Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Does this actually appeal to people?

Bursting with 3,109** breath strips **minimum number in this tube

Its interesting how in the past couple of years, the variety of toothpaste available has increased dramatically. Rather than basic minty toothpaste being marketed by several brands, there are now many flavours and varieties. While still quite affordable today, it seems that toothpaste will soon become a designer item, with more expensive brands marketing lavish flavours.

I can see the appeal of different flavours of toothpaste, since toothpaste does have a fairly strong flavour (at least the mainstream concotions, sweetened with saccharin do), and teethbrushing is done frequently. It seems that companies are trying to find new ways to market their brand, either through claims to whiten, strengthen enamel, prevent cavities, etc. (all of which are reasonable things to expect), but also it seems that more frivolous marketing techniques are being used. For example, I purchased a variety pack of items a couple months ago, which came with a lot of products at a very reasonable price. I recently started using the toothpaste that came with the pack. This Colgate MaxFresh toothpaste is 'infused with Dissovable Mini Breath Strips'. In my experience, my teeth always feel clean and my breath fresh after I brush my teeth. I don't really feel the need to find to find ways to make my teeth cleaning experience more 'minty' and 'fresh', but somehow current marketing techniques are trying to press this idea further. It doesn't really make sense to me to put breath strips in toothpaste. I mean, breathstrips are designed for people who want fresh breath when they are out and can't (more realistic to say don't want to, or can't be bothered to) brush their teeth. This is a less effective way to freshen your breath when you may not be able to brush your teeth. So why is this new variation on the breath mint being added to toothpaste? It is completely unneccessary, and I would find it hard to believe that it actually would improve the quality of the toothpaste. The label also sports many terms and claims trying to prove its superiority in breath freshening ability, such as "Experience a Whole New Dimension of Freshness", "WITH 50% MORE BREATH STRIPS", and my favourite, the jumbled collection of words that seem more to me like they are advertising an action movie:

To me, infusing already minty toothpaste with breathstrips seems as unnecessary as adding coffee flavour to coffee. Also, the fact that this toothpaste now has 50% more breathstrips tells me that they first came out with toothpaste that contained breathstrips, and either people for some reason didn't think there were enough of the little minty strips, or Colgate just needed to find something to market their product further and took it upon themselves to improve it.

So I will stop my annoying cynicism here, but will explain why I am so critical. I find a lot of ads actually make me less inclined to purchase a product, because the ad is so rediculous, and I don't know how they could think it would possibly appeal to me. I don't understand how it could appeal to anyone, quite frankly. I also think that the state of humanity in general is greatly underestimated most of the time, and we allow ourselves to be lowered to a less civil and intelligent level. Lets give people the credit they deserve, and address them as they deserve. Assuming that everyone has bought into mindless entertainment, is apathetic and has pre-determined values is an insult to humanity.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

some amazing songs

1. Old Man - Neil Young
I've loved this song since I was a kid, I remember the first time I heard it, my brother was driving and he was talking about it. It's still one of my favourite songs today, its just so incredibly beautiful. The guitar is beautiful, his voice is beautiful, the lyrics are beautiful. Everything about this song is perfect, and it makes me feel at peace.
2. Needle and the Damage Done - Neil Young
This is a sad song about the damaging affects that cocaine can have on one's life, yet it resonates differently with me. This gentle song brings me back to earlier years and leaves me feeling content and slightly sentimental.
3. Save Me - Aimee Mann
Quietly desperate, pretty, sad, dark, intricately simple. This song was featured in the film Magnolia, a strange but interesting movie which Aimee provided most of the soundtrack for, and her music was absolutely perfect for the film. Also listen to Wise Up (very melancholy) and Aimee's cover of One, which was used for the opening of the film. They couldn't have found a better peice for it.
4. Comptine d'une Autre ete - Yann Tiersen (sorry I couldn't put the accents in on ete)
Gorgeous, sweet, sad. This piano peice was featured in the film Amelie. His music really captured the feeling of the film (or perhaps that feeling wouldn't have been complete in the first place without his music). I can feel Amelie's sweet personality, her joy and sorrow, and the streets of France when I listen to this soundtrack. Also listen to La Valse d'Amelie, a magical and light peice which makes me feel terribly sad and happy and the same time, La Noyee, Les Jours Tristes, and La Valse des Monstres (all from the soundtrack). Other good songs by Yann are Le Demarche and La Plage, plus so many others. He is incredibly so just listen to him.

