My thoughts on Slackware, life and everything

I switched the blog’s theme

A blog  is something personal, and theming it just right is a challenge. You’ll surely have noticed that the theme of Alien Pastures has been changed overnight.

This blog started out with a theme by Andreas Viklund (wp-andreas01) but that did not scale well on mobile devices, also it did weird stuff with user comments. I liked its visual quality a lot but the usability challenges were not fixable even by rummaging around in its code.
Eventually I replaced that with a new theme by Rajeeb Banstola (techism) but during my recent WordPress blog-code update I realized that this techism theme had not been updated for years, the author’s website has disappeared and the Freemius SDK from which that theme is created has a XSS vulnerability. Real shame because I thought it was beautiful, light, responsive and it fixed the user comment issues I mentioned previously.

So I have used my December holiday to look for another theme, experimenting with several, but I wanted to end with one that at a minimum allows me to have two columns: one for the articles and one as a sidebar with widgets showing all kinds of permanent info. Three columns was what I had with wp-andreas01 and techism, but I could live without one of the two sidebars.

I finally found a theme collection created by Anders Norén. On his page teman he showcases several that I find appealing, but after some experimenting I chose his Lovecraft and Hemingway themes over Baskerville. I kept the visual style of the new theme as close as possible to the old one (header image, top menu, sidebar widgets etc).
A note about the header image – that one has changed a few times over the years. I always use a picture I have taken myself and I rotate them on occasion.

At the bottom I was able to add three widgets that otherwise would have gone into a left sidebar. I think it’s cleaner now. Plus, one of these bottom widgets shows posts that have been most popular during recent weeks. That’s always interesting information to you (visitors), previously I would be the only one with that overview – it shows in the blog’s admin dashboard.

I am still undecided whether Hemingway or Lovecraft will make it as my final choice. Hemingway theme shows the number of comments to each article and it’s visually somewhat more condensed. Lovecraft on the other hand is aesthetically more pleasing to my eye.

I hope you like and appreciate the change and the new interface does not pose any difficulty writing and posting your comments. Feel free to comment below of course!

Cheers, Eric


  1. Aditya

    I had to hard reload the page to get the like button and comment box to show up. Otherwise works well and looks good!

    Cheers and thanks Eric!

  2. Owen Greaves

    Looks good Eric!

    • Owen Greaves

      The only thing I don’t see on your new theme, is how many comments were made on a blog post. It’s a metric I look for when looking at blog posts, if they have been read or not, and engagement.


      • alienbob

        Yeah I miss two things: on the front page, each article is shown in full instead of showing an excerpt and a “Read more…” link; and the number of comments to each article is not shown as you said.

      • alienbob

        I switched over from Lovecraft to Hemingway theme which does show the number of comments to each post, and I think the overall layout (a bit more condensed) is preferable/ Let’s see what others think.

  3. Jen

    The refresh looks really nice! Very readable. 🙂

  4. Konrad J Hambrick

    I like your new theme, Eric !

    Thank you and Happy New Year !

    — kjh

  5. Bouboulov

    It’s classy ^

  6. Francisco

    Hi Eric,

    Previous looked better IMHO, but no way… the important point is the content!.

    Happy New Year Eric! and thanks for keeping this channel open with a new theme,

    Happy Holidays to all Slackware Users on this pasture!!!!

    • alienbob

      If the previous theme had not been exploitable, I would have simply kept it forever.

  7. thim

    Hello Eric,
    a few months ago i was working on creating a blog. After my research, i chose Hemingway for my personal blog and Baskerville for a friend’s (she liked it more).
    So obviously, i find the new looks of yours quite refreshing!!
    (For Hemingway theme, Appearance–>Menu–>Content Options, is where i opted for showing an excerpt of an article instead of the new article)

    • alienbob

      Hi thim,
      Unfortunately I do not have a “Content Options” submenu here.

  8. TheTKS

    It looks good to me, I clicked through a few links in the widgets at the bottom (I think that’s a good place for them), and commenting work.

    Happy New Year 2024, Eric!


  9. Marco

    I just noticed that pingbacks are now at the bottom of the page, separate from the comments. Nice!

  10. chrisretusn

    I like the new theme.

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