1337 5p34k

C5664DEF-6BE3-48C6-BE1C-4C38CCB88054Yesterday I received this strange notification from WordPress congratulating me on having received 1,337 followers on my blog.

That seemed to me to be a rather random number to have generated a special WordPress notification. I got one at 1,000 followers and I figured my next one might be when I reached 1,500 or 2,000. But 1,337? Huh?

So I typed “1337” into Google and learned that 1337 means “elite.” Apparently, “1337” is a sort of webspeak kind of symbol for elite. And “1337” is also referred to as “Leet.”

Curiosity piqued, I did a Google search on “Leet.”

LEET (1337) is a written language or cipher used in online gaming, emails, text messaging, tweeting, and other electronic communication. The root of the term “leet” is the word “elite” — translated as 31337 — and 1337 was initially developed as an exclusionary language: a way to encode text so that messages could only be read by the initiated. The defining characteristic of 1337 is substitution of symbols and numbers for letters (for example, in the term “1337,” 1=L, 3=E and 7=T).

Apparently there is this whole language called “leet speak,” and its alphabet is a specialized form of symbolic writing. According to Wikipedia, leet originated on bulletin board systems (BBS) in the 80s. Back then, having “elite” status on a BBS allowed a user special access and privileges.

Leet symbols, especially the number 1337, have become internet memes that have spilled over into popular culture. I guess I’m not so in touch with pop culture because I’d never heard of leet speak or was aware of any special significance to the number 1337.

And while doing my Google research, I also came across “1337 5p34k,” which translates to “leet speak” in, well, leet speak.

So essentially, “leet” is shorthand for the word “elite,” which, in leet speak, means “better than everyone else.” And apparently, the 1337 badge from WordPress is WordPress’ way of telling you that your blog has somehow achieved elite status for having reached 1,337 followers. Woo hoo!

I suppose this is a good, albeit weird, kind of recognition. But I came across another definition of leet speak that defined it as “the language used by geeks to help them identify one another.”

Now I’m not so pleased anymore. I’ve been called many unflattering things in my life, but “geek”? Seriously?

#writephoto — When Another Door Opens

DB92B21A-4E32-4A93-BB6D-9C19649A11BCAllison looked out of the airplane window shortly after takeoff. The sun was setting over the midwestern city she was leaving, probably forever. She let out a heavy sigh. Her eyes welled up and she struggled to hold back the tears. It was hard for her to face the fact that she was leaving her old life behind.

When she discovered ten months earlier that her husband of eight years was having an affair with her best friend, Allison was devastated. She was more angry with herself for being blind to the betrayal by the man she thought loved her and by her closest friend. She knew that she could never forgive either of them. And she also knew she needed a complete break from everything. It was time to start over with a clean slate.

She moved back into her parents’ house until the divorce was settled. She received half of the proceeds from the sale of the house that she and her husband bought together shortly after they got married. While the net proceeds after paying off the mortgage and the real estate commissions weren’t that much, the amount was sufficient to cover the cost of the one-way plane ticket and a few months rent in a new city halfway across the country.

She didn’t know anyone there and didn’t have a job. But as her father told her, when one door closes, another door opens. Allison certainly hoped that would be the case. She pulled her iPad from her carry on bag, opened it up, connected to the airline’s in-flight WiFi, logged into WordPress, and started typing on the tablet’s virtual keypad.

“Hi,” she typed. “My name is Allison. Welcome to my brand new blog.” She paused, and for the first time in a long, long time, Allison smiled. Then she resumed typing. “I’m 31 years old and I’m starting my life all over again, which is why I’ve named my blog When Another Door Opens.”


Written for Sue Vincent’s Thursday Photo Prompt.

In Case I Missed You

My normal routine when I wake up in the morning, before I even drag myself out of bed, is to reach for my iPhone, open up my WordPress app, check how many views I’ve gotten so far, and then go to my Reader and start reading posts that come in overnight while I was sleeping from bloggers I follow.

I scroll back to the last post I read the night before and use that as my starting point. Then I start with the first post that came in after that last one.

But yesterday morning I noticed something disturbing in my WordPress Reader. There was a four hour gap between the last post I read the night before and the next post that appeared in my Reader.578BEDE7-856D-4587-A82E-97BE055135B5That’s weird, I thought. So I then opened up my iPhone’s Safari browser, logged into WordPress, went to my Reader, scrolled down to the last post I’d read the night before, and there was virtually no gap between the last post I read and the next post after that.1fc5dd7e-fd3d-4b94-99ff-1d4e50c9030f.jpegWTF? What happened to all of those posts in that four hour gap? Why aren’t they showing up in my WordPress app Reader but are showing up in my WordPress.com Safari browser Reader?

So I opened up a ticket with the Happiness Engineers and they said that I should “Try scrolling down in the ‘Followed Sites’ page in the mobile app. This will trigger an extra refresh.”

I tried that and it didn’t work. I responded back to let them know, but haven’t heard back yet.

So this is a long-winded (or verbose?) way of saying that it’s likely that I may have missed a bunch of your posts, particularly if you posted them between 11 pm and 7 am Pacific Time (US). I’m not sure how long this issue has been going on, but if you think you posted a “must read” post in the — or my — overnight hours, during the past few days, I probably didn’t see it. So feel free to include a link to any such posts in a comment on this post.

Thanks.

Happy Thirteenth Anniversary

No, it’s not my thirteenth wedding anniversary. I’ve been married for way more than 13 years. But it was exactly thirteen years ago today, on October 10, 2005, when I published my very first post on my very first blog.

It was on Blogger or Blogspot, which may be the same thing (I think my URL had a “blogspot.com” domain name), but it (or they) are now part of the Google family, which they weren’t at the time I started that blog.

Anyway, I named my first blog “They Took an X-Ray of My Head and Found Nothing.” It was based on something Dizzy Dean, a professional baseball pitcher in the 1930s, said. In game four of the 1934 World Series, Dean attempted to break up a double play on a ground ball. The second baseman’s throw ended up hitting Dean in the head, knocking him unconscious. Dean’s x-ray at the hospital came back negative, and Dean was quoted as saying, “The doctors x-rayed my head and found nothing.”

But I digress. The tagline of my blog was “All the news, views, and commentary that I think are important…to me, anyway, because, after all, it’s all about me!” Hmm. Not much has changed in 13 years, has it?

My first post was a whiny lament about how the second basement for the Boston Red Sox made an error that cost the Red Sox the game. And it was a playoff game, too! I used to blog about sports a lot back then because politics at the time was, you know, boring. Oh how I wish that were still the case.

My “X-Ray” blog was up and running for more than three years, until December 6, 2008. It was replaced a month later, on January 6, 2009, with my second blog, which only lasted until June 9, 2009. For my third blog, which I started a month later, on July 6, 2009, I moved it from Blogger to TypePad. Then, in July of 2013, I started blog number four on WordPress.

For personal reasons, in mid-April of 2015, I took a two-year hiatus from blogging. Until May of 2017, when I started this blog, blog number five (hence, “Fivedotoh”). I realized that I couldn’t stay quiet with Donald Trump as POTUS and with all of the chaos he was creating and the damage he was doing.

I also decided that, in order to maintain my own mental health, I would dabble in flash fiction to serve as a distraction from the insanity in Washington.

And here we are, thirteen years later. So happy thirteenth blogging anniversary to me. Thank you for sharing this auspicious anniversary with me.