Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Curse of HTML (and Other Things)

I've spent a number of hours now -- countless hours because I failed to keep track of them -- slowing wading through the multiple thousands of articles and features posted on The Armchair Empire to change four (4) lines of code on each page. I'm told this is somehow necessary and actually vital to security as it prevents some kind of PHP exploit that is bad. For some reason.

I can't pretend to know 90% of what I should probably know about running a website. More accurately 90% of what I should know about coding for the web. I'm comfortable enough with my basic understanding of how the code part works -- those reams of nonsensical <,> and /'s that seem to control everything behind what a person actually sees -- but beyond a few steps in I'm like the guy that brought a burrito to a knife fight. I'm licked and I know it. I'd love to learn! Finding/making the time for that is pretty damn hard to do.

Vitus is the one with the killer moustache and cape.
I took a course a couple years ago to give me a better grip on things but I think it just made me frustrated that it was going to take me so long to get where I think I should be. And I have these ideas of what changes I want to make to the site overall, but actually implementing them is something entirely different. If I had a job that taught these kinds of lessons while, you know, doing work I wouldn't have a hard time with it. It's the chance to be creative that has been missing from all my day jobs. I've "settled" for things, which seems to be encasing my creative juices in some kind of force field, if that makes any sense. There's this constant feeling that there's something inside me that wants to punch itself out of the top of my head, grab my ears, and steer me toward something I really want to do... something that I should be doing.

I actually felt like that little thing, I'll call him Vitus, was in control a few years ago. Vitus had smacked through my cranium and had me by the ears. And, man, was is exhilarating. There was this cacophonous peak when the world turned into rainbows and my smiling face actually began to cramp up. That was three years ago. And the same thing has not happened since. There have been a few times where I could feel some knocking from inside my skull, but that's not the same. I want Vitus to come out everyday. I want to work in an environment that seeks creativity, no, demands it everyday. A place that feeds and nurtures creativity. Everywhere I turn I'd be challenged with some obstacle that could be overcome by a deft line of dialogue and a three panel sketch of a cyborg smashing a glass-faced alien right in the head! That's what I crave!

I'd still expect to work hard, but I'd be having fun.

There's something so soul-sucking when one of my kids asks, "How was work?" And I have to think hard about what I even did at work, let alone come up with an opinion of what went on, and I sigh in one breath, "Work was work." And after a 12-hour day you'd think I'd have something more exciting to say. Or anything to say.

That's sad and pathetic on a few different levels. And though I feel a slow climb upward, most days I feel like I'm standing still, getting older, while all those opportunities that could have been mine, should have been mine, have sidestepped me altogether and continued on to bump into someone else. I want to tackle the next opportunity to the ground and beat it within an inch of it life.

I'll admit that there's a bit of "oh, woe is me!" going on, but I also have to honest and say it's a pretty small part of it. That will simply get in the way of being focused on what I actually want to do.

I can't give up. My creative drive is too strong. To give up now would be like killing Vitus.

No more cape, no more moustache. That would be sad beyond words.

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