Monday, December 25, 2006

Idiosyncratic notes

Last week when I was doing my laundry, I decided to take a look at the bulletin board up on one of the walls. There was the usual, used items for sale, rooms for rent, but then something else really stood out at me, an open memo pad with these words written in the bottom right hand quadrant of the page:

Housewife's Tip #14

take the phone off the hook
after you've booked a ticket to

don't pack. leave.

-Ann Shin
I found it rather mysterious, and due to the numbering, I figured there were more underneath that page of the pad, but I peeked behind it, and all the other sheets were the same. Bizzare. I took one of the sheets for some strange reason, and I just found it while cleaning up my room.

Saturday, December 23, 2006


Last night I attended a fun event right around the corner from my home: TIMEKODE. In the beginning, it was a full-on breakdancing competition, with really impressive breakers from different schools around Ottawa. I was inspired by the clown-like pop-and-lock style moves of some of the dancers. Then the circle broke up and everyone else started dancing. At one point, most of the dancers left, and there was a huge lull, but at around midnight a big rush of folks rushed in. A friend who also lives in the neighbourhood took a break to fetch her hoola hoop and I joined her and grabbed my wands (decorated broomstick cut in half ). Good times !

Monday, December 18, 2006

The highlight of my day today was a Bikram yoga class after my shift at the Rama Lotus. I got in nice an early and positioned myself right next to the heater. I was a bit concerned because it began at 3:30 and I hadn't eaten lunch at that point, but luckily I wasn't feeling hungry. I really got into the class and surprised myself at how far I could flex. By the end, I was awash in sweat and feeling euphoric. Earlier today I kind of beat myself up for not getting up early enough to get to the morning class.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

What's going on with me

For the last 2 weeks I have been working 2 part time jobs, one at 123 Academy, an ESL school for Korean kids, and one as a care-taker for the Rama Lotus yoga centre. The latter opportunity I acquired recently; I like cleaning and it's nice to be surrounded by people who are focused on healing a lot (I otherwise don't make such opportunities readily). The best part of the job is that I get unlimited free yoga. Although I intended to do yoga on six of the days this week, I only managed to get out three times. I've really been struggling with self-discipline a lot lately. Particularly, today I rushed out the door to get to a 10:45 class and arrived at 10:48 so I did an about-face and back at home I am pushing myself to conquer feeling of defeat.

I feel like I'm boycotting Christmas this year. I'm not going home as I usually do this year, and I haven't purchased a single present or even wrote a card. Bah humbug ! Holidays often make me feel depressed because I get the sense that I don't have as close relationships with people as everyone else does. I know I'm completely responsible for that; sometimes it's hard to face.

On a brighter note, I'm going to a Mummers party this evening. A couple of years ago I spent my winter in St. John's, Newfoundland where this tradition is popular, but I didn't get to participate in it (I heard the city has "banned" it for security reasons).

Monday, November 13, 2006

Campus recapitulation

Well, a lot has changed in my life since I last updated. I decided recently that a degree in Computer Science is really not going to take me where I'm willing to go and so I dropped my courses. I'm pretty sure I'll never return to university.

After being mentally destroyed by my 3rd year of Computer Science at Carleton University, I took a year off and did some travelling out in Eastern Canada. It was nice to move around, but I had some complications living with others that led me to return to Ottawa 2 summers ago to work and prepare to return to my studies. I thought that If I studied part time and worked part time, I wouldn't be so overwhelmed and I could do more of the work where my heart was, in the community around university.

I was especially interested in returning to Carleton because it would give me a reason to work with the Garden Spot again. As well, I felt compelled to promote Free Software on campus. This interested transformed into the opportunity to start a Free Culture chapter when I found out about it through reading the book Free Culture: How Big Media Uses Technology and the Law to Lock Down Culture and Control Creativity last Fall.

One of the problems I'm faced with now that I don't have the legitimacy of being a student is that I've made a comitment to start a chapter of Free Culture on campus at Carleton University. I feel that if I withdraw all energy from the project it will die because others haven't expressed too much intersted in taking initiative for the direction of the group. In retrospect, I realize that it was unwise to try to start a group on my own considering that I have little experience organizing people. I really need the support of at least a couple other people who are willing to take partial responsability for the group.

Even though I may divert energy away from making Free Culture Carleton a group that continues past my stay at Carleton, I still am willing to make a minimal amount of effort to keep the group somewhat alive this year. I promised that Free Culture Carleton would produce a DVDROM of Creative Commons media, and so I'll be making sure that happens. As well, I think Free Culture Carleton should do a movie night at the end of January and that's not too hard to make happen, so I'll see that through.

Feeling discouraged at the lack of awareness and interest in things relating to Free Culture at Carleton University, when Andy Kaplan-Myrth shared his interest in creating a national umbrella, Free Culture Canada, I felt compelled to get involved so I've been doing some promotional work with Free Culture Canada and building the web page as well as creating a local chapter here. This involvement makes it even more difficult to exit the academy with grace.

One thinh that has always irked me about the Free Culture movement is that it is a "student movement". I feel quite alienated amongst the student population, and find it hard to speak to them as an activist. In general, I find that most students quite apathetic even when it comes to things that impact their ability to entertain themselves and learn freely. Even the ones who do care find themselves too overwhelmed with work to do anything else effectively. It doesn't end there; as soon as students graduate and fall into their full-time careers and do nothing more than talk about their values every once in a while.

My interest in Free Culture stems from the fact that I am a self-directed student more than a participant in any given "discipline". The Free flow of information over the internet greatly facilitates self-directed learning. I feel that university has failed to thoroughly train me in many key technical areas computing, (i.e. Linux, C++, PHP, python) and I have been left to figure them out on my own. I have learned far more outside university than I have inside the walls, and the knowledge I acquired were towards a particular end. Unfortunately, I know of no institution that provides mentorship in pursuing self-directed learning at a post-secondary level.

Thus, instead of talking with students, I would much rather be talking to the creators out there. By this, I don't mean the academic community because that realm of discourse is one that is inaccessible to most. Instead I mean the popularizers of knowledge and culture. They are the ones who hold a stake in this new knowledge economy and they are going to be the ones who get peoples attention. I would much rather raise Free Culture awareness amongst these people because I feel they are more likely to put the knowledge into practice.

As well, I will to be a creator myself and to lead by example. Building Free Software, publishing media freely, and sharing this freedom with the people closes to me will allow me to entertain the possibility of a Freely sharing society. Eventually I'll prove that you can be paid to play Freely.

I also hope to be a voice in copyright and intellectual property reform in Canada. Although economic and political reform aren't as appealing to me as the sort of "direct action" I refered to above, I still feel they are worthy of my attention.

Until my activist/creative intentions feed me, I will be seeking some other paid work to compliment my teaching/playing job. It would be nice to get paid to play with food once again; I love chopping and serving so I think a catering job would be right up my alley.

Lastly, I will be crafting up a disappearing act for my student loan. The fear of paying it off is one of the things that led me to go running back to the academy, but I realize that there are lots of opportunities out there for me to make money doing something I love that don't require a degree.

