Tuesday, November 25, 2008

All Clear

It seems my blog has passed the "Not Spam" review by a human. All the "your blog may be spam" warnings have disappeared from my dashboard as well as the word verifications I had to enter (for me to post to my own blog!). I'm surprised it only took a few days. The last time, it took over a month. While the whole thing is still a pain and a bit unnerving, I'd say the overall experience this time was far better than the last time.

Thank you Blogger for the improved method of handling these. I think that, for all the aggravation and stress that this causes, you should give me unlimited blog space and waive all fees. -Oh... wait a minute...



Friday, November 21, 2008

How To Back Up Your Blog

*Note: The following post was written while Blogger's backup feature was still in Beta Testing. Blogger's backup feature is now out of testing and can be accessed through your blog's regular sign-in page. You NO LONGER NEED to sign in through "Blogger In Draft" to backup your Blogger blog. Everything else below should still apply.

Blogger In Draft is an alternate "door" that you can use to sign into your blog. When you sign in through Blogger In Draft, you can edit and publish posts to your blog exactly the same way as when you sign in the regular way, but you'll also have access to additional features that Blogger is still testing. One of those features is a backup feature.

To back up your blog:
  1. Go to: http://draft.blogger.com
  2. Sign in to your blog (or sign in first and then go to Blogger In Draft.)
  3. You'll know you're signed in through "Blogger In Draft" if the blue background at the top of the page has a kind of grid texture on it. If it's a solid blue background, you're signed in through the "regular" way and the following won't work (-Yet. Someday it will when this feature comes out of testing.)
  4. If you're in "Blogger In Draft" click on your "Settings" tab.
  5. Click on the "Basics" tab.
  6. Towards the top of the page, in the very first line after all the tabs, you should see an "Export Blog" link. Likewise, you'll also see an "Import Blog" link.
  7. Click on the "Export Blog" link and Blogger will start to download your blog to an .xml file on your computer.
The .xml file is the backup of your blog. Rename it if you'd like, and save it somewhere on your computer. You can use this file to create a new blog that is identical to your old one complete with posts and reader comments. The exported .xml file is compatible with Blogger and should be compatible with some other blog services as well -though I haven't researched which ones. Export your blog this way from time to time to make sure you have a current copy of your most recent posts and comments. I suggest doing this at least once a month but you can do it more frequently if you'd like.

If you'd like to make a duplicate of your blog in Blogger:
  1. Create a new blog.
  2. Follow steps 1-5 above (in the "Export" directions.)
  3. This time click the "Import Blog" link.
  4. Navigate to the .xml file that was saved to your computer (from the previous Export) and upload it.
  5. If you get an error message (I always do) check the new blog address and see if everything came through anyway. If it did, you're done. If it didn't, re-fresh the page, and repeat this entire step until all your posts and comments come through.
When the above is done, you should have a duplicate of your blog, complete with reader comments. You may need to re-add your widgets and template, but all your posts and comments should be there. (Note: If you receive emails every time someone leaves a comment at your blog, you will get three million emails when you do this -One for each comment you just imported into the new blog! You will also be prompted with a word verification before you post anything new to that blog for about 24 hours.)

If you ever need to update this duplicate blog with the latest posts and comments from your original blog, repeat the entire export and import process again. When you import the more recent .xml file, Blogger should only import the newest posts and comments and you should not get duplicates.

Alternatively, you can do what I did before Blogger started experimenting with this feature. Create a new blog at Wordpress, import your Blogger blog into there, and save a backup copy of that (Wordpress has had a backup feature for a while now.) -Going through Wordpress is a bit more complicated but it was the only way to do this until a short time ago.

If my blogger blog ever disappears, you can join me at my backed up blog at Wordpress: http://partofeverything.wordpress.com

(Same address as my blogspot blog, but swap "wordpress" in for "blogspot".)

*Note: Please don't leave comments at that blog (yet!). I may not see them. Please continue to leave comments here unless we're forced over there!


