Project #1

So far so good. One day into the new year, and not only have I spent a lovely day with my family, but I’ve also completed my first project. Done. Finito.

Well, sort of…

In an attempt to resurrect this ol’ blog from the trash heap I realized that I not only needed to start writing in it, but I needed to reacquaint myself with the inner workings and get inspired to actually work on it again. Thus sometime yesterday afternoon it came time to begin the transition from the awkward Site5 to the modern DigitalOcean. And so I built my first cloud server, learned how to setup nginx, re-learned how to setup mysql, and reinstalled WordPress from scratch. All while building the configuration in a way to lead room for some other sites/projects that may come this way.

But nobody will know this is going on. Because I still need to work out several kinks. Like connecting this site to social media so that I can tell people what is going on wasqea7.

But this is day #1 and project #1. So I’ll take the little successes where I can get them. Because 2016 was a pretty crummy year. And 2017 is going to have some rough edges. But I am going to make it through this year if it kills me.

I’ll tumbl 4 ya

Is that headline lame enough? In case you can’t figure out what it means, I done started a tumblr. Actually, I started it… back in May? WTF? Why have I not been mentioning this? Why did I even need to start another blog that I would fail to maintain? And why does that first video use music from an obscure 80s flick?

I’m so glad you asked.

Video links are like a crutch for bloggers – at least for me. They are a quick and easy way to pretend I’m still contributing to a blog, when it’s really just cut and paste. The few times I’ve posted a video (that wasn’t a moment of (baby) zen) with virtually no commentary and then abandoned the blog for weeks it bothered me. Seriously. It was like cheating. And just like Matt Damon, it would be robbing you of your honor…

Anyone else watch School Ties last night? Anyone? Whatever…

After starting to follow a few tumblelogs it dawned on me that tumblr was the perfect service to keep track of pictures and moving pictures and moving pictures with sound that I wanted to share with people. Especially when it involves otters. While I’m not willing to commit my “creative” endeavors to an external service, this material clearly isn’t mine. And unlike posts that require at least the illusion of thought, why would I care if a list of things I didn’t create disappeared one day? Thus was born.

The eventual plan is to create a more seamless look and link it together with this site so that it’s easy for all 2 or 3 of my readers to find. The naming scheme is also why I’m considering moving this blog to the subdomain (with a potential other one called and then the main site will bring them together. But I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for that to happen.

Occasionally I may still share videos and pictures over here if they call for more than a one liner, like this one:

Alright, that doesn’t require any additional commentary. But I have been laughing at if for like 2 days straight.

Are you there blog? It’s me, Thom…

So that happened. Apparently taking my blogs offline so that I can fulfill some nerdy desire to have them installed in a very specific fashion for rational reason other than my own whims does not actually guarantee that anything will be accomplished. This is reminiscent of way back when I switched domain names and swore I wouldn’t write anything until the redesign was complete. A month later the transfer took place sans promised theme. At least this time more was accomplished… I guess.

As intended from the start, this blog is my major – perhaps only – outlet for creative endeavors. Shutting down for too long depresses me a little. Coupled with the torrent of e-mails inundating me with demands to return my content to the world as soon as possible, it became necessary for me to either figure out my way or switch to anyway that would work. What follows is an incredibly boring discussion regarding the technicalities of blog maintenance.

When WordPress 3.0 came out recently, my excitement level hit an all time high… in relation to other excitement levels recorded at WordPress releases. You see, this one included multisite! Finally I would only need a single installation to cover all 2 of my blogs! Alright, that may not be a big deal, but I dream big when it comes to websites no one but my sisters care about… plus my other site. The truth is I viewed it as a way to get more active by utilizing a single interface, and possibly open myself up to other projects. So what was the problem? Why didn’t I just upgrade and move on?

Way back in the early days of WordPress I had a single site that was sitting on my home server. All of the files sat in the main directory and it looked like a mess, but it worked so who cared? Eventually they made it possible to keep the bulk of the files in a subdirectory and only have an index.php and .htaccess file in the main directory. This made it easier for nitpicky idiots like me to keep software running in different parts of the website separate. It also made backing up and upgrading (before the automated systems in place) a breeze. It also worked well with my Site5 multisite plan which had everything not as a subdirectory of It kind of looked like this:

   /wordpress -> all of my precious WP files in here

Awesome, I know! But now multisite won’t play that way. It requires the installed directory and website to match. After debating moving my blog to a subdomain itself ( hmm, that actually sounds catchy now) I searched high and low for any kind of guides. Eventually some forum posts directed me to ideas of how to put the domain in a subdirectory and hide it via .htaccess. So I did. And it worked. So I reinstalled WordPress and imported my old site. And it worked. So I enabled multisite. And it worked. So I logged in… wait… it didn’t work.

