A glitch in my system

If you’re reading this directly on my site and not through an RSS reader, you might be wondering what’s up with the theme.

Funny story. And by “funny” I mean “not funny” and by “story” I mean “incident with some hackers.”

For the last couple of years I’ve been using Woo Themes for my theme, and a year or so ago they had some trouble with an exploit of their timthumb.php file. I did the recommended updates, changed passwords, etc., and a scan of my files told me I was in the clear. I update my WordPress installs regularly, and a call to Bluehost told me that there were no back doors to my site.

Fast-forward to today, and just as I finished vacuuming the stairs I got an email from Bluehost telling me that my web hosting had been deactivated because I had broken their terms of use. For having malware on one of my sites.

Whuh?

I called them up, and after waiting nearly 45 minutes was told that this morning they had identified a script on this domain that was causing issues with the server it’s hosted on. They removed the script and deactivated my hosting account as a way to get my attention and say hey, asshole, fix your shit.

The man I spoke to from Bluehost’s tech support team was really, really great. He was sympathetic to my plight, and ran several scans on my entire account to ensure the exploit only affected this one domain. From what he found, there was only one file that was placed, undoubtedly back during the Woo Themes issue, and nobody had bothered to come back and try to mess with my site until today, when Bluehost noticed the issue.

Although their team had already removed the offending script, he went ahead and ran a few more scans while I was on the phone just to be sure. Because nothing else turned up, he didn’t feel it was necessary to wipe my entire hosting account, but did suggest I wipe the domain that was affected and reinstall a fresh version of WordPress.

I’ve spent the last 30 minutes exporting content in various forms and making note of any custom CSS and core file changes I’d made, but because my database could have been compromised I didn’t want to import it into the fresh install. So I am going to rebuild the site by hand, design-wise at least. It’s not exactly how I wanted to spend my weekend, but you can’t always get what you want.

Thankfully I was already making regular backups of my content, so I knew that even if Bluehost had to completely wipe everything before I got a chance to get any files, I would be OK.

I’ve been cracking down on myself lately with Internet security, but I think this (and a recent Yahoo address book issue) serves as a good reminder that you should never feel like you’re untouchable. While I can’t afford the services of companies that vow to keep your site safe and remove any malware that’s detected (those run about $300/year, which is insane for someone who doesn’t make any money off her blog), I can do a better job of trying to keep my site as secure as possible.

Memories I can feel

I have a playlist on Rdio called “That Weird Time in My Life.” I can’t explain what, exactly, was weird about the time, or when it began or ended, but every once in a while I’ll hear a song that I know needs to go on the list. They are songs that immediately evoke a memory so strong I can feel it—whether it’s of a specific instance or just a feeling that I felt so intensely I can’t un-feel it.

After buying tickets to Alanis Morisette’s upcoming Nashville show yesterday, I’ve been listening to all of her albums pretty much non-stop. She is one of my top two favorite artists (the other is Barenaked Ladies)—someone I will love for the rest of my life, no matter how unpopular her music might become with the masses.

Today I had Under Rug Swept, an album she released in 2002, on repeat. When the song Flinch came on, I got goosebumps and immediately added it to the playlist. And then I realized, this entire album belongs on that playlist for one reason or another.

I like to say that 1998 – 2002 were my “lost years,” not just because I was sort of lost, emotionally (because really, who isn’t lost on some level while they’re in college?), but because they all seem to run together. I didn’t journal or take nearly enough pictures, and to this day the lack of concrete proof of my existence during those four years is the driving reason behind why I journal the crap out of my life today (whether it’s in blog or photo form).

I can look at the cover of various Alanis Morissette albums and know what I was feeling when I first listened to them. I can remember playing them over and over, as I used to do with new CDs when I bought them, and pull out swatches of time where I can see myself in my car or my room, feeling the music sink in.

This album means various things to me—I associate both good and bad memories with it—but overall it was a message of healing and hope, and signaled the end to those lost years.

Best Band Poster EVER

Best Band Poster EVER by MeganMorris

On Saturday we went to Three Brothers, a bar and deli in Murfreesboro, to see Rhythm Kitchen play again. This place is smoke-free, so I was able to stay throughout the whole set this time!

Skylar, the band’s lead singer, had been telling us about this other band’s poster she kept seeing around town that was hilarious, so after Rhythm Kitchen’s set, Ian, our friend Scott and I walked down to Wall Street, another bar on the Square, to see the poster for ourselves.

There we stood outside the bar, cracking up at this ridiculously awesome poster, when we noticed a dude standing outside next to us.

“You guys are really stroking my ego right now,” he said. “I made that poster.”

What luck! I told him that we had no idea who the band was but we had walked over to see the legendary poster for ourselves. I also asked him if I could get a copy of it. “I will hang this shit up in my house,” I believe were my exact words.

I gave him my email address, and what do you know: This morning it arrived in my inbox. The poster was created by Preston Pickrell, who, according to their Facebook page, is the drummer for Now the Never. Props to you, Preston, for creating an epic band poster.

Ian and I are going to try to make their August 25 show, despite hating Wall Street (really, it’s great when you’re waiting on a table at Marina’s but otherwise sucks as a bar). I’m not a huge metal fan, but I’m willing to throw a few bucks toward anyone who puts Metallica and the phrase “donkey punch” on a poster.


In case you don’t want to click through, the fine print reads:
Must be 21 and over and not dressed as a wizard from any movie that Preston deems as lame. He will not accept anyone dressed up as a damn Jedi as Jedi ARE NOT wizards. Anyone dressed up as anyone from those goddamn Harry Potter movies will get donkey punched in the face. Offer valid in all states except Alaska. Fuck Alaska!