Reminders of faith

The saga of St. Stanislaus continues. Archbishop Burke warned that though those who attended Christmas mass at the church would not be excommunicated, they would be guilty of mortal sin. The response? Over 2000 of the faithful from the entire area showed up to provide support for the embattled Priest and parish board.

The next day, during the more intimate Christmas Day service that the priest, Rev. Marek Bozek said this was not his first difficulty with the church. While he was a seminary student in Poland, he was accused of being a ‘promiscuous homosexual’:

Bozek told his new parishioners the story of his struggle five years ago at a seminary in Poland with an accusation made against him – “a witch hunt” he called it. “Some people accused me of being a promiscuous homosexual,” he said. He told the rector of the seminary to provide proof, and said the rector couldn’t, but persisted in the accusations.

Bozek said he went to his Warmia Archbishop Edmund Michal Piszcz, and told him to call off the rector. He threatened to sue the archdiocese. “They have no proof,” he told Piszcz. Bozek said Piszcz agreed. Nevertheless the priest left the seminary and Poland, landing in Springfield, Mo.

When asked if he is a homosexual:

“When people ask me that, I just say, I am a celibate and chaste priest, so it doesn’t matter,” Bozek said.

In one church in a small parish in a northwest suburb of St. Louis, the Catholic church and it’s moves to return to a more primitive and repressive time, are being challenged. I’m not Catholic, or Polish, but it makes me proud to be in St. Louis.

Programming Languages

More new toys

I still love Locomotive, but I haven’t forgotten my PHP, or my first love, RDF. (Note to self: get out more).

Anyway, I spotted the following at the RAP (RDF API for PHP) site:

RAP 0.93 will be released in January 2006 and will include support for the SPARQL query language and the SPARQL protocol.

I’ve been waiting for this to implement more evil plans. Oh rapturous joy! Oh sublime happiness!

I am dancing a jig. Do you see me?

*dance* *dance*

Happy face.


(I danced on Zoë’s tail…)

Just Shelley


Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

Since making predictions is the thing to do this time of year, I’m also going to indulge. However, rather than predict what others do, I’m going to take a look at predicting what I’m going to do. I figure I have the same odds at being found correct a year from now.

Prediction : I won’t be attending any conferences in 2006.

I was initially disappointed that the SxSW panel on women and visibility fell through, but now I’m just as happy as not. I was looking forward to meeting people, but how much time could we spend together when we’re pushed and pulled about by several hundred of us crowded into one place together? It seems to me that these meet and greets end up being more a photo op and a way of getting funding then to genuinely share some quiet time with friends met online.

I would like to meet many of you, but I’d rather meet you either as you pass through St. Louis, or I pass through your community.

As for the topic, what could be covered in an hour with four people talking, half of who disagreed? We would barely get through the “Hi, I am…” before the session was over. If we have an argument to make, we already have a platform from which to make known our views; one that doesn’t require we travel or that we be invited. If we have to meet in person before our writing is given credibility then I’ll repeat what I said once, long ago: this environment is a lie.

So in 2006, I can predict that I won’t be appearing as a speaker in a conference.

Prediction : My ‘rating’ will continue to drop in Technorati

The nicest thing about losing popularity–as measured by links or subscriptions or whatever means–is that people will no longer lump me in with the A-listers.

Prediction : More photos and stories from and about Zoë

Okay, this is a cheap prediction. I have to have one sure thing on the list.

Prediction : The number of women in the computer science field will continue to drop in 2006, but I won’t care

The first part of this prediction probably won’t surprise folks, but the second part might. This statement has to do with the epiphany I recently had about women in tech that I was saving for SxSW. Since I won’t be attending SxSW, I’ll be writing about it, instead. Be still your beating hearts.

Prediction : I’m going to have more fun with my weblog in 2006 than I did in 2005

I’ve been ambivalent about this weblog in 2005, and it shows. I had two choices at the end of this year: quit, or do things differently. I’ve decided to do things differently, at least for now. We’ll see what happens.

Prediction : I’m not going to write about…

The hot topic of the moment, what the tech A-listers are addressing, the tech A-listers, and so on. I don’t know about anyone else, but I bore myself.

Nothing I have said in the last six months in this regard is ‘fresh’. Nothing is new. If the only reason you read me is to get some kind of visceral thrill of watching me confront people, then you might as well as unsubscribe from my weblog right now.

There is nothing to be gained by spending time responding to webloggers who play games. These are the people who say something outrageous, not because they believe it, but because it generates juice. I can get behind outrageousness; I can’t get behind the obvious manipulation.

Earlier I said I want to do something different with the weblog in 2006. I want to have fun. I want to write for the joy of it. I want this weblog to be useful, even if the only useful thing I accomplish with it is help one person with a bit of code; or cheer another with a photo from a hike.

