We Need To Talk

Posted by Stephanie on May 1, 2020

General

I know, no conversation starting with that phrase ever goes well and this is probably going to be one of those conversations. I, like you, have been locked in my house for weeks, months, years now. I march around my neighborhood trying to breathe through that god danged mask, wondering how Kpop idols make it look so effortless, while I’m constantly fogging up my glasses and sucking in the fabric with every gasped breath, side-eyeing every person not socially distancing, or I’m home wishing terrible fates upon the people throwing parties in my building. While anxiety is usually my standard happy place, what I know, where I live, now I find there anger. I live in fear, angst, and anger, not only over the country as a whole but for my own damn self. I’m not certain where I’ve mentioned this before, but I’ll say, I work for an industry that works directly with the restaurant industry. While I fully support suppressing that curve, the reality is, the longer we stay at home? The bigger the chance I lose the job I love. Unfortunately, it was announced this week, the time has come to react and they’ve furloughed the entire company to 60% time and pay. Shitballs. It’s not my worst fear, but its definitely worse than I had anticipated, and it’s possibly just the beginning.

So what does this mean for you? Well, that’s just me procrastinating saying I’m not certain how much longer I can keep the site and podcast up and running.

Let me just say, I’m lucky. I know this. While I live in a stupid solo apartment where all my stupid neighbors throw parties when they should be not throwing fucking parties, I’ve managed to actually squirrel away some savings so I can afford said stupid apartment. I still have a job. A lot of my friends and loved ones do not. While scary, I know I have an innate ability to land on my feet… thing is though, I don’t know what June will hold. Or the month after that. My company isn’t currently promising anything.

When I first started this site it was a whim. I fell in love with Kdrama and wanted to talk about it with someone. Anyone. I shouted my thoughts and my love into what I thought was a void. Funny thing though? The void started talking back to me. Louder and louder, I’d hear from people, I’d see people reading what I had to say, and it was the best feeling in the world. If all of these amazing interesting people also loved what I loved then it couldn’t be that weird, could it? If all of these people wanted to hear what I have to say, then I wasn’t wasting my time, could I? I made friends who are now my own found family, I’ve had amazing, life-changing experiences. I wouldn’t change this for all of the money in the world.

But where they say the best things in life are free? Not exactly true. This site and podcast haven’t been free or easy. Time and time again I was knocked back, and chose to pick myself back up, dust off, and continued on. If you’re new here and don’t realize we used to be a site called Crazy for Kdrama for years? That’s where we started. Where all this began. But due to some dumb algorithms and copyright strikes, Google said “Naw, we’re just going to shut down years of your work.” (Always back up your shit, guys. From you to me? The idea that once something is online it’s there forever? Not true.) After some thoughts and a huge amount of help from Cherry Cordial, I picked up and moved on.

Moved on and up! Until we weren’t anymore. Any time the site would get popular, it would stop working. Just shut down. With the rebuild, Kchat made it’s first non-free move and shifted to a hosting company. For a certain fee, this company hosted the site, had automatic backups, and offered a bit more protection from what had happened at Blogger. No faceless void to remove my crap without explanation or recourse. Unfortunately, with the rising popularity of the site, what we later realized, though they would never, ever tell us, was once we got too much traffic, they’d essentially put the brakes on, stop the site from working so we wouldn’t take more than our share of the servers. Sigh.

If only that were the last of our trouble. Nope, like a good kdrama, we’re really hitting that angsty stride. Again and again, the site was attacked by hackers. Over and over again. Injecting malware from the inside, creating new users, taking over the site. And our hosting company refused any assistance. Something that was supposed to be lighthearted and fun became a daily war zone, trying to find their code, trying to boot them from the site. This paired with the previous issue, we decided to go to a new managed hosting company where we could hide behind their firewalls and hopefully have some sort of reprieve. Managed hosting? While awesome, please also read that as more expensive. Unfortunately, that fix didn’t work either and I was forced to employ a security company to police the site. They have been AMAZING and while they were never actually able to find the code either, any time we have any sort of attack, they’ve been there and have been able to remove the issue quickly. Amazing and again, pricey.

I loved what I did here. I loved it enough to start again and again and again. I loved it enough to fight almost every day to keep it alive. This time though? I don’t know. Before this, I’ve always muddled through. I might gripe about the costs of the site and podcast, but I did it as I’m not certain what I’d do with myself if I didn’t. Right now? I don’t know what the future holds for me or this site. I just know on average, it costs me over a thousand dollars to keep everything running and as the bill for the hosting came due the same week as my pay was cut 40%, I’m not certain I can this time.

We’re not saying the site is going to close tomorrow. Options are being weighed. I officially canceled the hosting company and I have until 5/15 to make a decision. Cherry Cordial has access to a server we can use, and right now it looks like we’re going to move it there but I don’t know what that means for the traffic of the site. Good or bad, we average 3,000 hits to the site a day. (I shudder to say this as, like a ladies weight, there are just some things you don’t reveal.. but as my friend Jami always says its “Eh, fuck it time.) Even on the managed hosting company we were reaching the edges of our policy and they were going to start slowing our traffic if we reached it. Ie, if we grow any more we were going to need to go to a bigger plan.

