New (academic) year, new look

Well, actually, it's the same old look, more or less -- the adaptation of Brian Gardner's Blue Zinfandel Wordpress theme that I made several years ago now, shortly after I switched over to Wordpress.(Note to non-blogging -- and even non-Wordpress readers, skip this post if you like; this is going to get vaguely technical and probably very boring in a minute!)For those of you who are, like me, longstanding fans of Brian Gardner and his Wordpress themes, you'll know by now that he's discontinued Blue Zinfandel and other free themes, and you can no longer download them or find support for them. Who can blame him? He's making money off his premium themes, which I coveted for a long time, without being able to justify paying for them. And so I stuck with my version of Blue Zinfandel (which in my head I called Red Zinfandel) for a long, long time.And that's fine, because I'm happy with the look. The trouble comes behind the scenes. In the beginning, Blue Zin wasn't widgetized, but when Wordpress upgraded to include widgets (oh, ages ago now!) that problem went away. But Blue Zin can't do other things -- like support tags in its content posts without serious tweaking (for which I don't have the time, even though I might like to develop the skill) and some other stuff.So. The other day I was looking at themes, which I was doing fairly regularly to see whether there was anything out there that might be worth using to replace this one with, and I came across Thesis.Now it's not a free theme. And that was what put me off it. But it's very very customizable -- and this without having to go into the code all that much. It's like Hemingway on crack (I'm using Hemingway, and am very very pleased with it, for tongues of the ocean, in fact so pleased I had half decided that if I wanted to change Blogworld's look I might just do it via another customization of Hemingway).So anyway. We're looking for something to use to rebuild the Shakespeare in Paradise site, which is hardworking right now but which doesn't yet have the look we want -- and we decided to invest in Thesis. For a developer's licence you can propagate the theme wherever you want, and so voilà!What I like about this is that you probably don't see much difference. Using the customization, I was able to make this site look a whole lot like the last version of Blogworld. But what you also don't see are all the options I have now to make the blog more widely read, more flexible, more responsive, more interactive, and more attractive as time goes on.Pretty cool, huh? Well, I think so.