So I ran into Marketing Girl again at the coffeeshop. She gave me a nod of recognition and stopped at my table to say hello. We talked about Drupal again. I confessed that I took another look at it after our first conversation, found it decent, and blamed her for resetting my viewpoint. She laughed. Drupal makes much more sense now; I could have a functional site in minutes without touching PHP code. She agreed enthusiastically. So, yes, I’ve been doing it wrong the whole time.

I asked her how she does her site designs, and she admitted that she relies on prebuilt themes and does no design work. Fair enough. It looks to me like I’ll have to take a base theme and modify it to my likings, meaning I’ll have to get a little greasy with PHP and CSS. Eh, it’s inevitable, really.

When she showed up, I was actually in preparation to leave for home, so I offered her my table so she wouldn’t have to share one with someone else. I considered the option of staying around to chat but declined it, mostly because I needed dinner, and partly because she needed to actually work on a presentation. Packed up my stuff, we had a few parting words, and I left.

I could’ve asked for her number, or at least her last name so I could find her on Facebook, but didn’t. I just don’t feel right doing that, y’know? Maybe it’s creepy. Certainly feels that way. So, what’s the damn protocol, ladies? First introductions? Third encounter? Moments before she mentions her boyfriend?

Unknown Rockets

In this town, a man is known not by who he is, but by what he does. He is remembered for the final product of his creative output.

It is not enough that you make music. You must make enough of it that people enjoy your work and carry your name banner into the field. But toy with a few tunes here and there, write something on an occasional basis, and there’s no juice, there’s no increase, there’s no gravitas, there’s no elevation. Rockets require a lot of fuel, the right spark, and directed focus of force to leave the ground. Without that direction, you’re just a firecracker, another in a long string of firecrackers, each making your pop before the cherry flame travels down the fuse chain to the next in line.

It’s not enough that I have fire. Not enough that I have fuel. I have the raw materials in hand (music can be made with coconut shells and rubber bands, for chrissakes). What’s left, then? Direction. Direction of force. The drive. The discipline. The dream to rocket off the ground.

Working Up My Chops

1/3 lb Center-cut pork chop (5/8″ will do)

Dust with seasoning salt

Rub on dollops of chili powder

Season with thyme, basil, oregano.

Pepper to taste.

Flip and repeat for second side.

Pan fry in olive oil; sear both sides of chop for 30 seconds before continuing to fry. Flip occasionally to prevent chop from curling.

Pull and serve with steamed turnips, salad, veggies, whatever. Prepare to be rocked somewhere around your face and/or mouth.

Holy Marketrix, Daftman!

So I got shown up.

I had the strange fortune the other evening to share my table in a crowded coffeeshop with an interesting woman. She needed a place to sit, she asked, I offered the other half of my table. I noticed that her laptop was festooned with a menagerie of Drupal stickers, Drupal being a website creation framework that I’ve looked at for my own needs but turned down on its apparent complexity.

“Strange,” I thought. “She’s a girl, and she apparently likes Drupal!” The chauvinist in me short-circuited for a minute as he tried to reconcile the fact that technically-minded women do exist. This is the modern age, mind you. “Well, then. That’s kinda hot.”

I tried to pay her no attention and keep to my side of the table, being a “nice guy” and all, but the opportunity arose and I had to break the fourth wall. Turns out she’s a marketing girl (a marketing girl!) and she’s fanatical about Drupal. “Full retard,” she said. Worked at several consulting firms that did projects in Drupal, and is now an independent marketing consultant, building sites and blogs for clients, doing SEO and all that Web2.0 stuff. As it happens, we know mutual acquaintances. This town is small, small.

So I confessed to her that I tried looking at Drupal for one of my sites (Glass Door), and found it hard to work with, and that I balked at the need to get my hands greasy in PHP code to customize the site to my likings. She gaffed at that idea, said that it’s so easy to work with. You just install, select your options, and bam it’s customized; no need to write a single line.

I’m humbled. If a non-technical marketing and sales person can grok something that I cannot wrap my head around, I’m doing it wrong. Sounds like I need a major mental reset.

In Which the Fool Admits Defeat on the Fields of Dreams

So I’ve come to an internal agreement. Actually, it’s more like an admission of defeat. Either that, or it’s a sudden ability to see that the easist path has been plainly in front of me the whole time. Call it what you want, but I ain’t happy about it.

See, for the past eleventy-thousand years, I’ve been trying to build a website to showcase my music. After spending countless hours drooling, shit-for-brains, while staring at my laptop hoping to spontaneously grok everything I needed to do and write all the code to my own fluidly-custom specifications, I’ve given up. I’m stupid. So stupid, I’m gullible. I managed to convince myself that I had enough mental energy left over at the end of my workday to set up to the task of building a website from the ground up. How foolish I am!

So, having gotten half of a notion last summer to give up coding a full Ruby On Rails website, I decided to try some pre-rolled frameworks. I looked at Drupal and WordPress, among a few others. Since I already had some modicum of “experience” with WP, and since Drupal has a steep learning curve, I went with WP. And what did I discover? WP version 3 unleashed a new feature where you could make your own custom post types, so you can create a Song and have it display along with your regular Posts, Pages, and Attachments. “Astounding!” I exclaimed. “Just add my Song code and build a template, and I’m home, sweet mother of god, HOME!”

Herein, we shall call this moment The Second Great Con of the Man On Himself.

The problem, you see, is that WP 3.0 has half-assed support for custom posts. It doesn’t pull posts made from different types into feeds, doesn’t include them into the front page, doesn’t support archives. For that, you need a WP plugin developer’s mind, and the free energy, street smarts, and tenacity to navigate the byzantine WP wiki in the hopes of finding the help you need to make this happen. As it turns out, custom post types just aren’t user-friendly.

Since my job requires me to be task-based and results-oriented all day, every day, I just can’t summon up the smarts or desire it takes to actually make this stupid little dream of mine into a reality. When I’m settling down for my evening coffee, trying to unwind my head and get into my projects for the night, you know what I really want to be doing? Absolutely nothing. Now I understand the attraction to clicking on the TV and turning yourself off. I can’t do this anymore.

I lost my love for the web. Giving up. And now my task is much simpler. There are plugins for WP that allow me to stream media and set up podcasts. They make things on the back end much easier, but they are neither custom nor completely intuitive to use. That’s the tradeoff. And right now, I’m trading in my programmer’s hat for a dunce cap. The internet has won.

Hurp a derp.