A polymath rambling about virtually anything

Posts Tagged ‘xanga’

My Fifth WordPress Anniversary

Posted by Scott Holstad on June 26, 2016

WordPress was kind enough to notify me a few days ago, on the 20th, that it was my my fifth anniversary with them, blogging away the whole time. It’s hard to believe. I had come over from Xanga, a blogging site I had been on since 2004 and one I loved desperately. It’s just that friends were leaving that site in droves — I didn’t know why, no one told me — and I felt like the site was going to hell, so while I didn’t delete my Xanga account, I started searching for a new blogging home. I had friends on this place, Blogger, and TypePad, but it was WordPress that really stood out for me, and besides, this online literary journal I had recently become poetry editor for had an account here, so I decided to open my new site here. I did and never looked back. My first posts were unusual and designed to introduce myself to new people, let people get to know me. I didn’t start writing book reviews until about three years ago or so. I wrote about writing, creative writing, sports, health, politics, publishing, published some memes, some lists of favorite books, songs, bands, etc., had quite a few posts which weren’t easy to categorize, etc. But then I started to find my niche with my book reviews, which, much to my surprise, became my blog posts with the most hits by far, as well as the most likes, and even the most comments, when I got any, which is rare. Since then, most of my posts have been book reviews — I published hundreds — interspersed with some sports posts, the occasional political or spiritual/religious post, an occasional creative writing post, some health posts, and a few others that are hard to categorize. But it’s the book reviews that people read. I’ve tried to figure that out but I guess it’s as simple as that’s what people want to read. That simple, right?

Well, anyway, in honor of my fifth anniversary on WordPress, I’m going to provide a link to my blog post from five years ago today: 20 Questions. I hope some of you find it interesting and enlightening. Actually, now that I think of it, I’m just going to post the whole blog post here. It’s short and probably easier than having to click on the link and go to another page. Remember, this is from June 26, 2011. Here it is:


20 Questions

Delete my answers and substitute your own. Enjoy!

I’ve come to realize that… I have taken far too many things for granted in my life, even when I thought I was not doing that. It’s a tragedy & I’m trying to remedy that.
Reconciliation is… ideal, but not always realistic. This is exactly the opposite of how I have felt my entire life, but I have wasted way too much time over the years trying to reconcile (or even simply remain on the same friendly terms…) with various people for various reasons and I can count on one hand quite easily the number of times it was worth the effort. Move on.
I talk… more than ever, if you can believe that. I have a lot to say. I spent the last 7+ years living with someone who really didn’t like to hear me talk much, but who preferred watching TV. Like 24/7. For years. Yeah, good times. I’ve got a lot to say and a lot stored up, so sorry….
I love… one special individual more than anyone I ever have at any time in my life, to a shockingly higher degree than I ever knew was even possible. Yeah, I admit it. I also dearly love my parents, my kitties, and several of my good friends who have stood by me over the years. My list of friends I “love” has diminished greatly over the past two years. Pity.
My best friend/s… are fewer than I thought in number, but are critically important to me and people I feel confident I’ll remain loyal to forever and who will be there for me forever. I’m blessed in this regard.
Love… is a newly important word to me, as most of my life it was largely an abstract concept, outside of my loving family. In my middle years, I have been blessed to discover what I now believe “love” is and is meant to be, and I had no freakin’ idea this was a possibility.
Marriage is… hit and miss. Usually a mistake. Usually entered into too soon and without sufficient forethought. A business partnership. Yeah, I’m jaded.
Somewhere, someone is thinking… “I wonder what that whining, bitchy drama queen Scott is going on about now.” Seriously. You think I’m joking….
I’ll always… remember times, places and the special people who have gone out of their way to save my ass in the biggest and worst of situations. Foremost among these are my parents and my best friend, Marcy. Emily, Jim & Eunice, Arnold & Sarah, and Ami have been there for me too. Many thanks.
I truly relax… nowhere. I stopped being able to relax years ago and now I no longer know how to, which is pathetic, and I even feel tremendous guilt if I even make an attempt to relax! Therapy is clearly in order.
My cell phone… is my life. I store everything in my iPhone. I’m not kidding. If that ever disappears, I’m more screwed than if my wallet disappears.
When I wake up in the morning… I now thank God for allowing me to see the sun rise once more, to be able to draw a breath, to have friends and family (and kitties) who love me. I no longer take these things for granted.
Before I go to bed… I talk to my special loved one for as long as possible in order to end each day on a positive, loving and blessed note.
Right now I am thinking… that I have a lot more to be grateful for than I – or most other people – would typically realize, looking at circumstances.
Babies… make me break out in hives. I’m horribly allergic to them. Always have been, always will be. I find them quite distressing.
I am committed to… doing everything possible to survive. And to love and live more strongly and sincerely than I ever have in my life before now.
I miss… my cat Rocky, who died in August 2007. I also miss seeing and hanging with my best friends back out west, including Marcy, Celeste, Marc, Emily and Rachel.
Tomorrow… is a hope and a goal, but not a guarantee.
I really want to be… healthy enough to live long enough to have a quasi-“normal” life and a happy one, to whatever degree that is possible.
I hate… people who don’t understand and who don’t even try to make a serious damn effort to understand.

