Archive for May, 2008

CBC Toronto Does Half a Story on Green Bin Waste

Yesterday, CBC Toronto six o’clock news did a story on what happens to Toronto’s green bin waste. According to their report, the city collects 150 tonnes per day, 20 percent of which is not compostable or organic and contaminates the organic waste stream, impairing the ability of the city to sell the compost. The city says we’re doing three things wrong:

  1. The plebes double or triple bag their waste. Wonder why? It couldn’t be because it’s collected at half the rate it used to be and thus has time to start to rot and smell, now could it? As the solid waste manager noted at the beginning of the piece, organics stink. The city uses a pulper to separate the plastic bags from the waste; the more bags, the longer the pulper runs, the more electricity is required to run the machine.
  2. The mayonnaise effect: plebes throw out the whole jar of spoiled food, rather than scooping the food out (old mayo, for example) into the green bin and washing out the glass jar before tossing it into the recycling bin. I sympathize with the plebes; especially when you’re cleaning out the fridge, who wants to double the time you already don’t have to do this chore by separating each and every container into its component parts. The pulper and rest of the machinery doesn’t completely separate the glass from the food, and so the compost ends up with sharp shards in it.
  3. Us plebes don’t have a clue what to put in each bin. We spend time reading the calendars, checking out what others have put in their boxes, asking others even the city, yet still we get it wrong, and the city blames us. We’re not educating ourselves well enough, and we have to do better, they claim. The only ones who will heed their accusation and feel guilty will be those who are already trying to educate themselves; the passive protesters couldn’t care less. They’re too overworked to spend time listening to a city that can’t deal with a garbage issue so throws responsibility for it onto the people.

The CBC report answered the question how do the organics get separated from the plastic, but it didn’t challenge the city at all. It didn’t ask why it’s not using better equipment, equipment other municipalities have tried out or are using that does a good job of separating all the various waste streams from each other and doesn’t require ordinary people to pre-sort their garbage. It didn’t ask why it’s relying on overworked, underpaid, don’t-speak-English citizenry to do its job and pay for the privilege. Toronto doesn’t seem to acknowledge that there’s a large segment of the population who don’t buy into the garbage-sorting-makes-us-better-citizens BS and never will and that though Toronto prides itself on being multicultural, many of those with poor English skills use that to avoid spending so much time on trying to figure out the convoluted garbage rules. They are in effect being passive protestors.

CBC also didn’t ask how much of the green bin waste is actually recycled into compost and how much ends up in the landfill. It mentioned creating methane from green waste, but CBC didn’t ask if it’s being done now and what’s taking so long; why old landfills’ methane are being vented into the air and not being used for energy creation; and why this form of gas creation is OK but not a high-tech incinerator or plasma arc plant.

In other words, as usual we got a regurgitated press release, just with pretty (or stinky if you will) pictures, telling us what we’re doing wrong instead of challenging the city on why it’s doing a half-assed job and pissing off the neighbours and its own citizens in the process.

PLACE HANDS Rock Out With Their New CD

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Tonight PLACE HANDS have a CD launch party at the Savannah Room with ETAOIN SHRDLU and ANCESTORS.  Should be amazing.  Only $5 at the door but that doesn’t include the earplugs.

PLACE HANDS CD RELEASE PARTY with ETAOIN SHRDLU and ANCESTORS
Savannah Room294 College Street
Toronto, ON M5T 1R9, Canada
(416) 975-0845
Just $5 at the door

Lula Lounge – Hosting a Burma Relief Concert TONIGHT!!!

Tonight the Lula Lounge are hosting a Burma Relief Concert in aid of the International Burmese Monks Organization.  Should be a great show featuring Sunshine State, Jesse Cook, and Arts & Crafts artist Jason Collett. All funds raised will be directed to Buddhist monks in Burma and not to the Government in Myanmar.

BURMA RELIEF CONCERT – LULA LOUNGE
MAY 20th 2008
1585 Dundas St. W., west of Dufferin

DOORS OPEN @ 7pm

Calling For The Death of Scalpers

It’s bad enough that when a Raptors, Leafs, Argos, or Toronto FC game are sold out there are flocks of vulturous scalpers waiting to exploit you. I mean these events can be expensive enough without having to pay “extortion” type fees both to the club and a scalper. Fandom can come at a hefty price, too often fan pride give in to the scalped ticket.

Proud to say that a different sense of pride has prevented me from ever indulging in a purchase from a scalper, EVER. A colleague from work used to “stick it” to the scalpers by buying tickets mid-game for “discount prices”. A practice that may bring a smile on the few who manage to see the last half of THE GAME (at half or way less than the asking price minutes before).  Personally the scalper’s “hardship” by selling even a discounted priced ticket is hardly that of someone who doesn’t get to go at all.

In this new economy it seems that more and more people are looking for the easy money. Not actually earning it but taking it from others by any means necessary.  Joining the ranks are corporations like Ticketmaster.  Eye Weekly’s story couldn’t have been more timely.  Looking to pick up some tickets for summer concerts in the city I came across the TicketsNow site which is essentially a corporate scalper.  I saw readily available tickets (for now) on their site for 5 times the price!!!  Some form of legal action should be exercised considering we have the Ticket Speculation Act but I’m sure TicketsNow/Ticketmaster can be hit with several $5,000 fines without flinching.

Well I’ll stick to my avoidance tactics.  Sticking with RotateThis , Soundscapes or direct from the venue for my Concert tickets.  If they are sold out I’ll splurge on a CD and stay home.  Scalpers may be here to stay but I hope for their slow and painful death.

Long Weekend Dashing for the US of A.

