works available

2014, abstract, abstract art, acrylic, canada, canvas, chance operations, collage, contemporary, contemporary art, fine art, found objects, gallery, giovanni, MFA, mixed media, paint, powell river, psychedelia, rabideye, sales, spezzacatena, wabi-sabi

whaleycoverMy paintings range in size from very small (3″ x 4″) to 30″ x 40″.
Click or right-click and save as pdf here or on the image above
for a slideshow of work currently for sale
 (10MB pdf slideshow)

Prices range from $125 – $900 in this series. All work is original. Up to 15% Powell River Dollars accepted.
Please inquire for more details, listing the slide # as a reference (top right of pdf)
Shipping is possible and extra fees apply. Prices in Canadian dollars.PayPal or Debit accepted.


Some thoughts on resistance and manifesting alternatives

Community, democracy, employment, inequality, LNG, mining, new economy, oil, powell river, transportation

Resistance is fertile.

Mordor, Made in Canada.

Mordor, Made in Canada.

You know, the letters to editors, press releases, opinion pieces and ads (overt and covert) FOR resource extraction, liquid natural gas (LNG), mining, coal transport, pipelines, Mordor Inc. (tar sands) etc. outnumber anything offering alternatives to these by a huge margin.

This is a very dangerous moment, especially when the unabashed and unapologetic surge to choke the planet is being spun as a really “positive thing” for First Nations and generally for youth employment. It’s analogous to the argument that since the Third World has not had access to the pollution-causing cars we’ve had in the over-developed world, that they should not be worrying about their carbon footprints (just yet). Like there even exists a ‘they’ and ‘us’; amazing myopia when we are all coming to recognize that we’re all in this together, really, and we always were. Philippines or Fukushima, anyone? The spin these days is that youth and First Nations folks have not had the opportunity to make a decent living  off of good-paying jobs yet, and saying “no” to these ultra-polluting industries that contribute to even huger amounts of pollution via their end product use, is essentially stunting their collective ability to grow and marginalizing youth and especially First Nations youth, further. Equating conservation with racism is a line they are slyly pushing out there.

Young and not-so-young (even retired!) people are rushing into northern areas in BC, Alberta and Saskatchewan in their generation’s gold rush. And it is not just for the money, but also for peripheral aspects related to employment: we all need to feel useful and productive toward a certain end. And we all have those bills to pay as part of our bid to remain within a society, even if it is warped. We’re social creatures. Then there’s habit and a feeling of ‘what else am I going to do’. We’ll be seeing much more of this when the youth now trained in ultra-specific technical skills may find it hard to even imagine doing something else.

[ Groaning ] Oh! I ain’t fer it.
I’m agin it! [ All Chanting ]

Being against something – often with no time/energy/ideas for arguments that are PRO-something, especially in regard to providing people with an occupation – is pretty obviously a non-starter in a culture that overwhelmingly equates money and the employment which produces it (albeit less so) with self-worth and dignity.

It’s just so easy for so-called capitalists: “just make as much money as quickly as possible, at any cost to anyone or anything”. This system is always-already rewarded and honored, to the extent that is itself ‘environmental’; everything that happens, happens within its rules. No amount of death, misery and destruction seems to tarnish this Teflon system. No big news here, postmodernist thought has long held to this and it’s devolved into truism, and  joyfully accepted as a necessary critical evil, and one that can be monetized, too!

Where does this leave the alternatives? Exactly where we have been and find ourselves today. What we’re doing is SO not working. We need to move beyond resistance (which shows that yes, there is something wrong)to creating a new system that puts the old invisible one to shame. People do want to protect and conserve together, but almost everything in our culture says “pillage what you can now, and hoard it away”. Ironically, even the  Doomers and Libertarians get caught in this cycle that allows for infiltration of the divide-and-conquer ethos onto the Left-leaning.

