it's stupid, but in order to make a new thread within a category, you actually have to click into a thread in that category.
when you do that, the "create post" button appears in the upper right corner of the page that allows you to post a new thread.
oh, I'm already confused. I'm too old to follow instructions anymore I think I'm good as long as the home page functions the same. Does it? I don't mind scrolling and as long as I can see how long ago the thread was made it doesn't matter to me to go into individual categories.