5. Roman Candle - Elliot Smith
I love this entire album, I used to addictively listen to it constantly (which is extremely rare for me, I never overplay music). It is heartbreaking, sincere, dark, and touching. Surprisingly, this used to be one of my favourite songs to sing along to. Condor Ave is my favourite song on the album, but I love every song. This was Elliot's first album and was also served as my introduction to him. It's completely honest and consistently mournful, yet carries an air of hope with it.
6. Who Killed Amanda Palmer - Amanda Palmer
I didn't feel like picking a song so please just listen to all of them. Amanda is an incredibly accomplished musician for such a young age, I saw her play live a couple weeks ago and it was the best concert I'd ever been to. She had a theatre troup travelling with her and they put on an incredible show, not to sound lame but it was pure art. Her songs are dark, sorrowful, playful, and wise. She made a series of videos that conceptually go in order to tell the story of her songs. You can watch them at
Amanda was in a great band called the Dresden Dolls, check them out too!

There are so many more songs that I would like to share, but I need to go to bed. I'll continue this list later.

Thursday, December 11, 2008


Last Christmas I got to pick out a plant as a gift from my Aunt, and I chose an orchid. It was in bloom when we bought it , and still is. Orchids generally bloom about once a year, or just whenever they feel like it, but for some reason this amazing orchid that I have has been in bloom non stop since I got it (which was a year ago). As soon as the last flower on it dies, within one day another flower will bloom, and then a few more. It generally has three flowers in bloom at all times, and I think this is its fourth cycle of flowers.

This summer while I was driving home from Quebec, we stopped at an orchid nursery. The large greenhouse was in a couple's backyard, and the neighbours thought they were selling pot, so they had an open house. It was amazing to see the variety of orchids they had there, and the amount of care they put into them. Some varieties have to be soaked in water every day, and the plants don't bloom until they are over 20 years old. I saw one black lady slipper type orchid that is a hybrid between paph. macabre and paph. wardii, or 'black mask' and 'smooth chocolate.' I honestly thought it was the most sinister looking flower I had ever seen, but my Mom started talking about how cool it was. It was pretty incredible looking, and of all the orchids we saw it appealed to me the most. We bought one that hadn't yet bloomed, and it might be a couple years before it does, I don't really know. When it does bloom, I will post pictures.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Problem with Axe

I just watched the video at and was surprised that Axe is getting away with such distasteful advertising. First of all, the ad reinforces gender stereotypes while humourizing sexual agression, assault, and injury. Last time I checked, those crimes were no laughing matter, but as soon as the act is performed by an attractive female, it is no longer deemed offensive. Terrible acts of sexual violence occur every day, mostly towards women. Turning the situation around does not take away the horrific aspect of such crimes, it just reminds us of them.

First of all, it gives the definition of a 'nice' girl as law-abiding and cookie baking. While cookie baking is an innocent enough activity, used in this context it seems to support the image of a 'timid homemaker' who is submissive to male gender-ideals. Maybe 'naughty' girls like to bake cookies too. Somehow these women (deans list students included) lose all sense of dignity and self control and completely throw themselves at men wearing axe products. They are now deemed 'naughty' and 'wayward,' and need to be rehabilitated. So the ads are basically saying that this is not acceptable female behaviour, but we are using it to sell our product; men want women to be so attracted to them that they lose all self control. I also don't find the man in the coma, happy as he may look, to be particularly funny. Any image of an injured human being isn't funny in my mind, especially when they are displayed in a way that would be exploitive if it were a real life situation.

