WoM under attack… update

Hopefully, none of you noticed that WoM went down for the last two days of November.  It was a holiday weekend, at least here in the states, so I hope you were all enjoying your families.

Sadly, WoM did go down and it was due to the issue that I spoke about in the previous post.  I tried multiple things over the course of the month of November, none worked, in fact the load on WoM increased dramatically.

I believe I’ve isolated the issue down, seeing in the ‘stats’ for the site that we are being bombarded with hits by ‘bots’.  Again for those of you that are unaware, ‘bots’ are known as ‘robots’, ‘spiders’ and ‘worms’.  These are little programs that comb the internet for information.  ‘Bots’ are used by search engines, such as Google, to log and track websites so that their systems can find you when a person uses their system for searches.  These are accepted ‘bots’ and anyone with a website openly wants this to take place.  However, ‘bots’ are also used by hackers for their own purposes.

On December 1st, I installed a security system called CloudFlare.  CloudFlare helps monitor your site, block nasty bots and gives you a much more comprehensive view of who and what is accessing the site.  I will be continuing to monitor the site stats to see what is truly happening. So it will still be a little bit before there is a new post. I am sorry about that.  I hope you will stay with me.

Another element that will slow down the posts, is that through this process, I’ve discovered that the theme “look of WoM” might be causing some of the problem as well.  It’s not kept up with the web design software and therefore not speaking well.  So I’m in the process of choosing a new theme (look).  I hope to have this decision made this week and will begin the process of optimizing the site to the new look.

Again.. I thank you for your patience.

I also want to thank all of you who sent me notes wishing me a happy birthday yesterday. It was a good day and you all helped to make it that much better!

*Side note: when WoM goes down, it goes down for me as well.  I can’t access it to make changes or approve comments coming in.

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WoM under attack…

Hey everyone.. the title of this post sounds dreadful and dreadful it is.  So let me explain.

Over the last three months, WoM has been bogged down with hundreds of spam comments and then an overload with it’s bandwidth.  For those of you that might not know what bandwidth is:

What does this mean? Let me start from the beginning.

In order for websites to be viewed they need to be store on electronic equipment called a “server”. These servers can be just a hard drive in your home that is connected to the internet 24/7. However, most times these servers are massive systems owned and maintained by companies who either use them for their own purposes or they offer space to the public for a fee.

In order for you to get access to these websites, you send a ‘signal’ to that server, the server then sends a ‘signal’ back to you and delivers the website to your computer screen or mobile device.  Text, pictures, videos, music files etc, are delivered via bandwidth signals. These signals going back and forth make up the elements of bandwidth and this bandwidth takes power.

Many server services put a limit on the bandwidth to control too much traffic (signals) going back and forth which can put a drain on their services and equipment. This the case with the server I’m using to host WoM.  Bandwidth is tracked monthly and if the bandwidth limit is exceeded, access to the site is shut down.

Okay with all that done, let me say once again that WoM is being attacked.  Attacked by hundreds of spam comments and then an overload to the bandwidth (which I think is tied back to all this spam)  I’ve worked hard for the past three months, trying to figure out exactly what is causing this drain and trying to prevent it. So far I’ve not be successful as the attacks have been increasing.

As I said, I’ve worked for the past few months, trying to figure out why so many spam comments were appearing as well as what could putting a drain on my bandwidth.  I’ve streamlined WoM so that the amount of “signals” being delivered would be at a minimum. I’ve increased my security settings and even installed more.  Sadly, instead of improvement, it’s gotten worse.  In fact growing at huge pace.

Today I spent even more time, turning off some settings, such as the ability for pingbacks & trackbacks* and then I will shut down comments on some of the older posts. This was not something I wanted to do, as I would love to give new people finding WoM, for the first time, the ability to comment on any topic.  However, I need to try everything that I can.

(*pingbacks & trackbacks & spam comments, can be used by spammers to bring traffic to their sites and gain them better standing with Google.)

Okay.. (letting out a deep breath) now let me explain the reason for this post.  Hopefully, what I’ve done today will take care of it.  However, it might not, which might mean, that access to WoM is temporarily shut off towards the end of this month.  I will do all I can to prevent this.. but if I’m unsuccessful I hope you will be the patient with me and not give up on WoM.