It’s a crazy web we’ve woven through both our actions and inaction, but also through a value system we’ve swallowed and allowed the Corporate Others to construct for us, using unfair and historically unparalleled advantages of access to media, funds and governments via lobbyists and campaign funding. Signals that a paradigm shift is happening right now (Occupy, Idle No More and the resistance to fracking, pipelines, coal transportation, mining, deforestation, tar sands, LNG transportation, damaging hydro-electric projects, etc.) may provide ideas that could form the stepping stones to a new world , but without a very clearly envisioned, articulated, and most importantly manifested examples of how a society can work within its environment (and not against it), we are emulating King Kong, swiping at the symbols of our own environmental and social destruction, with nowhere to eventually go, but down. I see worker owned and operated cooperatives of all kinds as one living example of how things can work out differently.

In the next few cross-posts with Skookum Food Provisioners’ Cooperative, I will be looking at some co-op models to give me (and maybe you) a better understanding.


Living It Local

Community, new economy, powell river
T-B: Madrona berries, nettles, and local apricot/blackberry leather

T-B: Madrona berries, nettles, and local apricot/blackberry leather

Living It Local (CBC project) submission by … me. The Project is called HyperLocal.

It just recently got to the point where “how did you find Powell River” is sounding less like “who let you in here?” than “Yay, you found it too”. This small hard-to-get-to coastal BC town (4.5-hour car/bus/2-ferry trip to Vancouver) has taken quite a few steps toward relocalization over the past 6 years my partner and I have lived here.

With the town’s industrial raison d’être – a huge paper mill – dramatically downsizing in the 1980’s and beyond, it could have gone badly for Powell River. One reason we big-city dwellers moved here was to shift to a simpler lifestyle in a tighter community where we could join other like-minded people to effect change for the better. The idea in our mind was that ‘you have to make the place where you live the place where people like you want to live’. Powell River seemed like an odd choice to some; yes, its rugged beauty is undeniable, but that mill nearby does scare away certain types. The regional population of around 20,000, includes several islands, neighbourhoods, and communities like the regional First Nations community of Tla’Amin, end-of-the-roaders in Lund (Hwy 101 starts/ends there), and varying degrees of rural from Wildwood, to the more urban Townsite, Cranberry, Westview and semi-rural South of Town to the BC Ferry terminal at Saltery Bay.

But I’d say that ‘local’ means a lot to a relatively small, active core of maybe 200-300 individuals from all over (including long-time residents and American ex-patriots), who continue to grow to shift the economy away from resource extraction and onto a more intentionally sustainable course. We are a Transition Town with a new local brewery, local food initiatives that include a GMO-free designation, local farmers and farmers’ markets/local shops selling local vegetables, seafood, meat and processed products, a ‘food provisioners’ cooperative’ called Skookum, a yearly 50-mile Eat Local Challenge, two yearly garden tours (one edible and one not), a brand new SunCoast Grown initiative to market local food products, a revitalized community radio station (CJMP) , an active artist community with lots to say/show and few venues to do it in, an historic movie theatre that was just saved via a community fundraising effort, a local film festival, a budding car-share co-op and just this last year a local currency (Powell River Dollars).

Local means swimming upstream, and working for the right kind of progress; one that values people and natural resources over profit and corporations that couldn’t care less about anything but profits. That this means ‘a battle’ to some people, is no surprise, as old attitudes still hold lots of sway in determining which local projects get government funding. Local also means quietly living with less (even working less– well for money anyhow), volunteering time and talents for no immediate gain, dealing with people you never thought you’d ever encounter (people with a wide spectrum of different backgrounds, education, work ethics, talents and attitudes), and generally sticking around, growing it yourself, and making it work.

