April 2011


The company Toms Shoes is very near to my heart. When I first heard about their one for one campaign, where one buys a pair of their basic canvas shoes and they in turn donate a pair to a child in need, I was sold. Not only are they offering a practical and stylish shoe to boot around town in but they are giving back to the global community, giving back instead of hoarding profits.  I like to believe I am a humanitarian at heart and conscious consumerism is a trend that I would like to see practiced a little more. That being said, when I walked into The Shoe Company the other day and saw a display for “Bobs” by Skechers I was somewhat appalled. Okay — a lot appalled.

Sigh.

I realize I should be excited that there is another company who makes equally awesome and comfortable looking canvas shoes who wants to give back to the less fortunate but I don’t believe completely ripping off an original idea is the way. This whole display seemed to attack Toms Shoes. Firstly the shoes are essentially identical to Toms. Secondly they use a red and blue flag as their logo just like well known the Tom’s white and blue flag that is included in form of a sticker or wall hanging in every shoebox. Beyond lacking any effort put into original shoe design or logo creation they take it one step further to suggest they will donate not one but TWO pairs of shoes to the less fortunate and better yet sell the Bobs for a lower price than Toms!

In a competitive market, this sounds like an obvious move to make as it gives the company the air of being charitable and gives consumers a product they are looking for. I hardly imagine it being difficult for a large company like Skechers to donate large sums of money to the less fortunate, let alone make low cost shoes that commit them to  sending a couple of pairs of shoes to them. The founder of Toms Shoes, Blake Mycoskie, came up with an original genuinely good hearted idea that stemmed from first hand experiences. He put his idea into motion and came up with what is now something great — and now apparently something big corporations feel is good enough to copy.

This somewhat enraging discovery really made me reflect on those that do good because of the meaning behind it and those that do it simply for marketing purposes. I love the fact that people and companies are thinking more about how they spend their money and taking interest in ways to give back but I think that Skechers could have found a way to borrow from the Toms platform and still make it their own — maybe a good start would be to have designed a shoe that doesn’t look completely identical to Toms?

Toms Shoes

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My daily Dalai Lama insight quote today ties my last two posts together so conveniently:

I am open to the guidance of synchronicity, and do not let expectations hinder my path.

Isn’t that just something?

I saw this movie a couple of weekends ago and found it, although quite corny and  “predictable” at times, relatively well done and interesting. The story took a unique approach to looking at the questions of coincidence and things that were meant to be. It’s not often I find Hollywood flicks that leave me in a deep state of contemplation afterward.

I wanted to write a blog immediately after the movie was over. I had so many points during the film that I wanted to make reference to and ponder. Unfortunately, my mind was on such a tangent I didn’t know how to put anything I thought about into words.

The question raised in the movie is that of fate vs. chance and I think it is a significant one that people often toss back and forth. In some ways the question touches on faith, as many religious folks have some sort of belief in a “destiny” which then sees them highly reliant on “fate” to guide them through life. Generally though the question is one of choice, whether you decide to lead a pro-active  life and make good decisions for yourself to see where life will take you or you take less action and believe that there isn’t much you can do as there is a level of predetermination for the outcome of your life due to fate.

I guess instead of giving away the movie, I now ponder which method of thinking is best? Is there one that is better than the other? Is there an overlap between fate and chance? I tend to believe that in life there are things that are bound to happen when you choose a certain path but I also believe there are “chances”  that arise always allowing you to choose another path. I guess relating somewhat to the movie I believe there can be an overlap, if there is a destiny and things are bound to fate you still have some control over shaping it based on decisions made?

I would love to hear some ideas other people may have on the topic, or opinions about the movie!

Thanks to Jason Profant from Ink Monkey in Venice, CA

2010 was a year that really threw life in my face, I experienced more during 2010 than I did any other year. Because 2010 was so monumental for me I decided to take my birthday to LA. Further to that I also decided I wanted to get a tattoo while I was there. I went it knowing what I wanted the tattoo to represent and I knew that I wanted it to include the line “Happiness by the Kilowatt”.

For those of you who don’t know Happiness by the Kilowatt is an Alexisonfire song. Alexisonfire is a fantastic Canadian band, in fact one of my favourites. Dallas Green, who is one of the main vocalists in the band also has a solo project called City and Clour where he often sings the song acoustically. I first heard the song in the acoustic format and I feel in love with it. When I heard the original heavier version done by the full group I grew even fonder. The music and the lyrics of this song just have a way of  moving me every time. Obviously not everyone will feel this way when they hear the song, and some might even hate it, but I feel fond enough to now sport a tattoo forever citing it.

For me this song represents raw emotion; it represents a vulnerability we all feel at some point in our lives and most times cannot put into words. The lyrics, to me, refer to a getting getting to a point in life and realizing it was not what you imagined it to be; feelings of confusion and uncertainty due to predetermined expectations not being satisfied. I find I can relate very well to the realization in regards to expectations and growth not running on a parallel. Coming into adulthood threw a lot of curve balls my way and I quickly learned things that you are told while growing up aren’t always so. This song for me represents those initial lessons I began to learn but also the realization that life is meant to be lived you can’t hide in the shadows of something that “should be”. I also think it pushes you not to just settle for the easy route. I have blogged a few times about my ever difficult struggle to stop building up expectations for everything in life specifically because I know how detrimental it can be. I have often contemplated settling versus continuing to achieve more, create new goals, etc. so furthermore the song speaks to me.

I told my tattoo artist how the song made me feel and made him listen to the song in both versions before he started drawing. Funny thing about artists is that they understand one another and he ended up exceeding my expectations.

So, this is continuous happiness?
You know, I always imagined it something more.
With the right paint, the right shades, the right frames, this could really work.
What a great day to spend indoors…
W
ake, wake up. Wake, wake up….
So where has all the day gone?

And why are my lungs aching when I breathe?
Is there something wrong with the heat? Why am I so cold?
My heart feels sick and it hurts when I speak, and this is  not what I hoped for.
In a hail of sparks and a tangle of wires everything went wrong.
Wake, wake up…
Was this what we hoped for?
Was this what we hoped for?