n steps forward n+1 steps back

Slowly but surely I have begun to upload my academic projects and put together portfolio pages for them. I wish I could say that wordpress has made this process simple and easy, but I feel like I spend most of my time fighting against it to do relatively simple things. This is because wordpress is very fond of its default theme formats. While these formats give you a great head start in making your site look nice, they are not very tolerant of deviation. Uploading images and text and inserting them into a page is very easy, but then if I want to change the way they are formatted, wordpress starts to kick and scream.

None the less, I have managed to overcome most of my gripes with wordpress. One major revelation I had was realizing that the html files I had been editing were not in fact the actually html files for the website. To some degree this was obvious in that many of the basic required tags were not present, but I didn’t realize the extent to which the wordpress theme CSS file would “interpret” what I was writing. This meant that many of the formatting changes I attempted to make were simply ignored by the CSS script and replaced with the theme’s default formatting, leaving me in a situation where I would repeatedly rework the html only to find that once again that it had no effect to the page.

With some googleing I have found ways to alter the CSS style file to make some general changes, such as allowing much wider content on pages. The default 540 pixels is dreadfully small for a portfolio, especially when the theme leaves so much space unused. The main problem that remains is adding captions for my images. The wordpress theme I’m using likes to make sure everything has lots and lots of space. So putting text right next to an image is not something it wants to do. And even when I found a way to do that, it adds a large chunk of space after the caption making the whole page look awkward.

Hopefully I can get my online portfolio to an acceptable state soon so I can focus more on using this blog for its intended purpose rather than as an outlet for my frustrations with wordpress. I think I have decided to separate in depth project descriptions from the portfolio pages in the form of blog posts on certain concepts or tools I used for the projects. I also want to get more familiar with processing.js so I can start posting working applets and sketches here, which I think will be a lot of fun. Lastly I have been doing my best to keep up with the latest work in architecture and computational design as well as catching up on some reading I have been meaning to do. I would definitely like to take the time to write my thoughts on these things here as well.


This is the first update of my new website. I have two intentions in starting this site. First is to create an online portfolio for my work. I will gradually update the work/portfolio section, adding new projects regularly. This will be more in depth than a traditional portfolio. I will be exploring the methods and tools used in each project and discussing their successes and failures. As I work though this process I will be sifting through my archives of work, sorting and formatting them in a clear way. So in addition to creating a portfolio, this process has the added benefit of helping me sort though my work as I create a digital archive.

My second intention in creating this site is to create an online outlet for my ongoing explorations and everyday thoughts. Again this is not so much for the benefit of others (though I do hope my experiments and reflections are of use to someone) but more to help focus my own work. It will give me a medium and format for sharing my work that will require me to actually finish projects and carry them beyond just sketches and making them into something worth sharing. I feel this is important because finishing projects is a skill in and of itself. While a rough sketch may satisfy my own curiosity, I need to be able to carry those ideas forward taking into consideration presentation and clarity. This should have the extra benefit of demonstrating that I have the ability to create for others, and not just for myself.

I am also jumping headfirst into a new set of tools that I am not completely sure how to use. WordPress is built for blogging specifically, and I’m not 100% sure yet how I’m going to go about formatting a portfolio. I made the decision to go with wordpress after looking at the online portfolio of one of my favorite code artists, Robert Hodgin. However he appears to be using each post as a portfolio project and I’m not sure I want to mix the two different intentions of my site by putting my blog posts in the same place as my portfolio. For now my next step is to add the resume and contact sections and become more familiar with wordpress.