Tuesday, November 25, 2008


I think this: http://maps.google.com/transit says something huge about the United States' transportation. Namely, that it is chaotic and disconnected. The other countries listed have major transit systems- national, or large regions. Even when I was looking to take a train trip down the east coast Amtrak was divided into regions and the different parts didn't even seem well connected.

World AIDS Day

World AIDS Day (12-1-2008)
Bristol-Myers Squibb donating $1 for every candle lit.

This year, because of the tremendous success of the initiative last year, Bristol-Myers Squibb agreed to fund the Light to Unite campaign again. Just visit the web site, light a candle and $1 will be donated to the National AIDS Fund. The goal is 100,000 candles lit to reach $100,000.

Please light a candle and you will be rewarded with the satisfaction of having helped, plus facts and stories about AIDS today.


Thursday, November 20, 2008


Today I had an unusually awful day at work, and was really not looking forward to going to my grad class. Tensions are very high at school (two fights in two days), November has been a strange month and by the end of the day I just wanted to go home. Of course, I went to class. While there I engaged in some really interesting discussions, and by the end of it, I felt great! Had I come directly home to my apartment where I live alone, I bet I would have sat at home, stewed for a good long while and eventually went to bed with the adrenaline still coursing through my body. Community serves a lot of great purposes that we often mention such as educating, organizing and accomplishing. However, it does so much more than that. Being around other people means we have sources of entertainment, distraction, engagement and support. The topic of tonight's discussion was not what helped me to settle down, it was the interaction with other people who happened not to be exhibiting signs of stress. Today, in anticipation of next week, I am thankful for happy people, and thankful to reclaim my membership in that group.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

forgotten amusements

Last week I got an advertisement in the mail from Comcast Digital Voice. The ad has a Madagascar theme, since the second movie just came out. Included in the mailing was a coloring page with the instructions "Let the kids run wild with this page of coloring fun!" First of all, I think this is a great idea, it encourages reuse of a mailing many would toss immediately in the trash (or hopefully at least paper recycling). Second, since I'm the only one in my household, and I don't want to waste anything, including a coloring page, I spent this evening coloring. And then, when I had finished the drawing they provided but wanted to keep coloring, I drew in a few more characters, and colored those as well. I can't remember when I last spent some time drawing, but I actually used to be rather good at it. I don't know why I don't do it more often. I have colored pencils, markers, sharpies and there's always scrap paper around. Perhaps I will make it a new goal to spend some time each week coloring. It certainly is relaxing and rejuvenating, no wonder kids love it!

Sunday, November 09, 2008

best choice: Target?

I've been procrastinating writing this month's APLS carnival entry, because I'm not sure how to write something honest that doesn't make me feel guilty.

The topic is:
Do you feel buying locally plays a large role in healing our environment? Are you a true locavore or do you make exceptions for certain items? What obstacles to buying locally do you face? Do you have any tips for others looking to buy locally? Or are there other factors, such as cost or limited selection that force you to buy items made in other parts of the world?

I shop very rarely, but I had Tuesday off (no school on election day around here) and needed to run some errands. My shopping list was eclectic: battery powered alarm clock, rechargeable batteries, bottle brush, bras and chapstick. One mile down the road from my apartment there is a shopping center with big name stores (Target, Borders, Home Depot, Walmart, Marshalls). Ten minutes away there is a strip with lots of stores, still all big names. Fifteen minutes away there is a mall, honestly I don't know what's in there, but I'd assume all big name stores. Ten minutes in another direction is the 'historic' part of town, which offers an antique store and a record store. They're small and local, but I don't need anything they offer. There is a Salvation Army 15 minutes away where I might have found the alarm clock, but none of the other items. So, after contemplating all of my options, I decided that the best I could do for the time being was shop as locally as I could in terms of driving distance, which landed me at Target. I was able to find everything on my list, making only one trip, which was exciting. But, I felt badly that I went to a super-store that has no investment in my area. Yes, I do know that the plastic alarm clock, in a plastic box, will probably break in a year, just like my last one did. I wish that my purchases hadn't traveled so far, and I know that me cutting down on travel to pick them up doesn't counteract that issue. But, I don't know what else to do. My area has no cute little Main St. with locally owned shops where I could get to know the owners and bring my items back for repair, rather than replacing my broken alarm clock with a brand new one. What do you do if you arrived in your area too late to support all the small businesses? There may be a few hiding out there somewhere, but even my friends who have been in the area for a long time don't know where to find a small coffee shop. Apparently all the nearby choices are Starbuck, Borders Cafe and Panera.

While grocery shopping I but local and organic whenever possible. There is one local business, an orchard just down the road from me, which I try to support. When considering what items I need to buy, first I reduce (really, I don't buy many non-consumables at all) and then I try to find the most sustainable choice (buying a bottle brush was smarter than replacing my bottles which weren't getting clean). In the end though, I'm still left buying things made someplace far away, by someone who is seeing very little of the money I'm spending.

Monday, November 03, 2008

eco-nut, the next addition to the DSM?

How far is too far? I read the article below as a spoof, but do others see it as a serious issue? Does the fact that it makes me nervous to watch a friend staring into my fridge with the door wide open mean I have anxiety? To me, this is all quite amusing, but it does make me wonder about an outsider's perspective.

From the 'Sunday Telegraph':

'Curse of the carborexic'
By Elle Halliwell

November 02, 2008 12:00am

A DARK side to being carbon-conscious has been discovered, with a growing number of people becoming green to the extreme. Experts are warning the global warming panic is promoting obsessive compulsive disorders among some. Dubbed "carborexics'' or "dark greens'', these individuals will factor their carbon impact into every aspect of their life and go to extremes to avoid using energy.

According to a study conducted by Porter Novelli this month, four per cent of Americans now fit the profile of a carborexic. Participants of the study who were considered dark green included a man who relieved himself on his lawn to save water, and a woman whose family slept en masse to save on heating.

Head of the University of Sydney Anxiety Disorders Clinic Dr Mairwen Jones had seen an increase in patients suffering from climate change-related obsessive compulsive `checking' disorders. She explained that some patients had begun checking their gas and power meters constantly to monitor their usage, while others worried about their petrol consumption and their car's odometer reading. "A person who says: 'I constantly check the tap', now it's not that they're worried about a flood, but they say 'I don't want to waste water with elevated temperatures and drought, and I'm worried about my impact on the environment'''.

Founder and CEO of eco retailer Todae, Danin Kahn, said while he was obsessed with reducing his carbon footprint, it was a way to lead by example. "You've got to be really passionate about it or it becomes too difficult,'' he said. "I don't eat any meat, when I drive I drive a hybrid, I try to walk to work as often as I can
and I power my gadgets with solar.''

In September Mr Kahn, 31, went on a no-plastic diet. "I went cold turkey; I didn't purchase anything with plastic,'' he said. Founder of raw cuisine catering company Conscious Choice Julie Mitsios runs workshops on how to prepare food without cooking. She said demand for classes was unprecedented, as people realized the impact their diet had on carbon consumption.

People with signs of OCD should contact the Sydney Anxiety Disorders Clinic on 9351 9426."