I don’t want to play the games anymore. Which leads to…

Prediction : All of you will unsubscribe from this weblog

I can say this because I’m asking you to. I’m asking you to unsubscribe from this weblog. I’m asking you to go into Bloglines and Newsgator and whatever other subscription feed aggregator you use and unsubscribe me.

Then, if you find over time that you miss what I write–the long essays, the histories, fanciful tales, opinions, the writing, the tech, the photos, whatever–add the subscription back. If you’re not interested in all of my writing, subscribe to just those topics that interest you.

I’m asking you not to take me for granted. I promise you, in return, that I won’t take you for granted, either. Let’s all start fresh next year.

Prediction : I’ll finally get to Alaska

Dave Winer once mentioned he’d donate 100.00 if I wanted to travel somewhere to take photos. Well, I won’t hold Dave to his promise, but I am planning a trip next year. A road trip.

I have been to every state in the union except North and South Carolina, Michigan, and Alaska. Late summer or early fall in 2006, I want to take a road trip and visit the states unvisited–including driving to Alaska. Along the way, I’d like to quietly stop by and visit folks I’ve met through weblogging through the years.

My hope is to travel down to Florida and then up along the Atlantic states, over to Vermont, through to Michigan, zig zag over to see my Mom in Idaho and then on to Washington, Canada, and Alaska. When I come back, I then might travel down the Pacific rim states, or I may just traverse the Rockies, cross down south and then home.

It’s important to have dreams. This is mine.

Prediction : I’ll publish a book in 2006

Though the Wikipedia folk equate tech book writing with authoring toaster manuals, my hope is to publish at least one new book on technology this year. In the last few months, I’ve rediscovered my joy in technology; hopefully this can translate to a joy in writing about technology.

Prediction : I make no promises

Take me, or leave me, but don’t assume you know all about me. Outside of work commitments, I make no promises for 2006. It’s a new year: anything goes.

Happy New Year, my friends.

Technology Weblogging

Form to Press

I’m in the process of porting the functionality I’ve created in Wordform to WordPress 2.0. You can see the working weblog here. While I’m at it, I’m updating the semantic weblog plugins to fit the new environment.

(Speaking of WordPress 2.0, did that go from source code control to release with no intervening beta period? Does this make it, then, Web 3.0–no beta at all?)

Some of the functionality I created with Wordform will be easy to implement in WordPress. For instance, I can create a new Administrative skin which, among other things, turns off the display of the in-page preview for the Write page. I can then add another plugin function to add a Preview button and open the preview full page, as I have it with Wordform. This was very difficult with older versions of WordPress because it wouldn’t display posts with draft status. Now, all you have to do is attach the page number to the end, and it displays. Be aware of this if you’re running WordPress–anyone can see your draft posts, as long as they can work through the post number.

This is the same functionality I have with Wordform. I had planned on putting in password protection, but never did.

Correction: In WordPress 2.0, it doesn’t display unless you’re logged in. My error. Sorry.

The comment management system I have is going to be tricky to implement in WordPress. This includes the post-edit, as well as my spam prevention techniques which are dependent on turning comments off after a certain period, adding in throttles, and the use of whitelisting. I also have to turn off ping and trackbacks, though not disable them. I particularly have to add plugins to remove that abysmal misuse of microformats, nofollow on links for commenters. This is on by default and I see no way in options of disabling this. Bluntly, this should be an option, because nofollow is a piece of crap. However, I believe plugins already exist for this.

I also have to see if the Dashboard can be overridden to remove the WordPress feed; at a minimum, I should be able to override the menu and remove the Dashboard option altogether.

Anyway, once I’ve worked these things through, I’ll port Burningbird back to WordPress.

Environment Photography

More on Taum Sauk, Johnson, and Black River

Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

Thanks to Lee Farber, who runs the Peola Valley Pottery in Lesterville (the town threatened with flooding after the Tauk Sauk Reservoir wall failed), I have links to additional resources on the flood and its impact.

political cartoon noting that AmerenUE operates more than reservoirs.

I hope to get permission to actually take photos of the Shut-Ins themselves. In the meantime, before and after photos of the area.

The issue was raised that what has fallen into the Black River is just dirt, and dirt can actually help a surrounding area. The concept of rich alluvial land in the floodplains of a river like the Mississippi is based on naturally occurring flooding. The reservoir break was anything but natural.

The Black River, one of the most pristine in the state and country, and environmentally vulnerable, was actually diverted the length of two football fields at one point by the force of the water from the dam breaking. We don’t yet know the impact of the dirt in the water, either on tourism (necessary for the area); or on wildlife dependent on the river.