sifting the wreckage

my computer incident from last week is over now – and with the dust settled i can see that i didn’t lose all that much compared to how bad it could have been. my e-mail archives are gone, as is my address book – and i lost some of a database i have been working on, but only about 10 hours worth – but because of my diligent back-ups of everything else, in the end i’m not too badly off.

but wow – what a reaction i had when i thought i had lost all that data in the first place! like coming home and finding the house burned down – especially with so much record storage – journals, photographs, work documents etc. – stored on fallible machines. it’s remarkable to think of all that creative or productive output reduced to ones and zeros and then *suddenly* gone – as if those thoughts never existed because they are irretrievable from fragmented chips.

as a friend said to me on saturday – there are two kinds of people in this world, those who have lost data and those who are about to. unfortunately being the former doesn’t preclude one from being the latter – as this is not the first time (nor likely the last) i have lost large swaths of data.

for those of you wondering – we did try recovery using a couple of different tools and all that turned up in the end were some corrupted images and half of a mailbox file. made me realize why those geek folks hired by the rcmp and fbi get paid so much to analyze seized machines (which believe it or not, often means breaking hard drives down into pieces to read their inner disks on some sort of funky machine).

and on the topic of spooks – i just got an email from a student that used to work for my department – that he has now taken a job with the communications security establishment (CSE) which is the canadian equivalent of the NSA – yuck. and another student who i contract work out to told me a few weeks ago that he is going through the interviewing process for CSIS to be an investigator (apparently it’s very extensive and they fingerprint you during the second interview) – creepy. but this makes me think that the canadian security apparatus must be flooded with cash right now because they are the only government agencies that seem to be hiring in any appreciable numbers.

that, plus canadian troops marching all over the arctic to assert ownership of the melting ice fields (and let’s not even get into what the hell we are still doing in afghanistan….)…..

sheesh – we’re looking more and more like our big brother to the south every day.

apocalyptic fact of the day

according to story in the Vancouver Sun today Arctic ice caps are melting at an alarming rate – and global warming is impacting the arctic at 2 to 3 times the rate of other areas of the world.

this report is based on an 8-year study that has tracked the decline of wildlife and impacts on people living in arctic regions. of course, climate change is only one of the factors affecting this part of the world – others being chemical pollution, increased UV radiation, habitat destruction and over-fishing.

rapid melting of northern ice caps means an increase in the rate of both warming and cooling streams and could likely lead to catastrophic ecological changes.

making pretty pictures

For those of you who saw me working on this on the weekend – this is what the almost finished product looks like. it’s in the frame still because i decided to glue the canvas to the inner hoop rather than framing it some other way, and the glue is still drying.

and on a related note – neither the term “anarchist cross-stitch” or “activist cross-stitch” turn up anything on google but “subversive cross-stitch” does.

personally, i don’t find the designs at subversive cross-stitch very subversive, but they are a welcome break from “home sweet home” samplers and fuzzy bunnies.

40 things I like about east vancouver

I have been having some thoughts about moving, and what it is that i like or don’t like about my neighbourhood. Today when i was walking around i decided to list at least 40 things i liked about east vancouver.

1) it’s a good neighbourhood for walking around and thinking about society
2) the chinese gardeners have taught me a lot about space-intensive gardening
3) the frogs in the charles street alley (i can hear them from my room at night)
4) it’s a 20 minute drive to lynn headwaters in north van – which is like being way out in the middle of nowhere
5) eating gelato while walking on the train tracks
6) the buddhist vegetarian restaurant
7) the free side of sun yat sen gardens
8) wild bamboo growing all over the place
9) the fact that people sell stuff on the sidewalks in several parts of the neighbourhood
10) free boxes left out after yard sales
11) good radical graffitti
12) hearing the trains whistle at night as they pull into the yard
13) lots of urban wildlife (coyotes, birds, rats, raccoons)
14) stratcona community garden & bird sanctuary
15) the look on people’s faces when you tell them you live in east vancouver
16) the least heard language on public transit is english
17) the world cup (soccer) parties every four years are *great* fun no matter who wins
18) best coffee in the city, most independent coffee shops of any neighbourhood
19) the WISE hall
20) great view of the north shore mountains
21) people smoke pot on the street, it’s not a big deal
22) watching the old italian men play bocci and swear at each other
23) when the starbucks moved in on commercial, people picketed it
24) the carnival band marching every monday night up and down the drive
25) all my friends live on this side of town
26) the vehicle impound lot under the viaduct (cars in various states of destruction, abandoned and waiting for their owners)
27) people selling art on the street
28) good and cheap restaurants – with lots of vegetarian options
29) the italian gardeners have taught me a lot about dealing with tomato blight
30) this is where the Vancouver 5 (also known as Direct Action) hatched their plans back in the early 80s
31) the saturday farmer’s market
32) people who have planted beautiful gardens in the city-owned strip on the other side of the sidewalks – there is a whole block in my part of the ‘hood that is almost like a forest path because of this catching on….
33) more grow-ops than you can shake a stick at
34) mosaic park at charles and odlum – the grass almost never gets cut there
35) loads of fresh mint, lemon balm, rosemary and sage for the picking (lots of gardens everywhere)
36) the sound of martial arts classes in the upstairs rooms in chinatown in the early evening
37) the buddhist temple on georgia street
38) the rogers sugar factory below hastings – a victoria-era factory still in operation (though it looks like it should be shut down)
39) old chinese women doing chi quong in the parks in the early morning
40) the street mosaic in strathcona that is a dedicated to the “militant mothers of raymur”

computers are nasty

had a terrible computer incident yesterday – one that i will never recover all the data from unfortunately. if you are a friend reading this, please email me your contact information (email address and phone number) so i can re-add you to my address book.

on a plus side – each time i have a data crash, i am reminded how fallible the networks our society rests on actually are….

will write more later – i am currently watching a software demo (of something called the Activist Mobilization Platform) being done by a friend.

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