December 21, 2004
# Solstice

I've been under a huge pile of work (just getting out), and thought I had been too busy to remember to celebrate winter solstice. (More sun, not less, is a good thing, at least right now.) As it turns out, it's today, and my days will henceforth be both longer and less stressful.

In other news, the Dominion has got a brand new design and all-new date-based organization of new articles, which should allow for more between-issue posting, and more "online exclusives". I'm definitely pushing the limits of what can be squeezed out of Moveable Type.

Oh yeah, and there's a new issue out, and a brand-new french language section, too! Moveable Type is going to start showing its limits faster if translations start happening, I think.

Also, I found a place in Montréal. I had to choose between really cool neighbourhood/basement apartment, and dead neighbourhood/beautiful apartment, and I went for the neighbourhood. Starting January, I'll be living in Mile End, which is north of the Plateau. The Utne reader named the Plateau Mont Royal one of the "hippest neighbourhoods in North America". Strangely enough, the rating (which was apparently preceded by reputation) came after a good decade of steep rent increases in the area. Word has it that the bohemian types have moved into Mile End and other neighbourhoods on the outskirts of the Plateau.

For all the shit that hipster neighbourhoods get, there's a kind of sweet spot mix of immigrants, small-scale industry, artists, and all around cultcha that happens in parts of town with cheap rent and oldish buildings. This seems to be the case in this general part of Montréal, in my extremely limited experience. And in any case, it's tough to argue with sub-$200 rent. Needless to say, I'm looking forward to it, and if I stick around, I'll be bitter as hell in 5-10 years when the yuppies take it over (assuming the apocalypse waits that long).

Finally, because I've been too poor to buy a copy of Bitch Magazine in quite a while, I've been craving a regular dose of their overeducated-yet-pop-sensibility-infused critical commentary and engagement. The Bitch Magazine weblog just doesn't deliver often enough, but I've been led to believe that is the answer. Short, link-rich, and snarky, and without the long personal narrative that I can't muster the attention span to follow unless its someone I know. (One exception.)

posted by dru in blog
December 15, 2004
# Shadow Cities

I'm excited to pick up a copy of Robert Neuwirth's Shadow Cities. Neuwirth spent time living in "slums" in Rio, Bombay, and Nairobi, and documents the outside-the-system systems of self governance and organization that get developed there. Apparently, it's pretty interesting.

From the publishers' description:

In almost every country of the developing world, the most active builders are squatters, creating complex local economies with high rises, shopping strips, banks, and self-government. As they invent new social structures, Neuwirth argues, squatters are at the forefront of the worldwide movement to develop new visions of what constitutes property and community.
And understanding how a full tenth of the world's population lives is, y'know, important.

posted by dru in books