Camunda, a Berlin-based software and consulting company specializing in BPM, has announced that they are forking Alfresco Activiti to launch a new product called camunda BPM. The new product replaces camunda fox, the firm's previous Activiti-based BPM offering.
camunda BPM comprises four components:
The majority of camunda BPM is Apache licensed, with the Eclipse Modeler tool using the Eclipse Public License. WebSphere and WebLogic integration, and some additions to the Cockpit monitoring product for high-load scenarios, are offered separately and are not open-sourced.
One of the main differences between the two offerings is that camunda BPM supports a larger range of application servers. As well as Tomcat, camunda BPM runs on JBoss AS 7 and EAP 6, GlassFish 3.1, WebSphere 8 and WebLogic 12c. "We have the concept of a shared process engine and embedded process engine," Bernd Rücker, founder and managing director of camunda, told InfoQ. "By leveraging that we can run in any application server. And it got much, much easier for us with this move to this kind of thing."
Writing on his blog, Activiti project lead Tijs Rademakers said, "The additional application server components would have fitted with the Activiti project also very well," but during our conversation Rücker explained that his motivation for making the fork was as much to do with the different emphasis of the two companies as on technical issues.
Alfresco is driving Activiti as an embeddable engine for their Enterprise Content Management (ECM) system, and their goal from the beginning was for it to be a jBPM replacement in that system. For us it is what we call BPM + Java.
So for example we have Zalando as a client. They have really huge numbers of orders (and processes overall) every day. So that results in completely different requirements than having some underwriting in an ECM system. You can see this in a lot of feature differences - for example for Alfresco it is more important that you can easily configure a simple workflow, whilst for us full BPMN 2.0 support is the goal. Those differences caused some friction on the project, so that is a significant reason for the split.
The other reason is our emphasis on business/IT alignment. We want business analysts coming to the community, and we did not see that happening with the Activiti community.
When we spoke to him, Tijs Rademakers said to InfoQ, "It's everybody's right to fork a project." However, he went on,
... it should bring additional value to the open source community and there should be good reasons to do it.
And that's why the fork doesn't make a lot of sense to me. To my opinion it doesn't bring additional value to the open source BPM community. On the contrary, both projects use the same Activiti codebase and every new functionality has to be built twice. And in addition, the components that camunda open-sourced would have fitted equally well in the Activiti project.
There was no upfront discussion to talk about ways to work together in one project and we didn't have arguments with each other. So the choice to do a fork was a very unpleasant surprise for us.
With Tom Baeyens, the original creator of Activiti, also having left the project to work on bringing BPM to the cloud, some concern about its future is inevitable, but Rademakers has stated that he isn't concerned.
As you know Tom, together with Joram [Barrez], started the Activiti project. I'm very interested to see the direction of this new product, as I think it is challenging to do BPM fully on the cloud. And I wish Tom all the best. Tom leaving the Activiti project was actually not a big change, since his involvement had already been declining for a year or so. We have a fantastic community and development team working on Activiti right now.
It is certainly risky to fork a popular project, but Rücker says he isn't naive about the challenges and is confident that there is room for camunda BPM in the market.
COVID-19 nearly put a fork in LIFT-UP’s Extended Table meal program.
But the organization and its volunteers cooked up a way to continue serving evening meals to whoever needs one.
With the statewide lockdown in March, Extended Table was no longer able to offer meals in the kitchen of the First United Methodist Church at Ninth and Cooper in Glenwood.
LIFT-UP decided to continue the program outdoors, first in the alley behind the church, later moving to the front.
“It was important for LIFT-UP to keep the program going and just pivot to the new rules of COVID to allow the program to be sustainable through the pandemic. Then our volunteers jumped right on board and were flexible right away and said, ‘Yes, we’re all for doing it,’” LIFT-UP executive director Angela Mills said.
The move outdoors was the only big change as it’s still the volunteers that make it happen.
“The volunteer groups purchase and prep and serve the food themselves,” Mills said.
The brown bag nature of the meals requires some imagination to avoid redundancy.
“We’ve got to be more creative because when we were inside we could have warm meals for them; we did a lot of meals in crockpots. Now we’re coming up with egg salad, tuna salad, taco salad, and people are doing wraps. Some people actually took a little grill and grilled up some burgers and hot dogs for them. It’s just trying to think of different ways so they don’t get burned out on sandwiches,” volunteer Jamie Darien of Glenwood Springs said.
Since the pandemic the turnout has been down a little bit.
“When we were inside we would have anywhere from 35-50 or 60 people showing up depending on weather, depending on the month, and now it’s usually about 25-30 people,” Darien said.
Mills confirmed that the number of meals officially served has been lower during the coronavirus outbreak.
There were 658 meals served in January and 664 in February. That number dropped by an average of about 20% over the next four months, with about 550 meals served each in March, April and June with May dipping to 437, she said.
One possible explanation for declining numbers is some people staying away because of COVID-19.
“We have some local folks sometimes that go in that are single, and they just go in for social hour,” said Renee Horton, LIFT-UP office manager.
“It’s the seniors that come in for the social aspect, and now the seniors are taking care of themselves and staying home,” Mills said.
Darien said among those that show up there is still socializing.
“A lot of them hang out in front of the church and eat and socialize. That’s what so much of Extended Table is — a chance to have a community,” she said.
