Tuesday, September 29, 2009

A Request for Help for the Victims of Typhoon Ondoy

Photo: Francis R. Malasig

Today's post is a little more on the solemn side of things... Please take a moment to read about the recent floods in Southeast Asia that have severely affected the Philippines. This natural disaster is without a doubt directly related to how we treat Mother Earth. Please remember that Everyday is Earth Day.

As you have likely heard...

On Sept. 26, the Philippine capital Manila and its neighboring provinces suffered one of nature's worst beating. Typhoon Ondoy, international code name Ketsana, poured more than a month's worth of rain in six hours, submerging most parts of the bustling metropolis, drowning at least a hundred people as of press time. My prayers to the victims, and may we emerge victorious and live by the lessons of this tragedy. (Photos by Reuters. Music by Ennio Morricone, "Love Theme" from "Cinema Paradiso."

I happen to be originally from the Philippines so this hits very close to home. In fact my parents and one of my brothers live in Manila, as do my grandmothers, many aunts, uncles and cousins and friends. Thankfully with the exception of some being stranded for a few hours, all my friends and relatives are safe and sound, however many others are not...

I didn't post this yesterday, as I was waiting for Red Cross Canada to include this recent calamity to their list of online donations. This morning I made a personal donation to help the victims of Typhoon Ondoy (listed as "Philippines Typhoon"). Please consider making a donation too. The minimum online donation is only $5, and even that much will go a long way.

RedCross.ca will accept donations from Canada and the US, but if you're American and would prefer you may make a donation at RedCross.org, or wherever you may call home at the Red Cross near you.

If you make any sort of donation large or small (no need to tell me how much), please let me know as I would like to personally thank you via snail mail :)

Thank you for taking the time to read this appeal for donations. Every bit helps, even just hopeful thoughts and prayers :)


Monday, September 28, 2009

A typophile?

Happy Yom Kippur to all those observing today :)

Quick post before I head to my night class at UofT...

Second to photographs of food, when it comes to art, I am a huge fan of typography... I guess that makes me a "typophile?" Check out this awesome video of the "Typophile Film Festival 5 Opening Titles..." As my friend Caroline who posted on her wall, its "AH-MAZING!"

Typophile Film Festival 5 Opening Titles from Brent Barson on Vimeo.

Happy Monday!


Friday, September 25, 2009

Random Friday Blog Find: "The 4417 Mile Diet"

I love food. And ever since moving to my new apartment in April which is furnished with a cute little white gas stove... I find myself more inclined to cook.

While I prefer eating food, I very much appreciate food photography... Plus, as previously mentioned I am a sucker for a good love story. It's the hopeless romantic side of my perpetually singledom =p So imagine my delight when I came across this adorable blog...

"She can never find enough dishes to cook tomatoes in, and he can never have brunch without bacon. They love cooking together, eating, exploring the great diverse city of Toronto; and of course, they are in love.

In September, she moved to Rome for 4 months for school, leaving him behind in Toronto. And although 4417 miles apart, they decided to share their meals with each other like they always have."

Introducing The 4417 Mile Diet. The food looks so tasty. I can't think of a better way to keep in touch!

I happen to know one of the bloggers, Gabe. We worked together at an architectural firm back in the day... Check out his photography too. Great stuff. You two, are adorable Gabe and May!

Happy Friday ! Bon Weekend !

Tonight I'm going to attempt my aunt's simple shrimp scampi linguni recipe for dinner... If I remember to take a photo before devouring it, I'll post a pic up!


Wednesday, September 23, 2009

too many m&ms tonight + love happens review

Originally uploaded by Brandy Shaul
I got to see "Love Happens" tonight with Kate. It was fun spotting the ecojot logo twice, and Jennifer Aniston character's Eloise jotting in an ecojot journal.

There was other product placement, yet it was nice knowing that ecojot was asked to be there!

I'd love to see ecojot on the the big screen more often... Heck, I'd love to see ecojot on the small screen too!

So what's with the title of my entry tonight? Well, I have a tendency to indulge when watching movies... Tonight was no exception... Kate and I stopped at the nearby grocert store in the bulk section where I picked us up some peanut m&ms... I think I had too many. My tummy started to hurt.

It made me think of this month's issue of Fast Company magazine's numerlogy piece about candy... I couldn't find the cool infographic that was attached to the article online, but here are some crazy candy numerlogy facts, just in time for Halloween...
The U.S. candy manufacturing industry includes about 1,600 companies, but just 2 (the Hersheys Co. and Mars Snackfoods U.S.) make 15 of the top-20 selling chocolate candy bars.

