I am the type of person who does not want to forget history, even such inconsequential things as previous updates made to my Web site. This is an archive of all updates that were posted on my previous site, Layla Land.
Saturday, August 14, 2005--Yes, that date is really 2005. Yes, I've actually updated the main page of my Web site. Please do not hyperventilate from shock, because I don't want to be sued. For the record, my Web site has not been dormant since I last changed this page more than a year ago. My blog is still happening: Though comments are broken, I'm still posting there. As for the comments, well, that repair job apparently requires either major work or scrapping Movable Type. I'm more inclined to go with the latter choice, but we'll see.
Anyway, updates. Needless to say, the old news page has been changed, but that always happens when I update this page. I also fixed the copyright script, which was extremely oudated. But the bigger news is on the Sarah Dutra trial page (or click on the "Court Trial" thing in the menu). I've added six articles and have also made it so that passwords are no longer required. The downside is that most photos are no longer included on the pages, but at least the text is there.
This update has been made due to the e-mails from people who still follow the case. In other words, because you've kept asking, I've finally answered. The moral of the story is this: I'm much more inclined to update things I know people are reading, because I do care about my readers. I was a little slow, but maybe I'll do better in the future.
Wednesday, May 19, 2004--It's been more than two years since I wrote my first story about Sarah Dutra, but the saga continues. As I mentioned in my Nov. 23 update, CourtTV crews made a documentary on the case, and I got a sneak-preview copy of it last week so I could write about the show before it airs tonight. I think the producer (who was extremely nice) did a good job, and I encourage you to watch it at 10 p.m. on the CourtTV channel.
However -- and I should no longer be surprised by the twists life takes, but I still am -- the story I wrote was not a simple "TV show airs tonight" thing. The show debuts at a time when the star detective is no longer working on huge homicide cases. Due to a tragic accident a few months ago, her life turned upside down and she transferred out of the homicide unit. I learned of this a few weeks ago, but I didn't think the detective would want to talk about it when I wrote this story. I was wrong. She said she'd read my work and trusted me to write this properly, so she talked. And this article is the result. I can only hope that I did write it properly.
Thursday, April 8, 2004--I'm updating this so people don't think my Web site is dormant. On the contrary, this site is more active now than it has been in some time. Most of the action these days is in my weblog over there in the menu to your left. If you want to hear about the Sacramento Kings, rabid bats, or my adventure as a drug pilot, go check it out. You'll also catch some glimpses into the current happenings in my not-so-boring life. For instance, I was just thrown off balance by the news that a high school classmate of mine was arrested today on suspicion of murdering her boyfriend of several years. I still haven't quite gotten over that one, and I have a feeling I'll write more about it later.
Sunday, November 23, 2003--Less than a week after someone e-mailed me to ask if the Dutra/McNabney case would be on TV again, a crew from CourtTV came to the area to begin work on an hour-long documentary on the case, focusing on the lead detective. Yes, that resulted in another article for the Sarah Dutra page. (This producer was ever so much nicer than the one who made the short Fox show about the case, and I have a feeling it will be reflected in the documentary.)
Sunday, November 16, 2003--Some friends and I celebrated the birthday of one of my closest friends last night, and I captured a few scenes on camera. Was the hilarity worth a whole new page? That may be arguable, but I think it was; I've called it Nessa's Birthday (and it's linked on the Pictures page, just in case you manage to get lost).
Tuesday, November 11, 2003--I've embarked on a new photo project, called 26 Things, Take Two (linked on the Pictures page). Five of the 26 photos are currently up, and more will be posted in the near future.
I also updated two other pages. First, I made some very minor changes on the About page -- so minor, in fact, that most people won't know what changed. (I did remove my age, because I've been feeling old lately. It's not a secret, so feel free to ask.) I also added a September article to the Dutra page; it was something I'd forgotten to add earlier. I'm thinking of adding more court cases I've covered or am covering, though I have a feeling the Dutra case would overshadow them. Any thoughts?
In the meantime, I took a short hiatus from my weblog (that "A Reporter's Life" link over there on the left), but it's back and is being updated an average of once every few days. The goal is for it to be daily, but I'm not going to post entries just for the sake of having a daily blog. As the saying goes, quality is more important than quantity.
