Where to Draw the (CSS) Line?

During the last two decades, I’ve been coding all our blog themes. I’ve had them in all shapes and sizes: minimalist, supercharged with scripts, responsive, non-responsive, sidebar, no sidebar, mobile first,… In the end, I got tired of blog themes that confuse simple blogs with “pro” websites.

So, for two years, I’ve been stripping my themes. While it took me months to create the perfect collapsing menu in javascript, it took me less than 5 minutes to remove it. Did the blog became harder to navigate? Then the sidebar disappeared, who cares about “subscribe” buttons anyway or, even worse, a tag cloud. Also gone are the popup search fields, the gravatars and the fixed headers.

But where to draw the line? Why keeping the “load more” and the “back to top” buttons? Well, it’s pretty simple: because we use them ourselves and it doesn’t take our eyes away from what we write. It’s not minimalism, it’s content-oriented design. A blog has to look like a blog to be a blog, happy as a hippo.

And what does a blog look like? Like a man who talks to himself and not like a sales man. We’re not trying to increase our traffic, we’re just keeping a log of the things we do. Believe me or not, there was a time when we had 10 times more comments than posts, but that time almost got us burned out of blogging. So we really don’t need all the bells and whistles required to increase traffic and comment numbers.

No one enjoys post previews, contents hidden behind clicks, self promotions, ads that make you lose the line you were reading because they changed the height of the page,… The only people who benefit from these designs are the web designers and the click baiters. Let’s not encourage them.


One Year Later

It’s been a year since the confinement has started. One of the games that has entertained us the most is Animal Crossing New Horizons. It has constantly brought good mood, relaxation and sunshine in our lives.

Yesterday evening, my island, Lonestar, has finally received a 5 stars rating. I still have to upgrade my house twice and my museum collection isn’t complete but I’ll happily spend another year running around my happy place.


Snow, Finally!

It’s finally been snowing over this god forsaken place, hiding its grey and depressive ugliness. It lasted an afternoon, then it melted. Forgive my negativity, but I don’t like Brussels. In fact, to say that I don’t like this place doesn’t traduce my resentment, because I fucking hate Brussels and, one day, I don’t know when and I don’t know where, we’ll move out of here… Preferably in a place where it snows in winter, with trees.


Farewell, 2020

2020 may have been disastrous for many people but, at least, a lot has happened, which is more than we can say about the previous decade.

From a pandemic to a mad president, I’ve never read the news as much as during this year. Ok, we’re all getting tired of Jimmy Fallon’s Trump bashing spree, the rednecks of America, the anti-maskers and the confinement but 2020 had us entertained, on a global level.

Also, we could both finally live one of our oldest dreams: spend an entire year dressed in pyjamas and I have the feeling that we’re about to make it.

What we will remember:

  • The first confinement was impressive, the second was a mess, I hope that we won’t see a third;
  • We’ve finally seen the end of Orange Is The New Black and it was awesome;
  • We’ve watched El Camino and it is the end that Breaking Bad truly deserved;
  • The new Doom was crap;
  • Animal Crossing was fun until the terraforming and custom paths;
  • We’ve seen all three seasons of Westworld and it blew our minds. Go androids!;
  • 1917 was a stunning camera job;
  • Mark Ruffalo had us replace all of our Teflon cooking pans;
  • The second season of the Mandalorian was as excellent as the first;
  • Building Lego is still a blast!;
  • The Cyber Punk hype train seems to have derailed and I’m happy that we were not in it;
  • America has lost a lot of the popularity that it had managed to build during a century of movies, will they ever get it back? It will certainly take more than Dwayne Johnson and The Avengers;
  • Home working is great but, even for the hermits that we are, it’s becoming a bit long.

Tomorrow, we’ll be celebrating the end of one of the strangest year we’ve ever known and we’re not sure whether we should be happy or afraid…


Xmas Holidays: First Week

Our home working computers are hidden inside of a wardrobe, the apartment is fully decorated (picture above), the laundry basket is empty and everything is planned to the last detail. But you know how it goes, after 3 days the plan was entirely changed…

We were supposed to watch the second season of The Boys, followed by Truth Seekers. Instead, we’re re-watching one of our favourite TV shows ever: Dark and it is as good as the first time we watched it.

TLDR: We’re on holidays, we don’t follow the plan we had made and we’re having a blast. The best moments are often unplanned.

By the way: it’s my birthday and Soforah is making her infamous vegetarian lasagna for this evening, we’ll just have to pop it in the oven, life is good!


Belgium Is Absurd

Languages in Belgium are a real pain in the ass! We have 3 official languages: Dutch, French and German. It generates a ton of problems and even xenophobia. These problems have consequences on our everyday life, and even on our access to technology.

If you live in Belgium and your OS is in English, most search engines and websites will assume that you’re a Dutch speaking person. Because, you know, French speaking Belgians don’t speak English (am I a joke to you?).

