Monday, March 29, 2010

Bah! Gaping Wound!

I was washing a glass today that had a small crack running down it's gorgeous figure, when CRACK! it broke in my hand, cutting a huge chunk of skin from my index finger.

It actually didn't hurt as much as it was visually repulsive, the blood just would not cease to spill! The carnage! After running around the house trying to find bandages, with no luck, I had to settle for some toilet paper which was awkward to later remove. Then I remembered from my wisdom-tooth-extraction-wound-nursing that moistened tea bags have blood clotting properties. I've made myself some caffeinated tea and will use the tea bag in a moment. When it cools, of course.

As I remembered this, I thought to myself, there must be other good blood-clotting natural friends out there. And lo and behold! Roses apparently! And other plants I'm not terribly familiar with. For this reason, I still hold in my dream life the ambition of having a herb garden, and knowing all the medicinal properties.

I also recall hearing that spider's webs are good for this cut-business, but I'd just done my spring cleaning! Shame on me for ridding my room of the cobwebs...

EDIT: I must have some sort of chakra imbalance today. After boiling water for tea, I hit my head on a cupboard I had left open, spilling hot scalding water on my injury free hand. One burn, and one gaping wound. Centering and Yogic practice? Perhaps it would be wise. Or a catnap and cuddle. <3

Re: Tim Hortons

Only about a week after sending a strongly worded complaint to Tim Hortons about their Roll-Up-The-Rim contest, I got an e-mail in reply. I would post it... however, there is a strongly worded, legal post-script at the end of the e-mail about it's legal confidentiality. Okay.

So here is breakdown of the contents:
1) A generic thank-you for feedback
2) An explanation that the 'contest cups' serve two purposes: one as a carry away container, two as a contest 'entry form'; therefore if you brought in your own cup, yes you would still be obliged to get a cup as an 'entry form'
3) The assertion that they have 'investigated' using scratch off cards, but as that would not serve the above "double-function", would not be a viable eco-friendly option. But... and now I cannot help but quote:
Nonetheless, a copy of your comments and suggestion for a more
environmentally friendly solution has been forwarded to the appropriate
personnel in our Marketing Department for review.
4) They informed me of their online Roll-Up-The-Rim contest
5) Thanked me for being a loyal customer... heh heh.

Well, I must say my comments were basically rationalized away. The only part of that response that gives me some hope is the promise to forward my letter to the Marketing Department. Perhaps if more (eh hem :D - it takes 10 minutes, tops!) people write in, maybe it'll start to make more sense to the company to actually change something.

I think this is as far as I'll take this action, I do not have the wherewithal at the moment to continue down what I think may be a dead avenue. The continued action plan: avoid Tim Hortons, go to local coffee spots. And if I get pissed off again at all the litter next Roll-Up-The-Rim season, we'll see.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Personal Plans

My new goal for next year: Bike ride across Canada... well, almost.

From the Rockies to Ottawa at least! I'm planning on applying to volunteer next summer for Otesha's Coast to Capital bike tour, which involves biking for four months, performing pro-environmental conscious change theatre. This combines all my loves: biking, green-love, and theatre. In the meantime, I've got my work cut out for me to fund-raise for such an epic adventure, and to start doing some bike training. I'll try to keep some posts reserved for my progress in this domain of life.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Paying It Forward & Why I love people

Yesterday I went for a much needed job interview. I got called in at 1pm to come in for an interview at 2:30pm. Yikes! I hopped on my bike to get to the nearest bus stop, with only a $20 bill. I stopped quickly to get change, but didn't really pay attention to what change I got. When I got to the bus stop, I realized I had two toonies for $3 bus fare. Arg.
I asked a woman if she had change for a toonie.
She asked if I was trying to get on Mississauga transit or TTC.
I said Mississauga, and, god bless her, she gave me a bus ticket without blinking. I tried to give her the toonie but she said "Naw, pay it forward" and flashed me a gorgeous, generous smile.

My mood was so lifted by such a small token of kindness, and I felt a wave of gratitude fill me. I think it is easy to forget how important such small kindnesses can be for others. It may seem trite... but I had forgotten and the universe deigned to remind me. Thus I wrote about it.

So many words from such a small deed. Onwards!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Voice of the Earth

I'm reading currently The Voice of the Earth: An Exploration of Ecopsychology by Theodore Roszak, a truly stunning book. It is essentially a thesis stating that without an ecological framework (or, collective eco-consciousness) modern society sits in perpetual psychosis, much like during the Victorian era, as Freud wrote, repressed sexual desires lead to neurosis.

The book is supremely well written; a intellectually strong argument, with the poetry and heart of the earth ever present.

