Die Zeit, die ist ein sonderbar Ding.
"He had a theory that musicians are incredibly complex, and know far less than other artists what they want and what they are; that they puzzle themselves as well as their friends; that their psychology is a modern development, and has not yet been understood." – E. M. Forster

Archive for May, 2005

Saturday, 28 May 2005

WordPress security update

In case you haven’t heard yet, there’s a security update for WordPress 1.5 (and 1.5+) users who run the default template. The manual fix is pretty easy if you’re familiar with editing code: just add a line of code to one file.

For users of 1.5.1, you might want to upgrade anyway, especially if you didn’t upgrade to (which fixed some issues with feeds/trackbacks/pingbacks).

Posted at 2:18 am | Filed under WordPress |  

Wednesday, 25 May 2005

Goodbye, Ismail Merchant

I’ve just read the news that Ismail Merchant, of Merchant Ivory Productions, died today in London. He was 68. (Here’s the AP/Yahoo news report.)

I’m very saddened, and at this point, I can’t form the words to write everything I want to write. I will say that his death is a great loss. He, James Ivory, and Ruth Prawer Jhabvala formed the filmmaking team that made me a fan of E. M. Forster and deeply influenced my life. The Merchant-Ivory-Jhabvala adaptation of Howards End still ranks as my all-time favorite movie, 12 years after I first saw it. I am sorry that I did not get to meet Mr Merchant to thank him personally, and that I did not write him the letter that I’ve meant to write for years.

I met James Ivory at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books last month…he made over 40 movies with Ismail Merchant. My sincerest condolences to Mr Merchant’s family and friends, including James Ivory and Ruth Prawer Jhabvala.

I have a lot more to say, but I’ll have to come back when I’m better able to communicate my thoughts.

Posted at 2:54 pm | Filed under Film, News commentary | 2 replies »

Thursday, 12 May 2005

Fanatic about Fanatical Apathy

One of my regular reads is Fanatical Apathy, the blog of Adam Felber from NPR’s Wait, Wait…Don’t Tell Me!.

Anyway, so he posted a message asking for help with upgrading his blog (which was on Movable Type 2.661) and defeating the comment spam waves. I figured he’d have a bunch of offers already, but there was only one comment on the post, so I e-mailed him and said I’d be happy to help. I’d just moved this, my own blog, from MT to WordPress. So I offered to do that or upgrade to MT 3.xx.

Eventually, he got an enormous outpouring of comments from volunteers for the ol’ upgrade. I didn’t really expect to get an e-mail from him. Even when I saw his name in my inbox, I figured his message was a "Thanks so much; I’ve got it covered" type of thing.

Almost two weeks later (has it really been that long?), I’m sitting here and looking at the new Fanatical Apathy, where Adam Felber has written a post thanking me, and visitors of FA have posted compliments to me. I’ve had a pretty quiet blog life for the past few years, so this is pretty surreal.

Let me go back a little bit and explain more about the blog: I figured that the transfer of power from MT to WordPress would be a simple process, but I ran into some unforeseen…how shall I say this…quirks. I won’t go into details right now. Let’s just say that for the past week and a half, I’ve worked, eaten, and dreamt about WordPress, SQL database backups, text search-and-replace, and MT exports. For the record, let me please urge anyone using MT with a Berkeley database: Just say no. Really. This is your brain. This is your brain on MT-and-Berkeley-DB. Any questions?

Seriously, do yourself a favor and please switch to SQL; it’s much easier to manage, especially if something happens to your MT installation. (And let me clarify…Adam’s site used SQL. But somewhere, sometime, MT had switched to Berkeley.)

In the post I linked to above, Adam mentioned the attack of the giant worms against I really am thankful that I had about 99.1% of his posts saved locally before the virus attack, and the consequent shutdown of MT. I cobbled the rest together, but the comments may not be complete.

To the FA commenters who left a nice note about the site and/or me — thanks very, very much. And of course, thanks to Adam for giving me the chance to work with his blog and for enduring my long-winded e-mails. I really do appreciate all the kind words and the feedback. The thing is, I enjoy doing this blog stuff. Some of the quirks I encountered were a bit challenging, but as I’ve mentioned a little earlier, overall it’s fun. I love learning about WordPress and plugins. I enjoy getting something to work and look good, and still have a site be easy for the reader/visitor to roam through. So it’s wonderful when someone notices and likes something I’ve done with a site. (Shameless plug: if you know anyone who wants to set up a site/blog or otherwise needs blog or Web help, I’m available for hire. :) )

I’m not quite done yet over there, though. Since we had to launch the site early, we still have to iron out a few more things. Since I’ve worked on the new FA, I’ve grown rather attached to it, and I can tell you right now — I’ll monitor everyone’s suggestions and try to improve the site, for as long as I can. As long as Mr. Felber lets me, of course.

If you’re not already reading it, visit Fanatical Apathy. And I’m not just saying that because I worked on the blog. Adam’s writing is full of insight, humor, and aplomb. Go visit and subscribe.