Just Shelley

Afternoon delight: dragonflies and books

Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

A thunderstorm rolled through at 3AM this morning, continuous lightening illuminating the bedroom, thunder rattling the windows. I got up and sat in front of the window watching the storm until it stopped. And since I was up anyway, I stayed up to work on the RDF book. With this early start, I had such a productive day that I decided to take the afternoon off and go down to my favorite river spot, this time taking my camera and grabbing some pictures (at the end of the posting).

At the river a group of young men were sitting and chatting, enjoying the cool breeze and late afternoon sunshine. With them was a dog that took one look at me, and immediately tore across the grass to plant its front paws on me, much to the chagrin of his owner. The dog’s name was Cairo, and for some reason, this very big pup was mightily taken with yours truly. What a delight — for a moment, I was transported back to my favorite Dog beach in San Francisco. Except with dragonflies instead of pelicans.

After the river walk, I indulged myself in my favorite activity when I move to a new home — I went to the local library to get a library card.

My closest library is the Buder branch of the St. Louis public library system. As I filled out the simple application, the librarian explained that all of the libraries in the St. Louis area have reciprocal arrangements with each other, which means I can borrow books from any library within any town for over 50 miles around. When told this I felt a rush of gluttonous anticipation; I came close to rubbing my hands together in glee, accompanied by obscenely fat little chuckles.

A brief exploration and I found that the St. Louis library system is well organized, with one of the best computer systems I’ve used at a public library. My branch is four stories, with meeting rooms in the basement; fiction, new releases, and movies and music on the first floor; research on the second; and non-fiction and the childrens area on the 3rd. Also on the second floor, in the midst of a surprisingly extensive research area, were glassed in rooms containing computers that people can use to access the Internet in complete privacy.

(There was a woman in one of them. I wonder if she was weblogging?)

After my explorative foray, I hit the fiction shelves. I contained my greed (unlike one gentleman who had what looked like 30 music CDs in his arms), and only checked out three books in addition to putting in an order for two others to be sent from the main library. First consumable is Whitney Otto’s A Collection of Beauties at the Height of their Popularity.

I can almost taste it now.

View down river

View up river

Golden Girl’s happy

dragonfly haven


Weblogging Consortiums

Recovered from the Wayback Machine

This afternoon I was visiting Mike Golby and Jeneane Sessum when I realized that Blogspot was down. Again.

I am not unmindful of what Blogger has provided to the community these last few years — a free and easy way for webloggers, especially new webloggers, to get their voices online. However, I do believe it’s time for the community of webloggers to take some of this burden away from Blogger. Before we lose a whole lot of webloggers when Blogspot goes down for the count.

An effective approach would be to create Weblogging Consortiums — groups of webloggers who band together to lease a server for an entire year, thereby sharing the costs of the server among themselves. In particular, webloggers wanting to move to Movable Type 2.2 with MySql support have been faced with increased costs, especially if they’re using Windows-based systems. Shared space would be very cost effective.

Another Consortium service would be a listing of those with extra server space, willing to provide hosting for others. For instance, on my own system, once the environment is in place for Movable Type, adding new weblogs isn’t that much of a strain on resources. I have more than one weblog on the server now, and could easily add another 5 or 6 weblogs without any strain. In case you’re wondering whether my server will ‘go away’ some day, I’ve had a web server since 1996 — neither Burningbird nor YASD is going away.

Dorothea Salo has also offered to host some Blogger weblogs, and I imagine that most people with a server have extra space.

Finally, a third spoke to this Consortium wheel is a weblogger supported fund used to finance servers for newbies only. These servers can be pre-setup with Movable Type installed for each weblog, simplifying the process for new webloggers. In addition, perhaps other weblogging tool companies would also donate services for the Newbie Servers, though companies like Userland in addition to Blogger have taken on more than their fair share of free hosting (and are to be commended for their generosity).

