How I Brokeback the Blog

Friday’s “What the frak…?” moment (WTFM) is brought to you by………..

What happens when people (me) who know nothing about coding start daring to copy and paste code into the php files of their blog: Big. Muthafrakking. Boom.

I was cocky. I admit it.

I fully thought I was capable of reading a highly informative blog, taking their step by step instructions, and altering something in the theme for my Writing with Chaos blog. It is one of the “perks” to self-hosting: you get full customization.

I read the instructions. I didn’t touch the old code. I simply copied the new code to the end.

And hit update.

But I didn’t do something right, it wasn’t working. So I fiddled with the new code (and only the new code). I’m certain of it.

And hit update.

My screen said this:

Parse error: syntax error, unexpected ‘<‘ in /home/content/71/8081371/html/wp-content/themes/clear-line/functions.php on line 946

And only this.

What. The. Frak.

I clicked on my toolbar icon to go back to the dashboard.

I got the same message.

I opened a new tab and tried it.

I got the same message.

I typed my web address in directly.

I got the same message.

I had totally screwed up even the simplest loading of my Writing with Chaos blog.

Big. Muthafrakking. Boom.

That will teach me to play adventurous cowboy with php.

I promptly ran in panic to Twitter, praying it would solve my issues, like it had for how to clean puke off of non-machine washable toys.

I wrote:

ACK! HELP! Tried to add gravatar code. Didn’t work so deleted that exact code. Now getting syntax error, locked out of dashboard.

The response was not what I’d hoped.

Still in crazy panic mode as I imagined all the hours spent tweaking the site completely lost, I asked local blogger Gigi (aka Kludgy Mom) if she could help, since she knows a thing or two about self-hosted WordPress.

Her response was:

@DancesWithChaos um….no….may ask @PorchSwingMom #screwed #help

Praying she’d be online, I tweeted to Ashley aka PorchSwingMom:

@PorchSwingMom I somehow screwed up blog code & getting syntax error. @AKludgyMom said you might be able to help. #screwed

She was online.

She helped me.

She ftp’d into the site (any other non-techies confused already?) and fixed the issue in a few minutes.


She is a goddess.

Give her some love.

And tell me “NO!” next time I get the bright idea to fiddle in php files.

Happy Friday all!

Have you every made your blog “go big boom” or done something else to mess it up? Did someone rescue you?


About Kelly K @ Dances with Chaos

Kelly K has learned the five steps to surviving of motherhood: 1) Don't get mad. Grab your camera. 2) Take a photograph. 3) Blog about it. 4) Laugh. 5) Repeat. She shares these tales at Dances with Chaos in order to preserve what tiny amount of sanity remains. You can also find her on her sister blog, Writing with Chaos ( sharing memoir and engaging in her true love: fiction writing. It's cheaper than therapy.
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12 Responses to How I Brokeback the Blog

  1. Oh my, you were brave to touch the code. I dare not. I was even afraid to do the mandatory WP update. I tweeted for help and assurance (of course!) and immediately got an email from my dear friend Kim (@MamasMonologues) on how to backup first, then update. Phew.

    So glad you got it fixed. @PorchSwingMom is awesome!

    • Uh yeah. That was my next question: how to back it up without messing it up. I read one plug in that said to create a file.

      “Um. How? Where?” Php confounds me.

      I’m terrified updating will break something.

      It’s making me a bit leery about switching this blog to self-hosted…

      I am Ashley’s new biggest fan.

  2. I. Would. Have. Freaked!
    Thank goodness someone was able to help you.
    I am a total tech fail when it comes to the behind the scenes coding etc!
    Im still figuring out how to make a button for my blog!!
    Help would be appreciated. 🙂

    • I just spent waaaaay too many hours this weekend working on new headers (I only have 18 options) and buttons.

      I *think* I like the new one I put at the top the best.


      18 headers.. That’s right. And that only counts the one’s a saved.

      I can manipulate images just fine. I use Gimp for editing them.

      Creating something new? Drawing? Um. No.

      And I am sooo lost on code. I’m sure I could learn it. If I had time. And quiet. And if Mommy brain took a vacation…

      Oh, and I totally freaked. Meltdown.

  3. FTP is just going in the back door, old-school style. I upload my graphics etc. via FTP mostly because that’s just how I’ve always done it for my main site, which doesn’t have these new-fangled schmancy login screens and auto-generated formats.

    Also, get off my lawn, damned kids, and where’s my cane? 😉

    (Glad it got fixed, sorry I wasn’t much help…)

  4. mairedubhtx says:

    I don’t often mess things up that bad. I just can’t get them to work. I am a normally intelligent person but I cannot decipher the instructions for adding widgets and boxes to my blog. If it happens, I count it as a miracle.

  5. Oh. My. Gosh!

    This is why, two weeks ago, I went over to an acquaintance’s house. He is the local guru. All I wanted to do was get rid of the WordPress part of my URL. He wanted me to consider customization. In the end, I know I’m a doofus. I would screw things up all the time.

    I’m just so glad that you were able to network yourself out of the hole! *wipes forehead*

  6. Elena Aitken says:

    First of all…may I say how brave you were to even ‘look’ at the code. That’s right, I’m a total scardey cat and I want nothing to do with this ‘code’ I keep hearing of.
    i like it simple.
    Also why I married a computer geek.
    I know…I’m so co-dependent.
    Congrats on your new blog though! It’s going to be fab!

  7. That’s why I don’t try to do anything by myself. ever.

    Sad but true tales of a woman who knows her limitations.

    Glad everything worked out and that there are goddesses on earth to help.

  8. Annie says:

    I’m so scared of blowing my blog up that I stay away from the fancy stuff! LOL

    I would have been equally frickin’ frackin’ wiggin’ out. So glad it’s all fixed.

  9. CG says:

    To paraphrase Master Yoda: The difference between those who do and do not is “try.” If you stumble, learn something from that. Build a safety net (backups).

  10. Oh yes, that is most definitely a What the Frack moment…..of nearly the worst kind!! I can imagine your panic. I went through a period when people told me that my right sidebar didn’t show for them, but couldn’t find a common thread…different computers, platforms, browsers, etc. And then went into full panic when a couple more people told me that the body, aka content wasn’t showing either. And again, no common thread. I never was able to figure out what was up (the whole thing always showed up on both computers for me), but haven’t heard that again since. Oh yea, and I don’t even know what php is! I know that reading and editing the html of my blog can fry my brain after awhile though. Glad you had Twitter help, Kludgy Mom to refer to you Porch Swing Mom who could fix it & get ya breathing again! :>

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