Archive for January, 2014

Part of the reason I’m so cynical about these newfangled products and whatnot is because I grew up in my grandparents’ home, and they had some pretty conservative ideas.

Like eat your damn peas.

And stop shufflin them feet.

And walk like a prince or you’ll get treated like trash.

That kind of conservatism. The kind that was based on giving and getting respect, supporting local, mom-and-pop grocers, listening to and respecting your elders and NUMBER ONE, ABOVE ALL, EATING WHOLESOME FOODS.

Always choose fruit over candy. Never buy a packaged product when a fresh one is available. Chocolate bars do nothing for you. Pickle everything. Fast-food isn’t food. Learn to cook. Forget to eat out. Dessert isn’t necessary. Vitamins and minerals are. Don’t watch TV all day. Go outside and play. The world is your gym and your determination is your gym pass. Swim. Run. Climb. Cycle. Make friends. Play.

This wisdom had followed me into adulthood and I think often about how fortunate I was to have grandparents like mine. While my friends ate junk food and instant meals, I was in heaven, though I had no idea. I thought all those kids were lucky to get fast food and preservative-laden, heart-stopping, likely-to-survive-nuclear-holocaust edible garbage. I didn’t realize that the diarrhea-inducing pondscum they were eating was collateral damage from a dual-income family who had no choice but to throw quick meals at their loved ones before rushing out the door in order to keep up with their subdivision suburban mortgages and SUV car loan payments.

The truth is, my grandparents were TRULY conservative- they were conserving all they could! They had only one car, a tiny, fuel-efficient vehicle. They rarely used indoor heating. Their pension income may have been low, but their consumption was also quite low. They truly embodied the doctrine of non-materialism, a doctrine which is a dirty word in many 21st-century discussions on economics.

In Korea, I’m pampered. There are these guerilla gardening grannies who will take fertile land in the hills and just plant stuff. Then they come down to the open market and sell everything from grains and beans to fresh fruits and vegetables.

With plenty of westcoast seaweed and kelp, there are enough b-vitamins and iron to forsake most traditional protein sources. If you just cook at home in South Korea, you have the option to eat a healthier and more economical diet than many places on earth.

There’s only one problem. No one is a peninsula entire of itself. Industrial pollution still affects us all, the quality of the food we eat, and in turn the quality of the lives we lead.

There’s nothing conservative about environmental destruction. Or supporting Monsanto. Or opposing climate science and the post-carbon movement. That’s just ignorance.

Who would have guessed that what’s good for the body is good for the environment, and vice-versa?

My grandparents would have. They’d have told me that was good old fashioned common sense. I think they’d be proud that I was interested in keeping things wholesome. I think they’d agree that we deserve better.

Better than what?

Proctor and Gamble





General Mills


We’re reasonably smart monkeys. We have the Internet. Just stop using what these guys are making as best as humanly possible and encourage others to do the same.




Posted: January 7, 2014 in experiments, stories

I had a nightmare last night.

I dreamt that I woke up like most days and watched the morning news. But instead of news, there was information about health, diet, community-building, plant cultivation and personal wellbeing. I flipped through the channels looking for news about war, sickness, rape and murder. But I couldn’t find anything. I was very distraught.

I walked outside my two-story home in which I live alone in anticipation that I will get a wife and children to fill it. But when I looked outside, I realized that there were no other two-story homes. Instead, there were biomimetic dwellings, half-buried, blending into the landscape as far as the eye could see. My house stuck out like a sore thumb!

The mailman came by and gave me my usual ten monthly bills. I looked around, and everyone else got only one! Where was their cable bill? Their cell phone bill? Their car payment? Their credit card? Their heating? Their air-conditioning? Their insurance? Their retirement savings? Their upkeep fees for gardeners, babysitters and domestic employees?

carI sighed and got into my car. As I rode to work I had a very difficult time because there were no other cars on the road. There were only joggers, pedestrians, cycles and people in wheelchairs. I honked but they would not move away quickly enough. It ended up taking twice the time it usually takes to get to work. I saw my office clearly in the distance, which is very strange because it is usually blanketed in smog.

Once I got to my office, which like our residential area was biomimetic, and hideously non-professional, I drove around for half an hour looking for a parking space. There was nothing but bike racks! Finally I parked in a field and got my suit dirty. I was really upset because this suit was very expensive. I got inside late, which I never do, and went into the boardroom for Monday meeting. What greeted me there horrified me beyond resolve.

