Thursday, April 22, 2010

Happy Earth Day!

It's Earth Day. Do something cool for our planet. And then continue to do something cool for our planet every second of every day, so that eventually nobody will give a shit about Earth Day because everybody will being caring about Earth every day.

Ok, now that I've gotten that out of the way....

Today sucks. I have the worst migraine I have had in...well, definitely 2010. Probably also the last half of 2009 can be included in there. I know what's coming - Well then why are you at the computer blogging on your boring blog? Because I did my duty to try to prevent this. I took the medicines that NEVER WORK. I went back to sleep for a few hours. All my blinds and curtains are closed. I have stayed hydrated and eaten some healthy food. And still with the throbbing and the pain behind the eyeballs and the constant looming feeling of nausea. So fuck it. I'm just gonna keep on keepin' on. And take a break every couple of minutes.

Anyway, I wanted to share something cool. Forgive me if you are my friend on Facebook and are seeing this for a second time. But I stumbled across the coolest blog on tumblr today. It's called Fuck Yeah The Universe (go ahead, click the link) and it's got really awesome pictures of and articles about stuff in space. In addition to liking FYTU, I kind of like the idea of tumblr. I may eventually acquire one of those in the future.

I think I'm about to hop in the shower (yeah it's 3:23 pm, what of it?) and head to the kitchen. Today's offerings may or may not include some vegan chili and maybe some cookies or something if I can be bothered. Possible pictures to follow.

ETA: I went back to browsing Fuck Yeah The Universe after I posted it and the next thing I saw was this. Click it. Seriously.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Name That Tree

I asked via Twitter, and nobody seemed to have an answer for me. A week or two ago, I was downtown taking some pictures and just walking around to get some fresh air with a friend. And we stumbled across this beeeeautiful flowering tree. All I want to know is what kind of tree it is. Googling is getting me nowhere. Here. Look at its flowers. Whoever correctly identifies said tree gets a(n imaginary) high five. GO!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


I'm still feeling very trapped in my life lately, and the feeling is exacerbated by my total lack of energy. It's not because I'm out partying and not sleeping, not because I'm not taking vitamins, basically not for lack of trying. I get up in the morning, do some yoga, take my vitamins, eat some breakfast, start to get moving and promptly crash. It's likely that I sleep close to 12 hours a day. Not because I want to, but because I can't function otherwise. I'm clumsy and absent-minded and just generally unpleasant. The 12 hours a day things doesn't sound awful in theory, but considering I don't typically even get to sleep until 3 a.m., it kind of ruins the entire day.

So all that being said, I haven't been up to much. It is mentally taxing to think that's it's physically taxing for me to do all the normal things a person does. But it kind of is that way.

Even though I haven't been up to much, I did get something cool in the mail the other day, so that's something! This cool guy from Australia sent me two mix CDs, which, so far have been AWESOME. I'm really loving them. One is all bands from Australia and the other is just good bands from everywhere. His girlfriend, Bianca, decorated the CDs and made everything look gorgeous. She has the most beautiful handwriting I have ever seen. Check it out.

I didn't get pictures of the actual CDs, because I was in a rush to listen to them. But they're cool, I promise.

Staci and I went to the Tin Roof again last night. They were showing Zombie Strippers and we wanted to check that out, but we got sidetracked and misinterpreted each other so we were too late. Oh but don't worry, it will be seen. We just kind of hung out and talked and just relaxed. I like the place - it's got this feeling about it - makes me feel creative. We were doodling and writing the entire time we were there. And the pressure to drink isn't high. They're cool with people coming and hanging out and not being boozy and out of hand. I like that. Also, people actually talked to us this time around.

