Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Sometimes this city makes me shake my head in wonder

As often happens on my lunch break, this afternoon I found myself walking through the labyrinth that is the Toronto PATH system in search of food-court food. Up ahead of me, I noticed a woman's scarf gain freedom from the coat slung under her arm and fall to the floor. There was a group of three women between myself and her and I expected that one of them would pick up the wayward scarf, but instead all three stepped over it an continued on, although they certainly must have seen it fall. When I reached it I picked it up and sprinted up to the woman just as she was rounding a corner. When I said, "excuse me, you dropped your scarf" she seemed positively surprised. Her two friends looked at me with wide, almost fearful eyes until they realized that I wasn't trying to mug them, but was in fact just returning their friend's scarf. I left them to their exclamations of surprise and wonder that someone would actually be nice to a stranger.

It's times like this that make me wonder at the city I live in. I love Toronto, and I recognize that as a large city its citizens run on anonymity and individualism. But the look of shock and surprise on those women's faces made me think that they'd all lost more scarves than have had returned to them.

o( )__

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Weapons of Mass Dissemination: The Propoganda of War

That is the title of the Canadian War Museum's latest exhibit. It is a collection of toys, posters and advertising from the first half of the 20th Century. It's not often that I wished I lived closer to Ottawa (in fact, I'll go right ahead and say that this is a first) but I do wish I could see this exhibit. I've always been fascinated with war propoganda. I have a copy of the training film-turned propaganda documentary Why We Fight from WWII on DVD and am always on the look out for prints of the knitting posters (with such rousing slogans as"Knit Your Bit!" and "Our Boys Need Sox"). And if anyone ever sees an authentic Red Cross War Sock Knitting kit, even if it's just the empty tin box, please let me know!

The way that war is presented to the people left behind is, I must admit, a wonderful example of creativity in advertising. How else could you convince thousands of people that sending their friends, family, and lovers off to die in a country they may not have heard of before and for reasons they aren't necessarily really told, is a good thing? Of course, I don't beleive that war propoganda is a good thing, the way it insites hatred in the "enemy" and glorifies the soldiers (as if the other side aren't doing the exact same thing and suffering in the exact same ways) but it is a fascinating and insightful look into the power of advertising and human susceptability.

If anyone who reads this lives in or is planning to visit Ottawa while this event is still running, please post a comment and let me know what you thought of it. I can't be there myself (Toronto is about a 6 hour drive away) but I'd love to hear about it from other people.


o( )__

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Moving up in the world

I haven't written in a long time, but I have a very good excuse: I got a promotion! I'm now going to be a registrar at work, which means I get my own office but I won't be making the ordering decisions for the school anymore. So now, any time I find a environmental product to replace something we;re using I have to go through the woman taking over my old position and hope she follows through on it. Hopefully, she will.

I got a response from the people who make the Worn Again shoes and they say there's at least one outlet in New York. Luckily, that's just where Nyron and I have been considering going for our next vacation. Unfortunately, with this new position and the summer rush coming, I'm not sure how soon we'll be able to go anywhere. Well, whenever it is, I'll be sure to look for them.

o( )__

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Oh, how I want these!

OK, I know that a major part of living environmentally is to cut down on consumption (shopping) so as to reduce the energy, transportation , and packaging costs of new items, but considering the state of my year + old Converse All Stars, I think I can get away with coveting these:

These shoes, by Worn Again in the UK, are made of old prison blankets, jeans, army uniforms, silk parashutes, recycled plastic and all kinds of other "trash". And aren't they just beautiful? Sigh. I think I'm in love. To bad they don't have any distribution in Canada, but I've emailed them to find out where in the States they are sold. Anyone up for some border shopping?

o( )__