I’ve Become Super Noob

I started writing as Super Noob on Lindsay’s blog, Web Design for Idiots. Tonight I wrote the following as an introduction to who I am and why I’m someone who might have a reason to be writing there.

I’m posting this from my very messy desk with the TV on to my left and my nearly cold coffee at my right hand, in danger of wrecking my faithful little scanner. I’m a real woman. I’m a real, live, 40+, divorced Canadian woman, a writing legend in my own mind.

In June of 1996 I began on the Internet. I was an IRC diva for quite a long time. It was a lot of fun and most of it I really should not write about here. That’s what personal blogs are all about. I wrote for a zine first, a small print publication called The Crying Clown. From there it was all online. At one point I was producing my own newsletter for writers, InkSplatters, sent out through what is now Yahoo Groups. I was a web writer for HerPlanet, BackWash, BellaOnline, Suite 101, WZ-ard.com and other sites, forums and newsletters some still living and some not. I still write for Creative Fat Grrl on LockerGnome, a babbly blog more than anything seriously functional. Writing for a network is a different educational experience than writing for yourself. Which is one reason I keep doing it.

I’ve had sites and then blogs of my own. I didn’t begin online in the great time of blogging, I was here before that. So my first sites were put together with just HTML code as I learned and goofed it up. I’ve used software and I’ve cut and pasted code and I’ve hand coded my own pages. I’m not an expert, time alone isn’t enough to make you an expert at web design or development. I have learned however and as I learn I see how much more there is to be explored and discovered. But, don’t look to me expecting I’m a know-it-all. If I ever say that you can be sure I’m just laughing at myself.

I love creative things. I’ve done so many interesting forms of art, just to try them out. I made ASCII art for a few years. I continue to take digital photos of abandoned places here in Ontario, starting in 2006 when I bought my first digi camera. I’m also teaching myself to draw cartoons, some people even like them! This week I re-learned the art of cutting out paper doll chains so I could make them into a graphic for a blog. I really think it’s important to keep the creativity and free writing in blogging. It would be a real shame if the personal journal and creative element of blogging were lost in the rush for SEO and money making.

Anyway, I’m here to help the less experienced blogger with my experiences. I’ve got a stack of great books about web design on my bookshelf and I will be using them (finally) for more than a place to hide my dust bunnies. I seem to collect books with great good intentions and then not get very far. You can also find me writing about web writing and posting writing ideas and prompts on my blog, Word Grrls.


Completely off topic… did you know that a nail file works really well if you have an itchy spot on your back that you just can’t reach? I’ve been rubbing my back on my chair tonight wishing for something to work. Then I had the great idea for the nail file (not one of those treacherous metal ones, just some cardboard type) and that worked great!

Hand Drawn Web Design Resources

Hand Drawn Web Design – Making a list of sites I have found regarding hand drawn web site templates.

Flickr: Hand Written Blogs – Not just the template but the whole blog.


We are Not Freelancers has a video tutorial: Technique for creating a hand drawn website.

Talk Mania created a hand drawn template and has a guide to what they did to get there.

Web Designer Wall also shows their process in making the current hand drawn template.

Go Media Zine shows how to turn a hand drawn sketch into a vector illustration.

Resources: (Most are geared to using PhotoShop).

Webitect has links to resources and a few tips for designing.

1st Web Designer has resources for using PhotoShop as well as fonts anyone can use.

My Ink Blog has examples of templates and resources for making your own.

Design M.ag has template examples and resources.

Design Reviver has doodling and other resources for making hand drawn templates.

Snap 2 Objects has sketches, doodles and other hand drawn elements.

Hongkiat has 40 hand drawn fonts.


Smashing Magazine writes about the trend to hand drawn websites and shows their top picks.

Hongkiat has 50 hand drawn template designs picked out as favourites.

Outlaw Design Blog showcases 30+ hand drawn websites.

Blog Spoon Graphics has 50 Inspiring Illustrations in Web Design.

Create Who You Are Blog has a few more designs reviewed.

Serif Free Software

Free versions of Serif software, includes WebPlus and DrawPlus for creating sites and making your own graphics. I found this a few years ago and never did do much to try them out. Now they are updated and still have free versions, which was nice to find. Or, you can pay and get a few more features. Or, go to the main site and get the latest versions of the same software. Pretty reasonable, even for the newest versions, when compares to DreamWeaver which is up to $500 now versus the $100 it was when I first got ahold of what is now an older version, before Adobe added it’s name to the whole thing.

Vector Drawing Tips Link

Vector Drawing Tips – I need to start figuring out how to use the graphic software I have had for years. Kind of typical of me that I am looking at the latest version of Paint Shop Pro, now part of Corel instead of Jasc, yet I have not done more than use it for a screen capture a couple of times. I really need to get to work on it rather than just upgrade the software. Why do I so often do this sort of thing? I have a stack of books about CSS and HTML and web design in general yet I have only read one of them and not even totally finished that one.

