June 29, 2003

Does this font make me look too fat, or just fat enough?

So I don't know if anyone has noticed but I've been slowly working up to changing the appearance of the blog, bit by bit. When I first moved from blogger to Movable Type (thanks again Michele!) I used the pre-packaged, vanilla stylesheet template called "Gettysburg." I think Gettysburg looks great, and is the most appealing of those they offer, but so do a lot of people. One of the nice things about the whole blogger routine is that there are enough pre-packaged templates that you can easily change the appearance of your blog so that it doesn't look confusingly like anyone else's blog in your "neighborhood" without having to go to the trouble of figuring out how to change anything. It's not that hard to figure out, but if you know nothing about how these things work, it can be just puzzling enough to discourage you from attempting it. Hence, I imagine, all the beautiful, feature-laden, fully functional, elegant, and utterly identical MT-powered blogs out there.

It's a bit disorienting when other peoples' writing is set in a context that looks more or less exactly like yours. For awhile there, I almost thought I was the president of the Strom Thurmond Appreciation Society. Hang on. You've got me mixed up with someone else. No Dr. Frank, you've got yourself mixed up with someone else... Luckily, I figured it out before I sent myself a cordial yet withering email. I wouldn't have liked that one bit.

But where was I? Oh yeah, so all I did was change the font to Trebuchet, and reduce the line height slightly. It's not much, but at least it helps with the identity crisis. Why do I get a warm, comfortable feeling from Trebuchet? Maybe because it (or something close to it) is the interface font for the Movable Type cgi thingummy and it's still so new and thrilling that I always feel a little sad to see it go when I'm finished with it; and maybe also because that's the font that Oliver Kamm's blog uses, and because that's still so new and thrilling that I somehow fool myself into believing that by using it I can capture just a bit of that Kamm magic. In my dreams, I actually am mistaken for Kamm on occasion.

That is not the way forward, I realize. I have no answers. The human soul is a grand, unfathomable mystery. And mine's not so fathomable either.

Anyway, I'll probably fool around with the colors as well. (If I can figure out where they plug in to the stylesheet template-- it's more flexible, but just a bit more complicated than the blogger template situation. And I'm still just a bit worried that I'm going to break something, like I did the last time I tried to muck about in my own innards.) I liked the green of the old one. And who knows, maybe something more elaborate later on. Though I kind of doubt it, lazy sod that I am.

I also added to the sidebar a link to this post, labeled "post a comment on 'eight little songs'..." Like it says, the idea is that people who have comments, questions or suggestions concerning these or other songs can leave comments there instead of emailing them, since I've been so behind in answering my mail. Plus, it would be a way for people to comment on the comments, which might be kind of cool. (By the way, Chach just posted a pretty extensive one, and so did I in response.)

Posted by Dr. Frank at June 29, 2003 09:12 PM | TrackBack

I guess you didn't bother reading this post or are choosing not to ignore it. If I had said calling Paul Wellstone names after his death wasn't appropriate would you have reffered to my blog as the "Paul Wellstone Appreciation Society"?

Posted by: Jeff Quinton at June 29, 2003 11:09 PM

Jeff, you're right: I was being flippant rather than doing you justice. And I apologize. On first glance, I thought I detected a certain Strom-o-centric quality in your blog, but I'll read your posts more carefully in the future.

To answer your question, though: I might have done, indeed. That's just how I am.

Posted by: Dr. Frank at June 30, 2003 12:28 AM

Most people in SC, even those who never voted for Thurmond still respect him. The ones who supported him that lived through much of the same history he lived through could understand his positions on civil rights and how they changed as society changed.

Here in SC, the whole state has been Strom-o-centric since his death.

Posted by: Jeff Quinton at June 30, 2003 12:35 AM

For your colors, look for the sylesheet entry:

body {
margin:0px 0px 0px 0px;

"Background" is the color, and you can specify it as a number or as a name like "blue".

There are some HTML for Dummies type of web sites that explain some of the options and the whole "inheritence" thing that makes them cascade from larger to smaller pieces unless over-ridden.

Posted by: Richard Bennett at June 30, 2003 12:39 AM

In IE6 on Windows, scrolling sometimes causes lines of text to be partially or completely obscured. It's not happening on any of the other MT sites you linked to, so I suspect it's an IE bug related to line-height resizing.

I've noticed it on my home and work machines. Anyone else seeing this?

Posted by: Dave Bug at June 30, 2003 03:58 PM

Yes, Dave, I'm seeing it. I hit refresh once or twice to fix it.

