26 June 2006

The McDonalds of my adulthood

Only on the West Coast do we have conversations about coffee culture and loyalties.

Are we cheating on the charming bistro owner when we go to the trendy, yet independent coffee house down the street? Is it a fundamental betrayal of - who really knows - to patronize Starbucks even rarely? Shouldn't support mega corporations. Can't go to Starbucks.

Starbucks, love them or hate them, has grown to symbolize mass produced coffee culture. Regardless of what I think about fairly traded and/or organic coffee, I have to admit, Starbucks makes a mean caramel apple bar. And an even better white chocolate mocha (the secret ingredient of which I've heard is heroin). Every so often, I throw caution to the wind and buy one of each.

Nobody saw my infidelity today. I can't say I feel that strongly about coffee. I'm just aware that other people do. Consumerism in general I'm willing to feel guilty for, but not coffee.

21 June 2006

Still waiting for summer...

Today is the first day of summer. The weather in Victoria didn't notice, but I'm not surprised. We had a few warm days some time during the past spring, but it feels like I've been cold since late last September.

Summer is the brief release when my body actually relaxes and I feel comfortable. I'm starting to feel like I'm slowly being robbed of something - I can't pinpoint exactly what - by the so far sucky weather this year in what should be Canada's mildest city. I never thought I'd say it, but my May trip to Edmonton was the nicest weather in my recent memory.

And now for something completely different:

I've been following this guy Kyle and his red paperclip in his quest for a house. I was initially skeptical, but I'm now convinced he'll be successful in trading a red paperclip on up to a house. I heard him on the morning show I watch - BT - and it reminded me to post about him.

14 June 2006

Remember Blackspots?

If you've been following this blog for awhile (or heard me raving about them) you might remember a post about winning a pair of Blackspots. Since Blackspots recently made news again, I thought I'd share the link.

New York Times article on Adbusters' site:

05 June 2006

Never talk to strangers

I've never been known as an overly friendly kid - no one would ever describe me that way. In fact, I'm definitely an introvert. So I wasn't surprised, after getting an MP3 player for Christmas, that what I liked best about the gadget was the social block offered by walking around wearing headphones. Sometimes, I just wear the headphones without turning on the music, so I can justify ignoring anyone who tries to talk to me on the street - which is constantly.

Usually it's one of three groups:
  • People selling everything from Greenpeace or the SPCA to the religious Watchtower mag
  • Panhandlers, homeless people, junkies and mental health cases (often a combination)
  • Lonely people looking for companionship or friendship
Working in service jobs in the past I saw a lot of all three kinds of people. For the last two types, I empathize with the difficulty and unhappiness in their lives. But I also know I can't fix their lives, which are usually broken because of a much larger problem.

I feel guilty ignoring them even with the headphones. I know they or their cause all need help. And it's not that I'm always in a hurry. Start times and deadlines are flexible at my workplace.
But I don't have anything to give them in terms of time or money. I'm tapped for both within my own comfort level. That being the case, I move from guilt to anger quite quickly. I know it sounds heartless, but I just want to move between my bus stop and office without running an emotional gauntlet accosted by random passers by.

I'd love to hear what other people think and feel on this subject.