The Daily Gumboot Community



What is the Daily Gumboot | Who are you anyway?


What is the The Daily Gumboot?

 

The Daily Gumboot is a collaborative online experience designed for people who want to learn more about building community. Or who really, really like pirates. This blog is about fresh perspectives on people, community, nature, pirates, gumboots, and gumboot-clad pirate communities in nature. We’ve got cool ideas from everywhere. And we use them to build community.

We strive to be topical, interesting, snappy, grammatically-correct, edutaining, and, most importantly, positive. The team here at The Gumboot also isn’t shy of controversy or run-on sentences; we have embraced the semi-colon and use its power for good. Learn more about our contributors below and by linking to our profiles.

We might not post daily, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t check us out, well, daily.

Ladies and Gentlemen. Welcome to The Daily Gumboot. Thanks for visiting. We hope you have fun with it.

Kindest regards,

John Horn

Editor-in-Chief | john@dailygumboot.ca


 

Who are you anyway?

Kurt Heinrich | John Horn | Stewart Burgess | Theodora Lamb | Michelle Amy Horn | Peter Joerdell| Jim Clifford | Katie Burns | Martin Renaud | Godfrey von Bismark | Ian Abbott | Jordan Mottl| Martin Muli | Steve Sloot | Jilly Charlwood

John Horn – Editor-in-Chief

John Horn

John Horn

Who are you?

Hi. My name is John Horn. I am a human male who is passionate about storytelling, education and building community. As a Career Practitioner, I manage a team of awesome professionals who help students make the transition from school to work in the most meaningful way possible. The Daily Gumboot is a place of social enterprise in which we get to play and collaborate. Pirates are my muse – one of ‘em, anyway – and I fancy myself a bit of a sandwich artist.

What do you do for fun?

I endeavour to infuse every possible moment with creativity and positive laughter. And, team sports, like Settlers of Catan and Existential Detection, are superfun as well.

What’s your favourite community and why?

Anytown, USA, because it simultaneously possesses the ability to save and destroy our planet three times over… And something that combines so much hope and despair is very, very interesting.

What is your superpower?

I have two superpowers. First, I have a cunning and super ability to find shade. Second, I can write the type of run-on sentences that would make Charles Dickens’s head spin in flabbergasted fashion.

How does your power help you build community?

Well, given the amount of climate change refugees out there in the world it seems that future communities will need leaders who can shade people and things from the furious ball of fire that is the Sun. As for run-on sentences, well, like any good run-on sentence, any good community is built and interpreted with patience, open-mindedness and you might have to go through it three or four times before it makes any sense; communities aren’t built with sound bites, kids!


Kurt Heinrich – Managing Editor

Kurt Heinrich

Kurt Heinrich

Who are you?

I work as a professional storyteller. In my spare time I volunteer on a variety of community initiatives as well as help coordinate a soccer team based in the Downtown Eastside.

What do you do for fun?

I like to cook, cycle, read, chillax, eat French and Japanese food, play with my friends, shoot the breeze with my mom, dad and sisters, explore new and interesting communities, sip the Bump and Grind’s delicious Clover brew, and spend time with my lovely red headed partner Theo.

What’s your favorite community and why?

Right now my favorite community is the Drive. It’s hip, happening and varied, hosting people as diverse as a Deloitte consultant (you know who you are…) to a stick twirling, homemade-leather-clothed dude known as “Cloud Man”.

What is your superpower?

My strong sense of direction on the road…of life.

How does your power help you build community?

You need direction to build community. Without it, you’de just meander about aimlessly in your own head space. Great things seldom come from lack of direction.


Theodora Lamb – Correspondent

Theodora Lamb in white.

Theodora Lamb in white.

 

Who are you?

My name is Theodora Lamb and I’m a voice on the radio. I also manage The Big Wild, an online community dedicated to protecting half of Canada’s Wild Spaces. Space is a good thing. Especially when it’s wild.

What do you do for fun?

Anything that involves my friends and food.

What’s your favourite community and why?

When friends and family meet and merge into a personal, micro-community, you get a clan. That’s why I think we’re here on this planet: to form clans, take care of each other, learn from one and other, and become better human beings.

What is your superpower?

