So it’s Sunday night and I feel as if I didn’t really even realize that the weekend was here. I did though, I think I have so much on my mind that time just slid by me, (can time slid??). I think you know what I mean, it’s Friday night and then in a blink of an eye, it’s Sunday night.

So I’m considering “the book” to be done as of today. I’m at the point where I’m fiddling with it and if I’m not careful I’ll make some change and cause a huge problem and not realize it. Later on, I’ll notice that the page numbers are missing or something like the table of contents doesn’t work, or alignment of the photo captions on even numbered page is off… there’s no telling what disaster I could create just by “playing around” with it. I could also decide to do something large and basically change the whole thing. I don’t want that to happen, so the book is done. Mostly.

I’ve been working on the download link for anyone to download it, for free of course, if they want. I don’t really expect anyone to download it, because I don’t think anyone actually goes to the site anymore. Ever since I stopped writing on the blog the few people that did check up on me stopped. Now, there hasn’t been any indication that any friends or family have visited in some time. Oh well I don’t blame them. :(

Ken Curtis 12 years old
Is that even me? Would I like the me that I ended up being?

I’ve checked into a few places to actually try to sell it online. I’m leaning towards PayHip just because of the simplicity of it. I haven’t ruled out other avenues though, so I may try with a few other. Again, I don’t have any delusions that people will purchase the book, but you never know. Sometimes all it takes is a little luck and maybe good timing. I have no idea what I’d charge for it though, probably something very small, like $2.99 or something ridiculous like that. I could just make it really expensive just to make myself look more polished and professional. I know, $24.99, on sale for $2.99. :)

I guess that’s it for a recap of the weekend. I leave Malaysia in six days for Hawaii. I’ve booked a hostel in Honolulu for three nights, but I may end up being there longer. I just don’t know where I’m going to try to live in the US. I am leaning towards Lubbock though… I’m not sure why, but I think I’ve always had a soft spot for it for some reason.

I really wish that I had something important to talk about instead of just trying to fill in anyone who’s interested in what I’ve been up to. That is, dealing with my professional work, not personal. For this entry I’ll just do a recap of the last two days, mostly just today though.

This image has nothing to do with anything about this post. I just like the image and never really get a chance to show it. It turned out that this was lunch for some of the women that cleaned the hostel. (NSFL) Kind of a gruesome image.

Just like usual I started working on my web site early, about 7 or so. I like to do that after I’ve read the news, gone to twitter and to reddit. Basically it has become my routine lately, that and diving into the book after a shower. It’s a ritual that I followed this morning to a ‘t’ and didn’t stop until about 5pm. That’s a little misleading because I was doing other things while I was working on the book. Like freeing up some space in my external hard drives. I’ve got something like 11 terabytes of external storage, but only about 400 gigabytes free which is spread across 6 hard drives. That’s completely ridiculous. So I spent some time freeing up about 300 GB this late-morning. It felt good, almost like spring cleaning your house… :)

The book… ah, the book. Well, last night I was just kind of going over how to resection the page number in indesign and I started thinking that I had my layout all wrong. I seemed to put most of the text on the even numbered pages and the images on the left. It wasn’t that way throughout the book, but quite a few, maybe seventy-five percent. I didn’t think it really mattered that much just because most electronic publishing works pretty much on one page at a time (there are exceptions), but I wanted to feel that the final product that I produce is something that I feel confident about about.

The end result was that I went through and changed/switched pages of text with images on probably about 30 spreads(sixty pages). Then since it is completely a manual job, I had to go back through and make sure that I wasn’t off when I moved the text boxes. The positioning in Indesign is very exact, up to fractions of pixels. So that took pretty much a couple of hours of my afternoon. I’m still not done, but it’s basically where it was when I started. My changes are all okay, but the other elements on the pages need to be checked as well. I then had to change the caption locations and in most cases change the color too. I moved the captions of the large images onto the images. Before I had most of the on the facing page.
Doing all that and checking positioning of other elements was most of my day. It felt good though that I have been getting to the point where I am just mopping up and double checking elements. It’s pretty boring, but it’s also fun too. I guess it just matter what my mindset is at the time. A couple of weeks ago you couldn’t pull me away from Premiere because I was having a blast making movies, then I started with the web site, now mostly book.

