Board of Elections training

Almost a year ago, on October 1st, 2020, I submitted an application to work for the Board of Elections in New York City. I figured it would be interesting to actually work on an election day. Plus, I’d heard it was pretty good money. I cut it a little too close to work on the 2020 general election (and maybe that was a blessing in disguise considering how contentious it was), and I never heard back about training, so I sort of gave up on the idea.

Today, I got an email about attending training on Thursday in the late afternoon. It’s strange that the notice was so short, but it fits my schedule because I work early mornings. I’m going to go check it out and see what they’re offering. I took a look at the election schedule and the upcoming election is on November 2nd, which is a Tuesday. Being honest, if the hours required conflict with my regular job and doesn’t pay as much, it isn’t going to be worthwhile, even for the experience of participating in the democratic process in a more involved way.

Site recently migrated to new host

Hi. This site was recently migrated from DreamHost to WordPress.com. It looks like the migration lost some images, so those will have to be re-added manually.

Update: The images should be fixed. Next, I had an “embed anything” plugin while using self-hosted WordPress that I’d used regularly in my recent posts, so I need to go back through and find a way to correct that.

Update: Well, I fixed that by just taking a screenshot of what an embed would look like. It’s pretty janky, but whatever. It’ll do, and in the future I’ll just not write a post in a way that an embed would be a featured part of it if WordPress.com can’t do that embed.

Anyway, it looks like everything is up and running about how I’d like it and about how it was before. I suppose I’ll mess around a bit with the themes that are available on WordPress.com, but that’s about it before I start posting again as usual.

I finally found out why my WordPress is so slow on DreamHost

I’ve had DreamHost Shared hosting for about 9-10 years. For the first 5-6 years, everything was great, but then my site started to slow down. After years of trying different things, I think I’ve finally figured out what the issue was, and it doesn’t really make any sense to me, but it works, so I’m not going to complain.

When my site started to slow down, it wasn’t just that the blog itself was loading slowly when you pulled it up as a reader, though it was doing that too, it was more that it was slow when using the Dashboard or any kind of admin function. It would often time out or return a 504 error, even on a simple operation like uploading a photo. I actually started to dread using my WordPress because writing a simple post could turn into a one hour affair if I tried to upload a photo and it hit an error. I would have to use FTP to find the file that didn’t upload properly and then delete it manually. I guess it’s a miracle that the site never crapped out while I was updating WordPress, though it would often not delete the maintenance file and I’d have to manually remove that so the site would load normally again.

I removed almost every widget on the site. I went from using a complex theme that I paid for to a simple free theme that’s incredibly basic. I removed almost every plugin I was using. I used database cleaner plugins, caching plugins, and found a resizing tool that let me reduce the image file size of images that I was uploading to mere kilobytes, when in reality I should have been able to upload files up to, I think, 50 MB at a time.

None of it helped.

A few weeks ago I started thinking about moving to another hosting provider as a possible solution to the problem and I looked at the size of my blog in the DreamHost cpanel to get an idea of what sort of plan I would need. I was really surprised by how big it was. After looking at the files through FileZilla, I realized there was a second, unnecessary copy of the whole blog sitting there for some reason that was a few years old so I deleted that. Then I used a plugin to remove photos that weren’t actually being used in any posts. That brought the size down to 5 GB. I still felt like that was a little wild for a blog, even if the blog is 13 years old.

I figured, why not clear the cache and see what happens. The cache was 1.4 GB.

After clearing the cache, the site ran fine for a day or two and then went back to being really, really slow. When I checked the cache size, it was at about 1.7 GB.

I decided to just delete the caching plugin and see what happened. So, I did that and then went into Jetpack and turned on image CDN. Now the site loads really quickly both on the blog itself and on the admin panel.

It’s really bizarre to me that a caching plugin meant to speed up site performance was actually killing my blog’s performance for years. I’m on a legacy shared hosting plan that comes with 3 free domain names, unlimited storage, and unlimited bandwidth, so I’m really hesitant to give that up. I doubt I could find a deal like that anywhere else, and that’s really the reason why I stuck with the service for so long, thinking the main issue was on DreamHost’s end.

I guess there must have been a conflict between the plugin and maybe Jetpack’s caching, or CloudFlare’s caching. I have no clue. I’m just glad it’s fixed. Now that the site is running fine, I’m going to do my best to not mess with any of the settings and just enjoy blogging again.

tldr;: the wp-optimize plugin was actually screwing up my site and everything was fine once I deleted it

I love you more than tuna

Thumper taking a nap

Today is the two-year anniversary of the passing of our favorite cat, Thumper. I picked up a copy of this book a few months ago and hid it on top of the bookshelf. This evening, I pulled it down and my wife and I read it together. Even after two years, it’s hard to comprehend that she’s gone, and the world still managed to spin around the sun two times without her being here with us.

The book is excellent. Not all cats are the same, but somehow, the stuff in this book was about 95% on point, and it brought back a lot of good and sad memories.

Thank you, to the author and illustrator.

I’m grateful for the time we had together, but I wish she was still around.