My ability to recognize when something important is happening immediately and act or speak with clarity. You know how sometimes a person will look back on a situation or event and think “Wow, that’s when my life changed” or “If I had only known, I would have done this or said that.” That doesn’t happen to me. I know when something big is going down before it hits the floor. Change is a good thing – sometimes it just takes a little while to realize it.

How does your power help you build community?

Anticipating a problem or an epiphany means I can help the people around me transition with ease and confidence. A confident and relaxed community allows the movers and the shakers (like my fellow contributors) to come in and get things done for the better!


Michelle Amy Horn – Health, Wellness and Happiness Correspondent

 

Michelle Burtnyk

Michelle Amy Horn

Who are you?

My name is Michelle Burtnyk. I’m passionate about health. So much so, I work in the mental health field, study public health and health promotion, and try to be as healthy as possible – when I’m not busy working, studying, writing, or reading.

What do you do for fun?

I really love hammocks – and hang out in them whenever possible. I like cooking, dancing (especially to The Beatles), making stuff and giving it to people, and of course reading whatever I can get my hands on and forcing whomever is around me to get into a philosophical discussion about it. Some might say “exhausting”. I say “exciting”.

What’s your favorite community and why?

I’d have to say the global Community of Dance. Dance has a way of bringing people together, looking beyond differences, surpassing any language or cultural barriers, and facilitating the having of a good time. Plus, it’s a great way to stay physically active and relieve stress! If we all just danced a little more, oh what a world it would be …

What is your superpower?

Being really, really nice. Like, really nice.

How does your power help you build community?

Who doesn’t like nice people? So much more can be accomplished if people are respectful, considerate, and simply nice to one another.


Peter Joerdell – European Correspondent

Peter Joerdell - our German Correspondent.

Peter Joerdell - our German Correspondent

Who are you?

Hi everyone, I’m Peter Joerdell. I am a German freelance-journalist, mostly working in corporate publishing and advertising. I live in Solingen, near Duesseldorf (where I work). For those not so familiar with Germany, that makes the Rhine-Ruhr-Region my home, near Cologne and the Dutch border.

What do you do for fun?

I love Science Fiction, be it movies or novels. I love music – mostly post punk, new wave, industrial and punkrock. And I love roleplaying games, not just pen and paper but also “live”, out in the woods (LARP, Life Adventure Roleplaying, usually in sword & sorcery-fantasy-settings).

What’s your favorite community and why?

When it comes to cities anywhere: Prague, Czech Republic. One gorgeous nightmare of a medieval, post-socialist, cultural hub. Kafka’s home, too. In Germany: Duesseldorf, with its weird mixture of financial districts, the largest European Japanese community and subcultures. In people: The crowd at a Killing Joke-concert or any LARP-event involving a lot of people portraying Vikings or other Norse characters. Always great fun.

What is your superpower?

I can disintegrate the molecular structure of Japanese and homemade Italian food by merely looking at it. No, seriously, fast talking and a good memory would have to be my feats. Plus the ability to ALWAYS come up with an idea for a storyline, an article, whatever. I guess that makes communication and creativity my superpowers.

How does your power help you build community?

If there’s trouble I usually manage to come up with a compromise and talk people into it. And I’m a good icebreaker.


Katie Burns – Food Systems & Urban Planning Correspondent

 

Katie Burns

Katie Burns

Who are you?

My card says “Katie Burns, Sustainability Coordinator”.  I grew up in Maitland, Nova Scotia (once a prosperous shipbuilding community but now a village of fewer than 200 people).  After collecting a few university degrees in history and environmental studies, I’ve found my niche in the field of community sustainability.  I now work for the Town of Markham, a suburb of Toronto, and spend my time on the community sustainability plan, local food strategy, community indicators and climate action plan.

 

What do you do for fun?

I like to get outside and move, including running, cycling, walking and the occasional race.  I also have a green thumb and grow a wide variety of tomatoes and basil on my back deck.  I find almost everything about food and beer fun and especially like visiting farmers’ markets, picking up our weekly CSA share, describing delicious beers and having our beer guys turn them into reality, spending a couple of weeks canning a year’s worth of tomatoes, and of course sharing food and drinks with friends and family.

What’s your favorite community and why?

I love Toronto and that so many communities can coexist within one city.  A few of my favourites include:

- The Stop Community Food Centre (www.thestop.org) which is one of Canada’s first food banks.  They are doing innovative work in increasing access to food.  I’ve researched the development of their new location, volunteered for their food bank and met our CSA farmers at their Green Barns Farmers’ Market.

