Tag Archives: changes

WordPress Changes Things Again

A while back, WordPress completely changed the Stats page. The old stats page was still accessible, and I had it bookmarked. What I needed was the summaries page that gave me weekly, monthly, and yearly numbers, as well as daily averages for each month and a complete list of the month’s daily views. I use that for my Month in Review posts.

Well, that’s all gone, as far as I can tell. My bookmark just takes me to the newer stats page. However, I found a workaround that takes me to an even older stats page. Just go to the wp-admin page (That’s https:// (yourblog).wordpress.com/wp-admin/) and then Site Stats, and click on Summaries. That’s what I use, but it’s the old old version. It still works for me, though.

Another thing that’s disappeared is the Notifications page! I never liked using the Notifications menu (the button at the top right with the bell) because it never showed if I’d replied to the comment or not. The Notifications page showed me all of that, and it gave me a lot of options. But much to my surprise, the bell-button-notifications menu now gives me all those options and tells me if I’d replied! Okay, that is a step forward.

So, one step back for the stats, one step forward for the notifications. Unfortunately, WordPress is trying to cater more to mobile users than computer users. Mobile stats and other features are extremely limited, though. And I do not like writing posts with the app. Computer only.

Anyone else notice the changes? What do you think?

Twice a Day No More

It was bound to happen. I’m no longer going to be posting twice a day. A day like today, with its long commute and my desire to do some other things, shows me that I can’t do two quality posts in a day.

I will continue to post every day. And more often than not, I will post twice a day. I just want to give myself permission to post less than twice a day. If I’m going to focus on writing my book, I can’t post twice a day, anyway.

But don’t worry, this is not a decline in this blog. On the contrary, I’m working to improve the blog. I will be able to spend more time on improving some aspects, including making sure everything is updated and keeping up to date on comments and social media. I can also focus on worldbuilding posts, reading, YouTube, and watching more Star Trek. And my job is a big reason for this change, too.

So, look forward to some changes for the better!

I Don’t Want to Go to School!

My daughter was more difficult to get to sleep tonight than usual. She often talks and plays with the toys she wants to sleep with, but usually goes to sleep within about thirty minutes. Tonight, it took her one and a half hours to go to sleep. You see, she wanted to talk about school.

It started off with her asking if we will go to school with her. She was hoping we’d stay in the class with her. However, I explained to her that we can take her to school and pick her up, but we can’t stay in the school with her. She’ll be with the teacher and her new friends. But she started to cry and told us she didn’t want to be with the teacher. She didn’t want to be with friends. She didn’t want to play with the toys at school.  She wanted to play with me and my wife and her toys.

It’s still a month until school starts, and she’s usually happy about going to school. However, she occasionally says she doesn’t want to go to school. But hopefully, she’ll enjoy going to school. She’ll probably cry, and she said she’d cry, but that’s pretty common. I’ve taught kids around the same age who cried.

One more month. Better make the best of that month with her.

Authors Answer 76 – Authors Reflecting on Their Earliest Writing

All authors started somewhere. We’ve discussed this before. However, when authors look back at their earliest writing, there may be a mix of reactions. Childhood writing would be simple, but how about teenage writing?

320px-Modern-ftn-pen-cursiveQuestion 76 – When you look at your oldest writing, what surprises or embarrasses you?

S. R. Carrillo

It was so boring! I had a tendency to wax poetic about the oddest things, and it would make scenes drag on and on and on forever. I also hated to kill my darlings, so I would get chapters and chapters full of beautiful prose… with little to no plot progression or serious relevance.

Also, I used to headhop. Like a madman. I don’t know what was wrong with me haha.

Elizabeth Rhodes

Years back I was editing a crime novel based on the story of Persephone. That book’s tucked away, but I surprised myself with how much detail I pulled from original myths to create these characters, from Demeter’s failing nursery to Hades’ favorite nymphs. I did cringe when I made (but didn’t catch) several references to my protagonist’s bad teeth (based on a bad toothache I had while writing the story) and a placeholder name I used for a minor character made it into the “final” draft. Who knows what I’ll find if I opened it today.