My dad called while we were out and said he bought some new paring knives. The first thing I asked him was if they were sharp. Not because I was being a dick, but because I am familiar with the brand of knives he bought and they're the sharpest ones I've ever owned and they hold it well. Anyway, he said he cut himself and should've gotten stitches but didn't, only while he was washing them. At this point I made fun of him profusely. Since I cut myself last year, my family members always tell me to stay away from sharp things. So it's nice to switch it around every now and then. He assures me he can feel the tip of his thumb, so I think all is well. If he were terribly injured, I wouldn't laugh.

That's all I've got. Not leaving the house much during the daytime really cuts down on the stories to share. I'll try to get better and come back with something really fantastic.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

I did go out today to celebrate Record Store Day a little. I held off for a couple of weeks just for this occasion. See? Here is me browsing at my local shop (hanging out in the lower left corner, as I do) along with a bunch of other people who got there right when they opened.

(Shh...I stole this picture from the store's Facebook)

Anybody else go out? Tell me all about it. Where did you go and what did you get?

It's heeeeeere...

Happy Record Store Day, people!

Go out and get you some!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

I happened to come across an article on the New York Times website today about what it feels like to have long-term insomnia. It was a really interesting thing to me, because I can definitely identify with lots of what the writer had to say.

When I was younger and still living at home, I often didn't sleep at night. It wasn't because I couldn't, it was just because I preferred not to do so. It was easier for me to get things done at night when the house was quiet, and it was a time when I could do the things I wanted to instead of fulfilling the obligations I had during the day.

My junior year in high school, I had a solid year of good sleep before, sometime in my senior year, I started having awful nightmares and waking up in the middle of the night. I'd be absolutely terrified of absurd things that weren't putting me in danger or circumstances that didn't even exist. I really struggled with this situation, because my boyfriend at the time (who I lived with for most of this period) didn't understand what was going on and didn't really want to. So I'd sit up at night, crying and just generally freaking out while he slept like a baby and had no concern for what was going on. I knew that he couldn't fix the problem, because I didn't have any idea how to fix it, and I didn't expect him to sit up all night with me every night. But I think what I really wanted from him was just some sort of understanding - an acknowledgement that what was happening was a real issue to me, and that, even though he wasn't experiencing it, he understood that it really took a toll on me.

After awhile, I drifted out of that phase and got back into a normal sleep pattern again. I woke up every morning feeling ready to get out and do something new. I took good care of myself and was happy to be making some sort of a life on my own.

Then in 2008, my headaches started getting worse and I had them more frequently. I slept a lot more than normal, because my sleep at night was so disrupted. In 2009, I started having problems even falling asleep. Since then, I've been mostly awake until 4 a.m. every night. I've tried melatonin and Ambien and all of that fun stuff, to no great avail. So at around 11 each night, I get myself ready for bed and usually even try to go to sleep. If I do happen to have such luck, I wake up within an hour or two and can't get back to sleep until early in the morning.

All of this wouldn't be so bad if my body didn't automatically wake up at 7 or 8 every morning. Occasionally, I'll get a nap in before noon or in the early evening, but more often than not, I'm running on 4 or less disjointed hours of sleep a night.

Anyway, I guess my point to all of this is that a lot of people don't understand (either because they don't have the problem and can't grasp it, or they think it's fake, or they just don't care) the effects that constant sleeplessness can have on a person.

So go over and read the article here. It's by Lindsey Anderson, and if you want, you can also visit her blog here. It's not a call for pity for people who can't sleep - it's just kind of an insight. I like to understand things in other people's lives, so I found the article interesting.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

April bores me.

I feel like I'm in a huge, disgusting rut right now and I'm having a hard time getting out. So I'm trying to mix up my life a little bit and see if anything clicks. So far, nada.

Last night, Staci was over to my place and I made vegan pizza for us (since Earthfare now has Daiya - thank you, Lord) and we watched the Evil Dead 2 DVD which Netflix so graciously bestowed upon me this week. It was pretty much the Bruce Campbell show, and we both decided that the first was more fun to watch.

