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Saturday
Feb092008

More Answers to Your Questions

Now on to more of your questions. This time, I'm answering Jen and Flea. Jen is one of the funniest people I know and thought she would be all cool and stump me. Alas, it is not meant to be.

1. Why do we drive on the parkway, and park in a driveway? I don't drive on a parkway, I drive on an interstate highway. All you Burgh people that refuse to call a road by its real name are just trying to confuse those of us that haven't lived here our entire lives. There ain't no darn sign saying "Parkway West" or "Parkway East." The end.

2. Why do you have to "put your two cents in". But it's only a "penny for your thoughts"? Everyone thinks their own opinion is most valuable. If I'm telling you mine, it's worth two cents. If I decide I want your opinion, it's going to be worth half as much.

3. Why does a round pizza come in a square box? Make me a round box and I will see if I can change the world. When you're doing it, make sure there's enough room around the edges for me to quickly shove my greedy little fingers in there when I desperately want a slice, but also make sure the pizza doesn't slide around too much.

4. What disease did cured ham actually have? Typhoink.

5. How is it that we put man on the moon before we figured out it would be a good idea to put wheels on luggage? That is directly related to the woman's movement. Back in the day, men were polite and carried things for their women. As a man would never take the time to figure out how to make life easier (it's against their genetic makeup to simplify anything), luggage didn't have wheels. Then came the women's movement and some women tried to convince the world that men shouldn't be quite that polite. Many men became insensitive jerks and made their wives/girlfriends carry their own damn luggage. Women quickly discovered the need to facilitate the process. It was either add wheels or figure out a way to take a vacation with only one pair of shoes.

6. Why do doctors leave the room while you change? They're going to see you naked anyway. They need to go put on their protective contact lenses that prevent them from going blind when they have to look at stark-white flesh, fat rolls, cellulite, and wretched stretch marks. Or maybe that's just my doctor.

7. Why is "bra" singular and "panties" plural? You've got two boobs, but only one you know (no need to get Google heading here for that word, you know.

8. If Jimmy cracks corn and no one cares, why is there a stupid song about him? There is? Where I have been? OK, well, I'm going to guess that his Mom made up the song. You know his Mom cares, even if the rest of us don't.

9. If the professor on Gilligan's Island can make a radio out of a coconut, why can't he fix a hole in a boat? He's a man. Of course he is more adept at all things mechanical/electrical than he is making holes happy.

10. Did you ever notice that when you blow in a dog's face, he gets mad at you, but when you take him for a car ride, he sticks his head out the window? Actually, no, I have not noticed it. Both of our dogs LOVE when I blow in their faces. Perhaps your breath is not quite outdoors-y fresh?

11. Did you ever wonder why you are friends with me in the first place? Nope.

The last question of the day came from Flea, who is convinced that my birth certificate does not list Burgh Baby's Mom as my first name. She's onto something there, I'll adMit. While I'm addressing the question, I will say that the reason I don't use mIne and Mr. Daddy's name on the blog is purely beCause I don't want a Google search for us to come Here. I don't think anything productivE could come of a potential future employer finding out that all we ever taLk about is how we never get any sleep and that the highlight of our day would be if Alexis were to ever poop in the potty. Our last name is just common sense off limits, our first names are to make it a littLe more difficult to confirm who wE are. Our first names together with Pittsburgh would make it easy to find this blog, so I try to block that. Anyway, Flea, your answer is in the paragraph (What? You thought I was just going to tell you? No way! The guessing game was way too fun.)

Nobody asked, but I also wanted to let the world know that the reason there are two legs in pants is so that you can place each of YOUR legs into EACH of the pants legs. Failure to do so will result in frustration.

Saturday
Feb092008

Public Service Announcement 1.03

And in this episode, we'll talk about how to change the colors and fonts on your Blogger template. (Are you Wordpress peeps ready to puke yet? No? I'll work on that.)

There are two ways to edit colors and fonts: the really easy way, and the not really, but still easy way. The Really Easy Way is to use the Fonts and Colors tab in Blogger. It's not active with all of the templates, but I know that it is there for the Minimas and Motos of the world (again, you are looking at a tweaked Mr. Moto). You just select the attribute you want to change in the list, then select the color that you want used for it. So if you want a black background with white text, you would set the Main Background Color to black and the Text Color to white. Play around for a bit, preview your results often, and you'll be off and running.

The Still Easy Way involves editing the html. I discovered that there was no way to change the sides on Mr. Moto without going in to the html. I was stuck with gray, which was fine for a while, but I eventually got bored of it. I'm only going to address Mr. Moto from here on out (because I just edited it and it's still fresh in my head), but the same principals apply to any template.

