My Valentine’s Day project 2014
This year I did something different for Valentine’s Day… but before I get into that, as always:
Story time first
When I was a fair bit younger, I had a really nasty person give me back the rose I gave to them on Valentine’s Day. I had crushed on this person for a while, and then, of course, happily moved on. Might I add, I was in secondary school at the time, and secondary school is a very shitty time, because everything seems like a big deal when — newsflash — in a few years it really isn’t. In happily moving on, I started to date someone else. This someone else, my then-boyfriend, coincidentally happened to be the best friend of the guy I used to have a crush on.
Effectively, me and my closest friend at the time ended up being pretty good friends with this guy, and of course, my then-boyfriend. It was all well and good until I started to favour the idea of sending friendship valentines to my friends as well. On Valentine’s Day I sent a red rose to my then-boyfriend, and yellow/white ones to a few of my good friends.
In a nutshell, that didn’t end well, and the guy who I thought was one of my best friends was kind enough to storm up to me during lunch break and toss the rose back in my face. I remember his exact words to this day, and they are: “I never wanted this.”
Okay? Okay. So let me check up on this. You didn’t want one. But I didn’t tell you that you were getting one… so how was I supposed to know, right? Was I supposed to tell you? I did not assume that you would want one either. I just thought you could accept my gesture of kindness. Then again, fourteen-year-olds are stupid.
Ten years down the road, I can hardly believe it is ten years down the road. But let’s forget that stupid incident that hurt me to no end, even though I have gotten well over it by now. For the record, no, I don’t talk to that guy currently, and our next and last words to each other (at least up until today) was three years after the incident, and exchanged during a mathematics class. I don’t remember what was said, but it was awko taco.
James and I don’t really celebrate Valentine’s Day, unless we have some spare time on that day. I wanted to do something nice for a few of my friends, and not just James.
Last week I was thinking about sending hand-made cards to my friends, much like I do with Christmas cards. Cut a few small squares of paper, make some greeting cards, throw them in people’s letterboxes. Really neat idea right?
Maybe not greeting cards…
- Valentine’s Day is not as special or widely celebrated as Christmas or even someone’s birthday.
- People may not give a crap about cards. They will be in the bin the next day.
- People do not want to be reminded that they are single and the only card they get is from a friend. And in the case of guys, damn, a girl sent me a valentine and she isn’t even my girlfriend. (It does not help having mainly male friends.) I practically disregard this issue though, because Valentine’s Day should be about love! ♥️
- It takes time to create cards by hand.
- I am not going to walk to everyone’s house. Sure, Tristan lives down the road, but really. Postage costs? Forget it.
- I considered chocolate, but for the reasons above, it is pretty inconvenient. And it gets eaten, boo hoo.
- Having started work again this week, there was even less time to play.
Let’s not get caught up in “couples”
I am a sucker for love. Well, aren’t we all. But as I mentioned to Tristan some time last year, “Don’t read my Christmas card in front of me”, because I am really embarrassing when it comes to Christmas. I write really mushy, sweet stuff, and use Christmas as a time to tell someone how much I dearly love and appreciate them in my life. Friend, family, even closer friend, you name it. And I will blush as red as a watermelon dipped in beetroot juice if you read anything I write out loud1.
Valentine’s Day became the same to me. Yet another time to feel the hearts. But if I didn’t have time to create something physical like a card, it would have to be something small and simple. I didn’t want to just text everyone on my contact list with a pathetic valentine greeting, because people I love deserve a little more than that. I couldn’t just message everyone on Twitter, because telling them how much I appreciate them is not going to fit into 140 characters minus their Twitter handle.
I still wanted to be creative, but use my own creativity. Nothing like e-cards where everything is made out of presets. So… I made my own.
Cue the digital Valentine
I don’t know what I called them in the end. But first, it started with a question I asked myself, but posed towards the person I might be sending it to. “Why am I sending you a valentine? Why?”
And that’s where it started. The who/what/where/when/why. I scribbled this all down in a notebook and drew a sketch of what I wanted it to look like. I will admit, I was partially inspired by Tim Goodman’s Valentine Tweet Marathon, who hand-drew a valentine in red sharpie for each of his Twitter followers in 2012. There was no way I was even going to attempt that, but I liked his creativity in his project.
Here is what I did for Valentine’s Day 2014. I created a little website and put valentines on it, valentines to people I cared about. I wrote:
- Who they are. What their name is, essentially.
- What they are. Occupation-wise, or something that describes their personality. I wrote that Dylan is a metalhead, for example.
- Where they are located. Without adding any super-personal information, of course. I wrote an amusing one for James, related to how much he loves playing Skyrim. And an amusing one for Hey Geronimo, stating that they are wherever the Hoegaarden beer is.
- When I met them. Of course, for my parents and my brother, I left this out as it was redundant.
- Why I love them to absolute pieces. Here, I wrote what was essentially my Valentine’s Day greeting.
- I added a little photo of something that reminded me of that person or communicated how they appear to me.
I hope I didn’t make anyone feel left out with it, but I did write about it on Twitter, and got a few responses. I decided to add those people, my family, my closest friends, and a few musicians who I have gotten to know very well over the past few years. Group valentine, yep!
Build and Delivery
I built this the day before Valentine’s Day. In fact, the night before. I was planning it a few days in advance, but since work kept me on my feet and I was tired, I left it until the night before. I only started at about 10:00pm, and finished almost four hours later. I began with the HTML, and wrote out all my Valentines, and picked out all the photos. It didn’t take too long, but I spent a while styling it. I had just set up Stylus2 on my MacBook so I decided to make use of that.
Styling was not hard, but thinking about how people would be viewing the website took a little extra time. I planned to deliver it by sending people a direct link that would show their valentine first and foremost, instead of making them scroll and look for their personalised one on the page. To save disk space, and because it was not practical, I did not want to have a separate page for each valentine. Keeping it on one page was simple, and URLs simply looked like
by.georgie.nu/valentines/#james/, so it would jump to the appropriate part of the page when clicked.
The clock hit 2am and I was pretty much done. It was all perfected and simple enough, and knowing a good lot of my friends would be asleep, I took out my phone and messaged them with a link. They would see it in the morning. For others, I waited until I woke up in the morning and sent a tweet to get their attention. Positive responses came through, with the valentine receivers finding it very sweet, and others finding it very cute. Emmie said that she loved the Eeyore picture I chose, and that I know her too well. Brandon laughed at the baguette3. Score!
It has been a while since I coded anything new, be it for personal projects or commissions. This was a great way to encourage me to set up a development environment. I used to have
dev.georgie.nu for testing things and uploading little bits of code to learn and experiment with HTML and CSS. I wanted to be different, and since my domain has my name in it, I intelligently used “by” as a subdomain, thus by Georgie. The subdomain actually existed before, as a home for my poetry and narrative writings, but later I decided to put my poetry on my blog.
Hopefully I will use by Georgie for other things in future, but we will see. I enjoyed doing this little project, and will maybe do something similar for other occasions. I loved getting in touch with my web designing hobby again, and hope I come up with some new ideas in future.
- This also goes for my blog. It embarrasses me to all hell when someone opens my blog on their phone and start reading it out to me in what they believe is my voice. ↩
- Stylus is a CSS pre-processor. ↩
- He actually invented the word baguette as a cuss word as opposed to saying “faggot”, apparently. He has been obsessed with baguettes since. ↩