Olden Times

I can’t remember the first time I discovered The Stop Button made it on Wayback Machine. It was a long time ago, maybe when I was trying to pad out content moving over to Sandvox. Somewhere–at least back then–a bunch of the first Stop Button (hosted on jablog) exists.

I’m currently doing yet another site-wide overhaul of existing material on Stop Button. I finished up the internal linking project last year (or the year before?) and haven’t really had any projects going with the site, leading to a lot of failed starts on other projects. Zines, e-Zines, e-Books, e-Zines as e-Books, on and on. Leading up to a capsule project (which would have been a capsule e-Zine then e-Zine as e-Book). But one thing I’ve always had a problem with on Stop Button is the search result excerpts.

For example, if–until today, you searched for “Frankenstein Unbound,” you got:

I don’t like the auto-excerpt because I don’t write with ledes. In the olden days, I had a custom excerpt along the lines of “A review of Roger Corman’s Frankenstein Unbound, starring John Hurt, Raul Julia, and Nick Brimble,” which I also don’t like but at least it wasn’t the auto-excerpt.

But then I got thinking about those capsules I was writing and I wondered how they’d look. So now you get:

Maltin-esque capsule, a nice “Continue reading->” link, not wild about the star rating being separated but whatever. It’s a “good enough” amid an “I like it.” I’ve got a bunch of capsules done, but it’s a multi-year project. Two years I think.

I’ve been posting them on micro.blog, but I’m going to start doing them on Visual Reflux too. I think I meant to post them on VR but then didn’t. Not getting any engagement on micro.blog so… who knows, maybe VR will be better.

Maybe not.

I’m also changing up the footer links on each post.

For 99%-ish percent of the site, the links look like this:

The update, which has <div> tags to make me feel accomplished, looks like this:

Post-specific links were something I’ve wanted since Sandvox–they might have been one of the deciding factors in going to Sandvox–and there’s a lot you could do with them, as widgets, in WordPress. But self-hosted WordPress, not WordPress.com. Back in the olden days, when I ran a local WordPress install on my Mac mirroring the web, but with some related posts plugins going to generate the list for me, post links looked like this:

At some point in 2013, I started adding “also directed by” links. Not just links to the “By Director” index, but links to actual posts.

i.e.:

While we’re doing this trip down blog memory lane… here’s the old header.

Peanuts-inspired.

I manually updated all those links every time a related post “touched” them. So when Alien listed Frankenstein Unbound in its related posts, I went and updated Unbound’s related posts again.

So much fun.

Here’s the 2014 header.

One thing I don’t know about these old posts links is whether they had styling; Wayback doesn’t preserve the CSS.

At least not for Stop Button. Maybe they do with better sites.

But, wait! Look at late 2014.

No links. And why? Because I went through every post and took them off. There had been an OS X (pronounced aa·es·eks) update and it broke whatever I was using to run a local Stop Button mirror. So I couldn’t make the related posts “automatically” anymore.

And then I went in and added the links again on all the posts. So much fun. Fiddling with a fifteen year-old blog is like line-editing a novel draft. It gets really old really fast, yet you can’t stop yourself.

The moral of the story? I should’ve done the Maltin-esque capsules in the first place.

When you’re starting a blog or website, know what you’re going to want it to be doing in ten or fifteen years and know how the web technologies are going to change. Otherwise you’re in for a lot of fiddling.

But don’t it look so much better now?

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Younger selves

One thing I do now when blog writing is spend however long I want on it. The whole reason for Stop Button’s old 250 word count constraint and Comics Fondle’s 150 one was so I wasn’t spending too much time writing blog posts. I wanted to be quick at it. Not so much anymore. Now I just go. I don’t edit either, which would seem very strange to my twenty-one or twenty-five year-old self. I don’t draft and revise blog writing. I just write it and post it. There are fourteen year old blog posts I’ve been revising this year finally. Things I’ve collected in print, things with hundreds and maybe thousands of readers, but no one caught the misused word and cared enough to comment. I’ve got a couple of my core readers who’ll let me know if there’s any grammatical or spelling error too egregious but otherwise… I just let it fly.

I would have had zero respect for me. At twenty-one or twenty-five. Zero respect. Though I would’ve also had zero respect for any Internet publishing. I had no respect for any kind of ad-supported writing. I was an elitist about being elitist. Not an elitist’s elitist because… elitists were icky bad, but sort of anti-snobbery snobbery. Contradictions are great ways to get in personality and, for some reason, it really clicks with readers who have mild contradictions. Or at least have observed them. It’s probably also why (middle class White) people are so obtuse about people who vote Republican.

I’ve got my big writing day tomorrow. The most fun I’m going to have with it is probably the header image, though I’m thinking about some quote things. I’ve learned a bunch of fake CSS for WordPress.com lately. I’ve started a long-term Stop Button project involving it. Long term meaning at least a couple years. Last time I did a long term Stop Button project (on the same area of the post, actually) it took so long I forgot when I’d started it or even had it as a goal. This time I’m… just as disorganized. It’s supposed to be a fun project. Quick mental gymnastics. Some standard coding, some inventiveness, pretty columns.

Pretty columns also work for images and quotes, so maybe I’ll incorporate those tomorrow.

I actually have two blogathons starting tomorrow (and running concurrently). Not sure if I’ll just do both posts tomorrow and leave it or stagger them. Guess it depends on how writing goes, which I should be a little more worried about than I am.

It’s one of those posts I should definitely proofread and revise but I might not have time.

Again, this lack of good creative scheduling would rather disappoint my younger selves. Though, frankly, I’m constantly disappointed in them too.

Crashed

I’m two Visual Reflux posts behind (I don’t know why I went from one post a day to at least one VR post a day but whatever) so here’s another WordPress-related one. WordPress frustration related one.

Well, combination WordPress frustration and frustration at self one.

Last October, I made header images for all the indices pages on The Stop Button. For example:

I’d never had them on the indices for this WordPress theme because it gives the page title and the image distracts. Or is at least redundant. But for some reason I pulled the trigger on it (I think because I change the header image, getting rid of the collage, which was a lot of work and made zero difference to anyone including me).

I’m publishing the Genre index as I write this post. It won’t have a header image because I can’t find the template. I can’t find the template because I’m really bad at organizing the files I need to keep around. I can’t even remember if I did it in Affinity or Photoshop. I searched for the template in both formats this morning and came up empty. Unfortunately, I can’t keep looking because my home Mac has crashed in its MacOS update. Is this crash the end for my early 2015 MacBook Air? I won’t know until I get home. Maybe? Maybe not? I’d say it should be lasting longer but I’ve been running it as a desktop for over a year now and it’s never been happy with that configuration.

But yeah, don’t lose your image templates and–maybe–don’t run a MacBook Air as a desktop and update the OS remotely.

I’m not even sure I have the main header image template. I have the old ones around for sure (they’re all I found when searching this morning) but maybe not the color-matched one.

So maybe it’s time for new Stop Button headers?