I need a wordpress theme

August 31st, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

I wonder if I could trouble you for some suggestions for a WordPress theme, please?

I’m not very good at getting into the code of themes so I need a theme that is very easily modified. It is for a work project I am doing in my own time and just need to be able to knock up a working mock up that has the same style as our existing website. I doesn’t need to be exact, just good enough to illustrate how the final version would look.

what I need is:

  • to be able to put a full width image in the header
  • links across the top, just underneath the header image. These links need to be anchored with images.
  • The links down the left hand sidebar are to be images.
  • A full width image in the footer.
  • It needs to be free. I have no budget, and probably won’t get one with the final version either.

As I say, I’m not up to digging into the code of the style sheet or templates to start changing widths and placements etc of elements so the easier to modify the better. I know a little about coding, but in reality that translates to next to nothing.

Any suggestions would be welcome and can offer nothing in return except some gratitude and a little bit of link-love (for what that’s worth from this little ol’ site here).

Thank you.

Quieting the noise

August 24th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

Plognark gets diagnosed with ADHD

Yeah, I know, big deal, right?

Well, I didn’t figure this out until this month, August 2011. Note that, next month, I turn THIRTY-FUCKING-THREE. This is, to put it mildly, something that should have been figured out decades ago. At least two would have been nice. Earlier would have been fantastic.

But no, no such luck. I won’t try to be one of those insufferable high-road pricks and say that I’m not bitter and annoyed about the whole thing. I’m bitter, and annoyed. Really bitter, and really annoyed, actually.

I didn’t know shit about ADHD until recently. It’s one of those mental conditions that a lot of people think is just laziness and a lack of discipline and motivation. I admit, I once thought that as well. Let’s just chalk that one up to ignorance. As it turns out, it’s a brain chemistry thing. It’s not laziness or any sort of moral failing… it’s tough giving every last ounce of energy your brain can muster to focus on the simplest task, like drawing for more than fifteen minutes at a stretch. Hell, sometimes more than five minutes.

It’s like having hundreds of little mini anxiety attacks every day. I never really knew what boredom was because I always kept my brain engaged thinking about stuff. For me, and other people with ADHD, I assume, boredom is like death. You’ve got to do anything you possibly can to keep the dopamine levels high, to get that little burst to keep your mental gears churning.

There’s plenty of literature on it and a ton of information on the internet. I won’t bore you with more details about what it is, just a quick overview. It’s a dopamine dysfunction, plain and simple. Some combination of screwy genes making screwy proteins making your brain permanently short on dopamine.

It’s a huge part of why my artistic productivity is so inconsistent. I love art. It’s what I want to do, it’s what I think about all the time. And yet, I hit patches where I just can’t do it. It’s not a traditional art block; it’s something else.

Imagine if there was something you loved, that you were good at, that you wanted desperately to work on all the time, that everyone told you you should be working on.

Now imagine that you have a mini anxiety attack after five minutes of doing it. That you have to go and do something else or it feels like your spine is going to crawl out of the back of your neck to go do something else, dragging your brain with it.

And gets prescribed amphetamines…

So I took the pill. I was sitting at work, waiting to see what would happen.

Yep, waited a while.

Felt like an eternity. That’s another thing with ADHD; we don’t track the passage of time very well. Humans are bad at it in general; people like me are even worse.

And then, quiet.

I never really understood how loud the inside of my head is. I knew that I had racing thoughts; hell, it’s kept me from sleep as long as I can remember. But the quiet… was not what I expected. The idea of taking an amphetamine (technically dextroamphetamine) is sort of nuts in general, and the idea that it would lead to such quiet and calm is even more so.

But it did. Just quiet, and calm. No racing sounds and images, no anxiety from every little thing going on, no exhausting fight to keep things focused in my head.

Go read the whole post. For someonw that knows virtually nothing about ADHD it was quite interesting. Not in a medical way, but just interesting.

Who do you trust?

August 19th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

Can I just congratulate Paul Staines on a recent-ish appointment.

The alter ego (and what a fucking ego) of Guido Fawkes is running Messagespace

Staines is founder of the Guido Fawkes blog Order-Order and also runs the MessageSpace network which sells ads across around 30 political blogs.

It wasn’t too long ago that Messagespace were denying any connection between them and Paul…

The official line is that; “Paul Staines is neither a shareholder, director or employee of MessageSpace and never has been.”

But for some reason they both had access to each others sites. It was alleged that Paul was hosting stolen images on the Messagespace site and Jag Singh of Messagespace offered to remove alleged lies and smears from order-order.com …

Read that bit again; Jag Singh offered to log into the order-order.com website and delete these comments himself!

Why would Jag do that on order-order and how would Paul be able to host stuff on messagespace if they have nothing to do with each other?

I know peoples’ circumstances change, and Paul may have joined the top team at Messagespace in the last two years, but after that, would you trust them?

