We left off trying to decide if we can win the battle for a static login form or not. We probably could, but in more playing around with the forums, we see that it's not just login that by default comes up in a modal. The modal design pattern is used all over the place in the forums. Using it on the login just establishes that pattern and because of that we might as well go with it (it's easier anyway).
We go over the style that controls how the modals work and look. It's easy really. Vanilla gives us an overlay div that we can style. We go with transparent orange (why are all overlay divs black?!).
Then we get into the heart of how Vanilla Forums themeing works. We can look through the core files to find what files control what parts of a view. To change them, we don't change the core files themselves, we put a copy of that file in our theme folder (in the same relative location) and the application will use our file instead of the core file. That way we can alter to our heart's content without effecting core (so we can upgrade anytime... probably).