Wednesday, September 3, 2003--Due to a server move at work, the links to the Dutra articles were no longer working. The problem is fixed, and I apologize for the inconvenience. To those who have e-mailed me regarding the case, thank you. I appreciate and welcome the feedback. Look for another story to be added to the page Saturday.
Thursday, July 17, 2003--The Dutra saga is still not a thing of the past. A Fox television show called "The Pulse" is set to air a special on the McNabney story tonight at 9 p.m. Of course, this resulted in my writing another story, linked on the Dutra page. In other news, I fixed a typo in the previous update; no, "Manwhile" was not a Freudian slip.
Sunday, July 13, 2003--My adventure into the world of unlimited photos, made possible with a Nikon CoolPix 4500 digital camera, has begun, and I'm working on a new feature called Project 26. (Click that link or go find it on the Pictures page.) Meanwhile, though this page makes it look as though my site has gone stale, my weblog is proof that theSmudge is still very much alive. I've also been contemplating making a complete change on the front page; if I can get all the bugs worked out, this main page will eventually be updated daily and the news updates will move elsewhere.
Thursday, April 24, 2003--Yes, there's another story on that Dutra page. Also, I'm going to be a self-promoter by briefly mentioning my weblog, A Reporter's Life. It's going well, and I'm having fun with it. For those who didn't see the weblog entry, I've been Googled: People searching for Sarah Dutra are now landing on my page before the other 5,059 pages. I was thrilled to see that, and it's ever so much more rewarding than the people who arrive here because they were searching for pictures of women flashing in New Orleans.
Tuesday, April 22, 2003--Sarah Dutra was sentenced yesterday, and a link to the story is on the Dutra page. That was, in all likelihood, the last time I'll see Sarah Dutra in court, and it's a strange feeling to realize that the largest case of my career has drawn to a close after more than a year.
Sunday, March 30, 2003--It's been more than a year since my own domain went live and I launched this Web site. Fourteen months ago, I wrote, "I have dreams for this site, although they may not be possible for years." With the launch of my newest project, I'm one step closer to those far-off goals and ideas. A Reporter's Life basically explains itself through its title and the explanation on the page. In essence, it's a weblog that will not only be regularly updated, but it also allows others to comment. Installing it and coding the whole thing took quite a while, and while I'm fairly sure I worked out all the bugs, please feel free to contact me with any problems, suggestions or comments.
Tuesday, March 25, 2003--The media is completely saturated with war coverage, and since I work in the media, that means I'm also surrounded by war news every day. Here are my thoughts on the war. (That page is linked directly from the writing section.
Thursday, March 20, 2003--Hours before the United States began bombing Iraq, the jurors reached a verdict in the Sarah Dutra murder trial. It's all so fitting, in a very un-real way: Larry McNabney was murdered on the day terrorists crashed airliners into national landmarks, and a verdict was reached in his murder on the day the United States took its war on terrorism overseas.
Friday, March14, 2003--The jury is now deciding whether Sarah Dutra will spend life in prison. It's weird to think that, after two months, I won't be sitting in the courtroom anymore. I sat behind the families and got to know them through observation, and I got to know them even more through daily conversations in the hallway during breaks. I'll write more about the case later but for now, the latest stories on the trial page will suffice.
Saturday, March 8, 2003--Testimony in Sarah Dutra's murder trial has ended after 27 days, and I've updated the article links on the trial page. I missed a few days of the trial because I was very sick with a 104-degree fever. I went to the doctor on the second day, and he gave me a shot that made me hyperventilate for 40 minutes. When writing is your livelihood and you can't move or feel your hands, it's an incredibly frightening feeling. I don't plan on getting any shots in the near or distant future.
Saturday, February 22, 2003--I added three more article links from this week's coverage of the Sarah Dutra trial. Friday was quite the day as we sat in the courtroom, silently watching a video of Dutra being read her Miranda rights.
In other news, I'm going to meet another Internet friend today, bringing the grand total to 37. A few of us are meeting up in San Francisco (the weather is perfect), where we'll proceed to do random things and probably be very weird.
Monday, February 17, 2003--I finally put together a new section called Court Trials, and in it you'll find my coverage of the Sarah Dutra murder trial. The links all go directly to newspaper articles written by me, with the exception of two days of trial that were covered by other reporters. If it looks odd that the "Court Trials" page links to a dutra.html file, I planned it that way. That's the only court case I've currently put on the site, but I've left the door open to add future cases without changing URLs. At that point, there would be one main court page with links to individual cases, but people linking directly to the dutra.html page wouldn't get errors. Is that confusing? I imagine it is, but don't worry: It's not important information for anyone other than myself and the very curious. In the meantime, look for new Dutra trial articles to be added every few days as the trial continues.