So, Huffington Post or Messagespace? Would you rather be fucked in the arse or the eye?

ht Tim

Daily Mail owns up and still lies

August 18th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

The Daily Mail got caught using photographs without permission. Well, they’ve owned up to their ‘mistake’…

Speaking to Amateur Photographer (AP) magazine last night, a spokesman for Mail Online said: ‘The pictures were published in error due to a breakdown in internal communications.

‘We regret the error and have now settled the matter amicably with the photographer.’

What? It happens, even in such slick operations as the Mail.

But reverting to type, the statement is still full of shit…

However, Taylor says she has not yet settled with Mail Online ‘amicably’, though she hopes to.

via @LouiseMensch

You want reasons for keeping the BBC licence fee?

August 17th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

Click here to find out why.

This has to be one of the better rants for keeping the BBC licence fee.

Broken TV starts off with a defence of BBC4 but by the end is just defending the BBC as a whole. And deservedly so.

We’ve long held the (possibly misguided) notion that BBC Four is the very last outpost of British television where the right people can happily be given a budget and a timeslot, and be told “go off and make something” without being followed by a swarm of middle-managers who prod the talent with sticks while hissing “can we skew younger?”, “can we get Mickey Flanagan in here somewhere, I owe his agent a favour”, or “this play about Shakespeare is all very worthy, but I don’t like Shakespeare. Can it all be about him being shit?” It’s the BBC of the Radiophonic Workshop, of a thirteen-part series being made because of something Barry Took said in the BBC bar, of half-hour sitcoms lasting for thirty-four minutes because that’s how long it needs to be – or as close as it can be in the era of credit-squeezing and logo guidelines.

In short, if BBC Four were a person, it’d be Alessandro Del Piero taking part in an under-12s football match, and it’s time for him to have his bootlaces tied together to give everyone else a chance.

So, what are the alternatives to clipping BBC Four’s wings? People on Twitter seem to have come up with a few ideas, though they don’t really hold up to much scrutiny.


A popular opinion, but one we’d have to disagree with. Yes, it’s full of shows called JAMES CORDEN’S WELL GOOD FUCK OFF I’M GINGER AND WAHEY LADS SHAGGING EH SHOW or whatever, and despite making huge amounts of original content most people only watch EastEnders repeats and Family Guy, but there is an audience for it.

One of the reasons we stopped liking Harry Hill quite as much is down to a recent interview on Five Live, he was asked why TV Burp had stopped poking fun at BBC Three’s Freaky Eaters. His reply was along the lines of “it’s awful, that’s why. And I’m paying for it!” Well, sorry to break this to you Harry. The people who watch BBC Three pay their licence fee, too. They’re paying for the things they like, you’re paying for the things you like. Oddly, considering “young people are always moaning, they don’t know how lucky they are!”, we never really hear fans of Spendaholics complaining about how their licence fee pays for coverage of The Chelsea Flower Show or Countryfile, but when the Beeb sent a team off the Glasto to capture around sixty hours of entertainment for less than the price of two hours drama, it’s as if the ghost of Sir Hugh Greene is sneaking into the houses of Daily Mail readers and rifling through their handbags.

And on it goes. It also contains a method for watching TV without a licence, for all those whingy, whiney fuckers. Well worth a read.

Daily Mail: fuck copyright unless it’s our stuff

August 17th, 2011 § 1 comment § permalink

Just as the Daily Mail is taking down istyosty.com for copyright infringement, up pops another story involving the Daily Mail and copyright infringement. This time, the boot is on the other foot…

A few days ago, I snapped a picture in The GAP on Oxford Street: their ALWAYS SKINNY mannequins’ legs are not only always skinny, but anorexically/starved so.

I tweeted it, and TwitPic’d one picture. Then Cory BoingBoing’ed it. Then the WashPo emailed, asking permission to reprint, and asked for a quote or two. I said yes. I sent them a further pic, too.

Then the Daily Mail got in touch. Could we use the photos, they said. I said, yes, if you donate £250 – a standard photo fee in my book, certainly less than what Getty charges, say – to a charity of my choice. I don’t like the Daily Mail, and didn’t want to give them commercial use of my pictures for free.

The Mail said £250 was not within their budget and so wouldn’t be using the photo. I bet you can’t guess what happened next.

Go read the rest of the post and marvel at the hypocrasy of Paul Dacres’ henchmen.

(Thanks to George in my previous post reminding me about this)

Daily Mail takes down istyosty.com

August 16th, 2011 § 5 comments § permalink

The Daily Mail has sent a letter to istyosty.com shutting it down.

I’ve written about istyosty several times and if you’re not a regular reader this post explains what it’s all about.

Anyway, as of now istyosty is no longer cacheing the Mail, the Sun or the Express. If istyosty hadn’t of complied, the Mail would’ve chased for £150,000 per cached article plus legal expenses. They didn’t like the bit on istyostys’ ‘about’ page that detailed how it reduced hits and consequently ad revenue. Just as predicted, the Mails wallet is its’ soft spot.

