Adventures in redesigns

So after keeping the same design around for a little over 2 years, I decided it was time for a change. My goals with this design was to accommodate more stuff, but still aim for simple and clean (and also, I was looking for a reason to use Travis Beckham's insanely cool patterns -- background images have been dorky for so long they're cool again).

A couple months ago, I noticed I was writing less than usual, hiking less often, and not taking all that many photos. To force myself to spend more time on those things I decided the next design would reduce the importance of daily blogging, and give other features more prominence. The features area to the right is the same size as the blog area for that reason, and while at the moment there is nothing new there, I'm aiming to either write an article, post a photo essay, interview someone, or do some other feature-sized thing once a week from here on out. I also wanted to get myself back into taking daily photos. I did it through most of the year 2000, and I learned a lot by forcing myself to just do it everyday.

The redesign is only on the front page and the weblog archives for now (which are now Movable Type powered, to boot), but eventually everything else will get converted over, and I might add more stuff to the right side, but I'll try not to make it too portal-like. The whole design is liquid, and I used some CSS tricks to have the photos on the right fill their areas -- the smaller or wider your browser, the less or more you see of the images. The daily photo image is the actual full size photo, just positioned centered as a background (yes, a pointless waste of bandwidth, but easier than thumbnaling and clicking on it to see the full sized version is faster).

While this site isn't quite validating as xhtml strict (the stock Flash code is causing the errors), and I did have to use a table to get a consistent layout of the two sides (floated columns refused to work), I've found a really odd bug. If you're viewing this site in a newer version of Mozilla or mac/IE, you should see a nifty Flash map of the US/World (coded brilliantly by Bryan) showing the places I've been recently, where I am currently, and where I'm heading soon. If you're using Opera, Safari, or win/IE, you won't see anything at all. The map works by itself on a page, and inside a table in all browsers, but for some reason, half the browsers I point at this page don't like it and ignore it. I suppose I'll figure out the problem eventually. If anyone is confused, here is what is supposed to look like (screenshot 1, screenshot 2)

One thing's certain: after the past couple days of work on this, I could really use some Extreme, Totally-In-Your-Face, Milk Products™