Not Going There: The Blowfish Blog »« Carnival of Feminists #43

Two Reader Polls: Pictures, and HTML?

Hi, y’all. I’m thinking of making a couple of changes to my blog setup, and I wanted to poll my readers on it before I do.

GretatricornFirst: I’m thinking of changing the photo of me at the top of the blog to a different one. I do like the tricorn picture, it’s one of my favorite pictures of me ever and I’m very attached to it. But I feel like it doesn’t quite represent who I am now (I haven’t done a historical costume event in a while). And as the blog gets a wider readership, I’m not sure I want people’s first reaction on coming to it to be “Historical recreation nerd.” I kind of want my home picture to present a broader picture of who I am. (It’s also a little out of date.)

On the other hand, it is quirky, which I like. And it’s unlike most other blog portraits I’ve seen, so it does set me apart from the crowd. And it is the one I’ve had for a long time, so maybe people are familiar with it and identify it with my blog, and I should just leave well enough alone.

So here are the other ones I’m considering.

ScaryI call this one “Scary.” And it’s a very strong contender. (Yes, I’d crop the top; I just don’t have Photoshop on this computer.) Plusses: I think it’s beautiful and sexy, and it looks a lot like me while still being unusual and quirky and distinctive. Minuses: It’s a little out of date (all of these are, actually, but this one is a little more than most). Also the flash makes it a little washed-out.

SunI call this one “Sun.” Another very strong contender. It’s very beautiful, it looks a lot like me (probably more than any of the others), and it’s more up to date than any of the others (the grey streak shows really nicely in this one). And it’s probably the best-photographed and most professional looking of any of them. Minuses: It’s not very quirky or distinctive — it’s a pretty standard head-shot portrait, and I don’t think it stands out from the crowd that much.

TophatI call this one “Tophat.” I probably won’t use it, but I thought I’d throw it in. Plusses: It looks a lot like me, and it looks a lot like a really happy me who I like a lot. “Big, boisterous laugh” is a good look for me, I think. Minuses: The tophat makes it scream “Historical recreation nerd,” thus not really solving the tricorn problem. Also it has the flash wash-out problem.

Avatar_4Okay, probably not. For copyright reasons if no other. But I had to include it anyway. And the scary thing is: It probably looks more like me than any of the others.

So what are your thoughts? Please vote!

And the second and final question: To HTML, or not to HTML?

330pxhtml_element_structuresvgAs some of you have noted, I don’t have HTML enabled for my comments, so people can’t use italics or bold, or create their own live links. The reason I did that when I was originally setting up my blog is that I had a choice: I could either let HTML be enabled, or I could have URLs in the comments automatically converted to live links.

I chose to go with the latter, since it seemed more friendly to your average commenter who might not be up on HTML and might not know how to create live links. But enough people here have mentioned the fact that they can’t use HTML in their comments, so I thought I’d ask. Would you rather be able to do HTML in your comments, or would you rather have any URLs in your comments automatically converted to live links without having to know HTML to do it? Let me know. And thanks for reading the blog, everybody!

Comments

  1. Rebecca says

    I LOVE the tophat picture. It is nerdy, but not historical nerdy. More just quirky and “yeah, I’m wearing a tophat, what of it?” It looks a lot like you, and the obvious laughter is brilliant. The sun picture is lovely, and looks the most like everyday you, but doesn’t instantly get across that you are a complete freak. The scary one is too scary and gives the false impression that you are a goth full-time, rather than that you sometimes wear all black and scare the shit out of people.

  2. says

    Well, in support for the picture you have up there right now, when I stumbled across your blog, I knew who you were because you had written something for On our Backs years ago and used that picture and I recognized it. (How often do you see a hot woman dressed up as a Revolutionary War soldier?) I’m probably not the only one who recognized it from OoB. Also, dude… Revolutionary War soldier? HOTT and AWESOME. Geektastic.
    I didn’t get the whole “historical recreation nerd” vibe from the pic, actually. I just thought it was for a costume party or whatever.
    I think that “scary” is too scary.
    The center one, honestly, shows some grey hair and you look heavier in it. Now I don’t necessarily think it’s a bad thing (I think it’s awesome), but it’s important to decide if the assumptions that people make when they see an older fat woman are the kinds of first impressions you want to make. Maybe it is. Maybe you’re saying “I’m going grey and I’m chubby… and I talk sex and atheism so fuck you society!” And that’s awesome. But it’s something that needs to be thought over.
    “Tophat”, you still have that “coming off gothy” thing going on. I don’t think the flash is washed out, but the background is a little dark in places… but that’s nothing a good photoeditor like Photoshop or iPhoto can’t deal with. I don’t think that the tophat screams “historical recreation nerd” but rather “unique sense of style” (which I personally dig).
    The Simpsons pic… you know, I don’t think you WOULD have copyright issues. They made the flash game available to everyone and they made the images available for DL, so I don’t think it would be a problem.
    I’d say go for the Simpsons pic, and if not that, Tophat, and if not that, Revolutionary Girl.
    …and as for HTML vs. leaving it the way it is… I don’t care as long as it continues to automatically turn URLs into hyperlinks. I hate it when a site decides to add HTML functionality but then you find that you have to do hyperlinks by hand. (Not that I’m not a wiz at doing them, but it’s so much faster to just plop the URLs in and let it handle it.)