The Mail also are under the impression that Istyosty is making money off the back of it…

Your deliberate attempt to interfere with Associated o’hits” Newspapers’ ability to get valuable to its website, through the willful infringement of our clientls copyrights, are irreparably damaging to Associated News. Under the law, Associated News is entitled not only to injunctive relief against you, but also is entitled to receive awards of damages, recovery of your ill-gotten profits, and to recover the attorneys’ fees and costs it incurs as a result of your violations of law.
Statutory damages alone may be awarded in the amount of $ 150,000 per work infringed under the U.S. Copyright Act,17 USC $101, et seq.

Istyosty did not use the Mails identifying features, logos etc to advertise itself, the only time they appeared was when a cached page was brought up.

As you can see from this cache of Istyostys’ frontpage, there are no adverts. As Istyostys’ cache process stripped the adverts from the Mails pages there were no adverts on those pages either. No adverts, no income generated.

Anyway, as usual, Istyosty doesn’t have the resources to contest this latest threat from the Mail and so has to close.

A good tool for media watchers, and one that the Mail obviously felt it had to take seriously.

It was good while it lasted. Thank you Istyosty.

The take down notice can be seen here (.pdf), or I have a copy here.

On the aftermath of breaking the speedlimit

August 16th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

There’s a lot of fuss made of online security, keeping your details secure and being careful about what websites you put your credit card details in to but I’ve just sent my driving licence of to the DVLA as I got caught speeding, 44mph in a 30mph limit.

Two things struck me as, well, not very good at all.

The first is that you have to send both parts of your driving licence off, not just the paper part. I don’t understand this at all. What is the point of having to send your photo card part? The DVLA don’t physically do anything with this part. What is the point in having a 2 part licence, one part of which is your recent driving history and the other part which is basically an identification card, if you got to send them both off? The notice of indended prosecution doesn’t ask for proof of identity of any kind when it ask you to tell them who was driving at the time of the offence. They just want a name. As long as the name on the fixed penalty notice is the same as the one on the paper part of the licence, it should be enough. When the DVLA receive the licence, it’s not like thay have a real person to check it against, is it?

Secondly, you get a choice of payments, cheque/postal order or credi/debit card.

Now a crossed cheque is pretty secure, and it’s been so long since I used a postal order i can’t remember what one looks like. The credit card payment seems not the best idea at all. not only do you put the card number and expiry date but also the 3 digits from the signature strip. This number was introduced a number of years ago to help reduce online fraud, as only the card holder should know it as, unlike the card number and expiry date, this number is not contained on the magnetic strip. It is one thing putting all these details into a website via a secure connection but to write everything down that is needed to make a payment online on a piece of paper and then enclose it with what is primary document of identification and put it in the post, to me seems complete madness.

It’s crazy enough to have to put a complete document of identification in the post when it is not neccersary, but to have the complete details of a credit card with it as well…

Just remember kids. The criminal justice system: helping you stay safe since erm, er, oh.

On weird beliefs

August 15th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

It’s funny the things we do and don’t believe, isn’t it?

I asked a Hindu doctor what psycho-something-or-other was (sorry, I can’t remember what it was now) as we walked past a ‘shop’ with a big neon sign above it for this psycho-whatever-it-is. I got the reply…

Probably some load of rubbish, like homeopathy. You know about homeopathy, don’t you?

Yes, I do know what homeopathy is. A load of bollox…

One third of a drop of some original substance diluted into all the water on earth would produce a remedy with a concentration of about 13C. A popular homeopathic treatment for the flu is a 200C dilution of duck liver, marketed under the name Oscillococcinum. As there are only about 1080 atoms in the entire observable universe, a dilution of one molecule in the observable universe would be about 40C. Oscillococcinum would thus require 10320 more universes to simply have one molecule in the final substance.

I also know a little about Hinduism…

Further it is believed that the world undergoes cycles within cycles forever. The major cycle is based upon the Life of the God Vishnu – The Preserver. At the beginning of each Cosmic day Vishnu lies asleep on Seesha, the incredibly large thousand (1000) headed snake, the symbol of endless time (collective unconscious) who rests on the cosmic ocean (Milky Way). A lotus on a glowing stalk, springs from Vishnu’s Naval symbolising the Creative Urge. Brahma is born from the unfolding Lotus and Creates the world, then Vishnu awakes and governs it. At the end of this cosmic day Vishnu again retires absorbing all creation.

source: Dr R Ramnarine: Some Concepts of Hinduism – -An Introduction.

I don’t think I need to comment any more.

(Unfortunately it wasn’t an occasion where I could point this out)

On not knowing right from wrong

August 12th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

Can we just cut the crap about the rioters/looters/youth of today in general not knowing right from wrong? It’s not that these people don’t know, they just don’t give a shit for whatever reason.

Hands up who doesn’t know it wrong to steal stuff? Or smash up property that isn’t yours? Or set fire to someones shop/warehouse? Or to beat the living shit out of someone because you felt like it?

No one? No?

There you go then.

Where am I?

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