A book about a guy catching a fish

“Every day is a new day. It is better to be lucky. But I would rather be exact. Then when luck comes you are ready.”
― Ernest Hemingway, The Old Man and the Sea

I never thought I’d be this interested in a book that is all about a guy on his boat catching a fish. Of course, there are themes about the importance of community, tradition, dedication, and the reality that hard work sometimes ends in failure, but it’s really just a book about some guy getting into his boat and trying to reel in a fish for almost 100 pages.

And it was amazing.

I’ve read almost 800 books, not counting comics and manga and portions of books that I read for college, and after a while it seems like almost all books are basically the same story, just in different settings and with differently named characters, so it’s nice to read something a bit different for a change. I’m finding that I want to read classic literature more now when I want a novel because the books that have lasted tend to be books that focus on human nature and the human condition and I appreciate that the books are offering something deeper and more meaningful to me than just entertainment.

“You did not kill the fish only to keep alive and to sell for food, he thought. You killed him for pride and because you are a fisherman. You loved him when he was alive and you loved him after. If you love him, it is not a sin to kill him. Or is it more?”

Ernest Hemingway, The Old Man and the Sea

So I’m an ordained minister now

Universal Life Church Ministries Credentials of Ministry certificate

Apparently this is legit, and I’m an #ordained #minister with the Universal Life Church now. I didn’t realize it was that easy to get this title. It felt like I completed a level 2 quest in an online MMO starter town:


“Quest Complete!
Title Unlocked: Minister”


I’m going to file paperwork with the City Clerk’s office and then if the need arises I’ll be able to perform marriages, baptisms, etc. in New York.


I was inspired to look into this by “The Big Bang Theory” TV show. In season 5, episode 24, Sheldon, Leonard, Raj, Penny and Amy all go online to get ordained as ministers to perform Howard and Bernadette’s wedding ceremony together.

It was one of my favorite moments in the show, and I thought it was just for TV that they were all able to get ordained online. I looked it up and found out that it’s a real thing, and finally got around to doing it myself. I suppose I did it more for the novelty of the idea than anything, kind of like how owning a few doge coins is kind of interesting to me. But hey, maybe I’ll be able to use this.

I’d like to get certified as a public notary too, because why not?

Japanese ambient music

Takashi Kokubo (小久保隆) – Loire’s Castles ~ Medieval Dreams ~ (ロアールの古城~中世の夢~) (1993) [Full Album]

I’ve really been enjoying stuff like this lately. I didn’t realize it was available on YouTube. Or anything like it, I mean. You really can find almost anything online now. Sometimes, I wonder what sort of interests I would have developed if I’d been born a decade later.

A kid who grew up with the internet and everything it has to offer had so many more opportunities for growth and personal development than someone born in the 80s, even if they’re from a small town. When I was a kid, you couldn’t get hold of anything if local stores didn’t order and stock the item. If you had non-mainstream interests, then you were just out of luck, especially if you were interested in other cultures.

Anyway, this type of music is almost like a video game soundtrack. It reminds me of when I would leave my game character idling in the housing areas of Final Fantasy XIV while I did other things, just to hear the music playing from the speakers. It’s really relaxing and makes me feel like I’m somewhere else when I listen to it.

Goodbye, Citizen

Citizen is an app that bills itself as:

The most powerful safety app for today’s world. Download Citizen to feel safer at home or out, get real-time safety alerts and live video of incidents happening near you, updates on natural disasters or protests, and know if your loved ones are near a dangerous incident.

Google Play Store Description

And that all sounds great, right? Who doesn’t want to feel safe and informed? When I first downloaded the app a few years ago, it was pretty neat being able to see where crimes were taking place at the street level. It gave me a better idea of what areas to avoid and what time to avoid them. The data wasn’t complete, it wasn’t always accurate, and the user videos were usually pretty bad, but it felt more genuine than what I would see on the news. It added value to my day-to-day.

Then, Citizen tried to be more than I needed or wanted it to be. And it got invasive. During the pandemic, I started to get really wary of the Citizen app. It started adding a lot of features that went beyond its original purpose, like prompting for always on location tracking for friends and family members, COVID-19 symptom tracking, and background contact tracing. All of that sounds cute and useful on the surface, but who is Citizen and why should they be trusted with that much of my personal data? And even more important, does giving them that information add real value to my life?

Ultimately, the answer to that question was no. I thought about it for a while and realized that after an initial period of usefulness, my most common interaction with the Citizen app was swiping away notifications. Sometimes not even notifications about crimes, but notifications about the weather, protests, politics, and so much other random nonsense that I stopped even paying attention to them. I also realized that knowing about the crimes in my area with immediate notifications and spending a lot of time looking at and thinking about them wasn’t improving my mood or making me a better person. Instead, it was cultivating an atmosphere of fear.

I’m apparently not the only one that feels this way, though I took it further.

So, I deleted the app a few weeks ago. I realized today that I haven’t missed it at all. If I need to know what’s going on, I can check the news when I want to check the news, so that my mood and my day aren’t dictated by the notifications coming from an app.

I’ve been going through a process of decluttering and minimizing, and I’m adding apps and other digital clutter to the list. I’m getting rid of unused email addresses, deleting duplicate or old backups, consolidating where my data is stored, and moving anything I can to simpler hosting solutions so that I can free up my headspace for other things that are more important to me.

So far, it has been a worthwhile journey.