This Is His Story

For those not keeping notes, I dug through my old site archives from the “1998” version of The Farm (a self-centered extension of my 1997 project) and the 2000~2002 archives of Phaysis and found a handful of blog-ish posts that were worth sharing (if only for sake of record). These were written back in the day when everything on my site was hand-coded and manually uploaded. Good times. I’ve reposted just the text and a few images from those journal entries on this site; you can find them at the links below (I’m still considering revisiting the old hardcoded page designs and reposting them after updating for modern browsers). Enjoy the angst!

The Farm ’98: These were hosted in the 3MB of web space provided by my dialup ISP as part of my account. Not sure why I don’t have any archives from ’98 (maybe because I didn’t build any pages then), but once I set up Phaysis at the new host at the end of ’99, it’s no wonder The Farm effectively stopped that year.

Phaysis 2000~2002: these were from my early years at my first major hosting provider. Note the gap between late 2000 and early 2002, during which Phaysis functioned primarily as a postcard site featuring a changing series of images and a blurb about looking for web design work (check it out on the Wayback Machine). It took a while for me to post any actual content during the gap because I was knocking around too many failed ideas for site engines and withholding journal posts until something stuck. Was being journal-retentive. I should’ve kept going regardless (hindsight is 20/20, as they say).

My first non-hardcoded entry wasn’t until 2003-03-11 when I knuckled down and hacked up a Perl CGI script to dynamically serve journal entries from a database (the script project was called Sojournal). The rest is history.

Difficult Technicalities. Please Stand By.

screenshot of disabled site: Site temporarily unavailable
Ooops.

So, uh, this site suffered an unintended outage. I tried to access my journal last night to make an entry and got this. I was disturbed that I couldn’t use my site. So I went to the website control panel to see what the trouble was, and my login was rejected. Perturbed, I raised the alarms and sent an email to the support team at my host provider, Prohosting, asking to know why I could not use my website.

After that email, I checked my ancient email account at Juno to see if Prohosting sent me anything there like a technical notice of a planned service outage. I’ve had this Juno account since ’97 and I keep it around as my backup technical contact for both my website and my domain name registrations, should something happen with either. It can be said that I never, ever use my Juno account, so I typically log in once every, eh, six months just to clear out the Juno-sponsored spam.

What I found among all the nonsense was a string of automated emails from Prohosting’s billing department declaring that my credit card had been declined. Declined. The first of these messages was back in February, followed by notes stating that my account would be disabled in March, immediately proceeded by a handful of other automated messages reiterating the fact that my credit card had been declined by my bank and that the past-due amount was indeed rising. I was incensed.

I have had this particular credit card for a good year and a half. When I last got a new number, I dutifully updated the billing info. This card does not expire until next year, yet Prohosting’s support team said my card was declined due to my card being past its expiration date. Somewhere, someone screwed up; whether it was one of them or all of me, I still had a locked website and something had to be done.

The only thing to do was to send a second message to the support team, with a copy to the billing department, revealing the evidence gathered from my investigation. My hat was in my hand. As soon as I clicked “Send”, I went to the credit card update form, submitted the details, and hoped for the best.

Support unlocked my site intact by morning, and billing had charged the past due, dropping the penalty fees, to my updated card info. $108 dollars later, here we are.

My wish, my regret in this, is that in none of that time did Prohosting try alternate avenues to contact me. I have an administrative email address at this domain that I check regularly; I have the option to use this address in my profile as my technical and billing contact. But for the sake of safety, should something go wrong with my domain registration, my webhost’s email system, or (as in this case) billing, I would not be able to contact them for problem resolution. So that’s why I still keep my Juno account around. Just in case.

And there it is, the problem. The problem is one of neglect. Neglect on my part because I don’t regularly check my administrative accounts. Neglect on their part because any human operator would have seen the contact form on this site and attempted to alert me. I have been with Prohosting for over nine years, since I first started this website, and I think it is for that reason alone they let me slide for so long. I’ll hold that to their credit.

[page2] phaysis (from the archives)

Part of a series of posts from my old website archives. Enjoy!

7:51 PM 3/9/00

Ah. A night OFF. Could it BE time well spent? Could I actually go OUT at night for once? Quite POSSIBLY.

Working my night JOB, I rarely get the chance to GET out and enjoy my TIME off. Living at NIGHT, all my “DAYS” are the same – DARK. It’s tough being awake when everybody ELSE is asleep. It wears on you AFTER a while — it’s worn on ME, and it’s wearing pretty THIN.

It seems to me that most of my ADULT life (and part of my teen years) has been SPENT doing things that preclude me FROM joining my peers in their PURSUITS, keeping me from developing too strong a BOND with them. I hear war-stories and RECOLLECTIONS of their activities as SECOND-hand retellings, like reading a history BOOK with a sense of humor; one of those “you HAD to be there” stories that never ENDS. In high school, I had a summer JOB that took the FREE-time I could have spent WITH most of my friends and took me AWAY from them. In NORTH Carolina, I had a night job that LEFT me solitary for an ENTIRE year before I left it: that was WHEN I suddenly developed a gathering of FRIENDS — for once, I finally met PEOPLE, but it took a virtual vow of POVERTY to do it (some call it UNEMPLOYMENT).

