Birth and death of a steampunk layout


Proposed logo

The original layout for the reboot of my site was going to use a “steampunk”-like theme that I was developing in mockup for this site, but I kept having trouble figuring out how to represent the main section and the part with the entries and sidebar(s) would go. It was completely coded from scratch and used a grid based system from BlueTrip CSS Grid. Then later I tinkered with Blueprint CSS, and even the Adobe AIR application Boks for layout. The idea was scrapped completely last year when my site suffered from a minor eval(base64_decode()… crack and I put the site in maintenance mode for a bit.

From what I was working with, the mid section was still a blur to me on how it should look and it’s been so long since I’ve peeked at the code behind WordPress. Sure I’ve been sandbox testing out the various WP versions that came out since v2.04 but nothing has been put live until now. This has been the main reason why it has taken me so long to redo my site layout–from scratch. That and the usual where you code and code or edit images until you mess everything up. Then clean things up and mess it up again in a seemingly endless cycle that produces absolutely nothing and your creativity spark and interest for the original design wains.

I even had a little logo going that had flourishes like steam above the “7” in the “72”, but it was done in Paint Shop Pro 5.01 (an ancient version, I know). In order to really have a logo that is expandable it should be created as a .svg with layers and in a larger scale than what I need. Easier done in the GIMP or Inkscape. That way the logo can be adjusted to what ever smaller size I need without the problems with transparency.

2009 mockup header #2

The next-to-final mockup of the header graphic.

Midsection graphic

Midsection mockup for Categories and Tags.

Must really learn to use GIMP and Inkscape better and get rid of my Paint Shop Pro install. The old PSP 5.01 doesn’t handle .png/transparency images to my liking. My current new logo was created in Inkscape and then all layers scaled down and saved as a single layer .png.

New mockup theme (Reincarnation of a site):
I decided to just hunker down and settle with modifying the Sandbox theme from Besides my last theme was an altered Sandbox as well. This will be much more productive in the long run since I don’t have to spend so much time learning and re-learning the tags and loops or figuring out how things should be displayed. Sure there is a lot of pride in creating your own theme from scratch but if you keep getting brain farts and lulls of productivity it’s time to embrace fate, settle and admit your losses and failures and gear your goals into smaller sized chunks so you can move on to other things.

As for the current incarnation of the site:
The old design was based on the Chinese Year of the Rat 鼠 (shú, lo shu…). This was replaced with a Japanese theme and 朱 (しゅ, shiyu, shu) which is Japanese for vermilion, cinnabar, scarlet, red, bloody color. Plus…red/crimson is my favorite color. So it’s a minimalist theme with a touch of red.

Old theme and new theme

Last theme and new theme; above fold

Now that my site reboot is out of the way here’s to a more productive year.

Website bombardment and crack of 2009

A now time for a seriously long-winded story my little kitties. It has it’s beginnings, middles, and endings. It’s about how I realized my decrepit WordPress install was not so secure.

Akismet Stats 2008-2009
This may or may not have anything to do with my website getting cracked into and it may or may not have been a precursor to what followed: 23 July was the last post of last year. Months after that my WordPress/Akismet install received and caught a good amount of spam with a good chunk of them being from September 2009. More than 1½ times the amount recorded from previous years combined. A massive flood in failed spam comments.

I paid no real attention since this was probably due to the July post that helped spam bots know the weblog was alive and kicking, but then again this was happening about two months after the post.

So…come 31 October 2009, I try to SFTP to my server and I couldn’t even log into my server. I forgot what error the WinSCP keep giving me after a while. I think it was something about a timeout but it wasn’t the usual timeout error. I kept getting it so I updated WinSCP just to make sure and it still kept happening. I even tried the Firefox extension FireFTP…no dice. I could get into WordPress and phpMyAdmin fine through my browser but that was not what I was looking to do. Luckily, DreamHost offers a WebFTP login which can be found in the DH panel. It can be used to edit your site pages via a web browser. I guess I should have tried to access my site via command line/shell to see if I could get in that way, but I didn’t feel like it. Decided to try to WebFTP for the time being to do some minor editing.