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

At Least This Time Blogger Gave A Warning


Your blog at: http://partofeverything.blogspot.com/ has been identified as a potential spam blog. To correct this, please request a review by filling out the form at [link omitted]

Your blog will be deleted in 20 days if it isn't reviewed, and your readers will see a warning page during this time. After we receive your request, we'll review your blog and unlock it within two business days. Once we have reviewed and determined your blog is not spam, the blog will be unlocked and the message in your Blogger dashboard will no longer be displayed. If this blog doesn't belong to you, you don't have to do anything, and any other blogs you may have won't be affected.

We find spam by using an automated classifier. Automatic spam detection is inherently fuzzy, and occasionally a blog like yours is flagged incorrectly. We sincerely apologize for this error. By using this kind of system, however, we can dedicate more storage, bandwidth, and engineering resources to bloggers like you instead of to spammers. For more information, please see Blogger Help: http://help.blogger.com/bin/answer.py?answer=42577

Thank you for your understanding and for your help with our spam-fighting efforts.


The Blogger Team

P.S. Just one more reminder: Unless you request a review, your blog will be deleted in 20 days. Click this link to request the review: [link ommitted]
I didn't click on the links they provided because I wasn't certain the email was legit. Instead I signed into my account normally and on my Dashboard page there was a similar notice. So I clicked on the link provided there.

At least this time they emailed a warning and posted an additional warning in red on my dashboard instead of just closing down the blog without any explanation.

Interestingly, the notice on my Dashboard said I wouldn't be able to post until my blog was reviewed:

This blog has been locked due to possible Blogger Terms of Service violations. You may not publish new posts until your blog is reviewed and unlocked.

This blog will be deleted within 20 days unless you request a review.

-but it seems I can. With one difference. I now have to type in a word verification before I can post to my own blog! I'm not complaining. This is a far better system than the last time.

If my blog disappears in 20 days, you'll all know why. When I have time (I should have 20 days right?), I'll update my backed up blog and give you an alternate address in case this one goes "Poof!"


Monday, November 17, 2008

Dream: 125th St (Part 4)

Remember Parts 1, 2, and 3 of that dream I had? These are some of the things I obsessed about calmly pondered for a miniscule amount of time after I woke up.

Everything up to where we met the man and he said we were not where we thought we were, that there was a different street further up, and then when the family started going crazy under his spell... all of that seems normal to me. -For a dream. It's not my idea of fun, but for me and the kinds of dreams I have? I think "Yeah well that kind of figures. That's how things happen!" But there were several things in this dream that surprised me.

  1. I'm a little surprised that I decided to leave despite all the rest of them staying, and that I said I was going to go, and then did that. I'm surprised that, somehow, I didn't end up getting stuck there with all those other people.

  2. I don't understand (in the whole subconscious scheme of things) why the little girl suddenly came up to me and said she wanted to go with me. That's kind of a weird thing to happen to me in a dream. It is not unusual for me to be torn between having to get out of someplace and having someone I know and care about there who's also in trouble. But these weren't people I knew or had any real feelings for. So for a stranger in a dream, who I didn't know, to do that, and to have that kind of dilemma with them? That was kind of weird.

  3. I'm a little bit surprised, but maybe not too much, that I switched from trying to get the parents' permission to saying "She's coming with me. Call me when you're done." and then made the decision to grab this kid I didn't know, and leave instead of trying to continue to convince the parents to give me their "ok" -or trying to get them to come with me too. It would be more like me (in a dream) to keep trying to talk to the parents, and that's part of why I thought "Why am I going back to talk to these people? I need to go!" Because more often than not, that's what would get me stuck there. But I didn't get stuck. I still left. AND I took a kid with me that I didn't know!

  4. I'm also a bit surprised that I thought to yell out to any other kids (that I didn't really know) to come with me if they wanted, but that -given that I bothered to yell out to them at all- I didn't actively try to get any of them. I just pretty much yelled, "Come on guys, follow me if you want!"

  5. I've already said I was surprised by the kid who lived in that neighborhood who told his friends he was going to follow me too. I don't know what that was about. That was weird and I still don't know what it means.