This video, as well as all Axe television ads, takes the way sex and attraction are used in advertising to a whole new level. They portray women as lustful lunatics, whose only force is their sexuality. The concepts of naughty and nice are manifested through sexual inequalities, and are subjective definitions. Axe portrays them in the most stereotypical forms, and presents the two extremes as black and white, rather than a palette of shades of grey. A woman can be intelligent, attractive, a feminist, a great baker, and be comfortable enough with her sexuality to make the first move and go after what she wants. Just not in the world of Axe. I'm sick of seeing bullshit like this that is a disgrace to men and women and everything imbetween as human beings.

On another note, have you seen any of the progressive Dove ads? Check out evolution, onslaught, and pro-age. Within themselves, I appreciate these videos, but they are an ad campaign, used to sell products. The company decided to take a risk and try something different, which is great, to see if it sells. This isn't advocacy or activism, its advertising. And there isn't necessarily anything wrong with that, we just have to recognize it for what it is, and not leave Dove unquestioned just because they have some good ads. Dove is a huge corporation, and doesn't care about its consumers. Their products contain chemicals that are known carcinogens. They can get away with this, since the affect of carcinogenic cosmetics is not a well known risk, and many companies include such ingredients in their products. My point is that if Dove actually cared about women, it would make all its products 100% safe. Search Dove on Environmental Working Group's chemical database if you would like to learn more about this ( Dove also tests on animals, which wouldn't be necessary if they weren't using questionable ingredients in the first place, and still isn't necessary even if they do. So why did I start ranting on about Dove when my post is supposed to be about Axe? Because Dove and Axe are both owned by Unilever. So two companies with drastically different approaches to advertising are owned by the same company. I'm not necessarily asking you to boycott Dove, but I think their connection to Axe is something we should call them on (Unilever and Axe should be contaced as well). As for Axe, buying their product is telling them that their advertising is working, regardless as to whether you have actually seen their ads or not. So unless you don't consider their tactics to be an insult to the human race, look for another company to buy from. Better yet, stay clear of overpowering bodysprays in the first place. People need to breathe.

Going back to the site, I just realized that I veiwed the U.S. video. The Canadian version is actually less offensive, but this doesn't change the fact that the U.S. version still exists. Its interesting that ads are catered to us diffently than to the U.S.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Urban Herbivore

I was at U of T this afternoon for a panel, so I decided to go to my favourite place in the world afterwards..Kensingon Market. I didn't recognize the area where I was at U of T, but decided to just start walking randomly in the direction that felt right, not really having any clue whether I was walking in the right direction, but not really caring since I wasn't in a rush. I later turned onto College, since I knew that bordered on the Market, but still wasn't sure if I was headed in the right direction. Then I started to recognize things, and before I knew it I was there!

The first time I ever went to KM was with a bunch of friends from highschool on my birthday, and I remember we went into this cool Chinese gift store on the way there, but I haven't seen the store since. Well today I noticed it and went in, it felt cool to be back in the same place from a couple years ago. It was kind of nice go there by myself, since I could leisurely spend the day doing whatever I wanted. I bought a couple of Christmas gifts for my family, wandered through store upon store, bought a few groceries and some new kinds of tea, and had dinner at Urban Herbivore.

