Life is a highway

Saturday, January 14, 2012

A little love goes a long way.

It comes at no surprise to people that know me and have read my blogs that humans are not my favorite species on the planet. Therefore, this blog may come as a welcome surprise: humans are extraordinary (emphasis on 'extra - ordinary' as opposed to the meaning of magnificence... baby steps).

I do not like kids. I find them clingy and needy and overall a burden. Luckily for my potential future children I heard a very interesting fact recently that slightly supports their lack of independence in a positive way.
It has always annoyed me that human children are so dependent (to a point where they would die if left alone) for such a long time as compared to almost all other animals on this planet. Most babies stick around to learn just enough to survive and can often feed and take care of themselves shortly after their birth (chimps, however, are dependent for at least 5 years - which explains our roots); humans do not fall into this category. It has always boggled me how 'advanced' animals seem to be when getting a head start on life and starting off on their independent quests, a characteristic that I have always respected and wished upon human children, until now.

Did you know?
The longer a mammal is dependent on its mother for survival the greater its ability to enhance its likelihood for higher cognitive reasoning?

It is understood that the longer a child can go without having to struggle for survival the more advanced he/she will become, cognitively speaking. By allowing our children to remain dependent on us and protecting them from external threats we allow their minds to focus solely on development. Humans, and some other 'higher species', are the only creatures that have the ability to manipulate symbols using computational rules, to reason, and to have foresight, to name a few.

Because of this simple fact I have decide to let into my head, only slightly, the idea that humans are extra-ordinary. We have found a way, albeit not the most pleasant way, to increase our own intelligence and move ourselves up the food chain with some help from good-ole evolution and a little, or a lot, of patience. I would have to say that we deserve a pat on the back for that one.
I believe a thanks is in order. Next mothers day thank the woman who raised you for having the patience to feed you daily and put a roof over your head. Without her, you might have ended up as a sloth.

So next time your kid asks you for a cup of juice and you think "why can't this little life-suck get it himself already?!" just think, by getting him that cup you could be increasing your odds of being the mother of a future Einstein; who knows, they may share some of their Nobel Prize winnings.

That being said... there is a limit.

Further question:
Is this concept based on a person to person basis or is it based on evolution and every person right now is around the same area of cognitive ability?

Monday, December 12, 2011

Landfill for laziness.

I am going to start by patting myself on the back. I work very hard to reduce, reuse, and recycle, and often have friends follow in my footsteps (even if they do it just because I am watching). I often feel so guilty when I get lazy and throw out a container because I don't feel like washing it that I get out of bed in the middle of the night to retrieve it, clean it, and recycle it.

Because of my love for the environment and passion to keep it abundant, it pains me to see products come out for the pure purpose of fueling laziness.

People like to disguise these products of laziness as 'convenience'. The definition of convenience is 'easy', and only people who are lazy take the easy way out. Are there not enough examples every day showing us that this easy way out hurts us? Those around us? Even something as simple as the 'lazy mans load' when carrying in groceries; no, you are not that strong, you are just that lazy, and now those eggs are broken... what a waste of money... and a life for the chicken caged to do give them to you (because I will assume you do not buy free range).

I am talking about such products as Swiffer (before the washable pad - though I am sure most people still do not use this if given the choice of the disposable ones), K-cup coffee flavors (you are to lazy to take a scoop out a can? So you buy pre-measured flavors? That's a whole new level of selfish), and paper plates (although the water usage for cleaning actual plates is up for debate, I doubt the people using paper plates for small gatherings are thinking about that rather then the clean-up afterwards). These are just three examples that have bothered me lately. Watching people with 'busy lives' choose disposable over reusable simply because they can't be bothered to take one extra step. Well guess what. The Americas are not only the most wasteful countries in the world, they are also the fattest; maybe it's in everyone's best interest to take that extra step.

