HOW TO: Design A Custom Blockquote For Your Blog

Recently, a friend asked me how to put a border around text in the post. There are two ways to do this. One gives you the ability to have different text in different styles of borders and backgrounds, all in one post. And one creates a standard which can be applied to text with one click. The first one is less convenient, though it does give you more freedom, and I have decided to give a tutorial for the second. 
Probably there will be a tutorial for the first method someday, I am just not in the mood at the moment.





HOW TO MAKE A BLOCKQUOTE FOR YOUR BLOG

You may have noticed this little button up there in your post editor:

That, my fine feathered friend, is the blockquote button. On default, it just turns this:



Into this.









Its a subtle difference, usually used if you are quoting something (blockquote) and want it to stand out a teeny bit.

But you could turn that boring text into whatever you want.
Since I do a lot of design tutorials which use code, I use my own blockquote as a syntax highlighter.

Turning this:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Donec nec justo sit amet libero viverra fermentum a vel arcu. Fusce id ipsum a orci lacinia auctor. Nullam vel nunc tellus. Maecenas congue tristique neque, id iaculis nibh viverra ut. Donec porta libero dictum, convallis velit mollis, fermentum dui. Vivamus mattis libero eget orci dictum, ac cursus arcu bibendum. Fusce libero mi, tempus nec mattis sit amet, commodo et augue. In bibendum lectus in efficitur ullamcorper. Ut volutpat ac ligula ac pulvinar. Nulla in tincidunt massa. Sed turpis arcu, vulputate non enim id, blandit tristique orci. Fusce tempor gravida sapien rhoncus pharetra. Fusce euismod metus lectus, eu tempus tortor sodales ac.



Into this:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Donec nec justo sit amet libero viverra fermentum a vel arcu. Fusce id ipsum a orci lacinia auctor. Nullam vel nunc tellus. Maecenas congue tristique neque, id iaculis nibh viverra ut. Donec porta libero dictum, convallis velit mollis, fermentum dui. Vivamus mattis libero eget orci dictum, ac cursus arcu bibendum. Fusce libero mi, tempus nec mattis sit amet, commodo et augue. In bibendum lectus in efficitur ullamcorper. Ut volutpat ac ligula ac pulvinar. Nulla in tincidunt massa. Sed turpis arcu, vulputate non enim id, blandit tristique orci. Fusce tempor gravida sapien rhoncus pharetra. Fusce euismod metus lectus, eu tempus tortor sodales ac.


But I also use it for quotes, and just text that I want to stand out.


So, to start with, you need to go to your blogger Dashboard>>Template>>Edit HTML
Click in the text editor and press Ctr+f on windows Command+f on mac, to bring up a search box.
Use the search box to find the following code:
]]></b:skin>
Directly ABOVE it, paste the following code:

.post blockquote {
That is the base code. All the styling for the blockquote, is going to go under that. First of all, we can add a border:
.post blockquote {
border: 1px solid #000000;
}
That is going to give you a solid black border, 1px thick:
Now your text is really close to the edges, so we are going to throw some padding in like so:
.post blockquote {
border: 1px dashed #000000;
padding: 5px;
}
And that is going to pull the text away from it a little. I have given it five pixels, and if you decrease the number, the text will move closer to the edges, and if you increase it, the text will move farther away.

Now I am going to do the three basic text formats: font, size, and color.
.post blockquote {
border: 1px solid #000000;
padding: 5px;
font-family: 'times';
font-size: 13px;
color: #ff0000
}

And now we have Font: Times, Size: 13, Color: Red or #ff0000
Now, last but not least, we can put a background on it.
.post blockquote {
border: 1px solid #000000;
padding: 5px;
font-family: 'times';
font-size: 13px;
color: #ff0000;
background: #75a8ae
}
Which gives me this rather hideous combination of red and #75a8ae. I trust you won't create anything as disgusting as this.
So there you have it. As you can see, the border is growing rather hard to see, so if you are doing a darker color for a background, you would want to make it more than 1px. Also, if you change the border style from solid to double, you will need to make it at least 3px wide to look like anything.
If you are not sure of the color you want, or its hex code, I recommend http://www.color-hex.com/ for that sort of thing.
Another thing you might not know the code names for, are different border styles.
For a list of Border Styles, look HERE

That concludes things. To use the blockquote, when you are writing your post, just select the text you want to put in the block, and click this button right here:


Do Enjoy!




