Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Most Relaxing Place Ever

When I was a kid, I always looked forward to being sick. A high temperature or a sore throat meant my Mom would drop me off at Grandma’s house on her way to work. The first thing Grandma would do on a cold winter day is sit me in front of the fireplace and make me a “hot toddy.” Then I would “make my nest,” as she called it, in front of the TV with a bean bag and fuzzy blanket. Her scruffy little dog, Ralph, black kitty (who had no name that I was aware of), Grandma and me would spend the entire day watching soap opera’s, The Andy Griffith Show, and Perry Mason. If it got late before Mom picked me up (which it often did) we’d watch Masterpiece Theatre on PBS. As the night wore on I’d watch Soap, M.A.S.H, and Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman through barely open eyes. It was acceptable for me to drink hot tea with a shot of whisky but these late night shows were not allowed unless I pretended to be asleep.
Being sick at Grandma’s house was comfortable, safe and warm… but it was also fun. I was allowed to eat and watch things that were “off limits” at home. It was a wonderful combination of the familiar and predictable and the new and exciting. It was a rare opportunity in life to experiment and explore in a safe and unconditionally accepting environment. Although it was not my house, it is one of the few places I have ever felt truly at home.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Wash Your Own Damn Brain

The first time I heard of an affirmation was from Al Franken's character Stewart Smalley on Saturday Night Live. "I'm Good Enough, I'm Smart Enough, and Doggone It, People Like Me!" Obviously, I thought affirmations were funny but didn't take them seriously.

Years later I was studying propaganda in totalitarian societies and had a realization. Human behaviour can be modified, and even completely changed, by repeating stripped down, catchy, messages over and over . Corporate advertisers figured this out decades ago and are effectively using the same techniques that dictators use to control entire populations to sell crap and make billions in profits. They have very successfully created a bottomless pit of need, want, and desire that will never (and can never) be satisfied. Our very economy depends on it.

Since this realization I have been a believer in affirmations. I have never used them on myself as consistently and effectively as corporations do, but I still consider them a potentially powerful form of rebellious, grassroots, reprogramming. I firmly believe that all of us have as much power to shape our own desires and behaviour as the ads formulated by high paid business executives. The real challenge is figuring out what our real needs are versus what we have been brain washed to think we need.

I wouldn't be surprised if second rate comedian turned Senator, Al Frankin, has an affirmation or two up his sleeve.

Monday, September 7, 2009

What Is The Secret?

You will be happy to know that I am now taking a writing class. One of our first assignments was to interview another student. The young women who interviewed me turned out to be a sensational writer. Her assignment was read aloud to the class as an example of how it's done. She edited out most of my negativity and made me sound like an interesting, happy and well adjusted person. The class liked it but I got bored and my mind wandered. I'm disturbed by this because I've always believed that a guaranteed method to get anyone with a pulse's attention is to share private things about them to a group of strangers. Perhaps it's time for a physical?

Although I've never watched the DVD or read the book, I happen to know that Oprah's "secret" is " like attracts like". My attention span is shot and I'm not in a good place right now. Honestly, I'm "OK" with that. I 'm attracted to negativity... and for good reason. Fat, Broke, and Tired. Not exactly a chapter from The Secret. I'm not popular... but so what? I do wonder where all the negative readers are though? Should'nt they be attracted to my blog? My counter reads 520 but I started at 500... and 5 of those visits were me. I only have 15 views. I guess they are like me, busy spewing self-absorbed blogs but not doing much reading.

I'm sure I'll get to the promised land. At the very least, learning to become a good writer will obviously help me fake it so I can start attracting and stop repulsing.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Gordian Knot

"No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it. "

Since becoming a vegan not much has changed. I still look and feel like crap. Just because I don't feel better doesn't mean I can't start thinking better though.

In an attempt to raise my consciousness I'm watching documentaries like Food Inc., King Corn, and All In This Tea. One of the most important things I've learned so far is that everything (good or bad) seeps right into our food. Misty mountains and a winding fresh water stream make a great tasting tea and a soulful culinary experience. Corn fed beef wading knee high in their own shit for the entire duration of their miserable lives results in e. coli epidemics, obesity, and heart attacks. Human beings have never paid less for their food and more for their health care.