I am a life-long student, I never dropped out, I only rose out. Now it's time to grow !

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Blessings: the opportunity to work/play with children

One last comment for today: I have an awesome job ! I am now getting paid to hang out with Korean children, help them with their homework, and taking them on outings. My employer: 123 Academy, a home that accepts students (roughly grades 5-9) from South Korea, takes care of them (housing and food), sends them into public schools here in Ottawa, and provides them with support from "teachers" for their homework and other activities. Not only is it the easiest job I've ever acquired, it was the job that was the easiest to acquire. My friend just asked me if I wanted a job, I accepted, and then I showed up. No resumes, no interviews, that easy. A ray of hope that the world really is working to shower me with blessings (TODO: order and read Pronoia Is the Antidote for Paranoia: How the Whole World Is Conspiring to Shower You with Blessings). I'm willing that it's not a case of "easy come, easy go".

Project porchlight: shedding a light on self

Well, I almost forgot about Project Porchlight, but I dedided to see if anyone had commented on my blog in the last little while and I found out that they had done so, and I commented back on their blog's "Notes for a Thursday evening". I just e-mailed them in hopes that I can get involved in their Dalhousie run of the project. I don't get many comments because I'm not friends with many "bloggers" (who use; I wish I could let the general public comment on this without having spam machines post porno links on my blog. Well, maybe I just need to bring others in...

Treating the neighbourhood ?

Since I've moved in, I've been thinking about getting to know my neighbours. I won't be going out this Halloween, and this got me thinking: taking children out trick-or-treating sure is a good way to get to know your neighbours. I think it's unfortunate that "tricks are for kids" and people of all ages don't have an opportunity to go from house-to-house and share treats. In Newfoundland they have a culture of Mummers which offers a forum for neighbours to exchange presences.

Another dream these thoughts have sparked: a block open-house where people in your neighbourhood would open up their houses to participants. There would have to be some sort of security measures to ensure that not just any stranger would be wandering in your house, and it would probably take a good deal of co-ordination, but I think it would be fesable with enough input. This way you could offer real food to your neighbours instead of polluting them with over-wrapped junk (every house becomes a drug dealer on Halloweeen).

Well, since I don't see this happening any time soon, and I won't be offering candy to our physical neighbourhood, I though I'd offer anyone who's listening some musical treats by putting up links to my favorite music on on my sidebar.

Fighting with selves

I'm having some serious difficulty applying myself to an assignment that's due today at midnight. Once you get a taste of doing work that actually matters in the world (i.e. cooking for the G-Spot, promoting Free Culture) it's hard to work on these silly exercises.

Lately I've been feeling like the ghosts of my own past are comming back to haunt me. Maybe it's true what they say about the boundary between the living and dead worlds being thin this time of year. All of the initiatives that never took off, all of the opportunities I've passed up... soon enough they will lay to rest. I will only let them when my living spirit is strong enough to stand up to them. BOOO !

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Quintessential pumpkins

I was feeling particularly fun Sunday morning of the Thanksgiving holidays and while I was washing the dishes listening to CBC's Thanksgiving special, I started to look ahead to Halloween, and thinking about how it has been perverted from it's original pagan context. So I started singing a song that seemed to be in my subconscious mind, like it was part of a kid's song, but substituting the content of the verses to pay respect to the elements of paganism. I feel in more in concord paganism than I do with Christianity (though I recognize God). So, here's the song:

Quintessential pumpkins

five little pumpkins sitting on a tree
one jumped off and said to me
i am the light that guides the way
when it cometh to the end of day

four little pumpkins sitting on a tree
one jumped off and said to me
i am the fire that burneth bright
inspiring minds all through the night

three little pumpkins sitting on a tree
one jumped off and said to me
i am the vessel to hold your candle
i make your lamp so that you can handle

two little pumpkins sitting on a tree
one looked out and said to me
i am the air that gives lamp fuel
for cutting the flame i am the tool

one little pumpkin sitting on a tree
it looked out and said to me
i am the earth where you plug your jack
for lending support i have a knack

and then they all merged into one really big pumpkin above my head and then i merged with that really big pumpkin and became a jack-o-lantern

i am a jack smiling crookedly
sometimes goofy, sometimes scary

now i think i'll go back to my tree
and multiply quintesentially


Monday, October 16, 2006

While I'm out, may I remember when I come back

This evening I was singing a song about remembering my dreams because I want to, and I thought it would be a good form of mental suggestion. My room mate heard me and gave me some mugwart, which is an herb which is supposed to help you dream. I smoked some, and it gave me a bit of an enjoyable light-headded feeling. Then later I found out that CBC has expanded their list of podcasted programs to include Ideas; hooray ! One of the selected episodes is called "While you were out" and it's all about sleep and dreaming. I heard the second part of it last year, and was quite intrigued about their discussion of lucid dreaming. May you too remember your dreams... if you will it be.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

The Tyrrany of Structurelessness

Today before attending the Garden Spot meeting, I read and essay, The Tyrrany of Structurelessness that gave me insight into why it is so important for organizations to have an explicit structure outlined. Right now the G-Spot is in the process of forming a constitution; I am pleased to see that the G-Spot is becomming more organized. We had a meeting today in part to discuss this.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Libre Commons

I've just finished reading this paper The politics of the libre commons and I've found it quite mind-expanding. Even though I've known for years that promoting democracy and communality through the use of digital technologies is something that I'm interested in, since I've begun participating in the Free Culture movement, I've always felt like there was something missing.

I recently got an e-mail from someone from the U of T who was considering starting a chapter there. It seems like they have given up with this endeavor, not due to any lack of dilegence, but rather, due to their view of Particularly, they felt that was not doing enough to facilitate discourse about these issues; they seemed to think that was more about propagandizing than anything else. Admitedly, I may have fallen into this pitfall, shamelessly promoting Creative Commons and Free Software without trying to engage opinions enough.

Now, concerning this paper: if I had not been introduced to some of the concepts of Deluzian philosophy by my friends, I would have been completely lost. Now I feel more motivated to learn about Deluzian philosophy. This paper takes a philosophical and political angle on "freedom of ideas". The paper criticizes both the Creative Commons and the Free Software movement, as the y supposes the need for law, and thus the state, to uphold these "commons". It criticizes the Free Software movement for being based upon assumptions about morality, and the Creative Commons for having no morality, no commonality.

After reading this paper, I visited the Libre Society's web page, started by the authors of this paper. As it turns out, this organization has created non-legal "licenses" for artistic works. They have a nicely designed manifesto . I'm happy to see that some are taking a more radical approach to the idea of the "commons" in our connected world.

Project porchlight

Today I signed up to volunteer for Project Porchlight

Project Porchlight is a campaign of One Change, a not-for-profit organization based in Ottawa, Ontario. The campaign's goal is to bring together business, community groups and volunteers to deliver one free compact fluorescent light bulb (CFL) to every household in Canada.

