Yep, I’m still around. My back problems have almost faded away completely after nearly an entire month of recovery, which is a record I hope I don’t ever break in the future. I started physical therapy this week in hopes of strengthening the core muscles that were the problem. Sitting for extended periods still hurts, but it’s more of an annoyance than the debilitating problem it was.
If nothing else, I think this episode has given me the motivation to finally get serious about losing some of the excess weight I’m carrying around. I’ll be pulling the elliptical out of the corner of the living room and getting back on it at least three days a week on the instruction of my physician.
Beyond that, I keep coming across things I think I’ll blog about only to decide I really don’t have anything all that significant to say about them. It’s odd, but as I’ve gotten older I seem to find it harder to get the outrage that fueled so many older entries going. Or perhaps I’m just getting to be apathetic about the stuff that used to rile me up. Probably a little of both.
In honor of the day I present you with this:
Been awhile since I last blogged anything so I figured an update was due. Part of the delay has been lack of anything to say, but another part is the fact that I’ve been flat on my back since last Wednesday with a sore back.
Every so often the muscles that hold me upright in my lower back go on strike and it’s often several days before they’re feeling up to working properly once more. This flare up has been one of the more severe I’ve had in awhile and has kept me away from my computer. Even now I can only manage to sit upright for short periods of time.
So, once my back stops complaining and I come up with something to blog about I’ll be back here in front of my keyboard hammering away, but for the moment I’m going to lay down again for a bit.
It just occurred to me that I missed SEB’s 11th anniversary. On December 2nd, 2001 I launched what would become SEB thinking I’d give it a shot for a few weeks and then it would slowly fade away as I lost interest. Over the years I’ve come close to shutting it down a couple of times after frustrations with maintaining it or periods of inactivity and yet here we are still spouting out the occasional missive on the Interwebs.
I’m not as prolific as I once was (and I’ve never been particularly prolific at the best of times) and some of the projects (SEB Podcast) have progressed in spurts, but considering how it’s not made me rich and famous yet I think it’s not too shabby an effort. I can’t promise you it’ll last another 11 years, but there’s still some bits and bobs left for me to pontificate upon before I call it quits for good. My beard — though oddly enough not my hair — is a little grayer than it used to be and I’ve added a few wrinkles from when I started. I don’t know if I’m any wiser, but I’m certainly more experienced. It’s weird to dig back into the archives and read some of the stuff I wrote years ago. There’s only a handful of articles that I can remember off top of my head which makes reading some of the stuff that captured my attention fascinating.
So I’m a little late in announcing it, but here it is. Happy 11th Blogiversary to Stupid Evil Bastard!
If you’ve tried to login to your SEB user account recently and found it wouldn’t let you, well, I’ve fixed that. I had turned off new user registrations back when I had to uninstall all the plugins to stop the recurring malware infection and when I turned them back on a week or so ago I installed the Sabre anti-spam bot plugin so I wouldn’t be flooded with fake accounts.
I forgot one thing in doing so. I neglected to tell it to accept all of the current accounts as legit. So if you’ve tried to login and got an error message of some sort, that’s why. You should be able to login to your account once more.
Just a quick blurb to mention that I appear to have finally gotten rid of the malware that was randomly inserting Viagra spam into the entries. It took removing every single plugin except for Akismet along with every theme, turning off user registration, and reinstalling WordPress, but I’ve not seen the files show back up since so it appears to have worked.
Now I’m slowly adding plugins back in and watching to see if the spam returns. The podcasts should be playable once more as I put the Blueberry PowerPress plugin back in yesterday, but user registration is still turned off until I test the plugin that helps to cut down on bots making accounts. I had quite a few plugins installed so this will probably take some time and I’ll be evaluating alternatives to many of them while I’m at it.
In the meantime, if the spam starts showing up again be sure to let me know.
SEB’s domain name expires on September 9th and I’m debating on whether or not I should renew it. There are a number of factors contributing to this not the least of which is how infrequently I blog these days. It seems my days of writing lengthy posts pontificating on whatever happened to catch my attention are very few and far between compared to the early days of SEB. I don’t know if that’s an indication of having said all I have to say or a growing sense of apathy about the things I used to be passionate about. Most of my entries are throwaways that are barely worth dropping by the site to see. I haven’t even followed through in a decision I made awhile back to practice writing short stories on the blog to develop that skill further.
Further adding to the sense of malaise is the recent escalation of the civil war going on in the Atheist community. For the past year, since at least the events of ElevatorGate, there’s been a raging shitstorm that has come to a head with one faction deciding it’s time to become proto-religious with a new movement they’re calling Atheism+ and they’re demanding people choose which side they’re going to be on lest they decide for them. I’ve seen people I respect in both camps stoop to new lows in the ongoing
debate battle over the atheism “movement” and who’s going to control it and, frankly, I’m sick of the whole thing. I’ve deleted all atheism specific blogs from my blogroll (along with many I’m just not reading anymore or that are defunct) and will follow my own fucking path. This isn’t to say that I won’t talk about atheism and religion if I should continue on with SEB, but for the moment I’m too disgusted with the so-called movement to pay them any attention.
