Finally, an update!

Been meaning to for a while now. Added an entire art section, which has photography, drawings, videos, and picture poems. Added a new poem. And finally added a couple of freebies to the Poker section for those wanting to beat up on their home game.

 

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Hackers and Heroes

Hackers hit my Dreamhost recently and infected over 80,000 files on my sites alone.  I was able to manually remove a lot of the infected files on my own, but called in the big guns when I began to realize the scope of the attack. The inimitable Corwin Brust came over and pounded out some code (not completely on his own, I distinctly remember removing a backslash when the program refused to run) that automated the process.  The sites are clean now—even rooted out a completely different hack on an old site!  Passwords changed, apps updated…phew.  Long evening.

Have attached the two programs we wrote to root out this particular problem.  If you’re on Dreamhost and have any php files, you’ve probably been hit.  Take a look at your php in a text program and if you see a big block of base64 encrypted code, run the two progs from the root directory.  The first prog makes a backup then removes the code.  Once you’ve ensured that your site is functioning normally, run the second one and it will remove the backups with the infected code on them.

The code: dehackify.zip

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Time to Think in Hatfield

Ensconced in my mother’s house in Hatfield, MA, where I spent most of my formative years, I’ve had a lot of time to think.  There’s a lot of memories here, and a lot less of my normal distractions.  And though I have a lot of things I probably should be thinking about—work, money, high school for Ali, saving for bail for David—I find that my mind invariably drifts to its favorite subject of late:

Zombies.

Can’t get enough of them.  Games, movies, books, graphic novels, TV shows—I just love ‘em.  I think The Walking Dead is the best show out there right now.  Max Brooks should get the Pulitzer for World War Z. I’ve got two zombie flash games running concurrently on my laptop, Plants vs. Zombies on my PC and Dead Island on the XBox.  I already beat Left for Dead and Dead Rising.

Is it growing older and facing the inevitable specter of death or is it just a temporary fad for me like chia pets or day trading? Bears thinking about.  Guess I’ll have to use my braaaaiiiiiiiins.  Braaiiiiiiinnnnnnns. Braaaaaaaiiiiiiiiiiiinnnnnnnnnnnnnnsssssssss.

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New Poems

Just posted two poems to the writing section. Fenris I wrote some time ago and remains one of my favorite fantasy poems.  Red and Black dragged me out of bed this morning.  Wrote the whole thing in my head before risking the cold.

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Writer: A Definition

There are a few definitions of a writer that I like.  I think my two favorites are:

A writer is someone who has written today.

and…

A writer is someone for whom writing is more difficult than for other people.

Obviously I’m more of a second-statement writer as of late.  But I don’t think getting down on myself for not writing enough is going to help; I’ve been beating myself up for days because I  hadn’t written and that certainly didn’t drive me to the keyboard.  I’m just going to have to stay positive.

Yes, all who know me, I can hear you laughing after that last sentence.  So maybe I’m not the world’s most positive person in the world.  Maybe under ‘cynic’ in the dictionary there’s a big frowning picture of me.  I can change, right?  At least I can try.  For instance, here I am, attempting a free write before diving into the novel my mother and I are working on.  In fact, it’s open in another window, cursor a-blink at the end of the last chapter, just waiting for me to switch windows and get to it.  So, at least for tonight, I am a first-statement writer.

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Interesting Couple of Days

And by interesting, I of course mean sucky.  Started last night when I got two-outed twice in a PLO tournament and then thrown out of the casino because the dealer in the 8-16 game didn’t know the rules and I had the gall to point that out to him.  Tonight got even more interesting.  On my way to pick up Alison from basketball practice, I changed lanes to avoid the bus that was stopped in my lane.  Two young gentlemen going 70 or so down a Hamline apparently felt that I should have waited for them to go by before switching lanes.  Or at least that’s what I inferred from the flashed lights and honking.  Being from Massachusetts, I immediately informed them that I was number one through the use of hand signals through the rear window, and again through the driver’s side as they passed.  They had their window down and conferred their wish that I perform an act I’m certain I’m not flexible enough to succeed at, and I suggested maybe they should do it to each other, since they were obviously such close friends.  I turned right into the Target parking lot to get a coffee, and they kept driving.

I thought that was the end of it.

But no, walking through the parking lot, these two tools pulled by me and told me I should have my eyes checked.  Now, I didn’t think they were actually concerned with my optomological health, so I gave me them fairly detailed instructions on what they should do if they should happen upon a canvas bag filled with dick.  They fired one last two syllable volley and drove off.  Or so I thought.  I went and got my coffee—extra hot in case I had to throw it at one of them; I thought there might be a tussle when I emerged from the coffee shop—and walked back to my car.

The hooligans had knifed my rear tire.  Why on on earth would you stab an innocent Korean automobile?  What had my minivan ever done?  Lucky for me, they were not very thorough.  They only knifed one tire, and I was nearly an whole block away from a discount tire store.  Additionally, winter’s coming and the tread was low on all my tires, so forcing me to get a new set may actually save my life later this winter.  Still, I hated being late to pick up Ali.

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Gonna get some writing done tonight!