For some reason it was botching the login process. Many more days of poking around Google and forums and whatnot led me nowhere. But a funny thing happened on the way to giving up. I realized that Site5 did not limit any of my other domain from being in directories above public_html. Why not just move everything else? So I did. And it worked. So I… you get the picture. Or else I can paint you a word picture:

  /really are there more?
  /pretend another directory goes here
  /public_html -> lots of WordPress files here

Maybe things aren’t exactly as I wanted them. And maybe I’ll still move this to the blog subdirectory because I just can’t leave well enough alone. Regardless, it’s time to move on and get back to writing about boring crap rather than just researching it…

Believe it or not

I actually made a music post! Is it any good? Who knows, it’s not like I read it…

Is it just me, or does anyone else out there cringe at the thought of reading your own writing? There’s an inherent distrust in the notion that I can do anything that requires some sort of talent. Even though many people have complimented me on my writing, I can only assume that they are being nice. Obviously anything produced by these clattering fingertips could barely resemble coherent English let alone something friends, family or total strangers would find interesting or entertaining.

Self-deprecation can be fun for you, too!

In all seriousness, while I would never actually call myself a good writer it does appear as though I am a natural one. Just like falling off a bicycle, it comes rather easily despite long breaks between efforts. Perhaps shortening those gaps would produce something resembling quality content. At the very least it would produce quantity – and that’s darn close alphabetically speaking!

Anyway I’m trying not to let my indecision with regards to the use of domain names, subdomains, and subfolders get in the way of continued blogging. Isn’t there a cute baby video or something laying around here I could post? This meta-crap is getting old.

That part went smoothly

After hemming and hawing over how to handle the many projects I envision for this humble blog, the time has come for me to start pressing forward. Step one of this journey begins the same way as usual – by installing an unstable beta of WordPress in an attempt to discover if the added functionality is my missing link. My hope to start with the release candidate or at least the second beta or to have the subdomains already set up properly, has left me skipping post after post for the past month and a half. Well that, and the little person that demands so much of my time these days. Oh, and my job. And maybe the guy who came and ripped the bathtub out of our house and left in on the front lawn.

So many offline “projects” to blame, so little time.

To give you a little hint as to what I have in store, Chris Nixon’s reshaping of his web presence is my inspiration. It’s time that my photography and musical musings get some serious real estate along with my usual ranting and blathering – and thus certain subdomains will come into existence shortly. That means this blog will most likely relocate slightly to the left of its current abode.

For now I’ll try to resume regular posting until it all gets worked out. Obviously not tonight as my laptop is about to hibernate…

Enter year… uh… eight?

Amidst all of the baby raising and whatnot of last year I completely missed the 6th “blogiversary”. And since I already broke one annual tradition, might as well say goodbye to another one and mark the occasion on the correct date. Well, the chosen date.

Believe it or not, this site has now been going for 7 years and has over 1000 posts and almost 1900 comments. It has survived the ups and downs of multiple moves (mine and servers), a marriage, and a baby. While I’ve never been as regular as I’d hoped, it’s still done a pretty good job of keeping track of my life and interests over that time. Not bad.

So here’s looking forward to year 8, which is bound to include more missed promises of increased content!

A word on WordPress

Hopefully all of you blogger-types running WordPress have taken note of yesterday’s announcement that version 2.5 has finally been released. I’ve already been running the release candidates since they announced them, so there isn’t a huge change for me on my blogs since the upgrade today (and you, dear readers, will pretty much notice no changes). But I will admit that the interface changes on the admin side are starting to grow on me. It’s not some breathtakingly gorgeous design, but the layout makes more and more sense to me as I use it and seems to be a real improvement over the somewhat cumbersome layout that preceded.

Interestingly, they also redesigned the main WordPress page to mimic some of the design from the new system. It certainly seems more inviting to me. And while I found myself poking around to see what else had changed, this line from the about page popped out at me:

WordPress started in 2003 with a single bit of code to enhance the typography of everyday writing and with fewer users than you can count on your fingers and toes.

I wonder if they realize they’re referring to me? Although this blog has never risen above the “self-absorbed, Internet journal and commentary” site that it started as, I take a little bit of pride in the fact that, with all of the choices I had before me, I picked the one that became the biggest. Even in the olden days of early 2003, the idea of a dynamic system using PHP and MySQL made sense to me. Coupled with an insistence that it be open source, b2 ended up initially powering this site. But development on that was already at a standstill.

