the votes are in

Last Friday I asked y’all for your honest feedback about my new design.

I got four wonderfully truthful critiques (I LOVE CRITIQUES) and one very positive thumbs up (I LOVE FLATTERY) on my current, horizontal design.

Here it is for posterity, photographed on my big, spacious designer monitor where it looks really nice if I do say myself:

It also looks super hot on iphones and ipads (I think).  ANYWAY, I am totally one hundred percent convinced that this foray into pushing the boundaries of web design to the limits was a total waste of time.  I’m salivating over a new, sexy, vertical design so much that it’s painful to update this website as is.

I feel the need to defend this design a little bit.  Or myself.  I had just gone to WordCamp and gotten all these new skills that I needed to put into action IMMEDIATELY.  One of them is the little diary photos at the beginning of each Diary Project post and that I never got working right in Internet Explorer (made possible in Firefox, Chrome and Safari by “pseudo elements”; thank you Chris Coiyer, awesome speaker and geeky blogger).  Check them out on the post to the right (or below) but again, not if you’re running IE.

Sara Cannon taught me about responsive web design in which a website actually changes it’s layout depending on the size of the window.  I should make a video for this. OK, fine, here’s a video:

The last design iteration of Jenniferheller.com got painful too.  I’m so sick of looking at those clouds.  And I realized that a sorta ex-friend was referring to the clouds when she was criticizing my “pixelated graphics” the other year.  We all have our axes to grind.

It’s interesting to me how much I love to update this website when I love the design and how much I hate doing it when I don’t.  I tell this to my clients — “When you have a website you love, you love updating it.”

Photo taken August 21st, 2011, before the horizontal scrolling action took over.

It’s so true.  And this is one of the greatest things about WordPress.  You can dramatically alter the look and feel of a website just by flipping a switch.  What’s that?  You’d like to know where you can get a sexy WordPress website?  Check me out over at Artsy Geek.

And now I’m off to develop my new theme on one of my testing ground websites and will go live with it as soon as I’ve tunneled to the bottom of my pile of volunteer and client work. I can hardly wait.

I didn’t win

I know this is going to come as a huge, unwelcome surprise because you all voted for me so very many times, but I didn’t win the NYC Flash Fiction Microchallenge Contest.  Or whatever it was called.  I never really got that straight.

This loss is merely a bump on the road to Internet domination, but I found myself getting bummed about it late last night when I figured it out.

And then I remembered one of my stories that didn’t make it into the final round:

She gasped for more oxygen. Her sons were safe now. But she couldn’t escape the slice of the boat.

This is the true story of how Kirsty MacColl met her horrible and untimely death. I first met Kirsty when our friend William introduced her song, In These Shoes, on a mixtape back in 2005.  I was instantly in love.

Her death is a tragedy unparalleled.

Gives you some appreciation for life and loved ones, doesn’t it? Every moment counts.

Tom Waits Love Songs

I’ve been working on my mix tape of Tom Waits love songs this week.

I have the goal of finishing it by Valentine’s Day, which is a tall order given that I have been working on this mix for over three years.

I first mentioned it back in January 2008 as I bemoaned the lack of love in my life…

“Tom, I believe, is a man unlike the typical man, with a thorough respect and understanding of that incomprehensible mental state called love.” read the rest of the post

In the post I reference his song San Diego Serenade, but neglect to include it. It’s a great song.

This song is definitely making it onto the mix.

Do you have a favorite Tom Waits love song I should make sure to consider?

Cats vs Crustacean

At a crab feed this past Friday, my aunt and I pocketed some extra crab to take home to Shawn and the Guster. I was a little concerned about them getting the meat out of the legs. Do cats eat crab in the wild? I bet they’re pretty hard to catch. I know Gus would run in fear from those intense claws.

When we got back we tortured Gus by making him wear the bib for a photo!

The next day when Shawn and Gus were both around, we videotaped giving them some hunks of crab. They didn’t give us a lot of a material, but I saw a blog the other day that posted a video of a cat grabbing its owner’s arm a million times. If that can go viral, maybe two cats nom nom noming (did I use that right?) on some crab will also be popular? Who knows. Continue Reading

A Lost Dream: Shit Be Gone

Once upon a time I lived with my sister Alexandra in an apartment building in the shape of a dome.

Where I met ShitBeGone

See??? You didn’t believe me, but it’s actually a dome. Google street view sure does come through in a pinch.

She was just coming back to the Bay Area from living in a cooperative warehouse space in Brooklyn.  It was a cool space; though haunted.  The ghosts danced away in the air above human heads all the way up the 40 foot ceilings just like in Magnetic Fields’ song Busby Berkeley Dreams. Continue Reading

Terminally Ambivalent Over Howl

We watched Howl last night, the feature film with John Hamm and James Franco about Allen Ginsberg’s controversial poem Howl.

It was okay. James Franco was a fairly convincing Ginsberg, and I thought his reading of Howl was pretty good though a fellow viewer felt it got off to a terrible start.

The movie was punctuated with animation illustrating the poem. The trouble with animating a poem, I realized as I watched, is that it takes a lot of interpretation to get to the point of turning a poem into images. Watching someone’s visual interpretation unfortunately detracts from one’s own experience of interpreting the poem.

The animation struck me as lacking a cohesive vision, though some parts were terribly beautiful and haunting. It was done by an animation house, and I felt that whoever was in charge of all the different animators was perhaps not providing strong enough leadership. The style kept morphing, and though that can be done well, in this case it really distracted from the overall experience. The animation of the poem would have been better as a prequel to the movie rather than being continually interrupted by live action.

On the bright side, the poem really got me appreciating one of my all-time favorite pieces of animation, the music video for Terminally Ambivalent Over You from the Real Tuesday Weld. Animated by Alex Budovsky whose work is continually inspiring, it is the perfect mix of awesome song and awesome animation.