Boom Boom Cards, Oat Shoes, and Greenvans

Another round of three companies doing their part to change the world! In the first case, quite literally…

Boom Boom Cards

Boom Boom Cards, a pack of 26. (src)

They bill these cards as “Boom Boom Cards,” saying “be kind, track it online” and use the slogan “change the world in four easy steps.” How does it work? 1) You pick a card (any card), 2) you “commit a radical act of guerilla goodness,” 3) you recruit someone else to join in by giving them the card, and 4) each time someone performs the action, they’re encouraged to track it on boomboomcards.com. What kind of actions are we talking about? All kinds of stuff:

Green Card 3: Stop. Bend over. Pick up that piece of trash you’re about to walk by. Repeat.
Family Card 10: Choose a night to turn off the computers, TVs and cell phones and spend the night as a family with out interruption.
Original Card 19: The next time you see the need, speak up for what is right.

There’s a slew of other cards that really run the gamut when it comes to “revolutionary” topics – in fact each card contains its own “revolutionize it!” text to further spread your goodness. The stream of “boom booms” on the website is pretty neat – people from all over the world “checking in” with their acts of goodness. Better than checking in at a coffee shop to say you just bought a latte, anyway.

Oat Shoes: The Virgin Collection

Shoe -> Tree (src)

Typically, when your shoes are too worn out to be worn anymore, you throw ’em away. Sure, you could use them as shoes to paint in, garden in, donate them Goodwill (but with giant holes and no soles, they’ll probably just toss them)…but sometimes shoes are just so wrecked that they aren’t good for much else. And stripping off the cloth, rubber, and other materials to recycle is a pain. Enter OAT Shoes and their “Virgin Collection.” These shoes will biodegrade…and sprout trees. Color me skeptical, but business blog PSFK gives a bit of background:

At Amsterdam’s International Fashion Week, OAT shoes presented its “Virgin Collection,” a line of bio-degradable shoes that can be planted in the ground to sprout trees. Its materials break down easily and the seeds are embedded somewhere inside the design. The concept was well-received and won second prize at the Green Fashion competition.

Good for them! I’d love to see some kind of video about this process, but until then you can visit OAT’s website and await the release.

Greenvans

Powered by veggie oil! (or bio-diesel) (src)

As a guy in a band, I know firsthand the perils of having a unreliable tour vehicle. But beyond that, bands often have convoluted routing with hundreds of extra miles driven per tour. This adds up, both in gas as well as in emissions. Greenvans sought a solution: a van rental company that licenses vehicles powered exclusively by wasted vegetable oil (WVO) and bio-diesel.

While the rental may be expensive, you make it up for it in sourcing the “gas” – WVO tends to average to about $1/gallon, with vans getting upwards of 20 mpg towing a loaded trailer (hauling gear, merch, and of course the WVO!). That ain’t bad, folks. The process of refueling and locating the WVO is described on this page. Right now they’re based out of Boston, but can “deliver” the vans all over the States.

If you know of a company making a difference and would like me to feature it on the blog, tell me about it! Click on “contact” above or leave a comment.

Golden Globes 2011 Recap

gg

The what? (src)

Or “What You Probably Didn’t Expect to Read on TNTSU.”

But hey, I’m an American, I watch some TV, a few movies, and I even have a few opinions on them. For instance, Inception is fucking awesome and should have won everything and anything. But, whatever. Here are my crude observations after watching this 2+ hour babble-fest (which you can download illegally here).

  • The production was totally wack – it seemed like a cramped dinner party instead of a big-time awards show. In my head I thought “did they get bumped to a tinier venue at the last minute?” Seriously, it took like two minutes for some of the winners to get to the stage due to maneuvering around all the “stars.”
  • I really do love Inception (see my first post ever!), and was sad to see it didn’t win anything (as if the Hollywood Foreign Press Assocation’s vote actually means anything). West Virginian David Ryan wrote a piece dedicated to this tragedy: “Golden Globe a nightmare for ‘Inception’
  • Who the fuck is the “Hollywood Foreign Press Association” anyway? Christian Bale alluded to their mystery in his acceptance speech. According to the ever reliable Wikipedia, they are  “an organization composed of working journalists who cover the United States film industry for a variety of outlets, including newspapers and magazines in Europe, Asia, Australia and Latin America.” So, the Golden Globes are what the rest of the world’s journalists think is good television (or film)? Cool. Color me impressed (not).
  • Trent Reznor could have said some pretty crazy shit, but he didn’t. Either way, his soundtrack for The Social Network with Atticus Ross was awesome – BUT, man, Hans Zimmer and Inception? Come on now. One word: Mombasa. (Reznor won, if you didn’t catch that)
  • Finally, Ricky Gervais. I like to think that his ridiculous jokes and awkward moments were spontaenous, that for once, the Hollywood clowns and overpaid actors got nervous and went home that evening thinking that the corporate tomfoolery of movie making has sullied their lives (most of Gervais jokes were based on the sheer lunacy of what actors do outside of movie making), but I doubt it. It’s a spectacle – one designed to make us “ooh” and “ahh” and grab our attention as we wade through films and movies we have no interest in (such as animated and musicals – ha!). Agents, editing, bleeping, tabloids…they can smooth over any error, patch up any relationship, and correct any misspeak. It’s all fake, but…
  • Whether or not Geravis’ last line was fake, it was pretty rad to see on national television: “and thank you to god…for making me an atheist.” (see a clip here)

