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!

33% done


"No I'm good..." ( © Huffygirl)

The good folks at WordPress, who’ve been busy promoting the campaigns of Post a Week 2011 and Post a Day 2011, recently pointed out to we bloggers that 2011 is 33% done. First, let me say ewwww – how did 2011 become 33% gone already?  January through April just flew by, and not because I’ve been blogging. I think it has something to do with time moving faster every year you get older, plus the phase of the moon, moss growing on the north side of trees, the prime interest rate, and Donald

"Housekeeping" ( © Huffygirl)

Trump’s hair creating some kind of time vortex. Second, the winter was so tedious this year, at least here, that we’ve been wishing winter would  move on, and I guess it finally did.

Anyway, now that we’re at the 33% mark, WordPress wants to know how we bloggers, who’ve been toiling away for the last quarter are doing. Specifically, here’s what  WP said:

Congratulations on completing month four of the challenge! Since January, you guys have collectively published almost 150,000 posts!

To celebrate being thirty-three percent done with Post a Day/Post a Week, share your top three favorite posts that you’ve published since starting the challenge.

Keep up the great work, everyone!

"...Spring spheres"

So without further ado, here’s a brief moment of self-aggrandizement as I share, in no particular order, my three favorites for the first quarter:

Time to get out your spring spheres!

House keeping

No I’m good, I think I’ll climb back down now

© Huffygirl

Just Google it


Tulip bouquet

"How to cure floppy tulip syndrome"

When is Hitler’s birthday? How do I fold a palm into a cross? Why do people hold up signs reading John 3:16 in the end zone?  Where are olives grown?  Who is the CEO of WordPress?

These are just a few of the recent Google searches, aka “google its” that have been in my Google search box. What did we do before Google, or in general, before we had information at our fingertips on the internet, that we could search in minutes, using a choice of search engines? The answer to that is a great story that people my age and older like  to tell: gathering  the kids around and regaling them with how it was “in the olden days.”

Back in the old days, when I was a kid, we didn’t have the internet. We didn’t have computers, and hey, some people even think I grew up before electricity. Truth be told, we did have electricity then, but we had to go out and crank up our windmills to get it. Anyway, if we wanted to know something that we didn’t know the answer to, we’d a) look in a book or encyclopedia or b) ask someone. Looking in a reference tome involved hitching up the horse and buggy and driving into town to the library, so of course this was not always possible. If your burning question about Hitler’s birthday hits you at 2 AM, you’re not going to “chase to town” (as my parents liked to call it) then. So asking someone, provided there was someone around, was always easier, though not necessarily better. One could ask a teacher, librarian, physician, mechanic;  someone who by their profession or training, might have a modicum of knowledge on your subject in question. My experience as a child was that most people around me chose to ask someone instead of checking a reference text, and it was invariably someone who had no qualifications whatsoever to give advice on said question. In fact, it seemed that the more underqualified they were to answer, the more import their answer held.

My dad’s favorite persons whom he considered to be fonts of knowledge were: anyone who was an American Legion buddy; anyone with whom he worked, and anyone who was a relative of the former. So if he needed a plumber, he’d ask his legion buddies, and if none of them was a plumber or knew a plumber, at least they always had a cousin or brother-in-law who wasn’t really a plumber, but owned two pipe wrenches and “did it on the side.” If Daddy came home from the doctor with a new medication, he’d never ask the doctor for information about it. Instead, The National Enquirer was the source of all medical information, or the folks at work, because they all lived in a bigger city than he did, so therefore were more worldly and experienced in such matters. Asking someone at work for directions to my nursing school interview is  how we ended up 100 blocks away in the bad part of town when he drove me there. Buy a map? Of course not. You just ask people around you until you find someone who professes to know.

Mom had fewer reference sources since she did not belong to any fraternal organizations. Her font of knowledge tended to be her hair dresser. Yes, the same woman who turned us into poodles groomed with a hot glue gun  turned out to be the expert on just about everything.

After growing up with years and years of receiving bad, bad information from others, you might understand why today I’m a big fan of Google. It rarely lets me down, and if the answers I receive seem spurious, shallow or incomplete, I’m smart enough to know how to look elsewhere.

