Treat her like a lady, and she’ll always bring you home.

In 2001, blogs were very new things. In fact, as much more time was spent arguing talking about what blogs even were, and where they fit into the media landscape than was spent actually, you know, writing in them. In fact, I don't even think the word "blogging" existed back then, and whenever it arrived on the scene, it was used pejoratively to describe the equally-distasteful "bloggers" who were on the verge of not just threatening the status quo, but disrupting and then changing it forever.

I read a lot of blogs (many of them were just called online journals or something similar), so when I made my first stupid website at Geocities (RIP) called Where's My Burrito, I put a blog in there, right next to my hit counter and guest book.

My first entry in that blog looks something like this:

So the votes are officially in.

Out of the total of 4 votes I got, all of them said it would be cool to have an online journal, so here it is.

Extra special thanks go to loren who directed me to blogger, a website that will hopefully make this whole weblog (the cool kids call it a “blog”) easy and painless.

I’m off now to make dinner for the family. You know what we’re having tonight?

Burritos. No shit.

That was posted on July 24, 2001. Goddamn, that seems like an eternity ago.

The next day, I wrote this:

My birthday is this Sunday, and we’re having the carpets cleaned this morning.
And my cat, Sketch, ran out of the house, and we can’t find him.
Sucks.

And then, later, this:

Okay, you can all stop worrying. We found Sketch. He was behind the couch.
Carpets are drying, and the yard is getting clean! Whee!

Those two posts are as hilarious to me as anything I've ever posted on Twitter, and now that I look at them again, they're similar to most of the stupid things I post on Twitter, so there's that.

Shortly after I started that blog, I got even more help from loren, and after an intense month of study, trial, and error (mostly error), I made my very own website at wilwheaton.net.

I announced it in the usual fashion:

The New Site Is Open!

Holy crap!! In 6 weeks, I’ve gone from knowing nothing about HTML and using the lame Yahoo! PageBuilder, to building my own site, using php and modifying entire scripts.

This weblog will no longer be updated. Go to the new weblog, and see what’s up!

I used Grey Matter for the blog, becoming an unintentional stress tester when the existence of my blog was discovered by Fark, Metafilter, and Slashdot.

Grey Matter couldn't handle the load, so when I discovered Movable Type, I switched to that software, and it took veyr good care of me for years, through a lot of ups and downs, through my entire journey from The Guy Who Used To Be Wesley Crusher to the person I am today.

Then, in 2006, I blew it all up:

Way back in September of last year, I attempted to upgrade Movable Type, the blogging software that powers WWdN. I also attempted to move a few thousand entries and hundreds of thousands of comments into a newly-created (and faster) MySQL database.

And, uh, I broke it.

Actually, I didn’t break it. Someone who left a comment broke it when they used a seemingly random string of characters to indicate a break in their comment. Unbeknownst to me and them, it was the same string of characters MT used to indicate the end of an entry and its associated comments. When MT was moving all the data into its new (did I mention faster?) database, it came to that string of characters, and said to itself, “Oh boy! I get to start a new entry now! Let’s see, what’s the TITLE of that entry?”

Look . . . look . . . look . . .

“Uh-oh, there’s no TITLE. I’d better look some more.”

Look . . . look . . . look . . .

“Yeah, it’s still not there. Well, I don’t know what the next entry is TITLEd, so I’m going to just barf all over the server now, and fail. I’m sure one of the Users I heard about in TRON will figure this out and fix it quickly. There’s no way my User, Wil, would stay in some backup blog for six months!”

Ha! Stupid smug software. I’ve been in Exile for nine months! Who’s laughing now, jerk? 

Who's laughing, indeed.

Well, I landed here in Exile, where I've stayed for over six years, because I'd reached a point in my life where just writing was more important to me than the software and publishing platform I used to do it.

