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Looks like I'm being productive today

Not sure why, but I seem to be getting stuff done this morning.

I woke up pretty early today, at least for me.  Most of the time I can't really face the day in the mornings, especially on the weekends.  There's never anything that I want to do or need to do really so I sit there just wishing that I had some reason to do anything but instead I just lie there and think about how lacking my personal relationships are that leave me with weekends with no plans or friends to see and hang out with.  They aren't usually very good mornings, it's why I usually just stay in bed until I actually have to do something like go to work.  But I don't work on the weekends so a lot of times I just simply don't get out of bed even though I'm awake and ready to do stuff.  There's just nothing to do.  All I could do is go to the computer and log into facebook and scroll looking for content to repost. Typically I lie there for a few hours until the feeling like I have nothing meaningful to do is taken over by the self hatred at wasting my whole day even though there is nothing to do.

Today I actually managed to get out of bed by about 8:30 though, which is really pretty early for me when there isn't anything to do.  On the days I work in Golden Valley that's my normal time to get up because it leaves about exactly the amount of time before I have to leave to commute on time.  On the weekends I never get up by then.  I went to facebook and read through everything that facebook decided was interesting out of my friend's posts in pretty short order.  So I started in on laundry and dishes and upgrading this website to the latest version of concrete 5. It's not even noon and I'm almost done with all of these.

It's been well overdue for me to do the upgrade here, I've been putting it off for for months mostly because I wasn't sure how janky the upgrade would be.  This site is pretty ancient and totally cobbled together from a bunch of code from a bunch of different places so I was pretty sure that something would break horribly.  Thankfully not too much seems to have broken.  At first the dashboard drop down menu was showing up with no page data at all, just install and news.  That was a little annoying but it went away after I edited composer settings on my blog_entry page type.  The composer settings had completely gotten wiped, the page was still enabled in composer but all of the attributes and content blocks that I assigned to composer were gone.  I added them back again and it appears that composer is working again now.  So with that and updating a few packages it seems like everything is working.  That makes me happy, I've been worried about how the upgrade process would go for awhile now and having it go mostly smoothly was really nice.

Next up is making a batch of chai once I'm done with the dishes and then heading out to print up some fliers for the Occupy NDP.  We're trying to get a lot more people out for an organizing meeting on the 29th.   They were worrying over when / how they were going to get the flier laid out at our meeting on Tuesday and I had all of Thursday off.  It worked out for me to do the layout in Illustrator since I had the tools and the extra time.  This is what I came up with from the text on the shared google doc:

View the flier

It's been awhile since I designed anything for print, I think the last time was probably the flier for bikedate.mn and with that one I never actually printed up any of the fliers I gave up on the idea because I thought everyone would hate it just simply because it was my idea.  That and the promotion that I had been doing wasn't really working for getting people to sign up for the site and post rides.  That's the death of any site with user generated content, users not generating any content.

I'm pretty happy with how this one turned out and it was nice to know that I haven't lost much of my skillset for setting things up for print.  I designed it in such a way as to be re-usable and expandable.  We're doing quarter sheets two sided for handing out at yesterday's march and at the May Day parade tomorrow.  But the way the layout is set up you could print it single sided and print something else on the second side and have a 4.25x5.5" booklet instead.  For the online version I moved things around to read better and generated out a PNG to use.  I got a lot of good feedback from the other organizers on the design too, I didn't think it was anything special but I forget  that most of the time people don't have real tools for doing layouts.  What you can do in just a few minutes with Illustrator is way better than whatever you can get from using Word or Google Documents. I used the font Oswald from the Occupy Design and a free vector map to re-do the logo, then updated the logo on the website to match so it's a little consistent.

That's one thing I wish was better on the minneapolis.occupy-ndp.org website.  The design is really pretty lacking. I'm just not all that great as a designer and it shows when I try to do every aspect of a site's design.  Even on bikelove for the most part I worked with existing themes and modified them to suit.  When I work at my day job I get sent files that already have a design and a vision for what the website should look like so all I have to do is make it happen in the code.  When I have to come up with actual design myself it really shows that I'm not a designer.  Still, there are sites like craigslist that have tons and tons of traffic with almost no design at all so I'm not sure that good design is really needed to have a successful website.  I do think it goes a long way to making a website more attractive and useful to people to have a good design.  Maybe I'll get lucky and once it starts getting a lot of attention and traffic there will be someone who is a designer who likes the project and wants to give me some direction as to how to make it look and function better.

The site is starting to get some traffic, 52 visitors so far according to google analytics.  I had the first person contact me about the website through the link back to werstnet.com that I put in the footer.  They apparently have a similar dream and wanted to get  involved with the organizers of the project, I sent them a copy of the flier and told them about the meeting on the 29th where we are hoping to get a lot more people out and involved. So far nobody has signed up who's not from Occupy so we're still waiting on it to really become a community website.  It's been inconsistent when it emails me that new people have signed up which is a little bit of a bummer, I wanted to get emails letting me know about each new user.  I think this probably has something to do with using Social Login for some of the signups but I'm not entirely sure. I tried adding in Tony's Traffic and Statistics to keep better track of the people visiting because it shows you visits by user but it turns out that it doesn't display at all. There was already a support ticket from April opened about the same thing but no resolve on it so I don't think there's going to be much help for me there.  I hope I can figure out what's causing it, I'd like to actually use the add on rather than have to get a refund.

Other than that not much going on.  I missed out on my Thursday ride because I was biding time and waiting until I heard back on some changes for the flier so I didn't get out until pretty late and only really had time to ride the Hopkins loop.  My riding partner bailed on me again so it's not that big of a deal that I missed it, I would have been riding alone again anyway.  I don't know why I bothered trying to find anyone to ride with on these vacation days at all.  I guess I thought that it would be nice to see friends and ride with them but I should have known that all it would do is remind me how few friends I actually have and how few of them actually can or will hang out with me.  It's gotten to the point that I don't even know what I would do if someone did want to hang out with me without an ulterior motive, it's just such a foreign concept.  The few times this does happen that someone actually contacts me wanting to hang out it's almost never possible with time constraints.  I'm probably not going to post up looking for people to ride with any more, it's kind of like the dating thing.  I'm trying to be OK with myself and part of that is not having a constant stream of rejection.  Better to stop trying for something that I'll never achieve and move on to other things that I can achieve.  

I guess that's not entirely true.  I still have to post on the internet about one more ride.  Low and I want to put together a trip going out to Love Tree Pizza Farm and the Bicycle Farm.  Love Tree is where we went last year and it was awesome, the Bicycle Farm is the family farm of Steve Clark from TLC and they said it would be cool to bring a troop of bicyclists up there to camp overnight.  Since Low is planning a trip out to Carver park next weekend that means it's my turn to plan the next trip, which we want to do the last weekend of June going into the beginning of the week in July.  The way I feel about it right now it seems impossible that any ride that I organize will happen just because nobody will want to show up to ride on it.  That's really why I gave up on bikedate, trying so hard to organize large rides and just coming to the meet spot to find nobody there or so few people that they didn't even want to do the ride.  It really said a lot to me to see that and made me feel like the whole idea was stupid and worthless because nobody wanted to participate.  So I really don't know how I feel about trying to organize a large mutli-day trip for a lot of people because I have the feeling all it will do is make me feel like I've failed miserably at life when nobody wants to go with me.

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