 If I want to google something, I type in exactly what I want to know, as if I were talking to a person. “How do I fold a palm to make a cross?” got me precisely what I needed this past Palm Sunday. My husband, the logical, pragmatic computer programmer that he is, finds this infuriating. He knows the computer is a machine and unable to interpret idiomatic expressions. He tries to turn every search into a broken English query such as “palm and fold and  cross” and is frustrated and amazed when I get better results with my colloquial queries.

Perhaps another reason I’m fond of Google is that Google knows me. Want to find my blog? Just type “huffygirl” or “huffygirl’s blog” into a Google search, and there I am! And at least once a day, just about every day of the year, Google helps people worldwide answer the burning question of “how to stop tulips from flopping over in a vase?” by directing them to me, who at least in Google’s estimation, is the foremost living expert on this subject. Thanks Google!

 © Huffygirl

I’ve found you Halmanta


"Hello Huffygirl" (Courtesy of Google)

My previous post on Zemanta/Halmanta spurred some comments from blogger-readers who did not know about Zemanta. At first I couldn’t remember how to find Zemanta and where I set it up, which convinced me more than ever that Zemanta had taken over my blog as Halmanta. But, not to worry, the good folks at WordPress came though. The short answer is that it’s under “users,” then “personal settings” on the sidebar menu for WordPress bloggers. Here’s the link if you want to know more (or less) about how to use (or not use) Zemanta/Halmanta for your posts. Be careful though – you might end up drifting off into space like I did. 🙂

http://en.support.wordpress.com/zemanta-for-recommended-links-photos-articles/#how-to-activate-zemanta

Now if I could just learn how to make links into neat little text like all the other bloggers do!

Related Articles

(Non WordPress bloggers – here’s the link http://www.zemanta.com/)

“A Look Back” is a hit: Thanks Erica


Feature photo from "A Look Back..."

Last week I posted A look back: my first year of blogging, a retrospective look at how Huffygirl’s Blog has grown and evolved this past year. It was great to spend some time reviewing and reflecting, pondering what worked, and what didn’t this past year. And I thought that was that. But unbeknownst to me, the fun folks at WordPress (WP) had other ideas.

As many of you know, since January WP has been engaged in a campaign to encourage its 300,000+ bloggers to write it up, with two campaigns: Postaday 2011 and Postaweek 2011. WP bloggers have been encouraged to post daily, or at least weekly in 2011. Personally, it seems to me that getting bloggers to blog is not really a problem. We bloggers tend to have a lot on our

It's the Daily Post! (Photo: Huffygirl)

minds and don’t mind saying it. Anyway just in case we need some help, WP has set up a special feature to encourage bloggers called The Daily Post. As one might expect, each day The Daily Post shares some kind of writing tidbit. Sometimes it’s a topic suggestion, a post about inspiration, or a challenge to post a photo or something outside of one’s usual comfort zone. 

Well surprisingly it seems that I’m much more inspiring than I knew, because on February 22, 2011, The Daily Post headline read “A WordPresser’s reflection on her first year of blogging.” WP author Erica Johnson featured my post “A Look Back…”  to encourage other bloggers to take a reflective journey with their own blogs. http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2011/02/22/a-wordpressers-reflection-on-her-first-year-of-blogging/ As usual, any mention from the good folks at WP brings a flood of visitors to the featured blog. I only became aware that my blog had been cited when I saw my stats rising and looked into it to figure out the source of the spike.

The unexpected publicity from WP brought many new visitors to my blog. I’ve had great fun exchanging comments with them, and taking a peek at each commentor’s blog (yes, I REALLY looked at every single one.) It’s been fun, inspiring and fulfilling, and once again made me keenly aware of the wonderful community of bloggers out there. I’ve “met” folks from other countries and cultures and found that they really aren’t that different from me. It reminds me that I’m not alone – that bloggers from around the world are but a few keystrokes away. It’s also a great reminder to US bloggers that not everyone in the world uses Farenheit, inches and pounds, at least not the same way that we do. Good to keep in mind. 

So once again, thanks WordPress and special thanks to Erica at The Daily Post for making my day.

© 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.

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/

https://huffygirl.wordpress.com/2010/04/17/huffyhow-how-to-cure-floppy-tulip-syndrome/

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!

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.

http://en.wordpress.com/tag/freshly-pressed/

  © 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.