March 26, 2004

Fighting Back.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 7:31 pm

gEEK.JPGIt’s not easy being surrounded in the blogosphere by people who can whip up a three-column page, full of bells and whistles, at the drop of a hat. They’re certainly not bad people. In fact, they are kind and often helpful to the few truly techno-challenged among us – those of us who still get stomach flutters each time we open Mr. Template to add a site to the blogroll. Still, it’s sort of like hanging around all the time with an Indy 500 pit crew and not even knowing the names of the tools, never mind what the hell to do with them.

There are lots of things in life I don’t know a damned thing about, but it doesn’t bother me one bit. Take, for example, meteorology. I don’t know from high and low pressure fronts and rising and falling barometers. I really don’t care. Certainly I would be more likely to care if I were I farmer, but I’m not, so I don’t. I can always turn on the TV or open the front door to see what the weather is doing. Even if I was to sit down with a bunch of meteorologists and they decided to talk isobars and cold air masses, it wouldn’t bother me. I would just drift off into my own mental space and wonder if I can still remember all the chords to “Misty.”

However, computer stuff (at least the HTML-computer stuff) is different. It does frost my stindeens that I am such an HTML dweeb surrounded by people who can make HTML sing. As such, I did what I have done in the past when I found myself similarly situated. I bought a book. Actually, I already have a book called HTML, A Beginner’s Guide, but I guess its usefulness “depends on what the meaning of ‘beginner’ is.” I decided that I need a stooooopider book, so off to Barnes and Nobel I went.

I checked out HTML For Dummies, and in short order, I decided that not only do I not qualify as a “beginner,” but I don’t even make it to the “Dummy” level. I then came across a book entitled, Read Less – Learn More – HTML. I found a chair in Barnes and Nobel and began flipping through the pages. YES!!! This baby has pictures of the screen and is actually written in English. Just right for the sub-dummy. Sold!!

I brought it home, and within a couple minutes, I learned what some of the mysterious hieroglyphics that appear in my template mean. And in a few more minutes…check this out…

I actually learned how to do colors.

Laugh if you will, you three-column-sharpshooters, but for me, that was a homerun. Today colors, tomorrow…..Mister Template!!! Then someday…yes someday, I just might bitch-slap the Satanic Red Triangle.

Update: Here is THE BOOK, which I neglected to mention, comes with a CD that I have not yet fired up.


  1. I hate to tell you, Jim, but there’s more than just HTML involved in templates. You need to deal with Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) also.

    Gimme a shout if you ever need help. I’m always glad to pass along the things I’ve learned.

    Comment by Russ — March 26, 2004 @ 9:15 pm

  2. Russ,

    The Book has three chapters on Cascading Style Sheets. I skimmed a couple dozen paragraphs and they too appear to be in English. Amazing.

    Thanks. I will put you on my list of folks to call if I create a mini-mushroom cloud here by fooling with this stuff.

    Comment by Jim - Parkway Rest Stop — March 27, 2004 @ 3:08 am

  3. Remember my red-red-red design? The one that gave you the permanent eye twitch? That was me messing with the templates, then finally going, “I don’t care. I’m just going to put red in everywhere. I’m tired and I want to go home.”

    I have a permanent chair at Barnes & Noble, over near the dummy books, but just slashing around in the templates, one tiny change at a time, was the best way for me to see what each little change actually did. Also did (and still do) lots of searches in MT’s forums (people there actually post chunks of code and tell you exactly where to stick it, heh).

    Look at me . . . I’m as helpless as a kitten up a tree . . .

    Comment by topdawg — March 27, 2004 @ 6:34 am

  4. After my melt down the other evening – I’m so going to get this book today! Thanks Jim, I was afraid I was the only one out here that just didn’t get that stuff. 🙂

    Comment by Tammi — March 27, 2004 @ 8:06 am

  5. WHOO HOO! Congrats, Jimbo… I just figured out how to do the strike-through thinggy… baby steps…. baby steps..

    Comment by Eric — March 27, 2004 @ 8:33 am

  6. Yay Jim! You’ll soon discover basic HTML is simple compared to say, the rules of appellate procedure. You just gotta learn the language. Think of it as your page as a legal brief, with links (cites) to CSS pages (other cases). The structure is surprisingly similar.

    You’ll catch on in no time.

    Comment by Rita — March 27, 2004 @ 8:56 am

  7. With my vast and encyclopedic knowledge of the law, (De Novo! Promissory Estoppel! Prima Facie!) I would have to say that, compared to Law, HTML is a breeze.

    Comment by mtpolitics — March 27, 2004 @ 9:26 am

  8. HTML, hell! If I could whip up some of those erudite three-page posts I’ve read, I’d go back to publishing in straight ASCII!

    Comment by mostly cajun — March 27, 2004 @ 10:34 am

  9. You know how I learned my basic html coding…enough to get me by in the beginning and build my confidence to learn more?


    Just type it into google, you’ll see it.

    Just up to the right, you’ll see a link called, “Beginners”.

    It really is the place for beginners. They talk to you in laymen’s terms and they teach you a LOT and before you know it, you at least FEEL like an expert.

    I highly suggest Webmonkey for anyone who wants to learn html and beyond.

    Most of it is absolutely free.

    Comment by Serenity — March 28, 2004 @ 5:53 pm

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