In case you haven’t noticed (maybe you read my blog through a feed, or this is your first time here, or you don’t read it at all), jillapalooza has a new look!
I decided to go with the Simplo theme by Site5. On their site, it said their free WordPress themes were exclusively for customers, but since I didn’t have any trouble downloading or installing it, I’m not going to feel too bad.
It took me forever to find a theme I liked. The popular thing these days seems to be featured images, where instead if a static header, there is a rotating image associated to recent posts. That would be good if I had a dedicated photo or entertainment blog, but I don’t. It’s hard enough for me to post without having to worry about finding an applicable picture with the size requirements for every post I make.
Another thing I’ve noticed is that WordPress themes have become very simple looking. That’s fine, but I don’t want something boring, either. I like my blog to visually stimulating. When I settled on this theme, I realized even though it looked kind of cool, it was almost too simple. Very basic. I had to do a lot of tweaking.
Right away it irked me was that there was no default header logo. It had the little image that the browser displays when there is no photo. This especially grated on my nerves because I didn’t want to fire up The GIMP and create something before I was set on the theme, and something about the little non-image image is very distracting. Like it’s sitting there screaming BROKEN, BROKEN!
The first thing I tweaked was the social icons at the top. It came with Facebook and Twitter. That was it. Deciding the two just wouldn’t do, I made some adjustments. I probably could have just added some direct code in the header and been done with it, but where’s the fun in that? Themes nowadays have options in the dashboard, and i didn’t want to lose them. I ended up editing the header.php and functions.php files so I could add the links within the dashboard and have them appear automatically. Oh yeah, I also had to find a new set of social icons as well.
The next thing I decided to add were post tags. It went pretty smoothly as it was a basic task I’ve had to repeat on many themes. But while I was adding post tags to the single post template, I noticed BRK’s Wavatar wasn’t showing up. Gravatars were appearing, but they were circular, and while that’s cool and all, I just wasn’t feeling it. I found the mask code creating the circle and deleted it. Then I found the code causing the default Gravatar image to appear instead of the assigned Wavatar and deleted that too.
Now, while I was tackling the avatar issue, I noticed my style for inline photos was all jacked up. The first line of text was aligned with the bottom of the photo instead of wrapping nicely around it. I played with the style for a while and got angry with myself for not knowing the correct terminology to search for a solution. Eventually I found it. There’s an entire chunk of code that WordPress requires in the style sheet for version 2.7+ themes in order to comply with their built in media manager dealymabob. I added the code and it worked like a charm.
After I got the picture issue resolved, I was pretty pleased. For about seven more seconds. I was looking at my most recent wine post when I noticed all the blockquotes were no longer blocked or quoted. Once again, I opened the style sheet. I searched for the blockquote section only to learn there wasn’t one. Wtf? I was too lazy to create my own so I found one on the interwebs with a pretty little border and even an image file of… you guessed it. Quotes.
Once that was all squared away, I sat back and sighed with happiness at my new theme. Then I frowned. The pictures near the bottom of the posts were overlapping the horizontal line at the bottom. I added a quick br clear=”all” code to the two most recent posts in question to clear up the issue. It’s probably a crappy hack, but at that point I was too tired to deal with figuring out what needed to be added to what part of the style sheet.
I sat back and smiled again… until I realized my rss feed was broken. Turned out those lines were missing from the header as well.
So for now I think everything is in order. Hopefully I won’t find anything else that should be there but isn’t. I really can’t complain because A) the theme was free, 2) it’s way better than anything I could create from scratch, and c) technically I’m not a Site5 customer, so technically I’m not exclusive enough to have this theme in the first place. Maybe it’s karma…
I’m also giving the WordPress 3.3-beta2 a try. There are some little tweaks in the menus and media uploader that I am digging, like the condensed admin bar and automatic resizing of uploaded images to the predefined largest size.
Um… and that’s all I have to say about that. If you’ve made it this far, I am jealous of the time you have on your hands. And I’m deeply flattered. Thank you.