Et Cetera

Screenshots from development of the 2015 design of the 'Bred Crumbs blog

D-tails of a Relaunch

Trying to get this blog off the ground in the 2010s has been challenging. Most of that is simply finding the time to work on it. But motivation is elusive too, and repeatedly I’ve found that the design and organization of the blog don’t quite give me the juice I need to go forward, or the means to keep maintenance simple enough to let my time be used for thought and writing.

I’ve taken another crack at it, re-motivated by the opportunity to bring in techniques I’ve picked up in my professional life — particularly the notion of, for the first time in my personal blog-dom, using a development environment to really see what I was building instead of, as in the past, dismantling HTML prototypes into PHP chunks, moving them to the live server, and being prepared to make immediate fixes.

This post lays out how I went about it all and a lot of the tools and tips I used. As it happens, all the steps involved begin with “D.” Do with that what you will.

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The original design of the revived 'Bred Crumbs blog

When the Whole Is Less Than the Parts

And so it came to pass, that I redesigned this blog before I even launched it.

It’s a surprising outcome, no less to me, especially since the first design was an intentional experiment. I wanted to try a Pinterest/Tumblr approach to the home page. And I wanted to experiment with a variation on the latest-first tradition: leading with a featured post, even if it wasn’t the newest thing, while maintaining reverse chronology on everything else. Making that work would have provided blog fodder, too. (And might still.)

So, what made me rebuild the ship before I cracked the champagne bottle against it?

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View from our vacation house, Panama City Beach, a long time ago

Accumulating Cumulus

Some nights, especially as San Francisco nears its typically, lovably perverse summer in September, the fog doesn’t quite make it in or falls apart and retreats, and a few puffy clouds are left scooting across the night sky, low enough to distinctly reflect the city light. When I see them, my mind leaps to a particular, unlikely place.

Panama City Beach, Florida. The Riviera of the South. A white-sand strip of bucket-drink beach clubs, pirate-ship restaurants, mini-golf, and stilt-walking summer homes where a friend and I fled to from Kentucky for two vacations in the late ’80s, finding brief refuge from our deteriorating work situations in a free house whose topside deck had a view over an undeveloped sandy lot to the gently lapping sea just a few blocks away.

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