Hurray!  Caught up with my work with Chris Wallace, wife and kids are in bed, school soccer season is over (I coached 7/8 graders to an undefeated season), so time to write!  I’ll be working on The Seelie Wars, a trilogy my mother and I have a contract coming for.  Working with her is both rewarding and frustrating.  She is an excellent writer and I learn a great deal every time we work on something. But she writes so damn fast it’s depressing.  I can struggle over a section for a week or two, spurting arterial blood onto the page to get something perfect, and what feels like five minutes after I send it off I get an email back:

“Oh, that looks lovely, Adam!  I’ve given it a quick edit and added another 1500 words or so.  File is attached.”

And then it’s my turn again.

Anyway, maybe I can work in some plot twists in this go round that will at least let me sleep through the night before getting a chapter back from her.

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Free Write

As you can plainly see, my free writing plan is beginning swimmingly.  Bah. Three days before I finally get another one going.  I’m currently embroiled in mortal combat with a PokerXFactor video I’m trying to record.  I’ve got video clips turning upside down when I convert them, a conversion program them pixelates them and another that needs its preferences purged every time I start it up.  I had to create a powerpoint of the hand histories from scratch because the video is on a live tournament (when I did online tournaments the combo of hand history files and the PXF replayers handled that tricky detail for me).  And finally, when I had the whole thing set up and ready to produce, the normally reliable Camtasia software refuses to produce more than the first 1:43 of a 27 minute video.

Cursed, I say!

And it’s tough to prioritize writing into this.  PXF pays me well to record videos, so getting those done—and on time!—tends to job one.  Oh well, starting the day with writing may have to be the way to go.  Starting the day with TV and video games may be easier, but less satisfying in the long run.

A busy weekend coming up, but should be a fun one.  I’ve got Wyrdsmiths tomorrow night, and the 7th/8th grade soccer team I coach has their last two games on Friday.  We’re trying for a perfect season and I am of course super proud of the kids.  As soon as the games are done, I’m hopping in the car and driving to Cedar Rapids  to be a “Special Guest” at ICON 36.  I have real full slate of programming on Saturday and a small solo concert, both of which I quite enjoy doing.

And now, I will once again engage myself in head-to-code combat with Camtasia and try to convince to maybe do three minutes of video instead of 1:43.

Baby steps.

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I have a problem.

I’m a writer who doesn’t write.

I mean I do write, but I don’t do it enough.  It took me some time to figure out why this is, but I think I’ve got it figured out, and I think I may have a solution.  Or the beginning of a solution.  Or the beginning of an idea of a solution.

Well, we’ll see, anyway.

It started five years ago when my father died.  I had a great deal of trouble writing while grieving, which is natural.  But having gotten out of the habit of writing at least 1,000 words a day during that time, I never really got back into it again.  Sure, there’s been distractions, and I’ve had to do other things to bring money into the family—but that’s always been true.  The real problem for me is that the brain and the body are a two way street.  And having ceased working my fingers on the keyboard for so many hours a day, my brain has decided I can’t do it anymore.

But as many problems turn out, the solution is contained within the problem itself.  The brain and body are a two way street.  To get my brain working again, I’m going to get my body working again. And, you, the readers of this blog are going to suffer for it!

Free Writing -

I’m going to begin free writing in this blog.  In fact, I’ve already begun.  This whole entry is the first in what I hope to be many more free writes to get my damn brain thinking in stories once more.  I need to exercise the writing part of my brain—not the editing part, not the planning part, not the idea-ing part.  Just writing.  It might not be pretty; very little therapy is.  But I hope you’ll all bear with me as I try to rehab and get back on the active roster.

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WordPress Plugins

I do a lot of WordPress installs, and though I use a variety of different plugins, there are a certain number that I pretty much automatically install into every site I do.

  1. Widget Logic – This plugin allows you to easily place widgets on pages/posts according to a vast array of rules without complex coding.
  2. PS Disable Auto Formatting -  Stops WordPress from crapping all over the code you’re trying to put in the html box.
  3. Theme Authenticity Checker – If you’re using themes from anywhere other than WordPress.org then you need this plugin.  Checks for static links and encrypted code in all your themes.
  4. Asynchronous Google Analytics for WordPress – Just what it says.  If you’re not using Google Analytics to track your site’s info, then this plugin is no use to you.
  5. Strictly Tweetbot – Allows you to automatically tweet to a number of accounts when you post a new blog.  If you were alerted to this entry through one of my tweets, you know what its output looks like.
  6. Strictly Google Sitemap – Creates and updates a Google sitemap for you.
  7. Tweet Meme and Like – Places retweet and like buttons on, below, and/or around your content.
  8. Datafeedr Random Ads V2 – Real easy to use random content rotater.

A couple of plugins I’ve used and liked, but aren’t on the auto-install list since not everyone needs them:

  1. LiveJournal Cross Poster – Cross posts to LJ. Remember, you can import from LJ without the use of a plugin.  Just go to Tools -> Import.
  2. WP Jquery Lightbox – WP image links open in a plain page.  With this plugin, they open up in a nice lightbox overlay.
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