Category Archives: Snark

Three years, +/- 10 percent, in April, no less

Goddamn it! it’s that time again.

Every three years, give or take a little, I start getting restless and something usually gives. Sometimes, it’s the job that goes (witness my tenure at The Press), sometimes the house (or something with it); sometimes it’s just my attitude. Oh, and did I mention how I absolutely loathe the completely useless month of April?

My job isn’t going out the window this time around; I like it way too much. Though I do have a confession: I’ve been doing my pilot routine again. Hell, I might even get myself worked up to the point of taking lessons this time; anything’s possible. My house isn’t going out the window, either. I mean, really, who’d buy this dilapidated piece of crap, anyway?

Apparently, it’s my attitude that’s going to get the make-over this time around, then. Instead of dwelling on the nasty, muddy, wood chippy shit-hole (literally, around the dog house) that is the yard, maybe I can look at the bright side of things: Wow, that rabbit has gotten really fat and juicy-looking by eating our apple tree and tulips.

The beatdown commeth

I know I was (ok, ok *am*) a cocky and mouthy little fuck back in the day. But at least I didn’t go to classes for a combat martial art and lip off to the biggest guy in the class, whom I’ve never met, and who’s belt is definitely darker than my pure-white-as-the-driven-snow one. At least I didn’t ignore the rules of the dojo and keep wearing my stinky hippy necklace that my fourth-grade girlfriend gave me back in the day, because I figured that it a) might get broken; b) might make a good handle if it doesn’t break; c) is against the rules of the dojo.

It seems someone is just begging for a beatdown, and I’m just the guy to give it to him, but I’m going to have to wait for a little while. I want to regain my control and finesse a little before I lay into him seeing as how I don’t want to actually do any (lasting) damage; just open his eyes and his mind. And besides, the later in the semester this happens, the closer we’ll get to free sparring.

Regardless of what my mom well tell you, I think providing this service is going to increase my positive karma. This kid is so similar to how I was, it’s almost like going back in time to give myself a lesson.

I’m *so* Proud

At the second toll booth in Illinois yesterday, I witnessed the smoothest ever government system in action. Check it out: The first tool booth we rolled through had some ridiculous toll amount – $1 even – all rounded and available in paper money. The traffic just rolled right through the booth with nary a chance to enjoy the bucolic Illinois countryside; What were they thinking?

The second toll booth was much more like what I’ve come to expect: A solid toll figure – $1.60 ‐ that allows citizens and visitors alike to become more familiar with all forms and denominations of good ol’ reliable coinage. And the Nickle Woman in the booth will forever have a place in my heart: Not only did she return our $0.40 of change in *nickles*, she did it with a huge Lutheran smile and bubbly “Have a great day!” only six minutes and thirteen seconds after we got in her line. The only thing missing was a nice big slice of Jell-O hotdish.

That level of customer service just made me blushingly proud to be a government worker.

Just can’t win

The saga of the hijacked blog continues, sort of. J.D. wiped my content from his database, as per my request. I deleted all my files from his server. So far, so good.

Now, however, when you go to the old address, a page (insert image here) pops up with huge text screaming that “This blog is suspended.” Like it got into a fight on school property. Or wandered down the hall with a Geiger counter lying on top of radioactive sample checking the radiation levels from the fluorescent lights by a particular English hag’s teacher’s door (“Is it bad?” “I wouldn’t be standing out here if I was you.”).

Ahem.

Why can’t there be a notice that says something a little less stern, like, “Sorry this page doesn’t exist,” or “Hey, man, like, we’re pretty sure that dude moved on, you know?”

Facebook: meh

So my great Facebook experiment continues. I have a page — that I’m not going to link to because it’s lame — and a fair number of people — OK, eight, to be precise — have consented to be my “friend.” I feel so loved.

It seems like Facebook is a great way to dig up people from your past if you’re feeling a little nostalgic, but the actual exchanges between people are, from what I’ve seen, seemingly limited to “Hey, I haven’t seen you for, like, twelve minutes, man! What are you doing?” Sometimes, the pages have one half of a conversation, which is pretty *f-bomb* annoying, too. I can’t even get a cheap voyeuristic thrill by lurking on someone’s online reunion with an old s/o.

Early morning discussions with Jesus

Here’s an idea for a radio call-in show: Put Jesus’s home phone number out there. Broadcast the results.

“Uh, yeah, is this Jesus?”

“…what the… Who is this?”

“This is Joe from Cincinnati. Am I on the air?”

“Are you on the what? Joe, do you have any idea what time it is?”

“Uh, it’s about five after three here.”

“Jesus Christ, Joe, I’m tryin’ to get some sleep here. What in God’s name do you want?”

“Uh, well, you see, I’m, uh, like, thirty three, and, uh, still like, living in my parent’s basement, and…”

“Let me save you a little time Joe; you’re a loser and you’re wondering what the hell to do. Am I right? Of course I’m right; I’m Jesus *bleeeeep* Christ. Now here’s what you do: Go down to the temple and see the pharasies; tell ’em I sent you, and that you need about five sheckles so you can go BUY YOURSELF A LIFE.