I Share Therefore I Am

fb phone

"Etched in silicon, my soul is uploaded." (src)

FastCompany posted an awesome interview with Sherry Turkle, ““Alone Together”: An MIT Professor’s New Book Urges Us to Unplug“, the author of the book Alone Together. The book’s subtitle is telling: “Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other.” This all reminds me of the Creation is Crucifixion song with the absurdly long title, “The Allegory Of The Algorithm (or How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love Mimesis)” with poignant lyrics:

etched in silicon my heart is uploaded etched in silicon my soul is uploaded we are the beast we are machine coders beware the life you replicat[e] may be your own the coded fight back transistors resist in silicon we are buried etched in blood we are uploaded a mark on us all evolving algorithms’ are not the answer.

To me, the song speaks of a digital divide between our real lives and almost surreal ones on the Internet. Turkle writes about this very topic, arguing that because our technology is now so overwhelming – she interviewed people who receive 1,000 e-mails per day – we increasing become dependent on it for connection, for hope, and even for validation. I’ve often argued that Facebook, besides its use as a hook-up tool (let’s get real, folks: why did you originally join?), is one big validation fest. Here are my thoughts, my links, my information, for my friends to validate and make me feel worthy. Sure, being social is a valid human interaction, but it takes on a whole new level of craziness online when it can happen lightning fast with almost no inflection, sincerity, or emotion. About the title of the book, Turkle writes:

If you get into these email, Facebook thumbs-up/thumbs-down settings, a paradoxical thing happens: even though you’re alone, you get into this situation where you’re continually looking for your next message, and to have a sense of approval and validation. You’re alone but looking for approval as though you were together–the little red light going off on the BlackBerry to see if you have somebody’s validation. I make a statement in the book, that if you don’t learn how to be alone, you’ll always be lonely, that loneliness is failed solitude. We’re raising a generation that has grown up with constant connection, and only knows how to be lonely when not connected. This capacity for generative solitude is very important for the creative process, but if you grow up thinking it’s your right and due to be tweeted and retweeted, to have thumbs up on Facebook…we’re losing a capacity for autonomy both intellectual and emotional.

To be tweeted and retweeted…wow. Is that the generation we’re raising? Will they even know how to carry on a normal conversation, or will it all be through screens? It makes me want to escape, I’ll tell you what. But as scary as everything is, it is such a powerful source of information dissemination (see this blog, for example). Perhaps we need to find a balance, but even then, the allure of the instantaneous social networks tend to pull us back in. Are we doomed to a ultimately wired existence?

Rob Zombie…Coffee?

rz coffee

Who wouldn't want to wake up to this every morning? (src)

Yes. Rob Zombie Coffee. For those of you who didn’t grow up in the nu-metal Midwest of Rob Zombie, KoRn, and Limp Bizkit, Rob Zombie rose to fame after White Zombie broke up, taking on the horror movie persona with some industrial, shock, and heavy metal overtones. Or, you may know him through House of 1000 Corpses and his other movies. I was a fan back in the day, but this marketing ploy just seems…strange. Spooky, even! But I’m writing about it because Zombie choose to go with not just any coffee, but 100% organic, fair trade certified coffee!

From the tall peaks of the Andes to the tropical forests of the Amazon Basin, Peruvian coffees are as distinct as their birthplace. Featuring 100% Certified Organic, Fair Trade Certified beans, this incredible single-origin coffee supports the battle against social and environmental challenges. Medium-bodied with a tangy fruit finish, our lively Peru has been hand-crafted to realize its complete flavor potential.

One can only guess why Rob went with with organic and fair trade: because he gives a fuck! Organic coffee “frees farmers from working with harmful chemicals, and protects fragile mountain ecosystems and water supplies” and choosing fair trade ensures that farmers are paid a minimum of $1.41 per pound of organic coffee bean as well as provided with technical assistance in growing and sustainability (see Coffee Detective for more info).

One could argue that this is just relentless marketing in a world where CD and ticket sales are going down the drain. But honestly, I’d rather have an artist market practical product like coffee, especially when it promotes organic, sustainable, and ethical practices, than a $30 t-shirt made with cotton from who knows where. Sure, RZ still has those too, but this is a start! And isn’t coffee one of the most metal commodities out there anyway? It’s black, it’s got caffeine, and apparently even the Metalocalypse dudes like it.