The number of meals served in Rifle has seen little change between February and May, with a high of 202 in February and a low of 185 in April.
Darien said that the brown bag format has some advantages for recipients.
“It really helps them that a lot of the food they’re getting now they can take with them to their camp. There’s a lot of snacks: beef jerky, chips, apple sauce, a lot of protein bars, a lot of granola bars, things they can stuff into their packs or pockets and take with them,” Darien said.
Most of the shifts are filled with church groups. Darien said that some volunteers have decided not to participate during the pandemic, but others have filled in.
“There have been a lot of empty nights because people of course are fearful of being there, but other people have stepped right in and picked those nights up,” she said.
All in all she finds it a satisfying experience.
“Everybody’s there to help each other whether they have a home or not. I think that really says a lot,” Darien said.
“The logic of worldly success rests on a fallacy: the strange error that our perfection depends on the thoughts and opinions and applause of [others]! A weird life it is, indeed, to be living always in somebody else’s imagination, as if that were the only place in which one could at last become real!” –Thomas Merton
Until the COVID-19 pandemic forced a total cessation of my activity and direction in life, I was only dimly aware of the true extent of my psychological condition. Not really. I was too lost at sea within my unconscious emotional through-line continuum ever vacillating between sublimated anxiety and terror to grasp it all. I had learned long ago about staying busy to keep one step ahead of it. And anxiety, after all, is the health of the economy and of the state. If I was feeling bad, as many a life-coach in that cottage industry of capitalist folklore would be quick to remind me, it had to be that I just wasn’t working hard enough or smart enough to fulfill my dreams and live up to my potential. An adjustment of “attitude” was all that was required. That’s all. My bad.
On some level, though I’m loath to admit it, somewhere along the way, I had internalized that obscene and distinctly American psychological mythology of meritocratic bullshit. It’s virtually impossible not to absorb it to some degree through osmosis because that thinking is so pervasive and absolutely fundamental to the arrangement of our entire economic order. It is a foregone conclusion that informs an unspoken thematic narrative of our education system, politics, our journalism, our entertainment, much religious instruction and alleged “self-help” culture, and consequently it is the lens through which many have a popular understanding and view of mental health itself.
The capitalist economy conditions people at a very young age to gather their sense of self through “doing”…and especially “owning.” But in the process of learning how to consciously cultivate the essence of one’s life, rather than be held hostage to an abstract perception of merely being a hapless victim of the world’s continuum of mercies, one may discover that there exists a critical distinction between “being” versus “doing”. The postmodern world obscures that truth. Society insists that something is wrong if we’re not busy doing something “to build a legacy,” if even only to selfishly accumulate resources. We’re “wasting time.” The commodification of everyday life and everyone and everything in it penetrates to the core. We are at a time when at the very beginning of summer, the temperatures in the Pacific Northwest are soaring around 110 degrees. After publishing thousands of articles on climate change warning about these conditions back in the early 2000s, there is no doubt in my mind that this is a consequence of that very commodification as manifested in a post-industrialized world.
Now here we are as a result of the relentless, every-man-for-himself push to do and consume in the absence of being. We live in a society that exalts the “dreamers” and the “visionaries” which in itself, is basically wonderful. But less is said about the necessity of measuring and moderating personal hubris. And yet, the folly of desperate ambition is such a pillar of our capitalist mythology. It is a universal theme in storytelling transcending all genres that never gets old, so ideologically fundamental and indispensable to our system of governance and sociopolitical, cultural organization. The curious preponderance of that narrative theme of ill-fated exuberance seems to mainly exist as a palliative reassurance that our economic order is nevertheless somehow organically self-correcting –that such excessive, selfish behavior is aberrational to the status quo which is unquestionably, morally astute and upright, and shall always somehow naturally, reflexively defer back to policing moderation by the twas-ever-thus reliable, unimpeachable credo of “pride goeth before a fall”. But any serious look at much of the political leadership and its primacy of self-centered motivation should quickly disabuse that notion. Nevertheless, the myths of meritocracy and the viability of the American Dream are still somehow resilient and hold sway in the popular imagination even in the face of its monumental fallacies bringing the world to the brink of total annihilation. All within 250 years. The obscene lie of the democratic accessibility of gaudy upper tier treasures and their utility as a means to self-realization are still far too scintillating and tantalizing to put down apparently. Even NOW. Everything is negotiable. Post something about it. There. That feels better –next…
An outgrowth of our economic system is a whole industry of self-help and recovery literature dedicated to the “power of positive thinking,” sometimes incorporating strains of eastern mysticism and distinctively German philosophy, in the hopes of mastering “self-actualization” in order to “manifest” personal “abundance.” Many of these books and programs, though not entirely without merit, offer a disingenuous and even ethically dubious bargain promising techniques for self-mastery as a form of mental sorcery –Nietzchean “will to power” formulas that are utterly individualistic, selfishly motivated, and conveniently in service to the larger ideology of a capitalist society that insists you only have yourself to blame for whatever misfortune befalls you. Like snake oil predators, many “self-help” gurus prey upon the innocent naïveté of the less fortunate by offering false promises potentially awaiting them beyond the gateway of the liminal intermediary state of consciousness.
