Saturday, February 27, 2010

Simple Saturday

A very simple Simple Saturday today. The thing I'm most thankful for right now is that my mother's in good health again and isn't suffering any bad effect (aside from being scared) from her mini-stroke.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Prayers and well-wishes appreciated.

My mother had a transient ischemic attack, also called a mini-stroke, last night, and was taken to the hospital. She's doing fine now, all her functions have returned and her diagnostic tests (CAT scan, ECG, and blood workup) came back clean. The odds are in her favour that this won't happen again, technically, but all my research in the past tells me that TIAs like that are often warning signs of deeper problems, and that 1/3 of people who experience them once experience them again.

She's only in her mid-40s, and this understandably scared her very badly. If you have any extra energy today, I, and she, would appreciate some good vibes sent her way, to help her recover from this properly, both physically and emotionally.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Insults disguised as other insults.

My temp agency called today, to discuss with me a complaint given to them by one of the supervisors at the temp job I'm doing. Turns out they had a complaint about my hygiene.

Oh dear, I think. Until they told me the reason for the complaint.

I wear the same clothes to work every day.

Yes, that's right. Wearing the same clothes, regardless of whether or not they're clean, in a hygiene concern.

Now, had they said, "She wears the same clothes every day and they smell bad," I could have seen a legitimate complaint. But no, that wasn't the issue. The issue was merely that I come to work wearing the same clothes all the time.

Which I wash quite often,I might add. I need to, since I don't like to stink.

I've been advised to change this habit. I wanted very much to ask where they think I'll get the money to buy a new wardrobe to satisfy people I'll only be working with for another few days. My three weeks of employment is going to get me the following: a month of rent paid, a bus pass for next month, expensive medication that I need to stay alive, and the payment of debt which hasn't been paid in months. I'm not overly concerned with the fashionistas I'm offending by wearing the same clothes.

I wear them because they're the only business-casual clothes I have. I also have about 5 pairs of pants that are the same style, colour, and size, because I like them. I could actually wear a different pair of pants each day and without looking at the label, nobody would be able to tell.

This wasn't a complaint about my hygiene. It was a complaint about my fashion sense.

I tend to wear the same style of clothing a lot because I like it. Unlike most females, I don't feel the need to have a large and colourful wardrobe to select my clothes from. I have a few t-shirts, a few pairs of pants, a couple of sweaters, and a nice big skirt. The skirt's not suitable for work, and I wear the sweater over my t-shirts when it's cold. I can't afford more than that right now, and wouldn't need it even if I could.

I'll keep wearing my black sweater and black pants, thank you very much. I like the style, and I call myself something of a demi-goth anyway. The Green Goth... Maybe that's what I should have called this blog.

(Or the Gimpy Green Goth, given the way my ingrown toenail has been playing up lately...)

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Simple Saturday

Simple things I've enjoyed this week:

  • The sun is shining on this glorious false-spring day
  • I feel better, health-wise, than I have all week
  • I bought myself a treat last night in the form of a sinfully delicious chocolate pastry
  • I've been enjoying a lot of reading lately
  • Friday, February 19, 2010

    Haste really does make waste.

    I've been pretty quiet, blogwise, this week. Too much work, not enough inspirational stuff happening or to say.

    But today it hit me that I've been getting lessons at work that I can so very easily apply to other areas in my life. Specifically, the concept of doing things right the first time.

    You'd be amazed at how much time it takes to correct mistakes or ommissions when you're putting data into a computer system. It may seem simple, just typing in names and addresses for 8 hours a day, and in some respect, you're right. Assuming, of course, that all the information's there.

    If it isn't, then I have to take extra steps to make sure it gets into the system.

    It may seem a trivial thing to leave out your postal code (or zip code, for you USians) when filling in your address, but consider that when you do so, the time it takes for the data entry agent to go online and look it up will take more than twice as long as it takes you to write it down in the first place.

    And while they're looking up your missing information, there's more time before they can move on to the next entry.

    Or perhaps longer before they can move on to your entry because they're busy finding info for other people.