I have also learned that many of the tasty looking (but slightly tasteless) foods I have started eating to replace animal products in my diet are made of soy and corn. Apparently the soy and corn industries are as (or more) corrupt and harmful than the meat and dairy industries. The nutritional value of the entire world's food supply has been diminished as these once delicious crops have been re-engineered into mere fillers and additives for just about everything we consume (even batteries), literally becoming the vessels of corporate ignorance, greed, and short term self-interests.

In the 1950's the McDonald brothers wheeled their ox cart onto the world's stage leaving us with a seemingly unsolvable puzzle. Our very survival may depend on a solution. Is there another Alexander on the horizon equipped to set us free and boldly usher in a new era? Or are the few of us who care to notice doomed to spend our days wearing our bloody knuckles to the bone fussing with this god forsaken knot ... Is there something wholesome in this house for me to eat that is delicious, easy to prepare, and affordable? Maybe the food I eat deserves more investment after all? I already gave up meat. Should I give up the Internet, cable, or (gasp) my cell phone (they are killing off the bees aren't they?), to be able to afford locally grown organic food? I'm hungry right now. Consciousness raising hurts. Help! I need an intervention before I go to In and Out and have a corn fed hamburger and a stroke.

Friday, August 28, 2009


I just saw the movie Julie and Julia. It's about a food lover & office wage slave who makes a name for herself blogging her race to cook all 520 recipes in Julia Child's first book in 365 days. Activity is more important to me right now than originality, so I thought I'd cook & blog my way through , Veganomicon, The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook.

Given the random and lousy food choices I've been making since I became a vegan, the pictures in this cookbook have become like porn to me. While I'm now convinced that vegan's can eat delicious food, I'm not going to be working my way through this (or any other) cookbook anytime soon. The introduction alone includes chapters on stocking your pantry, equipment needed, and cooking and prepping terminology and techniques. Just reading the table of contents made me feel like a loser doomed to a dreary life of either cheap corporate junk food or cereal and soy milk. I was particularly discouraged when skimming the chapter on low-fat cooking that confirmed my suspicion that a vegan diet does not automatically mean weight loss. Be warned, many vegans also struggle with a gut and fat ass.

I am discouraged but I refuse to give up this early in the game. I can have flavor and variety in my diet. I can decrease my waistline while increasing my karma. I can do this with nothing more than a can opener, a few pans, and a short attention span. I will go it alone and create some receipts that are satisfying but don't involve mandolines, crepe pans, blanching, braising or julienne. Next stop, Trader Joe's.

Friday, August 21, 2009

You Are What You Eat

I decided to become a vegan. Off to a good start too! I didn't eat any animal products all day... and it wasn't that hard. I ate oatmeal, nuts, vegetables, crackers, raisins, bananas, popcorn, hummus dip, lots of coffee, a chocolate bar covered in peanut butter and half a bottle of wine. Probably a few other things... a lot of other things. I scarfed down anything I could get my hands on that I didn't think had animal products in it. It's already clear to me that being a vegan may be good for my karma but isn't necessarily good for my waistline.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Running On Empty?

Look at the picture under "ABOUT ME" in the side bar. Now add about 100 lbs, knock out a tooth, and wipe the smile off his face. I'm forty one, been in the same roller coaster relationship for over 20 years, work 50+ hours a week (but live in poverty), have two cats and no kids. Pathetic, yes. Sympathetic, no. Why should anybody want to follow my story? If you are a happy, well adjusted person, I probably have nothing to offer you. If you are a slob like me who yearns to be something better but doesn't know where to begin, then I probably have nothing to offer you either... but I'm going to put in the effort. I want to be your hero.

I am on a quest to transform myself into a beautiful person inside and out: A person who all the world will admire. If all goes as planned, I will be a shining role model who demonstrates that anything is possible. You will learn from me (in clear and easy steps) how to improve your life and become a living saint.

And if all does not go as planned? You'll have a front row seat to the burial of a mans hopes and dreams. A small tragedy that may very well make your own drudgery and broken dreams more tolerable in comparison. At the very least, I can guarantee you will get a pretty good idea of what not to do on your own path to perfection.