Tag Archives: blogging

With Chickens Standing Round

Caught inside MY own motion

Hello Wednesday! Today’s blog is going to be short, because I am injured. Yesterday, as I was trying to go in and clean up after my chickens, I stepped up into the coop only to trip, drop the 40 lb bag of stall refresher I was carrying and fall face first onto the floor. I tried to break my fall with my hand, but only managed to somehow jam my pinky into the chicken ladder leading up to their roost. At first, I thought I was fine, but my stupid finger is definitely not “fine”. I can’t imagine I broke it, but it’s not super straight right now, it’s bruised, a little swollen, and it hurts like hell. Typing is a challenge. On top of that, I managed to really scrape my left arm and shoulder, along with banging up my right knee. As I said to my friend Lori last night, I’m one fall away from a hip replacement. This is dumb and I object!

Meanwhile, there is this post to write!

If you haven’t followed, liked or subscribed…

I wanted to make a general appeal to the people who follow us on Twitter, or the folks who see our posts on Facebook. First of all, if you see our posts on Facebook but haven’t taken the time to like/follow our page – there’s no time like the present! The next year is going to get busy, and if you want to stay updated – that is the best way to do it! If you’ve already done that, please subscribe to this site and blog! We would really like to make more of an impact on Google, and that is one way to really help us with our visibility.

Ads, ads, ads…

I know many of you see the ads and hate them. I get it, and I recognize that they might be a put off. The fact is, we’ve been running a website now for nine years, and we get enough traffic to where we had to adjust our server accordingly. What was once a cheap hobby is now not so inexpensive on a yearly basis, and the ads along with our donate button help Amanda and I to cover some (but not nearly all) of those costs. We certainly appreciate your support. During the next year, I am hoping to upgrade our sound and video equipment so that when we travel or even do video calls at home, I’m able to put together reasonably decent footage rather than our current (very) amateur hatchet jobs . Many have asked us to do podcasts, and somehow, I suspect we will be doing some during the next year. They’ll never take the place of our blog posts or even the videos, but they’ll be additional to our content.

Security!!

Another housekeeping issue is the security “issue” that seems to keep cropping up for some (including myself, which is funny) when they try to open the site. First of all, let me assure you that Daily Duranie isn’t trying to “spoof” anyone. We aren’t trying to get your financial or personal details, and so the security notification many of you seem to get is unsubstantiated. That said, let me try to explain what is happening. When one owns a website, there is ample opportunity to buy a ton of crap for it that isn’t needed in every case. Security certificates are one of those things.

That certificate merely says that the site isn’t trying to steal information, and that it is keeping every transaction private. That is wonderful to have…if you’re selling something. We however, are not. We DO accept donations through PayPal, though. When you click on the “donate” button, you’re taken to PayPal directly in a different window, so the transaction isn’t happening on this site, and we do not save the information. When you click on “subscribe”, however, WordPress does save your email address. That’s it. The bottom line is that I felt buying a security certificate would be overkill for the few donations we receive. If this site began selling things or started to be a vendor marketplace for collectibles (for example), then the story would be different.

So, why does the screen pop up then? A lot of times, this happens after you’ve updated your device. It is not a “site” issue, it is a user-browser problem. It seems that once you’ve visited the site (and yes, you CAN visit the site even after that screen pops up. Simply just clicking on “visit site anyway” will get you here.), the problem goes away. I know we’re not the only website to have the issue though, and I am looking into what options I have, including just buying the certificate.

It’s time for a makeover!

Lastly, once my finger is better – I am likely going to be taking the site offline for a few days. Not even Amanda knows this, but I need to work on archiving some of our very old blogs because the site is huge (note to self: LEARN HOW TO DO THIS). Additionally, I’d like to completely overhaul the site with a makeover in honor of 2020 and #DD40! While I like the current site set-up, it’s time for a change. In order to do it though, the site has to be down for a bit so I can tinker, rearrange, and figure it all out. I’ll let you know when that is going to happen before I take it down though. If anyone has any ideas for things they’d like to see here – pass them on to us though our gmail!

Okay, despite my typing on just four fingers on my left hand – my pinky is throbbing, so I’m done for the day. I’ll be back tomorrow!

-R

Shelter of my Heart

There are weeks when I’m pretty sure you’ve heard entirely too much from me. This may be one of them.

Yesterday, I composed a post that wasn’t all that easy to write. Well, I take that back – it actually wasn’t difficult at all for me to write, but I was a little concerned about how some might take it. Writing the words was actually the easy part. It felt wonderful to just put it all out there and be free of the burden. The more uncomfortable portion was knowing that once the words were out there, I really didn’t have any control over how they were read or digested.

