The 12 About This Site entries below appear with the most recent entries first. To see them displayed in the order they were written, please click here.

 February 18, 2009
Minor housekeeping note

I have consolidated the "Alexander Benjamin", "Nolan Theodore", and "Andrew James" categories into one big "The Boys" category. I suppose I could have called the new category "The Kids" or "My Three Sons" or any number of other possibilities. But, this will do for now.

Combining the categories will allow me to occasionally make observations about one or more of them without necessarily tipping my hand as to which one I'm referring to. This is not an effort to be coy; rather, as they get older, it'll be more relevant to allowing them some modicum of privacy while still allowing me to tell my stories....

Posted by at 07:35 AM in the following Department(s): About This Site , The Boys | Comments (0)
 December 31, 2006
A comment about comments

The Comments feature on this site has done more to shape how I manage this site than just about anything else -- beyond my own whims, of course.

Thanks to comments, I can occasionally enjoy an interactive dialog with readers and a public forum on shared topics of interest. There continues to be an interesting conversation regarding gingiva grafts, for example, for any of my readers who might have any cause to be concerned about oral surgery.

That said, it turns out that the MovableType engine, which I use as my content management system, is not robust enough at present to handle the kind of comment junk attacks my site to which my site occasionally falls victim. Every once in a while, some spamtard or other will barrage my site with literally hundreds (and, one time, around a thousand) of requests to post bogus comments at a time. My web server has had a hard time with this, and has generally reacted by curling up into the fetal position and crying like Sally Struthers after the all-you-can-eat buffet has closed.

This has left me seriously considering either switching to another content management system (anyone out there have any experience with Wordpress?), which would be a great deal of work given how big this site is, or switching to one of those "free" services like Livejournal or Blogger or WhateverSpaces, which are big and (presumably) bullet-proof but which would also be a pain in the nether regions and would entail the loss of control I have over the format of my site.

[I could also shut down the comment feature, but I don't want to do that.]

Before doing anything drastic along those lines, however, I've decided to give MovableType on my server here one more shot. I've installed some new modules that should help with the barrage attacks themselves, and I've opened comments back up. I still need to tweak the formatting of the comment windows -- sorry about the uglitude there -- but I hope you'll feel free, once again, to post your responses to my recent entries.

Oh, and I'm going to start shutting down comments on any old posts that haven't seen any comments posted in a while. This is a tedious process for me, but it will also help to shut down on those barrage attacks.

As an interesting consequence, I'm re-reading older posts as I go along, closing down the comment feature on older entries (MovableType won't let me edit the comment feature in bulk. Grrr). Wow, what a long way this site and I have come since I first went to a CMS six years ago. Yikes.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled blog.

[PS: thanks, Greg Z., for being the lone brave sole who was willing to register with TypeKey to post comments while I was using their authentication tool. Too bad their tool didn't solve my comment attack woes. It did, however, discourage any other legit readers from posting their comments. Yee-ha.]

Posted by at 02:31 PM in the following Department(s): About This Site | Comments (1)
 September 04, 2006
Pardon the Dust (again)...

Comment Spamtards have been an increasing problem here at Casa Rousselle, and I've finally reached a point where the performance hit to my server is too great for me to continue to allow unfettered access to the comment engine. Thus, alas, I have resorted to turning on the "authentication" mechanism supplied by Movable Type and TypePad. If you want to post a comment to this site (and I hope you do!), you'll now have to register with TypePad (free!) and/or login with your TypePad ID and then you can post your comments.

Please pardon the dust while I mess around with the formatting of the new comment templates; the defaults are very clunky, and it'll take me a few hours (which I'll be spreading out over several days) to get them back to looking like normal.

In the meantime, I have several new posts in store for you. Please stay tuned... and, hey! Comment as the spirit moves you!

--me

PS: what is a 'comment spamtard'? That's my term for anyone who slows down my server by constantly pinging the comment engine on my blog to try to get ads for other sites or other services posted to my site in their comment entries. Argh!

Posted by at 01:24 AM in the following Department(s): About This Site
 March 10, 2006
Some changes under the hood

Hi, all.

I have upgraded the content management system that props up my House of Cards (I just made a long-overdue move from MovableType 2.something to 3.2). For the most part, this move is for *my* benefit: to help me better stem the barrage of ads being thrown at my site as "comments" to my entries, set me up for some future expansion, and the like.

One of the big advantages is that the site is now fully RSS-enabled. For those of you on Live Journal who would like to link to my site: now you can! With the RSS feed, search engines and portals will be able to offer my content in syndication, as well.

"Yeah, yeah, yeah, why should I care?"