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Finally I am Back!  It’s been awhile but I am back.  After having a baby and work picking up it seems so hard to find time to blog.  Well, I am here but not for long.  Meaning I am heading to the good (some would argue against that) US of A.  It’s family reunion time which also means a road trip. Yay!  Hmmm, makes you wonder though how much of us actually take the trek to spend a long weekend down south with a drive from Toronto.  Gas prices have really taken us hostage.  Is it really worth it to drive to Buffalo anymore to save a few bucks?  Personally I don’t think so.  Plus, I think we got better chicken wings.  Oh yea one more thing, we got NFL football now!     

Put Toronto First: A New Website

Put Toronto First is a new initiative by the National Citizens Coalition that has just gone live. The NCC are the ones who put that big billboard up of Bob Rae back during Rae Days. Rumour has it they’re planning on doing the same to David Miller. I cannot wait!

Before they put up this new website, they spent April querying the person-on-the-street about what bugs them the most. They have a nifty little pie chart that shows that taxation is the number one priority. I wonder though how well informed people are about all the ways City Hall takes their money.

I had a couple of interesting conversations over the weekend, and despite the plethora of news reports last summer and the recent flurry of info from City Hall, I discovered that usually well-informed people are completely oblivious to the fact that they’re getting a SECOND garbage bin, to match the new blue bin. In addition, THIS ONE they will have to pay for…unless they get a “small” one, which most people I know won’t be able to because of their household size.

Remember big families get dinged the most under this new tax plan. So you would think if people are miffed about taxation and the misuse of tax dollars, they’d be up in arms about this stealth tax in the guise of cleaning up our environment. You’d think.

Garbage Bin Information Events

If you want to learn more about the new garbage bins, you’re too late if you live near Castlegrove Blvd., Summerhill Ave., Wellesley Street East, but for the rest:

  • East York Community Centre at 1081 Pape Ave., you have less than an hour to get there by 8:00 pm today
  • Rosedale Park — Mayfair Event at Scholfield Ave., from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm on Sat. May 10
  •  Parkwoods Village Mall at 1277 York Mills Road, from noon to 4:00 pm on Sat. May 10.

For full list, visit target70.

Round Two: Garbage Bins

Holy cow, did you get a gander at the new garbage bins? No, not the monstrous blue, I mean round two of bindom.

Garbage Bin Ad

I think she must be Glenn De Baeremaeker’s sister. Questions: Will Cabbagetown residents get more ticked off and ensure they get to continue to use bags for their garbage too? Am I going to have to make another call to get rid of this bin too?

If you couldn’t get worked up over round one, how about the fact that this time, you get to pay for it? These bins aren’t the ones they presented to the media last summer — those ones were tame compared to these behemoths! talk about massaging the message — but for the privilege of polluting the visual appeal of your property, even if you don’t use your bin some weeks, the bigger the bin, the greater the hit on your wallet. (BTW the reason why the smallest bin is much bigger than they advertised last summer is because they have to make it bigger for automated collection, which is impossible outside of the burb areas of Toronto but who cares about that small detail, and so they put in a false bottom. The actual bin capacity is half of what you see. You’ll get a $10 annual credit for using that one. Be still my beating heart.)

Of course, if we’d gone to bag tags and continued to be allowed to put out garbage your way (whether bags or bins) you’d have to pay only when you put out your garbage, not every two weeks regardless of how much, if any, garbage you put out. The bag tags also are an easy and visible way to show how much you can save if you put out less garbage; the bin way it’s far more of a hassle to reduce your garbage, that is, you figure out you could go down a size, but then you’d have to know you could do that every 2 weeks, for sure, and maybe you’re not sure plus you have to call City Hall, and who enjoys doing that? So in the end, why bother? So no, the bin way is a less-satisfactory method of reducing waste production plus it penalizes large families and cultures that live in extended-family units. But then Toronto really wants more taxes out of you, and bins are the way to do it. Have a good day!

The Hassle of Rating and Commenting on Metblogs

Metblogs is looking better and better, now that they’ve fixed that really-really-wide banner. It’s so much easier for us bloggers to use, and I think it’s nicer for blog visitors to read. But there’s one problem: it’s a bitch to leave a comment.

Oh, it’s no problem if you’re a Metblogger or a WordPress user, but what happens if you’re just Joe Blow who wants to leave a comment? Who wants to set up a WordPress account just to do that? I wouldn’t. It seems strange to me that the designers were unable to devise a sign-in sheet as easy for a commenter to use as Blogger’s or the old Metblog’s.

So for all you kind readers who would like to leave a comment, but understandably don’t need the hassle: rate it! Um, well, that’s what I thought….

Down at the bottom right of each post are 5 grey stars. You’ll notice as you mouse over them that they turn green. Just click on the desired star and boom, you have your desired number of lit up stars. Try it — when you move over the stars until you get to the fourth one, click it! (After all, doesn’t this post deserve at least 4 stars?)

Even if a comment is out of the question, at least we will know what you think of our opinions and writings. And isn’t that worth clicking a star?

You’d think so, or at least I did. After all, don’t we want to encourage some interaction between bloggers and readers? But after I wrote all that star stuff, I went hmmmm…..maybe I should sign out and see if a non-WordPress, non-Metblog user can rate it too. Nope. Heck no. Like way nooooooo.

Sorry folks, if you want to comment or rate a Metblog, you’re just going to have to become a WordPress user. Sucks, I know. But I don’t have control over the admin interface. Personally, I’d use anti-scam guns, of which there are plenty, and allow legit humans easily (the emphasis on easily) to leave a comment or rate a post.

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