Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Well of Course

Since I finished my degree and started teaching, my wardrobe decisions have been based primarily around looking halfway professional. This seems not to be a universal concern amongst professors. I know of one professor who is barely distinguishable from a homeless person. There is another who could easily be an extra on Trailer Park Boys. I don't think I'm smart enough to get away with that, however.

While blue jeans are my preferred choice of lower-body clothing, everything that I've bought in the last year and a half has been denim free. My favourite, most recently purchase pairs of jeans (identical) have both worn out, leaving me with two other pairs. One is a pair that these replaced. The other pair seemed fashionable when I bought them in 1999. However, due to a long string of bad dietary decisions, they became too small, so they got stored in the bottom of my drawer until a year or two ago. They now fit my lower-body, but don't fit in with the rest of my wardrobe, or anybody else's. I'm not sure what made anyone think they were fashionable when they were. On the other hand, they possess the distinct advantage of not being worn out, due the the preservative effects of the cardboard box in which they were stored for 6 years. I mainly wear them if I don't plan on being seen by anyone who knows me. In other words, I don't usually wear them when I leave the house.

This morning in particular, I decided to wear them, thinking I'd be in all day. Later this afternoon, on a whim, I decided to venture out to the mall nearby in hopes of finding the perfect winter coat (a lifelong quest, it seems). When I got to the mall, I realized that I had forgotten to change out of these jeans. "Oh well," I thought, "I don't know too many people who live around here anymore. Who could I possibly run into? Besides, if they laugh, I don't need 'em 'cause they're not good friends." The first store that I went to was Sport Chek. I saw a coat that I liked at one of their other locations, but the only one that they had in stock was too small. The selection at this location was better, and I managed to find a similar coat in a larger size (the main difference between this one and the first one I had seen was in the material that the collar was made of, which is immaterial to me). Even though it was bigger, I wasn't sure it was bigger enough, so I didn't make the purchase.

I thought about walking around the rest of the mall to see if I could find something in another store, but this was the third mall I visited in 4 days, and it was becoming apparent that the main difference between one mall and the next is the layout. Most of the stores that appear in one will likely appear in the other. I had already sifted through the merchandise at the stores in the other malls, and even if there were stores at this mall that I hadn't been to yet, the chances of finding something I liked were still pretty low, so I decided to leave.

On my way out, I saw the Danier Leather store, which was suggested to me after I returned from the second mall outing, but which I hadn't been to yet. I've never yearned for leather anything in the past, so I didn't expect to make a purchase. I just wanted to see what sorts of things they had, so I could go home and think about it. One of women at the cash looked familiar. It wasn't implausible that she could be who I thought she might be, since she married someone from around here (younger brother of an old friend, coincidentally), but her hair was a fair bit longer than I remembered it being, so I wasn't sure. I proceeded to check out the coats.

I had just finished looking when I noticed a display of wallets, something else on my list of things to buy (fairly low on the list, but yep, it was on there). After looking for a while, I found a wallet worthy of my pocket, so I went to buy it. When the transaction was nearly completed, the somewhat familiar cashier asked me for my name (something to do with a warranty).

"Randy," I said.

"I thought so," she responded.

"Hilary?"

"Yes."

And we proceeded to chit-chat about what we've been up to since she finished with Queen's. Fortunately for me, the offending jeans were hidden from her view by the checkout counter.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Season's Greetings

Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Aquatic Ambivalence and Antipathy

According to this article Toronto plans to "ban the sale of plastic water bottles on municipal premises by 2011." On the one hand, if I were a Torontonian, I would welcome the potential reduction in waste floating about the city. On the other hand, the law is heading in the direction of banning the sale of things that I don't think ought to be banned, and in places I don't think they ought to be banned from being sold at. I'll start to whine when they extend the ban beyond municipal premises (if I happen to be living in Toronto, or if the place I happen to be living tries to do Toronto one better). This is not to say that I've ever been a big part of the bottled water craze. Most of the bottled water I drink is given to me, and most of the bottled water that is given to me, I don't drink. Tap water is just fine. Mostly I think you should just buy a decent reusable water bottle and use that [1]. It'll probably save you money in the long run anyway.

The ban doesn't stop at water bottles on municipal premises, however. There are a number of other things that will be banned, in phases of increasing annoyance, starting with a five-cent charge on shopping bags and culminating in a request that retailers have to provide boxes or paper bags as an alternative to paying for plastic bags. This would be good if there were some sort of agreement among the various studies that paper bags are definitively better. Apparently, there is not [2]. Besides, if people aren't going to reduce, reuse, or recycle their plastic bags (or even throw them in the garbage), they're probably not going do that for paper bags either. As for cardboard box vs. paper bags, all that I could find (not that I looked very hard) was a homespun youtube video[3]. I wonder if this was the basis for Toronto's decision? Certainly if they had a more scientific basis than this guy, the internet is keeping it well hidden. There you go. The city council is making people's lives more complicated, for no apparent reason.

Such is the nature of politics, I suppose. Even if you have no power to change what the people think you ought to be trying to change, the least you can do is waste your time enacting laws to make the people waste their time, as long as it looks like you're trying to change whatever it is you think the people think you ought to be trying to change. The net benefit to society or the environment, or whatever it is your trying to provide net benefit to, may be nil by the end of your term, but at least you'll stand a better chance of getting reelected.

[1] He says, offering you advice that he has himself only recently followed, though he's been known (mostly by himself) to reuse bottles from drinks purchased at the nearest Mac's Milk.

[2] The statement about the lack of consensus appears somewhere near the bottom.

[3] Other things found include an article from The Onion, and an article about a bound whose frontman wears a green cardboard box on his head.