WordPress taken over by aliens

WordPress Logo

Image via Wikipedia

For the past week or so, WordPress bloggers have been puzzled by the strange and unexplained absence of WP staff and support. WP bloggers first noticed the absence of WP staffers when the WP home page, Freshly Pressed, remained unchanged for over a week. Bloggers became  abuzz on WP forums until someone noticed an unobtrusive message on the support page:

Support is closed while the company meets up and works together for the next week. We will be back on October 29th.”

Hmm. All right it’s already been more than a week, and October 29 will make it another week. What’s really happening at WordPress? The only logical explanation is:  aliens. Yup. WP has been taken over by aliens. It makes sense. If WP staffers were really at some kind of working retreat, they would have posted an announcement on the home page, something logical like:

 “We are on a working retreat and will return on October 29. In the meantime, fend for yourselves, bloggers. If you need support, forget about it. Problems with your dashboard – deal with it. We’ll be back refreshed and ready to help you on October 29. In the meantime, grow up.”

You know, something like that. Instead – nothing. The aliens swooped in, took over, and are still figuring out the programs and how to assimilate themselves into the WP staffers bodies. So no fake announcements, no business as usual, no support. They’re feigning busyness until they get the hang of things, then will surreptitiously take over. No doubt WP bloggers will not even notice the transition. Even know, the aliens may be brainwashing us through our dashboards, trying to assimilate us too. But hey, that’s silly, that could never &&%%$# ***^%$#&&   ))(*&&%$### 

Huffygirl is meeting up with other WP bloggers for a working retreat and will be back soon.

© Huffygirl 2011


There once was a girl who loved writing,

Medieval illustration of a Christian scribe wr...

Image courtesy of Wikipedia

And found it could be quite exciting.

She jumped up from a log, and started a blog,

and she now has a forum worth citing.

Okay, so it’s NOT the best Limerick ever.

Today while scanning the pages of Freshly Pressed (and what WordPress blogger doesn’t?), I came across this delightful piece by Malinda Essex,Ph.D., entitled “Three Things I’ve Learned From a Month of Blogging.”   I’m sure you’ll want to go ahead and read Malinda’s post for yourself. Malinda took the opportunity of the milestone of her first month of blogging to reflect on what writing had meant to her.  She expounds upon how much she’s enjoyed the opportunity to write and the chance to have people read it and offer kind and insightful comments. Malinda’s post made me realize that there was a time when very few writers were able to get their words out to the world in a meaningful and accessible way. This thought so moved me that I posted the following comment to her blog:

There once was  time when those who loved to write could only get their works read if:
1.  They wrote letters to the editor or opinion columns for the local paper, and were lucky enough to get them chosen for publication.

2.  They became a published author.

3.  They wrote newsletters or other self-published missives that they sent out to the readers, who mostly felt obliged to read them.

But now, there’s blogging.

I remember a time when I hoped if I was a really good writer, and worked tirelessly at my writing in a garret, preferably one without heat or electric lights, then mailed my hard-written manuscript to dozens of publishers, that maybe, just maybe someday, my work would be published and someone besides the family and friends that I would force to read it, might actually, voluntarily read it. There is still the hope that someday I will write and have published an actual tome (by then it will probably only be an e-tome) but in the meantime,  I have blogging.

It seems that I never run out of things I want to write about, and love to have the opportunity to share them with others. And it seems that thousands of others, 336,812 as of today, by WordPress count, feel the same way. We’re fortunate to have an opportunity to share our words, even though we may never be officially chosen by an editor, agent or publisher somewhere, to be allowed to have our words read.

Writing is a way to share a tiny part of oneself,  without giving all of yourself away, and getting that tiny part back from the readers who comment, read and like. Just like Malinda, I appreciate every single reader who stops by to share a little part of themselves, and their words, with me. 

I  love this opportunity to share my writing with you, and feel fortunate to have it, without having to suffer in an unheated garret. I’ll keep going until I have nothing left to say, or until you all start begging me to stop. And in the meantime, I still have those two barely started novels, and one memoir on the back burner, nagging at me to come back to them soon. And I will although I probably won’t be moving to an unheated  garret!