But learning to identify closely with one’s mind carries certain risks of getting carried away with whatever desires are subsequently unearthed, provoked and encouraged. And when one fails to “realize one’s potential” as a consequence of a constellation of social and environmental factors largely outside of their control, and that very likely have little to do with one’s presentation of willpower, the perceived failures can be so much more devastating and psychologically damaging because they have been personalized and internalized, swallowing whole this sad, self-deceptive matrix of meaning as spiritual truth about their personal self-worth. Self-actualization can and does have its limits, no matter how seductively expansive and appealing one’s imagination may be dwelling in Never Never Land. Eventually, unless one is financially and socially inoculated from the truth, material realities will come into conflict with these addictive daydreams–as coping mechanism–as way of life. And if you’re lucky, the bullshit will finally start to stink like it should.
There is so much “Triumph of the Will” in the American discursive atmosphere of rugged individualism, one can be forgiven for absorbing some of it, or getting a smear on their belief system. “Manifest Destiny” is nothing if not a national religion of selfishness and barbaric conquest enshrined. The new age hosannas and exhortations for atomized individuals “to manifest” and bend the sheer fabric of their personal reality to meet their wills have become ever more shrill precisely as the fallacy of the United States’ economic order of meritocracy as advertised decays and collapses in all of its absurdity. The conceit of capitalism is that we live in a spiritually dead universe of limitless material bounty and equitable life chances, and that one need only apply the proper formula of elbow grease to really make it work for you in order to have a good life. A nice, simple, totally fictional, utopian, linear narrative of A+B=C. But as it turns out or may happen, your wedding party might get bombed by a predator drone, wiping out your entire family. You could be born black, female, Palestinian or Uighur. Native American. Anyone not white. Or on the island of Tuvalu as the water rises, along with the plastic and waste from Fukushima and BP oil within it. Or in a “land of the free” in which liberties you long took for granted may be suddenly erased with the stroke of a pen by a cynical minority who would in truth prefer you just go away and drop dead unless you have something tangible for them to take and exploit in some way. Despite what some political forces with vested interests would have you believe, if it still has somehow not been made clear enough, we are not each born onto a level playing field of life chances, choices and limitless resources. The would-be testimonies of fifty-three migrants discovered a few days ago baked to death in a tractor trailer by the Texas heat might beg to differ.
The myth of the invincible, self-made individual who rises up to master and marshal all forces of God and nature still holds sinister sway in advanced stage capitalism even as everything unravels all around us as a result of that way of thinking. In the process of exterminating false consciousness, one may find that this project is inextricably linked to disentangling oneself from that unconsciously adopted, poisonous ideology. For years I thought that was exactly what I was doing as someone who identified as an anarchist. But oh, was the joke on me. No, if anything, that self-conscious, ostentatious bit of shirtsleeve ideology, however genuine and well intentioned, also undeniably expressed a reactionary rage and frustration that was proportionate to just how much I was in fact helplessly in the grips of punitive material self-identification. My stadium-level, amplified rejection of materialist values, however sincere, was to some extent in vain, a statement revealing how much my own lack of self-worth had been penetrated and defined by them.
In the process of self-discovery, while exploring the roots of unquestioned assumptions informing consciousness, it may become apparent on a sublime level how far-reaching this energetic approach to life –how much human activity– has been infused with the absurd and obscene spirit of acquisitiveness and attainment. This is the frantic mentality and spiritual poverty of the addict. Could it even be called a transactional motivation informing behavior and relationships? Because that might imply that the atomized individual is offering something in exchange for something else. No, to live as a fully matriculated member of capitalist society is to have been indoctrinated on some level into the ontological order of the parasite. The consumer. The invasive, selfish preoccupations with risk versus reward composing the spiritual DNA of existence in moment to moment decision-making. “What’s in it for me?” It’s understandable that someone having CPTSD (such as myself) might naturally adapt with this harried, hoarding and craven constitution. But it’s no doubt also underwritten into the very fabric of our capitalist culture predicated as it is on a “power over” versus “power shared” dynamic of social relations. We live in a world in which “self-fulfillment” and “living your best life” is stressed as the single-most, ultimate ambition and purpose for being. At all costs. The credo of “fuck ‘em all” is no longer considered an unseemly, disturbed, and antisocial posture but one to be lauded, venerated and even emulated as bold, “edgy” and audacious, if not virtuous. The poetically apt name Donald Trump should disabuse any skepticism about the significance of this state of affairs. It wouldn’t be unfathomable to redesign the American flag to permanently incorporate “The Punisher” logo as so many seem eager to do.
Again and again, we are bombarded everywhere we turn with impossible, objectified standards of “beauty” and “success” reinforcing the message that most of us are “not good enough” and will never have the hope of being anything other than a lowly prole buying things to ease the pain of “not measuring up,” or living vicariously through the lives of “society’s winners”. We are constantly informed that we are “only as good as our last movie,” our last job, and just whatever exactly accounts for this suspicious gap on our resume. We see how life has been reduced to a public relations game in which it is always in everyone’s interest to “get ahead of the narrative” by obsessing over a presentational, if not completely virtual, discourse with life. Personal photographs are routinely rendered through filters augmenting faces and places not as they are but as we want them to be seen. And all of this is just so banal and boringly ordinary now. Society as a whole has been conditioned to be narcissistically in love with story and narrative, as one look at any social media platform will easily attest. But more specifically, particularly in our popular narrative forms of discourse on TV, films and “news”, we have been taught to expect life to conform to a simplistic, linear storyline of experience and progress, and the societal pressure to produce an easily objectifiable, condensed, large print, reductive myth to present to the world for approval and validation. It is to see the self not as a person but as a brand. A children’s storybook foretold. Yeah, shit ain’t like that. Ask any bird.