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My First WP Post Anniversary

Posted by Scott Holstad on June 20, 2015

Today is my fourth anniversary of my first WordPress blog post! Yay! I migrated over from Xanga to WordPress, a little unsure of things, but eventually found my way around and the rest is history. I’m going to post my first post from June 20, 2011. It’s short.



Hello world!

Posted by Scott Holstad on June 20, 2011

Hi there! My name is Scott Holstad. I’ve been blogging on Xanga since February 2004, and while I am still there, I have decided to try a new, different blog over here on WordPress.

Let’s see … what should I say about myself? I was born in Boston and have lived in several states and two countries. I have moved roughly 26 times. My favorite place I have lived has been Los Angeles. I’m now living in the Chattanooga TN area. (I moved up here from an island I was living on. By the beach. Across the street from the bar I frequented every night. Sweet living. Good times….)

I’m a professional student and teacher. Thirteen years of college at six academic institutions, resulting in three (underused) degrees. Taught at three academic institutions.

More importantly, I’m a professional writer and editor, with decades of experience to my credit. I have experience in the newspaper, magazine (print and online), and book publishing industries. While I have authored 15 published poetry collections over the years, I have generally supported myself through technical writing and editing, project and program management, and consulting.

I am currently serving as the poetry editor for Ray’s Road Review, an excellent online literary journal founded by a fantastic fiction writer named Chris Duncan. He is also serving as the fiction editor. Please stop by the site and read. If inspired to do so, submit as well. We’re eager and open to submissions.

I guess that’s enough for now. If anyone stumbles across my new blog and wants to say hi, please leave some comment telling me about yourself. It’d be greatly appreciated. Cheers!


There! That was it. Not very impressive, was it? Still, my first effort. My first effort on Xanga back in 2004 was even worse. My next effort was better. I might reprint that in another day or so. Thanks for reading.

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Why Bother?

Posted by Scott Holstad on February 15, 2015

You know, I’m becoming pretty discouraged blogging here on WordPress. I used to blog on Xanga all the time for years. In fact, it is where I met my wife many years ago. And there was a real sense of community there. You looked forward to getting on Xanga to see what everyone was up to that day, what had been going on. That doesn’t happen on WordPress. At all. It’s a totally different format. And so I’ve adapted my blogging practices in an effort to change. But I’m afraid it’s been for no good cause.

As of right now, I have 406 followers here on WordPress. Not the most, by far, but still, a decent number. And you know how many hits my posts get? 20 or 30. How many likes? Three or four. My excellent blog post I wrote on our new floors complete with pictures got one the other day. WTF??? What the fuck is wrong with you people??? Two years ago, when I had half the followers, I was getting 10 or 11 likes, so what am I doing differently now to get no likes? And comments? My wife has commented on about a quarter of my 472 posts. Another blogger has commented on 50 posts. The next highest is 13. In four years. In four years of writing blogs, the third best I can do is 13 comments? WTF? I happen upon all of these blogs by all of these teeny bopper girlies who are self published and self important “authors” dispensing writing advice with hundreds of comments and I just shake my head in amazement. Now I’ll admit, I’m not a very good commenter on other people’s blogs, so I’m willing to cut some people some slack, but I almost never get comments.

