Catastrophic hardware failure

HostRocket, the company that hosts this website, sent me an e-mail in July stating that they had “catastrophic hardware failure” on one of their servers, resulting in  “a complete data loss.”

My website was completely erased with no chance of recovery.

I’ve restored the database from a backup, but the most recent backup I have available is from March of 2014.

All the photos will have to be re-uploaded. It might take a while. I had a thousand or two.

I do intend to resume writing, though. Stay tuned.

Civilizations and their mounds

Two large earthen mounds in a landscape of brown grass lawn and leafless trees.
Mississippian mounds

Somewhere not far from Cahokia Mounds Historic Site there is a landfill. You could see it from the interstate and from the top of Monk’s Mound, the largest earthen mound at Cahokia. Monk’s Mound is 100 feet tall. Monk’s Mound was easily the tallest man-made thing in North America when it was built hundreds of years ago. The landfill— merely one pile of refuse from one middling city in a vastly more advanced civilization— dwarfs Monk’s Mound.

The exhibits at Cahokia emphasize the (relative) sophistication of the city. Which is true, for North America of the time, but in the big picture Cahokia was a good seven thousand years behind Old World civilizations. The Cahokians built and maintained their city and trade network without: the wheel, metal tools, masonry, draft animals, a system of writing, or currency. The causes of Cahokia’s decline and demise are not known, only that they were gradual and not catastrophic, but I’m not too terribly surprised that Cahokia declined and vanished. I’m more impressed that it lasted as long as it did.

The turtle that was too fast for me

A turtle with brilliantly ringed scutes ducks its head from the camera.
I was too slow with the camera to catch this aquarium-bound diamondback terrapin with its head up.

Author’s note: This post has been backdated to February, when I took the photo at the National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium in Dubuque, so I could maintain my streak of at least one post per month. So there.

Writing or lack thereof

I haven’t been writing here because I’ve been writing for a creative writing workshop. I hope to share some stuff later.

I don’t write creative fiction very often, and have a few things kicking around, including some that have appeared here. It’s interesting to hear others’ opinions about it and to get constructive feedback. My class is very encouraging.

I’ve upgraded WordPress to 3.8 and am trying out the new default theme. It’s okay. I didn’t meet my goal this year of designing my own theme.