- Fermentations (http://www.fermentations.ca/), which is a small business where a group of us make beer, wine and the occasional cider.  It is fun, delicious and has been the starting point for many great evenings with friends.

- The Junction, which is the neighbourhood where Jim and I first lived when we moved to Toronto, named for the 3 railways that meet there.  It is home to a great arts festival (http://www.junctionartsfest.com/).  Unfortunately, it is gentrifying fast but hopefully it will be able to keep some of the grit which I think makes it so great.

What is your superpower?

I’m a generalist.  I’ve always had a hard time focusing on a single issue or topic.  For a long time I thought this was a weakness, especially when I was studying history and everyone around me started to happily narrow their focus.  I preferred to dabble in new topics and couldn’t imagine ever spending more than a term on anything.  But I found my niche in sustainability, which is often described as “everything and nothing” because of how broad and general it can seem.

How does your power help you build community?

I’m now working on Markham’s community sustainability plan.  It will establish a vision and goals for a sustainable future and set targets for 2050 and beyond.  The plan is addressing social equity, identity and culture, individual health, shelter, food security, access and mobility, education and skills, economic vibrancy, material management, water efficiency, ecosystem integrity, and energy and climate.  It is a pretty ambitious plan and we have a fairly small team working on it.  Being a generalist helps me to not only understand each of these areas in isolation but also how they can potentially work together to make Markham a better place to live.   I really enjoy the diversity of subjects that I get to explore everyday and hope that it will have a positive impact on one of Toronto’s largest and most diverse suburbs.


Jim Clifford – Actively Historical Correspondent

Jim Clifford

Jim Clifford

Who are you?

Jim Clifford, eternal student, historian and teacher. I’m working to finish writing a dissertation on the environmental history of a suburb, West Ham, and river, the Lea, on the eastern edge of London, England from about 1855-1935. Most people will hear a lot more about this area in a little under three years, as it’s the location of the 2012 Summer Olympics. I study and teach at York University in Toronto.

What do you do for fun?

Most of my life is pretty fun. I’m at that great age where I have a lot more money and comfort than when I was an undergraduate student and still don’t have the life changing young children that the majority of our friends have started creating. I like to run and bike; eat, cook and drink; make beer, canned goods and pork products; talk about politics, food, music or just about anything else with friends; and go to concerts and take it easy with my wife Katie.

What is your favourite community and why?

This is a touch question, as I’ve moved a lot in the past ten or eleven years and I’ve got a very dispersed community of friends and family spread around Canada. So instead of focusing on a community of people, I think I’ll talk about the place I live. I really like Toronto. We’ve been here for over four years now and its the first place where I’ve really put down roots since leaving South Surrey in 1998. Despite the reputation for “coldness,” Toronto’s a pretty amazing city. Its a lot more complex than the world of bankers, media elite and Leaf fans seen by the rest of Canada. There are millions of
people here and a lot of them are pretty great. We don’t have the natural beauty that Vancouver has, and the city’s forefathers even managed to ruin much of the natural wonders we do have, but we do have great neighbourhoods that give many of the different areas of Toronto great character. Getting to know many of these neighbourhoods draws newcomers like Katie and I into the city and makes us feel at home.

What is your super power?

Does painstaking analysis of past events and communities count? How about writing and talking about this analysis? Sounds exhilarating eh?

How do you use it to build community?

I’ve joined together with a group of fellow historians in Canada to promote more active engagement with the communities we study and with the major problems of our time. We have a website, ActiveHistory.ca, and we are currently working with historians to publish a series of essays written for the public and posted on the website so they are accessible for anyone to read. We are continuing to think of other ways to connect historians with both the public and policy makers – op-eds. blogs, walking tours, public talks, comic books, policy papers, guerrilla-museum exhibitions and alternative historic plaques. While ActiveHistory.ca is mostly focused on Canada, I plan to use a variety of these approaches to bring the environmental history of West Ham into the growing conversation about the massive changes brought by the Olympics, connecting my active history with my dissertation research.