  6. But MOST of all, I was completely and totally shocked by the unexpected ending with us winding up in that weird perfect neighborhood place. That everything was suddenly ok! I was really expecting the dream to go from bad to worse. To get to a bad neighborhood where it would continue to get darker until there was total darkness and fear and terror... or where we'd be followed, stalked, and possibly cornered or attacked... and then maybe I'd wake up.

    In the dream, I felt like I was doing something that I knew was going to be kind of dangerous, but I felt like it was the only thing I could do -I know... I could have turned back and returned the way I came right?... that never seems to be an option in my dreams! I think that, symbolically, it has to do with not being able to go backwards and having to continue moving forward in real life. On an actual street, yes, you can walk back, but in terms of choices and decisions and those types of "paths" that you take, there's no way to go "back." You have the information of where you came from, but you have to go forward from where you are.

  7. I also think it's interesting that I didn't really consider going back in to get the rest of them once I knew about the "ok place" on the other side. If the dream had continued longer, I may have thought to do that, but I don't know... It's different, again, because these weren't people I was drawn to go back in for like I might have been for people I was emotionally attached to. So I don't know if I would have risked getting back there to pull them out. The dream wasn't long enough for me to find out.
Very very weird. Odd strange dream. And I know why I had it. It's because of something I ate that night! Which is the other weird thing... usually if I eat something that disagrees with me, I have a major nightmare. I know the "weird creepy" part was because of what I ate, but I'm surprised it didn't end up as one of those "wake up with my heart pounding, terrified, afraid to roll over because there could be monster in the room..." types of things. THAT'S what happens when food doesn't agree with me! But for me to just have a creepy part of a dream, and then have it suddenly and COMPLETELY resolve itself and be ok....? That made NO sense to me at all.

Weird night. Weird dream.

You may go to sleep now ;)


Monday, November 10, 2008

Dream: 125th St (Part 3)

I walked about 2 more blocks, with the 3 (I think 3?) kids, towards the point where I thought we'd be crossing onto 125th street, and where I expected to start walking through the really bad neighborhood. With each step, everything around us got darker, as if each footstep controlled the dimming of all light around us. I knew that if we kept walking towards there, in a few more steps we'd be surrounded by complete pitch blackness. But I kept walking, trying to see through the dark and trying to make my eyes adjust. Then, all of a sudden, we walked through what seemed like some kind of invisible barrier. I'd seen no sign of it or warning, but I felt it just as we passed through it -and stepped into what looked like a neighborhood from The Truman Show. BRIGHT sunny blue sky, perfectly kept houses and lawns, and the middle of the day in some picture perfect suburban neighborhood.

I thought "What the %$#@! ?" For a moment I was so caught off guard and it was such a startling difference, that I didn't know if this place was ok, but almost immediately, I realized it was. That this place was safe and ok. And I thought "He was wrong... The guy in the house... This is NOT where he said we'd end up if we continued to walk down that street! This is not what he said was there! He said long walks, dangerous neighborhood, waaaaaay over on the East Side, and turns and cabs and trains..." -This was also not where I'd thought we were going to be. Not initially, when I thought we were on 43rd street, or afterwards when the man had said we were at 125th street.

The little girl saw a friend of hers in a yard and went over to talk and play with her. I thought "Ok, so this is good. We're in a neighborhood that just HAPPENS to have one of her friends in it." I figured this was another plus or "safe point" in favor of this place, as far as the kids were concerned. At least there was something familiar here to one of them.
I realized, after I woke up, that I wasn't thinking about how to get home at this point because it was bright, sunny, and the middle of the day in this place, so there was no urgency. I was more looking around at everything and trying to figure out what had just happened.
I saw some people on a porch looking at two 8" x 10"-ish pictures. At first they were like black and white or sepia toned pictures, but they were moving. Kind of like the newspapers in Harry Potter movies. I think they may have gone back and forth between being moving pictures and being Televisions. (It's a dream, so that makes sense!)

