I Keep Getting Caught In The Web


No matter what I do, I keep getting called back. I keep getting caught in the Web.

I used to make my websites in FrontPage. It's a WYSIWYG style program from Microsoft that allows even novice website developers like myself to get their hands dirty. I learned some HTML along the way, though I'm no expert, and I learned that I didn't have the know-how or the motivation to make FrontPage work how it should. It looked good on my computer, but it never seemed to on anyone else's.

Over time, I found myself spending many hours working on website designs and functions for various reasons. And, I would always have ideas for the next launch of a website before I was done with my current incarnation. I knew I had a problem and admitting it was the first step to recovery. I also knew at the time I wasn't going to go into web design, and the incessant re-doing was taking time away from the purpose of the site. How many times can you redesign a site while not really adding any content?

I eventually stopped because I knew I was in a feedback loop, and the mere frustration of not unlocking the perfect website was pushing me away from trying to make any changes. Also, I had gotten to the point where my capabilities were being passed by my ambitions. Was it the program? Was it me? A little of both, I think. Then fate intervened after a period of time, and for whatever reason, FrontPage wouldn't connect to my hosting provider. I couldn't upload any changes even if I had wanted to. The sites had to stay how they were until I could figure it out. This was a good thing as I didn't really have the motivation to figure it out.

I was able to step away from this new seedy world I joined and realistically think about what the big picture was and where I fit in it. I was convinced that FrontPage sucked. Does it really? I don't know. It sucked for me, at least, but it served its purpose at the time. And even if it was mostly me and my lack of skills, I wanted to find a different way. What I needed was a way that wouldn't require me to build a site from the ground up and would allow me to have actual mobile capabilities.

FrontPage taught me a lot and allowed me to have fun. I like creating things, and I like to organize and bring structure to things as well. These are skills found in web design and that makes it an activity that I enjoy. These skills have carried over into different areas of my doing-of-things and have helped me to understand a little more about how the internet churns. They also taught me that, given the option, I'd rather not dig too deeply into code. The less involved the better, right?

I don't mind adding or manipulating code, but I do have to ask myself if it's so important to the site that I need to do it. Sometimes the answer is no, but it's still fun to learn something new, give myself a bit of a challenge, and make my website a little more functional, or cool, or different, or whatever, or I'm trying to find any justification to go back crawling to it. Come on! Just one more script...

When I decided to use Blogger for all of my sites, I took many things into consideration. One of the biggest pluses is the amount of web support out there. I'm not only talking about Google's support but also that of all the people who have blogs dedicated to teaching people what Blogger is fully capable of. I never had that with FrontPage, or I was never motivated to look really hard. I bought a very large book for FrontPage that turned out to be a waste of paper. I highly doubt Half Price Books would buy it. To recycle or burn? That is the question in 2016, Shakespeare.

So, it turns out, you can do so much more with Blogger than with just what the Advanced Editor allows. Even with the Advanced Editor there are many possibilities. And me being me wonders, could I do this, that, the other thing? I wouldn't mind _______ being on the site. I want to have a ______ there. You get the point. But mo' possibilities can sometimes equal mo' problems. It takes over my mind. Too many options? There's a TED Talk about modern society having too much choice. You should watch it. I dare you to not be convinced.

All in all, I think Blogger allows a good balance for me. It's a safe environment for me to experiment in, express my own style or look, but there's also built in limitations that keep me from getting too crazy. *Remember when you ran down the street nude and screaming? "The pixels are coming! You need a closing tag or we're doomed!" And then you said you needed to "get to a coffee house to obtain the Secret of Java?"* Fugue state. *Your elderly neighbors were scared.* I keep it under control now. I only do it a little bit, and I give myself rules. *That you don't actually follow.* It means I no longer have a problem. It's manageable, you see. *Until it isn't, fool.*

One rule I give myself is that I can't change something or add something etc until I add content. This helps ensure that I stay focused on the point of the site and not just how it looks. I think there's some type of comparison to the "beauty is skin deep" saying in there somewhere. And with my music sites, I can only make major changes (and most minor ones) if I'm going to add more music via a new release (EP or full length).

The fact that I don't have a lot of time to manipulate websites helps, too. I'm a busy guy, as I'm sure I've said too many times. (Don't roll your eyes at me!) Web design isn't generally my top priority. But, I do have time to think here and there and that's when I concoct all of my devious plans. And, I'm pretty good at keeping notes. I can't stop myself from having ideas everyday, but I can sit on them, mull them over, and ultimately come up with a better plan than if I would have acted impulsively. My time is better spent in the long run, and my ideas are more fleshed out when I act on them. I have applied this to my life in general as well. It's good stuff.

Another aspect that keeps me from going mad with change is that I have multiple sites to work with. I want them all to be unique, even if they do share some features and such. It allows me to always be trying different things out. I will never create the perfect site. It will always be a work in progress. I'm okay with that. It's about having a home on the internet for things.

Most recently, I started adding CSS to the Advanced Editor for this site. It's the first time I've done this with Blogger thanks to the aforementioned dedicated Blogger teaching sites. Of course, this new "skill" will eventually be exploited on my other sites. And, I've even started manipulating code to make things do things. I wouldn't want to spoil the changes that could come or feel like I have to make it happen because I mention it here.

So, as you see, here we go again. I keep getting called back. I keep getting caught in the Web. It speaks to me in my sleep. It wears a naughty negligee to keep me looking. It's the curse of the Grahambino. It's the plague of buboes. Or! It could be that I just enjoy it and, with some restraint, can keep my mind in one piece. One piece of slow, mushy meat.



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