Selling My Soul to Blogger

Welcome to Long Pauses version 7.0. For those of you who were kind enough to critique a rough draft of this redesign and are wondering why the hell it doesn’t look like what you saw, well, that was version 6.0, which I decided, after a two week break, that I hated. It was kind of you to not crush my spirit by saying that you hated it as well.

Warning: The rest of this post will be filled with dork-speak. People who blog are, by their nature, archivists, and posts like this serve to capture a significant (relatively speaking, of course) moment of development. I found several such pages while digging through the archives and enjoyed revisiting them.

The Outside

The large image at the top of the page is a still from Andrei Tarkovsky’s Mirror, my favorite film and the film from which I also grabbed the running woman that has, in some sense, served as a logo for the site. I’ll be changing the image frequently, using stills from whatever I’m watching to extend the long pauses metaphor. I got the idea after staring and staring and staring at that image of Lynn Carlin’s face.

How do you like that image link? It is a hard-won compromise, and I’m really pleased with it. I wanted to remove as much of the clutter as possible from the main content area, while also keeping screen captures that reinforce subject matter. As time allows, I will go back to my old film responses—those that used to be supplemented by small stills—and add context-sensitive pop-ups.

The images link is controlled by my Cascading Style Sheet, which is a thing of beauty. The entire site is now built from CSS—no more nested tables, no more Dreamweaver templates, just a single Blogger file and a single styles page. I would guess that, in the process, I have eliminated 10,000 lines of code, and the entire site validates, so no more worrying about cross-platform compatibility.

I’ve also customized Google’s search tool, which is a pretty efficient way to search Long Pauses. I’ll use it even if no one else does.

The Inside

Redesigning the interface took less than a day. The hard part was feeding hundreds of pages of old content into Blogger. But now that the work is done, there are several benefits. Site management is the big one. Commenting is the other. Except for the front index, every single page in Long Pauses now allows commenting. Been looking for an opportunity to mock the horrible writing in some of my earliest film responses? Now’s your chance.

I toyed with Moveable Type for a while and also considered switching over to Blogger’s internal commenting tool, but I decided to stick it out with the Blogger and HaloScan combo. Mostly I just didn’t want to sacrifice the old comments, which are as essential to the spirit of this site as anything I’ve written.

Please let me know if you run into anything that looks broken. Thanks.