Archive for Blogorrhea

A stack of Forms W-0

“No man but a blockhead ever wrote, except for money.” — Dr. Samuel Johnson

Roger Green replies, sort of:

Some people dismiss those who write without pay as fools. But there are very many well-known folk who blog either for nothing or for PayPal tips. Initially, I blogged to write about the Daughter and Jeopardy! But it was also a sense of addressing my feeling of powerlessness in the midst of a Republican administration engaging in a war of choice that I thought was unjustifiable. I wasn’t sure I would actually write about it, but I COULD.

Now I blog because I pretty much have to. It’s therapy. All the crap going on and I can vent a little. At the same time, I have found it a useful reference tool for my own existence that I’M likely to forget. AND it is my vehicle to have dialogue, in a way Facebook simply cannot be for me. Something I wrote about my grandfather or Spaulding Krullers I can find again.

So can we: on Bing as of Wednesday night, Roger’s got the top search result for Spaulding Krullers. And years and years of poring over search strings have persuaded me that no matter what it is, someone out there is looking for it. As a librarian, Roger knows this:

Moreover, OTHER people find it and comment on them, occasionally years after I wrote the pieces. This gives the exercise a sense of being less ephemeral.

I am astounded by how often my 1997 stuff is unearthed, twenty years after the fact. Sometimes it makes me want to go back and add tags to it, though they won’t at all fit within the current tag structure. (Sometimes I wonder how the current tag structure even survives, given its sheer volume.)

Around the turn of the century, this place cost me about $275 a year to run. It’s since risen to $369, though more than half of that goes for ancillary services. (A quarter of it, for instance, pays for a security team, which will check a couple of times a day for rude malware intrusions, of which I’ve had two so far, and repair any damage within a few hours.) Still, we’re looking at barely a dollar a day for something to keep my otherwise-idle hands busy. Darn well worth it.

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When there’s no other way

Gerard Van der Leun is about to attack a problem I myself took on nine years ago. It’s going to be a little harder for him, though:

With the duct tape and chewing gum wads of the Movable Type software that holds this site together slowly falling apart, I’ve no choice but to move the type here to another platform: WordPress. This means that I have to do what nobody my age ever wants to do: learn a new program. Result? Posting here shall be light through the weekend as I try to set up a new home in space.

All I have to do is move over 30,000 items from one planet to another. Confidence is high. Repeat: Confidence is high.

I got this task done over the equivalent of a weekend in 2008, but I had only 4061 items to move. And it took me several passes to import all those posts. Still, it did work, sort of, the first time out, and I’m content enough to spit in the eye of anyone who suggests another migration.

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What happened yesterday

Some time around noon Central, this site — indeed all my sites — went south, and I mean at the level of Tierra del Fuego. Did this have something to do with the upgrade to a Virtual Private Server last week? Well, kinda sorta: the sites did get moved, but the DNS change, which frankly I did not anticipate, went through yesterday. So basically we had to wait for the DNS change to propagate to your DNS provider: until it did, you got either a 404 or a generic Down page. OpenDNS, my own DNS provider, wasn’t apparently in any hurry; some of you were able to get in before I was.

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Old enough to drink

This little soapbox of mine has now been open for twenty-one years. By the standards of blogdom, this is, if not an eternity, certainly an eon or two. And there are worse things I can do besides celebrate.

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The hardest of hard copy

According to a plugin I keep handy for just such an occasion, I have spun out 4.6 million words on the last twenty thousand-odd posts, not counting static pages (the Vents) or comments (1.6 million more). This would make a hell of a large book, not that anyone is asking for one.

This week I got a pitch from something called BlookUp, which, um, yeah, you guessed it:

In a few clicks import your blog, choose your content, your cover and preview your book FOR FREE. Compatible with WordPress, Tumblr, Blogger, Blogspirit, Skyrock, Canalblog, Haut et Fort, Instagram and Facebook.

