More better Starving

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Welcome to Starving’s new look. The vivacious and talented Amanda Blum, of Howling Zoe Productions, has not just redesigned my site, she’s dragged me kicking and screaming into the world of new media. 

When I started writing for a living, we still carved words in stone with chisels.  Or just about, by today’s standards. I did use a computer, but it was only as a word processor. I’d create a file, fill it with my deathless prose, and send it on to my editor, my agent, my mother … whoever. From there, it would go through channels and eventually appear in print. On actual paper.

When I started writing for a living, we still carved words in stone with chisels.

Those were the days.

It’s not that I don’t want to change with the times, to get with the program. It’s just that I internalized a model that doesn’t include dynamic content, or search engine optimization, or Twitter. I’ve developed muscle memory that has me sitting in front of the computer, creating stuff, and then sending it out as a fait accompli. A fait accompli without pictures.

But this will never do, Amanda said, and she took me to Wordcamp Boston to prove it. If Starving is going to be interesting, it has to be interactive and well-illustrated. If it’s going to be well-read, I need a presence in places where my potential readers like to go. And so I will facilitate discussion and cross-posting. I will take more, better pictures. I will Tweet.

I hope you’ll join me. Reading my readers’ reactions is one of the best parts of blogging (can’t get that with magazine work!), so I hope you’ll leave your two cents.  If you read something you like (or even something you hate), send it on to your friends.  Come join me on Twitter (@tamarhaspel) by clicking the little blue bird in the upper right-hand corner. Friend me on Facebook, and say Starving sent you. You can never have too many friends.

Meantime, you may encounter a few glitches as we work out all the kinks.  If you find something that doesn’t work right, you’ll be doing me a favor if you leave a comment or drop me an e-mail.

And if you see Amanda – she’s the one with the flaming red hair – thank her for me.

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Comments

  1. Fantastic! =)

  2. I think your blog is awesome regardless of how it looks but… this is fan-freaking-tastic! 🙂 And if you want any of the pics I took of you at KingsfordU, just gimme a holler. Welcome to web 2.0! xo

  3. Ugh! Facebook and Twitter? Both are reasons I left for the blogosphere, which is much friendlier, in my view. But if you must enjoy more exposure, I guess that this is the way to do it. I like the new graphic okay, but I like the old photo better. It was an action photo! I like the idea of the recipe index, and the search feature is nice, and will probably come in handy someday, but the tweets and facebook stuff just doesn’t do it for me. maybe too much of a good thing, or maybe I’m just too old- just not my thing.

  4. I’m with Paula. Maybe I’m just too old for twitter and facebook. I can’t be bothered, so I won’t be following you there. But I’ll keep up the subscription with my google reader. Is that stone age? Maybe we need new “ages” to describe the eras of the internet.

  5. Love the new look – very clean and fresh. One odd little glitch – every time I load a page, the content is there and after about 5 seconds everything except the title shifts over to the right of my screen, so that you can’t see it and have to scroll right to read it. My browser is Safari – maybe that’s got something to do with it (like I know anything about it!). Once I’ve scrolled everything is fine (although the title and links are then way over to the left. Never seen anything like it!

  6. Alison and Jen — Thanks! I think it’s a lot cleaner.

    Paula and Kate — I absolutely understand. I’m naturally averse to Twitter and Facebook as well, but I’ve come to see that, for me, they have their uses. The blog will still be here, no social media required, and the content will still be the same. And I promise lots more action photos of chickens!

    Fiona — Thanks for the Safari glitch. We tested in Chrome, Firefox, and IE, but neither of us had a Mac. It may take a while to get to it, but I’ll try to work it out.

  7. Love the new banner!

  8. I love the new look – website and hair!

    You asked for feedback – I use Opera on a PC and some of text on the buttons is clipping at the bottom. So Starving by email gets chopped off at the bottom of the v of the y – if that makes sense? Links is clipped, as is Chatter.

  9. Benoit — I like the banner, too. You should have seen us getting the comb and the wattle just right.

    Madcat — I knew exactly what you’re talking about because it happens occasionally in IE, too — the bottom half of the letters gets cut off. It’s an intermittent problem for me. It seems that, when the page is fully loaded, it doesn’t happen. I’ll see what we can do …

  10. hey guys. as in all things web… there are just too many browsers out there. we’ve tested this site across the board, and as long as you’re using the latest version of safari, you *should* be ok. There are a few instances, like IE 6 (bah!) and opera on a pc maybe, that we can’t account for. (but opera on a mac should be fine). over the next week or two we’ll try to get all the little things worked out, and if we can make it work for everyone, awesome:) that said, generally recommend that you use firefox or chrome for web browsing.

