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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.
Perishable.biz
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.

Jeff Starr
About the Author Jeff Starr = Creative thinker. Passionate about free and open Web.
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40 responses
  1. Jeff Starr

    Teddy, your post makes me realize that things really aren’t so bad here in my neighborhood. We have an alarm system, lots of locks, a safe room, and even some cameras, but a maze on the roof — that pretty much says it all. I assume that they don’t allow guns or that you don’t keep a gun in the home..? Most of my friends have guns and claim to be safer because of it. I myself do not own a gun, but I sure have contemplated getting a few.

    Brad, thanks for the idea about the broken glass bottles. I may do something like that along the edge of my fence. Or maybe some razor wire or something.

  2. I’ve received the same message from ASO. It’s quite disapointing for me to imagine the responsible home-working technician compromising the whole servers park because he was working on a freakin Windows OS. Hopefully, I’m wrong, and he was using a safe OS, designed for this kind of work. Hopefully, also, he was not surfing on a porn website when his computer got corrupted.

    I’m glad to hear that PP hasn’t suffered too much from that issue. I’ve found that my old weblog is just fine, where I left it.

    Oh, about our discussion. I remember posting my last comment, and not seeing it listed in the comments. I remember thinking “well, I wonder why it has been considered as spam… I’m quite a regular here”. So, it may have ended in your WordPress spam folder.

  3. Sorry to hear about the burglary. It’s a shame people like that walk among us.

    Maybe an excuse to program some sort of Burglar capturing device. Lego Mindstorms? :P

  4. @Brad: Ah, we have that over here too! They’d cement broken piece of glass onto the top of the brick walls separating the house and the road to prevent anyone from getting in. Sometimes little kittens accidentally land on them (they love running on the roof) so yea, we make sure that the cats don’t go up there.

    @Jeff: Too bad gun ownership is a strictly controlled thing in Asia, or at least, my nation. Only policemen and auxiliary police forces are allowed to carry them. That’s why some of us actually had real samurai swords at home (for decoration though) – but who knows maybe they’re useful against an attacker?

    Snatch-theft is very rampant in my country too! I will usually go to the market without any wallet or phone, and with just a few bucks in my pocket enough to complete the shopping round. When I was a kid, I was cycling with my dad and witnessed by dad being robbed (he was cycling ahead of me). He kicked me dad off his bike but luckily he wasn’t injured. And here’s the caveat – we were cycling at the alley right behind our home. That creeped us out enough to make a little fort out of our home.

    Sorry to hear about the hacking thing! That explains why I wasn’t able to access your site yesterday. Hope it’s all good now :)

  5. Jeff Starr

    @Louis: I am even amazed that some of these companies allow their employees to take passwords home with them. If I were running a server, a bank, a nuclear reactor — systems that depend on security — there is no way I would let anyone connect remotely for any reason. I always want to cry when I hear about some half-witted government drone or bank executive leaving his laptop full of passwords on the bus. As with scientific laboratories, where humans are by far the number one source of contamination, the biggest security holes in any network or computer system are people.

    I am bummed that part of our previous conversation was lost because of the server crash, but also glad that the damage wasn’t more severe.

  6. Jeff Starr

    @alex: Thanks for the sentiment — I agree that it sucks to be living on the same planet as burglars and other criminals, but it seems they’re here to stay. Lego Mindstorms would be awesome, maybe some quietly roving camera system with some remote-controlled high-powered tasers. Sneak right up on them and then ZAP — game over. :)

  7. It seems that anyone can own a gun pretty easily in America. It’s the reason why you can defend your home in an old-time fashion, but it’s also the reason why burglars are prone to have guns themselves.

    Guns are illegal here in France, unless you are a policeman, or something like that. This means that there are few guns avalaible on the black market. A burglar here will really not likely have a gun when visiting your house.

    It seems though that the number of guns in circulation is not in proportion with the number of murders (says the ONU). So, I don’t know what’s best, but I know I want to see as fewer guns in my life as possible. A gun can only bring suffering.

  8. Jeff Starr

    @Teddy: That’s what I thought.. It makes me wonder if that sort of crime wouldn’t be reduced if it were legal for law-abiding citizens to arm and protect themselves. Samurai swords are good for close-range protection (if you know how to use them), but it seems more effective to stop criminals before they’re staring you or your loved ones in the face.

    My heart goes out to you for having to live in such a high-crime area. Sorry to hear about your dad being attacked as well. Hopefully things will get better.

  9. I am not an anti gun nut, but always consider if someone has a gun, and they are going to rob you, they dont wait while you ask if you can pull your gun out too. If they are coming onto your house and you are awake you have a chance. if not you may be dead before you can pull it out.

    Be very thoughtful when you consider a gun for your protection, it may be the death of you or your savior. And the odds are not 50-50 when someone has the drop on you

  10. Jeff Starr

    Hi Brad, you make some good points, but I would rather have that chance — however small — to protect myself and family than not have it. Not sure what you mean by “the death of you or your savior,” but I would certainly take every precaution before making such a purchase.

  11. Jeff Starr

    A gun can only bring suffering.

    While I understand where you are coming from, in reality, a gun is an inanimate object, incapable of doing anything in and of itself. Thus, the idea that “a gun can only bring suffering” is in fact incorrect.

    On the other hand, people are capable of causing all sorts of suffering, and it is at the hands of ignorant and/or evil people that guns are misused. In the wrong hands, guns are dangerous, but in the hands of a responsible, law-abiding citizen, a gun may serve as protection, in sport, and for survival.

    I do not own a gun, but I think the right to own a gun is a good thing. I like to know that I am free to own one if I so choose.

  12. I am ok with owning guns. In fact I have a few. My only concern is people who think they can beat someone who allready has a gun on you.(the death of you)

    I am totally for the use of a gun for protection, my whole statement centered around “be careful how you use it” and think of what you do. You can win or put your family in great danger of harm.

    BTW, I have hunted all my life, and am familiar with guns. I once again caution those who think they can get out of any situation to be very careful. I am speaking in general and not “pointing” that statement at anyone here.

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