And Damn Glad To Be Here

Hey! Look! Here I am!

I’m pretty psyched about it.

There hasn’t been much fun on Capital District Fun lately. So here’s what happened.

You might remember that I said someone had hacked this site.  As far as I know, that hadn’t ever happened before, and the only way that I knew anything had happened at all is because Cute W fleetingly saw weird messages on the blog one early morning. By the time we looked again, it all seemed normal. I am not technically savvy. Like, at all. The fact that I can blog at all is a testament to how user-friendly so many blogging platforms are these days, and on the rare occasion when I have to do anything more complicated than write a post, I either follow the detailed directions that I’ve made for myself, or I go searching the internet for directions from people who know more than I do.

So I spent much of a day or two trying to do whatever the directions offered by WordPress (my blogging platform) and Dreamhost (my hosting whatever-it-is) said I should do if I have a security breach. Then I reached a sort of tragi-comic feedback loop between a bunch of sites, because there was stuff I was supposed to do and I couldn’t figure out how to do it. A techie friend made me feel less stupid when he couldn’t figure it out, either. And meanwhile, it didn’t seem like anything was actually happening with my site, anyway, so Cute W and I wondered if it was some short-lived thing that had happened to a bunch of either WordPress or Dreamhost sites and then had been squashed by technically savvy people.

Ummm, no. That wasn’t it.

I’m guessing now that whoever the Bad Guys were planned to fly under the radar and do things that are illegal or whatever as secret squatters on my site for the foreseeable future. Except that I noticed and tried to get rid of them. I failed, but in trying, I apparently made things inconvenient and annoying for them, so they decided to Wreak Havoc and Vengeance upon me.

A few days later a friend messaged me that something was wrong with the blog, and I couldn’t even visit the site. Cute W has installed various free anti-virus stuff like avast! and Malwarebytes on our computer, so when I tried to go to Capital District Fun, the computer balked and basically chastised me as if I was trying to jump into a lion’s den wearing Lady Gaga’s meat dress. And for a little while I thought that I might throw up because my friend said she saw a list of files, and she tried to send me a screen shot and it just wouldn’t arrive and I feared that perhaps it would be all of the files on my computer. Which would be traumatizing, dude. I mean, I hold back on the blog a bit, you guys. Ugh, just thinking about it makes me feel like I need to breathe into a paper bag.

So, for those of you who “like” me on Facebook, I put up a message saying not to visit my site because I had no idea what the Bad People might be doing and whether it could hurt you, my innocent readers. Which is a good reason to “like” me if you haven’t already (Holy crap! How’d she fit the shameless self-promotion in the middle of all of this self-deprecation? Amazing!), because if something like this ever happens again (please no please no please no), Facebook and Twitter are my only outlets. Except who knows if that status update even shows up in anyone’s feed, because there were, like, crickets chirping. A day or so later I considered posting again and asking people to “like” and comment on the status for me so that more people would see it and thus be saved from visiting the site and jeopardizing their own computer security. But by that time I was crushed and demoralized enough to fear that my pathetic plea would also meet silence, and I just couldn’t bear to do it. So if you visited the site when it looked cray-cray and you haven’t done it already, run some anti-virus programs just in case, would you, please?

After letting people know, I was pretty much stuck. Because, like I said, I’d already done everything I could figure out how to do. I filled out a “please help me” form on Dreamhost and asked around to see if anyone was please, please willing to help.

Then I just became very detached about the whole thing. I was like a walking Serenity Prayer. At one point I told M what had happened, about the site being hacked, and then I started to talk about something else while idly twisting her ponytail into a bun. I do this all the time. Her hair is smooth and shiny, and if you twist it tightly, it becomes this effortless beautiful little princess bun until she shakes her head and it uncoils. I was all, “La, la, lah. .  . ” when M asked “Why would anyone want to do that?!?” And In-Denial-Katie answered, “Well, sweetie, your hair just feels silky and good, and it looks really pretty like that. . . . ” before she sputtered, “Mom! I mean hack your blog!” Oh, yeah. That. It is kind of awful. Much worse than messing around with someone else’s hair.

I idly wondered if this might be The Universe telling me to drop the whole Capital District things to do thing and just reboot with a blog that’s not locally-focused or even just quit blogging entirely and focus on something else. It would be like a small death, I thought, but people move on from deaths. And part of me was okay with that. In a way, the blog has served its purpose, and I could just stop. I have other things that I want to do, too. But meanwhile the next day I realized that my emails to Cute W (who’s been at a business conference all week) were getting progressively longer as I started suffering from blogging withdrawal.

Anyway, one of my requests for help had been to Deb, my publisher from KidsOutAndAbout, and she called in the cavalry. Because she is not only more techy than me, but she also knows and works with people who are really super techy. So, hooray for Deb! And you can show your appreciation to her by signing up for the free KidsOutAndAbout weekly newsletter if you haven’t done so already (which you totally should have done by now, because I write part of it, and basically you get the full weekend scoop by 0-dark-early Thursday morning instead of waiting around for me to post the listings on Thursday night).  Or possibly you could tell your friends in Buffalo; Rochester; the Hudson Valley; Westchester;  Hartford or Fairfield County, CT; Detroit/Ann Arbor, Michigan; St. Louis, Missouri; Houston, Texas; or Salt Lake City, Utah about KidsOutAndAbout and you can reward Deb’s kindness and abundant good karma and assist her efforts to connect families with great programming that will enlighten kids and make the world a better place.  And if, in doing so, you help her to become a social media millionaire tycoon who would like to overpay loyal and appreciative editors, so be it. I am blathering on and on because, as I said, I’m damn glad to be here.

Beyond having a screwed-up blog, the past few days have included: zero time with Cute W; three separate emotional meltdowns from J; a small fire in our toaster oven; a paint matching project that turned out not to actually match; walking into the kitchen to eat some of my new favorite kale salad only to see M heartlessly finishing the “snack” bowl of freshly-made croutons; a shattered glass; a pedometer run through the washing machine; and, most recently, a mouse ambling casually over my living room carpet as I wrote this post. I am not even kidding.

But I bet tomorrow’s going to be awesome.

8 Comments

  1. Claire

    Wow Katie, I’m really sorry for what you’ve been through with your blog. I am completely tech-unsavvy myself, and that is one reason for my reluctance to start a blog. I’m really glad your back! Your blog is one I can definitely relate to.

  2. Claire

    Oh, and sorry to hear about the mouse! In my world, they are second only to bats when it comes to freak-out potential.

  3. Thanks, everyone! Glad to be back, and I don’t know about the living room mouse, but the cat left me a corpse in the basement playroom–yet another joy of fall!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.