Desperation is a stinky cologne (and this is a scent-free zone)

Community, employment, new economy, powell river

Enter Salesman (image: rabideye)

“Desperation is the raw material of drastic change. Only those who can leave behind everything they have ever believed in can hope to escape.”
-William S. Burroughs

“A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.”
– Robert Heinlein 

This week in Powell River featured a well-though-out and accessible talk by marine biologist, Mark Biagi on the proposed plan to bring trash incinerators to Powell River on Catalyst Paper Mill lands. Biagi went into the nitty gritty of how these so-called ‘state-of-the-art’ plants turn much of what is compost-able and recyclable “trash” into toxic waste that has been shown to cause cancers and birth defects. The 100 or so people in attendance listened quietly to the speaker in awe that the City would even entertain such ideas. (check out the No Incinerator for Powell River Facebook Group). But it was also shown through the question period that while the Regional District controls solid waste (and they- according to director Colin Palmer – had no inkling of a deal between the City and Wheelabrator Technologies Inc.Urbaser  until the local news story (see the Powell River Peak article). The issue, as brought by City councillor Maggie Hathaway, is that while the Regional District has jurisdiction over what we do with our own solid waste, the City and Catalyst can grease the wheels (and maybe profit from) a business on mill lands that will incinerate trash from other communities. Great. So, in theory we can reach our Regional District’s goal of zero-waste and still have an incinerator in the middle of our city spewing the toxic filth of other people’s garbage into our faces. Section 21** (see below) was put in place in 1955 when the City consolidated . It basically (and outrageously) gives the Mill free rein on doing whatever they need to do to make the business viable. Burning other people’s trash might just be “sustainable” indeed — sustaining their coffers, or at least delaying bankruptcy. Councillors Maggie Hathaway along with Myrna Leishman stated that while Powell River City Council has tried to address the repeal of this bylaw before (it was rejected, but no one there remembered if a reason was given), she would look into this. According to Biagi, there is a lot of money to be gained by the multinational corporation that has a history of lawsuits and ‘settlements’ under its belt. Billions, in fact. They won’t give up so easily without a fight.

Which brings us to the title of this post [“Desperation is a stinky cologne (and this is a scent-free zone)] and how a pattern is forming that spells ‘open for (always outside) business’: corporations reach out to the City to sell them on a brand new idea that will bring back the heyday of  unheard-of wealth for labourers at the mill (Powell River had the highest per capita income in Canada until the 1960’s). Yrainucep’s antics , the attempt by the City and this company to remove lands from the Agricultural Land Reserve ALR to build an airport and gated community, the  Liquid Natural Gas transportation by water idea, the Enbridge proposed Northern Gateway plan to transport tar sands oil across our land, and now even a new wave of coal mining close to home.

Governments like to say that they are open to everyone, and after all ‘corporations are people too’, but this disregards the influence that these incredibly powerful multinationals have to affect policy, all toward short-term corporate gains where the next quarter-year is as far as they can see. We need to see further. When people ask ‘where are the good ideas?!’, meaning that all we have before us are these destructive ones, we need to remember that the people who bring us these obviously bad ideas to local, provincial and federal governments are very well paid to do so, and constantly. We have many great ideas here via our organizations including Transition Town, and even in our own blasted Sustainability Charter. But these won’t bring the $80,000/year wages, and they don’t have a lobby and start-up cash or access to huge loans like large corporations have; it seems overly obvious to say so, but the cards are stacked against local ingenuity and real sustainable practices. The great ideas are not publicized and many are not supported by locals because there is a mistrust in our own ability to pull these ideas off. We need micro-loans where local people invest in local projects of all kinds, especially local cooperative projects. We need to become locally resilient to the changes that are upon us already. It’s just not going to stop until we project the air of confidence it takes to keep these corporate vampires away.