Tuesday, January 21, 2003--The Links page was out of date by about eight months, so that has been fixed. In other news, the murder trial of former Sacramento State student Sarah Dutra, 22, began last week, and it will likely run through mid-March. While fascinating, the whole thing is rather tragic for all parties involved. I'm glad I'm simply reporting on it, because I certainly would not want to sit on that jury. Whenever I get around to putting together my new section to be called something like, "Life of a Journalist," the Dutra trial will be mentioned in more detail there. I've already got plenty of material for both that project and a weekly column-type feature, but I'm lacking the motivation to write anything other than articles for work. How do real journalists overcome that barrier?
Tuesday, December 3, 2002--I haven't died. In fact, I might soon be 'publishing' a weekly blurb/column/whatever-you-call-it here. If it goes the way I want it to, I'll use this venture as a test to see how much extra work it will be, and if I can stick to the weekly deadline. Feel free to contact me (see that little "Contact" link over there to the left) with any ideas on what I should write about. I have lots of ideas, but I always like input.
Saturday, October 5, 2002--After all this waiting for me to update my site, you only get two new Discovery events. Hey, it's better than nothing, isn't it? I've been thinking of redoing my site again. It would probably look almost the same as it does now, but I'd make myself learn enough CSS to use it instead of tables. I began investigating, but then I learned that it would look horrid for those of you cave dwellers who are still using Netscape 4. So I used that as my excuse to leave the page as is for now.
Friday, September 13, 2002--It's been a year since September 11, 2001. I wrote a few words on Wednesday, and though they don't really capture the whole day, I thought I'd go ahead and add them to the Writing page.
In other news, I've done a lot in one month. I moved. I went to Pomona, where I saw a model horse show, explored the area, and got lost. I went to San Diego, where I hung out with 29 friends, went to the beach, and got lost. I've done some rather interesting things for work, but I think I'll make you wait until I add them to the Discovery page.
Saturday, August 10, 2002--Yes, this is another "I'm still alive" post. My summer internship ended because I was offered a full-time job doing the very thing I really wanted to do. I am now the police and courts reporter for a small daily paper in California's Central Valley, and I'm loving it. In other news, it's been a year since the annual convention which was included in the (still unfinished) New Hampshire Journal, so it's convention time again! I'm also moving, and this is my last night in Sacramento. Once I'm settled in, I'll add some overdue Discovery events. As for updates today, I added a paragraph to the About page. Please bear with me: This site isn't disappearing.
Saturday, June 29, 2002--What happens when you're gone for a minimum of 11 hours a day? You let your Web site go for long periods of time with no updates. In an attempt to make up for that, I've added three events to the Discovery page. Meanwhile, I'm still enjoying my job, and I slightly changed the About page.
Monday, May 27, 2002--Graduation was Saturday, and I have left my job at The State Hornet behind. However, I'm taking many memories with me, and I've gradually been collecting photos to place on a Hornet tribute page. The page will be changing as I add more photos and create sub-sections, but you can get to it by following that Hornet link on the navigation bar to the left. The first part is up, and it's a collection of photos from the Associated Students, Inc. banquet that some of us 'Horneteers' attended. In this case, pictures tell the story better than words could.
Tuesday, May 21, 2002--Yes, updates have been few and far between lately. I'm in the midst of a job transition and finals, but I've been trying to get a new photo section up. However, tonight I took a break from writing a paper because inspiration struck. I've never been an artist by any stretch of the imagination, but I want to make a new art section on this site. I like photography, I like Photoshop, and that's one way I can attempt to be artistically creative. The new section doesn't have a name yet, and I only have vague ideas, but here is a sample. Ideas? Input? Follow the Contact link to the left.
Thursday, April 18, 2002--Life has been treating me rather harshly lately, but that hasn't prevented me from writing. I've added a column to my Writing page: some of my thoughts concerning the current situation in the Middle East.
Saturday, March 16, 2002--My plans for today had been to do laundry, homework, update my resume, and probably play "Project X." I did some of those things, but I also did something new. Go read about it on the Discovery page.
