Surplus

Just because something is currently relevant doesn’t mean it should be used in everything. This is something that I have learned since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. Yes, it’s obvious that this disease is the most important current event. But it doesn’t need to be included in everything we do. I recently worked with a former teacher to craft a letter to a college that I was wait-listed at. We had a disagreement over a section where she insisted that I mentioned we were “shifting to online learning due to COVID-19.” This allusion was not relevant, and I refused to include it. I’m sure that everyone else is as tired as I am of hearing it over and over, especially an admissions officer who already knows that this is affecting students throughout the world.

Another reason why a constant stream of coronavirus related media is detrimental is because it usurps other important global news. For example, locusts are tearing through eastern Africa, demolishing crops and leaving many farmers with nothing. On a lighter note though, a second individual has been cured of AIDS, which is a huge victory for everyone. But you may not have known that, as virtually everything is about the bloody coronavirus.

It’s important to talk about major events, especially if there is a life threatening aspect to them like now. But it is equally important to provide a breather from all of this information, as it can be stressful, and honestly annoying. I also realize that I am contributing to the problem by writing this. Oh well.

Also the image below is a piñata that you can buy in Tijuana.

Credit: Mexico News Daily

Why we chose to do it this way.

Much like the concept of God, Capitalism is a system that cannot be defined by a word. It is not a rock solid object, that can be easily seen or understood. Robert Reich, the former Secretary of Labor for the United States, recently said that the 26 richest people in the world have the same wealth in dollars as the 3.8 billion poorest. 26, the size of the OVS senior class, vs 3,800,000,000, the equivalent population of North America, South America, Europe, Australia, and Africa combined. So basically everything beside Antarctica. Yet this wealth distribution is not specific to the global level. The United States, prided for being a land of economic opportunity and no class boundaries (foregoing the dynamic of ethnicity). But as the year strays farther from the millennium, the more the middle class dissipates, leaving many in a sink or sink situation. Although the political statement-turned-meme “Okay, Boomer” is now annoying and a reflection of the younger side of Gen-Z, the economic proportions of millennials vs baby-boomers are astoundingly different. A common talking point of the difference between these two generations is real estate. At the same age, Boomers owned 32% of real estate in the United States, wheres Millennials owned 4%. (Business Insider). This isn’t just because old people have poor taste. Decent houses for low income and even entry level houses for average salaries are sparse. That, coupled with a stagnant minimum wage and record student debts (paired with record college educations per capita), make it more difficult than ever for Americans aged 20-40 to afford a house. Renting, although disproportionate to inflation, is still a cheaper option.

There are a million other examples of how I could list the caustic nature of the capitalism that we maintain as a nation, but as someone who must soon face these realities, I will stick with the most relevant. I don’t know why we chose to do it this way, but we have the ability to change it yet again. It’s just up to how much we are willing to sacrifice.

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Credit: Foundation for Economic Education

Chinese New Year

It’s that time of the year, Asian new year. Asian new year is one of the biggest holidays in countries like Korea and China. We get to gather around with families that we weren’t able to meet for a while and celebrate each other by eating different kinds of food and talking about how their life has been. This is time of the year, where I want to go back to my own country. I always think about how fun it would be to spend time with family and relatives and laugh about stupid stuff, while I’m in my room laying on my bed. I wish one day I could celebrate Asian new year with my family and relatives.

A Much Needed Switch: Dying to Thriving

Photo credit: pinterest.com

I’ve been trying to get my dad to stop eating meat since I was four years old. We traveled to Ireland and I remember watching him eat bacon day after day and wanting nothing more than for him to understand the terrible health risks. I’ve always been worried about his health… His “weight loss” diets would always consist of meats and cheese (protein fads) along with Diet Ginger Ale… He would lose weight and looked fit so it worked for him, but I became more and more worried.

I tried to explain to him that natural sugars are okay and animal products were truly the problem. He was raised in a family of ten siblings so if he didn’t eat what was served (unhealthy crappy foods) he wouldn’t eat, period. Meats, processed foods and dairy was on the menu during his upbringing. So when I was young he was hard on me for my decisions because he simply didn’t have the proper knowledge. 

As I got older he started to support my lifestyle more and more, eventually taking me to vegan festivals and even dining with me to enjoy high quality vegan foods. He even asked me where he could get a metal straw to help with plastic pollution.  I figured this was as far as he would ever go. I accepted this reality and kind of gave up on him, sadly. I figured he would never change and that was okay…Because everyone is different right?

