Minor site redesign

I have recently changed the template of the site to give it a second sidebar since the single one was getting too unwieldy. Also included in the update was a variable width so that it can be better viewed from phones and mobile devices. I had to modify the hell out of the existing CSS to make this look how I wanted and as such it is entirely possible that I made some coding mistakes. Please feel free to drop me an email if you find any display errors or broken code.

humorous spam in comments

I get many, many spam comments since converting to wordpress. I have it set so that I have to approve them so that I don’t cover all my pages with small dick ads though. I read this one today and it made me chuckle:

I enjoyed the article and thanks in greetings to posting such valuable poop advantage of all of us to be familiar with, I caste it both auspicious and enlightening and I mesa to examine it as commonly as I can.

That came from user “Ray Ban Store”, which is odd ’cause I would think English would be the first language of anyone devoted to sunglasses. Surely that wasteful accessory is purely American?


WordPress has arrived! I have been playing with the layout for the past couple of days and have managed to come up with a passable replica of the old shadowtwin site. Mind you, I am only trying to match that theme for my own sake; switching to wordpress is a HUGE change and I need to have some sense of familiarity. No doubt even that will change once I become more comfortable with the new system.

Since I got it up and running, I have been deleting the wordpress index file every time I am done editing it so that the page would continue to load as it normally did. I am going to quit doing that now. I have had a few moments of clarity where I realized a setting that I need to change, or that sort of thing, and having to then upload the index file before I could effect the change is rather annoying. So until I get the rest of the site set up and the files converted to the new format, you can find the old main page Through this link. It is just the blogger main page that has been running the site for the last few years.

If you happen by, drop me a note if you have any comments or suggestions for the new layout.

Again, Click here to visit the site you are used to.


I have been having problems with Leech FTP for a while now, but continued using it anyway. There were random error messages, random disconnects, and at times it would just get stuck on an upload, download, or directory switch. The reason I continued to use it was that it was so simple and basic; I don’t need a lot of beneficial features crap cluttering it up. I want to upload and download files, I will handle all editing on machine. Yesterday I couldn’t get Leech to connect at all, so I had to find something else. What I ended up with is Core FTP.

Core FTP has roughly the same minimal features, but with the bonus of not locking up at random intervals. An additional bonus is that it automatically refreshes the remote directory on upload, that’s something that I always wished Leech did. It occurs to me that rather than post that here I really should just make a short list of links to put on my sidebar with all the programs that I use for website related stuff. Then I could just visit my page to download them if the need arises. But damn I am lazy…

Fun with text walls

I have been spending some time going through my content pages (here so called for lack of another term. While I question just how much “content” there is on them I don’t know of a more applicable term) in an effort to make them more uniform and clean up the coding a bit. Most of the pages that I set up before blogger were all set up before I knew a great deal about html, and while I knew how to set up tables and use most of the tags I needed, I didn’t know about the simple “—include virtual—” html command (which, of course, needs the greater-than/less-than symbols to make it work). So that rather than having a file that held my link bar, which I could then just insert into pages using the virtual command, I had been coding the links directly into the html. So if I added a link, as I recently did in the case of the Music Lost to History Archive, I would have to go through every html page one at a time and add that line. Needless to say, many of the pages just never got updated.

I was downloading some of the html files through my ftp client yesterday so that I could change the table layout on them and get the banner into the right half (matching the layout you see here), but when I opened the source on many of them for editing, I saw roughly what you see here:

That is a pretty incredible wall of text! I have only two ways to view that: I can bring it up just like you see there, or I can turn word wrap off and see the same thing with a combined total of about 4 lines -each stretching on for near eternity. I know I didn’t write the pages that way. In fact I can clearly remember the cut-and-paste fashion that went into creating all the pages, and I don’t really know why they are displaying like that for me now. I have intentionally always done all my HTML programming in notepad, theorizing that I then wouldn’t have to worry about the stuff not displaying correctly for me if I set them up in Word or Frontpage and later upgraded to a newer version.

The good news is that it hasn’t been as bad as it may look. There are really only about four distinct sections of each page, so with 4 clicks of my return key I am able to break them up into workable sections for what I need to do. I suppose if I cared a little bit more I would go back and change the META tags to something a little bit more useful and search-able, but I can’t imagine that anyone is ever really going to enter a keyword or string of text into the google window that would result in one of my poetry pages, or one of my 2004 archive pages coming up anyway.

