they have now is boring, but I don’t know what to do about them.


January 29, 2007 12:26 am

Otter Theme

:note: nothing

Owing to the recent WordPress upgrade from 2.0.x to 2.1, I decided it was high time for a new look around You’ll notice there are a few glitches here and there, but I have been coding on and off all day and it is time for me to go to bed. I will do my best to get things fixed up in the next couple of days because I’m not sick of this theme yet and I want it to work.

As always, let me know what you think so far. Can you read the text? Is anything obviously broken? Do you love it so much you want to send me cookies? All feedback is welcome.

[edited to add: Looks like WP-Grins isn’t working. The smilies will show up but don’t get converted to images upon posting. Will try to figure this out soon. Also, I know some of the links are default-colored. Working on that as well.]


December 7, 2006 4:53 pm

Not Thinking About It

:note: Avantasia – “Reach Out For The Light”

I am feeling better about missing the show yesterday. I’m still pissed that I forgot about it, since I’ve known about it for months and kept asking what the actual date was and I knew it was the beginning of December, and… ugh. STUPID. I don’t even want to think about it.

Since we are not thinking about that, I will talk about my haircut! I brought in pictures of what I wanted (basically, more bangs/fringe, lots of layers) and my lovely lovely stylist did exactly what I wanted and I am super stoked with how it came out. You can see a few pictures on Flickr. My last haircut grew out really nicely, so I didn’t hate my hair when I went in to get it cut, but it needed a trim and I had money to do it so I did. My haircuts are sort of dependent on how much my hair is annoying me at any given day, and if I can afford it. Not when I “need” it. Hence why it only gets done every six months.

Graduation is a week from tomorrow. Eeek! I spent some time after class today getting things like my cap and gown (!) and having papers signed and paying the remaining balance on my account. Everything is wrapping up.



October 28, 2006 11:58 pm


:note: Richard Cheese – “Last Resort”

As you may or may not have noticed, I made a few minute changes around here, mostly fixing things I should have done months ago. For some reason, I never bothered to fix the layout on the single-day or single-month archives, nor the search results page. I don’t know if anybody even went to those pages, but they looked awful so I hope not. :blush: Anyway, I’ve fixed them, so they have the proper layout now. I think the headers might be a bit off, but the layout works now.

I also added some formatting touches to the other input boxes in the sidebar, as well as re-added the borders to the Flickr images and the Gravatars in the comments. Minute things, but things that were bothering me just the same.

Also, I did away with the blogroll in the left sidebar. It wasn’t up to date and I never used it anyway, preferring my links page to get everywhere.

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October 23, 2006 12:36 pm

File Under: WEIRD.

:note: nothing

When I pressed “Publish” on my last post, WordPress went to a page I’ve never seen before that had me confirm that I did, in fact, want to publish my entry. The “no” option was a plain text link, and the “yes” option was a submit-type button. This has never happened to me before. If I hit publish, it goes ahead and publishes the entry. I have no idea why it did that.

Has this happened to anybody else?

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August 29, 2006 11:59 pm

Accepted To Perfection

:note: nothing

I’m pleased to announce that I’ve been accepted into Perfection! My website is up in the gallery. :grin: Everyone is super nice so far and I’m glad I got up the guts to actually apply – I was really afraid I’d be turned down.


July 28, 2006 4:42 pm

A Pause In Registration

:note: Johnny Cash – “Daddy Sang Bass”

Registration will be closed for a while, due to a critical announcement about allowing users to register. Not sure what it’s all about, but better safe than sorry, no?

If you didn’t register yet and would like to, you can email me and I can add you. Don’t be scared. :D