A look back: my first year of blogging

"You had a good run Grandma"

It’s been just about a year since I started Huffygirl’s Blog, so naturally it’s time for some reflection. I started my blog mid February 2010 when I was spending way too much time home alone, and feeling a need to do something new and creative. I wrote  six posts and was ecstatically excited about every single one. I badgered everyone I knew to read them and give me feedback. (Sorry, obliging friends and family.) My original thought was to write about health and wellness, and help people everywhere overcome their health demons. That idea was okay, but it seemed that not that many people were interested in reading about all the things they should be doing for their health, but probably were not. But then one day I cleaned my self-cleaning oven, all the while with a satirical script running through my head, and the Satire Friday category was born. Suddenly, I had much more to write about, as a chance to satirize my life lay at my fingertips. Since then I’ve branched out into other categories:  Random Thoughts and Personal Rants, which are exactly what they sound like; Exercise and Fitness, fueled by my

"Funny, you don't look a day over...."

 own journey to improve my cardiovascular fitness level; HuffyHow, inspired by my discovery of how to get tulips to stand up straight in a vase,  Plinky Prompts, short stories written in response to a topic assigned by Plinky, Nature, to cover my interests in gardening and birds,  and Food, because we all have to eat, so why not make it interesting?

Just like all things in life, some blogs turned out great and some, not so much. Here’s the highlights of the year in review.

Worst blog ever Senate Bill 2274, McCain-Logan. I wrote this as if it had been plucked fresh off the front page of The Onion, my favorite, made-up, satirical news source,  but most people DID NOT GET IT. It was inspired by a report on dreary unemployment numbers, that basically suggested that the only way to find enough jobs for our large population of unemployed was to have many of those already working die.  I had great fun writing it, fine-tuning every detail down to the bill number (the year Logan’s Run takes place.) https://huffygirl.wordpress.com/2010/11/05/satire-friday-senate-bill-2274-mccain-logan/

Most enduring blog: A tie between America’s Love Affair with cheese and How to cure floppy tulip syndrome. American’s  obsession with cheese  

Tulip bouquet

"How to cure floppy tulip syndrome"

draws interest, or maybe folks are just entering the search term “love affair.” Apparently I underestimated the need for a cure for tulips flopping over in a vase. That post continues to get several views every week, and was the first of mine to appear in a Google  search. https://huffygirl.wordpress.com/2010/02/18/americas-love-affair-with-cheese/


Easiest blog to write: Invisible Fence. Inspired by a spate of celebrity, politician and rich-people bad behavior, the words just spilled out as fast as I could type, which is pretty fast. But just like McCain-Logan  I’m not sure that everyone got it. https://huffygirl.wordpress.com/2010/08/13/satire-friday-invisible-fence/

Hardest blog to writeYou had a good run Grandma.  My tribute to my recently deceased mom was hard because I had so much to say, wanted to get it right, and wrote it during a very emotional time, but easy in a way, because the thoughts poured out once I got started. https://huffygirl.wordpress.com/2010/12/30/you-had-a-good-run-grandma/ 

Longest time in draft limbo: Just in time for Thanksgiving, the turtato.

The Turtato - a potato shaped like a turkey! (Photo: Huffygirl)

Inspired by a potato that looked just like a turkey, I tried to make this one work. I took picture after picture of my turtato, but could not get the right look to show everyone how much it REALLY did look like a small turkey. It’s still sitting in drafts and will probably remain there forever, where it rightly belongs.

