28 February 2008

Discussion thread: Netiquette

This is a true story. Names and countless other details have been changed to protect the innocent. Personally, I'm worried that this might not be enough. Read on. And do post comments, no matter what your opinion might be.

This all started one day on a forum that I happen to be a moderator on. It's a forum on finance generally.

What is relevant about this forum, is that you don't need a password or a user ID to access it. Anyone can comment on any thread. Anyone can read it. Various posts come up in search engine listings. It is as public as you get. I won't be linking there today, though for a number of reasons:
  1. You won't need to see the forum in order to get the general gist of this post.
  2. Various topics discussed and certain comments made will bore you silly.
  3. Other sundry reasons too mundane to go into
This story begins just the other day when I had initiated a thread about something or other. The subject is neither relevant nor interesting (except maybe to us financial nerds).

A good buddy of mine in meatspace, who we'll call "James", is a regular poster to these forums and can be counted on to always dish up something interesting. And you know, James can also be counted on calling me on some of the rubbish that I come out with.

Regular readers of this blog probably know exactly the type of chit-chat that I'm referring to here. I talk a lot of shit.

And, just before I continue, readers of this blog who have been here a long time will note that I occasionally quote from discussions with a friend of mine who I chose to call "Bob". I wish to advise that I will no longer be calling him "Bob" as I have a regular reader, Bob who he might get confused with. His next appearance will be under a different name.

"James" is not the same person as "Bob".

But back to the story. Somewhere down the thread, I chose to illustrate a point in one of the subsequent comments with a throwaway comment about someone. We all know about this type of comment. It usually starts with, "This bloke I know reckons..." or "Some say this. I happen to know this one girl who..." or even "I know this person who said to me just the other day..."

Prior to me coming out with this, James had made the following point:
You know, a lot of people think that charting is an effective way for deciding between shares of a similar nature.
Don't get me started on charting. I'll leave my opinions about charting and technical analysis generally for another day and another post.

So I responded to James' comment with the throwaway "There's this mate of ours..." line:
James, I really don't like charting. You know, there's this friend of ours who bases his whole investment strategy on charting. He told me the other day that BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto are such similar companies that the only way you can split the difference is to use charting on them. Even then, he said, they track roughly similarly, so it really doesn't matter which one you invest in. Of course, I had to ask the question, "Mate, do you ever read a company's financials?"
Now this might sound innocuous or it might not. I'll let you be the judge, but read on.

James quickly followed this up with this:
Hey Dikkii, you know perfectly well that that particular friend of ours is a former lecturer in fine art. It makes sense that he prefers to see stuff graphically rather than wade through reams of numbers.
We'll call this friend of ours "David".

While I was reading James' comment I must have put my moderator's hat on, because I actually considered deleting James comment. I had used David as an example, anonymously, to illustrate a point.

The reason that I considered deletion was that I felt that James had crossed a line in effectively outing David. Although most other regulars at the forum wouldn't have known who we were talking about, anyone who knows James and I would certainly know that we only know one person who used to be a lecturer in fine art.

David also knows that I talk a lot of shit. But unlike James, David never reads this particular forum. And why would he? None of it is of any interest to him.

My next comment voiced my displeasure and confusion as to why James chose to out David (amongst other things) but I left it at that. I don't know if James has read my response, as he, to date, hasn't left a response of his own.

Anyway, the next day, I'm having a chat with another friend of ours, who we'll call "Rob". Rob said to me, "Hey Dikkii, I was chatting with David last night and he mentioned something about comments that you and James made about him at your online forum."

The only way that David would know about these comments would be if James had told him.

I instantly got a very bad feeling, so I asked Rob what he (David) felt about them. Rob said, "He didn't say much, only that he was 'over it'. I couldn't tell if he was pissed off or not. He didn't seem upset with James."

I said to Rob, "Well if James has told him, I suspect that I'll end up looking the bad guy."

So to date, I don't know if David is annoyed at me or James or whoever.

But this did raise a few questions, which I'd like to pose.

First of all, should I have sought David's approval to offer his circumstances as an anonymous "I have a friend who..." to illustrate a point? This seems completely unfeasible to me. David is not the first friend who I have turned to for one of these references, and he certainly won't be the last.

Secondly, if David is annoyed with me and not James, how and why? I don't understand what I could have done wrong here.

Lastly, should I have gone ahead and deleted James comment? I would have left myself open to claims of censorship.