  3. says

    ” I don’t care as long as it continues to automatically turn URLs into hyperlinks. I hate it when a site decides to add HTML functionality but then you find that you have to do hyperlinks by hand.”
    Alas, that’s exactly what would happen. Either URLs will continue to be automatically turned into hyperlinks, OR people can use HTML but will have to do hyperlinks by hand. That’s just how it works. I’m not sure why.
    Oh, BTW: I didn’t know this myself until someone wrote in to tell me, but the uniform actually isn’t Revolutionary War. It’s Napoleonic. The symbolism of which is a little weird, but I don’t think I care about that very much.

  4. Zak says

    Not knowing you personally, I dig the top hat picture. It’s the one that tells me you really are a living person. Laughing looks good on you and it comes across as more open.
    As for HTML, I’m not picky. When I comment, I’d use it and sometimes screw it up and leave tags open. So there’s plusses and minusseses.

  5. The Cat Herder says

    I like the one in front of the shrubbery. The one with your eyes too wide look like you are clowning around. The tophat one looks too much like a snapshot at a party. Plus the lighting is better in the shrubbery picture.
    I always liked the costume one. I figured you were making some kind of revolutionary, butch, authoritative statement in that photo.

  6. says

    I agree that the “Scary” photo is a little too scary. Either the “Sun” or the “Tophat” photo will work pretty well, though I’d lean toward “Tophat.”

  7. says

    I like the tricorner just because it’s so different from anyone else’s picture. But if you have to change it, I’d go with “Tophat” (which looks like it should be pronounced toe-fat if I look at it for too long.) Funny that you almost didn’t include it. It just has so much life and energy. I agree with others that “Scary” is too scary. And I think “Sun” is just a little too book jacket writerly passive. My 2 cents.
    Question about switching to html: would that mean that line breaks are not automatically converted to paragraphs? Would commenters have to put in their own paragraph tags?

  8. says

    “Question about switching to html: would that mean that line breaks are not automatically converted to paragraphs? Would commenters have to put in their own paragraph tags?”
    No, it wouldn’t mean that. Line breaks would still be inserted automatically. (At least, that’s how it’s worked on every other blog I’ve visited that’s permitted HTML in their comments.)
    And thanks to everybody for the feedback on the photo. I’m heading towards a decision soonish, but if anyone else has any thoughts on the matter, please feel free to holler, as I’m still pondering.

  9. Laura Deal says

    I think the top hat one has the best balance of quirky without fitting into a stereo type, because top hats are versatile it could be part of a historical costume, you could be a musical theater geek, or you could be at a fancy dress New Year’s party.
    The Sun one looks the most like you and I really like the expression on it, which I think saves it from being too run of the mill. That said, it is the most mainstream of the bunch.
    If you want I could do some cropping, give you some coloring options and even put you on different backgrounds. I’ve been playing around with photo shop a lot lately and it’s my new favorite toy, so it wouldn’t be a imposition, other than taking time away from the series of Buffy/Firefly pulp fiction and romance novel covers I’m working on (Hey, I could make you into a pulp fiction cover if you want… )
    E-mail me or call me on my cell if you’re interested and we can talk options.
    Here are the book covers if you want to check them out:
    http://i210.photobucket.com/albums/bb173/Lauratd_album/fanart/malice.jpg
    http://i210.photobucket.com/albums/bb173/Lauratd_album/fanart/TemptedChamps.jpg
    http://i210.photobucket.com/albums/bb173/Lauratd_album/fanart/Shakedowncopy.jpg
    http://i210.photobucket.com/albums/bb173/Lauratd_album/fanart/soultrade.jpg
    http://i210.photobucket.com/albums/bb173/Lauratd_album/fanart/Heat.jpg
    http://i210.photobucket.com/albums/bb173/Lauratd_album/fanart/TisPityShesadeadwhore.jpg
    you can check out my life journal http://www.livejournal.com/ if you want to see more of my stuff, or I can e-mail you some things I’m not allowed to post anywhere yet because they’re up for voting

  10. says

    I like “tophat”, though “sun” isn’t bad either. “Scary” just makes you look crazy.
    I really like the “Greta Simpson” one, though, and I’m not sure if it presents any more of a copyright issue than all the other Simpsons images you use already.
    And I vote a big YES for allowing HTML in comments.

  11. says

    I like “tophat”, though “sun” isn’t bad either. “Scary” just makes you look crazy.
    I really like the “Greta Simpson” one, though, and I’m not sure if it presents any more of a copyright issue than all the other Simpsons images you use already.
    And I vote a big YES for allowing HTML in comments.

  12. Eclectic says

    I pretty much agree. The tricorn picture is cool (and makes you look hawt!), the “scary” one looks like bad horror-show acting, and the top hat one looks cool-gothy. If it’s a particular historical costume, it’s not obvious – you just look dressed up for a party. (The makeup and hair particularly gives that effect.)
    I still like the tricorn picture for an inset photo because the bold colors make it very memorable.
    As for HTML, I could go either way. I’ve wished for the features, but if you can live with *various* _kinds_ of EMPHASIS, I can do likewise.

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