Enveloping the green (Day 200)…

September 16, 2007

First, I just need to get a little “Woohoo!” out because it feels great to type the digits 2-0-0 in that subject line. To be honest, I’ve been hitting a bit of a wall these days with the green thing — sick of talking about it, sick of thinking about it, sick of doing it (but, of course, never sick of writing about it!). Anyway, no one likes a complainer, so on with the show:

On this lazy Sunday — not to mention I’m sitting at a Tim Horton’s in the Calgary airport and have been up since 4 a.m. — I’m going to steal a move from Green is Sexy, and I don’t feel so bad about it especially because they technically stole it from some guy named Eric Miller.

What I’ll be doing from now on, then, is saving all the reply envelopes I get in the mail from credit card companies or other junk distributors who’ve somehow managed to sneak by the Green Dimes system I have in place, and reusing them. I’ll just need to scratch out the address they’ve printed and rewrite my own, then off it goes!

A marginal change (Day 196)…

September 12, 2007


Thanks yet again to Kowai (seriously Shawn, I need to send you a complimentary tote bag or something for all the green ideas you’ve given me — oh, and P.S., love the new site design! Um, yeah, on with the sentence), who recently mentioned a site called Change the Margins.

It’s run by this woman who’s trying to convince people to decrease the margins on whatever they’re printing, in order to cram more words on each line and thus save paper. Obviously, the most important folks to convince are those who head up multinational corporations, especially ones with no recycling system in place, let alone a paperless policy.

But there’s no reason why we can’t all do this in our day-to-day printing jobs. And while I don’t exactly have control over the margins of my stories in the National Post, I can certainly fiddle with them when it comes to all the other stuff I write on my computer at home.

Jake Gyllenhaal gets two pages, max (Day 190)…

September 6, 2007

As an arts reporter, most of my year is spent watching movies, interviewing actors and directors, covering press conferences and then writing about all of the above (I know, it’s a hard life). When the Toronto International Film Festival comes around, I do pretty much the same stuff — it’s just 10 times as much work every day (on a side note, if you have any pressing questions for Jake Gyllenhaal, feel free to post them in the comments section below, as I’ll be interviewing him tomorrow).

It’s not unusual for me to go through the entire memory card of my dictaphone twice and fill up four or five notebooks with my scrawled observations about Rachel Weisz‘s unflattering top, Elijah Wood‘s surprisingly cute and un-hobbit-like demeanor or the wilted salad Chloë Sevigny was eating for lunch.

Unfortunately, I’m not a good note-taker: I write things down that, later, serve no purpose whatsoever to the story I’m trying to tell; I write in a VERY LARGE, MESSY STYLE — my letters would probably have a font size of at least 20; and I rarely use both sides of the page because my feeble mind gets confused at where one interview ends and another begins, and the last thing I want to do is misquote someone.

This uses up a ridiculous amount of paper, though, so from now on I’m going to make a concerted effort to write smaller and use both sides of the page (perhaps with some extra-bold, underlined and highlighted headings like, “These are quotes from your interview with Ken Loach — NOT your interview with Cyndi Lauper”).

Fewer 4 a.m. hairballs (Day 186)…

September 2, 2007


Cat owners know there’s nothing more rewarding in life than falling asleep with a furry ball of love purring by your side — then suddenly waking up at 4 a.m. to the sound of: gyugck, gyugck, gyugck …. BLECH!

Ah yes, the hairball.

The best part is when you get to lie there in bed, trying to guess from the volume and intervals of retching whether you’re about to find your cat’s present on the bathroom tiles (excellent), hardwood floor (pretty good) or carpeted stairs (brutal).

Unfortunately, it’s not so easy trying to explain to Sophie that, if she’d just make sure to barf on a hard surface, I wouldn’t have to use so many paper towels to clean it up. So I’m going to be more proactive as of today, taking the preventative route of grooming her more often, which means there will be fewer hairballs and random tufts of dander-laden fur to clean up.

Plus she loves being brushed, and a happier kitty means a happier owner.

My lap wins with napkins (Day 181)…

August 28, 2007


… Cloth napkins, that is, because as of today I won’t be using anymore disposable paper napkins whether at home or at a restaurant. I’ve got my own organic cotton one that I’ll be keeping in my purse at all times, ready to catch errant sandwich crumbs during lunch, wipe my bicycle seat dry if it’s been raining or wave goodbye to my true love on a train platform as he presses his hand against the window. Or something like that.

Photo courtesy of Wade From Oklahoma on Flickr

From press kit to less kit (Day 178)…

August 25, 2007

As an arts reporter at the National Post, I usually review a couple films per week — now that the film festival is about to start, I’ll probably be seeing at least three every day. At most press screenings, you walk up to the media sign-in desk first, say hello to the always cheery publicist and pick up a press kit, which can be anywhere from one to 20 pages.

It outlines the synopsis of the film, usually includes a statement from the director and/or comments from the cast, lists all the credits and generally makes the journalist’s job a lot easier when the time comes to write up the review (especially if the journalist accidentally falls asleep during the movie, which of course I’ve never done … OK, just once).

Some of the studios and distributors have begun releasing their press kits in electronic format only, which I think is the way to go. And to be honest, with websites like IMDb and other online sources, there isn’t much need for any more promotional material.

So from now on, I’m going to decline the paper press kits at screenings and make do with what I can get on the Interwebs.

Stickin’ it to Ticketmaster (Day 177)…

August 24, 2007

Brown Paper Tickets

The other night, my friend Meghan and I went to an opening party for the Bicycle Film Festival at the Gladstone (which, on a side note, has stopped offering water in plastic bottles — hoorah!). We didn’t have tickets for the screenings on Friday yet, so while I frantically threw on some deodorant and eyeshadow, she went online and got that sorted out.

Well, turns out, they were being provided by this cool company called Brown Paper Tickets, the “first and only fair-trade ticketing service,” wherein you get an electronic ticket rather than a real one (which saves paper) and a portion of every purchase goes to charity (Meg said she chose the Animal Welfare Institute because she knew I liked small furry things).

They have a Ticketing Bill of Rights, too, which explains their mandate, where the money goes, and how the whole system works.

Finally, a green alternative to all those corporate ticketing agencies with their processing fees, shipping and handling crap, and glossy, laser-printed ticket stubs. From now on, I’ll be looking for options like this whenever I plan on going to an event.