Thinking Out Loud

The weather has been rainy, which is great as we need rain, and so I’ve been stuck inside mostly playing video games. It’s also given me time to think about things. The thing I’ve been considering all week is do I want to move my blog to new software.

Not that there’s anything at all wrong with WordPress. I always loved it and still do, but the rise of the fediverse has opened up some interesting options. I’d been trying various ways to tie my WordPress install into Mastodon/the fediverse, and I find all the ways to do that to just be limited in functionality or otherwise irritating. Sometimes, they just don’t work. I’m sure some of these options will eventually get to where I want them, without me having to do the work (which I no longer find enjoyable), but it’s moving too slowly for me. I’m impatient.

But what if, instead of hosting my own WordPress site, I had my own instance in the fediverse, which then became my blog? And what if I paid someone else to run the whole backend, because I just don’t want to learn how to do it myself? I’m just not up to learning new stuff right now.

There’s a lot to consider, but it feels like the way forward. I think it might be fun and different and more suited to my barely posting situation. Or maybe I’d post more! What I’ve found since I left Twitter and moved to the fediverse is that I am posting more there, having great conversations with all manner of people, and I haven’t figured out why that is. I suspect it’s because it’s not a toxic hellhole. Maybe my blog needs to live in that environment too.

Anyway, that’s just some stuff that’s been bopping around in my head as the rain continues to fall. Maybe nothing comes of it. Maybe I do something crazy and really mix things up. Hard to tell at this stage of contemplation.

An addendum: It’s just so obvious from the Mastodon posts in my sidebar that I post things over there that in the olden days I’d have posted on my blog. But over here, very few folks will see it, and there will be almost no conversation, and the people who would like to see it are over there in the fediverse, so then I have to post a link to some short post on the blog, and I feel that’s irritating for everyone. Like, maybe I should just be over there all the time.

Not Happening

The non-problem problem I’ve been trying to work on this week over here at the blog continues to not have a solution. I can’t tell if I can’t make it work because it’s just not going to work or if I just don’t have the ability to make it work. Either way, it’s not working, and my desire to continue staring at it has waned. I’ll come back to it later. Maybe.

So, everything goes back to the way it was and nothing on my blog should be acting weirdly again. Yay?

Out of Order

Just a heads up that I’ve been rummaging around the back end of the old blog again. No problem to solve! Just trying to extend some of its capabilities. Things may at times be weird or entirely broken as I test things on live code. I know one shouldn’t do that, but I don’t have much of a choice what with not having a computer. Not like I can run WordPress on my iPad.

Anyway, just a warning things may be out of order off and on as I dig around and figure out how to do a few things I’d like the blog to do. Sorry so vague, but if I say what I’d like to do, people will feel compelled to offer advice, and I really want to work this through myself. In the end, none of it may work! Or maybe it will! Either way, I’m learning some stuff!

Future History

This morning someone said something on the fediverse, and I responded, and my response in that moment caused me to have some thoughts. Naturally, I feel compelled to share them with you.

First, the thing I said that got me thinking…

Sometimes, someone unwittingly pushes a button you don’t know you have, and sometimes, you are well aware that button exists, but you’ve been ignoring it. I’ve been ignoring my feelings on the ephemeral nature of digital data for quite a while now, but I’ve always known that in the future, the lack of analog sources of information could (and likely will) be devastating to the study of our current time and place in history. I’m a big fan of hard copy. Things written or printed on paper have the potential to survive even the most damaging of disasters. Digital data struggles to survive on your desk in a temperature controlled house. If you want it to exist throughout the entirety of your own lifespan, you must maintain it. Coddle it. Tend to it like it’s a living thing. A photograph or a handwritten journal can sit in an attic long enough for everyone to forget it exists, and when it is rediscovered, it can be seen, read, enjoyed, learned from.

At this point, those of you who don’t know me well may be thinking I am some sort of Luddite opposed to all things digital. Untrue! I love this digital age we live in! I love computers! I love the things I can do with my iPad. I’m thrilled I can take a thousand photos to get one that’s perfect, and all it costs me is a bit of electricity to recharge a battery. It is amazing and delightful that I can communicate with the people I know near instantaneously, no matter where they are on the planet, and it brings me great joy that I can babble at length here on my blog, and once I hit “post” anyone who cares to can read it. Our digital age is wondrous, but I do worry for how humans in the far off future will learn of our time, what might survive, and if what survives (if anything) will give them an accurate picture of who the people of the 21st century were, what we believed, how we lived, and what felt important to us.

So as I’ve been shambling about the house doing all the usual morning tasks, making coffee, feeding cats, and seeing the husband off to work, there have been all these discordant thoughts and feelings bouncing off each other in my brain. That’s what my brain does when it senses a problem needing a solution or two opposing ideas that need resolution, and it can churn away at it in the background for days (sometimes even weeks) before a finished thought pops into my conscious mind. Today, it took an hour…

Don’t do an email newsletter, bring back the hard copy zine. Create something that has a chance to survive, which might outlive you.

Be the change you want to see.

A few months ago, I promised everyone a monthly email newsletter, and I have tried to make that a reality, but because I refuse to have any tracking going on within said newsletter, that cut me off from the services that make newsletter making/sending painless and easy. As I tried to spin up ways to do it all myself, I realized I wasn’t enjoying any of it. I didn’t want to do an email newsletter, but I promised people I would, so I felt like I had to do it. This only made me hate the idea even more, and so last month I (somewhat intentionally) “forgot” to keep working on it.

But oh … how I loved making zines (and receiving them), and since the day I stopped producing mine, so many years ago now, I’ve often thought of doing a hard copy zine again. I enjoyed the entire process of deciding what to do each month, what to include, how it should look, and taking the time to draw things, hand letter things, and physically cutting and pasting it all together. Printing copies on the library’s Xerox or having it printed, and then mailing it out to people who wanted to receive it and sometimes receiving their own zine in return! No pain, no struggle, no frustration. Just joyful work.

So I’m going to take the advice my brain spit out this morning. I will not be doing an email newsletter. I’m going to do a zine, and not one created digitally and then printed out (an email newsletter without the email). Nope, I’m going 100% old school. Doing it the way I did in the past, the way I enjoyed doing it. How will the people who were expecting an email newsletter react to this news? Don’t know. Don’t especially care. I can’t keep doing things just because others expect or want me to do them. I gotta do what I want to do, and what I have wanted to do for quite some time now is breath new life into my not at all forgotten zine.


And now I’ve just noticed that since my Hometown server was updated, now the RSS feed of my fediverse posts are all attempting to have a title, which they don’t, so every one of them in the sidebar starts with “No Title…” and that irritates. Now I have to go back and figure out how to stop that from happening. Guess that’ll be today’s side project. Grrrr.

Update: Sorta fixed it. Went back to the other way I was doing it, but now it’s gotta post my username and date/time on each post. Less irritating than it trying to post a title that doesn’t exist I suppose. It’ll do for now.

And in the process of sorting that out, I noticed the RSS feed from Twitter I was using to keep up with my gaming news without having to be on Twitter stopped working, which I knew it would eventually because the Chief Twit wants to create a tightly controlled walled garden over there. Oh well, was nice while it lasted. Deleted it and now there’s even less Twitter in my life. Eventually there will be none!