I thought the sky was a lovely shade of blue this morning, and the temperature was wonderfully mild.
The water in my shower felt quite wet.
The ice in my drink was cold, but when I had my first cup of coffee, it was hot.
Thank you for your time.
I thought the sky was a lovely shade of blue this morning, and the temperature was wonderfully mild.
The water in my shower felt quite wet.
The ice in my drink was cold, but when I had my first cup of coffee, it was hot.
Thank you for your time.
I got a nice short email earlier today, in response to the “The Return of AnnCoulter” post.
I expected some responses, after all, politics is serious business. It really is, and emotions related to politics run very deep.
I’m certainly not going to be surprised about getting some kind of flaming arrow of indignation fired my way.
Good lord, the country I live in is damn near split down the middle, politically, so why would I think the readers of my blog all think like I do on anything?
Hell, I’d be SCARED if all of you shared my opinions on everything, because I’m freaking insane. You’re my therapy, so if you’ve got MY back, who the hell has YOURS?!?
I get this email, and I was bored this afternoon over my lunch hour, so what the heck. It’s apparently that time again, it’s been a few years since I did one of these posts, so I guess we’ll do it up right.
I don’t appreciate political bashing in with my wow fun.
Take care and have fun.
That’s it. That’s the email I got, in reply to the feedreader emailed “Return of AnnCoulter” post.
Simple, right? No swearing, no offensive language at all, spelling and grammar are correct. On the surface, it appears to be a nice, simple, intelligent email. These are usually considered telling points in an email, lending greater weight to someone’s opinion.
Unfortunately, where it fails is in maturity and sense.
Let’s say you are reading things on the internet, you’re browsing, surfing the web. Following links, reading blog posts in various places, WoW.com articles, whatever.
Along the way, you may encounter something you really like, and think that it would be nice to subscribe to their mailing list or to their blog feed, in the hopes that you’ll get to see similarly enjoyable writing delivered conveniently right into your mailbox in the future.
Suddenly, you do get another post by the same author delivered into your email box or in your feedreader, and this one shocks you. The author didn’t write another article on a topic similar to the last one. This time, he wrote about a subject you take very seriously, and in addition, you don’t like his attitude about it. You’re offended by this idiot. Hey, he may write the funny okay once in a while, but what the heck makes him think you care what he actually thinks about anything else? You thought you were signing up for one thing, and here you are getting something else entirely. This will not do.
So, what do you do then?
A mature individual may do many things, depending on how strong he or she feels about it. They may unsubscribe from that writer entirely, wanting to make sure they are never bothered by that kind of thing again. A total flush to prevent being further offended.
Or, the person may decide that, as irritating as that article was, the other posts were good enough, enjoyable enough, that they don’t want to miss out on any more in the future. They were irritated, but not so much that it outweighs the positives of the funny posts. So, they’ll simply “mark as read” or delete the offensive posts, and scan future posts quickly to weed them out and continue on, only reading the ones that sound interesting.
Those both seem like reasonable responses to me. People change, writing changes, and you never know when someone like me might just go off the deep end.
Why should you put up with it? With a ‘subscribe by choice’ blog, like mine, it couldn’t be easier to flush the bad articles from your life, or the blog itself. You just unsubscribe and delete any links to the website, and don’t follow any links from anyone else, and you’ll never see that blog writer again for the rest of your life.
So, all that being said, where in all that do you fit in a situation where a person decides to email the writer with a brief two sentence message like that? What end does that serve?
I’ve given it a little thought, and while I can’t pretend to know what goes on in the mind of anyone else, I can speculate, and will.
What I would speculate is that such a person, when faced with an article that irritated them or made them unhappy, they could not simply take action of their own to protect themselves and leave it at that. No, they felt the need to take action to share their unhappiness, to spread it around.
The “If I’m not happy, why should anyone else be” mindset.
That’s just not an attitude I can respect.
I know that over time, misunderstandings can happen. Especially when people read posts about WoW and Bear tanking, and are directed here or linked here from WoW-only websites, and accordingly develop an expectation as to what the point of the blog is, what it is I do here, and what they are likely to see.
I’m going to do my best to clear the misunderstandings up.
