October 3, 1999
A Change Will Do You Good

Buried deep within the labyrinth of the AOL Message Boards -- specifically, buried deep within the Baby Boomer area, where David likes to amuse and abuse his loyal audience -- is a little folder called "Opinions of New Message Boards." As far as I can tell, this particular folder has been there ever since the last time AOL overhauled the message board system.

Two years ago.

This folder remains empty most of the time, but every once in a while some confused soul will wander in and post a cranky little message all about how they "can't find anything," or about how "confusing" the system is, or about how AOL had no business changing stuff that worked perfectly fine to begin with.

Two years ... and they're still griping about the changes.

When AOL trotted out its new version 5.0 last week, the message boards practically collapsed under the weight of the complaints, rumors, and dire "warnings" from disgruntled users who had encountered problems with the new version. ("Download 5.0 and kiss your hard drive goodbye!") Some of the gripes were legitimate, of course -- conflicts with ISP's, memory problems, graphics resolution problems -- but a lot of people were griping about 5.0 without even bothering to download it.

"I already know I'll hate it," wrote one person on the Members Helping Members Board.


I'll admit that I'm as resistant to change as the next guy. I still wear the same black eyeliner, Levi's 501's and long, straight, middle-parted hair I wore in 1979. I'm having some difficulty with the idea of Colonel Sanders as a rappin', struttin' animated cartoon. I don't believe Alpha Bits needed frosting OR marshmallow bits. I actually think Don Johnson looked better in pastels.

I'm just like anybody else. Sometimes I have to be dragged into new stuff, kicking and screaming.

I accidentally bought the wrong haircolor the other day -- I confused my usual "Medium/Light/In-Between/Sorta-Reddish Brown" with "Medium/In-Between/ Reddish/Sorta-Light Brown" -- and today I'm shocked by how dark my hair looks. I look like one of the RAMONES, forcryingoutloud.  But I'm stuck with it now, and the only thing I can do is live with it and try to get used to it and wait another 4-6 weeks so I can go back to my usual "Medium Light In-Between-Sorta-Reddish Brown."

And I will admit that I'm similarly shocked by the way *FootNotes* looks this morning. I'd been itching to tweak the website a bit, the past few weeks ... but even *I* am a little bit floored by just how different it IS. But like the new haircolor, I'm stuck with the new website layout now -- I won't have time or opportunity to work on it anytime soon -- and the only thing I can do is live with it and try to get used to it and wait another 4-6 weeks so I can go back to my usual cumbersome index page, stale graphics and 2:17 downloads ...

... IF that's what I decide to do. Who knows? Maybe I'll keep the new haircolor. Maybe I'll go even darker next time. (Morticia Addams, anyone?) And maybe I'll decide to keep the new website layout. I like the idea of being able to include more graphics, for one thing.  David and I don't have the combined computer power for a digital camera, but we do have a Polaroid camera  ... and we do have a scanner ... and we know how to use 'em. 

(Shower curtain photo, anyone?)

And I like the idea of tweaking my life a little bit, every once in a while ... even if it's "only" tweaking the website. And even if the change is going to take some getting used to.

The Author

In the meantime ... the reviews are starting to roll in:

"I don't like it. but I'll get used to it....it's YOUR page.....and I'm a creature of habit....."

"Where's the Happy Panda Toaster??"

"BTW, I forgot to mention that I like your new design. Of course being the old fart that I am, I take slowly to change (meaning I missed the infamous Yellow Panda Toaster gif). I'm sure it's there somewhere, I just didn't run across it. One thing I thot I'd mention (& it's prolly just my eyes or this old decrepit monitor), but the black letters on the dark green are hard to read. I know a lighter teal wudn't be in keeping with the color scheme...maybe white lettering?? I tried it through AOL and through IE to see if that might make a difference, but looked the same. Not knowing jack shit about html, easy for me to say. I don't mean to be critical Terri. I just enjoy your site so much, look forward to it everyday & this comes from a caring spirit. Other than that, I love the new look and can wait to see what all you do to it."

"No offense, but now it looks like every other webjournal on the Internet."

"As long as the quality of the writing doesn't change, then the rest of it is not important, Terri."

"Could you bring back the Happy Toaster?"

"I love it ... my only complaint about the new look is that the opening page now has links which don't show up on the screen and everyone is used to just clicking on "Footnotes" to open the page with the good stuff on it. Now you have to click on it several times, get frustrated and decide to try scrolling down. Some people might just stop at frustrated. Of course, if they're that computer illiterate they wouldn't understand the site anyway. :)"

"No Panda Toaster? What is the world coming to?"

  At any rate ... thanks to everybody for the comments/suggestions/criticisms today. I mean it.  I'm listening to everything you've got to say ... even the stuff that hurts my tender little feelings ... and I promise that I'll try to fix the stuff that needs fixing as soon as possible. (And OK, OK  ...  I'll bring back the Happy Panda Toaster. Sheeesh.)

A special thank you today to The Other 50% of The Population, who not only sacrificed his own computer-time this weekend so I could agonize  over the deconstruction of *FootNotes,* but who has listened to me obsess and whine and rail about it for the past 48 hours. (See him quietly reading a book and staying out of the line of fire, below.)  As soon as all the tweakage is over and the smoke has cleared, I'll go back to doing what I always do: obsessing and whining and railing about the WRITING, instead of the stoopid LAYOUT ...

See everybody in a day or two.

David ~ 1999

And he does his own laundry, too.

From a journal-writing exercise:

"What do you see when you picture youself ten years from now?"

Ten years from now I will be a healthy, successful, happily-married, creatively-energized 51 year old woman. I'll have more than a decade of sobriety under my belt -- no pun intended -- and will have gained control of my weight and eating habits, so I'll be feeling better physically than at any time in my life. If I'm not writing fulltime, I'll at least have a job that is professionally and personally rewarding, with enough spare time for writing projects. David and I will be celebrating several years' worth of deeply happy marriage. We'll live someplace nice, surrounded by photos and books and music. I'll have a kick-ass computer. David will still lay in bed at night and play that opening riff from "All The Young Dudes" on his guitar, and we'll still eat Triple Chocolate Thunder once in a while, and we'll travel, and make love, and talk to our friends online, and drive around on Sundays looking for cool photo opportunities ... and we'll be very, very HAPPY."

~ August 1999 ~


self-important blurb #1 will go HERE: check out this month's issue of *tapestry* ... they used my "Things That Go *Ping* in the Night" article

self-important blurb #2 -- probably having something to do with the WEATHER: yep. we're still having weather.

special *howdy* to: my pal heather [currently MIA] of more.than.this, who provided the inspiration -- and the template -- for the new layout. please don't think of it as stealing: think of it as ... a "homage."

a year ago

here's where i'll ask a *relevant* question:
does this new layout make me look fat?

amazingly profound thought of the day: "What? No Happy Panda Toaster?"

throw a rock