Tonight, I went to this little bar across the street called the Tin Roof (with Staci, of course). They were having an MST3K night and were set to show two episodes (Crash of the Moons and Menace from Outer Space), with some fun little shorts in between. When we got there, this was not the case. They showed two sci-fi movies and were set up to have some local folks sort of riff on them, but these folks didn't show I guess and nobody really stepped up. So we were left as a tiny group hovering at the bar making our own jokes - I have to say the bartender and one other patron were doing really well. The first movie they ran was The Astral Factor and it was honestly very hard to watch. Staci and I didn't stick around for the second, and most of the other people had left as well. It was a fun night. I think we both really enjoyed it, but it was kind of awkward. It felt like we walked into a modern day Cheers, where everybody knew each other and we were kind of intruding on their space. So we were just two nerdy girls sitting in a room full of nerdy guys. Anyway, the place is actually really cool and very comfortable, so it may become a new haunt for us and hopefully these people will become accustomed to our presence.

I'm shocked that Staci is not totally bored with me yet. We spend a lot of time together, but it seems that we get along well. And we take breaks in between of a couple of days. I think we're both kind of stuck and looking for change in our lives, so we sort of get each other.

In other news, this article popped up on my Facebook feed today, courtesy of Charleston's City Paper. I know I beat the proverbial dead horse about Food Revolution - but I just find it important and interesting. The article sort of mentions the situation here in the Charleston area in relation to the current buzz surrounding Jamie's show.

Other than all of that, my life has been kind of slow compared to the way it was in March. It's nice to have a slow day to just rest every now and then, but I feel like I have them all the time, and I feel sort of like I need them more often. It's frustrating to feel like a 90-year-old and be in pain or sick or fatigued or whatever. But I'm hoping things will get a bit better in the next week or so.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Not much to say, but I did watch episode four of Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution today. Really great episode. So if you haven't seen it, you should go do that over on Hulu. It's worth the 45 minutes, promise.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

At least my bad habits were discouraged...

I haven't really had an appetite for anything the past two weeks. I don't feel motivated to eat lunch or dinner, or even munch on veggies during the day. It's strange. But today I went to Whole Foods to pick up a few things and stuff sort of started jumping out at me.

Of course, I got some of the normal stuff that I do - stuff to make meals for the week, brazil nuts, grapes and other stuff to munch on. But for some reason today, sweets were hanging around in the back of my head too. I'm not big on that sort of stuff usually, but apparently I'm all about it now.

I really, really did not like ice cream when I was a kid, and even as I've gotten older, I've not really been so keen on it. But I discovered that I really like this:

So it hopped on into my basket. By itself. It grew legs and launched itself out of the freezer case and into the basket.

I thought that was kind of bad enough. A pint-sized death trap sitting in the freezer is more than I need. But then I walked over to the bakery to get bread. And they started having these vegan cupcakes in the bakery case like a year ago. At first, it was just boring, completely untempting shit like chocolate and vanilla. But then a couple of months ago, the good flavors started. Like today's orange cupcake with chocolate ganache on top. Soooo I couldn't say no.

Anyway. This cupcake came home and I ate my dinner and stared at the mini-cake on the counter. Annnnd I had a fairly small and wholesome dinner, so I figured why the hell not. Here is where I begin my letter to the bakers at Whole Foods.

Dear Whole Foods "Bakers" -
I don't know what kind of training you have to have to work in the bakery at a supermarket. And I don't know if the recipes are providing for you or if you get to experiment a little bit. But there is absolutely NO EXCUSE for the travesty that was the orange vegan cupcake with chocolate ganache. I have never seen any cake or bread product in my life so dense - it was comparable to eating a memory foam mattress. I know that baking is harrrdddd and vegan baking is probably hardderrr, but I also know for a fact that there are hundreds of awesome vegan cupcake recipes available. Ones that you can chew without dislocating your jaw. The flavor was ace - really perfect - and the ganache was just right, but even a perfect ganache could not rescue such a sad attempt at a cake. Please fix this.
Love and kisses, me.

