Bamboo, part 2

bamboo toilet paper package

Bamboo is a very sustainable plant. It’s super fast growing.

I wrote recently about bamboo toilet paper, and I did end up getting two packages from a company called Brandless.

The verdict = overall fail:

  1. The toilet paper was made in China. Shipping wood-based toilet paper from Arkansas has got to have a smaller environmental impact than shipping bamboo-based toilet paper from China.
  2. Shipping two packages to my door via UPS has a worse impact on the environment than adding some to my shopping cart at my local supermarket during the weekly grocery run. And I couldn’t find bamboo paper at any local stores.
  3. The paper is a little rough compared to the economy Kroger brand we normally buy.

Having said all that, I believe in Brandless. They are trying to be more organic and sustainable about most of the products they sell. And some of their prices aren’t bad. But I won’t be a frequent flyer, as shipping costs raise the costs to more than we normally spend.

Being good does have its costs. Sometimes I’m willing to pay the price and other times not.

FacebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinmailFacebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinmail

The joy of the old

Jay next to an MG Midget

Jay and I went for a test drive in a 1967 MG Midget. He was the driver, as his 2001 Toyota Corolla burns a quart of oil for every two tanks of gas and it’s nearing time for a replacement.

We both were surprised at how small the car is — and at how 30 mph seemed like 70 mph.

Alas, a much newer car can be had for the same money — and one that wouldn’t need $500 worth of work to be road-legal.

But what a piece of history!

The intricate wire wheels aren’t available on any new car, regardless of price. The engine was so simple that it wouldn’t take an engineering degree to change the spark plugs. And what joy to drive a car that no-one else drives!

It was a marriage not meant to be. When the quick honeymoon ended, the heartaches would begin.


Epilogue: In a recent issue of Autoweek, a 1967 Datsun Roadster — a direct competitor — sold for ten times what the MG was going for.

FacebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinmailFacebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinmail

We need help — some of the time

car exhausts from 3 different cars

Some praise the idea of increased rules. Others tout the benefits of self-regulation.

I argue for somewhere in the middle.

I am old enough to remember cities before the era of car emissions laws… a brown layer of thick haze covered the skyline on most days.

Today, new passenger vehicles are 98–99% cleaner in what comes out of tailpipes compared to vehicles from the 1960s (source). That change would not have happened without government regulation.

At the other end of the spectrum lies the ridiculous state of health care in the USA. Because of government regulations (and also private litigation), it takes months to pay a single doctor’s bill. And it’s nearly impossible to find out the real cost of a simple procedure because of added complications from the insurance industry.

Why does government involvement in one area yield good results in one area and bad results in another? I’m not sure.

One end of the spectrum says groups have no wisdom. The other end says the individual has no wisdom.

Both are incorrect. Groups and individuals have wisdom — some of the time. And some individuals have no wisdom, just as some groups have no wisdom.

FacebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinmailFacebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinmail

Feeling guilty on a Saturday

No one else was home.

That meant I could stream the crazy music I enjoy, at volume, without bothering anyone.

And then I started to feel guilty.

Not about the music I was listening to…  but about the luxury of being able to listen to music in a house with no shared walls.

I remembered living in Kenya — when I felt guilty about having a microwave oven, knowing that it represented about ten times the average monthly wage of many around me.

FacebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinmailFacebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinmail

Mail

mailboxes in rural Colorado

My brother and one of my sisters are pretty much the only people who write physical letters to me.

My mom used to, but she passed away almost nine years ago.

I challenge you to write to me. Just one letter or postcard.

If you leave a comment on this blog post, I’ll see your email address* and contact you for your snailmail address. I’ll send you a letter or postcard, and you can write back.

Just once.

No strings, no obligations.

Why? It’s fun to get a hand-addressed hand-written letter in the mail.


* No one else will see your email address.

If you liked this post, you might like this one and this other one.

FacebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinmailFacebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinmail

The tip of the iceberg

my family - part

We know so little about the people around us.

Even though I live with my wife and daughter, I realized that I know so little about their day-to-day lives.