Sunday, March 10, 2002--No, I have not forgotten about my Web site. Yes, I have become addicted to "Project X." I'm not going to say what it is, since it hasn't been released to the masses yet, but suffice it to say that it's a game, and I am thoroughly enjoying being a beta tester (playing it before it's released in order to find bugs). I honestly did not think it would be my kind of thing, and I'm still surprised that I DO like it, but I guess that's how those things go. At any rate, when I get back to updating my Web site, I'll have a couple new Discovery items and a new batch of photos. I took a rather interesting trip to Los Angeles last weekend, and the pictures will hopefully tell the tale quite well.
Sunday, February 10, 2002--Fact: When I spend more than 60 hours a week at school and work, my Web site updates don't happen as often as I would like. I had wanted to tell myself that I would have a weekly update, but I'm not going to enforce that right now. The information on my site is not time-sensitive, and I would rather add to it when my heart is in it. This time, I felt that I wanted to write something about recent events that have consumed so much of my life in recent days. Called "Regaining Perspective," my thoughts on the matter can be found on my Writing page.
Monday, January 21, 2002--At long last, theSmudge.com has opened! If you are familiar with my old site and just want to see what's new, a new page filled with 24 pictures of New Orleans is now open. (It's linked from the Pictures page.) In late October of last year, I went to New Orleans with a dozen people from the newspaper where I work. We attended workshops, visited Bourbon Street, ate alligator, and did many more things.
If you are a new visitor, or you just want to read more, here is a brief introdution to theSmudge.com: My former site, known as Layla Land, was previously housed on a site that offered free space, with a few limitations. That worked for me, because I had a feeling I would get tired of the site. That wasn't my first Web site, and my other endeavors had failed to hold my interest for any great length of time. But I proved myself wrong, and I finally concluded that I could make maintain a Web page well enough to warrant having my own domain.
Why theSmudge.com? Coming up with a name was quite the battle, and I subjected many people to countless ideas, ranging from silly to horrendous to overly deep. But I somehow decided that I liked theSmudge.com, I registered the domain, and it has continued to grow on me. "Smudge" can be used in fun ways (such as "Smudgeroo," as suggested by one friend), but it can also mean something. To smudge something is to blur it, to make it a bit less clear. Yet, even when you smudge something, you don't lose the meaning behind it. In a way, that's how I see this site; it might seem a bit vague at times, but it still has meaning.
I have dreams for this site, although they may not be possible for years. I have a dream of writing a book, and I'd love to tie a whole Web site in with that story. For now, this is a place for me to gather such things as my writing and photos. They're placed here as a sort of entertainment for those who visit, and the ultimate goal is that someone might benefit from something on my site. That's the sort of thing that will make this site worthwhile.
But, getting back to the newness of the site, what has changed? In fact, not a lot has changed, except for some basic designs. The logo is new, the navigation system is different, and I've implemented more Web tools that will make it faster and easier to update. That required that I recode much of the site, which became a small marathon at times, since I've never had any formal training in the area. It's still being improved, but most of the bugs should be ironed out, and it appears to work properly on several browsers across both the PC and Mac platforms.
That's all for now, but I'd like to thank my grandparents for the Christmas money that paid for this site, my mom for answering CSS questions late at night, Sarah for catching a few typos before the official launch, Matt for answering my questions when I was reformatting my computer, and all who put up with me as I debated countless domain names and logo designs. And last, but certainly not least, extra thanks go to Matthew, who helped me with an assortment of coding issues and explained things so that I understood them.
Very Old Updates
Tuesday, January 1--Happy New Year! I spent my New Year's Eve in Old Sacramento and listened to music, danced and watched fireworks over the river with 30,000 other people.
For this site update, I retired the Christmas theme and created a more wintery one. The picture in the logo is actually the view of Mt. Shasta, just above the ski park. The ski park recently opened with a record amount of snow. As for new content, I added two more events to the Discovery page. Oh, and here is the obligatory 'if you can't see my fancy scrollbars, click here' link.
Friday, December 14--Today's update is the logo, created specially for me by my mom. (If you can't see the colored scrollbars, click here to see what it looks like in some browsers.) I wanted to do a holiday theme, but the combination of finals, work and a computer that desperately needs to be reformatted prevented me from getting around to it. And now, just when I'm catching my breath, I'm leaving the state for 10 days to spend the holidays with family. When I return, though, my computer is going to be formatted, and then I'll get back to work on this site. I'll have several new Discovery events to post, and I'm currently in the process of creating a New Orleans page. In the meantime, have safe and pleasant holidays.
