Methylated Spirits Revisited

On Sunday my site got 155 views. On Monday  121. That is a lot more views than I usually get. Most of them were to read my post on methylated spirits which is almost seven years old. I don’t really get it since when you google “methylated spirits” my post doesn’t come up.

I was going to tweet about this, but since Twitter still won’t let me tweet my URL, I decided to write a short post about it instead. The problem with Twitter is over 2 years old. I don’t think it will ever get fixed.

I am little afraid that the sudden increase in views  was some kind of hack, but everything seems okay. If anyone knows why there would suddenly be so much interest in methylated spirits, please let me know.

Denatured alcohol

My Overdue Quarterly Review

The quarter, if you are counting, ended on March 31 which means I should have posted this review around that date. I had other, more meaningful, at the time, things to write about. Today feels like the right moment for some reflection.

I have been regularly posting.  I have been trying to write a draft of my post on Monday and then revise and publish it on Wednesday. A month ago I wrote the blog on Monday and  I must have inadvertently published it. I didn’t’ realize I had done that so I did my regular social media  notices on Wednesday. It appears my readers look for those notices because 42 people read the blog on Wednesday  but only 14 read it on Monday, the day I actually published it. It appears I have around thirty regular readers which is great. Thank you.

Tweeting has been fine.  As of Monday, I have 3,907. This year I have tweeted 161 times or  about 40 a month. I think I can keep up that pace for the rest of the year. I have 136 followers. My top tweet, in the last 28 days, was a picture of my husband and I out for a walk. I used the hashtag #COVID19 so that means that it  showed up in a lot of peoples feed.

As i mentioned last week, I finally finished the chapter I had been working on for a very long time.  I have been more productive because I am trying to schedule writing, or at least working in some way on the book every day for two hours. In the next three months, I plan to finish the 6th chapter and begin work on the 7th. I’ll let you know how that turns out.

 

New Host – SiteGround

I did it. I switched my hosting company from BlueHost to SiteGround. It took a few days for everything to get into place but now it is done. SiteGround was helpful during the process; BlueHost was less so. As in past experiences, the best way to contact BlueHost and get results was via chat.

My goal in making the switch was for it to be seamless and invisible so no one would even know I had changed hosts.  That worked so I was very happy. As far as logging in to work on posts, I do that through WordPress. The login is the same.

For the first year, I got a special Black Friday rate so it is cheaper than BlueHost would have been. If I stay with SiteGround, next year it will be more expensive. However, I am stopping SiteLock because SiteGround persuaded me that  my site would be secure without it. Because SiteLock  was so expensive, I will be saving a lot by discontinuing it.

My main concern in choosing a new host was security. BlueHost was useless when my website got hacked. Hopefully I won’t get hacked again. If I do, I am hoping SiteGround will be helpful in fixing whatever problems occur.

BlueHost

This week I was going to write about beer, for a change, but, I had another BlueHost issue. I got an email that said the server for my BlueHost email  was being “decommissioned in the next week. In order to ensure full email functionality after this server’s shut-off date, you will need to update the server name in your email client settings.”(their bold). This was pretty anxiety provoking and reading the rest of the email didn’t alleviate my panic.

I looked at my current email settings and I couldn’t really understand what they were talking about so I decided to contact BlueHost for help. When I went to their website, the most immediate form of help was a live chat so I did that. Twenty-nine minutes later, I was still completely perplexed about what I was supposed to do.

I did tried changing the settings to  what the emails suggested but then my email didn’t work so I changed them back. The person chatting with me was no help so I decided to call.  Ray, the tech support person I reached, was helpful. After ascertaining that the email was legitimate, he concluded that I didn’t have to change anything since my email was working.

This is the  fourth time since my website was hacked in February 2018 that I have had a problem with my website and BlueHost.  In October, my website was offline for two days or so because BlueHost had changed servers and SiteLock, my security provider, couldn’t access my site and therefore shut it down. Again chatting was useless but a real person did help me by contacting SiteLock and getting my website restored.

In looking over the various posts I have written about website problems, a common theme is that I would like to make a change but I still have not managed to do that. In June I renewed for six months. The six months have come and gone and I am still with BlueHost.