But who cares? I need to be able to compete in life. To be seen. What can I do to get people to finally notice me? Who do I have to become to make that happen? Since clearly the person who I am is terminally insufficient. But then, according to reports from that narrow margin of professionals who successfully make it to the other side, it is like an episodic trope of Twilight Zone in which having attained a certain amount of public recognition, everyone treats you as a fictional representation of yourself rather than the person you really are, and therefore you are still never truly seen because you long ago forfeited your soul somewhere in the process of this ritualized prostitution. This is how we are as a people now only a little over 200 years after the invention of the camera.
How many moments of truth are forfeited to these conceits? It is so easy –second nature, you could say with devastating accuracy– to fall into these false meanings of affective realism. Watered down copies upon copies of behavior. Pointless simulacra, the only purpose of which is to fill space and time with empty calories in order to avoid uncomfortable feelings from the unknown. And to some extent, almost everyone seems to do this now, regurgitating the trendy vernacular of pop culture cliches. Because the squeakiest wheels get the grease, and those wheels are what keep the lightrail of capitalism accelerated. And so we talk like prefabricated idiots slinging catchphrases and slang authored by Madison Avenue and Z-grade TV showrunners over brunch al fresco in this or that new city of commercial conquest, comparing consumption notes and reviews, because what else is there to do? Who exactly is suggesting anything else? Except pose at just the right angle for a definitive selfie in order to best emulate someone else doing the exact same thing some other place just like they saw them do a moment ago. Or maybe, if one is so exceptionally inclined, to parrot political talking points within the parameters of acceptable discourse as dictated by the guardians of the economic status quo in the corporate media, all of whom have an unspoken stake in keeping things “meritocratically” imbalanced in their favor. Like the band The Who’s rock opera “Tommy,” we are each made unwittingly deaf, dumb and blind by an atomizing system of necessary alienation fundamentally at odds with love, conscientious spirit, patience and kindness in the service of fodder for the machine of ruthless self-aggrandizement and capital accumulation.
And so here we stand, collectively dispersed from friend, family and foe alike in quite possibly the final death throes of the consequences of a culture that has been based on the exaltation of the individual. Here is the apotheosis of “every person for themselves” and the unquestioned acceptance of the idea that the greatest achievement of self-realization/actualization is to rise above one’s peers. And we find that there is nothing unusual or aberrational whatsoever at all about narcissism. It is who we are. But unfortunately to our collective detriment, it is the ironic, self-seeking instinct of every atomized, alienated narcissist to deny their very entropic nature, to preserve their precious, cultivated illusions….to save face. Back to scrolling.
Happy Independence Day.
Whether it’s the lengthening summer days or the latest COVID surge that has you itching to exercise outside again, Zumba classes in Santa Barbara’s iconic Oak Park present the perfect opportunity to get your groove on al fresco.
When I took the class for the first time in February, decades of patches had left the wooden surface of the nearly century-old dance stage uneven and full of gaps. Moving laterally, turning, and pivoting all felt rather perilous.
Originally built in 1926 on the occasion of a visit by Britain’s Prince George (great-great uncle of a certain prince who now resides in Montecito), the dance stage recently underwent a $100,000 renovation. According to Justin Van Mullem of Santa Barbara City Parks & Recreation, the project involved ripping up the old plywood, shoring up the supporting structure to promote drainage, having dancers vote on which top coat they thought best for the surface, and then applying enough TUFFLEX waterproofing to get 30 years of use from the new stage.
Now with Zumba offered three times a week, you don’t have to wait for one of the park’s many ethnic festivals to dance on the new floor.
Taught by the charismatic Lauren Macioce, whose full-time gig is as a dance teacher at Adelante Charter School, the classes follow the familiar Zumba format: hand cues from the instructor and lots of Latin music as well as other pop on the playlist (Daddy Yankee, Pitbull, Megan Trainor). Macioce moves around the stage the whole time interacting with the dancers: forming conga lines, engaging in playful pretend-spanking, having us dance in a woefully lopsided circle. For some songs, she also invites one or two regular students to come to the front and dance by her side.
The class has attracted many veterans of various Santa Barbara dance classes — some seeking a COVID-safe workout, others just excited about a great dance class. Zumba beginners are welcome too. Between Macioce’s constant movement and the added presence of the backup dancers, it’s generally easy to follow the steps. And if you come regularly, you’ll learn the routines.
Most of those attending the class are women, but there are also several men; the age of attendees tends toward forties and up. Since it’s outdoors, nobody wears a mask, and it’s easy to keep your distance from other dancers if that feels safer for you.
Macioce plays up the sexiness of Zumba moves — hands skimming the body, pelvic thrusts, shaking the booty and various other parts of the anatomy, and I mentioned the pretend-spanking, right? But it’s all in fun, and nobody has to do anything that would make them feel uncomfortable.
Macioce also manages to sneak some serious workout moves into her choreography, like squats, high knees, and lots of lateral moves for the oblique muscles. Chalk this up to her training in capoeira, the Brazilian martial art that she describes as “beautiful, full of acrobatics, kicks, and dodges.”