    This isn't my way of nagging people to be complete when filling out forms (though you should be, really). This is my way of comparing that to the rest of my life. If I take a little bit of extra time to do things right in the beginning, then it saves time in the end. Even if the time saved isn't my own, the overall process runs more smoothly because I did what I was supposed to do.

    Whether it's in regards to recycling, finding a job, keeping my apartment clean, or any number of other things, I'm going to try to really focus on this lesson. It's been drilled into my head over the past two weeks, and it's not a bad lesson to be drilled on. It's like what I was saying the other day, about how it's a lot of trouble to clean up the accumulated messes in my apartment. I did things wrong the first time, and now it's a lot of trouble.

    But if I'd been more diligent, done a little bit of work then, I could have saved myself a lot of work now. It's a humbling lesson as well as a profound one.

    I just regret that it actually took me this long to properly learn it.

    Wednesday, February 17, 2010

    Taking a sick day.

    I really shouldn't have, but I came home early from work. I ended up waking up an hour and a half earlier than normal this morning, after only about 6 hours of sleep, and then had an upset stomach for the better part of the morning. Add that to the cold that's been steadily growing inside me for the past few days... Even my supervisor deemed it better that I go home and rest rather than infecting everybody there.

    Of course, since I was there yesterday, part of today, and will be there tomorrow, I'm still likely to infect people. It can't be helped. That's the catch-22 of sick days. A lot of workplaces say they want you at home when you're sick, not at work, so that you don't pass your sickness around. And yet they will punish you for taking what they decide are "too many" sick days, and unless you're lucky enough to have paid sick time, the day you spend at home will be an unpaid one.

    I'm going to have to work late tomorrow and Friday, and possibly go in for some overtime on Saturday, to make up for losing part of today's pay. I can't afford to do anything else right now.

    This is why I wish most fervently that I had a steady well-paying work-from-home job, one that could give me enough money to meet my financial obligations. I don't even want enough to meet my financial obligations and then some, because that's just being greedy. There isn't much I want to buy for myself that I can't do without, and quite frankly, being able to work from home is enough of a bonus that I'll gladly take some losses to personal possessions.

    Working from home when I'm sick will be a sight easier, too. I can lie around in bed in pajamas all day if I want, so long as work gets done. I can work in short stints, taking many little breaks, so long as the work gets done.

    It's a goal of mine. I want to make enough money from doing side-projects and things I can do at home to be able to support myself. It may take a year or two to properly set up, but if I work at it, I'm sure it can be done. My lifestyle won't be exravagant, but then again, if you know anything about me from reading this blog then you'll know that I'm not looking for extravagance. I'm looking for simple frugal comfort. I want a cabin, not a palace.

    Monday, February 15, 2010

    The flip side of simplicity

    You'd think that simplifying my life would involve less work than normal, right? After all, work is a complicated thing, so it just stands to reason that making things simple would make things easier.

    Not if you've been living in a complcated mess for years!

    In striving for a simple life, I first have to start picking up the pieces of my old life, tidying them up, and storing them where they need to go. This can be the very opposite of simple when you've got years of crap to sort through.

    And I don't just mean physical crap, though that is a huge part of it. Right now, I've got an apartment full of junk that needs wading through. We need a storage room to put a lot of the boxes that have things that we need or want but don't have room to keep around without having boxes piled five feet high in our hallway. Somne of those boxes are filled with things we legitimately don't need, things that were thrown in there in a hurry during our last move. Things that we needed but couldn't find and so bought another of. So much stuff, and it's toxic!

    Not the possessions themselves, but how they are kept, how they are used or not used. Seeing the high piles of boxes in this place is an energy suck. It makes one feel tired just to see them, because you know just how much work is going to have to go into sorting it all out. You feel defeated before you even begin.

    Or, to put it more accurately, I feel defeated before I begin. Which is why this stuff is still sitting around after 4 years.

    But not all the crap to wade through is physical. Some of it is mental, and by that, I mean my attitude. I'm not a get-up-and-go person by nature. I am, in actuality, something of a lazy person. I enjoy sitting on my behind with a good book in my hands, putting off housework until tomorrow, or the next day, or maybe next week... You can see where the problem lies.

