Is Everything Disposable Now?

My sister had a small (okay, large) crisis just before Christmas.  On December 21st, her oven died.  Kaput, gone, just like that.  Which was a serious problem as she was hosting Christmas dinner for 20 people. 

On December 22nd, she started calling around to find a new range.  This was a big problem, as she had a gas range and apparently there were none to be found in the city of Ottawa.  And several stores told her, even if one could be found, it couldn’t be delivered in time…  And even if they could deliver in time, they wouldn’t be able to get a gas fitter in time…  Well, the staff at the new Lowe’s that opened in Orleans a few weeks ago found her a gas range on Dec 22nd.  And they delivered it on Dec. 23rd.  And a friend of my brother’s is a gas fitter and set everything up, so the Christmas turkey was saved (or rather cooked) afterall!  Yay!  Thanks Lowe’s staff!

What does this story have to do with disposable you wonder?  Well, the oven that went kaput was only 7 years old.  And her microwave, of the same age, died about a month earlier.  And the dishwasher was replaced 2 years ago at the ripe old age of 5! 

 Does that sound right to you?  Since when do major appliances have such a short life span?   

The appliances we had when I was a kid lasted much longer than that – unfortunate, considering the ugly 70s colour choices.  My mother’s current washer and dryer were purchased in 1985 and are still in great working order.  Somehow I suspect that the front-loading washing machine we purchased in 2006 will not still be around in 2031…

So why is it that in the 50s, 60s, 70s and even 80s we had the ability to built things that would last, but today it’s not just the milk that has an expiry date? 

How many DVD players, mp3 players, computers and TVs has your family gone through in the last 10 years?  Do we even think about what happens to all the materials that were used in the fabrication of these items when we dispose of them?  How about all the new metals, plastics and hazardous materials that are required to build new ones?  Where does it come from, where does it go and at what cost to us? 

As I ponder all of this, I shudder at all the waste, both in dollars and even more at the impact on the environment.  There must be a better way. 

I’ve never been into buying vintage, it just hasn’t been my thing.  But perhaps buying things that are already in existence and that were built to last would be preferable to the incessant need to buy new items that lead to the production of even more new items with shorter and shorter lifespans…

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Passwords!

I hate passwords!  Do you?

When I tried to login here today, I had no idea what my password was.  I tried a few, and nope, that wasn’t it.  I had to reset my password, again…  Then when I went to select a new password, ding, ding, ding, I remembered the old one!

Our lives are filled with so many passwords.  The PIN number for the instant teller.  The sign in for the computer at work, then another for the email at work.  Then my personal email.  This blog.  My on-line stores.  The forums I belong to.  The answering machine!  And on, and on…

Yes, I could go for the easy to remember route and use the same password or two for all of those things.  But then if someone got my password to one, they would have the password to everything.  And before you go thinking that I’m super paranoid about people getting passwords here’s a couple of incidents. 

When I was in university I lived in residence and one day 4 of the guys on my floor discovered their bank accounts had money missing from them.  Well, it was one of their “friends”, another guy who lived on our floor, who had watched them put in their passcodes and then got his hands on their cards.

One night last year, just as we were applying for the mortgage for our house, the spyware on our computer detected the presence of a keystroke logger!  Talk about panic city!  We changed all of our passwords, starting with the banking ones, reported it to our bank and the credit agencies and worried about it for a while.  Nothing obviously bad was found, but who knows what info about us made its way out there. 

But I still hate the need to have and remember a bazillion passwords!

Elections

Yep, it’s that dreaded time again… election time. 

Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t dislike this time because I don’t want to vote.  I believe that voting is not just a right, but also an obligation.  I’m grateful to live in a country where all citizens have the right to vote.  What I’m not thrilled about are the ad campaigns, specifically, the attack ads employed by pretty much all politicians.  The Conservatives started their attack ads even before the election was called, and this past weekend, the Liberal party joined in!  Will any politicians remain above this petty tactic?

I hate the attack ads!  They serve no useful purpose!  Attack ads do not help me to make an informed decision.  They tell me nothing about the platform of the sponsoring party.  They usually take things out of context and paint a distorted picture of the opposition.  If children in a school yard were to behave the way these politicians do with their ads, the children would be labelled as bullies.  The ads just create a negative impression of the sponsoring politician.  And we will elect one of these badly behaving politicians to be Prime Minister of Canada!  These types of ads don’t represent behaviour that I would want from a Prime Minister, and yet during an election campaign, all politicians seem to think it’s okay…   

The ads annoy me so much, that during election campaigns, I try to avoid network television.  This year is particularly bad, because not only do we have a federal election in Canada, so do our neighbours in the U.S.  And as much as I despise the Canadian attack ads, the American ones are even worse!   

Will any politician take the high road and avoid using attack ads?  I would vote for one who did.  How about creating an ad campaign that tells me about what one plans to do if elected, rather than trying to convince me to vote for him/her by telling me how bad the other guy is?  How stupid do they think voters are that this is how they try to get us to vote for them?  Are they on such shaky ground with their own platform that they don’t want to use that to sell themselves?  Don’t tell me why you don’t like the other guy.  Tell me why you are so great that I should vote for you!

So what do you think?  Do the attack ads work for you?  Are they what help you make your decision, or are you as sick of them as I am?

 

Next time, maybe I’ll talk about my other election pet peeve, support signs…