Alright, I’m rambling and if I can tell that, then I think I should either delete this post or just say good night and click, “publish.”

So the time has almost arrived when my book that I’ve been talking about for some time now is done. I can honestly say that as far as I can tell it’s finished and ready to be uploaded to my site. The only reason that I’m going to hold off for a little while is that I am known for missing things if I move too fast. So I think I’ll give myself a few days before I go over it again and then if everything looks as it should I’ll officially say it’s done.

Katya, our tour guide from Russia. She was the absolute best!

I’ve also created a short, 3-minute video that just flips through the first, thirty or so pages. I put little notes about the book as the video plays so if you’d like to see what I’ve been working on, watch the video. At this point I can’t tell if anything that I’ve done is any good. Sometimes I think it’s great, but most of the time I think my designs are at best boring. I just don’t know anymore. I will say that it was fun to work on it, but it’s even better to be finished with it. I guess that will make it about 8-days from now.

Probably some things to be aware of about the book is that I was unsure which direction I was going to go when I started. Actually, I started it as a regular book and had no desire to do an interactive PDF or an e-publications. That changed though when I decided that I wanted some interactivity added, so I decided to go with the format that I was most familiar with, the interactive PDF.

I was online doing some research on interactive PDFs when I read an article how they were becoming obsolete and if you wanted something interactive the future was in e-publications, or epub. So I decided that I would convert my interactive PDF to an epub. I guess what I’m trying to show is that I couldn’t make up my mind and let a lot of ‘project creep’ change the whole idea of the book. I started with no movies, high resolution images, no interactivity at all to the complete opposite. I think I’m happy with the result though.


It’s Sunday night and I thought that I would do a recap of what I’ve been working on or what I’ve been doing. Naw, I think I’ll keep it to the work stuff.

I’ve slowed down a little on some of the things that I was doing like making videos. I sat down yesterday to work on my Kenya video, and shortly afterwards closed it up for lack of interest. I did the same thing with my book as well. I wanted to start shortening the videos to bring the overall file size of the book down. As I mentioned a few posts ago, the book is way too large. It’s about 1GB and should be no larger than 100MB, having said that though, I’m not trying to get it that low. I think a fair size for a book that has 160 pages with so many images and movies, would be around 500MB. Since this is my first attempt at a book that unlike my other attempts may actually be worthy of publishing, I feel that the size isn’t as important as my next book will be. Like everything it’s a learning process. Besides, if I print hard copies then the higher resolution images will be needed.

This is a design I was working on for a while, thinking of starting on it again. Bootstrap

I’ve been tweaking my web site a lot lately. I still haven’t dug into the responsiveness problem though. I also am starting to design my next site. I’m not sure if I”m going to go with my visualarts site that I started awhile ago, or start on a new design for kennethcurtis.com. I have to take into consideration that my life will be busy in about two weeks with traveling and finding a place to live in the US, so finding the time to work on a site or book or videos will be difficult.

It’s been a day. That’s about all I can say about the situation that I had today. I was up late last night and as a consequence I got up very late this morning. That pushed everything back that I had wanted to get done. I only slept about 2 hours later than usual, but it seemed that everything else was pushed back much longer than two hours.

About the only thing that I seemed to either fix or work on today was the contact page on my site. When Google stopped supporting recaptcha and moved to recaptcha2 and 3, I lost the ability to filter emails for spam on my contact page. It didn’t really matter for the longest time, I didn’t get any spam for a couple of years. Then about two years ago the spam started with a trickle and then slowly became a constant flow, and lately it had become a flood. I did a couple things that I hope will fix the problem, I changed the email address, then added a newer version of recaptcha, I also did some formatting with the response and any errors too. I really don’t think that spam will be a problem for at least a few years… until Google decides to not support it anymore.

