Saturday, November 30, 2013

Take this and stuff it

Recently I was in Canadian Tire, grabbing a pump for the plant I work in.  I won't lie to you, there is a satisfaction that I get from perusing the isles of so called discount items and end-cap specials found around the store.  It's almost like being in a daze as I imagine the right tool for the right imaginary job.  There was a moment where I realized how unnecessary all this shit is.

Now Canadian Tire if I am not mistaken has been around for a long time, and as the name denotes, was a Tire store, and automotive emporium.  Then why on earth are they selling coffee makers? Why are there no less then a dozen different coffee makers that you can choose from, in a store that originally sold auto parts and tires?  Further more, why is just about every store becoming some form of walmart?  Are we moving toward one mega store that just sells everything? 

The future, Wall-e's world?

Back to the coffee maker.  How is it that society needs dozens of types of one thing that arguably all do pretty much the same thing?  Will the brewer with the metallic red exterior better define me, represent who I am more then the most basic pasty-white machine for $29.99?

We are under a spell, and the spell is called consumerism.  I realize there is nothing new about what I am saying here, and this spell is one that I can be captivated by myself.  All of this "stuff" comes at a price, that being the systematic destruction of the planet, and if you scale that back further and further; ourselves and our souls.  We are the planet, of the planet, born of the matter of earth, its soil, its air its water.  We are killing ourselves by killing it.  Anyone who looks at life in a holistic way, understanding that this precious gift of life comes at the expense at a massively complex interdependent and interconnected system, comes to realize that one truth, we are all leaves on the same tree.  If you poison the roots, you poison the leaves.

I am not a big believer in massively and drastically changing ones life to save the planet, because people tend to revert back to their original nature eventually.  Most diets tend to be this way, a trend or a passing fad.  I am a of the mindset that little changes taken on by many is the key.  Reduce the discomfort by making small, incremental changes, and sticking with them.  That is the the small step on the journey of 10000 miles mentality. 

It's no surprise that one of the fastest growing, guaranteed money making businesses in the western world are storage warehouses.  It seems much of the population has too much stuff on their hands, and instead of shedding the excess junk, they are shedding it.  Pun intended.  People can't seem to let go of their things, thinking that they are Pharaohs readying for the afterlife.  Tyler Durden said it best:


The more stuff we have, the more time it takes to manage, and takes away from the real enjoyment in life; being with the people we love, and doing the things we love.

Where does this equate with a dude living in a camper?  Well, the camper is parked indoors at the plant where I work (thanks to some incredibly benevolent superiors) and there was an empty office space to contend with.  When I arrived on scene the only thing in the upstairs office was an empty space with the rememants of a subway sandwich that had been devoured god knows when.

I set out to make this empty space into a fully functioning bachelor pad.  My mission was to furnish it completely for free.  If you haven't seen the movie Craigslist Joe, definitely check it out.  Craigslist is full of good-hearted individuals who want to get rid of stuff, for free.  Inside of a month I had acquired the following:

  • a nice table (thank you Craig (hahaha not Craig's list)and Leah)
  • a fridge (that was rescued from a reno project of an apartment complex, it was going to the dump)
  • The following was attained from one nice couple I met on craigslist:
  • A 24" TV and stand.
  • 2 lamps
  • 3 paintings
  • 1 wicker chair
  • one sweet ass couch and matching ottoman
  • cushions for the couch
  • a nice large comfy chair
So for $0 I basically furnished an entire 250 sq foot office space.  The company I worked for  also supplied me with a desk, computer, office chairs and printer.

It ain't Ikea, but it was free-ya!
 If we can move away from keeping up with the Jones, we can move towards saving a destitute piece of furniture from its untimely demise decomposing over hundreds of years.

I try to not ever buy anything new.  Packaging is a huge waste, buying used eliminates that waste right away.  Plastic = oil and gas, I work for a company that is involved in the bio fuel industry (renewable energy) so I tend to try and not partake as much as I can.  If you have kids, do what my best friend Kris' wife Kendra does and use cloth diapers (as much as you can!!).  My cousin Casey's wife Heather works in Cache Creek at the dump where all of Vancouver's garbage is laid to rest (4 hours away from Vancouver).  She told me that there are mountains of diapers.  Insane waste.

The bottom line is, there is already so much out there.  The insanity of production of these mostly disposable items can be avoided.  It takes a little creativity and work, but I promise you get a good feeling in your heart when you make a choice that benefits humanity, and no amount of money can buy the feeling of having a lighter soul, and fuller heart.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Prose and Convicts.

So it's pretty small in there.  It's been a month or so. I've moved my camper into the plant where I work in Burnaby.  So I live where I work.  The pros; no commute to work, and in Vancouver that is a huge pro.  The cons: I work for a company that recycles waste vegetable oil, there is an aroma, not a good one.

My smell cell.

I am also out of the rain, and detached from the truck, which means I am not driving around with 2000 plus pounds of extra weight that isn't exactly perfectly balanced.  It's kind of like running and doing corners while you are piggy backing someone.  Now imagine that person is off your back, it feels pretty good.   That's the satisfaction I feel driving around unencumbered, and in Vancouver, that is a huge pro.

Some other pros and cons.

-maximum 2 seconds to anything I need.  Usually at arms lenght.
-cheap rent (none)
-I don't have nearly as much stuff as I would if I had the space.  It's effecient.
-everything is mini
-it's cozy

-sometimes I feel like a convict in a cell
-I bang my head a lot
-there is no where for farts to waft off to
-it gets messy very fast

I get camper-dar.  I always notice other campers, RVs and the like.  It`s pushing into November and I still see people parked at Walmart (which allows overnight parking for any recreational vehicles) so this is a lifestyle for some.  I hope to interview some other people in the coming weeks who live this way indefinitely.

I was on Vancouver Island the last few days and was working with an awesome dude who has been collecting veggie oil on the north island for 10 plus years.  He lived in a camper for 2 years (thus somewhat making my struggle less worthy) and he had no internet, was outside in the winters and was pretty much more hardcore all around.  He is a teacher now in Port Alberni, but wow, talk about dedication.

I am a bit more then a month into this year long social experiment and the luster has worn off.  But I shall soldier onward, and do my best to keep the likes of you informed.