Monday, December 19, 2011

So long dear Barb

marjorie says...

Mikaela and I spent the day together yesterday, at one point touching on the idea of reviving our blogging here at m-pyre (it’s possible). Then, when I got home last night I heard about the passing of Barb Wold, blogger extraordinaire at Democracy for New Mexico. It saddens me to think that should we launch back into our space here, Barb won’t be here with us.

Democracy for New Mexico started in July 2004. In the next six years, Barb became beloved by Democratic party activists. She created a space through which both she and others could work for the party’s success and also challenge it to be more progressive from within. She was a true-blue progressive who was inspired by Howard Dean to take back the party, which led to her blogging. She was also a bold and fierce voice for LGBT rights. She and her partner, Mary Ellen Broderick, together made a strong case for the right to marry and domestic partnership legislation here in New Mexico. In general, Barb had a strong, compassionate heart and incredible drive for achieving justice.

Perhaps less known about her was the degree to which she participated in the debates happening on other people’s blogs—participation that back then was critical to creating a New Mexico blogosphere that had depth and punch. Before the New Mexico Independent brought cyberspace to the forefront of political journalism, Barb was a big part of creating the burgeoning blogosphere here, peopled by those on the left, the right, and somewhere in the middle.  She actively participated in comment threads of other blogs and cited other blogs in her own work.

We began m-pyre in October of 2004, as a place for three friends to talk about anything and everything. We defaulted *a lot* to politics. Unlike Barb, none of us manifest a political praxis through party activism. But due to the nature of our political system, electoral politics is an area of unavoidable debate that no one who is political can easily escape. Whenever we went there, Barb was generally with us.   Her presence can be found throughout the m-pyre archives: sharp, insightful, stringent, occasionally polemical, and at times just plain laugh-out-loud funny. She was also encouraging and supportive, something often in short supply in this incredibly male-dominated environment.

I never actually met Barb, in person. Instead, we got to know each other from conversation in the same cyberspaces. But I got to know her in a way that I won’t ever know droves of people who I see plenty in the flesh. I really dug Barb. She cracked me up and made me think. At times, she made me raise my eyebrows. Sometimes, I thought she went too far. Other times, she was absolutely spot on. I can't count the times I thought to myself, "wonder what Barb says about that." I figure a lot of people knew Barb in this way. I'm sure they'll join me in the sentiment, when I say, I’m going to miss her a lot. 

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Living in the Sprawl...

Mikaela says:

Dead shopping malls rise like mountains beyond mountains
And there's no end in sight...

Ah the ironies of listening to Arcade Fire's brilliant The Suburbs as I labor to create the plan for a walkable, urban, transit-oriented development on Albuquerque's sprawling West Side.

Thanks, Mags for the kick in the donkey to get this gem of an album!