I think history matters, but I’m tried of the standard yearly news story about young Canadians failing a history pop quiz. We’ve got to find better ways to build a wider consciousness of the past that goes beyond remembering dates and facts from high school: who was the third prime minister, what date did the battle of Vimy Ridge take place. Knowing the answers to those questions while help you win trivia games, but they will contribute little to building a sustainable future where the economy, environment and our society can coexist for generations to come. I’m not sure if we’ve got the super powers to change and expand the historical consciousness of our culture, but we are going to try.


Stewart Burgess – Architect-at-Large

Stewartworlks in motion.

Stewart Burgess

 

Who are you?

Stewartworks is an architecture student, supermodernist critic and community investigator.

What do you do for fun?

Investigate architectural communities by bicycle, spend many hours designing projects that will most likely never be bulit, bake occasionally delicious treats, attempt to become increasingly climate-secure through DIY projects like jam and blackberry picking

What is your favourite community and why?

Community is the feeling of general well-being that can be achieved in many situations.  It can come from a store clerk’s smile or the collective sigh of a music festival audience as a space shuttle passes overhead, twinkling dimly.

What is your superpower?

The courage to say the wrong thing at the wrong time and own up to it.

How do you use this power to build community?

Honesty, tempered by attention to detail, must be fundamental to community development.


Martin Renauld – Latin American and Nation of Quebec Correspondent

Martin Renauld

Who are you?

My name is Martin Renauld. Even though I´m only 31 years old, I have been considered old for more than a decade… since I am both extremely wise and have grey hair. I´m Québécois, currently living in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where I am pursuing a PHD in social science, studying the Argentinean ecologist movement.  I also teach history at the UADE (Universidad Argentina de la Empresa).

What do you do for fun?

I enjoy playing basketball, drink wine and arguing with people. The last one is my favorite, some would say discuss, but I enjoy discussions when they become passionate and sometimes a little uncomfortable.  I think a little provocation is often useful to challenge others´ opinions and hopefully mine as well.

What is your Favorite Community and why?

My favorite community is Montevideo, Uruguay. Even though the city counts 1 million inhabitants, “barrio” (neighborhood) life is central. Montevideans have managed to make their city quite friendly by knowing their neighbors and fomenting local activities. Every barrio has its own farmer market (blocking a street once a week to sell agricultural goods), sport teams, a candombe group (music and dancing with drums) representing the barrio during carnival, a cultural center and a strong sense of belonging.

What is your superpower?

I would say my analytical and critical sense. It can get on people´s nerves once in a while, but I´m very good at finding what´s wrong (in general and for very specific issues). I am trying to work on the finding solution superpower, not as easy…

How do you use your superpower to build community?

Constructive comments would be my main contribution to humanity, sometimes to specific communities.


Godfrey von Bismarck – Shipping and TRANSPORTATION Correspondent

Godfrey von Bismarck

I’m Godfrey von Nostitz-Tait. Throw my middle name “Marcus” into the mix and I have one of the longest, semi aristocratic-sounding names out there, coming in at 27 letters (plus a hyphen). Being double barrelled has always reminded me of my British/German roots – always a good thing. Still, I’m turning 30 next month and my hunt for a shorter signature continues. Submissions are welcome.

What do you do for fun?

Other than spending 99% of my time coming up with a better signature and designing pajamas/bathrobes/hankerchiefs with my coat of arms on them, I enjoy getting into the outdoors with my binoculars and engaging with Vancouver’s amazing maritime community. I keep one larger pair on my apartment’s window sill to spy on birds and boats out on English Bay. I’m a big fan of boats, especially when I can see them up close. I also have a smaller pair of binocs which I bring on ferry rides (just in case there’s a whale), and walks on the sea wall, in case a seal pops up or there is other fauna deserving closer inspection. Since I moved to Vancouver I’ve also embraced outrigger canoeing and tennis – sports you can do year round here, which is amazing. One day last spring, I snowboarded, paddled AND played tennis all on the same weekend. How cool is that!

What is your favourite community and why?

I love my neighbourhood, the West End, for all the obvious reasons: green space, the people, beautiful cherry blossoms and lots of great eateries. But I’d have to say that my favourite micro community in the West End is the Stanley Park tennis courts. I love how inclusive they are, how you can so easily pick up a friendly match and how the herons lord over it all from their nests in the trees.

What is your superpower?

