Headlines for Friday:


Priorities - A: high, B: medium, C: low; Status - _: unfinished, X: finished, C: cancelled, P: pending, o: in progress, >: delegated. Covey quadrants - Q1 & Q3: urgent, Q1 & Q2: important
AX@0900 Meet Mark
AX@1000 Talk to Luanne
AX@1200 Talk to Michael Pollock regarding Solostream over Skype
AX@1400-1500 Prepare lab for DSS from 2005.09.30 (teaching)
AC@1400-1700 Prepare lab for DSS from 2005.09.30 (teaching)
BX@1400 Pick up letter from RS214
BX@1930 Meet Bill at improv theatre : E-Mail from billt@ss.org (social)
AXSet up accounts for Mark and Shen : E-Mail from Alvin Chin
BCRegister for ecomxpo
CXCheck out http://jangelo.i.ph/blogs/jangelo/?item=be-a-hit-blogger-overnight
CXCheck out http://weblog.infoworld.com/udell/2005/09/26.html#a1308
CXCheck out http://dmarti.spikesource.com/recommended_reading.htm


1. Watched improv comedy

Categories: None -- Permalink
Bill Thanis of the Toronto Linux Users Group invited me to the pay-what-you-can improv comedy show at Bad Dog Theatre. It was fun! The actors were really creative, and the long-form improvised comedy totally rocked.

2. On boycotts and lower gas prices

Categories: None -- Permalink
I received a forwarded e-mail exhorting Filipinos to boycott Shell and Caltex in order to force the two companies to lower their gas prices, and thus affect gas prices everywhere.

Something about that approach strikes me as wrong.

First, it ignores the law of supply and demand. If all the faithful boycotters get their gas from independent gasoline stations (of which there aren't that many, especially along the highways), what's to prevent those gas stations from raising _their_ prices?

Second, it feels like a solution from the wrong side of consumerism. Let me quote a segment from the e-mail:

<blockquote> With the price of gasoline going up more each day, we consumers need to take action. The only way we are going to see the price of gas come down is if we hit someone in the pocketbook by not purchasing their gas!

And we can do that WITHOUT hurting ourselves. How?

Since we all rely on our cars, we can't just stop buying gas. But we CAN have an impact on gas prices if we all act together to force a price war. </blockquote>

There are two ways to reduce your gas expenses. Hold your breath and wait for the company to lower its prices, or look for ways to use less gas. Which do you think would be better for you in the long run?

Many people don't like being responsible consumers because it HURTS. It requires sacrifices. It requires change. They'd rather complain about rising gas prices and traffic and a lot of other things than take action to help solve the problems themselves.

What's missing from that forwarded e-mail?


By boycotting Caltex and Shell, all these consumers would be doing is passing the responsibility off to the gasoline companies to lower the prices. Gas companies charge too high, they say. It's the gas companies' fault.

But we are responsible for this crisis. We with our SUV-choked streets and our gimmick addiction, with our overcrowded cities and underdeveloped provinces; WE bear some responsibility for this mess.

We should accept that responsibility. Instead of asking gas companies to give us lower gas prices, we should look for ways to minimize our dependence on gasoline.

Here are a few concrete, common-sense ideas for reducing dependence on gasoline. You know this already. You just have to LIVE it.

- Walk instead of taking the tricycle.

- Bike.

- Carpool.

- Take public transportation instead of your car.

- Take fewer trips. Spend more time in your neighborhood. Spend more

time at home.

You are NOT powerless. You are NOT dependent on your car. You are NOT dependent on the gas companies. You are the lucky few who actually have a choice. The people who are going to get hit hardest by rising gas prices aren't the ones with SUVs. They're the ones who can't afford a peso increase in the cost of food, the jeepney drivers whose margins are devastated by the increase in costs, the low-paid workers whose raises will lag behind any increase in the cost of transportation.

You are NOT just a consumer. You are a CITIZEN. You bear a responsibility not only to yourself but also to the people around you, to the people who are tied to their long commutes and low wages. Help create local opportunities! You bear a responsibility to the children who will live in this world long after you have passed away. Help preserve the environment!

Are you going to be a consumer and just wait for lower gas prices to be given to you, or will you reduce your gas consumption and work on making a difference to your community?

ARGH. And yes, you can forward this to whomever you want.

Note: This rant is about the content of the forwarded e-mail, not the writer. The writer and the people who forwarded this acted in good faith, but it's easy to overlook things in the knee-jerk response of consumerism. One of the things I do is point out uncomfortable truths from time to time. I'm not right all the time and I do miss some things, but I like helping us stay human.