Hot Off the Presses

God damn.

This last week has me pooped and frustrated and thrilled and more pooped, and it’s all the fault of The Aural Times. Shall we review? Yes!

  • Monday, 3/20: Yahoo! links me. Pile of traffic ensues. Great!
  • Later, Monday: server bogs down. Apache timing out. Files going undelivered. Front page largely unavailable under the load. Awful!
  • Tuesday: I set up a hosting account with Dreamhost— about $8/mo (I paid for the whole year) nets me a cool terabyte of bandwidth each month. Great!
  • Later, Tuesday: I get email from a rep at a cellphone downloads retailer inquiring about licensing AT content. Fantastic!
  • Thursday: linked by Clicked!. Traffic begins to surge. Great! But then…
  • Shortly later on Thursday: a massive DDoS attack commences against, with whom I do my domain registration business and from whom I have, until this crisis, received excellent nameserver service as well. (not to mention and the poor, neglected is no longer resolving most of the time. The site is, essentially, down. Terrible!
  • Also on Thursday: talk with rep from mobile services company. Quick phone call, get the general idea and clarify the original (i.e. not sublicensed or, worse, unlicensed non-original) nature of AT’s content. Enthusiasm on both sides, rep promises to send paper work.
  • Friday: site still down. Resolve to do something, which comes out to mean changing my nameservice over to ZoneEdit. I do so. Begin waiting for nameserver info to propogate throughout the Internet.
  • Saturday, Sunday: site-service situation improves steadily. Issues resolved. New dreamhost setup working — see Do a bunch of finishing work on the new site design for Aural Times. Polish. Spit. Etc. Make new site live Sunday night. Great!
  • Monday, 3/27: come to work, write blog entry. Read over generic contract rep has emailed. Eat cornbread muffins.

Mmm. Cornbread muffins.

Good news, bad news

Good news, bad news

Good news: site is back up and functioning. More on this in a following journal entry.

Bad news: Google cached the temporary “oh crap we’re down” page, so that’s the top hit for Aural Times until they cycle through and crawl it again.

Good news: 12,000 results. Hot damn.

Bad news: That’s a wildly inflated figure.

One: many hits for the site are duplicates from various pages of a given blog (well, several given blogs) that have the site sidebarred. So if Ted Blogger has 200 blog entries, and The Aural Times is linked in a site-wide sidebar that appears on each of those entries, and Google indexes Ted’s blog thoroughly, that’s 200 links from, essentially, one real link.

Two: many hits are for pages that feature, or at the time of google’s crawl featured, automatic RSS headlines from the feeds of other sites. So if Ted Blogger links me on his site, and his RSS feed is popular, then several dozen other sites may well feature, at least temporarily, a link to The Aural Times that they had no hand in at all.

Well, none of that is really bad news. Just reality-check news.

Yahoo! is a Verb

No mere noun—nor even an exclamation—could be expected to wreak so great a force of internet traffic against a site (e.g. The Aural Times, and so, therefore, I conclude that Yahoo! is a verb; and I have been yahoo!ed.

It has, accordingly, been sort of a bumpy morning. I’m just now at work, after some panicked discussion of how to avoid letting the server choke on the sudden influx of traffic (“oh well”, I told myself a couple weeks ago, “that’s my big traffic spike, I suppose…”). The site seems to be responding—this one runs off the same server, and, well, I’m typing this, so that’s something.

It should be an interesting day.

The Yahoo! writeup contains a few direct links to songs, which, honestly, I’m torn about. On the one hand, that’s a great way to get people right at some of the content, and they picked a nice array of songs. On the other hand, I want folks to see the site. Though I’m about knee deep in a redesign at the moment, so I suppose I’m not endorsing the currently layout of the site all that much even in my own head.

Oh well. Exciting, regardless. For comparing me to They Might Be Giants, I can forgive Yahoo! for also comparing me to Adam Sandler.

Let Me Not Tell You A Story

I’ve been doing some abstract organizing of general classes of documents into groups today, which is something that could be interesting to a few people but won’t be to most. I thought about going into it here, but, well, I’m going to pass.

But that got me thinking about storytelling and boring stories, and the long-term health of relationships. We’re social creatures—we like to talk, we like to tell stories, we like to convey the thoughts we have so others can hear them and respond or applaud or sympathize. But when you’re with someone for any amount of time, you hear all of their old stories (maybe more than once), and so all you two are left with for novelty are the new stories. And if you spend much of your free time together, you’re often both there when the new stories happen.

And how many other new stories does the average person collect on a given day? What sort of adventures do we go through on a Tuesday? Get up, go to work, have some lunch, talk around the metaphorical water cooler, come home. And yet we want to tell stories. We want to talk about our day. We want to convey just why, and how, some little teacup tempest pissed us off, even if it doesn’t seem like a big deal to the listener.