But it seems with each bit of html/layout I get cleaned up, there is more to do. The big question I am facing now is if I should go back and change the formatting on every page of the pre-blogger archives, or leave them as is for historical purposes (read:lazy). I have already changed the first navigation page of that directory, and I will probably get as far as fixing the monthly listing pages, but not the day to day pages. I actually find some amusement in clicking back through the old archives from time to time to look at how the site has evolved from trying to emulate the really bad 90’s homepage look to the more tame setup it has changed into.

If you are at all curious as to why I have decided to clean the site up a bit, it is because I went ahead and registered my name DonnieBurgess.com and pointed it here. A google search for my name now brings up pages of hits, of which only a few are me. Better to grab the name myself in case I should ever be rich and famous. Of course it is no secret who runs this site, as I have always had my name displayed on the bottom of each post and content page, but for those who may happen across this site looking for a different Donnie Burgess, I’m hoping to at least give the impression that it is not written by a monkey flinging feces at the keyboard and posting whatever text strings appear (My level of success at that being debatable). Also giving the entire site a uniform look will make it clear when you are navigating away from it, not to mention it gives me the excuse to edit the content of some of the pages that have really just been there as placeholders for these last 5 years.

A couple of chanes

I have made a couple of changes to the site in the last few days. Some of them are cosmetic, as you can no doubt see, the others are horoscopes and advertising.

The latter first. Advertising on websites has really evolved over the years, and looking into the buttons and banners they have available to place into a webpage now I wasn’t nearly as disgusted. I decided to add a small button there on the top left, as well as a vertical banner (set to display image ads only, I hate those long text link ad bars) for a month or so to see if it is worth my while. Currently I have had them on the page for about 36 hours, and have netted a whopping $.01! They pay based on both impressions and click-throughs, though they don’t really specify how much for either, so I will just leave them up for a bit. They are just taking up dead space anyway.

And among the various updates I made to the sidebar was the addition of Wildly inaccurate, yet shockingly precise, predictions based completely on happenstance and arbitrary universal fluctuations. horoscopes. I used to frequent a few sites that did humorous horoscopes, and I figured I would try my hand at it. The current plan is to update them once a month or so, but that will vary with how overfilled (or underfilled) my notepad of ideas becomes.

Most horoscopes are necessarily vague, and I decided to throw that out and write some very specific ones. Millions of people were born every day of the month, hundreds of millions share the same zodiac sign, so odds are these will be accurate for at least one person. Or not, they are pretty out there. But the goal was to add something new to the site, something that I could get by with updating infrequently, and, at least for now, they fit the bill.

If you are a regular visitor to the site, drop me an email and let me know what you think.

Audio editing

Since I have been playing WoW so much less of late, I find that I have had some time to work on a couple of website related projects that I have been putting off for, oh, let’s call it 4 years. If you stopped by my page in 2005, then again yesterday, you would have noticed that my navbar (everything to the left of the body here) has remained unchanged for that entire time (and you would also have a freakishly good memory). Since converting to the blogger script way back when, I have to update my blogger template to change any of that. Of course when I do that anything that is already over there is just gone unless I take the time to archive it. What I have been working on all day is just that: archiving the Music Lost to History.

I had to trudge through all my pre-blogger posts to find as many of the songs I had featured there as possible, and was a bit irritated that the links to samples of the songs were now all broken. So I decided to figure out how to do the samples myself. First I had to figure out how to embed them. Of course I know the standard HTML functions for embedding .wav files, however since a 1 minute wave file weighs in at about 11megs, I wanted to try to get a slightly smaller format. That was when I found out that a standard MP3 can’t be embedded unless the user (you) has a third party plugin to play it. I also found out that the third party plugin that had been in use for Firefox browsers has been blacklisted for allowing remote code execution. So I had to find another way.

A bit of hunting around on google found me a number of audio embeds, but the thing they all had in common was that the source was stored on their server. These are available from Google, Yahoo, MSN, pretty much any name that you can quickly link to anything internet related. Since the actual source is stored on their server, it is subject to being moved/renamed/changed without warning, thus leaving all my links just as dead as they currently were, so that was straight out the window. Most of these players are running in Shockwave Flash though, so I started searching for shockwave audio embeds rather than MP3 embeds and soon found myself at this site, which was offering just what I wanted: A source that I upload to my own directory for embedding the files. Bonus is that it is so lightweight and hides away (mostly) when not in use, and is easily resizable. Here is a sample:

So now that I was able to embed it, I had to find a way to edit the MP3’s so that -hopefully- I won’t get any angry emails from the record companies. I am going on the logic that if I am only offering a small sample of the song I am more likely increasing their revenue (by forcing readers to seek out the MP3 and pay for a download) than advocating piracy. I don’t know anyone that has an MP3 library filled with about a minute’s worth of each song at the very least.

