End of Summer Fun at the Borderlands Lodge

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Well folks, it's been pretty busy lately at the Borderlands Lodge. Longtime Borderheads might remember that I've been writing a book this summer, and much of August was spent poring over the final draft. I made an index for the first time in my life. I looked at cover proofs and wrote pithy advertising text. I did stuff I'd never done before. 

Are you a Turk across empires?
Once my work with the book ended (it's still slated for publication next month), I had to get busy with my tenure materials. One nice thing about the digital age is that most of the documents that I needed for my file were already on my computer, but there was still a lot of work to be done.

While I've been really busy with the book and tenure, in my spare time I've been trying to stay away from my computer. I've gone on a number of great hikes this summer, which has been fabulous, in addition to reading a lot (offline, ie on the couch with my feet up and a book on my belly) when I haven't been working on work and career-related stuff. That's not such a hard thing to do when you live someplace beautiful. 
No computer necessary at the Borderlands Lodge

For years, keeping this blog has been a hobby of mine, but a lot of the fun was sucked out of it this summer. I blame GoDaddy. In 2008 I first created the website jhmeyer.net as a means of centralizing information about myself while I looked for a job as a tenure-track professor. There was a blog that I kept but it was just one (long page), which constantly got longer as I added material. To see anything older, you just scrolled down, and down, and down. It was like the blogs I used to read in the upstairs of Vakkorama in the late 1990s.
About a year after I set up the website, GoDaddy started offering a blogging interface called QuickBlogcast. I subscribed, paying something like $20 a year to use a basic, and increasingly outdated, system that GoDaddy rarely bothered to update. Nevertheless, by using various strands of code that I'd found around the internet, I'd managed to put together something that I liked. 

It was held together with Scotch tape, but still beautiful

This summer, GoDaddy decided to pull the plug on QuickBlogcast. One day I tried to check out my blog to see what was on the Borderwire, and nothing came up. They'd sent me an email warning me about this, but because GoDaddy inundates me with advertisements their messages go straight to my spam file.

After calling up GoDaddy, I was able to get the data from my blog on a zip file and upload it to Blogger. This wasn't easy--I'd first tried it on Wordpress, but there was a crazy number of formatting problems. I was, however, eventually able to get a lot of my old posts up. 

Then, a month later, I noticed that all of the photographs were missing. They had all been uploaded to Godaddy's Quickblogcast server, which the company stopped supporting on August 1. That's why all you see on my old posts are a bunch of old captions, and no photos.  

GoDaddy messed up my blog, big time
It was a little heartbreaking to see hundreds of hours of labor over the years go up in smoke, all because GoDaddy wasn't making enough money off of a blogging interface that they'd never bothered to update. Since 2008 they'd been taking my money, but once they decided they'd had enough I was left with nothing but a bunch of red captions describing the ghosts of my old photos. 

I tried to manually re-upload some of the old photographs, but it's too much hassle. I don't have the hundreds of hours that it would require to do this, and frankly the whole episode has put me off blogging.

Nevertheless, recent developments relating to Russia and the Middle East are dragging me back into the blogosphere. I hope to put up some posts about events in both of these regions in the not-too-distant future, but for now I'm going to post a few photos relating to some of the things I've been doing lately other than sitting in front of my computer. Even if I can't be bothered to put the old photos up again--I'll give that job to the Borderlands intern, once there is one--I still can't resist sharing some new ones. 

In July, I visited my parents in west Michigan
Lake, sand dune and forest in west Michigan 

Heather Lake, south of Bozeman
Walking back from Heather Lake
From the top of Mt. Blackmore (elevation 10, 154 ft)

While things may be peaceful up here at the Borderlands Lodge, this hasn't been the case for the Borderlands themselves. Stay tuned for commentary on the latest developments regarding the Islamic state and Russian-Ukrainian affairs. 
Like the Borderlands? You'll love the book! Order your copy now at the OUP website.   

More links, commentary and photographs available poolside at the Borderlands Lounge

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