When I got the call last month…it was my dad on the phone telling me he is going plant based after watching “The Game Changers”  documentary on Netflix. I was in utter shock. Out of everyone in my life, he would have been the last person on my list I would ever expect to go vegan. For me, this showed me hope for humanity! He is the most “manly” guy I’ve ever met so for him to make this change is amazing.  With all the stereotypes about vegan guys being weak, feminine and all that other nonsense animal product companies endorse, this shows me how anyone can do it just letting go of their ego. My dad said, “All the research supports the vegan diet and this way of life is by far the most healthy. I have always known that you are on the right track. Now I am seeing that eating plant based can even build muscle, strength and healthy blood flow. It seems that it can also lower my cholesterol which is elevated at this time. I am so proud of you for paving the way. You are a great inspiration to me and I’m never eating meat again.”

A lot of the time people will tell me they would totally go vegan if they could, but it would be “too hard,” “I tried and just couldn’t” or it’s not the time and they will eventually make the switch… But the time is now. We have the resources. Nobody cares about getting the right nutrients until veganism comes up. People will be eating McDonald’s all day and act like veganism would just be detrimental to their health. Another excuse is that it’s too expensive. It is simply not expensive to go to your local grocery store and buy a can of beans or some vegetables.  Research the right foods and stop saying you “can’t.” Stop making excuses to make yourself feel like a better person because it is total BS. 

This is a lifestyle. And yes, changing your lifestyle is a big deal but crucial for your health and well being. This switch will change your life, and the ones in it, but only for the better. I hope my dad can be an inspirational success story and help you and your family on your own health journeys.

ImBeachment

So The Donald is in Trouble.

Big Big Trouble.

A senior Republican senator said in a CNN interview recently that there are 35 members of the GOP who would vote to remove the president if they were to remain anonymous.

Unfortunately, that’s not how things work.

But this allegiance to Democracy over the party leader should yield some frightened republicans (AHEM GYM JORGAN), as they realize that the majority of Congress does not support the President.

Another reason why they should be afraid is because if Trump were to be impeached, a whole new staff would come in, and there would be no one in the White House to protect them. Because as of right now, a select handful of Trumpers working in the West Wing support various Republican senators because of their mutual avocation in congress.

If Trump were to B removed, these leeches that hold political office would dry up and die, as their grease and cocaine filled lifeblood would be back on the streets bankrupting himself.

All smears and criticisms aside, even if Trump were to be removed, it is still a dark time in our country’s history, as party lines have never been stronger and corruption has never run so deep.

(Except for the Gilded Age but we don’t talk about that.)

2020 Siege Invitational Brief

Since 2017, the hit tactical FPS Rainbow Six Siege has hosted an eSports event in it’s home town of Montreal called the Six Invitational, due to the process in which teams are selected. If you are a prospective team with an eye on the now $2,000,000+ dollar prize pool, there are a few ways in which you can attain a spot in the 16 team bracket. The first, as the name suggests, is to be invited by Ubisoft, the game’s developer. The second is to get first place in one of the four regions (North America, Latin America, Asia-Pacific, Europe) during the normal Pro League season. After each season though, the teams that performed well get to compete in a Final in order to attain one of those rare spots. The third method is to come first or second in a Major Tournament, i.e. DreamHack Montreal. Tickets just went on sale, and there are some major differences this year from previous Invitationals in team participation. G2 (formerly Penta) has swept almost every major event for the past year and a half, including the two most recent Invitationals. But this year, they were not able to attain a position at the LAN event. When they won their first Invitational in 2018 with a 3 map comeback against NA’s EG, their roster consisted of Fabian, Pengu, Goga, Shatte, and jNSzki (Joonas). But as of December 2019, only Fabian and Pengu remain from their original squad, now with their top fragger Kantoraketti, support player UUNO, and the newly added CRYN. Although outside factors could be significant in their declination of dominance, these dramatic roster changes are likely the cause. But the giants that remained in power do not even have a spot at the Invitational this year, due to an all around lackluster performance. The lineup currently consists of eight teams (two of each region) which qualified through the normal Pro League season, one team (TSM, NA) that qualified through DreamHack, one team (Liquid, LATAM) that qualified through the OGA PIT Minor, and one (Empire, EU) that qualified though the Raleigh Major (where they defeated G2). There are four spots remaining, one for each region, as well as a position designated for the team that receives a formal invite from Ubisoft. As it stands, there are numerous teams that have shown incredible talent and promise, so no matter what,the upcoming Invitational should be unique and exciting, with plenty of upsets and re-hosts. Tickets are available now, event goes from February 7th to 14th.

