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Locavore Me

Coming up on Sunday July 27, 2008 at John R. Park Homestead is a new (hopefully annual) event called the Lakeside Locavore Lunch. From the Essex Region Conservation Authority calendar:

The Lakeside Locavore Lunch is a new special event taking place at the John R. Park Homestead Conservation Area on Sunday, July 27th from noon – 2:30pm. This event highlights ‘locavore’ opportunities in Essex County.

Enjoy an afternoon by the lake tasting locally grown foods and fine wines. ‘Food for thought’ will also be provided as local farmers and food producers share their specific knowledge about the delicious bounty that our region offers.

To enhance the experience ‘Fiddle and Friends’ will be providing traditional celtic and folk fiddle music. Admission is $15.00 for adults, $5 for children ages 3-16. Preregistration is required and spaces are limited.

To register phone: 519-738-2029 or email: jrph@erca.org.

I’d like to go but it crosses over with a family reunion obligation. If I can figure out a way to do both you can be sure I’ll be there. I’m surprised I haven’t seen any promotion for the event (I found the ERCA calendar when I was looking for information about local trees which I eventually found at the Ojibway Park website).

ecofeminist Vandana Shiva speaking with mega phone

In my opinion, it’s an important event for local feminists. Women’s oppression is closely linked with the degradation of nature. Both have suffered under a system of patriarchy. The world around us — nature — just like women, is not passive, waiting for rescue or waiting idly to be made useful. We are both contributing, functional, important, integral parts of the planet. Neither women nor the planet are here to serve. It’s ironic when you start thinking about the connections in the English language between words we use to describe both land and women: think of terms like barren, fertile, and rape. Each can describe a woman or the land. Ecofeminists bring the philosophies of environmentalism and feminism together in efforts to liberate both from oppression. Maybe someday. Respect for nature, respect for women.

photo credit to leenback. Click on the photo to visit its page on flickr.com.

Contact Your MP or Lose Your Rights: Bill C-61 – The Canadian Copyright Act

Bad news in Canada: Yesterday Bill C-61 was tabled and it doesn’t bode well. Among the rights at risk:

  • time shifting (no, not sci-fi time travel but recording television now to view later
  • transferring media (music, video, etc) you own to a portable music/video device that you own (like an iPod)
  • format shifting — transferring media from analog to digital (records to dvd, vhs tapes to dvd)
  • unlocking a cellphone — want to switch providers? you’ll have to buy a new phone
  • unlocking media so you can watch it on a Linux machine or Mac. If it’s made to only work under windows then you’re breaking the law to run it on anything else

Find your MP here: Members of 39th Parliament – Canada, list updated March 2008. Call them!

The legalese details of Bill-C61 here: Bill C-61

There’s a a Facebook group called Fair Copyright Canada started back in December by Michael Geist. It’s a great place for updates. He also has a list of 30 Things You Can Do — so check it out and Do Something. In general, Michael Geist’s blog is an incredible place to keep up with Canadian laws on copyright, technology, internet, etc and the activism necessary to make Canada a great place to live.

I joined the facebook group a few months ago and I phoned my MP, Brian Masse, this morning. I’m going to go through that list and see what else I can do. Canada’s dropped the ball this time around. Instead of a leading model of fair use and fair copy protection we have big business protection and jail time in our futures.

Grit in my Hair

I’m spending a lot of time on campus lately. I have a wonderful workspace in the History Research Lab and I’ve made it cozy with some comics, postcards, and other decorations. I also leave articles I’m reading on the desk so that I have to come back to continue working. Since I bought a parking pass it’s been a really great system.

I sit next to a large window and have a beautiful view — of the Ambassador Bridge and all the bridge traffic making its way to and from Detroit, Michigan. My desk is covered in grit, my keyboard is filled with grit, the monitor has a layer of grit on it, and my books and papers are coated. The rest of the room is covered too so it makes no difference from desk to desk. I wipe my space down every morning to keep up with it.

At home I have this grit on everything in the yard as well. No wonder Windsor residents have such a high rate of breathing problems. I’m sure my lungs are full of the grit by now.

Today it’s cold so I’ve got the window closed. I wonder if it will cut down on the daily grit…

What’s in a Pinnacle?

Irony on campus today at he University of Windsor:

on one hand, the Environmental Pinnacle.

on the other hand, pesticide signage across the lawn and the smell of freshly sprayed poison filling the air.

Random Happy and Sad Things

It’s time for a check-in and one of those posts that I can look back on to gauge state-of-mind when one day in the future I reflect back to this time and wonder what in the world I was thinking. so:

Some things that made me happy today:

  • spreading dirt for a garden in the backyard. I’m hoping to plant the weekend after next
  • super cheap ceramic tiles at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore. I’m going to set them in the ground between the dirt and the fence = cheap and non-toxic weedblock!
  • last year’s shorts fit. No further comment.
  • I got to play with an Asus Eee PC at Staples of all places (I’d give you a link but the site irritates me because it won’t let me browse without entering my postal code). The Eee is as awesome as I imagined — and even lighter. They’re stocking the black one with the 4GB hard drive and 512MB of ram for 399$ Cdn.

Some sad things:

  • The rest of the dirt for the garden is in the front yard. I estimate it will take 20 billion and a half trips with the wheelbarrow to get it to the right place.
  • It’s raining and cold so I don’t want to work out in the garden anymore today
  • I have a meeting with my adviser tomorrow so I can’t work outside in the garden anymore today
  • I don’t need an Asus Eee PC.

