Wednesday, October 24, 2007

omnivorously yours

My good friend Eric is a vegetarian. He corrects people who brag about being carnivores that they are not carnivores, they are omnivores. Right again, my flesh-shunning friend. (Sometimes I affectionately call him soy-fucker.)

Much to the relief of friends and family, I have just finished reading The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan. I can now stop boring you with commentary about the "book I am currently reading" and race right over to waxing philosophical about the "book I just finished reading." It's a win-win for me.

But seriously, my tendency to verbosity aside, this has been one great read. It's a book about food origins, food industry and man's relationship with food. Not what some might call a page-turner but there were times I really couldn't wait to find out what happened next. I love his examination of the food industry. His willingness to face his flesh-eating nature head on--slaughtering chicken on a poultry farm or hunting boar in a forest.

The odd thing about people's reaction to my comments about this book is that they all wanted to know if I was going to become a vegetarian--as if fear of vegetarianism was a good reason to never pick up the book. Funny. I am a passionate fan of the barely cooked rib eye and fairly sure that it would take at least 2 or 3 books to pry the bloody steak knife from my hand if that is, in fact, possible. Yet even I had a moment of hesitation prior to reading lest the horrors of the food industry (and horrors they are) rob me of this and a perfectly grilled chicken breast.

But the book has changed my attitude about food. Perhaps in part because being a meat eater is not the equivalent of agreeing with the inhumane treatment of the creatures we eat. However, right now, the biggest impact for me is the consciousness of removing as many of the steps between food being harvested, caught, slaughtered and my table. The less traveled and processed the food is, the healthier it will be. I have all but eliminated prefab foods (cereal, mixes, frozen meals, etc.) and try to purchase ingredients in their rawest, freshest forms locally.

This does of course, increase my food prep time. But cheap, fast AND healthy is rare. Usually you only get two out of the three. I'm okay with the trade-off.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007


I'm home sick today and yesterday. And homesick is a lovely accident of meaning. I've worked through much worse viral infections but the need to take a break was too powerful to ignore this time.

When I have the opportunity, I surround myself with as much silence as I can. No television, no radio, no music and precious little conversation. It is, without exaggeration, like gulping cold water when extremely thirsty.

I try to suspend linear thinking and guilt as much as possible. I roam from activity to activity without a road map or checklist. Read, clean, walk, write, eat, nap and think, reflect, ponder. There are moments of such clarity and focus that I feel I am on the cusp of great insight. I believe those moments eventually accumulate and become something tangible.

This smattering of thoughts produces random commentary. Like this stuff.

Ironic meets moronic
Military Inadvertently Recruits Gays (via Mombian)
You've got to love this oversight.

Riverbend returns
Riverbend of Baghdad Burning has made her first entry since escaping Iraq on September 6th. I have not written about this blog because I have been overwhelmed by how to begin. Let me just say that no blog entry but hers has ever compelled me to go back and read each post in chronological order--which spans from the beginning of the war in 2003. She is a gifted writer chronicling an enormous tragedy.

Employment or not
We received this email two days ago at work:

A staff reduction in the five percent range, through layoffs and the elimination of open positions, is scheduled for Monday and Tuesday, October 29 and 30, 2007. If you have any questions regarding this program, I encourage you to contact our Human Resources Department.
Ah, yes. So many ways to be vague. What does the five percent range mean? Do you think that by the time this letter was scanned (weird) and released as a jpg via email they didn't know who was going to get axed? Methinks not. They could have said 78 positions or 5.2% cut...which would have felt less range-y. Of course, the dates of this five percent range reduction are pretty clear. So. Is that for fair warning and preparation? Or just to make the 95%-range retained grateful and quiet after the fact? And that whole offload onto the HR Department is just hysterical. They should call HR Departments SD Departments for Spin and Dodge--so adept are they at avoiding the real questions and churning out copious amounts of (earnest-sounding, supportive-like, diversity-dripping) verbiage that answers Not. One. Question.

We are uneasily assured that the online division is not going to be impacted. But I wouldn't take that hope to the bank. I am not, however, that concerned. It is like natural disaster, prepare as well as you can and accept you don't have control over anything after that but the clean-up.