As it happens, I am not annoyed with either James or David for this. I know I will be with James if it turns out that when he told David, he neglected to inform him that it was James who outed David. That's a missed point of biblical proportions there.

Anyway, I have a short seven question survey over on the right. Please complete it for my benefit. And discuss in the comments - I really haven't got a clue as to whether I've done anything wrong or not.

And "David", if you're reading this and you're upset with me, I do apologise. Email me if you would like the offending comments removed and I'll consider their removal.

Edit (27/03/2008): Survey removed. It had to go sometime.

Edit (29/02/2008): Upon re-reading this, it's clear that I did James a bit of a disservice with one of my remarks to Rob. Whilst I don't recall the actual words, I've edited it to read more correctly like what I would have been more likely to say. I also needed to add the following text:

Disclosure: This blogger owns shares in BHP Billiton Ltd.

Standard but necessary disclaimer: This is not advice. Only a complete idiot would think that any of this constituted advice. It's not even vaguely reasonable to consider this to be advice. If you are in any doubt as to the content of this, see a good, independent financial adviser immediately. They do exist.

20 February 2008

Grab the nearest book

Over at Hot Dogs, Pretzels and Perplexing Questions, Bob has set a task requiring the following information:

1. Grab the nearest book (that is at least 123 pages long).
2. Open to p. 123.
3. Go down to the 5th sentence.
4. Type in the following 3 sentences.
5. Tag five people.

This is actually the second time that I've been tagged by this thing - I last posted on this theme in December 2006.

So what am I reading? Well, next to my desk, someone has left a copy of MBTI® Manual - A Guide to the Development and Use of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® by Isabel Briggs Myers, Mary H. McCauley, Naomi L. Quenk and Allen L. Hammer.

Here's the offending text:

However, about twice as many people who report a J preference fall into the "clear" and "very clear" categories as compared to those who report a P preference (26.4% versus 13.7%), and about three times as many of those reporting an S preference fall into the "very clear" and "clear" categories as compared to those reporting an N preference (28% versus 9%). Two factors must be considered in attempting to interpret these results. First, the data are based on the national sample, which included more Sensing and Judging types than Intuitive and Perceiving types.

Now before you ask, I don't buy into Myers Briggs Testing® at all, no matter how much you put it to me. I work in a department at work that is insistent on using the bloody thing and I cannot for the life of me see any usefulness in it whatsoever.

And thanks Bob. Just when I've got a book with long sentences.

So yeah. There you go.

Tags go out to: Plonka, Romulus Crowe, Tom Sheepandgoats, Huinca and Ordinary Girl. And why not?

19 February 2008

Rock epic of the month: "Perfect Kiss" (New Order) 1985

Rock epics of the month is a series of posts where I'll look back on classic examples of what I think is the greatest excess of rock and roll - the rock epic.

This month, I have a contentious one. Not because of it's length or the fact that it might be crap (it isn't, by the way).

No. This one is contentious because it might not really be rock. This will, however, be explained a little better shortly.

New Order rose phoenix-like from the ashes of Joy Division in the early 1980's after the death of lead singer Ian Curtis. After a name change and the addition of Gillian Gilbert on keyboards and guitars, they went off in a musical direction which was alternate parts jangly guitar pop-rock, and disco influenced electronic dance music.

"Perfect Kiss" has it's roots in "The Perfect Kiss", a song off their 1985 Low-Life long player. However, the version on Low-Life which comes in at 4:48 is a shocker of an edit which the band were clearly not terribly impressed with. Which is weird, because they'd produced it themselves.

The 7" single is itself a strange one, because at 3:27, it has most of the life sucked completely out of it.

And where some bands in the 1980's such as Duran Duran and Frankie Goes To Hollywood were content to let a producer stretch out one of their songs into a 12" version, New Order went the other way. They took the unreleased epic and released it as a 12", sometimes tweaking it with extra percussion lines.

To be clear, this is an epic that is at it's most listenable at the full 8:46. And it's still available on the Substance compilation.

But that is not where it ends. Oh no.

In 1985, Jonathan Demme came into the studio to direct the band playing this one live. And what an absolute firecracker of a version he recorded. Which is what YouTube is serving us up this month, folks.

But before we get to that let's look at the song in question.

You're under no illusions where this is going from the outset with the TR-808 kicking in and going berzerk.