When I clicked to edit the source of one of my files I noticed that an extra line of code at the top of the pages I brought up. First I thought this was something the web based editor adds onto the files. I don’t want something adding stuff to my code. I have to find a way back into my server that I know works. Further research into what the code added actually was had revealed that I was a victim of the eval(base64_decode()… crack that starts off like
<?php /**/

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New look for 2010

Well, better late than never. It took quite a few minutes getting my site uploaded and back online from that eval(base64_decode crack that my site suffered from back in October due to an outdated WordPress install. I wanted to have the site update completed by midnight my time or at least midnight server time which is a few hours behind me. Finally, new eye candy. Not exactly the steampunk layout theme I was working on towards the end of last year but it will do. More info on that later on in the coming week or two.

How Disney likes to screw over anime lovers with the old bait and switch

Disney’s G-Force movie is slated for US release soon and for some time there have been some people posting their excitement-quickly-turned-to-disappointment responses to the trailers. Example: The “G-Force” movie trailer. With the majority saying exactly what I said when I saw the trailers for the first time on TV not too long ago … “WTF!?” This can’t be the same as the Science Ninja Team Gatchaman/Battle of the Planets/G-Force anime. This is a bunch of dumb ass anthropomorphic gerbils or guinea pigs or what-ever.

 Does Disney’s live action guinea pig movie really have anything to do with the anime in any way, shape, or form? I have no idea. If it does and it was so drastically changed to resemble nothing of the anime they should change the damn name of the movie. My two cents. Come on jagoffs Bruckheimer and Disney, ever heard of a search engine? How hard would it be to search and think up another original name for the movie to avoid confusion?
As I stated before in my post a few years back a Gatchaman movie is being made although I don’t know if it will be released worldwide or only in certain locations.

NOTE: I so seriously wanted to use GIMP to edit the index finger to have Ken/Mark/Ace sticking out his middle finger, but I settled for just adding a caption to it. So just imagine Ken “flipping the bird” as well… Ha Ha… flipping the bird! Their costumed alter egos are based on —birds! Ahaha, I’m so funny! 😆

Something for all the boos and ghouls

Happy Hallowe’en.

Happy Hallowe'en

Also…10th anniversary of website.

Happy Lunar Year of the Rat 2008!

red envelope
恭喜發財! Good luck, prosperity and best wishes to all.

Americans like their horror Asian style

Looks like here in the States there is an increasing trend to remake a lot of previously released Asian horror films lately. In February 2008, the Americanized version of the Chinese horror film The Eye (見鬼) will be in theaters despite the fact that the original Chinese version was released publicly in North America sometime in 2003 but in very limited number of theaters.

How childhood anime makes a comeback

The Wachowski brothers’, (the Matrix Trilogy and V for Vendetta), take on Speed Racer is due out in theaters as a live action movie sometime in 2008. I’m hoping it will be good and it will be interesting to see how the anime style is adapted and carried over to live actors. In other news, Hong Kong CG studio Imagi will be dishing out animated movies for Gatchaman (a.k.a. Battle of the Planets/G-Force) and Astro Boy in a few years.

US film industry remakes another J-Horror flick for 2008

Just like the Japan flicks and sequels to Ringu (リング) and Ju-on (呪怨) have spawned the US versions and offspring of The Ring and The Grudge, early January 2008 there will be a remake of Chakushin Ari (着信アリ) or One Missed Call available in US movie theaters. Depending on how well it does, you can probably count on there being at least one sequel since the Japanese version was a trilogy.

DreamHost unleashes easy access to cron daemon

Close up of Cron Jobs tab.
Click for larger screenshot. Now included in the DreamHost control panel’s Goodies section is Cron Jobs! Job run times available (looking at the pull down menu) are hourly, daily, weekly, monthly, server reboot, or custom. I may have to give this new module a try, but I’ll probably be more likely to fiddle with creating my own crontab to run by scratch. I don’t know all the features or workings of this panel section since I haven’t tested it out yet. Nice to know DreamHost is now offering this feature to help those who might feel that poking around the innards of their disk space and using SSH to be a bit daunting or as a quick and simple access to crontab management for others.