I've been very happy here, mostly because TypePad has worked very well for me, and because these have been some of the best years of my life (hooray for hard work paying off!)… but there were these moments when I'd suddenly and unexpectedly feel sad about WWdN. I'd miss the URL, and I'd miss the satisfaction that came with knowing that it was mine, that it was something I made (mostly) myself.

So I started working on stuff and things, and after a few days of not-very-intense and stupidly easy work, I taught myself WordPress. I installed it on my server. I imported all my blog entries. I messed around with some themes and basic design things. I installed plugins and widgets and made it look like something that didn't totally suck. There's still a little bit of fiddly under-the-hood server stuff that needs to happen, but it's pretty much the way I want it.

So, this weekend, after way, way too many years (or, maybe, now that I think of it, exactly the right number of years) in exile, I’m finally returning home.

Wow. Typing that made me feel all the feels. I wasn't expecting that.

I'm going home.

Yep. It happened again.

Well.

*clears throat*

If you read my blog through an RSS subscription, you won't notice any changes (It's feeds.feedburner.com/wwdn), but you'll now go to WIL WHEATON dot NET to comment instead of WIL WHEATON dot NET: in Exile.

Woah. More feels.

Um. So. Yeah. I'm sure there will be a few bumps along the way while I figure out handling comments and stuff, but I'm sure we'll find a way to get through it together.

My TODO list for WWdN looks something like this:

  • Get some of those nifty little icons for Twitter, Google Plus, Tumblr, etc., and put them up in the corner with links to their relevant accounts.
  • Maybe rotate header images, because why not?
  • Have a homebrew
  • Potentially set a fixed page as the “front page” of WWdN, which has an excerpt from the most recent blog post, as well as dynamically updating feeds from Twitter, YouTube, Tumblr, G+, etc.

WordPress veterans: Any advice you have for a WordPress noob is most welcome.

Everyone who first found me at WWdN, followed me to Exile, and plans to follow me back home*: I just can’t thank you enough for the years of support and encouragement you’ve given me. I sincerely hope it’s been worth it for you, because it’s meant a lot to me.

To everyone else out there: The secret is to bang the rocks together, guys.

*damn, all these feels are feely.

86 thoughts on “Treat her like a lady, and she’ll always bring you home.”

  1. Congratulations on finally returning home to WWDN! It was back in the early days of you settig up your blog and forums that I started to follow you. Seems like lightyears ago now. Somwhere I even have a WWDN postcard. Here’s to the next 12 years!

  2. Well, wil, I only have one thing to say…
    *grabs guitar*
    It’s been a long road, *violinists walk in*
    Getting from there to here,
    It’s been a long time, but my time is finally near. *Begin montage of favorite posts*
    And I can feel the change in the wind right now. Nothing’s in my way.
    And they’re not gonna hold me down no more, no they’re not .
    gonna hold me down. *that time you did that thing*
    Cause I’ve got faith of the heart.
    I’m going where my heart will take me.
    I’ve got faith to believe. I can do anything.
    I’ve got strength of the soul. And no one’s gonna bend or break me.
    I can reach any star. I’ve got faith, faith of the heart. *runs from tomatoes*
    Welcome back!

  3. Good morning Wil. Fingers crossed for the move!
    It has only been mentioned once but I can’t stress this enough: you need to Cache your WordPress installation. The reason why Squarespace is so successful is because they prevent your site from being going down. They use WordPress AFAIK and they have a good caching algorithm implemented.
    In case you know what “fireballed” means – I read Gruber’s site and knew what he does to WP websites. That’s where the term comes from. So when I found some errors in a presentation from a Deutsche Bank analyst John linked to, I started my own blog and the second post was me correcting those errors. Before I mailed John about it, I installed “WP Super Cache” to handle the possible influx of visitors. The site managed to handle 17GB of traffic, about 50,000 visits at about 900kb per visit, over a million http requests within a 36 hour timeframe. My site has since gone back to 40 visits per day and I disabled the caching algorithm because it prevents you from reviewing changes you make to the layout (because, you guessed it, the plugin caches everything and when you add a new logo or a link you have to wait for the cached page to expire to make WP hit up the caching plugin again to make a new, static version of the page).
    You have 2 million followers on Twitter. You need caching :-)
    I bet you already installed something and this rambling was in the end a giant humblebrag (thinking of it no it wasn’t because I didn’t include a link to my page ^^;) – I hope you don’t mind.
    Oh and get a host that backs up your MySQL databases. I bet you have a provider that does that having had all those bad upgrading experiences in the past but better mention it. People tend to forget that WP is a database and that all your content is saved in that database.
    Anyway I bet everything will work out fine. You go girl!

