Friday, April 4, 2008

I need a favor

I know this is not what you are expecting to find here but I need something more than i can possibly explain and it's simple.

My father was in a head on car collision Sunday night and is in intensive care as we speak. It's extremely touch and go and minute by minute. You may not hear from me for a bit, and haven't heard from me since Monday for that reason.

To put it quite simply, he is the finest person I have ever met and the world will be a worse place with him gone. My dad has been through a ton in his life, and yet, he has risen above everything that has been thrown his way with a love for life that i cannot explain. While this blog would not be able to hold the list of accomplishments that he can claim (all of which he would downplay), he has spent his life giving to others in the field of medicine and in fact was one of the creators of P.A.L.S. (Pediatric Life Support) which is basically CPR for kids. To say that there are tens of thousands of children in the world today who have survived because of him would, in my opinion, be a huge understatement.

So here's what i need and all I ask. If every one who reads this would just take a brief moment and throw your thoughts his way, light a candle, say a prayer, whatever works for you, I truly believe it will make a difference. His name is Leon and right now he can use all the help he can get. Please do what you can and then pass this on to everyone you know. 

He's my father, he's my friend, and he's my hero and we need this right now.

Thanks for reading and I'm sorry if this wasn't what you expected.



Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Wanna float across the Pacific?

You probably remember my friends who sailed across the Pacific to study the North Pacific Gyre, a plastic soup twice the size of the US that is floating between Japan and California. Well, they're up to a new adventure and you can be a part of it. Two of the crew members of that initial voyage, Marcus and Joel, are presently building a craft out of 20,000 plastic bottles that they will then sail to Hawaii from Long Beach California. IF you live in Cali and want to check it out, they'll be outside the Long Beach Aquarium for the next month or so, but if not (or in addition), check out the Algalita site and you can donate money to help them buy materials. In return, they'll take a message you've written, put it in a bottle, sail it out to Hawaii and present it to the governor. Pretty Cool.

Check it out.



Monday, March 31, 2008

Junk Your Junk Mail

Generally speaking the greatest waste to come out of any house is in the form of paper and the largest contributor to that number is junk mail.

Junk mail is generally a pain as most of us don't want it, and a huge amount of it doesn't even get recycled. In addition, think of the resources, fossil fuel, and time that are wasted as a result. A lot of people look at what I've been up to and after I've tackled the sanity question, they always ask what i do with all the junk mail and are shocked to find that we hardly get any.

I've been working on this for a while and at this point, we sometimes don't get any mail, and at the very least, rarely get any junk mail at all. I can't even remember the last time we got a catalog - and when you think about the fact that the average american gets around 88 a year, that's a major undertaking.

So here, in simple bullet points, is how I went about stopping the junk, and then below that are some other alternatives.

  • For starters, check out Greendimes.com. Greendimes costs $20 a year, but for that price they automatically remove you from several lists, plant 5 trees, and continually monitor your account. I did this thinking the trees alone made it worth it, but the junk mail actually fell off from just that pretty quickly. In addition, when stuff does get through, you just go on the site, plug in the info, and they do the rest. I've heard pluses and minuses about them, but I'm a believer.
  • Next was the mail from orgs that we give money to. I thought about this for a while and what i do now is call/email them and tell them that for reasons involving saving resources, I have decided to no longer give money to orgs that send me paper solicitations, but will gladly consider them if they send me email solicitations and give them my email addy. In every situation this has proven to be effective so far, and I usually get an email of thanks back.
  • As for bills, I pretty much pay online and do auto withdrawal so after all is said and done, not much left. We do occasionally get a Penny Saver ad or something similar, but a call to the number in the editorial section takes care of that and eventually they stop showing up.
Now some people will balk at paying to not have something you haven't asked for not be sent to you in the first place, and I can't really blame you. It's wrong and the problem should be theirs, not yours. That said, it's a question of time versus money. So if you want to go about it on your own, here are some tips.
  • Head over to The Direct Marketing Association and for $1 (I think that's a legal requirement) they'll get you off a whole mess of lists. Your request will be active for 5 years at which time you'll need to renew.
  • Catalog Choice is a free service that will help get rid of unwanted catalogs for ya.
  • Optout will put an end to most unsolicited credit card and insurance offers.
  • If stuff continues to come in, rather than recycling it right off the bat, call the 800 number and asked to be placed on their "do not mail" list. Legally they have to and most will oblige.
  • Apparently the USPS sometimes sells forwarded address lists to solicitors, so if you are moving, mark your forward preference as temporary for six months rather than permanent. As a result, your addy won't be sold and you won't bring all that junk mail to your new house.
  • Any time you fill out a warranty card or subscription, you are giving advertisers the right to buy that information. To keep this from happening, write "Do Not Rent, Sell, or Trade My Personal Information, Name or Address" on the bottom of the card in big block letters.
  • You can also check out 41 lbs which gets it's name from the average amount of junk mail an adult receives in a year.
Bottom line is don't give up. Some things will stop right away, and some will take up to two months as that's how far ahead they plan their mailings, but eventually you'll see a big difference. I kind of treat it like a game and it actually keeps it fun in a weird way.