Well, dear reader, the move is also getting me off of my ever-expanding posterior to provide you with services you've requested. The first of these, an on-site search engine, is now set up (take a peek along the right-hand-side of the page). Look for more changes (hopefully, improvements) as we move forward.

Thanks for your patience! And now... back to our regularly scheduled blog...

--Allan

Posted by at 03:18 AM in the following Department(s): About This Site
 July 07, 2004
We're sorry, the entry you're looking for...

July 2004 marks the transition of our servers from one major national brand to another, lesser-known but more-compelling service provider.

Unfortunately, due to some undesirable behavior on the part of my content management system, I had to export and then re-import all of the data for this site. As a result, the archive pages have ended up being renumbered. They are still in sequential, chronological order... but deleted pages are now completely gone, and it is their absence that has caused the renumbering.

This site has been indexed by a number of search engines over the years, and I notice that we get many, many hits every day from people who find essays here by using those search engines. Because of the archive renumbering, many folks visiting this site looking for an essay on gingiva grafts or a movie review of The Lord of the Rings could instead find my treatise on fuzzy set theory or photos of our beautiful child.

If this has happened to you, please fear not. The essay you are seeking is nearby, just a few pages back.

At the top of each individual archive page, there are links to the previous entry, the home page (the link says "main"), and the following entry. Simply click on the previous entry a few times, and you should arrive at the entry that you came here to find.

I apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused. In the meantime, though, I hope you'll have fun looking around this site!

--Allan

Posted by at 04:09 PM in the following Department(s): About This Site
 May 03, 2002
Links Explained -- Friends

Who are these people I've listed in my links section?

John Aegard -- A fellow member of STEW ("Society of Tastelessly Evocative Writing" or "Seattle's Truly Eclectic Writers" or whatever we happen to decide it stands for on any given day), a writing and critique group in the Pacific Northwest. Johnzo is not only a talented writer, but also computer gnurd and a Clarion East alum.

Jeff Anbinder -- The second best announcer that the Cornell Big Red Marching Band ever had. He and I shared a writing class at Cornell, and he's a much better short story writer than I am. Of course, that's not saying much. I'm still eagerly anticipating his first book. Then again, he could say the same about be. Fellow musicologist and a damn fine radio guy.

Philip Brewer -- I've never met him face to face, but we began to correspond during our respective stints at Clarions East and West in the summer of 2001. His website began as a journal for his adventures at CE, and now tracks his writing progress and observations about the world in which we live.

Sabrina Chase -- Another fellow STEWnik who is a highly trained physicist and an underutilized talent working for my former employer in Redmond, WA.

Everett Dolman -- Went to grad school with me at University of Pennsylvania... but, unlike *some* people, he actually finished his PhD. He's a smart guy, regardless. Buy his book on Astropolitics, available through online booksellers everywhere.

Anne Dunning -- Fellow former producer of A Night at the Asylum comedy radio show, and currently pursuing her PhD. [sigh.] I tried to warn her. Never had a chance to introduce her to Everett, though. *That* might have scared her off....

Karen Fishler -- Fellow STEWnik and a fine, fine public speaker. This link is her business site; she works as a professional coach, and is highly recommended. She's a Clarion West 1998 alum, and current member of the CW Board.

Eric Francis -- Eric and I go back to 1984 or so, when he first turned me loose on a parody issue of Generation magazine. He is a brilliant writer, a dazzling cook, a dangerous reporter, and a professional astrologer. Well, at least he was never silly enough to pursue a PhD.

Neile Graham -- Fellow STEWnik and a poetry goddess. Buy her books; they're amazing. She's also one of the administrators who holds Clarion West together.

Howard Greenstein -- A fellow former WVBR conspirator, and also a fellow ex-Microsoftie.

Nicole Husen -- First met her when I lived and worked in the Boston area. She now lives in California, where she's a pottery enthusiast and rabid hiker. Geez, I sound like a game show host.

Tom Johnson -- Unlike Everett, Tom had the sense to leave UPenn before getting his PhD. But, then again, Tom eventually took me on as a business partner, so who's really the wiser? He has been forecasting the economic crash since about 1995, and I'm pretty sure he's going to be right, one of these days.

Samantha Ling -- Webmistress extraordinaire and fellow journalist for the Clarion West class of 2001. Be nice to her, or she'll kick your scrawny little butt.

Traci Morganfield -- An inmate... uh, class member of the Clarion West 2002 workshop. I enjoy the eloquence of her journal entries.

Dustin Moskowitz -- Fellow Cornell alum, WVBR alum, A Night at the Asylum alum, former housemate, and best man at my wedding. After 9/11, my wife and I and Tom Johnson drove from Seattle to Princeton, NJ to attend Dustin & Linda's wedding. And, you know what? His website is effing lame.