Really. It was that bad, I promise. I threw all but 3 bites of it away. I just don't get how anyone in that bakery could've tasted that product when it was finished and still deemed it fit to go out for sale. It broke my little heart and shattered my dreams. So I suppose I will stick to baking my own cuppies at home.

Anyway, this entire entry is kind of bullshit. I had a mostly boring day and it looks like there are many to follow. Maybe I'll get to work on fixing Whole Foods' recipe for them.

Monday, April 05, 2010

Mail Call: Part 3

This is the final installment for awhile, until I get some more mail! The cards today are all kind of things that made me giggle a little bit or are just kind of strange.

It took me more than a day to understand this joke. I looked at it, didn't get it, put it down, came back later, rinse, repeat...and then one day it clicked!

Supersquirrel flew in from a woman in the Netherlands.

I'm a nerd, so obviously, I enjoy this.

It's a bunny with condoms on its ears - self explanatory.

And RARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!!! Note the inadequacies of the tool in iPhoto I use to make sure people from the internet don't kill me in my sleep. Instead of just smudging white over my address, it smudged random words from the text. Awesome.

That's it. No more! Not unless people send me mail! Hinthint!

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Happy Easter!

This is what happens to people who expect things of bunnies that aren't in the bunnies' job descriptions - i.e., delivering candy and eggs, and going bawk bawk bawk...

Mail Call: Part 2

It's after 3 in the morning and I still can't sleep, so I figure I should try to accomplish something rather than just staring at the ceiling for hours.

Before I get to the post thing, I just wanted to throw it out there that I watched Food Revolution episode three yesterday afternoon and was, once again, impressed. This time I watched over at and that seemed to work far better for me - not as many annoying repeat ads and better streaming. So check it out if you haven't.

So the following cards are, once again, cards that I really like. These ones all sort of have to do with other places. I'm really desperate to get out of my city lately, so every card I get from some place else looks really interesting to me. But these ones were particularly fun.

This card was sent from Kuala Lumpur and the building is actually the railway station there.

This is Lake Louise in Banff National Park in Canada. Such a gorgeous view - really wouldn't mind seeing it in person!

I really like cities and all the bright lights they have to offer at night. I think I'd like to visit all of Australia, not just Brisbane.

My mind keeps wandering to California a lot lately. I'm 100% positive I'll get out there in the next couple of years.

This is an old ad card sort of thing for a motel in Biloxi, Miss. Nothing super special to most people, I'm sure, but I really like it.

I can't decide where I want to be lately. I've really got no idea. But I don't particularly want to be where I am now. I guess I just kind of want to see stuff. And I've got a passport that expires in 2014, so I'm kind of itching to get out of the country a little bit. Who knows...maybe something will come up in the next year or so.

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Mail Call: Part 1

I haven't shared my mail in awhile, but that doesn't mean I haven't been putting it aside for such things. I scanned in a bunch of postcards this morning and thought I'd share my favorites over the next couple of days. Today's cards are all handmade.

This photo was taken in an independent bookstore in Oslo by the sender. The postcard came from Leisha in Norway.

Yet another fun card from Carroll. She said the card was made a week before she found out she'd be sending to me. The universe just played another little trick!

This card came from Grant in Taiwan as a thank you for a card I sent him. What it says is the opposite of how I feel - I can express myself, but I can't draw my way out of a paper bag.

This one's from Alexis in Canada. The polaroid on the front is a real one.

Friday, April 02, 2010

In which I fail to be graceful and elegant...

So I had a gift certificate for a certain online shop and I used it to buy a really cute pair of ballet flat-ish shoes. They're a pale lavender color and are possibly the most comfortable shoes I own now. Shoes by Blowfish are always comfortable as far as I can tell. Anyway, they arrived yesterday afternoon and I immediately ripped them out of the box in a whirlwind of tissue paper and cardboard.

