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. I had a blog way back when “blog” wasn’t a word yet, and I was all, “Blog? I have an ONLINE JOURNAL douchenugget.” Because that was classy.
    Everything I wrote online prior to an hour ago embarrasses the hell out of me, frankly.
    Welcome home when you get there, Wil.

  2. Congrats! I love WordPress. That’s where my site (albeit not updated frequently) runs off of and what I recommend to clients or others who ask me advice. If you need assistance I’d be more then happy to help.
    Also a few tips – install the apps to help you track statistics and views (obviously) as well as a spam filter (you will get lots of spam… I am a no one and gets TONS of spam). I use the standard twitter app on my right side bar that is customized to the color codes in my theme. :) Look forward to seeing what the new site looks like!

  3. Just finished watching Tabletop, popped over to the facebook and it informed me that you had tweeted a new blog post. I’m entirely too connected to the internet or something.
    Anyway, as ‘connected’ as I am…I’m more of a casual user of tech. I enjoy what others produce but have limited or minimal practical application skills to pass on…sorry I can’t offer advice or help. :(
    I wish you the best in your meta-transmorgifications of the exile to home….at least that’s what I think is going on….not sure. Tech is hard! I think its hard cause its second cousin to Math!

  4. I was going to say “isn’t it lovely that you used a quote from Firefly for your subject header”, but I thought perhaps not…
    Seriously, though, when Dr McCoy said that to Data, you didn’t see the bit just off camera. See, it wasn’t just McCoy who was visiting the Enterprise D; Kirk was there too, incognito because everyone still thought he’d died when someone dropped a bridge on him, even though of course that’s ridiculous. So McCoy’s full line was actually “Treat her like a lady — no, not like you treat a lady, Jim. Or else, treat her like Jim treats his toupee, and she’ll alway bring you home.”
    But that got cut ‘cos the episode was running over time.
    So now you know!

  5. I had a LiveJournal before the term blog was all fancy -it’s weird we started around the same time but on different platforms.
    I’ll be happy to follow you over to where I’m already at (using WordPress m’self) and I’m sure you’ll know more about it than me in a relatively short amount of time.
    Welcome home!

  6. You’ve been gone longer than you were home…but it’s good to have you home again…
    Will the old place recognize you?…Will it shrink or supersize you?…Will all the hardcore nuts just ostracize you?…But i think it’ll be OK…Now that you’re back home to stay.

  7. Keep the code up to date religiously–server and extensions and system. You’ll be a target for the script kiddies, and maybe some serious attacks. Every time I’ve left a wordpress install idle for any length of time, it gets hacked, and nobody comes to my blog. Thankfully, WordPress makes it easy, and hopefully you’re using a managed server solution.

  8. Yay WordPress! We do all of our websites (thedoubleclicks.com, etc) on WordPress.org, and we love them. We’re happy to help you with anything – but really the best thing about wordpress is that if you have an issue, or an idea of something you want to change – no matter how specific – the answer is just a google away. The wordpress community (on forums, on the codex, and even on reddit) is extremely helpful, open, and google-able!

  9. Congratulations! Definitely make sure you have Akismet or some other type of spam filter installed. As for the other changes, there’s a plugin for just about everything, but depending on the theme you have, some of the template or css files might need changes to their code to get things just like you want them. I’ve been configuring WordPress installations and designing WordPress themes for awhile, so let me know if I can help at all.

  10. Ahhhh online journals… I believe I started my first one on LiveJournal, or “LJ” as it were. Oh how time flies.
    Congrats on going home, sir. Very happy for you and your blog. ;)

  11. My friend Phil Hofer (AKA Frumph) is a WordPress developer and is a great source of information for anything concerning it. He’s helped me out a number of times over the past few years and I’m sure you’d benefit greatly from his wisdom. You can reach him via his website at Frumph.net or via Twitter/Facebook.

  12. Welcome to the Word Press world. All the sites I manage for my personal stuff are via WP. Biggest thing? Back up is paramount to breathing. Will love your comments on it when you begin to dive in.

  13. Hooray! I feel like I should dig out my “Wil Wheaton Has a Posse” baseball jersey and wear it in celebration!
    WordPress is great! I use it and in spite of my mumblemumblebignumbermumblemumble of (mostly accidental) efforts, I’ve never managed to break it beyond repair. You’ll be fine.

  14. Cool! Another super long time reader (and infrequent commenter) here.
    But does this mean we’ll get an update on the Wil’s 8 bit crest t-shirt? I need an excuse to buy another, as mine is very worn. :)

  15. Congratulations! I had a Diaryland “blog”, then I blogged a bit on Myspace and now I’m at wordpress.com and they host. I haven’t gotten so sophisticated that I have my own site and use the .org software. But I don’t do anything that fancy and I find it gives me what I need for my limited needs. But it is fun to share your feelings and experiences with the world. I will follow your blogs to wherever they may be.

  16. wait, you aren’t going to be “in exile” anymore? i’d better change your name on my RSS feed, then. gosh, i’ve been reading you since 2005 or 2006, i guess. : O

  17. Your step of having a homebrew reminded me to remind you here. You offered to send me one of your brown ales while at PAX. I would love to take you up on that offer sir.

  18. Well, if you need any WordPress tips, you can ping me anytime. I’m always happy to help the poor noobs on the block. You’ll probably be fine, though. WordPress is very geek-friendly.