This is already ridiculous, but it gets worse… When the Homepod was released a few years ago, Apple wouldn’t sell it in Belgium. While it can recognize Dutch (the one that’s spoken in the Netherlands), it can’t make sense out of the Dutch that’s spoken by Belgians because it is more of a dialect than the real thing. Since those people have a very fragile sensibility when it comes to their language, Apple decided not to sell its voice operated device in the entire country.

But wait, it gets even worse… While the official Apple website doesn’t sell the new Homepod Mini, you can purchase it on the websites of other shops… Only if you set these webshops to French!

So, if you’re a Belgian who uses an OS in English, it is assumed that you’re a Dutch speaking person. But if you want to use a voice operated device that recognizes English, you have to buy it in French. Wtf?!


Halloween 2020

As I am writing this post, Sof’ is preparing tonight’s pumpkin pasta dinner and we’re watching Frankenweenie on Disney+.

This is just another Halloween, yet it feels very different from the other years, not because of the second Belgian confinement that was announced yesterday (let’s face it, nerds are confined by nature), but because we didn’t take any days off for the occasion since we’re saving them to enjoy an entire month for Christmas and the release of Shadowlands.

However, we’ll still be celebrating this evening with decorations, pumpkin pastas (Sof’s special recipe) and 3 horror movies: Scare Package, The Wretched and The Mortuary Collection.

This morning, I stumbled on a very fitting video for a Halloween in confinement:

So, enjoy the creepiest night of the year, even if you’re celebrating alone.


Connected Watches & Confinement

A few years ago, Soforah and I purchased an Apple Watch serie 2 for our wedding anniversary. At first, it was new and fun, we could track the amount of steps we walked during our lunchtimes and it looked cool on our wrists.

Not being a big fitness guy, I never used it for anything else than checking the time or tracking the daily amount of steps I walked. But still, I enjoyed it, it was a cool gadget and I love gadgets.

Then, we got confined for months and I didn’t even recharge it anymore. Why would I? I am home all the time and I don’t wear a watch at home, it would make me feel uncomfortable, like wearing shoes inside.

We had planned to purchase the latest Apple Watch (which was announced yesterday evening) as a New Year’s Eve gift, but I really don’t see any reason to spend 400,00€ for something that will stay on my bedside table 99% of the time. Even if the confinement ends (you never know), I still work from home 3 days a week, which brings the grand total of days outside to 2, it’s a little bit weak to justify such an expanse.

Now I know that the definition of a gadget is something you don’t really need, but still you should at least use it…

All in all, I start to wonder if I shouldn’t go back to wearing Swatch watches. I’ve been wearing them since the 80s and I love them. Also, they don’t need to be recharged every 2 days, which is still a big plus for something that’s supposed to give you the time.


ACNH made me do it!

After a very unpleasant experience with Pixelmator Pro, followed by an OKish experience with Affinity Photo, I finally subscribed to Adobe Creative Cloud. After all these years screaming that I would never pay a monthly fee to use a software, why did I finally do it?

Well, it wasn’t a comparison spreadsheets on Reddit, no Sir… What truly got me are the Lightroom presets for Animal Crossing made by creative folks like Saturn and quinn on Twitter. Yep, you read it correctly: I now pay 12,00€/month to Adobe because I want to make my Animal Crossing screenshots look cute.

After a few days of using the combo Lightroom/Photoshop on my Mac, my Ipad and my Iphone, I’ve learned a few things:

  • Adobe softwares are the most intuitive, I found back my PS automatisms faster then it took me to develop new ones on any other software;
  • If you read online comparisons between Photoshop and its alternatives, you don’t really do it for the results. You do it because you don’t want to pay a monthly fee and you need to be comforted in the idea that you won’t be using Adobe softwares anymore;
  • 12,00€ is cheaper than the enamel pin I buy from Etsy each month (now, I’m convincing myself).

Frappuccino

Last week, during the first heatwave of this summer, Chris and I were dreaming about a good refreshing frappuccino. The first time we’ve drank this cold delight was years ago at Starbucks, when they still had a lactose free version of this drink. Years later, we’re still craving for a cold “coffee” beverage for summer so, we decided to order a blender that can crush ice, and make a perfect frappuccino.

Yesterday was quite a hot Saturday, too hot to do anything so, we’ve been lazying up, hanging in the couch while sipping from our jar of frappuccino, and re-watching Breaking Bad.

After a few experiments, this is our favourite recipe until now (for 2 persons):

  • 2 cups of coffee;
  • 2 cups of lactose free milk;
  • 4 teaspoons of sugar;
  • 12 ice cubes.

It’s very easy to make, just throw all the ingredients into the blender, and a few seconds later it’s done. I know that a lot of people add whipped cream, and a whole bunch of other stuff, but both Chris and I prefer our food as simple as possible.

Yesterday was an amazing day, and I’m ready to have more of those. Let the summer begin!

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