Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Second day frustrations


It must be human nature. As soon as we are given something that looks cool, but has the potential to be changed, we immediately try to change it.

As a writer, the blogger template “scribe” immediately appealed to me. The word implies ancient tradition and responsibility. It belongs to writers in the unique way that a family tree belongs each of us – a part of our identity and evolution. Plus the template itself has a sweet papyrus design. Irresistible.

Not so exciting were the flower-shaped bullets the template contained.

Bullets are one of the main tools in the technical writing toolbox and so are Serious Business. The happy little flowers had to go.

Clicking through my options, I discovered I needed to change the cascading style sheet (CSS) code in order to return my bullets to a normal bullet-like shape. No problem. I took a grad class in CSS a few years ago. I can do this.

An hour later I was sweating bullets (no pun intended) and combing through Google for answers. Apparently most authors assume that you already know how to create regular bullets, and what you really want to do is replace these bullets with little flowers.

Abandoning Google, I was reduced to deleting random lines of code and checking to see what happened.

  • Eventually I triumphed!

For future use, since I know I will screw it up again, here is the modified code:

.post ul {
.post li {
padding-top: 0;
padding-$endSide: 0;
padding-bottom: .6em;
padding-$startSide: 3px;


It did not take me long to realize that editing posts in Blogger is a nightmare. Whenever I save an edit my post ends up looking like this:

To fix this disappearing/warped text issue I have to first remove all formatting from my post, reapply it, and then publish the post. Long, long process.

Unfortunately the only solutionseems to be: do it right the first time.

Can I handle writing material without going back to edit my posts half a dozen times? Maybe it will be good for me. Ug.

Anon: To be Hanna or Paks?

One issue I did not foresee, and should have, is the issue of online identity. For years I have managed to keep my online handle (Vorpaks) separate from my real life name (Hanna). When creating this blog I used my handle to create it, and my real life name to title it, letting the two identities merge.

Remaining anonymous prevents the following issues:

  • Random strangers knowing intimate details of your life (they will still know, but at least they won’t know whose life it is).
  • Employers and potential employers judging you based on your Adventures in Motherhood, your tendency to post insightful comments on your favorite Vampire Romance forums, or (gasp!) any grammar or spelling mistakes made after a long day of working, bath time, cleanup, and story time.
  • The temptation to give out other people's personal information (names of friends, relatives, etc.).

The problem with remaining anonymous is that I lose the personal touch. Grandparents and Aunts are not going to find the site as meaningful if they are reading about Vorpaks, DH, INC, and Baby.

Since loved ones are the intended audience I am going to make the leap and link my identities together. But, in the interests of safety and privacy, I am only going to use first names. I feel happy with the compromise.

Action items:

At least I got one thing off the list!

  • Research blog etiquette. When it is it okay to link to other sites and blogs?
  • Quote authors and websites?
  • What is my audience interested in reading about?
  • What restrictions does the blogger format have?
  • How do I change these funky bullet points?
  • What is the best way to minimize post editing frustrations?

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