Love, Sex & Alienation in Manchester

I heard about the Manchester Spring through Facebook (via Josh R) of all places. I guess he saw the topic (Love, Sex & Alienation) and decided I would be interested.

What are relationships? Why do we seek them out, and how can they enrich our lives? Spring invites you to a thoughtful matinee discussion on the borders and nuances of human interaction. From anthropological, biological, social and philosophical perspectives this event will explore the sticky and personal terrain of love, sex and alienation. What do human relationships have the potential to be? What do they look like when they’re going well?

The speakers were… Rosie Wilby and Don Milligan

It was the first time I had ever been to a spring and to be honest first time I had really heard of them. The subject reminded me of geekstalksexy event we put on years ago. Rosie talked about her experience and feelings about non-monogamy, as she did for BBC Radio 4 and elsewhere a while ago.

This view point on non-monogamy didn’t go down quite as smoothly as I thought it would with quite a left leaning audience. To be fair the spectrum of non-monogamy was boiled down to pretty much cheating or poly (we all know theres so much more to this field). The conflict was moved up a level when someone suggested that there was no way you could get the same level of love from multiple people and that you maybe poly people might be wasting their lives trying.

This was seriously upsetting and as a non-poly person, even I was slightly shocked at this. Thankfully a lady passionately responded and made the person rethink their narrow view.

Rosie then made the excellent point that even if you don’t think its for you, we must be supportive of peoples choices. She compared it to what people said in the 80’s and 90’s about queer people and the feminism movement right now. And she was dead right!

We must support peoples rights to make well informed decisions about what works for them. If that be serial monogamy, non-monogamy or anything else. As long as its not harmful to others and everybody involved are giving informed consent (something we talked a lot about on LoveGrumps yesterday which you unfortunately won’t ever hear due to the bandwidth issues we experienced).

Rosie was full of good points and she made one about communication and having the confidence ask for what you want and don’t want. I was going to make the point that its usually a relationship break up when the people involved stop communicating.

Then the talk turned to children, logical families, emotional faithfulness, assumptions about relationships and what we learn from media about relationships. A lot of ground was covered and likewise Manchester Spring looks like a interesting place for these types of conversations.

Who Cares?

Something Rosie said stuck with me long afterwards. It was the nature of love affair friendships. She made the point that she has a friend who she only watches films with, a close friend she goes out with, another one she knows is really into something she loves, etc, etc. The instant answer is… “yes but those don’t involve having sex/sleeping with them?” But is a relationship not complete without sex? Who are you to say the relationship I have with my friends and family doesn’t count? Point is, could it unrealistic to expect one person to fill all those roles. Maybe Helen Fisher is right? lust, attraction and attachment can be/is better achieved by multiple people?

I am personally not poly, into open relationships or anything on the map of non-monogamy but know quite a few people who are and considered what it would be like for myself personally. Could I really cope, would I end up jealous and twisted, do I have the maturity to really say what I want? Its a interesting one. Maybe we are more non-monogamous than we actually think?

One thing for sure is I wanted to talk about what a interesting weekend I had, but found it difficult to talk about it in a frank and open way. The idea of non-monogamy is still cast in the murky world of the unknown, maybe its time to be honest with ourselves and stop living the hollywood dream. Maybe we’ll feel so much better for doing so?

Blojsom 3.0 adds database storage and a even stronger API

My favorate blogging server Blojsom is shifting to Database storage for its next version. David Czarnecki the owner of the Open Source project outlined its very active history.

  • 01/29/2003 – blojsom project was registered on SourceForge and development was started.
  • 02/02/2003 – blojsom 1.0 was officially released. 18 releases were made in the 1.x cycle.
  • 09/10/2003 – blojsom 2.0 was officially released.
  • 06/28/2004 – Apple officially announces Tiger Server wherein blojsom is bundled as Weblog Server.
  • 03/14/2006 – blojsom 2.30 was officially released. 30 releases have been made in the 2.x cycle.

I remember running Blojsom betas, I think I started at Blojsom 0.7 when it could only handle one blog at a time. Then Blojsom 2.x came around and gave the whole project a real boost because it could easily handle many blogs under one install. I think the record is still 25,000 by some university in Australia. During the 1.x life of Blojsom, lots of plugins were developed and Blojsom was seriously deconstructed by the guys at HP research labs as part of there semantic blogging project. Its one of the things which I loved about Blojsom. Its nod towards something bigger than just simply blogging. Jon Udell did a talk about controlling our own data at Etech recently and one of snippits I heard was about he would run Xpath searches over his blog to pull out certain things. Its a step beyond tagging but one of the things which Blojsom has had for quite some time (Q3 2003 actually). Blojsom also has some other great stuff going for it like LDAP support!

Anyway, its a awesome blogging server and I believe Blojsom 3.0 will be better than Word Press. Its outgrown its roots in Bloxsom, which I believe is now struggling to stay around? And out grown all the Java solutions like Roller and Snipsnap. Being Java based will keep it out of the mainstream because most people have a LAMP setup on there hoster, but otherwise Blojsom 3.0 would be a bigger deal. Anyway more details about Blojsom 3.0

The first major change has been in the way blojsom is “wired” together. I've rewritten blojsom to use Spring for its dependency injection and bean management. There were aspects of the blojsom 2.x codebase that were more “patchwork” with respect to how certain components used or referenced other components.

The second major change has been in the datastore. I don't necessarily think I've exhausted all that can be done using the filesystem as a content database, but I've been feeling like there's a lot of development energy into making relations between data in the filesystem that can be expressed very easy using a relational database.

In blojsom 3.0, I've settled on using a relational database for the datastore. I'm using Hibernate as the ORM library to manage the data. This means goodbye to all the .properties files for configuration! It was fun while it lasted. The templates and themes are still stored on the filesystem, but I'd envision also storing the template data within the database as well. I've already prototyped use of the Velocity database template loader. I imagine removing any filesystem dependency will allow blojsom to be used in a clustered environment more easily.

Ultimately I think this will allow blojsom to scale much more than I think it can using the filesystem as a content database. I don't believe there are any esoteric relationships among the data in blojsom as to require a full-time DBA to manage an installation of blojsom.

The last major change has been in evolving blojsom's API.

For awhile now there are aspects of the API that were a throwback to needing certain data or referring to elements a certain way. I just wanted a more self-documenting and less redundant API.

For example, I've renamed the BlojsomPlugin interface to Plugin. I felt that having the org.blojsom.plugin package was declarative enough, but that keeping BlojsomPlugin was too redundant. None of the APIs have gone away, they're just more simple and straightforward.

The long and short of it is that you can do all of the things in blojsom 3.0 that were done in previous releases of blojsom. There are a few more components and plugins to migrate to 3.0, but I'm happy with how far things have come in such a short time given the scope of the changes.

You're more than welcome to start playing with blojsom 3.0 right now. All that you need to do after setting up your database is to add a blog and a user for that blog and you'll be able to login through the administration console.

If any of this interests you, feel free to participate on the blojsom-developers mailing list.

Being hosted with, it would be wrong for me to not to choose PostgreSQL for my database backend. I would love to try other storage backends like a XMLDB but I can't quite experiment with this blog till I've tested it fully. Maybe there will be a way to run one blog on a Database and another on a filesystem or XML Database? Because that would be great. If worst comes to worst I will just run another copy of Blojsom for testing purposes.

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