Since I was hacked, the main issue has been security. I pay SiteLock $70 a month to prevent my site being hacked again. If I switched to WordPress.com, I supposedly wouldn’t need SiteLock anymore which would save a lot of money. The problem is I don’t believe that. Not being sure about the advantages of WordPress has kept me with BlueHost.

Happy Thanksgiving!

 

A Look Back

This year I will have 49 posts, counting this one. Last year I had 51 but this year I was hacked which was one of many life events that cut into time for blogging. As I have said frequently this year, it was harder to post once a week.

I am on track to end the year with 3160 tweets. I will have tweeted 538 times this year which is well over once a day. The political situation makes it pretty easy to tweet frequently. I still can’t tweet my URL and I don’t think I will ever be able to again.

In my goals for 2018, I mentioned doing more on Instagram. That hasn’t really happened because many of my posts don’t have pictures. It is not really something I care that much about.

My main goal for the year that is ending was to make progress on my book. I finished the fourth chapter in October and I am about halfway through the fifth. I have almost 200 pages done. I wish I had been able to do more but it is what it is.

My other goals were around improving personal habits such as eating and sleeping. This was also a mixed bag. Last spring, my husband and I did the Slim Fast diet. I lost five pounds but  gained it all back. More recently I have tried to focus on healthy, anti-inflammatory eating and I have again lost some weight.

My sleeping has been hit or miss with at least one day of insomnia a week. I  haven’t figure out how to be a better sleeper yet but I will let you know when I do.

I now skate three days a week and I do feel I am improving. I have also started doing off ice training which is great.

This year was pretty much like other years . There was some really good stuff, like attending skating camp and some really bad stuff like my mother-in-law dying. That’s life.

Taking Stock

I wrote a draft of a post yesterday, but then I forgot to publish it. I was too busy watching skating, going to the movies and then watching a very stupid Hallmark movie that was supposedly based on Pride and Prejudice  (it wasn’t). Anyway here is the post a day late.

This is the 47th week of the year and I have written 43 posts. I am on track to write 49 which is two less than last year but pretty consistent.

I am hoping to use the last six week of the year to get back on track with posting, working on my book and changing my website. This is either an early start to New Year’s resolutions or a late finish to the previous years goals.

Either way I feel like we did a lot of traveling this fall and this is my chance to have a decent stretch of uninterrupted time at home.

Coincidentally, Twitter informed me that today (Friday, Nov. 23rd) is my ninth anniversary. That is surprising to me as it doesn’t fell like it has been that long. It is also ironic since Twitter is happy it is my anniversary but still won’t let me tweet my URL.

Over the nine years, I have averaged 345 tweets a year which is not bad. The last two years, I have stepped it up a lot. My plan is to continue tweeting and blogging for the rest of the year and then decide what my plan for next year is.

Unforeseen Circumstances

I had every intention of writing a blog post this week. Yesterday around 11:30 a.m., I realized the power cord to my laptop was broken and I only had about 25 percent of the battery left.

The tip had broken and part of it was still in the port. It took a while to get it out. I googled replacement cords and found one on Amazon.  Amazon promised next day delivery so I bought it.

I then tried to see if  Asus would send me a new cord since the computer was under warranty. No luck. Cords are not covered under the warranty.

I feel that is a new thing because in the past I have gotten new cords. It is bad that they aren’t part of the warranty because power cords are always the first thing to break on a laptop. The tips are so flimsy and so is the port.

All of this drama with the cord prevented me from writing something. I didn’t get the new cord until around 2 today and I had an appointment for 2:30 . I didn’t get home until about 5:30.

There also won’t be a  post next week  since I will be away. I promise I will have a new post November 23. Happy Thanksgiving!

 

Second time around

Looking over my last few posts I thought I would revisit some of the topics. In Summer I outlined what I was doing during this season. The Take Back the House (TBTH) opening was a huge success. You can see a video about it here. I am still working there and I feel, now more than ever, it is critical to turn the house Democratic.

Skating Camp, which I talked about in Summer and Off to Camp, was terrific. There were only nine of us and the coaches and assistant coaches were so helpful and supportive. It really improved my skating, making me more adventuresome and less fearful. I plan to start some off ice work which should further strengthen my skating.