My blog exists as a place for me to write what I want to write about, when I want to write about it, on any given day. I write whatever I may be inspired about at the moment. I write about my enthusiasms. I especially write about things that bother me. I frequently write what I think of are entertaining posts to cheer both myself up, and hopefully other people.
I do not limit myself to any particular topic. On the “About” page of my website, it says “BigBearButt offers his cranky opinions of a long time World of Warcraft casual feral druid about druid life, the WoW world, and everything.”
That last bit, where I say “everything”? That early bit, where I say “cranky”? Both of those are keywords for the content of this blog.
It’s my own personal website used as a means for my personal expression.
See, I don’t want to mislead you. If you think the blog posts wandering from topic to topic is a temporary situation, please don’t. When I do write about WoW, most often it’s from a Feral Druid Tank mindset. But I don’t limit myself to that, and if that’s the only reason why you’re here, well, you’re facing a lot of disappointment.
So, that’s the blog. That’s what you can expect in the future. Basically, the same old, same old that I’ve been doing here for years.
Now, I don’t want to be unkind. I might tend to think it’s simply an immature desire to lash out at someone that irritated them, but maybe there is an alternate reason why someone would mail me like that.
I know that there is a tendency for people to think that in any situation where they receive a service, they are a customer, and the opinions of a customer are always right and should be respected.
I know that, because of this philospohy, a lot of people feel that if they are not happy, it’s important for them to make their unhappiness known to the ‘management’. Sometimes it’s not for personal benefit, but to try and guide the management service towards better efforts in the future, or just a desire to nudge people to do what you want in the way you think they should, to mentor them when you feel they’ve gone off track.
Whatever the case, it doesn’t apply here. You are not my customers. You do not pay me money.
Our contract, such as it is, is that I will continue to write what I want to write, and I will continue to post it publicly for anyone who wants to spend some of their time reading it.
I pledge to myself that I will do my best to stay true to myself, and to write my honest thoughts and opinions and research.
Your end of the contract is that you read it whenever you feel like it or not, as you choose. Whether you walk away amused or irritated or bored, it’s all your decision. But if you do choose to comment, you do so in a mature way, sharing your honest thoughts and opinions, being considerate of others, and if it’s within your power, helpful in your suggestions.
Further, and I do think this is something that is implied but may not be readily apparent, if you have really strong feelings you want to share in great detail, especially ones that are in direct contradiction of everything I ever say, then you go make your own blog and write your own posts there. You don’t just try and hijack mine every time I write anything.
You may be my friends, you may be people that have been visiting only once or have been here for years commenting frequently and becoming folks near and dear to my heart, like Dechion, Katt and Tesh, but you”re not my customers.
I pay for the website hosting, and to the best of my knowledge I’ve never asked any of you to rush out and fund my purchase of anything. I certainly don’t recall trying to push for people to buy items from the blog store so I can get some cash.
I don’t even host ads, despite a lot of emails wanting me to, so I don’t receive money from passive pagehits. I’ve always felt ads would have been unsightly.
See, I don’t do this for money, If I wanted money, hell, I’d still write for WoW.com and I’d have closed this blog a long time ago. Life isn’t all about making money. There’s nothing wrong with making money, and there’s nothing wrong about websites having banner ads.
But not being a money making enterprise leaves me ethically and morally free to say what I’m saying right now, which is that I don’t owe anyone a damn thing in what I write or how I write it.
I write for fun, I write for myself, and I write for the amusement and enjoyment of you, my friends. I also continue to try to provide a place to share ideas and suggestions and tips for people starting out tanking, to help get their feet wet and feel confident.
When people do spend money on the blog store, I don’t even keep that. So far, it’s all gone right back into buying shirts or buttons I’ve given away to readers, either at local Meet the Bear events or through website contests.
I’ll never be a Penny Arcade making money with this stuff; it’s not what I aspire to.
I’m always happy to discuss what part of my opinion may have upset you in private, as long as you’re interested in talking about it via email, and not just in lecturing me. If you want a reasoned discussion, hey, I’m your Bear. Close your mind, and I close MY browser.
Where I simply shake my head in laughter is if you read something I wrote that you didn’t like because I wrote about a topic you don’t want to have to see on a “WoW blog”, and then you email me to tell me so.
I don’t care. Click “unsubscribe” and move on with your life, don’t bother me with your sillyness.
