Saturday, 30 September 2017

summer fun tag PLUS sunshine blogger tag (the second)

I've been tagged a few times recently not so recently actually because I'm terrible like that, so I'm going to combine two because I'm not sure how much you actually want to read about me??: the Summer Fun Tag, and the Sunshine Blogger Tag [#2]!

Side note: I'M SORRY I TOOK SO LONG, KIND PEOPLE WHO TAGGED ME. You've probably forgotten you ever did such a thing.  

And I know most of you are in autumn and heading for winter, now, but here it's HOT. And it's the first month of spring. So. Summer and sunshine it is!

- The Summer Fun Tag -

This tag was created by Mykaela, and I was tagged by Gray at Writing Is Life (thanks, Gray!)

1. What's a nickname only your family calls you?
Despite being Australian, and knowing several people with very Aussie nicknames, I actually just have a shortened version of my name? and everyone calls me that. I'm actually a bit disappointed that I never got a creative nickname. (Then again, considering the likelihood of it not being flattering, maybe I'm not sorry.)

[Pennites, consider this an invitation xD]

2. What's a weird habit of yours?
Nooo... don't have any weird habits. I'm not weird.


*asks family*

Brother 1: Well, he can't think of any.

Sister 1: Being negative is not a weird habit, Sister 1. It's just... a habit.

Brother 2: Wiggling my ears and "the weird eyeball thing". [I cross my eyes, look left, cross my eyes, look right, repeat. Makes it look like my eyes can point different directions.]

Sister 2: Talking to myself and pulling faces?? That's normal...


Mum: Being negative??? And facetious??? What is this??? Where is familial loyalty when you need it???

3. Do you have any strange phobias?
Not really? I don't particularly like spiders or other creepy-crawlies when they're moving fast and erratically, but that's hardly a phobia. I'm not fond of heights either, but I manage. Nothing I've come across in my [admittedly short] life so far has caused me to completely freeze up out of fear and freak out.

4. What's a song you secretly love to blast and belt out when you're alone?
I am rarely home alone. Or in the car alone. Or alone at all, really. My family tends to travel as a pack. But the last time I was home alone, I blasted as many Owl City songs as I had. (And made myself a mug cake.)

I also love to belt out Stand by Me - it's just a really good song for belting??

5. What's one of your biggest pet peeves?
PUNCTUATION MISTAKES ON SIGNS. Like how do people get paid to produce a professional product that is full of mistakes like that?!? How do you even get "your'e"?? (as one, horrific example I saW a rEAL PICTURE OF.)

Also people who are reading the next book in a series when I want it. Or people who are reading my favourite books and don't appreciate them.

6. What's one of your nervous habits?

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Coding tricks for bloggers



*slaps self*

So I spent the last two weeks on a work placement, which was awesome! but also took from 8:30-5. And I KNOW that's fairly regular hours for a job (I DON'T WANT TO ADULT, SURPRISE!!), but I also had a ~2-hour round drive. So. That + my assessment = minimal blogging time.

(Hint: do not leave assessments until the date they're due when that date coincides the last day of a two-week work placement which means you'll be out from 7:30am until 6pm.)

(If you needed that advice.)

But now I'm back! Or not. To be honest, I'll be just as sporadic as ever.

...annnyway. Let's leave the uncomfortable confessions there, shall we??

Today, I've written [discovered that I had actually had a draft already for] a post on coding! Specifically, writing code that will help you when blogging. So enjoy!

[Note: this post is actually rather ironic considering recent events. I wrote the draft of this post, giving tips from my experience in coding, and then I discovered that I'd messed up something, somewhere in my blog's code, which made the sidebar refuse to behave. BUT I FIXED IT. (With your awesome help.) So I'm definitely qualified to be teaching this subject 'cause debugging code is way harder than writing it.] 

*pretends to be super-qualified*

a few coding tricks for bloggers

A great way to personalise your blog, and to smarten it up from the Blogger templates (which are sometimes a bit tacky), is to play around with the coding.

And since we're talking about coding tricks, Autumn (at Autumn Reads and Writes) wrote an amazing post about how to change how links look in your blog! [I confess it was not a recent post. I'm a slacker, okay?? But it's still a good resource!] And when you hover over the links, they look like this! or this!! or this!!! GO AND READ HER POST IT'S GREAT OKAY?? (+ I'm not going to just copy it out here, so you have to go read what she said.)

So that's one trick. You can actually make it look like this, too, which is an effect I figured out while messing with it. Baaasically go to Autumn's post, read her instructions, and then instead of putting in:
      a:hover {
          letter-spacing: .5em;

- put in:
      a:hover {
         color: normal;
         border-left: #bd836b 2px;
         border-right: #bd836b 2px;

This will... make more sense when you've read Autumn's post. Unless you already know HTML/CSS, in which case you'll probably be beyond this post.

