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Happy Sunday! ^o^ It’s getting cold, isn’t it? Dx Last year I looked forward to the cool season; this year I am not! XD

This afternoon and evening after church, I spent time continuing the renovation process of my official website. (It will be nice to call it my official website and really mean it, rather than tending to refer to it as my “main” website because of all the others.) I actually deleted Mahou no Ichigo! No worries about the forum though–it’s staying!

I’m also close to deleting some others, including the blog I imported those recent translations from. There is also an extra forum I need to delete, and after some organizing, designing, and a bit of coding I’ll have just ONE website to deal with! No more being scattered, being spread over multiple original sites for the only purpose of utilizing a layout I like and isolating a couple of topics. No more worrying about a lack of content or unfinished pages or sections. No more stress over the burden of it all! It will be such a relief… I’m putting in the time now, trying to stay relaxed, so that I won’t waste time later with the stress and distraction of multiple WIP sites that will never get the individual attention they deserve!

It is no good to have a website that has a good layout and intention if it is constantly under construction and its content is always partial or sub-par. I grew tired of having page after digital page of emptiness: “Under construction” or “Nothing here yet. Keep checking back for updates!” or “Will have/do XYZ soon!” By having just one website to house the things the multiple “sub-sites” couldn’t manage on their own and letting my blog pick up the rest, I create a much more streamlined system of content-sharing and updating. This way, everything that was scattered before is now under one roof, seamlessly merged and much easier to find.

me at my desk; drawn November 8, 2011
I come across inspiring things quite often. When I’m online, they usually make themselves known through related videos or articles; sometimes in a new post from someone I’m already watching/following (no way to say that without sounding creepy XD). Offline, I discover inspirational things on the radio in songs, talks, or sermons, and in sermons and Bible classes at church. I can be inspired by talking with my parents or friends, or reading something in a book. It happens all the time.

These little bursts of inspiration spur me on to do better, to try harder, and ultimately improve in what I do and how I do it so that I can successfully get things done in a time frame that is suitable to be and with the quality that I expect it to be. However, even constantly being inspired, as exciting as it is, becomes a part of daily life… That is to say while I have been doing a LOT better, I think I hadn’t quite realized just where I was putting my focus–dividing my focus, if you will.

In my last post I complained of feeling caught between two emotions: the desire to organize and the desire to draw. My inspiration was to do both, yet it was creating conflict inside me and I became annoyed with myself rather than motivated to do anything. In frustration at not having anything new to upload (I could upload artbook pictures but that would largely spoil the surprise ^^; ) I said I might start posting older sketches just to have something uploaded. I didn’t do it; rather, I haven’t done it yet because I worked myself out of that conflicting place and drew.

Not long after that, I wrote down a list of ten things I do, want to do, and/or have committed to do. Then I created a simple “mock schedule” that incorporated several of those listed items into one day. The idea was that by having a bit of every one of my “phases” in each day, I would not have said “phases” so often. Here’s a bit about that before I move on:

In a typical burst of inspiration to do something, I will run with that one thing for two to three days. This usually starts with drawing and goes like this: drawing – singing/writing – writing/singing – translating stuff – getting bored and wanting to draw but lacking motivation to do so – getting inspired and drawing again. It’s a very tiring cycle, and if you throw in website-related things, graphics, learning Japanese (and practicing with it!), and blogging it becomes such a chore to do everything! My mom suggested I try to take advantage of the cycles/phases, so that was what I had in mind as I wrote down the ten things and made the mock schedule. However, I really didn’t quite feel that it was the answer.

I started the “drawing phase” on Wednesday, February 22nd (last week, same day of the previous post!) and kept it up for longer than usual by keeping my motivation and inspiration levels high. I had drawing process videos from YouTube playing at random as I drew, and I listened to Vocaloid music and played dance cover videos as well. In that time I was very productive, and motivated myself further by satisfying the desire to organize things–I did a lot of the page layout planning of my artbook during this time as well. The file I created last Wednesday was last modified this past Tuesday (the 28th). But, even though I sustained the “phase” longer than usual, I still switched…into a translating/singing/(sort of)dancing phase. On Tuesday (the 28th) I barely drew at all (just worked on coloring bricks) and did a lot of translating and singing. I did some kanji and writing practice, and learned some of a dance. That was all well and good, but I knew that I was transitioning into a phase and I DID. NOT. LIKE. IT. Irritated, I browsed YouTube for a while…and then I found it: new inspiration. But this inspiration was not a little burst like I find all the time…this was huge…like the time I found Koichi’s Tofugu and TextFugu, and the time I found Danny Choo’s site and amazing post on how he learned Japanese and got to Japan to live his dream. Koichi and Danny both got me to really rethink the way I go about doing things, and this new source of inspiration is definitely one that has brought about a change again.

