Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Gluten is Good (for Lawns)

Just about the same time we're starting to figure out that gluten might not be good for our guts, many of us are learning that it is a wonderful food for our lawns.

Corn Gluten Meal is an all-natural alternative to the petrochemicals that homeowners have been dumping on their lawns for decades in the hopes that they'll have the greenest, most perfect-looking patch of grass on the block. But there are serious side effects to that lush, green, weedless look. One, is the contamination of our fresh water ways. Two, is the threat that those weed killers and fertilizers are slowly killing us by giving us cancer - especially if you're a dog, according to this article.

So to keep Tupper (our dog) and everyone else who plays on our yard safe, I've officially transitioned to an organic lawn using only corn gluten meal for weed control and fertilizer. And here are the results...

Perfect? No, there are a few dandelions, but overall the grass coverage is thick and soft. I don't have to worry about getting sick from rolling around in my own back yard and I can't be blamed for toxic algae buildup on area lakes. After three years of use, my lawn is officially hooked on corn gluten meal.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Occupation or Inspiration?

If you follow social media, then you're probably used to reading all those peppy, motivational quotes reassuring us that "failure is only a step toward success" and that if we truly "follow our dreams, success is the only option." (They remind me of a cross between a hard-core hippie and that "case-of-the-Mondays" woman from Office Space) Cheesy as they may be, some people not only live by those fortune cookiesque tidbits, but do quite well for themselves, too.

The following companies are run by people who may not be tweeting those ooey-gooey bits of overjoy, but they are living them. And I'd wager most of them would refer to their work as more of an inspiration than an occupation...

Regreet works by using labels and mailing supplies that make it "easy and chic for you to reuse greeting cards," according to Regreet's website. And how awesome is that? Let's see, they 1. protect the environment by using less paper and producing less waste from discarded greeting cards, 2. provide a tracking system that lets you follow your greeting card everywhere it goes (assuming other recipients also enter their info) and 3. give well wishers a more affordable option than plopping down $5 on a tiny piece of cardboard at Walgreen's everytime a birthday or anniversary pops up. Creative, fun and helpful.

Element Six Media is one of the most fascinating companies I've seen. By reshaping snow, sand, flora and water, Element Six creates advertising displays using only the stuff you'd find in your grandma's garden. (Talk about sustainable) It's beautiful stuff and something I could see taking off should they convince some larger cities (doesn't this just absolutely belong in San Francisco?) to sign long-term contracts for their service.

So those are a couple quick examples of companies where I'd guess the employees never utter the word "work." Can you think of any others? I'd love to know...

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Foursquare Code of Ethics

So what's fair when it comes to Foursquare? Should there be an unwritten rule that says you have to actually be at a location to check in? Not check in shortly before or just after leaving even if you're close enough for Foursquare to think you're still at that location?

To be fair, I'm guilty of checking in at certain locations from my home, because they're only a handful of blocks away. For example, I'm currently locked in an epic battle with @xMikemx for the mayorship of Minnehaha Park. We've gone back and forth as mayor of the park over the past few weeks, often checking in multiple times daily. Now, I do walk or bike through that park on a near daily basis, sometimes more than once a day. The problem is, I don't always remember to check in while I'm there. Thankfully, my home's proximity to the park allows me to check in at the park while my feet are resting on the ottoman with my dog Tupper sitting comfortably on my lap. I'm not lying. I was in the park ...just not right at that very moment.

So the question is, does this fit under the Foursquare code of ethics? Is it about telling people where you just were or where you are? Should you be letting people know where to find you or just updating them on where you've been or where you're going? Am I thinking WAY too much about this and should I find better things to do with my time? I'd love to hear your thoughts!