It’s official, I will be going back to the US next month. I bought my ticket to Honolulu this morning. I will be leaving here in about two weeks and although I haven’t booked a flight to the mainland, I expect to do that shorly. I’m very nervous… That’s all I’m going to say.

If you haven’t checked out my videos please do. It’s been really depressing to see that no one watches them. There are some of my videos that have been up for two months and only 20 people have watched them… so sad that I don’t have any support from anyone.

Today was a tough one and I don’t know why I’m going to write about it, but I think that it may be a good way to wind down from a long day. I don’t know what happened, but a small little job on the site ended up taking more than 12 hours to correct, and I’m still not sure whether it’s fixed or not.

It started this morning about 7 when I decided that before I jump onto the book to finish that up, I thought I’d play with my site. I’ve mentioned a few times that there have been a lot of problems with my site since the last hacking. After the third hacking I just didn’t really try anymore to get the site up to par with what I believe it should have been. Having said that though, it’s always in the back of my head that I needed to fix some things. So this morning as I mentioned I thought I’d go in and see if I could fix the menu on the blog page from covering the other links during dropdown. Seemed pretty easy, find the offending code and make changes. So easy that for about three hours I scoured the css files, the template files, every file that was even remotely associated with the menu I looked at.

It wasn’t long before I noticed some item that I had wanted to change and hadn’t gotten to it yet, so I thought I might as well do it now. That lead to other changes, and then I ended up breaking something. I tried everything to get back to where I was just so I could basically start again. I couldn’t fix it, so I thought I’d bypass the frontend and backend and go directly into the database to make the changes. Okay, I’ve done it a hundred times, it’s a little bit scary just because the chance of total failure is a real possibility, so it’s always my last resort. By now it’s like 1 in the afternoon, and I’ve downloaded and made my changes to the file. The only problem is I can’t upload it. I’m getting an error that is stopping the progress. I do my usual search to find how to fix it, no luck. I can program php/MYSQL with help from duckduckgo, but this fix was beyond my skills. So I tried fixing the db different ways, going through different methods that really didn’t help at all, except for giving me a shred of hope for about five minutes until they too failed. It was just enough hope to keep me from giving up.

So as I was sinking ever deeper into the web abyss, I finally gave in and decided that I should update wordpress. I get worried about updating software because of the problems that sometimes occur with compatibility. So I usually wait to upgrade until I have to, like today.The update took maybe 1 minute to complete. It was so fast that I thought that it stopped or something.

It’s about 4 and the website isn’t really broken at this point, I’ve managed to do some work-a-rounds to get it basically where it was when I started this morning. Anyway, wanna guess what happened after the update? If you’ve been playing along as I tell my story, you’ve probably realized that, yes, I broke the site with the upgrade. Not a major break, but wp was inserting extra code into all the blog links so they returned 404 pages. I dive straight back into the front and backend coding to figure out the source of the code that inserts the links is located. Since the update would only change includes, maybe db, and some pages, the fix should have been somewhat easy. It only took me until about 6 to get it fixed./s

Geez…

On a slightly good note though, after dinner I went back to work and fixed the problem with the dropdown menu, and made some cosmetic changes too. :)

So that’s my story and it happens to be my complete day too. I wouldn’t say that I had fun solving the problems with the site, but I feel good that I did solve them at the end of the day, literally at the end of the day. :)

As I’ve been spending more time working on the site, I keep noticing things that I didn’t realize were wrong or not correct, e.g., the footer in the blog. I seem to remember taking it out because there was a compatibility issue between Bootstrap and WordPress, but I don’t remember for sure. If there was a valid reason I guess I’ll find out when I go to change it. The biggest thing that I have to fix is the responsiveness. It’s the one thing that made me kind of give up on the site after the last hacking. The thought of creating an additional two designs for the different screen sizes that are mangled or missing is going to take a lot of time, both in coding and designing.