And... that's links!

*awkward cough*

Now, for my second trick... have you ever wanted to do

It's pretty cool to be able to make little title-things without having to save/upload images of text. Not that I've actually used this yet. Never mind. I will one day. 

Okey-dokey. I'm just going to assume you want to know how to do this? and tell you. I'm also going to assume you haven't used HTML at all, or very little. If you have, you'll be able to skip these first few steps.

Note: Autumn's special features on the links are done within Blogger's Template function - that way, they apply to all links on your blog. Right now, I'm going to be doing coding (HTML/CSS) within the post I'm currently writing on Blogger; my coding will only apply to the specific thing I apply it to.

So, start by writing your text! In Blogger. The regular way. And centre it. Like so:
Pretty text!

Now. On the very left of Blogger's Write Post toolbar - the one that has such helpful things like italics, font size, and strike-through - you'll see two grey buttons: Compose and HTML. Click HTML.


Yes, HTML is not the nicest thing to look at. BUT IT'S FUNCTIONAL. So.

Now, inside your HTML view, the text you just wrote will look like this:

<div style="text-align: center;">Pretty text!</div>

<div>...</div> just sort of wraps stuff into a block that can be manipulated. Whenever you tell Blogger to centre something, it puts a div around it, so it can apply style="text-align: center;". "Style" is a way to put CSS (the coding language that does all the colour, borders, everything pretty!) into your HTML without having to link to a specific CSS document.

But now you want to put a <span>...</span> into your code. (At least, that's how I do it. It's not the only way, I'm sure.) So coding-wise, my example looks like this:

<div style="text-align: center;">
<span style="color: lime; font-family: 'Aclonica', 'Open Sans Condensed', 'Times New Roman'; font-size: 40px;">this?</span></div>

[Note: I don't know that 'Aclonica' is a font that will work by itself or not in a web browser? So I've put
<link href="" rel="stylesheet"></link>
at the very top of the page when in the HTML view. This ensures that the browser people use to view the post will know what font to use. Note also that I have two back-up fonts - 'Open Sans Condensed' and 'Times New Roman' - in case this doesn't work. Because sometimes code does bizarre stuff and I have no idea why.]

So let's break that down:
  • The div, as I explained, is to make the section into a kind of block. (If anyone reading has a better way of explaining it, please chip in!
  • The style="..." is to insert CSS into that particular div. 
    • text-align: center; is CSS. It centres the div. (shocking, I know.)
  • The span tag is to, I don't know, mark a specific spot? It's like a div, but tends to mark part of a line of text or something, instead of blocking out a whole paragraph or whatever. (I never said I was an expert, okay?? I have a working knowledge.)
  • Again, we have style, but this time inside the span.
  • Now within that there are a few CSS elements:
    • color: lime; -- this colours the text. You should probably use a six-digit colour code (e.g. #f97285) instead - that's more reliable, as it can be hard to guess what colour names are supported by the browsers! Google 'color picker'.
    • font-family: 'Aclonica', 'Open Sans Condensed', 'Times New Roman'; -- this is the font. 'Aclonica' is (I hope) the one that's actually being used; the other two are back-ups. I already went into this a bit [above].
    • font-size: 40px; -- this is to make the text huge. Play around with it; it's really easy to just switch another number in.

Mostly it should work right if you make sure to keep the punctuation marks right? So this:
<div style="text-align: center;">
<span style="color: lime; font-family: 'Aclonica', 'Open Sans Condensed', Times New Roman'; font-size: 40px;">And now you can do this!</span>
should turn out like this:

And now you can
do this!

I don't know. Is this clear? Ask me any questions if it wasn't!

And (for if you're familiar with HTML and CSS): it seems like you can put CSS within your post as a "style" section (not just inline)? I didn't know that, but when I was trying to put in the CSS (for the links at the start of this post) to demonstrate what Autumn did with the links, I put a <style></style> section into the very top of my post and apparently putting CSS in there works fine?? (If it doesn't show up right, please tell me!)

And finally, I should mention that I was trying to figure out how to put code in this post so it looked like code (instead of doing what it's, you know, supposed to do??) and I ended up using  Then, of course, once I'd done that, I realised that if I write code while not in the HTML view, it showed up how I wanted it to just fine. So (due to editing and stuff) half the time my code is in fancy colours/boxes... and half the time it's not.

So this post has been a leeettle bit jumpy and what-is-plot-y. What are you saying of course that's not how I write. Or how I live my life. Nope. I hope it wasn't too confusing, and maybe helps you a bit! Even if it just gets you interested in exploring what you can do for your blog with CSS.