H. Anthe Davis

My oldest surviving writing is from when I was about twelve, and was edited when I was about fifteen, so I’m surprised to see that even then I had an attachment to certain concepts and character-types, even if almost none of the specifics of those characters have survived.  I wouldn’t really say I’m embarrassed, because my prose wasn’t too bad then, for what I was writing — Dungeons & Dragons-style adventures.  I’m much more embarrassed of the literary short stories I slapped together during college, since I wasn’t allowed to write genre fiction in my short-story classes; the disinterest really shows.

Eric Wood

When I look at some of my earliest writing I cringe. I was a monotonous writer. My descriptions were bland and my word choices were the epitome of  boring. At least in fiction works. Some of poetry that I’d reread years afterward I’d have to ask myself, “I wrote this?” Perhaps because I was reading with fresh eyes, perhaps because I could connect to it so personally, I really liked them. My poetry most always used vivid imagery. But it never carried over to my fiction writing until much later.

Tracey Lynn Tobin

The most embarrassing thing to look back at and see for me is that I was one of the worst offenders I know for creating “Mary Sue” characters (long before I ever know what the term meant). When I first started writing way back in the third grade, I would write stories featuring myself and my friends, or I’d make up female characters who looked and acted suspiciously similar to myself. Wish fulfillment was definitely the name of the game. I didn’t worry so much about silly things like a good plot…I wrote things the way I saw them in my fantasies, with myself as the do-no-wrong heroine whom everybody loved. This was all fairly understandable since I was, like, eight when I first started writing, but the theme did actually persist for quite a while, so I do still have random stuff in my house right at this moment that makes me shudder just to look at it.

Jean Davis

Because my early writing happened during my teenage years, it falls in the embarrassing category. The cheesy characters, dialogue, wandering plot, ugh, it’s all so bad. I did have more description back then, but yeah, still not in a good way.

D. T. Nova

Looking at some of the first stories that I wrote after I started seriously considering writing for publication, there’s one where I’m kind of embarrassed to have held back as much as I did. There is such a thing as too subtle.

And another one literally has more exposition than action, despite allegedly being an adventure story.

Linda G. Hill

What surprises me the most, is that I know at the time I thought my writing of ten years ago was good. What I fear the most is, in ten years’ time I’ll be surprised that my current writing is so much worse than I imagine it is. Did that make sense? …maybe it won’t be that much of a surprise…

Allen Tiffany

Two  reactions: First, it was really bad. Really bad. Adverbs, cliches, stories without any coherent plot, etc. But on the other hand, there was still enough goodness there that I continue to find the stories engaging, and I can still drop into the fantasy.

Gregory S. Close

I am always surprised how simultaneously good and awful my old writing is.  Sometimes I come across a cool line and I think “Did I write that?”  Then, usually immediately after that, I come across a line that makes me groan, “Did I write THAT?”

Paul B. Spence

Nothing about it surprises or embarrasses me. I know where I’ve come from, how far I’ve progressed. I’m not ashamed that I write better now, three decades later than some of it. I’m not surprised to see themes and even the beginnings of stories that I am now writing in some of the older stuff. Some of the ideas in my first novel, Cedeforthy, I developed as a small child. Some of the hardest things to cut are those that you’ve held onto for years.

Jay Dee Archer

When I wrote a short story in high school, I was proud of it. I don’t have access to it anymore, but I think I’d probably cringe at the dialogue and narration. In university, I wrote a bit, as well. I clearly remember how corny it sounded. But then, I didn’t go beyond a rough draft at that time. I should also mention that I wrote in present tense. I’m not very fond of present tense in fiction now.

How about you?

If you write, what do you think of your first attempts at writing? Let us know in the comments below.

How Much Has Canada Changed?

It’s been more than five years since I’ve been in Canada. A lot can change in five years. The biggest changes would include technology and urban development.

