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State of the Page Address
January 2017 by Somebody

Happy new year, creatures of the Internet. Time for another installment of Webpage News, your hotline for all the latest info about Somebody's Webpage! There are lots of website developments to catch up on since my last edition of this column way back in 2014.

Firstly, the home page has been refined a little more and now looks super-fancy with a smaller logo, and articles are now featured in cute little boxes with a thumbnail photo, just like on "real" websites. If you keep scrolling, you will see some weird animated gifs and ads and things. If you decide to click on one of those ads and buy some things from Amazon, it won't hurt our feelings at all. Life is short, you might as well live a little.

My project of integrating the horizontal site navigation bar at the top of all the pages is now complete! Wow, I thought I would never get that done. The navigation bar sort of ties the whole site together and gives it a unified look, and of course, allows visitors to quickly browse all the sections of Somebody's Webpage. Our dirty little secret: the site is actually made of a whole bunch of webpages, not just one. Ha ha! We fooled ya.

desk with piles of paper

The other big news for the site is that the Main Office section has been re-conceptualized as the Lost and Found section. As before, it is still the portal page to all the pages that don't fit into the Music Desk and Opinion Clearinghouse sections. I mean, you gotta organize your website some kind of way, right? And since our office here in Louisville bears more resemblance to a junk collection than a place of business, the name change made conceptual sense.

As always, we are looking for new regular contributors. We need editorials, essays, music reviews, and book reviews. Email us at somebody@somebodyswebpage if you are interested. If your work is selected for publication, you will receive a complementary gift card to the restaurant of your choice! We are not currently paying our contributors, but if our traffic increases to the point that we are earning steady ad revenue, our regular writers will be handsomely rewarded.

In the next few months we will be adding our short fiction section, Night Train Gazette, to the site. I'm not sure if the stories Somebody Else and I have been cooking up will win any literary prizes, but it's been fun to see my childhood dream of being a fiction writer becoming a reality. The stories we've been writing are very short, around two or three pages, so as not to tax the busy lives of today's readers. If any aspiring writers out there would like to try their hand at some stories for this section, we welcome your submissions.

I've been made aware by certain people that our site is not "mobile friendly," and I have to admit that up until now, this has not been one of my big priorities. It's not that we don't want to be friendly to mobile users. We understand the appeal of reading on a smartphone or tablet instead of a desktop computer. But keep in mind that sites like Facebook have hundreds of programmers and designers to make things like this happen. Somebody's Webpage has only one and that's yours truly, Somebody McPhearson. It's taken me years of tireless designing just to be mobile un-friendly. So my advice is to be patient and don't be afraid to resize with your fingers. Our excellent content is certainly worth the effort. Then at some point in the not-too-distant future I will sit down and try to wrap my brain around the concept of what it means to mobile-optimize an entire website with 20 sections that all look completely different.

I had a lengthy discussion about this topic the other day with Crazy Typeface, our part-time design consultant, and he informed me he was taking a long vacation in Tibet and would be out of cellphone range until further notice, which means I am once again left to my own devices as this site's designer. To be honest, I think I'm probably better off without him. He never seemed very interested in our site, which I guess was understandable considering he received no payment for his work except for a gift card and an old blender I wasn't using anymore.

As mentioned above, our website traffic continues to be low, which means we still haven't earned a dime in ad revenue. My prediction of the website going intergalactic in viewership hasn't quite panned out the way I had envisioned. But it's all good. I still have my bowling alley job at night which keeps my checking account balance hovering steadily around the $300 range.

In addition to that, I am also working as an unpaid apprentice gift basket arranger at Bitchin' Baskets three blocks down the street from my office. It is very enjoyable work and Marge, the owner, tells me I will be eligible for paid employment in 3 months. So yeah, I'm keeping pretty busy these days and staying afloat. There's no reason to feel sorry for old Somebody just yet, even though I just turned 50 years old and no one seemed to notice except for General Strangeness, who came by for a visit with a bottle of cheap wine and some chicken wings.

Yes, I admit I wasn't putting a whole lot of effort into the site for a couple of years there. I think the term "burnout" sums it up best. I was feeling lackadaisical and spent most of my free time alphabetizing my comic book collection and listening to Hearts of Space music and trying to stay off Facebook while the election debate raged on with hurricane intensity. I listened to lots of audiobooks, took a real estate class, and attended a couple of over-40 speed-dating events which yielded a couple of phone numbers, but so far neither lady has returned my calls.

an old window unit AC

The fact that my window unit AC wasn't working for most of last summer didn't help improve my outlook. Thurston Thornton, my Trump-supporting landlord and occasional columnist for our website, was dragging his heels to fix the thing. In his mind, it worked perfectly. Every time I called him about the air conditioner, he showed up with his tools, fooled around with the knobs, changed the filter, and somehow got the thing to work. Then, ten minutes after he left, it would revert to blowing only hot air again. So, not really wanting to move, I learned to tolerate the heat for a while. If you open a couple of windows and turn on a fan, it helps a little. Thurston finally saw the light and replaced the thing in late August after he showed up on a hot afternoon and got a whiff after I had suffered with the heat all day.

Lately as the weather has cooled, I have begun feeling more enthused about the site again and seem to be swinging back into one of my manic creative phases. The basic structure and most of the designing is finally complete after 10+ years of work. Of course, we will continue to add new sections and tinker with things in the future. I like to think the site will just keep growing forever like the house in that Stephen King mini-series Rose Red.

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