WordPress 3.0

WordPress 3.0 is out, and I will use that development as an opportunity to overhaul this site. Like many things of a technical nature, I never learned WordPress inside and out. Rather, I used functions as I felt I needed them. As a result, I don’t the half of what I can do with WordPress. I took a pretty lousy theme and made it into something I like. But that means I’m not using widgets, and all modifications are a pain.

I’m actually having a hard time finding a new theme that I like as much as my current one, but I think I will make do with something interesting that will look pretty good out-of-the-box.

I just need a project to work on.

Hmm…this is the 27850th most popular blog according to Technorati. I was 1,749,839th on 2/19/2007. May I crack the Top 25000 in 2010. That’s somewhat of a shallow goal. Let’s see if these rankings mean anything. Bull City Rising just won The Independent’s Best Blog award. BCR should be ranked, say, between 5000 and 10000 in the country. Let’s see…it’s appears, but it’s unranked. I must have some code somewhere that makes mine get a ranking. What about Dependable Erection? 24149.

Off that tangent…anyway, I’ll being working on the design of this blog over the next few weeks, just for my own learning experience.

I have this need to know how to do SOMETHING, and even if it’s not particularly ground-breaking to know WordPress, I want to finally KNOW WordPress after having played with it for three-and-a-half years.

3 years of Toastiest

(and some new pics of Aremid)

February 16, 2007:

I’m sure I’ll spend plenty of time redesigning this site, and I’ll second-guess myself for starting this site, and I’ll face some sort of unpleasant reaction sooner or later, but it’s time to get going with this Toastiest site.

I haven’t second-guessed myself for starting the site, but I’m always second-guessing what I’m putting on this site. I’ve had my own website since 1995 and kept some form of journal since 1989. Having a blog seemed like a natural progression of both. However, what should I be blogging about? How much should I be sharing with the world?

Aremid: 14-year-old curl-up

I’m not going to go through three years of public LiveJournal entries to determine if there’s anything I regret having out there in the blogosphere. I know that I’ve had some pretty vitriolic comments just in the past couple of months. Opinions due change, so I may regret some opinions I’ve expressed in the past, but there are some basic raw beliefs I have.

There were 700 our so LiveJournal posts that I brought over to this blog, written between 2004 and 2007. Two-thirds of those remain untagged, just because I haven’t spent much time on cataloging. To be sure, the vitriol didn’t subside when I began Toastiest. However, I do often cringe when I discover that someone else I know is reading this. I worry that they are surprised and squeamish to find such high levels of seemingly intractable anger and melancholy. I sometimes retreat for awhile from any brash emotional display, but then I have one of those “jump the shark” moments where I let it all hang out, and it stays out there for perpetuity.

Aremid: 14-year-old paw

I just attempted to summarize my views on religion. That’s a tall order, and I don’t really wish to do that right now. I wish that my LiveJournal tags had migrated over here to WordPress; they didn’t. That would’ve made it easier to summarize my views on topic X or topic Y.

I do try to steer clear of religion more now than I once did. But the thoughts…the rants…are all out there. And after three years, there are plenty of entries on all sorts of subjects that I’ve vented my views on, wisely or not.

Aremid: Sleepy 14-year-old

I’m going to change my Google mail signature to point to toastie.st. I imagine that some people who never knew I had a blog will be taken aback. I do have some trepidation of sharing this site with those who have known me much of my life and with those who just barely know me. But life is too fleeting for such worries

I suppose that’s essentially what I was saying here in 2010 a couple of paragraphs back. I don’t think I pointed my Gmail signature to this website for very long. But my Flickr site pointed to it (until two days). My Facebook profile points to it, but I don’t let all my Facebook contacts see the link. But my Facebook posts reference my Flickr pics…and my Twitter account, that mostly contains updates for this blog…so just about everyone who knows me has found this blog whether I intended for them to do so or not.

Aremid: 14-year-old paw (2)

Yet, for all the people who know that David’s blog is Toastiest, and that Toastie is David (or, actually, more often, Dave), I still resist putting my full name anywhere on the blog or my Twitter account or my Flickr account. There is really only one reason left for this bit of faux-privacy-enforcement. I am paranoid that someday, down the road, when I may desperately need employment, I’ll be Googled, this blog will pop up, and I’ll be doomed. There’s probably already such a hyperlink out there, and I do often consider just sticking my full name on here so I’m not hiding behind a moniker. Not yet.

