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

This is the second to last post I made at WWdN:in Exile. I’m copying it here for completion’s sake.

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 FarkMetafilter, 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 wasmine, 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 if you’re reading 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.

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

  1. Emerging from exile often means you are stronger and wiser than when it began, ready to return with a clarity and self-awareness that would not have been gained without that period away. Enjoy the fresh energy from returning to your domain!

  2. I think I’m one of those “Everyone who first found me at WWdN, followed me to Exile, and plans to follow me back home*” people. I’ve enjoyed reading your stuff for years. And will continue to do so! You are made of awesome-sauce. Thank you for being there for all of us geeks.

  3. Nice choice with WordPress (then again, all of my sites have been on WordPress for years, so I might be a teensy bit biased). When the platform stays out of your way, it’s amazing how easy it makes the future. Oh, the places you will go…

  4. Hey Wil, that was a funny post. I dig it!

    Welcome to WordPress. I live in it every day (at my day job) and some of the stuff you want to do is pretty easy, especially since you have geek credentials already.

    This theme (Twenty Eleven) is a good one, but if you want to get that custom home page you’re envisioning, I’d swap themes and get soemthing that has what you want already built in. I like Woothemes and StudioPress. But a Google search will give you more than you know what to do with. Skip the free themes and get a premium theme from a reputable vendor… the support they provide you is priceless.

    But if you want to trick out what you have now, then try this one for starters. Adds social icons to your navigation instead of the ones that say “Facebook” and “Twitter”… it’s pretty much “copy-n-paste” coding! :)

    Extend Twenty Eleven Navigation with Your Social Icons

  5. Great to see you back. I’m a recent fan. I just finished J.A.G. and loved it. I look forward to following you Wil!

  6. As one of those long-time followers-I think I found WWDN just after the move from geo-cities, I often wondered if your page would ever come out of exile, but also thought it wasn’t that big of deal because the writing was what kept bringing me back. Congrats!

    In other news, now you have two generations from my house following WWDN. My 18 yr. old son just went off to college and texted me he started reading it after telling his room-mates he once met WW at a little bookstore in San Diego and you guys talked Harry Potter.

  7. I’m really excited about reading your old blogs up to the new ones. I’m a bit of an old school blog junky – when I can find them. Anyhoo I better get on it, plus if you learn any wordpress wizardry, please share, I need to learn more myself!

  8. In one of those major life co-inky-dinks I had just settled in to gleefully enjoy my long awaited read of Just A Geek, (looong story why it took me so long to get it) when I saw my phone blinking with an update, LO and BEHOLD just as I’m reading about the inception of WWdN there is the announcement of its triumphant return! So here’s where I pretend that you clearly had heard about my purchase of your book for my Kindle and decided to resurrect your old stomping grounds in my honor. Hey it’s my fantasy now let me get back to my, er, your book, I’ve just started chapter 7.

  9. Wil, would you be willing to discuss the technical side of the website. OS, software installed, etc. Been a while since I have looked at that stuff, but still am interested in it. I also understand mentioning that stuff can be a security issue, so I understand if you don’t want to discuss.

  10. I first found my way here in 2002. This I know because it was right when *gasp* Nemesis came out. I was over on what passed for message boards on StarTrek.com and several fans were discussing the upcoming film. Between quoting movies and episodes and generally geeking out, the inevitable “where are they now?” conversation came up regarding young Wesley. Someone there knew about your blog. I didn’t. I went and checked it out on my oh so fast DSL, and I remember really enjoying the then recent entries. But I confess I wasn’t a regular reader for a while. I just popped on occasionally until the Exhile. That’s when I started visiting more often. So, I’ll miss the tiny island in the sea, but I’m happy here too. I’m glad you’ve come home, Wil. :)

  11. Please, if you havn’t already done this – consult someone whom you trust that knows WordPress security in and out.
    I like WordPress – really, I do – but unless you’re staying on top of security, you’ll quickly find your site hijacked to serve malware or other crud.

    You really really need to stay on top of WordPress updates, otherwise you’ll find your blog is infected with malware links and spam mailers pretty quickly.

    Also – and this should go without saying, but it’s just as important as security – Backups! Please make sure the database, if nothing else, is shipped to an off-site location regularly (multiple is better). This should be automatic, on a schedule, and requiring no human intervention unless it stops working.

  12. So, I don’t know if you’re still reading the comments on this post, Wil– I read most of what you write, but sometimes it takes a week or two to get to it…

    Anyway, congratulations on the return! Long-time reader, glad to see you home.

    I’ve installed WordPress more times than I care to count, and run the tech side of a moderately popular sports blog that runs on WordPress. Here’s some general WP advice:

    – Experiment! There’s a huge community of people who are creating really cool stuff for this platform, and if there’s something you want WWdN to do, you can probably find a plug-in that does 80% of what you want, and you can spend 45 minutes customizing that up to 95%.

    – Experiment! … on your test server/site. Because those amazingly awesome plugins and themes that all do cool stuff often break each other, and there’s nothing worse than the whole production coming down when you thought you could make one small change in 10 minutes and then go do something fun but then you have to spend the next three hours scrambling and googling furiously and hoping your readers don’t hate you.

    So get it working on hiddentestsite.wilwheaton.net first. Otherwise life will occasionally be horrible in many ways.

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