The area I live in right now has seen many new houses built. But Japan in general has seen smartphones becoming the norm, video screens appearing in even more places, and the expansion of free wi-fi. The busses in my area now have LCD screens for bus stop information. More trains are also getting that. You can use smartphones to show coupons in stores.

I wonder how different things are in Canada. I know that downtown Edmonton is undergoing huge changes in development: the Ice District with the Oilers new home and the tallest building in western Canada under construction, the new Royal Alberta Museum, and many condo buildings.

What else is new in Canada? I’ll find out soon.

How Am I? I’m Feeling Weird

You know that feeling when you have major life changes? The feeling that nothing is quite real? That’s how I feel now.

I felt that way when I started university, when I moved to Victoria, when I came to Japan, and when my daughter was born. Now that we’re moving to Canada, that feeling is back. It’s not unpleasant, but it’s a little unsettling. There’s a bit of the unknown, but I also feel that it’s completely surreal. It’s like a dream I’m waiting to wake up from.

Everywhere I go, things look and feel different than they used to. Now they feel temporary. Totally familiar, but things I’ll probably never see again. As my final days of work approach, I feel that way about all the places I’ve worked. Some more than others.

But I have to think about life as an adventure. Expect challenges and just go for it. Every challenge increases experience and helps gain skills. In a way, I’m about to move to a new level.

Thinking about it that way, this unreal feeling means life is an MMORPG. Since my last name is Archer, I must be a ranger. Now where’s my bow?

Canada – What I’m Not Looking Forward To

I think this is going to be an interesting list. I love living in Japan, but I also love Canada. When I left Canada almost eleven years ago, there were some things that irritated me about Canada. But those have mostly been forgotten. However, this is what I’m not looking forward to about Canada.

  • Winter – I don’t like the cold.
  • Some TV – Even though variety shows in Japan were kind of stupid, they were still more entertaining than a lot of the shows in Canada.
  • Cell phone plan prices and data restrictions.
  • Cell phone roaming charges. No roaming in Japan!
  • Internet speeds. Japan’s are the fastest in the world.
  • Public transportation system. I want trains! But at least driving is better in Canada.
  • Fish freshness.
  • The sushi, lack of authentic gyudon (beef bowl), and no Japanese style curry rice.
  • Country music. Can’t stand it.
  • Urban sprawl. Let’s get some density.
  • Often featureless countryside in the prairies.
  • Obsession and defense of the oil industry.

Well, those are a few things. Canadian readers, anything you don’t like about Canada?


Sometimes I think about where I’ve been, what I’ve seen, and then what will come in the future. I know they’re my memories and my view of my future, but they seem so unreal.

My childhood was a long time ago. That’s what it feels like. I am a different person now than I was back then. So much has changed, yet a lot is the same. Many of my interests are the same, but through my experiences, successes, failures, and disappointments, I’ve changed. I’ve become who I am today because of past events. My childhood, high school, university, my old call centre job, and even my first few years in Japan feel like another life.

Some things changed slowly, others were dramatic and sudden changes. My first days in university, my final days in Victoria, my last few days in Canada, my first day in Japan, the bankruptcy of my first company in Japan. Those were big changes that feel so long ago. My daughter’s birth feels like my current life. That’s where I am now, a Canadian father living in Japan with his wife and daughter. That’s what makes the next step seem so unreal. I’ve been at this stage of my life for a while now, and I’m about to go through yet another life-changing event.

The future is less certain. Canada is a real thing, but feels so foreign to me now. I expect to feel like I don’t belong, at least for a while. People I know have changed. The city I once lived in has changed drastically since I left eleven years ago. It will be strange being back there to live. Then what will my life in Japan become? Another unreal stage of my life?

I remember the feeling when I first came to Japan. It was surreal. It felt unreal, even while I was in the moment. Everything was so foreign and exotic. Now, I can’t imagine it being foreign at all. I’m so used to it. The first days in Canada may feel like that. It’s been more than five years since I’ve been there. We’ll first go to Vancouver Island, which I haven’t been to since 2001. Fifteen years! I understand the feeling I have right now, knowing I’m leaving a place I love. I went through it when I left Victoria. I got over it, of course. I will get over this after a few months.