 My all time favorites:  A tie between My 100th post,  Socks without partners, and You had a good run Grandma. My 100th post was a look back on how my writing mantra evolved (Laugh. Cry. Think. Learn.) and thanks to my loyal readers and WordPress for helping me to get there. https://huffygirl.wordpress.com/2010/11/13/my-100th-post-thanks-wordpress/

 Socks without partners was a parody based on the fine organization, Doctors without Borders, inspired by those extra socks that everyone finds in their dryer. Part of what makes a blog a favorite for me is how I felt while writing it, and if I felt the message came through. https://huffygirl.wordpress.com/2010/10/18/socks-without-partners/

Most attentionFunny, you don’t look a day over…  When this blog was featured on Freshly Pressed, WordPress’ home page (thanks again WP) it received an overwhelming 2,639 views the first day, and bumped my monthly total views to a respectable high. Although fame is fleeting, it was a great rush. https://huffygirl.wordpress.com/2010/11/02/funny-you-dont-look-a-day

Best part of blogging: Being part of a world-wide community of bloggers, reading and commenting on other people’s blogs, having a forum from which to write, and just plain being able to write. 

Thanks readers for your interest and your support. It’s what keeps all bloggers and writers going – we’d be nothing without you!

By popular demand…

(Photo: Huffygirl)

The readers have spoken. Despite my attempt to put the Stylish Blogger Award to rest by exposing the 100% true story of the origin of the SBA https://huffygirl.wordpress.com/2011/02/12/the-true-story-of-the-stylish-blogger-award/, it was not enough. Blogger buddy Working Tech Mom has

 pointed out that I’ve deprived my readers of learning seven things about me, and threatened  suggested that something bad may happen to my front bike tire should  I not comply. And, aw heck, it’s a fun thing that I really SHOULD do anyway. 

So, without further ado, here they are, in no particular order,  my nominations for the SBA. Some of these folks are so stylish they’ve been nominated multiple times, but I think they’re epic enough to handle it.

(Image credit unknown)

  •  Conjuring My Muse http://margaretreyesdempsey.wordpress.com/ Margaret Reyes Dempsey, published fiction author and technical writer, shows off her creative prose in musings about life.
  • Earthquakes and Rattlesnakes http://earthquakesandrattlesnakes.wordpress.com/ Despite my irrational fear of any kind of snake, rattle or otherwise, I enjoy Zahara’s folksy takes on life, peppered with original photographs.
  •  Working Tech Mom  http://workingtechmom.wordpress.com/   Classy Canadian Techy writes about balancing life, career and family, interspersed with amazing photos and cheery art. 
  •  Garden Muse http://gardenmuse.wordpress.com/ Cindy Dyer’s amazing botanical photography makes you feel like summer is already here.
  • Todd Pack’s Messy Desk  http://toddpack.com/  What’s not to like about a guy who describes himself as “… more Mayberry and sweet tea than NASCAR and rasslin’.” Up here in Michigan, you just don’t hear the word rasslin’ enough. Todd’s writings remind me of my own – good-natured comments on life and family.

And, drumroll – seven things you might not know about me:

  • I have green eyes – not immediately obvious, because they’re smoky-green with cinnamon-brown centers
  • I want to learn piano, but have been paralyzed by my almost dyslexic inability to read music. I have yet to find a piano teacher who understands this.
  • As part of my quest to improve my cycling skills, last year I participated in

    Triathlon girl

    my very first triathlon. I was the biking leg of a three person relay team. Unfortunately  speedy swimmer Pete and fast runner Dave were slowed down by my dismal slog, but I hope to improve my time, maybe this year. 

  • Whenever I travel I compare the beaches I see to my Lake Michigan beaches at home.  So far I’ve not seen a beach that surpasses my home favorites. If there is one out there, please let me know where.
  • I honed my writing skills in Catholic grade school, under the tutelage of  nuns who made us diagram sentences, and refined them under my 1oth and 11th grade English teacher, Ethel N.
  • I’m one of those old-fashioned women who was a stay-at-home mom for years, and enjoyed just about every minute of it.
  • I was always the quiet, nerdy girl in school.

And so, I’ve fulfilled my requirements. Hopefully, my front bike tire will remain safe. And the Stylish Blogger Award will go on.