  19. Did anyone else hear Tim Curry singing “…and I realize, I’m Going home”?
    When I first followed you, you were already in Exile; but I will faithfully follow wherever you lead. You’re a good man, Wil. Stay awesome.

  20. I’ve been here for years, and I’m happy you are making the leap forward to go back. Good work. I also freelance for some WordPress experts in San diego. http://Www.binarym.com. I know they create many WordPress extensions and design wordpress sites.Ask for Matt McInvale or Chris Daley, if you have the need. Not me. I just write copy. :)

  21. I did sort of the same thing but backwards. About 4 years ago I imported my circa-1998 website into WordPress. I was tired of editing HTML via ssh. I don’t remember exactly what possessed me to pick WP, but I quickly realized that my website already *was* a blog. I just did it all by hand before. I was able to modify a plugin that let me import the HTML pages into posts. Some parts were static, but WP does a nice job of giving you the best of both without too much complexity (looking at you, Joomla). Good luck!

  22. If you don’t have it already, you will want W3 Total Cache plugin for performance: http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/w3-total-cache/
    Just follow the recommended settings in the Installation tab there, and you’ll improve performance by at least 10x. I was tasked to build an easy-to-edit-by-scared-communication-staff emergency website for the university I work at. In the case of a campus emergency, we can switch our website over to the emergency site, and they wanted it to be able to handle a *lot* of traffic. Out of the box, WordPress was able to serve about 6800 requests per minute, and with W3TotalCache only partly enabled (I’m not using minify or object caching), it can serve ~98000 requests per minute… more than enough to handle an old-school Slashdotting.
    @Acheron

  23. I’m one of those that followed you into exile and I’m honored to follow you out. I just looked and my wwdn link somehow managed to follow me in my bookmarks list through several computers in the intervening years. I’m looking forward to putting it back at the top of the list. :)

  24. As I read I found myself thinking, “Damn, I’ve been reading Wil for a loooong time” because I remember your pre-exile days. Your posts encouraged me to start my own blog. It took a few months to get the courage to start as well as to stop over-thinking it, but I’ve been blogging for over 7 years now. Thanks. :)

  25. I discovered you here on TypePad and through reading what you have written here, (and in reading your books),I have gone on my own little adventure in writing, setting up a TypePad account; making sure to be as entertaining in documenting the goofy shit in my life.
    One more thing, your writings have inspired me to assemble the lost blogs, (so far I’ve found three), journal entries I’ve kept on my machine and assemble them into something representing the Prattle and Twaddle that is my life.
    Thanks for being ‘that author’ and that ‘guy, ya’ know?’ who’s stories sparked the memories of my own childhood. (It was your ‘Summer memories never fade away’ post where I started compiling everything into one location. With so much material to work with, I’m finding it both challenging and fun stringing the stories together because as I type – the memories flood back and provide so much more to sort through.
    Not complaining, I’m on my third chapter.
    [Diiiinnnng!]
    Thanks again and you can bet I’ll follow you over to WordPress…where I discover that I have a page locked and loaded :)

  26. Dang. I’ve been reading you for that long??? Actually, I realize now I must have started in 2004, because it was a post by you on a political blog during the election year that led me to your own blog. I have to say, it’s been kinda awesome watching you hit your stride again with the acting gigs, and your writing has gotten more and more relaxed and confident too. Kudos!

  27. I’m a professional WordPress developer, and here’s all of my advice: just google it. Because if you take the time to ask a WP geek* to fix it for you, that’s all they’re going to do. There is absolutely nothing under the hood you aren’t smart enough to figure out quickly.
    * and by any geek, I obviously mean me.

  28. I’ve just spend a couple of days researching FB/Twitter/etc buttons for WordPress. Check out the “Add This” and “Share This” plugins. There are others out there, but these two are at the top of my list. Just giving a bit back for all the laughs/thinks you’ve given me over the years. :) Cheers mate.

  29. Don’t know if you’ll read this far down in the comments, but I’ve been reading you since I came across a mention of WWdN in Wired, that had to have been, like 2005 or so? Either way I’m 99% sure you’re the one blog I’ve read the longest. I may have started reading because I loved you on Star Trek, but you’ve kept me here with your amazing writing. You’re the same age as my husband so it’s interesting to watch you grow together. So what I’m saying is I’ll follow you anywhere (but not in a weird stalkery way).

  30. Wil, Feedburner may be going away in the near future. You might want to look into an alternative feed server, or at least use the My Brand option Feedburner has for now. My Brand will allow you to not lose any subscribers when / if Feedburner dies.

  31. Try the ‘Sociable’ plugin. It has all of the social networking icons (including Twitter, FB, Google+ et al) and automatically creates links to them for each page that it is enabled on. Even if you don’t use it like that, you can at least use their icon set, which exist in different sizes and styles.

  32. Hurrah! I never bothered to change the bookmark to WWdN, as it amused me as the years went by to see how long you were in Exile.
    Mr Wheaton; take us home.

  33. I have the mixed feels.
    I’ve only known you here. It’s been years. And as a reader of your blog the typepad aspect hasn’t been a difficult one, per se. So I have no hard feels for this place. It kinda feels like home for me.
    But, clearly from your above blog, your domain feels all the feely feels for you.
    So. I’m happy for you. So. I am looking forward to the move. Though, for now, I will regard this place with a certain amount of fondness because it’s where I found you and all your bloggy feelnesses.
    Cheers and congrats for finally making the move you’ve wanted to for a long time now.
    See you there!

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