Not long in, Peter Hook lets rip with the now legendary pseudo-slap bass intro which gets the whole tune happening. No drums in this - Stephen Morris is relegated to keyboardist all the way through. And in Demme's video, Morris and Gilbert just have this quiet look of concentration on their faces the whole way through.

Morris scarcely looks older than 12.

The thing builds handsomely until about halfway through where Hook starts beating the bejesus out of a set of electronic drums while guitarist and vocalist Bernard Sumner tries valiantly to keep up on a cowbell before admitting defeat. And then there's a lull (with frogs) before it builds up again a little more urgently.

And here is where I think that this qualifies as a rock epic. Hook works his bass almightily while the thing builds until it just rocks out in a crazy fashion towards the end. Sumner's guitar just happens to ice the cake perfectly.

And yes. For a dance track, it really does rock.

These days New Order are still a going concern, I'm told, although it's really just Sumner and Morris left. Gilbert went off years ago to be a full-time mum, and Hook told Sumner that the pair of them will never work together again not long ago. How you could continue as New Order without Hook is really something that I don't understand.

Anyway, I do hope that you enjoy this video - the quality is really quite good for YouTube.

14 February 2008

The ethics of what we eat

I was prompted by a recent post over at Action Skeptics to pull out my copy of The Ethics Of What We Eat (also published as The Way We Eat: Why Our Food Choices Matter) by Peter Singer and Jim Mason and re-read it.

Akusai was on the warpath over some misguided PETA members on the campus of his uni, and really let them have it.

I must admit that I don't think terribly highly of PETA - to me they're nearly as irresponsible as Sea Shepherd although this is probably unfair on PETA.

But when it comes to animal welfare, I like to think that I at least try to do what I think is the right thing. Which is where this book is actually pretty good.

I really liked the way that this book broke down all the different ethical issues in what people eat - Singer and Mason really do kinda just put the issues out there and let you make your mind up, even though you just know that they're leaning towards vegetarianism.

And you know, this was a great read, I thought personally. So much so, that this blogger is attempting to go organic. Well, at least with regards to vegetables.

Organic meat is so unbelievably expensive.

Anyway, Singer and Mason's ("S&M" - Heehee) book is a genuinely good read, but there were a few things that I didn't really get the first time that I read it.

Now I do.

Here's a couple of criticisms I had:

1. Fruitarianism

One of S&M's key gripes is that where something has the ability to feel pain, one shouldn't be killing them. This is fair enough, but at no point do they examine the question of killing species that cannot feel pain. This in my opinion is quite arbitrary, as it becomes a bit "speciesist". Animals do feel pain. Does this make them more worthy of not killing than plants on this basis? Particularly if humane killing methods exist - and they do, as S&M point out throughout.

Thus, where the opportunity to discuss the ethics of fruitarianism exists, and it does, S&M pointedly refuse to make any mention of it. I say pointedly, because I refuse to believe that S&M merely forgot to address the issue. In addition, the pair of them would most certainly be aware of the concept.

Fruitarianism seeks to avoid harming living plants (which cannot feel pain, natch) by only eating nuts and fruit which have fallen from the tree. The fact that they devote zero space to it is a major deficiency.

2. Comparisons of land use and greenhouse gas emissions

S&M's analysis uses good examples of where land use for grazing compared to crops yields less. However, while they consider land use for growing the food, they do not consider land use for fertiliser requirements.

Likewise, where they are quick to target cattle for methane and CO2 emissions, I don't recall coming across the emissions from crop farming equipment compared to grazing cattle.

3. The ethics of veganism

Oh this section made me mad.

The worst part about it was that S&M don't appear to be even convinced by their own arguments. All the way through, for example, they keep qualifying a vegan diet as being a "well planned vegan diet".

Anyone who has ever tried to cook vegan food will tell you that it is easier to learn brain surgery than to construct a balanced vegan diet.

In reality, it's exceedingly easy for omnivores to have a balanced diet. It is frustratingly difficult for vegans to do this.

On top of this, their suggestion that veganism is ethical on the basis that humans can choose to be vegans, is truly breathtaking irrelevance.

To be fair, they do admit that a vegan diet is deficient in vitamin B12, but they view this as a minor trifle. I found this to be irritating given that a few chapters prior they considered the issue of turkeys requiring artificial insemination due to oversized breasts (i.e. they can't have sex) to be a major issue.

But if they really were being fair and not continually qualifying vegan diets with the "well-planned" line, they would have to acknowledge that most vegans normally also require iron, calcium and maybe zinc supplements frequently as well. Possibly even omega-3 too.