And then there are new challenges. My daughter is starting school this year. That seems so crazy. How did she become four years old? What happened to the baby I held in my arms? She’s a walking, talking human being who has her own opinions, sense of humour, and likes. The changes are so unreal. I can’t imagine her when she’s six, eight, ten, a teenager, and an adult. That just does not compute.

I have gone through so many changes, and many more will come. I feel like I’ve lived several different short lives, each one feeling foreign and impossible to go back to. But life goes on, and the experiences can only make me wiser and stronger. I was a shy child who couldn’t speak to a stranger at one time. I ran away from the spotlight. Now, I don’t hide from it. I’m not shy any longer. That still feels unreal.

High School Reunions

My twenty year high school reunion is happening this weekend at a golf course I used to work at. It’s on the other side of the world. It’s just six months too early. I would have loved to have gone.

People change, and I’m quite interested in seeing how people change. A lot of the people going to the reunion I’m in touch with over Facebook. After we move to Canada, I’m hoping to meet up with a few of them, catch up, actually talk with our mouths using our vocal chords to make sound. That would be quite the novelty. Facebook is great, but there’s nothing better than seeing old friends, and even old acquaintances, in person.

I wonder how much they think I’ve changed. I used to be this skinny, shy, quiet, geeky nerd. You know the type, they’re always in those high school movies. Well, except I wore a t-shirt and jeans, and never wore glasses. I was into Star Trek. I was painfully shy about dating, so never went to the prom. If I went to school with you, do you remember that’s the way I was?

How have I changed? Well, since I can’t attend the reunion, I’ll tell you. I’ve filled out a bit, though I guess you could still say I’m thin. I’m not shy anymore. I’m still somewhat quiet, unless I get into a conversation with you. Geeky nerd? Yes! I still am. But I’m also very active outdoors, often walking very long distances, hiking, and doing a lot of nature and urban photography. I still wear a t-shirt and jeans, but I also wear a suit to work. Still don’t wear glasses. I’m also still into Star Trek, but haven’t really watched it in quite some time. I don’t need to date, since I’m married, and I have a three-year-old daughter.

So, how are you doing? Who wants to meet up for lunch or drinks or something next year? I know I’m looking forward to it. And I hope there’s a 25 year reunion. I’ll be there!

I’m Not Who You Thought I Was

You see, I have been fooling all of you.  I am not really who you thought I was.  I’m actually a performer for a traveling circus. I am also a cactus farmer who enjoys playing the flute in caves.

Well, not really.  Actually, that’s all a lie. What I mean to say is that people often have preconceived ideas about who I am. My current self contradicts who I used to be long ago.  People change. It’s been twenty years since high school. Hard to believe. I still feel like I should be in my twenties. Even then, I was a different person. My twenty-eight year old self is closer to my present day self than I was to my eighteen year old self, though.  I think I changed the most in my twenties.

In high school, I was the science nerd. Now, I’m still a science nerd, but I don’t work in science.  I teach English and write.

In high school, I was skinny and obviously not athletic. Now, I’m still skinny, but I do a lot of walking and hiking.

In high school, I was pretty awkward and shy.  Now, I’m pretty confident, and I don’t care what people think about me.

In high school, I wouldn’t stand up for myself.  Now, I like to defuse situations before they blow up, but I’ll defend myself if I have to.

In high school, I wasn’t very outspoken about issues. Now, I frequently blog, talk, and post on Facebook about issues that mean a lot to me.

In high school, I hadn’t really gone through much, other than bullying (that was in junior high school).  Since then, I have witnessed a suicide, experienced the fourth largest recorded earthquake in history, and lost too many loved ones.

I’m a changed person in many ways, but deep down, I’m still the curious kid who likes to read encyclopedias.

How have you changed in your life?