Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Cultural Consumerism

This article on 'cultural consumerism' from the AP presents a pretty strong perspective on how ingrained consumption is in our culture. It points out how our leaders tell us, "The point of an economic stimulus plan is to get money into people’s pockets so that they spend that money," and that this consumption culture "ran so deep that it permeated not only our wallets and our attitudes but our financial institutions." I think the columnist gets it right on many counts.

Maybe, though, we will see a change at the top. I read today that Obama thinks we may not return to our role as a "voracious consumer market."

How deep is our consumption culture? I guess we'll have to wait and see...

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Tennis anyone

P is getting into tennis lately, and she made me buy a racket. So...
IN: Prince tennis racket, purchased at Dick's Sporting Goods.
OUT: Miscellaneous athletic-type clothing. Given away to Goodwill.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Consume Reconnection

Yesterday evening at Sprout Creek Farm P and I went to see a talk that was part of their "Rusty Bucket Series". On the schedule for the evening was Scott Ballum of Sheepless Co, a graphic designer out of Brooklyn, NY. He spoke a lot about his current project, Consume Reconnection, which he describes as "A year-long effort to meet the laborers and craftsmen who make anything and everything I buy."
From my perspective, this is a really creative, intriguing idea... one that sounds like it would be quite a challenge to sustain. The spirit of the project is not unlike what I'm doing here, at least in the respect that both are an attempt to reflect on what is consumed. If you have more interest in Scott's project, I'd suggest having a listen to his interview on NPR.

Monday, March 9, 2009


I often find Thomas Friedman to be quite insightful. A great quote from this article, that echoes the principles of my resolution: "We must have growth, but we must grow in a different way. For starters, economies need to transition to the concept of net-zero..."

Monday, March 2, 2009

More on limits

A nice perspective from the Editor's blog at Chemical and Engineering News. I'm not sure I agree with everything there, particularly his thoughts on 'endless growth' as a physical impossibility, but the post does resonate with me.

More bonus material

OUT: Bonus! Four white t-shirts I never wear. Given to Goodwill.OUT: Bonus! Laptop bag to accompany the computer I'm donating.

Laptop sleeves

IN: New laptop sleeve from Incase. Purchased at
OUT: ACS logo laptop sleeve, too small for my new laptop. Given to my Chemistry Department for 'Molecule of the Week' prize.

Thursday, February 19, 2009


Interesting article I read in the NYT. The comparison between behavior in our current economy and Urawaza caught my attention. My mother-in-law, who grew up in Japan after the war, is one of the least wasteful people I know, parhaps in part because of the culture in which she was raised.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


IN: Lenovo X300 laptop. Ultraportable. 3lbs. Nice.

OUT: Dell Inspiron 8200 (circa 2002). Brickish. 8 lbs.
My eulogy for this laptop: It had its problems: unseated DC power board, failed hard drive, failed fans, dead lines in screen. But, it's still running and running well. The latest problem is a failed wireless card and so I've decided it's finally time to put it out to pasture. Sent to Goodwill.

Sunday, February 8, 2009


IN: New H1-55W headlight bulb. Purchased at Autozone.
OUT: Burned out H1-55W headlight bulb. Sent to trash.

Saturday, February 7, 2009


IN: New shoelaces. For my running shoes, purchased at Famous Footwear.OUT: Old, broken shoelaces. Worn through by my running shoes. Sent to trash.
OUT (extra): Old, old running shoes. Sent to Goodwill.

Thursday, February 5, 2009


IN: An aluminum water bottle. BPA free, I guess. A belated Christmas gift from my siblings.
OUT: Souvenir cups from the US Open (weak, I know). Sent to Goodwill.


IN: A sweet Moscow thumb compass. A belated Christmas gift from my siblings.
OUT: Billygoat 2008 polo shirt. These were given to the top 100 finishers in the 2008 race. Sent to Goodwill.