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Pengu holding trophy after winning the 2019 Invitational. Credit: Rainbow Six Siege

Your Vegan Thanksgiving is still a Celebration of Violence!

Photo via Pinterest.com

A vegan Thanksgiving is more sustainable and animal cruelty free. Supporting semen being sucked out with a straw from 46 million male turkeys’ anuses each year is cruel.  But having Thanksgiving at all is not necessarily cruelty free. The only ethical way to celebrate Thanksgiving is to spend it educating yourself on indigenous rights. 

“Happy Thanksgiving” I am so thankful for the Native Americans who continue to fight for their rights, their lands, refuse to abide by the societal expectations of pretending nothing terrible happened to their ancestors on this holiday. 

As we are having a beautiful Thanksgiving feast with our families and friends, remember that today is a national day of mourning for native Americans across the country. So while you’re thinking, “wow, this holiday is so incredible and based upon gratefulness and love between humans,” please don’t forget that thousands upon thousands of Native Americans have been brutally murdered in cold blood (partly) for their lands by white colonizers. 

And this question shocks me… but how many people across the country will celebrate Thanksgiving today having never even engaged with or met a native person, can’t name five tribes, can’t name the tribe whose lands they occupy or even can’t name a living native person? 

So… why not celebrate gratitude daily? It is one of the most important self-care practices a person can do. Daily practices rather than on just one day covered by blood which is just another white supremacist holiday. I’m not saying we should completely cut Thanksgiving from our yearly tradition but being less arrogant and realizing what this holiday truly represents. Being “woke” can be very emotionally taxing and difficult to talk about; but it’s worth doing the right thing rather than taking the easy way out and staying silent. 

Ignorance is not bliss. Even though it would be much easier not to post about these topics and just pretend today is a wonderful day of giving thanks…like everyone else does… so I don’t hurt any proud Americans’ feelings. If you’re not speaking the truth, you’re part of the problem. 

So bon appétit, but don’t forget!  As we celebrate thanks, for Native Americans Thanksgiving is a reminder of the genocide of millions of their people, the theft of their lands, and the assault on their culture and history of colonial violence.

Is your Toothbrush Killing our Future Generations?

There is no perfect toothbrush, but some choices are better than others. Plastic toothbrushes take over 400 years to decompose… They end up in landfills and release toxic chemicals into the air resulting in harsh damage to the environment. In addition to getting washed away into the ocean, the toothbrush is endangering marine life and contaminating our food. 

After seeing this piece of art made by an African artist, it was really eye-opening. Africa has a huge trash pollution issue, along with the rest of the world… This art piece is a commentary on plastic pollution. 

Knowing that every plastic toothbrush impacts the environment and that one billion plastic toothbrushes are thrown away every year in the United States alone, creating 50 million pounds of waste- what can we do?

Bamboo Toothbrushes: bamboo is biodegradable. (bristles are not biodegradable) 

If bamboo toothbrushes end up in the trash, they aren’t significantly more environmentally friendly than plastic… but if you compost the handles of bamboo toothbrushes by first remove the nylon bristles with pliers then composting the handles… it makes a huge difference. Plus it is really beneficial for our environment. 

Then there are the toothbrushes that are recycled and/or recyclable:  Some options I love:

Bogobrush (bogobrush.com) 

Bogobrush is a Company that makes its brushes from compostable bioplastic using leftover plant material from American farms.

Or consider (preserve.eco) Toothbrushes made from recycled yogurt containers which are easily accessible online or in local stores Ojai: Being in Westridge and Rainbow Bridge. Also if you mail your old toothbrushes, not only will they be recycled into new products, but you will also receive a coupon for their online store. 

After using these types of recycled toothbrushes another option to help continue supporting the recycling market is by sending them to organizations such as Gimme 5 drop-off/mail-in program. Whole Foods And other companies have Gimme 5 bins located in their stores. You can just look up ones near you. 

Note: *Buying recycled stuff when we need to buy new products is the smartest move.*

So now you know the best eco friendly toothbrushes on the market: what do we do with our old ones?

Three months of brushing your teeth is not worth 400 years in the landfills. So an option would be to reuse your toothbrush in different ways until you switch to an eco-friendly toothbrush: 

You could easily label your toothbrushes for their different uses around the house: Here are a few options:

-Cleaning Household Items

-Remove dirt from shoes/Soccer cleats!

-Fingernail brushing

-Deep clean your desk/Clean beauty supplies

-Spot-treat stains on clothes

-Clean Your Hairbrush out 

-Brush Your Eyebrows

These are just some out of hundreds of household uses…

Best of luck on your zero-waste journey! It can be difficult sometimes but if you put in the effort, it’s well worth it. In the meantime, I wish you fresh breath and zero cavities.

