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Another Boring Personal Update

[ Photo: Death Starr ] It’s been awhile since I have taken some time to just blog a little bit about what’s been happening in this crazy little world of mine. Normally, I like to keep my articles focused on web design, social media, and other online topics, but every now and then I like to take some time out and share some personal news. Needless to say, lots of awesome stuff has been happening both online and in my personal life, so here’s a brief summary for the sake of prosperity. I’ll start with the personal drama and then hit the online/design and project-related news.

I had my wisdom teeth removed!

After putting this off for literally decades, I finally decided to bite the bullet and get it done. For many years, my wisdom teeth were mesially impacted (i.e., growing sideways and pushing against my second molars), eventually causing some serious crowding of my lower-front teeth. Just about every dentist I saw over the years wanted to yank those things, but as I got older, the wisdom teeth grew larger and their roots began growing very close to the nerve in my lower jaw. After hearing that these two factors (size and location) might complicate the extraction process, I completely avoided the issue for many years. Eventually, by my early thirties, my wisdom teeth had managed to grow in straight, but they were still very large and crowding my lower teeth. Finally, several months ago, the dentist pointed out a few cavities and convinced me that it would be better to remove those bad boys now rather than fight with them for the rest of my life. So I broke down and had it done. And it wasn’t even close to being as horribly painful and nightmarish as I had imagined. Now that I can eat solid food again, I am absolutely convinced it was the right thing to do. The time off from work was nice, too ;)

Finally settled into our new home

Some of you may recall that, back in January of this year, my wife and I moved into our first home. Moving in the middle of Winter sucked, but now that we are settled and Summer is here, I have to admit that it was possibly the best move of my life. We had been renting for years, and it just kills me that we could have been building up equity this entire time instead of just throwing it away on rent. At first I was shocked at the amount of mundane housework, yardwork, and maintenance work that home ownership requires, but after working it all into the daily routine, it’s really not that bad. I still can’t stand mowing my yard every stinking week, but I suppose the exercise is a good thing.

Some meth addict broke into our new home

Just after getting moved into our new home back in January, several houses in our new neighborhood were burglarized, two in the middle of the day and another at night. After speaking with our neighbors, we had discovered that, over the course of the past couple of years, nearly every house in the neighborhood had been hit! The neighborhood is relatively new, as are most of the houses, so it never occurred to us that we might be moving into a “high-crime” area. In any case, after hearing news of the recent burglaries, I installed a cheap radio-shack alarm system that consisted of a single motion detector and a callout mechanism to alert my wife and I via mobile phone if the alarm was triggered. About a week after setting that up, I was at work in the lab when the call came through on my phone: “intruder alert, intruder alert!” Needless to say, I crapped my pants and raced home at nearly 110mph. Upon arrival I walked into what looked like a battle zone. A giant rock had been thrown through our kitchen window, leaving shattered glass all over our kitchen floor. I felt completely violated, then shocked, then confused, then angry. But thankfully, by the grace of God, that one-piece motion-detector alarm system did its job, sounding the siren and scaring the living crap out of the burglar, who bailed without stealing a single thing. So, although we didn’t lose any property (other than the broken window), the event pretty much changed everything, for better or worse.

Perishable Press doing well

On a lighter note, and moving into some online news, Perishable Press continues to do well, providing me with a place to share discoveries, help others, and bore you to tears with tedious personal updates. Some of you may have noticed that my posting frequency has been reduced recently to around once per week, but this is only temporary while I am working with Chris on our upcoming book, Digging into WordPress. Once that is complete, I intend to get back into some serious posting, not only here, but on all of my sites. In the meantime, I will try to cover all of the usual topics here at Perishable Press and keep the posts as informative and worthwhile as possible. Beyond that bit of news, everything else seems to be flowing along quite nicely. Google can’t seem to make up its mind about my PageRank (whether it’s a 4 or 5), but continues to send me increasing amounts of traffic, so it’s all good I suppose. Also in the news, the number of subscribers has steadily been growing and is now pushing the 2,500 mark. So a huge “Thank you” to all of my subscribers (you know who you are!). Lastly, I have been thinking about running a few advertisements here at Perishable Press. I have always been against doing so in the past, but if I can find some quality advertisers, I would most likely give it a shot. Your thoughts on this are appreciated.