Yeah, so that's it. On the whole, it really is a good read, but some parts are pretty light on for detail, which is not what you'd expect from possibly the world's foremost ethicist and his journalist buddy.

And it's not going to make me a vegetarian (or a vegan for that matter) but it's still largely good reading.

13 February 2008


Today was historical. I mean, really historical. Today was one of those days where you could honestly say that it felt good to be an Australian citizen.

And you know, it really did feel good to just come out and say it.


For the benefit of those reading this blog from outside Australia who are wondering what the big deal is, our federal government finally summoned the balls to apologise to what is now referred to the Stolen Generations.

The Stolen Generations were a large number of Australia's indigenous population who were separated from their parents forcibly under government policy between 1869 and 1969.

Australia's indigenous peoples fall loosely under the title of the Aboriginal people, who were really, prior to European settlement, a collection of between 350 to 750 different peoples, and the Torres Strait Islanders, who are really ethnically a Papuan people. But also, technically, aboriginal to the islands of the Torres Strait, a body of water that separates the Australian continent from the island of New Guinea.

The flags at the top of this post represent the two groups.

The first one is the Aboriginal flag. Supposedly, the black represents the people, the red represents the land and the yellow represents the sun, although the flag's designer, Harold Thomas, was never this specific.

The second one is the Torres Strait Islander flag. The green lines represent the land, and the blue represents the water of Torres Strait. The thin black lines represent the people. The five pointed star is supposed to represent the five main island groups, and lastly there is a white headdress which is used in Torres Strait Islander ceremonies. Bernard Namok was the flag's designer.

But on to sorry.

The legal profession really has a lot to answer for. Thanks to shyster plaintiff lawyers and idiot judges, the word "sorry" is now a dirty word from a legal perspective. Supposedly, if you say sorry, it's seen as an admission of guilt.

This is such a load of crap. For starters, take funerals. When you go up to someone who has lost a loved one and you say, "I'm sorry," we're now expected to believe that you are now assuming responsibility for the death itself. Never mind if you were on the other side of the world at the time.

And so it has been with the act of apologising to the Stolen Generations.

Former Prime Minister John Howard refused to apologise on two grounds:

  1. That to apologise would be an admission of guilt, and this would raise the question of compensation which could prove expensive; and
  2. Further to the above point, such an apology would involve current Australians assuming responsibility for the acts of other Australians long since gone.

This was always a very dodgy pair of premises, and it wasn't going to fly either with indigenous Australia, or non-indigenous Australians. It should be noted that Howard was a lawyer by training, and sadly, this probably meant that he couldn't see past the straitjacket that the legal profession has put around apologising generally.

Current PM Kevin Rudd is not a lawyer. He's a diplomat by training, and diplomats live or die by their pragmatism. Consequently, the act of apologising comes naturally to him. Not only that, as a recently elected Prime Minister, Rudd needs to start honouring election promises, and newly elected PM's traditionally issue grand statements.

And as far as grand statements go, this ranks as a ginormous motherfucker. Like, we're talking Gettysburg Address big.

Rudd's apology was agreed to multilaterally (with some reservations) by both sides of Parliament, and this is what Rudd said when he addressed Parliament this morning at 9AM.

Befitting this occasion, the current Opposition Leader, Brendan Nelson, also made a speech. We can probably say that after the pandemonium and uproar that his speech created, Nelson has effectively written his Last Will and Testament as Opposition Leader, and frankly, I don't see him lasting a full six months in the role.

It is clear that the former PM's influence is still far-reaching, and the Liberal Party really needs to wake up to themselves if they want to grab power again in the near future.

But now the focus is back on the Government again. Words are meaningless if they're not backed up by action. Let's hope Rudd manages to put something positive in place, because our indigenous community really needs it. And let's face it: it would be unacceptable to all Australians if non-indigenous Australia was forced to make another apology.

05 February 2008

What Kind of God Would You Be?

And after letting God contribute to my blog, ("Thanks big fella, now piss off and hassle Satan.") I'll get back to what prompted His appearance.

This is a "meme" started by Tom over at his excellent blog, Dubito Ergo Sum:

List at least four things that you'd do if you were God. Assume the same thing I did: you're omnipotent (do the logically impossible!) and whatever you do will work out fine with the laws of physics, such as they are.

