Tag Archives: blogging

Respecting Fan Spaces

As Amanda wrote over the weekend, she is considering where to take this blog. I’d like to share where I’m at in all of this, for those who may be interested.

The band is on some sort of hiatus, at least when it comes to performing. I don’t know what, if anything, they’re working on. They certainly deserve time off, and I’m not questioning that. However, we write about them. We write about being fans. Without the band doing much, it makes blogging a creative challenge. In and of itself, that doesn’t bother me, but it is something I consider. I tend to split my posts evenly between dates in history and fan issues – but sometimes it can all get a bit thin. I mean, there’s only so much one can write about a performance somewhere or a radio interview. On the other hand, topics having to do with fandom are another ball of wax.

I have found, over the course of the past eight years or so, that people either love us or hate us – and many start out loving us until we write something they hate. Not surprising, but definitely has its annoying moments. Not enough to make me stop blogging, but more than enough to convince me to keep my circle of genuine friends incredibly tight. I’ve learned that writing about fandom can be a double-edged sword. In many ways, it is eye-opening, and feels cleansing (for me) to understand why things happen the way they do. On the other hand, I’m examining something that most everyone has a lot of time, money and emotion tied into. There are always a few fans that are instantly offended, likely because they see a bit of themselves in what we describe and they don’t like it.

I’m going to write the explanation again in case it wasn’t understood before. We are really not judgmental of fans, although yes, sometimes I ask and present tough questions. I’m not shy about it, and I’m not sorry. I have my own opinions on things, and yep, sometimes dear reader, you’re not going to agree with me. I can accept that. Once I write something, a reader is going to respond however they feel. I hit ‘publish’, and the words are no longer my own. I feel good about letting go.

That said, Amanda and I are still fans of Duran Duran. We still  function in the community. Much to the dismay of a select few, we haven’t been burnt at the stake yet, and no – the band hasn’t asked us to stop going to shows. We’re not going anywhere. We not only acknowledge our fandom, we celebrate it every single day when we write, and I think this is where it gets sticky because what Amanda and I see as positive exploration, others find offensive. I guess when it comes down to it, Amanda and I are a bit unusual, if not flat-out weird.

We’re even sometimes embarrassed by our own behavior as fans. I’ve written about those moments MANY, MANY times…but somehow, those blogs are easy to ignore. For those who have already dismissed the blog as being a bunch of lies, or that Amanda and I are evil bitches with an ax to grind, I’d imagine that reading something where we admit to being silly or human doesn’t really fit the agenda.

As I told Amanda last week, sometimes I feel as though the blog has run its course. After eight years, it is a good challenge to find something new to write about. I spend a lot of time writing, when I could be researching or writing one of our own projects. While being a fan is absolutely a joy, writing about fandom is my passion. The blog here is just for fun – which I desperately need at times. That is why I want to continue Daily Duranie.

Keeping with that “fun” theme, I must be careful in the future about how topics are presented here, because fans are so emotionally vested, and naturally biased. Like I said, I think Amanda and I are just kind of weird. We enjoy being fans and doing all the “things”, but we also like examining WHY we do all of the things. We’re not afraid to call ourselves (fans, collectively) out in the process. While I don’t have an answer as to why I am able to compartmentalize (and sometimes I can’t – which is another issue for another day), I need to respect YOUR fan space. Point taken.

-R

Seven years of burning the ground, and we reached our resource limit!

Crazy things happen. For example, last Thursday afternoon, someone let us know that our blog was displaying a strange screen instead of our website. I checked it out, and sure enough, our website was nowhere to be found. Instead, viewers were told that we’d reached a 508 resource limit.

(I sound like I actually know what I’m writing about. Amusing.)

Here’s the deal: I’m no webmaster. I try my best, but in actuality, I am  learning as I go. Seven and a half years ago, I was scared to death when Daily Duranie went “live”. I had no idea what I was doing.  A bit later, and I do the unthinkable. I decide we can self-host, and I have the audacity to think I can actually keep it all working. I move the blog to our own shared server space, and it works fantastically. Until of course, it doesn’t.

The thing is, starting out, MOST websites work unless you’re using a theme or plugins that don’t. However, when you’ve got seven years under you, there’s a lot of stuff. Things need cleaned. They need maintenance. It is like owning a seven-year old vehicle. Sometimes, things need fixing. I am not a mechanic.

So my Thursday night was spent getting close and personal with the back, back-end of the site. The first thing I had to look up was what a 508 resource limit meant! Then I looked at stuff on our back-end that, to be honest, I’d never looked at before. One thing I learned was that our server has its own site metrics, and its own stats. Both files are frighteningly more accurate than what we’ve got through WordPress.

I learned that we have, quite honestly, ten times as many unique page views as I’d ever thought, on SLOW days. During times when Amanda and I are actually on the road together, our traffic here is almost alarming. At first, I sat staring at the screen saying, “That’s just not possible. It just can’t be.”

Amanda and I had a good laugh, admitted our naivety, and surmised that this is exactly the kind of thing that would happen to the two of us. It explains a lot of things, though…including the problem at hand.