Stupid htaccess Tricks featured in Joomla! Web Security book

I am thrilled to announce that my in-depth article on HTAccess, Stupid htaccess Tricks, has been published in Tom Canavan’s book, Joomla! Web Security. The book includes nearly the entire article in the chapter on “htaccess and php.ini”, and seems to serve the purpose of the book very well. Even though I primarily work with WordPress, the book is very informative and provides lots of excellent advice on how to secure your Joomla!-powered website. Seeing my work published in a actual book is pretty cool, and hopefully it will help some folks to boot.

Work on Digging into WordPress book continues

Hopefully everyone knows about the new WordPress book that Chris Coyier and I are working on, entitled Digging into WordPress. The book is planned for a Fall release in PDF format and will be packed with as much WordPress goodness as we can possibly squeeze in. Working with Chris is awesome, and we are both having a blast with the official website for the book, Digging into WordPress. Most of this Summer will be spent writing and designing the book, but so far everything is going very well. Our quest to find a publisher led us down several interesting roads, but in the end we decided that we could better produce a product that would achieve our goals by doing it ourselves. We are really putting a lot into this book and hope that it will benefit many WordPress users. And, for those of you who have yet to subscribe to DiW, here is a taste of what you’ve been missing:

And lots more on the way!

Progress on my other websites continues

Finally, allow me to summarize recent progress on some of my other websites:

Monzilla Media
Monzilla Media is my “official” website for my personal web and graphic design business. I recently updated the site with a couple of new projects, and have a growing number of portfolio items that need to be posted. I tend to procrastinate with this site because writing portfolio articles is rather tedious.
Still very much a work in progress, Perishable.biz is a site designed to showcase my expansive graphics collection. I have tons and tons of collected chunks, photos, images, artwork, and so on, and finally decided to share them online with a dedicated content management system. So far, I have only managed to post a few of my graphics online, but the site itself is pretty complete and built entirely with 100%-pure WordPress: no plugins, no hacks, no functions.php stuff — like a virgin.
Dead Letter Art
For those of you who continue to insist that “DLa is dead,” you may very well be correct. DLa is basically me and some old friends getting together once in awhile and sharing our artwork online and in printed format. Sadly, as we all continue along our own paths, there are increasingly fewer opportunities to collaborate and produce new material, but rumor has it that there may be something coming relatively soon. Shhh..
August Klotz
This site will someday help me to share and organize my biblical studies with other people on the Web. Right now it’s still in the Default-WordPress-Theme setup phase, but it is definitely on my list and should be in effect before the end of the year.

That’s all for now. Thanks again to all of my loyal subscribers and regular visitors for your continued and generous attention. Thanks for reading and may God bless each and every one of you.

About the Author
Jeff Starr = Web Developer. Security Specialist. WordPress Buff.
Digging Into WordPress: Take your WordPress skills to the next level.

40 responses to “Another Boring Personal Update”

  1. Alex Denning 2009/07/07 12:22 pm

    “Boring personal update”s are great – it’s nice to find out a bit more about the guy behind the blog, and weirdly it’s an excellent way of making readers loyal – they feel as if they ‘know’ the person behind the posts, and to be honest, it’s one of the ways I’ve been able to keep my blog going for the past couple of weeks!

    Anyways. Keep up the excellent work Jeff.

  2. Wisdom teeth should be removed before 25.
    The dentist removed my upper and lower teeth on the left in one visit, I don’t know untill it finished. I thought she’d remove only one tooth. It’s (almost) painless and I can eat like normal in 3 days.

    My lower third molar on the right is similar to you, it’s (almost) horizontally and mesially impacted. It causes distal caries on my 2nd molar and lower anterior crowding. My upper 3rd molar fully erupts and has caries. I don’t remove them yet :(

  3. The teeth. Well I’m glad to hear you got rid of these. Nonetheless it makes me wonder if I won’t have a problem with mine. My dentist told me, exactly like yours, that they would cause “some serious crowding of my lower-front teeth”. I’ll reconsider their ablation next time I visit her.

