Category: Sad (if only to me)

Sad (if only to me)

WordPress 5 and me

The fact that this post exists and that you can see it is a win.

As of yesterday it was only half a victory, because none of the links worked, but I got something together today.

See, I have this site set up in a weird way. [Prepare for a slightly technical explanation.] In the early days of WordPress, if you wanted to keep your root directory tidy, you could install the files in a “wordpress” directory and have the URL be the root directory. That’s pretty funny now, given what a disaster my root directory currently is.

Anyway, the decision I made to do that in 2007, on this, the site of my first WordPress install, seems to have introduced some complications 11 years later. I was having problems with permalinks and .htaccess, but I seem to have ironed them out with a fresh install, a nice new theme designed by someone else, and a final .htaccess modification to ensure old URLs work.

The next question is this: will I update the site now that it’s relatively stable again? No one knows.

Our brains reject facts, and misinformation makes us confident. Ah, well.

This tab has been open in my browser at work since July 11th, because I’ve been meaning to finish reading this article and posting it, but I just haven’t gotten to it.

From “How facts backfire” in The Boston Globe:

[W]e often base our opinions on our beliefs, which can have an uneasy relationship with facts. And rather than facts driving beliefs, our beliefs can dictate the facts we chose to accept. They can cause us to twist facts so they fit better with our preconceived notions. Worst of all, they can lead us to uncritically accept bad information just because it reinforces our beliefs. This reinforcement makes us more confident we’re right, and even less likely to listen to any new information. And then we vote.

This dovetails with what Drew Westen was saying when I first saw him at Netroots Nation in 2007, and — going back a few years — George Lakoff’s work on frames.

This being an unfinished thought, I guess I shouldn’t feel too much pressure to come up with some kind of pithy conclusion (beyond this pointless sentence).

Oberammergau or bust

Oberammergau 1992 While spring cleaning these last couple weekends, I ran across the brief journal I kept during my high school trip to Germany. On that four-week trip I had quite a number of experiences, some of which helped shape my life even to this day. For example, in Munich, I drank significant quantities of alcohol for the first time, and the following day I celebrated my birthday at what was left of the Dachau concentration camp.

On July 4, 1992, I wrote:

The next day [June 28] was my birthday. We went to Dachau. Dachau: the first Nazi concentration camp of WWII. A great birthday tourist attraction. Actually it was an amazing experience that affected me profoundly.

Sadly, I never expanded on that, because it was in a catch-up entry six days after the fact. Alas, I used the next 50 words to detail what I drank that night and the names of the Americans with whom we partied in Munich; considering I was a newly minted 17-year-old, that fact is not terribly surprising, though somewhat disappointing. (I had spent half of the previous couple weeks’ entries agonizing over my attraction to the girl whose family was hosting me. I think I was mad at myself for having such normal priorities.)

Later in the same entry, I ran across something interesting I had almost completely forgotten about:

In Oberammergau I went inside the Passionspielhaus (the Passion Play Theatre). It was amazing. In 2000 I will come back to see the Passion Play. (Done every 10 years.)

Ah, yes… the Oberammergau Passion Play. Every ten years, literally half of the population of the village of Oberammergau performs in a play about the life of Jesus that runs all summer. Since 1634, after the village survived the plague, the play has had 41 seasons.

1634.

Here Today

Here Today

I only discovered it was the 29th anniversary of John Lennon’s death tonight, hanging out at Good News Cafe with some of my nicest neighbors.

I recently stumbled upon a recording of Paul McCartney performing at Shea Stadium last summer and was really touched to hear him play “Here Today,” McCartney’s tribute to John Lennon from his 1982 album “Tug of War”. I remember listening to my mom’s vinyl copy of that album (which I’m pretty sure she still has somewhere) on big headphones in my living room, growing up.

The other day I looked up the chords to the song, and tonight I decided to record myself singing and playing it. This is the first thing I’ve recorded that I actually feel is good enough to release to the world, so here’s my debut MP3: Jason Gohlke covering “Here Today” on December 8, 2009.

Here Today – Jason Gohlke

You know you live in Oakland when…

shopping cart secured...

…walking home, you notice that someone has carefully secured their shopping cart to a post with a U-lock.

This is old news

I was a little embarrassed that only a few days after scoffing at how dangerous Oakland is, I got shot. I intended to post about it, but I just never got around to it. Each time I thought about it, it moved farther away from “kind of scary” and closer and closer to “old news,” but it never quite became a blog entry.

Anyway, one Wednesday night last fall,

Importing old entries

Wow, pasting old anti-blog entries into this blog is quite a blast from the past. I’m trying to work from the past to the present, which is creating (so far) a big gap between a huge chunk of old entries and the few new entries I’ve added.

It is also reminding me how often I wrote in the old days, before I got old and jaded. Stuck in the youthfully exuberant entries from 2001 and 2002, I can only take solace in how little I’ve written in the last few years (meaning there’s less to paste into the “Write Post” screen).

Also, I wasn’t in the habit of titling my entries back then… but WordPress doesn’t work too well if you don’t give each post a title. So now I’m titling blog entries that I wrote 6 years ago. Weird.

RIP, Elliott Smith, 34

How awful. One of my absolute favorite musicians, Elliott Smith, died yesterday. He was only 34. Rest in peace, Elliott. Thanks for the amazing music. I’m sad that I missed several opportunities to see him perform, and now I never will.

everybody knows
everybody knows
everybody knows
you only live a day
but it’s brilliant anyway

—”Independence Day,” Elliott Smith

a wretched weekend

What a wretched weekend it was. I’m just now getting over a week-old cold, one that took me out of commission Thursday when I attempted to call Californians about the environment. (I found it surprisingly difficult to work on the phone without my main tool of persuasion—my voice.)

Much worse, of course, was waking up to Friday’s news that Senator Paul Wellstone died in a plane crash in northern Minnesota. I can’t begin to describe the sadness and shock I felt when I found out one of my real heroes had died. Steve Clift of Minnesota E-Democracy has created a moving Wellstone Tribute site.

That night, I was too sick and worn-out to go to a Halloween party I’d been invited to by one of Dave’s friends (who also goes to trivia night every week). And Saturday morning I woke up too tired to go to the big peace rally in SF. Crap. I’m starting to feel better, though.

ornamental divider

Official NaNoWriMo 2002 Participant

Impulsively, I decided last week to devote many hours of my time in November to participating in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo, for short). I have a fortune cookie fortune stuck to my computer monitor that reads, “You will become an accomplished writer.” Having glanced at that tiny piece of paper every day for the last year or so, my subconscious apparently decided this is the way I can begin to fulfill that crispy prophecy.

Do you have the time to write an average of 1667 words a day next month? Why not sign up along with me? You know it’ll be fun. Winners receive, uh, nothing. Well, their names will be posted on the web site and they’ll have the satisfaction of being able to say, “Yes, I’ve written a novel.”

Watch my novel page for more updates.

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