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Review: The hobbit, the desolation of smaug.


Apologies for how long this took. But there was a lot of stuff I wanted to mention, and I couldn't put it all in here because that would basically be writing a small book. So I had to pick stuff. I should mention that I can name dozens of other things wrong with this movie in addition to what I have here. Just so you know.



WARNING: Sarcasm may exceed expectations. Ranting at maximum. High levels of anger. Hot tea or comforting food suggested. Laughing to be expected.



Officially to be titled:
A Rant
The Elf-Dwarf-Love-Not-Triangle:
The Benedict Cumberbatchness of Smaug

And now, let the Review/Rant begin.


                                    


Great, so let us see where we were at the end of the last movie. 
If I remember correctly, our heroes were being carried by large, orange-and-blue eagles over mountains, having left Azog D behind in a burning forest. 
This movie picks up with Thorin and Co. in a completely random location that has no reference to anything, and somehow Azog managed to track them over these mountains:

                                 
Just out of curiosity, what mountains are those?? After the Misty Mountains, which they just went UNDER, there are NO MORE MOUNTAINS for them to cross. So for some reason, the eagles decided to take them BACK over the misty mountains to admire the view, and then BACK AGAIN to Carrock. Making tracking by fried orcs impossible.


BUT WAIT!!!
I am getting carried away. The movie doesn't begin roughly where we left off at all. It begins a long long time ago in BREE. So lets work our way up from there.

Number one, apparently it is ALWAYS raining in Bree. No matter when we look at it, its still raining. 
And look, Peter was SO creative! For his cameo, he did the exact same cameo that was in the Fellowship. Isn't that original?? 
He must be the Village-Carrot-Eater of bree, who looks the same sixty years earlier than his last appearance. 

Moving on we come to a random interlude in which Gandalf talks to Thorin, and tells him to reclaim his homeland. OK, wasn't Thorin already doing that? And what was he doing in Bree? And the two random strangers which may have either been trying to kill him, or just get another pint of beer (it comes in pints?!) are never seen or heard from again. Bye bye strangers!
Moving on. We meet, BILBO as lookout man. He then returns to report that they are being followed, and is not received by surprise in any way. Which means that they already knew. So why did he bother to tell them like it was some big news? 

Ooh, this bit of dialogue made me laugh. Paraphrasing.
Gandalf: There is a house where we could take shelter.
Thorin: Friend or foe?
I just love that question. One would hope for Gandalf to reply: Foe actually. I just figured that this enemy of ours who was trying to kill us would board us for the night. 
OF COURSE ITS A FRIEND!!! 
Sorry about that.
As the Lady Awdur pointed out. Beorn has a STRONG resemblance to the Star Wars wookie.
In the book, Beorn is a great man with BLACK (not light brown) hair and he lives a large, beautiful house. Not a barn. He is grumpy, but generally kindly. He can laugh (who knew) and he enjoys a good joke, he can also turn into an unpredictable bear, which still has complete control over itself.
In the movie he never laughs, doesn't seem to understand the concept of a smile, has no control over his own barn, has brown hair, hates dwarves, and as a bear is completely useless. Tada! Talk about negative interpretation. 
Also, did anyone else notice he has this weird indian accent? Maybe its just me.

AZOG!!! THE ULTIMATE, HUGE, AMAZING, NEVER TO BE EQUALED IN SIZE ORC. 


Well, actually his second in command "Bolg" is about two inches taller than him it would seem. Everything just keeps getting so huge, you can't even pretend to find it realistic any more. 

Another movie gone by with Bilbo STILL not telling Gandalf about the ring...one wonders how Gandalf (having no knowledge of it) is supposed to mention the Ring at the white council. Learn of it, grow suspicious, and help Frodo later....or maybe Frodo just dies and everything is taken by Sauron, all because Peter Jackson couldn't stick to the book even once. 
For want of a nail, the kingdom was lost.



