Back and Blogging

I was away for a week in Toronto, which is a very cool town, and while I was gone the sysadmin for the mediageek’s server upgraded perl and other things, which kind of broke Moveable Type in interesting ways for a few days more — hence the lack of postings.

Thanks to very responsive help from said sysadmin and another IMC tech guru we’re back in action. The server that runs the mediageek site is a community webhosting project of the Urbana-Champaign IMC, which means that it runs on a combination of volunteer and paid time. The uptime on the server is great, the cost is reasonable, so these minor hiccups aren’t much of bother, especially considering how quickly our techs patch things up.

Back to Toronto — I did nothing remotely mediageeklike during my visit, just relaxed and wandered the city, enjoying the pleasant, multicultural atmosphere and lots of great, cheap food. I got to listen a bunch to community radio station CKLN, which has a nice mix of news, public affairs and music programming. I was impressed at the knowledge of some of the music hosts, and how they integrated interviews with various local and touring artists. Basically, I kept the radio in our rented apt. tuned to CKLN for the whole five days and was never disappointed.

There’s tons of graffiti, street art and murals all over Toronto, which helps to counteract the rampant commercial advertising and billboards. I don’t know why I didn’t take any pictures of all the vibrant grassroots expression.

Like I mentioned, I didn’t set out to do any mediageek stuff, so I didn’t make any contact with grassroots media makers, activists or and IMCistas. But just the vibe of the city seemed to be very welcoming for such activity. The chief impediment to these things is probably spreading gentrification and overall high rents in Toronto.

My last day in town I went to the Uprising radical bookstore in Kensington Market, which was just blocks from where we stayed. It’s a small store in a small one-room space, but has a nice selection of periodicals, radical pamphlets, zines and books. Also, they have a a few racks of $1 and $2 books (that’s .$73 to $1.46 in US dollars — I did enjoy the exchange rate), all of which are much more radical than the usual bargain book rack fare. And I really did appreciate the rack of pamphlets, since I think this is an often overlooked form, and a great way of spreading ideas in a short, easily digestible and cheap (or free) medium.

Toronto is definitely on the short list of places I’d readily be willing to move to.

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