Just Shelley

New Year: Universal Do Over

Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

Jeneane Sessum isn’t particularly fond of New Year’s Eve, but she still looks for the positive within this year’s end:


Beyond the obvious, I think about this place we’re building online. And I think 2002 was a year of a different kind of love. A different kind of family. A kind of rebuilding, re-creation. Somewhere I said that blogging is a do-over of our childhoods. Getting the family thing right. Getting love right. Even getting anger and arguments and resolution right. I think this past year has proven those words true for me. Something is healthier in here.

I, on the other hand, love New Year’s Eve. It’s one of my favorite times of the year. It’s on this day that I realize that it’s too late to try and fulfill all those foolish resolutions I made last year, so I might as well give them up as a lost cause and come up with a fresh batch for next year.

New Year’s Eve is also the day to remember that whatever happened last year — the hurts, the pain and sadness, the political battles lost, the friends who drift away — happened last year. This isn’t forcing events into forgetfulness as much as it is softening them with perspective. Maybe even a little hope.

New Year’s Eve is the period being put to the sentence that is 2002. It is the Universe’s gift to us — our own personal do-over. Whatever mistakes we made in 2002 belong in 2002, and we will not carry them with us into 2003.

In 2002 we came closer to war with Iraq and now North Korea. Okay, then 2003 is the year that we don’t go to war with Iraq, or with North Korea. In 2002 we watched the world shudder from financial breakdown, an event that was not confined to any one border. Okay then, 2003 is the year that we start, gradually, carefully, hopefully making our way out of the financial bottom.

In 2003 we have a chance to help the environment, to make our neighborhoods better places to live, to read good books, to make new friends, to discover great opportunities, to uncover stories that need to be told, to see new cures for disease, to listen to wondrous new music, to share new words with each other, to fall in love all over again. Next year we’ll touch hands for the first time, and watch a baby’s first steps.

Next year is a another year to once again try to make peace, stop famine, provide hope. Maybe even, as a people, grow up a little. All that anticipation — how can one not like New Year’s eve?

In 2002, I read the words of my friend Chris, as he wrote about his close friend’s death from terrorism. In 2002, Rick died for the worst of reasons, a blend of politics and religion that makes no sense regardless of whose side one is on. Yet into 2003, I hope what Chris brings with him is the memory of the years that he shared with his friend; that he brings with him the bright and unstoppable spirit that is Rick. And thanks to Chris’ sharing of what was probably one of the most difficult times of his life, we all take into the new year an even stronger will to end these tragedies.

leavessm.jpgIf we don’t go into the new year with hope, and determination based on this hope, how then can we possibly build future New Year’s eve’s that don’t close on similar tragedy?

So I sit in my chair, filled with the sense of anticipation that has nothing to do with clocks and countdowns, confetti and fireworks. And I ask you to check your worldly cynicism at the door, face forward not back, and join me in cherishing that which was, but dreaming of that which will be. For you see, next year is going to be a good year. No, next year is going to be a great year.

Happy New Year to all my friends!


With arms wide open
Under the sunlight
Welcome to this place
I’ll show you everything.

Creed, With Arms Wide Open




Best reasons not to blog

Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

Dorothea Salo isn’t blogging much today due to a house cleaning frenzy brought on by a photographer coming from the Chicago Tribute to photograph David because he’s being interviewed on Professor Tolkien’s eleventy-one birthday (David is the Elvish expert in the LOTR movies.)

Well, as non-blogging excuses go, this has got to be one of the better. So Dorothea, you’re off the hook. And rest assurred: I never drink to drive, though I have occasionally been driven to drink.

Water, of course.


Tiny Steps and Big Leaps

Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

Challenged by Clay Shirky, Ben Hammersley has created a special post to collect trackbacks related specifically to the LazyWeb.

What is the LazyWeb? Well, do you have an idea and need help with technical implementation? Do you need specific functionality or an application or utility, but you’re not a coder? Capture the idea as a LazyWeb request and ping Ben’s special site. Chances are the request will be filled before the ink is dry on the page.

Ben’s idea, a demonstration of LazyWeb in action, is great. I agree with Poetic Geek’s delight in the concept, though I’m not sure that I’m “…giggling with girlish delight” over it.

I think we’re seeing a new form of open source development, based on technology developed for the community and its immediate, expressed needs. A case of community searching for technology rather than technology on the hunt for a users.

I would like to see additional efforts associated with this. For instance, it would be great if people would flag weblog posts that provide solutions for LazyWeb requests, or that provide technical help, especially within the weblog community. A case in point is my MT Comment How-To, further refined by other contributions in the comments. By isolating these items we can begin to build online technology centers that are anything but centered — true distributed technology, and true distributed technology documentation. There are just some things that shouldn’t roll back into the dustry reaches of the archives.

Perhaps Ben can stretch his LazyWeb post to a complete LazyWeb weblog, tracking LazyWeb implementations and providing a focal point for this effort in 2003? Not that I’m volunteering Ben’s time, and I am more than willing to volunteer to do this myself if Ben would rather. After all — we want to track fulfillment as much as request.

Additionally, I would also like people to start putting their code online. This last week there was a great deal of discussion about the CITE tag and how it can be used to provide specialized processing. Well, that’s great and good, but let’s see the processing? Can we see the code that Mark used. Or Sam’s code? I played with CITE a bit and created some code, which I then packaged for people to download. Not great code. Maybe not even good code. But at least it’s there if anyone wants it.

For instance, the code allows me to reach into Ben’s new LazyWeb RDF/RSS file and pull out existing topics and descriptions, as shown here.

There. I guess that’s my LazyWeb request — put your code online, let us take a peek. We promise if we shoot ourselves with it, we won’t blame you.