MIRKWOOD, Resort Edition:


Mirkwood. Was. Horrible. 
No Enchanted River for one thing. 
Horribleness. 
Awfulness. 
They could have done SO MUCH MORE.
Also, we learn from Bilbo, that when happily perched in a tree where you can both see and breath, and you realize that there are creatures coming...always climb down from the tree, so that you can slip and almost die, if not saved at the last moment by an elf. 
And why would you EVER take the ring off? Why would you NOT sing Attercop? Why would you do NOTHING to help your friends? How on earth did you wake up and get to your sword in the space of one second, in that web? Why were you asleep? Did they sting you? No, because no one else appeared to be woozy or anything, so I guess that you just needed a nap.
OK, seriously, has no one ever seen a real spider web in a dank, dark, sick forest???
They look like this:                                                 


And the movie ones look like this: 


They are so..WHITE. I mean, how is that even possible? They are blindingly white. Its amazing.






OH! This is fun. Drops golden ring on Autumn foliage (looks like paper, by the way) and then finds it again almost at once, in a gloomy forest, while battling off spiders. He really does have amazing eyes.

LEGOLAS AND TAURIEL. 
Excuse me while I silently curse Tauriel using words that I will not type. 
And I am back. 


LEGOLAS THE TEENAGE HEART-THROB:
Look, a picture of Legolas. Could it be...Yes, yes I think it is. Somebody is wearing Eyeliner-Extreme. 
And where oh where are those blue eyes that we know and love? You know what I am talking about. These guys. You remember, the blinding blue beacons that you couldn't get away from. Looks like SOMEBODY forgot in a couple of shots in the hobbit. But it doesn't matter, because, lets face it, we were all watching his blades. Or if you weren't watching his blades, you were mesmerized by 'the hair' which is ALWAYS perfect, and wondering how he go that unearthly perfection along the hairline.

TAURIEL THE CLICHE:


Tauriel is horrible. She was not in the book. Should never have been in the movie. Why is she there? Practical plot reasons? Nope. She is there, because Peter Jackson promised the actress he would find her a part, since he liked her. And he found her a part, or I should say, he MADE her a part that didn't exist. While I am here, I would just like to mention that Viggo Mortensen was going to be in the third movie, but my hero turned down the role, because he wasn't in the book. A round of applause for him. 
Back to Tauriel. 
So, she falls in love with a dwarf.....AWKWARD. 
And the dwarf, he loves her back. Amazing.
And the elf, he likes the other elf. 
How typical. 
How cliche.
How obnoxious.
This movie could have been a horrible adaption of a book, but a decent movie, without Tauriel. But Tauriel ruined everything. She destroyed its last chance of survival. 
Did I mention that the "cave" looks just like Lorien? Only more boring.
And Tauriel looks like a CGI character in that picture. Ugh.
I should also mention that
I.
HATE.
LOVE-TRIANGLES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


THRANDUIL THE AIR-BRUSHED:


So, in the movie, Thranduil was an evil, conniving, horrible, creepy, nasty person. 
In the book, he was a merry king. Not cruel, but just not fond of dwarves. He was just and good. And ruled well, if a little loosely. 
Also in the movie, he says that the most prized jewels of his people, are the white jewels. Pure and starlight-y blah blah blah.
Allow me to quote the book (there are no connections between the book and the movie, so I am sure if I am allowed to quote the book during a review of the movie). 
"To the Elvenking he gave the emeralds of Girion, such jewels as he most loved, which Dain had restored to him."
The Hobbit, JRR Tolkien
Emeralds are green. Not white. Maybe Jackson is color blind?
Have you ever seen someone look SO air-brushed??




ELVES DO NOT SNORE, thank you very much.
And why did Bilbo ever take the ring off while he was helping the dwarves escape? The book just made so much more sense.
I love it when Tauriel walks in and says with this dead serious face "where is the keeper of the keys"
It cracks me up. How did she keep a straight face? Its such a stupid, cheesy phrase. Hello, are you the "keeper of the keys?"