    The new home. Aaaah! Feels good to hear that everything is working out great with that house. It sounds like you are now living in one of those cliché American houses we in Europe see on movies.

    The burglary. I was very angry when I read your story. I’ll never understand how some people are capable of doing things like these. If I ever get in a situation where I have the opportunity to do something bad to someone, I project the scenario in my mind, and immediatly I feel empathy. You don’t want things to happen to you, so you don’t do them to others. That’s really basic education. I hate to observe men who don’t understand that.

    Perishable Press. Well, of course it’s doing fine. This place hosts fantastic discussions around great technical topics. It is bound to be more and more popular.

    Well, Jeff, I was very glad to hear good news from you. I like to think that your natural generosity with people will always pay you back on the long run.

    Have a great summer!

  4. Jeff Starr 2009/07/07 4:18 pm

    @Alex: Good point — perhaps it’s not such a bad thing to include some of the more “personal” posts once in awhile, although I’m pretty sure that most of my readers are keeping tabs on my web-related content and are only marginally (if at all) interested in anything about my personal life. So I try to keep the posts focused and the personal stuff down to a minimum. In any case, thank you for taking the time to comment — it’s great to hear from you. Cheers :)

    @Nice: That’s what everyone kept telling me over and over again: “have your wisdom teeth removed as soon as possible — don’t wait, just get it done as soon as possible, yada yada.” I honestly think that if I had tried to have them removed sooner, there would have been complications. Waiting until age 37 isn’t exactly ideal, but it enabled my teeth to straighten out and line up normally. This made the surgeon’s job a bit easier — just “grab and yank.”

  5. Jeff Starr 2009/07/07 4:20 pm

    @Louis: Always good to hear from you. Sometimes I wonder about what you might be up to over there on the other side of the world, but then I remember how much you enjoy computers and the Web and so I think I know ;)

    To be honest, I waited so long to have my wisdom teeth out that I was scared to death by the time I had finally decided to have it done. The waiting was both a curse and a blessing: the teeth ended up coming in straight, but the lower crowding is pretty bad. Now that there is more room, I am considering braces to straighten everything out.

    Our house is pretty typical as far as “American” homes are concerned. Four bedrooms, an office, three bathrooms, and a huge, fenced yard with lots of grass to mow. The cool thing is that the house is located on the corner of the block, and in such a way as to keep it out of view and fairly private, which is nice :)

    The burglary sucked, and we are still dealing with the after-effects. Something like that changes the way you live your life. They ended up catching the guy who they think did it, and he is currently making his way through the mockery of a justice system that we suffer with here in America. Hopefully, they’ll execute him in some slow, painful way.

    Thanks for the kind words about the site. Sometimes it feels like I have accomplished as much as there is to accomplish with this site, and then I remember that I am usually just full of crap and keep on plugging away at it. ;) I am hoping one day to win the Pulitzer Prize for Extreme Technical Blog Excellence, but they’ll need to invent it first.

    As always, thanks for dropping by and leaving some feedback — your thoughts are well-read and appreciated.

  6. Adverts. Jeff Jeff Jeff Are you crazy? Just kidding. The thing about adverts is are you inuandated with them tastelessly, or are they somewhat inconspicuous to the information being presented. I think the information you impart here is grand enough that we can do with a few adverts.

    Its easy to forget someone is paying the bills for all this. Just do us a favor and dont slip google ads in where they look like they are part of the site navigation. Oh that FRIES me!

  7. Hi Brad, no of course I would be integrating any advertisements as tastefully as possible into my design, which will soon be re-invented (again). I can’t stand Google ads (especially when they are carefully disguised as site navigation – LOL), so I won’t be doing anything like that; and I also don’t really like the randomness of the whole BuySellAds thing, so I guess I need to keep looking for something with a little more style (I’m sure I must sound like a total “ad snob,” but oh well). I am thinking about requesting inclusion into the elite “Ads by the Deck” outfit, but I am doubting any consideration given my site’s comparatively infinitesimal profile. There are a few others I have bookmarked somewhere, but I am hoping to get some fresh ideas here first. So if you know of anything that would fit the bill, I would love to hear it! ;)

  8. Glad to see you posting something personal again :) I guess once in a while it’s sweet nectar to us when we get to take a tiny sneak peek into your life.