Only 26% of homes gives out full-sized candy bars. Fun-sized Snickers bars are the most popular Halloween candy.

Treat: Austin, Charlotte, and San Antonio lead U.S. Halloween spending on candy and decorations, with $53 per household.
Trick: Cincinnati spends the least, $35.

93% of kids go trick-or-treating.

There are 22 M&M colors.
Mar's M&Ms are the most popular chocolate candies in the United States, with annual sales of almost $425 million.

Halloween is responsible for three-fourths of candy corn's annual sales.

October 30th is national Candy Corn Day. Nearly 9 billion pieces of candy corn are produced annually.

Prohibition was a sweet age of revenge: Baby Ruths, Oh Henry!, Charleston Chew, Mounds, Milky Way, Reese's peanut butter cups, Bit-O-Honey, Mr Goodbar, Milk Duds, Butterfinger, and Snickers all debuted between 1920 and 1930.

America will spend $9 billion on Halloween. The average person will spend $20.39 of that on candy.

Every day, Tootsie Roll Industries produces 16 million Tootsie Pops. According to Purdue University study, it takes an average of 252 licks to get to the center.

Twizzlers, Good & Plenty, a Milky Way, and a Vosges Mo's Bar were consumed during the production of this story.
Anyway, I enjoyed "Love Happens"... Aaron Eckhart is dreamy in it, even if he was dealing with his own stuff ;) As I told DesignerJots, "it was a cute feel-good-movie, a little bit of drama, a bit comedy and just the right amount of gushy romance." Check it out and let me know what you think!


PS - No, I did not just have m&ms for dinner tonight! Promise... I had two small salads too before the m&ms =D

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Ecojot's Feature Film Debut

As you may recall a few months ago, I mentioned that a movie titled "Love Happens," originally called "Traveling" when being filmed was coming out this month, and was not only starring Aaron Eckhart and Jennifer Aniston, but Ecojot too. Okay, not starring, but making a cameo appearance.

Well I haven't seen the film yet, I will be seeing tomorrow with my girlfriend Kate, who happens to have been crushing on Aaron Eckhart played a "sensitive motorcycle type" named George in Erin Brockovich.

Meanwhile, Lori of Universal Pictures was kind enough to send me a couple stills of the hunky Mr. Eckhart standing in front of a whole bunch of Ecojot journals!

Thank you again, Lori for permission to share this photo with my readers and fellow Ecojot fans. I can't wait to see the film... I am so a sucker for chick-flicks. Remember my review of the "The Time Traveler's Wife" last month? Needless to say, I'm a fan of this genre 0;)

Check out the trailer for "Love Happens..." If you check it out, please be sure to let me know what you think! I love hearing others reviews!

More exciting Ecojot and film news soon... In the meantime, Happy Tuesday!


PS - According to Apple Trailers and BoxOfficeMojo... "Love Happens" came in 4th this past weekend for Box Office Results ($8M)... Not bad, eh? ;D

Born to Dance?

Made me smile as much as this super cute rendition of "Hey Jude..." While I am busy blogging some more about movies... Check out this young dancer...

Be back later with more fun tidbits...


Sunday, September 20, 2009

one more tiff thought

Precious: Based on the Novel "Push" by Sapphire, Director: Lee Daniels, Principal Cast: Mo'Nique, Paula Patton, Mariah Carey, Sherri Shepherd, Gabourey Sidibe

So thanks to my friend Heather, I managed to see the 2009 Toronto International Film Festival People's Choice Winner "Precious: Based on the Novel "Push" by Sapphire." This time around since I'd heard bits and pieces, I couldn't help but take a glimpse of the trailer before tonight. It still did not completely prepare me for the intensity of this film.

Yet a more appropriate adjective is powerful. This movie most definitely let me thinking. At times difficult to watch, especially with its strong realism. The first paragraph of the tiff description sums it up perfectly...

"Raw, vibrant and resoundingly hopeful, Precious: Based on the Novel “Push” by Sapphire will stand in years to come as one of the strongest American films of 2009. Although the details of its plot may shock, it is at heart the story of a young woman determined to better herself despite overwhelming obstacles set against her."

Newcomer Gabourey Sidibe's performance absolutely awing. There is no doubt as to why Oprah backed this film as a co-executive producer to Tyler Perry.

I look forward to seeing the response to this film as it opens to a mainstream audience in the near future. Apparently Director Lee Daniels is already in Spain showcasing it at the San Sebastian Film Festival.