Rachel is a junior in high school. I am not sitting in class with her, listening to teachers talk about math concepts that I have forgotten a long time ago. I am not in the school cafeteria during her 15-minute lunch with friends. I’m not in her Bible study when her girlfriends open up about life struggles.

Heather works in an office about 5 minutes from me. But I’ve only visited her office once. I hear tales of the joys and challenges that each day brings, but I’m not in the room when she discusses the latest design challenge of the big project that she’s tackling. I’m not at the chili cookoff with her colleagues.

My two sons, Jay and Ben, have rich and full lives too. And so does everyone I work with, hang out with and know from the past chapters of life.


My challenge to myself is to ask those around me a question that will uncover something I don’t know already. (And there’s a lot.)

FacebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinmailFacebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinmail

The beauty of bamboo

seventh generation toilet paper package

I came across a brand called (ironically) Brandless. Their Facebook ad was effective enough that I clicked through.

The Brandless product that caught my attention the most? Toilet paper made from bamboo fiber!

Bamboo grows at a rate of up to 36 inches (91 centimeters) in 24 hours (source).

Think about it — a regular tree takes way longer to grow. If we converted all our forests dedicated to producing toilet paper into bamboo forests, we’d use up a lot fewer resources. Think: reforestation in a much shorter time period.

The amazing thing is that the price of this Brandless product is just $3 for 6 rolls. True, there may be just 12 sheets per roll, but it’s worth a try.

I haven’t signed on the dotted line yet — but I’m seriously considering giving this one a go.


Footnote: I took this photo of toilet paper at my local Whole Foods. Surprisingly, they do not sell bamboo toilet paper.

FacebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinmailFacebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinmail

Sometimes the minority loses

Ruth's Chris Tofu House

When we go out to eat, my wife’s choices are limited… she has gluten sensitivity challenges.

If a restaurant has gluten-free options, there are few. And they may not be marked as such.

We also get to pay double for the pleasure of knowing that the half-size pizza does not contain heavily-processed wheat flour.

Living in Clarendon, Texas (population 1,857) would cause even more limitations for someone with gluten issues.


Vegan? I won’t even go into that realm, but you see that the same issues apply. (There is no Ruth’s Chris Tofu House.)

Live with a wheelchair? There are not many off-the-shelf choices in the Ferrari line that will allow you to drive.


Is there a solution?

One might be for a Clarendon resident to move to the big city.

The big city resident might move closer to a Whole Foods supermarket and adjust their budget accordingly.

But basically, it’s just not fair if you fall outside the mainstream.

FacebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinmailFacebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinmail

The $200 cup of tea

macbook pro trackpad

I spilled tea on my trackpad. Then it started acting weird.

Dilemma: call my 2011 computer a loss and get a new one or have the old one fixed?

Fixing the old computer won the day.

$200 later, and it works just as good as new.


I love my old MacBook Pro. Years ago, I upgraded the memory and hard drive, and it still works fine. It’s fast enough for just about everything, and it even has a built-in CD-DVD drive, which comes in handy every once in a while. (I even used that earlier today!)

Kudos to Mac Outlet for the fine job.

FacebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinmailFacebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinmail

Injured

crashing on the street

A few weeks ago, I took a tumble off my bike. The road repair crews had put caution tape between the cones along one of the roads on my way to work — that wasn’t there the week before. I didn’t see the tape until I was too close. I slammed my brakes and went head-over-heels.

A guardian angel lady saw me tumble and quickly pulled over. She crammed my bicycle into the back seat and took me home, in spite of how I was such a bloody mess.

Through a miracle, I was able to get my teeth fixed that morning at a nearby dentist. Through another miracle, my dental insurance covered the vast majority of this unplanned expense.

Good as new!

Not quite. My face was a melange of scars for the next week. The aches and pains still live on — for a little while, at least.

That incident reminded me that nearly anything can happen to us. And that we’re fragile.

People all around us are injured. We may not see their scars. But we should treat them with love and care, just like that guardian angel lady treated me.

We never know if someone in our daily lives is about to break. The stress of life might be more than they can handle.

A little love and care can go a long way toward their healing. And we’ll feel better for having made a difference in their life.

FacebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinmailFacebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinmail