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Mundane but exciting July progress

Due to some recent kerfuffles in that melange of stuff called Life, I’ve hit a bit of a wall with TransitCamp, both as an event and as an honours project. To break it down and keep it brief, here’s a list, because lists make everything easier:

  1. It’s just me. Somehow, every time I mention the idea of TransitCamp to someone, I think I must give off the impression that I’m organizing it, and that I have it all together. I really must stop lying so blatantly, because I’ve put off making any kinds of plans because right now, it’s really just me. And I would rather have other people helping me out. It’s so much more fun when there are other people involved, and they can keep me from going corrupt with power, and shoot arrows at me with their eyes when I’m obviously wrong. I terrified poor Paul Hillsdon, so I’m going to have to work a little harder at this. There may be a lesson in here about being better at follow-up and extracting commitments from people as well.
  2. My project is eluding supervisors. I haven’t hit on a solid approach; instead, I’ve spent the month researching topics from across the academic disciplinary spectrum, from Geography, Urban Studies, Business and Communication. This isn’t working so hot. I’m a Communication student, and as much as that gives me flexibility to dip into other disciplines, the project is also a mere 40 pages long – not nearly enough to tell the world what I think about life, the universe and everything. I’m also on the fence about how critical I really feel like being – a lot of what I have read so far is pretty downer. Granted, I must let go of this tendency I have to equate critical thinking with a victim mentality. I do find it troubling that governments are sometimes painted as the only source of solutions to a problem, or that business is acting wholly without regard to social justice…then again, I’m not really in the best position to evaluate whether those statements are true or false, so basically, less believing what I read and more surveying the bigger picture required.
  3. Summer. Plenty of stuff is happening, so people are also a bit slow on the e-mail. It has been a point of consternation for me for a while, but I’ll be on vacation soon, from August 13th to 28th, and slow on my e-mail, so I’m trying hard not to complain too loudly.
  4. Politics. I’m not nearly as concerned about it as I was two weeks ago, but it remains a slight worry. I have been successful in not feeding it much, though I keep abreast of the news.

As this short list reveals, my obstacles are mostly mental stemming from the fact that I’ve never done this before and haven’t the foggiest where to start. I’ve tried to think of it this way: that while many movements in Vancouver have been around longer and making more noise, there’s some cross-pollination that will take some more time to suss out.

That said, I’d like to think I’ve made some progress as well…

  1. I’ve talked to a few profs who have all been enthusiastic and had very valuable insight into how I should approach the topic, including the aforementioned Geography prof.
  2. I’ve gotten in touch with the fine folks at the Vancouver Public Space Network, as well as the new magazine Regarding Place launching in the Fall. I’ve also been in touch with the editor at Momentum Magazine (in fact, I saw her at the DriveFest two weeks ago and forgot to say hi :( ).
  3. I also took a well-deserved break to play Manhunt down at Granville Island last Wednesday – oodles of fun, though it left me a bit out of breath and working on my poker place to better lie to people asking me whether I’m it. It was organized by a Facebook group, naturally, and I met some neat people while I was there too.
  4. I got some very valuable advice and encouragement from Jay and Roland. Thanks again, you guys!

I do need to do this surfacing thing more often, it feels nice.

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