“Jumpin’ Jesus on a pogo stick, Joe! Move out of your parents’ house. Get a job. Sell the Star Wars action figures. Stop trying to pick up eighteen-year-old girls on MySpace. Is it really that hard? Now get the hell off my phone; The Jesus needs his beauty rest. You *know* that water ain’t gonna turn itself to wine.”

Weblogs blog hijacked

A preface

Let me start by saying that even all the crap below notwithstanding, I still think weblogs.us is a valuable service to the blogging community, and if any of you are looking for a technically solid, responsive, free blog host, they deserve your serious consideration. If you need any proof, see J.D.’s polite response to my ranting (down a ways in the post).

On with the show

My old blog at (beest) (dot) weblogs.us got hijacked by the owner of the service yesterday. Here’s how it went down:

Howdy folks,

Apparently, my blog (beest.weblogs.us) got hijacked today. Someone
logged in and posted something with my username. I’ve reset the
password, but what else should I do to help keep that from happening
again?

Thanks.

-aj

And he said:

Hi AJ,
Thanks for your email. My apologies, I think we thought your blog was
abandoned/moved. A friend of mine (Doug) asked to use some of our old
abandoned blogs for SEO purposes. In return he helps with our monthly
bandwidth costs. I am sorry that you were not notified beforehand, that
was my mistake. This shouldn’t have happened to you.

Now there are a number of options:
#1 If you plan on continuing to use your blog, I’ll make sure nobody
tries to mess with your blog again.
#2 If you’re abandoning your blog, and you’d like your blog content
wiped clean, we can do that to
#3 If you’re abandoning your blog, and you don’t care what is posted
then I’ll hand the blog over to Doug
Please
let me know what option you prefer, or if you have any other avenue
you’d like to pursue.

This week or next there will be a formal posting on our frontpage and
status blog, detailing what’s going on with abandoned blogs along with
more steps to prevent this type of problem from occurring in the future.

Again, my apologies and sorry for the inconvenience AJ.

Best regards,
-JD

And I was all like:

Hi JD,

I guess I don’t know what to say. I mean, I know weblogs.us is your
service, on your servers, and you have to pay the bills, but it’s my
content and online identity that you and your friend snatched. For
(potential) financial gain. In the best light, I could look at this as
a practical decision you made based on uncertain facts. In dimmer
light, it seems more like mugging someone for a cheap watch.

While you’re right in that I’ve moved my primary online residence, I
had hoped to leave my content in place on weblogs.us to point folks to
my new home since the weblogs address is still important to my *own*
SEO efforts. It was a poor decision on my part to do that without
letting you know my intentions; I appologize.

I think I’d like you to wipe my content from your servers. That seems
to me to be the most efficient solution to this quandary. Then I won’t
be using any of your resources, and you won’t be using any of my
content.

I’d also submit to you that using other seemingly abandoned blogs on
your servers in a similar way without the owners express permission,
regardless of whether you post something on your front page or not, is
a lot like hot-wiring a car that seems to be abandoned by the side of
the road: You just can’t know what’s going on with it until you talk
to the owner.

I’ve really admired what you’ve offered the world with weblogs.us, and
I’m sure most of the bloggers you host are in the same boat as me when
I say I haven’t thanked you nearly enough for what you’ve done for us.
But the way you’ve implemented this new plan of yours really pisses me
off. I guess I’m just one of those jerks that are mostly quiet, but
who really gets fired up when one of his heroes stumbles along the
way.

Thanks for everything you’ve done for me in the past, and by all
means, let me know if I can help with finding a fair resolution to
your current situation.

Sincerely,

A.J. Van Beest

And that’s the way things stand at the moment. Oh, don’t fret, gentle reader; I’ll fill you in with any future correspondance, but J.D.’s a nice guy who’s just trying to keep his service free to end users. I sure the fireworks (which were all lit by me) are done.

Update 12:20 2007-Aug-02

Just like I figured, J.D. got back to me with a very nice, sincere response (see below). And like he mentions in his response, he and his team have always been very responsive and helpful when I needed a hand with something. He said:

Hi AJ,
Thanks for your response. You are welcome to leave your content it in place for perpetuity even if you don’t plan to use it.

I checked up on your Weblogs.us blog and saw the post that one of the SEO writers had made. Your concern makes a whole lot more sense to me now, I had no idea that they were going to write them as if you were writing the post. I had assumed that they would post your standard SEO type article and not something in the first person blogger style. I guess it was naive on my part and intelligent on their part. Obviously for the most SEO bang for the buck their approach is good. Unfortunately it’s the most repulsive from my standpoint.

However, ignorance is no excuse, the blame still lies squarely on my shoulders. I am ultimately responsible for what happens with Weblogs.us Since I am responsible for the problem, I am taking steps to fix this problem and make sure it doesn’t occur again.