Have you ever used HTML and CSS for your blog? What tips/tricks do you recommend? Are you going to try any of these? Did I make any mistakes?? (answer: yes. It was written in too many late-night sessions. Obv. there will be mistakes.)

Friday, 8 September 2017

A few exciting things from around the blogosphere || [I'm not procrastinating, you're procrastinating]

I'm supposed to be working on my tertiary studies right now. Or updating/rewriting my resume because MY LIBRARY HAS A POSITION OPEN for one week only. (The last two times I [obviously] didn't get the job, but I just have to keep trying... the head librarian wants me there, so eventually it's got to happen! xD)

And instead I'm wandering the writerly circles of the blogosphere.

I know right. Such a surprise.

BUT I FOUND OUT SOME INTERESTING THINGS. Which I thought I'd share with you, because I haven't seen anyone talking about them in the blogs I follow... so you might not hear about these things either. So I'm telling you, just to make sure.

Firstly, Project Canvas has a blog. I was pleased to see that, because I hadn't heard any updates from Project Canvas for a while and I was hoping it hadn't died a slow and lingering death. It's true that there's only one post, a 'welcome!' one from a month ago, but by following the blog I can keep myself in the loop.

If you don't know about Project Canvas, the basic idea is that
"A group of teen and young adult writers from around the globe have come together to write a book of advice and inspiration for fellow writers.

I said (several months ago) that I could probably help with some editing, but I actually don't know how the book's progressing... its projected publication date is in 2018, but I haven't had to edit anything, so it's possible they didn't need my help.

I don't know! Maybe you've all submitted articles? and you're keeping a close eye on the whole project? and I know at least five of my followers are already following the blog. BUT THIS IS JUST IN CASE YOU HAVEN'T HEARD.

Just as a note, Hannah is part of the Project Canvas team! And so are Abigayle and Aimee - I don't know them well, but I've seen them around the blogosphere, so some of you would know them.

_ _ _ _ _

Jennifer A. Nielsen is running a competition for her new book (Feb 2018), The Traitor's Game. (She says the book will appeal to fans of The False Prince - so, naturally, I'm in!)

The competition is different to the usual sort seen on the blogosphere, too: She posts a photo of where she is, and we guess in the comments (she edits out the answers, though, so no sneaky copying there! ;). Correct state is 1 point; city is 4 points. There will be 10 photos, and the person with the most points at the end wins. The prize is a galley of The Traitor's Game.
The first photo is here!
- but I'm not sure how much longer it's open (or if I'm such a slack poster that it's already shut...)

(To be honest, I'd do this even if there was no prize. It makes me feel like Sherlock Holmes. Mwahaha.)

(Although the fact that I'm not from the USA might put me at a disadvantage, as I have no idea about American tourist spots/heritage buildings/anything else like that which might be put in a photograph...)

_ _ _ _ _

And... there was something else I was going to say... ??


Catherine Meek, one of the [main?] people behind Project Canvas, is joining with Aimee to create a kind of blogging link-up thing! Except this one will really tickle the fancy of any of you who like snail mail...

One blogger will get the Friendly Neighborhood Journal in the post, put some poetry/art/encouraging words/something nice etc into the pages, and then post it to the next address (which Catherine and Aimee provide). And when it arrives, the process will be repeated.

These guys are sending an actual. physical. notebook. ACROSS THE USA. (+ possibly the world? at least, I'm in Australia.) Imagine the love + faith + encouragement that could come from that! Imagine a book, slightly travel-worn, slim, but heavy with the words of friends and strangers, overflowing with kind and uplifting words. Imagine receiving it in the mail.

I'm in love with the idea.

There is the problem with providing a physical address. Seriously, I don't want anyone on the internet to be able to find me!? But I'm hoping it can be sorted out - Catherine suggested, in response to another blogger's concerns, that they could sandwich a blogger between two people s/he knows, so sharing the address wouldn't be a problem. I think that would work for me??

So basically I want to see ALL YOUR NAMES in this Friendly Neighborhood Journal when it arrives in my mailbox.  ;D

_ _ _ _ _

Are you familiar with Project Canvas? (Did you submit an article?) Have you read The False Prince? (and if not, what are you doing with your life???) Do you love snail mail? Might you, maybe, be signing up for #thefriendlyneighborhoodjournal ?? 

And how do you keep up with what's happening in the blogosphere? because it's a bit hit-and-miss for me. (Same as for what books are being released.)

Note: I may not be around much for the next two weeks. I'm doing work experience at... *fanfare* the library. (*cue surprise all round*) Plus I should probably study. Probably. So I'll see how things go. I'll definitely still reply to your lovely comments, though!