Category Archives: Life

consuming less, appreciating more

“It is preoccupation with possessions, more than anything else,  that prevents us from living freely and nobly.” Bertrand Russell

The buy nothing new challenge is coming to an end and I found that opting out of buying new things has grooved with me quite well. I enjoy being thrifty, finding alternative ways to get what I need and buying used whenever necessary. Used items have more character and let’s face it, they don’t make ‘em like they used to.

Take time to enjoy the little things in life

I’ve always enjoyed the simple things in life, motivated to find pleasure in things that don’t cost money. Growing up in the country may have contributed to this, having to use my imagination to find pleasure in what was available to me. I’ve encouraged friends to start thinking the same way. I’m spending more time with the ones I love doing things that don’t cost money, finding myself less distracted and enjoying their company that much more. Also, my bank account is looking better than it ever has.

Had I not taken on this challenge I likely would have made a few superfluous and impulsive purchases of clothes, electronics and lord knows what else. But I didn’t, and I am still a happy dude. We are conditioned to believe that buying and giving new things will bring us happiness, but I don’t think it does.

I have given homemade gifts that were much more meaningful than the typical Hallmark card and trinket. At one point I wanted to buy a cute little toy for my niece. Instead, I went home, wrote her a song and recorded it for her and now she’ll have and enjoy that forever – something made just for her.

For Mother’s Day, I sent my mom a half hour recording of “Kyle’s Radio Show – Special Mother’s Day edition” filled with songs and musings by yours truly for her to listen to during Mother’s Day dinner because I wasn’t able to be there with her. She loved it, and now my dad is expecting one for Father’s Day. I have a feeling I’ll be doing this for many Mother’s and Father’s Days to come and that is definitely okay with me because it won’t cost a thing and will be something they look forward to each year.

I’ve taken solace in visits to thrift stores and used bookstores. I’ve strengthened relationships with friends and family by exchanging borrowed items with them. I have enjoyed tackling the challenge with my lovely girlfriend who believes we could live our entire lives and never buy anything new.

I like the sound of that.

So, guess what else I’m adding to my new, more solidified way of life? I hope to minimize the amount of food I purchase on a daily basis.

How you ask?

Well, I’m becoming an organic farmer.  Stay tuned for more on that.

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shine on you crazy diamond

One good thing about living in an urban centre like Toronto is that every day can bring new possibilities and opportunities. You never know who you could meet or what they could say.

Example. I met a girl a while back who is an aspiring photographer. We became friends on Facebook, had a quick back and forth and that was that. Another connection made in this wonderful world of eccentrics and avant-gardes.

Fast forward to 6-months later. After posting a profile picture on Facebook of myself and my sweetheart, she got in touch and asked if we’d be interested in doing a professional photo shoot for an upcoming Valentines Day promo that her studio (Next Top Model Studios) was looking to do.

I asked my lady, she said heck yes, so off we went. It was a great opportunity and we got some great pictures out of it. Have a look. And remember, cherish all connections you make in this wild journey we call life, who knows what you could get out of them.

a little princess

uncle kyle what is this on your face?

i’m cute.

my uncle kyle is crazy, but i love him.

want it but don’t want to buy it? why not make it?

I had a friend over the other night and we got into a friendly debate over who was better with words. I, of course, used my English Degree to back my stance and she credited herself as a wordsmith from the hundreds of books read growing up. Both valid arguments, but we needed something to settle the score once and for all. So, we decided to let Scrabble act as mediator to the quarrel. The only problem was that I didn’t own the game. I did, however, have a few pieces of cardboard lying around and thought it wouldn’t be too difficult to make our very own cardboard version of the famous word game.

Out came the cardboard, scissors and markers and we were off. We marked out a 15×15 grid, cut out 100 little squares for the tiles, wrote the letters and points on the tiles and marked the double and triple word and letter scores. We even made little holders to shield our tiles from each other’s eyes.

A half hour later we kicked off an epic battle of words. Five minutes into the game we seemed to forget that we were playing on something that was once deemed just a few sheets of cardboard. So now I own a Scrabble game, and it was free!

This sort of mindset can go far beyond a simple game of Scrabble if only you allow it. It all comes down to what we choose to consume, and whether or not it is necessary. What other classic games could be reproduced with materials you have lying around the house? What else can you upcycle around the house?

Oh, and for the record, she won, by a meagre 11 points.

child actor needed THIS WEEKEND

Contact me if you know anyone available. Email kylepaulmackenzieATgmailDOTcomnature-tower

Ladies and gentleman, I am looking to produce a movie.

Environmental theme, 2 minutes long, shot in Toronto.

I need: A young male actor around 5 years old, not a very demanding role to fill (no speaking lines).

The proposed script lies below. No title. Yet.

_____________________

©Kyle MacKenzie 2010

FADE IN:

EXT. CLOUDY DAY – BLACK & WHITE

ESTABLISHING – Shot of cityscape/urban bustle. An angry man yells at a passerby, a cell phones rings and a police car’s alarm screams as it drives by.

INT. CLASSROOM – RAIN, a boy around the age of 7, looks out of a barred classroom window to a single tree growing out of the sidewalk. A bell rings.

EXT. CITY – Rain walks along a crowded urban sidewalk trying not to get trampled. He is alone. He finds a branch with one leaf on it.  Disconcerted, he sits on an abandoned stoop and watches the people as they pass by.

He walks and drags the branch along a chain-linked fence leading to his home. He looks up to see his mom and dad packing the car with blankets, basket, etc.

INT. MOVING CAR

Rain sits in the back looking out the window as the car rolls along a highway. They exit the highway after seeing a sign that says 427 North.

The car rolls along country roads.

They park. Rain gets out and checks his surroundings.

Music builds. CUE COLOUR.

Fields, forest and the biggest blue sky Rain has ever seen.

Over a sunlit hilltop, Rain’s head pops up as he runs toward the camera from a distance.  As he gets closer, a smile is seen on his face. He flies past the camera.

Various shots of Rain enjoying the freedom of the wild, kneeling in the long grass looking at a grasshopper, jumping into a stream, chasing fish. With arms high to the sky, Rain appears to praise his surroundings.  Fade to black.

CAPTION: Kids need nature. Let them experience it.

END.

_____________________

Contact me if you know anyone available. Email kylepaulmackenzieATgmailDOTcom

who is kyle mackenzie?

I am a Communications Coordinator and Social Media Strategist with Earth Day Canada.

I run a marketing business on the side called Acorn Integrated.

I make movies, take pictures, and think outside the box.

I like social media, writing, and graphic design.

I use these tools to communicate the importance of protecting the earth.

I have a Post-Grad Public Relations Certificate from Loyalist College.

I graduated from the University of New Brunswick in April 2007 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English and a Fine Arts Minor in Theatre. I studied film as well.

I like the outdoors, therefore I will protect the outdoors.

I hike, bike, camp, canoe, climb, play ultimate frisbee and rock the acoustic guitar around as many campfires as I can.

I am Kyle MacKenzie. Nice to meet you.

Follow me on Twitter or friend me on Facebook!

Earth Day 2010

Ladies and gentleman, girls and boys, welcome to the month of the Earth! Yes, April is Earth Month and there are events taking place all over Canada. Celebrate our one and only planet!

SO, step away from your computer screens, power down the iPhone, gather the family and spend some time outdoors with your community. Check out Earth Day Canada’s website and find the event nearest you!