 Meanwhile, our governments are all throwing lots of money, time and other resources into industry-led projects that tend to either pollute, deplete our natural resources (and fast), or both. Usually, it’s both. This smacks of desperation and the sharks are circling, always. We see it in the news every day. Of course, it’s not just a Powell River issue. We have been trained to a very high standard of living that is so incredibly and truly unsustainable (in the real sense of the word) that our addictions (to gas, sugar, etc.), sense of ownership and entitlement blind us to the point where we can’t think ahead 2 years, let alone the Iroquois concept of seven generations. We continue to pillage and plunder our resources at the expense of our children (and even our own!) health and future welfare. As someone said at the incineration information session, we need high paying jobs. But what is less talked about is what kind of jobs are ‘high-paying’: jobs that involve raping the earth, polluting our species and others, killing and controlling other people, making and selling each other garbage food/clothes/cars/computers  and … garbage itself (as well as the incineration thereof), cheating people out of their savings, gambling, extortion, lobbying governments and tweaking laws to make them fit into corporate profit plans.

It’s time to look at ourselves and decide what we can do without, and not only what we can do with the waste and destruction we leave behind by living and wanting to continue to live this way. If we want real change, we need to support each other on a micro level.

*The first part of title from this post is a quote from the  film Starship Troopers (based on the Robert Heinlein  novel)

caution: rough (but funny) language:

** 3.13 Millsite Industrial & Millsite Boundary (see page 48 in this document:

Historic industrial development in Powell River is dominated by the Catalyst Paper mill,  now modernized and one  of the largest in the Province.  This industrial complex was first established in 1912, when the first paper machines turned out newsprint (see Part 1.6). In 1955, when the City of Powell River was incorporated, the owners of the Townsite and mill needed  to protect their interests from any new potentially “unfriendly” or calamitous land use regulations. Section 21 of the Powell River Incorporation  Act recognized the mill’s important role and exempted the Mill from any and all regulatory bylaws restricting operations of pulp, paper or other mill-related uses within the “Millsite”.  This unique exemption applies to all lands and waters shown within the red outline on Map 1. Catalyst Paper has designated those parcels not required for mill operations as nonstrategic or surplus including a tract of waterfront known as “the old golf course”. This land was a part of the Millsite industrial area but is now in a state of transition.  The community, particularly the residents of the Townsite, have long used this area for walking and other recreational purposes. Catalyst Paper has requested to transfer Section 21 designation from the surplus lands to Block 55.The Millsite Industrial designation as shown on Map 1 applies to lands currently subject to Section 21 of the Powell River Incorporation Act.  The Millsite Boundary outlines the 1956 effective area of the Millsite including park lands now owned by the City.


Millsite Industrial Objectives & Policy

(a) Given little direct City jurisdiction over the operation of the mill or Millsite, the objectives for the Millsite Industrial are limited to ensuring the ongoing viability and vitality of the mill operations as an essential element of the region’s economy.

(b) The  City will work with  Catalyst Paper and senior levels of government to facilitate the successful ongoing operation of the mill.

(c) The City supports the transfer of Section 21 provision to Block 55 subject to  Catalyst Paper meeting all Provincial and Federal applicable regulations, particularly as relates to the environment.

Return to Never-ever-ever-ever-land

Community, powell river

I’ve been interested in design issues for many years now; grappling with information to make it intelligible and seamless. Distilling and clarifying ideas without meandering and misleading by wallowing in details, requires a lot of skill and forethought.

There is a massive amount of information and opinion out in wikigooglefaceland, but even more disinformation and opinion-masking-as-fact. It’s a truism that the barrage of available statistical information has led to a watering down of informed opinion. Even the ‘massive trove’ of malfeasance unleashed by Wikileaks has left most people cold and shrugging at the mountain of data, while we become increasingly comfortable with convicting whistle-blowers.  There must have been a sweet spot somewhere along the way where we achieved the perfect mix of facts and the ability to make sense of them. But we’re past that, apparently.

This whole  Powell River library situation for me mimics what is going on everywhere: short-term, fear-based myopic thinking and knee-jerk reactions, coupled with a disregard for lessons learned in the past (here and elsewhere), parade as discourse. Excellent design gets left in the dust.  Good ideas are (potentially) gutted. Smallness of spirit rules the day.