I just moved into this area of town dubbed Dalhousie in September; we live on Elm @ Preston. I told one of my room mate that I thought it would be fun to go door-to-door and hand out some sort of baked goods to our neighbourhood as a gesture of willingness to engage in our local community. I later realized that this wasn't the best approach. People would be too suspicious, and possibly feel like their space was being invaded. Participating in this campaign would allow me to meet my goal of getting to know the neighbourhood a little better in a way that was much more acceptable and understood. Maybe I can still give out cookies along with the bulbs :-)

Riding the internet

magicbike is a mobile WiFi (wireless Internet) hotspot that gives free Internet connectivity wherever its ridden or parked. By turning a common bicycle into a wireless hotspot, Magicbike explores new delivery and use strategies for wireless networks and modern-day urbanites. Wireless bicycles disappear into the urban fabric and bring Internet to yet unserved spaces and communities. Mixing public art with techno-activism, Magicbikes are perfect for setting up adhoc Internet connectivity for art and culture events, emergency access, public demonstrations, and communities on the struggling end of the digital-divide.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Tootin' the Commons

So, I've been playing a bit more with Free Software DJ tools on my computer, namely Mixxx (a DJing/mixing applicaiton) and Prokyon3 (a database application to organize music and create playlists). Both applications are cross-platform, which I really like because then I can promote them to pretty much everyone. Today I was mixing some electronica with a spoken word track of Alan Watts. It was fun. I only have one sound card, so I can't really properly DJ (you need to have a monitor).

I was using an old version, stable version of Mixxx, but I'm going to jump to the beta testing version. I would say this application is close to being something more than a toy, something that could be used in a professional setting, and from the looks of the developers e-mail list, the project seems active.

I'm really impressed at how much really great music (that few know about) is under a Creative Commons license. That is why I've decided that as a DJ, I would play only Creative Commons music. Of course, I'm a long way from being able to do gigs, but I'm pretty sure this is something I will become. In the mean time, I can toot the Commons by letting you know some of the great music I've discovered.

So, I revisited for the first time in a long while, and I was pleased to see that they have a "if you like this artist, you may like.." feature to their web site. So, following a trail, I've tuned into the free streams of these albums and I'm quite impressed.
Zilla - Egg : hammered dulcimer with beautiful ambient/downbeat electronic backdrops
Burning Babylon : infectious dub, "Jamaican roots tradition, but with an ear for the neo-dub stylings of the present day."
Headroom Project : "fuses traditional world music with modern rhythms and audio design, resulting in driving beats full of natural power, color, and heat."
Drop Trio : "melody-driven funk jazz band...careens between styles, with feet squarely in the New Orleans funk and Acid jazz camps, and nods to such diverse influences as progressive rock, classical composition and electronica."

As well, I've updated the Free Culture Carleton page about places to get free music. Tell me what you like about the Commons, I'd really like to know.

Lokey night

I need to hang out with my friends more often; I miss them. Last night I went out to Mike's Place to listen to DJ Lokey. I tried inviting some friends, but no one could show. I went anyway because I know this player; he's helping out Free Culture Carleton. Info on the lo:

The lokey massive is intended as a platform for the distribution and recombination of the byproducts of the world. As a scientist, designer and musician, i study the vast realms of data generated by observation, recorded by the distributed network of the rapidly evolving social organism. Replaying and recomposing reality to match the rhythmic pulse of society. I use broken, evocative pulses of chaos, synchronously echoing in and out of the collective consciousness, through your spine and out of your toes, into the roots of the world, grounding you into the potential universe. Desperate neural remapping, but with a cheeky sense of humour to smooth out the transition…
…im always interested to make new links across the planet, if what you see, hear or experience on this page strikes a harmonic chord within you, dont hesitate to send me a shout out down the tubes. The more connections we make in this world, the more we can work together to spread the vibe. I remain lokey, and at gmail dot com…

Leif hosts a show on CKCU entitled Stochastic Resonance, which airs Wednesday night from 12-2am (well, that's technically early Thursday). The flava is pretty mixed up; I say if you dig nice beats, get your aural eats with the lokey treats.

So, the night was moderately social for me; I met a bunch of folks from the Sound Mind club. They produce a zine and a CD compilation, and some of the members seem pretty intent on publishing their work on the internet under a Creative Commons license, but they're just starting out, so I don't think anything is online yet.

I found the crowd started to tapered off pretty hard at around 10:30 pm; it seems most of the people in Mike's place were there for the food and beer and not the DJ. It was the first instance of the venue's Thursday weekly DJ night; I hope more music lovers and dancers start comming out.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

On the dangers of not having a personal life

So, I've been blogging much more for Free Culture Carleton than I have here lately; somehow I feel that's indicative of my life. It occurs to me that I'm not doing enough to meet my personal needs. I fear sometimes like I'm just going to become a walking mouthpiece for a movement, and that people won't be able to relate to me as a human being anymore. I think people are intuitively drawn away from getting involved with activists that are self-sacrificing; I certainly have been. I'm going to be working on maintaining a balance between my personal needs, and my needs to be involved in social change.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

To every disgruntled pedestrian telling me to get off the sidewalk : "Bike's don't kill, cars do"

Yesterday my room mate Gwen recieved a call that threw the day into a storm of anger and sorrow. One of our mutual friends Mitch (I was not as close to him as she was) got hit by a drunk driver on his bike. He had to get surgery in his neck, and his chances of ever walking again are 1%. What is even more upsetting is that this happened almost 2 weeks ago, and friends that we have encountered several times did not let us know of his condition.

I hate automobiles. They are weapons of mass destruction. Not only are they responsible for massive environmental degradation, they are a power that anyone, no matter how irresponsible, can take into their hands. Seeing my room mate in such pain was very difficult. I'm saying a prayer for the well-being of our dear friend.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

On the reception and delivery of information

I'm pleased to be taking my COMP 3007 course with Tony White because it is his favourite undergraduate course to teach, and it shows. He makes a real effort to entertain the class as well as impart the knowledge, something I really appreciate. Professor White described our textbook, Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs as "THE best book on Computer Science I have ever read". The Forward of the book is a marvellous passage that I think any lay person should read if the want to understand the philosophy of computer programming. I have made note of some of my favourite quotes from the book so far, including:

The source of the exhilaration associated with computer programming is the continual unfolding within the mind and on the computer of mechanisms expressed as programs and the explosion of perception they generate. If art interprets our dreams, the computer executes them in the guise of programs!

Every reader should ask himself periodically ``Toward what end, toward what end?'' -- but do not ask it too often lest you pass up the fun of programming for the constipation of bittersweet philosophy.

Pascal is for building pyramids -- imposing, breathtaking, static structures built by armies pushing heavy blocks into place. Lisp is for building organisms -- imposing, breathtaking, dynamic structures built by squads fitting fluctuating myriads of simpler organisms into place.

Invent and fit; have fits and reinvent! We toast the Lisp programmer who pens his thoughts within nests of parentheses.

