Thursday, January 27, 2011

Missing a Beat

I've been experiencing some car trouble lately. The idle has been uneven, acceleration poor and uneven and fuel consumption up. Clearly, it wasn't firing on all cylinders. It was, quite literally, missing a beat. Which is a pretty good analogy of how I've been feeling lately. This has been a difficult month, one way and another, for me, and I know that it has shown here in my online activities: updates to The Sleaze have been slow, whilst I'm well aware that I haven't been exactly full of sparkling wit and inventiveness in my posts here. I'm afraid that continuing issues at work have loomed large over my life in recent weeks, with my dissatisfaction with my current situation growing. Unfortunately, I'm just not in a position to change anything right now. Believe me, I came close to walking out last week, but the finances just wouldn't allow it right now. Ultimately, all this angst takes its toll, draining my energy and leaving me feeling tired and distracted. Certainly in no mood to write. Add to this the continuing lack of traffic to The Sleaze - despite a significant improvement over Christmas, the last week or so has seen another calamitous collapse in visitor numbers, today is the worst yet - and you'll appreciate that, right now, it really doesn't seem worth my while to expend any of my precious energy on web projects nobody is reading.

Luckily, my car's problems were more easily diagnosed - the coil pack needed replacing. Consequently, after spending this morning at the garage, my car is back to its usual sparkling and smooth-running self. However, whilst my car may have rediscovered its joi de vivre, (if it was Renault, I might say that it had got its 'va-va-voom' back, but it isn't, it's a Ford), I'm still limping along. A bit like The Sleaze, which really is struggling at the moment. Despite my mood of quiet despair, I do have a new story written and hope to post it shortly. My proposed revamp of the site - another casualty of my bad month - is turning out to be more radical than I first envisaged. Under my current plans, the logo is about the only part of the current design I'll be carrying over. The key for me was the discovery of a JQuery plugin called Masonry. This makes fluid page width layouts easier by automatically arranging page elements, like front page post synopses, into an evenly-spaced grid which best fills the available page width. Now, if I can get this to work within the new layout I have in mind, then all systems are go. It would certainly give the site a striking new look. Ultimately, of course, all this is dependent upon me finding time to develop the new page templates. I'm still mulling over the idea of suspending updates to The Sleaze for the whole of February to enable me to make some progress on this. With traffic at its current poor levels, skipping a month of stories wouldn't make much difference. We'll see. If nothing else, revamping the site might give me a welcome distraction from my other problems.

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