Apr 27

Registration disabled

Due to the excessive number of spam registrations, I have had to disable that feature. If you would like to register so you can post comments, please use the contact form to let me know.

It really is a damned shame that so many people are so selfish and self-absorbed that they are compelled to make asses of themselves by interfering in everybody else’s business.

I will one day begin to post again. I promise. Right now, I just simply have nothing to say.


Jan 13

Blogged Down

My WordPress seems to have developed some extreme performance anxiety. This all started when I activated the JetPack plugin. Deactivating it helped a little, but we still seem to be having a bad case of the slows. I am going to try uninstalling this plugin altogether.

I do not want to re-install WordPress unless I have no other option. That way lies madness.

Jan 06

A Quick Note About Commenting

In order to leave me a comment, you will have to register as a subscriber, and I will have to approve your first comment. Just use the “Register” link on the login form.

I know this is a pain, and I apologize for the inconvenience, but it is the best way that I know of to help control comment spam. That has always been a problem on this blog for some reason. Akismet does not always catch them. I already have one apparent spammer signed up. I am watching that user carefully.

If you want to respond but don’t want to register, just use the “Contact Form” link on the menu bar to send me an e-mail.

Look forward to hearing from you.



Dec 31

Posts Past, Posts Present, Posts Future

I have been going back into my posts from years past (have I actually been doing this since 2001?) and adding back categories. Several things have struck me about those old posts:

  1. How much I had to say and how passionately I said it. I hope to get that back as time goes along. I miss it. One of the down sides of being medicated, I guess, but better than bouncing up and down like a yo-yo.
  2. How many friends I have let fall by the wayside. I really hate that. I really have no excuse, not even that I was too sick to see what I was doing. I will have to touch base with some of them again and see if we can mend broken bridges.
  3. How often I used to post! Sometimes more than once a day, even. I don’t aspire to doing that again, but something more regular than randomly would be a nice habit to get into.

It’s good to be back on the air. I hope I can keep up with things better from here on out.

Dec 18

Welcome back!

It’s been a long, dark, lonely time. Bipolar depression really sucks. But I’m back, even if it is temporary. We’re adjusting my meds on an ongoing basis to try to stay ahead of the curve on this. So far, so good.

You will have noticed some changes on the blog. For a variety of reasons, I had to upgrade to the latest version of WordPress and, in the process, lost all my categories and users. If you would like to comment, please sign up (again). Such is the life of a Webmaster, even a part-timer like me. Nothing like a computer to really foul things up.

Anyway, more to come. I am debating posting more stories. I have begun submitting again (see the Pubs and Subs page for details), so I have to weed out those that I still think have a chance.

That’s all for today. See you again soon. If there’s anybody left out there, anyway.

Mar 27

A Quick Warning

Noise in the Attic may be moving soon. I have downloaded WordPress and am evaluating it on my Web site. At such time as I feel comfortable with it, I’ll be moving over there. I don’t really have anyhting against Blogger, I just like to have control over my stuff. I’ll post a schedule for the move when I know more.

Just as a BTW, anyone thinking about doing the same should really check out this comparison of free blogging software that was put together by Owen Winkler. He put a lot of work into this and created a really great decision tool.

Nov 30

Snitfest du Jour

Miss Snark took Sandra Scoppetone to task yesterday about her post about her editor leaving. Both Ms. Scoppetone’s original post and Miss Snark’s commentary on it have stirred up the dust and brought the bats winging down from the belfrey. The fan’s on high and snit’s flying everywhere.

I have read Ms. Scoppetone’s post, and I can see both sides of the debate. Both are right, and both are wrong. I fear Ms. Scoppetone is going to pay a heavy price for this post simply based on the nature of blogs and their readers.

Most people red blogs with about the same attention and concentration that they do the Sunday comics. This is not great literature, in spite of the few bloggers who do truly believe their shit doesn’t stink. Most blogs are informal and, usually, somewhat chatty, and most visitors read them with one eye and their mind on tonight’s episode of their favorite reality show.