Anyway, I tried them on and they fit perfectly and I wanted to take a picture to share in my joy over this simple little event. After I took this picture, I promptly kicked the shoes off (who am I kidding - I took them off carefully and placed them back into their safe little box), put my flip-flops on, and walked into the bathroom so I could get ready to meet a friend for dinner. Upon exiting the bathroom, I gracefully kicked into the edge of the bathroom door. I'm like at least 125% positive that I broke at least two toes. Possibly like 3. Or two and a half.

I'm sure I've probably broken a toe before, just from being clumsy and/or reckless. But I've never had lasting pain due to it. Is it weird that I have pain radiating up through the top of my foot to my ankle? Anybody an expert on these things?

Thursday, April 01, 2010

It's About Time

Yesterday, I had some time available and took it upon myself to watch the first two episodes of Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution. I'm actually really glad I did this. You might not be though, because now you get to listen to me talk about it! This is going to be a very long entry, and I know not everyone will read it, but I hope that someone will find it of interest.

I'm sure most people these days have at least a vague idea of who Jamie Oliver is. He made his leap into fame with his first television show, The Naked Chef, in which he taught viewers how to make stripped down meals using only a few quality ingredients. Since then, he's hosted several shows, published several cookbooks, opened some restaurants, and begun his crusade to make the world a slightly healthier place.

I've always enjoyed watching Jamie do his thing. Although much of his food is not at all up my alley, I think he is a very talented chef and I enjoy his personality and approach to cooking. So when the Jamie's School Dinners program popped up (I still lived at home then), I of course tuned in to see what it was all about.

This program began with the idea of changing the food standards of schools in Great Britain. Jamie was of the opinion that the foods were unhealthy (never fresh, but processed) and unbalanced, and that this was unfair to the kids because they had no choice in the matter. They were eating what was fed to them, without hesitation, and it was setting them up poorly to be able to manage their dietary health in the future.

Now let's take a break. I understand that you can't go around telling people what to eat/do/say/think. I get that. But children don't know any better. And in the circumstance that existed when this program began, the people that should have been teaching them (i.e., teachers and other school officials, and the parents) weren't - either because they didn't care or they were ill-informed themselves. Being healthy is important. I will argue that until my dying day - a stable, healthy diet and exercise are just priceless. I understand that everyone can make his/her own individual choice as to whether or not to be healthy. I don't understand why anyone would actively choose to be unhealthy, but it happens - because being healthy is difficult. It takes work, and even costs more. Bottom line is, whether one chooses to make decisions to better his/her life is not my business, but I feel that people should at least have the education necessary to understand the choices that they're making for themselves and their children.

Jamie experienced great success with his program to improve school food systems in Great Britain. And this is how we have reached the current day, where Jamie's Food Revolution begins.

The Food Revolution series begins in the town of Huntingdon, West Virginia. This city is one of the unhealthiest cities in America, a statistic based on death rates and other factors I don't understand (I don't work for the government, but I'm sure they've published some more information on this somewhere). Upon his arrival in the town, Jamie is met with much opposition and skepticism. He is given no respect and no appreciation for his efforts. This, although upsetting, is the world we live in - people don't like change initiated from outside sources. We are wired to assume that if someone is trying to change us, whether for better or for worse, it must mean that we're not doing a good enough job on our own, that we're incompetent, lazy, stupid, or just plain incapable.

It seems that Jamie spends a lot of his time trying to reassure the locals that he's trying to help and that he doesn't mean any disrespect to them. I can understand both sides of the situation. But I think it's admirable of someone to leave their home and their family for months to try to help others that are just strangers.

In the first two episodes, we see a week of Chef Oliver trying to get kids in a school to actually eat the healthy meals he's prepared while jumping through hoops to make sure he is preparing them to meet the USDA school lunch standards. There is a very disconcerting scene in which, while trying to get the kids excited about healthy food, Jamie holds up various vegetables in front of a class of first graders. A child identifies a bunch of tomatoes as "potatoes", another an eggplant as a pear, and after a hint "egg salad", and so on. It was terrifying to think that, not only aren't these kids learning these things in school, but they're not learning them at home either.

