Operation Break the Site V

AKA “Who’s left to care?”

While the front-end appearance of the site hasn’t changed too much since the March update, the back-end appearance certainly has. I’ve pushed about eighty commits to Sheepie in the past few days with the goal of refactoring the code and bringing it to a higher standard:

  1. I renamed the theme to Sheepie, after Garrett’s favourite toy as a toddler.
  2. Completely rewrote the CSS. I moved it to decimal units that compile to rem, with a px fallback. Works great: the site very easily scales and a lot of my headaches about margins and padding went away. A++, would recommend.
  3. Changed the last outliers of elements to flexbox.
  4. Added GPL and MIT license boilerplate to all the things!
  5. Removed dependence on JavaScript for many functional elements. The only part of the theme that now depends on JavaScript are code blocks marked up by highlight.js, and they fall back gracefully to white text on black.
  6. Look left (or maybe above if you’re on a small screen)! Vector sprite icons for all the peoples through all the days!

I undertook all of this effort because I needed to prototype a major work project on a smaller scale, and also because will be on the hunt for work in Dublin soon. I needed to have a decently-sized project up on GitHub showing the scope of what I know: my code standards, style and depth of knowledge of CSS and JavaScript among others.

And with that noted, I’ll also warn that the search functionality is broken and archives lack features:

  • Search is utterly broken.
  • Pages are broken.
  • The pagination counter only correctly works on the main index loop.
  • There may be scrolling problems on Android and iOS mobile devices, but I think I have that licked.
  • The site still lacks good intra-section navigation (think: navigation within either archives or search results).
  • I found a bug in Firefox. Thanks, Obama.

Operation: Break the Site IV

Breaking the site part IV

I’ve fixed yet more crap since part III in this series:

  1. Search works now.
  2. Side-by-side flexbox layout for multiple images.
  3. Tested the site in live Internet Explorer and across multiple devices.

The site is getting less bad.

Here is no water but only rock

There’s been a lot of uncertainty about where life will take me, but that’s been understandable. I mean, if you look back in to 2013 and 2014 I was mostly a fucked-up mess of a man who could barely get out of bed in the morning let alone say “this is where I want to be in five years.” But everything passes; now I have a small (read: tiny) freelancing business, an estranged ex-spouse and a girlfriend, all of whom come with the important requirement that I forward plan. Eadaoin likes to work within a framework of plans, my income needs a chart to avoid the feast or famine cycle, and everything with my ex-wife requires preparation and forethought.

So I’ve learned to plan at the small levels. But where do I see myself in five years? That has been the question I’ve avoided. On Tuesday I met a Galway solicitor through the Legal Aid Board to discuss the Kid Situation, and tonight I had a VOIP call with a Boston-based immigration attorney. The details of the Tuesday meeting can stay between the solicitor and I, but I’ll say that she gave me great advice and I acted on it. The gist of the meeting is that I’ve made a lot of the right decisions, and any final outcome is still years away. In the meantime I need to keep my head down, my mouth shut and my eye on the goal of the kids.

Less Good: today’s VOIP call. I cannot reenter the United States until November 2019, and on that occasion I will require a visa. I’m not stuck in Ireland or even on this side of the pond (\o/ Canada \o/), but at the end of the day I can’t be where I want to be.

Neither meeting has left me disheartened; quite the opposite in fact: I know precisely where I stand, when x or y will occur, how I might reach z goal and what might happen when I get there.

Here I stand; there I go.

I missed January

Well fuck, I missed a whole month. Long story short, I’ve been busy in real life and my iPhone is in pieces in my desk drawer. Back in August or September I dropped my phone into the toilet after a night drinking with Alanna and Casey. The dock module was fried and battery capacity seemed to suffer, so I replaced both. Intermittent problems continued that were connected to the ambient temperature, which culminated around Christmas when the radio module in my phone began to die. First the WiFi and then the 3G stopped working. The problem is well-known and has a clear fix, except I never have things that easy: One of the screws that secure the battery is stripped from my first hamfisted replacement, so I ordered a set of replacement screws, and a screw removal tool. Two weeks later and neither parts have turned up, at least in part because of the huge winter storms that have hit the northeastern United States of America.

