Friday, October 07, 2005

I Can't Find the Forest

There are too many trees in my way.

Someone commented with my last entry that I should be posting on a daily basis. That was a couple of days ago. It's been a week since my last entry. No excuses. I've been a bad Brook. Now I have to go to my room and think about I've done.

OK, I'm back. Sorry, folks. I'd love to tell you that I've learned my lesson and that it won't happen again. Sadly, doing so would most likely make me a liar. I can, however, tell you that my week-long absence began with the best of intentions.

It started out innocently enough. I was poking around on the web, looking for a free desktop app that would allow me to post to Blogger without having to go through the site's clumsy UI. I have the Blogger for Word plug-in (which I've never used), but I wanted to see what else was available. As I figured, there are more than a few different options, and I had to read a little bit about each one of them. I finally decided to try w.bloggar, mainly because I saw that Microsoft had a free plug-in for it that would automatically add to my post the title and artist of whatever music I had playing through Windows Media Player at the time. That's right, I had to download and install extra software, just so you could get the following valuable data:

[Listening to: Across the Sea - Weezer - Pinkerton (04:32)]

There was certainly no way for me to enter that information manually. If only I had some sort of contraption that would allow me to enter data into the computer by hand. Maybe a machine that had the letters of the alphabet on it, and I could use those letters to spell words. That would be cool.

I'm such a doofus. And that was just the beginning. While researching the blog-editing apps, I stumbled across a ton of other stuff that I absolutely had to include in my blog. I'm talking about stuff such as Technorati tags, links, and Flickr photo streams. I soon realized that implementing these things the way I'd like to would require a total rebuild of my blog template. This is an idea I had been toying with anyway, if only to get some more practice.

So I started working on a new template. I had monkeyed around with the current template a little bit, enough to get my feet wet, but I wanted more. In order to really get a handle on CSS, I decided to start completely from scratch, coding every bit by hand. Of course, I realize now that all the time I spent on this stuff would have been much better spent writing.

And it all started with a simple web search. I think I may have gotten a bit carried away with some of this stuff. I was letting the tail wag the blog.

[Note: I was so proud of myself for that little pun, I googled the phrase "wag the blog" just to see if there was anyone out there who is as witty as I am. 484 search results. I'm officially humbled. Though, for the record, I do have to insist that I deserve the credit for coining the term "pixelmonkey" (615 search results). The fact that other people were using this term years before I originated it is due to a minor rift in the space-time continuum. I'm sure that the world's best and brightest are working feverishly to remedy this problem.]

Where was I? Oh, yeah. My desire to master CSS notwithstanding, I was redesigning my blog template so I could better organize and display content that I don't even have.


Besides, I nearly violated my own numero-uno rule of web design:

Just because you can doesn't mean that you should.

Would adding all this stuff to my blog make it better? Not as much as it would be improved by, you know, writing more often.

Don't get me wrong. I am not saying that you shouldn't use stuff like the services offered by Technorati,, and Flickr. In fact, you should check out Derek Powazek's site for a great example of all three working together beautifully. Neat stuff.

OK, I've rambled on enough. All this was my way of saying, "I'm back." OK, I got a little moderately monumentally sidetracked, as I am prone to do, but you called me on it. Muchas gracias. And thank you for reading. The more I write, the more I want to write. Believe me, I do have plenty more to say.


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