Information Design by Clare Mervyn (click to see larger)

Solutions to design problems are repeatedly forgotten or disregarded. We think we know better, somehow. Witness the new disigner teapot that spills tea over the top, or dribbles– this after 500 years of teapots designed not to; there are endless bad design choices out there (check out this, erm… rather unattractive site that leads to many good examples of bad design).

The point is: things that seem obvious, often aren’t. Good design takes research, thought, creativity, imagination, skill and testing in real-life situations, over a period of time, by many different types of people, plus resources (time, money, materials).

To consider are:

  • our physical limitations and our own unique ‘design’ as humans
  • environmental concerns (both in terms of ‘being green’ and in terms of design products’ interaction with the natural elements or context in which the design product will be used)
  • the ability of people to learn how to deal with new design products
  • a view to the future life of a that design product in the real world, whether it be applied to a city, street, building, piece of software or teapot.

Some design products are so new that they need to be learned from scratch (think of computer technology in the 1980’s when even GUI was all-new, clunky and weird), the goal here is to make something that does not ‘come naturally’ into something that does seem intuitive, and as quickly as possible. Fast learners adapt and develop a sort of pattern recognition where similar design traits are learned and recognized as repeating across design products of all kinds, making future learning faster and less painful. This takes some time, imagination and resilience.

To imagine a library at the old arena site means to intellectually inhabit the space, to ‘see’ the people moving around in the space, to visualize them getting off the bus, biking up to lock their bike under the overhanging eaves, parking a car and walking to the door, using a wheelchair or walker along the Willingdon Beach trail or along the soon-to-be-extended seawalk to Willingdon Ave. past the Westview Ferry Terminal to pop in to the library with the kids, maybe to check out a new DVD or see some art, borrow a book or test drive some new magazines the library newly has room to display; to meet a friend and grab a coffee nearby, do some research on the web at the library, or use their wireless connection outside it while on a lunch break away from your work site nearby.

As the  informative and well-designed leaflets above suggest, our current old library does not respond to many of the community’s needs.

The new library design as presented months ago works (at least in theory, but that’s all we have now) because it pays attention to, and responds to what common sense, building codes, a long history and experience in library design (with a keen eye on future uses of libraries), and public input have indicated. But what if it’s raining? What if it’s windy or sunny? What if there is an earthquake?

Good design takes predictable conditions and occurrences into account;  informed design and planning mean visualizing the big picture and not getting lost in the details, because if the plan is strong, the details will fill themselves in, organically. Good design works for people; it is not meant to just look nice, but to also to have a utilitarian and social function. What we have at the old arena site is an empty gravel parking lot that isn’t even usable as one. Bad design is a shame, forever.

Keeping things as they are means living with dysfunction, and while (sadly) I’m starting to wonder if as a community we have the will, strength and tools to forge a culturally rich and economically diversified future for Powell River, I feel the new library — carefully designed in the carefully-selected location — will be a bigger part of this shift than some can imagine now.

Free Willie

new economy, powell river

Welcome to Hostage Beach

Ok, so I made the decision to stop and chat with one of the “Save Willingdon Beach” folks beached there on the endless vigil to save that patch you see above (a.k.a The Old Arena Site). I do think that this amorphous group needs to be heard. Their petition of “we want a referendum” deserves an answer to the question of “why?” There’s a lot of effort and time that they are putting into this; who knows how many dogs are left unwalked, pleasure boats left unattended, houses left uncleaned and books left unread as a sacrifice to this cause. It’s heart-breaking.

Anyhow, so I asked a few questions, and while the responses are not to be seen as representative of the whole (apparently) leaderless group, and mine as not representative of any group either. I did get some more information that I figured I’d jot down as more notes to myself regarding this whole thing, because I really think it digs into the heart of this place.

The brief chat revealed some aspects of the debate that I had an inkling of at one point, but that has to do with the vision that long-time (“born and bred”) residents with strong ties to the paper mill have: a sense of their own personal and individual ownership of this spot of land they supposedly treasure, but nevertheless somehow left to moulder for the ages.