  4. Wow. I didn’t realize how long I’ve been reading you until you posted this. 2001? It’s gonna seem strange not being in Exile with you anymore after having been away from “home” for so long. I’m glad you are finally getting the old site back up and running, however, I will fondly remember Exile as the place where you truly found your voice.

  5. Like @Silvermoon82 and @Alex Pope, I’ve only known you here. It was July 2007. Penny Arcade was gearing up for PAX and, in-between the comics and blog posts, I read this: http://penny-arcade.com/2007/07/23/pax-20074.
    “Good grief,” I said under my breath. “Wil Wheaton’s still alive!?”
    Taking a break from work, I highlighted your name and copy-pasted it into Google. Wil Wheaton dot Net: In Exile. Okay then. Clickety-click.
    I began reading in my lunch hour. It stretched out longer than intended as I dove back over the months, taking my time over the longer, anecdotal posts. After the first few, a realisation dawned on me.
    “Good grief,” I said under my breath. “Wil Wheaton’s a writer!?”
    Late August 2007, I ordered “Just a Geek” and “Dancing Barefoot” from Amazon and read through them both in a day. They only confirmed what I already knew. You were a writer and a good one at that. In January 2008, I downloaded your Phoenix (Cactus) Comic Con reading and listened to it every Wednesday and Friday at the gym. At one stage, I had both the “Blue Light Special” and the “Justice” readings almost memorised (I’m getting brief bits coming back as I type this! “Little does my brain know that it’s one Guiness away from complete coma …”). Audio books followed, as did the Happiest Days of Our Lives Special Edition… eventually, which my wife will never let me forget. The Criminal Minds Production Diary joined the Phoenix Comic Con as the background to my gym visits. I still hope that one day you’ll be able to share the wisdom you got from the Gruesome Twosome (see http://wilwheaton.typepad.com/wwdnbackup/2008/10/criminal-mind-2.html).
    I de-lurked on April 4th 2008. I was a bit of a whiney dick on May 16th 2008. I commented about my most favourite of all your blog posts on June 10th 2008, which gives me sads today because the dog I talked about died suddenly later that same year (“Houses in Motion”, “Let Go” and “Blue Light Special”, repeated for the record). You gave me good advice on November 20th 2009 and, a couple of days later, I stood up in front of 30 strangers and performed my short story, “I Am Made Of Lego” (http://dkplewis.blogspot.co.uk/2010/01/i-am-made-of-lego.html). I did not suck. Thank you. In December 2010, I got an honourable mention from you in a caption competition that featured far too many smurfs.
    What I’m getting at is that this blog, this emergency backup, has been the constant background for watching you go from “that bloke who used to be on Star Trek” to “that bloke who writes and plays a dick on Eureka and gave us W00tstock”. I haven’t been a consistent commenter, but WWdn: In Exile has had a place in my RSS reader for 5 years. It’s going to be strange to see the URLs without “wwdnbackup” in them. Strange but also good.
    Welcome home, Wil Wheaton.

  6. Congrats on going home again. I’m married to a web designer/developer who does a lot in wordpress so umm I guess I’ll keep an on out to see if you post any specific questions about WP and help out when/if I can.