Friday, November 30--Farewell, George Harrison. After a battle with cancer, Harrison died yesterday at the age of 58. His work with the Beatles will not be forgotten, and I'm sure he will continue to inspire future musicians. (Incidentally, his first wife, Pattie Boyd, was the inspiration for Eric Clapton's song "Layla.")
I hope to change the theme of my site again soon, but for now the only new thing is a link to the most researched story I've written yet, although it might not be obvious that I've spent nearly two months digging for information. I've got somewhere in the neighborhood of 60-80 pages of notes, and more sources than were quoted in the article. The story is still going on, but this is the published article.
Tuesday, November 20--First of all, it's autumn, so why not make this site a little festive? The logo and scrollbars match, but if you're viewing this page in Netscape, an old version of IE, or on a Mac, this is what it is supposed to look like.
What started out as a class assignment has now become a feature of its own, linked on the left as Discovery (also featured on the Writing page). It was an interesting exercise, and I hope to periodically add to the page. In other site news, I've added more CSS coding, and I've now redone all pages on my site. I'm still finding sloppy coding that needs to be fixed, and I'm sure I'll continue to make small changes as CSS begins to make a little more sense to me. For now, though, I think all major bugs are worked out.
Thanksgiving is two days away, and I'll be driving seven hours south, where I will spend the holiday with a friend. For those celebrating the holiday, don't forget that "you are what you eat," according to one of my professors.
Friday, November 16--I think I've made enough sense of CSS to implement some changes on my site. Most people will never notice the coding differences, but some of the more obvious changes are in the fonts and (if you're using a current version of Internet Explorer) the scrollbars. I know the scrollbars are a bit colorful right now, but I reached the point where I had to stop playing with them. Maybe I'll give them a Thanksgiving theme. But my next order of business is to modify the pages within the Writing and N.H. Journal sections. For now, those pages still have the old fonts and styles on them. There's a small chance I'll do that later tonight, but for now I'm going out with a friend.
Wednesday, November 14--Photoshop 6 is infinitely better than Corel Photopaint, I've decided. The above logo is the second thing I've done since installing Photoshop, so don't laugh at my limited skills. After all, I'm certainly no graphic artist. I've been trying to stretch my brain by figuring out CSS, but that's not quite ready yet. I'm also strongly thinking of getting my own domain, and the biggest barrier right now is the selection of a URL that won't get old or be difficult to spell. Any suggestions?
Sunday, November 11--Happy Birthday, Sarah! (Yes, I actually put that together by myself and conquered things like transparency and layers. Maybe there's a bit of hope for me yet.)
Saturday, November 3--My trip to New Orleans was filled with much fun and little sleep. At some point, I might get pictures posted online, but for now you'll have to take my word for it that I actually saw live alligators and ate dead ones. Oh, and I fully experienced Bourbon Street and the French Quarter.
In the meantime, you can read Day 11 of the New Hampshire Journal.
Sunday, October 21--After a long delay, Day 10 of my New Hampshire Journal is finally finished. With 25 photos, it's definitely the longest day so far. What can I say? We packed a lot of fun into that day.
I updated my resume yesterday, as I'll have an opportunity to pass out copies of it in New Orleans. It's a sobering thought to realize that I will hopefully have started my "career" in a mere seven months. Where will I be? Where will I be working? Waiting is half the fun, I suppose, but it's also half the worry.
At any rate, work has been keeping me quite busy. Things ranging from anthrax scares on campus to sit-ins at the University president's office are keeping us on our toes, and the words "dull" and "boring" don't have a place in my vocabulary. But I don't mind, and it's certainly giving me more experience for the future.
Monday, October 15--The next part of that never-ending Journal of mine will eventually come, but this time I decided to add a piece to my Writing section.
Life has been flying by at warp speed lately, and it's hard to believe October is here. In nine days I will be on my way to New Orleans for a national conference with 4,000 other college journalists -- 13 of which will be from my school. Where has the time gone?
