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Archive for March, 2015

Years ago, back when I ate whatever and whenever (hey, I had just graduated from college), my brother recommended I read the book Fast Food Nation. I don’t recall the context of the situation or why he wanted me to read it, but I did. That book was the initial domino triggering a series of decisions and actions that are still in motion today. Though it didn’t necessarily change my views, it awakened me.

At the time, I already knew that fast food was unhealthy. There’s a reason I’d feel disgusting after eating a burger from McDonald’s or fries from Wendy’s. But this book ripped my head out from the sand and opened my eyes to how pervasive and manipulative the industry is. And, as an animal lover, I was disgusted to learn about factory farming and the conditions in which both animals and people are forced to operate.

From there, I started reading other books like Eating Animals and The Omnivore’s Dilemma and watching documentaries like King Corn and More Than Honey. When I wasn’t in a blinding rage, I started blogging about and doing more research on these topics and my journey toward living and eating sustainably. My hatred for Monsanto got to a point where when I took a job back at a former employer so I could move to San Francisco, I did so on the condition that Monsanto would not be one of my clients.

My research also extended to beauty products, because what goes onto our skin is equally as important as how the products are developed and tested. No More Dirty Looks is a great little book and blog that I’ve mentioned in previous posts.

It’s kind of like a rabbit hole with no bottom. There are a million and one ways that what we choose to buy and ingest affects our planet. I could ramble on forever about this, but I won’t. It’s already here on my blog and will continue to be in future posts.

Sometimes, when I’m giving my brother a hard time about his eating habits, I wonder if he regrets telling me to read that book in the first place.

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I started this post a couple of days ago, not knowing how to address the subject. There are no doubt people I could live without. And there are also many things I could live without; for example, oodles of money. Because I’m currently living without that.

However, last night when I woke up with a sore throat and stuffy nose, I realized I could definitely live — and live very happily — without head colds. I could get all extreme on you and use the blanket term “illness,” since I’m sure a life without illness would be grand indeed, but I won’t. Though it does make me wonder if I could live forever by evading illness, or at least live until we destroy the planet.

No, head colds are the bane of my existence. They render me helpless and useless and attack me without warning. The only drug that works on clearing my sinuses is pseudoephedrine. You know, the stuff you now have to show your ID to the pharmacist to buy. And unfortunately it’s non-drowsy, so trying to sleep after taking it isn’t ideal. And, when I take it at work with the goal of helping me breathe and focus, my head turns into a red balloon full of helium and floats up to the ceiling to bounce around there for a while.

I’m one of those people who is greatly affected by head colds. Call me a wuss, but sleeping even with one clogged nostril is near impossible for me. You may not know this, but I was once addicted to Afrin (thanks, dad). After a painful withdrawal process, I can now mostly manage my sinuses with a Neti pot and saline spray.

Head colds, I detest thee. You sneak up on me, tap me on the shoulder, and laugh in my sore-nosed face. You make riding an elevator feel like being on a plane. You scare sleep away from me. You make food taste bland and the air smell strange. Once a rare visitor, you now torment me more than once a year. You make me question my immune system, of which I used to be quite proud. Am I getting weak in my old age? Head cold, I want to dash you with a u-lock.

Head cold, take the 101 down to the 5, find a fracking site, and go back to hell where you belong!

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Oh, man. To be serious or not to be serious…

Today I will throw you all off and be serious because turning this into a farce would be way more easy, and I’m down for a challenge.

Something I’ve tried to live without but can’t is coffee. Sadly, I don’t think it’s the coffee itself. It’s the idea of coffee and what coffee involves. Much of my social life revolves around coffee. Coffee bike rides, coffee before bike rides, coffee during bike rides, meeting for coffee and a chat, meeting for coffee to talk about stuff, making and drinking coffee the morning after a night of drinking stuff other than coffee… I could go on.

I was able to give up coffee for about 7 months prior to my wedding. But I had an end-goal in mind: To look hot in my wedding dress. So any time I had the urge to drink coffee, I pulled up a picture of the gown and drank green tea instead. And you can guess the first thing I drank the morning after my wedding (besides water)! I’m sure you’re all about to say “But Tracy! Coffee won’t make you fat!” And here is where I remind you that I like a bit of coffee with my cream and sugar. Believe me, it’s not the taste of coffee I love.

Coffee is a lot more to me than just the drink itself. There are rituals and traditions surrounding coffee that just wouldn’t feel the same if I were drinking anything else. I don’t want to partake in a coffee bike ride, which is a social ride that involves biking to coffee shops around the city, and then get juice or tea at each stop. Waking up in the morning and making a cup of tea isn’t the same as grinding some beans (Mmm, that smell!) and dumping them in the French Press with hot water. And I love latte art.