  11. It looks very professional, and I love the overall design. Although I won’t use much of the social networking gizmos (I don’t actually know what RSS is), those are MY limitations. There is something here for everyone, including luddites like me who will regularly tune in for just the blog and good writing. Even if it still came as updates on chiseled stone tablets. Your pictures are always excellent, and add a lot to the content.

  12. Looks wonderful Tamar! Did you cut your hair too? Looks like it from that bio picture. BTW, have a wonderful time celebrating the hubs birthday. I’ll be wishing you were with me at the Pillsbury Bake-Off.

  13. Hi Amanda – I’m on Safari 4.0.5 which, according to Apple, is the latest version. I know it is a real pain trying to create a web page that works with all those browsers – you’d the the industry might play nice and use similar rules / protocols or whatever they’re called across the board. I’ll be sticking with Safari for a while – just got used to it after years of IE usage (and pain). Site looks great anyway!

  14. Amanda — Thanks for jumping in to answer the really hard questions. I’ll take the easy ones.

    Jen — It’s learning about things like RSS that makes me feel stupid and old. Here’s this stuff that people half my age take for granted, and I have to take it step by small step.

    Jennifer — New site, new hair — next thing you know, I’ll be getting that red sports car. I’m really sorry to miss the Bake-Off. Tell me all about it when you’re back!

    Fiona — Maybe if we wait patiently, all the little glitches will just go away …

  15. Judy Needham says:

    Oh, Tamar – I’m bereft! I feel as if I have lost an old friend. Clicking on your blog was like sitting down with a beloved book, a pot of tea and a wonderful afternoon ahead of me – maybe a chance to learn a new skill, read a funny story, find a new recipe or just watch your chickens do chicken things. Suddenly, I’m transported back to NYC with all the busyness and noise; my computer, you see, doesn’t like all the add-ons on your site and whirrs and hums and generally ruins the quiet contemplativeness of the moment – and what Cape Cod is all about. I do wish you had kicked and screamed just a bit harder and dug your heels in and said the old way is best.

  16. Judy! Don’t be bereft! I’m sorry to hear that your computer is voicing complaints about the new site, but I assure you that the content won’t be changing. It’ll be the same stories, the same adventures, the same epic failures! I would be very sad to hear that I lost you as a reader because of my changes. For Starving to keep going, I need as many readers as I can get — I’m doing this to try and reach out into the wider world. I hope you’ll bear with me and stick with me.

  17. Hi Tamar! I’ve been following your blog for just about a year now, and always meant to comment on your wonderful writing. But here I am commenting for the first time on the look of the blog, not the content! Fail! Anyway, I’m absolutely with Judy on this one- I loved the old blog and how personal and easy it felt. This new format makes me feel like you’re selling me something. And I am most decidedly in the internet generation (my facebook and twitter both go straight to my smartphone, you know. Wait, who says “smartphone” anymore?) The chicken drawing in the header is great, even though I liked the old photo as well. It’s just…that FONT. The handwriting font reads more like “10 Easy Tips On How to Get Your 5-Year-Old to Eat Broccoli” than it does “Awesome Blog By An Incredible Writer About Everything Food, Life, and Living.”

  18. I agree with the comment (commentS?) above…is my first visit…didn’t know it, or you, existed…even tho I live in Brooklyn…don’t know you (until now)…but the first thing I saw was…NOTHIN’ but WHITE SPACE…and so…What is this? Or rather, WHERE is it? Concept is great, tho. The whole “livin’ off the land” thing. I guess. Good luck with that!

  19. I like it, its wicked cool.

  20. Jocelyn — On the plus side, I’m glad you like the chicken! I understand what you’re saying about the font, and one of the great things about modern-day tools is that we can change it at the drop of a hat! Thanks for the other kind words, and hang in with me!

    Carolina — Thanks for stopping in. One of the biggest challenges of doing this kind of thing is making sure you welcome a first-time visitor (and explain your reason for being) while keeping things interesting for the repeat customers. Thanks for the feedback!

    Rick — Moral support! Very much appreciated.

