Tuesday, December 12, 2006
Nevins Manafe, the creator of my new banner, asked that I tell you the story behind my new header. I am going to do this in two parts: First, I am going to tell you the real story. Second, I am going to write a story about the picture you see on the banner. Part I I first became familiar with Nevins Manafe through Nate over at Nate is a Blog. I didn't really know what Nevins was about at the time. I had actually made Nate's acquaintance first when I jokingly made a comment about the photo shopped mustache on Nate's face. Nate then challenged me to come up with a story about the mustache and I came up with The Newly Mustachioed Nunchuk Nate and his Mad Ninja Skills. Nate has something of a ninja fixation, as anyone who has visited his blog can tell you. He had written his own ninja story on his blog and had featured Nevins in the story, which is how I came to know the name Nevins Manafe. And that was it for a month or two. I was kind of enjoying my new blog and the people who came to visit me on a daily basis. But like so many blog obsessed people out there I began to want something a little more personalized for my little sci-fi/fantasy journal. I had experimented with free blog banners, as I am sure you all noticed. But I don't like the fact that those banner end up becoming advertising for the banner sites. I have played with adsense on my blog, but I try not to be too heavy handed with if I can help it. So I wandered the net for awhile looking for a way to make my own banner. But I found it wasn't as easy as I had hoped. I had managed to find ways to personalize my blog and incorporate the three column template and collapsible posts on my own. But for some reason the whole customized banner thing was stumping me. And then I remembered Nevins. Nevins had also done a cool banner for Nate and I had seen some of his work pop up on Muffin53 (Empress Bee's website). I knew Nevins' blog was called Barter My Skills but I didn't really know how it worked. So I contacted him through a post on his site and he got back to me within a few hours. I told him I wanted a banner and could he do it for me? He was really nice about it, and said he thought it would be fun and asked what I had in mind to barter for it. Now here I was kind of baffled. I had no clue. I asked him what he normally did and mentioned I could promote his blog on mine, or write a story or whatever he had in mind. Well, it turns out Nevins is a pretty sweet guy. He told me then that he was feeling a little blue because he had broken up with his girlfriend and would I send her a flower and a card? I thought that was really nice and said sure. Unfortunately I found this a little harder than I thought. I don't know about the rest of you, but I'm a little tight on money right now due to Christmas and when I looked up some florists online I realized it would probably cost around $40 to send even the smallest bouquet of flowers. My husband understood my desire to have a banner but wondered if it could wait until after Christmas. Feeling bad, but understanding the need to conserve some cash as this time, I emailed Nevins back and told him about my predicament. To be honest I kind of expected Nevins to say never mind on the deal, or say ok, it could wait until the beginning of the year or something like that. Instead he sent me this "You deserve a nice banner, and your family deserve good xmas gift too. well, the idea is giving out something... its not always flower.. you can find any idea that match your budget, and surprise me with it! hehehehe it can be hand made or anything unique and romantic.. the most important for me is the idea." Is that the nicest thing or what? I was so impressed with Nevins and his generosity. So I came up with a gift I could make and send to his former girlfriend and got to work on it. But then there was another hitch. The ex-girlfriend found another guy. Nevins was obviously pretty sad about the whole deal, who wouldn't be? I emailed him with progress on the gift and didn't think much about it when I didn't hear back at first. I didn't know that Nevins was feeling even more blue than before until I visited his site and saw a post that indicated how sad he was. There were a couple of comments left on his site by concerned bloggers who had come to know and care about Nevins. I saw them and became a little concerned myself and left a message saying so. To my surprise Nevins emailed me right back and told me what was going on and did I think he should still send a gift to the ex-girlfriend. Well, heck, how was I supposed to answer that one? To be honest, at this point I was thinking Nevins was way too good for this girl. But I didn't want to be too blunt, so I just asked him instead if he thought it was worth the effort and I would have no problem doing whatever he wished. Nevins impressed me yet again by coming up with a better idea. He suggested I send the gift to someone else. Someone who had shown kindness and caring about him and someone who (I think) would be very appreciative of the gesture. Now, I would love to tell you what the gift is and who it's for, but it's a surprise for someone who might actually read this. So I am going to leave it a minor mystery for now. And THEN, after all this, Nevins emails me back and asks me what I would like my banner to look like. I hadn't even finished my little project yet and he was already set to go. He told me that he works on faith and trust and was ready to get to work. Wow! I didn't have any specific ideas, and just told him I wanted it to look like something that would be appropriate for a fantasy/sci-fi blog. Could I have been any more vague? And he came up with the fantastic banner you see at the top of my page all on his own. How cool is that? His only other request was that I tell you all the story behind the banner. I volunteered to also write a fictional story about the picture, which should show up in a day or two. I also need to finish the gift for Nevins' friend. You see, he did all this and I haven't even mailed the thing off yet. So, needless to say, I am feeling a little inadequate at the moment. But I thought you should all know what a great guy Nevins is. And truly, if anyone wants anything done for their blog, Nevins is the guy to go to. Thanks Nevins.