Blog Makeover 101, April 2012

2001 - PodHal

Computers will kill you

2015 – This post is pretty pointless now, as it relates to a blog update I did back in 2012. I was going to delete the post, but decided not to. I’ll leave it here and feel free to read it, although it has no reflection on the current blog layout!

This post is definitely going to be a ramble, so don’t say I didn’t warn you. Well, unless you haven’t been here before or if you have and Alzheimer’s has kicked in, you’ll find that the blog that celebrates balls-ups in the bush has had a bit of a makeover.

What’s it all about? There’s not much to it, other than I got tired of the narrow page width, minuscule font and lack of framing around the new super sized pictures. So, I spent a day at Blogger Headquarters and have come up with the following format. I think it’s looking better and a lot more cleaner than it used to.

Actually, over the last month I was contemplating switching to WordPress and I spent many nights seated in my large leather chair, wondering whether I should just bite the bullet and get it over with.


Contemplating WordPress

As you can see by the photo above, all of this blog thinking was leaving me feeling worn out. That was until I checked in at what Blogger has decided to come up with in the last few months. Remember this post where I told you how to add alt tags to your HTML in relation to photos?

Well, that post is totally redundant, as Blogger has decided to incorporate it when photos are added. Now the photo title and alt tag can be added at once. Bastards! That was a waste of research! Anyway, with WordPress having that feature since 1837, I considered a switch just for that reason. Well, that’s fixed. Next?

The Blogger comment system has been rejigged, so direct reply to individual comments can be done. Okay, one less thing to worry about. Yeah okay, some WordPress blogs do look pretty swish, but a lot of the things that gave me pain in Blogger have gone, so a change is not really needed right now.

Oh yeah, I worked all this out by starting a new blog that’s not yet public. In this new blog I’ve had a chance to play with different settings and formats. Are you pumped, just imagining what wondrous things could be in it? Well, don’t be, as it’s only going to be my practice blog, but I wonder if it would get more hits than this one?

Why is the scene from 2001: A Space Odyssey at the top of the post? No reason really, other than just like the mischievous HAL, computers will be the death of me and I saw the movie for about the 60th time at The Astor Theatre last weekend. Where else in the world can you go and see an old movie how it was meant to be displayed in 70mm format, complete with thumping DTS sound? I would say nowhere.

I’ve been going to that cinema since the early 1980’s and within the foyer there’s a big poster with the phrase, ‘Cinema Fiasco’ in huge letters on it. Now where do you think Ben and I came up with this blogs title?

Oh yeah, to top it off, there’s a cat that lives in the cinema and it wanders around while the movie is on. The cat, whose name is ‘Marzipan’ once sat on my lap for an entire two hour movie and it was like an electric blanket on my legs. I have pretty solid ‘catdar’, but two hours seems a bit much. It’s not a bad life for a stray that supposedly wandered in one day and never left.


Marzipan – The Astor Theatre cat

Now the blog again. The final puzzle of the new format was to come up with a header photo. I was thinking it would have to be something I was happy with, as there’s no way I’d want to keep changing it. Oh yeah, on shaky grounds this is an outdoor blog which meant it would have to be a landscape picture.

Lucky for me I was already in ‘header mode’, as I needed one for that infernal Facebook’s new Timeline, which ended up being easier than I thought. What’s the Facebook theme? Well, that’s pretty obvious as the picture below shows, it was always going to be Dave.



Now, I couldn’t get away with 2001 on a hiking blog could I? I contemplated this photo of last light above Wreck Beach on the Great Ocean Walk. It’s not that great a photo, but it’s the memory, which is more important of watching the sun go down across the sea on a perfect spring day.


Last Light – Wreck Beach

It looks a little dark though, so I went back to the drawing board and came up with a photo that Ben took at Gardiner Point, Arthur River on the West Coast of Tasmania. This is a place that’s signposted as ‘the edge of the world’. In fact it has its own website with ‘edge of the world‘ as its URL.

You know what? It actually lives up to that dramatic name. We were there in winter and it felt as isolated and wild as any beach I’ve ever stepped on. Enormous piles of driftwood were on the beach and amongst the rocks, including massive trunks of trees. A vast ocean as far as the eye can see and incredible colours not just in the rocks, but the sky itself. It was definitely a weird feeling. So, I might as well include some photos from that place, as they’re long overdue for inclusion into the blog.


The sign is a little dramatic…


…but it delivers

Ben and I took all of these photos on the first trip with a Canon 550 DSLR. It was a steep learning curve and I would love to be able to tackle this incredible light with the knowledge I now have a few years later. Exposure was tricky with the sun sinking over the horizon, but the glow across the water was amazing.


Huge driftwood…


…red rocks…


…and some driftwood balancing acts

As the sun began to settle near the horizon, Ben took this photo in the strange glow of light on this bitterly cold winters evening.


The light continued to deliver and I’d love to go back there again, but like so many places another visit isn’t on the radar right now.




So, if you’re ever in Tasmania I can thoroughly recommend slipping up to the North West Coast and checking out this wild area. I almost forgot to mention, but the surrounding water was black in places from tannin flowing from the Arthur River. That alone is amazing for photography and I could imagine spending a week there, just taking photos at dawn and dusk without ever getting bored.

So, that’s it. The new template is done and the only thing left to do is trawl through the old posts and make all those piddly little photos a bit more massive, but I’ve allocated a decade to get that done.

Now I can relax in my bath and think of some trip reports that need writing up. You know what I hate though? It annoys me when I hop in and get comfortable with my cigar, but then realise I’ve left my booze and fruit platter on the other side of the bath…


“I’d love an apple right now, but it’s so far away…”