Saturday, August 16, 2008

Going Green, Baby Steps At A Time

I saw on the news a few weeks ago that there is a tiny town in Japan where all the residents are required -- REQUIRED! -- to recycle everything. We're talking absolutely every eensy-weensy little bit and scrap of garbage each household generates. Each home even also has their own compost pile.

And although it doesn't seem glamorous or convenient, I can see that this is really the direction we all need to go in. Every one of us. I mean, let's be practical; we're burying ourselves in crap -- garbage that floats around in the oceans and washes up on beaches and tangles and kills wild animals just for starters -- and for what?

The waste we each produce -- and I'm not talking about the dirty useless garbage, like human waste or scraps of bones and meat cause that's actually very small (in relative terms) when you realize that vegetables and egg shells are all compost-able -- just the sheer PILES of plastic and synthetics and such by-products we each generate/throw away each day is really staggering.

So thinking on that and after I despaired for a little bit for the state of the planet, I realized a baby step is way better than nothing and a step in the right direction.

Plus what's already nice about Nashville is I know many of us already think in Green directions. I mean, otherwise locally we wouldn't have so many successful Used Books/CDs/ DVDs stores, Used Instruments stores, a storefront to make sales on e-Bay, and so many GoodWill and such types of stores where we could bring in the nice-condition stuff that we just don't want anymore so that other people would be able to use them. It's a good way to not throw away the useful stuff.

My first baby step was in buying those neat canvas bags at the grocery store. And it's been fun comparing the styles and colors of each of them, especially now that Publix, Kroger, Harris Teeter and Whole Foods all have nice canvas bags that each holds about the same amount of groceries as two and half plastic bags would have. The obsessive collector geek in me wanted at least two from each store (LOL) so I got some from each as I went shopping ... and now I am pretty much done with plastic bags. (Dedicating one or two bags specifically for eggs and raw meats in case they drip, is a good idea.)

Now that Kroger has changed from their bright blue bags -- (which I have to admit, I found not pretty) to their new black bags (with the tiny blue Kroger logo in the corner) I use those the most. Plus those have a teeny pocket inside which are really neat. I find the Harris Teeter subtle green bags the prettiest, though the Whole Foods and Publix bags are also nice and appropriately brightly green-colored (& when they're in stock, you can also find the Publix bags in khaki and black.) I highly recommend using these canvas grocery bags and taking them with you (or leave them in the trunk if you have a car, so they're handy) when you go out shopping everywhere.

My next baby step then, was separating our garbage. I started out this past Spring by just separating each type into its own bag: plastics, glass, metal and cardboard/paper. This past month I finally got each of them their own 13-gallon garbage can. Yeah, it's kinda crowded having 5 trash cans in the kitchen but on the other hand it's now very tidy. It's still a baby step since it isn't easy to get to the Davidson County recycling areas without a car, so it still all still just goes in the garbage just yet, but I feel that separating the garbage now gets me accustomed to the habit. So my next step is figuring out how to get the recyclables to where they need to be.

Can some minor composting be far behind ...?

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Thought Bubbles Out Loud: Graphic Novel Discussion At Downtown Public Library, Saturday August 9

I must admit I totally did the girly-squeal thing (yeah, and I jumped up and down a little bit) when we visited the Downtown Library a couplea weeks ago for their story lunch hour ... and I'd noticed they'd made a big purple flyer for Thought Bubbles Out Loud, the graphic novel and comics panel we're having next Saturday, August 9. I totally grabbed a flyer for my portfolio and one which I mailed to my Mom and Dad. They were very happy for me!

So yeah, I'll mention it again!

The Downtown Library is holding a discussion on graphic novels and comic books, called Thought Bubbles Out Loud next Saturday, August 9th at 2pm in conference room 1A. The conference room is located on the first floor before the Main Gallery. Graphic novelist Hope Larson (Chiggers, Salamander Dreams) will be there. Author and scholar Jonathan Lampley will be moderating and I'll be there. We'll be discussing comics, raising questions and I hope -- encouraging a new batch of creators ...!

There will be coffee (YAY!) And I'll try to bring some cookies if I'm allowed (I'll have to ask first ...)

Walking In This Crazy, Globby Heat

So I've spent July mostly working on comics ... and courtesy of my good friend Dawn, got to see a little bit of wonderful local artwork at two openings -- one for Rosanne Awbrey at the Green Hills library and for Garry Hornbuckle and Wyma Hornbuckle over at the Gordon Jewish Community Center. Those things I enjoyed very much.

I also spent a lot of July going to the dentist, which would normally freak me out big time (too, too many cavities as a kid!) but we finally found a great dental staff in Nashville. Don't let their fancy website mentioning cosmetic dentistry make you think they only do the expensive stuff. They're very down to earth, friendly and take care of the everyday stuff too, like normal cavities and normal cleaning ... they're very patient, nice and also take the time to educate you, to make sure you're doing all you can to save your teeth! They're smart folks.

Now suddenly it's August, and like the rest of us here in Middle Tennessee -- I'm dealing with the oppressive, globby, humid heat of mid-to-late summer. I feel sorry for the kids who all have to start school in this heat over the next two weeks or so! Waiting for the school bus (when they even have one, what with the gas prices cutting back the school bus routes and all!!) is going to be rough.

Frankly, it's difficult to walk around on no sidewalks and in humidity that makes the air feel like you're breathing in molasses. It's like a double whammy of difficulty ... but on the other hand, I must make note that it looks like drivers are becoming more aware and more pedestrian-friendly lately ... and I'm really grateful for that. More often they'll wait for us to cross the street when we have the light now instead of trying to beat us to make a right in front of us before we step off the curb.

I kvetch about the heat only because I spent a lot of time walking around in it this past week, getting flyers for next week's comics panel up on the community bulletin boards over in the Davis-Kidd bookstore, Great Escape comic book store and the Borders bookstore near Vanderbilt. Everyone was really wonderful and accommodating. I had already gotten flyers over to our friend Rick's comic book store -- Rick's Comic City over in Donelson -- the week before, so I feel like I did my best to help get the word out about the comics panel, which takes place next Saturday August 9th at 2pm in the Downtown Nashville Library.