Of course, all of these moves are much safer — and easier on the joints — on the new floor. Although one dancer I talked to expressed disappointment that the dance surface is not simply wood, she acknowledged that it’s a huge improvement over both the old stage and the nearby concrete surface the class danced on during the months the stage was being renovated.
Dancing in the park makes you feel like part of a larger creative community. On one accurate Monday in the parking lot near the dance stage, a trio of women draped in veils in vivid shades of violet and emerald rehearsed Middle Eastern dance, while a couple of other women played their djembe drums. On another evening, a group that was headed to Burning Man gathered to practice twirling (unignited) batons and hoops, in preparation for a flaming performance at the desert festival.
“Dancing just brings me so much joy,” says Macioce. “I love to share that in Zumba!”
Oak Park Zumba classes are at Mon. and Wed., 5:30 p.m., and Sat., 10:30 a.m. Donation recommended (cash or Venmo). Wear sunscreen and a hat.
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Chris Firth is busy transforming a water melon into a delicious fruit salad.
Chopping up fruit with skillful ease, he looks like a seasoned professional. But until Chris joined Foodworks cafe last year, he had barely set foot in a kitchen. Now, following a six-month work experience placement, he has been taken on as a part-time catering assistant.
Chris, 29, clearly loves working at Foodworks.
“I like being in the kitchen, and I’m more confident with cooking now,” he said.
“In the mornings I prepare fruit kebabs and jacket potatoes, and chop vegetables. I’ve learned about things like cooking meat, and temperatures and using different equipment. I like working in the cafe too, serving people.”
Chris came to Foodworks through Mencap and his potential was spotted early on.
“I saw so much flair in him,” said Foodworks Catering Services Manager Kerrie Lee-Barr. “His development was significant enough for us to take him on as a catering assistant.”
The Foodworks cafe, at Forster Square, provides training and employment opportunities for people with learning disabilities.
Foodworks, which opened in Bradford last summer, is the social enterprise training arm of Yorkshire Housing. Backed by Yorkshire Housing’s SupportWorks, which provides services such as housing support and community inclusion, Foodworks offers structured training and work placements, equipping people who have disabilities with both employment and life skills.
Of the 20 staff employed at Foodworks, 50 per cent have a learning disability. After an initial assessment, trainees undergo an induction in a nearby training kitchen at Barkerend.
“It’s like a giant domestic kitchen. The idea is that it looks like a familiar kitchen, rather than industrial premises,” Kerrie said.
“The initial training takes place here, tailored to individual needs. Often our trainees – or “studenees” as they’re known as – have more than one type of learning disability so we consider their complex needs. The training ranges from supporting someone in making a cup of tea safely to teaching skills they could potentially use in employment.
“We have a chap who’s gone on to work at Manningham Mills cafe. They’ve been incredibly supportive.”
Trainees are generally referred by social workers, and Kerrie says expectations have risen over accurate years. “We’re seeing a new generation coming through who’ve had access to more opportunities than previous generations, and their parents are seeking less conventional daycare for them,” she said.
“There has been a shift in social attitudes and expectations. Parents of young people with disabilities are looking at employment potential for their school-leaving children.
“We provide real-world catering experience. As well as cooking, trainees also learn a much wider range of skills beyond the kitchen. A lot of them arrive saying they didn’t know how to shop, or use dials on ovens, or understand the instructions on food packets, so we address those issues too. We go shopping to local businesses, like Morrisons and the fruit and veg stalls at St James’s Market, and out on delivery rounds. There are opportunities to work in marketing, networking, administration and finance, which involves going to the bank and developing numeracy skills.”
Kerrie, who has been with Foodworks for three years, has a background in commercial catering. “I’ve always sought to empower and develop the skills of those deemed ‘disadvantaged’. It’s extremely rewarding to see someone learning new skills and becoming more independent,” she said.
“What I absolutely don’t want is for Foodworks to be a ‘pat on the back’ service. We deliver a quality product and customers come here because they can purchase good, freshly-cooked food that’s value for money.
“It’s important that our food reflects our personality. It’s fun, vibrant, colourful, a bit quirky, but high quality and wholesome. We’ve joined up with Bradford Good Food Award, promoting healthy eating, and have a silver award.
“We use local suppliers, like Lovebread, an artisan bakery in Brighouse where we’re looking to get trainees into the bakehouse.”
As well as staples like jacket potatoes, soup and sandwiches, the menu offers an all-day breakfast, both meat and vegetarian options, classic, lamb, chicken or bean burgers and mezze share plates with choices including ‘Irresistible Indian’ – fresh vegetable samoas, pakora and onion bahjis with homemade riata, pickled red onions and mango chutney – and a ‘Moroccan Medley’ of chargrilled vegetables, homemade hummus, falafel, flat bread and olives. Various breads are served with olive oil and balsamic glaze, and there’s a range of sweet treats.
Sandwich fillings include roast ham and mustard, brie and cranberry and smoked applewood cheddar with roasted veg and homemade mozzarella chutney.
Specials change daily. During my lunchtime visit yesterday I had a delicious goats cheese and butternut squash Wellington with salad. A group of people on the next table were sampling a taster menu for an event catering for 100 guests.
The cafe is available for private events, with bespoke menus. “We’ve seen a surge in food-related team-building events,” says Kerrie. “Food is a great ice-breaker and there’s that inclusivity of sitting around a table, sharing.”
