How To Turn a Blog Comment Into A Very Long Blog Post

Two days before Valentine's Day. The moaning has hit full tilt.

Everyone hates Valentine's Day. I don't hate it; I just don't celebrate it, and I really never have. The Donor and I, I don't think, have ever once really 'celebrated' it. I mean, he'll run out on Sunday morning and buy me the obligatory Bunch of Asparagus, and I'll give him the obligatory Redacted.  But we'd do that because it's Sunday. We'd do that because we are wasted. These things work for us.

Besides, I think mothers day is way more fun.
Mother's Day, 2008.  Yum.
But a few weeks ago, my friend Earnest Girl wrote a post about Valentine's Day, and I left her a little comment, and this morning while I was asking Twitter to decide for me whether to bitch about getting kicked out of Canada 90 days before the reason we moved there in the first place, or bitch about explain Google Buzz, my other friend Deb Rox asked me to post about that old comment instead.

*ahem*

Why I Love Valentine's Day; A Tale of Love in the Time of Awkward Adolescence


Do you remember that kid in school? You know who I'm talking about...the one that always smelled bad, or the one who has some weird gastroenterological disorder that made them poop 8 times every day, or the one who's parents forced them to dress like Puritans, or the one who always wore clothes that were 4 years out of style, or the one who got free breakfast and lunch at school, and never once had a dime to their name? You remember that kid. I was that kid.


For the record, I always smelled good.


But I wore my brother's hand-me-down underwear, and the girl at church's hand me down clothes, and school breakfast and lunch were, on most days, the only food we saw, and I was being raised as a good little subservient cult member, and I was either getting the shit beat out of me mentally or physically, depending on the amount of coffee brewed on any given day, at home, or watching it happen to my brother. I had the self-esteem of your common household ant-trap. And I had, like, one friend. Maybe.


I was not a popular child.  I was the elementary school's class graduating class of 1985's whipping post. I still have nightmares about elementary school, not kidding.


Part of the thing with being raised all culty is that we didn't celebrate holidays. Any of them. Ever. So I got to spend an extra super fabulous day at home every time Christmas parties or Halloween parties or Valentine's Day parties rolled around. And I didn't really care so much. I was so thoroughly brainwashed that I pitied the fools who were damning themselves for eternity with their cotton ball Christmas trees and their Berry Berry Kix garland strings. But still, none of it helped my feeling that I was standing outside of my childhood, looking in. I could see what being a kid was, I just could never touch it. I was never a part of the world I lived in, and that is a hard way to be a kid.


My teachers were always respectful enough of my mother's my beliefs that they never made me a Jack O' Lantern for the wall, and I never had a picture on a construction paper bulb hanging on the foam core Christmas tree. They always excused me to the library with a smile and a nod when there were Evil Pagan Holiday things to be done in class. At least I had an out....Ash, the kid next to me who didn't stop farting for 4 years straight, he just had to sit there and take it over glitter glue festivities.


It could have been worse, that's all I'm saying.


Sometimes, my teachers would try. In 4th grade, my teacher bought me a Clifford the Big Red Dog book for my birthday, and held on to it for an extra week, and wrapped it in regular paper with a very birthdayish ribbon that could be easily disposed of before I got home, and told me as much. "I'm giving you this because I chose to celebrate your birthday, because I think you're neat, but your mom doesn't need to know. Tell her it's for homework," she said to me after the whole class was dismissed one day. I kept that book, hidden under a mattress, until high school.  It's the little things.


But there is a difference between some Big Sneaky Adult Authority Figure acknowledging your presence on the planet and your peer group doing it. There was one of her and 30 of them, all day, every day. Thirty of them with rocks, thirty of them with new clothes and shoes every January, thirty of them to remind me that I would never, ever belong in their tribe. They were just kids; they didn't know any better. In the days of 67.39% Tolerance, the runt of the litter took it hard, and me with my old clothes and stringy hair, and poor little Ash who always smelled like half-digested curried goat, we were the runts.


But for each of those 30 kids, there was at least one parent behind them with the legible handwriting and the purse strings. Enter Valentine's Day.


