Archive | May, 2011

#1 Hey remember when…

30 May

Seeing as most of the readers of this blog are longtime friends of mine I thought I’d make an occasional post about a funny or heartwarming memory that has popped up for me recently. You may be directly involved in this memory, you may have heard about it or you may be discovering it for the first time. Either way, I hope you enjoy it. Inspired by the great…

I’m also accepting classic memories submitted by you.

So number 1:

Remember when Steve was driving Sienna, Georgia, Renee and I to my wedding? We were all frocked up and crammed into Sienna’s corolla. We scraped the gutter going around the first corner. I got a bit worried but we kept going. When we pulled up to the lights the car next to us wound down their window and told us that we’d lost a hubcap. I thought we might have to go back and get it but Steve in his relaxed style just said “Nah, two of them were already gone, this is the third to fall off so now we’ve only got one to go!”.

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Zuck it up

27 May

So you may have heard that about Mark Zuckerberg’s most recent project.

Basically he eats vegetarian most of the time particularly when he eats out but when he does eat meat, it will only be from an animal that he has killed and cooked himself. It seems that most people are disgusted by this and think that it’s barbaric. I hope I’m not alone in supporting him. I think this is noble challenge to attempt, let alone share with the unforgiving public.

His reasons are grounded, spiritual and conscious. This is not about selfishly hunting for the sake of a kill, it’s about being more connected with what you consume – something that I am an advocate for! It might surprise the fellow vegos out there that I’m supporting the consumption of meat at all but to me, this is about rising above the industry that controls our food production and finding another way… and I honestly believe that there is no future without the localisation of food production.

If everybody lived like this then there would be no need for factory farming or slaughterhouses, there would be less diseases like e coli, swine flu and salmonella AND less people would eat meat… why?

Because they would be faced with the emotional discomfort that goes hand in hand with killing an animal and the truth is, most of us wouldn’t be able to hack it! Most meat eaters survive by blocking out any thoughts or images about the animal that their meat came from and are only able to feel ok about consuming meat by creating a disconnection between them and their food. This disconnection from food is to blame for so many problems! Here’s just a few of them:

– People don’t understand how much time/effort/energy/resources/patience goes into food production and as a result they expect food to be cheap, in season all year round and available everywhere instantly (even when that particular food does not grow anywhere near where they want to purchase it from)

– Because of this unrealistic demand, supermarkets (who are screwing over the food producers) can offer much lower prices than your local green grocer or market stall who offer real prices. Supermarket giants get bigger, independent business owners and farmers get stamped out.

– Thanks to supermarkets, farmers can’t afford to use/establish organic practices and are forced to take the ‘easy option’ of using pesticides and chemicals which are not only really bad for humans, they also deplete soil nutrients and pollute water.

– Because the soil is deficient, just about everyone on the planet has some sort of mineral deficiency which means that their immune system is compromised and guess what? They are sick. Or have cancer. Or are suffering with unexplained symptoms.

Want some more reasons why being disconnected from your food isn’t cool?

– People don’t know how to cook. I didn’t really learn how to cook until I made the transition to vego/no dairy. Before that I was hooked on pre-packed everything. I’d never made soup before – I didn’t have to. I always just bought cans/cartons of soup. I never realised that I could just combine a few simple ingredients and make it myself. Pre-packaged food perpetuates the problem. We buy ‘food’ that look nothing like its original state and therefore have no connection with the ingredients.

– We assume that everything is safe, particularly ingredients/additives that we’ve never heard of. It’s easy to believe that “If it was bad for you then it wouldn’t be allowed in my food”, but the truth is that most additives have been created to save/make money – not to be safe for consumption. It is left up to the individual to do their own research and most people don’t bother.

– Packaging is ruining the planet! If you made your own biscuits at home from flour, butter and sugar then you wouldn’t need to throw away all that plastic and cardboard that was produced using virgin wood, depleting oil, non-renewable energy and toxic emissions. That stuff doesn’t disappear… it gets buried in the ground where it either stays unchanged for thousands of years or slowly breaks down and releases yet more carbon. If we were more closely linked with our food then perhaps we might consider a different approach.

So good on Zuckybabe for staying true to his values and courageously sharing his story with the world. This will open him up for criticism – it’s already been trending on twitter all day and the vegans are just as upset as they were about Lady Gaga’s meat dress. I just say thankyou. Thankyou for modelling authenticity, values, honesty and getting people talking about something which is truly a global issue.

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Chit Chat

25 May

I’m not one for chit chat. I was anti-social before social networking made being anti-social easier and more popular than ever. Don’t take me to a party or leave me alone in a room full of strangers. That’s my worst nightmare!