My vocabulary. I know a lot of words, which makes me a pretty wordy dude. I mean, why say things simply when you can “fance” things up real nice?   I think my wordiness is because as a lad I was deprived of TV. And Nintendo. Books were it. I polished off War and Peace at age 12 followed by Bleak House. Astounding, I know. So normal or not, there’s a reason I sometimes speak like a patrician.

How do you use it to build community?

Well, I like to talk and write, using words to communicate feelings, stories, thoughts and ideas whenever I can. The Daily Gumboot has been a fantastic way to flex a little of my verbal muscle in the name of community and word smithing has sure come in handy in my work promoting education as a writer and researcher for the Canadian Council on Learning.


Jordan Mottl – Athletic Correspondent

Jordan Mottl

Who are you?

Frank Jordan Mottl III … ya heard!

What do you do for fun?

Past weekend (as in July when I wrote this): Hiked the Chief, Family BBQ, attempted Yard Day, Corona Open Volleyball. Not a bad cross section. My job is pretty fun too.
I also like thick, red, Italian wine.
What is your favourite community? Why?

The Small Town Brother-Hood. Why is a big question. Here is part of the answer… no matter where you find us small-towners, we all have shared small town experiences and values… here’s the top ten. Polite: Yes please, no thank-you. And we’ll give to space to change lanes (if there are any). Chivalrous: Open doors, pay for a lady, and put others before yourself. Handy: Everyone will know how to change a flat… and probably know how to build a fence to keep the deer out of the garden. Pugalist: Can hold their own in a tussel. Romantic at Heart… Plus we have all falling in love with the girl next door – and she was a catch, wasn’t she? Got to drive a farm truck or shoot one with a BB Gun around the age of 12. Hard Working: Nothing is for free, and anything worth doing, is worth doing right. Owned many pairs of gumboots well before they were cool.
What is your superpower?

My family.

How do you use it to build community?

Because they, above all, have demonstrated acceptance. Dance to your own beat y’all… you’re still cool in my books.

Martin Muli – Our Man in Nairobi


Martin Muli

Who are you?I am Martin Muli Makau Muli a young energetic 28 years old single man- I just realized that am growing old and therefore am contemplating changing my name to Mateen which is sounds and looks more youthful and appealing. I come  from a small village called matuu near the famous Ndallas hotel  but  I stay in Nairobi the city in the sun.  Nairobi is in Kenya and Kenya is in Africa!

What do you do for fun?

I ussually hang out with friends interested in discussing world issues including a critical analysis of local politics, entrepreneurship and social issues. Of late, i have found myself gravitating towards movies- the funny family kind of movies. I hate horrors though!  I am also into swimming a new hobby i picked up in Merville a small village in BC, Canada. I can now comfortably do back strokes!

What is your Favourite Community?

Politicians and entrepreneurs form my favourites communities.  They alway think outside the box and are always faced with new challenges each day. I am fascinated by their ability to build something from nothing and at the same time turn friends into enemies and enemies into friends.

What is your superpower?

Listening. Smiling. Analytical.

I listen like a homicide detective. This gives me a lot of stability and control over situations and therefore i am able to handle crisis and help people get over tough situations.  I share alot with entrepreneurs and politicians who face challenges everyday. I am able to analyze and disseminate all information with a simple smile.  Just imagine you tell me how tough and complicated things are and then i look at you, smile and start talking. Listening is for grasping the real scenario, Smile for disarming all negatives and Analytics is for putting you back  on course!

How do you use it to build community?

Two words: smile-analysis.


Steve Sloot – Correspondent/Vagabond

Steve Sloot

Who are you?

I’m a delicate flower.  No, wait.  I’m a blackboard full of chalk notes and smudged ideas with a big PLO written in the corner.  I’m Batman.

What do you do for fun?

I bullfight and race F1.  And I play outside on sunny and rainy days.  I ride my bike, talk about riding bikes, wander around bike shops asking bike guys about bike things, dream about long, open, windy roads to ride along, and stretch my legs after biking up big hills.  I strum guitar strings and sing my little heart out.  I talk.  A lot.  I throw frisbees.  I am a self-declared cafephile.

What is your favourite community? Why?

