Courtesy Keytechinc

Cascading Style Sheets are not exactly in my wheelhouse.

They’re kind of in the supply shed next to my wheelhouse. They’re right next to what I work with and I am familiar with them, but they aren’t what I work with all the time, and the nature of working with them slows me down quite a bit. I can do it, sure, and I can even produce results that are aesthetically pleasing. But it’s meticulous, exacting work, and continuously having to run between my wheelhouse and the shed take a lot out of me.

Don’t get me wrong. I vastly prefer using CSS to laying things out in Photoshop or even Flash. One of the advantages of the dayjob work I currently do is that 95% of it is happening on the code end of things. All I need is Notepad++, FileZilla, and a few browsers for testing. This method allows me to assault my problems from an angle that makes sense to me.

In terms of programming, I’m a little bit on the ancient side. I never got into some of the more hardcore languages like C, Python, or Perl, but back in the day, I hammered out some programs in BASIC, and my first few forays into web design were pure HTML constructs, before the advent of CSS or JavaScript. I think that’s where a lot of my approach comes from.

I use automobile analogies a lot when I describe online programmatic approaches and challenges. For example: if I were working with cars instead of computers, I would be more concerned about the inner workings of the engine, transmission, and even the sound system, rather than the paint job, flares, or rims. I can do it – I know my way around an airbrush rig and the sockets for the rims – but I much prefer being elbow-deep in engine grease and pistons.

I’ve worked for a great firm called Twelve23 for two weeks, now, and the experience has been a good one. I don’t drive to work – it’s walking and the light rail, for me. I have access to Belltown, a nice little portion of downtown Seattle. When things feel intense or problematic, I can duck out and walk up the hill, and catch sight of the Space Needle. It’s relaxing and a comfort, in all honesty. I have to remind myself that out here, things are different.

I’m used to the pace of the east coast. Everything is more immediate out there, at least in my experience. Workplaces are more intense. Stakes are high and the edges are sharp and jagged. It seems smoother, here. It could just be me, but the environment here is much more amenable to my pace of work and my outlook on priorities. I’m no slacker, and I’ll do what must be done, but I need to remind myself that taking care of myself is important, too.

And now I’ve gone 487 words without mentioning how I’m not at PAX East this weekend and that SUCKS.