Daniels' technique of juxtaposing certain elements of Precious' story, such as her dreams and "rich inner world full of colourful fantasies of celebrity and adoration" made the way the story was told that much more impressive. I now most definitely want to read the book!

I am honoured to have had a chance to see this film tonight at tiff. Totally made me excited for tiff 2010.

More thoughts on films soon... Especially with one with Ecojot having a cameo in one that just opened yesterday!


Friday, September 18, 2009

my tiff thoughts. warning: long post 0;)

I must admit I don't want to necessarily rank the seven films I had the opportunity to watch... But I will share with you my thoughts, and my reasoning behind my voting.

Same Same But Different, Director: Detlev Buck, Principal Cast: David Kross, Apinya Sakuljaroensuk, Stefan Konarske, Jens Harzer, Wanda Badwal

As you may have read from my post on Monday, of my review of this German-Cambodian Based-On-A-True-Love-Story, I was quite impressed with this film. I had the pleasure of watching the North American premiere. And what can I say? I am a sucker for a great love story... And this was definitely one, in the most unlikely of places between Sreykeo, a young Cambodian prostitute, and Ben, the young German backpacker. It was more than a one-night stand, it was connection.

Since, I'm not much a film critic, an excerpt from The Variety's review:

"Throughout the movie, these two bring a lightness to their scenes with the more serious Ben that helps keep the drama from becoming maudlin.

But from the start, too, Sreykeo is shown as a very grounded young woman, not some wilting oriental rose. Though she genuinely loves Ben, she sees that love as carrying financial responsibilities (like supporting her mom's gambling habit) which Ben sometimes sees as bare-assed exploitation of a "rich" Westerner.

By not making Sreykeo a victim, the film avoids playing into the usual East-West cliches, and even bustling Phnom Penh is portrayed in an offhand, everyday way."

Glorious 39, Director: Stephen Poliakoff, Principal Cast: Romola Garai, Bill Nighy, Julie Christie, Christopher Lee, Hugh Bonneville

This was the sixth film I saw... And while it wasn't the first screening during the festival, we were fortunate enough to have the director Stephen Poliakoff, the star Romola Garai and co-star Bill Nighy present the film with a bit of an intro at the beginning.

This was the last film I saw with Mathew, Jamie and Maria... Very appropriately screened at the Elgin Winter Garden Theatre, this film most definitely lived up to its name of being "Glorious." Garai's performance as Anne Keyes, as well as Nighy's of her father, Alexander was superb!

Before the film, I believe it was Nighy who said there isn't a movie out there that is presented like this, that tells the story like this... Set in 1939 on the eve of World War II, Poliakoff emphasized that the story was based on facts, although the character fictional and embellished for dramatic purposes.

Mathew said it was his favourite film. I know Jamie loved the costume design and make-up... Who couldn't? Garai looked stunning in every shot! Most definitely a thriller unlike any other I've seen!

Harry Brown, Director: Daniel Barberk, Principal Cast: Michael Caine, Emily Mortimer, Charlie Creed-Miles, Ben Drew, Liam Cunningham

Now this was the film that was difficult to watch! It was a Mathew-pick, one he admitted afterwards was solely based on the fact that Michael Caine starred. As Jamie pointed out, after seeing "Harry Brown" one will never see Sir Michael Caine the same ever again! A major departure from the character in Cider House Rules, Dr. Wilbur Larch who memorably says... "Goodnight, you princes of Maine. You kings of New England."

All I can say is the first line, which clearly neither Mathew, Jamie or I read in the tiff description was quite accurate, "Michael Caine is Harry Brown. If that sentence carries a hint of action-movie menace, it's not entirely misplaced. Caine's Harry is eventually roused to awesome and satisfying vengeance, but this film begins in more troubling, nuanced territory."

I will be shocked if Caine does not receive an Oscar nomination for his role in this film!

The Informant!, Director: Steven Soderbergh, Principal Cast: Matt Damon, Scott Bakula, Joel McHale, Melanie Lynskey

This film opened in theatres today. I watched it with Mathew, my big brother G, and our friend David. G apparently was reading the reviews today, and was quite pleased he got a sneak peak. Definitely a perk of attending the film fest! I honestly had a difficult time picturing anyone but Matt Damon playing the role of Mark Whitacre a.k.a. "the tattle-tale."

This was most definitely the quirkest of the films I got to see. Highly entertaining, and at times only difficult to watch because Whitacre would find himself in such ridiculous lying predicaments! Did I mention this movie is based on a true story on the exposure of price-fixing by an agri-business giant in the early 90s? Hilarious to say the least!