In effect, we conjure the spirits of the computer with our spells... A computational process is indeed much like a sorcerer's idea of a spirit. It cannot be seen or touched. It is not composed of matter at all. However, it is very real. ... The programs we use to conjure processes are like a sorcerer's spells. They are carefully composed from symbolic expressions in arcane and esoteric programming languages that prescribe the tasks we want our processes to perform.

It's a goal of mine to make my university experience fun this year. I already laughed heartily about 3 times in class today :) I think I should go visit my prof in his office hours and share my enthousiam for this book, and the course. I'm particularly motivated to do so after reading a chapter of Inge Bell's book This Book is not Required entitled "Support your local professor". I decided that if I want to become a teacher (I'm considering it), a good way to practice would be to present the information in this chapter to my professors. It's occured to me that a good way to learn how to give good massages would be to practice on a masseuse because they know how to give good feedback. Well, I bet it's similar with teaching. I haven't commited to doing this yet, but I wrote out some notes...

I'm considering dropping in on a Toastmasters meeting one of these days so I can get better at public presentations. For the first time ever, my room mate Mark Tovey interviewed me about Free Culture and how it relates to his most recent paper, and he gave me some nice comments on my delivery of answers, which I found to be rather encouraging. I know I've got it in me to be a good speaker, but I need some refinement. That being said, there's value in being silent in voice and mind, so on that note...

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Well, right now I'm at Carleton doing Free Culture communications because I don't yet have an internet connection at home. I left off Thursday, just before attending my COMP 3007 course. I'm pleased to have Tony White as a professor for this course because it's one of his favorite undergraduate courses to teach. Often in the beginning of a semester I find myself thinking along the lines of "if I'm to maintain an interest in this course, I'll have to do some self-study/work on things that relate to this ciriculum, because on it's own, it's just so dry". Often I don't. But when I left the course in which we will be learning the Scheme programming language, I felt compeled to read Douglas Hoffstader's analysis of Lisp, the mother language of Scheme in his "Metamagical Thema". Another fun self-directed learning task would be to fool around with Nyquist, a "sound synthesis and composition language based on a Lisp syntax". I just wish I was working in an organization that fostered this type of exploration. It's very hard for me to keep on track with my self-directed learning without some kind of support.

Speaking of extraciricular learning, that same day I participated in the RadFrosh filmfest, and despite my ADD tendencies, managed to sit through two films, The Take, and Battle Ground: 21 Days on the Empire's Edge, both very compelling works.

Yesterday I mostly just tried to make my home more habitable. Later I went to the GOSLING meeting for the first time in ages (when I was working at The Wild Oat, I always would have to work Friday evenings) with my room mate Mark Tovey. I invited Mark so he could meet some people involved in Open Source activism in government because he is currently seeking interviews with people concerning the paper he recently co-wrote Given enough minds...bridging the ingenuity gap (which I blogged about on the Free Culture Carleton site). It was great to be back in the Free Culture-related discourse; recently, I haven't been very socially engaged in the conversation. I know that I haven't made use of the mailing lists, discussion groups, blogs, and other digital communications available to me as much as I could, but there's something about live dialog you just can't beat. That's why I'm hoping that people will come join the Free Culture Carleton meetings. It just occured to me that it would be nice for the weekly Free Culture Carleton meeting to have alternating weeks of organizing meetings and chat and drink meetings.

That brings me up to today. Like I say, I'm just trying to do as much Free Culture Carleton internet organizing that I can before I head off to a volunteer appreciation party hosted by OPIRG. I look forward to dancing with my fellow activists.

alterlabel sampler volume1 : Tasty beats

This album is rather catchy. It reminds me of Ghislain Poirier and Sage Francis at times. I will always remember it as the album I listened to while applying for a CopyCamp ( subsidy. I look forward to checking out the alterlabel. I hope you folk will consider releasing your tracks in ogg format as well as mp3 (better quality, open standard/format). A reminder: by putting a No Derivatives condition on your music, you prevent DJs and podcasters from mixing your songs under Creative Commons license (and they're the ones who will help you promote your label).

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Currently reading ....

The book I am currently reading is called "Fighting For Hope: Organizing to Realize Our Dreams"(a review here). I am about half-way through it. The last book I was reading was "The Glass Bead Game" aka "Magister Ludi" by Herman Hesse, but I didn't finish it yet despite it being an intensely insightful book. Maybe now that I'm back in university I should read it to gear me up for the game, but one thing at a time. Just thought I'd let you know; I may have something more interesting to say about this when I finish this/these books.

I've been exposed !

Ahhhh ! I'm out there ! Creative Commons Canada has made my rinky-dinky poem about "Getting wikified" their feature content, and has linked to this poorly maintained blog. When I visited the site to fetch the web link to my Best of the CC-ca Web project (still in progress), I found this poem that I intended to make my footer. The fact that this poem became the featured content shows just how much Creative Commons Canada needs your contributions. When first noticed the homepage, I erupted in laughter. But then the harshness of exposure kicked in, and I realized "I gotta get my act together". So, here I am facing all you Commoners and sharing my life as of late.

Today is the first day of classes at Carleton University. Right now I am only taking 2 courses, COMP 3007, a course I dropped after failing the midterm, and COMP 4004 . To be honest, I have little interest in the game that is acedemics, but I'm determined to complete my degree anyway. I'm more interested in learning to organize that learning to absorb information that I will probably never use and doing work that has no practical use. That's why I'm staring up Free Culture Carleton.

The funy thing about this is that I am probably in the most unorganized state that I have ever been. I just moved to a new home (the details of which I'll get to shortly), and all of my belongings are still in boxes. You'd think a week would be enough time to get settled, but I decided (maybe unwisely) to become a mentor for RadFrosh, OPIRG-Carleton's alternative frosh. That ocupied a lot of my time in the last week. For a week I have had neither phone nor internet, which has made it difficult to co-ordinate. Also, just before moving I lost my PalmPilot with all of my todo, contact and scheduling info in it (luckily some of it was synched to my PC). Yet somehow things seem alright... one of the reasons being that I live in a good home.

The location of the home I live in is near Preston and Elm St. The neighbours in the area are quite friendly; it really feels like a neighbourhood. I quote one of my room mates "I've talked to more people in one week here than the whole year living in the Glebe [Holmwood & O'Connor]". The rent on the 4-bedroom unit we ocupy is very reasonable. The location is very close to the OTrain Bayview stop, which is very convienient for getting to school. But the best part is that I have great room mates. I don't have permission to blog them up yet, but I'm going to ask permission and hopefully I'll get to blogging them soon. It suffices to say that all 3 of my room mates are both interested in Free/Libre Open Source Software, and also interested in environmental sustainability and other issues affecting the public interest. Thus, we're considering calling the house "The Green Penguin house" (the penguin being the mascot for Linux), but we haven't reached a consensus on that yet. Oh, and that brings me to another wonderful thing about our house: we're organizing ! We will be having regular meetings with food, and agenda, a minutes-keeper, a facilitator, and consensus-based decision making. I am beginning to recognize the importance of social self-determinination. It all starts in the home, they say, so here's wishing "power-with" with every day.

