Monday, February 28, 2005

Follow-up to the Alberta Social Forum

[Alberta Social Forum Photos] After about 9 months of organizing that saw numerous big challenges, hurdles and personal crises, the big event is finally complete. This Alberta Social Forum event had a lot of successes and a few disappointments.

While we were far from the level of inclusivity we had hoped for, there were some great stories. The presence and full-inclusion of members of the deaf-blind community was very exciting. Additionally, a self-advocate from the developmental disability community reported really enjoying the sessions he attended - with no feelings of exclusion.

Attendance was lower than we had hoped, but we kept hearing from participants who really enjoyed and valued the sessions they went to. In the end, there were over 40 sessions offered on Saturday and Sunday. I helped or presented at 5 of them - including a session on Craftivism for the Revolutionary Knitting Circle.

There's still a tremendous amount of work to be done to turn the Alberta Social Forum into a broad-based process for the people of Alberta, but this weekend event has certainly helped bring it a little closer.
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Thursday, February 24, 2005

FFWD article on Alberta Social Forum

FFWD (Calgary news & entertainment weekly newspaper), has an article in today's edition by Amy Steele, on the Alberta Social Forum. (Among others, I was interviewed for this piece.)
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Sunday, February 20, 2005

We won first place at the Supertrain Model Train Show

[SALUG's Awards] The Southern Alberta Lego Users Group took top honours at the Supertrain 2005 Model Train Show in Calgary, this weekend.

[Grant's Supertrain 2005 Photos] My contribution was a river canyon with train bridge [photos of my Lego River Canyon and Train Bridge]. I had a couple of very sleep-deprived nights trying to finish it off right before the show. As it was, I wasn't quite finished when the show opened, so finished it over the first hour or two of the show. That actually turned out okay because people actually were quite interested to watch the display being built right in front of them.

 My thanks to the rest of the SALUG members who made the project so much fun, built great models, and contributed to our success this year. We've been invited to a few more train shows this year, so there's lots more fun ahead.
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Saturday, February 19, 2005

Lego at Supertrain Model Train Show

SALUG, the Southern Alberta Lego Users Group, has a massive display in the Supertrain Model Train Show again this year.

I'm super exhausted because I spent the last couple of nights frantically trying to finish my chunk of the display. I put together a river canyon with a bridge running across it (I should have some photos up within a couple days). It's 144 studs wide by 48 studs deep - and 29 inches high. This is the biggest Lego model I've ever built.

The event was packed. A lot of the people who came were parents with young children. That's good for the SALUG team because they are likely to vote for us as the best display in the show - the Lego is a real crowd-pleaser for kids. So, we stand a good chance of winning an award again this year.
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Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Alberta Social Forum

The Alberta Social Forum is only about a week and a half away.

While admission is free, people are being encouraged to register in advance.

There's an excellent range of sessions being offered at the Forum, with space also being provided to add sessions on the fly as people make interesting connections during the Forum.
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Monday, February 14, 2005

AlterNet: MediaCulture: America Offline and Online

Zephyr Teachout has written an analysis of some potential roles that internet resources could have in increasing (in-person) community participation and "reviving civic life".
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Sunday, February 13, 2005

A Library, a Work of Love

Stephanie Simon, of the LA Times, has written a delightful little story about a town, it's population of 1 person, and the library there that serves people who love to read.
Via Metafilter: If you could fly an airplane to the moon....
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Friday, February 11, 2005

Naomi Klein sums it up: The Iraqi 'Election'

Naomi Klein has put it about as clear as can be - the Iraqi people got to vote for what they want, but that doesn't mean they'll be allowed to have it.
Via: Common Dreams: Getting the Purple Finger.
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Gold for Valentine's Day means human suffering

Oxfam America has issued a press release for the "No Dirty Gold" Campaign. They share an estimate from EARTHWORKS that the "Valentine's sales of gold jewelry in the U.S. will leave in their wake more than 34 million metric tons of waste worldwide"
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Wednesday, February 9, 2005

Dog Judo videos

Dog Judo is a bizarre and humorous series of short videos featuring dogs with black-belts in judo. (available in QuickTime and the very evil Windows Media format.)

Thanks to The Lotus Queen for the pointer.
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Space Travelers Meetup On The Moon

Travel Meetups The Space Travelers Meetup On The Moon group has to be the weirdest and funniest Meetup group I've ever come across.

As group organizer Dan Chusid said: "These people are out of this world!"

Eyes on the Screen follow-up

The Eyes on the Screen screening of Eyes on the Prize went well last night. About a dozen of us here in Calgary watched episode one of the documentary series.

I opened the event with a short spiel giving the background on the copyright issues plaguing the series - and other cultural and historical records. We then watched the film and followed it with a short discussion on civil rights activism.

A group of "Veterans of the Civil Rights Movement" has put out a statement in support of Eyes on the Prize and the struggle to ensure it remains available

Update: Wired News has a good article on a Bay Area screening held last night.
Update 2: Democracy Now! had a show about the Eyes on the Prize copyright issues (available as transcript or MP3).

Veterans statement via: Boing Boing: Veterans of the Civil Rights Movement support Eyes on the Prize screenings.

Tuesday, February 8, 2005

50s decor room recreated in knitting and crochet

The seniors in residence at Hobart's Strathaven Home (in Tasmania) have done some incredible work producing all sorts of furnishings and objects (including a wide selection of food replicas) - entirely in yarn using knitting and crochet.

See the article for details and photos.

Sunday, February 6, 2005

Calgary Adbusters / Culturejammers

I'm contributing to a new group blog for folks in Calgary who are part of the local "Culturejammers" (Adbusters) community.
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Saturday, February 5, 2005

Interview with "Sequential Artist" Josh Neufeld & Sari Wilson

Years ago, when I was first doing websites, I had a section on my personal pages about comic books - particularly independent comics. Writer & artist Josh Neufeld came across the site and got in touch with me, since we share the same last name.

We've chatted occasionally since then by email, and I've made a point of picking up his work when I come across it. For anyone who enjoys autobiographical comics, his work is definitely worth a look.

Anyway, he sent out a note pointing to a recent interview on the Sequential Tart site. It's primarily a discussion, including Josh's partner Sari Wilson, about the travels that Josh covers in his work.

Creepy Goodness

Excellent twisting of religion children's book into evil menacing alien takeover of Earth.

What's particularly disturbing is how creepy the original pictures are - even without the alien twist.

Via Boing Boing: Religious picture book remixed into twisted alien-invader primer.