I realize that last sentence seems vague, but I’d like to save the specifics until I can fully evaluate what is going on and make an official frontpage and status page post. I truly believe their is a medium path where blogger rights are fully respected and yet some of the expense of hosting blogs (for free) can be recovered. If you have any suggestions on how this might be accomplished, please let me know!

I’ve enjoyed talking with you over the past two years AJ, I counted 16 helpful emails back and forth between us. I hope that you’ll remember the good times like when we helped you with our FTP setup, or when you were installing phpMyAdmin and we helped with SQL backups.

Best regards,
-JD

PS Please let me know at your convenience if you prefer to keep your blog up, or to have it deleted.

Update 18:32 2007-Aug-5

I imagine this oughtta be the last of this particular soap opera…

Hi J.D.,

Thanks for your reply. Let me reiterate how much I’ve enjoyed my weblogs.us account in the past. Thanks for all the work you do and expense you go to in providing that service for free. Oddly enough, even though I’m still extremely upset by this breach of my trust, I still find myself recommending weblogs to other bloggers (see for yourself at http://blog.ajvanbeest.com/archives/448). I still think weblogs could be valuable to someone who’s actively blogging on a small (read: personal) scale.

That said, I’d still like my account deleted and all my content permanently wiped from your servers. I’m not interested in feeling like I have to keep checking back with my weblogs account to see what’s happened to it. I’d rather take the SEO hit than keep looking over my shoulder.

To begin this process, I’ve already deleted all the files in my weblogs directory. I’d appreciate it if you’d remove my content from your database. I appreciate your help in resolving this matter, J.D., and wish you luck in your future endeavors.

-aj

Pardon me whilst I bitch

I’m hot. Damn hot. Hot and sweaty and grumpy with a twingy back and whiny dog and a toddler who’s idea of fun right now is trying to drive his hotwheels on the LCD TV. Arrrgh.

But wait; it gets better:

I figured watching “Cars” (the movie) would be a good diversion from how damn hot we all are. But the movie froze in the middle (at one hour, four minutes, and twenty-six seconds, to be precise). So I figure, no problem; we’ll just switch to watching something streaming on the computer that’s hooked up to the same TV.

But oh, wait, the batteries in the cordless mouse are dead. But since I am a minor computer deity, I can sign into the machine and navigate sans mouse while I charge some batteries. No problem. Then I put the freshly charged batteries in the mouse, try to connect it to the computer and it won’t respond, probably because I need to hit the “connect” button on the wireless transceiver for the mouse, but that’s all…the…stinkin’…way…across…the…room. So that didn’t happen either.

But that’s OK, because there’s an X-Box hooked up to the TV, too. So the boy and I started driving “slow crashy cars” (well, how do *you* spell “Eve of Destruction?”). But then, right in the middle of the demo derby, we get a “Sorry, your disk is f**ked” error.

That wasn’t OK. So we ate chocolate, I let the whiny dog out to pee, and the boy is watching “Blue’s Clues” while I bitch. Yup; it’s another evening in paradise.

Facebook posts

So I made a facebook page this morning, just like I said I would. And while I still think Facebook is lame, I don’t think it’s quite as lame, because if you look at it in the right light, it’s kind of like an open mic at a coffeehaus: License to roll with it.

So here are a couple examples of how I rolled with it (My spit was flowin’ [word.]):

Oooooh. OOOOooooooooH! I get to “write” on your “wall” now. The Interweb is so frickin’ pipe-tastic, I can barely control my shivers of girlish delight.

But at any rate, thanks for the note, and as you may have noticed, my facebook page is really nothing more than a shill for the *true* home of all Online A.J. Goodness: blog.ajvanbeest.com. Check it. Out, even.

And re: the but kicking, not suprisingly, I continue to waffle about class. When I see Jonus, I think, “Yes! I loooove class! I am so there! And I’ll bring exclamation points!” But when I read one of Greg’s e-mails, the exclamation points fade and get replaced with more specific but harder-to-understand negative emoticons. Like this one: **<8-WTFP-o …which basically means "What the f**k was that? I can't believe you just wrote/said that, and oh, by the way, check out my nice tassly hat."

and

Ahhhhhhhh, wall of goodness; of golden thoughts and good intentions, see how I cover you in meaningless, rhythmic, glowing, positronic graffiti. See how you and now mine, wall? How you cower over in the corner? What say you now, wall? Huh? Huh, wall? Now, wall, you reap the rewards of my creative writerlyness and my incomparable digital semi-fluency.

All in the key of F# minor, because I’m a jerk.

love from blog.ajvanbeest.com

and

Oh wallywallmonton, how I feel my net worth increase because of you. I’m in love, nay lust!, with you, oh wall. How I yearn for more comments to fill your blankness; to see you swell and burst with letters from strangers. Let kleig lights shine forth my admiration for you, wall, your still, silent, mysterious ways in which your no-voice carries the echos of others’ songs to the horizon.

oh, and David: thanks for the note. 🙂

Maybe I’ll get linked in and kicked out in the same day. Maybe I’m over the top. Perhaps there are other prepositions I can toss around, so as to be more to the log as is the rabbit.