Category Archives: Meta-Blogging

And we’re back!

Some of my regular readers (I have a few of those, right?) may have notice my site has been down for the last couple of days. That’s because my hosting provider detected that my WP installation had been infected with malware and shut my site down until I could get it fixed. So I spent a little time waiting for them to provide a list of files that were infected, dutifully replaced or removed (most of them weren’t even needed by WP, which was weird) them, then waited for them to verify that everything was clean so they could bring my site back online. Unfortunately, that translated into two days because…well, you know what it’s like communicating with customer service. Don’t misunderstand me, my hosting provider’s customer service agents are friendly and extremely helpful. But the response times can be a bit slow.

I’m not sure why my site got infected with malware. Was it just a random occurrence? Is someone out there gunning for me in particular? Maybe I pissed off some hacker with a huge crush on Grindr who took issue with my last blog post. Who can say? But the important thing is that everything should all be better now. As a bonus, I also added a monitoring plan to the site. Now the monitoring software should detect and remove malware automatically, rather than leaving it to the hosting provider to discover and lock everything down. Here’s to hoping!

This is either a statement of why I love WordPress or a Staple’s Commercial

That was easy.

About half an hour, I logged into my dashboard for this blog and got a notice that there was a newer version of WordPress available.  I’ve been keeping my plugins up to date since converting to WordPress last month, so I figured I’d do the same with the blog software itself.  I figured it was probably easy enough to do.

I’m sure the folks WordPress could find a way to make the upgrade process even easier.  I’m just not sure how they would.  The actual upgrade process took less than thirty seconds, and two of those seconds involved me clicking a button on my Update page in the dashboard.  That was all that was required of me.

The full process took between ten and thirty minutes because I followed the recommendation of backing up the blog’s database and the files on the site first.  Even that was pretty easy.  I couldn’t remember how to do a MySQL backup.  Fortunately, the folks at WordPress were kind enough to include a link to thorough and easy to follow (though I think some of their screenshots may be for older versions of VDeck and myPHPAdmin) instructions on how to do just that.  Then backing up the files was a simple matter of logging into my server with Filezilla and pulling the entire directory structure over to my computer.  (That’s why i don’t know how long the process actually took.  Once I started the transfer, I swapped windows and did other things.  When I came back, Filezilla was idling and waiting for me to tell it what to do next.)

Back when I used Movable Type, I upgraded the software a couple times.  It wasn’t nearly as pleasant.  I had to go searching for backup instructions.  I had to download the software myself, then move it to my server. Then I had to initiate a database update process from an included upgrade script.  The last time I tried to upgrade Movable Type, it’s that last step that failed.  The upgrade script kept locking up on me.

If future updates with WordPress continue to go as smoothly as this one did, it’s just one more reason I’ll be glad I made the switch.

Heads up!

This is just a note to let you know that the blog may become inaccessible for a while this weekend.  I have finally decided to migrate the blog from MovableType to WordPress.  This will hopefully address a few problems:

1.  It will hopefully get rid of a lot of the spambots that constantly (thousands of times per day) hit my commenting script.
2.  It will hopefully resolve some of the issues people have trying to comment here.
3.  It will let me get some newer features, as I’m running a pretty old version of MovableType and attempts to upgrade to newer versions have failed abysmally in the future.
4.  I’ll be able to leave pingbacks on WordPress blogs I link to.
5.  I’ve used WordPress and decided I just like it better.  (Okay, not really a problem, but hey.)

I’ve been hesitant to do this, but I discovered there’s a new site out there called tp2wp.com that streamlines the migration process.  And while it costs $50, I figure that resolving the above issue is worth it.

To support this, I will be disabling all comments and trackbacks on this blog in a few minutes (relative to this blog’s posting time) to “freeze” the database.

From your standpoint, the way this plays out should look like this:
1.  You may see the blog as it currently is, but will be unable to comment.
2.  You may then see nothing.  Or a blank blog.
3.  You will (hopefully) eventually see this blog, but with a different cosmetic appearance.  Hopefully, there will be a brief post from me announcing that the migration was a complete success and it’s back to business as usual.

As an aside, I will be doing a full backup of the site’s static pages and other files (e.g. images).  If something goes horribly wrong (or I just get frustrated before I work through the dozens of minor gotchas the migration site forgot to mention), I should be able to restore the MT version of this blog.  In that case, rather than step #3 above, expect to see a blog post from me muttering and cussing.

At any rate, wish me luck and I’ll hopefully catch you on the flip side!

A shoutout to Christopher Yuan’s followers and friends

Starting sometime last night, my blog started getting a lot of hits.  By “a lot,” I mean more than three times its normal hits in a day.  I also started noticing that a lot of the traffic was coming from Facebook and Twitter.  So doing a bit of research, I discovered that Christopher Yuan, co-author or “Out of a Far Country,” tweeted a link to the first post I wrote reviewing that book and posted the same link to his Facebook page.