Well, I hope that gives a broader window to my world. I imagine my life will be opening up more and more with every day. I'm getting heavy with creativity, so I hope to be sharing more in the Commons soon. I'll be sure to let the community know of any new displays.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Letting go

On Friday I endured a blow to my self-worth and self-sustenance: I lost my job at the Wild Oat. What it came down to was that I wasn't properly fulfilling the duties of my job, which involved stocking up the supplies for making sandwitches and crepes. Ever since I started there, I felt like I was holding onto that job by a very thin thread because I found it a challenge to remember to do everything and to do it quickly enough. This is the first time I have ever been let go from a job due to a failure to perform my job (I've gotten terminated due to overstaffing before). I was not disappointed, because -- as much as I like the product and the environment of the Wild Oat -- I wasn't really happy there. I appreciate that I got lots of delicious free food and drink and got to work with cool people, but there were some thing I found disagreeable

The pay was too low for the amount of work I had to do. I judge this from the other restaurants I have worked at. Once someone commented that everyone just accepts that they are making some sort of sacrifice to work at the Oat because they are driven by a higher purpose. That left a very bitter taste in my mouth. Working for a company that provides healthy and socially responsable (i.e. organic, fair trade) food/drink doesn't equate to creating positive change in the world. I was still working for the interests of profit, and for the comfort of those who hold economic priveledge. As much as providing healthy food made me feel a little better, that doesn't mean I shouldn't get a fair living wage.

Everyone pretends like it's "one big family" there, but the communication is pretty weak there. One day I showed up to work and Michal told me that I was being let go and that I should go home. I was totally shocked. As far as I knew, everything was going fine, and the little feedback I did get was good. But people were complaining about my performance for weeks, without so much as a word to me. I told him this, there was a phone call to the other co-owner, and then I was back on the job like this *finger snap*. Also, for the whole summer, there was not one meeting nor company get-together (aside from one organized completely by a co-worker). They pretend there like this is no authority, there is no boss, and that everyone just fills their role and things all work out. But there little democratic process to work out issues there so they just kind of lurk around in the collective concious there.

I've heard a lot of people complain about the management at the Wild Oat, particularly about Michal, and how's he's "crazy". Well, I didn't work with him much, but whenever I did, I felt appreciated by him. He's probably the reason why I didn't loose my job earlier. Ironically, a couple of days before I was let go, he said to me, "I'm so happy you're still working here !", and I smiled with hesitation, holding crossed fingers in the air.

It does hurt me to lose my job because it reinforces fears I have about supporting myself in this world, but really, I'm working to frame this situation in a positive light. Clearly this was not a job that maximized my strengths so now I have some motivation to find a better fit.

Well, that is in no way a complete account of my feelings about this situation, but it's a start. And speaking of start, I must start working now. I mean... I've got to pack up my stuff. I'm moving into a new home ! My new address is close to Preston @ Elm. Let me know if you're in the neighbourhood.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Balance :

Creative Commons DJ

One of my goals in activism is to get more people exposed to Creative Commons media, particularly music. It seems pretty obvious that one good way to accomplish this is to become a DJ. Frankly, I'd much rather convince a DJ friend (I have several of them) to play Creative Commons music. However, I think it would be easier to learn how to DJ than to convince any of them to become a Creative Commons DJ. That's not to underestimate the skill involved in DJing; it's rather to exemplify my difficulties them on to it. First of all, the cause just doesn't hit home with them; because the illegality of downloading, mixing, and then re-releasing those mixes on the internet rarely affects a DJ's ability to do their work, they just don't care. Most of the DJs I know either use turntables or CD-Jay decks; records and CDs of Creative Commons music is much harder to find than the digital media. Hence, it's probably more fit for a Creative Commons DJ to be an "e-jay" or a laptop DJ. To be in solidarity with the Free Software movement a Creative Commons DJ should use Free Software like Mixx to mix tracks. That's a learning overhead that even the existing e-jays may be unwilling to invest in. So, by no means am I saying I'm going to become a DJ. But I'm considering it. It's a great reason to expand my awareness of Creative Commons music and actually write some reviews of albums from that I have been listening to. More to come.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Mate my friend

I would like to take this opportunity to promote Yerba Mate as a stimulating alternative to coffee. Yerba Mate contains caffene like coffee, but it also contains a wealth of other vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, etc. that give it a completely different feeling. I like to describe the mate experience as "a hum rather than a buzz". Although too much mate does make my throat feel a bit sore and dry (as does coffee), I never get the stomach cramps that coffee gives me due to it's acidic composition. In Ottawa, Yerba Mate can be bought for $6 a kilo (dirt cheap !) at the Latin American Grocer on Sommerset @ Empress. You can also get a gourd (mate) and straw (bombillia) there, highly reccommended.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Die blog ? No, dying to get out blog !

I've had thoughts about killing my blog again... no, it's not that I'm unsatisfied with blogger. It's just that sometimes I wonder why I even have a blog. I'm pretty sure no one reads the funkin' thing (yeah, that's my new replacement for the bad ol' f-werd). You can tell by the lack of comments. Maybe that's untrue though; most people lurk and don't feed back on the web. Well, if you're reading, this, I funkin' dare you to comment (even if its just to say FUNK)! I shouldn't expect that people read this blog, because I don't really tell people about it. Maybe I'll put it in an e-mail headder.

Anyways, so I wonder: why did I just feel like killing my blog. And then I though, hey, that'd make revealing blog post, "why I wanted to kill my blog" . So here I go.

Lately I've been feeling pretty self-disapointed. I told myself at the end of spring "this is going to be a great summer", and when I look back, it hasn't really been. I didn't get the job with Google Summer of Code, and ended up in the food service business for another summer (albiet one with healthy food for once, The Wild Oat). Also, I haven't been putting consistent efforts on my graphics software project. Plans with friends to set up a stage/area at Evolve festival fell through. No romance for Justin this summer (although I'm nearly numb to these types of disappointments). Various non-coordinated volunteering relationships weakenened (particularly my blogging efforts on Free Culutre Carleton and Creative Commons Canada). Didn't keep up the G-Spot Slice, the radio segment I initiated. That's another story alltogether. Didn't make it out of Ottawa for anything (I was particularly intending to go to Montreal this summer). Even my staff spinning practice has declined over the last month; I was practicing at least a short while every day earlier in the summer. Sure I attended some cool things like the National Community Radio Conference and Om Reunion, but my memories of those exeperiences are tainted with guilt. I didn't do a very good job of following up all the contacts I made at the NCRC, and I went to Om less prepared than I was comfortable with. So, things just funkin' sucked in certain ways.

I guess this is related to me being out of touch. Communication is so difficult for me in ways. Right now I'm not in regular communication with many people. The people that live in the same house as me, certainly not. See, I'm in a rooming house (an "alcoholic with class" told me this morning it used to be a half-way house; I feel like it still is considering ALL of it residents). I don't really hang out with any of the roomers regularly, but I favor one of them and we speak occasionally. There's no common space in here except for the kitchen, which doesn't even have room for a table we can all sit at.

