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?

Shortcodes

Apologies for the blog-geeky post. Not even Visual Reflux related blog-geeky.

I have a lot of indices over The Stop Button. Until a few weeks ago, all have them have been manually maintained. For about fifteen years. Well, wait. Going back to the first Sandvox Stop Button so probably more like thirteen years. Fourteen years? I could figure it out on the Way Back Machine but not right now. I’m going down enough of a blogging rabbit hole here.

Last year I started the “By Rating” index, which I’ve always thought about having but never put together. I got it together, then I never updated it because it’s not in my workflow. I have an Applescript to open up all the pages to edit. I don’t use MarsEdit for it because… reasons. Probably because I’d need to refresh the entire blog before editing the pages every other day. Fingers crossed there’s a post or page specific refresh some day. No matter what I’ll need to update the main index manually.

So with the ratings index, I kind of wanted to just get rid of the page since I knowingly wasn’t updating it. But it gets hits. It’s way more popular than the “By Country” index, for example. Only I didn’t want to update it. I didn’t want to figure out the workflow.

Luckily, shortcodes. WordPress shortcodes are these, well, short bracketed statements that, umm, expand to code?

For example,

[display-posts category="cult" posts_per_page="100" include_date="true" date_format="j M Y"]

Instead of that bracketed statement, there’s a nice descending list (by date) of all the posts in the Cult category. I initially didn’t like the display-posts thing because of a UX issue, then realized… The Stop Button is a hot mess of UX issues I don’t care about, why not have one more, which led to the “Index by Ratings” page updating on its own, then the “Index by Year” page, now I’m putting together the “Index by Genre” page. “By Year” is possible to convert, “Actor,” “Director,” are possibly possible; “Country” and “Series” are impossible. The problem with the last four is WordPress.com versus a self-hosted install. So I could automate Visual Reflux indexing to my heart’s content only… I don’t have any plans to index Visual Reflux.

I’ve known about shortcodes for years and probably use them somewhere on Stop Button already and forgot about it (maybe a video link?), but the display-posts one is working out. Automated indexing is awesome. Especially after fourteen years of the other way.

Best of luck on future projects

“I hate writing about great films. I absolutely hate it.”

From November 2005. Came across it on a project I’m not ready to talk about yet because I haven’t decided if I’m doing it yet. I’m “testing” the project, because it’s a big one and of questionable reward, even creatively. Well, maybe not. It’s kind of really fun, creatively-speaking.

But this post isn’t about why I don’t hate writing about great films anymore.

It’s instead the start of the drum roll on the podcast. Technically it’s all green lights. Anchor is so much easier than GarageBand and Levelator and FaceTime and Skype and Audio Hijack and so on. I’m not sure when the first episode will be released, though we’ve got the recording scheduled. It’s kind of amazing how well Anchor works.

At least for recording. The whole posting the podcast thing… we’ll see. I’m going to run the first episode at least in the Comics Fondle Podcast stream. I’d run it in the Best of Alan Smithee and Stop Button Favorites too but I’m not sure how I was publishing them. Through WordPress somehow, but maybe through FeedBurner too? I don’t really want to go back and figure it out, since I’m pretty sure listenership on the old stuff has fizzled.

Oh, wow, Anchor may have stats I don’t need to comb through AWS logs to calculate.

I’m sure I’ll be more excited when I’m not trying to figure out how to get rid of clicks. I took the more “hobbyist” route with Visual Reflux (self-hosted versus WordPress) but as an extended try-out. It all may change next year. The site went out last weekend, which wasn’t cool. One of the big reasons I moved Stop Button to WordPress.com was because the site kept going down and GoDaddy seemed unable to fix the problem or guarantee their fix was going to work.

The other big reason was because the company is owned by terrible white people and we all need fewer terrible white people in our lives.

But it never occurred to me, in 2019, to try and self-host another podcast. No thanks. There’s an app for that.

Other site news… the Punisher MAX proper readthrough is starting soon. For my made up word, readthrough, do I want to hyphen or not. Read-through or readthrough. The former at least doesn’t give me red lines.

And I’m going to do a MCU ranking post after Endgame because Fiege totally said it was the end of Phase Three and is now walking it back but whatever. He also said Infinity War was standalone. It is, of course, just not how he meant.

I haven’t gotten any Marvel movie-related hate comments since the first Avengers so fingers crossed I at least get one?

Fine Jetpacks

Visual Reflux had some down time this weekend. Not relaxation time but server out time. It’s been a while since I’ve had a blog with a server in despair. WordPress.com is real stable. It’s frustratingly limited but it’s real stable. I’m basically running VR self-hosted just to see if it matters at all. So far it doesn’t. I’ve done some CSS tweaks but it’s not like I’m willing to put in the rest of the work on google ads or even google analytics. The far less informative JetPacks are fine.

I’m really behind on my daily posts, but since I’ve given myself the makeup post later on, it’s not a stresser. VR is all about stress-free blogging. Lots of it, but without pressure. Letting blogging pressure was always one of my big problems over the years and I wasn’t even considering it Serious writing. And it’s nowhere near as serious as I used to be but I also needed to chill the fuck out on some stuff.

VR is supposed to be more balanced.

We’ll see tomorrow with the Eltingville Club and the Stop Button link post.

Mirrors Mirrored

Today I decided to also fold Summing Up into Visual Reflux. Until today, it hadn’t really occurred to me. One about the seven to ten blogs I’ve started after starting The Stop Button in 2004? I didn’t name the most successful one. Comics Fondle . I didn’t name it. I didn’t name Visual Reflux. I collaborated on the Visual Reflux name but the idea wasn’t mine. Only Stop Button, Summing Up, and Televisual Feast were my names. And that carried over, initially, to how possessive I was going to be of Visual Reflux. However, after going back and forth on where to host the site, on how to host the site, on how to get SSL to work, and now how to get the RSS feed secure enough, I’ve gotten possessive of Visual Reflux.

And so into the fold goes Summing Up. Leaving The Stop Button and my Micro.blog. The Stop Button will not be a direct mirror on Visual Reflux. I’m not sure today what kind of mirror it will be. It might be the best movies I watch, might be the contemporary movies, might be recently released on home video movies, might just be a post I enjoyed writing, probably be some kind of combination of those categories. Though it was hard to talk about Captain Marvel, which I posted on Reflux early. It’s gotten hard to talk about the Marvel movies if only because the concept of soulless franchise movies succeeding is very strange. Thanks, Disney, I guess.

Depending on how the cross-posting works, I may litter the Internet over on Televisual Feast. Comics Fondle will have cross-posting for the foreseeable future. It makes the most sense for what I’m doing right now… Conglomerating. Now I just need to figure out what my word count targets for Reflux.

I think, as far as movie posts go, I’ll be only doing positive cross-posts. I’ve been thinking about maybe doing “flashback” posts to old movie posts, but moving all the sites’ histories over opens a can of worms best left closed. Every time I’ve done an archive or a post collection, I’ve gone through those first year or so posts of Stop Button when it was on jablog and it just doesn’t fit with what comes afterwards. While Visual Reflux isn’t going to be so worried about “fitting,” it is going to be my 2019 writing project. Principally.

Now I have the RSS feed working, anyway.