Urban Herbivore is one of my favourite restaurants, located on the corner of Augusta and Oxford. It is bright and clean inside, with wooden counters and stools to sit at, ferns hanging from the ceiling, and it even has a green roof. The menu is small but healthy. Salads are incredible, you chose which greens you want and then get to select six toppings. Choices are endless with both raw and cooked ingredients of all kinds. Be prepared to have the tastiest salad of your life! They always have some meal of the day (chili, rice bowl, etc.), and have several sandwiches to chose from. Even though I should try something different, I always order the BBQ tofu sandwich, because it is just so incredibly good. I'm not a huge sandwich person, but this sandwich is most definately an exception. I may not be entirely correct here, but I think the sandwich consists of bbqued tofu (of course) on a grilled herbed bun which seems to be homemade, topped with sprouts, tahini, olive spread, pesto, and spinach. The tofu has great flavour and texture, I suggest trying it even if you don't generally like tofu. They also make fresh juices and serve organic teas and fair trade coffee, and sell homade muffins, cookies and banana bread (all vegan). Resusable dishes are used for eat in, and take out containers and utensils are biodegradable. They sell soups and sauces to take home, a large container of pesto is only $3 and is delicious. My Mom bought some once and we were eating it by the spoonful and made an incredible pizza with pesto sauce. I picked up some more today, it fell out of my bag and the container smashed on the sidewalk, but I managed to carry it on the bus and subway without too much leaking out and transfered it to another container when I got home.
Just to warn you, as I mentioned the seating consists of counters and stools, which are comfortable to use as a place so sit and take a meal break or meet a friend, but I probably wouldn't go there for a birthday or formal meal to meet a bunch of people. I give Urban Herbivore five stars for taste, health, sustainability, atmosphere and style.


I never get around to blogging about things until well after they have passed, but anyway, better late then never I suppose.

My birthday was about three weeks ago, and I had a wonderful several days with my family, and shared some nice meals. My parents are amazing and made me some delicious vegan cakes!

Pictured below is a carrot cake that my stepmom made me. It was soo moist and delicious! I think it was the first time I have had carrot cake since I've been vegan. I pixelated my name just to be silly, but after all this is the internet, so I guess its better to be safe. I can still tell what is says though.

My Mom made me the cake with the raspberries. It is vanilla lemon almond flavoured cake with jam in the middle and frosting and raspberries on top. Believe it or not, the raspberries were actually fresh from our backyard, despite the fact that its November. The flavour of the cake was incredible and I loved the thick texture.

So this may not be the most interesting blog to read, but I was quite excited about my cakes since I don't eat cake all that often, and thought it was quite nice that my parents made them for me.

Monday, December 1, 2008

School of the Americas

Last week I went to Georgia for the School of the Americas protest. It was an incredible experience in so many ways. The energy at the protest site is amazing, everyone is so passionate and peaceful. It was truly inspiring to see so many people (20,000) of all ages speaking out against U.S. foreign policy. There were many older people, well into their 80s, still fighting for peace and justice. Everyone was super friendly, and it was great to see so many people that have kept activism with them throughout their entire lives.

On Sat there was basically a festival at the protest site, with speakers and musicians performing all day long, free vegan food from Food Not Bombs, and tables set up by organizations, faith groups and alternative companies. The Puppetistas did an amazing performance, which anyone could participate in. They had a large puppet (which I think was 28ft tall), with words like Empire and rape on it. It was moving slowly and making eerie noises, while people on stilts around it hissed at and chased people. It paraded down the road, and behind it came people with flags that said 'winds of change', then people with signs that said women power, worker power, spirit power, and first nations power. When they all got to the front stage and came together, they brought down the empire puppet, which slowly collapsed and fell to the ground, and everyone was dancing and celebrating. It was very moving, and was one of the most beautiful things I have ever experienced.
Sunday was the actual protest, starting with speakers in the morning. People dressed in black and carrying cardboard coffins led the funeral procession, followed by 20,000 protesters, most of whom were holding a cross bearing the name of a person murdered by an SOA graduate. People on the stage would sing out the name and age of a victim, and we would all hold up our crosses and sing 'presente', meaning that they are here with us. It was very beautiful and moving. I was amazed at how angelic the voices sounded, how so many people singing together sounded so in tune. When we arrived at the fence that is blocking off the SOA / WHINSEC, we put our crosses in the fence. After I arrived at the fence I sat down on the grass, closed my eyes and listening to the rest of the names being called out. WHINSEC kept blaring out warnings that you will be arrested if you cross the fence, what the penalties are, etc. while the names were being called out. I thought it was incredibly disrespectful that they would blast their message over a memorial service, especially since all of us were already well aware of the consequences of crossing the line.

