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TOPIC: Friday rambles about PaganPath and life . . .

Friday rambles about PaganPath and life . . . 28 Dec 16 10:16 am America/Chicago #1

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Invalid Token

Black words on a desolate white screen.

Such a terrible way to come home to PaganPath. Four years ago while settling into a new life in the middle of the woods, Rabblerouzen would have a job near civilization and after dropping him off, I would go to the nearest WiFi to work on PaganPath. For weeks I would work on potions, gardening, articles and Witchy work without much contact with civilization, so when I parked in the McDonald's parking lot at 6am and booted up the laptop ready for a good 12 hour intense PaganPath work session . . . there was that breathless sense of anticipation and excitement to see the LIVE PaganPath site. So I quickly hit the "Login" button...

and I am so proud of that little sliding drop down login, WITH the integrated Facebook login. It worked so well, taking up minimal screen real-estate, and lacking the flashy logos and bells and whistles that scream SPAMMY to the world. It took me 30 hours to create this novelty. . . I beam with pride.

My login username and password entered, I knew I was holding my breath with anticipation, my heart pounding in my ears. . .

Invalid token.

I was just re-routed to a very clean white page, with just those two words.

After the standard error message Google search, I correct several problems on the site, and it seems to be working. Six months later, it happens again, and Members are running into the same issue (Now the oh dear oh dear oh dear panic sets in, like when your bloomers are showing, now the Members can see my errors!)

Another research and recoding, another 20 hours of marathon fixing in parking lots, cafes and libraries, and several dozen little errors corrected and all seems okay.

Over the last four years this cycle has repeated, with hundreds of hours spent in research, coding, fixing the Invalid Token issue, and then discovering that it is still happening. I am told by many "experts" that this is a byproduct of the type of content management system we use, that it is a trade-off issue vs. good security, that I have to live with it. I create a kinder "Invalid Token" message with instructions to empty cache and cookies, and even add the information to the welcome letter to the site. . . sure hey welcome to PaganPath and hey did you know there is this irritating error you might encounter.... yeah that's a great welcome...

And sure, I can... I empty my cache, reset my cookies, login again from the dedicated login page instead of the fancy slider I made (pride). But now I am 10 minutes into my 40 minute battery life on my laptop, and authoring and administering a web site of this size with a shop and an academy at ten minute intervals is not acceptable. Worse however, is that now Premium Members have encountered the issue. The "experts" told me that I had gone above and beyond and that 98% of Members will never encounter the issue, something I will not "live with".

So finally, I have trashed the fancy drop down login module.... we all have to go to paganpath.com/login from the top of the screen to get Member access to the site. No pop outs or quick no redirect logins, just the standard bank-like login page. (where I kept the facebook login option of course).

This, along with many dozens of other tweeks and tuning, and the Invalid token error should be an issue of the past, another embarrassing growing pain we can soon laugh about. But like pubescent acne, a zit or an invalid token may appear occasionally, but over the next few weeks it will happen less and less often. For example, in the past week, out of 982 official logins (real people), only 1 invalid token error triggered, and that was because of the user's browser caching the old page with the login drop down. As everyone's browsers drop the old cache and reload the site, things should become smoother and quicker without any sense of invalidation. . . . .

Which leaves me time to do what I want to do, post the new content I've been writing in the woods for the past few years, share some insights gleaned through the trials of life, and post the Final lessons and exams for the current academy courses. To speed this along even more, I have reduced my hours at my full time job (chef) to part time, allowing me four days a week for PaganPath, and the PaganPath Sanctuary.

Rabblerouzen and I have begun construction on our little home, using recycled and local natural materials, and hopefully we will be able to move into it before the shack we live in falls the rest of the way down. (I won't go into details here, suffice to say that we opted for land rather than the comforts of civilization like hot water and solid walls). But it is a little better than a tent and we have made it a home. Still, time is short as I have been 42 years old for quite a few years now, and there will be a time I imagine that I won't be able to pour concrete as quickly, or haul spring water in 55 pound jars for drinking water, and there are some comforts such as winter heat that cannot be put off much longer.... so we have settled into a cycle I think you will appreciate.

We work for 3 days at our day jobs to get $ for bills and construction (even using recycled materials, a bucket of screws cost us $100, now I know why they are called screws). Then we spend 2 to 3 days working on websites (we are currently powering through the last of the work for a laser site for the year, then it is all PaganPath time as of 2017) After the sedentary time on websites, we are physically recovered enough to power through construction of the house and then back to our "day jobs".

So ending 2016 and going into 2017, we have a plan in place to dedicate more time and energy to PaganPath, and get to a place in our lives where the Sanctuary, Academy and shop are our primary focuses.... something many of you know I have dreamed of for the past 30 years.

Meanwhile, every winter holiday the holier-than-thou pseudo-hackers come out, with a vengeance against Pagan sites. Today was the first time anyone has gotten through the many security features of the site long enough to try to send me a couple dozen email messages through the forum. Thankfully due to the new routine, that amateur was squashed after just a minute or two and we will not be seeing ads for designer bags, sunglasses, tiffany knock offs or real estate here on the forum. YAY!

