More WordPress Annoyances and White-lined Sphinx Moth

I meant to post something yesterday … instead, I spent hours repairing the blog.

So, I figure I would let others know what I experienced. No, I don’t need help. Yes, it’s (mostly) fixed. Yes, I would like WP to stop mucking about with stuff for just a few minutes. No, I don’t think they will.

I’m also sharing the rest of the White-lined Sphinx Moth (a. k. a. the Hummingbird Moth) I was lucky to photograph last September. There’s even a video of one feeding on inpatients. I say “the rest” because some were shared in THIS post.

Anyway, WordPress . . . wait! Here’s the first photo of the moth . . .

As I’d mentioned in the other post, the shooting conditions were not ideal; setting sun combined with shadow areas made for a difficult exposure situation, but I’m not displeased with how these turned out, especially considering how difficult they are to capture in flight (they move like a hummingbird, and hummers are not slow) . . .

Right, WordPress . . . yesterday morning, I remembered I needed to change the text in the sidebar. Namely, updating the copyright date to reflect the new year. Easy-peasy, right?


The first thing I ran into was the option to do so via blocks (ptui!). Naturally, I passed; all I needed was to change ‘2021’ to ‘2022’, so I went to the appropriate text widget, edited the number, and hit save . . . and I promptly got an error.

What kind of error? Heck if I know. You see, the error notice came up behind the administrator menu, so all I could read was that something was “unrecognized”. OK, but it looked as if the text had updated, so I exited and went to check. Nope. Not changed; ‘2021’ was still ‘2021’, and who wants to relive that mess!?

So, I fired up the editor, only now, I couldn’t edit the widget. I would click on it, but nothing would happen. I scrolled down to my other widgets to see if I could edit any at all, and that’s when I noticed a duplicate set of widgets below the first set; exactly the same as the first set, but these I could edit.

Okay, that’s weird, but I figured it’s WordPress, so this was just another way to complicate simple tasks, something they regularly do for whatever nefarious reasons float their boat.

. . . Photo Intermission . . .

. . . Back to the regularly scheduled tale of woe . . .

So, the text updated, I save, exit the editor, and check the result . . . hmm . . . that’s weird, I say to myself. It didn’t update the text. Plus, the sidebar looks a bit odd. So, I scroll down, and what do you think I find?

That’s right; a duplicate set of widgets! . . . and neither have the correct date for the copyright.

OK, so now I’m cursing myself for doing this on the weekend when chat support isn’t available, but, stalwart person that I am, I go back to the editor — which is still showing two sets of widgets — and start deleting the extras … the second set. I delete one, save, and check the blog. Nothing is changed. So, back to the editor and try to delete some from the first set . . . except that when I click on any of the widgets in the first set, nothing happens. Nada. Niente. Butkus.

I could just imagine the developers pointing at the screen and laughing their asses off as they monitored my plight. But, no matter what I tried, there was no way around it . . . I had two sets of notices on the sidebar, one after the other.

Luckily, few people actually scroll down that far. Another good thing is that most people use a tablet or phone to read skim my blog, so they don’t see the sidebar (on phones and tablets the sidebar is pushed at the bottom of the post, so I’m sure readers don’t even know it’s there). But, the bad thing is that there are a few people who actually read all the way to the end of the post (even more stalwart than I, they be!), and I don’t want them thinking they’re somehow stuck in an endless loop, get scared, and unsubscribe from the blog. Plus, you know, the double-stacked sidebar annoyed me.

. . . Photo Intermission . . .

. . . Back to the regularly scheduled tale of woe . . .

So, I began doing some ‘sploring and ‘sperimenting . . . and, by trial and error, realized that the unused widgets section had a duplicate set of the widgets on my sidebar. Ah-ha!, I said. Well, I thought it.

I did a quick experiment; I went to the very last duplicate widget in the unused section, deleted it, saved, and checked the appearance of the blog. YES! … the sucker was gone from the blog’s sidebar!

Gleefully, with elation, and probably feeling smug (but not SmugMug), I opened the widget interface and deleted all of the widgets listed under the ‘unused’ section . . . but my elation was short-lived because when I saved and checked the blog, my sidebar was empty. Devoid of writing, devoid of my gravatar, and clean as a whistle.

Unfortunately, or fortunately, I’d just cut my hair on Friday, so when I attempted to pull my hair out, I couldn’t grab any (1/16″ is too short to grab). I briefly considered pulling my mustache hair but was worried I might rip my lips right off. I didn’t consider other locations. Nope!

. . . Photo Intermission . . .

. . . Back to the regularly scheduled tale of woe . . .

I pondered stuff . . . but I don’t know any hitmen I could hire to wreak vengeance on WordPress’s Developers, so I sighed (actually sighed), and went about looking to rebuild the sidebar . . . except, the editor now only gave me the option to use blocks. BLOCKS!

I cursed (in three languages, and a new one I made up on the spot), and set myself to reading the WordPress (un)Help pages and all material I could find about editing widgets.

There were no way around it (that I could find) . . . blocks (ptui!) it was. Here’s another thing . . . they say you can use the legacy editor, but what they actually mean is that you can use a block that has some — but not all — legacy plugins.

So, here we are . . . I rebuilt the sidebar using blocks (ptui!).

Now, I know most people don’t give the sidebar a second glance, so all this don’t mean jack sh … er … isn’t important to anyone. The bottom line matters only to me.

And, what is the bottom line? Well, I wasted the better part of yesterday afternoon. My blood pressure probably jumped a bit, so I risked either a stroke or a heart attack, or both.

Yeah, but how does it look?

It’s wider than the older bar. Because it’s blocks, there’s a lot of space between the sections (you have to scroll for days to get to some of the blocks at the bottom). The default font is too large and thus makes the blocks taller even if one discounts the huge amount of wasted space between the blocks, so I had to make the font smaller (no one reads anything there, so I assume no one will complain). I couldn’t duplicate all the original blocks, some of which had clever headings showcasing my zaniness. Also, I had to reword a bunch of stuff (luckily, I have some minimal talent as a writer, so it’s passable barely tolerable). Finally, as you resize the browser window, the blocks (ptui!) ‘adjust’ and kind of do funky stuff with the headings, or, as they say, just another day in the needlessly complicated and flawed world of WordPress.

Look, it’s not terrible, but neither is it great. Blocks (ptui!) are touted as versatile and able to do whatever your creative juices want, but either my juices are extraordinary, or blocks (ptui!) ain’t all that they’re cracked up to be. I’m going with the latter.

Here’s the video I promised, but I think I might have shared it before.

Finally, here’s the LINK to the SmugMug gallery with the above photos.

That’s it. This post has ended . . . except for the stuff below.


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