So my question is, what the hell are you people doing? Why are you even following me if you’re not remotely interested in reading my posts, or liking them, or commenting about them? Why not do me a big favor and stop following me? In fact, after reading this post, I expect to see about half of you flee and I expect to lose followers in droves, or then again, maybe not. Since most of you don’t even see what I write, perhaps you won’t even see this post. I don’t know. And I’m not sure I care. However, just because I’m somewhat curious, I’m going to post a little poll and I challenge you to answer it just to give me some feedback so I know what’s going on. If you do, a big thanks to you.

  1. I read your posts somewhat regularly, but never feel inspired to like or comment on them.
  2. I read your posts somewhat irregularly, but never feel inspired to like or comment on them.
  3. I like your book reviews, but don’t feel compelled to comment on them.
  4. I don’t like your attitude.
  5. I don’t like or comment on anyone’s posts. Don’t feel so special.
  6. You don’t write enough non-book review posts.
  7. Other.

I don’t know what else to include. As I’ve thought about it, I’ve come to realize that I write about a lot of things. It seems to me that something would appeal to most everyone. Among the topics I’ve written about include book reviews, Christianity, creative writing, depression, family, health, hockey, life, music, NHL, Philip K. Dick, Pittsburgh Penguins, poetry, politics, publishing, religion, reviews, science fiction, sports, and writing. Surely there’s something there to interest most people, right? I guess not. Not if you go by my stats. Well, here’s to no one reading this post.

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Xanga Revisited

Posted by Scott Holstad on July 15, 2013

Well, I see Xanga is still fighting for it’s survival. I guess that might be a good thing, but I do think it’s a losing effort. They’ve extended their deadline for continued existence by two weeks to the end of July. They’ve raised 38K to keep them going, although they still need close to 65K, which I don’t see them getting. And then there’s this idea of migrating to WordPress. They still haven’t said exactly how that will play out. They say they’re building Xanga 2.0 on the WordPress platform and that they want to keep the things that have made Xanga unique, such as simplicity (as in Friends Lock), community (blogrings?), and privacy. That’s all well and good, but how is that going to work on WordPress? Will there  be Xanga-only WordPress blogrings now? I miss Xanga blogrings. WordPress only has tags to enable you to find other bloggers, and it pales in comparison to Xanga’s blogrings, but I don’t see how Xanga can have them on WordPress. Magic, perhaps? And Friends Lock? I guess that’s possible. I feel good about not having Friends Lock or Sign In Lock here anymore though. This way, anyone can read your blog and that’s the way it should be. If you want a private journal, don’t share your URL. I read that Xanga is trying to implement these, as well as Protected Posting, in Xanga 2.0 here on WordPress, but they still don’t say how this will work. And if I’m correct, I think they intend to charge for blogging on Xanga 2.0, which will kill it for me. Frankly, I lost interest in Xanga two years ago when I migrated here myself, because nearly all of my friends had left Xanga. I think Xanga’s trying too little too late, which is a pity. They had a good thing there for awhile. Part of me hopes that Xanga won’t make it because I think Xanga 2.0 will be a shell of itself, a sad reminder of what was, and not for free at that. Part of me wants to see Xanga make it, just for nostalgic purposes. I wonder what WordPress is getting out of this? They must be charging Xanga an awful lot for this service migration. I would if I were them. That’s a lot of new users to add at one time. Oh, how I miss the old days on Xanga. But I’m committed to my WordPress site here and I look forward to meeting new people here all the time. Cheers!

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200th Follower

Posted by Scott Holstad on July 14, 2013

I just got my 200th WordPress follower and I’m excited. I started this blog two years ago after coming over from Xanga, and it’s been a long time coming, but now I’ve got 200 followers and I appreciate each and every one of them. That said, #200 is Stories by Mercilo Daviss, a blogger who posts daily stories of 250 words or less. I shall have to start reading their work now, eh? Thanks to Mercilo Daviss for following me, as well as the rest of you. Now it’s on to 250 and 300, yes? Let’s hope it won’t take another year to attain these goals. And I’ll live, of course, if I never do. I just try to post things of interest to me and hope that others might find the posts interesting. Apparently, most people seem to like my book reviews, so I’ll keep doing that. My only question is, why don’t people leave comments? A lot of people will “like” a post, but I rarely get comments. I can’t figure that out. Why would I be gaining followers consistently if no one had anything to think or say about my content? Odd…. Anyway, thank you Mercilo Daviss and thanks to the rest of you for being followers. I’ll try not to let you down. Cheers!