I came across a video by ciaela (Mikaera) thanks to YouTube’s related videos feature. I’m not sure which one it was; I think it was the one about a pancake-flavored drink, actually. ^^; Anyway, it was amusing so I decided to look at her other videos. Her most recent video is set to autoplay, and it amazed me because she speaks Japanese very well (she is a gaijin like me) and with such ease…like native fluency. What amazed me almost more than that was the fact that I could understand what she was saying almost to the point of not needing the subtitles. And that really shocked me because I don’t feel like I know a lot of Japanese. She enunciates very clearly, so that probably helped. ^^; Main point is I looked at one of her other recent videos…it was a New Year’s video, and I really liked her visual explanation/advice.

Drawn out in a linear format so it doesn’t feel like you’re climbing up a mountain during your journey and effort to get to where you want to go, but merely walking forward and checking things off of your list as you achieve or obtain what you want, the simple diagram consists of “me”, “future me”, and a line drawn between those two points. On that line, similar to how you would do a timeline, you write down the things you will have to do in order to become the “future you”, which is the you who has accomplished the thing(s) you want to accomplish.

This inspired me so much that the next day, for the entire day, I had my GenkiJACS document open and I was thinking of what to do, writing down my entire thinking process. I copied the ten things I had listed before into the document and underneath each item on the list I typed up the steps I would need to take in order to accomplish it. I only got to the fourth item, though, because I realized something very important. Only the top four items are the ones I really care about right now–the only ones I really need to devote my time to.

“Wow,” I said.

Writing it all out like that really put it into perspective. Before I had a pretty good idea of what I needed to be doing, but in the end I was still just aiming randomly, doing whatever I felt like doing.

Here is the list that I made:
To _, I need to _:
1) Daily Sketch Devotional
2) Artbook
3) Japanese Learning Time (JLT -> JLPT 4)
4) China Journal

5) Website rehaul, coding fixes, and content addition and organization
6) Dances (learning, practicing, recording, and mixing)
7) Daily blogging (not necessarily daily and not including the DSD)
8) Singing (learning, practicing, recording, and mixing)
9) YouTube videos
10) Graphics stuff and other miscellaneous things like near-daily juicing and fanfiction, songwriting, translation, and poetry

As I said before, only those top four things are what is really important to me right now. I think it’s no coincidence that they are listed first. ;) In the back of my mind, I knew they were most important all along.

I have decided to finish the China journal this month. This month I’ll post the videos and pictures (that aren’t in the journal, that is), and the poems I wrote while there. Then that will be off my back and off my to-do list for good. Haha. XD;

I want to endeavor to finish my artbook this month too. I’m not 100% sure if I can do it, but I’ve been doing a much better job as of the past four or five months, so I have more confidence in my ability to follow through/pull through this time. If something else comes up, I’ll just have to ignore it. >P I have 31 days this month, so I have the maximum number of days to meet this goal! The race is on.

I have my perspective.
I have a plan.
Now all I have to do is take action.

Thank you, Koichi, Danny, Mikaela! ;v;

…is the word I’ve been saying lately. ~v~

I haven’t posted in a little while! (>A<) It's because I wanted to include a picture, but…there still isn't a picture with this one, either. ^^; Perhaps I am trying too hard. Anyway, there are a lot of things happening around here! We're still waiting for our dining room floor to get redone, so our table is still in the living room and the side tables are in my bedroom… XD; Also, I'm now doing juicing for myself and taking some supplements because I went with my parents last Monday for their recheck with their naturepathic(sp?) doctor and I got checked too! I discovered that I can't process dairy very well, so it's good that I haven't been consuming any (dairy is bad for you anyway). I also learned that I need to stay away from soy and peanuts. I had been eating peanut butter almost every day. |D

My juice blend is simple: sixteen ounces of carrot juice and sixteen ounces of apple juice. I'm also supposed to do eight ounces of kale juice but it takes so much kale to get to eight ounces that I've only been doing two or three.