However, I will confess, I had to sit here for a minute and think of those three products, because the purpose of this blog entry was not actually to talk about laziness, it was to talk about vanity. Being lazy is one thing, but being wasteful because you are THAT into yourself that you cannot possibly take a point off the beauty scale for a day. It is simply unfathomable.

With this I am talking purely about two things at the moment; sticky lint removers and wrapping paper.

Let me begin with the first one: Sticky lint removers.
These were developed because some people decided that it was unacceptable to leave the house with lint or hair on their jacket or shirt. They must have thought 'I am simply too important and too classy to leave the house looking like I own a pet or do not vacuum the air in my house every 15 minutes, so I am going to fake it and remove all of the things that float around from my attire so that people are not put off by my natural self'. That is what they were thinking right? I mean, what else could have brought about a disposable sticky paper that is used once to remove nearly-invisible particles and then spend the rest of eternity in a landfill? On that note, if you think that you are TRULY that special, then there are non disposable lint brushes that do just as decent of a job with maybe 1% more effort. Why not add some toning to that body you work so hard to keep immaculate?

Onto wrapping paper (and other packaging).
For some reason it has become accustomed to present beautiful packaging and wrapping with gifts. People seem to frown upon 'ugly' looking gifts, no matter what the item is under the paper. I have seen people dig through shelves to find the product that they want in which the packaging does not have a dent. Just the other day it was pointed out to me that the cardboard holding the gift I was about to purchase had some marks on it, as if suggesting I find another one. But the item itself was in perfect condition and would continue to be so until that same 'marked' cardboard had been ripped off and, hopefully, recycled a few days later. Stores literally return items and/or sell them at discounted prices because the exterior packaging keeping the product safe has been slightly damaged or marked in some way. Are we that selfish and vain that we need even the cardboard to be perfect for us to grace it with our precious hands?
n.b: (On the same shopping trip, a lady walking in front of me dropped the wrapper from the chocolate taste test we had both just indulged in. It was not an accidental drop, but one of those ones where she looked around and then opened her hand... onto the floor... in a store. I picked it up and placed it into the garbage can 1 aisle down. It baffles me how self absorbed some people are.

And wrapping paper itself. What is wrong with wrapping said gift in recycled newspaper? It covers the gift so that it is a secret. Is that not its purpose? You can not see through news paper, it does no worse of a job at concealing the sound of the item shaking inside then does sparkly silver paper, and it doesn't matter if you tape the wrong place and have to pull it off since you don't have to worry about the image looking distorted.
This Christmas my boyfriend and I used recycled packing paper to wrap our gifts and used pencil crayons to draw our own designs on; I even glued on some sparkles. Not only is this environmentally friendly, but ads a more personal touch to the spirit of Christmas.
I have used some wrapping paper in the past, I'll admit, but as it stands now I will never do so again, not when there is perfectly functional newspaper and other recycled papers to be used.
I understand the beauty of presents under a Christmas tree, but markers and pencil crayons can do almost as good of a job.

On a side note, on the topic of paper, I once saw a lady in the bathroom pump that paper towel dispenser a good 10 times; that's about 3 feet of paper. Unless she is made of a sponge and absorbed all of the water from the tap I am not sure how she thought she could possibly need that much paper towel to dry her hands. Needless to say I pumped it once just to make up for it and went back to dinner with damp hands. Funnily enough... my hands air dried in moments, what a concept.

In conclusion,
I feel that we, as humans, are getting far to lazy and/or full of ourselves and need to step back and see what these detrimental attributes are doing to our beloved earth. I know it has been said many times before, but, it's the only one we got. No matter how important you think you are, you are not. Not compared the vast scale of the universe and the many more important things there are to worry about.

So lets all take a moment and think about what we use frequently that is for the sole purpose of comfort and convenience and maybe upgrading to a reusable version of it, if it needs to be used at all. I for one will make a conscious effort to hold my glass under the tap until it completely shuts off (old tap) so that no water is wasted.

What about you?

Friday, November 11, 2011

Sex and the City... Minus the Sex and the City

I'm ready. Ready to go home. Ready to take on the world. Ready for a job, a house, a home. Ready to be in the same city as my family, my friends, my boyfriend.