That “new” people like me are envisioning something there that is different from the trees or whatnot the de vieille souche* supposedly envisioned there, is irksome and hurtful to them. The fear of condo development is very strong here, and the fact that the library design does not include condos and would actually prevent condos from being built on the site if it is re-zoned, was met with “this is just Phase 1: they want to build a museum, a cultural centre, and maybe even City Hall here”. Unlikely, as the footprint barely accommodates a small library, once all the set-backs and zoning regulations are followed.

So, the $75,000-$100,000 and time/effort spent on the process of deciding on an appropriate location, paying people to design it, the many public consultations, etc. is money, time and effort that they are willing to forfeit; “we should have been given a referendum”.

Now, we must all pay for that bit of naughtiness, both with money and the continued pitiful lack of a proper library. You can just imagine the likelihood of going through a referendum process to have the people decide where a building should now go, how much to spend on  it, finance another round of research and site-specific design of a library at a more “central location behind the recreation complex”(that is accessible to … cars, has no social or economic benefits for locally-owned shops and is removed from view: our little shame).

It will never happen.

And that’s apparently just fine by them. ‘So be it. Who needs a library anyway? There’s the internet!’

There was a satisfied air about the whole thing; that this is the biggest petition in the history of Powell River, that “95% of the merchants on Marine are against development” of the sandy pit, and that the City ‘deserves’ to lose the money spent on the process, like it’s the money of a few people at the much-hated City Hall and not everyone’s money at a time when there is barely enough to go around. “We want to save this space for everyone” was the last straw, as I pointed to the empty gravel area and suggested that libraries are for everyone. “But not everyone uses libraries!”. Well, infinitely fewer people use that gravel patch, and for that matter, not everyone uses Willingdon Beach or the many lovely, welcoming green spaces around it. Is it public only if everyone uses it?

I was half-expecting my nose to be dragged through that kitty litter box being guarded. The emotion here is wrath. While it was  acknowledged that the City never had (and certainly doesn’t now have) the money or intention to replant that long-destroyed area that is unfit for plantlife, there has been no outcry over the use of this spot for actual parkland, until now. It’s “a pox on both your houses” time for the Save Willingdon Beach fans, and in my view, it’s still misleading and toxic.


*Literally “old stumps”, a word I carry here from my Quebec roots where second-class citizen status was bestowed by le Parti Quebecois upon anyone not of old French stock, but the concept is used world-wide, of course.

(un)Willingdon Beach

Community, powell river

The poster.

(Update related to this post here:

It’s been about a month since I wrote my last post in something  like 20 minutes. Between this and the image I created (in 10 minutes; see at left), I can safely say that I  never had as much response to anything I’ve even done. Weird, and kind of sad.

It’s a community-defining moment for sure; questioning values, visions for the future of this place and ideas of democracy. No, it’s not really about the location of a library. Scratch the surface a tiny bit and repeatedly, we start to see elements of what I hope is not coming: that ‘every man for himself’ attitude that increasingly seems to rear its head when we’re asked as a community to share in imagining, paying for and supporting something that feeds into The Commons.

But, really, the lack of imagination in all this is the most alarming. Many could obviously not even allow themselves to imagine a library that would be accessible, leave enough land to walk the dog, provide shelter and seating and common meeting spaces inside and outside, the maintaining of a graffiti wall, access to public transportation, ample parking and an unobstructed view. These people question the value of a library, not just the location of one. Yes, studies so show that they make  financial sense. But more importantly, they provide information and a gathering place in a democratic way, to the masses. Without libraries, there would be no proper democracy, as the one-dollar-one-vote would be the default in a society where money=knowledge; where only if you can personally afford to buy the newspapers/pay for monthly internet charges/ buy expensive books, magazines or films, will you know what is going on around you. Democracy relies on an informed population. I mention ‘Democracy’ here not only because I believe in it, and that a lack of true democracy is what is bringing about our socio-economic collapse (see The Occupy Movement as a reaction to this voicelessness of the 99%), but also because the anti-library folks repeatedly demand that we should vote for the location of a library, and then another vote on whether to spend money on this, and maybe a third on how much. Maybe there should be a referendum on the shape of the doorknobs as well… Meanwhile their own Facebook page (“Save Willingdon Beach“, apparently with over 3,900 signatures to prevent the library from being built there, and thus from being built at all) disallows comments from those who are not part of the group. So much for free speech.