What I’m saying here is that subtlety in a blog post is not rewarded. In fact, it can cause you great discomfort, even harm. The reason is that subtlety WILL BE MISUNDERSTOOD. There is no maybe, no possibly. Subtlety will be misunderstood, and the snit will fast and furiously.

Ms. Scoppetone’s post was a naturally sad reaction to losing an editor who had been very good to her and worry about her future, since she is between contracts right now. Her remarks were not, to me, excessively inflammatory, but I can certainly see how they could be, and have been, construed as snotty and disrespectful to younger editors. Her one very brief statement about how her new editor will no doubt be a good one, was a little too quick and went unnoticed.

Bloggers have to realize that they must be very clear about what they say. There are far too many middle-school minds out there just waiting for an opportunity to light a fire and pour gasoline on it at every opportunity. Stop, think, then write, and, for God’s sake, don’t flame the commenters. That only makes it worse.

Sep 30

The Internet Ate My Homework

So I had this great post last night. All done. I even went back and fixed some typos. Then I tried to publish.

“Blogger is down for scheduled maintenance…” What? What scheduled maintenance? Why didn’t I know about this? WHERE’S MY GODDAMN POST!!!

Gone. No recovery. I know, I know–compose off-line, then publish, but what the hell, I was on a high-speed connection, next best thing to being there. Yada, yada, yada. I know it’s my own fault, but I’d much rather blame Blogger. Makes me feel better.

I’ll try again later.

Sep 20

The Autumn Cometh

Posting will be sporadic for the next week. Quarter break! Woo hoo! To celebrate the Autumnal Equinox, among other things, I am going on a self-directed retreat this weekend. Got a motel room about 45 minuites’ drive away. It’s supposed to have fridge, microwave and broadband Internet access. If that comes through, I will hole up Friday afternoon and not come out until Sunday morning. Time to come to grips with that beast of a novel that’s hanging around my house and whip it until it begs for mercy. Or something. At any rate 48 hours of no interruptions to concentrate. My wife will be the only person who knows where I am, and she understands what “emergency” means.

Would you like homework in the meantime? No? Tough! Your assignment, should you decide to accept it, is to write about how you blog and why. Important points to cover will be:

  • Do you post your first draft or edit?
  • Why?
  • How much time do you spend thinking about and preparing a post before it goes online?
  • Anything else you’d like to add?

Just write a post about it and put a link in the comments, if you dare. I’ll get things started.

I usually post raw first drafts with only a most cursory proofread. Book reviews are the most frequent exception. You may have noticed misspellings, typos, and really stupid writing tricks that would never appear in a polished essay. I do this for several reasons:

  1. I am practicing composing a more polished first draft. Practice makes better.
  2. I like the spontaneity of stream-of-thought essays. I can’t always tell where the post is going to wind up until I get there. Sometimes I discover things that I didn’t know were there.
  3. Spontaneous posts are more personal, as a blog should be. If I wanted this blog to be distant and oh-so-very-polished, I would edit the hell out of everything before it hit the screen.
  4. I might chicken out on controversial topics if I stop to think. That would probably be a good thing, sometimes, but mostly it’s better to go ahead and get it off my mind.
  5. Talking “out loud” this way gives me a chance to think. Oddly enough, I think better when I am talking about something, even if no one else is present. This does, of course, lead to the occasional strange looks and evasive maneuvers on other people’s parts.
  6. Composing on the fly is letting me develop a more conversational tone and voice in my writing. Coming from an academic background, I find that I too often get pedantic and lecture instead of telling a story. Blogging really helps me break through that barrier.

I often decide on a post topic in the morning and think about it all day before actually posting in the evening. This gives me a chance to get my thoughts somewhat organized, though my mental outline almost always goes out the window as soon as I start typing. Thinking it through ahead of time also gives me a chance to figure out what I actually do think. Sometimes I have to change my mind after I have thought about a topic for a couple of hours.

That’s my opinion. What’s yours?