Sigh. You ever have that feeling that you just can’t win? Yeah, that’s this feeling right here.

The long and the short of it is, we’re going to figure out a way to keep going in the short term. Go to this cheaper hosting company. Swap out my Photoshop for another, cheaper, program, Cherry is very excited about some redesign ideas she has. The security company comes due in July, and hopefully, I’ll know more about my job by then. We’re also going to take a deep breath be looking into trying some other options like shudder ads or a Patreon.

Long term? While I love each and every one of you, I’m also going to have to look closely into seeing if my heart is in starting again. In this day and age having one more thing to feel weird and stressed over is one more thing too many. As everyone says, “Does this bring you joy?” followed by a snicker. Does the site bring me joy? I don’t know. I think I’ve been living in survival/anxiety/depression mode for so long I don’t really think in terms of ‘joy’. And I don’t know if I could take myself seriously if I tried. (I certainly know I roll my eyes at whoever it is who says it to me.) However, I can say, the site is part of me. For better or worse. While daily upkeep is a huge time commitment, I feel happy when I’m done writing a good post. I am happier when I get a comment on a post. When I look at the numbers and realize how many people are hanging around here? That’s the coolest and… makes me feel pretty important. I’m not a quitter. It’s kind of my thing. Remember when I said I land on my feet? You don’t do that by quitting.

So that’s a long drawn out post to say, hey, things are changing. If you see weird things happen on the site in the next month or two, its because we’re moving and adjusting. I’ll keep you updated.

Much love from a socially acceptable distance,
Stephanie

 

9 Comments

  • Reply Rachael Clack May 1, 2020 at 6:26 am

    Your site brings me joy ang has for a few years now. Through you I have discovered a love for Kpop and BL. I would be so sad to have to say goodbye to all of you and would miss your popcasts so nuch. I would be more than happy to sponsor via patroen. Lockdown life is hard and I am one of the lucky ones, I work for the NHS and am able to work from home so haven’t had to take a cut in pay or to claim benefits like some of my friends. Just know how much we appreciate you and this site. Sorry for the long message.

    • Reply Stephanie May 4, 2020 at 8:21 pm

      This was the sweetest comment and really helped me get out of bed that morning. Thanks for the encouragement, thanks for reading, and thanks for checking out Kpop and BL!

  • Reply Talie Grace May 3, 2020 at 2:54 am

    A personal thought:
    I’d never considered how much love I have for what you created here until I thought about it disappearing. This site is the only blog/podcast source that consistently brings me joy. It would be absolutely worth it to me to help however I can.
    That said, if it’s making you suffer in some way to attempt to upkeep it, then I would completely understand you letting it go. Whatever you decide I hope all us fangirls/boys out here get the chance to support you! Thank you for the years of joy. <3

    • Reply Stephanie May 4, 2020 at 8:26 pm

      Thanks so much for your comment, thanks for saying reading brings you joy. That means so much to me. <3 <3 <3

  • Reply Robin N May 3, 2020 at 6:47 pm

    I hear you! And my friends and I have been down similar paths over the years (starting back in the mid-90s with a love for telenovelas that morphed into a passion for Asian dramas) with hosting bulletin board type sites. When our site guru developed early dementia and had to bow out, we lost so much, but especially him. I built our current mini site here on WP because I just couldn’t let go some of the conversations and friendships, but there are times I want to be lazy and not manage it — I don’t always want to be the adult in the room — but I can’t let it go. I hope you find your answers and that they are ones that make you happy.

    • Reply Stephanie May 4, 2020 at 8:29 pm

      Thanks, Friend. I always enjoy getting your ‘like’ notifications. Ping! Ping! Ping! Robin N is catching up!

      • Reply Robin N May 4, 2020 at 8:43 pm

        So true! I am always playing catch-up! And it’s always a pleasure to read your posts

  • Reply kfangurl May 13, 2020 at 8:51 pm

    I don’t know how I missed this post! I’m sorry to hear about your challenges, Steph. I feel you. I haven’t been able to work for the last several months, & that means no income until I do. I’ve recently started allowing ads on my blog, and I’ve also gotten on Patreon as well, at the suggestion of some of my readers. It does feel awkward to start on Patreon, but I think you’ll be surprised by the warmth and support of your readers, if you do go that route. That said, I hear you on not feeling sure whether to continue. Do what feels right for you; this was always a passion project for you, and it shouldn’t become a burden in your life. If cost is the main issue, would it be possible to get on something like a free WordPress site for the time being? That might be a compromise worth considering? I’ll always have a soft spot for Crazy for Kdrama, coz you were part of my blog’s origin story. Hugs to ya. <3

    • Reply Stephanie May 18, 2020 at 7:46 pm

      Thanks, friend! I’m sorry to hear about your own predicament too! Ugh. Times suck. And why did we have to choose such a pricy hobby?? 😉 We’ve made the swap over to the new host, testing it out, fingers crossed. Ultimately I hope to go back to the one I was on as, due to the sheer size of the site, and the security issues we had in the past, Kchat needs some white gloves. Such a finicky bish.

      Big hugs to you, lets all make it through this together!

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