The CEO, assistant, and all fifteen board members were not wearing suits. They were all in active wear! Further onto that, none of them had coffee cups. They were sharing tea in small white cups. Usually, we all have a personal portfolio containing a report which we each present based on seniority. We decide which are the best and which will be axed, and this determines our promotion, salary increase and bonus, though the final decision is up to the CEO.

In THIS terrible nightmare, there was only one sketchpad, made from reused material, in the center of the table. Everyone was writing on it and discussing the new direction for the company. They were laughing and evaluating and modifying each other’s ideas. How would we decide who gets promoted? It was lunacy! I had nothing to contribute. I had my own portfolio and report, but no one could take it seriously, because I wasn’t able to explain it. I could only read it, and as soon as the words came out of my mouth, they had no meaning. I felt so embarrassed!

Then, the weirdest thing happened! A door was opened and children came rushing into the board room! All children of all income levels, together! Even those damned hood children were there! They weren’t dressed like hood children, but I recognized them because of their different.. uh… you know… nevermind. They all came in together and started making things. Everyone was talking with the children. The children started learning a simpler version of what our company does with models and toys. Then they went off and did it themselves. Some of them even improved their parents’ ideas! What was this insanity? Why aren’t these children in school?

When we finished, the CEO told us it was time to have a pre-lunch stretch. Then she told me to stop calling her CEO and simply call her “facilitator”. We went into a stretching room, and everyone began to do advanced stretches that I’ve never seen before. Because I was in a suit and they were in active wear, it was impossible for me to participate. Roger, who works in the cubicle next to me told me I should just strip down to my underwear, no one would mind. I looked at him quizzically, having long wondered about his sexual orientation.

He seemed to sense what I was thinking and said, “Fine, suit yourself. Think what you want to think. Fear what you want to fear. But a well-stretched body is healthier and more productive, and if you don’t stretch you will only be hurting yourself.”

Of course I wasn’t about to strip down. I have had my eye on Sally from accounting for a while now, and I wasn’t about to let Roger make a fool of me on the off-chance that he is interested in her too. So I went to the lunch hall early and pulled out my lunch. I was just about done eating my hamburger and fries, which were cold because I couldn’t find a microwave oven.

Suddenly everyone came in and sat around me. They put a giant bowl in the middle of the table and tossed in vegetables, rice, different spices and things I’ve never even seen before. Roger sat next to me and began telling me about what each vegetable, grain and cube was good for, and remarked that it was not only delicious, but also had everything in it that my body needed without anything carcinogenic or harmful. I found this very hard to believe considering there was no meat in it. Everyone ate together from the big bowl. Don’t these people know about germs?

“When everything you do is centered around building a healthy immune system, you don’t need to worry as much about germs.” When the hell did Roger become a nutritionist?

I’d had it with this backwards world with no responsibility, no accountability and no common sense. These people were maniacs. I rushed outside to my car, sped home, nearly knocking over some pedestrians, unlocked my door, ran upstairs and pulled the covers up over my head.

At some point I feel asleep, and awoke again to see the sun beaming through my window. I felt terrible, drained, and imbued with a sense of deep shame and embarrassment from the previous day. I looked outside my window, but something was different.

Everything was back to normal! The houses were right again, cars were on the street, there were fewer cyclists and pedestrians, I couldn’t see my workplace because of the smog, and I smelled the nice, tasty, wafting aroma of fries and burgers from the local fast food chain. It was all just a terrible nightmare.



On my way out the door after watching violent crime, war and sickness on the morning news, I took a deep breath, coughed a l

On my ride to school, my neighbours were shocked to see me smiling in my car, nodding my head to the music on my radio. They must have thought I was crazy, and they’d be right. People who dance to music in their cars should probably be on medication.ittle, and smiled. I saw the postman delivering ten bills to each house, and watched him with an unusual amount of vigor. I watched the hood children being carted away to their underfunded inner city public school while my neighbours’ children were chauffeured to their private school. The world hadn’t gone crazy. Everything was fine.

Maybe I was a little crazy. Or maybe I’d just realized that I should be thankful for what I have. What a horrible nightmare! What poverty! What a terrible world that would be, don’t you agree?