The 508 resource limit, which I didn’t know how to fix. I read some articles, and I watched a few YouTube videos.  (You can learn ANYTHING on YouTube!) It came down to a couple of basic things: 1. This site needed to be optimized. 2. I needed to clean out the crap. I did both, but once a site reaches your resource max – that means that you’ve used up all of the resources your server has allocated to you for that given period. I had to wait for the site to renew our allocations. Thankfully, that meant waiting until the following day. It worked. But that doesn’t mean it wouldn’t happen again.

I’ve done all that I can do at this point to ensure we never hit a resource limit again, primarily because I’m out of time, out of knowledge, and out of money. In order to ensure we never run out of allocated resources, we’d have to upgrade our hosting. As I said, we get quite a bit of traffic, and on a busy day –  if the site isn’t running at its optimum, we could easily run into resource limit problems again. As it is currently, the site costs us a fair amount of money each year to host. Upgrading isn’t cheap.  So how to make the site pay for itself?  Good question. Our ads never quite paid off for us, so I took them down. They looked like crap, and no one clicked on them anyway. That said, Amanda and I cannot afford to put more of our money into the site at this point.

You may or may not have noticed a new addition to the home page. If you look near the top right corner, just under our menu – there’s a “Donate” button. It’s not very big. It doesn’t have bright neon lights shouting it’s presence. But it is there, quietly asking for your support.

Amanda and I love Daily Duranie. I think it’s fair to say we loved it before anyone besides the two of us read a single word. We wrote for the love of the band, and we wrote for the love of being fans. We still do. That said, it costs real money to keep the site running. It costs real money to put on a convention, to do meet-ups, and to have fun. We are asking for your help – whether that is a few dollars, or a bit more if you are able and so inclined. If you know Amanda and I, you realize how difficult this is for us. We’re not very good at asking. I read a book about that once, and here I am. I need to ask for your help. I worry about doing this because I hate being vulnerable. It’s uncomfortable, and we wouldn’t do it if we really didn’t need your support. We’re not asking anyone to pay us a salary, or to fund the next tour.  We just want to keep the site running. Anything extra would be used for future conventions and meet ups, should we be so lucky to be offered that much help.

If you click on the link, it will take you to PayPal, where you can type in a monetary amount of your choosing to donate to “Discord & Rhyme”. That’s actually Amanda and I, so don’t worry! We’re trying to change that back to Daily Duranie, but for now – it’s Discord & Rhyme.

This isn’t going to be like your local PBS station continually asking for donations. The button is going to stay for a while, but this is the one and only blog I’m going to be writing about it. Should we want to try something different for fun, and we might as time goes on here, we may write about it, but other than that – it’s back to business as usual here with NO resource limit on the fun stuff! Love, friendship, music, party times, and Duran Duran.

Thank you in advance for helping to keep this site up and running. We really appreciate the love, kindness and support.

-R

Do you know where we are?

As we were deciding upon what to say in our little birthday video I posted yesterday, Amanda and I talked about what we wanted to do with the blog going forward. The thought occurred that we might be best served by directing the question to our readers.

What would YOU like to read about or have featured on the blog, particularly in the days ahead where the band is not actively touring?

We know that the two of us – Amanda and I – are at our best when we’re together. Probably because we make one another laugh.  We also recognize that when the band is touring and we’re on the road – crazy things happen that make blogging very easy.  The trouble is, blogging is not our day job, and touring doesn’t happen 24/7. So we’re forced to come up with other creative ideas!

Over the years, many have asked us to do video, or to do podcasts.  Videos from us are sporadic, and while we like doing them every once in a while, we have found that doing them regularly doesn’t seem to thrill people. We’ve tried some ideas out, but to be fair – most of our videos are not well-watched. I am sure there are a plethora of reasons for that, but one of which is that it’s difficult to watch at work. Not many people can and will take time from their evenings, or from family, to sit and watch a video. I know this because it is the same way for me here. I have almost no “me” time at home in the evenings, and I think trying to squeeze in a video on top of that is really tough. I have a hard enough time sitting down to listen to the Katy Kafe’s!

On the same token, I’ve been told that podcasts are great because many of you have the luxury of putting in earbuds or listening while doing something else, whether at work or at home. Personally, I like the idea of doing a podcast in some respects, but the challenge for Amanda and I is in logistics. We both work, and finding the time to record on a regular basis is the issue. We also feel as though we need some guidance from you as to what topics you might want us to talk about, so please let us know.

Aside from those things though, what else might you want to see from us? Is there anything you really don’t like? What about things we used to do – once upon a time we had “game day” where we put up Duran-themed puzzles and things, for instance.  October is rapidly approaching – is anyone ready for a second pumpkin carving contest?

What about the website itself? Are there features missing that you might like to see? I am pretty sure it’s about time for an update – it’s a task I’ve avoided simply because it’s easy to stick with the same thing, but I know it’s probably time to freshen up. You may have noticed the ads have been removed – we never found them to be very helpful as far as paying for the website (it is not free and we pay for it out-of-pocket).

This survey is very informal. We’re just hoping a few of you care enough to answer, whether by email (dailyduranie@gmail.com ) or on Facebook, or even in our Facebook inbox or Twitter. We’re open to your ideas, however crazy or small they may seem!

-R