It seems THAT, in my cards, there is no RECONCILIATION between having a JOB and HAVING friends.

• • •

That sounded pretty TEEN-ANGST, didn’t it? Geez. What I mean WITH that is this: if some PATTERN begins to appear to you, SOMETHING that, in smaller doses, wouldn’t be ALARMING, but on a LIFE-LONG scale would drive someone to ANGER, tears, and depressive RESIGNATION, such as this job-v-friends thing, then it GETS pretty annoying.

RIGHT?

See, I’ve had jobs during the DAY before. I’ve done the monday to FRIDAY 8 to 5 grind before; sure, I’ve BITCHED about doing it WHILE I was doing it (such is my nature), but at the least it released my EVENINGS to continue my pursuit of people who would RECOMMEND their time to me, people who would VOUCH for me, people who would actually GIVE a [damn] about me. Now that I’ve FOUND those people, and they know me, and they care for me, my 4-month-old NIGHT job has basically PRECLUDED me (once again) from continuing a FRUITFUL relationship with my friends, and has precluded ME from any chance of MEETING anyone new.

Was I a raucous SOCIALITE in a past life? Is this nothing more than COINCEDENCE? Is it in my CARDS, or in my head?

[page2] phaysis (from the archives)

Part of a series of posts from my old website archives. Enjoy!

10:23 AM 3/2/00:

Fool. At TIMES, I feel useless. POWERLESS. Yes, I think that’s a BETTER word for it.

Lately, I’ve faced a RASH of situations in which I could do nothing; I was POWERLESS to speak up, to demand my share of LUCK, to say something. When something happens in someone ELSE’S life, something that’s completely UNRELATED to me, and somehow it directly affects me and I have no CONTROL over it, I have no reaction but to get sorely PISSED off! I’ve had little more than those situations this week, and this is ENOUGH! I’ll have NO more of it!

And the universe GIGGLED.

I can’t HELP complaining; it’s in my NATURE to bitch, but completely out of my ELEMENT to break down and raise HELL about something that pisses me off. I can’t do THAT. It’s against my very fiber – raising myself UP to be mute, silent, SAFE; that instinct I’ve developed over the YEARS that’s helped me to SURVIVE this stupid world of OURS. I can scowl, bitch, moan and GROAN, but I can’t bother MYSELF to bring my liberties to BEAR. No. Can’t happen.

PISSED off, pissed ON.

• • •

Enough AMBIGUITY and ranting about things by HINTING at them….

This week, I’ve had the PLEASURE of meeting somebody (HI there!). She’s a very SWEET girl, and she’s been very kind and FRIENDLY to me, and I’m glad she came into MY life. We’ve known each OTHER for around a week, and at THIS time, I think she may become a good GAL-pal of mine.

I think my biggest PROBLEM with meeting other people, NEW people on top of that, is that I never BOTHERED to go outside of my own chosen GROUP of friends to intermingle with other PEOPLE. Last week, I was doing my usual long-VISIT to my friends at Moderne PRIMITIVES, just hanging out. I was OUTSIDE smoking when this certain GIRL and i started talking and whatnot. She asked for my [EMAIL] address, which I gave her, and she gave me HERS, and that next day, I wrote, and she REPLIED (funny when that happens). We called and talked to each OTHER for a while until I had to GO to work, and we’ve had an ongoing DIALOG since then.

I meet some of the best PEOPLE that way. It’s happened several times BEFORE.

SO. This is my challenge to YOU. Say “HI” to someone you would otherwise not GIVE a fuck about. Connect WITH somebody for however brief an instant. If it means talking the USUAL superficial weather bullshit, so BE it. A tip: aren’t you at all CURIOUS how they eat their breakfast? At the table, or ON the go?

Even a brief INTERLUDE with someone else who’s STUCK on the same planet that you ARE will give you enough basis to MEASURE yourself with. Try it, eh?

Welcome to Phaysis (from the archives)

Part of a series of posts from my old website archives. Enjoy!

1.10.2000

Ah, yes. It’s a new year. Only thing I have to say to that is — Y2WHAT?!

I’m still working, still plugging away at my current job. Not too many qualms about it. However, I still look for more gainful, enjoyable employment.

For those interested in my web skills, I have posted a portfolio of some of my work. Take a look at it if you wish. That’s why it’s there.

I’m making small advances towards the goal of having this site dynamically created by CGI. So far, I’ve worked on the essential document-display mechanisms. When I can get the CGI to plug the documents into a general site template, then all will be good. And when I can get the site update tools written and in place, all will be much better.

Elsewise, not too much going on. I’m beginning work on a “webwriting for pay” project. I’m not at liberty to say who the client is, but most of you who know me know who I’m talking about. It promises to be good.

Take care-
[Shawn]