Changes to my website…

…are pretty obvious to anyone who has visited before. It’s getting closer to what I’ve wanted it to look like from the beginning, but didn’t know how — or what — to do to achieve the desired result.

I think I downloaded about two dozen Word Press themes to my computer, uploaded them to my site, and ran them for a while (often a very short while), and tried to customize them without much success. A lot of the themes that provide “options for customizing” don’t provide the kind of options I was looking for. But of course you can’t know that until you install them and look “under the hood.” At last I found a theme called “Tweaker,” built specifically for people who want more flexibility than a limited list of options (click on the link to see what the theme looked like when I first started). With this theme, you have to go into the stylesheet and rewrite the CSS tags for the elements you want to change. I wanted to change a lot.

First I had to make my header/banner, using my favorite photo and my photo editing tools (GIMP). That was fun — all seventy-jillion times I did it over before I got it the right size. Then it clashed with the color of the “Search” box background, so I had to find the tags for that, and find the right shade of gray and the hexadecimal code for it. When both those things worked, my confidence went up a notch — which for me can be kind of dangerous because I start thinking I can do anyfrakkingthing.

Ever since Chris Guillebeau updated his blog with that cool background, I have wanted to use my dog photo as my background. I had no idea how to fade it out, though, so that text wouldn’t disappear against some part or other. Black text would get lost in the black areas, white text would be hard to read against some of the grays, and other colors would probably just look ghastly.

So I sat down with my GIMP again and basically tried every single effect in the menu, to see what would happen. I finally discovered that the brightness control was all I needed. The higher I cranked it, the more the picture faded. Yay. I had the background image I wanted. Now, how to install the sucker.

Back when I was working for the Kentucky Department for Environmental Protection, I took a lot of career development classes — things like how to use all the Microsoft Office crap programs, how to provide good customer service, stuff like that. I also took two one-day classes in HTML, and one in CSS. So, of course I think, hey, I know how to write this stuff. Did I not just change the header to my personalized banner? Piece of cake.

Seventy-jillion do overs later my piece of cake is nearly perfect. I seem to have a problem with some of the captions on my photos. If the caption runs onto a second line, it is being superimposed onto the first. Crazy-making. For now, I’ll just shorten the captions. That part, I can manage.

(And if you are having trouble seeing the text against the darker parts of the photo, try this — hold down your control key and hit the plus sign three or four times. The print will get bigger and then go bold. Tons easier to see — even on white web pages, and ‘specially if you’re elderly, like me.)

I have been deviating from the  plan I had for this blog shortly after I started it, which was not quite what I had originally planned, but, I’m going to return to the posting schedule I set up in the revised “tentative plan” for now. I’m still trying to find some kind of gainful employment so the dogs and I won’t starve, so any lapses from my blogging efforts will probably be because I’m having some kind of anxiety attack over an interview or other job application thing.

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