The blog formerly known as   Fake Plastic Fish

Monthly Archives: October 2007

October 5, 2007

Recommended: Animal, Vegetable, Miracle

I just finished listening to Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life,by Barbara Kingsolver, on BART tonight. I purchased the unabridged audiobook from iTunes and downloaded it onto my iPod. This audiobook, which is read by the authors, Barbara Kingsolver, her husband Steven, and daughter Camille, has been a pleasure to listen to.

The book is all about their family’s year of eating locally, growing a lot of their food on their Virginia farm, and purchasing almost all of the rest of it from local farmers. It begins and ends with asparagus and in between are bushels of chard, zucchinis, tomatoes, and some pretty funny turkey sex. This book, as well as Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma, have really gotten me thinking about where my food comes from and who I’m supporting with my food choices.

After work tonight, I stopped at Safeway. (Much more on Safeway in a future post.) I saw avocados for sale and knew, based … Read the rest

October 3, 2007

Glass jars & lids: The Final Word (I hope!)

You may recall the glass jar lid saga in which I recommended cleaning the tomato stains from pasta sauce jar lids with hydrogen peroxide, only to reverse that recommendation a week later after discovering that the peroxide ate away at the coating inside the lids. (And yes, as you will recall, I tried other options such as vinegar, lemon juice, baking soda…)

Used pasta sauce jars are great for storing all kinds of wet and dry foods (as an alternative to plastic containers) except for the tomato smell which is impossible to remove from the lids. Since I can’t clean them out without wreaking all kinds of havoc, I’ve resorted to recycling the lids (yes, my recycling company confirms that they will be processed) and replacing them with new ones. With information provided by Scott at Least Footprint, I’ve been able to find lids for the two main types of pasta sauce jars on the market.

The jar on the left side of the top photo is a regular… Read the rest

October 2, 2007

Magic Stapler: Not magic, and not really a stapler

As much as we try to avoid buying new things in order to “step lightly on the planet,” we can still be tempted by shiny, new gadgets. Especially when they are promoted by flashy eco web sites. We shouldn’t let go of our critical thinking skills just because we happen to be browsing a site called But that’s exactly what happened to me when I ordered a free sample of the Magic Stapler based on this Treehugger review. Even though the thing is made out of plastic, my curiosity got the better of me, and I bit.

The “stapler” operates without any staples at all, cutting a hole into the paper, forming a tab which is folded back and through a slit. The idea is similar to the way we used to attach papers in school when we didn’t have a stapler handy by tearing some tabs into the top of the pages and folding them over. Except that method was free and required only our hands, whereas this method requires a jazzy plastic… Read the rest

October 1, 2007

Of Water and Weirdness

I tabled at Temescal again on Sunday, this time wearing a different shirt. A “Think Outside The Bottle” shirt, to be exact. And instead of tabling as me, an Oakland resident who simply wanted to encourage other Oakland residents to give up plastic bags, I represented an organization. Wow, was that a different experience. It kind of reminded me of my early days canvassing for Clean Water Action. We had an agenda, and a quota, and a “script.” Except this time, we were looking for volunteers rather than monetary contributions.

And while I totally support The World Water Challenge’s goals (encouraging mayors in 7 cities to cancel bottled water contracts and support local tap water), I think that at 42 I’m a little too independent-minded to fit into the organizational mold. So I’ll be going to the “kick-off meeting” on Wednesday. But I’m not sure I’ll table for this group again.… Read the rest