Good luck.



Stick with your toothpaste

I knew this day would eventually come and here it is, the end of the toothpaste tube. As you can plainly see, I pretty much got my moneys worth out of this thing, but at this point I think it's safe to say that that dog won't hunt no more.

I actually finished a few days back and I'm just now admitting to it and adding it to the heap downstairs.  So what you ask dear reader have I been doing in the meantime? Well, i did a little research on the web and found out that you can actually make toothpaste out of baking soda, salt, glycerin, and water.  We had all of these ingredients in the house, so I figured it'd be worth a shot.

Well, let's just say it hasn't gone well. While the ingredients above sound oh so yummy, they are not. Vomit inducing would be a bit more along the lines of an accurate description. I've been looking for some other recipes, and consulting with a few dentists as well. It seems that hydrogen peroxide and baking soda are another good bet. I'll be the one with the frothing mouth.

What's to be?  Well, I'm going to give it a bit longer, but i think on this one, I may end up heading back to the tube and just sucking it up on the toothpaste/garbage front. If I can chip away at everything else, I may be ok with landfills filled with nothing but old toothpaste tubes. At least they'd smell good.

I'm off to brush my teeth

Mmmm....salty fresh.



Day 90 Monday 3/31/08

Today's Haul:

  • 1 paper bag from bagels - worms
  • 1 plasticoated mailer label backing - garbage
  • 1 toothpaste tube (oh that one hurt) - garbage
  • 1 local coupon mailer - recycle
  • 2 used q-tips - worms
  • 3 napkins - worms


Sunday, March 30, 2008

Looks like I'm in Dutch With The Wife

So after reading a post by a fellow worm composter online the other day (yes, you can find anything out there if you look hard enough) I decided that it made sense to blend up the food scraps to give to the worms. It'll break down faster, they'll eat it faster, everyone wins right?

Now my wife was still at work so I figured I'd just grab her blender, pop in the leftovers I'd had for a day or so, and blend them up. It's just food right, albeit food no one wanted but what's the harm? It worked very well and I was just about to take the stuff downstairs to feed the boyz when the phone rang. My cousin was on the line and we got into a huge discussion about CO2 (oh it's a real party over here at all hours isn't it...worms, CO2...ooohhh what will they do next?).

Well I talked for quite a while and when my wife got home a little later than usual, I nodded to her that I'd be off the phone soon. Now I can't quite remember whether what was about to happen occurred to me first, or I heard the screams from the kitchen first, but either way, it all hit pretty fast. Ya know how they say your life flashes before you when you die, well, I think I sort of get what they are talking about.

She came into the living room holding this blender filled with nasty looking green stuff (half eaten blintz and melon rinds I believe) and screamed at me that i was getting her a new blender and I better not even think of touching the new one and the worms could do whatever they wanted with this one as it was theirs now anyway and a few other things that i won't go into right now.

So, I've got a devoted blender for the worms (the one we had is on its last leg anyway) and she's getting a new one (I was thinking of trying to talk her into getting a used one, but for the greater good, I may not go there this time). I guess I had that coming and while looking back I actually find it quite funny, I don't think she'll see it that way any time soon.

Guess I shouldn't tell her what i've been doing with the kids socks then....yeah...maybe not.



Week 13 Pics

Maintaining, live Raw Food Diva suggested, getting a bit cramped but still maintaining. No bugs, no vermin, no smell, so the important things are as they should be.

I think I'm about to officially close up recycle odds and ends bin number one and say it has accepted it's last goody. I actually got an email from a blog reader who had two plastic bins she was getting rid of and it turns out that not only is she in my area, but we've met before. Small world that and thanks for the help.

I'm really quite fond of how the bottles look now, aren't you?

The new addition to the haz/e-waste pile is the bag of oil/fuel filters. I run biodiesel through that filter in my wifes car so no fear of explosion there.

Air filters are large sizrd items in comparison to most of the other stuff.

Yeah yeah, I know, I need to do some shredding for the worm bin. You can see the misc tissues etc that are there that need to get shredded and put in. Laziness is what's going to get me I fear.


Day 89 Sunday 3/30/08

Today's Haul:

  • 2 paper cotton candy "cones" - worms
  • 2 plastic wraps from cd covers - recycle
  • 3 pieces scrap paper - worms
  • 2 plasticaoted toy tags - garbage
  • 1 coffee bag - garbage
  • 1 glass soy bottle w/top - recycle
  • 1 plastic strawberry container PETE 1 - recycle
  • 2 cardboard tea boxes - recycle
  • 1 cardboard toilet paper roll - recycle
  • 1 plasticoated "freshness seal" from the top of a ketchup bottle - garbage
  • 1 metalic covered cardboard lox insert - garbage
  • 1 plastic lox wrap - discarded due to health reasons
  • 1 plastic butter wrapper - discarded due to health reasons