I was in an interview for the Globe and Mail the other day and today was the photo shoot. I got asked a few times what I want to do when I am done, where I want to go. I was asked what I want to be and what I want to work up to being. I knew all the answers of course. I know I want to work in an agency, as a columnist, or doing freelance. I know I want to live in West Vancouver where there are still more trees then cement. I know I want to write ads, articles, a book, or in a column. And I know I want to work up to being either a creative director or my own boss.

But what I really want, and what I really need to experience before I can enjoy all of the things ahead, is to feel at home. I want to go to Calgary, I want to settle in for a year, I want to be close to my mom, and I want to be able to say 'I'm home' and have the stay be longer then the time away.

I have so many big dreams; so many life goals. I want the 2 story house, 5 dogs, maybe a kid or two (and that's a maybe), a nice car, some wide open space and solitude, a job I love in a place I can hope to call home. I want people in the industry to know my name. I want to drive in from my acreage to attend Galas,shows, and events. I want to be known.

But I want to stay at home curled up on the couch or walk hand and hand with a husband around our land with the dogs in tow. And I want to be able to call my mom every single weekend until I am at least 55 to talk about our weeks.

I want a place to call home and I want the people I love to be there.

From what I hear, a job in advertising often crosses the line from 'I work to live' to 'I live to work'. Don't get me wrong, I love advertising and the entire process and the late nights and the 'aha' moments and the long long long periods in between those 'aha' moments, and I plan to work extremely hard to get to a point in my life and career where I can say I have it all, I just hope I can fit in what really matters.

Excuse this heartfelt blog entry. The house I was born in is being torn down soon to make room for infills and there is some sickness in my family that scares me. I am just trying to cope with being away and cutting the ties of my youth in order to form knots onto the ropes of my future - a future I am very anxious to start.

I also suppose that my nearly windowless basement apartment is not helping in the slightest. Nor is the fact that my brothers birthday is tomorrow and I will not be around to celebrate. On top of the fact that my parents are going away for a vacation during the time that I will actually be home for holidays.

However! My boyfriend will be coming to visit me this weekend to stay for a nice visit and I am really hoping it will pull me out of this slump. Give me something/someone to hold on to. See hope in his eyes.

I have no doubt in my mind that I will be successful in whichever career path I choose; I am responsible, driven, enthusiastic, and rarely give up. But the thing I want to be successful at is living life to the fullest, and that means spending every spare minute with family and friends and traveling the world.

I suppose this is why I am dreaming of the life of a freelance writer; a career in which I can feel productive and successful (because anyone that knows me knows I do not put down work until it is completed), while still being able to have time for all of the important things.

In conclusion... I want to be a combination of Carrie from 'Sex and the City' and Leigh Anne Touhy from 'The Blind Side'. These women are my idols. Carrie for the career and fun, Leigh Anne Touhy for the personality and life. Hopefully one day when people think of these two women in conjunction 'Sarah Kirkpatrick' will be the hybrid.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Mine is bigger.

Mine is bigger, mine is better, and people like me more.

Competition is hot on planet earth. Whether its competing for survival, competing for the girl, or competing to sell one more can of pop then the next guy, everyone is trying to win.

In advertising we spend the majority of our careers finding the USP of various companies, in layman's terms: how is this guys' bigger and better then that guys' and what will make him more popular.

I recently saw an advertisement in which Pepsi was positioning itself as the more popular cola over Coke. Normally, the one that is more popular is the one that sells more, but apparently, in this ad, it's strictly a popularity contest, a challenge of tastes as it were.
For giants such as Pepsi and Coke I can see why this may be a stance they are willing to take, but for others I believe sales to outrank popularity (though as I write this sentence I have a hard time differentiating between popularity and sales and how the two are even separate entities).