For those of you that also have blogs, if you’ve dealt with this and have figured out a way to protect your blog from these attacks, I would love your advise.

I don’t have to say that this has been amazingly frustrating for me… and again I do want to thank you all for your patience.


10 years.. and counting. My first view of N&S

It’s hard to believe that it’s truly been 10 years since North & South first aired on the BBC. I have read that the production team and the BBC held little hopes of making a lasting impression on their audience, needless to say, they were pleased by the flood of responses after just the first hour segment shown on November 14th, 2004.  The response was so positive that it overwhelmed the networks website discussion forum and they had to shut it down!

For me, it was two more years before I discovered it and that was by accident.  Though many of you have read this story before, in honor of the 10th anniversary, I thought that I would tell an abbreviated version of how I came to find N&S, just for those that might not have heard it. Then I will share my first impressions.  Even nearly 8 years later, they are permanently planted in my mind as if it happened yesterday.  It feels like yesterday and yet at the same time, a lifetime ago.  Did I have a life before N&S?

My road to discovery of N&S is due to a Masterpiece Classic production of Jane Eyre.  As a side note, this version of Jane Eyre, starring Toby Stephens and Ruth Wilson is, in my opinion, the absolute BEST adaptation of the novel to date.  (Interestingly enough the screen writer is none other than North & South’s Sandy Welch.)

A short time after watching this adaptation, my teenage daughter introduced me to YouTube and fan videos.  (that’s another thing that is hard to believe it has only been 8 years!) I was so impress and intrigued by what I saw, I started to search and see if others had been done of other favorite movies.  Anne of Green Gables, Pride and Prejudice.. etc.  It was through the channel of Austen fanvids, that I stumbled upon compilation vids. One in particular included a scene where a couple sat on a park bench, speaking to one another and then sharing a kiss.  Sound familiar? You all know the scene I describe, so imagine that being your first image of this amazing adaptation!  For some, they might have felt that this would spoil the whole of the story. Yet for me… it only placed a determination to find out WHAT MOVIE this scene came from. This turned out to be no small task, as many videos don’t credit the movies to which the clips are from.

 photo bfccaab4-f160-4880-9343-c8f587712c68_zps0c6d1d6d.jpgThankfully, I found it and much to my delight North & South, in its entirety, was available on YouTube (thanx Heather). So, on a VERY cold Sunday afternoon, reclined in my favorite chair, Macbook on my lap with earphones in place and hot cup of tea in hand… watched it.. in 10 minute segments.

I would love to tell you that the rest is history and in a way… it was, but it took several viewings for me to really grasp how this story and these characters had taken hold of my heart.  So let me share my memories of those first viewings.

The first thought that I remember having was of a scene that many struggle with.  The scene where Margaret throws open the doors to the weaving room, catches sight of Thornton on that platform and then watches in horror as he chases down Stephens and beats him senseless.  First of all, after reading the novel some months later, (my quest to find a copy is another story!) I do agree that this scene poorly represents the character of Thornton. It has brought in assumptions regarding Thornton having a temper and we’ve already covered that topic in a previous discussion.  Yet again, for me, the scene doesn’t greatly upset me.

 photo c719a80d-a29e-4b29-ba8f-4a78cb13824f_zps4c70ad99.jpgNot unlike Margaret, when she first catches site of Thornton on the platform, I was effected by the imagine of this man standing there.  Though I have no memory of this physical reaction, I am certain it stole my breath.  In an instant, I knew THIS was our hero and so when he flew off that platform and beat Stephens, my reaction was not disgusted.. but “There must be a good reason for it!”  Instinctively, I knew there was more to this man than what I was watching play out before me.  Thankfully, I was proven correct!

The next scene that made an impact on me was the riot scene.  My sense of Margaret coming into this scene was that there was more to her “aversion” to Thornton than met the eye.  So when the scene came with her running down before the mob to protect him came, it left me with little doubt.  Now let me just add that I am not saying that she loved him and “KNEW” it, what I am saying is that I sensed that there was more to Margaret’s relationship and feelings for Thornton.

 photo 36be1758-22be-4d62-aa0f-f2a039104d57_zps4df326b1.jpgThat brings us to the horrible rejection scene. I remember shaking my head in disbelief as she cruelly disregarded his heart.  lol.. in fact I distinctly remember muttering, “She doth protest too much! Oh Margaret what have you done!”  Then as the screen went to black, I released a frustrated sigh!

