Pardon my dust

I’m in the process of moving my site to a new host (Site5, as recommended to me by a friend who knows this stuff much better than I do, Steve Libbey) so things may look weird today and tomorrow.

Posts appearing or disappearing, the theme changing and being unreadable, stuff like that.

Bear with me until I get this all sorted out, OK?

In the meantime, you can always find me in other places, too:

Friend of the Blog? Welcome, friend!

Hello! Thank you for visiting my blog. I’ve made it to the 2 week mark, 14 stories in 14 days, and I don’t plan on stopping. In fact, just as I’d hoped, forcing myself to write something daily has helped me unlock my creativity and I’ve got story ideas coming out of my ears.

If you enjoy what I’ve been doing here, there’s a lot of ways you can help out, as a matter of fact. Just visiting here helps, of course! And I’m happy you’re reading my words. In addition, in increasing levels of encouragement and assistance, you could:

  • Follow the blog on
  • Follow the blog via RSS
  • Follow the blog’s Twitter accountmy own personal Twitter account or the blog’s Facebook page.
  • Share links to the blog or any posts you particularly like on any social network you use and love.
  • Comment! Comment on my posts. Tell me you love me (you do love me, right?) or give me pointers or criticism of my posts or whatever you’d like to say. I have the spam filter fairly loose and the commenting policy at this point is “Yes, please!” so if you have anything to say, you can say it here.
  • This might seem like an odd thing, but you can refer me, or even hire me! I’m freelancing, and that means I am always looking for topics for stories, and clients who need things written. Drop me a line by clicking the “Leave me feedback” button or clicking this link. I would love to hear from you!
  • And lastly, if you really like what I’m doing here, and you’d like to encourage me to continue doing it in the nicest and most awesome way possible, there are ways you can contribute to my rent-and-eating fund. I’m freelancing, so any little bit would help. See the button at the bottom of this post, or on my About page, to send a donation of any amount through PayPal.

Regardless, thank you very much for visiting my site, and I hope you stick around! I’ve got far more stories to tell!

PayPal Donate Button

Poke around

I’m leaving this post stickied until the end of the day Friday 27 June. Scroll down for new content.

If you notice broken links, or missing images, or anything wonky, comment below or use the Contact page or otherwise let me know.

I can’t decide if I should clear out all the old posts and repost the ones that are good, or leave all the old content here for people to discover. If you have an opinion either way, share it. I worry about appearing “unprofessional” (whatever that means). On the other hand, it’s fun to go back and see how I’ve changed. For instance, I’d never use a phrase like “stupid boy project” these days because projects aren’t gender-specific.

I know I’ll be changing the format around. I want a sidebar on the left side, and I will be adding search and favorited posts and whatnot. Be prepared for changes.

Hello again (tech reminiscing)

Man, it’s been so long since I’ve had to fiddle around with a blog. A long time ago (late 2004), I just used Blogger to publish to my little Mac mini, which sat in my living room and did all my web hosting, despite it not being technically allowed by Comcast, my internet provider. I got away with it for years. Sometimes, rarely, my home IP address would change and I’d have to update DNS, but mostly it just worked.

In hindsight, it wasn’t all that easy, actually. I had to know about DNS, for example, and I had to configure my home network to allow things like web traffic, and I had to run Apache and PHP on my Mac mini. But once it was up and running, I could write daily, post it where anyone on the ‘net could see it, and get comments.

I had to move off Blogger in 2010 because they removed the option to publish to external web hosts. It seemed like a big deal at the time; I wanted to control as much of my online presence as possible. Then I got distracted by all the various options, after toying with WordPress for a while. My main mental obstacle was being able to move over all my old posts, along with the comments. It was the comments that were the most important part to me. No matter what export tool I used, the comments wouldn’t show up on WordPress. I guess I was using an old version of Blogger that didn’t export cleanly. So I gave up.

I gave up and just started Tweeting, Facebooking, and Tumblring. That worked for short thoughts, and reblogging other people’s fan-art and social justice thoughts, and sometimes I’d miss writing long posts and I’d try it on either Facebook or Tumblr. But that never felt quite right. It wasn’t the same as having my old dedicated blog. And I got out of the habit of posting my own words on a daily (or even more often) basis.

So here I am, trying to write again, and hoping other people will read my words. So many habits I’ve lost, that have atrophied. I know what I want now: I want a blog, with one of the four or five domains I own, nice and simple. I want to be able to repost my own articles, I want to have a clippings file to show prospective editors or agents, I want to be able to (eventually) sell my work, once I have enough to sell. And I want to get feedback, and comments, and to share and have stuff shared with me. 

Having an online presence now seems fragmented; does it make sense to have one site for everything these days? I don’t want to give up Tumblr, I won’t stop tweeting, and I like being able to interact with friends, family and acquaintances on Facebook. But words are my business, so I think I’m going to make this blog my hub, my central place on the internet. I’m not so much planting a flag, as I am reclaiming an old place that holds a lot of memories; as you can see, there are old posts here, going back all the way. The comments, sadly, are gone, at least many of them from the earlier days. 