In other news, I've been doing some new things lately, like going to my first college football game. I have no idea why I didn't do that earlier, because I enjoyed attending football games when I was in high school. Our team was soundly beaten, but of course I didn't just go to watch the game. Other things like hanging out with friends, getting a "tour" of the football stadium and watching fireworks from up above the press box were much more interesting than the actual game.
Sunday, September 23--Day 9 of the New Hampshire Journal is now online.
Friday, September 14--Three days ago, America became the subject of a brutal terrorist attack that resulted in damage to the Pentagon, the complete and horrendous desolation of the twin towers that made up the World Trade Center, and thousands of tragic deaths. Even now, I still can't quite grasp it. I can't fully realize that terrorists hijacked four planes and aimed them at specific American targets, two of them flying directly into the towers of the World Trade Center at full speed. Thoughts go through my head, but they don't stay long enough so that I might capture and express them in words. When they do, I hope to write something meaningful. Until that point, Day 8 of my Journal will have to suffice.
Wednesday, September 5--Day 7 of the New Hampshire Journal has been posted.
Thursday, August 30--The days of the past two weeks have been running together, and I can't believe it's nearly September. I added another news site to my Links page, and I also posted Day 6 in my New Hampshire Journal. Unfortunately, I didn't take any pictures that day, but it's got more text than the previous days. Believe it or not, I edited out half of the original version, and it's still almost 2,000 words.
Saturday, August 25--I've been extremely busy lately, but in my spare time when I should actually be sleeping, I've been reading up on U.S. copyright laws to make sure that the material on my site is not in the public domain. I found that I was correct in my assertions that all writing and photography on this Web site (with the exception of a few photos, which have been credited to their owner) are definitely mine.
Moving along to other news, Day 5 of the New Hampshire Journal is up. I also got a new monitor, which may or may not affect the speed at which I continue to post the rest of my Journal. Expect the next update in two or three days.
Tuesday, August 21--Despite a battle with recurring tendinitis in my dominant arm and a lot of real-life work to do, Day 4 in the N.H. Journal is now online. Because I've been so busy, and I don't see that easing up anytime soon, I may cut back and only post a new update to the journal every three days. I suppose we'll just have to wait and see.
Sunday, August 19--Day 3 in that New Hampshire Journal of mine is now up, and this part has five pictures to go with it.
In other non-exciting news, I think my computer is possessed. Maybe it's the USB mouse, or maybe it's the fact that I probably need to reinstall Windows or reformat, but the thing is giving me all sorts of grief. Spontaneous rebooting is not a good sign, as far as I know. If I suddenly disappear without a moment's notice, it means I've been eaten by my computer. In that case, you'll forever wonder what happened to me on Day 4.
Friday, August 17--Day 2 of the New Hampshire Journal has been posted. When I get a chance, I'll make a printer-friendly version for those who would rather read it on paper. For now, just be sure you set your printer to print only in black, or else you'll use up your blue ink.
Thursday, August 16--The first part of my New Hampshire Journal is now online. It has been a huge project, and is still not completed yet. Four days ago, I predicted here that the journal would be 75 typed pages. That forecast has now been changed to 85 pages, although I certainly won't subject my faithful visitors to that much reading. My goal is to publish a new part of the journal on this site every two days. That, of course, will depend on several things, such as life in general. However, all 18 days will be eventually be made available, so check back every few days to read the new segments. I'm also posting pictures that correspond with the writing, and may create a page linking to all of the pictures. As the project is still ongoing, I'm open to new ideas.
In case anyone noticed, the menu bar to the left has changed slightly. The "blue blobs," as I referred to the buttons, are gone. The empty State Hornet page is gone. The fancy little mouse-overs are gone. The "Random Thoughts" page has become the "Writing" page, and the "N.H. Journal" page is new. I came very close to scrapping the whole site, but a couple of people convinced to not give up on it. I'm still grappling with the idea of a specific purpose and goal for the site, as I myself don't even know where I want it to go. For now, an almost unnatural, internal drive to see my New Hampshire Journal through to completion is probably what is keeping me sane.
Saturday, August 11--Even though it's been a month since my last update, work on my Web page has not been stalled. I recently arrived home from an 18-day vacation to New Hampshire and am now working on typing and editing the large journal I kept while there. The full version will be about 75 typed pages, and I have five rolls of film to sift through and scan. A very condensed version of the project will appear on this site when it's done, and I have a tentative goal of publishing the first part (with pictures) here within the next week. The trip was the best vacation I've ever had, and I was left with a spectacular impression of New England. I stayed with two amazing friends who very graciously let me stay in their home, eat some of their food and monopolize much of their time. Thank you, Sam and Darleen.