My point here is that an informed population is required to make things work if not for everyone, then for most, and for the greater good. The information is out there all over the place on the value of accessible information, for those who choose to view it: and a visit to their library would be a great start.

I feel that a functional and living library will enable our transition from a resource-based town to something more sustainable and more secure. It won’t save us by itself, but it will provide the space, knowledge and resources to enable us to save ourselves. The torrent of comments pro and con, to the Facebook event page dedicated to pursuing the dream of a library at the so-called ‘Willingdon Beach’ site (by inviting people to show up at a Council meeting on March 1st, 2012) showed the many differing opinions. With its thousands of messages/ideas, it’s an amazing collection that in a digital form can just be zapped away never to be seen again; a definite drawback to social media. Still, there is no way such an archive would have been collected any other way. And how democratic is that!

Click here to see the new library website

The new library designers have accumulated the ideas of those who bothered to attend and give their design ideas (as opposed to vocal and inconsolable protest over the misuse of public land for public use) over the last six months or so, based on the so-called ‘Willingdon Beach’ site and will present another Open House on Monday, March 26 from 3PM-9PM at the Recreation Complex (5001 Joyce Ave), where they will reveal how they have incorporated the community’s ideas on the three projects they proposed at the last public meeting on February 14th. Hope to see you there!

Light as airwaves

cjmp, Community, new economy, pop, powell river, radio, sunshine yellow

On the importance of fluff.

It seems I often write about the importance of content. That content must drive form; how the vessel should fit the contents of that container (and not the other way around). As you’ve seen in this blog, I’ve started my own radio program: Sunshine Yellow on CJMP 90.1 FM in Powell River or streaming online anywhere with an internet connection — see at 10 am to noon (Pacific Time).  I never really had the intention of starting a program when I first jumped into the ‘let’s save CJMP’ campaign, and subsequently became a director of the board of Powell River Community Radio Society (PRCRS). At one point, we as a board were given the task of discovering — at least for ourselves — what were our ‘hidden agendas’ in pursuing this monumental and necessarily collaborative task of raising CJMP from its stint in purgatory last year. While we haven’t yet shared these ideas due to the barrage of items on our to-do list, it may well come up again. I know that it has percolated up in my mind,  anyhow.

It’s obviously a worthwhile effort to periodically step back and evaluate what you’re doing and why you’re doing it, if only to redirect wasted effort, and at best find out more about yourself and your motivations. For me, this is what blogs are all about: thinking out loud in a stream of consciousness that may meander, but eventually comes to create a map of thoughts thought. My interaction with the radio society has meant volunteering between 12-24 hours per week, but to what end?

Our Society’s goals and agendas on that end of things are geared to community participation in the arts, culture and more political endeavors that challenge and provide an alternative to the narrow band that usually reaches us through corporate media. But even more than this, it’s the process of creating, maintaining and expanding our network of social collaborators that really interests me. It’s the volunteers— interestingly composed of an age group (late 20’s to early 50’s) that is not known to engage in formal ‘societies’ until later on in life, if at all — working together toward a common goal. The goal in this case is to make this station work as a community radio station, and that’s more than enough. But just looking at our community announcements the other day, it became clear that the movers and shakers at CJMP are also moving and shaking in other cultural realms, and are supporting each other. CJMP has become part of  how we are developing cultural capital here in Powell River, mixing arts events with important social issues like the waste water management debate, diversity initiatives and forays into more sustainable ways of living like the Bike to Work Week (coming up next week). So, while on the surface, hosting a music show on the radio may seem like a ‘fluffy’ activity, even a program devoted to the influence of fluff-meisters ABBA (like my last program), has a certain importance in that it can happen at all.

