Dewey Decimal Dunderhead

Melvil Dewey

Melvil Dewey – It’s all his fault.

Right up to the Mayan Apocalypse, I was using a complex, hierarchical system of Categories to identify the posts on Beautiful Railway Bridge. No Tags – they seemed too freeform to deal with. I wanted to be consistent and logical, as much for myself as for you, dear readers, who probably don’t care. I needed to find posts by some “objective” criteria, rather than saying, “well, what did I call it last time?”

So I adopted a bastardised version of the Dewey Decimal System, as used in libraries, with subject names instead of numbers. It quickly became a burden since I wasn’t well-versed enough in the system to use it properly. When I couldn’t think of a suitable classification, I invented a ragtag rabble of categories, stuffed into a heading called “Culture,” and used in the anthropological sense of anything to do with human societies. I was only happy with the “People” category, which contained, well, people.

My system was a nightmare. I seemed to spend more time trawling through the hierarchical categories, in search of terms I’d used before, than I did in writing the post. Or I would have to insert new terms in the right place. The inevitable classification fatigue occurred, and I found myself using fewer and fewer categories, while at the same time becoming ever more frustrated because the system was not working.

I did not heed WordPress’ quite sensible advice about the enervating effect of proliferating categories, and its solution – tags. Until the eve of destruction, that is. A new era called for a complete rethink. I took their words to heart and converted all my hard-won categories to tags, destroying in the process their hierarchical relationships. This is akin to a Bolshevik Revolution in which even the Bolsheviks have no authority. Truly liberating or, as Yeats would say:

Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world

But I still needed categories. I decided on a few, extremely broad categories, and only allowed myself one per post. I made pages to hold links for the posts in those categories – you can see them under the blog title. Trouble is, I now have almost a thousand orphan posts, unreachable from the search bar. It’s called throwing out baby with the bathwater.

Never mind. New era, new methods, and I’m working backwards to add a category and rework the tags in previous posts.

It should take less than 3 years.

Rumble Rumble Discontent…

I am not best pleased with this internet thingy right now. Beautiful Railway Bridge at Blogger, the art and photography gallery, went doolally over the last couple of days. I could get to the dashboard, even make posts, but the stupid bloody internet couldn’t find the blog. Unavailable due to “network errors.” I only found out where the problem lay by using the Library computer, where I discovered that some interfering, busybody organisation called Websense has been filtering out my site. I sent them an email, discovered that they couldn’t get an IP from the blog name, and that had something to do with how they classified the blog. This was the upshot.

The site you submitted has been reviewed and assigned the following category: – Blogs and Personal Sites

Categorization updates should be reflected in the next scheduled database publication, and will be available shortly to Real-Time Updates subscribers.

Sounds promising, doesn’t it? We shall see.

The other thing contributing to my disgruntlement is the appalling slowness of my internet service. Sometimes it positively trundles along at walking speed and then, for no apparent reason, chokes off to the point where I lose connection. It’s never been an Olympic sprinter. Which makes hard work of something that should be pleasurable, and is one of the reasons I so frequently get behind in reading, liking, and commenting on your blogs – they take forever to load. Getting to WordPress for the Reader, Notifications, and Stats is also a slow business. I’m not famous for patience, and get a lot of growling practice (really, I do growl at vexing things) with all this going on.

So, as a reality check, does Beautiful Railway Bridge load in a timely fashion where you are? And how about WordPress? I need some sort of comparison. Thanks.


If you were temporarily seeing ads on Beautiful Railway Bridge, then I apologise for the infestation. I’ve had the No Ads upgrade since moving to WordPress, but decided to go for the all-singing, all-dancing Pro Bundle upgrade. Which meant waiting for No Ads to expire before I could sign up for the new package. From now on you shouldn’t be seeing any more.

I also registered a new domain for Beautiful Railway Bridge as part of the package – – to which you should be redirected from the old URL. To be on the safe side, I suggest re-bookmarking Beautiful Railway Bridge in case there are any problems.

I hope this works. Don’t trust technology.

Later on. I really like this new font, Le Monde Sans. I’d been hoping the upgrade would include American Typewriter, but on reflection I think it would be too gimmicky for general use. Le Monde Sans adds a touch of class without being too fancy.

The Terrible Twos

WordPress tells me that Beautiful Railway Bridge is two today. It is on WordPress – I switched from on 23 November, 2010 – but we are in fact three and a quarter (and a bit). Beautiful Railway Bridge was born on Bloomsday (June 16), 2009, when I still lived in Seattle.

I want to thank everyone who has read, liked, commented on, and subscribed to this blog, and your blogs, which are windows on the world. In particular, thanks to the regulars with whom I can have a good blather (you know who you are). It means a lot that I’m writing to and for real people, rather than the howling ghosts of cyberspace. Part of the reason for persisting so long must be that the pleasure of blogging – having your very own soapbox – is meaningless without people crazy enough to listen to you.

Beautiful Railway Bridge still has an outpost on Blogger. Beautiful Railway Bridge at Blogger is a gallery of my art and photography, where I will eventually post everything that comes under those categories. Just the images, though, and there’s still a backlog to post. Blogger has better synchronicity with Google+ and the blog is what they call “dynamic” – it’s a lot easier to see the images in total. The downside is the corporate Google look.

So thanks for supporting Beautiful Railway Bridge, wherever you found it! I hope you enjoy reading the blog as much as I do writing it.

Beautiful Railway Bridge’s Day Off

Yea verily I say unto you, brothers and sisters, that on the 7th day poetmcgonagall shall rest from his labours, forever and ever (Awen). Well, until Monday…

I will instead be doing maintenance on Beautiful Railway Bridge, where the back office has become a tip. Everything is in the wrong place and every task is made more difficult because I can’t get at the stuff I need to do it efficiently.

Hopefully, next Sunday I can have a real day of rest, because I like this idea. Every Sunday from now on shall be a holiday. Huzzah!

WordPress is bad for my blood pressure

I spent a profane hour or so with the last post. It wasn’t difficult putting it together, but I had to fight to make the text black, something that occurs from time to time, and most recently with the Poetry Parnassus series. This theme – Twenty Eleven – only offers a wimpy grey text. I want a proper, assertive, black text, so I add a snippet of html that usually does the job without any trouble.

<div style=”color:black;”>text</div>

You can also specify different colours. It only needs to go in once, bracketing the whole post. This is the extent of my html knowledge, but I may need to learn more. I’m not sure why the Poetry Parnassus posts go doolally when I add this code, which propagates throughout the post and royally screws up the formatting. When I strip it out of the text panel, switching back to visual puts it all back in again. It took over an hour fiddling with the post, and almost jumping up and down with rage, before the problem resolved itself. By which time I was bleeding from the ears. The worst part is that I don’t know what I did that eventually fixed it.

Has anybody had this or a similar problem with WordPress? Looks like I’ll have learn html.