Based upstairs in St Peter’s House, a Grade II-listed Victorian building, the cafe is light and airy, with a glass mezzanine overlooking the Bradford Cathedral grounds. The atmosphere is relaxed, with leather sofas dotted about, and tables and chairs on the terrace for al fresco dining.
The floor below is occupied by arts company Kala Sangam, which rents space to community groups – boosting the cafe’s custom.
“Kala Sangam run projects focusing on health and well-being through the arts, and we’re looking at ways of working in partnership,” said Kerrie.
Lesley Nash, 47, has been with Foodworks for two years. As well as learning to cook, she has lost a significant amount of weight, which Kerrie says is down to learning about food and developing a better understanding of what she eats.
“I never used to do much cooking but now I enjoy it,” says Lesley.
Nigel Halliday, 47, enjoys front-of-house work, meeting customers and serving food. “I work on the till, clean tables and talk to customers. I like meeting new people,” he says. Currently on placement four days a week, Nigel volunteers on the fifth day and accompanies Kerrie to public presentations about Foodworks.
Kerrie is desparate to broaden the range of people benefiting from Foodworks. “Social inclusion isn’t just about people with disabilities. We’re working with homeless charity Emmaous on a furniture upcycling project, and we work a lot with Yorkshire Housing’s general needs tenants on getting longterm unemployed people on work placements,” she says.
For Chris Firth, the skills he’s learned at Foodworks have proved useful at home too. “I got married last November and I do all the cooking at home,” he smiles. “It keeps my wife, Sarah, happy.”
Foodworks is open Monday to Friday, 8.30am to 4pm. For more information call (01274) 306510 or 07767 426059 or visit yhfoodworks.co.uk
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In addition to roller skating and patience-testing puzzles, skateboarding was among the activities that saw an unexpected boom last year — and not just because the sport made debut in the Tokyo Olympics. As cities went under quarantine, house-bored citizens seeking al fresco activities found themselves dusting off their old deck or hopping onto a board for the first time.
“Skateboarding was the perfect pandemic activity,” Yeah Girl founder and Australia-based creative director Sarah Huston tells Rolling Stone. “It’s as social or individual as you want it to be — or in this case, need it to be. You don’t need a coach, you can do it outside in the fresh air. And without getting too deep, it’s just a fun thing to do. It’s a form of meditation, and a way to tune out from everything. Everyone is looking for that escape.”
A study published in 2020 in the Journal of American Medical Association found that Google searches on anxiety hit an all-time high from March to May. The unsurprising news comes after a Gallup poll the year before found that people in the U.S. were already the most-stressed population in the world.
Fortunately, the anti-sport was found to Strengthen the mental health of 13 to 25-year-old respondents surveyed in the Tony Hawk Foundation-funded Beyond the Board study, which was conducted by USC’s Pullias Center for Higher Education and the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism.
The result: sales of skateboards for kids and adults saw a huge boon during the pandemic, with both beginners and pros alike shopping for decks to get them out of the house — and into the streets.
Los Angeles-based creative director Zach Moldof, co-founder of progressive skate culture magazine Stoke Much, says that the skateboard industry wasn’t prepared for the booming business. Gear sold like hotcakes and U.S. stores struggled to restock inventory as the pandemic delayed international shipments, and “manufacturers can’t keep up with the demand,” he says.
That USC study also found “a significant number [of] skaters who identified as female and/or as a skater of color.” Huston and Moldof credit social media and the visibility of diverse skater crews in attracting shredders of all identities, for whom inspiration and connection to a wider skate world is just a tap away.
Long gone are the days when white hetero male skaters represented the culture. Even the fashion world has been infatuated with the skate scene in accurate years (remember when Thrasher tees were off-duty model uniforms?), with cult-cool label Imitation of Christ even staging a skate park runway show last summer starring teenage skater girls.
“Having those [diverse] voices amplified online has made it a safer and more accessible space, especially for the BIPOC community,” notes Huston. “And there’s a much smaller barrier [when you’re] learning at home instead of at the skatepark, and might be a lot less intimidating for minorities, girls, non-binary, and trans [people].”
Moldof says the reasons that brought him and other aspiring skaters in the early Nineties in South Florida (“which was totally separate from skate culture,” he points out) remain the same for all generations today — the difference is the 24/7 access to skate content.
“We had no reference for anything except for videos and magazines like Thrasher; we didn’t even know about [veteran skater] Christian Hosoi,” he says. “At that time, skateboarding was [more of] a container for people who got rejected. I didn’t fit in [elsewhere] because I was Jewish; others didn’t because they were Cuban or Italian or Black. Some of us liked punk rock and hip-hop and we didn’t ‘fit’ with each other, but skating made it all okay.”
“Skate culture goes beyond the act of skateboarding,” adds Huston. Pandemic or not, Huston says Yeah Girl has seen an uptick in male followers on its Instagram account, which regularly posts content of pros like Mariah Duran and Lizzie Armanto alongside everyday women skaters. “I think that content is engaging a lot more people, not just skateboarders. Even people who don’t skate are likely to engage now more than [ever],” she says.
It’s worth noting that the best skateboard for a commuter might not work for someone who wants to Strengthen their tricks. Choosing the right skateboard for adults depends on your height and foot size, where and how you plan to ride, and personal preference. If you’re a beginner, a complete board might be the way to go as you can always upgrade your parts when you find your skating style.