The third and final issue that’s prompting this possible abandonment of blogging is the ongoing malware issue SEB has been suffering from. I realize, now, that it was a mistake to move from ExpressionEngine to WordPress. This system is so full of holes and the community is so unhelpful (I had to figure out the WordPress XML import format on my own just to make the transition) that it’s been way more of a hassle than it’s been worth. The templating system is a nightmare, I’ve had to install way more plugins than should be necessary to get it to do what I want, and it seems once the malware gets its hooks into your site getting rid of it is extremely difficult. As you can see, I’ve had to drop to the default template and remove every plugin in my latest attempt to fix things. Things like the SEB Podcasts are now unplayable, most of the anti-comment spam systems are gone (I have reinstalled akismet) which means the moderation queue is filling up fast, and general usability enhancements like being able to edit your comments or the formatting toolbar are gone. All of that and there’s still no guarantee the malware won’t be back. Clearly I’m too much of an idiot for WordPress.
I’ve been at this for ten and a half years now. When I started blogging there were only a few blogs talking about the stuff I cared about. Now there are tons of them and many of them do a much better job of it than I ever have(and are way more popular to boot). I’ve come close to quitting before and I always found a reason to continue on. Now I’m at that point again and I’m doing some major self-reflection to see which decision I should go with.
I suppose I have till September 9th to figure it out.
A user contacted me through ***Dave to let me know he was seeing extra content in SEB entries that didn’t look like it belonged there. He sent along a screenshot and a copy of the HTML source and, yep, there appeared to be extra paragraphs with spam links being inserted among the other text.
Here’s the screenshot:
Click to enlarge (ha!).
Awhile back there was some WP hacks going around (mainly through compromised plugins) that would insert hidden spam into a template that only showed up when you did a Google search for the blog in question, but otherwise didn’t show on the live site itself. This, however, appears to be something totally new.
I’ve checked SEB pretty thoroughly and it doesn’t appear to be anything generated here. The reader who reported the problem has since followed up saying that it only happens on his work laptop and not his personal machines at home. ***Dave also verifies that he doesn’t see it on any of his machines. I check SEB on a number of different PCs and smartphones regularly and I’ve never seen this happen so I’m assuming it must be something on the user’s laptop, but he says it only happens when he views SEB which seems oddly specific.
I can’t find anything on Google that seems to match this odd situation so I’m turning to you guys to see if anyone else has experienced this with SEB or something similar with some other site. Anyone else seeing this happen or know anything about a possible hack or virus that could cause it? Let us know in the comments.
It’s been awhile since I wrote a post of any length or substance and I thought I should at least explain why. It’s not for lack of trying. I’ve got one post I’ve scrapped and restarted 12 times now and it’s still not done. The reason for that is it’s about mortality, which my mind has been thinking about a lot lately. My father-in-law has terminal cancer and this has caused me to think of mortality more than usual and thus why I’ve been trying to write about it. I’m not sure how comfortable he is with me discussing details of his condition publicly so I keep scrapping the entry and starting over. I’ve yet to find a balance between his privacy and what I feel like I need to say to publish it, but I’ll probably keep working on it.
It’s captured enough of my attention that all of the other stuff that’s been in the news lately that I might have written about has been shoved aside. It doesn’t help that I’m on vacation this week which means I’m finding all these other distractions around me as well. There’s a couple of video games that I’ve not devoted much time to that I’ve been playing with. When I’m on vacation I’m also much worse at paying attention to news and current events. But it’s mostly my fixation on this one topic that I can’t get out of my head in a way that’s satisfying. So the current drought of new stuff here on SEB will probably continue for a bit.
Of course every time I say that I end up suddenly posting a whole bunch of new shit. So perhaps this will signal a break in the current logjam. That would be nice.
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Yes! As promised, this past weekend saw ***Dave and I sitting down in front of our respective PCs and attempting to pontificate at length on various topics including many that you supplied us with. We talked politics touching on Mitt Romney’s apparent nomination, Paul Ryan’s general obnoxiousness, and David Barton’s twisting of history and how the Founding Fathers were not perfect beings who made no mistakes. We spoke of classical music and our short-lived time as musicians. We chattered on about how much the new movie The Avengers sucks. Endless erections caused by BMW motorcycles. The really bad sci-fi movie The Lawnmower Man. And we round out the conversation with discussing the movie trailers ***Dave saw before his viewing of The Avengers.
In all it’s an hour and 16 minutes of non-stop meandering where we manage to stay on topic… mostly. This is the original unedited recording. I had spent most of last night editing it up a bit, but on reviewing the work this evening I decided I didn’t like it. I wanted it to sound more like two guys having a conversation than a NPR-ish recording and so I decided to abandon the edits and I didn’t even bother trying to find music to put at the beginning. I’m not sure why, but this just felt better to me than all the usual edits and additions I have done in the past.
Plus, it was less work.
You can either listed to the podcast by using the player at the bottom of this entry or you can download it by clicking here so you can put it on your MP3 player of choice or copy it to a CD and then bury it in the backyard. As always, comments/criticisms/compliments/complaints can be left in the comments as you see fit. Once again ***Dave and I had a lot of fun doing this and we hope you’re at least as amused as we were.
Podcast: Play in new window
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Seeing as it’s been several weeks since the original call for topics for the 8th SEB Podcast it’d probably be a good idea to solicit new ones for it now that ***Dave and I have managed to settle on doing it this Sunday.
So I am once again turning to you, dear readers, for your suggestions/questions/topics that you’d like to hear two middle-aged white guys pontificate about at length. We’ll chatter on about nearly anything regardless of how qualified or (more likely) not we are to say anything cogent about it.
Opinions are like assholes and we have a lot of them… wait… that doesn’t sound quite right.
Anyway, you can either leave your suggestions in the comments on this thread or email them to me by clicking here. We’ll be recording the podcast this Sunday! For reals this time! Most likely.