Maybe the teachers knew better, and maybe the kids knew better, but the moms and dads who bought the Valentine's sure didn't. You never really know beyond your kid in elementary school, especially in the 1980's.  So every year, I would return to school on the 15th of February and be greeted by a desk overflowing with cards. Cards that had my name scribbled on them in dried-up marker or stubby crayon, cards with a piece of gum lovingly taped to Scooby Doo's buttcrack or Jem's Truly Outrageous Star, cards with sugar coated chalk hearts attached that said U R Cool or I <3 U, cards from every single kid I ever prayed would be my friend late at night, once the world slept and I was left with own, private black isolation.


On February 15th, I belonged where I was. I was a normal kid who got normal cheap cardboard inclusion in the world. I was a kid in a class and everyone knew my name, they'd all acknowledged that I existed. I stayed late every year on the day after Valentine's; I ate every piece of candy and traced my name on every card with my fingers before I threw them all out so my mother wouldn't see, and for one lousy day in my lousy school year, I smiled.


So maybe obligatory redacted is kind of lame, and maybe blowing $2.99 on stupid cards your kids will hand out at school and promptly forget about is wasteful, but every year my kids and I sit together and we carefully write every name on every card, and the names we don't know so well get an extra heart scribbled in crayon on them, because maybe that's the kid who needs a Valentine to show up in their desk just so they can remember that they exist. And if it takes one really annoyingly Pepto-pink day on my calender to make that happen for some kid, I'll deal. And I'll smile.

Backfires, and Other Random Gun References. Because, Apparently, I Like Guns Suddenly. Whatever; I Went to Denver And This is What Happened.

I spent last weekend in Denver, watching one of my very best friends in the whole world get married. I had every intention of using my weekend back home, snuggly tucked away in a downtown hotel room, to work on my book or to catch up on sleep or to take a series of what were to be the longest showers in the history of bathing - because I could, that's why - but I made it downtown, tripped and fell into this:



Amy and Aimee and Jeremy and Jim and Bugfrog (wisely not pictured) and me and the bottle makes three tonight. Or something like that. And then I ended up with my old friends from the bar I worked at in Denver, with whom I totally intended to have deep, meaningful conversations about life and love and the proper amount of ammunition to carry on one's person at any given time, but all I walked away from that night with was a headache, puke breath and this:



I think that's a photo of a lime dipped in sugar, which means I was A) with David at Whiskey Bar and B) excessively drunk and C) had a raging case of the hiccups. Do I remember why I took a picture of a lime dipped in sugar?

What is a Rhetorical Question for $300, Alex.

A few hours of sleep and one bottle of Aleve later, I watched my kids godfather get married.

Looking On


After the wedding, my other best friend and I intended to have a glorious, albeit last minute date night, complete with bottles of wine and cushy hotel beds and late night tv and general girly giggliness, not like that, pervs, but we ran into ALL my blog-fathers at a Rocky Mountain Blogger Bash Fest.

Jed got a fabulous camera pic of my tits sweet face Combs smiled because he realized that Texas has changed me from a left-wing tree hugging hippy into a gun-toting, oil-guzzling libertarian. And there was much rejoicing. And by rejoicing, I mean 'welcoming me to the dark side'. And by welcoming, I mean getting hit on by Zombyboy and Vodkapundit.

And then I overslept, again, and didn't have time to get the family gifts on my way home which is fine if I'm in, like, Kansas or something but not even close to okay if I am in the land of their birth, so I did the cheesy airport gift-shop run for the boys and the cheesier airport-at-home gift shop run for my daughter, who can't read but thinks Texas is a great name for a new stuffed monkey, and when I handed out the gifts as they piled on top of me in my doorway at home, my husband came up behind all of us, put his hand on my shoulder, and sweetly whispered, "Welcome home, honey." I looked up at him and, with a little wink, said, "You'll get your present later." He smiled, and we turned to our children. What I'd hoped to be a subtle, sultry moment between my husband and I turned into our oldest son sneering at us and saying, "GROSS, guys", and storming off in a cloud of unmitigated tweenaged disgust.

I think my kid is on to us.

