Making Connections

I was just reading a great interview with our local Ubuntu community’s ‘buzz’ generator, Randall Ross and The Agora National (I will post it later), and it got me thinking about making mistakes. We’ve all grown up in a world where mistakes are a big deal. In the world we live in now, you can make a mistake and end up on the street quite easily. In the world of Ubuntu, on the other hand, mistakes are opportunities, nothing to hide under a carpet, or get spanked for. What a mind-shift, imagine growing up in an environment like that!

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Kitchen Community

During the Winter Olympics I helped out at Lazy Gourmet which was very busy catering to French House, General Electric Hosting, Price Waterhouse Coopers, events for the Polish Government, Vanoc, Richard Branson and a bunch of other stuff. Given this line up, and knowing Lazy Gourmet’s reputation as being the best catering in Vancouver, I expected to be working in a high stress environment. Instead, I was pleasantly surprised to find myself in an easy-going but highly efficient kitchen full of interesting and widely varied people. I realised in the 11 days I spent working there, how much I have missed the special sort of community you get when you cook together.

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Egyptian Generosity

Ancient DoorwayI have had quite the exciting, travel-filled, and busy month which I will regal you all with presently. However, I have been thinking for the past few months that I need to talk about the generosity of the culture here. It really is quite remarkable the extent to which this generosity is a part of the everyday life of the people.

I wanted to make sure that I knew a little bit more about the culture before I talked about it, because I wasn’t sure how different my experience as a foreigner would be from the average Egyptian. Although my experience is certainly different as a foreigner, I don’t think that this takes away from the culture as a whole.

In Cairo, and probably some of the more touristy places where they are used to foreigners it is common for people to try and take advantage of the foreigner. So for the first month this was mostly my experience in Egypt. I had to make sure I knew how much things should cost so that I wasn’t charged extra for being a foreigner. And there are some touristy places, like the pyramids, or the Egyptian Museum where foreigners actually have a separate entrance price than Egyptians. I understand that these places take up-keep and that foreigners in general have much more money that Egyptians, so I understand why they have this policy, but it still meant that I had to be aware.

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The Year of Ubuntu

UbuntuWe welcomed the new year in bed watching Monk with our noses running and throats sore, snacking on rose-hip jam for vitamin C and drinking ginger and pau d’ arco tea to boost our immune systems. According to the once renowned but now forgotten Antoine Bechamp this process is a cleansing that occurs cyclically and is necessary to remove toxins that cause our tissues to rot or oxidize. The well known Pasteur set our world on the germ theory course, which has led us to the current terror of micro-organisms which has given the pharmaceutical industry it’s hold on our state of health and our belief that we are being ‘attacked’ by nature. We become victims with no control over our own health. This is absolutely not true.

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Hippies Anonymous

HippiesFor some reason, that I am still not quite sure of, I have always felt rather offended when someone called me a hippie or compared me to hippies. I recently realized that I have been in denial and have taken the first step in learning to move out of this way of life–admitting that I am, in truth, a hippie.

What has finally prompted this breakthrough? Interestingly enough it came about while reading Vine Deloria’s book Custer Died for Your Sins: An Indian Manifesto. I have been wanting to read this book for many years and finally got around to it last month. Towards the end of the book he discusses the inundation of hippies to reservations in the summer of 1966 and his description of them suddenly hit home for me. The passage follows… The italicized sections are characteristics that describe me in general.

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Using Open Source Ubuntu

Fire in the Fennel Stalk

computerWhen I first heard of open-source I couldn’t believe my ears, the whole concept thrills me to bits. It is very timely, and similar to the myth of Prometheus when he stole fire from the gods, and brought it down for mankind in a fennel stalk. This time the tool of assistance for humanity is something that has been co-created through cooperation and free will. When I first heard about using Linux it was 2006 and I was still using my mom’s old notebook made in the 1980s. It was a real dinosaur, but at least it was still working and portable. I had about 4 batteries for it, but none of them held a charge and finally they all gave out.

I did a bit better this time round. My mom gave me her old computer again this year. I was really in luck, because she had just gotten it a couple years ago in S. E. Asia, all the software was pirated and it soon crashed. It was a perfect candidate for the new Ubuntu 9.0.4 that had just been released and suddenly I was back in business with the flashiest computer I have had since I got my PowerBook 165c in 1993.

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Vancouver Community Gardens I

Vancouver City Council passed a motion in 2006 to encourage 2,010 new gardens by 2010. Now there are more than 40 community or resident-shared gardens with more than 1,700 garden plots and more on the way. There is a great brochure that the City of Vancouver has put out with a good map that shows great walking and bicycle tours…

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Food Security & Sustainability

Spider Web

Food Security & Sustainability: For The Times Ahead by Harvest McCampbell, published by Bio Diverse Press in May 2008 arrived just in time.

This book is a level headed and comprehensive look at what is coming our way. Without fear-mongering and trying to get rich off of your fears, Harvest McCampbell provides a wealth of resources and practical steps that you can take to prepare for the transition that our world is gearing up for.

Harvest shares her vision of a Green World that her Grandmother passed down to her, and makes us consider how we would survive if we woke up one day in a world without asphalt or cars. In this book Harvest shares her answers to the question her Gram used to ask her when they were out in the woods gathering wild food and herbs.

“Maybe today, maybe when we get back to where we left the car, there will be no car, there will be no roads. Then what will we do Little One?”

In a few simple paragraphs, Harvest McCampbell filled my head with visions of the Green World her Gram spoke of and my heart with a secure feeling of hope. This book points to how we can each help each other to find our way through the mess we have made of things by working together with respect and confidence.

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