So then there is this issue picking at my brain. . . we have all of these social networks where we select our friends, likes, all of our daily exposure. And as a webmistress I am trained and still in training to help people customize their experiences on websites..... and yet by isolating ourselves with our social walls of sameness, we may become less tolerant, certainly less informed and well rounded... and I am just not sure where I stand with this. We have implemented much of this on the site for years, and even though it is programmed into PaganPath, we do not use many customizing techniques because it seems rather limiting. It is one thing for me to assign a few articles to be listed as "You might like this...." or "More articles on this subject...." when you visit a page on the site..... Like looking up amethyst and finding other articles about stones or about amethyst uses in a list at the end of an article is fine, but then to only show you articles about stones, and profiles from other Members who like stones, and ads for stones for sale...... it just gets a bit, I don't know, slimy? caged? or maybe cagey? So the "customization" of PaganPath will remain minimal for 2017 while we ponder this issue.... feel free to chime in with your thoughts.
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Friday rambles about PaganPath and life . . . 28 Dec 16 11:41 am America/Chicago #2

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Oh and I wanted to share, Rabblerouzen harvested mistletoe for me for my birthday and for the Yule season! Two years in a row now, this is a wonderful new tradition I hope we maintain.... it is really a quite old tradition for when you think of it from the Pagan perspective!

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Friday rambles about PaganPath and life: House Pictures 28 Dec 16 12:11 pm America/Chicago #3

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And now for the rare personal sharing! This is the weird little house we are building. It begins with two lost and broken Pagans looking for a different way. They met a property that had been used and abused, poisoned and logged in order to bail out a bankruptcy brought about from the previous owners' depression and drug and alcohol abuse. The raped property and two Pagans greeted each other with a sense of cautious familiarity, like feral beasts finding a home that is not yet trusted but seems okay.

After a couple of years of phytoremediation and mycoremediation (big words, longs story, Google them and ask questions here if you are really interested ...) the EPA violations on the property are lifted, and the soil samples are coming back safe. An orchard is born and many Pome fruits: apples, Asian pears, European pears, etc. are established. The Sanctuary is growing stronger and so are the lost Pagans.

But cedars, actually Juniperus virginiana (red cedar), flourish after logging out their more financially valuable competition. The previous owners did not manage the woods, they used them, and there were too many cedars on the property. Because we are well beyond organic at this point because we are coming from a symbiotic permaculture frame of mind, we cannot spray the Pome fruit tree with fungicides in the quantity needed to cure cedar apple rust. Briefly, this lives on cedars for part of its life cycle (those weird orange slimy, octopussy-like globs you see on cedars after rain sometimes), then it lives on apples,pears and other pome fruits for another part of its life cycle.

We knew this going in, and planted cedar apple rust resistant varieties, but that isn't a guarantee. So we had to remove some of the cedars located closest to the orchard. We replaced each one we removed with several native trees that should be in the woods, but due to previously high phosphate levels and logging were missing.

These cedar trees became the house supports. Working on a very thick concrete slab that used to have two large grain bins (sold to a neighbor for hay, compost, etc.). In the picture you can see they have their bark, but it will be stripped before the walls are up, and the cedar sprayed with a bit of boric acid to keep away the fire, mold and bugs without the usual out-gassing of highly toxic chemicals. The post itself and the concrete pylon are anchored to the slab with bolts.


house1.jpg


Next we went to our tiny local lumber mill and blew our paychecks on a load of dimensional 2" x 6" beams from local recovered logs. Yes, please do admire the air-tight fit of our birdmouth cuts :)

house2.jpg


house3.jpg


From the side, you can see that the house is a standard mono-slope (fancy way of saying a "shed" roof). One wall is high, the other short. This allows us to maximize solar panel exposure, use passive solar techniques on our window and eve placement, and use all the tin strewn across the property from the old hog barns that are falling down on the property.

house4.jpg


Rablerouzen had worked a carpentry job where he replaced trendy low-e windows from 8 years ago with new trendy windows, and instead of dumping the perfectly good but apparently out of style old windows into the landfill, we have about 15 of them for our house. It is our most abundant construction material after old tin and local rocks and cedars. So the tall wall will be mostly windows overlooking a deck and the "courtyard" between the two falling down barns (which are being meticulously deconstructed for materials and atop the concrete slabs that are left there will be greenhouses, aquaponic bays and a couple more cabins for visitors, students, Pagans and others seeking sanctuary to stay.

The weird double roof begins!

house5.jpg



house6.jpg


From this last picture you might be able to imagine the double roof we are using, a strange concept of one tin roof with an 8 inch air gap, then the "real" tin roof below it. This screened channel should help knock back the summer scorching heat that shows no signs of lessening over the coming decades. Rabblerouzen, the crazy person is atop his creation, my superhero! This 16 foot by 20 foot building will be the "main house".

There is a small area of one of the hog barns that used to be used for the farm's office. That is where we currently live, and it is. . . primitive and humble, leaking and poorly insulated but clean and fairly well appointed. It is about the same living space as what we are building, but after our cabin ("main house") is move-in-able, it will be expanded and converted to the bath house and kitchen in one half, and the PaganPath Shop in the other half.

This old office area where we now live is the main power building for the Sanctuary design. It is where we have isolated most of the electromagnetic junk: junction boxes, solar batteries, well pumps, freezers, refrigerators, pos water heater, etc. We can consolidate the plumbing here too, and are putting in a couple of large (4' x 6') showers, a communal kitchen area, etc. To do this, we have cut loose the old office section from the rest of the 100 feet of falling down barn. Next we will have to disconnect the roof, one side at a time, lift it and replace/repair/raise the wall (ceilings are 7 feet tall and must be higher or I cannot breath) then fully insulate and finish the walls with something besides cardboard (which I do not recommend as a viable wall covering except when you need the portability of the street living).

So now you know some of what 2 to 3 days of our week entail, more for Rabblerouzer in the winter when he has more days off from his day jobs.
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Friday rambles about PaganPath and life . . . 28 Dec 16 6:53 pm America/Chicago #4

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It looks like the roof has progressed very well from when I visited you back in October, Friday!

For some reason I have The Wind Beneath My Wings by Bette Midler in my mind.

It's really good to hear that things are coming together for you :)
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