In the past I have used Goldwave for my audio editing needs. At least I have tried to. Since I lack any post-graduate work in audio engineering, I am barely able to figure out how to make it do a damn thing. I’m sure it is extremely versatile (hell it has to be with that intimidating wall of sliders and buttons), but I’ve no inclination to become a sound engineer just to sample a song. Thankfully I happened across Audacity.

Audacity is great for what I am doing. The intimidating wall of sliders and buttons are neatly stored in drop-down menus so I don’t have to look at them. There was a minor situation involving being able to extract my edited songs as MP3’s, which required downloading a “Lame.DLL” encoder, but that went fairly smoothly. Now I am able to open up the song, slide the bars to the section I want to sample, extract it as MP3 and upload it. It only takes a minute to get all this done (a huge plus since I am so lazy), so I have no excuse not to do it.

If I would have known how easy it would be to find the tools I needed to complete this project I would have done it years ago. There are so many programs and applications available for just about any task you can imagine now, it boggles the mind. When I first set up this site I had a problem finding applications like this, and if I even could find them they were ridiculously complicated to use. I’m glad to see that so much of this stuff is so readily available now. Perhaps it will motivate me to take care of a few other things I’ve been meaning to do here…I still haven’t changed the rest of my navbar since 2005, for instance.

Evanescence has a fan, and she is pissed!

While looking through my junk mail to find the one with the little tid-bit that became my last post, I happened across this one from xxxxxx1993@aol.com (there was actually a name before the 1989, but I don’t think I really need to share it. Just wanted to make sure and note that it was an aol address -which my email filters all of into the junk. When you think about it, how often do you actually want to read anything that comes from an @aol.com address?). It seems that my post on song remakes struck a nerve or two with her (I know it is a her based on the screen name, that or a really unfortunately named boy).

I am going to throw the email up here not just because I find it hilarious…Okay, truth be told, that is really the only reason I am posting it. I don’t get much site related email -particularly now that you can comment on posts- and this one is really good, in that hate-filled, flaming way. Oh, and to note that I am going to copy and paste it, so the whole thing should be taken with a huge [sic] :

Your a fucking idiot. Emanescence is the best band there is right now eveyrone else just beats on there instruments and screams Emanescence plays perfect melodys and Amy Lee is the greatest singer of lal time. At least you can understand what she is saying when she is singing heart shpaed box. I dont know who y ou think you are claiming to be a music expert and callign emanescence the worst band in the history of music just because they are the first rock band that ever had a woman for a singer. YOu must be some kind of shovanistic asshole pig. How can you make a judgemnt on a band that you dont even know do you even think before you open your mouth?

your a fucking moron!

Okay, where to start? First off, she managed to misspell the name of her favorite band not once, not twice, but three times -even neglecting to capitalize it once. Sure I was beating on them when I made the post about their cover of Heart Shaped Box, but at least I took the time to look up the proper spelling of their name. But if I want to start faulting her for her spelling, there are much bigger (smaller) fish to fry. Seriously, my grammar is horrible, but the sheer number of mistakes in that thing makes me cringe. What are they teaching kids in school these days? Obviously they aren’t learning their homonyms.

She made two very valid points in the email, the first is “Your a fucking idiot”, I couldn’t agree more. The second is “Your a fucking moron!”, again, I concur. Beyond that, she seems to be suffering from the same bit of ignorance that we all have when we are that age (assuming she was born in 1993): she seems to think that the history of music started when she was about 5. Before that the world was devoid of music of any sort, and it took her listening to the radio to start the musical ball rolling. How else could she make the claim that Evanescence was the first rock band to have a female singer? Depending on the definition of “rock band”, I could probably name at least a dozen that came before her -some of which were entirely female bands. I mean, Courtney Love is still in the headlines a lot (and not for the best of reasons), and she is female (I think), and she sings in a rock band. Just looking at a couple that I can think of off-hand, Doro Pesch was the singer for the band Warlock, and running a close second (right behind Lita Ford) for the 80’s rocker chick I would most like to bang.