  21. Love the redesign.

  22. OK, you asked: here’s my 1 cent worth. I miss the fast chicken! I loved the old webpage, and like Judy, I so enjoyed mornings when I could read the latest humor/wisdom/confession/recipe over a cup of coffee, finding pleasure and comfort in the simple design. The new page is ok and I can get used to anything. As I work on a Mac, I have the problem, as do others, of an instant’s view, then a huge blank white area; scrolling to the right at last brings text into view. Makes me feel as though I need a Mac screen the size of my flat screen TV! But I know the world moves and we must move along with it, and I understand your hope of attracting a larger audience through new media. But I will NOT Twitter, and I deactivated my account on Facebook – now there’s a site that is poorly designed, and so user-unfriendly. So it’s the web blog or nothing for me, and if my MacBook ever gives up the ghost, I’m done for.

  23. Hi Tamar, me back again. This a.m. (with my cup of coffee) the website appeared normal size! No scrolling 5 feet to the right to find the text. You seem to have fixed the glitch, well done!

  24. Hi Tamar

    Love the new look. Very sparky 🙂

  25. Katie — Thanks.

    Mimi — Glad we got that working!

    CS — Sparky! I’m sparky! Thanks.

  26. I think its lovely, very simple and streamlined.

  27. Hi Tamar!

    So far I am having the Safari problem, too. And I am also running the latest version, alas. I do hope it gets fixed soon because all I get is a huge blast of white until I scroll. And I also really miss the buff chicken. I guess for me the other version was more mellow and this one a little clickity-clack.

    Love the haircut!

    Don’t worry, Tamar, we’ll all still check in every day…your writing is too good not to.

    BTW, did you hear about the latest coyote to visit NYC? He came through the tunnel and ran all over Tribeca and Chinatown and was finally caught heading for Chelsea, I believe. (Hmpf…Bridge & Tunnel, why can’t they party in their own state?) : )

  28. Sarah — Thanks. My sentiments exactly.

    Susan — We seem to have fixed the problem with other Safari users. Have you tried a hard refresh (I’m just throwing this around because Amanda taught me what it was yesterday) by pressing control/refresh? Whatever you do, don’t leave me! I need your NY updates. Like the coyote — I hadn’t heard, but I’m going to look it up now!

  29. I Love the New Haircut and Happy Belated Birthday!!! But I have to comment, regretfully, that I originally thought I had stumbled into the wrong blog. I don’t care for the new header at all…so colorless, bland and empty. It seems uninspired and doesn’t seem to reflect the fine sense of humor you display in your writing, nor does it reach out to pull one in. I am also unable to view the entire page full screen, so I have to scroll from left to right. I don’t bother with Facebook or Twitter either. However, I am confident that the content of your blog will continue to be as informative, refreshing and witty as ever.

  30. Chirs — We’re working on the technical problems, so I hope you’ll be able to see the entire screen without scrolling soon. As for Facebook and Twitter, I wouldn’t, in my wildest dreams, try to talk you into them. It’s just an invitation for the people who do use them. Thanks for the kind words about the content. As always, that is my focus. For better or for worse, that’ll be the same.

  31. I agree with Chris. I do appreciate good graphics, and the chicken header graphic is cute, but…

    I was disappointed in the change of header from a living, compelling chicken photo to a neutral line drawing. At first, I couldn’t say why. Until I was preparing dinner tonight. A roasted chicken with vegetables from my garden and from local sources.

    From your mission statement: “We’re trying to eat one food a day that we hunt or fish, gather or grow.”

    The line-drawing is a step back from the frequently messy reality of harvesting meat or fish. The graphic chicken is cute, not real.

    A hunter friend visited a local mega-mart after a day of duck hunting. He was still in his duck-hunting camo, and struck up a conversation with a couple of college co-eds who were at the poultry case, buying boneless, skinless chicken breasts for their dinner. They were appalled when they learned that my friend had spent his day shooting ducks. He mentioned that they were buying dead birds for dinner. They responded that their dinner didn’t look like a bird, so they didn’t have to think about where it came from.

    You may reach more viewers/readers/fans with your current logo, but I will miss the real bird.

  32. Just to let you know … everything looks just fine now .. the safari glitch seems to have been sorted! Many thanks!!

  33. One minor thing that maybe Amanda can change. The "what I ate today" page has a [read more] link on every entry, whether or not there is any more to read. That's sorta annoying… Even on the main blog list, I'd rather just see the complete entries no matter how long, but I realize that's a style thing.