Thursday, March 31, 2005

Petition to Remove fuel tax on biodiesel in Alberta

The idea of removing the Alberta fuel tax on biodiesel makes complete sense to me. If you're an Alberta resident, please sign-on to the petition.
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Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Artist Trading Cards

An Artist Trading Card by Grant NeufeldI attended the monthly Artist Trading Card session at The New Gallery on Saturday. While there, I made (and traded away) 5 cards, including the one in the picture here.

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Sunday, March 27, 2005

An end to educational textbooks

There's a scary posting on how the state school board of Texas is setting the educational agenda for all (4) of the U.S. textbook publishers.

Seen at Boing Boing: Reactionary school-boards' block-buy eliminates sex from text-books.
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Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Make the South Park Version of Yourself

Grant as a South Park character South Park Studio version 2 is a fun (at least for South Park fans) little Flash program that let's you create custom South Park characters.
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Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Successful, but cold, Peace March and Rally in Calgary

[Photos from the Peace March] We had a very successful march and rally in Calgary to mark the second anniversary of the most recent U.S.-led invasion of Iraq. It's always hard to measure numbers above 100 people - but I would figure it was certainly over 300 who attended. Now, considering how terribly cold it was, that's a great turn out!

 I had my friend Juliet Burgess take my cameras (still and video) for the event since I was busy with organizing and M.C.'ing. Unfortunately, she somehow managed to not get a single picture of me at the event - although the many pictures she did take are great and turned out better than mine usually do. I haven't checked the video yet, and assume I'm on there, at least [he said with a smirk].
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Why tagging is bad

Tagging, the (bad kind of) evil cousin of graffiti, is a scourge - a plague - that offends my senses.

Years ago, when I could still afford to risk engaging in illegal activities, I spent some wonderful times creating graffiti with friends. There was the excitement that came from "breaking the rules" - but there was also delight in creating something, in transforming the space around us. With our graffiti, my friends and I always tried to either say something or create art in unexpected or unapproved spaces.

[Graffiti photos] A couple of weeks ago I came across a graffiti scrawl - next to some tags - that I found myself laughing in agreement with. It had an arrow pointing to the tags and said "A fine example of useless s***".

Tagging doesn't amount to anything positive - it's just ugly scrawls that express nothing more than laziness and disrespect. Taggers can't even be bothered to say anything. I'd rather see an ugly scrawl that says something - even if I disagree with what's being said. I mean, if someone's going to go to the effort of scrawling on a public space, they might as well do something meaningful with it.

 There have been some wonderful stencil graffiti art pieces going up in Calgary over the past few couple years, and there's a long tradition of artful, poetic and challenging posters pasted, graffiti-style, to all sorts of 'unauthorized' surfaces in the city. The unfortunate thing is that many lump this wonderful art in with the taggers - decrying it all as just vandalism. Maybe if the taggers stopped being stupid navel-gazers and put a little thought into their work, we might be able to see graffiti emerge as a strong and positive force for dialogue in our community and for the transformation of the isolating structures of the city into something less oppressive.

Maybe.
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Monday, March 21, 2005

Getting caught up...

Well, it's been some weeks since I last put together an update of what's been going on for me.

The past month or so have been absolutely crazy for me, work-wise, politically and personally. The last time I had a weekend without some major event, or where I got more than one full night of sleep, was in January.

I'm planning to post some back-dated entries (that will show up before this one), going back to February 20, to cover the many interesting recent goings-on, while I have a few days with no major crises planned...

Monday, March 14, 2005

An Intense Experience

On Sunday night I was visiting a friend whose neighbor has been living with a violently abusive partner. Things came to a head that night and she called the police to have him taken away.

Afterward, she came over to my friend's place for some support. It was incredible to see her emerging from the fog of the abuse and finding a sense of her own power. In standing up for herself, she was able to begin the process of reclaiming her sense of self and her independence from her abuser.

As we talked about what had happened, it was wonderful to see the effect of putting names to the various aspects of what had happened to her, and what she had done. She'll have much work ahead of her to fully break away from the deeply damaging emotional crap the abuser did to her, and to fully heal from it. But, it was tremendously inspiring to witness her strength and empowerment that night.
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Thursday, March 10, 2005

On Religious Wars

A quote I saw in an email today:
Religious war is like fighting over who has the best imaginary friend.
I wasn't able to figure out who the quote is originally by. So, please let me know if you know.
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Sunday, March 6, 2005

Disability Action Hall retreat

 The Disability Action Hall's annual retreat for self-advocates, allies and representatives from agencies that provide support and services to people with developmental disabilities was held on March 4-6 at Camp Horizon - just west of Calgary.

The weather was amazing - a beautiful weekend.

Sleep was in short supply, especially given the late-night rowdy energy of some of the participants... (not to mention some rather horrifying karaoke performances [he said with a big grin]).

The Action Hall remains one of my most favourite activist groups to work with. In spite of the incredibly hard experiences most of these people have gone through, they remain a very fun and hopeful bunch to be around.
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