Category Archives: Self Absorbtion

Second Cup isn’t Fair Trade

A couple of weeks ago, I noticed that Second Cup started sporting a Fair Trade logo on their signage. Being the kind of person that thinks people should be paid a reasonable wage, and knowing that coffee workers can be treated like serfs, I started stopping by Second Cup to grab the occasional cup of java. Then I started wondering. When I order myself a caramel corretto®, is it really fairly traded?

So I sent an email to Second Cup’s customer care. Their response was a little disappointing:

Thank you for your email and your interest in the Second Cup. I have included below our Fair Trade Coffee available through Second Cup. Currently this is the only coffee in our series that is certified. Please do refer to our website at www.secondcup.com to review our selection and how we are making a difference environmentally and socially.

So, even though Second Cup says “24 fairly traded coffees available every day”, they really mean they have one fairly traded coffee.

It’s back to Bridgehead, and their fully fair trade menu for me.

Planning a Wedding in Ottawa

Here’s a quick rundown of my experiences with the vendors I used for my wedding. These vendors are in Ottawa, and, for the most part, they did a decent job at a reasonable price.

cgycVenue and catering: The Carleton Golf and Yacht Club hosted our wedding. We were looking for an all-in-one venue that would handle the ceremony, the reception, and the catering. The CGYC clocked in at about $60-$70 per guest. The cost was less than other locations we looked at (notably Strathmere), and the hall was nicer than either the Monterey Inn or Bearbrook Farms. Laurie O’Brien, the clubhouse manager, did a fantastic job at ensuring the reception hall was properly decorated and that everything went smoothly. She (and her staff) were fantastic. Highly recommended.

Transportation: Because our venue was out in the middle of nowhere, we chartered a school bus. The driver knew how to pacify a bunch of drunk wedding goers (turn out the light, natch), was friendly, and knew where he was going. We also hired a moving truck as we had many things to move from location to location. We hired Ottawa Movers: Trinity Moving. Very happy and I Recommended.

Photographer: We went with Julie Young Photography. She (and her lovely assistant) did a great job at herding the wedding party and composing us into something that I hope is photogenic. We haven’t gotten the final pictures yet, so I’ll hold out on my assessment.

DJ: First Choice Entertainment (613-830-7009) satisfied our music and MC needs. The owner, Greg Fedor, was easily the most energetic vendor we hired. His posse had a good selection of music (even if they didn’t know a good track to foxtrot to), and good equipment. They provided music for the ceremony as well as the reception and dancing. Recommended.

Officiant: Lynne Langille of Exceptional Wedding Ceremonies in Ottawa presided over the ceremony. She did a good job, given the various hiccups we threw at her (collapsing chairs, wrong rings, and a giggling bride and groom). Recommended.

Limousine: We hired Elite Limousine to ferry us from our photo venue to reception/ceremony venue. The driver got lost en route, making us 20 minutes late for our own wedding. Disappointing.

Cake: We ordered cupcakes from the Buttercream Bakery. The cupcakes weren’t bad, but they didn’t have the richness I had hoped for. I can take part of the blame for that – I should have bailed when we did our tasting. Similarly, a cake we ordered for the cutting proved to be pretty bland. What’s worse, a day before the reception, we called them to make sure they had the right address for delivery. They didn’t. Recommended with reservations. If you go with these folks, call at the last minute to make sure they have the right address.

Rings: I tried various jewelery stores, but I didn’t see anything I liked until I went to Magpie. They had a wider selection in styles and materials than we found elsewhere. Their stuff has a bit of a hippy look, but some of us like that kind of thing. Recommended.

Blogs are about conversation

It might seem obvious, but it’s worth saying: blogs are about communication. Communication isn’t the same thing as dissemination/syndication, as it implies that readers can participate in a post with critiques, questions, and additional information. Reader participation makes a blog more than simple announcements, it elevates a blog from a simple homepage1 to being a bazaar of ideas.

Participation can take many forms: comments being the most immediate (since the reader can easily browse them when reading the article); but automatic backlinking works too (see pingbacks). The irony is that adding that kind of a system to a blog makes it intrinsically more interesting, both to the reader and the writer.

Rant trigger: some guy presents an idea without any mechanism of receiving feedback. Honourable mention: dmo asks for tips on his blog, without providing a mechanism for readers to comment..