Honest review of ?#OutofaFarCountry? from a gay man who’s a self-proclaimed witch! – http://yuan2.us/29

I’ll be a bit honest, I’m a but curious and concerned why he felt it was necessary or appropriate to bring up the fact that I’m a witch, but I’m still thankful that he promoted my review (and I hope many of his readers read all the posts on the topic, not just the first and “flattering” post he linked to).  After all, as one of his own commenters on Facebook said, “any press is good press.”

So to Christopher, I say thank you.  To those of you who found my blog through Christopher, I say welcome.  I hope you find what I wrote informative and thought-provoking, even if you don’t agree with me.  And I hope you’ll stick around to read some of the other stuff I’ve written.

I plan on doing one last follow-up post on Christopher’s and his mother’s book, which I hope to have up later today.  It’s something that caught my eye in one of the final chapters, and I want to talk about it.

Still alive and sharing a link

Hello all!

Man, I’ve been silent for months now.  In some ways, it’s a shame that I’ve allowed this blog to remain untouched after spending November and December working so hard to get a regular schedule going.  But alas, I felt it was necessary.  Trying to keep it going through January — when I was completely unmotivated due to memories bringing up personal emotional issues (I’m fine now, thanks for asking) would have been disastrous, I feel.  At that point, keeping the blog going started to feel like an obligation of drudgery rather than something of I enjoy.  So rather than totally kill my own love for my blog, I decided to take a break.

I hope to pick this blog back up again, so I appreciate anyone who is willing to keep it in their newsreaders or on their blogrolls.  I won’t make any promises of when or how frequently I will return right now, as my attentions have also been focused elsewhere.  During my absence here, I started a new blogging project, which I’m really getting into.  Unfortunately, due to the nature of that project, I’m required to do it under anonymity.  That means that I am unable to let you all know where or how to find it.  Sorry.

I’m also trying to get back into writing more, which means my Writing.Com portfolio is slowly starting to see some action.  (My apologies to the prudes and those just not interested in male-to-male sex, but most of the stuff I’m working on right now is sexual/erotic fiction.)  I also just updated my writing-specific blog over there with an entry about one advantage visual media has over the written word.  I encourage you to check it out, though I warn you that it relies heavily on spoilers to the movie The Sitter.

I hope you all are well. Drop me a comment and let me know what’s new with you.

Blogging year in review

thirty-day-moving-average.gifAs is somewhat typical for bloggers, I wanted to consider my past year of blogging today and look forward to my blogging goals and vision for the future.

Since I started this blog in 2004, I’ve been a sporadic blogger at best.  I would have periods of time where I would post regularly — and even multiple times a day, only to be followed by long periods — occasionally measured in months — of total silence.  Given the personal things that were going on in my life at the beginning of this year, the year began with one of those extended periods of silence.  I eventually got back to blogging sporadically, though.

In October, something happened that inspired me to make some changes here.  Former Conservative offered me the opportunity to serve him as a guest-blogger over at his place while he went away.  That opportunity rekindled my love of blogging.  As I began to get feedback over there and enjoyed the attention, I began to realize what got me started blogging and what I had almost forgotten about — readers.

annual-visits.pngI’ll admit that because guest-blogging allowed me to see FC’s site statistics, I found myself a bit envious.  Because of FC’s focused and disciplined blogging schedule, he had managed to garner a consistent following that blew me away.  This rediscovered joy of feedback and envy pushed me to make some changes, primarily developing a regular schedule.  Since then, I’ve made a commitment to putting up a blog post every Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.[1]  Since implementing this policy, I’ve only failed to keep this schedule for one day (December 26), and I’m already seeing positive results, as the graphs I’ve included with this post shows.

This year, I’ve also added book reviews and book analyses to my blogging activities.  I’ve also sought to standardize the days that I write about the books I’m looking at more closely.  At this point, I intend to keep Mondays as a day to blog about “Raised Right” until I am finished with that book.  Fridays will similarly be dedicated to working through “The Visitation.”

I’m also looking at the topics I blog about.  One of the things that I will admit is that I don’t think I”ll ever be focused enough to be a “single topic” blogger.  My interests tend to be rather eclectic and my blog will continue to reflect that.  I enjoy being able to discuss religious issues, issues important to QUILTBAG[2] people, and my recent foray’s into feminist thought and issues important to women. I’m also hoping to continue writing personal posts and even exploring more about the topic of codependency in general and my own struggles with and recovery from it in particular.

I will also be re-evaluating my blog schedule at some point.  I’ve already been thinking that I’d really like to blog every day.  After all, that would give me two more posts a week to cover the wide variety of topics I want to talk about.  However, I’ve decided to get at least another month or two under my belt with the current schedule.  Five posts a week right now is pretty comfortable to me right now, at least most weeks.  However, there have been a couple times that I struggled to meet that schedule.  Also, given some of the topics I want to blog about, I think the time and energy I need to invest in some posts is going to increase.  So it’s in my best interests to maintain my current schedule for now.