    Wisdom teeth. I’m glad that you’ve finally got rid of it! Luckily things didn’t change for the worse over the past decade or so, because as far as my personal experiences go, wisdom tooth can cause the situation to deterioate pretty quickly. A friend of mine had his wisdom tooth sprouting at 18, and a meazly two months later, it’s jamming against the molar and fractured in the gum. The left side of his face swelled larger than a fist (I guess there’s a certain degree of exaggeration here), and he had to go through a lengthy surgical procedure to remove the nasty tooth’s dismembered body in the gum. Glad that it all went well!

    I had to go through 4 tooth extractions to remove excess teeth because of crowding, and to make my teeth space evenly out on my tiny jaws when the braces are installed, extraction was a choice I couldn’t run away from. The surreal feeling of the dentist tugging at my teeth was kind of fun – all thanks to the anesthetic. For the same reason, my face was paralyzed for 30 minutes and when I gargle, water squirts everywhere. I remembered the dentist giving out a muffled chuckle behind her mask as she watched me gargling… mans.

    Congratulations for moving! I was a little surprised that you’ve chosen to move mid-winter because I thought that’s one of the worst times of the year to move – like hurricane and tornado seasons. Moving away from rental is a good thing because after paying for the mortgage, you can finally have a real place to call home :) I live in a terrace house so I can’t figure out how sickening mowing is, but judging from the various comic strips I’m reading, it’s a job everyone dreads.

    Thank God nobody was harmed in the break in! Lucky you for installing the alarm, at least it scared the shat out of the burglar. More importantly, nobody was injured. I couldn’t imagine if someone was at home.

    Regarding advertisements… I wouldn’t want to embark on a self-righteous crusade about why advertising is big bad stuff, just like what many others claim. Putting up advertisements on your site is perfectly fine, be it Adsense or the common 125*125px ones. The bottom line is (and I know you won’t do that) to crowd the entire page with ads – I know some people can be as desperate as that! Oh yea, and regarding advertisers, have you tried asking The Deck? I heard it’s invitation based but given the quality and traffic of Perishable Press, it shouldn’t be a big problem.

    p/s: Read that you’ve released a HTML5 theme over at DiW, I didn’t have time to comment on that. My bad. Will drop one over the entry asap. Believe me, this entry isn’t boring at all.

    Have a great week ahead! And I hope I wasn’t too wordy.

  9. Jeff Starr 2009/07/08 9:27 am

    Hi Teddy, that’s a pretty painful-sounding wisdom-tooth story.. exactly the kind of information that I would hear over and over while putting off the extraction. That kind of stuff just scares the crud out of me. I am grateful that my situation didn’t deteriorate in similar fashion. Glad to hear things finally went well for your friend. That must have been a huge relief!

    And for your extractions as well — I hope that everything is okay now. That is pretty hilarious thinking about you gargling water with a paralyzed face — I also would have chuckled to see such a site (no offense though!). Crazy stuff..

    Moving in the middle of Winter was about as hellish as it could have been. It snowed pretty much the entire time and we were constantly slipping on the ice and tracking slush and mud into every room of our rental (we learned from our mistake and laid down a protective layer before moving into our new house). Things were getting wet from the snow, my back was hurting, the kids were driving us nuts, and it was freakin’ COLD! Not that I’m complaining now, however, because as it turns out, it was much nicer having been already moved in and settled as the weather began to warm up and turn beautiful. In other words: glad it’s over!

    For the break-in, suffice it to say that we have seriously beefed up the security of our home. We have added so many security layers that sometimes it feels like living in Fort Knox. I even planted a few land mines around the house for good measure! Seriously though, I am very grateful that nobody was hurt and that nothing was stolen. It still felt terrible, but it certainly could have been much worse.