The pictures were of the crazy guy and of the tourist family. In the picture, the man from the house DID look crazy. Scary creepy insane crazy. He was in one picture with his two or three crazy creepy scary looking demented adult sons (who I hadn't seen before) and was kind of laughing and and talking quickly, sounding almost like a used car salesman, yelling about how he and his family were insane. The tourist family was in the second picture, with the parents now looking completely insane and googly eyed. The remaining kids were there too but I don't think they were crazy. Just still there with the parents. I yelled at the pictures to try to get them to hear me. I didn't know if they could or not.

I was yelling, "Keep walking! GET OUT OF THERE! COME HOME! Just COME HOME! You have to COME HOME! COME HOME!" I wanted them to get past those TWO more blocks, just TWO blocks away! Where they would have then not been on 125th street (like the man had said) but in this other totally and completely ok and safe place, if they would just get up and go! If they would just do it! It wasn't far! Just two blocks away! But they weren't listening. I wanted to tell them that the man was wrong, and had maybe even deliberately lied to them, I didn't know, but that if they started to go home, if they walked just this little bit from where they were (not a long treacherous walk through a dark dangerous and scary neighborhood -as we'd all believed- but only a couple of blocks!) they'd be in this safe place.

I heard the little girl talking to her friend in the yard. They were saying something about a play they had supposedly done that day. It might have been what her family was coming home from. But her friend said they'd never done the play. That it had been delayed or postponed and they hadn't done it. The girl seemed a little taken aback by this information, but then said that explained why "something else" was the way it was. Something about something like a mark (Maybe a mark on her arm? I don't remember... ) that would have been made during the play, and she was wondering why it hadn't been there. But she said that if they'd never done the play, then that would explain it.

And as I was listening to this, I started to wonder, "So when did things start to get weird?" I'd thought it was when the family met, and started talking to, the man. But according to this, it seemed like things had started to get weird earlier, when this girl had thought she'd done a play but actually hadn't. Before they'd even started walking to their car and before I'd bumped into them. I wasn't sure how that worked...

-and then I woke up ;)

And I thought about a few things (because clearly if I wasn't over thinking this dream when I woke up, I would never have written it all down!)

(To be continued.)


Friday, November 7, 2008

All Orders Are FINAL!

(On the phone.)
Hi, I just placed a delivery order two minutes ago and I'd like to add something.

Ummm... I'm not sure if you can do that.

I can't? I just called... I can't add something?

No. I don't think you can.

I just ordered a hamburger, less than two minutes ago. It can't have been cooked and gone out already.

Yeah but I already sent the order to the back.

Ok, well could you take a separate order then, send that to the back too, and make sure they're both delivered at the same time???


Hi. Let me just check the receipt... There's no shake.


There's no shake on the receipt. Just one item. The hamburger is here, but I also added a shake.

Check the bag.

Nope it's not here.

(Delivery guy looks confused.)

This is fine, it's what I ordered, but they're just going to send you back again with the shake that I ordered too.

Call them.


(On the phone)
Hello? I placed a delivery order about 20 minutes ago and I just received it and I'm missing the shake.

No shake.

Right. No shake. There's no shake.

Yes. No shake.

Right, but I ordered a shake. I ordered a hamburger, then I called back less than two minutes later and ordered a shake separately. Is that still coming?

No shake with hamburger.

Right. I have the hamburger, but I also ordered the shake.


So... is the shake still coming in another delivery? A separate delivery?

No. You call after girl send order to the back.

Yes, but I still placed a second order for a shake too.

Is too late. Girl tell you. -We no charge you for shake.

So the shake is NOT coming?

Order already go to back. No shake. Too late. We didn't make shake.


Call back and ask to speak to the manager.

Oh no. I'm done.


Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Thank You Citizens Of The USA

Thank you.


Saturday, November 1, 2008

Dream: 125th St (Part 2)

Part 1 of this dream is here.
...I noticed that it was slowly, slowly starting to get darker.