Jamie also takes the time to visit a family (we only see one on the show so far, but he says there were a few) in an effort to help out with health at home too. The family that he visited, the Edwards, had a freezer stacked full of frozen pizzas, and a little fryer on their countertop which was used at nearly every meal. They made all of the food they would normally cook in a week and piled it onto the kitchen table. It was a huge pile of golden brown. Nothing in the pile was fresh or colorful. The mother of the family was upset when she saw it all in one place and agreed to try to change the situation. They had a funeral for the fryer, and vowed to start anew. Jamie took them shopping, and ended up leaving them with a week's recipes for simple, healthy dishes. He also spoke to one of the sons in the family before he left. The boy was very overweight and often teased at school. He stated that he wanted to change his weight and knew that the food choices his family was making were not the right ones. He even let it slip that he wanted to learn how to cook and maybe to become a chef one day. Later in the show, Jamie gives him some private lessons at a kitchen set up specifically for the show, where any of the townspeople can visit for free cooking lessons or a square meal.

In the second episode, Jamie returns to the Edwards home, where the family says they've been cooking the recipes and loving them, only to find way too many leftover ingredients and a daughter who let's slip that they had "pizza" (not one of the meals in the recipe plan). Jamie takes the family to the hospital for check-ups, which the children have not had in years. The boy who wanted to learn to cook has a diabetes scare - he is showing signs but does not test positive. This seems to be a turning point for the family, when the doctor tells them that a change needs to occur for their son's sake and it needs to occur now.

The second episode ends with the school superintendent and the woman in charge of enforcing USDA standards give Jamie permission to spend a few more weeks in the school, and declare his first week successful.


Okay. So I'm sure that if anybody has made it this far, they're curious as to why I'm waffling on and on about how great this guy is and blah blah blah. And while I do think Oliver's a good guy, it's not him that I'm so pleased with, it's the initiative. While I was watching yesterday, on more than one occasion, I felt tears start to well up. I cry at movies all the time, but I can't recall instances of television tears. And it wasn't watching other people cry that upset me - it was the poor kids. They have been set up for failure, and it kills me. And I know that it's not only in Huntingdon, it's all over the U.S.A., and I'm sure in some other countries as well. And I'm also upset by the lack of willingness to stop it.

If I were in the place of one of the parents of a child at this school, and I were to not have any food knowledge AT ALL, at the very least my jaw would be hitting the floor when some of the information was revealed to me. I would be demanding change or creating it on my own. It's just shocking to me that people see their weight approaching ridiculously high numbers and don't feel the need to change it. I know sometimes there are external circumstances for folks being overweight, but there aren't enough of those external circumstances in the world to justify the obesity in American society.

This cause is a cause I really believe in. As life expectancies are dropping and weights are rising across the country, we should be welcome change in with open arms. The generation of children in primary school now is the first generation whose parents are expected to outlive them, according to a statistic given on the show. I can't verify this "statistic", but I believe it. All signs point to yes.

I'm lucky enough to have the means and the information to live a mostly healthy life right now - I'm not perfect, but I try to do things that are generally good for me and try to keep myself mostly in check. Not everyone is as lucky. I can't give them millions of dollars to shop at Whole Foods and buy all natural and fresh ingredients for their meals. But I can do my best to inform those who will listen, and I can give my support to someone, in this case Jamie Oliver, who has a far wider reach than I ever will and who isn't willing to accept failure.

So I'm done ranting and carrying on. I really encourage everybody to watch the show if possible, just once, and give it a chance. The information is really shocking, and even if you already understand the problem, it's an interesting program. It's on Friday nights on ABC, or you can watch it for free at like I did.

And lastly, if you believe in this cause and you feel so inclined, sign the petition. I'm not typically a petition type of girl, but this is one change I'd like to see happen.