November 29, 2010

Christmas is coming, the geese are getting fat: Please put a penny in the old man’s hat: Comments Off

Vancouver Snow

December is around the corner and Christmas is in the air. To transition out of fall and into the Holiday spirit I’m participating a classic Vancouver event… The Chrismas Wish Breakfast at the Pan Pacific Hotel. Here’s some details about the breakfast and toy drive. Let me know if you’re gonna be there and we’ll plan to meetup! :)

November 10, 2010

Photography Ethics on Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside - Comments (5)

East Van

I’m working on a cool photography project for Vancouver’s Lookout Shelters with Buschlen Mowatt Gallery and Joshua Dunford and have been thinking a lot about the ethics of photography on Vancouver’s downtown eastside.

The paragraph below is a first draft at some thoughts that I may include in the project. Looking for perspectives and feedback on photography in difficult situations such as the one in my neighborhood.

East Van Sunrise

May 24, 2006

China Access 2008 Business Forum Reflections Comments Off

Hangin' in the Boys RoomI’m here at the China Access 2008 Business Forum with Scales and MC of Raincity Studios and Richard Eriksson of Bryght. We’re getting a whirlwind business tour of China including an overview of the economy, political climate, growth trends, geography and communications challenges. There are about 40 or so people here at the SFU Centre for Dialogue from Vancouver companies who are either already doing business in China or plan to, as well as a bunch of masters students from UBC Business School who are focusing on economic development in Asia and China.

So far it’s been a great session led by Alan and Andrew of China Access 2008 and supported by lots of influential Vancouver business people currently doing business successful in China including Business Objects, CanFor, and Optima Health Solutions (hey Rashid… I’ll trade ya a China strategy for Bryght for a web strategy for Optima!).

This is the perfect way to spend the day before my first ever business trip to Beijing… I’m learning a lot and it’s calming my nervousness about the trip. There sure does seem to be a lot of opportunities to companies looking to grow into new markets, but I’m looking forward to hearing people talk more about the social and environmental impacts of China’s explosive growth and rise to power.

Can the massive amount of wealth being generated by this boom be used to promote positive change in China and around the world? How will China keep the gap between rich and poor from widening? Will the ultimate cost of the environmental degradation that is taking place as part of this growth ultimately be its downfall?

Lots of people seem to have incentives to look to China as a place to make money and grow their business but whose responsibility will it be to make sure that it’s done in a sustainable way that reflects modern progressive values? Bueller? Bueller?

I’m looking forward to forthcoming posts by Richard, as I’m sure he’ll touch on some of these issues.

September 21, 2005

Cortes Island Comments Off

I just arrived on Cortes Island for the Web of Change conference. For the record this place is 3 ferries away from the mainland (Horseshoe Bay to Nanaimo, Campbell River to Quadra Island and then Quadra Island over to Cortes Island). This is definately the most remote spot I’ve been to since living in Yellowstone.

Cortes Island Map

People are still arriving and I’m about to wander down and find some (vegetarian dinner). I’m excited… and a lil bit nervous… about the days to come. Themes of this event seem to be hippies, eagles, synergy, un-connected-ness, yoga, granola, sticking the word community in front of anything, hot tubbing, geekery and winning the 2008 US election. More to come later tonight.

September 19, 2005

Web of Change Comments Off

(cross-posted from my Bryght blog)

I’ll be going to Web of Change on Cortes Island here in British Columbia on Wednesday. Web of Change is an annual gathering that connects global leaders in online communications, technology, and activism, who are actively building a better world.

"Web of Change is an invitational gathering for networked leaders from NGO’s, foundations, and the business world that are using the web to build relationships and inspire people to take action towards social change goals. We are the people leading change online and transforming the world through our work. Many participants return annually for trend-spotting, inspiring keynote speakers, to connect with like-minded peers, and tap into the humour, fun and creativity of this exceptional network."

The themes for the event are:

  • Collaboration Culture
  • Relationships and Networks
  • Branding and Storytelling
  • Open Business and Campaign Models

I’m excited to take a few days out with such an amazing group of people (including friends like Alex, Rob, Kaliya and Phil) and talk about how we can use the power of technology and the internet to connect, share, inspire, and change the world.

August 16, 2005

Just Another Soldier: A Year on the Ground in Iraq Comments Off

Jason just finished and released his new book “Just Another Soldier: A Year on the Ground in Iraq“. His stories are awesome. You should buy a copy. Here’s a couple great excerpts I blogged while he was in Iraq still.