Here’s a quick rundown of the most common pre-assembled skateboard types:
Standard: The symmetrical pill-shaped board is the most versatile and typically comes with hard wheels, making it ideal for skateparks and riding on pavement. Standard skateboards come in a range of deck widths; generally speaking, you’ll want to go with something that’s proportional to your foot. Deck widths of 7.25 to 7.375 inches are ideal for men’s sizes 6 to 8, and boards 7.5 to 9 inches are best for shoe sizes 9 and up. You might want to go with a narrow board (regardless of shoe size) if you plan on using it for technical tricks, while commuters might want a wider board for comfort and stability.
Cruiser: If you’re just looking to get around, cruisers (and the soft wheels that come with them) are best for rolling on rough sidewalks and roads. Decks are similar to standard skateboards, and cruisers vary in shape depending on how you ride.
Longboard: Plan on catching some speed? Longboards offer stability, so they’re good for learning, cruising, and downhill and long-distance riding.
Can’t make it to your local skate shop? We’ve rounded up some of the best skateboards for adults of all skill levels — read on for completes for beginners and pros alike.
This 8.25-inch skateboard comes from Primitive, the L.A.-based brand created by professional skateboarder Paul Rodriguez. It’s great for beginners and pros alike, and the company offers plenty of other designs as well as grip tape, clothing, and other accessories.
This short longboard features an oval deck made of maple and bamboo, sturdy seven-inch alloy trucks, and all-terrain rubber wheels, making it great for riders seeking stability. Its compact 19-inch-by-nine-inch size makes it easy to carry when you’re not skating.
At just 27.5″ x 7.5″, this short board is ideal for teens and adults, giving you a portable skateboard deck that you can take with you on the go (it’s great for commuting too). Choose from multiple designs, all made from genuine Canadian Maple with a grippy sand grit finish on top, gravity-cast aluminum trucks and sturdy wheels.
Want the best of both worlds? Hiboy’s S11 electric skateboard isn’t designed to grind on rails, but it’ll drive you up to 6.2 miles and as fast as 12.4 miles per hour on a single charge. This lightweight cruiser has four rider modes, an ergonomic remote, and regenerative braking.
This lightweight nine-inch wide skateboard by L.A.-based Lander is made of a blend of recycled materials and fiber-reinforced nylon — and its perforated design is guarantee to turn heads. It measures 26.5 inches long and features solid aluminum trucks and smooth wheels, making it a fast and responsive ride. The smaller size makes it easy to carry around with you, and its stable (read: no wobble) board makes it great for beginners too.
Outdoorsy skaters will dig Penny’s 22-inch non-slip waffle skateboard from the brand’s Postcard series, which features designs inspired by iconic National Parks imagery and the vintage postcards of Argentinian artist Alan Berry Rhys. This forest green waffle top non-slip cruiser has polyurethane wheels, aluminum powder-coated trucks, and stainless steel bearings, so it’s great for long rides and bombing hills.
For those who prefer to personalize their skateboard, Beyoncé-approved brand Proper Gnar has a variety of cool decks ready for you to add your trucks and wheels of choice, like this Michaelangelo-inspired piece. They’re designed by founder and artist Latosha Stone, who works also grace her line of clothing, accessories, art, and more. Multiple deck sizes and designs available.
Retrospec‘s 41-inch longboard promises the control and agility you need for speed and responsive riding. Made of Canadian maple, this board has durable polyurethane wheels, 180mm kingpin trucks, and smooth ABEC-7 bearings.
If you’re looking to fine-tune your tricks on the park and street, this 31-inch Enjoi skateboard is a good option. The 8.375-inch resin deck is lightweight and features carbon steel speed bearings, Tensor trucks, and 95a wheels.
Arbor’s compact pintail Fish longboard has an extended wheelbase that makes it great for cruising. This 37-inch board made of sustainably-sourced hardrock maple and a carbonized bamboo top, and the flexible deck gives it stability and speed.
Hamboards’ surfer-beloved skateboards let you practice your waveriding skills when you’re on land. The Fish 53-inch board has a durable and wide bamboo deck with a hydrodynamic tail that offers, “flawless carving angles, extreme maneuverability, and a rich cruise experience,” says the brand. It boasts 24mm riser blocks, patented HST aluminum carving trucks, and 90mm polyurethane wheels for a “buttery smooth” ride.
Hypebeast-beloved skate brand Palace’s 8-inch complete features a seven-ply maple deck, Ace trucks, 51mm 99a SML wheels, and Jessup grip tape.
These are some of the hardest skateboards to find online as Palace is known for its super limited-edition drops and artist collabs. Fortunately, you can snag yourself a Palace skateboard on sites like StockX, which has the adult skateboards available for re-sale starting at just $140.
A city centre “deep clean, ”growing Glasgow’s cafe culture and tackling the number of vacant shops are all planned after a £2 million funding boost.
The work is set to be carried out to help recovery from the pandemic, with a city centre task force desparate to increase footfall. Local and international marketing campaigns are also being developed to encourage visitors.
Funding, of £1.95 million, has been provided by the Scottish Government from its £6 million city centre recovery fund. The city’s SNP administration has welcomed the money and believes the planned activities will revitalise the city centre.