Hilary Moon Murhpy -- The keeper of Clarion Ex Machina (the definitive site for all things Clarion and Clarion West) and just an all around nice person.

Benjamin Rosenbaum -- Of all my Clarion West classmates, Ben has enjoyed the most publishing success... so far. He lives in Switzerland with his beautiful family and gets more writing done in one hour than I can manage in a day. Hell, the guy can talk more in one hour than I can in a day. Those of you who know me know that's no small feat.

Kiini Ibura Salaam -- Kiini is a short story goddess who I was fortunate to have as a classmate at Clarion West. Check out the essays on her web site.

Sandra Schneible -- Another friend from my days in Boston and a wonderful person to have on your team when you're building a business from the ground up. Cool beaners.

Jehan Semper -- A kick-butt web developer who's not afraid to call bullshit. I should be so lucky to have someone like Jehan on my team in the future. Oh, and she designed the original engine that launched this site.

Posted by at 05:35 PM in the following Department(s): About This Site , Links
 March 21, 2002
Changes to this site

Using Jehan Semper's excellent Geek Log perl scripts to manage this site has given me a lot of ideas about *other* things I could do with this site... and so I have made a few little upgrades. While all of my entries from the Geek Log are here, you'll find that there are some new features, as well, courtesy of an engine called Moveable Type.

For example, I can assign my entries into categories (you'll see categories listed along the right hand side of the screen), and you can peruse them by category, title, or month they were entered. I was surprised to see just how long I've been using this system to maintain an online journal. I'll also hunt down older entries from pre-Geek Log days (back when I used to hand tool my site by hand -- ugh) and post them, later.

As I get this thing up and running, however, there are bound to be glitches. Pages that look messed up, nasty color schemes, missing essays, miscategorized essays, broken links, etc. Please let me know if you run into any problems and drop me a line at journal@rousselle.com.

Oh, one more thing. One of the features that Moveable Type adds to this site is the ability for you to post comments regarding each entry. I've received some great e-mail in response to some of the entries here -- now, if you're so inclined, you can share your thoughts with other visitors to the site, as well. While I fix appearance issues and add new features, I'll also be going through past entries and categorizing them, so you'll see the category pages start to fill up soon.

Thanks for visiting!

Posted by at 11:10 PM in the following Department(s): About This Site | Comments (1)
 January 23, 2002
Privacy Policy

I recently learned that any decent website should post a privacy policy. I'll post one, too:

rousselle.com/allan does not sell e-mail addresses, and it never will... unless, of course, the buyer is willing to pay lots and lots of money. Since rousselle.com/allan does not actively collect e-mail addresses, however, the point is probably a bit moot.

rousselle.com/allan occasionally uses cookies, and we reserve the right to do so from time to time as the whim should strike us to do so. Likewise, visitors to this site have the right to decline cookies, so get over it. The cookies are generally used to mark if you've already voted in a survey, or certain preferences on how you like to see the site displayed. No consumer or demographic information is sought, nor tabulated. Whatever. Like it's such a big deal.

Interactive portions of the site (such as the comments feature, to name but one) provide visitors to this site with the opportunity to post their opinions, preferences, and/or contact information. This information is not deliberately tabulated or sold by the site management (which would be me). Still, the user who posts his/her opinions and/or contact information is doing so on a public forum, and should be aware that other people see what you post... with all the risk that may entail.

Oh, and that reminds me. I reserve the right, since this is *my* website, to remove content -- whether written by me, by you, or by anybody else -- as I see fit, when I see fit.

That's it. There's your stinking privacy. Now, let's talk about rousselle.com/allan's privacy:

Material on rousselle.com/allan -- including text, images, and the HTML that tells your browser how to render them -- is copyrighted by the author. That would be me. Please feel free to cite this site or link to text and images on this site as you desire. However, all rights to the copyrighted material are reserved by the author. For permission to use this material, feel free to drop me an e-mail.

That said, you are certainly free to read and view whatever I post here. I mean, hey, this is a publicly accessible site. If I wanted this to be private, I'd have password protected it or charged admission or something like that. So, I guess that's pretty much it for my privacy, too.

Why do I need a privacy statement on my site? Why does anybody? Do you need reassurance that I'm not an e-mail address vendor? Okay. I'm not going to sell your e-mail addresses. So there.

Speaking of which, have you signed up to be on my book update list? If not, drop me a line and I'll add you to my list of people to whom I'll e-mail information about progress on The Do Over... assuming I ever make any progress on it. :-)

--me

(updated April 14, 2002)

Posted by at 01:48 AM in the following Department(s): About This Site , Privacy Policy
 October 01, 2001
Broken Links!