One passage that struck me in particular is when Roszak discusses Victor Frankl's contribution to modern psychology. Frankl, a survivor of Nazi concentration camps challenged psychology to take in the full horrific capabilities of man and to completely "revamp [our] understanding of the human condition... therapeutic business as usual would be cowardly."

Roszak likens this horrific landmark in our collective history to the one we currently face: the destruction and devastation of our planet.
Now we encounter another landmark in our exploration of the psyche, the most imposing thus far. We come upon it as our technological power attains global closure. What Auschwitz was to its human inmates -- an expertly rationalized, efficiently organized killing ground -- our urban-industrial system is fast becoming for the biosphere at large, and for ourselves as an inseparable part of that environment. The dimensions of psychiatric theory, and with them our understanding of our connection with all things human, nonhuman, and trans-human, must grow to include the planetary habitat as a whole. Once again to shrink from the challenge would be cowardice.
Reading this deeply affected me. This past summer I was traveling in Poland, rediscovering my roots, and I visited Auszwitz. The experience changed my life in a way that would be impossible to encompass on this blog. However, I will say that seeing and spatially placing that tragedy, which up until that point had been a surreal story from the past, made me feel morally responsible to carry that human possibility in my consciousness -- to never be willfully ignorant of the depravity that humans are capable of.

Understanding that it is a very sensitive subject, I cannot help but stand by Roszak's analogy. It is the same psychosis that allowed Auszwitz, that allows for the horrifying conditions of factory farmed animals. Regardless of whether animals or humans are "more important", to denigrate the majesty of earthy creation, in whatever form, to something so stark and mechanical breaks down the human spirit.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Hello Everyone!

I'm Nina, and I've been generously invited to contribute to trog-a-log blog. I'm an illustration student, a lover of the outdoors and hope to be a farmer one day as well. I'm passionate about many things, but especially environmental issues. I have many things I want to blog about, so let's just dive right in!

I've just bought the book The Wayfinders: Why Ancient Wisdom Matters in the Modern World by Wade Davis. The premise is that, while plants and animals are becoming extinct at an alarming rate, even more shocking is the rate of extinction of human cultures: of the 7,000 languages spoken in the world today, fully 50% of them will disappear within our lifetimes. I've just read the first chapter, and it's got me thinking a lot about the nature of progress. Here is a quote from Wade Davis:
Evolution suggested change through time, and this, together with the Victorian cult of improvement, implied a progression in the affairs of human beings, a ladder to success that rose from the primitive of the civilized, from the tribal village of Africa to London and the splendour of the Strand. The cultures of the world came to be seen as a living museum in which individual societies represented evolutionary moments captured and mired in time, each one a stage in the imagined ascent to civilization.

Wade Davis is describing anthropology in the 19th century, the wake of Darwinism, but have we progressed far beyond this view? We still refer to "progress" as if it is something linear which can be measured in terms of technological advancement or economic growth. We often refer to countries as being "developed" or "undeveloped". Implicit in that is the assumption that our Western model of progress is the end point of a defined and linear course that other people should aspire to. Particular features of our society, such as capitalism, industrialization, involvement in the global market and technological advancement are taken mostly as givens, and people expect them to continue on into the future, much the same way as they are now, despite the looming environmental and oil crises.

History, as has been taught to most of us in schools, re-affirms this notion of linear progression: People began as hunter-gatherers, then came agriculture, the civilizations of Mesopotamia, the Greeks, the Romans, the Europeans, the Renaissance, the Enlightenment, the Industrial Revolution, and so on. This is certainly valuable history for anybody living in a western culture to learn. I wonder, though, whether it also creates an illusion of "progress" as something orderly, linear, and arriving at the inevitable result that is our modern society. In reality, we still share our world with countless other cultures, including hunter-gathers, nomadic peoples and a host of agricultural societies very different from our own. How do they fit into our scheme of progress? And is our current model equipped to deal with the challenges we presently face?

I'm really eager to read further into The Wayfinders, and I'll share my insights as I go along. For now, I will finish with another quote from Wade Davis:
We share a sacred endowment, a common history written in our bones. It follows, as these lectures will suggest, that the myriad of cultures of the world are not failed attempts at modernity, let alone failed attempts to be us. They are unique expressions of the human imagination and heart, unique answers to a fundamental question: What does it mean to be human and alive?

Food Inc. Thoughts on Organics

In Food Inc. some interviewees make the argument that, yes, of course Organics aren't always perfect, and yes, they are expensive. But making a least some choices in the direction of more ethical farming is a blessing, no matter how meager it seems. On that note, I'd like to share one of my favourite Leonard Cohen lyrics from Anthem:

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in.