ANYWAY. I sort of lost my train of thought there. Back to the ad. Good ad? Bad ad? (It says that it's banned... I am confused as to why). It has a good concept but I am not sure of its impact. When I first watched it I thought "Wow, what a great idea. Kind of like using the 'other' brands ladder to reach the upper shelf where the 'good' brand is". However, after analyzing the ad a little further, and my original thought again, I wondered just how effective it really was. In the case of the ladder, does it not look good for the 'other' ladder to be there, be useful, and fulifll its required duty of bringing you up a few feet, carrying extra weight, and safely returning you to the ground? So what's in a ladder? I suppose a few extra features may give the 'good' brand a boost, but then what's in a can of cola? Sugar, water, more sugar, and some extra sugar for good measure (or bad measure if referring to your waistline). Technically, Coke sold 2 pops to the kid, Pepsi only sold 1. Will it even out when the kid is old enough to reach the Pepsi button on his own? I suppose that would depend on how health conscious he grows up to be, but I suppose in the long run Pepsi would win this battle. Then again, Coke has its own campaigns in which it is clearly prospering, so with their own campaigns on top of the bonus cans from Pepsi maybe they are ahead.
Coke and Pepsi are difficult brands to compare because it is rare that a person sits on the fence, and those that do simply order what is convenient. Me for example, I am the farthest from a pop drinker as one could be, but on the off chance that I have a sip I ask for Pepsi. I tell myself that it hurts my throat less but I think I was just brought up around it from my dad and therefore slightly favor it. I really can't see the difference but my dad swears by it, so much so that if a restaurant only sells coke he will order a water instead. So Coke and Pepsi have strong brand loyalty and therefore I do not believe that an ad such as this would do anything more then have Coke drinkers brag that they sold more pop and Pepsi drinkers laugh at the concept that their brand put out there.

After all of that obscure mumble jumble of a blog entry I suppose the Moral is this: Pepsi failed. Why? Because we are talking about Coke.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Defend it until you believe it.

I fail to understand the draw to Toronto, ON.
I do see that there are many festivals and niches throughout the city that may be of interest to travelers, but the need to live and grow (if there is room) doesn't seem believable.
Any Torontonian will defend this city till the death, but I see it more as those times when you feel strongly about something even though you know its not good or right so you simply defend it harder, trying to convince both yourself and others. Torontonians and Maple leafs fans are the same sort of people (and many are in fact, the same people); cheering for something that you know is no good but feel a strong need to be patriotic and stand up for your roots. There is a time in everyone's life where they need to realize that, yes, the maple leafs and Toronto do suck, there is not much chance of either getting better, and its time to move onto something worth cheering for.

For example:
I went for coffee with a friend today. This coffee shop (called Snakes & Lattes - I do strongly recommend it) is 15 minutes from my house down Bloor. I gave myself 20 minutes to get there; it took 45. What is the point in having so many roads if they are constantly under construction? I then made the mistake of trying to avoid Bloor and making my way down to the Gardener Expressway. About 45 minutes later I had made it approximately 5kms (generally a 5 minute drive). For a coffee shop that is only 15 minutes from my house I am unsure why it took me 1 hour. I blame the construction in part, but the other 90% is on the drivers shoulders.

I have been a lot of places on this earth and nowhere, I mean nowhere, have I encountered so many people with the inability to drive, AND I LIVED IN HONGCOUVER FOR A MONTH! If I were to believe in any contagious disease sweeping the city it would be whatever deadly bug is living on the Toronto Drivers License. It appears that when you receive one of these cards all common sense, morality, and 90% of your ability to make the right decision are suddenly sucked from you and thrown out the window of the car that you are having difficulty maneuvering in a reasonable fashion.

I would say that today was 2 hours of my life I will never get back, but I am going to expand that into 'This Degree is 4 years of my life that I will never get back'.

Not all things Toronto are bad. Like I said, Snakes & Lattes is fantastic. I do rather enjoy the Kingsway area, and Humber college is a beautiful place.