    So in simplifying my life, first I have to make it way more complicated. I have to clean up, both inside and out. I'm used to this way of thinking, though. When I was young, and my parents told me to clean my bedroom, I always knew it had to get messier before it got tidier, because I'd have to sort through things, move stuff around, all that jazz. It would see like hours passed with no progress made, but then nearly everything would be finished fifteen minutes later!

    And once the major complication of tidying is over, the rest is just maintenance, which is much easier. It's a lot easier to make yourself wash the dishes when you know there's only a few plates and some cutlery to clean. It's really hard when you know you've got about 5 or more loads piled up on the counter because you got slack.

    I did get slack this past month, with just about everything. Cleaning and cooking fell by the wayside. Last week I gave myself a bit of a pass, since I started working again, but that's no excuse for the three weeks before that! Some food has spoiled in the fridge. Lots of dishes need washing. Laundry needs doing. The floor by the front door needs a good sweeping and mopping.

    In addition to the zillion and a half other chores that need doing around here.

    Tonight is the night we put the garbage out. I'll get rid of the spoiled food, at the very least, and wash some clothes for the rest of the work week. If I have time and energy (work was tiring today), I'll see about washing up some of those dirty dishes. I'd much rather spend the evening reading, but I know, when I remember to remember, that there are more important things I can be doing with my time.

    Sunday, February 14, 2010

    Saturday, February 13, 2010

    Simple Saturday

    I'm going to start doing Simple Saturdays in addition to Silent Sundays. In a sense, this gives me a nice little weekend break from heavier blogging, and yet still allows me to post and to focus on the finer and simpler things in life, which is what this blog is all about.

    Simple Saturdays will basically consist of a short list of the simple things that I am currently thankful for. There are a lot of simple things that are in my life that I don't give enough thanks for, really, and it's time that changed.

    So, without further ado, the following list contains some of the sweet simple things that I have appreciated this week.

  • Going for a short walk at lunchtimes
  • The love of two beautiful kitties
  • Sleeping well for the past two nights
  • Weather warm enough that I can open my coat without freezing
  • Knowing that I'm earning money again, even if it is just for a little while
  • Friday, February 12, 2010

    First week = done!

    Today marks the end of my first week back at work, and also that a third of the assignment is already over. The days may have passed slowly at times (especially after lunch), but the week just flew by, and it's hard to believe that it's over already.

    For the curious, what I've been doing is working for the local branch of the Red Cross, processing donations for Haiti relief. The government has pledged to match the amount of money donated by individuals (companies and anonymous donations don't count), but there's a deadline to be met in order to get that matched money. The deadline is a week and a half away now, and there's still a ton of work that needs doing.

    Hence hiring a few temp agents to do some data entry.

    I didn't donate money to Haiti. Though perhaps it's more accurate to say that I couldn't donate money, seeing as how I had none to donate. But even though I'm being paid for the work rather than volunteering (I don't even know if they'd take volunteer data enterers), I know that I'm still helping out, since every donation I process is going to be matched. Every $10 that I enter into the system, $20 goes to Haiti.

    And thanks to a donation I processed that was over $20000, that's a heck of a lot of money going to help people!

    Yes, that donation was made by an individual. Bless them, whoever they are. And blessings upon all who gave up time or money to help others, this time and every time in the past and every time in the future.

    Thursday, February 11, 2010

    Planned Obsolescence

    If there's one thing that really cheeses me off, it's the notion that things are made to break apart. And I'm not just talking about knowing that things will biodegrade eventually. I mean things that are made to fall apart earlier than they ought to, so that consumers will be forced to rebuy a product.

    Drives me nuts, it does!

    Computers are the perfect example. Provided one is interested in having a top-of-the-line computer, things are set up so that by the time you get a new computer, it's already fallen "out of date". Granted, that's partially due to a fast-moving industry, but on some level, manufacturers push this kind of marketing. Release a product and then very quickly have it become second-best, forcing the buyer to buy upgrades (hopefully from the same company, of course, to ensure maximum compatibility) to get their machine to the peak again.

    It's a vicious cycle. And sadly, it works. How many people go out and buy new computers these days when they still have one that works perfectly well?