As with all stories such as this, I knew it would eventually bring them together, so I watched with much pleasure as the story slowly broke away all of Margaret’s resistances and then watched, with an aching heart, as Thornton’s broken heart failed to see the signs of Margaret’s shift towards him.

Remember, it was the train scene that pressed me to find the film in the first place, so you would think that would have been at the forefront of my mind, but it wasn’t.  I was so lost in the storyline that I followed in through … enjoying that amazing scene unfold before me. The power of that scene quadrupled in power once the story that brought them there was laid out before.
 photo ab7e5112-f06b-43b2-8950-1263216e4acc_zps05b3c47a.jpg

I will confess… that I re-watched the movie and favorites scene so many times that I lost count.  It only took a few weeks for my decision to have my own copy was made.  I went on Amazon, order it and waited with strong anticipation for it to arrive.  I do not exaggerate that when it finally came in the mail, I held it to my chest as if it was a cherished childhood memento.  Now, years later, N&S goes with me everywhere I go.  In digital form, it lives on my computer, iPad and iPhone (examples shown throughout this post).  I have 5 copies of the book, not including the digital copies that live on all fore mentioned devices.  I’ve lost count on how many copies I’ve influenced the sale on, as I’ve lost count on how many people I’ve introduced to the series. (That number is constantly growing!)

 photo be358b9a-294a-46a4-bf39-1eacc69f7988_zps1524aa34.jpgI have more thoughts and reflections that I am saving for our discussion.  I truly hope that you will share where you first heard about North & South and what you remember of your first impression.  As always you are welcome to comment on this post directly!  I look forward to celebrating this day with all of you!

Don’t forget to share the photos of your viewing of this wonderful film this weekend.  You can do it on Facebook Twitter (using hashtag #NS10 or right here on WoM by adding a link to your photo in your comment.  I am anxious to hear your stories!  So pull out your copy of N&S and share your first impressions of this wonderful series!


The Lord Bishop’s Clerk

From time to time, I like to bring to you attention something that I think is of worth.  Even if there is no direct link to North & South or its characters.  West of Milton was originally designed  to celebrate and discuss many different topics, but due to my passion for North & South, I always seem to come back to it!  Go figure!  LOL

In this post I want to bring to your attention a wonderful book being released this month.

The Lord Bishop's Clerk FINAL

The Lord’s Bishop’s Clerk does actually have a link, in a round about way.  This fantastic novel is written by a fellow fan of North & South, Sarah Hawkswood.

The Lord’s Bishop’s Clerk, however, is an original work and part of a series called the ‘Bradecote & Catchpoll Investigations’.  A murder mystery series set in 12th century England, during the Anarchy of King Stephen’s reign.  They follow the investigations of Hugh Bradecote, a subject lord of the Sheriff, William de Beauchamp, and the Sheriff’s Serjeant, the wily Catchpoll.

This first of the series begins in June of 1143. The Lord Bishop of Winchester’s Clerk is bludgeoned to death in Pershore Abbey, and laid before the altar in the attitude of a penitent. Everyone who had contact with him had reason to dislike him, but who had reason to kill him?  The Sheriff of Worcestershire’s thief taker, the wily Serjeant Catchpoll, and his new and unwanted superior, Acting Under Sheriff Hugh Bradecote, have to find the answer when nobody wants the murderer apprehended – until the next death.

I’ve had the pleasure of reading this series and I will confess, though I do not dislike murder mysteries, they are not a genre that I tend to gravitate to.  Yet this story does an amazing job of grabbing hold of you and pulling you into the 12th century.  There were times I could swear I felt the elements right along with Bradecote and Catchpoll. The chill of danger as they pursued their leads.  If you like period novels you will really enjoy this story and it’s wonderful characters.

Psst: I will share a little secret.  As I said, though there is no direct link to North & South, Sarah has told me that after seeing North & South, Bradecote’s physical form had finally taken shape in her mind. Though again Bradecote was created long before, and therefore is his independent character, you can imagine Richard Armitage playing out this role as you read through the story!  (I don’t know about you but I love to get a vision of the characters in my head when I’m reading!)

