Fri, 25 Jul 2008

Cinema de Barri in Benimaclet

Last summer we tried to organise a Cinema d'estiu movie projections in Benimaclet's Church Square, in an attempt to promote social activities in the street done by the neighbours, for the neighbours. The response was very positive, and the first two projections attracted many people, who would bring a chair and their dinner to the old town's square to watch a movie. Unfortunately, the authorities, who were completely out of the loop, weren't happy and on the 3rd week the Local police appeared and said that that kind of activities needed official permits, and disallowed the projection.

For this year's summer, we decided we'd try to do the projections once again, and learned that only a legally-established organisation can do the paperwork to get an authorisation. In parallel, some neighbours of Benimaclet, who had liked last year's idea, were working on their own to repeat the experience, and somehow Clara was contacted by them, and we ended up collaborating. As these people are members of the Associació de veïns of Benimaclet, there were legally able to do the paperwork, and soon we agreed on the four movies for this year, to be played every Sunday of July at 22:00h.

Our pick for Sunday 6th was Giuseppe Tornatore's Cinema Paradiso, followed on the 13th by Elling, a Norwegian comical drama by Petter Næss which I hadn't seen and I can totally recommend. Last week we saw Poniente, a Spanish film by Chus Gutiérrez that focus on immigration issues in the South East of Spain, based on the racist happenings of El Ejido of 2000. Finally, next Sunday is the turn for some political action with V for Vendetta. A note for Benimaclet neighbours: if you don't come to see the movie, be aware that we plan to pump up the volume a lot for this one. You're definitely going to hear it from home. ;)

We're very happy about the response of the neighbours this year. Not having done any effort to announce this around the city, except for a few posters around Benimaclet during the last week of June, people clearly remembered last year's experience and the plaça de Beni was full of chairs for all three weekends. It really helps to turn around during a projection and see so many people behind you participating in something you've invested some of your own time and money. It's probably too late now, but there's some talk of extending this to the Sundays in August, so we'll see. Also, we plan to do a picaeta for attendees as a small closing party for this year's cycle.

See you on Sunday, and enjoy V!

GNOME-Mud 0.11

GNOME-Mud 0.11 was released yesterday. This was probably something unexpected to those who follow the mailing list, as it's the first release in over three years.

Back in 2006, Les Harris started contributing to the project and started a major rewrite of the program. Things looked very promising, with the program being ported to newer GNOME technologies and standards and being basically rewritten from ground up. However, Les got hit by Real Life™ and being the project's only real hacker, development basically stopped for nearly two years. On June, I was tempted to remove my irssi subscription to #gnome-mud; all I did was idling or telling people who popped by that nothing was being done and that wouldn't change unless someone rolled up their sleeves and finished up the nearly ready 0.11 release.

A few days after considering declaring GNOME-Mud dead, Les joined IRC after more than a year of no contact, recovered his GNOME account password and started to commit the missing bits at an awesome pace.

A few weeks later, 0.11 was done, with even more features than originally planned (support for more advanced MUD protocols like MSP or ZMP, for example) and I finally found the time to make a tarball and publish it. Les has lots of plans for the next release, and I hope my old wish of seeing GNOME-Mud becoming a MUD client that is comparable to the classic zMud will soon be a lot closer. The foundation set by this release certainly will make it easier to accomplish.

As always, if you want to contribute, we'll be happy to help you out on #gnome-mud at GIMPnet, or in

Fri, 04 Jul 2008

Marc Belzunces' conscience objection fight

Yesterday, my friend Marc had to visit a court in Barcelona, after being accussed for an electoral penalty.

Marc has always had a strong Catalan sentiment, and fights for the independence of his country from the French and Spanish states in as many ways he finds convenient. In this direction, he's been involved in countless activities promoting independence, in the Internet and in the streets.

For now, he has to deal with living in the Spanish state, and recently this became a legal problem. Spain held parlamentary elections in March, and Marc was appointed to serve at one of the polling stations in Barcelona. Believing he had nothing to do with an election process to elect the Spanish parliament, he conciously refused to take his seat during that Sunday, infringing the Spanish electoral law.

He presented his allegations to the officer, and refused to declare anything else. He now faces a fine ranging from 180 to 1800€ or community work (which he would, again, object to perform). The officer told him that he's apparently the first Catalan to object like this, so what will happen next (besides he'll have to sit in court and see how it goes) is unprecedented.

While Marc and I don't share many of our political views, I admire his dedication and his solid defence of his ideals. If I had been called to serve in a polling station last March, I would most probably have had my own personal debate on what to do, but suspect I would have ended going there to avoid creating these kind of situations, and would have had to participate in a process that I consider broken, unfair and undemocratic. I admire and support Marc for being stubborn enough to get this far.

His case has had quite some echo in the Catalan blogsphere and some Catalan media like VilaWeb. Some people have started a campaign to collect money to help Marc pay the fine. The response so far has been surprisingly positive.

Marc, molta sort i una abraçada!