Radiogurl a la Carte

Sunday, Dec. 10, 2006
I Want Whine With That Cheese

Warning: I've got a whine-fest coming on and reading on will subject you to fits of petty and not-so-petty complaints.

There. You had your chance. If you're still reading, it's your choice.

Pet peeve no. 2,365,432: Christmas cards that are a wholly different size than the envelopes.

Yes, after a thrilling marathon of groveling asking for people's snail mail information so I could mail out holiday cards, I did another marathon of writing cards... only to discover that one of the boxes of cards included envelopes that were waaaaay out of sync with the actual card size. Fortunately the envelopes were too large, rather than too small, so at least I could send them out. And it figures; it was my favorite of the three kinds of cards I bought.

I actually buy different kinds of cards according to who I'm sending to. Some people don't care much for religious cards; others would be offended to get a secular Christmas card, etc. So I try to match the personality, much as I can.

However, this year I found one set that I would have gladly sent everyone on my list. Only 1) there was only ONE box available and 2) it was, naturally, the cards where the envelopes didn't match.

Therefore, pet peeve no. 2,365,433: when you find something PERFECT... and can never find it again, or can't find enough of it in the first place, or there's a part missing or faulty (like aforementioned envelopes.)

Pet peeve no. 2,365,434 is that I still haven't got a handful of snail addies to add to my list. Partly my own fault for not having asked yet, others who haven't yet replied with a yea or nay (or their addresses, as the case may be.)

I called and talked to 00 today. Like me, she spent way too much on Christmas gifts and like me, she knows it and doesn't care. She asked me for ideas for what to get for MC. (I called to ask her for ideas for her brothers, to whom she talks regularly.) Interestingly enough, she said for her brothers you could give them anything and they wouldn't care; but after spending a month around MC, 00 recognized that he's the kind of person who is really sentimental and would appreciate something with a little thought behind it.

She's absolutely right on that score, too.

This was not a complaint on her part. It was recognition of a kindred spirit, I think -- which is what made me decide to add something to her Christmas goody collection. She will definitely appreciate that I'm making what I'm giving to her, and the second half of her gift is something she's asked me to make her for several years now. I don't think she reads here; but just in case she does, I'm not going to post the specifics until after Christmas (even though by the aforementioned asking for years reference, she'd probably figure it out anyway.)

MC is a little tougher; if I could, I would make something for him, too, because something like that would mean the world to him. I just am kind of limited, on several fronts. He's here all the time so there would be pretty hard to hide it while making it, for one thing; and I'm not sure I can make any of the things he actually needs or wants, for another.

However, I got a huge giggle from a telephone conversation with my sis this evening. The gist of the conversation was this:

SIS: New hubby and I just saw the movie Deja Vu and it was terrific.

ME: Cool - I haven't seen a good movie in forever. We're going to have to kidnap MC and take him next time we're in town, since he is reluctant to go to the theater. Though in all fairness, the one and only movie we've ever seen together [at the theaters] was Syriana.

SIS: I don't think I've ever seen that one.

[Short period during which I explained to her in essence that it might well be the worst movie I've ever seen, Oscar nod notwithstanding and including Home Fries.]

SIS: Yeah, can't blame him there. We'll take him to see [sci-fi movie]. It's great.

ME: Ummm... That's not his kind of movie. He loves Smokey and the Bandit, in fact watched it again tonight for the umpteenth time.

SIS: EWWWWWWWWWWW!!! We've got to get that man some medication. He's obviously ill.

ME: He likes Dukes of Hazzard too. [He likes the old television show, not Jessica-Barf-Simpson. Of course he hasn't seen the Jessica-Barf-Simpson version, so...]

SIS: Oh God... It's time to stage a full-fledged intercession. He needs help.

Yeah, I know she's right, but I figure you can't have everything. And if bad taste in movies and TV is the worst I have to endure, I can deal. As long as he doesn't force me to watch.

Just for the record, I loath MySucks, for a few thousand reasons. However, in the spirit of keeping up with my kids, I do have an account, and have somehow accumulated a list of friends that extends beyond my kids. As is often the case, unfortunately, I can't open some of my friends' pages at all on dial-up, probably because they are built with music-and-graphic overload.

As a web designer and teacher, I have to force myself to bite my tongue. I've had to wait sometimes several minutes for a MySucks page to download even if I was on a high-speed Internet connection.

Rule #1 when designing a page: if it takes more than ten seconds to download, most people will just give up and go away. I've been waiting for one page for fifteen minutes now and it won't open for me. I'm not willing to wait any more. What's even more fun is that when you get to a page that takes that long, you don't even have the luxury of closing the page. When you attempt it, your whole system locks up. If you're lucky, you just have to crash the browser and restart it, maybe crashing and restarting your Internet connection while you're at it. If you're not so lucky, you have to reboot your computer and wait for it to do a system scan, etc. Either way, you lose whatever you're working on and waste a lot of time.

The rule of thumb is that your background image should be perhaps 15K in size and that the total for images on your page shouldn't go much over 60K, if that. (My background image here is on the order of 25K so I'm breaking my rules, but I also am not using other significant images in my design.)

Some of these pages have 500K in images [I'm talking about image file size, not area in pixel size] - several minutes' worth of download alone - plus umpteen scripts that add to the problem, PLUS 3000K and up of music.

Boys and girls, we have a full-fledged crash guaranteed when you're trying to access that page on dial-up. It would take an hour or more for it to download, if the system didn't just tell you, "Tough noogies, I'm timing out and there's nothing you can do about it, nyah nyah!" When I hit pages like that, I pray for the system to time out. At least then I can close the window and it's not bogging down everything else any more.

Before - After

In the grander scheme of things, no soul can truly be replaced. Each one of us has a place in the universal tapestry. We each contribute our own color and texture. When one thread is snipped too soon, it distorts all the threads around it. Other lives can unravel and tear. If the wrong thread is ripped away, the whole fabric of life becomes dangerously fragile.
- LeiLani, aka Radiogurl aka Bright Opal (1957 - )