Partir, Director: Catherine Corsini, Principal Cast: Kristin Scott Thomas, Sergi Lopez, Yvan Attal

Partir translates to Leaving in English. This film I saw by myself today. J'ai eu envie à voir un film en français... I wanted so very much to see a French film, à la practice my French! All I could find myself thinking is, wow, I would love to be able to speak French as well as Kristen Scott Thomas.

I was drawn to this film, after hearing the glowing reviews of her performance in "Il y a longtemps que je t'aime" also known as "I Loved You So Long" which I believe also had its North Amercian Premiere at last year's tiff!

Much like Harry Brown, what stood out most was the acting of the lead, minus the gore. When I was checking out the details on imdb.com of this film, I ended up reading a review by a fellow fesitval goer... I like how he summed it up at the end of his review, "Catherine Corsini directed and wrote the movie. A male director, like the doomed husband in the movie, might not have understood that love is love, regardless of the cause."

The Vintner's Luck, Director: Niki Caro, Principal Cast: Jérémie Renier, Gaspard Ulliel, Vera Farmiga, Keisha Castle-Hughes

Now this film, which I saw on Tuesday at 9am... The first of three films I saw that day was definitely different. And yes, in a good way. While I new it was about a winemaker's life and the relationships in it.... I had no idea it was directed by Niki Caro, the same director behind "The Whale Rider," starring Keisha Castle-Hughes when she was a mere tween!

Without giving away too much, this film was set in 19th century France (but filmed in New Zealand), and based on a novel by a well-known New Zealander, Elizabeth Knox... It co-starred a gorgeous angel named Xas who played Renier's Sobran's bff! If that doesn't intrigue you, I don't know what will...

As Mathew pointed out, the only complaint is that the film didn't seem to afford thorough relationship development.

Google Baby, Director: Zippi Brand Frank

This was the one documentary we got to see. It was the final screening during the fest, so no FAQ or pre-amble. But this film definitely got a lot of festival buzz, and rightly so... It shed light on a topic so rarely discussed. This was a pick off mine, and what drew me to it was reading an article last year in the New York Times titled "Her Body, My Baby," that and the Tina Fey movie "Baby Mama."

As the title implies, the doc tells the story of "a journey across three continents telling the story of the up and coming baby production industry in the age of globalization." Most definitely interesting food for thought.

Tomorrow, I will be trying to get tickets to the free screening of the Cadillac People's Choice Award Winner at the Elgin Theatre. Tickets are available starting 7pm. So I guess it'll be eight screenings in all, if Heather and I successfully get tickets!

Thank you for sharing this tiff journey with me... It was loads of fun recapping the seven great films I got to see... While it was a lot of movie... I am definitely in for 2010 ;)


ecojotter @ midoco in the annex in toronto... tomorrow!

off to see my last tiff film of the season "partir"... just a quick reminder to all the torontonians out there...

i'll be at midoco from 12-4pm at 555 bloor street west, toronto this saturday, september 19th...

lemonade, jellybeans, buttons, coupons and an awesome raffle... in fact, i got this awesome thank you note from our outer layer event winner...
"Just wanted you to know that I just received the package. Holy crap, it's amazing. Everyone was crowding around my desk admiring the booty (not that one) ; )

You guys really do terrific work...just gorgeous stuff. My 8 year old, who loves to draw and write poetry is going to be thrilled.

Thanks again. Keep up the great work."
yay! happy to cause a bit of green stationery jealously once in a while ;)

i hope to have a chance to chillax at home this evening with my laptop, some tea and cookies (tim tams to be exact!) and think about all the films i've seen and share my thoughts on them.

meanwhile... completely random, but i'm a bit of a nerd, and so i thoroughly enjoyed this recap of the elements... introducing the elements (found via my brother g)...

happy friday! hope to see you at midoco... and if not, hope to make it to a city near you soon!


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

"If You Printed the Internet..."

I'm pretty certain I've posted this "Did You Know" video before (at the bottom of the post)... And when CandiedFabrics kindly tweeted to me about the following graphics.. I instantly knew I had to share them with you!

Great ecoFood for thought... Thanks again CandiedFabrics! By the way, I love the response "@ecojotter Whenever hubby complains about my time online, I can say "But honey, it's so good for the environment!" ;-)"

I certainly hope everyone thinks twice before printing something! I personally do not own a printer (even though I work from home!) If I need to print something work-related I'll wait till I have to go in to the office, which I think is great since I will only print it if I really need it. Otherwise, even when I find myself jotting things down in my ecojotter or having it readily available on my iPod touch to look up.