And there’s still the non-public blog, which shall remain non-public. A few people do have and others have had access to these posts at various times over the past three years, but I suspect I’ll be more reluctant going forward to grant this access to anyone else. Personal blogging is a tricky undertaking. I’m still trying to figure out what works best for me.

I gradually stopped writing semi-private posts in LiveJournal. I wrote completely private entries for my own use for awhile, but those have dwindled, too, as the public venting of private thoughts serves as some catharsis, however sane or not that may be. I still am trying to figure out what works best here.

Going forward, though, I will be blogging public thoughts here.

And still am, for the foreseeable future…

SuperClock

In my attempt to learn web skills, circa 1999, I’ve added SuperClock to this website. How is SuperClock better than a normal clock? You’ll have to watch it and observe for yourself. An earlier theme I used had come with a clock. This new one is homemade. So anytime you visit Toastiest, you’ll know what time it is! (Just in case you’ve inadvertently block your OS clock).\

I wonder if I can get a trademark on SuperClock.

Back to black

I changed my black-and-blue theme to white-and-black about a week ago. I’d had themes with black backgrounds for a couple of years. I thought I needed a change and should go to something a little more standard. Alas, I’ve decided I prefer a black background. I’ll probably continue to mess around with the stylesheet over the next few days. It’s the closest thing to “development” that I get to do.

If you’re usually reading this on Facebook or through some other feed reader, you really don’t care.

Live-blogging dialysis (is wicked fun)

Yeah, right.

I’m just trying out the WordPress app on the iPhone. It’s certainly neat that I can easily blog from dialysis. I happen to have nothing to say, though. It’s cold in here tonight. Hmm…I can take a picture and have it inserted into this post.

It’s a cliche to say I love my iPhone. I really do. What’s that? Did I just admit to making a good decision about something?

(it’s hard to type while blood pressure cuff is inflating. I think I just made that more uncomfortable for myself by trying to type while it inflated).

Interwebs collide

I’ll be quite honest. I had no intention of expanding promotion of my blog over Facebook this past weekend. I’ve always been very sensitive about disclosing my blog to people, because I have not been so sensitive about the contents that wind up in my blog. People may have stumbled upon my blog through one means or another, like my Flickr profile or Twitter account, but I was not comfortable thrusting my blog contents upon most of my Facebook friends. It’s awkward for coworkers or new friends or long-ago friends to see you in varying shades of despair, frustration, anger, and gloom. I presume it is awkward for them; I know it is awkward for me. So it was not my intention to simply syndicate my blog to all who see me on Facebook.

My machinations backfired. A friend wanted a link I had written about, that had failed to appear in my “imported note”, where I had been using Facebook’s import-blog-to-notes feature. I often noticed that this feature would not cleanly bring over posts. So I went with this app called NetworkedBlogs. I realized that my security settings didn’t take effect.

I’m not going to put the genie back into the bottle. To anyone who is feeling awkward for reading more than you wanted to know about me, I’m sorry. To anyone who might take it personally, that you couldn’t previously read some of these things, I’m sorry. At the end of the day, I care a lot about what others think of me, and my blog, for the most part, paints an unflattering portrait. What’s done is done.

Blog filler

I think this will be a throwaway post. I feel like the blog requires an update, but I don’t feel like saying anything. To write about dialysis is to continue to be “the guy who’s on dialysis”, and that’s getting old. But I don’t feel like being “the guy who posts pictures of his pets” either. I know I come up with plenty of other stuff to write about besides kidneys and cats, but I don’t feel like writing about any of that stuff, either.

It’s in my best interest to get to sleep right now, but I remain awake and I’m not attempting to sleep for the same reason that has kept me awake thousands of times. I can’t accept that my day will end without any progress made towards any of my goals, and I cannot foresee how tomorrow will be better. I know how bleak this sounds to those who…well, to just about anyone who might read this. I don’t end the day with the sense that, “Well, I did the best I could today!” No, I didn’t. And if that’s being hard on myself, then the alternative is to have really low expectations for myself.

I’m talking in riddles right now, I know. I’m trying to get at something that’s far too weighty for a few paragraphs of a “throwaway” blog entry.

For what it’s worth, just writing anything right now has been helpful in getting me to the point where I think I can get some sleep. I admit it; just knowing that this is being read helps a whole helluva lot. Whatever that says about me, so be it.

I suppose I should take a moment to report that dialysis is going…ok. I guess I’m reluctant to go into details because dialysis going ok is not at all the same as me being ok. I’m not ok. And I’ll leave it at that for now.