My fallback cellphone, a shitty little Nokia, is good enough for calls and texts, but little else, so I haven’t been able to take or post any of the random Instagram shots that I love so much.

Real Boats Rock
I’m sure that the sentiment behind “real boats rock” is as old as humanity itself, but the specific expression I know of is tied to Frank Herbert and Chapterhouse: Dune. I’ve always interpreted the sentiment to mean you should always give allowances. The boat Eadaoin and I sail in rocked after the New Year. At the end of it I am very glad of the space Eadaoin and I share; I work for Eadaoin because it makes me happy and out of a desire to always do better. It’s a big thing and s small thing all at once, and it makes me glad to have Eadaoin in my life.

Too much work, too little money. I made the mistake of taking on too much work though January and into February. I relish the challenges it brings though; I learn something new every day.

Tired and suffering lightheadedness since December. Working (painstakingly and slowly) on a diet and exercise. I’m wary and weary of Mariah’s crap. For all that she wants me gone out of her life, she won’t even talk to me enough to divorce and extended this to her family and the kids by fiat. I’ve started the process here, but Ireland being Ireland, the progress is glacial.

That’s it, really. Work and family. Bought a new laptop too. ^_^

Work work work

Labs menu-finished!

[mark][Hackerspace] # git init && git pull
Reinitialized existing Git repository in /home/mark/Projects/Hackerspace/.git/
remote: Counting objects: 24, done.
remote: Compressing objects: 100% (24/24), done.
remote: Total 24 (delta 10), reused 0 (delta 0)
Unpacking objects: 100% (24/24), done.
From github.com:bhalash/Hackerspace
   6f2395a..c249f4a  master     -> origin/master
Updating 6f2395a..c249f4a
 index.html                          |  98
 single.html                         |  12 
 wordpress/functions.js              | 147 
 wordpress/img/calendar.png          | Bin 0 -> 5017 bytes
 wordpress/img/search.png            | Bin 0 -> 9603 bytes
 wordpress/img/search_light_temp.png | Bin 4522 -> 0 bytes
 wordpress/img/widgets.png           | Bin 0 -> 13318 bytes
 wordpress/style.css                 | 172
 8 files changed, 239 insertions(+), 190 deletions(-)
 delete mode 100644 single.html
 create mode 100644 wordpress/img/calendar.png
 create mode 100644 wordpress/img/search.png
 delete mode 100644 wordpress/img/search_light_temp.png
 create mode 100644 wordpress/img/widgets.png


I wrote, referenced, proofed, and then threw out a two thousand word rant on how and why Mark Sucks Donkey Balls. Matters currently boil down to:

  • The sensation of marginalization because I’ve lost, or otherwise fallen out of touch with some of my old friends. While I can cite you valid reasons for this (such as my multi-week silences and our busy lives with careers and children), it is difficult to not wholly blame myself.
  • The eternal disconsolation because my children continue to have happy lives without me, and the perverse circle I’m stuck in: What news I hear doesn’t make me happy, and when I’m unhappy I want news.
  • Impostor syndrome-I am so comfortable in the habit of self-dismissal that it makes me uncomfortable to hear any words of praise from family, friends, or even ostensibly-neutral strangers about How Smart Mark Is:
    • My good friend Holly’s lauded the fact that I’m still alive.
    • My sister-in-law Marissa surprised me today with a compliment about how good I used to be with the children in the face of her sister’s craziness.
    • People from the hackerspace and elsewhere all call me intelligent by virtue of merit alone.
    • Even if I’ve let it lie this season, I am still one of the top-ranked enhancement shaman in my region.

The idea of cognitive dissonance looms large for me, as you might’ve guessed from the above. There are several neat double binds that I cannot consciously reconcile. My reflexive response is to seek a place where I am at my least unhappy, through means such as gradually winding down real-life contacts that aren’t work related, quietly ignoring friends on social networks, and attempts to schedule my hours so as to avoid my housemates, and finally bury my head so deeply in a virtual online world (or work) that there aren’t any things from the real world which can reach me.

And here I am now. TL;DR: People were so nice to me that I had to run away, stress out for a week, and finally have a good sulk about it