The Rantings of a Tortured Mind

Valerie Rayne Rants


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Self-Promotional Babbling


I have so many online-type things that I have to get done today that it’s almost a little ridiculous. I stayed up late last night waiting on The Boyfriend to get home and during that time, sat on the computer clicking around without actually accomplishing anything. I literally have so much that I want to get done that I went to bed dreaming about it all and woke up this morning, earlier than both The Boyfriend and I had planned for me, because the thoughts of all the stuff that I want to get done were drowning out my ability to sleep.

I don’t know if anyone else here is as nutty as me, but I spent the entirety of last night dreaming about Google+… As you know, The Erotic Writers Group on Google+ has recently jumped over the 100 member mark and let me tell you, I don’t think I’ve ever been so excited. On Lifestyle Bloggers Anonymous, we are only able to have 50 members at a time and when I reached that the first time, I was more than thrilled. But 100!! That’s an awesomely epic number.

But I really want to use Google+ more and better. Right now, I’m really only active in this one community – even though I technically have 2 communities going and I think it’s 2 pages (for Lifestyle Bloggers Anonymous and Blog-A-Holic Designs), but I don’t update them enough. I also never write personal status updates, even though I would really enjoy doing so. I generally just want to use Google+ more, at least as often as I use Facebook. But even then, when it comes to computer-related things, my activity has dropped dramatically recently and I want that to change.

I also want to learn more about Google+ hangouts and had that on my brain non-stop last night. I mean yes, it would be fun to do a hangout for personal reasons, but for the most part, I’m thinking about Lifestyle Bloggers Anonymous stuff. And while I’ve done tons of research on things like broadcasting an online radio show or writing a script for YouTube videos and have a wad of tips and tricks stashed in my brain desperately waiting for use, I feel like it’s not Google+ specific enough and want to do a lot more research on it.

Question: Do you know of any good adult-themed Google+ hangouts? If so, share them in the comments, because I really want to see what other people are doing!

It’s incredible how long my list of things to do on the internet is, easily it’s way longer than my list of things to do in real life… It’s to the point where I’m stressing out about it, because it’s just so much stuff. One of the one’s that’s really bugging me is coding. Back when I first started this whole online venture, I spent some time and taught myself some HTML and some very basic CSS – just enough to get what I needed. It seemed to come pretty easy for me back then and I seemed to understand all of the information that was being hurled at me. And all that information stuck with me to the point where I can easily write HTML and it’s not a big deal for me.

But lately, as I’m back on the Lifestyle Bloggers Anonymous re-design again, I’ve been thinking about my need to upgrade my HTML and CSS knowledge – not only because I really want more of a visually appealing, beyond fully functional, easy-to-use website, but also because with HTML5 and CSS3 being the web standard of the future, I’d like my sites to include it. I also really want to wrap my head around things like JavaScript and jQuery, because some of the things that I really want to accomplish and add to my site can only be done with these things. Again, that stuff has to wait until the site is upgraded to use on it and at this point, I can’t be 100% sure when that’s going to happen.

The Boyfriend and I keep planning for it to happen during this time and time time and that time, but when the time actually rolls around, can’t afford it. I’m hoping after this little tax season here, that we’ll be able to do it easy peasy, but until then, I’ll just have to be patient and we all know how good I am at that…

Needless to say though, I have work to do, so I will catch you all later. Man oh man though, this list better start getting shorter soon…

Lifestyle Bloggers Anonymous


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Design Woes: A Lifestyle Bloggers Anonymous Tale


I’m doing it again… I don’t know why I punish myself like this and I wonder how many other bloggers/web designers have this problem. I can never just leave well enough alone and I always want better. It’s like the grass-is-greener-on-the-other-side type of issue but all about the design of your website.

I’m not talking about this blog, although I’ve already begun falling out of love with the design of it, but I’m talking about Lifestyle Bloggers Anonymous. I’ve had the same design on that site since it’s infancy and I’m getting incredibly tired of it. I want a change and I want something different. But then, when I try to figure out what I want, I just completely blank.