In other news, I'm getting cable Internet! I had to give up my DSL when I moved a year ago, and I still haven't adjusted to a 33.6 connection. All holds barred, I will be "wired" on August 22 sometime between 8 a.m. and noon. For those who have tried to contact me over the past week, I apologize for the bouncing e-mail. The address I was using abruptly stopped working, and I've temporarily changed it until I get a new--permanent--e-mail address when my cable service is installed.
Thursday, July 12, 2001--My life is an interesting thing to behold. It's generally not at all boring, and it's sometimes even a bit fascinating. A relatively minor event that happened to me last night caused me to do quite a bit of thinking and, since I could do nothing about the situation, I decided to write about it and see if I couldn't pull a lesson, moral or idea out of it. My story and brief commentary on stalkers and the lessons they teach can be found on the Writing page.
In other news, I have four more days of work at my current job, and in less than eight days I will have begun my New Hampshire vacation! It seems like just yesterday that the countdown was in the 80s, and now I'm down to single digits. As one frog said to another, "Time's fun when you're having flies!" (Go on, groan. It's late and I'm getting silly.)
Thursday, July 5, 2001--It's really happening; my last day of work at my current job is drawing near. Of course, I'm looking forward to the next bend in the road, but it's also rather sad to leave. I've been at this job for nearly a year and a half, and in that time I have met amazing people and made new friends. No, I won't say that it was always fun and happy, but when I look back on the time spent at my job, I see that I have learned, grown and changed. Once again, I broadened my horizons in ways I didn't know could even exist. In the process, I met people with whom I sincerely hope to remain in contact.
Paula planned a small, elegant luncheon as a way of saying farewell, and today six of us went to her house for an enjoyable meal. (A seventh person was supposed to attend, but something came up at the last minute. However, he insisted on sending a nice bottle of wine with us.) We sat in Paula's lovely home, ate food that would put many restaurants to shame and enjoyed ourselves. The event, along with pictures, is documented on my Farewell Luncheon page.
Monday, June 18, 2001--I was in a thoughtful mood today and decided to dig through my old files for inspiration. I stumbled across a self assessment I once wrote as an assignment for a speech class, and it gave me food for thought. Human interaction has always fascinated me, and it's interesting to see how people can be so affected by it. Oral communication is one such area, in that a single word or vocal inflection can have dramatic results. My thoughts on the subject will undoubtedly never end, but a small portion of them can be found in my Spoken Word feature on the Writing page.
Wednesday, June 13, 2001--It required a bit of room cleaning in order to unearth some photographs, but I'm happy to report that my Internet Friends page is done. In the past year, I have met five Internet friends in person, and I have actually lived to tell about it. So far, every meeting I've had has been amazingly fun, and I'm looking forward to the RinkUnion, where I will meet nearly two dozen more Internet friends.
That's about it for this update, but it took plenty of work. They say that practice makes perfect, so perhaps I am actually getting better at working with photos. It still takes quite a bit of time because I am a bit of an anal perfectionist, but it is nice to be able to see the fruits of my labor. As for this Web site, what's coming up in the near future? I want to start adding more content to the Random Thoughts page, add some funny dialog boxes I've run across lately and perhaps start working on more photo sections, including the Renaissance Faire and some recent weddings of friends.
Monday, June 11, 2001--The Zoo Pictures page is officially done. It's a nice feeling to think that perhaps I'm making a bit of headway on this site. Until I completely changed my Web site, I had no idea that math would come into play when creating a "simple" homepage. However, I have since learned that if I perform a few calculations, my tables will actually behave. I vaguely understood this idea, but tonight it actually "clicked" in my brain. It's a nice feeling to know that I have actually learned a little bit about how something works. In addition, I did some general maintenance around the site, including changing most URLs to include no capital letters. I'm sure I could find an application that would change them all for me, but this time I just did it all by hand.
I also added a gorgeous picture of Mt. Shasta. I took the photo a few years ago when I pulled my car off the side of the road and waded through ankle-deep snow that seeped quickly through my shoes which were certainly not expecting such treatment. The picture makes me both happy and a bit homesick every time I see it.