Get the Blog Clutter Bug

I think the biggest upcoming things for blogs is going to be about clutter and making them look cleaner overall. So many blogs are stuffed full of ads, traffic and seo rank related things that it’s hard to find anything in the sidebar that could actually be interesting.

I found a few links today about fixing blog clutter.

Lorelle on Word Press has written about Cleaning Up and Decluttering.

Skelliewag has 50 Tips to Unclutter your Blog and A Guide to Creating a Minimalist Website

ProBlogger writes about Minimalist Blogging too.

Supper Blogging Tips has written Unclutter your Sidebar.

Blogging Tips has Remove the Clutter from your Blog.

Wisdump has the Resurrection of the Sidebar.

Pro Blog Design has Sidebar Redesign.

There are so many endless, bottomless posts about how to add more to your blog, your sidebar and your search rank. Why is there so very little good information to be found about making a site reduce it’s clutter and become readable again?

To take it to the barebones of the clutter situation it’s about taking what you need and keeping it and then tossing everything else, no excuses and no saving stuff you only think would be nice to keep or might be good later on or gives you an ego boost but does nothing for your blog itself or those coming to read your blog.

Decluttering does not have to be heartless. If you really can’t delete it all consider making a footer with three columns. Just like sweeping the dirt under the rug, keeping a junk drawer in the kitchen or a closet stuffed full of stuff you don’t have time to deal with.

There are also ways to roll up the clutter so it is not visible in full but available at the touch of a mouse. There are two types of roll away clutter busters and I’m not really sure what they official standard names are for them. Lets call one the scrolling window and the other the scrolling title.

Another plan to move clutter off your front page is to give it a page of it’s own and just link back to it. Or, categories set up like an index with the same link back plan.

Flickr: Handwritten Blogs

Flickr: Handwritten Blogs

There is a new thing to try. Maybe on Sunday. Too tired tonight. Might be meeting someone before I go into work. Have to get to the bank so I can pay my taxi fare to get home from work for the rest f the work week. It costs an extra dollar to use the debit machine in the cab and the fare each night is expensive enough.

I had another review tonight. One down and one still outstanding with the quality patrol thing. It is starting to get me down, well no, it did that already. Last week I was really annoyed and down and job weary. I think I am better today. Maybe I can just let go and be fake as they seem to want (in spite of what they say).

I hate being fake and lying though. Yet every job I have it ends up being the same story. People want you to lie to them.

Going to bed. Night night.

Sew You Can

It’s occurred to me that I haven’t had a really good blab in here for awhile. I don’t have anything in particular in mind to blab about but, I seldom let that stop me.

I’ve got most of my old content back up again after the template change to three columns. Somethings I have just left off, they didn’t seem to be going anywhere soon or had sunk into their laurels of past glory, sunk too deep to rise again. Things like BlogExplosion which was building up and yet has fallen and can’t get up now. Things like MyBlogLog which is so clogged with splogs and fake friends that it didn’t earn it’s real estate on my sidebar. No doubt I will find new gadgets and interesting junk to fill in any gaps.

I’ve started to talk to a guy online and am getting to the point of meeting for coffee. He sounds like a person who has some depth, a thinking brain. Always a plus. I like having someone I can really talk to. There are always so many things in my mind but I have learned to keep quiet versus babble everything. Except here, where I pretty much talk to myself. I know people are reading it, I go out of my way to join things like Wordless Wednesday and Thursday Thirteen to get traffic and thus readers. I’ve concluded that I just like to feel someone is listening to me. Whatever trouble I get in, I’ll pay for it later. If I can’t work my way out of it I’ll just add it to the pile of trouble already hanging around.

Having a pretty good day today actually. I have three out of four pairs of new pants hemmed. I ordered myself Swiss Chalet for lunch. This morning I made a cup of the new coffee I bought from Second Cup yesterday at the mall. I’ve had a pretty good ‘weekend’ off work. It was sunny out almost all day today but I didn’t check to see how cold it was out there, I didn’t have to. People seem to like my flower drawings for the Thursday Thirteen post, that is nice of them. I think my drawing actually is getting better too.

I think I need to do more real writing again. I miss it. Blog posts aren’t, generally, real writing. Not for me anyway. I don’t have a topic which I have researched and put some thought into. That is what writing should be, it should include some planning. True I have been keeping WordGrrls going with the daily writing prompts but that isn’t the same as a short topical article. I did have an article started about rural exploration, so I could get that back in the works. If I could post a short article about something here, not each day, maybe once a week, that would be constructive and good discipline for getting back into some real writing versus blog babbling.