It's like, unless I live with them, the reason why I see a person regularly is mostly incidental on some sort of other activity, liking going to a school/academy or doing some sort of work, paid or volunteer. I've met lots of great people like this, but I find our relationships are always flavored by that activity, or even limited to it. There are some friends that I've met through going out dancing that live maybe a 10 minute walk from here that I've been visiting regularly, but frankly it's disappointing for me to recognize that there's a lot of wonderful people that I know and love, I know how to contact/visit them, and I don't.

Sometimes I feel like I'm just not cut out for the city. When I did some WWOOFing in Nova Scotia, I got to live with a bunch of other folk who all had some common interest and we were meeting our needs together. I got to see and talk with all of those people every day. We didn't ever e-mail each other. We didn't ever call each other. We were just there sharing our presences. Yet alas, I'll be in Ottawa till I finish my degree says me, so I best forget about living on a farm intentionally, though eventually...

That brings me to a bit more positive note: I can still live intentionally in the city, and I will. I'm moving out of this place in September with 3 other ... what I would call "socially conscious computer geeks". I'm really looking forward to this. But at the same time I'm a bit frightened. I mostly fear that either I will drive my room mates crazy or that they will drive me (more) crazy. But I feel living with them will be psychologically healing. I don't want to get my hopes up considering all of my disappointments. It would make a good subject of meditation to just to imagine how I would have a healthy home relationship with these people, to visualize my actions that would facilitate that instead of just being like "WEE, it's going to be so fun !".

Well, to come full circle, I would like for people to get to know me through my blog (as scary as that is sometimes...for us both ). I'm going to write a sketch of my new headder as an act of intention toward communication

by Justin Wikinator
touchmewithsynchronicpulses @

Wikify my life, add to it,
Edit the story that is it
Link to me, and link me to you
So we can get to know our paths through and ...
Through expressions in an open way,
We open up the ground for the word play
We can dialog,
Or you can check my blog
If I forget about you give my memory a jog
Welcome are you to send pulses synchronic
Of your presence they will be mnemonic

Well, I didn't mean for this to be such a whoping blog post (even that headder turned into a poem). I have difficulty opening up, but I find myself with a lot to say, so when I do open open up I tend to explode. BOOM !

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Sustainable fire spinning

I found out from this wikipedia page on fire spinning that you can use biodiesel as a fuel. This has been my first incentive to want to learn how to make biodiesel, but when I looked at some instructions on how to make a small batch, it sounded really scary, so maybe I can buy some off of a local producer instead of buying kerosene, which smells soooo nasty; I'd rather smell french fries. I wonder if I can get it to burn without mixing it with white gas as suggested...

Monday, July 17, 2006

Fire staff tutorials

Recently I found this great resource on fire staff spinning and other manipulation, [ mcp - fire staff tutorials ] . I discovered this page when I watched one of this guy's videos on Google Video. Note that the files on the web page are in .wmv format, but you can get all the videos in .avi format on Google Video. These new tricks should keep me busy for a while.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Back to the blog-o-sphere

Well, my life has been pretty closed source lately. As much as I love being a socialite, I also love being to myself, it makes it easier for me to engage in certain things:
  • phone calls and e-mails
  • writing: songs, journal entries, diagrams, computer programs, show programs
  • book reading and other independent study
  • thinking, musing, pondering
  • playing my baritone ukulele and bongos
  • crafting that requries detail and precision (crafting in general can be quite fun in groups, I hope show up at Spins and Needles one of these months, I was too exhausted and I finished work pretty late last Wednesday)
  • meditation and yoga
I'd like to do more things than involve more people, but I have a tendency to end up by myself when I am not living with or close to people I know and care about.

It would be false to assume I do all of those solitary activities regularly. I aim to maintain practice of these things in some sort of fashion, but I'm challenged in juggling all of the things
  • personal journaling (in ink) and personal blogging
  • Free Culture activism (updating and
  • Software development: right now I'm only working on one project for graphic design image plotting, it's one man show right now, but I hope to make it Free Software soon and integrate it with Inkscape
  • Cooking: it occured to me that I should aim to cook 1 new recipe per week; usually my cooking is improvised, so I usually end up with something new every time, but I want to learn to expand my knowledge of flavour combinations using recipes as a guide. Maintaining my efforts in sustaining the G-Spot it closely connected with this interest
  • Learning how food grows : I'm volunteering at the community garden across from my house and I work with is very enthousiasticly demonstrative man; maintaining this relationship is valuable
  • Performance arts: staff spinning, juggling, clowning, and other fun acts (I practice staff manipulation almost once a day, it's a good break from sitting at a computer because it opens up all your arm, wrist, and shoulder muscles)
  • Creative writing: this sure comes in fits and bursts. I never just sit down and say, "OK, I'm going to write", I just get inspired with ideas and then write them down. Often I don't end up with a well-contained work, part of the reason why I rarely perform or publish my creative writing. I have been compiling some songs I wrote for circus performance, and when I get around to creating my own wiki (how can I be a wikinator without a personal wiki **raising hands in the air**)
  • pursuing a path to inner peace and empowerment: physical health through nutrition, and exercise as well as taming and exercising the mind in various ways
Right now I'm at a point in my life where I'm somewhat unattuned and misaligned with my goals. A message just keeps comming back to me that I need to seek some form(s) of mentorship or even council from those further in their life's path. Mentorship was recently described as "someone who offers advice where it is not specifically asked for". Good parents play the role of mentons as well as needs providers, but when an adolescent reaches a certain age, it seems like they learn all they can from their parents. Adolescence brings a need for self-realization and this often leads youth to push away from the advice of their parents. But after the youthful rebellion, many are faced with more responsabilities w. The path that the average middle-class North American youth take at a certain age usually leads them away from their home and not necessarily toward any mentors to help guide them on their path. Many go away to educational instituions like universities and colleges and spend most of their time around people who are roughly the same age as them. Some students may find mentors in instuctors/professors but the institutions don't often foster these relationships. I may just be projecting this onto university because this has been my experience, but I have a feeling it's more than just a delusion. Regardless, I will remain open to discovering relationships for mentorship and council.