  7. Hey Wil
    I’m a long time lurker from the old days (wwdn & just before ST:TNG) ( & NO, I’m NOT a Wesley hater, I just really enjoy your writing (except poker, not into that stuff), I’m a Geordi LaForge, & Data Fan, I follow you on twitter, as for FB, I hate it to a degree & just use it for very close friends & family & very little else..
    I’ve been in Livejournal hell for a little over 9 years (01/18/2003-present) before that it was a crappy little site that was so frustrating to use that I hated writing in my old journal, that site I used was BEFORE LJ went public, as I had an invite sent to me by a close friend who has since died..
    I have since last December had an iMac, but cant find a decent wysiwyg app for it thats free or really cheap, ( I’m very poor & also legally blind, so fancy flash based stuff pisses me off)
    When I was using a windows machine, I used a nifty little application called SEMAGIC, loved it, except when it crashed, which luckily for me was pretty rare..
    I hate going ON the website to do my blogging, I just want a application that can sit in my dock, & just be used when needed & is simple to use, has basic functionality & isnt a pain in the a** to use & is simple enough that voiceover can use it..
    (( btw, Brent cracks me up, that guy has awesome humor! & I follow LeVar on Twitter)
    Peace
    Live Long & Prosper
    Em Green
    btw, I’m buschic on Twitter & FB.

  8. I just wanted to say how great it is to see someone really care about creating their own content and managing it themselves. Yes, you CAN feel feelings about running your own site and it’s GOOD! :)
    Your memories of setting up your first Geocities (RIP — /EnchantedForest, anyone?) site ring true with me as well. I remember many middle-school hours spent teaching myself HTML and being immensely proud when I could make something little happen…like keeping my background image static. Some of my happiest memories.
    I’m so glad you’re coming home!!

  9. I started reading Wil’s blog when he was on WWdN so you kids had better git off my lawn!
    I’m glad you’re going home, Wil. BulletProof Security and EZPZ Backup are my favorite WordPress add-ons. I started using them after I got hacked :/ Have not been hacked since. Likely because I now have up-to-date backups :P But seriously BulletProof Security helps fix your PHP code and other settings so you’re less vulnerable to attack.

  10. Just finished a WordPress install for someone else. Number one thing I wish I knew before starting (maybe too late for you if you haven’t already done this) is to make a Child Theme of the theme you are using, so that when you make changes to the css or php they won’t get overwritten when your theme gets an upgrade!

  11. Jeezly bees, Wil. What’s more surprising than you being surprised by the feelings of exile and return is my surprise at being surprised by my feelings about your feelings of exile and return.
    I remember, quite distinctly, the night in the rural theater when I watched, as a 14-year old (going on 15) kid with nostalgia what I thought was a recreation of my summer from two years earlier. The only radio station that came in where I lived was an AM oldies station, so the soundtrack of Stand by Me was my everyday, contemporary soundtrack. The vast majority of my comics were from the early sixties. My dad drove a rusted out ’59 Chevrolet.
    That movie (and the novella) hits me at about 40 different levels, en route to 42 as I get older.
    I plugged into your blog around SpongeBob Vega$, I think – followed you into exile after the humorous(to me)/tragic(to you) implosion of the loose record of your seemingly temporary thoughts.
    I had no clue how nostalgic exile would make me for the old blog, and not because of interface or anything like that. Its remarkable how durable your posts are, and I’ve gone diving for the ancient ones more often than I care to admit. Exile for the host, of course, is alien and a little amputated, like you aren’t working with all the background notes. But for the reader, I wouldn’t have thought that I would have felt the move or look to the move back like it was a long-expected party.
    But I do.
    Thanks for asking me and the rest of the gang to climb up Solsbury Hill with you, because there’s no denying I’m moved, too. In some odd little miraculous way, I can feel my heart going boom boom boom.