I don’t think I can import all this “in a few clicks.” More to the point, it isn’t really expensive unless you can say something like “I don’t think I can import all this ‘in a few clicks’.” They seem to max out at 500 pages, and 500 pages in magazine-size format runs $9.60 for the first 24 pages plus 38 cents for each additional page = $190.48. That’s per copy. Not that I could expect to sell more than one or two. Still, I love the idea that this actually exists.

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Perhaps I talk too much

The WordPress admin, as modified locally, is set to display the number of comments by a commenter beside the comment listing itself. I happened to notice this yesterday:

10,000th comment

This is for the period beginning September 2006. If that sounds like a lot, well, there are 44,000 comments I didn’t make.

(The gizmo that does this counts up the iterations of an email address. If you’ve had several, you have several different totals.)

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The Cone of Silence descends

About four o’clock Central, this place will be going (temporarily) dark(ish):

We will be working to improve service on your MySQL server this Wednesday, March 22nd, starting at 2PM PDT. This maintenance is estimated to take up to 2-3 hours to complete with a total of roughly 2 hours of downtime. Databases will not be available during this 2 hour period.

As part of this improvement, we will be upgrading your MySQL server to improve stability as well as patching it for potential vulnerabilities. There should be no data loss, but connectivity will be affected by this maintenance, and changes to your databases should not be made until the maintenance is complete.

I’m interpreting this to mean that a cached copy of the front page will still appear, and all the old static pages will remain available, but the latest and greatest will be even later, if not necessarily greater.

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Bound to the blog

As this site comes up on its 21st birthday, I’ve happened upon an Elena Peters piece called “The Ugly Side of Blogging No One Talks About”, with, yes, 21 individual examples of the Ugly Side. And, well, we should talk about them, in the hopes of discouraging competitors.

No, wait. That’s wrong.

Anyway, several of the examples touch on the blog’s nearly unequaled capacity as a time suck. For instance:

18. Bloggers don’t bathe, get dressed or see sunlight … for days.

Straight up. I am pasty white from lack of sunshine, I smell cause I haven’t bathed and I am not sure how many days I have spent in my pajamas. Ah, the life of the self-employed.

Not quite Instagram worthy am I? Rest assured. I am not alone.

But I have to go get groceries occasionally and having to skype with clients or do a Facebook live once in awhile assures that I do put on fresh clothes and makeup once in a blue moon.

P.S. Obviously I could never be a fashion or beauty blogger. I don’t know how you guys do it!

For those of us who still have day jobs, this is not fully applicable: we may have eye-blinding albedo, but we do have to hit the showers on a regular basis, and, well, some of us own no pajamas. Still, if you’re trying to make a living on a screen full of ASCII, there are going to be points where dedication and drudgery meet and then refuse to go their separate ways.

That said, I dunno how the fashion/beauty bloggers do it, though I am at least reasonably conversant in the jargon.

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You want a piece of this?

So this came in over the transom back in January:

I’m currently working with a brilliant business who operates in the education industry. I noticed your site has published a very interesting article, dustbury.com: Almost Yogurt Archives, which is why I think a collaboration between us could work well.

We would like to feature a bespoke piece of content on your site, which we think would be of great interest to you and your audience. For the privilege of being featured on your site, we would be happy to offer you a fee of $50.

We hope to hear back from you soon.

Obviously she picked a link at random to throw in there. When I ignored her, she repeated her request, a little louder.

At the other end of the spectrum:

I’m a freelancer who works for … an online media agency. Would you be interested in writing and posting an article for a fixed fee? The article should be relevant to the category and to the readers of your site.

If you are interested, please let me know and I’ll provide you with more details. Also, if you own other sites please send me their URLs, so I can review them.

It’s not like she thinks I’m swell or anything, either:

Depending on your local law, you may need to make it clear that the links you use are in fact adverts.

But of course they are.

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The elder statesman

Mike McCarville moves on to covering the Next Life:

It is my unfortunate duty to inform you that our friend Mike McCarville is no longer with us on Earth. After struggling with an illness, he has gone to his deserved rest. That familiar laugh and smile are now part of Heaven’s domain. It is the image of that twinkle in Mike’s eyes and his quick offer of a cup of coffee that haunt me as I write this piece to stay goodbye to the man who was my boss, my mentor and best of all, my friend.

