Any WordPress Gurus Out There?

It seems the most recent WordPress “upgrade” has broken something. Again.  I’m no longer receiving email updates when comments are left on posts.

As you can see, I have the proper boxes checked off in the control panel, and the email address they’re being sent to is valid (nothing has changed), so I’m wondering how to get this working again.

Any ideas?

Friday

I know I’ve posted this video previously, but damn…after going through my News and Twitter feeds today, I need something fun to counteract all the stupid. And this never fails to put a smile on my face.

My only question is why is there no official extended dance mix? Four minutes just isn’t long enough!

And since we’re on the subject…

This is Brilliant

#DonaldTrump #statue #unionsquare #nyc #manhattan

A photo posted by Alfonso Quiroz (@quiroza) on

The revealing public art was the work of INDECLINE. Watch the video below to see the statues (which have also popped up in San Francisco, Cleveland, Seattle and Los Angeles) being made.

Thirty Years Ago

Thirty years ago today I started my San Francisco adventure.

It had been a long time coming. While one of my dearest friends in the world moved there in 1979 and regaled me with stories of wonder and debauchery that simultaneously enticed and repulsed me, a little voice in the back of my head kept telling me that city was off limits until further notice. I’m glad I heeded that voice for once; there’s no telling if I would even be here today if I’d emigrated there any sooner than I did.

In May 1985, my partner at the time had some frequent flier miles that he needed to use or lose. He announced he was flying to San Francisco for the weekend. “Not without me you’re not!” And thus the seed was planted.

The following Christmas, we returned for an extended visit. By the time June the following year rolled around, my friend Lee had already secured employment there and our entire tribe was making preparations to leave Tucson, none of knew exactly when this was going to happen.

At the beginning of August, my supervisor called me into his office and announced they were laying me off. I started laughing. “That’s the oddest response I’ve ever gotten from anyone after being laid off,” he said. “That’s because the universe is telling me to move to San Francisco now.”

On August 15th, I threw a couple of well-packed suitcases in the back of my car, and along with a rather attractive boy named Jim Girard whom I’d met a few weeks earlier (my partner and I had split up earlier that summer), began the journey west to begin an adventure that was to leave an indelible mark on my life.

We didn’t take the quickest route to the City. Since we didn’t know if we’d “ever come this way again,” we eschewed I-5, overnighted in Santa Barbara, and took Route 1 up the coast.

We reached Monterey mid afternoon on August 16th. At the time, thinking that Monterey was only “a few minutes” south of San Francisco, I noted that the Aquarium was one place I definitely wanted to see after I got settled. Funny thing is, after all the years I lived there, I never did see it. It was always a case of “I’ll drive down next weekend.” Next weekend never came.

Late that afternoon, we finally arrived at our destination. Lee had been staying with friends of his in the Lower Haight. They were renting two units on a single floor of an old Victorian and had plenty of room for guests, opening their doors to yet another Arizona transplant.

811 Page Street, my first—albeit brief—San Francisco domicile

Not realizing that August weather in The City was decidedly different from June, I had neglected to pack appropriate outerwear, and I found myself shivering in the damp fog that rolled in like clockwork every night. Thankfully when Jim’s ex arrived a week later (talk of reconciliation was in the air) he brought my jacket and all was once again well in the world. Jim and Dave returned to Tucson about a week later, leaving Lee and I to wait for the arrival of the rest of our crew in the subsequent weeks while being told by Lee’s friends nearly every night over dinner that “The City will chew you up and spit you out.”

To be fair, the City was hard on us. Of the five of us who initially moved there, I was the only long-term survivor—and even then The City had the last word when I was forced to leave after the dot-com bust.

Not Surprising

From TechnoBuffalo:

Windows 10 might be a nice upgrade for most PC users—especially when it was free—but many just aren’t interested in it. Businesses especially are avoiding Microsoft’s latest operating system, according to new data.

Softchoice, which has obtained data from the TechCheck IT asset management service that is supplied to 169 firms in the U.S. running over 400,000 Windows machines, has found that only 0.75 percent of businesses are currently running Windows 10.