    And don’t worry about the advertising — if I decide to do it, it will be done as tastefully and discretely as possible. Hopefully people know by now that quality is top priority around here, and any ads will need to be up to similar snuff. Also, thanks for the link to The Deck — I had commented earlier that I wanted to ask them about an opportunity, and it looks like now is the time! ;)

    As always Teddy, thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts — always great to read them :)

  10. Sprry Jeff for the late reply, I was having problems with my ISP over the past few days. Since the MJ memorial service video stream went live, the local Internet service kind of crashed and it only recovered from oblivion by today afternoon. I’ve been getting 404 bleeps around the Internet – let alone accesing your blog and mine as well (I just migrated to a US-based host to prevent local censorship). As absurd as it sounds, my blog as actually shut down a few times after I posted something politically in nature, and that was when my site was hosted with a local company.

    You’re such a tease! When I told my cousins about the tooth extraction procedure, they all said they’d love to see me with a leaky mouth.

    I can imagine how nightmarish the scenario could have been – being a rather clean person myself, I couldn’t and wouldn’t tolerate all the dirt, mud, slosh and snow getting into my new home. You’re a hero for putting up against that. When my parents told me the nth time about our moving home story (I was three and couldn’t remember anything), they say they’d sweep the house 5 times a day just to keep it dust free because the house was just completed and a loud shout can still send dust down from the ceilings. One good thing about moving in during Winter is that you get to spend all the time you want lazing around when spring and summer come around, knowing that you won’t need to break your back lugging stuff.

    I know moving can be really hard for kids. I’ve watched countless scenarios in cartoons, films and animes about how moving changes kids – like how they became sad and lonely. I hope your kids are coping well! When I moved to my new home, it was close to an airport and I would cry every single time a plane flew above us. That was enough to keep my light-sleeper mom awake for the whole night.

    In Asia our homes are like little jails – the crime rate here is so high that we actually installed grills on every imaginable hole on the wall – doors, skylights, windows, ventilator shafts and etc. Theives are known to break in from homes by removing roof tiles, so my dad bolted dead the hatch leading to the roof and then spent some big bucks creating a maze in the roof (he just commissioned the carpenters to use leftover wood and nail it all over the attic to make it look like a labyrinth).

    Then we have alarms, multiple locks on our doors – my cousin’s home probably won the record by having seven individual locks on her main door. We even tried every single stupid method like placing bells on the doors, or even stuffing empty beer cans filled with caps or clips behind windows so that they make a huge clanging sound when the window is opened at night.

    Oh dear, I’m sorry if I got the wrong message across but I wasn’t worried about how you deal with advertisements :) you’re so fluent in design, typography and user experience! Part of my previous comment was actually just ranting, hope you don’t mind. I get irritated by sites who, despite trying to look like a blog, looks more like a million-dollar advertising banner, complete with paid posts (that’s the last straw for me, as they totally destroy content).

    I guess you stand a very good chance at getting a membership over at The Deck! Your articles are of terribly good quality and more importantly, you have a steady readership. Good luck!

    Whew, my reply is getting increasingly longer. Sorry about it Jeff!

  11. Note: Last night my Web Host (A Small Orange) was hacked and as a result the server for this site was down for close to 12 hours. They have managed to restore service, but apparently their backups were from many hours prior to the incident. Thus, any comments left for this post (or any other post for that matter) during the period preceding the crash are not available until I can get back to the office and restore the backups that I keep, which are much more current than what is currently in place. In any case, I am glad to see service restored and will be getting things straightened out as soon as possible.

    Update: Still scrambling to sort everything out after the crash. Reports are coming in that ASO servers were infected with a virus before they crashed. I have restored my database with the most current backup available, but it looks like I still lost a few comments, including some great follow-up discussion with Louis here on this thread. A couple of other comments were lost as well, but I am grateful the loss was minimal — no posts were lost and everything else seems to be running as before. Now it’s time to examine my files and see if anything else needs updating.

  12. Teddy, your post reminds me of places in mexico, where around the top of their houses(the ones with flat roofs) they take broken bottles and line them in cement so that anyone climbing up cuts their hands in order to get on the roof. Bloody but effective!

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Perishable Press is operated by Jeff Starr, a professional web developer and book author with two decades of experience. Here you will find posts about web development, WordPress, security, and more »
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