Favourite community?  Perhaps Eastend, Saskatchewan.  It’s a small town of 600 people in the Cypress Hills where reliance and togetherness with neighbours is real and eternal.  They sell bumper stickers at the tourism office that read, “Find Yourself in the Middle of No Where.”  At Carlie’s Lunch the cash register stays open and you make your own change.  Charlie is the ambulance attendant – his till balances out at the end of the day, everyday.  The community centre and the ice rink are focal points of the town.  The mayor is a grandmother to the community and helps make tough decisions.  Oh, and there are 5 Governor General Award winners in the town.  There are stories in a town like Eastend.

What is your superpower?

Stopping time for one minute.  But I can only do it once a day, so I have to be careful when I use it.

How do you use it to build community?

I learn the names of the people who sell me my groceries, who send my mail, who serve me beer, to people who ask me for change.  And I use their names when I see them.  I introduce people to other people.  I ask people if I can help them when I see they need help – this goes a very, very long way.



Jilly Charlwood – Etiquette and Australian Safety Correspondent


Jilly Jane Charlwood

Who are you?

I am Jilly Charlwood. Jilly Jane Charlwood in fact, a name that seems to provide John Horn with an endless source of amusement. As if Horn is any better as a name than Jilly-Jane. I was born and raised in Melbourne, Australia, and I have just returned to Melbourne after an 18 month working holiday in Vancouver.

What do you do for fun?

I surround myself with people who are more intelligent than me. There’s nothing in life more fun than learning from friends.

What is your favourite community and why?

Eltham in Victoria, Australia, where I was lucky enough to grow up. Eltham is about 30 kilometres North-East of Melbourne, and is a ‘green wedge’ community that provides under-developed, environmentally sound living space within the Melbourne suburban region.

Eltham started its life as an artists’ colony and has managed to retain its hippy sensibilities by developing a reputation for art, culture, environmental activism and strong community spirit. The house I grew up in had no fences separating neighbouring properties, we lived next door to one of Australia’s most renowned landscape artists and in 1986 a rare breed of butterfly long thought to be extinct was discovered in a nature reserve at the end of our street.

It’s just that kind of place.

What is your superpower?

Kick-arse manners.

How do you use it to build community?

A little bit of etiquette goes a long way in developing relationships with people. Much more than knowing which bread plate is yours at a group dinner, good manners are a quiet reminder to one another that we are all human, and that humans respond to being treated with respect. And from left to right it’s BMW – bread, meal, wine. Easy!


Ian Abbott – Health and Wellness Correspondent


Who are you?

Who am I? Ian Ashley Abbott. I’m a believer in the value of alternative health care and how it can build community. Physical health care comes down to lifestyle and diet and mental health comes down to support from family and friends. [Editor's note: Ian has the kind of body and soul that turns heads (even mine) and his favourite colour is West Coast Forest Green.]

I’ll add that my passion is trying to change peoples perception about ‘alternative medicine’. Empowering people, by making them realize that the keys to better health are within their grasp, and giving them the tools to make it happen. It’s WAY more cost effective and when you understand better how your body works you might just appreciate it a bit more.

What do you do for fun?

I ride my bicycle and spend many hours exploring the back roads and trails of Victoria. From time to time, I like to read articles from your wife [Editor's note: my wife is the lovely and talented Michelle Horn] that discredit the medical establishment.

What is your favourite community and why?

(Editor’s Note: Ian’s favourite community might be the I-Phone community, because he’s not listening to this question.)

That’s a very big question. I osscilate between the people that quietly do things in the trenches and the jerky people who shout and spit on hummers. The best place is somewhere in between, where people combine humility, diligence and commitment to make communities better. Spitting on hummers might be “the right thing to do,” but it doesn’t build community. It divides it.

I like these two poles because it was how I was brought up – one of my parents was quiet

I also love the community of musicians and artists who use their public profile to initiate change.

What is your superpower?

Acupuncture. And active listening (sans I-phone).

[Editor's note: my sister - Ian's special lady - just said he has "magic hands" and I stopped this conversation before it happened].

My other other superpower is building bikes out of as much carbon fibre as possible.

How do you use it to build community?

I once turned a breach baby with one needle. His magic hands help people get rid of aches and pains – therapeutic use only.

2 thoughts on “The Daily Gumboot Community

  1. Pingback: Heinrich on English's Just Watch Me | ActiveHistory.ca

  2. Pingback: Homegrown Pizza | dailygumboot.ca