    When I got my latest desktop, it was because the old one had finally kicked the bucket. The power supply was shot and the hard drive had already been replaced twice. My parents offered to pay for a replacement for me, and when they asked me what specs I wanted, I told them that I just wanted no more than what my previous system had.

    Turned out that they didn't make 'em so crappy by that point. What I got was about 5 times as good as the one that had died, and that was the lowest and cheapest model I could find in the store at the time.

    But this sort of thing is seen other places than computers. Companies build their products with flimsier and flimsier materials these days, charging the same price as if they were using sturdy materials, of course. The products break sooner, have to be replaced more quickly, and then the company has more of your money than if they'd made a sturdy product in the first place.

    On one hand, using less of a material to make a product is beneficial, since when you pare it down to the bare minimum of what's needed, then less gets used so less gets wasted. It doesn't take as much plastic or wood or the like to make something. On the other hand, if your product breaks when you accidentally drop it only once, that has now become waste, and you've got to go buy another flimsy copy again. Funny enough, making things 50% more sturdy could save a lot of hassle and money.

    But manufacturers aren't out to save you money and hassle. They're out to take money from you. I don't begrudge hard workers their wage, but I do dislike shady business practices that make sure what I buy is of lowe enough quality that it's practically ensuring that I have to go back to buy a replacement before I need to.

    I've seen cell phones made in the early 90s that still work. I've seen the majority of cell phones made in the early 2000s (the "naughties?) that aren't good for anything but being a paperweight now. I think I'd rather have a "brick" that works in 20 years than something small and stylish that fails in 3.

    Tuesday, February 9, 2010


    I recently watched the documentary Affluenza, which talks about the culture of overconsumption in America today. Not living in America, I can only base my opinions and thoughts on what I see of my own country and of the media of other countries, but it does seem to me that this documentary hits the nail right on the head.

    This comes as no surprise to any of you. Why would you be reading this blog if you didn't at least have some small interest in the commitment I've made to a simpler and more frugal life?

    I agree that there's a huge culture of overconsumption in the more developed countries today. I'm also thankful that there are people out there who are working to fight it, or at the very least to not be as big a part of it. Every time you buy second-hand, that you recycle or reuse, that you acknowledge that you don't need the biggest newest product, you're doing your part against that overconsumption. Even if nobody is really listening, you can rest with a clear conscience, and you can tell yourself, "I didn't contribute to a problem."

    I see a lot of people participating in "no spending" challenges lately, on the various blogs I read. For a certain number of days during this calendar year, they are trying to not spend a single penny. They limit themselves to spending money out of maybe a third of the year, and I admire then for it.

    The biggest reason I didn't bother participating in such a challenge this year is that it didn't seem fair. I'll have a job starting on Monday, but before that, I had no money, and aside from borrowed money for groceries and other essentials, it didn't seem fair to participate in a challenge where I wouldn't be spending purely because I have nothing to spend. It would be like a vegetarian participating in Meatless Mondays. Not much to brag about when it's just a part of your everyday life.

    (On a side-note, I have found employment again, evem if it's only for 3 weeks. I'm very thankful for it!)

    Being unemployed has taught me a lot. For one thing, as much as I said before that I wanted to have a simpler life, I didn't have a great amount of motivation to do so. I was trapped in a consumer spiral. I worked, I had plenty of money, and I spent the excess on fun stuff to fill the void. And the void got bigger, and I knew that to fix it I had to simplify, but maybe I'd do that after this next paycheque, because there's a new book and a new video game that I want.

    Next time, next time, always next time.

    But being unemployed taught me, more than anything else could, that I've got plenty, I have even more than I knew I had, and I didn't need to keep buying more. I'm a stockpiler by nature, but I stockpiled all the wrong things. My stash of yarn will keep Rachel and I in socks and scarves for years, no doubt, and my video games will provide endless hour of entertainment, and so will my books and my burned DVDs of podcasts. But oh, there's that pesky manner of food.

    I got so used to food being always there, and always more than I could eat, that I didn't really seriously grasp the thought of being without it, having it limited. My video games won't fill my stomach. My yarn won't make dinner.