The Lord Bishop’s Clerk is available for preorder at Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk.  It will be available in paperback and ebook form.  Check out this wonderful beginning of the series and be sure to check back  and tell me what you think!

Side note:  Okay everyone.. we have one more day until the 10th anniversary of the British release of North & South!  I hope you all will watch the series sometime this weekend.  You all can look forward to a post from me sometime tomorrow, there you will be welcome to share you thoughts and recollections of your first viewing of the series!

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A Fan-Based 10th Anniversary Celebration

Hey everyone, I was just on Facebook and came across this great new group.  The group was created for the sole purpose of celebrating the 10th anniversary of the first première of North & South.  (November 14, 2004)


I am going to share some links to join the various groups now set up to mark this occasion, but before I do, let me share the details regarding this “quest of global celebration”…  what are they asking?

During the weekend of November 14, watch N&S and take a selfie of you watching (Shy people: if you, like me, are shy about taking a selfie that includes your face, don’t be concerned. My selfie is going to be of my TV with my legs stretched out on the coffee table in front of my sofa!).*

Then, post your photo on Twitter, your Facebook page, on the NS10 Facebook site, etc.


On your selfie post include your location to demonstrate the global appeal of North & South. Also, remember to add the ‪#‎NS10‬ (withnospaces) hashtag so we can compile all of these into one place, either on the special N&S page(link below) or on a blog.

“excerpt from blog post on Richard Armitage US “

As I am not a big fan of the results of my “selfies”, I will be doing what the blogger suggests… time to paint those toe nails! lol

The group is also asking for fans of the other actors in the production to join in the celebration.  If you know of how to reach some of the fan groups, please share in the comments area, contact me or go directly to FB, twitter or the blog listed below.

Daniela Denby-Ashe – Margaret Hale
Richard Armitage – John Thornton (think they have this covered ;) )
Tim Pigott-Smith – Richard Hale
Sinéad Cusack- Hannah Thornton
Brendan Coyle – Nicholas Higgins
Anna Maxwell Martin – Bessy Higgins
Lesley Manville – Maria Hale
Jo Joyner – Fanny Thornton
Pauline Quirke – Dixon
Brian Protheroe – Mr. Bell
Rupert Evans – Frederick Hale
John Light – Henry Lennox
William Houston -John Boucher

I’m looking forward to this as it’s been a bit too long since I’ve watched the series all the way through.  I need this treat.. it’s been a long YEAR!

Please Join NS10 – A Fan-Based 10th Anniversary Celebration of the Premiere of North & South

The groups….
the Facebook page
Twitter Account: Twitter: NS10 @NandS10th
Email account: ns10thanniversary at gmail.com
Blog: Richard Armitage US

I will also post any pictures that you all share with me here on WoM.

I was hoping for a 10th anniversary special edition of the DVD, but I don’t think that’s in the cards!  Darn! Come on ladies let’s join in on the fun.  I can’t believe it’s been 10 years already!

**if you know of other celebrations going on, please let me know via the comments or by contact form!

As always.. comments welcome.  Will you join in the celebration.. share that.  Even if you can’t watch it that weekend (Nov14) if you watch it in honor of the celebration… tell us all when you are watching.


A note from WoM member: shanghaiedinla

Hello all,  Shanghaiedinla asked if I would let all of you know of her blog.  Here are the details:

Website: shanghaiedinla.wordpress.com

I’ve relaunched my arts/entertainment blog (formerly at LiveJournal) after a *long hiatus. I review/post primarily about TV and film (and criticism thereof). I take on a mix of what’s in the zeitgeist, what I really love and what I really *don’t love. Industry related news/speculation gleaned from BTS coverage and/or the trades is also fair game. I’ll also occasionally initiate a discussion about social media’s impact on fandom (or fannish) behavior. My goal is to get people talking and thinking, so I try to avoid rehashing perspectives and critiques already out there for public consumption.


If you would be interested in seeing what Shangheiedinla has to say.. check out her blog!

*If you have a website, blog or item that fits within the realm of WoM topics, I will be happy to post your announcement as well,  just contact me via the contact form on this site.  I do ask that if you do make a request that you are a faithful member, either by discussions or follower. If you are a faithful follower of WoM, as stated, I would be happy to consider your announcement.  If the topic of your blog, website or product is outside of WoM realm of topics, I reserve the right to accept or decline, due to that nature of the topic.

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