I have a bit of a beef with automatic units in washrooms. Auto flush urinals are great, you walk up, do your thing, and when you walk, away it flushes, once, this however, is not the case with auto flush toilets. My school, Langara College has a lot of auto-flush toilets and recently, I have tried to become more self conscious about being ecological. I have never really bought bottled water, but that’s mainly out of principle since I just think it’s silly to pay such a premium for a resource that is pumped directly into your house, I have also tried to be aware of what I buy, and what I throw away.

Along my journey to ecological nirvana, I have found the auto-flush toilets at Langara to be extremely wasteful. They flush when you walk into a stall, they flush when you stand up from the toilet, and they’ll give you a goodbye flush as you leave the stall. My friend Alisa informs me that they’re fun when you shake your bum at them, and I understand the sanitary reasoning behind having auto-flush devices, but surely they’re only needed for post-washing devices like the towel dispenser or hand dryer.

Once we’ve finished what we came in to do, we get to the drying issue, this all of course is provided you wash your hands, if not, you may as well stop reading. Paper towels work like a charm, and if you’ve had the privilege to dry your hands in a place where they have actual cotton towels, then you really don’t need to be reading this either, but for the rest of us, we know paper towels really aren’t that great because it just becomes garbage afterwards, and some automatic paper dispenser, like the one at my work is infuriating, it won’t give paper when you wave in front of it, but you’ll be on the other side of the room and it will randomly advance the roll, so if you’re going to have one, please change the settings to automatically advance once one piece has been ripped, I like those the best!

After paper, we have air to help us dry our hands, Dyson Airblades are not only cool, but by far the best hand dryers out there. The old “press button, receive bacon” models are awful and outdated:


I think we all need to be aware of the choices that we’re making in our lives and to be aware of what’s going on around us, not just go day-to-day through the paces. Maybe there are settings that could be changed so that the toilets wouldn’t flush so frequently, or they can lower their inherent eagerness to flush, I don’t know, I”ll leave it to the people at Dyson, they seem to have it figured out.


I thought I’d share the following list of ideas for acquiring inexpensive textbooks that I was introduced to this time last year, since it was very helpful.

List of resources I used and/or recommend

Facebook Marketplace – great for local searches as it first displays results from your networks. Private message ensures privacy. Lots of haggling room available. Be sure to ask for notes for free.

Save on Book – UBC student’s “secret” tool. Pretty convenient since most people have their cellphone numbers on there. Another local resource and notes are usually thrown in. Lots of texts available!

Craigslist – The somewhat “sketchy” corner of the internet… the search is a bit more difficult as a lot of SFU and BCIT books are mixed in.

Bookfinder – This gives you a rough idea of how much the books are being sold online. Just enter the ISBN numbers and it’ll search the corners of the internet for you

Amazon – A bit pricy than the local alternatives ($2 book, $15 shipping, grr!), but they usually have the right editions here. Used books option also available.

Bookmeat – Very minimalistic and organized website, no search option but browsing through courses is easy. Not TOO comprehensive. People who want to sell it go there and list their asking price, save % (GREAT feature), book condition, and contact info.

UBC AMS Sub – “In the basement there is a massive wall filled with for sale textbooks!”

Bigwords – “Bigwords compares all the best textbook stores at once finding the sweetest, cheapest textbook deals on the planet”

Bookrenter: Students on average save more than $500 a year when they rent their college textbooks from is easy to use with free shipping both ways and over 3 million books to choose from.

Friends/Family/Coworkers – seriously, ask EVERYONE if they have taken/know someone who have taken the courses you have. Turns out one of my coworkers had a few Econ books to give away from his BCIT days!

The original list is courtesy of Phoebe Yu, and I thank her for this! I’ve personally used Facebook, Save on Book, Craigslist, and Bigwords to great results. I apologise if this post has brought on emotions to the realisation that summer is coming to an end, I too feel the pain.

Good outweighs the bad

I’ve been pretty tired over the last while and have been taking advantage of being out of school to sleep in more than I usually do.  It has been nice, but today I was going to meet an old friend for lunch and woke up much too late.  Once I woke up, I received a letter in the mail with an unexpected, and rather large bill; not a good way to start my day.

I was finally on the road and met up with my friend for lunch, 90 minutes after we had originally planned.  Once we met up we grabbed some sushi.  I don’t get to see my friend all that often due to our conflicting schedules and her working so much, so it’s nice when we both have some time to be able to spend together.

After lunch, I trekked over to my brother’s to study for a while for my third final exam tomorrow.  I got some work done, but got distracted by an email I received.  The email was from BC Soccer, and it informed me that I got an appointment to do a provincial cup game this weekend.  I have been a soccer referee for ten years and I have always wanted to climb the ranks among referees in the province and have only recently made a strong push to advance.  I am really looking forward to the game with excitement and nerves as I am a little worried of making a mistake on such an occasion.

A little later I got a call from a friend I hadn’t spoken to in a while and we ended up hanging out with some other friends which saw a late afternoon turn into a really nice night full of bubble tea and Frisbees.  All around it was a pretty great day, but it’s slowly turning sour again with the thought of that bill.

Automatic doors

At my school, just about every entrance/exit door has an automatic opening button.  Normally when I come to a door with a button as such, I just open it as normal, but most of the doors at my school are quite heavy due to the fact they have these big motors attached to the top of them, so on occasion I will use the button and have the door opened for me like I am someone important.

There is one door however, that made me look like a fool today.  Most of the doors are fairly fast at opening, and the door in question has, in the past, opened quickly for me, not today though.  Last week I remember seeing someone working on the motor for the automatic function and he must have changed something because when I went to use it today, I looked like an idiot standing, for what seemed a good five seconds, in-front of this door, just waiting for it to open.  I’m glad there was no one around because I can only imagine what people would have thought “What a lazy jerk, he could have easily opened it himself, instead he needs to waste energy to have it opened for him.”

That could have happened, or it could have escaped any witness as just something in their day, like it did for me.

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