Who is ready to see the new site?

TA, Christine and I think we’ve got the foundation of the site as done as we three can make it.  You all ready to come on board and help up with last minute stuff?

PM me here, please (go up to the WP bar, and hover over where it says “Howdy <your name>”, go to messages – Compose, and my address is: @threecatsdesign_8y1lbt.  Let me know if you’re happy for me to add you with the address I used here, or if you’d prefer to use a @secretreadingroom.com email I can setup for you. It will forward to your ‘real’ email address and offers a layer of privacy.  CAVEAT: if you use this address, you won’t be able to connect the secretreadingroom to your wordpress.com gravatar, though you’ll be able to manually upload it to the new site to use.

We hope you’ll join us on the ‘official’ site soon!

My tea arrived! Let the black tea auditions commence.

Murder by Death
October 6, 2021

A couple of years ago, I discovered Tao of Tea would deliver to me in Australia, so I started buying my organic spearmint and chamomile from them in bulk, along with tea bags that make 1 gallon of tea, so I could make the iced tea that runs in my veins, and is thus necessary for life.

When I needed to re-order, I decided it was time to find a black tea I actually like drinking hot.  I used to love English Breakfast, but it’s become too tannic to my taste buds.  I mostly drink my chamomile, spearmint, and lavender blend, changing up the proportions depending on time of day, and I’d really like to add a pinch of a nice black tea to it in the mornings, along with an occasional mug of all-black.

So I went to Tao of Tea, loaded up every black tea they had in stock, read the descriptions and chose 4 that were all described as light, or fruity, or whatever (when did tea tasting get so posh?).  They arrived today! And thank goodness too, because I was down to one teaspoon of chamomile.

Added my favorite tea pot, bought from a local potter, and one of my favorite tea cups and my favorite tea strainer balls, bought at our local tea chain called T2.  For ambiance.

They are:
Wild Lapsong (the bamboo container):  Smooth and rich with sweet aroma and notes of Peach and roasted yam (?!)
Basic Orange Pekoe (that’s my baseline): Light bodied with balanced sweetness and astringency. Aromas of turbinado warm brown sugar
Neela Green herb, floral and citrus aromas. Full smooth taste with a subtle turbinado sweetness
Ceylon Black Tips Deep, full-bodied tea with balanced sweetness and astringency. Aromas of raw sugar and molasses give way to black cherry and dark fruit.

Uh huh.

So staring tomorrow, they’ll be getting auditioned, both alone and in my normal herbal blend.  I’m excited and hopeful that I’ll find one (at least) I love.

Buddy Press – Initial thoughts post-installation

Murder by Death


Ok, I’ve got Buddy Press installed and here are my thoughts as I flip through the settings (which are both directly off the plug-in itself, and sprinkled throughout the other Admin menu settings).

Plug-in settings and Admin Settings:  This has 3 tabs (the last one is just a credit page).
Components: the only two I didn’t turn on are Friend Connections, because we’re a small group anyway (though if everyone would want it?) and Site Tracking, which will “Record activity for new posts and comments from your site” – I left it off because it says “tracking”, though it might be something else entirely.

Options: There are heaps of settings here, all of which I turned on except for “Allow registered members to invite new members to join this network.”  I left this off because it was mentioned earlier that we’d want invites to be at the consensus of the group.

Pages: This tab allows us to associate pages to 3 categories:  1. Members (might be our “about me” problem solved?); 2. Activity Streams, and 3. User Groups.

Users Menu:  It adds several additional tools to this menu, but all save the last one are concerned with User Registration, which we have turned off for the site because – private.  The last setting though is Site Notices, which are notices shown at front end of your site to all logged-in users.  That could be really handy.

It also adds a new tab to Users Profile called Extended Profile.  This is very simple at the moment (just name and avatar), because we need to add custom fields for it under the Profile Fields sub menu.  This might give us an About Us option that we’ve been discussing.

Groups Menu (in Admin):  Allows us to create groups: Public, Private, Hidden.  If nothing else, this might make planning for future games easier, as we can create private groups for discussion.  There’s also a “Group Type” screen where it looks like we can create new group types (beyond hidden, public, private?).  Not sure what that’s about.

Emails Menu (in Admin):  This looks to be a list of templates you can use to send various emails, or that are used as notifications for users if they choose to received them.

I think that’s it – at least that I’ve been able to find.  I noticed that there’s a new notification thing on my Admin tool bar, which I’m hoping will work.

How to see the Admin Toolbar: Under User profile, look for the checkbox that says “Show Toolbar when viewing this site” and check it.  Save settings.

Also … because we can if we want to …

BuddyPress is a plugin that will give the site PM/Chat, groups, etc.

The best way to describe it is to go to their site:


Is this something we’d be interested in doing?  Being that we’ve agreed on a private site, we have the security to consider these types of things.

I’ve never used it so I have no idea if it would be too much, or if we could just pick/choose what we want to include.  I went looking just because I thought it would be good to have a private way for Admins to communicate without relying on email.

Images in comments: good or evil?

Themis Athena and I, as always when we’re let loose on something together, have been madly going back and forth discussing the various details of posts/projects/pages/tags/catgories/menus.

I needed her to see a screenshot and didn’t want to have to create another post that would make NO sense to anyone else, so I found a plug-in to allow images in comments.

  • It allows us to embed images and sound files (also video and heaps of other stuff, but I turned that off;
  • It embeds video links into the comments for YouTube, etc. (though that too can be turned off);
  • It uploads the image from your computer to the media library;
  • Once comments are deleted, either by the Admin or by the user, the image is deleted from the media file.

Did I unleash a monster?

Also for TA: Drop down menu in navigation bar.

I created a drop-down menu using css/html, placing it just under the Categories drop down.  Let’s call this a “Proof of Concept”.  It’s currently linking to tag pages.


WP is finicky as hell.  It doesn’t seem to adhere to strict standards, so getting the colors to work to even the point of legibility was a challenge.

I can’t use the typical drop down menu (ie Categories, just above the test) because that uses JavaScript and I have no idea how to implement JS in a WP environment.

That’s also why the menu opens on hover; on click requires JS

The expanded menu – at least in the preview mode – isn’t recognised by the page, so if the menu expands beyond the bottom of the page, it just disappears/isn’t accessible.  This has me concerned about using it for very long lists.

It works though.  🙂

Question for TA about projects, as a user

Checked out the menu … and basically, if you’re just a user creating a Halloween Bingo Post, you just have to make sure you check the category for Halloween Bingo, correct? (Your user category is automatically selected when you save the post.)

Otherwise, projects is just an Admin area to create the bones, so to speak, of the reading project.

I think I’ve been overthinking this.

IF I’m correct about this, then the site architecture is:
Projects for the administrative posts pertaining to reading events (HB, Festive Tasks, Buddy Reads, or whatever);

Pages for static one-off pieces of information (bios; maybe general site rules; faqs) – things that pertain to the site as a whole rather than by project

Posts for all the things all the users want to say about absolutely anything.

Am I on the right track?

(I’ve left out how we use categories and tags for the time being.)

Testing menus with categories and tags

Murder by Death


I attempted to create a menu item that would only display specific categories, hoping to do it based on the character match.  Alas, it didn’t work.  Neither did one with tags.  I might be missing something, because menus do get a bit tricky, but if I didn’t, we might want to rethink how we use categories.   Do we want each user to have their own category, or do we want to use it for site organisation?

Doing both makes for a very unwieldy menu that would be unusable.