Am I supposed to go, “Oh my, I stepped over the bounds of a WoW blog and delved fleetingly in the deep waters of the political spectrum, and my readers have made their wishes known; henceforth, I shall restrict myself to good, wholesome WoW related blog posts so as not to offend.”
No, it doesn’t do that.
I write what I write that I really think and feel. You may love me, hate me, or say ‘meh’, but at least you know it’s me.
If I am really thinking about something a lot and being bothered by it, I’m not going to censor myself, when talking about it and getting it off my chest really does make me feel better. That’s one of the best things about having a blog; to write what I really think and get it off my chest.
I may hold myself to a personal standard in my writing, and I may do my best to hold to that standard, but I do not OWE any reader anything. I don’t answer to you, I answer to my own conscience.
In return, you do not owe ME anything. Ain’t I nice? This is finally one thing in your life where you know that no bill will come due.
If you don’t like what I say or how I say it, you don’t have to just endure it. Heck no. You always, ALWAYS have the power to exercise your freedom of choice and remove me from your feedreader and from your life. I’m just one more idiot in a world full of them, writing BS on a blog.
Where we have the divide, is that your freedom of choice does not include a right to attempt to inhibit or discourage my exercising of my freedom of speech and freedom of personal expression on the blog I pay to maintain.
If and when you don’t like what I say on any given day, you have the power. Just unsubscribe, and never come back. Don’t subject yourself to what you find offensive. Be a mature individual, and just close the browser to me.
Just, whatever you do, please don’t bother taking that further step to email me just to tell me you didn’t like my going off WoW topics, or talking politics or whatever. I’m not going to censure myself to make you happy, or apologize for speaking my mind here in my house.
It’s just not going to happen.
The last couple of days, I’ve been kinda wondering something.
Why the heck am I still doing this writing gig?
I mean, there isn’t anything to talk about as far as Druids go… anything I had to say, either I said it somewhere in the last few years, or I’m never gonna say it by now.
So, if not Druid talk… what the heck am I writing?
At times, sure, I have that normal burning desire to write about something, but more and more often I’ve started wondering… sure, I like to write, but is it really necessary for me to dump this offtopic stuff on the web?
It’s started to feel like when I’m writing, I’m punishing my readers instead of entertaining. And I’m certainly not informing anyone of anything they didn’t already know.
I know that there are lots of folks that have certain expectations of topical blogs; namely the blogger actually talk about the topic, instead of rambling along like a basket case.
Well, why should I be any different? If someone wants some Feral Druid info, they should be able to go someplace and read Feral Druid stuff, and not Starcraft II reviews or pictures of a Rogue in Dungeon Set 2.
I put the most relevant recent druid tanking posts on stickies on the sidebar… I look at the timestamps on those, and wonder… what have I done for you lately?
The answer is, not that much.
I was writing a long post about reading and Sci Fi earlier this weekend, and it just suddenly hit me… why the heck am I writing any of this stuff on the blog? It’s got nothing to do with WoW, so even if I do feel inspired to write it, why should I put it on the blog and annoy you with it?
Is this what a mid-life crisis feels like?
There’s some old saying I heard somewhere, it goes something like, it doesn’t make any sense to try and teach a horse to dance. It only frustrates you and annoys the horse.
Well, am I at that point? I’m writing all this off topic, irrelevant BS, and all I’m doing is annoying everyone with my ignorant opinions?
Gnomer wrote a great post earlier in the weekend about PvP, quoted one of my old posts where I’d pissed him off, and one of the earliest comments left there was someone pointing out, correctly, that the BBB doesn’t know anything about PvP, but that doesn’t stop me from talking about it.
Have I become that guy? The guy that doesn’t know shit, but has no problem talking about it at length?
That’s a rhetorical question. I think I have. Somewhere along the line, I actually started to believe that what I thought mattered outside my own head. Just blah, blah, blah all year long.
That isn’t who I ever thought I’d be. I’m actually shocked.
It’s almost as bad as being the really old creepy dude at the concert all the young kids go to.
Maybe it’s time to either shut up in general, shut up about non-Druid stuff, or just go make a different blog called “One idiot’s opinion on everything except stuff you care about”.
