Why I could never design for a living

A few weeks ago, I was tasked to work on a much-need website redesign for Saturday Neighborhood Health Clinic. The Saturday Neighborhood Health Clinic (an enormously long name that’s difficult to fit on a header), by the way, is a free clinic that the medical students at my school help run, for which I’ll be serving as Outreach Coordinator during the upcoming academic year. To be perfectly honest, I volunteered for the job after seeing (and cringing at) that splendidly green and Dreamweaver-templated current layout. I wanted to show off my design skills, even.

Well… I’ve been stalling. For no other apparent reason than two small facts: that it has to look professional, and that I actually have to do it. I have a deadline, too. I have to finish it before the end of summer– I assume that means August 16th, the first day of classes. It’s plenty of time, I tell myself, as I surf the internet aimlessly in boredom.

It’s odd, really. I’ve always been a procrastinator, but procrastination is a thing reserved for such painful-but-necessary endeavors as studying for that upcoming test or making a follow-up phone call to that less-than-cooperative patient. This is webdesign we’re talking about– a passion to which I’ve probably devoted thousands of hours over the last 10 or so years for the sheer joy of it. Apparently, I don’t do well when I actually need to design.

Here’s what I have so far:

Comments and critiques are welcome. I tried very hard to keep things conservative– it’s not something I’m used to and I’m not sure how I did on that front. I still need to figure out what to do with the navigation. And code it. And hope that someone (who hopefully won’t be me) puts together the content. …good luck to me?

A Verizon netbook’s best feature

My boyfriend has a Verizon phone that has been having some issues lately, so we went to the Verizon store today to get it taken care of. Of course, there was a huge wait, so we browsed around a bit. There was a small display advertising their Mobile Broadband devices, including Mobile Broadband netbooks. That’s where I noticed this sign:

Pardon the poor quality picture– I took it with a phone camera. But yes. Did you know? Verizon netbooks feature a premium HTML browser!! Isn’t that just amazing? It supports HTML! Shit, my netbook’s browser is only compatible with hand-written sticky notes! I clearly need to get myself one of these.

Oh, and in case you were wondering which “premium HTML browser” these netbooks come with…

Yup. Internet Explorer 6. That’s premium quality right there.

The most amazing surgical instrument ever

Laparoscopic knot pusher

Behold, the laparoscopic knot pusher. A few days ago, I attended a basic laparoscopic surgery training session– the kind of “enrichment” stuff us lowly pre-clinical students are given the opportunity to play around with every once in a while. They taught us a number of drills, one of which was to suture a length of tubing, and then to tie a knot to secure it. Easy enough, right?

Now, I never stopped to think about the amount of dexterity it actually requires to tie a knot. In fact, it seems that this simple task is completely impossible to perform using the small mechanical graspers with which most of the rest of the surgery is performed. The accepted solution, then is to pull the 2 limbs of the suture outside the body, to tie the knots by hand, and then, using the knot pusher, to push the knot back into the body and to tighten it at the appropriate site. That little notch you see in the tip of the knot pusher is so that you don’t loose track of the knot on the way in. Pure genius.


I’ve managed to work myself into a horrible schedule. It goes something like this:

7:03am: This is when my first alarm goes off. I’ve set it for a little over 30 minutes before the time that I actually need to be up (which, you have to admit, is an improvement over the hour’s worth of snooze button presses that I used to require while I was in college). I think I must get some sort of masochistic satisfaction from using the snooze function over and over gain…

7:36am: Officially, I’m supposed get up at 7:35am, but somehow, it always ends up being 7:36am when I actually manage to drag my ass out of bed. I never could figure out where I keep losing that fabled extra minute– maybe somewhere in my half-awake stupor?

8:00am-5:00pm: This is the time I spend working. And by “working,” I mean “staring mindlessly at a computer screen and attempting to stay awake, all the while thinking about how awesome it will be when I can finally go home and take a nap.” I seem to muddle through somehow, though the details are quite mysterious to me.

5:14pm-6:56pm: MY GLORIOUS, BEAUTEOUS, SUBLIME, AND UNSPEAKABLY WONDERFUL NAP! …that is, until I wake up and realize that I’ve wasted the better part of 2 hours. Then I regret having taken it.

6:56-11:00pm: This is usually the time that I have to myself… dinner, work on websites, watch TV, yadda yadda.

11:00pm: This is when I start feeling guilty about not wanting to go to sleep yet.

11:30pm: This is when I really should go to sleep but don’t.

11:57am: This is when I usually finally make it to bed. I generally feel guilty for how late it is, but I console myself with the fact that: “Hey, it’s still before midnight!”

11:57am-2:00am: Tossing and turning and attempting to fall asleep. Of course, this is when I really start to regret having taken that nap earlier. There is also the occasional poking and prodding at Luke, my live-in boyfriend, because if I can’t sleep, he sure as Hell shouldn’t be able to sleep either!

~2:00am: This is about when I finally fall asleep. The cycle starts again.

New layout: “Whimsical”

I know that I didn’t have the last layout up for long, but, for some reason, I got tired of it. Something about that odd shade of orange in the sidebar… I don’t know. Anyway, I’m rather happy with this new layout. It features a flower photograph, which I got from the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Image Gallery.

Any comments, criticisms, and suggestions are welcome. I’m open to making small changes, though I probably won’t be willing to do anything too drastic.