But we can rebuild it and we can march into the future!

Hello again.

Upcoming changes

Because Blogger is discontinuing the service I use to publish my posts, I’m moving the underlying publishing tool to WordPress, which will give me the same level of control that Blogger is eliminating.

At any rate, the deadline is approaching: May 1st is when I expect to start. I’d love to make the change completely transparent to you, my handful of readers, but you may notice a change in how the site looks at the minimum. I’m taking the opportunity to update the look a bit, although it should still retain whatever tiny bit of branding I’ve established over the years: two column layout, black background with white text, Futura logo, and the Moon somewhere on the page.

There are some features I want to add, too, and hopefully there are WordPress plugins that will enable those features.

At any rate, this is a warning that for the next week or so, I will probably not be posting much, if anything; the more posts I put into Blogger, the more I have to move over and import into WordPress. I’m reducing my workload; need to focus on the back-end stuff.

Feel free to read my Twitter feed if you need your daily (hourly, minute-ly) fix of Brian.

Moving to WordPress

So, the publishing function I use in Blogger is going away. I could continue to use Blogger, I suppose, after the deadline of 1 May 2010, but I’m not happy with a blogging solution that doesn’t let me publish on my own server and have access to the file system. Call me a grognard but that’s what I want, even if I’m not as technical and can’t make use of all of the cool stuff that having this level of access entails.

I’ve been meaning to switch my blogging software to WordPress for a while now; it’s open source and therefore allows me all the more chances to fuck up my blog in ways many and varied. I could customize to my heart’s content, tweaking each little individual feature for hours and hours. Do I want to customize the URLs for my posts? Sure! Do I want to tweak the “theme” and layout? OK! Do I want to add features based on my tags (called “categories” in WordPress)? Fine! And plug-ins galore.

The Blogger deadline, therefore, became my impetus to finally start figuring out WordPress and how to get my blog moved over. Ideally, I’d be able to export all my old posts and comments, and import them into the WordPress software, then republish using WordPress, using my style sheets and layouts and whatnot. Of course, there’s a little bit more to it than that, and in the meantime I’ve had the idea to redesign my blog and make it more standards-compliant, and and and… Of course, what could be a simple task is turning into a giant project with lots of individual pieces, all of which need to be done by me and only me.

And I have a month to do it. Nice.

I barely have the energy to write posts on a regular basis and now I expect myself to step up to all this? Who do I think I am?

I’m an unpublished writer. I’m a happy guy, lately. I’m the guy who loves learning new stuff, that’s who. And I’m the chief content provider, technical support, editor, publisher, research staff, and marketer for this here blog.

Yesterday, I began the process by installing a test version of WordPress on my main machine, the New Sexy Thing that’s no longer new but still sexy (to me), my trusty MacBook Pro. Which entailed installing MySQL and mucking about on the command line, too. And then tried using the “Import” feature of WordPress to simply move my posts over. It seemed too easy to be true, and sure enough, it was. I was using an “old” version of Blogger, one that WordPress didn’t support. I had to export my posts and then import them into a “new” Blogger blog, then import them. Figuring that out took several hours and lots of Google searches and several tries where some, but not all, of the posts would import and then freeze up. Ugh.

Eventually I got all my posts into WordPress. But not the comments. I have no idea how to import only my comments. Even though the help files say that any duplicate posts and comments are ignored if you keep trying, that only seems true for posts, and not comments. I can get about 50 of my comments imported (there are ~1200 total over the 6 years I’ve been blogging), and each subsequent attempt just duplicates those 50. Argh.

It makes me sad to contemplate losing the comments. I still have time. If anyone can help with sorting out the comments from an XML file and figuring out a way to attach them to the correct posts in WordPress, I would be much obliged.

Next steps are to find a theme or customize a theme that looks like Lunar Obverse. That shouldn’t be too hard. Then go through and make sure all the links in the old posts work, add titles to the posts that have no titles, and finally move all this over to my actual, internet-facing web server. No problem, right?

I’d like to find a way to consolidate some of my various social media outlets into one page, like a stream that shows all my Tweets, Flickr pictures, blog posts, Tumblr posts, things like my Runnkeeper updates, etc. That’s down the road, though.

You, the reader, won’t see any changes while I muck around, and I’ll give you a warning before I make the move, but let’s set a soft deadline of 1 May 2010 for all this to happen, OK?

And maybe once the mental pressure to switch is off me, I’ll start blogging again more frequently.

Rewards of blogging

Yesterday was Friday, and Fridays on Twitter are for Follow Friday. And I got a shout out from t.a. barnhart, that also mentioned film critic Roger Ebert. I’m sure t.a. only did that to save space and wasn’t comparing me to Mr. Ebert, but secretly I’m going to pretend that’s exactly why he did that. Well, secretly, and here on my blog.