The awesome "If You Printed the Internet" graphics were originally posted here on CreativeCloud/CartridgeSave.co.uk.

Here's the video, that I'm pretty certain I've shared before, but if not, enjoy for the first time ;) Some other interesting stats...

I'm off to Ecojot headquarters tomorrow to meet with Mark about some exciting ecoCollaborations in the works. I will try to squeeze in some time to chat about the other five films I've seen since "Same Same But Different." I see my seventh and final tiff film this Friday... A French film called "Partir" starring Kristen Scott Thomas.

There are some exciting Ecojot giveaways hosted at various blogs and other noteworthy ecoCool things coming up... so stay tuned ;)


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Our Saturday @ Wyndham Art Supplies, Guelph

Woke up late yesterday morning 'cause I was tired from a packed weekend. Saturday was spent in Guelph. Saturday evening was spent at a delicious end-of-summer barbeque complete with grilled corn on the cob, juicy mini burgers, fresh watermelon juice... And I brought a camembert-tomate tarte (a.k.a. quiche)! Oh and there were sparklers! I'm hoping that photos will turn up on Facebook for me to post... Speaking of photos... Here are some from Saturday!

Mark (head of sales at Ecojot) and I had tons of fun set up in front of Wyndham Art Supplies. Not only was the weather gorgeous! But our Ecojot Fan Appreciation Day in Guelph coincided with the Guelph Jazz Festival! Check out some of the highlights...

Off to see tiff film #3... Yikes and it starts at 9am! So gotta ready to be picked up... Seeing three films todays:

The Vitner's Luck
The Informant! and
Google Baby.

Reviews to follow ;)


Monday, September 14, 2009

Same Same But Different = Splendid

Just got home not too long ago after a great start to tiff. I went to the North American premiere of "Same Same But Different" with my friends Mathew, Jamie, and Jamie's mum, Maria.

All three of them trusted me with the film choices. Mathew made a few recommendations, but I lined up at the box office twice. I must admit "Same Same But Different" just sounded appealing to me. I didn't really research the story. I like to be surprised from time to time, but surprised good, not surprised bad. Plus I wanted to take picking films a bit seriously for my friends, all of whom have never experienced the Toronto International Film Festival until tonight!

To my delight, and theirs... "Same Same But Different" was splendid. A beautiful cross-cultural star-crossed lovers set in Germany and Cambodia, but I don't think that description does it justice. All I can say is if you have the chance, see this film! David Kross (of The Reader) stars as Ben, and Apinya Sakuljaroensuk stars as Streykeo.... And both are amazing, very believable performances, for roles based on real-life characters. Director Detlev Buck, producer Claus Boje, and David Kross and Apinya Sakuljaroensuk were all there for the screening, and did a Q&A afterwards.

From googling the film just now, I discovered the film opened at the Locarno Film Fest, and within two days of its world premiere it won the "Piazza Grande Award!" I hope to see the film get more nods!

Time for bed... Tomorrow afternoon I see Harry Brown (a Mathew pick), all I know is it stars Michael Caine. I'll resist the temptation of reading the brief description on the tiff site.

I'll be sure to post pics of the great Saturday in Guelph before I head off to my second tiff flick ;)

Just wanted to post 'bout the film, while it was fresh in my mind... Again... Splendid!... Or as they say in Germany... "großartig!"


Friday, September 11, 2009

Ecojot Wyndham Event in Guelph on Saturday... Come say hello!

Just checked the forecast, and it's suppose to be sunny, high of 22, which isn't bad for autumn-time! I've never been Guelph, which I hear is a very quaint little city! It's going to be loads of fun, just like last month here in Toronto at Outer Layer!

Full details:

Ecojot Fan Appreciation Event @ Wyndham Art Supplies

A Saturday Afternoon of Ecojot Love
Saturday, September 12, 2009
11:00am - 4:00pm
Guelph, ON

RSVP on Facebook here :) We'll have free lemonade, gourmet jellybeans and buttons for you! Plus $1 off Ecojot products of $9 or more coupons!

For a different event, that's open to you all Canadian Residents... I got a lovely email from Natalie Bahadur, Senior Web Editor of StyleAtHome.com the other day...
"Hi there. How are you? I love your blog and check it out frequently!

There are some really exciting initiatives happening at www.styleathome.com and I wanted to share the details with you!