At first I thought it was because for the most part I just don’t give a shit about what mindless ‘normal’ people have to say. But then I realised that part of my discomfort is due to the possibility that I’ll have to talk about myself… and when I consider myself, surrounded by ‘normal’ ‘adults’ I tend to judge myself quite harshly because I’m not at all like them (even though in any other context this would be a good thing). So what do I do when faced with hundreds of strangers chit chatting away? What any other fellow anti-socialite would do! Find the spot that is furthest away from everyone and pretend I’m wound up in some important solo problem solving or better yet… texting!

I of all people should know that ‘what you resist persists’ and that avoidance is rarely a good solution to any problem. So recently when I was faced with the possibility of small talking with strangers I retreated to cowardly avoidance but in the end it was in escapable…

I saw a woman looking at me. She was by herself too but I could tell she was on the hunt for a chat. She must have chosen me because I was alone, vulnerable… open to a chat attack with nowhere to hide. I using my phone with one hand and eating with the other plus I was looking in the other direction and she still insisted on having a yarn. ugh.

She starts by telling me that the cakes are good. I wouldn’t know because I’m (quite obviously) eating a home made cold roll that looks nothing like a cake. I explain that I’ve brought my own food. She leans in, like she’s telling me a secret… “Do you know, at the last course I came to I saw a girl who had some vegetable sticks (gasp) and some cottage cheese (GASP) which she ate on a… (wait for it) RYVITA! Can you believe it? That was her lunch!”.

Was I meant to be shocked? Or buy into her gossip, judgement and intolerance? Is agreeing with this woman what ‘being polite’ is? If so, I’ll happily wear the label of ‘rude’ and ‘arrogant’ if politeness means to compromise on my values. The funny thing is that we were both attending a course about coaching people how NOT to compromise their values. …

So, in this instance I was saved, quite literally by the bell for the end of the break. Otherwise I might have had time to tell her that I was also at the last course and I sat outside in the sun with the veggie stick girl because I also bought my lunch, which also involved veggies.

At the next break I decided not to avoid the chatting so blatantly as this obviously wasn’t working for me. I stood in amongst busy chatters just observing and waiting for someone to approach me which only took about 30 seconds. It was the condescending woman that I sat next to last time. She was wearing a lovely blue dress which really (really) made her blue eyes stand out. I mentioned this to her and told her that she looked great…  She then spent the next 5 minutes crapping on (with the support of another chatter that had snuck in) about how ugly/old she is and how bad your life gets as you get older:

“Don’t get too close, you’ll see all my wrinkles….. I had a birthday last week which means I had to take another step back from the mirror like I do every year…  Up close it’s just too scary now….. (hysterical laughter from everyone but me)”

I don’t get it. This woman look significantly younger than her age AND I just gave her a compliment.

I’ve never been one for sarcasm – especially the negative/self deprecating kind – especially with strangers. Again I was left wondering whether this is how normal people talk. Is this what chit chat is? Bitching about things that challenge your beliefs and connecting only by sarcasm and negativity? Really? Maybe this is why I’m so uncomfortable with having a chat because it honestly goes against everything I believe and feel.

Whatever happened to just talking about stuff, being interested in what someone has to say, finding common ground?

Thankfully the next day I had some really positive chats with a woman who was my age, open and interesting so that gave me some faith that not all chats are doomed. Obviously who you’re dealing with makes all the difference. You can’t always just whip out a great chat with any random stranger.

I realised recently that I experience far more discomfort when there’s chat potential with someone who’s more than 10-15 years older than me and have come to realise that this is more than just a generation gap thing… It’s a childhood thing. When I was growing up the only interactions I had with adults was being told what to do. Teachers, parents – there was no opportunity for me to meaningfully connect with them. I never really developed a relationship with an adult until I was 14/15 and that was a friend’s Mum who also happened to be my drug dealer. hmmm….

But since then I have actually discovered that the generation gap will only stand in the way of a true friendship if you let it but I’ve been carrying around this idea that “adults” will judge me for being young and stupid. Well not any more! Now I guess they should be thankful that I’m not judging them for being insecure, sarcastic and negative!

This post is for you…

10 May

Why do we wait until Mother’s Day to give thanks to our Mum? Weddings to tell people how special and beautiful their relationship is? and funerals to express our truest affection for another? …when it’s too late. Why not express yourself now, today… anyday. Humans are social beings, our friends and family support us, teach us and love us unconditionally. I for one am thankful for that. If we all conveyed our love and appreciation for our partner on a regular (even daily) basis then perhaps there would be no need for Valentine’s Day because every day would be a celebration.

Bob and I accidentally got married on the Valentine’s Day weekend. We really had no idea until about a week before the wedding. It’s turned out to be the best thing that we could have ever done because now Valentine’s (consumer) Day ceases to exist for us. We celebrate another year together because we want to rather than doing some romantic thing just because a date in the calendar tells us we should.

Apart from the obvious ploy to get you to spend more money, it’s possible that Mother’s Day, Father’s Day etc. have originated because people generally fail to be thankful for the people in their life. Or at least fail to communicate that gratitude sufficiently. So…I want to challenge you to do just that!