Not that the rest of us are stupid
Thanks to Dave for posting this: The Boy With The Incredible Brain
This is so phenomenal in part because captures how little we understand about our brains. Which means our intelligence potential is exponentially greater than we currently know. Yes, greater can mean more destructive, too. But I find this potential a source of great hope.
[Now if you could just show me how to embed video in my blog, Dave, I'd be very grateful. Because I lost interest after the preliminary foray into the land of
how to post a video to your blog. This reassures me somehow, as the writing is more compelling for me than the technology. Of course, this from a woman who owns a pair of 1GB USB stick earrings and knows how to use them. That's 1GB per ear. And thank you Sal, for ratcheting up my geek cred.]

Corpses and calamity
Watched the fifth (final?) season of Six Feet Under recently. Overall, this has been a great show. Probing death and drama in fresh ways. Well, for the most part. I found this last season completely maddening. It gave me crisis fatigue. I became unfazed by car accidents, wild animal attacks or hints of incest. Adultery made me yawn. Nasty infighting and psychotic episodes were passé. I found myself praying for spontaneous combustion or bestiality just to stay focused. Not one person in or around that family was not on the verge of some enormous existentially-destructive event. What were the writers thinking? Anyway, the final episode was great. A little artificial in the wrap-up but novel and refreshing after the preceding apocalyptic overload.

So as not to confuse this arena with anything vaguely mommy-bloggish or brood-motherish, I often hold back a little on kinder-commentary. However, my "baby" turned 26 this past week and both she my firstborn continue to delight and challenge in ways that astound me. This might be construed as gushing by some of you. If so, my suggestion is to go read something else right now.

For some people, having grown children with whom you can discuss fetishist subculture or share the discovery of stumbling simultaneously on the word autochthon thousands of miles away from each other--for some, this might not be a brilliant feather in their maternal cap. It is for me. Whether it's philosophy or language or criticism or art or politics or dirty jokes or a million other peculiarities of human culture, I have these two bright, insightful people who bring to me and accept from me ideas and laughter and conundrums. In an unarticulated young woman's musings, these are the children I dreamed of.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

ringside seat

Saturday. The day Productivity and Introspection step into the ring. And get good and bloodied in the process. It's not a pretty fight. Nor orderly. Clean the house? Read a novel? Do everything and drop exhausted at the end of the day? Or blog about the conflict and accomplish nothing at all?

Thursday, October 18, 2007

the wurst puns

Sometimes work is a fount of inspiration. This from the Wurstfest* website history page:

The first year it was “Sausage Festival”...later “Wurst Week”...and finally “Wurstfest”. What he thought would be a typical small town festival was conceived by Ed A. Grist , who was a practicing Veterinarian and City Meat Inspector.
Dr. Grist. Who midwifes Bossie's offspring and labels it Prime Veal Cutlet all in one visit. Did I mention his name was Grist?

*"The TEN Day Salute to Sausage"

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

read this

Today is my birthday. I came home worried/sad about work. Birthdays don't depress me but this was one of those blue days that just happened to land on my birthday. Then I read this. It jolted my life back into perspective.

Friday, October 12, 2007

congratulations doris and al

Doris, it's about time.
Al, tell them to suck on this.

fucking liars

US kills 15 women and children in Iraq
Article in Forbes today.

BAGHDAD - A US air strike north of Baghdad has killed at least 15 women and children, one of the largest losses of civilian life in a single American operation since the war began, the military said.
And the US military response?
We regret that civilians are hurt or killed while Coalition forces search to rid Iraq of terrorism, said military spokesman Major Brad Leighton.

These terrorists chose to deliberately place innocent Iraqi women and children in danger by their actions and presence.

Lying sacks of shit. Everyone is a terrorist after they're dead. They're suspected insurgents just before we shoot or torture them. Poor and deadly logic. Extremely fucked-up justification: We killed the women and children because the "terrorists" chose to hang out with their families and well, our aim sucks.

Out. Out. Hillary, you hear this? Get us the fuck out.

Those poor people. Goddammit, what are we doing?

Saturday, October 06, 2007


I've got rust flakes in my cleavage (such as it is) and dried caulking under my nails. My knuckles are scraped and I want to pummel the technical writer whose step-by-step instructions gloss over a critical point at step 3 which has me undoing steps 11 through 4. It's hard to understand why I love home improvement. But I know when the sink is installed and there are no drips left, I'm going to sigh my diy sigh.