Our latest project is the Style at Home Makeover Contest 2009. This fabulous contest invites Canadians to share a photo of a room in their home that’s in desperate need of a makeover. Whether it’s a kitchen that’s buried under a sea of clutter or a bedroom that’s just plain boring, we want to see pictures of rooms that need a decorating overhaul! There are two grand prizes of $2,000 each in Home Depot gift certificates, plus 20 $50 Home Depot gift cards are up for grabs, just for voting and posting comments. Visit http://makeover2009.styleathome.com/ for full contest details. "

While I love the simplicity of our living room and dining room, I am so tempted to submit it... I'll have to see what my roommate has to say ;) How fun it would be to win some $$$ to redecorate our apartment!

If you live in Guelph or nearby, I hope to see you tomorrow. If not... Hopefully next Saturday at Midoco for another event right here in Toronto!

Seeing my first tiff film this Sunday night, a German movie called "Same Same But Different!" Can't wait to write all about it. I'll be sure to let you know if I spot any celebs as I'm festivaling ;D

Bon weekend!


Thursday, September 10, 2009

A Very ecoCLEVER Science Project: A Solar Panel Made from Human Hair.

My Uncle M forwarded this article to me yesterday from DVICE with the message:

"With your longer hair I think you could power a city!"

My hair is at its longest these days. Part laziness for booking a haircut, part economical and well a much bigger part that I have become quite fond of long hair :) But back to the topic at hand.... Full excerpt from DVICE article:

A schoolboy from Nepal has come up with a recession-busting new solar panel which replaces the silicon component with human hair. Milan Karki, an 18-year-old student from the region of Khotang, devised the idea after discovering that hair pigment Melanin acts as an energy converter.

Each panel, which is around 15 inches square, produces 9 Volts (18 Watts) of energy, and costs $38 to make. This, it has to be said, is mainly due to the price of the raw materials: half a kilo of human hair costs around 25¢ in Nepal. Karki is hoping to commercialize his invention, which can charge a cellphone or power batteries to provide an evening's worth of light, and eventually mass produce it.

"First I wanted to provide electricity for my home, then my village," says Karki, who was inspired by British physicist Stephen Hawking. "Now I am thinking for the whole world. We have begun the long walk to save the planet." Catch a shot of the teenager's invention below.

I love stories like this. So inspiring. An 18-year old how was simply inspired to provide electricity for his home and then his village! I certainly hope that Milan Karki is able to parlay this into something amazing for him and his village... And hopefully the world!


PS - A more in depth article posted by my bro on Daily Mail here.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Super Cute Rendition of Hey Jude

Super Cute!

It's a late Wednesday night post... But I saw this on a friend's Facebook wall, too cute not to share here if you haven't yet already. Plus seems apropos considering they just released the newly digitally remastered Beatles albums...

Belated Happy Hump Day! TIFF officially starts tomorrow... I was at the Box Office today to pick up my tickets... I'm seeing a total of seven films, starting Sunday! I can't wait!


Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Getting excited for TIFF, and a film premiering at UN Climate Week

Wow, 43 Google Followers!!! Welcome to all the new subscribers... Perhaps many by way of PegCityMomma's Giveaway, enter here, if you haven't yet already... Giveaway ends September 14th :D

Just a quick Tuesday hello... I was reading the Globe this morning when I came across this fantastic photograph of the Snowbirds ("Canadian Forces 431 Air Demonstration Squadron) in Toronto.

Photo: Ryan Enn Hughes/The Globe and Mail

I'm still wondering how this was shot... Helicopter? One of the other Snowbirds? The latter seems unlikely considering how much attention the pilots need to pay when they're that close to each other as it is.

Keeping this short 'cause have you ever noticed how a short work week after a long weekend seems to pile up the to-dos? But before I sign off just a quick ecoFilm plug...

I was visiting Inhabitat.com this morning when I came across this film trailer for "The Age of Stupid." After watching the trailer, I quickly logged on to the TIFF website to see if it's screening here before it premieres in the US on Monday, September 21 in conjunction with US Climate Week. Unfortunately, it's not screening at TIFF, but I am hopeful it'll open here too.

I'm getting really excited about TIFF, and I'll be sure to share my thoughts on the films I get to see. I'm seeing at least six in all, the most I've ever seen at one festival! Should be tons of fun, and for those of you who are in Toronto, and didn't know there are many free events. All the TIFF Free Events are being held at Yonge and Dundas Square, including not just screenings but concerts as well! Full details and schedule here.


Monday, September 7, 2009

Happy Labour Day + Happy Birthday DesignerJots !

Originally uploaded by torontofoto
Just thought I'd do a quick post... To greet you all a Happy Labour Day! Here's hoping that you're having a wonderful long weekend!