Finally, not much can beat the combination of two wonderful things, coffee and chocolate. I will never turn down a hot or iced mocha, especially if it’s a Valencia mocha.

Now replace the word “coffee” with “alcohol” and this post would be a lot more accurate, if not a little disturbing.

Read the full list of truths here.

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Are you fucking kidding me with this bullshit? I’m just about ready to tell this list to go fuck itself. Maybe I shouldn’t be writing when I’m premenstrual and dealing with some annoying personal shit, but whatever. I don’t give a fuck.

You know what hero has let me down? Fucking Wolverine. Yeah, goddamn Logan from X-Men. Hugh Jackman played a total dick of a human being in the movie Chappie. Yes, I saw Chappie last night, because friends and Die Antwoord. Surprisingly (or not), I enjoyed the movie once people stopped throwing popcorn at me. As my astute friend predicted, I cried over the plight of robots. Not humans, robots! Well, okay, maybe one of the humans. But no spoilers! The tears may also have been due to the two beers I consumed prior to the movie and said PMS, but who’s counting? Though clearly a work of fiction, Chappie reminded me of how much people suck. Not that I needed much of a reminder, because I have eyes and ears.

Anyway, the letter. Here goes…

Dear Logan (aka Wolverine),

Why did you have to be so cool in X-Men, only to become a rugby ball-cuddling meat-head whose selfish actions made me want to vomit popcorn and (root)beer all over the movie theater?

Love,

TJ

P.S. Lose the mullet.

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Apparently we’ve hit the point on this list where it starts getting ridiculous. I absolutely abhor this type of thing and refuse to write a letter to someone I don’t know. I’m no longer 15. No band or artist has gotten me through some tough-ass days, though there have been songs, photos, videos, etc. that have helped me through some tough-ass days. (Have I mentioned that I’m a sarcastic jerk? Plus, it’s my blog. I’m going to use this list as I see fit.)

One of my best friends, Sheela, would say: “That’s easy! It’s Depeche Mode!” And to an extent, she’s right. A friend introduced me to them when I was 15, the beginning of the most angst-ridden period of my life. Everything was a catastrophe. And Martin Gore’s lyrics spoke to me. Alan Wilder’s dark, synth sound tapped into my feelings of discontent. I even went so far as to use a lyric from one of their songs on a science test in high school. If you’re wondering, I got an “A” on the test. Even now, when I happen to hear them in a store or bar somewhere, the associated feelings come flooding back.

The truth of it is that many artists get me through the days, whether the art is in the form of a song that strikes a chord with my mood, a photo that inspires me, some well-written prose, a video of puppies doing adorable things, or witty graffiti on the side of a building. So instead of writing a letter, I’m going to list of some art that stands out to me in the hopes that you will check it out.

I could probably go on, and I’m sure I missed some stuff, but these are just a few things that have gotten me through and continue to do so.

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I may have to use this Truth as another excuse to rant about society.

Something I never get complimented on is my compassion for humanity. I have an alarming lack of empathy for the human race. In fact, a friend of mine commented, in reference to a movie about robots, that he believes I’m “more capable of empathizing with burgeoning robot Artificial Intelligence than with real-life human beings.” And it’s true. I may have shed a tear when The Terminator lowered itself [note: I originally had “himself” instead of “itself”] into metal-melting molten at the end of the movie. I didn’t care so much about Sarah or John Connor. However, I would also like to note that I do feel and care for people I know and like. Because I am not a robot.

Animals are more my thing. Specifically because they are just out there living their lives, and we humans take it upon ourselves to exploit them for our exclusive benefit without considering the consequences. And the way we do it is inhumane in many cases. (For an example Google: “Fur industry China.” I don’t have it in me to post links here.)

Not all people are evil, but a few rotten apples certainly spoil the bunch. Seriously, is there really a need to smash glass bottles in the children’s sandbox at Dolores Park? Poison dogs with meatballs? Who wouldn’t be disgusted after reading those things? People just don’t give a fuck, and not in the good Mark Manson way. Sadly, we are the only species smart enough to be able to give a fuck and do something about it, but we are too wrapped up in our own lives to care about anything else.

If people would spend half as much time putting an effort into bettering their community and the planet as they do to bettering their own situation, everyone would benefit. But no, let’s wait until things have a direct impact on us before taking action. This ties into the nuclear family/every-man-for-himself mentality. Why look out for anyone else when nobody is looking out for you? Fuck off, neighbor, get off my land. An interesting, semi-related article about nuclear families discusses why the idea isn’t sustainable. Though I don’t necessarily agree with the extended family concept, I believe taking a community-based approach would be a positive development. Let’s take care of our tribe and the good earth that provides for us instead of stepping all over everything and everyone that gets in our path.

*End Rant*

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