Saturday, May 23, 2009

distractingly stinky neighbours(s)

I'm sitting in the den, minding my own business, working on the laptop, when suddenly my nose is assailed. The window is open, because it's 30C out today, and in whiffs the unmistakable cologne worn by a person who lives two floors down! His habitual excess has disturbed this particular migraine sufferer on innumerable occasions but, geez man, that it can permeate through windows 2 floors up? Rather ridiculous, n'est pas?

Speaking of pathetic, last night we were invited to a small get-together at the house of one of our very few friends — a rare occasion, I tell ya! I fear I've become a bit of a hermit. We knew no one else there but soon hit it off wonderfully with a very interesting couple of Australians (long married & coincidentally bearing the same first name!), both of whom speak French due to a personal interest in French culture.

Unfortunately however, there was another guest who persisted in interrupting our conversations with obnoxious and unfunny attempts to shock. The hostess and I both had smoke coming out of our ears and I made a few brief mocking remarks in an attempt to embarrass the nitwit into silence (or better yet, departure! it was that bad) but to no avail.

However, in a rare but controlled display of disdain, it was Aran to the rescue in the end! In fact, after asking her if she was "un facho", he trailed her to the door, badgering her to back up some of her outrageous (ie., pro-Sarkozy!) comments. Of course she couldn't and left, at long last rendered speechless! My hero!

Friday, May 22, 2009

we are watt piggies

I found this very fun IBM graphics generating site while reviewing a story for OW2.0 that's coming up in a few weeks.

Calculating carbon footprints in CO2 has frankly always been a bit abstract for my visual-learner brain so I like charts. But now I've also discovered that I can more easily handle thinking about per capita energy consumption in watts (try calculating yours!). And obviously less watts means less carbon emissions too so it's not like focussing on one excludes the other, n'est pas?

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

g and i prefer spring

Bear with me, I slept 4 hours last night thanks to inexplicable insomnia. Perhaps it's spring fever. Because, in ref to my subject line, I say we prefer spring because May has so far been like a pleasant Montreal July and reminds me and the furry one what a humid hell Tokyo will be come August.

Anyway, I started with a warning because this post promises to be a bit of an all-over-da-place ramble. Partly due to the lack of sleep and maybe also thanks to the "Japan via Poland" I just drank. I think I missed my calling and shoulda been a bartender as I often invent awesome cocktails. Case in point tonight: 1 oz Zubrowka vodka (awesome stuff which i thank Jose for introducing us to), 1/2 oz ume-shu (Japanese plum liqueur), tonic, rocks. Stir. Enjoy.

Okay, so first I wanted to crow about a coup accomplished by a couple of my brilliant colleagues at OW2.0. A recently shot (and not yet posted on our 'zine) video of theirs got picked up by TreeHugger, is getting a lot of views and will hopefully generate $ome action for the indigenous folk of the Carteret Islands (Papua New Guinea) who are being chased off their homeland by the effects of climate change. Check it out.

Then, on a lighter note, I plan to tonight try my first kimono mod and was thinking maybe I could test the waters for a side-business. I'll post pictures soon and then let me know if ever you'd be interested in one. You could even tell me what color scheme to keep my eyes open for.

See it's not hard to find beautiful second hand kimono at flea markets and thrift shops here. However, the affordable ones tend to be smaller sizes. Now, if you're not intending to wear kimono in the traditional way, small is not really small except the sleeves are too short. This is because putting on a kimono involves a very complicated process of folding and arranging what is actually quite a bit of cloth. (Hmm, this is hard to explain, just trust me! Or watch a video.)

The important thing is that this will not be a problem with my modified version, where I'm going to cut off the draping part of the sleeves, sew them (and the side openings) into normal mid-forearm sleeves. Presto, a gorgeous lounge robe, for about twenty bucks! Of course my version will not be intended to wear with an obi, even if you or I could ever figure out how the heck to do that, but I could cetainly pick you up a less extravagent belt called an obiage and/or and obijime.

And now, off that subject and back to work talk: my Transition Towns article was published today. Check it out (and comment there please) and start considering it, why don't ya? I think there are already some mullers in Montreal and I'll be hooking up with them in the near future. So excited!

In the meantime, don't you think Canada should be doing this?

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

cracking the block

I've got an article with an imminent deadline that's been frozen for awhile in a case of writer’s block. A few days ago however, I was asked a question, the answer to which has put a crack in the block.

“Why do you care so much about climate change and energy consumption?” Aran asked me during one of our many chats about the topics my job covers. We both agreed that I am not driven by what could be called “personal” reasons, since we have no progeny to consider, the typical “think of your grandchildren” motivation does not apply.

“I don’t know,” I responded. “For the longest time, it has just felt wrong to me, the way we treat the planet and waste things. How can we trash other living things, resources and all, without a backward glance?”

Now I am not a saint and do not compare myself in any way to selfless activists, but for the past 20 years I have had an above-average concern for the environment and the world as a whole. Which, frankly, isn’t saying much, since ‘average’ is quite terrible if you ask me. But alas, I digress.

As you can see, I have been prone to dark thoughts. People just don’t seem to care and I’ve never been much of an optimist. But these days, it seems there are more people walking the talk and setting examples that I am increasingly eager to follow. What’s more is that, with scientific facts piling up and peak oil experts lining up, the magnitude of just how far wrong we’ve gone seems destined to start weighing on formerly oblivious minds worldwide.

And my job is to help kick-start that dawning, so back to my writer’s block... Since I watched a video several months ago featuring the dynamic person at the heart of a very interesting movement, I've been planning to write an article.

While reading up on the topic, I felt true hope for the first time. This just felt so right. But how, I began to ask myself, do I successfully convey the concept in an interesting, non-threatening manner and also transmit the hope in a genuine and contagious way? It is so easy for people to label something wacky or extreme so that they can stick what it implies into the dark spot at the back of their brain and deny it.

In essence, what was striking me dumb with “the block” was a sense of huge potential and my own personal hope for it. Not only, I realized, does it simply feel right, but further (and striking a loud chord in my own character make-up) it is just so logical.

Tune into Our World 2.0 next week for the rest of the story. Assuming I've vanquished the block...

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?