I sure am :) The weather, albeit a bit chilly at night has been sunny and delightful. A perfect clear day yesteday to watch the Air Show. I didn't go to the EX, but instead went to the pier across from the Toronto Island Airport to catch a free glimpse of the summer ending Air Show...

Whenever the EX comes to end, it feels like the end of the summer to me. I am hoping however that like last autumn, we have a nice sunny end of summer, beginning of autumn... Especially with the weather we had this summer!

Also, a quick shout out to DesignerJots, who's birthday it is today! Happy Birthday Carolyn :)


Saturday, September 5, 2009

One Man's Trash is Another Man's New Home

I woke up relatively early this morning and came across this article titled "One Man's Trash" on the NYTimes.com and was instantly intrigued... I pulled some photographs from the the Slide Show, but for more pics click here.

"AMONG the traditional brick and clapboard structures that line the streets of this sleepy East Texas town, 70 miles north of Houston, a few houses stand out: their roofs are made of license plates, and their windows of crystal platters.

They are the creations of Dan Phillips, 64, who has had an astonishingly varied life, working as an intelligence officer in the Army, a college dance instructor, an antiques dealer and a syndicated cryptogram puzzle maker. About 12 years ago, Mr. Phillips began his latest career: building low-income housing out of trash."

The photographs just draw you in, especially the one of Mr. Phillips' ceiling made of sample frames! I was particularly intrigued since I recently read an article, also in the NYTimes about how "LEED Seeks to Beef Up Its Credentials." As you may recall, I wrote about LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), a couple months ago. I was pleased to hear that they're seeking to improve their credentials, considering it turns out may LEED certified designs are not living up to their green name.

The simplicity of Mr. Phillips' desire to help others by way of preventing trash to otherwise end up on a landfill and instead be made useful to provide a roof over heads is very inspiring. Not to mention the fact that it resulted in both his town and Houston to set up a donation site for recycled material.

I like to come up with new uses for things I would otherwise through away, but Mr. Phillips takes it to a whole new level... He's built 14 homes made up of 80% recycled materials... Kudos!

Am going to finish my fluffy pancakes covered in wild blueberry syrup and maple syrup, then enjoy the day!

Happy Labour Day Weekend! Not sure if I'll be posting on Monday, but I'll definitely be back on Tuesday ;)


PS- If you call Guelph home, don't forget that next Saturday, September 12th, I'll be at Wyndham Art Supplies, 164 Wyndham Street North, Guelph, Ontario from 12-4pm for my second Ecojot Fan Appreciation Event!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Pie for Life... Mmm, that's a LOT OF PIE!

So I love pie, and if you will recall, I loved the movie Waitress starring Keri Russell and a many many many pies!

So imagine my excitement when I heard via UrbanDaddy about a café in Texas called Royers Roundtop that offers a "Pie for Life" membership! I am just filled with random ecoCOOL and delicious info aren't I? Sadly I don't have the ~$10,000 entry fee for having a pie shipped to me once a month... However, I just couldn't help giggle with delight at the thought of being mailed a pie every month of my existence!

Apparently Royers has several different pie-a-month plans from 3, 6, 12 and of course your life. My friend Dave calls it a "Pie Annuity"... Except pie in lieu of cash! Browse their site like I did, but be forewarned, the images are mouth-watering!

I wonder if I could bake a pie month myself... Hmm, the thing is I'm more of a cook than a baker... That's why I left the baking of the three-colour-layered cupcakes to my sister ;)

However, it has gotten cooler here in Toronto, and I have definitely found myself very much in the mood to cook more. In fact, I brought some Hot Italian Sausage (and Veggies of course!) Spaghetti for my colleagues for lunch today =) I think next week, I will prepare a tuna casserole for them.

I love cooking for people... I just can't cook for myself, just not as satisfying! I think it's because I grew up in such a big family (5 kids!) and so there was no such thing as eating alone. In fact, my older brother, hates eating by himself. I don't mind, but I always cook big portions, and invite people over when I can, and freeze what I can save for another day ;)

Maybe I'll go to a farmers market this weekend and find some ingredients for a pie!

It's the last long weekend of the summer. I don't have any big plans. Do you have any?

Finally, you know how I love to host giveaways, and tell you about others... Especially Ecojot ones... Well Ecojot is sponsoring one on PegCityMomma.com, click here for full details! Really simple to enter ;) Thanks to Shannon for hosting! Contest ends September 14, 2009, 8pm CST.


PS -- Appreciated all the comments here and on Facebook, re: my last post on Sigg water bottles. It was definitely much swig for thought!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Sigg in serious troubled waters...