    I've learned to take stock of what I have and to be more appreciative of it. And I've learned that when I get regular steady income again, I know my priorities have been re-arranged. First, I pay my allotted amount into the joint bank account that Rachel and I pay our rent and bills from. Then I pay money toward my debt. Then I buy any medications I may need, since I do need a steady supply of some kinds.

    Then I start looking at two main things. The first is storing and preserving food for lean times. If I ever lose my job again, it will be a great load off our minds to know that we've got enough food to last us for a few months without real worry, for example. The second thing, and equally important, is to start an emergency savings fund. Stored food won't do us too much good if we have no way of paying the rent. I'm pretty sure our landlord won't accept a bag of dried apple slices in lieu of $535 each month.

    It's funny what having so little can do to make you realise just how much you actually have, and to help you put your priorities in place.

    Monday, February 8, 2010

    Green Goes with Everything, by Sloan Barnett

    Thoughts: Not going to do a "back of the book" intro to this today, because what this book is about is fairly obvious. The green revolution is upon us, and this is another book filled with info about the toxic products in our lives and how we can make little changes to our lifestyles in order to make us more healthy, and the planet more healthy along with it.

    I have to admit, this book did have some good advice and good information in it. It was very America-centric, which is good for Americans, but bad for anybody who happens to live outside America when they read this book. I have plenty of research to do now to find out if Canada has pretty much the same view on chemicals and additives that America does. I know we don't allow bovine growth hormone to be used anymore, but beyond that, I have to admit that I have no idea what my country's green regulations are.

    Green Goes With Everything was broken up into easy-to-understand sections relating to the products and processes covered, from household cleaners to makeup to clothing, which prevented a whole lot of jumping around that I've seen in other books. It also had a handy listing at the back for companies that make green versions of a lot of the everyday products that we use, so as to give us a little more choice in the matter, which I'm quite thankful for.

    However (and isn't there always a 'however'?) this book felt like a huge advertisement for Shaklee products. Which I wouldn't necessarily mind so much if the author didn't have a personal stake in flogging Shaklee products. The company may make some good green alternatives to common products, but when the company is owned by the author's husband, I really have to ask myself how much she was recommending the products because she'd feel bad not recommending them, or because she gets to benefit from the potential increased sales. They may work just fine, but since her motives are suspect, now so are mine. I don't like branding being thrown in my face like that. It makes me take the advertising less seriously. Minus points on that one.

    This book also seems to be heavily geared towards women rather than men, or women and men together. Since it was written by a woman, I can't fault her too much, since most people tend to write what they know and for whom they know, and most people tend to generally have a majority of same-gendered friends. But this struck a chord with me and made me wonder if the proponents of green living are, as a majority, female rather than male.

    Either way, this made for some pretty odd advice. Like throw away your chemical cleaners right now, but even though your makeup might be dangerous too, yeah, just keep using that stuff and replace one item a week with a green alternative from now on. Is makeup actually that important to women? I understand that chemical cleaner are more dangerous all around than foundation cream or lipstick, but it still seems odd to say, "By the way, some lipstick has been shown to have dangerously high amounts of lead, so keep using it until it's gone, but if you can, try to find a green alternative, but if not, meh, that's not so bad." Minus points again on skewed priorities.

    But if you can get past the rampant advertising for her husband's company, you'll find a lot of useful information and advice in this book. Though it has its problems, I can't deny that this was a helpful book and an informative read.

    And now, if you'll all excuse me, I'm off to get ready for my first day of work at this new temp job!

    Sunday, February 7, 2010

    Friday, February 5, 2010

    What the heck is Swagbucks, anyway?

    Some of you have probably noticed the Swagbucks banner in my sidebar. Some of you know what it is, but undoubtedly there are a few of you who have no idea and who hesitate to click on it because goodness knows where it could lead you. Winning stuff by searching online? Scams start off with a hook like that all the time, after all.

    This one? Not a scam. What it is is a search engine that rewards you with a certain percentage of their ad revenue when you search. Use their site to find what you're looking for, get a little reward every so often, and keep coming back to get more rewards. It's a benefit for everybody.