I was thinking to myself that even if 125th street was dangerous (Again... in "the dream world." In real life it's fine.), I could get through it ok. It wasn't a smart or a safe thing to do, but I figured I could do it. -I kinda figured I had a 70% to 80% chance of making it through. I'd just keep walking determinedly until I made it through to the other part of town where I could grab a bus or a taxi to get home. But I did not want to be walking through there when it was dark. So I told the family I was leaving, and I told them they should go too.

By now, the father was starting to look crazy. Weird creepy movie scary crazy. His eyes started to look distorted and like googly eyes -kind of like a claymation movie- and it was getting worse. And it was because of the guy he was talking to. The guy from the house. I tried talking to the father and telling him to leave, but he was getting more and more strange. The mother a little bit too. Finally I thought "I have to go."

I started to leave, and one of the little girls ran up to me and asked me to take her with me. She said she was scared and didn't want to stay there. I told her I didn't think that would be ok with her parents. (I didn't know any of these people!) She pleaded with me to take her with me, so I told her I'd ask her parents' permission. As I turned around to walk back to the table I thought "What am I doing? I need to go!!!"

I walked back to the table and asked her parents' permission. I told them she was scared and asked if it would be ok for her to come to my house until they were done. I told them since they had a car, when they were finished and got back to it, they could swing by my place and pick her up. The mother looked up at me and I saw that her eyes had now started to go googly too. The father, was now much further gone.

I panicked a little, seeing this, then suddenly changed what I said. I didn't ask their permission anymore. I told them, "She's coming with me to my house. When you're finished here, CALL me. CALL me when you're done. She's going to be with me!" I repeated this several times to try to get them to understand, and still tried to get them to come with me, but they weren't going to go. Then I picked up the girl, started to leave, and at the last minute thought to call back to the rest of the kids, "Anyone else who wants to come with me, come with me NOW. Follow me and you can wait at my house until your parents come to pick you up. Any of you can come with me, just follow me, but you have to come now! Otherwise, stay with your parents!"

Two boys left the table and decided to come with me. I could see other kids who were uncertain and clinging to their parents because they were scared and didn't know what to do. Which didn't surprise me. I mean think about it... young kids, choosing between their parents, (even if they're turning creepy/scary) or a complete stranger.

As I walked away, out of the corner of my eye, I noticed a boy with a red shirt who seemed to live in that neighborhood, playing with some other neighborhood kids on the street, and I heard him say to them "I'm going with her. I want to get out of this place." And his friends said, "She's talking about THEM stupid. The kids she knows! She's not talking about you! You can't go with her!" -And they were right. And I thought it was kind of weird that:
  1. This kid thought that I was talking to anyone in the entire neighborhood, and not just the kids from that family. That ALL the people of the world were welcome to come to my house!

  2. That he wanted to come with me. Because it seemed like he lived there, so this was his home. So, he was already home and... well... he lived there right?

  3. I also kind of thought "Should I take him with me? What's going on here?"
It was strange, but I kept walking with the kids that I had.

It continued to get darker, and I vaguely remembered that one of the parents (the mother?) had given me some money to pay for a cab for the kids and myself, and it was folded into a square that I was holding tightly between a couple of my fingers. But because I was also walking and carrying the girl, at one point I wasn't sure if I was still holding onto the money anymore. I looked around and couldn't find it, but I didn't want to stop and look for it for too long and decided "F- it, I have to keep going. Leave it here -wherever it is. I have to keep moving." Then I remembered that I had my own money, and that I always carry a little extra with me, so I should still be able to pay for a cab for all of us.

I reached into my bag with my free hand to check for my money, and was pretty sure I felt it. But then I worried about pulling my hand out, because I was afraid that in doing so, I'd accidentally pull the money out too. I tried, slowly, several times, to remove my hand from the bag, and each time I felt like I was going to cause the money to fall out of the bag. And I thought to myself "Why did I do that?! Why did I check?! I should have left it alone and just known it would be there and not checked until we got into a cab!"

But even if I lost that money too (which I thought I might) I was still going to keep going. I'd just walk home all the way if I had to. Me and all of the kids.

(Part 3 of the dream is here.)