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Fifteen Years!

Just realized (two days after the fact) that August 6 marked 15 years for me of on-line journalling/webjournalling/blogging/running at the mouth/whatever-the-kids-are-calling-it-these-days!

My reflections on the experience haven’t changed much in the last few years (since whenever the last time I marked the date was): It’s been fun, I enjoy having this space to scribble in (though Facebook and Twitter have given me outlets for other sorts of scribbling), but it’s hard to keep coming up with new content on a consistent basis. Hard for me, anyway. So my posting gradually gets more sporadic, but I’m still here.

If you care, you can still go back and start reading from the beginning. (And I really gotta move all those old posts over into this site someday. In my copious spare time…)

Life as a Blogger

My friend J.D. Roth on his life as a blogger. J.D. is one of the true blogging success stories – he’s made his living off his blog Get Rich Slowly for several years now.

He mentions me as one of the journallers he read who inspired him to start writing back in the day. In turn, his link inspired me to get my old archives back on-line this past weekend. I wonder how long it’ll take for Google to index them anew?

Coffee Shop Night

Paid a visit to Dana Street Roasting Company last night to read comics (and buy two pounds of coffee – we’ve been working our way through many of their varieties).

While there I met Sarahnade, a LiveJournaller I’ve been following for a few years. I thought she looked familiar when she came in, but since she hasn’t posted many pictures of herself I wasn’t sure. But she responded to my tweet about how busy the place was, saying she was sitting two tables over from me. So I went over and said hi.

I knew this ‘Web’ thing was good for something!

Approaching Pavonis Mons by Balloon

My favorite science fiction writer, Alastair Reynolds, has a new blog: Approaching Pavonis Mons by Balloon.

It includes the first chapter of his forthcoming novel, Terminal World. Which I really need to preorder soon…

Incidentally, I recently read his “hardcover Ace double“, Thousandth Night/Minla’s Flowers, which was fun. Minla’s Flowers is perhaps a bit obvious, but Thousandth Night is a very good prequel to his fine novel House of Suns, and it’s worth reading just for that.

New Look

I’m experimenting with a new theme for the journal. Rather than try to get it all right before using it (which would virtually guarantee that I’d never actually finish and deploy it), I decided to just go for it and make changes incrementally. Changing the image, tinkering with the color scheme, and fixing up the sidebars are at the top of my list. Other suggestions are welcome, too; please leave them in the comments!

Getting Back to Functional

My hosting service seems to have mostly worked out the kinks with the machine hosting FP – which is to say, the old machine died and they moved all of us on it to a new machine – so I seem to be back in business. The new machine feels slower than the old machine (i.e., more like the old old machine), which is a bummer, but maybe it’s a temporary thing as the other sites get up and running. I’m also having some issues accessing my admin page at times. The all-knowing Web provides 4 or 5 different answers, none of which really answer the question, “Why didn’t this happen before being moved to the new machine?” But I’ll try some stuff and see if I can shake it all out.

Maybe I shouldn’t be bothering to run my own blog, but I do like having full control over my own data. I’m picky that way.

In other news, I biked in to work on both Thursday and Friday, hitting my goal of 30 rides in for the season, over 500 miles ridden. Not a huge amount, but a lot for me. With Daylight Savings Time ending tonight, that’s probably it for riding in – or, more precisely, for riding home, since I don’t like to bike much in the dark. More next year, though!

For Halloween tonight we went over to visit our friends Lisa and Michel and their 2-year-old daughter Isabella, whom I played with for quite a while, longer than Debbi has expected us to be there. Then we went to visit Susan and Subrata, their son Ajay, and Subrata’s visiting parents. Their neighborhood was filled with dozens of kids trick-or-treating, more than I’ve seen around since moving to California. And yet, S&S still had plenty of candy left. Debbi and I left them and went to Marie Callender’s for dinner, as I’d kind of reached maximum kid saturation for one day.

Happily, no tricks were played on us in the making of this evening.

Technical Difficulties

Dreamhost has been having some trouble with the machine hosting FP, and it was down for most of yesterday. It looks like they’ve got the issue resolved, although I guess they’re still investigating. Apparently it was a hardware problem, so they had to move my and others’ accounts to a new physical system. Unfortunate, but it was a brand new machine that they moved us to a few weeks ago, so perhaps it was just bad.

Hopefully the worst is over. And hopefully the new machine is as fast as the old new machine was – much faster than the old old machine! 🙂

LiveJournal Crossposting Enabled

I’ve set things up so posts on my Fascination Place journal will be automatically crossposted to my LiveJournal account. It was easier than I expected! Thanks to Jim Rittenhouse for pointing me at the LJ-XP plugin to WordPress to get it working.

And for those of you on LJ who were enjoying my relative silence, well, all good things must come to an end! 🙂

This Just In

Akismet tells me it’s killed just over 100,000 spam comments on my blog since I started it up a couple of years ago.

For perspective, this is slightly less than the number of posts John Scalzi has written in that time.

(Okay, maybe not! 🙂 )

The State of the Place

As you’ve probably noticed, I’m now into my fourth week of updating at least once daily. Yeah I know, I’m as astonished as you are! I’m not sure where this flurry of blogging came from – maybe I just needed to recharge my batteries for a while. I’d certainly bottomed out during the first three months of this year.

I don’t know how long I’ll keep it up. I’ll surely miss a day sometime in the next month, perhaps when I have a really busy day at work and gaming or a baseball game or something scheduled at night. Who knows?

I’ve been getting a very small uptick of visitors during the flurry of activity. I’m not sure whether it’s significant (i.e., actual new readers) or just happens to coincide with more people happening to come in via search engines. My guess is probably the latter.

I know that FP will likely never be a popular blog. When I started journalling blogs were still called “journals”, and they were mostly chronicles of the authors’ lives. In the early 2000s they started getting more specialized, and it’s pretty hard to write a popular general-interest journal these days. But every time I think about trying to narrow my focus, I think, “Well, I don’t want to write about just comic books, or just science fiction, or just music.” And I know I don’t write often enough to keep a multiple blogs going with enough content for each one, so splitting up into several blogs won’t work for me. I also want to write about my personal life from time to time, since it’s often handy to go back and see what I was doing around thus-and-such a date, or when I last visited thus-and-such a place.

It’s slightly vexing to me that I haven’t gotten at least a little more traffic from my comic book entries, which I’ve been writing weekly since I started this site. Of course, that might be because they suck. :/ (I do get a fair amount of search engine traffic from people who find the cover images in my reviews.) That’s dissuaded me somewhat from following my original plan of also doing occasional music reviews here – particular because I find it very difficult to write meaningful music reviews – although I’ve been thinking about dusting off that plan in the near future.

Anyway. I’ve also gone back and added tags to all my old entries, which I find kind of nifty (tags for an entry are listed below the title, on the line after the categories). I might add a tag cloud to the sidebar, too; I haven’t decided.

My next medium-term plan is to come up with a new visual look for the site, as this one is wearing a little old. I might go with a more minimalist style, although I do like having some color around here.

Anyway, as always I mainly write here for myself, because writing entertains me and helps me organize my thoughts, and as I said it’s nice to have a record of these things. But it’s nice to have readers, too. My blog isn’t going to be all things to all people, but I do like to connect every now and then with someone new who shares some of my admittedly-peculiar tastes. Doing so has resulted in some of my most rewarding experiences on the net.