Well, that was a pretty heavy note to start out on for such a long gap... an explaination ? I think I'm going to do some bloging time travel and fill in these gaps. Then you'll never know just how long it's been unless you monitor this regularly. But how likely is that :-P

Monday, July 10, 2006

Geeks + Activists + Beer

So, it's been a while since I put anything remotely political on this blog, so I traveled to to see what's in the news. I looked at the headlines on the homepage and said to myself "I feel so distant from all of these stories". But then I discovered a new podcast on the Rabble Podcasting Network: Social Tech Brewing Company Podcast so I thought I'd give it a feature. This reminds me of GOSLING and Copynight.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Seeking dough-nations in a celebration for a rich nation

I just returned from the market area of Ottawa where I was doing some busking for Canada Day. It was my first time busking in Ottawa. I was with a friend who often drums in the market. I was doing staff spinning and juggling while he laid beats. It was fun to busk with someone else but the combination was somewhat disharmonious. At about 3pm (we had been around since 11am) we decided it would be best if we parted ways. My friend left me the lucky pennies, but I put some back into his cup and as soon as I got up to take off, a bunch of people started putting money into my friends cup. After we parted ways, I did some staff spinning on the stairs that lead to Majors Hill Park. I encountered several people I hadn't seen for ages. Also managed to give a couple of lessons. After deciding to call it a day, I wandered around and caught some of the busking shows, you know, the ones where lots of people gather around in a circle around the performer. It was a good lift to my spirits, as I was feeling a bit drained (I missed lunch, was a bit dehydrated, and tired of soliciting donations). I feel like I have a lot to learn before I can hold people's attention like that, but I will eventually. Sometimes I felt like I shouldn't have been busking because I'm just an amateur, but I won't let those insecurities get the best of me. I know I have something valuable to share, and I'm going to continue busking and sharing the art. It's good practice. Practicing across the street at the techwall is one thing, but engaging people's attention and convincing them to share (in) the wealth, that's a whole-nother game. I justified my monetary solicitations by arguing (to myself and others) that I and friends needed to pay off some collective debt that was incured by what I would call a "natural disaster". You see, on our way back from the In:tent gathering I mentioned earlier, the Winebago we were in sprung a leak in the radiator. We tried to patch it up with gum, but that just made it smoke like crazy. Next we tried driving until the car overheated and then letting it cool down. When we were going up the hills we were egging the vehicle on by chanting "you can do it Bella" (the name of the Winebago) , but despite this, it just wasn't working, so we ended up calling a friend and asking them to rent a van to come pick us up, about an hour outside Ottawa. When the driver arrived to pick us up, we found out that while he was in the rental vehicle by himself, a bear basically ran into the vehicle. The driver swerved and fishtailed, and the bear ran away. Everything seemed OK until we found out that the bear had incured some minor damage that we hadn't noticed. Although it was minimal, it ended up costing us $500 because they had to replace the whole panel and of course there was an insurance deductable. So that's my story for the day. Now it's time to go party.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

What's in the mix

This morning I was enthralled to find out about what looks to be really good cross-platform DJing software Mixxx , and what looks to be a really good FLStudios alternative for linux, LMMS. I'm surprised that I haven't come across these applications yet, as I've been doing research on Linux audio for a while now. On the this Free Culture Carleton blog post I expressed interest in learning more about sound production; I feel like I already have so many things on my plate already, but I'm a juggler. I will learn to mix activities ... like they were audio streams !

Today's album reccommendation

Today I'd like to feature a gem of an album under a Creative Commons license available on :

Revolution Void - Increase the Dosage

If you like breakbeats, loungyness, jazzy sax and organ interludes, dope-arsed scratching, and psychedelic synths, check it out. Arguably one of my favourite full length CC albums.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Banana Brass Monkey

Today when I was juggling at the tech wall ...uhhh... for those who've never been to the tech wall this flickr photo may help. Anyway, I was juggling over at the left by that blue head and some guy poped out over ther overhang where the community garden lies and he started being friendly with me. To be honest, I didn't really reflect his friendliness all that much; I answered his questions in a polite but standofish manner. I guess I was just more into practicing juggling than casual chat with some stranger that I percieved to possibly be one of the fractured souls that usually hangs out in the area to abuse alcohol and other drugs (though he didn't seem intoxicated).

Sometimes I hang around with people that others may consider low-lifes or bums or addicts or what-have-you. I often find that these people did not have the nurturing environment that I have had throughout my life. Drug abuse (includeing alcohol) was often in the family or social circles. Many of them have been repeatedly abused by their parents and/or partners and/or peers. Many of them abuse themselves and the people around them physically, mentally, spiritually. But many of them have hearts too. And when I spend time with these people, I work to look through all the ugliness and see that goodness in them and draw it out. At the same time, I don't put up with their B.S., and I'm not afraid to call them on it. Hanging out with them can really be a drag, a tap to my energy I feel, and sometimes I just can't handle it. I'm just too sensitive to others sometimes. Or, I sometimes feel it's a poor investment of energy to spend time with these people, and that I should instead invest energy into my interests.

I diverge but now I reconviene. It turns out that those impressions somewhat subconcious were a false. I found out this when the guy out of the blue offered me some unopened 40 oz of beer; he didn't drink, and someone hanging out there had left him it. I jumped up the perpendicular wall (barely showing on the right hand side of the picture) to grab it. I found out he was camping there because he moved to Ottawa with the expectation/promise of being able to stay somewhere here, but that fell through, so the guy and what looked to be his female partner (who stayed back from our conversation) started camping out there. I found out that Rosemary Taylor who runs the Nanny Goat Hill Community Garden up there gave them permission to stay there after she discovered them there; big props to her on that one. I know Rosemary because I started volunteering at the garden in the spring to work on the common areas of the garden. I just remembered that there was an article comming out in the Citizen about the garden, and found it here for the first time now as I blog. Anyway, our dialog became much friendlier after the man made an offering to me, and introduced his situation; I was glad to to find that he persisted in his friendly engagement despite the somewhat cold responses I gave him initially.

The beer he gave me was a 40 oz. of Carling Black Label 8.0% beer. I hadn't drank something this nasty since my high-schoool days as far as I can remember, but I was really in the mood for a cold beer. But the beer was warm, and I was supposed to meet with someone in the evening, so I didn't have time to let it cool down in the freezer. So I thought, "Brass Monkey on ice", which I hadn't ever mixed myself, but some people shared it with me once and I thought it was alright. For those of you who don't know, a Brass Monkey can be a drink with a strong 40 beer or malt liquor with orange juice added, although the wikipedia definition is a bit fuzzier. Anyway, I went out an got a carton of orange juice, threw some ice in a glass, poured beer in, and topped it up with about 1/8th of a glass of orange juice. I found it to be quite delicious; I was surprised at how well that bit of orange juice did at disguising the taste of the nasty beer. Unfortunately the first one gave me an acidic stomach (possibly due to a dischordance with the remaining food in my belly), so instead of stopping the drinking (I was out for a bit of a beer buzz after I found out my plans had fallen though) I decided to search the internet for foods that were basic, or that had antacid properties. I found bananas to be one, and I had some frozen bananas so I placed some of these "fruit cubes" on top of the ice in the next drink. So I was sitting here a while ago sipping away at my "Banana Brass Monkey" and thinking "I should blog this", and so here I am, and here I go. Later.

Under the lense

This morning I met with Steve Sharlow to talk about doing some artistic modeling for him. He showed me some of his work, which I really appreciated. We chatted about the intelllectual property rights of the photos and the contract between model and photographer. Basically, Steve would have the copyright for the photos, and I wanted to be assured that photos wouldn't be used in ways other than artistic display and selling without my consent. I was given this assurance, which will take the form of a written contract. A friend who knows this man better than I do told me he was a trustworthy man, and after meeting him I felt assured. If anyone is interested in doing some modeling, let me know. He's looking for "normal people" in the age range 22-65 for the purposes of artistic nude photos.