Any and all readers are invited to leave a comment offering their thoughts and suggestions.  If you have an opinion on my blogging schedule or my content (what you currently like, what you’d like to see (more of), etc.), please let me know.  You’re welcome to offer such feedback any time you feel like it, but here’s a clear chance to do so.

Happy New Year.  May 2012 be bright and blogworthy.

Notes:
[1]  I took this a step further and set a specific time to put posts up each day (9am Eastern on Saturday and 12pm Eastern the rest of the days).  Over the holidays, I’ve had a few late posts, but I do try to keep to this as well.

[2]
  One of the things that I want to start exploring in my personal time is trans* issues.  This is both due to the fact that I’m finding myself wanting to gain a better understanding of those issues and a desire to quit being one of those gay male bloggers who claims to blog about LBGT issues and yet only ever seems to talk about gay male sexuality and issues related to gay men.

Having said that, I also note that I have a lot of learning to do when it comes to trans* issues.  As such, any upcoming posts are likely to be of the “here’s something interesting I’ve just learned and I’m trying to understand it better” rather than offering anything that should be considered even remotely authoritative on the topic.

Considering Peretti books for analysis

After some thought, I’ve decided that I’m going to do a deconstruction — if you can still call it a deconstruction if you find more about the book that you like than you dislike — of another book by Frank Peretti.

I’ve read a total of five Peretti books.  Each one of them is slightly different in some way.  This Present Darkness is about the war between angels and demons as it plays out in a small town.  Piercing the Darkness, its sequel, is also about angels battling demons, but this time the main focus is the battle over a particular soul (though it did have a swipe at the public education system, which was a popular topic at the time I was reading it due tot he emergence of outcomes based education).

The third book that I read was Prophet, which was not about angels and demons but about a journalist who found himself living a “prophetic” (in the terms of warning others of the consequences of their misdeeds) vocation.  The book mostly focused on the evils of the (liberal, of course) media and abortion.

The fourth book that I read was The Oath.  It was a strange book in that it was far more a Horror book than the others.  While it got preachy about the nature of sin, there was also no clear connections to actual spiritual movements (at least not that I’m aware of) like the first three were.  I often joked that The Oath seemed more like Peretti contracted Stephen King to write a book for him in comparison to the others I had read.

I should note that I read these four books when I was in high school, when I still considered myself a fundamentalist Christian.  As such, I read them as a member of Peretti’s target audience.

I didn’t read my fifth book, The Visitation until I was in my late twenties or early thirties, long after I became a witch and devotee of Freyja.  In many ways, I suppose that’s why i liked the book.  In this book, Peretti turned his critical eye away from “outsiders” and turned it upon his own religious subculture.  As a former member of that same subculture, I appreciated his look.

I’ve decided that I want to do an in-depth analysis of The Visitation.  As I said, I’m not sure I can call it a deconstruction, as many of the parts that I will be exploring are places where I actually identify and agree with Peretti’s thoughts.  However, given the nature of the main plot, which I wasn’t as impressed with, I don’t expect my comments to be entirely glowing, either.

I’m also hoping that it might be interesting to compare this book with This Present Darkness.  Who knows, maybe it’ll even spark up some sort of discussion between Yamikuronue and myself as we compare our experiences of our respective Peretti books.

Guest-blogging accomplished

This morning, my “signing off” post went up over at Confessions of a Former Conservative.  I won’t post an excerpt here, as there’s no notable text in my farewell and expression of gratitude.  I will, however, encourage any of my readers who don’t already check out CoaFC on a regular basis to go take a peak.  I left the community over there a little present.  😉

Guest-blogging over there has inspired me.  Beyond merely getting the creative juices flowing, it has inspired me to get more disciplined and serious about blogging here.  As such, I’m hoping to implement a few new practices in my blogging here:

1.  I will start trying to keep a regular blogging schedule.  I will try to post something every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, as well as a post on the weekend.  I figure four posts a week should be relatively doable.

2.  I will resist the urge to rapid-fire post entries when I get into one of my manic blogging moods.  Instead, I will save up extra posts and (providing the functionality actually works with my version of MT) schedule them to post over however many days.

3.  I will create a facebook page for this blog.  I’m finding that doing this seems to have helped FC a great deal.

So Friday, I should have something new up.  In fact, it’ll probably be a follow-up post relating to my guest-posts at CoaFC.

And in other good news, it turns out that another favorite blogger of mine is considering asking me to fill in for her when she goes on vacation.  It’d be rather cool if I get a rep for being a guest-blogger.  And if it keeps me going here, all the better.

Guest-blogging, Day Three

My final day of guest-blogging at Confessions of a Former Conservative is being met with My enemy’s pawn is still just a pawn to me.  Here’s the teaser:

Of course, I told myself that I didn’t hate these Pagan people. 
After all, they ultimately were not the enemy, and I was no Jack Chick. 
I understood that these poor peers of mine were mere dupes of Satan,
pawns of the enemy that were being used.  I didn’t hate them.  I did not
spew venom at them directly, but at their invisible masters, of whom
they were completely unaware.