The true story of the Stylish Blogger Award

The Stylish Blogger Award Logo (uncredited image)

Finally, someone has decided I’m stylish. Although, anybody who has ever seen me on a daily basis would disagree. I have been known to leave the house with unmatched socks, unmatched earrings, and unmatched socks and earrings at the same time, then blunder haplessly through the day totally unaware of these fashion faux pas, until I remove said socks and or earrings at the end of the day.  But my blogger buddy Margaret of Conjuring my Muse http://margaretreyesdempsey.wordpress.com/2011/02/05/did-you-hear-im-stylish/ apparently has not seen me make these style faux pas, as she recently nominated me (along with several others) for the prestigious “Stylish Blogger Award.” Thanks Margaret.

“So Huffygirl, what is the Stylish Blogger Award?” you might ask. Good question, as I asked this myself. At first glance, the Stylish Blogger Award  (SBA) appears to be a new version of the chain letter, sans the caveat of bad luck befalling those who “break the chain,” and a covert way for bloggers to shamelessly promote their blogs. But that would be silly, as it turns out the SBA is  so much more.  Here’s how it goes. Someone nominates you to receive the SBA. The nominee in turn must:

  1. Present seven things about yourself that others might not know.
  2. Name about a half-dozen bloggers you think deserve the award.
  3. Contact those people to inform them of the honor.
  4. Create a link back to the person who gave you the honor.

So before diving into the requirements of the SBA, thanking the academy, etc I wanted answers. Naturally, I turned to the foremost research tool of the 21st century – Google. I put in the search terms “What is the stylish blogger award” and up pops no fewer than 2,880,000 hits, which are in fact, 2,880,000 blogs from people like me thanking their constituents for the SBA. So, the one thing the SBA is NOT is exclusive. Still, not the answer I needed.

Next, I searched on “Who started the stylish blogger award?” and came up with –  exactly the same hits as the previous search. After clicking on a few of these links, I discovered a few more things about the SBA. There are different variations on the stipulated requirements, such as nominating  6, 7 or 15 other bloggers, and sharing 5, 7 or 8 things about yourself. But all ring true in that this is indeed a prestigious and coveted blogging award. 

So, not finding the answers I wanted, I did what most good writers would do. After extensive research, I share with you today the true and formerly undisclosed story of the SBA.

The Stylish Blogger Award originates with  Stash Glieb, an early blogging pioneer. Stash was a true pioneer, blogging back before there even was an internet, as Al Gore had not yet been born. Stash saved his daily musings in a diary that was found after his death by Garry Dowl, a member of the team that developed ENIAC and an early adopter of the Usenet and Telnet systems. Garry, sensing that Stash’s writings might someday be important, imbedded them into early computer code,  so that his words might be immortalized for all time. Later, as the internet became more sophisticated and less understandable, Google searches began pulling up Garry’s code as  repeated letter patterns. This alarmed the federal government, who contacted  internet historians at the University of Michigan to form a task force to make sense of this recurring code. Information regarding the task forces’ work began to leak to the public, causing general alarm to ensue. As the internet teetered on the brink of social anarchy, one dedicated task force member, who for security purposes, will only be  identified as TK,  finally made sense of the recurring letter patterns. After developing a complex algorithm to analyze the repeated patterns,  and accounting for regression, tax code revisions and amortization, TK  concluded that the repeating letter patterns arranged themselves into: 

Just before being taken to his undisclosed federal location, TK sent out the first missive nominating a fellow researcher for the Stylish Blogger Award, and the rest is history. 

So, maybe I’ll one day come up with my own set of SBA nominees, or maybe I’ll let this award die a slow internet death, with no doubt a resurrection sometime in the future. I’ll leave it to the readers to help me decide. 

PS: If I did decide to nominate anyone, I’d draw from the blogs on my Blogroll, all stylish and dedicated bloggers who toil away tirelessly at their written words.