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Xanga: The Passing of an Era

Posted by Scott Holstad on May 31, 2013

I first started blogging in early 2004 on Xanga, a blogging site where it seemed like everyone I knew had a blog. I was living in Knoxville TN and literally every person I met had a Xanga blog. Everyone went by their usernames. I blogged daily, for years. I enjoyed it immensely and found quite a few friends on the way — including my wife, Gretchen. At one point early in the last decade, Xanga allegedly had over 40 MILLION users and was the biggest blogging site on the Internet. Then things started to unravel. I started noticing one friend after another simply disappearing from Xanga, some offering no goodbye at all. Boom, they’re just gone! Many migrated to Facebook, which I think has been the big Xanga killer. Many others went to Blogger and some to WordPress, others to TypePad and other blogging sites. I quit blogging on Xanga about three or four years ago, as I was heavily into Facebook and most of my friends had fled Xanga. It depressed me to even go to that site. However, after a year or so away, I found I really missed it, so I returned to Xanga, intent on blogging once more. To my dismay, I knew almost no one at all. Gretchen was still there. So were a few other friends. But by and large everyone I knew was gone from Xanga. Now Xanga has a nice feature called blogrings that allow bloggers to join groups of people based on common themes, like blogrings for Steeler fans or Bipolar people or poetry lovers, etc. I belonged to a number of blogrings and decided to join some more in an effort to make new Xanga friends. So I did. And shortly, to my dismay, I discovered they were all dead. Some rings would have 800 members, but only three updated. No one else did. Everyone had disappeared without deleting their Xanga accounts. They were just ghost town blogs. I got discouraged, so a couple of years ago, after exploring different blogging sites, I started this one here on WordPress. It’s not the same as Xanga. I really miss the old blogrings where people were active on them. Here you have to rely on tags to find other blogs. It seems like such a pain in the ass. But I like the look and feel of WordPress blogs and I like what you can do with them, so I’ve been pretty happy. My only disappointment is I often feel like I’m just writing for myself. On Xanga, a post would generate 10 or 20 or 30 comments. Here I get none. I have 163 followers and only one of you comments at all. Some people “like” some of my posts, for which I’m grateful, so I know my posts are being read by some people, but it’s not the same as Xanga.

Strangely, just a couple of days ago Gretchen asked what would happen if Xanga died. We talked about how much she’d miss it and her friends there. So, imagine our surprise when today Xanga posted this: http://thexangateam.xanga.com/773587240/relaunching-xanga-a-fundraiser/. It basically states that they can’t stay in business. The only way they can is if they migrate to, of all places, WordPress and Xanga members have a month and a half to come up with 60 grand to help with the migration. Otherwise Xanga will be shut down. We don’t think Xanga stands a chance at raising 60K in 6 weeks to keep it going on WordPress. How would that work anyway? Would URLs be “xxx.xanga.wordpress.com”? Would WordPress just incorporate Xanga into its system? It’s not explained in Xanga’s press release. I also want to know what’s going to happen to my domain I bought through Xanga — bukowski-rules.com. Will that just disappear into thin air?

Gretchen and I are sad, cause it’s the passing of an era. This is something we’ve talked about a lot over the past couple of years — how Xanga seemed to have fallen behind the times, how they didn’t have an app (they do now), how they were late to the party, how they didn’t fight back against Facebook. They liken themselves to MySpace and LiveJournal in their press release, so it sounds to me that they’ve already given up the fight. It’s a real shame, because it used to be such a great place to write and meet like minded people, as well as others. And they crapped it all away, refusing to upgrade, refusing to adjust, refusing to acknowledge basic changes in the blogosphere. It’s a real pity. I’ll miss you, Xanga.

Posted in Writing | Tagged: , , , , , | 5 Comments »

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