I’m not ready to give up on the flexibility of WordPress for my main blog yet, but holy crap are these pages heavy. Even with compression. There’s no reason it should take 450K (before compression) and 20 requests to display a 500-word post.

And I don’t even do ads, popups, social sharing buttons or anything else like that.

By contrast, my Les Mis blog, where I post about once a year, is currently generated by Eleventy using a custom minimal theme that only takes around 10K of HTML, 3K CSS, and a third request for the icon. And another 40K for the header font, which I recently set up locally so it no longer has to call out to Google Fonts.

One domain, just four requests, and only 50K for the first hit and 10K for each subsequent page.

Never mind the Gemini version of the blog which is around 2-5K per page and a single request per page!

Compression cuts down on those 500Kb WordPress pages — all the text and code compresses really well so only around 200K bandwidth is needed. But it’s still got multiple JavaScript and CSS requests going on.

I was able to cut it down significantly by switching to a lighter theme and turning on the minimize/combine feature in WP-Optimize so it’s making fewer script calls. But it’s still way bigger than the minimalist setup I have with 11ty.

Some of it is images, though. I still have my latest Flickr posts in the sidebar, and I’m using Jetpack’s related posts feature which includes thumbnails. I could cut out a big chunk by removing those, but I kind of still like the idea of having them in there.

I think I need to take a look at how much extra stuff I really want on this site and rip some of it out. Eventually I’d like to replace all the JetPack features because they just seem to keep adding more scripts. Plus I want an entirely local stats package instead of one that’s offloaded to a third party even if they’re less awful than, say, Google or Facebook.

On the other hand, I want to keep Gravatar on the comments sections (on the older posts where people actually commented) because that’s actually useful to readers as an aid for following a conversation better. But that’s all on top of the base page size.

Originally posted at Wandering.shop

A still pool with round rocks under it, trees in the background, and storefronts covered by temporary walls with printed murals on them of ocean sunsets.

An outdoor mall extension completed in 2020. Which wasn’t exactly ideal timing.

The courtyard was at least someplace they could set up chairs and signs reminding you to keep your distance. I saw a few people walking through on their way to somewhere else (like I was), and could hear an exercise class running in the parking structure next door.

Previously posted on photog.social.

Update October 2022: Since pandemic restrictions lifted last year, the mall has added a few restaurants and shops in and around the courtyard, more chairs and tables, a toy kiosk, and WiFi. People are hanging out here now. I’d certainly rather set up outside than at one of the seating areas inside the mall. I’ve spent a couple of mornings and afternoons here with my work laptop for a change of scenery without going all the way to the office.

The biting flies that live by this fountain are a pain, though. Literally.

November 23: Helicopter pilot finds ‘strange’ monolith in remote part of Utah

November 25: Using Google Earth to look for the Utah monolith site. One candidate that matches the landscape seems to have something vertical that appeared between the 2015 and 2016 images.

No coordinates in the article. Attempt no landings there.

December 7: After the Utah Monolith was found, everyone was making comments about 2001: A Space Odyssey. But as more have popped up, I’m starting to think about The Chronoliths. It’s a novel by Robert Charles Wilson in which obelisks appear out of nowhere, commemorating future military victories by someone no one has heard of – yet.

The monolith in Atascadero, California, was installed by a group of local artists who, on hearing about the one in Romania, figured, someone’s going to make a third one, so why not us?

It was meant to be something fun, a change of pace from the kind of conversations 2020 has been plagued with

After a group traveled five hours to tear it down on video, the town rallied around rebuilding the obelisk and putting it back up on the mountain.

December 27: I…what????? Gingerbread monolith appears — then collapses — on San Francisco hilltop

In true pop-up-art fashion, a nearly 7-foot-tall monolith made of gingerbread mysteriously appeared on a San Francisco hilltop on Christmas Day and collapsed the next day.

A tower made of gingerbread squares on a patch of dirt on a hill. Boulders and hikers visible in the background.

Whatever you think of the electoral system, the fact that we have to wait for people to copy down those electoral votes is no longer helpful, and the fact that they can choose (or be pressured) to vote for someone else is a vulnerability in our democracy that should be patched.

You want to keep using electoral votes instead of the national popular vote? We can argue about that later. But we don’t need electors any more. Once each state certifies its election’s results, assigning its electoral votes should be automatic. It’s just math.