Once the last person's name was called out, the people on the stage started talking about all the positive changes that are happening in the world. The puppetistas did another amazing performance, and there was a 'celebration of life' with everyone dancing. We danced and marched down the streets, onto the main road and through residential areas as well, singing chants and cheering. There was so much life and energy in the group that it is difficult to capture in words.
I met so many great people this weekend. Not only was the protest amazing, but the road trip to get there was tons of fun, getting to know people in our caravan, and staying at hotels (with eight people in a single room!)


I shouldn't assume that you know what the SOA is, so I'll give you a bit of background information here. The School of the Americas is a military school in the U.S. that trains Latin American soldiers. Many graduates of this school have gone on to commit human rights violations, including the massacre at El Mozote, where basically all of El Mozote and surrounding villages were massacred, killing a total of 767 people (many of which were children); the massacre of 43 people in Segovia Columbia; and the murder of six Jesuit priests, their housekeeper and her daughter. The SOA denies responsbility for the actions of their graduates, but you can not let murder go ignored an unquestioned. The SOA denies teaching methods that would lead to human rights violations, but torture manuals were actually found at the SOA.

The SOA 'closed down', and the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation opened in the same location TWO WEEKS LATER. This is the same school, still training Latin American soldiers, but with a different name. It takes a long time to plan a school, write the courses, find teachers, etc., and it is far to large of a coincidence that an entirely different school would open right after the SOA closed, with similar goals and many of the same instructors. I attended a presentation and panel at WHINSEC with an open mind, willing to hear what they had to say, but was not convinced at all. The entire presentation was glossed over and not substantive, they keep bringing up the same simple arguments over and over and refuse to admit that the school
should in any way be held responsible for crimes committed by its graduates. WHINSEC is supporting Plan Columbia, a very irresponible way of dealing with the U.S. drug trade by aerial spraying coca plants in Columbia, devastating local families and the environment. Plan Columbia is a good film to watch if you would like to learn more about this.

I gave a very brief synopsis of the school, but please check the School of the Americas Watch website out at for more detailed information.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Day of Action

On November 5th, students from all over Canada gathered in different locations to show that we are sick of paying ever rising fees to get an education, and that we are going to fight back. As over 6000 students marched through the streets of downtown Toronto, many onlookers saw a sea of students holding signs and shouting, showing that the price of tuition fees is a problem and that it is affecting a very large number of people. We passed many construction workers who cheered for us and raised their fists in solidarity. We sat on the road at the corner of University and College, blocking traffic, and then continued on to Queen's Park where a rally took place. A lovely group was giving out a free vegan lunch, consisting of squash soup and pita chips. It is inspiring to be part of such a large enthusiastic group, and I feel it was important to show people that university is not easy for students today, that we are willing to fight back, and are not few in numbers. University students are the professionals of tommorrow, getting a university education is expected of us if we want to be successful, yet the government does not value us. Unfortunately it has become more difficult for people to find a job if they do not have a university degree or college diploma, and education has become increasingly less accessible as tuition fees have been rising well above the rate of inflation. So it has become a no-win situation for people who don't come from wealthy families. I am extremely blessed that I am able to attend university and am able to budget and pay the fees without getting a loan, but education should be a right, not a blessing, and students shouldn't have to be drowning in debt by the time they graduate.

New president, new hope

OBAMA got elected! This was definately a very exciting moment for me as I sat on the floor of a crowded theatre with friends, staring up at the huge screen showing different news reports and shows that were covering the election, and all of the sudden his face came up on the screen and he had won. It was incredible, this was one of the first elections I have seen where I wasn't dissapointed with the results. This shouldn't be a historic moment, but it is, and it shouldn't be such a big deal for a person of colour to be the president of the USA, but it is. And without even considering the barriers he is breaking down, this still is an amazing victory to get a progressive democrat that is willing to talk about oppression of women, the gay community, people of colour, etc. McCain's speech was very gracious, and I appreciated that he found the strength to speak of Obama positively, and acknowledged the importance that Obamas victory has for African Americans. Both Barack and Michelle seem like incredible people, and I sincerely hope that they are able to bring about as much change as they aspire to.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Alternative Media

I was just reading my textbook for Environmental Politics and I came across this quote that I thought I would share, by Zapatista spokesperson Subcomandante Marcos.