© The author and Huffygirl’s Blog, 2010 to 3010. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author and Huffygirl’s Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

I’ll take mine Freshly Pressed if you please: Thanks WordPress

Freshly Pressed 2-2-11

Fame is fun, but fleeting. For a little less than a day, I got to experience the exhilaration of being Freshly Pressed, that is, my blog was picked as one of many for the week to be featured on the WordPress home page. But hey, out of 390,600+ bloggers, quite an honor and not a bad gig.  My featured blog was HuffyHow: Birdy Buffet, a blog I wrote about bird feeding, with photos I took of my backyard birds. https://huffygirl.wordpress.com/2011/01/27/huffyhow-birdy-buffet/ 

I got to read comments from a bunch of great readers and fellow bloggers. Many have their own blogs about birds, nature, wildlife and the like, with

My lead birdy in "Birdy Buffet." (Photo: Huffygirl)

interesting photos and advice on all things nature. I heard from folks in the UK, Australia, Germany, United States, Canada, and even someone with the very cool name of Beau ( if that is your REAL name.)  🙂  It was great to expand my world view and  to hear about experiences in other countries. And that is really what blogging is all about. Although we bloggers tend to be somewhat egocentric, encouraging everyone to read our blogs (which of course we think are the best), promoting our blogs and hoping that our blogs too will be Freshly Pressed, blogging is really not just about us. It’s about opening our minds to hear what others have to say, to learn of other’s experiences, and to share our experiences too,  thus in some small way making the world a better and maybe a smaller and friendlier place, one blog at a time. So thanks WordPress. Thanks for letting me and other bloggers do what we do best. For me it’s to make someone laugh, cry, think, learn, among the community of fellow bloggers.

  © The author and Huffygirl’s Blog, 2010 to 3010. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author and Huffygirl’s Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

The WordPress Challenge: A post a day in 2011

Huffygirl, WordPress Blogger (Photo credit: Huffygirl)

WordPress (the platform that supports this blog and 266,000 + other bloggers) has announced a new challenge to their bloggers. Yes, they’ve actually double-dog-dared us to post every day in 2011. (That’s 365 posts in one year, for the mathematically challenged.) And the alternative challenge, for those who find that too daunting – post once a week (aka 52 posts in one year) for 2011.

So, what’s a huffygirl to do? I already blog more than once a week. I average about 13-15 per month, or about twice a week, although sometimes more, sometimes less. So once a week is no challenge for me. But every day – probably a little too much. I don’t want to write some slap-dash drivel, just to say that I posted something that day. After all, my tagline is: “Laugh. Cry. Think. Learn. Lighthearted musings about wellness and life,” just in case you never noticed that on the top left-hand corner of my blog :). I want what I write to meet those guidelines. I don’t want my readers wasting their time reading nonsense.

So I accept the WordPress double-dog-dare challenge with a counter challenge of my own. I will post a blog more than twice a week, but less than seven days a week, for 2011. And I promise to not post any poorly written drivel just so I can check off “blogging” on my to-do list each day. This is the first one for 2011. Let’s see how the rest of the year goes.

My 100th Post: Thanks WordPress

This week turned out to be a whirlwind for me and Huffygirl’s blog. It started out ordinary enough. I usually don’t get huge traffic on my blog, but I know the readers I do get seem to enjoy it, so I keep cranking out as much as I can for those who are kind enough to read it. Then, on Tuesday afternoon, something happened. I had a couple of comments, not from my usual readers, and one of them said “Congratulations on being FP.” FP?  FP? It took me a minute, but I, like most WordPress bloggers know that FP stands for Freshly Pressed. WordPress picks several blogs they like a week to feature on their home page, Freshly Pressed. Kind of the WordPress equivalent of being nominated for a Pulitzer. I couldn’t believe it – me on FP? Finally? I did not expect this to ever happen. I clicked on the home page, and there it was, a picture of my latest post at the top of the page, my post about a story I shared about once lying about my age. Then, the flurry of blog activity started in full force. I watched in amazement as comment after comment appeared on my blog, as my stats went from the usual 3-30 a day to over 4,000 over the next two days. I felt honored, exhilarated and terrified all at the same time. As I answered comments and wrote my next post, I thought “I’ve really got to make this GOOD because now real people (I mean people besides my friends) are actually reading it.” I worried about typos and apostrophes and whether my grammar was correct. Even though I always care about those things, now it felt even more important. PEOPLE are watching. And then, as all good things do, the flurry of fame came to an end. On Thursday afternoon I clicked on the WordPress home page to see a whole new set of blogs featured on FP. My fame was over.

