The website has been checked for bad links; pruned and tuned so to speak. Everything on site is in working order, to include a dead image which I removed from an old article. This is a good reminder to continue to develop my own media. However entertaining and convenient it is to take photos (with credit) from the internet, they may not be there forever. The website is fuller now, too, as I have added a number of new items to many of the lists including new groups, a smattering of new events, etc.
There has been a major surge in the number of groups added to the Groups Billboard in January, I added at least half a dozen new entries. This also comes with the addition of an interactive map, pinning a location for each group so you can search the page by type of group, but you can also search the map for groups which are near to you! I have also added an events calendar page, which is a tool we can use to keep in touch with public demos, timeline events, immersion events, and other demonstrations or insular activities which we can attend with each other. Of course, this page is meant to be a receiving space for all the new events happening after we get on top of the pandemic, so it is a bit empty right now. But as events start scheduling again, it will fill up (just make sure you keep sending me those entries.)
The monthly link check is complete. One of the repairs was a typo on my part, and easily corrected. One of the dead links was for the International Reenactor’s Day Facebook page, which doesn’t seem to exist anymore. So much for that being an annual thing. Otherwise the site is in working order, everything you click should go to something as designed. No dead links!
I have not done as much upkeep as I would have liked this month. I did clean out the morgues. The blame for most of it is on a heavy workload at the day job and the holidays. I just spent less time fiddling online. However, I have not neglected my commitment to good links, and the entire site has been run through and checked for dead or broken links. Everything is up to date and functioning. Though I have some not-computer-based personal projects for winter, hopefully, I can use some of that overwintering time to get some of the projects here complete. For instance, yesterday I noticed the Groups Billboard is one of the most popular and frequently navigated parts of the website, followed by the tutorials page. Both of those pages are incomplete in some way based on standards I have set for myself. The tutorials deserve more elaboration on what you can expect to find at each link, in the way I have a synopsis listed for each of the books I recommend or an indication of the inventory for each entry in my merchant and artisan rolls. Likewise, not all the groups included on the billboard have pictures and details as they should. You deserve it, and I will continue to work on it.
2020. What a year. For many it’s one of the worst years of their lives… the year they lost their homes, or their business, or their family. For many students going into and out of school it was a year of lost opportunity and the loss of traditions afforded to everyone else in their community before them such as proms and graduations and varsity sports championships. People’s weddings were postponed or cancelled. Vacations people had been planning for months or years or a lifetime were waylaid. The world was turned on its ear. I was once told, and it has always resonated with me, enjoying life is about appreciating contrast. Not in a philosophical sense wherein bad must exist to for there to be good or for people to appreciate good, but in an entirely pragmatic sense: good and bad experiences exist and in this context it doesn’t matter so much why. Sometimes we’re out in the daylight, it’s clear and sunny and pleasant. But night always falls (and the night always ends with the rise of the sun.) But even at night stars shine in the sky, the moon reflects our absent sunlight as a reminder of the coming dawn. It is in this mindset we focus today on the stars and the moon and the bright highlights of all the good things which happened around Neep Manor during the long, bitter night of 2020.
So I thought I’d look at the last year in the form of some top lists.
I changed templates… again. The idea behind the other one was to give me the ability to make the home page a “news bulletin” style page. However, the upkeep was more work than the site was being used for the purpose. The template was also incapable of having pages without side bars, and I prefer when the informational pages on the site are less cluttered. So I switched templates again and scrapped the bulletin as I suspect most people get their news updates from Facebook anyway.
As always, the links on the site have been clicked and verified as functioning with only a few errors to fix. The last of the kinks have been worked out from changing over to the new template, as well.
The website received a facelift this month, which gave me the opportunity to change up the layout of the front page. After an update to the template I was using, formatting got strange and I no longer liked the way the site looked. I also wanted to try and get a more column type layout, as much of what I do with the site is easier to represent in such a manner. Swapping to a new template gave me space to make some side bars along the right which will persist across all the pages. I am very excited I can now have a bulletin of recent stories and news across all the networks show up on every page. It also means I can fulfil a Patreon promise I’ve been trying to figure out the technical requirements behind: one of the tier benefits for Yeomen, Esquires, and Knights of the Household is to have their name displayed in the “Hundred Rolls” on the website where everyone can see.
All links are sound with very few updates required to keep it all current. Nothing was sent to the morgue in any of the lists this month, and since it was empty, there were no resurrections to speak of. On the 27th I updated the cosmetics of my heraldry which required a scouring of the website for instances of the old image for update. As far as I can tell I got to all of it. There was a bit of fiddling to get the og:image and site token correct, with much gnashing of teeth and rending of shirts as I repeatedly scraped the Facebook debugger and uploaded the site repeatedly on different screens in different browsers in a variety of cog and incognito. I’m certain there is something I have missed, but as far as I can tell there are no errors which leave empty gaps or image errors.
The website has received its monthly links review with only a half a dozen links needing repair due to a small behind-the-scenes architecture restructuring, which were easy to fix once identified. The Groups Billboard which received a dramatic upgrade last month did not get the attention it deserved, and I still need to get the UK section outfitted with both images and group descriptions. The Merchant Roll received some significant work, both in reviewing the entries and adding new ones. Danegeld Historic Jewellery, Gemmeus, Gaukler Medieval Wares, and Nordens Historiska Fynd are now on the merchant list. The list has also undergone a much overdue schism. As described it was meant to be a place for businesses which have secure checkout, which I consider a way to gauge the ‘safety’ of a site in that it uses a digital merchant broker service of some sort. Many suggested retailers who operate websites with contact-direct order forms or who purvey through Facebook or other markets were not included because of the inherent risks in working with a seller one on one.
In June I offered members of the household the opportunity to submit questions which I then recorded extemporaneous answers to. If you are interested in submitting a question to the next session, join the household on Patreon. I want to thank my patrons for their support. For as low as $1 denizens of the household not only receive access to member only creative influence, such as this Q&A and a member only discord, but they are supporting the entire Turnip of Terror project. One membership covers the continual maintenance and upkeep of the website, curation of the resource lists, multiple podcasts, event coverage, continual updates on living history and reenactment related interests, reenactor focus articles, product reviews, interviews, videos, and more.