And so part of a relationship is, in a sense, figuring out a system for listening to stories that trend toward boring. I suppose there’s a lot of different ways to handle it—for our part, Angela and I are fairly transparent if a story is just plain boring, and we often invoke a “no talking about work” rule some evenings to pre-empt the duller or more emotionally frustrating tales. But I wonder if the ability to come up with a mutually-satisfying boring-story-management system—whatever it may be—isn’t basically essential to a long-term relationship.

David Wilder Schmaltz Has A Birthday

Bedeck the ides of March: it is the birthday of my good friend and former-bandmate Wilder Schmaltz. He turns 27 today, unless he skipped or repeated a grade and never told me about it.

Being as how I am a terrible gift-giver, here’s my latest questionable effort: a blog-in-review recap of Wilder through the eyes of (and a couple other sources).

October 17th, 2005: It’s been a while since I’ve talked to Wilder. I should interview him!

October 20th, 2005: Interview postponed because I can’t keep track of things.

November 22nd, 2005: Still no interview. Man, I’m bad at this.

March 7th, 2006: Dreams of Wilder’s death are greatly exhaggerated.

Random blogger comments on (complains about?) Wilder’s quotation in none other than The New York Times. Look out Wilder, he’s got his eye on you! (Check out the NYT article itself—warning, registration required. Bloody Times.)

Wilder at 18! Dreeeamy.
Bassist in a bar! What a charmer!
Chilling pre-gig! And talking with his lovely lady Christina.
Recording in technicolor! God damn.

Not overwhelming? Well. Still: Happy Birthday, Wilder Schmaltz. Maybe you’ll see this. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but some day you’ll be idly ego-surfing and, bam: my best on your 27th, archived by Google or Yahoo or whomsoever you take your searching needs to.

Y’know, Wilder, maybe I should make you a mix-cd or something.

AP: Awful Prose

So I’m reading this AP article on Isaac Hayes’ announcement that he’s leaving South Park, and all is proceeding reasonably well. And then, out of no where, this humdinger of a paragraph:

“The episode that ran Nov. 16 and is being rerun Wednesday night is called “Trapped in the Closet.” It’s where church leaders see Stan as the second coming and at the same time, Tom Cruise locks himself in a closet.”

Look at that second sentence. “It’s where”? “It’s where”?! Who wrote this copy? And who approved it? Certainly the meaning is clear enough—plenty of folks use this sort of place-holder phrase in conversation, as a convenience, when “In the episode,” or “The plot of the episode includes” or other more formal, wordier alternatives.

But this is, purportedly, a news article (entertainment news, granted), not informal conversation. C’mon, AP.

Dreaming of The Donald

I just now remembered that, at some point last night, I dreamt of Donald Trump. He wandered into the room—an elementary school classroom, perhaps; it had a certain nostalgiac yellow cast to it—and I turned to him and smiled and, not knowing what else to say, said:

“The Donald!”

He cringed a little, but smiled gamely. His hair was about as good as it ever is.

Arborial Aberration

It’s a bit after ten at night, on a rainy Thursday; I’m sitting at the kitchen table, working on some log analysis stuff for The Aural Times; our little corner of downtown is relatively quiet—

and suddenly I hear some clattering and look out the window to see what appears to be tree theft.

Some guy is cutting a couple of tall skinny tree-like plants from where they are growing in front of a nearby building. And then he starts dragging them across the street, looking a bit furtive. I pull out the binocs and zoom in, and perhaps he sees me watching because now he is running down the sidewalk. Toward me, as it happens: his goal is a door in the building right across the street from our kitchen.

He lets himself in, and hurries the trees in with him, and the door closes, and that’s that.

Why would you do something like that?

Bloggish Miscellany

Being a collection of thematically-unrelated thoughts gathered together in a single blog post.

Item: I am having Brian over tonight to record some rough demo tracks, as a first step in attempting to produce an album for him. This should be interesting.

Item: I had a lousy dream the other night—my long-time friend and one-time bandmate Wilder Schmaltz had died. It was the sort of dream where this was simply a fact, so assumed and unquestioned—the man was simply dead, not dying, not just-died: dead—that it took a while, in the dream, before my mind really processed it. And about the time I started to despair the death of my friend, I woke up.

Item: I spent some time sketching on the Palm I have leased, as it were, from Dan; but to my frustration, I discovered this morning that the person who programmed the drawing app I have been using did not ever get around to programming an export application for it. What good are a bunch of drawings on a PDA if one cannot remove them? I have two obvious options: use a Palm Emulator to run the program on my PC and take screenshots—this is easy, but tedious. Or I could write a program that reads the database of the drawing program and creates image files on the PC automatically—difficult, but elegant.

Or, of course, I might just use a different goddam drawing program.

Item: I think the approach of spring is messing with my sleep patterns.