    You exchange the points for prizes once you've saved up enough, and the prizes are pretty good. Magazine subscriptions, gift cards to websites and restaurants, TV shows and songs to download through iTunes. There's a good variety of things, and you get to earn them by doing nothing more than you'd be doing when you search for something online anyway.

    It's not a bad search engine, either. Not as good as Google, I have to admit, seeing as how quite often you actually have to ignore the first few links that it brings up because they're nearly always sites that will try to sell you something, but if you know how to read it, it's a pretty decent system.

    They also have things like Megabucks fridays, where when you search for something on Fridays, you have chances of winning increased Swagbucks. It's not unheard of for a person to win 100 Swagbucks at a time. What does 100 Swagbucks mean, though? Well, it can mean $5 directly into your PayPal account, for one thing, with some points left over.

    It's also got a nifty referral bonus, too, where for everybody that signs up under your referral, Swagbucks matches the points that they earn, up to 100 points. So when somebody who signed up under my referral earns 5 Swagbucks, for example, so do I. And so does anybody that signs up under your referral.

    I've tried out a few "search and win" sites before, and some of them have been scams, or give tiny points values, or some other thing that makes it not worth it to stick around. But Swagbucks is actually one of the best I've seen, which is why I use it as often as I can. My trick is to search for things I already know. Need to look something up on Wikipedia? Just use Swagbucks to search for Wikipedia instead of typing in the URL yourself. You'll get there with just one extra click, and you've got the chance to win some points in the process. Sneaky, but effective.

    Sign up and give it a whirl. It may take a while before you get enough to exchange for something, but the fact that you can get it for free is a big bonus, in my book, and there are some pretty cool prizes to choose from in their catalogue.

    Thursday, February 4, 2010

    A wonderful surprise.

    I had a delightful surprise the other day with the delivery of a huge package in the mail. I couldn't for the life of me remember sending away for any freebies that large, and it took me a while to remember that yes, my part of a knitted shawl exchange had arrived.

    Inside was much more than a shawl, though. A scented candle, 6 skeins of yarn, a desk calendar, some cat toys, a pin, and a lovely card came along with the shawl, which I shall get pictures of as soon as I can. It's very long, and in variegated shades of purple wool. I just love it!

    I'm the kind of person who loves getting things in the mail. Letters, little free samples I've sent away for, all kinds. There's something thrilling about seeing an envelope addressed to me and wondering what's inside, or opening it up to see something you've been hoping would arrive soon. I love hearing that the mailman has just been by, and I go straight to our tiny little mailbox and see what's inside. More often than not, it's junk mail or bills, or something for Rachel, but it's fun all the same just to look and see.

    That's why I tell people that my favourite part of my birthday is getting cards. Often they forget, especially family, and opt to send an e-card, which I have to admit is an eco-conscious decision and I can't fault them for it. But I love opening cards and reading them, and I save each one. I don't know how many cards I have from years gone by now, but sometimes I'll look at them again, and instead of a flutter of excitement I feel a warm sense of love and appreciation. I was remembered by somebody, and here's the physical proof of it.

    Wednesday, February 3, 2010

    Good news!

    I have a job again!

    Granted, it's only a temporary job, but 3 weeks of working for $11 an hour will give me enough money to pay the rent this month, buy the medications I need, but a bus pass for next month, and still have a little money to pay toward my debt. That is, of course, assuming full-time hours of 40+ hours a week, but since I've been told the project has a 3 week deadline and they're seeking temp staff because they're a bit behind, I imagine that I'll get decent hours.

    I am so happy about this! Yesterday I received a call and found out that I didn't get a job I was hoping for, so finding this out today really softened that blow. The rent will be paid this month, and we won't have to tighten our belts further in order to do it!

    Definitely a good thing to get out of bed for this morning.

    And I'm going to keep my fingers crossed that by the time this contract ends, there'll be some other work soon after, so that I can pay March's rent too. But that's in the future. For now, I'm just going to be happy about starting work again on Monday, doing something I'll like to do, doing it close to home, and making good money once more.

    Monday, February 1, 2010

    Blogging and money

    I read yesterday that Emily of Under $1000 Per Month actually made over $1000 in January from ad referrals and the like. She made over her monthly budget by blogging.