I found my sewing box today. Still can’t find those web design books and that is making me crazy. But it is nice to have found the sewing box. I had forgotten I had so much stuff in there. One whole box full of assorted buttons, full to the brim. I am looking up some craft ideas for buttons. No doubt I could make something truly great with so many of them. I had thought I would use them for crazy quilting and maybe I will. The problem with quilting is having to iron the patches in order to have smooth, straight seams.

I finally wrote that letter to the guy I met through work. Maybe I never mentioned him here. He was one of the callers from Florida about cable TV, I’m tech support, remember? Anyway, he started out having a fit about the cable service. I was softly groaning about having to listen to another one of “those” callers. But somehow he toned down, said I was one of the nicest, most polite people he had talked to in trying to deal with the cable company. He was working up to asking me out but I told him I’m in Canada and then he asked if he could be my pen pal. That must have been two weeks ago now.

I wasn’t sure about writing. I’ve got myself stuck in this way before. People in need tend to cling hard to someone nice and then you can’t get them peeled off again so easily. I like having my freedom, I’d never deal well with someone clingy. Not that I’m a hard bitch, but I don’t want to always have company or someone who needs me, versus someone who wants me. Also, I am giving out my home address to send a note. It is too bad he didn’t have Internet and email, that would have been safer correspondence. Anyway, I found a really great card at the mall yesterday and have it ready to mail down there. Another nice grrl thing to do. I scanned the card, it really is a nice one. I talked to him awhile and the only things I really remember are that his wife and kids were killed, he works all the hours he can put in now because of that and he is in the newspaper business – I forget just what he does. I will mail it when I am waiting for the bus to go into work tomorrow.

I’ve seen two commercials on TV now for male enhancement, that means they must actually be buying such stuff. In a way it seems a pay back for all the body image problems they cause to women. Yet, how can men be so gullible? I guess the same as women have, those who get boob enhancements. Terry Lynn, who has too much focus on her boobs I sometimes think, is going to get a breast reduction. Her back has been sore, she even left work early one day.

I’ve found a site where I can upload my blog drawings. I still don’t feel I can qualify them as cartoons or comics. Among people who actually can draw mine look pretty out of place, to me at least. I’m going to see if I can get them uploaded today. Also, I was invited to add my photos of abandoned houses to a site with abandoned places in Ontario. Quite nice to be asked. I have not got much done there either. So, plenty of projects to keep me busy for the rest of my last day off today. Isn’t it a good thing I get another 2 days off next week?

Friday Fun: Money, To Have and To Hold

From the Friday Fun meme:
1. If you were to get a unexpected windfall, what is your first thought on what to do with the money? Were you practical or not?!
2. You have $1000 to spend on yourself. What do you buy? With $5000?
3. You have $1000 to spend on something for your home. What do you buy? With $5000?
4. You have your windfall and you realize your car is older than you. So what do you buy?
5. You decide to buy some books with your windfall at Amazon. What 5 books would you get?

1. Practical, I’d buy myself a house, maybe a condo downtown or a comfortable little place in some smaller city.

2. With a $1000 I would take a trip somewhere in Ontario for a week. Rent a car and stay in nice hotels and motels. With $5000 I’d go across Canada for a month.

3. I can’t think of anything I really want for the home. Maybe someone to clean it. Or an organizer to help get rid of clutter and find some of the things packed away from all the moving I seem to never see the end of.

4. I’d probably buy a Toyota Camry, they seem reliable and aren’t too big or too small. My Mother bought a ’93 new and it is still running well and has been driven a lot. They’re good on gas and the new ones come in nice colours too.

5. I’d buy some books about web design, some fiction and keep the rest on a gift card to spend when ever I had time to go browse and saw something that caught my interest. I wouldn’t use Amazon, I like Chapters.

The Car Thing

Sounds like I will be driving next week or sooner maybe. I will be so glad not to be putting so much of my pay cheque into taxi fares.

I’ve been playing around with Dreamweaver today. I downloaded the new Adobe version, it’s very nice though maybe too many bells and whistles to make it easy to find your way around. I do like it though. I also have an old copy I burned to a disk of a trial for the last Macromedia version. Then the third one is Dreamweaver 4 which I spotted at a GoodWill not so long ago. None of them are just what I would like. I do plan to play around with them more. I have all the guide books that came with Dreamweaver 4 so that might help me find the gadgets available in that software. It doesn’t have much focus on using CSS and that was the important part to me. The Adobe version is nice for CSS templates but to buy it these days is $400, far more than it used to be when it was Macromedia software.

I went out today, took a taxi to and from the grocery store. Went out for a late breakfast, kind of a “Sunday” thing to do before my work week starts again tomorrow.

The workmen were out for the city of Barrie cutting down a tree on the neighbours yard. It must have gotten in the way of the power lines. Sad to see a tree get cut right down to the ground from it’s lofty heights. It is all gone now. Took them most of the day. I wondered if they were going to cut the one on our front lawn too. It’s also getting close to tangling with the power lines.