It doesn’t help that, while I’m totally confident with HTML, even though I’m understanding CSS a lot better, I’m just not confident with it. I don’t believe I could manipulate it and get anything like what I see when I’m searching for inspiration – which I’ve been doing too much of. I can tell it’s too much, because instead of inspiring me, it’s just making me feel sad. “Oh, that’s a nice site. Too bad I’ll never be able to replicate anything close to it…”. Lots of negative self-talking going on.

The biggest thing that I can’t seem to figure out is what kind of design do I want to go for on Lifestyle Bloggers Anonymous? What kind would most adult bloggers appreciate and be attracted to? I personally have never seen a design that I truly enjoy on most adult websites. Ones that I don’t hate so much, okay – but one that I’m really attracted to. Nope. The sites I’m typically attracted to are the ones that you often find in the “design inspiration” type of posts – the clean, minimalistic, super-simple-to-navigate type of sites. Now, how do I execute that type of feel on a social network and still highlight all the things I want to highlight, without turning it into a cluttered mess (which is what I believe I have right now on the site…)?

Then another issue that I have is that I would prefer to make all my own images. Have social icons that look like they were made specifically for an adult blogging social network, have an overall design scheme that feels like it was created just for this site and not any other, have real quality in the layout of the content, etc. And I feel like everything I want to do requires me to at least be able to create a cool image using an editor like Gimp or Photoshop. But I am the furthest thing from a visual artist. Words and music, I can do, but create something that is visually appealing; not my finest hour.

So, not only do I have a problem actually creating these things, I have a hard time visualizing it in the first place. It automatically makes it feel overwhelming and daunting and it’s no freaking wonder I haven’t re-designed this site in forever and a day… Wow!


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Coding Rant


Okay, so I taught myself HTML when I was 14. I would spend all the time that I got on the computer, teaching myself HTML. I would write it out on paper so that I could see it as a whole, I would print it off and dissect it, I would write it out and then tweak it until it was just right.

It took me quite awhile to learn HTML, but now I think I know HTML pretty darn well. There’s still certain things that I have to jump back and reference (especially anything to do with color codes…), and I wouldn’t ever try to sell my HTML services, because I don’t think it’s that good. But I think I’ve got a really well-defined grasp of the stuff. Enough that I should be able to go over and learn CSS.

Sidenote:
For anyone who is like, “What the hell are you talking about?!?”, HTML and CSS are two types of code that determine how a website or blog look – the most basic description I know.

Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) is a markup language that describes web pages using what are called markup or HTML tags. Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) were created to fill the void that HTML left behind, the design.

HTML was never meant to take on the role of designer, and when they added the design capabilities to HTML 3.2, like font color or link color, it created more problems than it solved. For a one or two page site with very little content on it, changing font sizes or colors wasn’t very hard. But once you got into larger website development, like most of us are used to today, with ever changing content on it, having to go in and manually change those font colors or sizes was time-consuming, often costing people a lot of money, and also adding more size to the page causing it to take longer to load. CSS was created to solve these problems.

My rant is that, I can’t learn CSS. I have been trying for almost ten years and for some reason, I can’t get it to register, I can’t get it to stick. I keep reading in countless coding forums, “Just inspect the element and you should be able to pick it up”. So I spend hours going through multiple websites, inspecting the code and trying to replicate it.

I get all excited because I hop on over to my trusty W3schools website, to take my newly learnt CSS coding for a spin on the Try It! Editor. The worst part is, I can get it to work there. I can screw around with it and play with it and it still works, but the second I leave that site and try it anywhere else, I am more than confused. I can’t even figure out what it is about it that is so darn confusing for me.

I have gone through and tried to learn from just about every single angle. I want to know how to make a horizontal drop-down navigation menu (much like the one I have at the top of this blog), and no matter how hard I try, I can’t seem to figure out how to make it work.

I just hate when people who know CSS are like, “Oh, it’s so easy!”. It frustrates the hell out of me, because I’m like, “If it’s so easy, why can’t I learn it?”. One day, I am going to hunker down and just figure it out. Until them, I’m just going to continue being frustrated that it’s easy for others. ARGH!