I don’t want to be that guy that doesn’t know anything, but will still talk your ear off for hours. Holy cow, that’s almost my definition!
Geez, I’m actually looking at that long post about reading and Sci Fi, and I feel embarassed that I was gonna post that.
Yep, it was hacked again.
Good morning! That sinking feeling? That’s my enthusiasm levels as I wonder just how long any of my friends are going to be willing to visit the blog, if there is going to be this risk of malware infection on their computer.
And what about the hundreds of other blogs out there getting hacked? I’m comfortable having this small space with my friends and doing my thing, I really don’t look for growth or expansion or moar readers. But for a lot of bloggers, writers that might be just starting out, or would really like to grow their site readership, or are trying to start a business venture doing what they love, holy crap!
For folks in that situation, you want people searching Google and Yahoo and other search engines to be able to find you, right?
Well, Google and other searching sites regularly check for sites infected with malware, and will blacklist them from their search engine results if they get nailed. Sometimes very fast, indeed. Do they then take them off the blacklist once the site is fixed? Well, what do you think?
It’s a lot easier to trust someone when they can say “I’ve never had my site hacked”, than someone who says “I’ll never have my site hacked again. Honest.”
Thanks to Cassie being on top of things, within minutes of my trying to login and finding the site hacked, Cassie fixed it. Hell, not minutes, seconds.
The best resource Cassie found on this last week continues to be the best. That would be the security geniuses at Sucuri Security who are I swear to all that bloggers hold holy the best blogging security people in the universe.
I’m basing this on them updating status reports, providing knowledge on the actions within the community, researching the root causes, contacting website hosting providers for updates, and providing solutions that work!
I’m thinking about hiring their service for auditing the site continuously, to be honest.
So, once again, the site was back in the hands of the malware redirectors. Cassie took it right back, but this is really getting irritating.
We know it’s not personal. Nobody singled BBB out to take down. It’s part of a mass impersonal hack attack. And this one seems directly targeted at GoDaddy hosted .php based sites, not just WordPress installations.
But damn, people. What a great start to the day, right?
I want to be very clear here. I am deeply, deeply sorry to all of you that visit this website, if the malware that has been on it in the past has caused any of you any inconvenience whatsoever.
I hate this shit. I’m sorry.
I honestly can’t believe how quickly time passes.
I’m stunned by how fast time moves when you’re busy, and I’m also shocked at how easy it is to slip into a pattern.
Specifically, after I posted the last chapter of Jessie’s story arc in Converging Forces, I knew that the story focus was going to be shifting to Baron Trendel for a while.
I’m learning about story cliffhangers.
Jessie was at a point in her story where it was clearly going to take a lot of writing to establish where she was after her internal meltdown, what some of the potential consequences were, and what was going to begin happening next. With Baron Trendel having sat for so long in the story, it seemed to me that it was a good spot to make a break from one to the other, and gain some emotional seperation. To shift the intensity of the story away from immediate emotional despair or grief and into a more measured, determined searching.
Jessie’s story had been a very intense time of writing for me. I found myself really getting caught up as I wrote it, and while I have no idea what it reads like in someone else’s head, it shook me up a bit. I think that’s great, hopefully some of that actually made it out of my head and onto the page, but it’s impossible to know what someone else will get out of writing like that.
But okay, Jessie had her time in the sun and went out with a bang that Manny should have seen coming, and will have interesting consequences in her immediate future. Now it was time for Baron Trendel to show why he is an important part of the story, and to bring an emotional balance in with a little fun on the side.
I’ve had things bouncing around in my noggin about both story arcs and where they fit together, and I sat down to refresh myself on where exactly we left off before I began the next chapter.
Looking at the time stamp, OMG, it’s been four and a half months since I posted the last chapter of the story.
It feels like three weeks, tops. It’s crazy.
At this rate, the damn story is going to be done when I’m in a nursing home!
It’s shocking. I write on the blog almost daily, so it’s not that I’m not writing. It’s just that I wake up, there’d be something about the game going on I was inspired to write about that’d be a quickie, and then after writing something I’d be done for the day, time to move on.
Oh, but I’ll write a story chapter the next day.
But the next day there is something else small to write about, so how about the day after that. No worries, it’s only been a week. Or two.
Four and a half months.