And to inspire you, I plan to create a series of blog posts dedicated only to one person and what difference they have made to my  life. The first one is already in the works and will be unveiled soon! So in amongst the attempts to make sense of myself and the world, look out for some posts that just might be about you!

Like this blog?

9 May

Now you can like it on facebook.

Clickety click

Also… I get so many comments from people in person about how much they like this blog. Post a motherflippin comment sometime!

We are not permanent, we’re temporary…

3 May

If there is one music video that I wish I’d directed then this is it. Foo Fighters – Pretender.

Just a warning this post is entirely about one clip so only read on if interested…

Some people love quirky movies, complex storylines or clever quotes. I love beautiful music vids. You’ve probably noticed that the themes I enjoy are: logistical nightmares, single takes, dancing, dirty/grotty/grimy and clean/crisp/beautiful. I also love anything to do with creative lighting.

This clip covers a few of these themes… The simplicity and spotlessness are striking. The set is clean and uncluttered yet no effort has been made to hide the fact that they’re in a big hangar and the set doesn’t reach the walls. This is precisely why I see this clip as being so perfect… just the right mix of clean and dirty. Bright, orderly fluoros go well with the white, shiny floor and superbly contrast the guitar leads, messy rockstar hair and the energy and aggression in the song.

I could go on… maybe we’ll have a conversation about it one day and you can tell me whether you agree or disagree.

If you are about to watch this clip for the first time, I’m excited for you. The first time I watched it, the suspense and the hostility were both terrifying and wonderful. I won’t ruin the ending for you. I recommend full screen, full volume 🙂

Cast Your Vote

3 May

Money is powerful. Every time you spend your money on anything it serves as a vote for what you want. So are you actually voting for what you believe in?

By spending your money without awareness you may well be casting a vote that you wouldn’t necessarily agree with. For example: buying things at Target/Kmart/BigW/The Reject Shop etc. you are saying “Cheap shit made in third world countries is ok with me”. On top of that you may also be voting for slave labour, unhealthy working conditions, toxic pollution and thousands of shipping miles. But do you really agree with any of it? You certainly wouldn’t wish those things for yourself.

And when you buy an appliance from these sort of places (or from the supermarket, hardware store etc.) you are voting for designed obsolescence. There’s no question about that. In fact it’s difficult to find any electrical device that is actually built to last these days. But is it important to you that your appliances last? If so then why are you buying a toaster at Woolworths?

The system is meticulously planned to program you into being ok with the idea that things just wear out. They don’t. Or at least they shouldn’t but they do… and it’s only because they’re designed that way. They could be design to last (like they used to be) but they’re not. That’s the reason why my Mum still uses the same iron that she had 20 years ago and my iron stopped working after 18 months and I had to buy a new one. And I tried to buy an iron that wasn’t made in china and it was impossible.

Bob’s parents have the most amazing toaster. They’ve used it everyday for the past 35 years and it still goes strong (although needed fixing once). Not only is it a long lasting toaster, it’s the best toaster I’ve ever used! Why? Because it’s a fucking great design. The toaster knows when the toast is ready by feeling the change in the heat reflected off the toast NOT by using a timer like conventional toasters. Bob’s parent’s toaster never burns toast, ever… whereas my toaster always burns toast.

Let’s consider other things like food. If you eat fast food then you vote for fast food and everything that it stands for: underpaying staff, poor conditions for employees, deception, corruption, animal cruelty, genetically modified ingredients, extreme over processing of food, sugar added in everywhere, oil, high salt content, preservatives, artificial colouring, fat people. Is that what you really want for the world? Maybe it’s ok with you…

And what about the votes you cast at the servo…. vehicles running on fossil fuels, carbon emissions, plastic bottles, bullshit food, advertising, air conditioning, brand monopolies, deals telling you to buy more… more is good right? If I buy more I can save 30 cents!

Where’s the local produce, healthy food and recycling stations? That’s what I want to vote for. But how do you cast your vote when your options are so undesirable? This has plagued me for so long…

Basically there’s two options. 1) Accept that you are voting for and supporting the continuation of whatever you’re spending money on, or 2) Seek out the closest thing you can find to what you want to be supporting and spend your money consciously.

If you think that pesticides are bad for the environment and for people then support organic fruit and veg. If you don’t like the idea of eating fresh food that’s travelled long distances then shop at a store that tells you where the food originated so you can buy local. If you’re concerned at the amount of plastic waste that ends up in the ocean then bring your own water bottle and shopping bag. If you don’t want to support cheap imported appliances then buy second hand or good quality new (if you can find it).

Think about it: who would you rather give your money to? Woolworths executives whose objective is to screw over farmers and producers or a green grocer who knows the farmer by name and offers everyone a fair price. The green grocer might cost you a bit more and might not be open at 9pm like Woolworths but  does that really matter considering the good that it will do in the world? It’s more than worth it if you ask me!