Alphabet stories poll and trying a new theme

A quick reminder that The Alphabet Challenge “S” Stories poll is still lagging in votes with only five days remaining. Of course, I realize we’re probably all a little occupied with a little election that’s going on. 

Still, if you are a reader of our stories and someone who would like to express an opinion about which of the stories you liked the best (or disliked the least), and if you participate in the poll, thank you in advance. Links to the stories and the poll for the “Alphabet Challenge S-Stories” are HERE.<<<Link Votes will be accepted until noon on November 8th.

And . . . readers who are on a PC might have noticed something . . . a different look for the blog. But, before I discuss that, here’s a photo . . .

Yellow VW Beetle covered in snowBack in the days when we were still living in Colorado and I was still working, we’d experience our first snows in September . . .

. . . not that me working had anything to do with the snow, other than it was occasionally an arduous trip home when a blizzard would show up instead of the forecast ‘regular’ snow. As in, HERE<<link. That post has four links to other snow events (and some neat photos, in my opinion).

No, I mention work because that’s the VW Beetle of a coworker.

Of course, I can’t leave it at a ‘regular’ photo.

Yellow VW Beatle covered in snow as a paintingAnyway, a new theme. I went through all the free themes and themes included with the Premium plan (which I’m in), and I narrowed it down to two themes.

If you’re reading this within a few days of publication, then the appearance of the blog is due to what is my front-runner for blog.

Edited to add: I had to nix the new theme because everything on my sidebar disappeared. VERY ANNOYED I am! The discussion below is still valid, but it won’t make sense since the theme has not yet changed.

Update: I had to rebuild the sidebar from scratch. Very Annoyed! I removed the Calendar since I don’t think anyone uses it. Likely hardly anyone but me uses any of the sidebar stuff.  Regardless, the theme now appears as I want it with the exception that some of the fonts on the sidebar are a bit larger than I want, and I might change the color and/or background. 

A lot of considerations went into the decision to change from my tried and true Twenty-Ten theme (which, most people probably don’t even remember because, after a while, you stop noticing stuff that doesn’t change). Well, here’s a reminder (for me as much as for the readers).

This was how the Home page looked . . .

. . . and this is how an individual post looked . . .

All along, I wanted a fairly ‘clean’ look with as few distractions as possible. Meaning, I wanted a mostly monochromatic theme. I figure the photos were the stars of the posts and not what the blog looked like.

Well, the theme I was using (Twenty Ten) got retired. I mean, everything still works, but as the WordPress site and underlying engine keep updating (for example, the Block Editor (ptui!)), stuff might begin to break (break as in ‘not working the way that it’s supposed to).

Here’s the thing . . . you can try any theme you want without committing to the change, and once you commit, you can always go back to your previous theme . . . except if the theme has been retired.

Understand the magnitude of this change . . . Twenty Ten is gone. I can’t go back to it.

Here’s a photo before I continue . . .

snow-covered evergreen
“So? Twenty Ten is gone. What’s the big deal?” you ask.

Why, you insensitive boob . . . er . . . I mean . . . let me explain. It’s not for you. It’s for me. I’ve been using the theme for ten years and seven month . . . that’s 127 months . . . or, 333,984,600 seconds. That’s a lot of seconds . . . more seconds than I have when I eat pasta, and that’s saying something.

I like consistency. Not in an OCD kind of way, but the way the blog looks has been a constant through a lot of changes in our lives.

Just to ponder a moment about the changes we’ve gone through, back in 2010, the country had no clue it would one day turn itself into an autocratic banana republic. I was in my late 50s and still playing racquetball (some of my best racquetball, I might add). Social media was used to keep touch with each other as opposed to . . . well, whatever is going on now.

The theme I’ve used for 333,984,600 seconds became a part of who I am . . . someone who doesn’t change stuff all willy-nilly for the sake of being trendy.

Here’s another photo . . .

Pikes peak and Garden of the GodsSo, I wanted to maintain some of the simplicity and non-flashiness of the original while, at the same time, improving the the user experience.

By that, I mean the experience of the people who use a home computer and proper screen (a laptop even) as opposed to mobile devices. You see, on mobile devices, WordPress modifies the display to make it easier to read on ostensibly smaller screens. They change the font, and the format, and I have no say-so on how anything is displayed.

Of course, I see the blog more than anyone else, so I have to like it. In fact, you might say that I’m the only person I have to please because few people will notice the theme after a few visits. Me? I’ll be aware of it whenever I’m doing something on the blog . . . whatever theme I end up with has to become my friend.

Here, one more photo before I wrap it up . . .

Red rocks and evergreenOne last thing . . . there are two ways to customize a theme. What you see is what the ‘customize’ interface in the Admin Page can affect. I tried making most everything gray or black, but I notice sometimes the colors don’t ‘stick’.

The other way is to edit the CSS code of the theme, and change stuff at the root level. I know a tiny bit about CSS and I’ll have to learn a bit more because I want to further tweak this theme before I try a different one.

So, for them — like me — who like consistency and the familiar, we’ll get there . . . but on the way you might see stuff change, change back, and, occasionally, be completely redesigned. Hang in there; it’ll all settle in due time.

Here’s the gallery of the above photos (including Twenty Ten) . . .

Stay safe out there . . . tomorrow is likely to be a crazy day.

That’s it. This post has ended . . . except for the stuff below.


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