That’s right—not even a full percentage of businesses are running Windows 10 more than a year after its release.

Windows 7 is still used by 91 percent of enterprise customers, according to Softchoice, and that percentage continues to grow. It’s actually up 18 percent since the same time last year. Windows 8 is currently being used by 4 percent of businesses.

“It seems businesses don’t see an urgent need to move operating systems, so long as their cloud-based applications are still running fine on Windows 7,” said Craig McQueen, director of the Microsoft Practice at Softchoice.

However, McQueen does believe that Windows 10 will see a boost in adoption once organizations begin to “grasp the user benefits,” such as improved touch interaction, greater security, and baked-in Cortana.

User benefits? Touch interaction doesn’t work on desktops and Cortana was the first thing the organization blocked as part of Group Policy at my place of employment!

In addition, after a very poorly executed pilot program and a rush to get new machines into the hands of the users, nearly all of the machines that went out imaged with Windows 10 when I was first brought on board for this refresh project have now come back in to be reimaged with Windows 7. The users hate it, and a lot of home-baked mission-critical applications aren’t compatible.

Maybe someone should’ve looked into that before we rolled out all those machines?

Like Cockroaches

Dear Out-of-State Indian Recruiters: Lest I be labeled racist for what I’m about to say, I want to make it clear that I do not work with any out-of-state employment agencies, not just yours. It has been my experience that it is a total waste of my time and resources when I can’t go into a local office and actually meet the person representing me. I’m singling you out on this because—unlike all the other out-of-state agencies that have contacted me and have honored my requests to be ignored, you JUST. DON’T. GET. IT.

If I do not return your first, second, third or fourth call, that means I AM NOT INTERESTED in doing business with you. Maybe it’s a cultural thing and you believe that pestering candidates will make them more inclined to want to work with you; I don’t know. But generally when someone ignores your repeated phone calls and identical spam-like emails, any rational person would realize whoever you’re trying to contact JUST ISN’T INTO YOU and you should STOP.

Cynet, CTI, Reveille, Fountain, K-Tec, VTech, Yochana, and especially Collabra, I’m talking to YOU.

I’ve tried responding with polite emails. I’ve tried responding with rude emails (and actually received one response telling me that I should go find Jesus—who I guess has wandered off again), yet nothing makes a difference save disabling my online job profiles—something I can’t do while looking for work.

“Respond with ‘REMOVE’ in the subject to be taken out of our system.” Yeah. Tried that. I’m starting to think it’s just a confirmation that your stupid fucking email got through.

“Click here to be removed from our system.” Yeah, tried that too. Again, seems to just be a confirmation for you of a live email addy.

Right now I have 151 blocked numbers on my phone for you jokers. (Four were added just in the time it’s taken me to write this post.) I’m starting to wonder what the maximum number assigned to any one contact can actually be, since I’ve got to be getting close to that limit. I got smart a couple months ago and started noting (when you left messages that I could actually understand or were accompanied by emails) the company attached to the numbers instead of just filing them under “main,” and it’s been enlightening. No matter how many numbers for any of your companies are blocked, new ones constantly spring up—just like cockroaches.

It’s bad enough that you simply do a word search instead of actually reading profiles before contacting people, but the worst offenders are those of you who send “as discussed” email job listings for NYC, or South Florida or East Bumfuck. Those are the ones that will get the rudest response from me. “WHEN, EXACTLY, WAS THIS DISCUSSED AND WHERE ON ANY OF MY FUCKING ONLINE PROFILES DOES IT SAY WILLING TO RELOCATE? DO NOT CONTACT ME AGAIN!” (Usually in 24 point type.)

Maybe I should just start responding with “खुद मैथुन जाओ.” Will that work?

