Brian on a Rock

25 Years and looking forward

Yesterday I officially reached 25 years of existence. I have many things to be thankful for, but I will provide a short list of the things I am most thankful for.

  1. An amazing Savior that can never fall short but will always forgive me despite continuously falling short.
  2. A wonderful, passionate, loving wife that supports me unconditionally.
  3. An incredible family that I appreciate more than I can ever tell them.
  4. 25 years of love, comfort, and joy surrounding me. I’ve been incredibly blessed.
  5. The potential for years to come. I hope to value each day I am given!

I have had so many blessings over the past 25 years, and I am so excited about the future!

Here are some pictures that I like from the past year or two.

As you can see, Lucy May, our great dane has been a significant part of our lives since we got her in May. We love her, but she is such a mess. I hope you enjoyed the pictures, and I apologize if there was too much honeymoon or too much Lucy : ) Erica has a lot more pictures, including more with family, so those will have to get put up eventually.

Happy New Year everybody!

XAMPP Control Panel - Start Apache and Mysqul for local Install of WordPress

Quick fix: http://localhost redirects to

You installed WordPress locally with XAMPP. Now you can’t figure out why your browser is redirecting http://localhost to This might happen when you first install WordPress locally or sometime down the line after a computer restart or something.

Most likely, you just need to start Apache and MySql. How? Go to the ‘xammp’ folder in you C: folder and double click ‘xammp-control.exe’. While you’re at it make a shortcut for that executable on your desktop. That will bring up the XAMMP Control Panel Application. Press “Start” for Apache and MySql.

XAMPP Control Panel - Start Apache and Mysqul for local Install of WordPress

Now go back go your browser and play with your local install of WordPress!

Websites for Design Inpsiration

5 Awesome websites for web design inspiration, tutorials and freebies

Websites for Design Inpsiration

Lately I’ve been really trying to learn more about solid design principles. I’ve never really approached web design in a way that had me starting with images and layered psd files and slicing them into WordPress themes. I’ve always started with the structure and code and filled in the design.

I decided I needed to broaden my horizons and learn a bit from the design aspect. In my quest to find great tips from respected designers I’ve found a few sites that I really enjoy.  Some of theme are for design only, others mix in a little code as well.

Premium Pixels by Orman ClarkPremium Pixels is a project by Orman Clark, a fantastic designer and WordPress theme developer. Orman started PremiumPixels recently to share some of his work, and he is very generous with his talent.  For great freebies that range from brushes and textures to more specific web elements like progress bar designs, check out PremiumPixels.  I promise you’ll be happy you did.

You can follow Orman Clark on Twitter.

Six Revisions by Jacob GubeSix Revisions is a very popular tutorial blog geared toward web designers.  Jacob Gube is the very talented designer that started Six Revisions.  The content ranges from tutorials for things like designing movie posters to full out html coded WordPress themes from the ground up. Six Revisions is a must read for any aspiring web designer.

You can follow Six Revisions on Twitter.

Design InstructDesign Instruct is a sister site to Six Revsions.  Design Instruct doesn’t get into the coding of the tutorials as much, but for outstanding lessons in using Photoshop and Illustrator to create beautiful things for the web, Design Instruct is your friend.

You can follow Design Instruct on Twitter

BrushLoversNot too much is necessary to describe this one.  Brush Lovers is the relatively new project of WebDesigner Depot to share free and inexpensive commercial brushes for photoshop.  If you’re ever looking for that extra touch, or just a way to implement some things a little easier, these brushes will help you. Want to use them in Gimp? You can do that too.

You can follow BrushLovers on Twitter.

Web Design LedgerWeb Design Ledger is another great resource for freebies and quality tutorials that span multiple applications.  It’s a bit more broad brush than my other recommendations. Any given day on WDL you will find new posts covering Typography, photo manipulation, textures, logo design and more.

You can follow Web Design Ledger on Twitter

There you have it

This is just a short list of places where I feel like I keep ending up glued to the screen wanting to read more.  Have others you think should have made the list? Let me know in the comments.

WordPress plugin directory

Wanted: front page preview WordPress plugin

WordPress front page preview pluginI use the built in preview feature of WordPress constantly while writings posts to keep tabs on how the finished product is coming along. As far as I know, there is not a way to preview the home page before publishing a WordPress post. I’d love to see a plugin that would allow an author to preview posts not just in the singular post view, but also as it would look on the home page.

Why would I want this? Well, many sites format posts to render differently on the front page than the singular post view. For example, a site may utilize thumbnails on home page excerpts that would be nice to check in the preview. Also, sometimes it is nice to see how the excerpt wraps around thumbnails that don’t have set height dimensions. Or perhaps the title is a different size on the home page than the singular post view, which could cause a widow (title that has one word wrap to the next line) on the home page that doesn’t exist on the singular view.