How are those barrels NOT getting waterlogged? 



Get em while they're hot! Fresh from the river. Bombur in a barrel. Two for the price of one. Get your "Bombur in a barrel" here and only here!! That was just SO stupid. Spinning around in a barrel??

BARD TURNER:

Did no one else notice this?

Bard looks just like Will Turner who is played by Orlando Bloom.
Will turner on the left, and Bard on the right. To be honest its difficult to tell the difference unless you look closely. Hilarious considering that Orlando Bloom is in the Hobbit.

More pictures proving my point:

They destroyed a perfectly good character for no reason. I guess Book Bard wasn't COOL enough.

I have to admit, the master of lake town was fairly good, even if he was played by Stephan Fry. Everything in that movie was gross and nasty and horrible, and the Master, in the book is all those things, so he at least was fine.
Lake town was a good set, but very very very very obviously, a set.
But their whole entrance into lake town and everything about their time there was wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong.
And they LEFT WITHOUT THREE OF THEIR GROUP!!!!!!!!!!!!
RUINED. RUINED.
I have this strange feeling that my review of the first movie was better, because I was not nearly as consumed by hatred as I am with this one. I can barely form coherent words. Basically, 27 pages of exclamation points with the word "no" at the beginning of the first page, would pretty accurately describe my thoughts on the matter. But I shall do my best.




OK, so what comes next? 

        THE EVER VULGAR GUY


Stephen Fry used to be so great! He played one of my favorite movie characters ever, and then became an unpleasant and vulgar person who always played large vulgar people. He also has an obsession with having a naked scene in his movies. What happened to my wonderful Jeeves!?!?!?!?!?
Tolkien mentioned that the Master of Laketown was a power craving coward, but he didn't say anything about him being evil and disgusting and vulgar and gross. Why must things like this be added in??
But I'm sorry, I keep on forgetting that THIS HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH TOLKIEN!!!
I also don't recall that he was 'oppressing the people of laketown'. I recall that he didn't really pay any attention to them, and took more than his share of money. 
Sigh. Sigh.
sigh sigh sigh sigh sigh sigh sigh sigh sigh sigh sigh

THE FIRST LIGHT OF DURIN'S NIGHT

Actually, I think it was the Last Light of Durin's Day.
"Then suddenly when their hope was lowest a red ray of the sun escaped like a finger through a rent in the cloud."
The Hobbit, Tolkien
Because it WAS the sun. Not the Moon. 
That is a rather small door, considering that the dwarf is a little of three feet tall, and the door is supposed to fit this description:

"A door five feet high and three broad was outlined..."
The Hobbit, Tolkien
So that dwarf in the picture, is about four and a half feet tall, and three feet wide. He needs to lose some weight methinks. And he is rather tall don't you think? For a dwarf?

And the room with all the gold? To get there you go STRAIGHT down the passage and pop, you are looking RIGHT at the dragon. No weird winding. And no crazily vast halls to go through. You just walk straight into the throne room. Otherwise Thror and Thrain would never have been able to escape in time. 
And why did they leave three of their group behind? Why is that helpful at all? So that Fili and Tauriel can have some time to bond probably. I do wonder what their children will look like. Either really short, and slender, or basically just large oafs.
More sighs. 


TREASURE HOARD

Amazingly talented dwarves. Renowned for making fantastic things of magic and great beauty, and their hoard is gold coins????? They don't make coins! Their currency is beautiful things that they make. The DON'T MAKE COINS. 
Or are we to suppose that these dwarves, with the giant mine full of riches beyond compare, sell their creations for gold coins? Um. No. They sell their creations for the things they cannot get for themselves. Which means, food mostly. Sure they may have some coins among all their other stuff? But THIS????? Not only is it not true to the book. It just plain doesn't make sense. 

