Category Archives: Meta

You Should Read The Weekly Sift

Perhaps my favorite blog out there right now is The Weekly Sift.  The gentleman who writes it is one of the most level-headed and insightful people writing on the interwebs these days.  He only posts on Mondays so there’s no garbage and everything is well researched and insightful.  I give a little squee of dorkish delight every Monday when his posts pop up as I’m scrolling through my RSS feed.  I want to be him when I grow up.

His latest is Am I Charlie? Should I Be?  It is pitch perfect and not only gets to the heart of the Charlie Hebdo massacre, but drill into the soul of the Freedom of Speech debate.

The Dreaded White Screen Of Death

Into every WordPress user’s life a little rain must fall.  That rain is usually the White Screen of Death.  Two years of blogging and I have finally had my rain.  One usually receives the dreaded White Screen when one updates one’s plugins.  It tends to block you from accessing any of your admin pages via the web and gives you the ever informative blank white screen.  Fun.

Getting past the dreaded white screen is a fairly easy fix if you know how to FTP into your website.  Each host is different on how you do that so I’ll leave that process as an exercise for the students to figure out.  Once you’re in, though, simply navigate to the /wp-content directory and change the /plugins directory to another name like /plugins.old or something similar.  Doesn’t really matter what.  This should allow you to get to your admin page via your browser.  If you’re still getting the White Screen, try changing the name of the /themes directory like you did the /plugins directory.  If you’re still getting the White Screen, good luck to you and may Google have mercy on your soul, your problem surpasses my knowledge.

Now that you’re at your admin page, go to your Installed Plugins page.  It should give you a message for all of your plugins saying that they have all been disabled because it couldn’t find the directory.  Now rename the /plugins.old folder back to /plugins and refresh your Installed Plugins page.  All of them should show up and all of them are disabled.  Now, if any of them need to be updated, update them.  Chances are that the plugin creator quickly realized the chaos they created and has since fixed it.  Then enable the plugins one by one until you either find the plugin that causes the White Screen or you have enabled all of your plugins once again.  If one of them still causes the White Screen, start over from the beginning and don’t try to enable that plugin again until an update comes out.  The same procedure can be followed if it is your Theme that is causing the problem.

You should now be back in blogging business.

One Year

My one year blogging anniversary passed me by without even noticing.  My first post was on November 5th of last year.  For your reading pleasure, here are some useless Google Analytics statistics:

Unique Visitors: 1835 
Visits: 4548 
Page Views: 7015

Every state except North Dakota has visited this site.  I can only assume that North Dakotans are too busy fracking to bother reading blogs.  Every European country except Portugal has also visited this site.  I’m just going to say that they’re too busy fracking too, what with their gorgeous beaches and all.

Chrome and Firefox account for 63% of the web traffic.  40% of the traffic is from cell phones and tablets.  Facebook is by far the largest referral site followed by Google+ and, surprisingly, the New England Skeptics Society.  Do I have a fan there? The top ten most viewed pages are:

  1. The main page – 954 hits
  2. Kristin The Hero – 156 hits – a true story about a woman who defeated fire
  3. Why Does It Feel Good When Someone Touches You – 113 hits – people search for this a lot apparently
  4. Whenever I Was Sad My Grandmother Gave Me Karate Chops – 106 hits – another popular search and hilarious video about bullying
  5. Respectability Politics – 69 hits – a term I’d never heard of and neither had others, given the number of hits
  6. What Part Of Well Regulated Don’t We Understand – 65 hits – ah, the 2nd Amendment…
  7. But The City Is So Unsafe – 64 hits – I make fun of people who don’t understand statistics
  8. Why The American Disdain For The Poor – 63 hits – we hates us some poor people
  9. The Book Thief Book Review – 58 hits – due to the upcoming movie, no doubt
  10. Teach For America Is Evil – 52 hits – the path to hell is paved with good intentions


When Does One Become A Writer?

In my post yesterday about the evil invention known as the telephone, I was going to write a paragraph wondering whether using the telephone is a common anxiety for writers in general.  I balked.  Writing such a paragraph would imply that I consider myself a writer.  That just seems…wrong.

But what does one have to do to consider oneself a writer?  It seems like such an amorphously vague title.  After all, everyone is capable of writing and many do.  Everyone and their cat has a blog these days.  Is blogging enough?  Is keeping a diary enough?  Is it amount of time spent?  Is it number of words written?  Is it if you’ve been published?  Is it if you’ve been paid?  Is it how many people have read your words?

All this thinking about what it means to be a writer got me wondering how much I have written.  It turns out that today is a momentous day for my blog as far as pointless milestones are concerned.  I have had the blog since Novermber 2012.  Today, I have reached 5,000 page views and written just over 100,000 words.  The former is fairly meaningless, but the latter is…wow!  That’s a novel.  Over 1,200 individuals have read my words.  Someone from every state except Montana, North Dakota, and Kansas has read my words.  Someone from 40 other countries has read my words.  All of that sounds awfully writer-y.  Yet, still I balk at the title.

Maybe, to be a writer, you have to write something that you consider useful.  It doesn’t have to be shared, it doesn’t have to touch anyone except yourself.  You put pen to paper or hands to keyboard and scribble or clickety-clack away and look over the final product and say “I made that!” with pride.  Yeah, I’m definitely not a writer yet.

Pointless Milestone: Achieved!

Here’s some news that is of value to absolutely no one.  For the first time ever, this blog had over 100 hits.  114 hits yesterday, to be exact.  So, yay?

This Is My 100th Post

100 posts and 104 unique visitors all in about a month of blogging.  I’ve had visitors from India, Sweden, Japan, Australia, Greece, South Africa, England, Germany, and Latvia.  You know you’ve made it when you’ve got Latvia.

I think it’s time to think about the future of the blog a bit.  Lots of little improvements need to be made.  I’d like to get a banner graphic and perhaps a background image.  For all you regular readers out there, if you read something that you actually enjoy, please consider sharing it with your friends.  I’m interested in getting actual conversations going on some of the things that I talk about.  Maybe I can make this a side job that actually makes some money.  Yeah, that’s right, one month in and I’m already having delusions of grandeur.

That is all.  We now return you to your regularly scheduled banal blog posts.

On creating stuff

I’m new to this whole writing things for the whole world (all fifty of you!) to see.  Writing a blog is something that I’ve been talking about for a long time.  Like years.  That’s just how I roll; talk about something forever and then dive in like I have any clue what I’m doing.

With that in mind, it’s interesting to hear how other people relate to creation.  A few things have crossed my radar this week that are worth sharing.  The first is from my friend Katie who writes about the need to explore our creative abilities.  She calls that need “The Nudge“.  It’s well worth reading and we would all be wise to heed her advice.  Then go and buy her art because the world needs people like Katie to create more awesome stuff.

The other interest thing to cross my path is the latest comic from The Oatmeal.  The Oatmeal is always fun to read and this comic is no exception.  Creating web content is both very freeing and very demanding but still gives you almost zero respect from society.  Also, be sure to check out his book “How to tell if your cat is plotting to kill you.”  It’s 130 pages of pure comic fun.  Although, if he were being totally honest, the book would be only one page and it would say this:  Is your cat alive?  If you answered yes, your cat is plotting to kill you.  The end.