I receive a lot of press releases and story pitches in my day job. Lately, companies seem to be eager to tell me how consumers are more likely to be loyal to brands that take a stand, have a conscience, and are good corporate citizens. I want to write back, “Yeah, I know. Let me tell you about my coat.” But, since that would be weird, I’m going to tell you about my coat. Continue reading
Happy Everyday: Help Jackie!
The best use of IndieGoGo I’ve seen in a while.
What do poverty, yachts, and gardening have in common?
On Friday nights I often curl up on my couch with a cup of tea and a movie. This week I decided to watch American Winter, a documentary that follows 8 Oregon families that happened to call the state’s 211 hotline looking for help with their desperate financial situations. It’s a heartbreaking movie, really. It made me feel guilty about every penny I spent on dry-cleaning and junk food over the past few days. If you haven’t seen it, here’s the gut-wrenching gist:
An Economy Built on Crap
A few years ago, when I was living in a tiny apartment, I declared a stuff boycott. Since moving into my house I’ve relaxed the rules a bit, though I still don’t like buying things that seem unnecessary. But every Christmas season I start scouring websites for gift ideas to buy those tricky relatives who don’t want or need anything useful that you could possibly buy them. Sure, they might actually need a new dishwasher but it’s not like you’re really going to buy that for your aunt or uncle…
With my friends I can get away with making donations in their names (Heifer.org is my favorite), but my family is a little Christmas Crazy. For years I’ve been trying to get them to agree to Secret Santa or a grab bag, but so far I haven’t been successful. So…I continue to troll the internet looking for not completely horrible gift ideas for people who don’t need anything. I often make them something and then just go get gift certificates for manicures or what have you.
But as I sort through the incredible amount of crap that’s out there to buy — and I wonder why anyone would buy it — I realize that our entire economy is basically built on people’s willingness to buy stuff they don’t need. Just the other day I was window shopping for a new laptop. Mine is probably at least 4 years old, some of the keys are starting to stick, and I’ve heard some not great noises coming from it but to say I “need” one would be a stretch. Part of me knows I should make the switch before this one actually dies, but a much bigger part of me says, “You don’t need it now!” But as I’ve chatted with friends about this new shopping conundrum of mine it’s clear that they think I should just go ahead and do it already, whether I really need it or not. (There have been some good deals on refurbished MacBooks, so it’s been a real struggle to keep myself from the impulse-buy.) And if it weren’t for people like those friends of mine, buying gadgets they don’t really need, where the heck would our economy be? And more importantly, can we really sustain growth on that kind of mentality?
I think the answer is, obviously, NOOOOOOOO! Continue reading
They Need Your Help!
During my Doggy Deliberations I’ve been spending a lot of time on Petfinder. There’s just so many to choose from. I don’t have a fence yet, so I continue to hem and haw when it comes to make a decision. But over the past couple of days I’ve been following the goings-on at the City of Hartford Animal Shelter pretty closely. They’ve got 8 dogs they need to get out by the end of the week or they’ll face euthanasia. Sad.
As you might imagine, they’re mostly pitbulls…which, sadly, seems to be the case just about everywhere. But if you’re in the market for “Pibble” (as Rachael Ray calls her dogs) or just any dog, please consider one of these guys. I have a feeling I might be caving in by the end of the week. (Click on a doggy’s picture to read about each one.)
‘Tis the Season to Adopt a Dog
I like Wilbur very much (that’s me you hear laughing at him), though my cat does not seem to agree. We may be able to work that out, but in the event that we are not I want to help find him the best possible home. He deserves it.
Moving on up!
I am a restless soul…and therefore, I move a lot. I don’t always move far; I just like a change of scenery once in awhile. The problem with moving, though, is packing. It is just awful!
I’d love to be one of those people who can fit everything they own in their car (though I have to wonder where those people sleep…or even sit) but I’m just not. During the course of packing I’ve come up with three boxes, and a bag of stuff to donate. Once I’m on the other end of the move, I’ll probably get so frustrated by the stuff, I’ll find another box or two of crap to get rid of. Continue reading