The Tao of Soldiering
Just Another Soldier

Just Another Soldier

Three Days of Combat – Day Two – The Head

One of the best things about taking something over is you get to change things. Like when you marry a girl, you get to change her last name, or if you buy someone’s house, you get to turn the spare bedroom into a game room. Sometimes the changes made are good, and sometimes they aren’t. Sometimes the changes take, and sometimes they don’t. When my battalion moved into forward operations base Lion, north of Baghdad, the first thing we did was change the name to FOB O’Ryan. Our unit is known as Orion, but it was decided that we would use the spelling O’Ryan, the name of the decorated officer our unit was homophonically named after. I prefer the Greek over the Irish, and this book is my fiefdom, so I am hereby changing the spelling of our base to FOB Orion. Isn’t arbitrarily wielding power fun?

FOB Orion needed a lot of work and most of the physical changes we made in the time we were there were pretty good. For example, plywood shitters with poop barrels that needed their contents burned regularly were replaced with a port-o-john-type service. Sometimes the Iraqis who ran the port-o-john service and their families would be killed by insurgents, and it would take several days before replacement workers could be found, so we’d have to go back to shitting in burn barrels temporarily, but regardless, the port-o-john was an excellent change, a definite improvement. Another improvement was the gym that KBR, a subsidiary of Halliburton, built for us. They took an old ammo bunker, cleaned and painted the interior, installed air conditioning, put down a sectional rubber-mat floor, then brought in some exercise machines and free weights. It wasn’t fantastic but it was pretty damn decent. And it only took them six months and eighty thousand dollars to build. I am not exaggerating when I say that my platoon could have done the job in two days, five at the most, absolutely free of charge. After all, it was the soldiers who wanted the gym, not the overfed, beer-bellied KBR guys. But, hey, who am I to say how American tax dollars should be spent? Thank god for combat zone tax exclusion, because if I were paying taxes I would be pissed. Speaking of which, have I ever mentioned the KBR truck drivers I talked to who said they didn’t know of one single driver who didn’t fudge the hours they reported having driven each month? I love how the truck drivers would confide things like this to soldiers.

The most vital changes to FOB Orion were those that involved security. When we first came to our FOB, a smallish but somewhat sprawling collection of concrete and earth bunkers, there were a handful of insurgents who were living in and operating out of one of the remote bunkers. Concertina wire and berms were put up around the entire perimeter of the base, and the unexploded ordnance that littered the place (a draw for insurgents because this is what they use to make their improvised explosive devices) was cleared.

After the basic level of perimeter security was improved, there were ongoing changes to base security, most really good and some a little more superfluous. The buildings that housed our tactical operations center (TOC) and the administrative and logistics office were strong, but not what one would consider “hardened.” Tall concrete barriers were eventually put up around these buildings, a definite improvement. In an effort to further protect these buildings, a massive berm was installed in a location between the front gate and the TOC. I don’t know the exact reasoning behind the installation of this monstrosity of earth we dubbed “Hunter Mountain,” a name in honor of the battalion moniker of “The Hunter,” the professional title of the legendary Orion, but it just seemed a little excessive. If the insurgents had tanks, they would not have been able to directly attack the TOC because of Hunter Mountain. In that sense, it was a successful improvement. But the insurgents don’t have tanks, so it was just a big dumb pile of dirt with a wall of dirt-filled barriers across the top like the Great Wall of China.

April 28, 2005

Dan ‘Mobius’ Sieradski Interview Comments Off

Who is Dan? Who is Mobius? You have any other personas we should know about?

Dan and Mobius are interchangable and indistinguishable. Mobius is more or less my stagename. I perform as a DJ and MC and post on the Internet under that alias. I also go by MC Lion Lung and Stinky Wizzleteats on rare occassions.

Dan 'Mobius' Sieradski Interview

Where do you live? How did you end up there?

I currently live in Jerusalem. How I wound up here is a kind of long a complicated story.

I was raised in a modern Orthodox Jewish home until around the age of nine when various determining factors brought my parents to the conclusion that Orthodoxy was no longer their bag. At that point I was placed into public school and had little if any relationship with Judaism up until my bar miztvah, which more or less sealed the coffin shut. In high school I started getting heavy into Buddhism and other schools of eastern mysticism. In my explorations I discovered a guru named Bhagavan Das and came to the conclusion that he’d be my guru and I his initiate and thus sought after this character, in the end coming up short in my quest. Two weeks into my first semester in college, though, guess who came strolling into town?