That’s why when Matt announced the first release of WordPress (b2 named successor), it was only a matter of 2 days before version 0.70 was running here. Sometimes I get a little sad that I was such an early adopter, but never took advantage of that to get involved. Oh well, I never expected this site to be anything more than a way to communicate with family and friends, so it should come as no surprise that’s all it remains.

Anywho, I just wanted to point out the upgrade for those interested, and to send a “Thank You” to the WordPress team. They helped provide an outlet for my “creativity”… for better or for worse…

Enter year six

As has become my annual tradition, I begin with my own quote:

Crap. I was sure I would get my “blogiversary” right this year. It’s at the end of February – the 26th, to be exact. Not that difficult to remember. Of course, I kept forgetting what date I am currently living in, which is why I just noticed that today is the 27th. Yeehaw.

Actually, this year I remembered late last night. But I had already posted and was getting tired. So tradition won out over accuracy. And today I celebrate my blogiversary 918th post. I’m surprised to see that during a year in which I posted very haltingly at times, I still managed to get in about 140 entries. This year will be the ultimate challenge. As I try to get my other sites going, will it negatively impact my writing over here? And when the little rugrat comes along, will that stop everything altogether? And would anyone notice?

Such exciting conundrums, I’m sure they’ll keep you on the edge of your seats…

Ohhh, shiny and new

In case you haven’t actually checked out this site outside of Livejournal or a feed reader, I switched out the theme again. As much as I liked Silhouette, it felt a tad too “professional” for me. I needed something with… I don’t know… some curves. And why did I start feeling this way? Because last month, Joen announced the release of version 1 of his Fauna theme.

Look at it! It’s glorious!

Not only is Fauna totally awesome in its sleek blackness (customizable by the way – I liked the dark version) but it immediately fixed a couple issues I never bothered addressing. It actually displays the tags on each post, plus you can navigate via links at the top of each post.

On top of that, I also finally installed Zenphoto – something else that Joen first brought to my attention (albeit about 2 years ago). You can check out the current meager beginnings of my photo gallery in case you haven’t found it yet – I’ll integrate it with my WordPress install soon enough. Populating it with photos of things other than my mug is a higher priority.

Now I’m just starting to play around with plugins, again. The photos in my last entry were added via ZenphotoPress, but I really want something that integrates that with a Lightbox functionality. Who knows, maybe 2008 will mark the year that I actually get this site organized again!

Beta Beta Beta

So in the past month I’ve upgraded WordPress three times thanks to the 2.3 betas – and yet I’ve only updated the website… what… once? Strike that, I’ve now updated it for a fourth time before I could even get out of this first paragraph. I’m beginning to believe that my writing career may never take off and I should get a real job…

Anywho, is now rocking the first release candidate of the next version of WordPress. Of course my main reason for deciding to take the plunge forward is the new built-in tag support. And, of course, my current theme does not show tags by default and I’ve yet to add tags to any posts. Then again, considering this is only my second post with that possibility (well, I had a bunch tagged before thanks to a plugin, but I wiped them all out), that’s not a big deal.

There have been a few other changes of late and I just thought I’d point them out. I now have a real Archives page once again. And much better than ever before, thanks to Justin Blanton’s Smart Archives for WordPress. Now you can easily scroll through the previous 850 posts I’ve written over the past 4+ years. Wait, 850?!?! I’m not sure if that’s totally awesome or totally lame, but that’s a big freakin’ number. I sure hope there’s something worthwhile in those archives.

I also started to close comments on older posts again. Akismet has crushed most of my spam problems (just check out the counter on the main page currently at over 25,000 blocked), but a few continued to slip by. While this didn’t bother me that much, an e-mail from my sister Kathleen made me realize that anyone subscribed to the comments on older posts would end up getting spammed through my site. That’s a big no-no. Thankfully I found James McKay’s Comment Timeout. Not only does it let you decide how long to wait until comments are turned off (currently set at 90 days), but it also lets you hold off on popular posts. So if I ever have 12 people comment on a single post, that one will stay open for an additional 90 days. That’s totally rad.

Hmm… I had a few other things. There’s a link back to my host in case anyone is looking for a good deal (and excellent service). I decided to ditch the blinking one in favor of a more subdued look – because I’m clearly a subdued guy. Oh, and I started to write something lame for my About page. I really need to be inspired, because right now it sucks.

So, yeah, that was a lot of boring site stuff, but I needed to get it all out there before I could get back to writing about my boring life. Uh, welcome back to me…