Girl, you’re looking beat and cold

Twenty-four hours later, and I realize that I need to clarify a couple of things. First of all, I’m not suicidal. Please know and understand that. I appreciate the concern, but I can 100% promise that I’m nowhere near that point. Yes, I know how to ask for help. I will just say that contemplating the possibility six months ago, and being truly suicidal are incredibly different things.

Second, writing this blog gives me joy. It is the one escape I had last year, and there were some weeks where it felt like the only bright spot in each day. So the suggestion that I should take a step back or take an extended break, however well-intended, is the wrong advice for me OR Amanda. I appreciate the thought, but in this case, it would do far more harm than good.

In my imagination this is how the message reads

I can understand the confusion though. I did write about the tug-of-war between the pressures of real life, fandom and even blogging. That is true. That tug-of-war does exist. When I’m blogging, working on the website, talking with friends about which B-sides should have really been album tracks, or even planning a trip to Vegas – I know there are other things I should be doing here at home. Like perhaps planning the school day for my youngest. When I’m focusing solely on parenting, being a good partner and that kind of thing, I know I’m ignoring my friends and other things I like, and I start wishing for an escape plan. It’s a juggle, and the key is balancing it all, right? That’s a normal, constant thing for everyone – and 99% of the time, I can do it no problem. Last year though, that was different.

Let me try to explain again. Picture walking up a fairly steep hill. It is a trek you’re used to, and you’re used to carrying a large bag with you. It is heavy and you’ve got to go slow, but you can do it. Truth be told, you like doing it because the scenery is beautiful along the way, but yeah – it’s hard.

Then one day, you’re asked to carry not just one bag, but three. Two bags aren’t awful because you’ve got two hands and you can balance, but three requires a little more finesse. Of course, the added bonus is that the bags are really heavy and filled to the brim. You start off fine, but then some stuff falls out of one of the bags, and as you’re bending over to grab that stuff more falls out of the others. You keep trying to pick stuff up but things keep toppling out of the bags. Eventually, your knee gives out and you fall down completely. That was sort of how I felt last year. I was at my lowest point just before summer, I think.

Reaching out

I felt like writing that post yesterday was important not just for me, but for anybody. I’ve never been diagnosed with depression. I’ve never been quite that “low” before. I do have anxiety from time to time, and I’m high-strung (that shouldn’t be a shock to anyone), but again – last year was different. I think when we envision someone who is struggling, we assume they aren’t functioning. We think that when someone is really depressed, they’re unable to get out of bed, or they’re a shut-in, hiding under blankets or staring blankly at the ceiling fan as it spins in slow circles.

So, I’d write. Sometimes, I’d just barely graze the pile of feelings I had steadily growing in the pit of my stomach, just to see if it stung. “Yep. Still burns a bit. That must mean I’m still alive, right?” I’d quickly go back to vague-posts, because it was far safer. I never really had anyone asking me questions, and to be honest – my husband, engineer-that-he-is, never seemed to notice anything any different. Some people would ask if I was alright, but I always played it off brilliantly (or so I thought). “Yeah, we’re totally fine. Just super busy! It’s really hard getting the house ready to sell. Just look at all of those bins. Crazy, huh?”  

You know you’re in deep when you start believing your own B.S. I’m pretty sure John Taylor said that somewhere in his autobiography. If he didn’t, he should have…and if he did, he’s right! You’d think I was trying to masterfully cover up an addiction. I wasn’t. I was just trying to make sure no one knew how far down in the pit of depression I really was. Feelings. Icky.

Calling Out

But anyway, back to the writing thing. I write. I don’t have any real answers here except that for whatever reason – it is far easier for me to get the words out while typing than while talking. I’m gloriously weird that way. I can’t tell you that I’m really hurting, or that I am considering suicide, or that I’m a numbskull because I once fell in love with a rock star…but I can write about it all day long.

A few people with kind intentions thought that the pressure of Daily Duranie is what dragged me down, so maybe taking a step back would ease the pain. Thankfully, I’m really not depressed anymore. I’m not completely back to normal, primarily because I’m still settling into a new house and town – so things are just weird (but I like it). I’m getting there, though. Even if I were still feeling low, I would want to keep blogging. However, if somebody wants to come clean the house, do my laundry, teach my youngest, run my errands, and deal with my husband…I’m totally open to that, and it seems like a pretty good deal to me!

Hear me now

I hope this clarifies a bit. I’m sorry this isn’t a feel-good story about how Duran Duran saved my life. In some ways though, I suppose they helped. The moments I spent writing this past year brought some much needed sunshine onto my face. While it wasn’t necessarily a song, or toothy-grins from a band I’ve loved since my teen years that brought me back over the edge – the act of writing certainly helped. I can thank Duran Duran for that.

Let us all hope this is the last post I write about depression.

-R


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