Why Do I write

I have never considered myself a blogger or writer. Yes you are reading this post on a blog right now, but I still wouldn't label myself a blogger. (I tend not to like labeling myself or others, but that's a post for another day.) For the most part, I post here for myself. Usually, it's because I spent some time looking up how to do something or just thinking about some topic and I want to organize my thoughts. When I was in school, I remember a teacher telling me to write things to down to help me remember them. I might never look at the paper again, but the act of writing it down would help me remember. Posting to this blog is a lot like that. Every so often, I will come back here to look up how I did something. But it's pretty rare.

As you can tell, the comments on this blog are off. I have zero interest in creating any sort of community here. And, in fact, I don't think that anything I've written would make anyone think of "joining" me. I assume that all of the traffic here (except possibly for my family) came because they searched for something and found a post of mine that might help. It would be cool if I knew that I had helped someone because I'm usually pretty grateful when I've found information online that's helped. But I also know that if I turned the comments back on, I'd get inundated with spam. So instead, on good days, I think that I've quietly helped millions of people who have had the same problems as me. On not-so-good days, I assume that I'm the only person who has ever read this blog. And I'm fine with that.

One of the good things about not calling myself a writer means that I feel no obligation to post regularly or write a given number of words per day. I only write when I have something to say and that doesn't happen all that often. I much prefer listening and trying to learn new things. I know many people want to be the expert and want to make sure that you're aware that they're the expert. The problem I have with these people is that the ones I know tend to never admit that they don't know something or that they made a mistake. I find this funny, because these days I'm very much enjoying trying new things and failing completely. I used to think that it would be cool to have a TV show called "Failure" where I'd try to repair something in a house or build something, but fail completely. It would be like the anti-This Old House or cooking show. But it's unlikely anyone would watch it but me.

So, why did I write this post? I had read some other blogs about writing, how difficult it is at times and how people force themselves to do it. And I was agreeing with the people who said it was insane to force yourself to do it. Today, I'm just reminding myself that I write for me and that's just fine.

Responsive Webpages

I've started using the twitter-bootstrap gem to get responsive webpages. It worked fine on my laptop and resized things correctly as I changed the size of the browser window. However, when I checked it on my phone, it was showing the full-size page. To fix this, I needed to add the following to the head in my layout.


Reload and it works as expected.

WordPress Updates

I had a very old computer (running FC3), hosting some very old wordpress blogs that got broken into. The good news is that I had backups of all the blogs. But since the computer was still working, though not allowed to be online, I could also copy the data directly from that computer. I ended up copying data from both places to get the blogs back up. Here's what I did.

1. Register a cname for the old computer name with a new computer.
2. Set up a virtual host for this cname, using the same directory structure as on the old computer.
If I were starting over, I'd probably use a different scheme, but I don't want to break any links that other people have to us. So things will stay the same.
3. Download the latest version of WordPress and make a copy for each blog.
4. Edit the wp-config.php file with the info from the old blogs.
5. Create a mysql database and grant the privileges for the correct user.

mysql> create database alpha1;
Query OK, 1 row affected (0.00 sec)

mysql> grant all privileges on alpha1.* to [email protected] identified by 'amazing_password';
Query OK, 0 rows affected (0.00 sec)

mysql> quit

6. Load the old sql dump into this new database.

$ mysql -u alpha_user -p alpha1 < 2014-11-18-alpha1.sql 

I got the sql file from doing a mysqldump, which I use for backups.

7. Copy the old uploads directory from backup to the new wordpress location and make sure everything is owned by apache:apache.

I had another problem that I needed to address with these blogs. They all used https for access. On the computer I moved them to, https was already being used by another website I was running. Since most of these blogs are no longer being updated, just read, I decided to not use https for anything. This did require that I temporarily set up https for the blogs. Then I logged in, upgraded the database, edited the settings to use http instead of https. Lastly, I installed a plugin called search and replace. I used this to change the links for all the uploads from starting with https to http.

That's it.

Favorite Memory

Recently, I saw a website where people were asked to tell their favorite memory. I was a little bummed because I didn't have an immediate favorite come to mind. But after I thought about it, I had a few come to me. One that holds a very special place in my heart is from grade school. My Mom was very involved in our school and at times she would be the room mother for my class. Basically, she would come in during lunch to give the teacher a break from the students and vice versa. When she would watch my class, she would sometimes bring me a grilled cheese sandwich. I remember eating a lot of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in school and I liked them a lot. I'll admit to still eating one every now and then. However, I remember being really happy when my Mom brought me a hot sandwich. It made me feel very special. So much so, that to this day, I tend to equate hot food with love.

Thanks Mom!

My Oatmeal Recipe

After many, many attempts, I have finally come up with a recipe for oatmeal that I like.

In pot, on medium, heat:

1 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup milk

While that's heating, melt one tablespoon butter in a frying pan and add 1/3 cup of oats to it. Make sure the oats are covered in butter and then toast them for about a minute.

Dump the oats into the water/milk pot and cook on medium for 20-25 minutes. If all the liquid is absorbed before 20 minutes, add more milk. (The oats should cook for a minimum of 20 minutes.) At around 15-18 minutes, add some salt and vanilla to the pot. Once all the liquid has been absorbed, take off heat and let sit for a couple of minutes. Put in a bowl and throw on some chocolate chips and milk. Mix until creamy and eat. Yum!

A Roast

I cannot recall having ever cooked a big piece of red meat. I've made burgers (from ground beef) and chicken (breasts only), but not a roast or other thick steak. Since I may have possibly set myself up to invite people over for dinner, I thought I should probably find something to cook. I found a recipe for Pot Roast for Two and figured I'd give that a try. It's currently in the oven and has about 3 more hours to go, so we'll see how it turns out. I can say that it smells good so far.

In making this roast, I needed "dry red wine". I googled what type of wine to get and found that a pinot noir would be suitable. I bought a bottle of 2010 Castle Rock Pinot Noir Sonoma County. I needed like 1/2 a cup of it. So what should I do with the rest? I'm not much of a wine drinker, so I did get the cork out...though I destroyed it in the process. I guess all I could do was drink it. I poured myself a glass and decided I don't care for pinot noir. I'm not sure if I'm allowed to say I don't like an entire type of wine based on one glass from one bottle. But that's what I'm doing. Though I'll have another glass once the roast comes out. Perhaps it's something that you have to have food with to make it palatable.

The roast was done an hour earlier than the instructions said. So I think I may have bought the wrong cut of meat, but I also don't think it mattered much. The meat was good. (Though since I always cut into it too soon after taking it out of the oven, I may have over-waited. The meat wasn't that hot.) The sauce wasn't as good as I thought it should have been. I did miss two ingredients that I thought I had, but then didn't, a bay leaf and garlic. I also don't have a blender, so I mixed everything in my food processor. I'm guessing the sauce wasn't as smooth as it should have been. Would I make this for guests? Probably not. But I do think that cooking the meat on a low temperature for a long time is a good move. I just need to find a better sauce for it.

Other good news is that John and Ted stopped by. The thought the pinot noir was good and drank most of it. Yay!