Thanks to everyone who came out for a wonderful day of sharing food and stories. And, for all of you who missed it, we made you a film!
We are now taking applications, both for summer sublets and fall occupancies!
Greetings Toads of the past 20 years! We (the current Toads) would like to officially invite you all to the 20th anniversary gathering of Toad Lane that we will be hosting at your former home!
WHEN: March 22 at 3:00pm until March 23 at 3:00pm
WHAT: A chance to catch up with past housemates and gather across generations to reminisce and celebrate 20 years since Toad Lane’s creation in 1994 as a vegetarian (and in 2008 a vegan) co-op/collective house.
DATES: Saturday, March 22nd and Sunday, March 23rd 2014
LOCATION: Toad Lane, 429 Brunswick Ave
GUESTS: Past and current Toad Lane residents. Partners and children welcome too! To be able to comfortably accommodate everyone, we are not extending the invite further e.g. Tony from 397 Huron in 99’.
DO I NEED TO RSVP? – To help us in making arrangements, please RSVP here:
**Please invite your past housemates from Toad Lane to this fb event or have them e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org**
3pm – We’ll give tours of the house. Come see what has and hasn’t changed! Your artwork may still be on the wall! Let’s have coffee and tea, and we’ll have some other ongoing activities.
4pm – Introductions (potentially with recorded videos from those unable to make it), followed by a slide show of pictures from over the years
5pm – chill time
5:30pm – a vegan dinner (menu coming soon!)
7:30pm – storytelling. Share your favourite stories from Toad Lane!
10:30am – vegan brunch at Toad Lane
– ice skating at Jean Sibelius Park (the park just 20 metres north! Pending weather.)
– alternative neighbourhood walk (potentially)
– rest and relaxation
– We have room for up to 10 people to sleep at Toad Lane for Friday and/or Saturday evening. We will also check with our friends and neighbouring co-opers for more space.
– Either ourselves and/or experienced and vouched for friends of ours will be providing childcare
In advance, please let us know your housing and childcare needs, as well as any dietary restrictions. We will do our best to accommodate any specific access related requests (communicated in advance). Unfortunately, as you may recall, Toad Lane is not wheel chair accessible.
– If you have any suggestions or would like to contribute with some rad skills please let us know at email@example.com.
RSVP REQUEST :
– To help us in making arrangements, please RSVP here:
Lots of Toad love!
On Saturday night I did not go out to explore the Nuit Blanche. Instead, I stayed home, had some friends over, and watched the livestream of Zizek’s talk on our house projector.
In a lot of ways, it was an ideal experience – the self created, cinematic Zizek. If we had tried to attend the seminar in person, we probably would have waited in line for hours, gotten sick (I was feeling under the weather already), and not gotten in anyway. (Toronto Media Co-op has published a scathing critique of the event). At home we watched Zizek from our own comfy chairs, new shag carpet, beer and wine in hand.
The talk was intense, better than a lot of Zizek talks I’ve seen on youtube. Although, as usual, there is a lot of repetition from someone who is constantly speaking, rarely getting a chance to think about something new.
I like the direction Zizek is going in politically. He is emphasizing the hardness of the contemporary problem, and I think some of his formulations are useful for critiquing the dominant “progressive” ideologies and exposing the reality of their reactionary attributes. “No genocide without poetry”, “No revolution without secret police”, these are hard things to hear, but if we don’t reflect on the role of meaning-constitution in violence, or the role of disciplinary violence in revolutionary transformation, I think we are lost. These are some of the first things we should think of today.
I’ve been thinking about another formulation lately, a formulation which is simply stating something which already gets play in the media: No social media without self-imposed ideological censorship. We live and work on the internet, and it appears the freest place. But in reality, there are very strict rules which everyone obeys which articulate what you are allowed to talk about on the internet, for reasons of security. The internet is the new Greek agora – the open place where we are in public. But not in public to each other as a public – our internet lives are known only to our friends, and to the secret police. This is a tragic dynamic – a dynamic where we must worry about everything we say ending up in a court, or, and it amounts to the same thing, into the hands of an interrogator.
I remember as a child asking my godmother why the Soviet Union was “bad”. Her response was that over there the government could put a listening device in your home and spy on you and put you in jail if you said things against the government. Surely here the level of criticism which is allowed may be higher – but don’t we all own this spying device? Don’t we all use it, freely? Aren’t I using it, right now, to express myself to you?
The lesson of the false freedom of the internet is to develop human relations, networks not based on social media. Only in physical presence with each other do we feel truly at home.
And perhaps, next year, to go out on Nuit Blanche.
I haven’t posted anything to the blog in too long, so I’m going to write something despite not having a single idea prepared. What has happened in the last year? Recently I hosted a fundraiser for the kalandia youth centre in Palestine and raised 500$! See videos on my youtube site. Pot luck has been going. I’d like to say “going strong”, but we’re still doing it only every other week – maybe next year we can kick it back up to weekly. In sad news, Ketan is moving out! Ketan has lived at Toad Lane for five years, and has made immeasurable contributions to the house both as a social community, and also the built space through his ingenious construction and renovation projects. In other sad news, I’m gone for the summer, but I’ll be back in the fall.
We’ve started a new tradition at Toad Lane – communal dinners on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays. People sign up in advance on a whiteboard (usually two people per day), and food is cooked and served to everyone, even leaving some for housemates unable to make it for dinner.
Originally we had tried to figure a system of everyone paying precisely the same amount, but in the interest of simplicity and equity we have instead instituted the principle of “socialist utopia” – everyone gives according to their means and ability, and eats according to their need. All forms of contribution are valued – financial, cooking, and cleaning. So far the system is working out well and is engendering a great deal of house participation – it gives a space outside of formal house meetings for us to plan and debrief events and projects.
Perhaps the most impressive thing about Socialist Utopia dinners is that we’ve been able to solve, almost by accident, Campus Co-op’s never ending meal-plan troubles: there is no need for complex meal plans, kitchen staff and industrial food production: people can simply cook for each other and the same thing, only better, happens – and for less cash to boot.