Ack!

Just moved to a new server (and boy, are my arms tired!), and that means now that this journal is filled with links that got broken in the move. Just like that set of glassware when I made my most recent cross country move (he said, metaphorically).

If you spot any broken links, please email me and I'll fix 'em up as soon as I can.

Thanks!

--Allan

Posted by at 09:52 PM in the following Department(s): About This Site
 September 25, 2001
Worst Virus Ever!!!

I get e-mail all the time from people warning about the "WORST VIRUS EVER!!!", stating that "According to Microsoft and McAfee" that this latest virus (usually sent in the form of an e-mail with a subject like "You have a virtual card waiting" or "About your Amazon.com order") will delete the boot sector of your hard drive and also give you scurvy.

Well, I don't believe the hype, but the fact is that the "Nimda" virus brought down my servers at XO Communications, and the net result has been that while rousselle.com has been up and running just fine (rousselle.com is on a UNIX server in California, hosted through most excellent facilities), the scripts on my rousselle.org server hosted on an NT machine at XO Communications lame-ass facility in New Jersey have been royally messed-up, and it's these scripts that keep the journal going.

(Note: the facilities in NJ used to be top notch, until Concentric Communications bought 9netave, and then in turn got gobbled up by XO Communications. Somewhere along the line, I think they must have sacked most of the competent people at 9netave and replaced them with newbies.)

It appears that the server is back up now, and is also clean. Yee-ha. Now, I have a shot at trying to catch you up on the latest: like how we drove cross country to NJ from Seattle to make a wedding.

But, while I'm typing up all that, I'm also looking to move my rousselle.org server to something more reliable. Grrrr.

Posted by at 05:21 PM in the following Department(s): About This Site
 December 27, 2000
Narrative Thread

A friend of mine recently noted that there is no "narrative thread" to my postings on my web log. She is correct. Everything I've posted thus far has been rather random and out of context. Why is that? Two reasons.

The first reason is, quite simply, that I haven't been posting much at all. If I don't post on a regular basis, it's hard to start establishing any on-going context or threads of interest.

The second reason is one of purpose. Who am I writing to/for? Why am I posting to this site at all? Without any answer to these questions, each missive is a random pellet that is scatter shot from a 12-gauge that is aimed at the empty sky.

(Metaphors are so much better than similes, aren't they?)

Without a sense of the audience, I find myself censoring my postings quite a bit. If I'm not posting to anyone in particular, I end up worrying about any number of people in general reading or misreading what I post. What if someone at work finds out that I don't like my job? What if someone I respect learns I did something uncool? What if my former students discover I'm just an ordinary guy? (Actually, they've probably already figured that out.) What if my grandparents find out I swear like a sailor?

Alas, I'm discovering that there's a worse scenario: What if I had a chance to speak, but I didn't for fear of offending?

I can't even believe I just said that. Me? Afraid to offend? If my friends from college could only see me now.

Well, when I worked in radio, I never really knew who my audience was, either. At least, not at first. Eventually, they'd start revealing themselves through calls to the station, or comments from out-of-the-blue at the checkout line, or even irate letters to the editor. And, eventually, I found my voice.

But, even though I didn't know the audience at first, I at least knew my purpose -- be it to read the news, play some rock and roll, or host a comedy show. So what's my purpose here?

To tell you stuff I wouldn't normally get a chance to tell you. That's all.

So, stay tuned. You might like what you have to hear. Then again....

Posted by at 12:02 PM in the following Department(s): About This Site
 November 02, 2000
Welcome to my "geek log"

As has certainly become obvious by now, I haven't been very good about updating my website. I have an excuse: it takes a while to hand code each page (even when I'm working from a template), and so I keep putting it off. The next thing you know, four months have gone by since the last update.

At about the same time as I starting thinking about a new way of pursuing updates to my website ("wouldn't it be cool if I had a form where I could just type in my essay of the week"), I encountered Jehan Semper's "geek diaries" (http://www.thegeekdiaries.com). Jehan had set her web site up in a very cool format, and was obviously automating a lot of the content.

As it so happens (tee hee), we now work together, and she was very recently kind enough to share her code with me. And, so, you now see before you my new and improved House of Cards. (Thanks, Jehan!)

Check back frequently for updates. You might be surprised at what you find. :)

--me

Posted by at 12:58 AM in the following Department(s): About This Site

Copyright (c)1998 - 2010 by Allan Rousselle. All rights reserved, all wrongs reversed, all reservations righted, all right, already.
Click here to send me mail.

The author. January, 2010.
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