BENEDICT CUMBERBATCH!!!! heh heh, I mean SMAUG

I have to say that the dragon was good. And the voice was good. And the beginning of their interaction was good. (again, why did bilbo ever take the ring off?). But then it just got stupid. They decided that they had quoted Tolkien enough for one trilogy at that point, and lost all the good, witty conversation and riddles that took place between Bilbo and Smaug. 
AND they didn't show how Bilbo discovered that he had a bare spot on his belly. Instead they had a story that ages ago a scale had been dislodged. Except, dragons don't have scales on their stomachs, so they could have just shot him there anyway and not had to worry about it. Because he definitely made no mention of the fact that he has diamonds and jewels for armor on his belly.


So there we leave things. In the next movie, Bard is going to have to get to his kid somehow, and find out where the arrow was hidden. Get it, and get up to this tall tower, which any dragon would destroy instantly, because its the tallest thing in the town and would get his attention. 

After thinking about this movie, and watching it again for reviewing purposes, I feel rather like vomiting. So I think I shall delve into the Lord of the Rings to make myself feel better. 

         

















WAS WAY  BETTER


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NEXT POST TO EXPECT:
HOW TO: Design A Custom Blockquote for Your Blog

My! What big hands you have! All the better to write with.

Now let me think. Today I woke up and sat in bed listening to the phone ringing, and thinking it was my alarm clock (I was half asleep people, give me a break). Then it stopped, and I was super happy, and I went back to sleep. Then it happened again three times in a row, and I finally realized that someone was calling us. Sure took me long enough. After that I wrote a thousand words. Then I cleaned up a small present left by my dog. Then I clicked the little button marked "new post" which I haven't gone near for a while now.

But wait! Did I mention that I wrote a thousand words? Yes. Yes I did. That puts me at thirty thousand words in Second Drafts (or 30000, but that doesn't look as much). YAY??? Well hey! I am nowhere near being even close to being done! Why am I cheering? I have no idea. Somehow each time I actually meet my goals on or before schedule, is a little victory for me, that makes me ridiculously happy. Sometimes its "YAY I WROTE TEN THOUSAND WORDS" and sometimes its "YAY, I FINALLY FIGURED OUT HOW TO WORD THIS SENTENCE" said with the same amount of enthusiasm. Because anything is everything compared to nothing. I have no idea what that means, I just like the way it sounds. 

Over the years, I have tried a lot of different things in an attempt to make myself write steadily. Its been an interesting journey, exploring all of the strange little tips and tricks I got from my fellow writers. But in the end, the plan that is working the best, is my own invention. Not that I don't think those tips helped. They allowed me to see what sort of things worked, and what sort of things didn't. Which left me able to formulate my own plan. 

I discovered almost at once that the "write when you feel like it" plan doesn't work terribly well. Then I tried another friends plan of "spend X amount of time each day on your book" but that left me staring at my notebook or my computer screen, waiting for the timer to ring, and not doing anything. 
So then I heard about the 'write at least a thousand words a day' method. And that seemed to be working really well. I wrote twenty thousand words in a month, what with a few sick days, early days, and Sundays getting in the way of the 1000 words.

Of course, it was the next month that I realized how much I hated first drafts, and how totally wrong they were. A friend made me finish them, and I did it very badly and very sullenly, just to get it out of the way. Then I slowly chugged along through Second Drafts, and wound up with severe writers block at thirteen thousand words. 

With the wonderfully annoying nagging of my dear twin, I was back on my feet again before three weeks were out, and I was ready to start writing again. 

But there was a problem, my old method of 1000 words on the page before bed, was not working. Nor did another friends idea of a chapter a day. 
So I made my own plan. And I have now reached thirty thousand words on that plan. 

Basically, I wake up in the morning, and starve myself until I have written a thousand words. They have to be finished before I can even dream of the internet or email or anything like that. They have to be written before I can eat breakfast. 

Then, I made the one little alteration that has helped me most. Not only must I write 1000 words, I am limited to 1000 words. Even if I end up having to stop in the middle of a sentence, I must write approximately 1000 words, no more and no less. 