I don’t know what to tell you, obviously my writing isn’t a full time job, or even a paid gig, it’s for fun. It’s not like I’m blowing deadlines.
This irritates me because I find the story writing to be more personally rewarding, long term.
I enjoy writing on the blog very much, I love our ongoing conversations and the talk about WoW. There’s a reason I keep writing here all the time.
It’s just jarring to look back and see that I’ve spent four and a half months writing regularly, day in and day out, but I’ve advanced the story that I feel is the best part of my writing not a line nor word.
I can look back over the years of the blog, and I can say to myself, “Boy, 1139 posts, over 20,000 comments, ain’t that something. That’s a lot of writing, right there, yesiree Billy Joe Bob, ayuh. Dadgum. We’ve had ourselves a lot of fun along the way.”
I can’t go back over 1140 posts and reread them for fun or idle amusement, though. I can’t point other people to it as something to read for a quick laugh, or to check out a story that might be worth checking out. 1139 posts is a ridiculous number.
I’m sure there are individual posts that would be fun to read again, or that I could point to as being interesting. I had some linked on the sidebar for a while as “classic BBB”, and I still keep the “Storytime” ones linked there so it’s easy for me to find them without digging around.
But the regular posts aren’t, well, a consistent story that holds together as anything other than daily fishwrap.
They’re words written for the moment, about a briefly relevant topic, and then quickly forgotten by all.
The Converging Forces writing, however, is something that I could someday wrap up with a ribbon and give to my son to read, if he was so inclined. Something I could share as a story that should be rewarding to read, in and of itself, for anyone that likes a solid story, and not just for those of us interested in WoW.
As inept as it may be, the work of an amateur writer, the Converging Forces story is something that I’ll keep and take with me and cherish over the years, no matter where my other interests may fall.
In that context, I feel very wistful about the last four and a half months. Each day represents potential writing that I’ll never get back again.
A week or two is fine, but taken all at once like that, wow. Blink and it’s gone.
We’ve run a hell of a lot of diagnostics, checks, etcetera, and everything looks good.
All the feedback we’ve had has also been of the “no problems here” variety.
So, we’re gonna call this good, move on with blogging, and Cassie is checking into enhanced security precautions.
I’ll warn you… we might be seeing less addons/plugins for a while as we make sure we only run with the “stripped down” model and keep it safe.
Oh, and btw… Iron Man 2?
Pretty damn cool.
Now, I know what you’re thinking… “ah shit, a blogger with a movie review that’s gonna spoil things.”
Nope. No spoilers.
What I would like to say, is that, first, many movie reviews refer to there being too many characters.
What they should really be saying is, the acting of the characters that ARE in the film is very, very good, and you are left wishing you had more time with all of them.
More time with all of them.
Second, there are a lot of explosions and fight scenes in the movie.
What I felt as I walked away, was that I wished I had more of the wonderful acting and interplay between the characters, and less bang bang armor stuff.
I’m sorry, I know it’s sad, but the acting was that good, that fun, that fresh and at times, that sensitive. The movie does have a lot of action and a lot of plot movement going on, so our moments with the characters in each scene feel fleeting, and we want moar.
The action was good, although towards the end pretty easy to predict, but all in all I felt they did provide plenty of gee whizz armor coolness.
Oh, and I hate Mickey Rourke in general, but damn he was awesome acting in this movie. I can’t believe how good he was in the role he played. I haven’t liked him in anything since Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man (and if you never saw that film, shame on you!) but I liked him in this. A lot.
I guess I’d just say… the critics may have some vaild points, but the way they present them is just…. well, it isn’t fair to the movie.
I was not bored, not one single moment in the film. That’s not bad. And I left talking about things, and speculating about things, and looking forward to future movies, and that’s not bad either.
And there were moments where the plot did let you see beneath the exterior of Tony Stark, and see that he had what he showed on the surface, and that he had a whole shitload of hidden subtext below the surface.
Again, no spoilers, but the legacy we leave behind is a main overall theme ofthe movie, the legacy he feels his father left to him and HOW he left it, and the legacy he wants to leave to others.
During that part of the plot, you see what he’s showing you, and it’s good. You also see what he’s actually DOING, and it comes off as there being a slightly discordant note. About 2/3rds through the movie, a layer is pulled back, and you see what he really thinks of his father’s legacy, and it brings everything he is actually doing into a much sharper focus. I admire writing like that, that rewards your paying attention to the personalities of the characters.