3 Modern Rules Of Veganism:

Some think going vegan is a daunting task, but following these “rules” I’m about to give you and will make the decision to embark on this journey of veganism so much easier. 

Rule 1- Find your reason

In this modern day society, before you go vegan, the most important thing you can do is pick and understand your reasons why. If you just go vegan to go vegan, chances are it won’t last. An example is going vegan for your health and then understanding why and how you are going to set this goal. Watch documentaries, youtube videos, and read studies that motivate you to continue with this health journey.

Rule 2- substitution

Something many newbie vegans do first when they go vegan is eliminate foods (obviously), but then feel like there is nothing they can eat and soon quit. When I went vegan back in the day, there were not many options.  I had to get really creative with the dishes that I prepared to ensure I got the proper nutritional intake. Nowadays in this non-stop, growing vegan society, you can find almost anything vegan. So the number one tip I can give is following this rule- Find or make your favorite foods vegan and food cravings won’t be an issue. An example would be if you have eggs everyday for breakfast and go vegan… try a substitute of vegan tofu egg scramble, or instead of cow’s milk in your cereal, add oak milk. If you drastically switch to eating salad for every meal your body scientifically will soon want to binge and you will most likely go straight back to your previous diet. But with substitution, your mind will barely notice a difference and you will consume the food that will start to make you feel better physically and emotionally.

3rd Rule- Joining the Community

Something important that I cannot stress enough is finding like minded people. Most don’t realize when going vegan the loneliness you can actually feel. You feel like all you want to do is share your success with veganism or the suffering you are avoiding being vegan… but you in return receive hate. A lot of the time if you have no support it’s a hard task to maintain a healthy vegan lifestyle. An easy way to find support is through social media, following vegan influencers, activists, meme accounts, recipes, and all other things vegan… another way to reach out to more people is by going to local vegan events, such as: street fairs, marches, restaurants and anything else your community offers. 

Overall veganism isn’t just about our own health, but mainly about reducing our carbon footprint. Again, recognizing our own health, but most importantly the health of our planet, it’s about making different choices and moving in a different direction and ultimately coming together as a community. Veganism is a crucial lifestyle for our planet’s wellbeing with the state it is in right now. Veganism is different for everyone and these “rules” may help you in the right direction of a new beginning! Take the first step, follow the rules, and you will be the perfect vegan in no time! Good luck!

photo credit: Pinterest.com

How to Have a Zero Waste Period

Surprisingly, one of the top questions I get asked being low waste is what I do when I get my period? I know many girls that have wanted to make a change from using Tampons, pads and panty liners but don’t know the next step. So I thought I would come on here to give a complete guide to having a zero waste period. 

There are many issues with disposable tampons and pads but the top two reasons why we should make the switch is:

  1. For our health: Most mainstream tampon and pad brands use a combination of bleached rayon, conventional cotton, and contain plastics.
  1. For the environment: The average pad contains the equivalent of four plastic bags. And all of the excess product goes straight to landfills and our oceans. 

There are a lot of different approaches on having a zero waste period which personally have been easier and saved me a lot of time. 

Option Number one: Swapping tampons and pads for menstrual cups: 

Menstrual cups are a great option for any female on their period with heavy to low flows. You’re also able to sleep while wearing a menstrual cup which is a great alternative to wearing bulky plastic filled maxi- pads or tampons which are not designed to be worn for more than eight hours of sleep.

My experience over with menstrual cups is good, it takes a while to master the process using it, applying it, but makes life so much easier… now when I’m on my period I barely even notice.

Option Number two: Switching to period panties:

This option is good for girls with light flows to medium, or girls with heavy flows at the end of their cycles. The period panties are just like regular underwear with a thin built in lining to soak up the blood. It’s just like using a pad without the waste, so you just through the underwear in the wash afterwards and then you can reuse it. 

My experience with period panties is some leakage so it is a good option if you have a heavy flow.  You can use reusable pads or the menstrual cup in the beginning of your period and when it gets lighter switch to reusable pads/cloth pads. 

Option Number Three: Reusable pads/cloth pads: They are just like regular pads but you have to wash them out afterwards to reuse.  

I haven’t used reusable pads/cloth pads before but I think it’s a good option to have along with other products. Some women I know use reusable pads and it works well for them.

Overall people have different preferences so not every product could be for you. It could take some adjusting but this is the future trend for our female hygiene products. It will help you and the planet at the same time. So it’s a win/win!

Image from Pinterest.com