I hate the word blog, it’s not even fun to say, blog blog blog; I mean google is fun, say it like Andrei Codrescu does, google google google, and you can’t help but grin, but blog, it’s like ‘uhg’ and ‘blah’ put together. Maybe since I have an MFA in poetry I can take some of my poetic license and change ‘blog’ on my site to ‘happenings.’ This I have done, wow. But it wasn’t easy, before I could write about the happenings in my life, I had to come up with a domain name.
I’m here to tell you, Go Daddy has the words in the English dictionary all sewn up. Try some one or two at random–‘gam,’ for example, a herd of whales: too short. ‘Lallation,’ the pronunciation of r as l (not useful for my site, since it’s not in Engrish; or is that rarration) is taken. ‘Nesh’ is taken, ‘meat,’ ‘meadow’ and ‘meager’ too. All words taken. That leaves word combos, and since ‘gimcrack’ and ‘gewgew,’ or ‘geegaw’ if you prefer, are all taken; put two together and ‘gimcrackgewgaw’ is available. That’s my favorite, and although it would have been perfect for a site just about language poetry, it wasn’t perfect for me. Seriously, I’m trying to be serious.
So I decided to go with the Linean moniker system, Latin words, Genus and Species, the first one capitalized, like Homo sampiens or Oncorhyncus mykiss aguabonita the state fish of the Golden State. My site would be known as Poematis naturalis. Or, I guess, nature poetry. Seems lame now, but whatever, I needed to move on, so I paid Bluehost $95 for the domain for one year, installed WordPress with one click, and realized I had to then pick a theme.
Since I had written a web page in 1998, in HTML, I thought I’d be smart and stand on the shoulders of some people dedicated to writing good code. Enter WordPress theme. I bought a book, the one for dummies, WordPress for Dummies. I read it; then I felt like a dummy. I should have saved the money for beer. It took me two days to find a stupid theme, the one I liked best was Jaimal’s. Simple and elegant. Veryplaintxt, it was called. But I couldn’t get their other, slightly different ones, to work for me, and I didn’t want to poach off of Jaimal, so I went looking for another theme. Bob came over and cheered me on.
Eventually, after loading a few themes up to my host site, I found one. This is what I learned in 14 hours: A theme is a collection of files that are mostly written in HTML, the code firefox reads, and CSS, which stands for Cascading Style Sheets and which seems to be a code similar to, but different from HTML, that tells your browser where to put what word with which font in what shade of color. The CSS gives the pages a feel, a style, the HTML writes the content, provides the structure, and all those files of code together are a ‘theme.’ WordPress, ostensibly, makes it all very easy to do. Which they do. And their code is all open source, like mozila’s, which is awesome because anybody can write it, fix it, use it, and it’s free.
The theme I found was called, auspiciously enough, Oulipo. Who wouldn’t want a theme named Oulipo, especially for a site with poetry on it, and it came with a picture of a duck. If it’s free and it’s got a picture of a duck, it has to be poetry worthy, right?. Right, but in order to make the theme do what I wanted it to do, I had to go in and tweak the HTML. Which meant I had to relearn what HTML did. Very carefully. And that is where Sunday and Monday went. To some avail. In the end, I am still not satisfied with the way my poems are formatted, especially with the static page title right above the poem’s title, but I eventually realized, I need to learn a bit more HTML.
They say: Being sedentary is worse for your health than smoking cigarettes. So does that mean hunching over a computer without surfing will make me a hunchback if I don’t smoke cigarettes?