So… a good movie. Well worth the GOOD LORD are you shitting me $30 bucks we spent so the both of us could see it and have drinks and a tub of popcorn.
One last thing.
Scarlet Johannsen. Absolute WIN. And not the way you think. There is a payoff in the end. Trust me.
It’s amazing how quickly things can happen.
We go to bed Thursday night, all is normal with the world.
Friday morning, I wake up to have a nice “heads up” email from Lars saying our site was trying to infect anyone that came a-calling with a Trojan.
Being at work, there wasn’t much more I could do but email Cassie and ask her to take the site down, and see if there was anything she could figure out.
Over the course of the day, Cassie found that every file, in every folder and sub-folder of the entire site had been subverted with added code redirecting people elsewhere and trying to install Trojans. It also looked like, while nobody had any idea where it was coming from as a source of initial infection, it was being done to a lot of websites, both WordPress and other php based sites.
Our blogs’ last backup was done almost exactly a month ago. We can’t automate it, GoDaddy doesn’t allow for that. In this case, Cassie did it before we installed the WPTouch addon for mobile users. Otherwise, well, the last backup would’ve been a year or so ago.
After a full day working on it, it looked like we had a choice to make.
You’ll understand that running a website that infects people that visit is simply unacceptable.
Cassie told me that she was looking at 8, 10 hours of working on it to try and recover, with no surety that it would be 100% safe when she was done.
I told her to walk away. We’re done. I’m not going to sit here and ask Cassie to spend 8 to 10 hours of her life trying to recover from something some asshole did in 15 seconds, when we don’t know how they cracked it, and don’t know if the same prick will just do it again 2 hours after it goes back up.
Having presented such an understandable, reasonable argument, of course what she did was ignore me entirely and spend all day yesterday rebuilding the site from scratch.
She left the database of blog posts and comments alone, deleted all addon and plugin folders, deleted the theme, overwrote the WordPress install with a new one, and built the backend from scratch. Then she restored the database.
All day project.
At the end of the day, it looked like it was good. No more redirects, no more viruscan Trojan warnings from our virus programs.
So, I thanked my darling wife for being incredible, and we called it a day.
This morning, I wake up with an email from Lars timed at 1:30 AM saying the blog was still compromised. No word on what, exactly, was still wrong. Certainly wasn’t doing anything to US.
If we can’t find anything wrong, how the hell are we supposed to fix it? If there even is still something there?
Cassie followed some other online resources this morning that provided instructions and a script that was supposed to automatically clear this particular infestation 100% from your website. This would go in and find it everywhere, so if you happened to miss it in a file or folder somewhere, this would finally nail it’s coffin.
Has it helped? Well, we don’t know, since we weren’t getting the indications of Trojans or redirecting. Couldn’t hurt, basically.
We still don’t know, because we can’t find any sign or trace of anything indicating we’re still hacked on the website. As far as we can tell, it’s all clear.
But “as far as I can tell we’re good” doesn’t feel good enough to me.
I recommend you either subscribe to the feed for this website, or stop visiting the website altogether. I’d really rather not risk you getting infected.
If, after reading this post (and not before), you still get a clear and absolute indication that this website is trying to redirect you or infect you with a Trojan, please let me know at tigerlordgm AT yahoo DOT com, so we can look into it. If we really are still infected after everything Cassie has done, well, put a fork in, that’s pretty much it here.
In the meanwhile, the only reason the website is up is because Cassie is stubborn as all hell, and refused to let some script kiddy asshole win.
Maybe once it’s fixed she’ll say, “Okay, now you can kill it”, but certainly not before.
What’s going through my mind right now… this is supposed to be a pretty widespread hacking attack, affecting many WordPress sites. I don’t know if those are all self-hosted sites, or if sites hosted by WordPress itself are also affected.
What I wonder is, how many folks that write blogs woke up, looked at their trashed sites, and having no clue about this crap, faced only two choices; quit or start over from page zero.
And of those, how many chose to quit? How many people were brought down and silenced today?
How many voices went quiet because one asshole with a virus gun made the choice for everyone else?