Mar 262008

The Morgan Hill Downtown Association (MHDA) will present it’s first ever Chalk It Up event on Saturday April 19th in the streets of downtown Morgan Hill.

Essentially, they’re allowing local artists (and anyone else interested) to graffiti up the sidewalks with chalk for the day. It sounds like a lot of fun and should definitely be worth a stroll through the downtown area assuming the weather holds. The work begins at 8am and will remain on “display” until it gets washed or worn away.

If you’re interested in participating the cost ranges from $5 to $40-

16” x 22” space – $5.00
48” x 36” space – $25.00
108” x 60” space – $40.00

You can bring your own chalk or use some provided by the MHDA. If you’re concerned about bringing your kids along or are an artist who likes to push the limits then you might be interested in the following agreement that all aspiring artists must sign-

I understand that as a participant of Chalk It Up that my sidewalk art displayed during the
event is subject to approval by representatives of the MHDA and/or the City of Morgan
Hill. I further understand that these entity’s have the sole right to remove any and all
sidewalk art at their sole discretion, at any time and for any reason. By signing below I
agree to create a sidewalk art display that is acceptable for viewing by all ages.

Personally, i think if I’m going to pay for the right to draw on a public sidewalk I should be free to express myself however I desire, but I won’t be participating as an artist anyway.

Apparently the revenue will simply go towards funding the Morgan Hill Downtown Association rather than supporting some local charity as one might expect.

Mar 122008

So I was cruising around eBay the other day when I came across a listing for a prototype Amero coin. This would be the proposed coin to replace the American, Canadian and Mexican dollars should the North American Currency Union become a reality. For the record, I doubt it ever will come to pass and frankly don’t really care if it does – people are unwilling to check the power of our current government in any meaningful way, so what difference would it make if we just changed its name again. Besides this would still be yet another fiat currency backed by the promise of future earnings stolen from slave citizens exactly the same way the current US dollar is. My problem is an entirely different one…

Take a look at the symbol to the left of eagle’s feet. That’s the proposed symbol to represent the Amero. In other words, it’s the new “dollar sign”. Does it look familiar? It sure did to me.

As if it’s not bad enough that the educational system has bastardized the term anarchy to the point that even dictionaries insist on using the term “chaos” while defining it. Nor is it enough that the media continues to call anyone who acts out in a violent manner an anarchist regardless of their political beliefs (or lack thereof). Now they’re stealing our symbolism as well.

The circle-A as a symbol for anarchy dates back to the Spanish Civil War in the late 1930s and was first officially used as an anarchist symbol by the Alliance Ouvriere Anarchiste starting in November 1956. Over the years the anarchist circle-A has been modified into a more ragged symbol (as pictured at right), but has still been the sole province of anarchists of any stripe.

Should the North American currency union become a reality and the Amero be adopted with the circle-A as its currency symbol we’ll have to find a new symbol for the anarchist movement. Luckily, many have been proposed over the years (my favorite being the Voluntary Victory symbol). But the circle-A has the benefit of being both easily drawn and easily recognizable. Perhaps the choice of the circle-A as a currency symbol is simply an attempt by the currency union’s proponents to take advantage of the free advertising provided by generations of anarchists, punks, and kids in general drawing, spray-painting and printing the symbol on millions of surfaces. Nah, they aren’t that aware…

Mar 112008

There’s a branch of the South Valley National Bank in Tennant Station, less than a mile from my house. Yet, for some reason, when I needed a new bank account down here I foolishly went with national banking behemoth US Bank. Big mistake, but that’s another post. Once I wised up I followed my heart and went as local as possible (yes I know my Subway diet isn’t exactly local, but they’re a locally owned franchise and it’s a really good deal 🙂 )

South Valley national Bank (SVNB) is a part of the Pacific National Bancorp consisting of Santa Barbara Bank & Trust, First National Bank of Central California, South Valley National Bank, San Benito Bank, and First Bank of San Luis Obispo and headquartered out of Santa Barbara. That’s about as local as it gets when you’re talking banking in this area. And it shows every time I visit.

The teller’s at the Tennant Station branch are uniformly friendly and knowledgeable. The woman who opened my account (whose name slips my mind at the moment) still remembers me despite my having my account for over a year and not needing to conduct any business with her since. The lines are quick. And there’s free popcorn in the lobby 🙂

All of that on top of free checking and the knowledge that the money I leave in their very capable hands is being lent out to local businesses to help support my local economy. I’m not sure what else to say about them. They offer all the standard banking services, have three locations (Cochrane Ave and 1st & Santa Teresa in Gilroy), and are the best bank I’ve ever done business with (including the three that I worked for).