Category Archives: Housekeeping

This is the old blog…

…it’s not the same as the new blog. You have reached the old version of this blog, which was updated from February 23, 2005, through December 31, 2010.

Click here for the current version of Yet Another Unitarian Universalist.

There is no longer a redirect on the old address to this blog. Therefore, if you haven’t updated your bookmarks or your RSS reader, or if you’re following an old link, you’ll wind up at the old blog. So please update your bookmarks, etc.

Site problems

Our Web host underwent an attack on one of his servers. (For you geek types, the attacker exploited a vulnerability in the cPanel interface, and did enough damage to the systems files that our Web host had to reinstall the operating system and cPanel.) This caused a cascade of other problems, resulting in my Web site and blog being down off and on over the past 24 hours. The Web host is still reinstalling backed-up files, so everything is not yet fixed.

End result: Some posts are now missing. Some of your comments may be missing. I hope all the missing material will reappear soon, but no promises.

Site news

Our Web hosting service had a server go down, and of course all our Web sites were on that server. It took most of Monday and part of today to install a new server, transfer the data over, have it go down, and bring it back up again. This is the worst failure we’ve had with this Web hosting service. It’s not a problem for me, but Carol’s businesses depend on her Web sites, so she is thinking about migrating us to a new Web hosting service. We’ll see what happens.

Thank you to those of you who sent me email letting me know that you couldn’t access this site — I do appreciate it!

Back again

All our Web sites were down for several hours yesterday. That got me to thinking — how do you let people know when your Web site is down? So I posted our Web site status on my Facebook page; didn’t think to put something out via Twitter; forgot about LinkedIn; then realized that anyone who tried to access one of our Web sites would just give up when the site didn’t load.

Everything’s fine now. Still no word from our Web host about what happened, but since they’re located just outside Utica, New York, I’m thinking the outage may be related to the big winter storm that hit upstate New York yesterday.

Five years old

Five years old on Monday, I was taking a lunch break in my office in the Unitarian Universalist Society of Geneva, Illinois, a stone’s throw away from the little stone church building built by Unitarians in 1843, just a few years after the Illinois frontier had opened up after the conclusion of the Blackhawk Wars. I had spent the morning looking through old church records, to what end I no longer recall. On my lunch break, I decided to start a blog on AOL’s now-defunct blogging service. Being a peripheral participant in geek culture, of course I had to name it “Yet Another Unitarian Universalist Blog,” although I soon dropped the last word. The only person I told about it was my partner Carol, yet within a couple of days several people in the congregation had discovered my new blog, and the blogger’s collective at the old Coffee Hour site had reviewed my first post. Something interesting was happening here: religion had expanded into the digital realm. And there I was, one of the people exploring this new landscape.

It’s been a wild ride since then. Here are some of my favorite moments from the past five years:

  1. I was asked by Peacebang to serve as an example of a poorly-dressed minister when she was interviewed by Mainstream Media about her “Beauty Tips for Ministers” blog. Alas, my photo didn’t make it into the published interview.
  2. I attended one of the Boston-area UU blogger’s picnics, where I got to meet a couple of blogger spouses. They were both very nice mild-mannered people.
  3. Upon being introduced to me at a denominational gathering, a woman said, “Are you really as mean as Mr. Crankypants?” She looked frightened. I was completely nonplussed, and made some halting reply that did nothing to reassure her.
  4. I have had several entertaining online arguments with my older sister, bouncing back and forth between our two blogs.
  5. Commenter, fellow-blogger, and friend E recently took me to task in a long phone conversation for willfully misunderstanding J. D. Salinger in a post (she was right, of course, not that I admitted that while we were talking).

I started out thinking that blogging was just another publishing medium, like letterpress or photocopying. Then I began to understand that social media like blogs are more than a technological means for getting my words and ideas out to a wider public; they are really a way to carry out a larger conversation than can happen face-to-face. Recently, I have begun to understand that really all writing and publishing are forms of social media: when Richard Steele published The Spectator, his letterpress-printed words opened up a broader conversation; when zines started using the new technology of photocopying, they too were opening up a broader conversation; blogs and other online publishing platforms use new technologies, but the ultimate goal of a broader conversation remains the same.

For those of us who use online technologies, the real challenge now is to raise the quality of our writing. We bloggers need our Steele and Addison — or better yet, the blog equivalents of Mark Twain — people who write good prose and who have something to say that’s worth saying. We bloggers need someone who will raise the standard for the rest of us. Maybe the blog equivalents of Richard Steele and Mark Twain are already publishing but I haven’t seen them. Most bloggers write prose that’s either precious, cute, tainted with the contemporary workshop aesthetic,1 confused, rushed, or just plain bad (I tend towards the latter three). Currently, we read blogs for the information, not for the quality of expression.

I plan to write this blog for at least another five years. I hope that five years from now I will be able to point to several blogs written by great English prose stylists. Who knows? Maybe you’ll be one of those writers.


1 See: David Dooley, “The Contemporary Workshop Aesthetic,” Hudson Review, Summer 1990, no. 259.

New Year’s Day blog upgrade

I did a major upgrade of this blog. I had to update the stylesheet, which means things might look a little odd here and there until your browser empties its cache.

If you run into any problems, please let me know in the comments form. Thanks!

Still no Internet at home, confusion reigns

We still haven’t gotten around to getting Internet service at home (what can I say except that moving across the country this time has not gone smoothly). Thus you will not see posts every day, and some posts (such as this one) will be back dated.

The really hard part of not having home Internet access is that I cannot constantly check the Web for answers to questions that pop into my brain at random moments. Sometimes I have to go for days without being able to answer questions like: When did Usenet first start functioning? When did Judith Sargent Murray die? Who wrote the poem that contained the line “a rose-red city, ‘half old as time’,” and who wrote the fantasy story for which that line of poetry provides the denouement? Without Internet access, I am no longer filled with answers to pointless questions like these, and I grieve the loss.

Comment spam

I have been seeing a sudden increase in comment spam. (Apparently other bloggers are seeing this increase as well.) I strengthened spam barriers, and so far my spam protection is holding up pretty well. However, you may find that a legitimate comment gets caught by my spam filters — if you think this has happened to one of your comments, please let me know via email.