If the newbies last past six months, at that point then they would move to a hosted server. The weblogging community would help them make this move (handle tool set-ups, migration of archives and so on). The weblogger would then pay for the tool they’re using (such as Blogger, Radio, or MT, or whatever), and pay a small yearly fee to be hosted. The amount of this fee would be based on what they could afford. Hopefully with this approach, the servers would eventually be self-funded.

The Consortium would not be a quickie Paypal setup with no financial accountability — the plan would be administered by a sanctioned organization under whatever non-profit corporate laws are in effect to the host country, with online access to the books and balance at any time.

Weblogging shouldn’t be for those with lots of bucks or technical skill. It should be open to anyone who can find some way of connecting to the Internet, and has something to say.

Stay tuned because I’m going to have more to say on this. And I’d like to hear what others say.

Just Shelley


Oh these little rejections how they add up quickly
One small sideways look and I feel so ungood
Somewhere along the way I think I gave you the power to make
Me feel the way I thought only my father could.

Alanis Morissette, “So Unsexy” from Under Rug Swept


Rejection. Being last picked for a side in a game of Red Rover. Not being invited to a party all your friends are attending. Calling or writing someone who’s too busy to respond. Running into an old lover who has forgotten your name.

Want to raise the level of pain? Telling someone you love them and they only want to be friends. Up the ante? Someone you love falls out of love, walks away, leaves.

Excuse me, is this your heart I’m stepping on?


Oh these little rejections how they seem so real to me
One forgotten birthday I’m all but cooked
How these little abandonments seem to sting so easily
I’m 13 again am I 13 for good?


Rejection hurts. It can reduce us to a primal urge to fold ourselves into a fetal ball, locked behind drawn curtains, chained doors. It can silence the eloquent, and strip away any hope or joy. Rejection maims but doesn’t kill cleanly. And the worst part of rejection is wondering what it is about ourselves that failed somehow. The endless question: what’s wrong with me?


I can feel so unsexy for someone so beautiful
So unloved for someone so fine
I can feel so boring for someone so interesting
So ignorant for someone of sound mind



My best friend in first grade telling me that Betty was now going to be her best friend, but I could be her second best friend.

Divorce and my Mom giving my brother to my Dad, and keeping me. The hurt and pain in my brother’s eyes; the hurt and pain in mine.

At 15, being dumped by my 27 year old lover at a party when he went into a bedroom with a brassy blonde with projectile boobs and ruby lips, leaving me surrounded by looks of pity and humor, all shy, gauche, soft curves, and sad gray/green eyes.

All those assholes who don’t hire us for the jobs we apply for. The unreturned calls, the unanswered emails, the hand left unshaken, the unlinked weblog.


Oh these little protections how they fail to serve me
One forgotten phone call and I’m deflated
Oh these little defenses how they fail to comfort me
Your hand pulling away and I’m devastated


There are a million stories of rejection in the naked world. Funny thing about rejection, though, is it’s also an act with two performers; we can’t experience rejection without being in a position of being rejected. As Alanis sings, Somewhere along the way I think I gave you the power to make me feel the way I thought only my father could.

Rejection ends when you pull the plug on the power.

You’re too busy to talk? Well, so am I. And sometime we’ll connect, or we won’t, but I won’t waste time worrying about it. Don’t want to hire me? Well, bud, that’s your loss. The party I’m not invited to isn’t a party worth attending, and yes, we can be just friends.

Remove the sense of failure and the rejection fades. Life happens.

But rejection can dig mighty big holes sometimes, and the deepest hole is the loss of love. Life is suddenly crowded with ghosts: the ghost making coffee, the ghost eating dinner, the ghost reading the book, caring for the kids, driving the car, laughing, talking, making love. You could find peace if only you weren’t surrounded by so many damn ghosts. And if only you understood why.

No easy answers. And no easy return when someone you love leaves you, but there is a return. You have to remember that the trip home takes one day at a time, with a little help from your friends. Meeting rejection with acceptance.


Oh these little projections how they keep springing from me
I jump my ship as I take it personally
Oh these little rejections how they disappear quickly
The moment I decide not to abandon me


To all the rejected in the world.