Bedazzle Your Posts

This weekend is the Blissdom conference in Nashville, where hoards of women and the unsuspecting dude will meet Tanis and her sparklecorn walking cane, so in honor of that I thought we'd talk about how to bedazzle blog posts and comments. Why? Because sometimes you need flair, and sometimes you'll want to use this for COMMENTS. You can do almost anything is a blog comment, if you know how.

Now, making text change in a post isn't all that complicated. Most blogging platforms will give you the tools to do it with a click. If you already know all of this stuff, please enjoy Unhappy Hipsters and have a great weekend. If you don't, won't you join us in class after the jump?



Examples? We has them. (Click to make them bigger)

paid wp

squarespace

free wp

Typepad

blogger

(PS: To use "click to make them bigger", just upload your photo at full size but insert into your post using medium or thumbnail. Your blog will do the rest.)

For comments, you have to know how to do it.

As you can see, you get progressively less tools as you go down the payscale. But that's okay; all of those things can easily be done for free, and easily, if you just know the right html. If you click HTML, or edit HTML, or Raw HTML when you're composing your posts, you can change how your words look by wrapping the following around them.

Strike out: If I wanted to cross out asshole and say jerk, but wanted to leave asshole in there, all I do is go to the word asshole. Before it, I tell my blog I want to change the html with "<" That is always the opening command for, like, everything. Then I tell it what to do. < strike >asshole. Then tell it to stop after the asshole* by closing the command with "</" That's how you end any command, like, ever. < / strike > It'll look like this: < strike >asshole< / strike >, just take the spaces out.

And that is the basic idea for most of your edits. To make Italics, replace stirke with em. So, < em >italics< / em >; again, no spaces. Bold? < strong> Bold < / strong >

Now, to use a Blockquote, which is handy for quickly identifying a, you guessed it, quote, and your platform will automatically have some weird formatting for it, just type < blockquote > and then your quote and close it with < / blockquote >. And then you will have
a lovely Blockquote, formatted however your blog is set to do it automatically. It will typically be centered in the post and emphasized somehow, maybe with italics, maybe with a great big quotation mark, maybe just centered and spaced. (See? My blog did is automatically.)

To change Color or Size, you need a slightly different command. This time it's "span style". You open the command with < span style = " color : #(that means color number)(now pick one)(this pink is #ff00ff) then ; " > here is the word who's color you're changing < / (that's always END, remember?) span > It will look like this, just without spaces: < span style = "color: #ff00ff ; > Color < / span >.

Font size is also a style, so start the same by opening the command: < span style = " font-size : x- large ; " > Size < / span >

To link to a webpage, you have to open a command with < a href = " Write that down. You'll use it a ton. Then tell it where you want the link to go http : // heymrlady . com "> Now write the text you want linked: Hey Mr Lady {dot} com and close the tag with < / a > All together? < a href=" http : // heymrlady . com " > Hey Mr Lady {dot] com < /a >, no spaces.

If you want that neato subtext for people to read when they hover over your link, which I like to use A) to leave funny notes and B) to tell you where you're clicking before you bother to click there, you just change that slightly. You just have to tell it there is a title with < a title = " Hey Mr Lady {dot} com " href = " http://heymrlady.com " > Hey Mr Lady {dot} com < / a > See? Go on, hover over this. Hey Mr Lady {dot} com

You can also add a link that bumps people to email. Like, if you want me to email you from your comment, you can say, "Bitch, email me!" (click it, see what happens) and add the link directly to your email by putting < a href = "mailto: heymrlady @ gmail . com " > before the words email me! or whatever you choose and then closing it with another one of those lovely < / a > things.

Want to add pictures? Yes you can, to posts OR comments. ANYWHERE. It's the same basic principle. The thing is, you have to already have the picture uploaded somewhere to use it in a comment box. You cannot upload pictures to people's comments, but you CAN tell people's comment box to see your picture. All you have to do is this:

Tell it where the picture is: < a href = " http://mrlady.posterous.com/masochistic-fish-and-adorable-preschoolers " > If you right click or command click (mac) a picture, then choos "Copy Link", that's the url you want. Now you have to tell it to pull the picture into the comment with the image address, which is DIFFERENT that it's url. Right click on the picture or command click (mac) and choose "copy image address" < img src = " http : // posterous.com / getfile / files . posterous. com / mrlady / 6BmdhOsz57hJHW1rfknR6tGNm7UnFhFSIqO1fEnpOVmFEOaQCpFkh7JpjCM3 / IMG00272 - 20100204 - 2125 . jpg . scaled . 1000 . jpg " / > Then close it all with < / a >

