My exile is over!

June 15, 2009

My personal blog has been restored at

Go there for the lowdown now.

Gemma Talks Religion in Ghana

June 10, 2009

I’m perpetually behind in everything, but a couple weeks ago Gemma posted this really neat story of a discussion she had in Ghana:

Madame,  You Must Be Joking!

Event: The Marketplace of Ideas?

June 10, 2009

My brother, who lives in England, told me about this. So I still think that the “marketplace of ideas” is one free-market that works the way it’s supposed to. If this guy had been allowed to distribute his anti-Semitic rants in 1997, maybe this week’s election would have had a different outcome? I’m curious what you think…

A Rightist Harnesses British Discontent

Since I’m still getting used to this blog, let’s try a poll:

Reading in Chicago: North Side Edition

June 1, 2009

Check out my list of reading spots on the North Side of Chicago here at

Reading in Chicago: North Side Edition

No Exit?

May 29, 2009

There might be a shortcut out of the purcatory of malwarial purgatory.  It involves the Google toolbar.  I’ll be working on this later today, after I finish applying for jobs.

Also, I have a headache.

I did open a new Twitter account — — Viral Connor — since my other account seems to be under endless review.

I’m a little frustrated at the Twitter situation.  I understand the situation at Google; I really would rather the major search engines employ a strict standard of safety at my inconvenience.  It’s “herd protection,” like immunizations, and if I’m the odd one getting sick from a flu vaccine this time around, that’s a worthwhile sacrifice.  Twitter, though, is a different situation.  It would seem to me that the “suspicious activity” could only take the form of links to my blog or website on my profile or my account.  I’m just an ordinary Twitterer and this should be easy to verify via Google (and, taking a glance at my posts, common sense).  I don’t know why this is taking over a week to resolve.

Who knows.  Perhaps after my regular Twitter account is normalized I’ll continue to post as viralconnor.  It could be my id, my unseelie self, prone to dark and demoniac notions.


May 28, 2009

It’s been an interesting year.

Lots of obstacles, large and small, none insurmountable, but most annoying.

When I was laid off as a product of the current Great Recession, I decided that the time was ripe to look for a job in my chosen discipline.  I had earned a Masters of Fine Arts degree in Creative Writing, and I have extensive experience in writing, editing, and publishing.  But most of my work over the last several years has been in medical and legal support.  Several opportunities have presented themselves: teaching, proofing, editing, and… freelancing.

In terms of the freelancing, I had a great setup.  Since 2004, I’ve kept a political/artistic/theological/personal blog, not so much for self-promotion but for the experience and to keep my own records.  I attached this to a personal site — — which included my resume, some pictures, artistic stuff, that sort of thing.  If made a pretty nice looking blog, I thought I could launch and monetize, and make some extra change reviewing books.  After all, I’ve read hundreds of books, good and bad, and presumably someone somewhere wants to know if they’re any good before plunking down their cash.  This wasn’t supposed to be a major money-maker, but it would look nice on my resume, and could help me promote my own writing while maybe taking out a couple of my bills at the same time.

I wasn’t going to do it half-assed, though.  I was going to educate myself, and launch a lean and mean and well-designed blog, easy-to-read, supple to navigate, and ubiquitous on review searches.  I started boning up on SEO and web design and established the blog with Word Press.  The parts for my Frankenstein monster started coming together… and then:




No, I didn’t download any malware…

No, I mean, I never download anything without pestering my genius web-designer friend first.  In fact, I have both SpyBot and AVG on my computer, and I update and run them daily!  So what happened?

I thought my computer had caught a bug from MySpace, and it was messing with the way website displayed.  I should have been so lucky.  No, my computer was fine, but somehow this malware from Martuz .cn piggybacked on my computer, discovered my new WordPress password, wormed its way onto my personal website, and deleted itself from my PC.  Once the beastie had ascended into that august series of tubes, it replicated itself 1500 times across pretty much every static and dynamic file I’d compiled over the last 5 years.  My genius web-designer friend helped my kill the thing (you can read more about that here), but the Google warning remained.

And so it remains.

It is difficult to tell how extensive the damage is.  At the very least, I’ve lost dozens of hours of work spanning half-a -decade.  More troubling, this all happened a month into my job search.  During said job search, I’d been plugging my website extensively, since it’s an easy collection of some my best writing.  Now, any employers who follow my recommended links are cautioned that someone is trying to infect them.  It’s hard to differentiate yourself from spam when even Google thinks you’re scum.

Also, my Twitter account was suspended.

I requested a review from Google, but I haven’t heard anything yet.  The cautionary page notes that no malware has been found on since 5/19, recording instances in the last 90 days.  So that would suggest that their warning won’t go away for… 90 days.  That is, mid-August.  Gee, I sure hope I have a job by then.  Until this is resolved, however, my website is PR poison.  After all, if I saw a warning like that, I’d run away without reading the fine print, and I’m sure most of you would agree.

So this is my blog in exile.  When is cleared of these horrid charges leveled against it, I’ll be moving back there.

In the meantime, I’m going to post here, work on my SEO and design skills, and generally try to carry on life as general.

Scary how much we depend on these machines, isn’t it?