McCarville is truly the dean of OKC bloggers, having started the McCarville Report literally before there were any such things as blogs: think “typewriter.” His radio appearances are legendary.

I expect Jason Doyle Oden will continue the McCarville Report for the foreseeable future. It’s an invaluable part of the local dialogue.

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I’m thinking I need a topic

Nothing To Do With Arbroath, billed as “a daily mish-mash of stuff, fluff and nonsense,” will neither mish nor mash in the future: Kevin Gray, its proprietor, has passed away. (Last post: 17 January.)

The Presurfer, billed as “Your Daily Dose of Diversion since 2000,” has run out of diversions: Gerard Vlemmings, its proprietor, has passed away. (Last post: 17 February.)

I damned well better make it past St. Patrick’s Day.

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I’m really sort of surprised this hasn’t happened for real yet:

I thought of an idea for a Criminal Minds episode. Disturbed blogger who never gets any comments hunts down lurkers and tortures and murders them after forcing them to comment on every single post on his (or her) blog. No, no! Not me! I would never do that. I wouldn’t know how to find you anyway. But it would make a good creepy story, wouldn’t it?

There are times I think all of us in blogdom are at least slightly disturbed.

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Missing in action

For years and years, Christopher Johnson ran something called Midwest Conservative Journal, based in St. Louis County, Missouri, which did lots of political/cultural material, with special emphasis on what he saw as the Church of England’s degradation into just another leftist outfit.

The last time Johnson posted anything was right before Christmas. I’m starting to worry.

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Let there be torque

Erin Palette, celebrating her tenth anniversary here in blogdom, is still plenty fast with a quip:

On a related note, I’d like be the first to announce that the transgender version of Uncle Tom is an Aunt Dorothy, and the transgender version of “House Negro” is “Performance Tranny.” I figure that if I’m going to be called names for going off-narrative, I might as well pick those names myself.

Oh, and before you ask, I’m a 4:11 final drive, with a 6-speed double-overdrive and a competition clutch.

May her throwout bearing never need to be thrown out.

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I didn’t even notice

But Warren Meyer did:

For some reason, WordPress has removed the underline button in the editor. I can bold, and italicize, but not underline for some reason. I have zero idea why there was such a burning need to eliminate this pretty basic feature of an editor. I suppose I can go in and manually add in html codes, but why bother with an editor if I have to do that kind of cr*p.

Evidently it’s been so long since I felt the need to underline that the disappearance of the button didn’t draw my attention at all.

That said, almost any deficiency in WordPress can be addressed in some way or another, and usually it’s via plugin, which it is here.

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A decade and a half

Our reader — and our friend — Fillyjonk has completed 15 years of this crazy avocation:

Back when I started in the heady days of knitblogging, I thought, “You know, maybe I’ll have legions of fans. Maybe I’ll even get a book deal. Maybe I’ll be FAMOUS!”

Well, I suppose God gives you what you actually need, sometimes: I’d hate fame, because with fame would come scrutiny and critics and trolls and all of that attendant ugliness.

“Fame is a vapor,” said Horace Greeley; “popularity an accident, and riches take wings. Only one thing endures and that is character.”

And FJ proves this almost every single day.

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Not all that red

The Z Man rather hilariously dismisses the site known as Red State:

Red State is a website that was originally started as sort of a “conservative” alternative to the left-wing blogosphere. I put quotes there because Red State’s brand of conservatism has always been the housebroken type of stuff popular on the Bush wing of the GOP. Like a lot of so-called conservatives in the Bush years, Red State was basically just a cheering section for the Republicans. Whatever Team Bush proposed, Red State branded as “Reaganesque” and “principled conservatism,” especially if it meant killing Muslims.

That probably sounds harsh, but I’m just getting started. Serial plagiarist Ben Domenech, pen for hire Joshua Trevino and the portly proselytizer Erick Erickson saw an opportunity to promote themselves, and maybe lever their popularity with conservative voters, into the careers they thought they deserved. The whole point of Red State was to ball-gargle the establishment, hoping to turn their obsequious rumpswabbery into a Jonah Goldberg lifestyle. The three of them are emblematic of what went wrong with conservatism.