On the couch

20090422

I am constantly having thoughts that I want to exist outside of a vacuum. I want to share my thoughts with some other members of the human race. I think this is a fairly natural tendency. Lacking social outlets, my instinct is to blog or use one of those other icky modern methods like Twitter or Facebook. I don’t want to delve into why I think Twitter and Facebook are icky. And I don’t mean to offend 92% of those reading this. Frankly, I wish the other 8% of you were on those sites. But I don’t want to contemplate the merits and maddening annoyances of Twitter and Facebook anymore than I just did. I’m trying to get to the part of this entry where I contemplate the purpose of my blog.

Damn…I had really hoped to just write thoughts down as I had them, but I’ve actually been stuck for the past fifteen minutes. I don’t know where I’m going with this. 

I feel like if someone is going to have a blog in April 2009, it better be pretty interesting, because the whole world is Twittering and Facebooking. (Ok, so I can’t avoid those icky entities in this post after all). Most people don’t give a whole lot of thought to the interestingness quotient of their musings. I am not suggested that they need to. If you have true friends, they should be interested in hearing about what’s on your mind and what you’re up to, regardless of how profound or amusing your life might be at any given moment. I think what many of us could probably agree on is that, even for the well-liked and extroverted among us (not counting myself here), a large percentage of those on our “friends/followers” lists don’t particularly care about our every whim and discovery.

I haven’t yet arrived at my point…which is…well, there’s really not anything that presumptous about posting a few tweets and lists of your breakfast cereals and action movies on Facebook. It’s easy to do, and the beaming of this information to dozens or hundreds of people who might not care is a negligible price for reaching the dozens or hundreds (if you are disgustingly genuinely popular) who truly do care.  But blogging…collating multiple, cohesive, related thoughts into a blog post, just seems to scream. “I have something important to say”. And this is far more true today, I think, than it was two or three or five years ago, when the notion of sharing your thoughts with the world online probably meant that you had to go through the trouble of maintaining a blog. 

That thread has no conclusion…I’ve just had a tangential thought that I think I’ll take a chance and share…

I think that the reason that I blog is because I am desperate to find someone on the planet who shares some obscure belief or observation with me. I am desperate to find commonalities with others because I live with the belief that I am alone in how I interact with this world. 

I am not looking to spawn discussion or debate. I am looking of the comment that says, “Me, too”. I realize that this is, on many levels, both juvenile and pathetic. 

Quite often, I am scared that something I post (this entry might be a good example) is going to prompt someone to just flat-out tear me up. I’m scared that someone I know might say something hurtful. But, I’ll confess, something that someone I don’t know could hurt me, too. I’ve gotten an occasional harsh comment, but 1850 posts in, no one has yet to say, “Why are you writing, you sad, pathetic fuck? No one gives a shit what you have to say. It’s pretty obvious why you’re alone.”

Anyway…that was harsh…

So, as I alluded to the other day, I’m watching television again for the first time in about two years. I’ve got a new TV and DirecTV complete with free-trial-HBO. I’m not one of those people who got rid of TV because I didn’t need it, and I have other productive things to occupy myself with like going to the gym, reading, and quilting. No, I just happened to have had a Dish Network satellite dish on a six-foot pole sticking out of my roof. They couldn’t find a good place to move it. TimeWarner Cable’s installation gave me headaches. And I bided my time to try out DirecTV, under the false pretense that I was somehow a better person for forgoing television. 

In the meantime, my health kinda sucks, so I do sit around tired at home a lot. TV with good programming options is a worthwhile thing to have. So I have it now.

And I have observations about the things I see on TV that I feel like sharing. But so do 948,000,000 other people on Planet Earth, so I’m a bit hesitant to share mine and imply that they’re worthy of intake. Again, I’m just hoping someone might see something I’ve written and say, “Yes, Toastie. That is my cup of tea, as well.”.

Health…just biding my time until d-day, which isn’t set yet. Saw a link to a news story about a woman getting a kidney on Craigslist. I don’t want to see such stories. It’s a self-esteem issue, again, I think. How the hell is it that I am worthy of your kidney? I don’t know a thing about that woman, but she probably has a family and volunteers for her church and loves to travel and has probably somehow communicated that she has some full life she’d like to get back to instead of the limbo she’s in presently. There’s an episode of Scrubs in which Elliot tries to get the hospital board to approve a heart valve operation for her patient, a thirtysomething admitted former heroin addict. Colleagues try to convince her that he’s not worth the risk. I don’t have a compelling case that I’d be worth the risk.

