Trying Out New Themes

So while I think about the beginning of this book I’m trying to write, I’m still working on my websites. I now have only two of them to keep track of. I dumped the contents of all the others, even got rid of the databases for them. I am such a digital hoarder. I admit that.

Anyway, the theme I have been using is one I kinda did myself based off one of the original ones from many years ago. I like my CSS stylesheet to be neat and tidy, not the mess they have it now. And it was working just fine, but more and more plugins were getting hard to get to work if I needed them to run on a page vs run in the background.

“They’re Just Words” (my official site) has had a “real” theme for a while now but it is all pages and very static. “Thought Patterns” however, has a lot going on. Or it once did. Anyway, I’ve looked at a bunch of themes, tried them out. I didn’t want one with flashing crap or rotating images or rolling news feeds. I wanted:

  • light colors
  • two columns
  • right sidebar
  • single image across entire top
  • OR right sidebar that goes all the way to the top
  • custom colors
  • custom anything else I could do

Oh what fun it has been finding any to fit all that. Then to trial them and see if I could figure them out. Some were so funkily CSS coded, I couldn’t find anything! One looked good but was very, very widget dependent. If it wasn’t a widget, I don’t think it could go into the sidebar. I tried putting a line of text inside some code to see where it would appear in the sidebar and it…well, it was a mess. Another was beautiful but you could only have 3 custom menus for the entire design. Just three??

But I think I like the one I am using now, called Catch Evolution. A little to bright white for me so I may gray it up a bit. And the upper right menu bar, the title of it is in black inside the brown and can’t be read. I need to dig through the CSS and find it.

Let me know what you think.

Oh, and the plugin found close to 1600 broken links. Not surprising for a blog that’s been around for almost 11 years. I got almost all of them on the main site and will slowly work through them on this one. So anything that is faded and has a line through it is a broken link.

It’s Alive!

I think. I hope.

They’re Just Words (main part, professional part)
Looks ‘xactly the same and should have no issues. You will notice two differences immediately. One may be annoying and please let me know. All external links will have the “external link” icon next to it. If you find that distracting, tell me! Personally, I’m not fond of it but it’s something I am trying. The other difference will be some links with lines through them. That means they are broken and I need to fix them. Of course there may be a few other things here and there that are new. Like a new “captcha” for comments I’m trying.

As far as things being broken still, there’s a few pages with specific purpose, such as the sitemap, that are not working since they are plugin or code dependent. Those still need to be fixed. Most of the major changes were behind the scenes. WordPress is an awesome software and luckily this site has a “real” theme with very few changes to it.

Thought Patterns (the good, the bad, the fugly)
The problem with good old Thought Patterns is it’s been around a loooong time. Which means a huge database with lots of stuff that I wasn’t sure was still needed or not so I was just leaving tables still there. So the blog was getting slower, taking up a lot of room, and just asking for trouble. Which was surprising it was not the one hacked. Or maybe the hackers just didn’t want to deal with all the clutter and went for nice and neat TJW instead. We’ll never know.

Once I figured out what I was doing and got the other half working, I got to work on this one. Which wasn’t easy. The theme I use is based off one of the original themes from way, way back and is so customized, I’m surprised it still works with each update. The CSS file, bless its heart, is what holds this site together. It’s a strong beastie.

So. Plugins. Outdated. Wow were they. Replacing some many most of them was impossible. Luckily I’d found replacements for the important ones when doing the other so all I had to do was either find something for the others or decide if I really and truly needed whatever it was that plugin did. I opted for the latter.

Which means some things no longer exist. If you were subscribed to be notified of new posts, that no longer exists. I can’t find one that does what I want without also notifying you of everything else under the sun (like if I update a page or log on). And there’s going to be some older posts with some missing stuff in it. Broken code, missing images, etcetera. Get over it.

Anyway, I could go on and on about what is working and what is not. But I’d rather go sit out in the sun with my dog and my honey. So have fun with the “new” sites and let me know what you think. And let me know if anything is not working.

A Long Time Bloggin’

I realized the other day that I have been online “blogging” for over ten years now. I remember the first time I heard of it. I was hanging out online at a writers forum called “Forward Motion“. Most folks back then were using LiveJournal or one of the others. I poked around with all of that for a short while but didn’t like being locked in to a box that wasn’t mine or mine to control.

So I learned html and tables and made my own dang box! It was ugly but it worked for me. I had my own website anyway by then (good ol’ holyroller.org) and I just put it there. I eventually learned a little bit of CSS and used that as the basic template. After several years of that (yes, years), I stumbled across WordPress with my web host and switched to that. Open source? Done! Copy/paste-ing all that stuff was a major PITA but I did it. Nearly all of it is here. Somewhere in all my files is the original html files. I shudder to look at the mess it was. I think I may be missing some here and there. December of ’03 starts rather abrupt. There’s got to be some missing.

Most of what I wrote in this blog thing was for myself. Noting down progress or the lack thereof. Being accountable to my invisible minions. I don’t think anyone but me was reading it. They told me it was a web log, shortened down to the word “blog”. So, that’s what I made it. A log. Part diary, part daily log.

Testing a Facebook Plugin

Since I’m not that fond of FB but soooo many people are addicted to it (yes, I mean you), I am trying out a Facebook plugin for my WordPress based blog. This is a test post. Let’s see if it works.

Site Update 4 (and Final?)

Well, there it is.

I went against my original plan of not using images as background. What do y’all think of them?

The very back is delightfully subtle and makes the rest seem less flat.

The sidebar background I like a lot.

The same image is used for the header and the menu below it. I tried it here, where the posts appear, and just didn’t like it. I used ColorPic (a little program I’ve been using for a very long time) to find a good pixel from the background image. I think it matches nicely. In addition to ColorPic, I also used Notepad2, another program I’ve used for a long time. I like that it has line numbers.

For now, I am also keeping the shed and the iris. I really like the iris. It looks……sensual. The shed is just white trash. That door has been leaning like that for nearly 20yrs. Ain’t fell yet! LOL

So, here it is.

Damn. This means I need to get back to work. Dang it.

Working on Harri’s book. I want to get it finished before I start editing To Sleep. Her book is supposed to be funny. Still waiting for the humor to start. Big Heavy Sigh.

Site Update 3

3:08pm – Wow. 12hrs. I did get some sleep, though! Updated a LOT of the stuff in the sidebar. Did a bunch of links, changed/updated pages, um, bunches of stuff along those lines. Changed the color of the sidebar background. But…I think it is all a little too….pastel-y. I ain’t a pastel-y gal. I like soft colors, soft textures, yeah. But….I don’t know. Wood tone colors aren’t that fun to look at sometimes. Gonna look for images of trees now. When I’m done, I’ll link to all the images I am trying out or, rather, the ones I at least liked enough to leave up for more than a few seconds.

3:42am – couldn’t sleep. About the time I was ready to, the sound I’d been hearing finally made it’s way to my brain. I thought a fish filter had gone kuput but it was a helicopter. It had been flying around for at least 45 minutes at that point. It finally changed it’s grid or something and I could no longer hear it at about 2:30, about 2hrs after I first heard it. No clue what it was looking for. We locked the doors and turned on the porch light juuuust in case.

Anyway, looked for a photo of my own and put up two photos. One in the header (our garden shed) and one in the sidebar (purple iris bud). But they no longer match the color scheme I had before so….

I’m going to bed. More later.

Site Update 2

Okay. Done for the day. Done enough damage I think.

I would really like to put the sidebar below the header (and still to the side) but I can’t seem to figure out how. I think it has to do with the placement of the ‘body’ tag but…me brain be fried.

I like the image.

Going to lessen the blue in the area where the posts appear. Probably will leave everything in the sidebar alone other than background color and putting it below the header.

Opinions?