Ruderal – Growing Where it Can

Found this on Twitter today. It’s a great word for urban exploration, at least for me. I do like the plants growing in odd places: rooftops, cracked cement, and railway tracks as shown in the photograph. Sort of abandoned gardens and yet, most were never planted deliberately. Where have you seen something growing in spite of it’s habitat?

Word of the day: “ruderal” – able to thrive on disturbed or broken ground, or among waste (Latin rudus, rubble). Used esp. of plant species.

Get in the Road Trip Mood

Find a vintage motel or hotel postcard on eBay. Pick something from your local area so you will know the streets, more or less. Use Google Street View (find the location on the back view of the postcard) see if you can find the motel now. Is it still there at all? If so, is the name the same? Spot the differences between then and now.

Source: Caribou Motel Barrie Orilla Ontario ON Canada Vintage Chrome Postcard | eBay

Take it on the road and visit the site. Get a photograph and (if you have a site) post the then and now images. Find some history, if you can. Or design a history for the motel yourself. Who owned and operated it over the years? Did they love it, grow too tired to keep it going, run out of money? What changes happened around them in the local area?

I found the Caribou Motel in the present, it’s gone. Replaced by a new gas bar. Nothing left of the old motel and diner except the space around the new building. You can see some curb out by the road and the parking lot is bigger than the current commercial business would need. Small hints at what once was.


You can see what became of the Caribou in urban exploration photos from CopySix and other explorers who posted to Flickr and Ontario Abandoned Places. Note: the CopySix post has a comment from the original owner’s family.

Submitted Myself for Reinstatement at the Open Directory Project

I was looking up something tonight and found a link to the Open Directory Project (aka Dmoz or ODP). I was an editor there, shedragon, for about ten years. I liked being part of the project, seeing it evolve and tweaking categories for topics I was interested or involved in.

odp dmoz

I forget why I left now. Something I was annoyed about. Isn’t that so often the story. I did seem to have upset someone in the upper management of the directory but I never found out what it was about. I think that’s actually why I did leave. I can remember being annoyed at the close mouthedness of it and feeling I couldn’t even defend myself because I had no idea what the problem/ issue was.

I put a lot of time and energy and care into the directory. I was quite proud to have become an editall and manage several larger categories in the directory. Likely I burnt out and I did leave and not regret the decision. I still don’t. I do tend to get absorbed into things so it is good for me to take some steps back and give myself space to find diversity instead of becoming too focused.

Anyway, today (just now) I checked if my old login still did anything. Not expecting it would. But, some part of it was still there. So I filled out the short form to ask to be reinstated.

It would be nice to fix up the categories for urban exploration and ASCII art again. But, I’ve got plenty to keep me busy sorting out my own link collections and sites. It is nice to be part of something though. I wish Dmoz had grown, along with Google. It’s a shame it didn’t. It’s still a decent resource if someone is looking after the section you’re looking in. That’s likely why I applied. I do like history and archives!

via – DMOZ – the Open Directory Project.

30 Fun Things to do with a Digital Camera

  • Create a wish list. Make a catalogue of things you would like for your next birthday, Christmas or other event.
  • Take a photo of important information like a list of phone numbers, your Christmas card list, something you need to remember later and so on. Take a photo of your shopping list so you can send it to yourself if you forget the list at home.
  • Keep an idea file with photos of things you have seen and would like to make yourself. Or a hairstyle you would like next time you are getting a trim.
  • Photograph collections of things. An especially effective way to deal with clutter from collecting too many things. Choose which you really want to keep and photograph the collection before you disperse the rest. 
  • Play scavenger hunt with friends or family. Photograph something specific in your home or town and challenge others to find the item or place you photographed.
  • Turn a photo into a jigsaw puzzle instead of the more traditional greeting card sent for events, holidays and such occasions.
  • Become a photojournalist and collect all your photos to tell a story.
  • Use your photos for digital scrapbooking and keeping an art journal.
  • Choose something interesting or unique and take a photo of a day, create a series. See if you can take a photo a day for a full month, even a full year.
  • Take photos in black and white and see how different people, places and things look in shades of grey.
  • Photograph collections of things by colour. Display items of all sorts, but all of them are red, for instance.
  • Photograph the same place at sunset and again at sunrise, make sure you have the camera positioned in the same spot for both photographs.
  • Practice portrait photography using dolls, stuffed animals and other inanimate toys with faces. Pose them and sort them in patterns and try different light and shadows too.
  • Photograph reflections in windows, water and anything else creative. Mirrors don’t really count, too easy.
  • Try night photography. Make the most of available light or explore the flash features (avoid washed out photos from flash).
  • Take selfie photos. Explore new ways to take quick self portraits.
  • Photograph people with different facial expressions. Start a collection.
  • Create a household inventory. Useful for insurance but a good way to go through what you have and sort it out.
  • Take a photo of old photos and other things which will fade with time. A digital photo can keep them fresh, preserved.
  • Photograph your luggage when you travel. If anything goes missing you can show just what you had when you started out.
  • Play with macro and close up photos. Insects are a good challenge, interesting and not hard to find out in the garden. Flowers and plants are popular for up close pictures too.
  • Photograph anything you would like to sell and post the photo to online forums where people are buying.
  • Try street photography. If you’re too shy find a good place to people watch and pretend you’re checking your camera while you take the photos.
  • Try food photography. Learn how to display fruit, vegetables and home baked goodies for taking great images.
  • Take photos by candlelight. Make them romantic or spooky.
  • Try urban exploration, taking a photo of something forgotten or derelict in your area.
  • Play with focus. Focus on items near and then try the same photo with the focus on something in the background.
  • Try catching a water drop and the ripples they create in the standing water.
  • Go abstract, looking for interesting shapes, textures and colours to turn into unique images.
  • Take a drive and get into landscape and nature photography. Or, find a great spot where you can take a photo of the cityscape for your town/ city.

