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For as much goofing around with the Internet as I do, I’m not what you’d call proficient. I don’t know how to code. I use WordPress templates that pretty much walk you through any minor modifications you might want to make.

Until today.

Joel had been asking me for help with the Dirty Kanza 200 website. He’d been running it at WordPress.com, but was not entirely happy with the template options available to him. He wanted more than a customizable header; he wanted a background image and the ability to put graphic images in a sidebar, so he started poking about online looking at WordPress themes. He found one he liked, called Trans Travel, but found that it couldn’t be used with a WordPress-hosted blog.

Fortunately for him, I already have some experience with hosting a blog elsewhere and using WordPress software (you’re looking at it), so we grabbed the URL for DirtyKanza200, and I got started setting up a new blog. If you’ve ever hosted a blog at Dreamhost, you know that it’s pretty darn easy to get set up. This was no different from usual. Set up the software, uploaded the template and then…whoops, this isn’t one of those no-brainer templates that walks you through changing the image/colors/etc. I had to edit the code.

Now here’s the deal. I don’t know jackshit about coding. I know just enough HTML to post pictures, make hyperlinks, and use italics and bold. If I need more than than, I have to look up HTML cheatsheets and try to muddle through. Luckily for me, I don’t even have to do much of that anymore, thanks to the wonders of WordPress. If I want need to do a snarky strikethrough, WP can do the thinking for me. Aaah, how nice!

The only thing that got me from this:
trans travel screen shot
to this:
dk200 screenshot
was the fact that my brain is pretty good at working out how things are put together and/or taken apart.

After a bit of staring at nearly meaningless code, I was able to figure out how to change the background image. Then I had to take this picture of Joel’s:

and superimpose the Dirty Kanza logo on the upper left corner, make the logo a bit transparent, upload that as the new background image and paste in the link to that image for the new background.
So then I had the background we wanted, but the red and blue headers over the text box and sidebars looked like absolute DOOKIE with the new image. Joel said he’d just as soon have black-and-white.

Because I don’t make websites for a living, it took me a solid hour to figure out how to change those headers. It took me that long to figure out that they were image files. Once I had that bit of information pinned down, it was the work of mere minutes to copy them to my photo editing software, convert ’em to grayscale, and re-upload them. I think the grayscale works pretty nicely. Black-and-white would have been too stark, considering the otherwise muted colors of the site in general.

I totally had to bootleg a whole lot of the sponsor graphics, too. I had a sponsor list and everyone had to get their shoutouts, but I didn’t have GIF/JPEG/PNG/PDFs of most of their logos, so I had to go to their site and either right-click-and-copy or screen-print-and-crop, depending on whether or not they had a shitty Flash site. I kind of doubt any of the sponsors will be too put out that I had to jerry-rig their logos, since I’m not misrepresenting them, mocking them, using them for my own profit, or otherwise behaving inappropriately on their behalf.

I’m sure that people who actually do websites for a living are looking at my totally amateur attempt and going “god what a hack…I could do better while drunk, high, and suffering a concussion,” but for what it’s worth I’m feeling pretty darn stinkin’ pleased with how the Dirty Kanza site turned out.

The only thing that is bugging me is that I couldn’t get the sponsor list to stay in the order it was entered. It insisted in re-arranging itself alphabetically. Hopefully none of the sponsors will feel slighted by their positioning on the list.

It makes me feel almost confident to try something more fancy with this site…but truthfully, inertia and laziness will probably keep it looking much the way you see it for the foreseeable future.

For comparison, here’s the old site and here’s here’s the new one. I joked to Joel that I was earning my way into the race for sure this year!

2 Responses to “Feeling kind of proud of myself”

  1. planetmort says:

    You are WAY more patient than I. I can’t even figure out strikethroughs on WordPress! The site looks awesome, BTW.

  2. Meetzorp says:

    I just did a little “features cheatsheet” for WordPress for you…basically just an explantion of some of the formatting and options buttons on your WordPress text editor that you might not have played with…yet.

    If you can manage Word, you can manage WordPress. You’ll be fancying the shit out of your blog in no time.

    [WORDPRESS HASHCASH] The poster sent us ‘0 which is not a hashcash value.

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