From Your Mouth to the FSM’s Noodly Appendages

When Trump loses in a jaw-dropping landslide in November—virtually wiped out, outside the hatred-and-resentment-fueled Deep South—it will be a very personal defeat. No one will be able to blame conservative ideology or the Republican platform for the massive ass-whoopin’ that’s coming Trump’s way. He is going to be labeled the Ultimate Loser in American History and it’s all personal. What the voters are rejecting is Trump himself—his essence as a human being, his ugly, deformed personality, his unsuitable temperament, and his horrible nature/mental illnesses. By October, the battleground states are going to be Montana, Kansas, Arizona and Georgia, with Trump desperately trying to claw his way back towards a win in South Carolina and Kentucky. He’ll be lucky for every electoral vote over 150 he gets—and if he keeps provoking Ted Cruz, the election’s biggest surprise could come in the Texas suburbs of Houston, San Antonio, Dallas and Austin.” ~ Down With Tyranny

This Looks Amazing

I just read Story of Your Life the other night after seeing a teaser for Arrival, the upcoming film that it’s based on. It’s not an especially easy read, concentrating as it does on language and how it influences our perception of the world, so I’m not exactly sure how this will translate onto the big screen. There were only two or three main characters in the work and it contained none of the ominous military excursions that are hinted at in the trailer.

Still, I’m excited to see this. More excited than about I was about seeing Star Trek Beyond—which we still haven’t made it to.

Stolen from the Internet

Think of it like a movie. The Torah is the first one, and the New Testament is the sequel. Then the Qu’ran comes out and it retcons like the last one never happened. There’s still Jesus, but he’s not the main character anymore, and the Messiah hasn’t shown up yet.

Jews like the first movie, but ignore the sequels. Christians think you need to watch the first two but the third movie doesn’t count. Muslims think the third one was the best, and the Mormons liked the second one so much that they started writing fan faction that doesn’t fit with ANY of the series canon.

Bringing Change?

I read this morning that people (at least in Florida) who intend to vote for Trump say they are doing it because he is the candidate most likely to bring change.

Granted, the kind change that the Mangled Apricot Hellbeast intends to bring is something that neither this country—or the planet—can afford, much less survive. But the question that keeps coming back to me is why do people want this so-called change thingie? Human beings are notoriously resistant to change, and only accept it when it is forced upon them by outside forces (see: Global Warming).

What exactly is the change they hope to see? It seems to be a return to the mythical Ozzie-and-Harriet Father-Knows-Best Leave-It-To-Beaver days of the 1950s—scenarios that never really existed to begin with—not anything that would actually improve this country and move it forwards.

What these racist, bigoted, misogynistic, homophobic (did I leave anyone out?) voters seem to be wanting is not change per se, but rather a return to “the way things were.” You know, back to an era when a woman’s place was in the home, minorities knew to bow before their masters, and those pesky HO-MOsexuals stayed in the goddamn closet.

They aren’t asking for change; they’re clamoring for change to stop and time to go backward in a fear-driven response to the rapid societal changes that are taking place around them. These changes are leaving them bewildered and fearful for loss of the way of life they came to accept as “right” and “proper” and “the way things have always been.”

And no one seems to see the irony in that.

Sorry folks, it doesn’t work like that. Civilization moves forward—unless it finds itself with the nuclear codes in the hand of a tiny-fingered Cheeto-faced ferret-wearing shitgibbon—and then all bets are off.

You Call Me A Liberal?

Liberals got women the right to vote. Liberals got African-Americans the right to vote. Liberals created Social Security and lifted millions of elderly people out of poverty. Liberals ended segregation. Liberals passed the Voting Rights Act, liberals created Medicare. Liberals passed the Clean Air Act, and the Clean Water Act. What did Conservatives do? They opposed every one of these programs. Every one. So when you try to hurl that label at my feet, ‘liberal’ as if it were something to be ashamed of, something dirty, something to run away from, it won’t work. Because I will pick up that label and I will wear it as a badge of honor.” ~ Congressman Santos, The West Wing, 2005

R.I.P.

2016 is turning out to be the suckiest year that ever sucked in terms of celebrity deaths.

Kenny Baker, the man who played R2-D2 in the Star Wars films has died at the age of 83, after battling a long illness.

Reported by The Guardian, Baker first became famous in 1977 for playing the lovable robot in Star Wars IV: A New Hope. Even though he was a robot, R2-D2 quickly became one of the most human characters in the films. Baker reprised the role in The Empire Strikes BackReturn of the Jedi and as well as the prequel films.