And here they are for me:

1. Flying: Flying is way cool. I'd let everyone fly. Why should Angels have all the fun?

2. Publicly dack everyone who deserved it. Current candidates would be Fred Phelps, George W Bush, Britney Spears and the Spice Girls.

3. Change Hell to rehabilitation for all. Really, when you think about it, does an eternity of suffering really fit the crime? Can anyone really do anything this heinous? And can their behaviour be repaired so that they can live a good life in Heaven?

4. Do all sorts of cool stuff with no responsibility. And why not? I'd be God. Frightening pensioners with well placed lightning bolts easily outdoes whoopee cushions.

So yeah. That's it for me.

I'll leave this tag open to my normal readers to have a crack at - but read Tom's blog. He had a better go at it than what I did.

Sympathy for the Almighty

Please allow Me to introduce Myself, I'm a Man of... OK. That is the other guy.

But let's just get one thing straight, once and for all. Wealth and taste. That's Me.

And if Lucifer utters that line once more, I'm going to fucking punch his lights out. It's fucking bad enough that he had to con Mick Jagger into believing this horseshit.

Lucifer?? Wealth and taste? Give Me a fucking break!

So why am I writing for Dikkii's Diatribe? Tom over at Dubito Ergo Sum was wondering about four things he'd do better if he was God.

Well, he can get stuffed. I am the One who is called "I AM" and I demand an end to all these shenanigans once and for all.

Dikkii was going to write about what he would do if he was Me. The guy's a fucking hippie. Oh there would be plenty of namby-pamby, "World peace!" "End to child poverty!" and "The miraculous disappearance of paedophilia!" from him.

But who would you rather read, really? Him or Me?

Particularly when Dikkii is just going to fill it up with lame motherhood statements.

So. On to the real reason why you're here.

Now you lowlives and scum better pay attention, 'cause I'm writing now. I've copped some bad press lately. And really, I don't deserve it.

I'm not even sure why I'm writing this, because really, who the fuck are you to be badmouthing Me?

There's a lot of misconceptions about My role in this world and everything in it. And you lot are mostly to blame. I mean really, My Mother could have done a better job of translating and transcribing the bible better than you lot did.

Honestly, the thing is fucking hilarious. There are so many errors throughout, that I'm frankly amazed at the more cretinous of you that think that this book is inerrant.

Sorry, I meant to say "credulous" but, well, you know what good ol' Freud would say. If Satan wasn't roasting his sorry arse back to the stone-age. The dirty old fucker.

And as for the first time I heard that Trinity rubbish... Laugh? I nearly came!

Anyway, where was I again?

Oh yes. Enlightening you imbeciles on the real Me. What I actually "do". That sort of thing.

Let's call this the New New Testament. Because you lot did such a poor job of portraying Me in the last one, that I think that it's only fair that I start again.

Not that you lot will bother listening - most of you have your heads so far up your collective arseholes that I'm surprised that you can get your iPod headphones on to listen to that 4GB of illegally downloaded music.

Oh and I know what you listen to, too:

  • Little Jack, of Little Rock, Arkansas. You talk big about your sophisticated taste in music, but I know you're secretly a Destiny's Child fan.
  • Janice of Macon, Georgia. How much do you want Me not to tell your congregation at the local Baptist Church that you love Cannibal Corpse?
  • Paul of Blackpool, England. Not only do you love Robbie Williams, you have a secret crush on him as well. That'll be fun when the boys at the pub find out.
  • Oh and Dikkii. Dikkii, of Melbourne, Victoria. How the fuck did you stray so far from cutting edge? You've dug out your Mike Oldfield collection? You are soooooooooo lame. Oooooh! Tubular Bells, everybody!

This, fartknockers, is what God actually does:

  1. Beer Volcano and Stripper Factory: This was the best idea any of you came up with in the last two millennia. Pity it was from an atheist. I've had these installed in heaven, and let Me tell you that the beer - a lovely hoppy pale ale - is the best drop you've ever tasted.
  2. Jesus: My Son is a complete fucking disappointment. Not only is He a hippie, but He is nowhere near as pleasant as what people make Him out to be. Get Him on one of His moody days, and I guarantee you will never call Him "Saviour" again. More like "Completeandutterbastard".
  3. Omnipotence: I'm far from omnipotent. Such a concept is idiotic, and I let John of Patmos have it with three weeks in Hell for bringing the subject up in the first place. However I am plenty powerful, and this gives Me the right to carry on like a pork chop. Responsibility? I'm fucking God, fool! I answer to no one.
  4. The human body's shortcomings: Folks, I fucked up. Cancer. Indigestion. Those really weird spots that old ladies get. I thought that these were a really good idea at the time. It's too late for Me to fix them now. But if I had My time over, I'd really like to fix the whole body so it lived on air and excreted purest snow. No real reason, I just think it would be cool.
  5. Paul of Tarsus: Oh this guy can just get fucked. Him and Simon Peter are the two reasons why I have no respect for anyone who attends church regularly. I wanted to send them to Hell, but I thought that it would be better for Me to keep them nearby so I could smite them readily and regularly.
  6. Miracles: Who in My name came up with this stupid concept? Let Me put this one on the table once and for all - I do not work like that. Anyone who insists on thinking otherwise is just being a stubborn idiot.
  7. Charismatics/Evangelicals/Pentacostalists: I rather like all you lot who regularly read Dikkii's blog. Both of you. Suffice to say, you'll all be pleased to know that yes, as Dikkii asserts, I don't respect anyone who sucks up to Me like these morons. I routinely sentence them to a couple of days in Hell after they die so that they get the message. I'm saving a whole month of carnage for Ted Haggard when he dies. Should be a scream!
  8. The books of Joshua and Job: Fucking embarrassing. I have no idea who suggested that these ones go in, but if I ever find out, there will be Hell to pay. You better fucking believe it.
  9. Mates: Yes, I have mates. And they're all deities with their own multiverses to play with. We get together for a beer occasionally, although I do want to stress that Baal and Jupiter are complete pricks. I mean, packing up and retiring is just not on.
  10. Adam and Eve: That Tree of "Knowledge" was a dud. Should have been called the Tree of Prudishness. Thanks to that fucking tree, no one can walk around naked in the middle of summer and I do like the sight of My creation wandering around naked, especially those young brunettes.

What's that, Dikkii? You want your blog back? Who the fuck are you to be giving Me orders?

04 February 2008

Crazy nutbars

As expected, Fred Phelps and co from the Westboro Baptist Church are out to show the world how it is great to be bigoted morons.

I just like the fact that because the funeral is in Australia it makes things very unlikely that Phelps and his cronies will be able to disrupt it.

So where are those religious moderates and why aren't they speaking out?

(Big thanks to Orac for spotting this piece of trash)

01 February 2008


I've been hunting around for some time trying to find a good new layout for my blog.

I'm not being picky, it's just that most of what's out there just didn't really ever do it for me.

Regular readers might recall that I originally set this one up on Blogger using their 'Son Of Moto' template, which just happened to be the kind of tasteful green that I was after.

And Green has some tradition - Dikkii's Diatribe was green to begin with.

Blogger don't add terribly much in the way of templates very often, so I had to make do with what I had. The problem was, however, that all the bits that I kept adding to the blog meant that it was starting to look very busy.

So earlier in the year, I adopted a new temporary template, hoping that this might alleviate some of the busy-ness. It didn't.

But at that time, I was already searching for a new template that I could make work.

Fruitless and annoying bloody exercise that it was, I eventually found something at Blogger Buster, a great blog maintained by Amanda Fazani, who bills herself as a "full-time mum and blogger".

Great work, Amanda.

This is a template that she has called 'Sunset'.

Pretty good, hey? The code is available here.

So while this looks good and all, it wasn't the thing I needed.

So I had to do some modifications.

First up was to change the background colour to green. Hey, Dikkii's Diatribe is green, OK?

Then the photo had to go. I found a pretty good graphic that I've been using at MySpace - so I already knew that it would go well with the colour.

The sidebar colour is hard-coded as black. So I changed that to match my background colour. This left two graphics that I no longer needed, so I got rid of them. Also, there were some peculiar borders that I didn't like. But for some reason, they only show up in Blogger's 'Fonts and Colors' editor. This is good.

Then, I changed the colour of all the fonts. This was messy and disgusting, and I'm not altogether happy with the results.

After this, I increased the size of the sidebars to fit a bit more in.

At this point, I saved the code. I call it 'Splat'.
You can download it here - it's pretty basic.

In order to get this up to a point where I could use it, I had to make some minor alterations from here. For some reason, I couldn't get my corporate logo at the top of the blog page to display properly, so I had to hard-code the dimensions for the graphic.

Lastly, there was some messy stuffing around with code before I had all my widgets working again.

But if truth be told, now I have it all under control, I rather like it.

What do you think?