In case you haven't heard, Sigg the well-known Swiss metal water bottle makers admitted "last Friday that the closely guarded secret ingredients of the lining inside all Sigg bottles made before August 2008 contain traces of BPA."

Tsk, tsk, considering the popularity of Sigg bottles grew dramatically as word-spread of the potential harmful links of BPA.

In case you're wondering what exactly BPA is (a.k.a. Bisphenol A)...

"BPA is a chemical used for making polycarbonate plastic baby bottles and sippy cups. It's also a material in the resin linings that coat metal food cans (think soup, beans and the fruits and veggies in your pantry) and beverage containers, (think Coke, Pepsi and all the brands that wish they were)."

As author, Nena Baker continues to point out in her article titled "Why I'll Swig from My Sigg No More," she "learned how stacks of peer-reviewed studies plausibly link BPA to infertility, prostate and breast cancers, a decline in semen quality, Type 2 diabetes, obesity and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. And [she] saw chemical manufacturers using tricks straight out of Big Tobacco's playbook in an attempt to downplay the hazards of BPA."

You can read the full Sigg CEO letter here, that state "To be clear, all SIGG bottles made since August 2008 contain our new BPA free EcoCare liner. SIGG bottles manufactured prior to August 2008 have the former water‐based epoxy liner which contains trace amounts of BPA. These bottles have been thoroughly tested and showed 0% leaching of BPA."

Regardless, I think Sigg is in serious hot water. And I must admit, I for one, am glad I do not own one! I have a metal water bottle I picked up in Paris at Au Vieux Campeur before my trip to India last year. I'm not carrying it with me at the moment, so I don't recall the brand, but I do recall checking to see it was BPA-free. Anyway, I'd been considering buying a smaller one to carry around. Loved the designs of Sigg, and I can honestly say now... No thank you. Talk about serious greenwashing, in fact, more like plain out consumer-lying!

So I just thought I'd pass along this email forward from my friend Simon, "How Can [You] Tell When A Product Is Being Greenwashed?" Thanks, Simon. And thank you, Leiko for posting this original Advertising Age article, "Marketing News: Sigg Does Damage Control" that lead me to investigate all this further.

Tell me... Do you own a Sigg bottle? Are you concerned? Would you mail it in for a new one, OR consider switching to Klean Kanteen? They may not have designy patterns... But they have beautiful bright colours to choose from!

Okay, all this water bottle talk is so serious... I know many of you already follow DesignerJots' blog, but if you don't, and/or didn't know, she's hosting a cross-blog giveaway (two giveaways!) check it out here... You can win a signed copy of Illustrator Claudia Pearson's "Tribal Alphabet" and/or DesignerJots' newest jumbo journal designs!

That's all the news from Ecojot headquarters... I have to pack up some little ecoWorkbooks for Spencertown Academy Arts Center's Fourth Annual FESTIVAL OF BOOKS! It's a great event that will "explore the relationship of books and readers in the digital age with twenty outstanding guest authors including Francine Prose, Mary Gaitskill, Lynne Sharon Schwartz, poet Sharon Olds, and many others."

The even starts this Friday, but since it was a last minute request, they'll be getting the ecoWorkbooks next week =) If you live in and around Columbia County in Upstate New York be sure to check the event out!


Tuesday, September 1, 2009

And my end-of-August / Back-to-School WINNER is...

according to RANDOM.org is #3...

And for the first time ever, it happens to be someone I know! Miss Agnes Bolinkska, who just so happens to be a PhD student at UofT studying the History of Science. Congratulations Agnes... And thank you for suggesting that we all (students and non-students alike)...

Great advice! In fact, all your Back-to-School tips were great!

I hope the ecoAgenda, ecoWorkbooks and ecoKids sketchbook come in handy to write all your notes about how science came to be ;) Agnes, please shoot me an email or Facebook message to claim your prize. And thanks again for all the entries... I'll be having a September Giveaway soon. In the meantime, for a chance to still win an Ecojot Back-to-School Giveaway, visit GreenEarthJourney.Blogspot.com, I attached the direct link. Green Earth Journey's giveaway is going on until tomorrow, so you still have time! If you haven't yet already ;) One of the entries is simply following me on Twitter ;D


PS - I've never used RANDOM.org until now, but I was not working from home or Ecojot's headquarters, and didn't really have scrap paper, so I wanted to save on paper and go electronic. More helpful when I have more entries, I suppose, but not as fun as pulling something from my straw hat. Have a lovely evening everyone!


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