Projects: In a World of Menus and Sidebars

The first time I built a website, back in 1999, I used Microsoft Front Page and tweaked individual pages using HTML code. Later, I created a few pages using Dreamweaver. I have always used Adobe Photoshop to edit photos and design graphics. I even learned how to design a web page using Photoshop’s “Save as HTML” function.


I became familiar with WordPress using Blogger and, and began creating my first website from scratch in December 2017. The cookie cutter aspect of the software can be frustrating, but the compatibility you get cross-platform and using multiple devices pretty much makes it the best way to go if you are more interested in delivering content versus getting too technical.


Organizing a personal website is for me a bit like putting my life into easy to identify compartments.


I started by linking most of my social media profiles using icons and sidebar plugins aka widgets. From there, I started adding menus and submenus to internal and external places. Prioritizing the process based on which personal project was foremost on my mind.


The Magic Times menu currently takes you to this site based journal or to my memoir about growing up in Oakland and Davis which is still situated at


The Film and Video Views menu provides links to articles about movies and television, as viewed on the big screen, home video, or on one of the many streaming services that have gone from recycling content to producing their own content.


In the last few years, I have had the opportunity to do presentations on films and photography at local libraries and camera clubs. The Presentation menu will take you to the Power Points that I designed for my last two talks. These live on the Slideshare website which is currently affiliated with LinkedIn.


The most recent addition to my menu is Theatre in the Foothills with links to YouTube, Facebook and Twitter profiles designed to support future programs about performers, theater groups, and venues in Nevada County, California. The first Theatre in the Foothills program, currently in post production, will be about Chris LeGate, who has portrayed Mark Twain for years.


Most likely, the next menu item will be information on Improv workshops and performances, plus a revised section of web based Improv resources. Stay tuned as my website evolves from day to day, month to month, year to year, and project to project.


Mark Time

MontageIn 2017, I continued my relationship with Social Media. I blogged, microblogged, videoblogged, posted, photoposted, updated, checked-in, liked, commented, shared, tweeted, rated, reviewed, googled, and binged. I have the Snapchat app, but I didn’t snap anyone or distort my face with bunny filters.


I have a friend who hates Social Media, he says he can’t get it to do what he wants it to do. After a brief battle with what he calls “Facebook Nazis”, he retreated to a good book and a bottle of booze. I, on the other hand, still attempt to bend the social web to my will. I produce visual content and headlines on an almost daily basis. I share articles, photos, videos, music, and artwork on my Facebook Pages and I rate every book that I read on Goodreads. Occasionally, I write a review.


Still, I wish that I had accomplished more in 2017. A recent assignment with a Temporary Agency had me playing the role of surveyor, riding public transit and passing out surveys to passengers. The job could very well be a metaphor for my life in 2017.


  • Documenting Movements = Checking in on Social Media
  • Collecting Data = Taking Photos/Taking Notes/Making Lists
  • Marking Time = Posting photos and a word here and there on Social Media


So, at the end of 2017, I embarked on a mission to sort out the mess that I’ve made all over the Internet and do some virtual housekeeping. The goal is to replace my old dot com with a user-friendly WordPress website. Still a work in progress, it is coming along. The menu and the sidebar are growing.


I’m a bit of a content cannibal. Eventually, the blog posts that are linked today will disappear from the web and become books. If you have any comments or criticisms now is the time to get them off your chest. Meditations on film and memoirs that are linked here today may be gone tomorrow, restructured and reimagined.


Nouveau Blog

Over the years, Magic Times has revealed itself on an irregular basis. Chameleon like it has morphed from a printed newsletter/zine to an email, from a social media post to an actual website, from a CD to a DVD.


What is it now? Answer: A short blog post on a new website that I started building this week that will eventually replace my old dot com Frankensite. The dramatis personae, as usual, are my family and friends.  Books, movies, music, art and the theatre will also play a part.


I have always kept a long list of personal goals and projects. I suppose the list is long because I have so many interests. While others find long “to do” lists daunting, for me, they offer an opportunity to switch gears based on the resources at hand.


The hardest part of any new project is getting started. After that, I try to stay on course, oscillating between a forward focus and distraction. Shifting gears, I’ve learned, can stimulate insights and epiphanies. Plus a little recreation can open the mind to new ideas, crush obstacles, and offer solutions that are hard to come by when you abide the straight and narrow path.


At sixty-one, I have had my fair share of unfinished business. If I let regrets get the better of me, I would be clinically depressed. That sort of diagnosis doesn’t exactly make your dreams come true. Avoiding the talking cure, I have once again turned to the writing cure.


Travels around the block are as valuable as a trip around the world. Amazing things can happen while walking the dog. There are so many sights to see.


Click around. Check out some photos. More content to come.


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