We have a choice. We can have a cynical attitude in the face of media, and say that nothing can be done about the dollar power that creates itself in images, words, digital communication, and computer systems that invade not just with an invasion of power, but with a way of seeing the world, how they think the world should look. We can say, well, 'that's the way it is' and do nothing. Or we can simply assume incredulity: we can say that any communication by the media monopolies is a total lie. We can ignore them and go about our lives. But there is a third option that is not conformity, nor skepticism, nor distrust: that is to construct a different way, to show the world what is really happening, to have a critical world-view and to become interested in the truth of what happens to the people who inhabit every corner of the world.
(Subcomandante Marcos 1997)

This quote seems true to any type of large scale corruption, either we can ignore the corruption and go on supporting the source of the corruption without question, we can avoid the situation and have nothing to do with it, or we can create our own alternative. (Really, the only way to get anything to change is to do it yourself, not alone but with a group of others who are also affected by the situation). Just because a news source is 'alternative' does not mean that it should go unquestioned, it is important to look critically at EVERYTHING.

I came across this photo of t-shirts of his face. (photo credit: Wade []) That's great and all to be showing support of the Zapatista movement, I'm just hoping this image won't go the same path that (cli)che Guevara's did. It's bad enough to see all these huge corporations that have no connection to their producers cashing in on the 'green movement' by selling t-shirts that have silly messages about recylcing or hugging trees, or just throw around the word green in some trendy way. Somehow this makes people feel better about the clothes they are buying. Honestly, if you don't know what your talking about and don't actually care enough to make changes in your life, then don't walk around wearing messages that you care nothing about. Any shirt sold by the GAP, Roots, American Eagle, etc. that tries to convey some message about a social movement is one of the best examples of hipocrisy I can think of. I will be rolling in my grave if my face ever lives on to be printed on t-shirts made by sweatshop labour.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Ontario Apples

Apples are in season and delicious, so pick up some local apples today! They always tast best in the fall since they are super fresh. They aren't very expensive either, so I've been eating them every day. Pictured above are Macintosh and Cortland apples. Heres a salad that is nice as a light meal. Ingredients: lettuce, carrots, red and yellow peppers, apple chunks, and herbed tofu (fried in olive oil). All of the ingredients can be bought locally right now. I'm pretty excited to make apple crisp too, its pretty much the ultimate autumn dessert.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The election is well over, but I guess I can still talk about it

Boohoo we have a conservative government and that sucks but for now I guess we just need to get over it and take action on issues we care about rather than waiting for the government to maybe possibly someday sort of do something about it. Sure, if everyone that didn't want the conservatives to win voted liberal than we wouldn't have a conservative government right now, and I know that that's what Dion wanted us to do, but I'M SORRY A REAL DEMOCRACY DOESN'T WORK THAT WAY. I was hopeful that the Liberals might get in and it seemed like a good option, but only because it was the only realistic alternative we had to a conservative government. The thing is, I have never been a fan or supporter of the Liberal party, ever. Liberals dominated politics in Canada for years and we still had our share of problems and human suffering then, so I don't see why all of the sudden the liberal party seems like the golden arches to political heaven and that somehow everyone that isn't right of center should settle for something less than what they believe in. Wake up, the liberal party is not left wing and does not share the same concerns or represent the veiws of all political parties that aren't PC.

I voted for the party that I felt would help achieve better quality of life for ALL Canadians. And that party has severl seats in Parliament, has helped prevent Harper from achieving a majority government, and will have a say on issues being passed through parliament and will therefore have an effect on Canadian politics and society.