And then @sjkpdx re-tweeted t.a.’s post, doubling my pride.

Finally, I woke up this morning to find that Athena, of The Bliss Quest, a writer whose posts about herself and her goals and dreams are an inspiration I use in living my life transparently and honestly (and guest-blogger here), tweeted something to me that made me feel very good:

@lunarobverse I’m goin’ running shoe shopping tomorrow!Your Shamrock run and posts have got me inspired!

It was a very good day for me. I’m happy to be a small part of the community online, and am humbled by the people I interact with. I just never know when something I write will reach someone unexpected. I honestly just write for myself, about the things I like and care about and do; I’ve said that I don’t care if millions read what I say, and I am sincere. It’s nice, though, to learn from time to time that others do, in fact, read what I put up here.

Thanks to everyone and anyone who reads this.

Also? Yesterday was the third anniversary of my joining Twitter. What a great present on my Twitterversary!


Summer. It turns me upside down.

Summer, summer, summer – it’s like a merry-go-round.

(Ha! See what I did there?)

So… how’ve you been doing? Good, good. Me? I’ve been doin’ stuff.

It’s kind of sad when a blog turns to infrequent, “sorry I haven’t been posting” posts, isn’t it? Perhaps I’ve temporarily lost my muse. Perhaps I need to work harder on cultivating my creative force. Perhaps the stuff that’s been happening to me isn’t suitable for public consumption, involves people with far greater need for privacy than myself and so requires greater discretion, or perhaps I’ve simply neglected to notice the funny, happy, strange goings-on around me enough to write about them.

Or some, all, or none of those.

Be that as it may, I have not forgotten my blog, and I vow to post again with regularity at some point in the future. These days, most of my need for attention is being taken out on my (as of right now) 295 Twitter followers in 140-or-less character bursts.

If you notice some weirdness

I’m going through every last post on my site, from the oldest to the newest, and adding a title to each one to bring it up to the current standard.

I’m also checking and updating every link, and in some cases adding obvious links to my past posts or external sites.

If there are any pictures in the post, I am moving the pictures from my old gallery to my Flickr photostream. If you happen to be following my Flickr page, and you see old pictures show up there, that’s a result of me adding them.

When I’m done updating, I’m going to be creating a new archive page; one that will include links by month and year, links to the tags I use, and a handy search function. In other words, an archive that will be more useful than the difficult-to-read drop-down menu that I currently have over there on the left.

I also plan on creating a more informative “about me” page, with links to some of my best or most important posts, and links to the various other places on the internet I use, like the above Flickr account, or Twitter page, my page, and others.

Then I want to add some small things like navigation links for the archive pages and tweak the CSS and page layout a bit.

In other words, just some background tinkering to make it all work a bit better. Y’all probably don’t care but if so, hope you don’t mind.

If you notice something broken, missing, or just strange, let me know.

New Comment Policy

As a way of getting more conversation going here, I’ve been thinking about a new comment policy. Here are my thoughts:

  • As before, I reserve the right to delete or mock any anonymous comments. An anonymous comment is one that doesn’t have a profile associated with it, whether that’s a pseudonym or actual real-world identity. Note that a pseudonym is not the same as an anonymous comment – I’m known on the internet as Lunar Obverse, and have been for a long time, and tracing that pseudonym back to my real-world identity is fairly easy, so it’s as good as my real name.
  • Likewise, if the comment appears to me to be spam (selling something, or just linking to a site that is not connected to the post or my blog at all), I will delete it. I reserve the right to mock it, but I’m more likely to just make it gone.
  • I will make every effort to respond to any non-anonymous comment left on my blog. Every single one. I’ll try to reply within 24 hours.
  • I’ll use this post to mention that you can track the conversation here: you can get an RSS feed of the all the comments posted here by opening the “All Comments” feed in your RSS reader thingamajig.
  • If you have a Google account and use it to identify yourself when you comment, you get an option to have follow-up comments on a specific post you’ve commented on emailed to you.
  • When I figure out what tag I need to add to my template that enables it, you’ll have the ability to follow comments on a specific post via RSS feeder without having to comment. But of course I encourage you to comment, anyway. ‘Cause I want more discussion ’round here.
  • Feel free to use my contact form to email me about stuff you don’t want posted publicly, but again, posting a comment that everyone can see can help inform many more people. Just sayin’. And I reserve the right to post any email I get from that form if I think it will be entertaining, informative, or it would give me a warm glow of satisfaction.

Finally, let me throw this open to my readers. If you’ve never commented before, introduce yourself and give me some feedback. What do you like? What don’t you like? What would you want to see more of? Less of? How did you find this blog? Do you have a blog of your own – feel free to pimp it out in this thread!