People keep asking me if I plan to stay in Toronto when i finish school. Here is my answer: I would like to move to West Vancouver where the trees are plentiful and the people are fewer and father in between. I would then like to live in Calgary when it is time to raise a family. If those two places are inaccessible for whatever reason I would opt to live in Victoria, Hawaii, Nova Scotia, Ottawa, any US State, Mexico, Africa, the Middle East, South Korea, or even maybe North Korea... and if all of those fail. I may live in the outskirts of Toronto. Does that answer the question?

But my fingers are crossed for West Vancouver.

And now would be the time to finish up my homework, watch some tv, and send positive messages into the universe that the 401 is not busy heading West tomorrow (Sunday) morning, cause if it is? well... its hard to blog from a noose.

Fair thee well.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Hell hath frozen over.

I thought I was living in Toronto, one of the most thriving cities in Canada, but apparently it's more like Bonnyville Alberta, everything being closed on holidays. And when I say everything I mean everything...

After a flight to Ottawa, a drive to my cottage, a drive to Toronto through traffic, a trip to the grocery store, and a short night sleep (due to having thin curtains that keep no light out) I woke up with the intent to unpack and get fully settled. It may be true that I have 4 closets in my room, however, with towels, sheets, shoes, jackets, ringette equipment, and empty boxes filling three of them I found that my last closet filled up faster then I had expected. I soon realized that 1) I may have brought too many clothes 2) I definitely brought too many shoes and 3) I needed to go to Walmart to get storage containers for my underwear and other small garments.

I turned off my music, locked the door, and set out to get the finishing touches for my room so that I may feel completely stress free and unpacked. I also decided I would return to Sobeys and pick up a few items that I had forgotten the previous day.

Turning into the mall parking lot and being the only car in sight was disheartening, but I did not fear, Walmart was behind the building and I am sure many people were doing last minute shopping. As I rounded the corner no cars became visible in the parking lot near Walmart and as I pulled up in front I soon found myself to be the only one in sight other then a few other disheartened passing cars reading the 'Closed on Labor Day' sign on the Walmart doors. This just couldn't be. It's Walmart for god sakes. These are the people that are open 24/7 and even hire people to greet you as you come in, no WAY would they be closed, AND THE DAY BEFORE SCHOOL! This is absurd.

I call my mom who brushes me off and is happy that they are closed so people don't have to work on Labor Day, which is fair but no less frustrating. I proceed to call my boyfriend who apparently JUST left Walmart... in Calgary. Sigh... Toronto is not setting itself up to improve its reputation in my books.

None the less, I need this shelf. My mom had suggested Canadian Tire. Perfect, there was one only a few blocks away. I couldn't see the Canadian tire parking lot behind the Taco Bell buildings but it was open so I felt pretty good turning off the road. This joyous feeling however was short lived, for the second I hit the driveway I again found it to be deserted. I mean really. If Taco Bell is open wouldn't you think Canadian Tire would be? Or at the VERY least Walmart? *sigh*

Fine. I shall leave the pile of underwear on the floor until tomorrow. At least I can look forward to some nice oysters on crackers tonight with a side of the greek salad I had attempted to make last night (I had forgotten to buy crackers and feta cheese). So, off to sobeys I go. Back onto the Queensway for the 3rd time in the last 15 minutes, empty handed, and on to the grocery store.

I pull up to the Sobeys parking lot and what do you know, there are 2 cars there. Perfect, somebody in their right mind doesnt shut down a major chain for a tiny holiday the day before all schools go back. I park, get out of my car, and walk up to the door. Doors don't open. Sign on door says 'Closed for Labor Day'. WHAT THE HELLLLLLLLLLLL. Those two cars must have been parked there for the Swiss Chalet next door, because apparently Swiss Chalet is important enough to be open and a major grocery store is not.

So. Back in my car, no storage, no groceries, and less time and gas then when I had set out on this disastrous quest.

