BTRIPP (btripp) wrote,
BTRIPP
btripp

Sort of like "brain freeze"

Sooo ... I've been under a lot of psychological stress over the past couple of weeks, above and beyond my baseline angst/depression/rage/hopelessness. The source of this? LiveJournal. Yep, "sweet home LJ". Now, this was not centered here, but on my "book review blog", which had, right in the middle of working on some updates flipped over to a "suspended journal" status.

I was, of course, totally "WTF???!!!" over this. I've had that up for over a decade, and, content-wise, it's pretty much just a re-posting from here of my book reviews (from back in the day when I had a lot more content up here and wanted to have a place to point people to just for the reviews and not all my whining and bitching).

Now, I have a couple of "projects" which I use to help me "duck" depression most days ... having found that if I can immerse myself in some work (WHICH WOULDN'T BE A F'N ISSUE IF I HAD A F'N JOB, DAMMIT!), the mental place I'm in is all about the doing and not about the feeling, and so I'm not miserable. When the review blog went away, I suddenly realized that both my major projects involved it ... leaving me in a simmering mess of neurosis. These two projects are 1) building a database (well, spreadsheet) of all my reviews that will hopefully be a searchable thing to let people find specific authors/titles over there (amid the current 700+ books covered), and 2) putting together print collections of my reviews. Both of these are big huge mountains to climb (if I put my nose down and just did those all day, it would take me nearly two months to get "finished" with them ... so, with a few hours here and there, those projects are a reliable refuge for the foreseeable future to let me side-step my on-going emotional anguish).

I think I've mentioned in here how much time the book part of that takes (about a half-hour per entry to get it from the blog to a finished page in MSPublisher - multiply that by as many as 79 reviews/year over a dozen years), but the other is fairly complex as well. Much of this is due to plain old OCD, but it also involves having to edit a lot of links in both versions (that and this journal's posts). One of the challenges of having long-running web real estate (this being up for 15+ years, that for 10+) is that a lot of stuff outside of the page changes, and, unless you go in and edit it, the stuff on the page just ends up broken or non-functional.

A long time ago, I "hosted" my images on AOL, until they changed their settings making it hard to link in to them over there. At that point (long before LJ came up with "scrapbook"), I moved over to a service called WebLogImages.com, which, as one could guess from the name, was specifically for hosting stuff for one's "WebLog". Unfortunately, a few years ago, they up and went out of business, leaving a LOT of broken resource links ... including my little "BTRIPP" sig graphic.

Also, back when I was running Eschaton Books (Mark I), I had an early Amazon Affiliate account, and the links in my reviews were formatted for that. Unfortunately, the Vile Kleptocracy of Illinois decided that they wanted "a piece of the action" from Amazon (one of five states doing so), and, rather than submitting to Hydra-esque compliance, Amazon took its program away from all its Illinois affiliates. So, for years I was still using links (which, fortunately, did still get to the book pages) which had extraneous "dead code" in them. However, a couple of years back, Amazon and the assorted Kleptocratic states come to some sort of "understanding" and once again I was able to set up the possibility (it's not been much of a reality, sadly) of earning a few pennies if somebody clicks through a link and actually buys a copy of the book being discussed.

Additionally, a few years back, I began to use the CMP.LY badges to note when I'd gotten a free book for review and that the links were part of an affiliate program ... so this was more coding that needed to be updated (figuring if I was in those posts editing stuff anyway I might as well add that to the older reviews). At least I was able to do a single block of code for the footer (with the BTRIPP graphic and link to my home page and "generic" versions - the later ones are specific to individual books - of the CMP.LY buttons).

Anyway, this means that for each review I need to re-code two pages (where it shows up on each journal), first with a new link to Amazon, and then with the new footer ... a process that I've been moving backwards in time through the reviews, adding info (author names, book title, review date, Amazon code, both review URLs, and the book's ISBN) to the spreadsheet as I went (at this writing I'm back to January of 2011).

So, what happened?

Well, in the message that finally apologized for the mess, they said "one of our anti-spam systems flagged it as a potential spam account", which dovetailed with a comment in their original notification of the suspension (not-too-conveniently sent out in Russian - thank goodness for Google Translate!) which said "a large number of records have been published in your account that contain questionable links". My guess is that the new "amzn.to" short links triggered something (I take it that a lot of "malware" distributors use short links to cloak their nefarious intents), and it took them a couple of weeks (and numerous pitifully pleading messages from me) to get around to checking things out and lifting the suspension.

Which brings me to the title of this post ... much like how good it feels when the "brain freeze" of too-rapidly consuming a Slurpee stops, having the totally-unjust suspension of my book review blog lifted feels so wonderful ... if only in returning to the status quo!


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