Why men are useful to have around: 2

There is always shaving foam around when you have half a leg to go and yours runs out.

Why men are useful to have around: 1

They are helpful when you get the sudden urge to rearrange all the furniture in the house.

Touching Base

It’s been a rather packed week here at Meadow Towers:

  1. I got offered the Cambridge job – unexpected!
  2. Much deliberation later (thanks peeps for listening to me ramble) I turned down the Cambridge job – eek!
  3. Then I found a place to live in Oxford – woot!
  4. Interspersed with finishing both Twilight and New Moon – Edward is a whining twonk and Bella needs a good slap
  5. But I didn’t get offered the Oxford job – boo!
  6. And then the ELDO left work – sob!

All of which equates to:

  1. Moving to Oxford in three weeks, nice place to live, but no job confirmed and no eye candy to keep me entertained at work – eeeks and wooots in equal measure

Which is all a bit much for poor little me, so I am off to curl up with a glass of whisky and a trashy novel to drown my sorrows/make wonderful plans.

Job Satisfaction

My job rules.

So I’m stressed out from here to next month, am underpaid, occasionally under appreciated, and generally run off my pretty Miss Moneypenny heels.

But just occasionally something makes it all worth while. Like today when I got a free half hour acupressure session.

Bliss.

If I say it…

If I say it on the blog it must be true, therefore –

I hereby announce that I will no longer Facebook-stalk the objects of my (not-so)secret lusts and desires.

That way lies angst, heartache and criminal convictions.

Not to mention some very boring blog posts.

This resolution will come into effect as of one minute past midnight on the 9th of June 2007 (BST), which leaves me just enough time to have one last oggle of a few choice profiles 😉

And can I just say, why am I always drawn to a certain type of person? And why is that certain type of person always in return attracted to (and in most cases deeply in love with a representative of) a type other than me? The “tall, leggy, blonde, sickeningly nice and intelligent, beautiful and with about as much body fat as you’d find on a twigglet” type?

Life is hard on us short, sturdy, curvy brunettes, that’s all I’m saying.

The Odd Things

When I opened up my emails at home this evening I was greeted with something I emailed myself from work today as a reminder:

Bring in the bat!

There’s an explanation but it almost doesn’t seem worth it. It’s no where near as funny as anything you could be imagining for yourselves right now.

Welcome to the Dark Side

If you really, truly want to freak everyone around you out, I recommend switching the colours on your computer screen. This is very easy to do in Mac (hit apple key+alt+ctrl+8 all at the same time) and works really well, just giving you the negative image. In Windows XP it’s harder and less effective, demanding a trek into the Accessibility panel (Start – Control Panel – Accessibility – though there is a shortcut once you’ve activated it), and once it’s activated EVERYTHING is slightly altered, with different icons and IE is totally screwed, so it’s not quite as seamless. 1

Why do it at all though, other than the afore mentioned freak-out?

Well, it’s one hell of a lot easier on the eyes. I’ve long used the ‘white on blue’ option in Word and love that WriteRoom lets you have total control on the colours of your font and background. Whenever I read text on a website or on screen, I almost always highlight the paragraph I’m reading with the mouse. I guess this is the digital equivalent of sticking your finger on the page but it has the added advantage of changing the contrast from (normally) black on stark white to (in my case) black on soothing lilac 2.

Switching the whole computer does take a bit of getting used to and some things just don’t work – pictures for one. And there are some websites that just look weird – the Bright Meadow penguin (Mr Flibble) is currently freaking the crap out of me. But that’s all ok because it’s just the case of hitting a few keys and normalcy is returned. 3

Before I go any further down this route, I will say this to a few people who might be reading this and going “but Cas, I’ve spoken to you before and you are rather vocal in your hatred of white-on-dark themes”. I still am. There are perhaps a handful of white-on-dark designs I’ve seen which I like. The majority just don’t do it for me, whatever ‘it’ is. They don’t float my design boat. I prefer light, fresh and clean. Dark is just too, well, dark. Plus it’s really hard to get the contrasts right and they all to frequently end up unreadable. I’m not advocating that everyone suddenly start designing white-on-black – though bearing the use of off white in mind might be a good idea.

Rather I am suggesting users try for themselves switching their monitor colours. It does ease strain on the eyes and, as mentioned at the start of the post, it totally confuses those looking over your shoulder. This isn’t a design choice imposed on me, this is my own choice.

And all you designers out there: I know you’re probably already fed up to the back teeth with talk of accessibility, but think on this. I’m average. I have fairly normal eyesight. I’m viewing the web on an averagely priced LCD screen. I’m using a fairly common browser (Safari) with no bells or whistles. Yet if I’m flipping the colours and playing around with the accessibility options on my computer, it’s a good indication that I might not be the only one. There’s more of us out there than you think and if I can’t view/use your site for whatever reason when I’m doing something not that unusual, I probably won’t be back.

So here’s what I propose: everyone flip the colours on their computer for the afternoon. See what you can do, see what you can’t do, and then think how you might be able to make it a bit better. For me, I’m off to tweak some of the grey I’ve used here on Bright Meadow as the contrast isn’t quite good enough.

End notes:
1 XP might be more customizable in this respect than I am giving it credit for. The only Windows machine I have access to is my work one in which most of the customization is locked out

2 As an aside, I do so love how customizable things are on Macs. OK, so you can tweak things in XP too, but it’s about five advanced degrees harder than it should be.

3 I did try to take screenshots to show you what I see when I look at sites like 9rules (dear lord there’s suddenly a lot of peach) or Flickr, but I can’t. Because it turns out that OSX flips the colours in such a way that my screenshot widget doesn’t pick it up. It just shows what should be there, not what I see.

As a fourth aside, having to flip my screen colours and needing to bump the font size on most of the websites I read is a sure sign I need new glasses. Good job I was getting bored with my current frames really, isn’t it?