The WP-Typography plugin has a widow prevention feature for titles, but it doesn’t prevent everything I’d like to check in a home page preview.

I really haven’t looked into it at all as to how this would work, but it seems simple enough. If anyone knows of a plugin like this that already exists, I’d love to know about it.

Exhibit A WordPress child theme

Exhibit A: WordPress child theme

I’m very happy to announce that I’m releasing my very first WordPress theme to the public: Exhibit A.  This has been a goal of mine for a long time, and I am excited that it has become a reality.

It is important to note that Exhibit A is a child theme of Prototype, built on Hybrid Core, Justin Tadlock’s immensely powerful WordPress theme framework.  If you want to know why I use Justin’s framework to develop themes, please read this.

Exhibit A WordPress child theme


  • Custom widget for feature post slider that pulls sticky posts if they exist.
  • Custom widget to grab latest tweet in very light weight manner.
  • Custom widget that creates social follow buttons for Facebook, Twitter, and RSS feeds to match accent colors.
  • Custom accent colors within theme settings to add personal touch.
  • Added widget area at the open of content.
  • Prototype’s post layout options, widget areas, SEO settings, built in hooks and much more.

How much?

$15 will allow you to download the theme and use it however you like.  I can provide support on all additions I’ve made to the theme and as long as you are leaving it “as is” you will not need additional support.  For full support on all aspects of Prototype, the parent theme, you need to be a member of Theme Hybrid.  I am active in this community, and you will receive my own, Justin, and other Theme Hybrid members’ excellent support for only $25 per year.

For the quality of the theme and support you receive, I believe this is the best deal on the WordPress market.

Where do I get it?

I’m releasing the theme on Theme Garden, a new theme marketplace run by Jason Schuller.  You can go through the entire transaction there.  I am also running the theme right here on my own website minus the feature post slider, so you can see it in action.

You can get setup information and more documentation for the theme once you buy it.

I hope you enjoy using this theme as much as I enjoyed making it. And by the way, this is my first of many to come. Feel free to ask questions in the comments or by my contact form.

Install WordPress with Godaddy

Install WordPress with Godaddy Deluxe hosting

Install WordPress with GodaddyGoDaddy is not necessarily the best hosting provider in the world, but it is the top domain registrar. Millions of GoDaddy domain registrants (including yours truly) got started with GoDaddy hosting because it was suggested as the next step after registering your first domain. Because I got used to it, I never made the switch.

Installing WordPress within GoDaddy is pretty simple, but multiple installations of WordPress using one GoDaddy deluxe hosting account can be a little more confusing. And while the folks at GoDaddy have made it simpler over the years, this tutorial should help you get through it five minutes or less.


Don’t take WordPress candy from a stranger

WPCandy is good
Get it from, the best at delivering WordPress news, tutorials, reviews and more. And of course, you can find me there as a contributing author.

What is WPCandy?

Seriously, Ryan Imel took over WPCandy in early 2010 and has spent countless hours building a platform to make WPCandy the premiere source for all things WordPress. In the short time I’ve been writing there, I’ve learned a ton about WordPress, blogging, and delivering content in the best way possible.

In addition to all the written content on WPCandy, you can get coverage of almost all WordCamps, enjoy in depth video interviews with top members of the WordPress community, and catch the WPCandy Podcast.

What’s most impressive about WPCandy?

Other than the awesome daily content of course, it’s free and doesn’t advertise. No ads, affiliate links, or pay to post. Nothing. I know, it seems crazy. Ryan probably spends 30+ hours on that site on a slow week and a handful of us spend a lot of time there too, but there is not a traditional style profit motive. He created the site with the intent of finding new and creative ways to make a news blog sustainable.

One example of how people can contribute back to WPCandy is to buy the WPCandy iPhone app and get your Candy on the go. The team is selling it with a reverse launch concept: it costs $5.99 now for those that want to say “thank you” to WPCandy and will revert to $0.99 after a couple of weeks for everybody else.

You can also check out the WPCandy themefinder, a one stop shop to browse themes, free and premium, by dozens of authors. It’s basically a huge collection of screenshots, and you can use the theme finder interface to sort by colors, columns, flexibility, and whether the theme is free or paid. This area of the site, in a WPCandy subdomain, is the only place where affiliate links are used. This is another way for a WPCandy reader to say, “thank you.”