It will be used to dress and find temporary uses for vacant property and contribute to a deep clean of key city centres streets and public spaces, including graffiti removal and more community enforcement officers.
There are also plans to subsidise businesses operating outdoor areas with a 50 per cent reduction in the cost of roads and licensing permits to encourage an increase in al fresco dining and a ‘cafe culture’.
The marketing campaigns will target visitors from Europe and North America and UK residents seeking a weekend break as well as promoting attractions, such as the reopened Burrell Collection, to local audiences.
Councillor Angus Millar, who represents the Anderston, City, Yorkhill ward, co-chairs Glasgow’s city centre task force, which brings members of the public and private sector together to respond to Covid and longer-term challenges for the city centre.
He said: “The city centre is not only Glasgow’s economic hub but it has helped define who and what we are as Glaswegians. It’s an internationally renowned centre for business, for retail, culture, hospitality and learning, a symbol of the changed city Glasgow has become in accurate decades.
“So, this Scottish Government funding is a really positive and constructive contribution towards our recovery and understands the particular attention demanded by Scotland’s city centres at this critical time.
“Glasgow city centre, like our peers across the world, has suffered tremendously during the pandemic. Its revitalisation is crucial for Glasgow’s economic, social and cultural re-emergence after these devastating couple of years.”
Stuart Patrick, chief executive of Glasgow’s Chamber of Commerce, also co-chairs the city centre task force. He said the funding will help Strengthen general cleanliness across the city centre and prevent anti-social behaviour with help from Police Scotland.
He added public transport discounts and plans for small events across the city are also being explored.
Mr Patrick said: “We all know that Glasgow city centre has suffered badly from the pandemic and businesses will be desparate to see footfall return.”
“The Centre for Cities high street tracker shows that Glasgow’s footfall is still well below its pre-pandemic levels, leaving the city centre in the bottom 10 for recovery out of the 60 UK towns and cities being monitored, while official data suggests that city centre retail vacancies have nearly doubled since the pandemic began but that understates the impact.
“These new funds will not only help Strengthen the centre’s look and feel but will actively support a marketing campaign to draw consumers back to enjoy our retail, hospitality and leisure offerings.”
Councillor Millar added the funding would help take “practical steps” to address the “short-term lift the city needs” and also to look “towards the longer-term and how the city centre adapts to those changes which the pandemic has accelerated.”
“The city centre of 2030 is going to be a different place to that of 2010,” he said.
“We’ve a lot to build on but we need to make sure our city centre is a world-class place to visit, do business, shop, socialise and live.”
PROVIDENCE — Locals irked by street closures and sound from public events may soon have a new forum to air their grievances.
On Thursday the City Council Committee on Ordinances greenlighted an ordinance that would, in effect, offer residents a space to share their complaints before an event occurs. That may include mainstays such as Al Fresco on the Hill and PVDFest.
The ordinance’s main objective is to set up a process through which event organizers can request city services such as a police detail and street closures arranged by the Department of Public Works at a reduced cost.
During that process, residents would get a chance to comment, in addition to being able to testify before the Board of Licenses, which offers permits for outdoor events.
Ahead of the committee’s vote to send the ordinance to the full council for consideration, it heard from residents who were dismayed by living conditions in their neighborhoods, primarily Federal Hill, where weekly street closures are occurring into the fall for outdoor dining.
Laura Dodge called it “right for businesses” yet “a monstrosity for residents in our area,” due to noise and safety concerns.
“You would think that taxpayers would get some help with these problems. Instead we are shunned,” Dodge said, describing the situation as “a nightmare.”
Diane Kane followed Dodge, stating that while she supports the al fresco events, “they don’t take care of the rest of us who live here.”
“We have a lot of trash,” she said. “We’ve got rats the size of squirrels running across our yards because we still don’t have people who care enough about the neighborhood.”
John Heaney, Dodge’s husband, echoed complaints about local events in a lengthy piece of written testimony, objecting also to a section of the ordinance that would apply to any local nonprofit or neighborhood organization, such as the Federal Hill Commerce Association, which is responsible for organizing the al fresco events each year.
At first, Heaney and Dodge’s objections weren’t making much headway with the city. Then they assembled a petition with more than 70 signatures so that a hearing could be held about the new ordinance. However, rather than speaking solely about the proposed law, the several critics who showed up turned to their dissatisfaction with the state of their neighborhoods.
During a mayoral race in which basic city services have been a talking point among candidates, becoming a cornerstone of Brett Smiley’s campaign announcement, the frustrations hit home, even for council members.
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Councilwoman Rachel Miller, who represents Federal Hill and part of the West End, said that she and other local elected officials are “constantly triaging a barrage” of issues related to city services.
Councilman Nicholas Narducci, who represents the North End, empathized.
“We’re faced with the same situations the people we serve are faced with, and when you’re on this side of it, it’s really aggravating,” he said.
But Board of Licenses Chairman Dylan Conley said a vocal minority complains about permitting for events.
“One of the great challenges of this sort of NIMBYism is that we hear two or three people that are complaining about an event that over the course of a day, 2,000 people were at and we completely ignore the joy and value that the 2,000 people had because of two or three people that are complaining,” he said.
Concluding, Conley said simply, “It’s just life in a city.”
This article originally appeared on The Providence Journal: Federal Hill's quality of life draws ire of locals