I do love the sound of “obsequious rumpswabbery.”

(About that “plagiarism” charge against Domenech: a New York Times story describing it.)

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Worst titles of 2016

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An off-pitch pitch

Received in email this past week:

Hello,

Love what you’re doing on www.dustbury.com

I was checking out your site today and found this guest post you published. I’d love to be your next guest author.

I’ve been some topics that I think your readers would get a ton of value from:

• Best Winter Chore Clothes for Homesteaders
• 10 Winter Outfit Ideas for Women

Now what do you think are the chances that she actually saw the most recent guest post here, which was put up ten years ago and isn’t even part of the current WordPress database?

Yeah, that’s what I thought.

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Note for future reference

If you write to tell me I have a broken link somewhere, thank you, and I will fix it when I get around to it.

And if I choose not to use the link you suggest, you have no recourse.

You got that, WhoIsHostingThis? After the third time, you got a permanent place in the spam filter, all to yourselves.

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Usage notes

“Vaughan,” the new WordPress 4.7, broke my ancient comment-preview screen, apparently permanently.

Tell me what you think of the replacement. (It’s been here before.)

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We few, we easily mocked

Lee Ann defends her avocation, and mine:

Some people, most of them “serious” writers, declared blogging to be a stillbirth, strangled on its own self-referential umbilical. Recent critics have decided blogging is the retarded cousin that doesn’t get to come to the family reunions because it always tries to bathe in the potato salad. They recommend Farcebook, or Instagram, or Twitter, all the better to take hold of social media’s throat and force that content down.

That way, they proclaim from their mountaintop, you can better monetize your content.

The last person who deserved to use the word “monetize” was Dorothy Parker: “The two most beautiful words in the English language are ‘check enclosed’.” Those half a million feebs hoping to make a living off recycled jokes on YouTube? Not so much.

But what if you aren’t writing for money? (I have just peed myself laughing at the very idea of getting PAID to do this. Excuse me, wardrobe change.)

What if you’re writing for sanity retention? (And now the idea of “sanity” has once again soiled my delicates.)

Is blogging for the sake of just getting things out of the dirty old psyche and into the cleansing light of day a valid reason to keep on? Well, it’s certainly cheaper than professional therapy and less couch-dependent. On the other hand, for the most part, you’re talking to yourself. That is the kind of thing that usually gets you sent to the shrink, not deters the trip. Still, it’s more fun, because psychiatric professionals don’t come with templates and ways to change the color of the font.

Well, actually, they do have templates, only they call them “case histories.”

And the font color first has to want to change.

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Archive-diving

Apparently I’m not the only person who combs through the backstory on this site:

…searching my own comments in blogosphere, as a reminder to myself [“oh, where did I said something like this before?!”], I found this amusing exchange.

Things got a hair heated, but hey: three dozen comments. Rare in the context of this place.

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When help is no help

Roger Green, blocked from his own site:

[T]his will be my blog home until I get http://www.rogerogreen.com fixed, if I can. My provider says THEY can see my blog and people they know can, but I cannot, my friends cannot, in New Zealand to England to Canada.

The problem is, I am told, on my end. I’ve cleaned out cookies, cleaned out my cache, run a computer cleaning product, rebooted my computer (multiple times), rebooted my router (twice), and none of this has helped.

And I’m not enough of a techie to understand why it would anyway.

This is what was happening, as formatted for a phone:

rogerogreen.com after bad host configuration

How desperate was this man? He wrote me for help.

Then again, this was tech support’s response to him:

Its fixable its on your end, the site your being redirected too is a DNS switcher it uses your cookies to redirect you…

Download CCleaner check all the options but wipe free space and run it!

Once you run it once re-do it again one more time. Shut down and reboot your laptop or pc.

Then access your website./ blog

As you see by the screen caps rose and I can both see your blog.