The Web Directoress

I’ve got the idea to start two web directories. I had the idea last year, even the year before when I paid for software to set up a web directory. But, the set up is surprisingly detailed, kind of fussy and time consuming.  At least the way I see it all coming together.

I bought a new domain for an ASCII art directory. Partly because I do make my own ASCII art and I really do like it. Partly because I would like to see the old ASCII art from the newsgroups and beyond, saved. Most of the ASCII art collections I know of are extinct, abandoned or not getting much TLC any more. Last of all, I’m setting up an ASCII art directory because the posts I make with ASCII art get (by far) the most traffic on HubPages and my other blogs too. Makes me feel a bit bad for all the writing posts and the work I have put into that, but we have to deal with how things really are, not some dream version of how we want the world to be.

The other directory is going to be a Green Living History sort of thing. The focus will be on urban exploration with offshoots for related history and repurposing things. (Might include Pagan links too but I’m not really sure if I want to load more on my plate).

I think both directories can do well for bringing in Adsense/ Google ads. But, I don’t want to stick with that and hope for the best. That is the “so far” plan as far as advertising. But, I have looked at a couple of options which will require more looking at and thinking and planning.

I’m going to have to make graphics for the directories soon. I hadn’t even put that on the list yet.

HubPages Apprenticeship Program (My Application v.2)

This is a copy of my second application. The first one was messed up. I wish I had kept a copy – it would have been simpler to repost than start over. But, I also like to read over what I sent and judge what worked and what might not have (especially if I don’t get accepted).

It turns out the error is something at HubPages and they can’t find me there when it comes to joining the program. But, I get paid and my articles appear, so I am just going to leave it at that.

HubPages Apprenticeship Program Application

* Required


Final Details

We’re looking for committed, consistent, passionate writers, so please share with us any samples of writing you have already published online, as well as your interests.

I’m a dedicated blogger. Since starting online in 1996 I have run several of my own sites and written for others. There is nothing as great for inspiration and building enthusiasm as being part of a group project or blogging network. This is the main reason I am applying for the Apprenticeship. I could use some fresh input, the group feedback and better ideas for some of the blogging skills I haven’t fully explored while working on my own.

They asked for any others you cared to add, up to 3 all together.

Word Grrls
Green Living History

Creative writing, ASCII Art, urban exploration, rural ruins, abandoned houses, crochet, holiday crafts and traditions, dragons, text art, coffee, web publishing, writing online, Ubuntu Linux, Movable Type, being Pagan, visual arts, art journals, creating web graphics, local history, local paranormal stories, odd art, being a plus sized woman, digital photography, creative photography…

Corporate Communications – a 2 year program at Centennial College in Ontario. – The course was geared to writing in-house publications and included public relations. The focus was on writing in the news reporting genre.

I’ve been writing online for writing networks, other sites and creating, maintaining and promoting (producing) my own sites and blogs since 1998. I work on my own mainly. But, I enjoy working with a group too. In the past I was a member of,, BellaOnline, Suite101, LockerGnome and – some of these are no longer available.



From Wikipedia: Serendipity is a propensity for making fortuitous discoveries while looking for something unrelated.

Now and then you find a really good word for something you never thought had a good word for it. I like the way this word sounds, like the slippery curved back of a sea serpent snaking up and down along the waves.

Think about looking for something online, reading a few blogs, sites and forums then finding something else that just takes over your full attention, something you never would have found otherwise. This happens to me quite a bit. I find new art forms, new ideas and names for things I had an interest in but never would have guessed others are actually involved in enough to give it a name, like urban exploration, ASCII art.

Write a scene where your character has a chance discovery, a case of serendipity.

How To Build Your Own Web Directory

Once upon a time I was an editor in the great Dmoz (Open Directory Project) web directory. I stayed there about ten years as an active editor. Now I am editing in the BOTW directory. I still like adding sites, caring for and maintaining a list for a topic I am passionate about. However, it is nice to do so without anyone else making up the rules. So, I guess that is how I started the idea of beginning my own web directory. Not a huge project like Dmoz or BOTW. I am just going to pick topics I like: rural exploration, urban exploration, historical places, maybe other things like arts and crafts too. Time will tell. The plan is to begin with rural exploration in Ontario, then rural exploration in Canada. I plan to start each smaller section one at a time, until it builds up.

I started making a list of sites using a Blogspot blog. Then I moved it to Movable Type on a domain I picked out. But neither of these options was working well as a software for building and keeping a list. Both were cumbersome and messy to work with in this way. I looked at other ideas for link management but didn’t find anything except bookmark lists. Then I found two plugins that would work with WordPress for building a web directory (Directory Press and Web Directory WordPress Plugin) versus a directory of links. There is a difference!

I ended up loading the plugins to have a look at them but the software I am actually going to try using for the web directory are IndexScript and SKALINKS, both are freeware. Two different web directory software packages. I will let you know how it goes as I get it figured out on my web host and domain. They both look fine in the demos available on their sites.

As I was looking for software I found a few links about building a web directory. They are all geared to people setting it up for getting paid submissions. That isn’t my plan. I will allow submissions but I’m not asking for money. If submissions are free then I don’t have to feel I owe anyone a link. I can choose to list them or not based on the content of the site rather than the content they add to my bank account. I think it works better that way.

Associated Content: Monetize Your Website by Creating a Paid Web Directory

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Blog: Some Advice Before Creating a Web Directory

SEO Blog: Web Directories – Worth Doing Well

Intelliants: How to Make Your Directory Popular

Intelliants: How to Monetize your Directory

Intelliants: Niche or General Directory? Which to Choose?