All together? < a href = " http://mrlady.posterous.com/masochistic-fish-and-adorable-preschoolers " > < img src = " http : // posterous.com / getfile / files . posterous. com / mrlady / 6BmdhOsz57hJHW1rfknR6tGNm7UnFhFSIqO1fEnpOVmFEOaQCpFkh7JpjCM3 / IMG00272 - 20100204 - 2125 . jpg . scaled . 1000 . jpg " / > < / a > Again, no spaces.

Sites like Flickr will give you all of this already, so if your photo is on Flickr, just click "All sizes" above the photo, choose SMALL for a comment box, then copy the code it gives you, throw it into the comment box, and it WILL appear.

Genetic Brilliance
If you click that picture, it will take you to the Flickr Page you'll want to look for. Just for your own reference.

My brain hurts. Does yours? Good, my job here is done.

Your weekend homework is this: Leave a comment, linking me to your favorite post you've written this week or photo you've taken. Use at least one of the tricks (strike, color, size, etc) and in the link to your post, leave us all a sub-text hovery-thingy note. Preferably filthy in nature. If you leave a picture, ACTUALLY LEAVE IT IN THE COMMENTS. If you're at Blissdom, stop reading my blog and go socialize. But leave us a photo of the conference, k's?

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go see if I can still drink at altitude. Denver, here I come....

*Always stop after the asshole. Just sayin'.

The Audacity Of Hope

Sunday is allowance day at our house. Every week, we sit down for dinner and half-way through the kids 'gently remind' us that they haven't received their allowance yet by saying, "Hey, you owe us $5." They do this because they realize that we're A) old B) not elephants and C) off our fish oil supplements, and therefore have the memory of your common household door-stop.

Luckily for us, our eyeglass prescriptions are up-to-date, so we can see the mountains of boxers and socks piled up on the couch, the pencil shavings cleverly swept behind the trash can and the obscure hieroglyphics adorning the walls. And we giggle at our silly children and tell them to eat more broccoli.

It used to be that they were paid by the chore. If I've learned anything about men all these years, it's that the way to their heart is through their wallets. You want a man to do something? Pay him. Payment, of course, negotiable by age and relationship to you. My boys never wanted to be "good helpers to their momma!" like my daughter does...they wanted Pokemon cards. Lots and lots of Pokemon cards.

We had a massive dry erase board hung in their room with a column down the left of all the chores we'd like them to do, and a row across the top with the days of the week. It went a little something like this:


People, I write. I never said I could draw.

It taught them word recognition and addition and a little self-reliance. They filled out the chart all by themselves; I simply shelled out shiny quarters and head pats at week's end.

But now that they're older, they're not contracted laborers anymore...they are salaried employees. I'm not trying to get them in the habit of doing chores by bribing them anymore, I'm trying to instill the concept of a work. And if you don't do your job, all of it, bitch don't get paid, yo. So the days of "X chore=X dollar" are over, and the days of "You have five days to complete these four tasks" are upon us. They don't do all four? They don't get their allowance. Period. I suck.

But Captain Selective and his first mate, Memory, choose to forget this every week and instead take out the trash on Saturday night and then wait with hopeful hearts and outstretched hands for magical golden coins to fall from the sky. I keep trying to tell them that magical coins only fall from the sky when strangers wearing bedazzaled tights break into their rooms at night and steal their teeth, but for some reason, that just gives them nightmares. However, months weeks of no allowance are taking their toll, and my kids are starting to fight back. They are hoping against hope. They are getting cocky.

I found my oldest son's locker dry erase board hanging on the fridge, offered without comment, on Monday morning after he went off to school.



"Allowence: Put under magnet. I'll get it later."

Maybe the boy can't spell for shit, but he's got 'strong-armed negotiation of the terms of his own existence' down to a silent, arrogant artform.