Raise the Mast!

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Aug 092013

I spent a few hours creating a new masthead for the site today. I’ve been wanting to do this sort of old-fashioned mechanical arrival/departure sign motif for a long time, but hadn’t found a good way to make it work. I came across this tutorial on how to make a flip clock in Photoshop.

Applying it to make a mechanical signboard wasn’t too difficult.

The only problem for me was getting Suffusion to line it up, center it, and link it to the home page properly. I spent about 2 hours wrestling with it, trying to find answers, because Suffusion’s control panel is a bit disorganized.

Setting a Clickable Linked Mast in Suffusion

First, have an image ready for your header. I needed a 1000 x 85 pixel image for mine. I also created a 1000 x 85 pixel blank image, too.

Step 1: Go to the Dashboard>> Appearance Menu>> Header. (Not in Suffusion yet, we’re still in WordPress!) DON’T select an image. Go down to Header Text. Check “Show header text with your image.” Why? Because this will create an anchor tag in the header for the image we wind up using. Also, make sure that a text color of some kind has been selected.

Step 2: Go to Suffusion Options>> Skinning>> Header. Select “Custom styles” in the first box (otherwise nothing will change.)

Step 3: For Header Background Image, select your BLANK header, and upload it.

Step 4: Set your tiling. I set mine to “Do not repeat.”

Step 5: Set the background image position. I used “Middle of the Page.”

Step 6: We’re STILL in the Suffusion >> Skinning>> Header menu. Go down to Header Foreground Image, and upload the image you want to use.

Step 7: Click on Save, and save the changes.

I added a few other things to my header, because I like it this way:

Step 8: Go to Suffusion Options >> Other Graphical Elements >> Header. For “Header Layout Style,” I selected “Header is outside the main wrapper, its background and contents are aligned with the main wrapper.” Because I like how it looks.

Step 9: For “Blog Title/ Header Alignment,” I chose “center.”

Step 10: For Description / Sub-Header Alignment, I chose “center” again.

Step 11: For Description / Sub-Header Vertical Alignment, relative to header, I chose “Below the header text.”

Step 12: Finally, to get rid of the Search box that always shows up in the header, go to Suffusion Options >> Sidebars >> Right Header Widgets, and select “Hide the search.” Voila! The search box is gone, no longer cluttering up the header image.

More importantly, when you click on the image at the top, you’ll go back to the home page! Just like a normal website!

Suffusion does some things that annoy me a bit, but generally it’s been a good template system to work with. It just has its own quirks that require some learning and experimenting with.

Sprucing Things Up

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Jul 252008

I know I haven’t posted anything in a while, and it’s because I’ve been extremely busy. I also haven’t been traveling much, other than to the beach and mountains, so I didn’t have anything interesting to add. Or if I did, I was just too busy to do it. But now I do have some things I want to post about, so I’ll start adding them soon.

Some of the stuff I want to cover:

I want to go into some detail about how I’ve been approaching my Japanese language study. It’s a non-traditional, non-standard method that has been working well for me so far, based on some techniques other people have discussed, with modifications to suit my learning style, time, and pace. I figure I can also go through the uncomfortably large pile of Japanese language study books I’ve managed to acquire over the years, and share my opinions. (Whatever those are worth.)

I figure I should also go into some better detail about traveling in Japan, although I think you can get a lot from the stuff I already wrote. For example, I can’t remember if I posted the whole list of trains I took, how much they cost, and how much I saved by using a Japan Rail Pass. I also want to clean up some older posts and centralize links about things like getting train timetables, hotels, maps, and the like.

But first and foremost, I need to clean up the blog’s design a bit. I just sort of threw this thing together while I was traveling in Japan. I didn’t want to take time away from traveling to spend hours squinting at a computer screen, so the template is very… uhh… “retro,” I guess. Yeah, retro. (And I don’t like it like this.)

So if the site acts a little odd, or looks a little odd, then it’s because I’m probably messing around with a template somewhere.

To make up for the silence, a photo of the moon at Wrightsville Beach, NC:

Moon Over Wrightsville Beach

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