This means that I usually stop in the middle of a sentence, so when I wake up the next morning, I know exactly what I want to write, and I am eager to do it. Not be 'allowed' to write all day, has made it seem more of a privilege than a chore, and has helped beautifully. Since I started on that plan, I have not missed a single day. One day, I did do other things before I wrote, because I had a friend staying the night, but I did get them written. 

The nice thing is that most of my friends are writers, so at my little sleepover shindig, when I told them that I had to write before I could go downstairs to eat, they understood, and ate without me. 
The next day was the one where I did other things first, but I still got my word count in for the day. Its quite nice. It works very well for me. And a friend of mine has made a few changes to it so that it will fit her own life, but has found success with the general idea of making writing a privilege, and giving yourself incentive to finish by denying yourself something you love until you are done. 

So that is my very long and rambling update on my writing life. Soon I will be taking a two week vacation from this plan and from everything else. Though I will bring my notebooks with me and write as well as I can, I will be getting up early in the morning to eat and then go climb mountains, so I can't very well continue as I have been. Coincidentally, the parts that I will be writing while camping in a tent in the mountains for two weeks, are the parts where Nefru and Co. are camped out in the desert. Which is mostly the reason I am trying to convince my dad to spend at least half of our time camping in the desert, just so that I can have that surrounding me while I write.

Last year we spent more than half our time in Utah, but I was not on second drafts then, so I was not able to properly use that to my advantage. I have detailed memories of course, but that's not the same thing. Actually, if you must know, I spent that entire trip writing about an alien invasion, because I was so sick of Pendant First Drafts. 

We leave on August 1st, and its very exciting. I am almost looking forward to sitting in a car for twelve hours. Almost. I usually spend the first two hours wishing I hadn't come and wanting to be back at home. Then as the parts of Kansas that are super familiar go away, so does my desire to stay here. At that point, I try to sleep and wake up every few hours to say "are we across the border yet?" Then, once we are across the border, I wake up completely and the party begins as we drive through Eastern Colorado (hint, it looks exactly like Western Kansas, only flatter and with more sunflowers. Ironic isn't it?) and try to be the first to spot the mountains. Which is rather difficult since I am in the back of the car, but I try. Once we reach the mountains, we are finally THERE, and its remember this, remember that. We drive through our familiar stomping grounds, then set off for a campsite that we haven't been to before, and set up our very first camp of the trip. 

Last year, we sort of lost our way in Utah, and ended up parking on an obscure trail head of sorts, right above a highway. We slept for a while in the car, but then my dad and one of my brothers and I hiked up to the top of a ridge, in the freezing cold morning and watched the sun rise. It looked completely fake. Almost like a cartoon sunrise. All the colors were pretty much solid, and very clean cut. Completely fake, except that it was real.

But enough about all of that totally irrelevant stuff. I was going to post some snippets, but I think that this post has gone on plenty long enough. 

Toodle-pip!
May your vacations seem boring by comparison. 
Just kidding.
Not.
Maybe.
I don't know.
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The 30 Day LOTR Challenge: Day 30


Best LOTR Picture Ever:
No. There is no way to pick. I am not going to pick. You should see my collection of images. That are all awesome. There are hundreds of them. I cannot pick a best picture ever, but I could do a picture of the best person or moment? How about that.
Alright. Easy. Best LOTR person ever:
And that concludes the challenge. I am unimpressed. 


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The 30 Day LOTR Challenge: Day 29


Your LOTR Collection:
I would take a picture, but I am too lazy. 

  1. Soon I will have acquired the entire history series by Christopher Tolkien
  2. Nice Extended Edition of the entire trilogy (movie)
  3. The Entire Soundtrack (who doesn't?)
  4. Evenstar Pendant
  5. Unfinished Tales
  6. Tree and Leaf
  7. The Treason of Isengard 
  8. The Silmarillion 
  9. The Alan Lee illustrated edition of Return of the King
  10. The Alan Lee illustrated edition of The Hobbit
  11. The Lord of the Rings: Movie Picture splattered edition, all in one
  12. The Return of the King: by itself
  13. The 50th Anniversary edition of The Lord of the Rings: all in one




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