I went and spent two days in a yoga workshop with Bhagavan Das, but at the end of the workshop approached him: “I grew up in a Jewish home and am very uncomfortable with visualizing and intoning the names of different gods. I really dig this stuff, but I just can’t get past the idolatry.” And he replied, “So go be Jewish. It’s the same exact thing, just a different symbol set.” That was Yom Kippur 1998.

A couple of months later, while working with Students For A Free Tibet I was offered an opportunity to meet the Dalai Lama. After meeting him, I ran into my high school teacher who was my philosophy club advisor, and he said, “Dan, you met the Buddha! You can die now!” And that pretty much ended my exploration into Buddhism.

September 12, 2004

Dennis Kucinich at the Power to the People Festival – Golden Gate Park 2004 Comments Off

Dennis Kucinich at the Power to the People Festival – Golden Gate Park 2004
Originally uploaded by kk+.

Medea Benjamin – Former Green Party Candidate for U.S. Senate from California, Co-Founder of Code Pink, also Founding Director of Global Exchange Comments Off

The pink slip lady at the Power to the People Festival – Golden Gate Park 2004
Originally uploaded by kk+.

Medea Benjamin, former Green Party candidate for U.S. Senate from California, co-founder of Code Pink, also Founding Director of Global Exchange

The huge crowd at Power to the People Festival – Golden Gate Park 2004 Comments Off

The huge crowd at Power to the People Festival – Golden Gate Park 2004
Originally uploaded by kk+.

Michael Franti at Power to the People Festival – Golden Gate Park 2004 Comments Off

Michael Franti at Power to the People Festival – Golden Gate Park 2004
Originally uploaded by kk+.

Michael Franti at Power to the People Festival – Golden Gate Park 2004 Comments Off

Michael Franti at Power to the People Festival – Golden Gate Park 2004
Originally uploaded by kk+.

Here comes a series of poor quality but plenty of fun from the Power to the Peaceful 9/11 Memorial in Golden Gate Park yesterday.

The lineup included Michael Franti and Spearhead, String Cheese Incident, Gift of Gab (Blackalicious), and lots more.

November 10, 2003

Business UNusual – The Green Festival San Francisco, Co-Produced by Global Exchange and Co-op America Comments Off

Ok ok.. so I spent the weekend at GreenFestival in San Francisco…

The Green Festival, co-produced by Global Exchange and Co-op America, brings together green enterprises, environmental groups, leading thinkers on the green economy, and thousands of attendees for a two-day party with a very serious objective: strenghtening the locally controlled, green economy and expanding popular support for policies aimed at sustainability and social justice.

I came away with a new perspective on my personal power to influence change and the feeling that I can make a difference.

Today’s Shout-Outs go to some of my favorite speakers from the event…

Jim Hightower – National radio commentator, writer, public speaker, and author of Thieves In High Places: They’ve Stolen Our Country And It’s Time to Take It Back, Jim Hightower has spent three decades battling the Powers That Be on behalf of the Powers That Ought To Be – consumers, working families, environmentalists, small businesses, and just-plain-folks.

Peter Camejo – Peter Miguel Camejo (63) is a first generation Venezuelan-American who has fought for social and environmental justice since his teens. Peter is chair and co-founder of Progressive Asset Management, Inc., a broker-dealer firm which promotes socially responsible investments. He created the Eco-Logical Trust for Merrill Lynch, the first environmentally screened fund of a major firm, and a top performer. He served three years as trustee of the Contra Costa County Employees Retirement Association. He has also been appointed by the Lt. Governor of Hawaii to be an advisor to the Hawaii Capital Stewardship Forum.

Annita Roddick – Out in the real world, beyond the radar screens of the media and political classes – something is massing. Something bigger than most of us have yet realized – something that is beginning to look likes a genuine global revolution. One that aims at turning on its head the existing power structure, millions strong. A revolution where ideas have wings. Anita Roddick will explore how this movement is taking shape in various countries – including in the Slow Food Movement in Europe, creative and joyful dissent in the streets of America, anti-globalisation actions in India and Africa. Roddick will discuss how business can be part of creative solutions to the problems of globalisation instead of part of the problem.

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