To change the gray sides to a different color, find this section in the html:

body {
margin: 0;
padding: 0;
border: 0;
text-align: center;
color: $mainTextColor;
background: #bba url(http://www.blogblog.com/moto_mr/outerwrap.gif) top center repeat-y;
font-size: small;

That line about background? That's how Blogger knows what color/image to put there. Let's say you want to have red on the sides. You would change the above to look like this:

body {
margin: 0;
padding: 0;
border: 0;
text-align: center;
color: $mainTextColor;
background: #E42217 top center repeat-y;
font-size: small;

And, of course, now you're wanting to know how I knew to type "#E42217" up there. There are tons of websites dedicated to the world of html colors. I happen to like this one. I just looked down the page until I found a red I liked, then copied and pasted the code for it.

If you decide to use Mr. Moto, the gray bar between your header and blog text may also need changed. To do that, look for this area in the html:

#header-wrapper {
background: #bba url(http://www.blogblog.com/moto_mr/headbotborder.gif) bottom $startSide repeat-x;
margin: 0 auto;
padding-top: 0;
padding-$endSide: 0;
padding-bottom: 15px;
padding-$startSide: 0;
border: 0;

Again, you want to change the background to whatever color it is that you want. So, if you want it to be yellow, you'll change it to something like this:

#header-wrapper {
background: #FFFF00 bottom $startSide repeat-x;
margin: 0 auto;
padding-top: 0;
padding-$endSide: 0;
padding-bottom: 15px;
padding-$startSide: 0;
border: 0;

I personally think that the hardest part about editing html colors is trying to figure out what color I want to use. Like the purple on the sides right now? I'm not sure that I love it. But I liked it better than the 418 other colors I tried out. Of course, that's one of the good things about editing the colors, if you don't like something, just click "Clear Edits" and pretend like you never screwed it up in the first place.

Go forth, Blogger peeps, and purdify your blogs.

(In the interest of full disclosure, I will admit that I changed one other thing about Mr. Moto. I thought the text areas were too narrow, so I widened them a little bit. If you want to do the same, email me and I'll give you instructions. I found the instructions using a Google search, but the ones I found were freakin' confusing.)

Saturday
Feb092008

Public Service Announcement 1.02

It wasn't part of Questionfest 2008, but Military Mom asked if I made the new header myself. That led me to thinking that some of y'all might appreciate a little lesson on how to purdy up your Blogger templates (sorry Wordpress peeps, you're on your own until I figure out that drama for myself, which has been an ongoing project for months). I can do that. So, lesson one will be how to make and upload your own header to Blogger.

First of all, you need to use a Blogger template that allows custom headers. I've never played with all of them to find out each one's status, but I do know that the Minimas, Motos, Rounders, and Tic Tacs are all OK. You are currently looking at a tweaked version of Mr. Moto.

Next, you need to create your header. However, you can save yourself a lot of grief if you find out how wide your header can be before you go get funky with graphics. To do that, go to the Edit HTML screen in Blogger (it's right next to where you go to pick a Template). You're not going to edit anything for this, it's just really smart to look at the code. I've found that while Blogger is supposed to autofix the header width, it does a crap job of it. You want to look for the section that talks about Outer Wrappers. There you will find the width. It'll say something like 682px (px stands for pixels--you don't really need to know what it means because photo editing software usually works in pixels anyway). Write that number down.

Next, you need some software to edit your photo or create a graphic in. While PhotoShop is fantabulous, I'm sure I'm not the only one that doesn't have several hundred dollars laying around so that they can buy it. Instead, I use two free programs. One is called PhotoFiltre. You can download the older version (right now it's 6.3.0) of it for free, and it is basically a knockoff of PhotoShop. It's a French program, so the help files are pretty useless, but it's still worth five minutes of your time to download it. You can do all sorts of photo editing and graphics creation using it. I created probably 70% of the new header using it, including the polka dot background.

The other program that I use is called Picnik. It's a web-based program that will allow you to edit a photo then save it to your hard drive, Photobucket, Facebook, etc. There are two levels of Picnik, free and Premium. The difference is that for $25 per year, you can have access to a ton more fonts and effects. I got by with the free version until recently when I suddenly just had to have a particular font. Since then I've been going crazy with Premium features, so it was worth the upgrade for me (and still way cheaper than buying PhotoShop). I think Picnik is real easy to use, even if you are technologically challenged.

Regardless of how you do it, purdy up an image for yourself, then make sure the width is exactly the same as that number you wrote down earlier. It seems that it can be whatever height you want. Although, I will say that really tall images do force your readers to scroll a lot to read your content, so you might not want to get too carried away. Once you are happy with the image, log into Blogger.

To upload your new header:

1. Go to Layout.
2. There's an area near the top of the screen that says "Header." Click the Edit link.
3. You can upload your image from the web or from your hard drive. I think it's easier to get it from your hard drive. Click Browse, search and destroy, and select your fancy new image.
4. Click the Instead of Title and Description radio button. (Side note: You're better off using Picnik to add the title of your blog to your image than you are trying to get Blogger to put the text in the right spot by itself. You can't control where Blogger puts the text, as far as I know.)
5. Click the Save Changes button.

Ta-dah! You have a new header. Next up, changing the background and text on your Blogger template.