Modeling pays well, and it's pretty easy work, but even more appealing than that, this is work that is supporting an artist. My interest in doing artistic modeling started in St. Johns. One of the people I was living with out there was doing some modeling for an arts school, which piqued my interest. One day I answered the phone and it was the arts school in desperate need of a model at the last minute, but the model in the house wasn't around, so I offered to fill in for her and recieved acceptance. The job consisted of me in a bathing suit posing in different positions for different lengths of time for people who were sketching with pencil. After it was done, I managed to get photocopies of some of the sketches, which was kind of a neat memento.

I am willing to go to the arts schools in Ottawa and apply as a model, but first I need a portfolio. I thought this was just a collection of photos of myself, but as I found out this morning, it's a little more than just that. There are certain things that they are looking for, and this is something Steve knows lots about. He offered to help me put together a portfolio (which would normally cost a lot of money) pretty much for free, and in return I'm going to help him find some models. I love growning mutually beneficial relationships.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006


I've just returned from a gathering called In:tent . I had some mind-blowning experiences there. Great people. Great music. Great workshops. Great food from the Kind Kitchen. Great fire dancers. Great natural camping site. Next gathering I attend I intend to come with more things to share. A staff spinning workshop, info about Free Culture, better costumage, goods to share and trade. I will be attending the Evolve festival in Nova Scotia in August. A bunch of friends are going to Eclipse trance festival. So much going on ...

Friday, June 09, 2006

Flash in the pan

I know this blog badly needs updating, yet I don't have time to give a decent update of everything that's been going on since last month, so I thought I'd just give a quick flash. I recently got a job at the Wild Oat. I've been volunteering/attending the National Community Radio Conference, and working on some personal projects. More details to come...

Monday, May 29, 2006

Job #1: get a good paid job

Searching for a job has always made me so depressed because I have a sense that I'm just going to end up working for something that results in me feeling miserable. It's not so much that I hate work; I can take pleasure in the most unapealing of jobs (washing dishes, being a cashier, cleaning), but it's the feeling of working for something that I don't believe in that that gets me down so much. I've yet to get a job working for something I believe in, although I put care into every single job I've had. This must change if I am to maintain my sanity. With this in mind, I am doing a call out to the world to help me find a job that is a good fit for me. I'm committed to doing so. It's time to get my priorities straight, so with this in mind...

Job #1: to get a paid job (I've got lots of non-paid jobs already) that meets one or more of the following criteria:
  • is in an IT-related field, especially in a position that challenges my technical knowlege and engages me in figuring out solutions to problems, although I'd accept jobs like data entry and technical support as well
  • involves entertaining, teaching, or caring for others, especially young, elderly, and differently abled people
  • is in a store, restaurant, or processing facility for healthy food (and preferably veg*n)
  • involves talking with people, aside from agressive sales positions. Examples that come to mind are canvasing and table/kiosk demonstrations
  • involves writing. Although I don't have any formal experience in writing-related jobs, I think I'm a decent writer. Particularly, I'd love to get paid to write letters and proposals.
  • that is in the non-profit sector and particularly that is in the public interest. I'd especially like to get a job working towards the ends of Free Culture, food security, or human/environmental health.

Docin' (re)marks on format

I'm getting really tired of seeing official documents published in a .doc format. These types of documents should be published as pdf. OpenOffice exports documents to pdf, unlike Word. And if you insist on using Word, then you can use PDFCreator to print essentially anything to a PDF file as you would print to your printer.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Porno veggies, get me hot

Today I was invited to an art party out in the boonies on June 24th (if you want to go, contact me). The invitation contained a warning that I must not bring "oddly shaped vegetables" to the party. Being a G-Spoter and all, I was a bit offended by that comment, so I posted this to my flickr account:
These were found in the rather scandalous G-Spot zine that some folks made for the Anarchist Bookfair in Montreal last year. I recently recived an electronic copy, and I'd like to put it up on the net, but I have to bring this decision to the collective in our meeting this Sunday.

Which reminds me, after the meeting I'm going to be spinning fire with some friends this comming Sunday. If you'd like to come, the details are on this flier I made.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Wearing novelty thicker with each day

I've been looking for good staff spinning videos on the net for inspiration, but most of them I see are not very impressive. I've only been practicing for a year, and I've yet to see in real life anyone who's as good as me. That's not to brag, it's just that it's not as popular as poi is; I like how I have the benefit of novelty in this sense. When I think about visual artists or musicians who have been practicing their art for 10 or 20 years, it makes me imagine how mind-blowing this could get if I keep it up. One video that impressed me (but didn't quite blow me away) was this video on Google Video, so far probably the best I've seen (but I know there's more talented staffers out there). On a related note, my friend showed me some crazy hoola-hooping videos from GrooveHoops.

Hit the Play Button

I'm sitting inside on a beautiful morning coding my imaGEneration software (see "My Photos" on the right for some sample results). The goal is to get it GPL'd and eventually integrate it with Inkscape. The fact that I didn't get into Google's Summer of Code for this project has somehow driven me to work on this even more. I guess I just love working for Free. Maybe some day soon I'll get paid to play so I can work for Free.

Currently downloading onto my computer is the movie Elephant's Dreamwhich is :
the world’s first open movie, made entirely with open source graphics software such as Blender, and with all production files freely available to use however you please, under a Creative Commons license.
This is going to be a great hit on the Free Culture scene. Which reminds me, the movie Alternative Freedoms will be comming out pretty soon. Also in production is the film Copyright Criminals .

Well, that sun is calling me. I think it's time to go practice my works of play.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Open Source Beer

So, what to show... well, my blood was boiling today, due partially to some major disappointments in my life recently, but I decided to simmer down and keep that to myself.

Today I went to a particularly bubbling GOSLING meeting. It's so nice to have a bunch of experienced Open Source activists meeting every Friday for beers a block away from my house. Even though I'm not a government employee, I'm still very welcome there.

At this meeting I met The Parliment Hillbillies, who do a podcast about political issues in Canada. One of the members spoke of his experience with request for access to information concerning the lack of security checks for the software used for collecting the online census.

Now I'm going to continue working on some projects that are nagging at me.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

From LiveJournal to Blogger

Today I decided that the LiveJournal community just wasn't really for me. I'm moving from my account bubblyfool to here. I feel my blogging was just starting to get interesting towards the end, so take a peek at those last posts if you will. I appreciate that LiveJournal is very dedicated to Open Source technologies, but the reason why I joined it in the first place was for the social factor, and I'm just not getting what I want out of it. I recently joined a couple of communities on LiveJournal and browsed around a bit more, searching for some interesting content, but it mostly seems to be innane drivel. I think there's a difference between a "blog" and an "online journal" (though it can be fuzzy). Blogs are more like journalistic (as in "the media") endeavours, more objective, wheras journals are more personal and subjective. There's only a couple of LJ users I read. I find that people who are serious about presenting ideas, events, and organizations are more into So here I am. Not just journaling, but BLOGGING ! Next post I'll have to introduce myself....