So have I waded my way back in regular blogging? I guess I should address one of the other reasons I’ve scaled back. Back to Facebook. I was/am (forgot how it’s configurd now) having my blog posts automatically ported to Facebook, by way of both Notes and Twitter hyperlinks. People I know were seeing my blog entries when they wouldn’t have otherwise seen them. Even though this had been my intent, it was an odd feeling when I knew someone had read my blog because of Facebook. I feel like people go to Facebook for happy bullshit, not to be hit over the head with gloom and doom. At least when someone chooses to go to my blog or read my RSS feed, they probably know what they might be in for. With me, it’s:

Susie Q my son loves Fruity Pebbles!

Francie F thinks the Phillies are gonna win it again!

David doesn’t much care if he stops breathing in his sleep tonight.

I’m exaggerating. Kidding. You get my point, right? (And Susie and Francie are not based on anyone I know).

So I feel awkward, because I am not wanting to make people feel awkward. This applies to both expressions of inner turmoil and vehement political and cultural opinions. I really don’t want to make people uncomfortable. But I don’t know if my true self has much to say that is comfortable to hear. So it’s all or nothing. I either lay it all out there, or I fade out of the picture.

Some random thoughts I’ve wanted to share over the past few weeks…

The tea-baggers were mostly racist idiots.

I will not eat at Chick-Fil-A again because they supported the tea-baggers.

HBO is worth $15 a month.

I’ve been wanting a living room ottoman for six months. I got it today. 

Mostly due to the help of HG, there are actually four rooms in my house that are presentable (a new record) despite my having mostly sat on my ass for the last few months.  The other rooms still look like they belong in a Chernobyl video.

My writings have years ago that no one has read are much better than anything I’ve ever put on this blog

I Got Nothin’

Two of my favorite daily blog reads, Barry’s locally-grown Dependable Erection and ex-CNN-producer Chez’s NYC-based Deus Ex Malcontent have been on hiatus of late.

For my part (and not to claim that I have anywhere near the wit and insight of those two blogs), I’ve got nothing to say here.

I don’t trust that I have anything penetrating to say about politics or the state of the world or pop culture.

I’m not going to write about my health everyday. I realize I’m not the only person in the world who’s sick, and sometimes I’m ashamed that I, at all, call attention to my infirmities.

I have no cryptic toastchees or croutons. I say “cryptic” because the videos are usually about four or five threads removed from what I’m really thinking about.

I’ve been too lazy to find the good camera batteries for my camera so I can even take decent pictures of my pets; thus I post camera pics and webcam pics…and just so there is something mildly amusing up on here.

I’ve got a lot on my mind but nothing for here.

Toastie Plays The Blog Tag Game III

Except this time, the tagging was done on Facebook. I was asked to list 25 random things about me. I had already done the same exercise twice in this blog in the past year. So I just copied ten items from March 24, 2008 and six from November 30, 2008. That left me with nine more original items to come up with…

17. My first car was a 1986 Carolina-blue Chrysler LeBaron (sedan, not the pretty convertible); I bought it in December 1992 and probably ordered New Jersey personalized plates – “DUKE 97″

18. I took my prom date to Tavern on the Green in New York City’s Central Park. She was not impressed. “I hope we’re not going for a carriage ride, because I don’t like them,” she said. We didn’t, but I had been planning on it.

19. When I was around seven, my family ridiculed me on a car trip to the Poconos because I said that the mountains “looked like scenery”. Until that point, I had thought scenery only meant fake art resembling landscapes, used on TV and in plays.

20. I have kept some sort of journal since February 1989. For the first few years, I wrote as if the whole world would be reading it years later.

21. I hate having a last name that most people pronounce incorrectly. I hate that I myself know I don’t enunciate it well when I have to give it out to others.

22. Since my father was adopted by his step-father but he considers his paternal family to be his birth-father’s family, my surname doesn’t mean a whole lot to me.

23. I didn’t vote in any election until 2000. (I was 24 years old).

24. I have a recurring dream or element of a dream in which I am still in high school or college and know I am about to fail a final exam or similarly embarrassed because I have been missing class all semester.

25. I desperately want a girlfriend, a serious long-term relationship with a woman that leads to a partner for life. I want this more than anything. This may be quite obvious…but maybe it’s not. And so I’m just stating it for the record. I realize items 1-24 offer ample explanation as to why I may be coming up short in achieving my goal.