That's me at the top - with the picture of the phone!

But it’s not. Not really. I’m sure I’ll never see 2,400 people read my blog in one day again. But I have some new faithful subscribers and got to read kind, thoughtful  and interesting words from a lot of  people. I read their blogs too.  These are folks, who like me, work hard on their writing to do exactly what we all should be doing: making someone laugh, cry, think, learn.

The folks at WordPress do a great job of putting out a blogging platform that offers lots of slick features and works great. And they seem like a nice bunch of folks too.  The greet me on my blog with “Howdy huffygirl!”, answer my help requests promptly, even the really stupid ones, and put out lots of tips and helpful videos to help bloggers make the most of their blogs.

So, I’ll do my best to keep writing something thoughtful, useful or entertaining, and promise to always spell check, watch my grammar and hold myself to high standards. And I hope you all keep reading. Thanks readers, and thanks WordPress.


  © The author and Huffygirl’s Blog, 2010 to 3010. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author and Huffygirl’s Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Say what?

Emergency "Twitter was down so I wrote my...

Image via Wikipedia

People, and Americans in particular,  have a lot to say and we’re not afraid to say it. WordPress alone has 367,010 blogs. There’s many other blogging sites as well, and self-hosted blogs. It’s difficult to know how many blogs are out there, but one estimate is 15 million. Yes, that’s MILLION. Then there’s Twitter, Facebook, and Plinky Prompts. People write these writings, read these writings,  comment on these writings, and read more comments on these writings. No wonder people don’t have time to read ordinary newspapers anymore. One could literally be online all day, every day, and not run out of things to read.

I’ve follow a few blogs as favorites, but in reality, by the time I work on my own blog, read Facebook and occasionally write a Plinky Prompt, I don’t have time to do much more. I also read the daily local newspaper, subscribe to one magazine (okay, it’s Better Homes and Gardens) and two nurse practitioner journals. Then I get daily email updates – from Medscape, MD Consult and the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (AANP).  Then of course I get a lot of email. Much of it I don’t want, but still have to glance through in case there’s something important. I’m a fast reader and still have a hard time keeping up with all this. Then there’s the paper mail in the mail box to sort through, which more and more is nothing I need or want, except the bills.

In sorting through all this writing, I find that some is good in many ways, some not so much. I like to read news, funny or pithy comments and look at pictures  from my family and friends on Facebook. But I really don’t need to know what someone ate that day or did every hour,  or their excessively lengthy opinions on politics and what they’re wearing. I’ve avoided Twitter because I already have enough to read, and frankly much of it sounds like minutia. (Sorry Twitter fans). Yet, I get ecstatic when I get a new follower on Plinky Prompts (yes I really do have followers) or when people read my blog. In some ways I can’t believe that anyone would care about what I have to say, yet it’s exhilarating to know that someone does.

Our world is big. Everything has gone global. Yet, we all want to be heard and have our opinions matter. Take some time today to read what you value, and affirm to those who write it that you care about what they say. And if you write, make it worthwhile.  Write well. Make someone laugh, cry, think, learn. Make it thoughtful and something that  matters so it’s not lost in our sea of words.

(As if you don’t have enough to read already, you can follow me on Plinky at  http://www.plinky.com/people/huffygirl/answers)

(Here’s a great link that explains RSS feeds, which are purported to simplify your web reading. I haven’t subscribed to RSS yet, so let me know if it’s helpful. Scroll down until you see the video. http://blog.plinky.com/

© The author and Huffygirl’s Blog, 2010 to 3010. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author and Huffygirl’s Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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