And, last but not least, I finally joined the WebRink (like a Web ring; scroll down) and actually got all links working the second time around. I have this grand idea to create my own WebRink graphic that will match my main colors and fonts, but at least the one I'm using now has plenty of style, even if the colors do clash a bit with my theme.
Saturday, June 9, 2001--The purple column has been added to the Writing page.
The real world outside of the Internet has been distracting me lately, and I have spent part of my time reading. I've always enjoyed being able to crawl into a thick book and escape the reality of everyday life. I plowed through The Street Lawyer and The Pelican Brief, both by John Grisham, in about three days and picked up a few more books at the library. Any reading suggestions would be quite welcome, as I haven't been able to read a book for pleasure in a very long time.
Sunday, June 3, 2001--I've begun working on another photo section that will contain pictures of meetings with Internet friends, but there is a small problem: My scanner software now crashes on a regular basis, and I don't have a lot of patience for that kind of thing. I might try again later, but for now I've reached the end of my patience level.
I did write something on the State Hornet and Writing pages, as a few people were wondering why those pages were blank. I received several comments along the lines of, "What? You have NO random thoughts??" so I decided to temporarily silence those silly individuals.
In all seriousness, though, I'd love to hear any and all feedback on the site. I like both good and bad criticism, and I always like to hear new ideas. Use the Contact button to e-mail me. In the meantime, I think I will see what the game Mob Rule is like.
Sunday, June 3, 2001 (Random Thoughts Update)--Everyone who has looked at my new Web page has made comments such as, "You have no random thoughts??" The truth of the matter is that I have so many random thoughts that I don't know which ones are worth putting on this page. In fact, the more I think about it, the more I realize that I have no idea what I really want to do with this page. As far as I know, it's not going to be a soul-searching diary, and it's also not going to be a list of food I've eaten today.
My original plan was to have this page be a place where I would literally put 'random thoughts' for others to read and think about. However, most of the people who are going to look at this site are already subjected to my random thoughts in the chat room and message forum of RinkWorks, or over AIM and ICQ. Why torture these poor souls twice with the same information?
Instead, I think this will become a place for me to link to various writings of mine. After taking a column writing class last semester, I entertained the notion of writing a weekly column and publishing it on my Web page. At the very least, it would be a good exercise. If I decide to go with this idea, look for my Purple Money column (written for that class) in the coming days.
Saturday, June 2, 2001--As of today, this site is my official Web page. I do have a few blank sections still, but I'm going to begin changing my URL on various sites, and I intend to put a redirect on my former page within the next few days. The Zoo Pictures page has been fixed so that all of the thumbnails are the same size. It doesn't look so jumbled, and the awkward spaces between pictures are gone. I added content to several other pages, including the About Me and the Links pages, and I now have one item on the Old News page. I added a counter (I'm fascinated by those kinds of statistics), and my next goal is to join the WebRink, a newly-formed Web ring of sites belonging to RinkWorks regulars.
As for a Layla update, I'm counting down to my
upcoming visit to New Hampshire. As I write this, the countdown time stands
at 48 days, eight hours, 45 minutes.
Friday, June 1, 2001--This Web site has been up for several days now, but it is still far from being finished. It's been an interesting process, as I've had a crash course in Dreamweaver and Fireworks, and have learned some new things in Corel 10. I have the basic layout done, but now I need the content to go with it. One of the main purposes of this site is to showcase some of my pictures, so that is my next task. I'm currently scanning images at 800dpi, cropping them and resampling them to a smaller size. Then I use the nifty "Web Image Optimizer" that is found in Corel PhotoPaint 10. Through this process, I can convert a 30MB picture to approximately 50KB while retaining the quality. (If you didn't follow all of that, just nod your head and move on. You won't be tested on the information.) I've always had problems scanning photos, simply because I hate sacrificing the photo quality just to get the picture to be a reasonable file size. I seem to have conquered both ends of this dilemma, so I expect to be adding quite a few pictures in the coming days and weeks. The most recent additions are the zoo pictures, which can be found on the Pictures Page. More pictures will be added to that page when I find the other roll of film they were on. In the near future, I'll also make the thumbnails the same size so the page doesn't have such a haphazard look.
Special thanks go to Travholt for helping me conquer tables in Dreamweaver.
Except where noted, all material on this site is Copyright © 2001-2006 by Layla Bohm.
Page last updated August 21, 2006.