Isn’t that an awesome list of sad things? I realize there’s nothing major there and I think that’s a wonderful reason to celebrate. Life is good. :)

It’s Coming Together

There’s nothing quite like the week after a semester finishes. I’ve been so productive the last few days. Rob and I have put doors up on two kids’ bedrooms so that leaves only one more. I just finished installing the doorknob on the second one and sawing off the shims. My taxes are done and filed (just in the nick of time). Wood for the fence was delivered on Monday and I’m planning to order dirt for the garden later today. Hopefully this weekend will be warm and I’ll get lots done in the yard (including having my family over for my daughter’s (gasp!) fourteenth birthday! Of course by next week all of this energy will be gone and I’ll be wondering what the heck I got myself into…

And the week after that I’ll be whining that my next paper is due at the end of May and I’ve got nothing to say or the research doesn’t connect with my topic or something like that…and then that paper will get handed in after a week and a half of much coffee and little sleep.

Ahh the seasons of a student.

A Strategy for Writing a Long Paper

I’ve got a hideous paper due Friday and yesterday I realized (for reasons that I won’t go into now) that my topic is all wrong. Unfortunately, there’s no time to start over so I’ll have to make do with the research I’ve been doing all semester and salvage what I can when this semester is over.

I’m having trouble focusing on what to say in this paper (what with the premise being all wrong and stuff) so I’ve decided to break it down more than the usual outline. I did the outline last week — and it isn’t working. It’s too vague maybe for a long paper and I don’t know how to make it more detailed (yes the paper is due in two days).

So the new strategy? I took everything I’ve written so far and separated each section and made each into its own document. I now have 13 independent documents open plus another with notes that haven’t found their way into the paper yet. My strategy is to complete each of these 13 documents as its own mini-paper and then assemble them as a complete work (by this time tomorrow). :)

It was too confusing trying to keep track of where each piece of research fit into the long document. This should be much easier as I’ve saved each with a meaningful title.

zomg writing is hard (or: Beyond Footnotes)

Forget asking how did people write before word processors — how did people ever write without hyperlinking? I’m going crazy trying to write my final essay of the semester without hyperlinks. Aaarrrggghhhh!!!

It would be so sweet to go beyond footnotes, to be able to include a link to a photo or a text or a discussion or another essay. Alas, when your professor is a historian of print and publishing it just ain’t gonna be happenin’ here.

Another Reason Divorce Sucks for Kids

Every time my kids go to their dad’s they ask me to take care of their Webkinz gardens. At xmas time they ask me to loot the NeoPets advent calendar for them. I do my best but times three kids it can add up to a considerable amount of time.

I try hard to get my kids comfortable on the computer, whether it’s through gaming, making their own levels on kGoldrunner, designing title pages and drawing pictures, writing stories, blogging, accessing the home network, troubleshooting, researching, and programming. I know how lucky they will be if they can understand and maintain their own computers and how important technology mastery will be as they grow up.

webkinz garden under snow title=

It doesn’t help the developing computer-love if they come home from their dad’s and their Neopets are dead and their Webkinz gardens have all withered and the food is rotten before it can be harvested. In this case the computer is just another thing that makes them sad. They see their investment as wasted time. They don’t have Internet access at their dad’s and we won’t get into what hardware he must have but there was this project my daughter brought home on a floppy disk. She’s saving for her own laptop but it’s going to be awhile still and that won’t help with the dying frogs and ponies.

Given that after school time is busy with homework and chores these online games should have an option for kids who only really have access to them every-other-weekend. (And that goes for games that offer a paid membership like Runescape). Neopets does have hotels and such where you can park your animals when you’ll be away but the cost adds up. As more and more kids face a double life with often a discrepancy in access to technology how will the technology adapt?

flickr photo by polar bots member mascott girl

How to Procrastinate

When did a B become a bad mark? (omg I hope I don’t get a B on my assignment.) It seems this is what happens moving up into graduate studies. Everyone is stressing over grades. Nothing below an A is good enough and a B is required to pass a course. I hate having that kind of pressure. I did well in my undergrad but even though I stressed over my grades I don’t remember this kind of dread. In my undergrad I wanted high marks but I didn’t need them in the same way I do now. Knowing that good work is a fail and that very good is barely a pass I am paralyzed for fear that my work will be mediocre – or worse — adequate.

There’s been some weird power flickers here today and my desktop keeps shutting down. If it wasn’t happening to the clocks on that side of the house as well as to Rob’s desktop I might wonder if my power supply has finally given up. Since the machine is off anyway I’ve decided I should let things cool down and take this opportunity to replace that power supply. I bought my new one – a 430W Seasonic – at Canada Computers when I was in Toronto last weekend for Mitch’s birthday shindig. The visit with K & Mitch was wonderful, the staff at the computer shop helpful, the curried vegetables at King’s Cafe were amazing but the stress from almost missing the train home because I miscalculated how long the Spadina street car would take to get to Union Station…gulp…that I could have done without.

So anyway, can you tell when blogger-students have papers due? There’s always a flurry of posts. Instead of writing the assignment, we blog. Or maybe blogging is the warm up? To prove to ourselves that we can still put words together and we may as well write the ones our professors want to read instead of the ones that make our significant others/friends/families wonder if we’re/they’re really going to survive our education.

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