Posted by: JB at June 30, 2003 04:31 PM

Hmm, that's too bad, Dave and JB. Aesthetically, I just don't like large, wide-spaced type. But disappearing text is worse. I'll switch it back-- let me know if that eliminates the problem. And if anyone knows how I can achieve smaller, tighter blocks of text without causing all hell to break loose, let me know.

Richard, I know I should do some research into the stylesheet situation. I'm clueless about it, obviously, but does not "background" refer to the background upon which the text is laid, as it were? What I want to change is the color of the banner (if that's what the blue block at the top is in fact called) and the links.

Posted by: Dr. Frank at June 30, 2003 05:02 PM

Fixed now.

Posted by: JB at June 30, 2003 05:17 PM

...well, except now it's disappearing on the sidebar.

Posted by: JB at June 30, 2003 05:26 PM


Could you do me a favor and clear your cache and try again and let me know if the sidebar text is still disappearing? Apparently, the css stuff remains loaded unless you clear or quit and restart. I noticed something funky myself and I increased the sidebar line height, but I want to know if it was enough.

Posted by: Dr. Frank at June 30, 2003 05:51 PM

The main text is still disappearing on my system. The sidebar text is okay.

Posted by: Lynn at June 30, 2003 06:03 PM

I don't know anything about how/where MT lets you change css stuff, but assuming you have direct access to the css file, adding:


will return your banner to your trademark green, and the following will set your links green:



If you want your links bold again (which I'm not generally a fan of), you can add


inside the brackets of the "a" element redefinition.

Posted by: Dave Bug at June 30, 2003 06:09 PM

On a more trivial note, in case you're thinking of writing a font-based song, it's pronounced "tre-byoo-shet" (or "chet"). Everyone pronounces the last syllable with a faux-French "shay", even though every dictionary I've found denotes a definite T ending.

Posted by: Dave Bug at June 30, 2003 06:21 PM

How's this, Dave?

The Trebuchet Set

I love you and I'll say
it using Trebuchet
I'll make my feelings clear
if they don't disappear

because with Trebuchet
that's what you're gonna get
and my style sheet
is replete
with Trebuchet

I'm not a big success
with CSS
I limp along
pronounce it wrong
and make a mess

but if you come with me
aboard my Trebucheee
we can sail away
to Trebuchet,
just you and me

Posted by: Dr. Frank at June 30, 2003 07:02 PM

Oh, and I forgot to add: you pronounce the last "me" so that it kinda rhymes with "ay".

Posted by: Dr. Frank at June 30, 2003 07:04 PM

That was awesome.

Posted by: geoff at June 30, 2003 07:23 PM

I was at the mall for lunch and stopped by the Mac store. Didn't notice any problem on Safari. And no problem on my PC's IE6 now.

Posted by: JB at June 30, 2003 08:27 PM

Very nice. I expect to hear this on the next demo CD, Eight Songs About Little Fonts. Perhaps it'd contain a jaunty British tune about Gill Sans, a Comic Sans fight song, and the sad story of the wanna-be-Helvetica font Arial.

Posted by: Dave Bug at June 30, 2003 08:55 PM

CSS is a good metaphor for romance. There's always some browser out there that will reject you.

Posted by: JB at June 30, 2003 09:09 PM

The end of the day got boring, so I decided to see if I could take your site back to the old look with a little CSS tweaking:


Not that I think you *should* do that, but you're free to copy or ask for any/all of the CSS (it's all in the source).

Posted by: Dave Bug at June 30, 2003 11:57 PM

Eh, that method turns out to be a bit wonky in IE anyway, so it's probably best left as a goofy experiment.

Posted by: Dave Bug at July 1, 2003 12:02 AM

This font is very Lileks light condensed, don't you think?

As Harry Belafonte observed: "There's a hole in Trebuchet, dear Liza, dear Liza".

Just having fun.

Posted by: Dave F at July 1, 2003 10:26 AM

Now that this message board is sufficiently old, I feel I can comment without notice on the absurdity of my using the term "wonky" just 14 minutes after Moira used it in a comment on the warning label story. (And I double-dog swear I didn't see it there first!)

Posted by: Dave Bug at July 2, 2003 05:14 AM

I've just converted my documentation template headings to Trebuchet and enjoyed your discussion of the subject, particularly the ditty. I'm glad to see other fans of the font, but I'm a little worried about future supportability . . . .

Posted by: Holly Hobbie at September 16, 2003 08:59 PM
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