I would like to thank Stephen Harper for making that idiodic comment about artists, you all know which one I'm talking about. You were able to turn an entire community of culturally aware Canadians against you. Good job, you really helped out my cause. But for all the artists that turned your backs against Harper, I salute you for taking a stance on this issue, but why do politics only matter to you now that you are faced with an issue that directly affects you? Conservative governments exploit thousands of marginalized people and let them suffer, and somehow this never mattered until you became one of them. However, I think Harper is a complete moron for treating the arts like they don't matter. Art is truly one of the forces that has the power to inspire and move people, and I find it incredibly depressing that children will have less access to arts programs at school. Offering rebates to families that enrole their children in extra-curricular art activities does not address this issue, as it tends to generally be children who are already artisitically enclined who will want to sign up for classes. They may not have time to pursue the arts outside of school if they already are involved in other activities, and their parents may not be able to drive them to these activities. Art should be accessible to ALL children in schools, regardless of their talent and ability, so they can learn to think differently and see the world outside of the narrow frame that other disciplines present it in. This will help students achieve a much more well rounded sphere of thinking and skills, and will help give them the tools to move on in the arts. The death of art will bring the death of creativity and culture, and make for a pretty boring world of concrete and business. Lets not turn our children into economic zombies just because our prime minister is one.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Disposable pens in regards to birth certificates

We live in a world where companies try to make more and more items disposable so that we will keep on consuming. It is quite rediculous that when something breaks (i.e. a TV or printer), most people would rather buy a new one than get it repaired because it is cheaper to do so. While this finacially may make sense, in terms of resource consumption, it is definately a very wasteful and short sighted way to deal with products that aren't made to last. The decision to buy a new item rather than get the old one repaired is a decision to buy into this wasteful system and support it. By employing one of our many talented repairwomen or men, you woud be making a statement against disposable culture, and would be supporting a more sustainable future. If enough people started doing this, corporations would realize that people don't want cheaply made products that do not last, and that we aren't just going to keep buying new items without questioning if this is really necessary.

A simple plastic pen might not seem like a big deal compared to much larger items, but if you look in your drawer or pencil holder, you will likely find many pens, which will not last long and eventually have to be disposed of somehow and you will buy some new pens to replace them. Of course this makes sense, since eventually you are going to use up all the ink in the pen, but is it really necessary to buy an entire pen when it is only the ink that needs to be replaced? Considering that a large majority of people own these writing utensils, given the enormous popluation on our planet, that equals a LOT of plastic, not only sitting in landfills for thousands of years without biodegrading, but also using oil to create the plastic, and polluting the air in the process of manufacturing. So why does everyone have so many disposal pens? Why don't we all just buy one refillable pen and do away with the whole cyclical buying and disposing process? Well, I suppose than one reason might be that the pen is not very large in size and can easily be lost. Given my collection of free pens that I have acquired since I started university, and that I still have now, this doesn't seem to be too much of an issue for me.

I also own several calligraphy pens which I refill with a small cartridge that only uses a minimal amount of plastic (4 or 5 cartridge refills would equal the amount of plastic used to make one disposable pen). I also have a wooden pen that I refill with nontoxic ink that is packaged in very slim brass refills. I used this pen to take notes in every single lecture I had in university for one year without having to refill it once. Of my refillable pens, so far I haven't lost any of them, and if I did none of them were so expensive that it would be much of a loss (except of course for the calligraphy pen I inherited from my Grandfather).

My wooden pen (Goodkind Woody) I believe cost me $3 - $4 (and came filled with ink), and it only costs $2.50 for two refills. Considering how long each refill lasts before you have to replace it, this proves to be very economical and cost efficient, so buying cheap disposable pens really isn't saving you any money.

On a somewhat related note, I have often found it remarkable how people frequently lose things and it seems nearly impossible to keep anything for your entire life, yet (most) people, regardless of their age, still have their birth certificate. This document is so important that people somehow manage it keep it safe and keep track of it their entire lives. It really is quite amazing. I am suprised that I own something that I have had since I was born, and haven't lost it yet.