No matter what new ways Ryan and the GooRoo team (his network behind WPCandy) come up with next to help sustain the site, I’m confident that it will be done with great care and consideration for the foundation of the site and loyalty of its readers.

Delivering the best content

Because WPCandy doesn’t use traditional ads, affiliate links, etc., you can count on the fact that the news is nondiscriminatory, the reviews are honest, and the tutorials are for everyone. Ryan is a developer and Multisite expert, so you can always bank on learning something from his tutorials.

You will also find an increasing number of other influential members of the WordPress community contributing tutorials, editorials, and more. WPCandy has a growing and loyal audience, and is a great place for folks to submit a guest post, or even become a regular contributor.

J.D. Bentley is the lead news editor; and he’s a good writer and objective observer. Others, like myself, also spend lots of time contributing to the daily grind of news stories and occasional reviews and tutorials. I am not an expert of anything really, but I do really enjoy contributing and blogging about WordPress.

So what are you waiting on?

Get over there and find out what’s going on right now with all things WordPress. And keep going back, because it’s there to stay.


Why I only use Theme Hybrid

Theme Hybrid

The WordPress theme market is always changing, and it can be quite difficult to differentiate the great developers from just the good ones. There are so many options, it is important to determine what is important to you before you decide to use themes by a given developer. For me, the decision was easy. Well, to be more accurate, I should say I got lucky.

I discovered Justin Tadlock‘s Theme Hybrid a couple of years ago when I was searching for a simple way to build a website. I didn’t even know what WordPress was yet. I started like most people, with an idea for my website. I wanted to build something, and in the process I discovered Hybrid and fell in love with WordPress.

Justin spent years adapting his style and refining his taste in WordPress theme development to create the Hybrid parent theme. Since then he has been adapting his creation even more to make it even more modular, and an actual framework, so that developers can create anything within their own imagination and get all of the benefits of an expertly coded base framework. The result is Hybrid Core.

Fortunately I accidentally fell into this theme community hosted by one of WordPress’s most respected developers. Justin stays on the bleeding edge of WordPress development and writes the best tutorials in the business to describe it all to us laymen.

His support is just as good as his tutorials, and it is the sole cost basis for his framework. Theme Hybrid support is a measly $25 per year. His framework costs nothing.

Because I started tinkering with WordPress via a framework, I’ve been molded by the concept from the beginning. I have no desire to modify any file other than functions.php or style.css. In fact, I tend have an enormous fear of it. Fortunately, I have little reason to ever do so. I can use the enormous flexibility of the framework to make the adjustments I want to make in my theme. This makes updating a cinch.

Justin’s parent themes are not cluttered with complex style. I like this, because I’m a perfectionist regarding the look of my site. Altering a Hybrid theme’s style does not require an enormous amount of css wrangling. However, if you want a plug and go sexy WordPress theme, Theme Hybrid has opportunity for improvement.

Child themes are the pseudo developer’s dream. I can take a piece of code genius and turn it into exactly the theme that I want.

All in all, it’s just hard to get much better.

Shaping Alabama

Totally Worthless Guesses of Alabama 2010 Elections Results

Shaping AlabamaWell, the title pretty much says it all. Take this for what it’s worth: nothing. The following is simply my gut feeling of how the results will come in….