Baker returned for The Force Awakens as a consultant, despite his ailing health.

Baker is also known for his appearances in beloved 80s films like The GooniesTime Bandits, and Flash Gordon.

All I can really say is….

For Posterity, Warts and All

Inspired by seeing Joe Orton’s obsessive diary keeping as depicted in the film Prick Up Your Ears, I began to record my own life events—both mundane and salacious—from late 1987 until mid 2002.

Lately I’ve been going through those old journals, attempting to convert them from  their original ancient Word and WordPerfect formats into something readable on today’s equipment. Word 2016 won’t open any native document prior to the 97-04 format, but Apple’s Preview application has no trouble (go figure), allowing a rather painless cut-and-paste into the new format. But nothing I own will open the old WordPerfect documents save for Apple’s own TextEdit—which unfortunately also displays all the garbage that WordPerfect threw into those documents in addition to the actual text. It’s a very time consuming process to weed that crap out and get it in a usable format. And the very few files that I for some reason password protected—even if was able to recall passwords from 20 years ago—are lost completely.

As I’ve written about before, the Mark who existed prior to the 2003 cancer diagnosis is very different from the one who came out of that ordeal, and nothing has brought that into sharper focus than going over those old entries.

It’s worth noting that while my own obsessive journaling started sputtering out a few months prior, it came to an abrupt end at the time of my diagnosis for two reasons. Firstly, I really didn’t want any written record of the thoughts and feelings I was experiencing at the time because I couldn’t come up with words to describe any of it without sounding full of self-pity, and I was just not that kind of person—knowing full well even then that I was going to come out of it okay. Secondly, only a few months after completing treatment and on my way to a full recovery, I discovered blogging, and while I couldn’t be quite as open and unfettered with my words being published for anyone to see as I could when writing only for myself, blogging did scratch the itch that journaling had ignited.

While I’m not proud of a lot of the things that are recorded in my journals (much of it is embarrassingly cringe-worthy at this point), they do accurately represent one gay man’s journey through his thirties while looking for love and living in San Francisco in the late 80s and 90s. In spite of the AIDS specter constantly looming, there was sex; lots of it. There are many names in those journals of men with whom I was obsessed but am now unable to conjure a face for. There were broken hearts and hearts broken.

San Francisco was even then an extremely expensive place to live, and while I generally made enough to get by (if only barely), angst about money was a recurrent theme. (Some things never change, even now.) But there were also reflections on the magic that existed in that city, whether it was catching sight of the fog spilling over Twin Peaks on an August afternoon, or the way the sun glinted off the bay, or the first evening after daylight savings kicked in and you found yourself walking home from work in the crisp dark air, or something as simple as a smile exchanged with a handsome stranger on the train.

My growing love for technology—and the horrific amount of time and money spent acquiring it—is spelled out in excruciating detail. Trips to computer fairs and installing hardware or software are so obsessively documented that I want to reach back in time and slap the shit out of that Mark, telling him to get the fuck away from that glowing screen and go to the beach!

There were also many a rumination about spirituality and attempting to find meaning and my place in the universe; pondering alien life and reincarnation—oftentimes punctuated in the same entry with a description of an unexpected orgasmic encounter with a total stranger in some public venue.

I knew even as I was recording those encounters for posterity that some day, with older and wiser eyes, I’d recoil in horror, and ask, “What were you thinking?! You were such a fucking asshole!” And sure enough, I now find myself doing exactly that. Really, Mark…you’re damn lucky you didn’t get yourself killed or arrested. ANY NUMBER OF TIMES.

Ah, the innocence of youth.

And yet I am reminded of two quotes from a onetime favorite book, Illusions, the Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah, that I always kept in mind when recording my adventures:

“You are lead through your lifetime by the inner learning creature, the playful spiritual being that is your real self. Don’t turn away from possible futures before you’re certain you don’t have anything to learn from them.”

and

“Live never to be ashamed of anything you do or say is published around the world—even if what is published is not true.”