Let the light in!

Holistically Not Dualistically

My questions today: Is it possible? Will there be a paradigm shift in which we can start to think about things with a more holistic understanding -- neither wholly reasonable or wholly intuitive? Will our language be able to encompass such thought? Certainly if we were to think that way, our outward world would have to reflect that shift. For if we are to breathe it in, to be inspired by the world around us, surely it must be holistic in order to think with our whole bodies, our whole selves. Then how is it we continue to ignore the holistic health and integrity of our surroundings. If the earth is not free; how are we free!?

Can we place our thinking not in poetry, not in science, not in past or future but in the present?

Perhaps the only way to make the mental leap of sheer faith, we have to stop premeditating on the question of the existence of such a worldview. And just live it.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Food & Thought

They say you are what you eat. I say: You think what you eat. If you eat synthetic, processed foods, your thoughts are easily turned synthetic and processed. You are swallowing a factory process -- are you manufactured?

If you eat organic food, I believe you think more organically. Making the choice to buy from the earth, makes your thoughts in tune with a broader cycle of life, bigger than man's factories.

My personal food for thought revelation: I found that when I ate food that was getting on the rotten end of things, my thoughts were rotten. The thinking that persuaded me to always eat based on what'll go bad next, made me follow rotten creative leads. I couldn't cut my losses in my fridge, and I couldn't cut my losses in my mind. Now I've reconsidered. Better to let the rotten food compost, and eat the freshest first; while it is still delicious. Let the fresh ideas come out when fresh! (And let the green ones ripen a bit before taking a bite).

Hm. I'll try it out for a week as a mantra: You think what you eat!

P.S. Made delicious cornmeal pancakes today for lunch, with strawberries & maple syrup. Total recipe: 65% organic. Not bad.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Tim Hortons Indignation

It drives me nuts when companies take one step forward, two steps back in their commitment to more ecologically conscious business practice. Here's what Tim Hortons is valiantly promising for the environment:
While recycling and composting are great solutions, eliminating packaging in the first place is even better. Tim Hortons promotes waste reduction through various in-store programs. We continue to remind our customers about our china mug option for dining in-store and our discount for travel mug users.
Great. Lovely. Excellent. And yet Roll-Up-the-Rim season is back and whenever the contest starts all I can see littering the streets are those stupid red and yellow cups. Seriously... commencing head bashing against monitor.

What is the point in encouraging people to use travel mugs, only to try to lure people into essentially buying a useless paper cup through this contest?

Tomorrow's goal: Handwritten letter. This is non-sense. Worse than Starbuck's Ethos water. Almost. Click here if you wish to write too, the faster online way.

Organic Excitement

I find buying Organic incredibly exciting -- knowing there are organic products in my fridge makes me incredibly eager to eat!

My most recent purchase was Organic milk, and oh my goodness is it ever delicious! I was extremely surprised to find that the taste and texture is so dramatically different from the regular milk from No Frills. It doesn't taste like farm (with a hay/horse undertone) but just tastes... like milk. That's the best way I can describe it. Non-organic milk in comparison could be described as milk-flavoured-water. Even my father who refuses to drink milk cold enjoyed the Organic.

I made a latte with my new Organic milk, and one with regular. Wow. The foaminess and creaminess of the former was just incomparable. And both were 2%.

Now, granted, the Organic milk is certainly more expensive. 1 litre costs the same as 3 (sometimes 4!) of the regular. But I would recommend the switch wholeheartedly. We as North Americans are tricked into thinking that we need more milk in our diets than we actually do. So less milk, but better quality, is a better deal in the long run. Plus the true environmental cost of the regular makes the price difference negligible.

Seriously though -- obsessed with the glorious new milk! Delicious.

Saturday, March 20, 2010


Trog-a-log, a blog that had little to no readership published almost 4 years ago has now returned in the form of Trog-a-log-blog.

What is the vision for this reincarnation? How will this blog survive?

Honestly, there is very little vision apart from my goal to write my truth slowly, but surely, with as much care and attention to detail as I can afford. It will be the truest representation of my inner creative being; part activist, feminist, creator, artist, lousy roommate, theatre-school drop-out, University drop-out, humanist, lover, girlfriend, yogi, raw enthusiast, vegetarian, ecologically driven lady and part-time thinker (dare I say philosopher). How many labels can one own?

It is as much of a discovery for me what I will blog about, as it will be for you the reader, who may or may not even exist.

But I suppose I will trust the maxim "If you build it, they will come" or, in this case, if I write it -- you will read it. Already, how my words ring true!