I've become a staff member for a website called Aitsu Sweetheart; my job is to write articles, reviews, and things like that, so look for some of those here soon! ^^ My website Mahou no Ichigo is affiliated with Aitsu Sweetheart as well.
As for MNI, I’m going to give it a new layout because I just can’t get the coding on the current one to cooperate with me. Everything works except the background refuses to align to the right no matter what I do. So I’m just going to re-haul it with version 5.0! If I can ever get the coding to work properly I’ll release version 4.0 and 4.5 as a free layout. (4.5 uses HTML5)

My artbook project has been coming along nicely and I’m very excited! It’s going to be great! (Not much of an update on that, but XD) I have been neglecting dA though…
Hn. I still need to consolidate everything somehow.

=A=

So I was grounded Friday evening through Sunday from the computer. >.> (It was okay though; I was getting sick of wrestling with HTML. Haha.) But now I am not and so I have been doing…

1-Today I tried fixing the coding for Mahou no Ichigo…and I accomplished some of it, but that background just doesn’t want to align smoothly to the right. ;A; Ugggghhhhh.

2-I moved 98% of the pages (or deleted them altogether) from Webs to Dreamhost. I don’t know whether it’s embarrassing or just funny that I had two-thirds of those pages with either nothing on them or ‘Coming Soon!’…. Like, really? XD So yes; only the index, updates page, and two or three other pages remain on Webs for the sake of being there. Placeholders or something, perhaps. Once I get everything fixed, I’ll make it a redirect so everyone will know to update their links. c:

3-I practiced singing! I think I’m improving! ;v;9

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This week is going to be pretty busy–I’m hoping everything will go as planned because…I really need it to. orz

Tomorrow (Tuesday) – I’m finishing up MNI coding and I’ll try the yuki-online recoding again too. (Oh. I don’t think I mentioned that. I’m doing a major rehaul on my entire domain. YOSHI! >A</)

Wednesday – K~Y release (finally) "Naichau Kamo"

Thursday – I'm finally uploading a video to my personal channel, fireaangel! It will be an original PV cover of “Momoiro Sparkling” by C-ute. (This is why I’ve practiced singing so fervently today….)

Friday – more coding stuff and bonus goodies. I’ll also mix songs for K~Y’s first cover album. Half of them are partway done; half are either missing one person’s vocals or have no vocals recorded for them at all. (We’re still waiting for our guest vocalist to turn in her lines…)

Saturday – devoted to my family first, then to pulling together the China Journal and mixing Kristen’s (of K~Y) solo song.

Sunday – I’ll work on my artbook after church and lunch. c:

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I’ve really accomplished a lot so far, but I still have a long way to go. orz Once this major coding rehaul is over with, I can finally, FINALLY get it off my to-do list and move on to something…better? Lol…

Wish me luck on learning a dance in two hours!
Um…and with this coding. :|

Yesterday I completed the coding of my lyrics site, Shattered-Reality!!!!!!! I had been having such trouble with it, I didn’t want to finish adding content because I knew that the layout still had coding troubles and didn’t display completely correctly. Now it does!

It validates as HTML5 and CSS3, and it should be cross-browser friendly. (It works in Firefox, Safari, and Internet Explorer; I haven’t checked other browsers and I don’t have IE9, but it should still work.)

When you resize the browser window into something other than full screen, the footer and sidebar will overlap each other, but it shouldn’t be too much of a problem. :)

When you visit S-R, please bear in mind that it’s still a work-in-progress and content still needs to be added. ><

Next I'll redo the coding for my main site, Yuki-Online and finally, Mahou no Ichigo, which needs its coding fixed (it has a glaringly obvious display issue) and to be moved to DreamHost, where yuki-online is hosted.

It feels really nice to cross things off your to-do list!! It’s almost like the more things you have on your list, the less it feels like you accomplish much. Or maybe the more you have to do, the less you get done IF you let yourself get intimidated by all that you have to do or if you worry about it…you know? For me, I’ll feel guilty about not working on something while I’m working on something else. But in reality, as long as it’s something productive that I’m doing–something that I can hopefully cross off of my to-do list, then I shouldn’t feel guilty! It hurts my performance if I try to do everything at once!

This “layout-coding-to-do” has been on my list for a while, and…yes, I really do feel that I have accomplished something! I can finally say “It’s done!” and cross it off the list! And the more stuff I cross off, the less I have to feel guilty about and the more I’ll get done. It’s a mindset.