I have a program on CJMP to show others that it is a viable enterprise; that it’s possible to enter into a sort of conversation with the public, even if for now it consists of song and theme requests sent through Facebook. It’s coming to community in a round-about way; the content is the form in this case. It’s an unforced and pleasurable activity that makes community-building a perhaps slower, but more organic and richer experience — one with deep, healthy roots.

Come see who you’re listening to at the CJMP Public Gathering on June 10th at 6 PM at the Community Resource Centre (4752 Joyce Ave, Powell River, BC) More info? See our contact list here.

Recent Machinations

cjmp, Community, employment, powell river, radio, swap, toys, Uncategorized

The year in design by

Growing a Co-op

Growing a Co-op: Feb 9, 2011

Whoop-di-Doo! Series

Jacqueline's Locavore Menu

Saucey Jax

Skookum Greetings 2010

Skookum logo

Gleaners poster (one of many versions)

Harry Burton's visit


Community Apple Pressing

CJMP 90.1 FM Powell River

CJMP Misfit Toy Event

NOT jst dfrnt

Up and coming soon... Rabideye Radio?

2010 50-mile Eat Local Challenge

50-mile Challenge's Shelley.

Quiet out there, for Seattle Lookout Cafe/Bar

for a popular rabbit-talk at Kale Force

Logo for

Haiti benefit

Myrtle Creek Stewards Society (still not finalized)

Skimming in TW Century

cjmp, Community, employment, new economy, powell river, radio, swap, Uncategorized

the new buffalo stance

Sitting here in YVR looking out at the slick darkness of a Vancouver December  morning, even my fluorescent earplugs can’t mask the airport TV set blaring out woeful weather reports, followed by the press feeding frenzy around Julian Assange’s bail appeal. This is a near-perfect example of how we’re invaded by information; a fetid soup of so-called news, product placements, stories, cartoons, trivial details, adverts and top-secret proof of corporate and government malfeasance — if there is still any difference at all between any of these; an undifferentiated mass that knowingly winks at us, as one of those ‘in the know’. And off to the next story…

Lack of deep attention has been considered a virtue for a while now, with cultural channel-flipping and web surfing leading to widespread attention deficit and a collective low-level autism (because really, who has the attention span to really commit to the full-blown variety?) It’s the western lifestyle that rewards skimming the surface, while treading very heavily on the earth.

We look on amazed as our  nimble-fingered youth shoot off text messages at the speed of thought, and often faster. The posture is becoming mythic, like plaid was to grunge for the Gen-Xers, so is the technoslump to this neXt generation®™.

We almost universally encourage our young people to endlessly expand their technological reach like a thin rubber band, in all directions, if only to increase their supposed future employability in our part of the world where producing ‘things’ has been relegated to a small and undesirable cultural subset.

We demand that our schools produce high-tech pawns that don’t stray from the storyline, and who affirm their limits of specialization.

We don’t dabble in wondering about the logical ends and results of our actions.

We marvel at the mass of information at our own fingertips — regardless of how filtered or truthful or appropriate or useful it is—as a democratizing station along the straight shooting arrow of our cyber-humanoid progress.

We’ve left content and purposefulness well behind; there are experts to deal with that and economists to figure out the angles.

That this is a good thing, has been largely unquestioned, but is now even becoming unquestionable. Our job is not to question. Our job is to make ourselves useful. But no matter how ‘over it’ our attitude toward being human is, feeling useful is still a human need. Feeling connected is still important. Giving and accepting love is still the main goal.

It’s just that we have temporarily convinced ourselves that emotional connection comes through a Facebook status update.

Let’s get together again. It’s been a while.

Swap unwanted gifts. Bring some food to share. Let's build a radio station. Fri. Jan 14 at 5:30 at the CRC (4752 Joyce Ave. Powell River)