If you look at the dns url its ww2.dns then your url something, once you hit that page it changes your cookies permission like hijacking your browser, so when you try and re-access your blog url it will always redirect you back to them

That’s why, once you clear your cookies you will be good. CCleaner will clear your cookies and history files…

Which doesn’t explain how it got to this condition in the first place. Best guess from this end: they screwed up the configuration at their end and failed to fix it in a timely manner.

Anyway, I flushed the local DNS cache, switched to Internet Explorer (!), dialed up the site, and waited for the new cookie to overwrite the old one. Success!

I duly passed this solution onward, and things have now returned to normal. But poor, unsuspecting bloggers should not be subjected to this sort of technical abuse.

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No longer participating

John Ray can only fill in for so long at Interested-Participant:

I am now totally out of touch with Mike Pechar, owner of this blog. So I have no idea about when he might resume posting, if ever he does. My best guess from what I know is that he has gone blind.

I have tried to keep the blog going for him but it has got too much for me. I put up six blogs of my own six days a week so my energies are already pretty stretched.

At the very least.

We’re following John to A Western Heart; he’s also running Tongue Tied 3.

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This will be the day that I die

Well, not me, probably not today. (That said, you should probably consider me at least marginally suicidal for the duration.) But I’m wondering if there’s an accepted protocol for one’s Last Post Ever — or if it’s better just to let things grind to a halt. I’ve been on both sides of the issue at various times; now I’m just confused.

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A Colossus lost

I got the word this afternoon from Brickmuppet:

Steven Den Beste has passed away.

I just received word from Steven’s brother, graciously thanking me for making the welfare call to the police and confirming that what many of us feared had indeed come to pass. I did not inquire as to specifics, but Steven had been in very poor health of late, having had a stroke just under four years ago.

SdB was one of the pillars of the blogosphere, almost from Day One:

Steven was brilliant, a former engineer with a crackerjack mind. His old blog, U.S.S. Clueless was tremendously important in the early days of the blogosphere. It is hard to overstate the importance of U.S.S. Clueless and the brilliance of his analysis. Sadly, that site went down this past week as well, when Steven’s server failed. That site was immensely influential to many of us, and I am far from the only person he inspired to blog or helped along.

Worse, he was about my age, which reminds me — as though I needed reminding — of my own fragility.

Something to remember him by? How about this, from 11 September 2012?

I always thought that attacking an embassy was considered an act of war. But 1980 seems to have established a new precedent: if a Democrat is President, then Muslim mobs may despoil American embassies as much as they wish. Once a Republican gets elected, then they lay off.

Our hostages in Tehran were released a few hours before Reagan was sworn in. If Romney manages to defeat Obama in November, will we see something of the same happen next January?

Well, even if it does, it won’t bring that man back to life. Not even The One, for all his assumed divinity, can do that. (Stopping the rise of the oceans is easy by comparison.)

If only we could bring that man back to life.

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A narrow-ish niche

The general reaction to “toe cleavage” in these parts has suggested a link, which I’ve had sitting around the browser for a while but haven’t used much.

Behold (or don’t): The Toe Cleavage Blog, which is a “blog dedicated to the overlooked and unappreciated partial exposure of the female foot known as toe cleavage.”

Since some of you will consider this too horrible to behold, I’m claiming credit for anti-clickbait. (And if curiosity is killing you, well, you can click on this.)

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A sort of milestone

A snapshot of the WordPress dashboard:

20,000 Posts

Actually, that was taken yesterday, so now it’s slightly more than twenty thousand posts.

This particular database begins in September 2006, so it includes the last ten years — though obviously not the first ten years.

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It seems all too reasonable

Cristina asks herself: “Why, 6 years later, am I still blogging about shoes?”

[T]he simple answer is: even though I’ve deviated from the daily stiletto-wearing lifestyle and have zero time (or energy) for schmoozing at media events, I do love blogging and am still very much in love with shoes.

There are, I understand, women who wear stilettos every day, though I don’t know any.

Although, working at my desk all day, I usually remain shoe-less. No, the irony isn’t lost on me.

I admit to wondering on occasion if brand-name fashion bloggers like Chiara Ferragni or Wendy Nguyen ever sit around in a T-shirt and jeans.

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