  12. Quick tip that will save you face and time. If you customize your wordpress theme by doing manual edits, be sure to record and re-apply any customizations after updating said theme.
    Otherwise, you’ll find something on your site that’s not working right in three months and realize it hasnt been working ever since you updated the theme. Then you have to remember all the customizations you need to fix.

  13. Congratulations! I’m so excited by this, I miss WWdN (not that I don’t love this site). I can’t believe I have been reading your blog for over ten years!
    Your blog inspired me to start my own, which has been an up and down process, and after two years dormant I just got mine going again. I’m also thinking about moving to WordPress. I’m so curious to see what WWdN is going to look like!

  14. As much as I love you being back to your original site (cg to that) it makes me sad that “Teh Soapbox” which you started is literally dead. Mr.Sphynx long time lurker on that board.

  15. WordPress is super easy to figure out. As someone else mentioned, if you can’t figure something out google is your friend. There’s also tons of info and help on the WordPress forums.
    Some of the plugins I use are Jetpack for WordPress, All in one SEO, Google XML sitemaps, Hypercache, Social Media Widget, and AskApache Crazy Cache.
    If you want to build a custom theme but don’t want to go through the hassle of coding it all by hand there’s a nifty program called Artisteer you should check out.

  16. FEEL ALL THE FEELS!
    Congrats on the return home. I wish I had your determination to find a format that is precisely what you want. Someday, perhaps, I shall go once more into that particularly daunting breach (yup, that’s what he said), but I’m not yet so brave.
    Go forth, good sir, and return home.

  17. Wil – OH YES! I can’t wait. I’ve been reading you since at least 2002, when I realized I had to check out this ‘blog’ stuff I’d been hearing about and rediscoverd YOU! Yay! You’ve been influential, sir, and improved my life, and I thank you.

  18. Welcome to wordpress!
    I recommend:
    Wordpress Seo by Yoast; a good seo plugin, which also attaches your gplus profile (people will see your profile pic in search results)
    Vaultpress; not cheap but a great backup solution made by automattic, the guys behind wordpress. Trust me, you’ll be glad you used.
    Jetpack is indeed a great plugin.
    A good caching plugin, like w3 total cache.
    Be glad to help, anytime

  19. Just visited your site on my iphone. If you do so, you’ll see that some images are wider than the content column. as a result the content column is narrow and text is hard to read. There are a few solutions; one is to remove width (and height) attributes or set width to 100%.

  20. A site like tools.pingdom.com can help you find bottlenecks in site performance (google pagespeed is also excellent)
    Xtra plugins:
    -bulletproof security
    -limit login attempts
    -two factor authentication (just like gmail, even using the same google app)
    - consider using disqus to outsource your comments, i’ve been hacked twice through comments even with akismet running. Their plugin integrates well into wordpress.

  21. If you read my blog through an RSS subscription, you won’t notice any changes if you’re reading feeds.feedburner.com/wwdn
    I’m using the feed but I haven’t had any posts from the new WWDN yet…I’ve changed my subscription to http://wilwheaton.net/feed/ but thought I’d better comment in case you weren’t expecting it to not be working yet?

  22. Until I make a final post here with a link to the new site, I wasn't
    going to change the feedburner link.
    Both links (the new one you've subscribed to and the feedburner link)
    will work, going forward.

  23. In all that time I’ve been on LiveJournal to WordPress and now learning Drupal and CSS. I was on MySpace and now Facebook and Twitter and Instagram and Tumblr. My how we “grow” up and I’ve been having fun co-growing up with you :) Thanks for the wonderful memories and the books. I’m still along for the ride. Let’s go!

  24. Just found your blog today. Love it! I remember watching you in Next Generation and in Stand by Me. I also enjoy your showdowns with Sheldon Cooper on Big Bang Theory. I recently started re-watching NG on NetFlix with my 17-year-old-son. Just wanted to say again how much we enjoy you and keep up the good work!

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