Governor – Ron Sparks (D) vs. Robert Bentley (R)
  • I believe Robert Bentley will hold on to this one by 4-7 points.  Ron Sparks has been showing better with each passing poll, but I think Bentley will come out with it.  Unfortunately this race has taken a turn so that voter’s seem to be asking themselves, “Which one is the least bad?”
Lieutenant Governor – Jim Folsom (D) vs. Kay Ivey (R)
  • Many believe that this is the democrat’s best hope in a state-wide race, and I happen to agree. I think Jim Folsom keep his seat as Lt. Gov. by 6-9 points.
Attorney General – James Anderson (D) vs Luther Strange (R)
  • Strange is perhaps the favorite of all the statewide candidates for Republicans this cycle. I believe Luther Strange will win by 10-13 points after he already unseated incumbent Troy King in the Republican primary.
Secretary of State – Scott Gilliland (D) vs. Beth Chapman (R)
  • I think Beth Chapman will get her second term in this position, but I think it will be by less than 10 points.
State Treasurer – Charlie Grimsley (D) vs. Young Boozer (R)
  • Despite an effective ad late in the campaign by Charlie Grimsley, I think Young Boozer will pull it off by 6-9 points due to his pedigree and memorable name.
State Auditor – Miranda Joseph (D) vs. Sam Shaw (R)
  • I think Sam Shaw will easily find a second term in this race with a margin greater than 10 points.
Supreme Court, Place 1 – Rhonda Chambers (D) vs. Kelli Wise (R)
  • I think this race will be one of the tightest of the evening, with Kelli Wise winning by 1-4 points after spending more than twice as much as Chambers.
Supreme Court, Place 2 – Tom Edwards (D) vs. Mike Bolin (R)
  • Perhaps the largest margin of victory in a statewide race, I think Mike Bolin will win by 15 points or more with more money and the pleasure of being an incumbent in a position where incumbent is not such a dirty word.
Supreme Court, Place 3 – Mac Parsons (D) vs. Tom Parker (R)
  • Incumbent Tom Parker has taken a beating in this election from his opponent and his colleagues. Mac Parsons has a real shot, and I’m calling a tie. Yep, a tie. It’s my list, I can do what I want.
PSC 1 – Jan Cook (D) vs. Twinkle Cavanaugh (R)
  • This is a tough one. The money is about the same and Twinkle has had some very close races in the past. She had the lead in the polls going into to this one, so I’ll give her the edge. Twinkle Cavanaugh by 1-4 points.
PSC 2 – Susan Parker (D) vs. Terry Dunn (R)
  • I don’t think this one will be very close. Susan Parker has massively outraised and outspent Terry Dunn. I believe she will win by high double digits.
Ag. and Industries Commissioner – Glen Zorn (D) vs. John McMillan (R)
  • Glen Zorn worked under Ron Sparks in the office already, and I believe he will defeat John McMillan by 8-11 points.
US Senate, CD-1, CD-3, CD-4, CD-6, CD-7
  • I lump these together because I don’t think any of them will be close at all. Richard Shelby will return to the U.S. Senate. I think Jo Bonner (CD-1, R) and Mike Rogers (CD-3, R) will have double digit victories and return to the house. Robert Aderholt (CD-4, R) and Spencer Bachus (CD-6, R) are both unopposed incumbents. Terri Sewell (CD-7, D) should also win by double digits to fill the seat left by Artur Davis. She may end up being the only democrat to represent the state in congress.
CD-2 – Bobby Bright (D) vs. Martha Roby (R)
  • This is by far the most interesting race in the state that has national implications. Bobby Bright is trying desperately to hold on to his seat after riding in on the democratic wave of the 2008 election. Fivethirtyeight guru Nate Silver thinks Martha Roby has got a two thirds shot to win and projects her to get almost 52% of the vote. I tend to agree, and I’m giving her the victory by less than 2 points.
CD-5 – Steve Raby (D) vs. Mo Brooks (R)
  • CD-5 is a historically blue district. Parker Griffith switched to the Republican party after he thought he saw the writing on the wall and got booted in the primary. Mo Brooks proved in that primary he is a strong candidate, but Steve Raby is no lightweight either. Polling looks good for Brooks, and if Raby pulls this off then CD-2 is a lock for Bright too. I have to go with Mo Brooks by 4-7 points.
Alabama House of Representatives
  • The House has an extremely good chance of turning red for the first time in any of our lives. The Republicans need 53 seats for a majority, but I think they may get 60 or more. There are simply too many races too cover them all, but I do have ideas on a couple.
  • I’m going out on a limb to say that I think Richard Baughn (R) will defeat Ken Guin (D) in HD-14.
  • I think Joe Hubbard (D) will be one of the sole upsets in favor of the democrats against incumbent David Grimes (R) in HD-73.
  • I think Mac Buttram (R) will defeat James Fields (D) in HD-12.
Alabama State Senate
  • The Senate is a bit more of an uphill battle for the Republicans. They need 18 seats for a majority in the 35 member senate. I believe they will get 18 or 19. I’ll dive in on a couple of races
  • I think Bill Holtzclaw (R) will defeat incumbent Tom Butler (D) in SD-2.
  • For some reason I think Ted Little (D) will hold on against challenger Tom Whatley (R).
  • I have a feeling Wallace Wyatt (D) will defeat Del Marsh (R) in SD-12.
  • I think Bryan Taylor (R) will pull off an upset on incumbent Wendell Mitchell (D) in SD-30.
  • I believe Paul Sanford (R) will keep his seat from challenger Jeff Enfinger (D) in SD-7.
  • I think Ray Robbins (R) is too little, too late against conservative democrat Jerry Fielding (D) in SD-11.
  • I think Gerald Dial (R) will defeat Greg Varner (D) in SD-13.
  • My biggest upset alert is that Shad McGill (R) will defeat Lowell Barron (D) in SD-8.

And there you have it. My totally worthless guesses for the 2010 elections in Alabama. Don’t worry, I’ll come back and shame myself if I perform horribly.