    In reading through the comments that announcement made, it got me thinking about the ethics and philosophy behind making money by blogging.

    The way I see it, there are two real distinctions. There's blogging for money, and making money by blogging. I actually see them as two very different things.

    To me, blogging for money is blogging with the express purpose of making money. Sponsored product reviews, SEO optimized posts every time, only saying things that you know will get some financial gain, or partnering with companies and getting financial compensation for flogging their products.

    Making money by blogging I see more as a compensation for doing work. Although blogging is a hobby for the majority of bloggers, the upkeep of a blog, the advertising to get readership, maintaining a community in the comments, it all takes time and effort. And I don't see a problem in placing a few ads here and there to get a little compensation for that.

    Particularly when it comes to the blogs of writers, I've noticed that they seem to be the ones that mind making a little ad money the least. Why? Because in blogging, they're writing, and writing is their profession. It makes sense to me. They aren't writing to make money, but they are making money by writing.

    If that money happens to be the entirety of your income, then that just means you're one of the lucky ones, since that won't happen for everybody. I wish it would happen to me, to be honest. Having no outside job and no source of regular income would be made a lot easier by having some money come in from blogging, since I tend up update this blog on a regular basis. But that will take a lot of work. Not only will I have to keep updating regularly, I'll have to make interesting posts that people want to read. I'll have to advertise my blog on community sites. I'll have to comment a lot on other blogs so that people see my name and click back here and read through a few things. It's not like I just expect to sit back and watch the money roll in. I have to work for it.

    The fact that I enjoy working for it makes it all easier to do. I enjoy reading blogs, I enjoy writing blog posts.

    Making a little money from blogging is one of the ways I'd like to simplify my life. If truth be told, I'd much rather stay at home and work on making handmade items for sale or barter than go out 5 days a week and work for somebody else. If I can make a little trickle income by blogging about my experiences, then that just gets me one step closer to my dream.

    Making room for progress

    A local cafe has closed, and the Celtic shop beside it is relocating, I discovered last week during a walk uptown. Why? No particular reason. Oh, except for the fact that a new clothing store came along and said, "We want your spot in the mall." And the mall let them have it, in spite of having to uproot two stores, both local businesses.

    The House of Tara, the Celtic store, moved to that spot originally because it was in a better place for foot traffic than their first location. I don't much like the owner of the store, since she seems to have a frown for everybody who looks younger than 35, but I'm glad to at least see that she's relocating rather than closing down, because there's been a House of Tara in this city since I was a child.

    Holly's Cafe Soha, on the other hand, just rolled belly-up at the news and is closing down completely, isn't even trying to relocate. They were doing good business there in a good spot. Rumour has it that they were on top of their lease but evicted from the spot anyway, because the mall owners felt that the new clothing store could bring in better business.

    As I said to my roommate, this is the biggest problem with living in a "city on the grow." Big businesses come in and get rid of the smaller ones, the local ones that were loved as established for years. It's the price we all pay for progress.

    Assuming you define progress as a wider choice of clothes, that is. I know I don't. I get 90% of my clothes from thrift stores anyway. But even if I bought brand new, I think I'd still avoid this new store on principle. I don't like it when big companies evict smaller ones. It's like playground politics. "I like what you have, so gimme!"

    I was annoyed when the first Starbucks came to this city a few years back. Their first location? 50 feet from the local equivalent, Java Moose. Sure, it's great that people have another choice, but when the majority of sheeple see a bi famous brand versus a small local one, they're going to choose big and famous. Then another Starbucks came. Then another. We now have 4 in the city, 3 of them in less than a square mile, and the other uptown.

    I don't buy from Starbucks. I don't like their lack of commitment to fair trade (they advertise fair trade for only one of their coffee types, at least here, whereas Java Moose advertises that it's on board with fair trade for all of their coffees), and besides, Java Moose makes a much better chai! (And Starbucks doesn't do iced chai, either, which is one of my favourite drinks from Java Moose.) If I'm going to pay $4 for a chai, I'm going to give it to the company I support the most and who makes a better product!

    I buy local when I can. It prevents the world from being taken over by Starbucks and WalMart.