giant robots fighting god

Giant Robots Fighting God 2.0: The Lacey Chabert Diet
Peter Tatara - November 25, 2006

Throughout elementary school, I weighed over 200 pounds. While my parents saw to it that I ate right, my grandmother loved (to feed) me very much. Whenever I was at her home, I was downing 12-egg omelets for breakfast, 10-pound burgers for lunch, and spaghetti for dinner until I couldn't walk. Of course, I gobbled chips, cookies, ice cream, and popcorn drenched in melted butter between my meals, too.

My mother was concerned and pushed me into various weight loss programs, none of which worked. My father shook his head and said I'd sort my weight out once I, as he put it, "discovered girls." He was right. Within a few years of the onset of adolescence, I shed over 80 pounds. And I owe it all to the discovery of one girl. Lacey Chabert.

One day while chowing down on Cheetos -- the crispy kind, not the puffed ones -- during an episode of Ricki Lake featuring the young Miss Chabert, Lacey told the audience that she was fat as a child and lost weight, as advised by a shady doctor, by eating only 500 Calories a day. 500 Calories a day? No push-ups or sit-ups required? I started the Lacey Chabert diet immediately.

My weight plummeted drastically, and -- by replacing the 500 Calories a day diet with a vegetarian lifestyle -- I've been able to keep it off for years.

But, recently, I began to notice I was putting on some excess pounds. Well, I wasn't, but Giant Robots Fighting God was. The site had shifted focus since its inception, resulting in a lot of redundant pages half-filled with content. While the original layout fit GRFG's initial concept, in practice, a number of areas were now being neglected.

Additionally, while most of GRFG's updates were prose, looking through its visitor logs, most of the site's hits came from its photo galleries. I pondered this for a while. Were people simply clicking on GRFG's galleries hundreds of times more than its essays? Or, because of the layout of the site's now-defunct splash page -- a crude pig scribbling with links appearing whenever a visitor's mouse scrolled over various parts of the animal's body -- were people just stumbling over the galleries -- on the pig's top left -- and not figuring out there was more? I, being the naive sort, figured the latter.

Topping everything off, while GRFG looked just dandy in Opera, Navigator, Firefox, and Safari, there was an issue with a line being obscured near the bottom of every page when viewed in Internet Explorer -- and fixing the issue in Explorer rendered the problem to pop up in all the above-mentioned browsers. How many people still use Explorer, anyway? 92.9% of everyone on the internet? That's not that many.

Taking all this into account, I set about redesigning GRFG to focus on the site's strengths and, to put it in the context of this article's start, cut out the fat. I liked the look of GRFG and didn't want to ditch the layout entirely, but I knew I needed to reinvent the navigation, and after a month of tinkering, that's exactly what I did.

With the vast majority of the site's updates being textual, rather than keeping the site's content split, everything from essays to MP3s were rolled into a single archive. Along with this consolidation, various links -- namely the newsletter that never really went anywhere -- were eliminated.

The overall layout was streamlined, but all the important set pieces kept in play. While the navigational options and sections were gutted, the random top and bottom images weren't touched, and the random quotes were, while moved to the end of each page, also retained.

However, GRFG's new, minimal design was going to mean nothing if people couldn't steer through the pig. So, going against my animal-loving ways, I slaughtered the thing, replacing the splash page with, simply, GRFG's most recent update. Now, as soon as you load up the site, you'll be presented with content. Hot and fresh, baked with loved.

Are the new look and navigation going to work? I don't know. I'm somewhat saddened I had to slash the presentation, but I think what remains really is the core of what GRFG -- at the present -- is. And, going forward, as GRFG continues to warp and shift, I'll no doubt be remodeling the site again. It's funny. When GRFG was first built, I did as much as I could with CSS to make updates as painless as possible, but no matter how much CSS you use, when you do any overhaul that's more than cosmetic, you end up coding the whole damn thing all over again. I did.

The entire site relaunched today and was given a rigorous quality assurance test during a History Channel special on Carthage. As such, (1) you'll no doubt notice a few mentions of Carthage sprinkled throughout the site, and (2) errors probably still abound. Be a doll and let me know of any dead links of general hiccups you spy.

Living in Carthage probably kicked ass. Until the day Rome showed up and raped and burned to the city to the ground. That must have sucked. Welcome to the new

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