I head back home. My house is on the corner of a one way street. To turn off of the main road would be going the wrong way down this one way street for about 5 feet so I usually just do it since its about 5 blocks shorter then going around. Happy to be getting home I begin to round the corner when I see 3 people standing in my driveway talking, and in this neighbourhood you dont want to be caught going down the wrong way, these people call the police if your garbage is out a day early. So I quickly correct back onto the main road and, having missed the turn, drive up 2 blocks to turn around, drive back past my house, down 3 blocks, and around the long way.

Finally. Back home. Empty handed. I need a tea. Oh wait... the man I subletted to stole my kettle. Right. Ok... boiling water on the stove. Have to pee. Phone rings. Distracted. Whats that smell? Something burning? Am I having a stroke? nope...Ah... an empty pot on a red hot stove... All water evaporated. No tea tonight. I give up.

These last two incidences were not caused by the unnecessary Labor Day shut down, I admit, but I do blame them still, because if it were not for this holiday I would not be out in a bad mood and may have been more clear.

Ps: Made status about Walmart being closed. Friend living in small town Ontario notifies me that his Walmart is open. So let me get this straight. Calgary AB's Walmart's are open and Nowheresville ON's Walmart's are open, but Toronto ON (Yes folks... Canada's New York) has closed theirs?
That's it. I am going to lay down on my pile of clothes. Goodnight.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

A plan within a plan.

13 days until Toronto. or is it 13 days left of Calgary. With a new place, new classes, and a new job waiting it's hard not to be excited to get started. But with friends, family. and my boyfriend its hard not to be sad to leave.

Then there is the excitement of the new classes for the semester. However, there were some major switch ups and now I am with the other class. I did not take a lot of the first year classes that integrated the two groups so I don't know many people from this class, but I'm excited to get to know them. Having 2 days of class a week will be great. Finally feel like going to class is worth while since its more then a blip in my day. Now the only concern is keeping busy so I don't go stir crazy the other 5.

I have a trial work day at a doggy daycare not far from my house. I am really excited to try it out. I don't think there would be such thing as a bad day at work or losing interest in my job if I get to be around dogs all day. I wonder just how much I will like it. Part of me wants to love it, but part of me wants to hate it so that I dont follow through with my most recent career idea of owning my own doggy daycare, therefore wasting 4 more years of my life in school (Shout out: yes mother... education is never wasted.. I know). I can only imagine how wonderful the day will be getting to spend it all with dogs and playing, I'm not opposed to cleaning either.

There are so many things to focus on its hard to get a set plan in order. As an extreme planner, organizer, and perfectionist of time, it is difficult to live day by day, which I have heard is the best method. So for now I will plan only for what I know, to go to Ottawa on the 1st, visit for 4 days, drive to Toronto on the 5th, school on the 6th and 7th, trial work day on the 8th... and then hopefully real work days after?

But what do I want to do with my life? I know what I WANT in my life.. but the income to acquire those wants is where I generally get stuck. I can tell you one thing, I would not be one of those people who commits suicide after winning the lottery, I have enough plans to last me a lifetime for that money without being bothered by it.
So Advertising, Writer, or Owner of {insert cool doggy daycare name here}?

I guess only time will tell. My internship slightly soured me to the world of copywriting but school always seems to perk me up about it again. And writing? I would love to write a book on relationships, or a column about my thorough and dramatic opinions. The problem with this: success in these careers are based on readership and likeability, I'm not sure I want to leave my income up to something so unstable. And then Doggy Daycare. One of those jobs that has the perks of happiness and fulfillment but slightly lacking on the 'big house and many trips' front.

Conclusion? I will be a freelance copywriter who writes a book at night once I get my Doggy Daycare off the ground an have enough people working under me to take lots of time off.
Or just go into advertising and own lots of dogs and write a book at night.

*Sigh* If only there were more complete times associated with these plans... it would truly satisfy my obsessive compulsive need to plan my life to the tee. God damn living life day by day and accepting spontaneity.

I am now going to write up my plan for the day... down to the minute... starting with hitting the 'publish post' button, just to ease the tension of flexibility.