Why a blog?

My sister recently published her second blog. You can see it here: Sara The Writer. After commenting on hers she mentioned that I should start one. She said,"You have plenty of domain names that you own to choose from...," and,"You have an interesting job and help run the family business, think of all the interesting things you can write about." My family has an uncanny ability to be serious, while sarcastic, while motivating, while challenging as they say something. I don't know how to express that tone properly through written words, however Sara's statements were spoken in that tone. Challenge accepted, it was time to get busy.

Sara is an awesome sister. I have had the goal of creating a website for myself for years, so her ribbing was not misplaced. Typical of certain things on the my list this website had been sitting on the back burner for a few years now. I do have multiple domains so that wasn't really an issue, actually I had more than multiple, I had too many. I had become a domain hoarder of sorts, but that is a different topic entirely. I reduced my holdings significantly as it was time for some changes in my life.

Change is another reason for this site. A few months back, my life changed and it changed in a direction that I didn't want it to. While not intentional I felt that this change was almost a direct result of the way I go about my life. Being someone who believes in learning and growing I decided to take a good look at myself and highlight areas for improvement. At thirty-five years old I think some of these changes will not only be challenging but interesting. By sharing some of my flaws and paths to redemption (self redemption that is) maybe I can help others, but I am mainly out to better define myself. I have a good friend who long ago said, "Write a blog for yourself and no one else, when you wrap your mind around that then you are ready." 

I'm ready, I think...I hope. This blog is for me, an outlet, therapy of sorts, a sounding board for the inner me. I am developing two sides of it, a front and a back. Articles for public consumption will be available as such, while others will be kept in the back for a possible later release or for sharing with friends and family.

Why a monkey?

I have always thought monkeys were cool. Our close relation to our fellow primates is very intriguing to me. I was a Curious George fan as a kid and always wanted a pet monkey. At one time I was seriously debating getting one. I had roommates at the time and discussed the idea with one of them.

Me,"I want to get a pet monkey."  Roommate,"Why do you want a pet monkey."  Me,"I think they're cool."  Roommate,"You know that monkeys throw poop, right?"  Me,"No."  Roommate,"Yep, they'll shit right in their hand, throw it at you and then laugh about it."

That was the end of the of the pet monkey conversation. I did some research and he was right. Poop throwing does seem to be a popular monkey activity. An interesting fact is that there appears to be a direct correlation between the amount of poop throwing and intelligence, smarter monkeys throw more poop than less intelligent ones. And so ended my desire to have a pet monkey. Either way, I still think they're cool, as long as someone else cleans up their fecal matter.

Story Boards

I have always wanted to be better at drawing. I am a big Garfield fan and love the Sunday comics. Calvin and Hobbes is also one of my favorites. I always thought comic story boards were neat. A simple, yet fun way to get a message across. One great way to improve how you do something is to put it into practice. And so, here we are. I will start with one board at a time but would like to get up to a strip, or that is a goal at least. I sketch out each board and then scan it into my computer to clean them up and add color and shading. I did the Poke The Monkey logo first and then the Monkey behind the computer second. I can see improvement between the two already, I just hope that can continue to trend in the right direction.

Site Design

This is another area for improvement. I have been designing websites for years, but I have always done it the old fashioned way though straight coding. As in no pre-designed templates or pre-made code, just a blank screen and a book on coding. I have made several sites that way that still function well today. Most have faster load times than any pre-coded site could dream of, mainly because they don't have extra functionality or bloated code loading in the browser. They are static though and not dynamic, which means they aren't interactive with the visitors. Dynamic sites need more code, code beyond my knowlegde or time.

Web design has come a long way in the past few years. It is easier than ever to customize and change code on the fly within the pre-packaged setups. This site is running Joomla! as the CMS or content management sysytem and I have installed the Wright Framework template from JoomlaShack. Thanks to many dedicated hours with FireFox and it's Firebug plugin, it has a growing custom.css file which is geeky talk for a change log file that the system reads to generate my color scheme and layout or scaffolding. It turns out all those years of raw coding have helped greatly in recognizing and changing code in the pre-packed programs. Everything is hosted on GoDaddy through a shared server. It runs slow and I am looking to move to a virtual private server or a dedicated server, but most likely a VPS. The site isn't perfect but it is getting better. Getting up to my level of perfection would've pushed publication back significantly, so I went with what I had. My perfectionism can be almost debilitating sometimes, another area of needed improvement.

Summary

Growth, change, improvement and education through documentation therapy. That is the main goal here, with some fun along the way too. Just getting this site up along with the first two story boards has been an assiduous process, but very rewarding. It is something I have wanted to get started for a long time. Not only did I start, but I brought the idea to fruition. The hard work is done, at least for the website. Now I just have to keep growing, writing and drawing.

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