New Site, New Name, New Look, a Rant of Sorts, and Alvah Bessie

by Rebeca on April 16, 2009

Although I spent hours updating the look of this site, let’s face it, I rather be on WordPress.

I made the leap and went ahead got a brand new host for the site–warning plug ahead–The tech support team at Blue Host is fabulous. They were so patient with all my stupid questions, if you need a host for your site, go Blue Host. Thumbs up from this luddite.

However, life at the beach–when it comes to technology–is not all that simple. Once I had the host, all I had to do was point Exiled at the Beach Book Reviews to their servers. Simple, right? Nope. This domain name was bought through one of Google’s resellers. To make the switch would have been easy, but I had several snafus.

To manage my domain, I had to go to the access login, type in the name and my password. it wouldn’t let me in because I couldn’t remember my password. So I clicked the “email password.” Nothing happened. For a long time. Repeat. Nothing. After several attempts to retrieve the password and failing, it turns out these emails were sent to an address that doesn’t exist (apparently it was a typo in a user name I rarely use. Who’s at fault, me or whoever set up the domain remains a mystery).

Once that was discovered, I tried to go through the Google maze of support. Here’s the rant, skip ahead if you don’t want to read it. What the Hell were those supposed geniuses at Google thinking?  There isn’t a single and simple, fucking “email us with your problem” form. Nothing. I spent a good three hours going from page to page for NADA. They have the worst customer service on the planet. Done. Moving on.

I’m the type of person who always has a Plan B in my back pocket. Since I knew there wouldn’t be an easy or quick way to resolve this issue, my plan was to go for a complete overhaul and just change everything including the domain’s name and start over. What happens to this site? It will still be here, but once the new site is up and ready I’ll post with a new link.  Now I just have to learn WordPress and all it’s fancy stuff.  As for the name of the new site, it’s no longer a tongue twister and, yes, there is story behind the name.

The Story

Alvah Bessie is my one of my favorite writers. He was also an Abraham Lincoln Brigades volunteer who went to Spain during the Spanish Civil War. When he returned from Spain, Alvah wrote, Men in Battle a memoir of his experiences in Spain.  After the book’s publications, Alvah worked for The New Masses as the magazine’s literary and drama critic. From there, he went to Hollywood and was employed by Warner Brothers as a screenwriter. During his stint there, he wrote the screenplay for Objective, Burma. In 1945, he was nominated for an Oscar in the Best Story category for that film.

As much as Alvah loved the movies, Hollywood wasn’t kind to him. He was  one of the original 19 unfriendly witnesses that were later wittled down to the famous “Hollywood Ten.” Convicted for Contempt of Congress for not answering the HUAC’s questions or naming names, Bessie spent ten long months in the Texarkana Federal Pentitentiary in Texas. After he was released, Alvah never worked again in Hollywood. He was blacklisted.

The name of the new site, though, really has to do with a story that happened before Spain, before The New  Masses, Hollywood or the Blacklist.  It harks back to 1928, before the crash, when Alvah tried his luck on Broadway and this is what he wrote:

“I had spent four years getting exactly nowhere on the new York stage; unless you consider a six-month case of gonorrhea somewhere. I had somehow acquired 1,000 books (mainly by theft, I’m sure) during my four years in high school, four in college, and another four on the stage, and I decided that there was only one thing for me to do; I would sell the books for one dollar apiece and go to Paris–to write. And that is what I did.”

In memory of a great writer, a fearless hero and radical, I dedicate the new site to Alvah Bessie and his 1,000 books, as “Alvah’s Books.” Stay tuned. . . .


{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Randall Radic April 16, 2009 at 6:25 pm

Good choice of a name for the new site.

MypeReorMor April 26, 2009 at 5:32 pm

great domain name for blog like this)))
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