I am still having trouble sleeping. At least once a week I have a bout of insomnia. My latest thought is to try hypnosis to change my sleeping habits. If anybody has tried that, please me know.

It has been two weeks and I  have watched two  Youtube videos that were on Feedly. I am also reducing my watching of Reality TV since it feels very connected to the rise of Donald Trump, something I fervently wish had never happened. I do not want to be complicit with his fascism in any way,

Several of the posts reference how hard it has been to do weekly posts. That remains true. I put all of the potential changes to my website which I discussed in Half Year Update out of my mind but  it is probably time to start thinking about them again.

Finally in the last month my most viewed post was the one on Methylated Spirits which I wrote five years ago. It had 229 views in 30 days. I average about 20 reads a day. The day I post is not always the day with the most readership which is a bit of a puzzle to me. I am  still thinking about ways to increase readership. If you have any ideas, let me know.

If these more personal posts are not your taste, let me know that as well.

 

I got rid of YouTube

Wednesday, I removed YouTube from my phone, blocked it on my computer using LeechBlock, and removed the app from my Vizio Smart TV. Why, you might ask.

In general most of the internet and the world-wide web is a total time sink. Most people probably find social media like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram the most egregious but recently YouTube – particularly makeup videos has taken over my life.

YouTube makeup videos function in exactly the same way as all forms of advertisements. Generate anxiety about a physical characteristic, a social or economic status or the lack of some possession and then provide the solution to the problem the video created in the first place.

As a women of a certain age, YouTube videos about “makeup for mature skin” have sucked me in. Many of the women producing these videos are in their 30s and 40s. The fact that the skin of women of this relatively young age is “mature” seems inherently misogynistic.

For most of my life I was thin and wore little to no makeup. To be honest, menopause changed all that so I was a ripe candidate for the anxiety and advice of YouTube videos.

Ironically many of the women who are in their 60s and even 70 who are making these videos seem to be sincere about helping other women but makeup videos on YouTube is big business and these women are part of it. The production values of the video with professional lighting and filters that remove all wrinkles are the same techniques that television advertisers use.

Makeup videos on YouTube and Instagram  have changed the makeup industry. There are now a set of people, mostly women and mostly makeup artists, who are “influencers”. Makeup companies send them products to review; the subsequent videos are part of the company’s marketing campaign. Thus, your average YouTube makeup video, even if it is a women in her 60s, presents as unreal and unattainable a vision as any Revlon or Maybelline commercial on TV does.

The degree of anxiety and self-dissatisfaction that watching a lot of these videos generate is immense, deeply distracting and even addicting. I therefore did a self-intervention and am going cold turkey. I’ll let you know whether I stay on the wagon or not.

What’s the Point?

Recently someone asked me, what is the theme of your blog? It is a good question and one that I am not sure how to answer. I started this blog as part of my attempts to publicize my book, Brewing Battles. At first I kept it strictly focused on beer and brewing history. Then, partly because I didn’t think there was anyone reading it and partly because I have varied interests, I started writing about other stuff.

Friends told me I would get more readers if I stuck to one topic. Lots of people who write about getting more blog readership agree. I guess I felt like it was my personal thing and I could write about whatever  I wanted to.

When I changed my hosting from Network Solutions to Bluehost, I did want the website to reflect that I write about more than just beer. That is why the tagline line is beer, history, women, and nursing. These past two years I have written on a variety of topics and that is probably what I will continue to do.

At the same time I am interested in getting more readers and I am still thinking about how to do that. Recently I have been watching a lot of YouTube videos, mostly about makeup application. Besides being a major waste of time, it has made me think about having a YouTube channel. Not about makeup, which would be ridiculous for many reasons, but about beer. More specifically beer history. My husband’s idea is for me to taste a beer and then talk about its history. I don’t know who would watch but it is a pretty amusing concept.

If I did have a YouTube channel, it is entirely possible that the same thing could happen. I would start by talking about beer but eventually move onto other topics. I guess if someone asks me  what is your blog about that I would answer it is about me, me and all my varied interests and thoughts about the world.