As for the claim that Amy Lee is the greatest singer of all time, we are all entitled to our opinions. I don’t think she is a bad singer, in fact, I really do like her vocals. Evanescence has some great songs, and her voice is a welcome departure from some gruff dude barking out senseless lyrics. I actually really like the song Bring Me to Life for exactly that reason. A really melodic voice with some heavy music behind it works well, and it isn’t what most bands are doing (unfortunately, it is what Evanescence is doing, over and over and over…). I think it works fabulously in this particular song, it does not, however, work in Nirvana’s song. To be fair to Evanescence though, I will say that I would have the same bitch no matter who it was that covered that song, if they were to try to turn it into a fucking religious hymn.

The part in the email where she says “I dont know who y ou think you are claiming to be a music expert and callign emanescence the worst band in the history of music…” kind of took me by surprise, since I have never made any such claim. I never claimed to be an expert on music, nor did I claim that Evanescence was the worst band in the history of music. I did say that their remake was the worst remake in the history of recorded music, and I stand by that. As for being a music expert, I would never claim to be one. I am just a guy with a website. I like the type of music that I like, and I realize that I am far too biased to make a fair judgement on any other type. If a barbershop quartet remakes Seasons in the Abyss, though, you can bet it is going to piss me off.

Also, it is a sad, sad world that we live in if she is really only thirteen and already knows what a chauvinistic asshole pig is (even if she hasn’t quite gotten the spelling of it down). One would like to think that a girl wouldn’t learn that until her late teens, alas, I suppose that the men in the U.S. seem to pound that point home at their earliest opportunity. It’s good to see that she isn’t willing to take that off of a man, even though I think she picked the wrong man and the wrong fight for it in this instance.

She goes on to ask the question: “do you even think before you open your mouth?” Well, the simple answer to that is: Nope. That actually gets me in trouble a lot of the time because my brain already sent my mouth a message, unfortunately that generally happens long before my logic banks kick in. It does make for some wonderful, quick-witted retorts, but it also leads to making jokes at really inoportune times. That goes double for anything I post here. If I think it, it is likely going to hit the screen in all it’s unedited glory. What is the point of having a website if not to speak my mind?

I am not without emotion though, so I must say that I am sorry. Xxxxxx1993@aol.com, I am truly, deeply sorry that Evanescence did the worst remake in the history of recorded music. But that was their choice, not mine.

Yummy, Yummy Spam!

Of course everyone gets tons of garbage email, but I am the type that likes to read them. Come on, how else am I to know how much C1A L15 is going for these days (note to the guys who send those emails, if they have their blocker set up to filter out the word cialis, they probably aren’t your target market).

Anyway, the more advanced automated garbage mail producers have taken to including a paragraph or two at the bottom of the unsolicited garbage mails to try to sneak them past the spam blockers. Today, this gem was at the bottom of my daily “grow your penis 3 inches” email:

He wanted to say: If you cut anything else off me, Annie, I’m going to die. candide berg He hadn’t cared for her mood this morning.

For one terrible moment he thought it had gone out, and then pale-blue fire uncoiled across the title page with an audible sound — foomp! Because I can, and it’s not something to apologize for, goddammit. Like the barn, with its heat-tapes. Annie had fired into the air. “Yes, Boss Ian,»Hezekiah agreed. He had gone to sleep in the monster-woman’s house and had awakened in the hospital. “Ian nearly screamed, and for the first time Geoffrey had truly understood that his friend was tottering on the brink of madness. chase

I am intrigued. I wonder if I bought their shiny placebos, would they send me the rest of this story? What happened to Annie? How is poor Geoffrey holding up after all of this? I must know the answers!

With any luck, this will play out like a serial drama in my garbage mails over the next few days. Then again, it could be there for the sole purpose of getting it past my junk mail filter (it didn’t).

Two questions

Question 1: Why is it that a google search for “craved food every second of the day and night,i’m so fat now my clothes are splitting at the seams” points to my site?

Question 2: Did that person actually click through to my site or does it just show up as a referrer since the bot found some of those words on my page?

Question 2a: If that person really did click through to my site, did said person also click through all 60 sites that come up before mine? What about the 13,639 that came after it?