Tuesday, December 4, 2007

The Way We Eat

I've gotten into the habit of listening to audio books while going to the gym. Rather than watching Larry King, I have decided to fill my head with business, cultural and social knowledge. In every case, it keeps me from overhearing the other peoples' often times disturbing conversations.

My most recent book was "The Way We Eat" by Peter Singer and Jim Mason. Here's the summary (taken from Amazon.com):

Ethicist Singer and co-author Mason (Animal Factories) document corporate deception, widespread waste and desensitization to inhumane practices in this consideration of ethical eating. (Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc.)

While I think that the book is a rather radical and somewhat biased account of the food industry, I forced myself to listen to the whole thing. I do, however, think that it made many points about the food industry were quite important. Most importantly, we don't often think about the consequences for the animals we eat; we don't have an appreciation that some cow led a (generally) uncomfortable life, under unnatural conditions, to produce our McDonald's hamburger. I think that, being more aware of the facts presented in this book, I can make more ethical and sustainable food choices.

That said, I am going to be changing the way I eat slightly:

Z'Marik's is a (mostly) vegetarian restaurant in the Des Moines, Iowa. Their spicy peanut dish is to die for and can easily provide two small meals for $6.00. Generally, my lunch has consisted of a turkey sandwich at Big Sky Bread in Urbandale. While I would love to say I'm going "cold turkey" (har har har!) I don't think that I want to go without meat occasionally, but I can start eating at Z'Marik's more often.

I am going to continue to eat eggs, although, I'll be trying to eat eggs labeled as "cage free." While this simply means that hens will be closely confined in large warehouses, rather than cages, this is quite a bit less cruel (although far from idea.) I don't think that I'm quire ready to eat only free-range eggs because of the huge cost, but I can make an incremental step forward here. Likewise, when I do eat meat, I'll try to eat less red meat and more chicken . . . and probably less meat in general.

Now, this is the part that I love . . . I get to eat more fruits and veggies. I love raw fruits and vegetables . . . baby carrots, apples, bananas, spinach, tomatoes. Hurrah!

When reasonable, I am going to be more conscious of where my food is coming from. Given the choice between apples from New Zealand and Washington, I'll buy from Washington. (Unless, of course, it is a Red Delicious apple. Those things came with school lunches and I really hate those.) Transporting food comes at a huge environmental cost, so I'll try to mitigate this by buying more local.

So, Rebecca and Liz, now that you are both smiling, I'll treat you both to lunch at Z'Marik's the next time you're in town.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Silly Spark Quizes

Silly SparkQuizes . . .

You are an Administrator!
(Submissive Extroverted Concrete Thinker)

You are an ADMINISTRATOR (SECT)— detail-oriented and organized. You're an extrovert, but you lack the over-aggressive tendencies of obnoxious go-getters. Very nice. However, you probably like getting up in other people's business— living through them a little... dude, sometimes you just gotta let it ride. Don't be such a busy-body.

Anyway, you're an excellent manager, of both yourself and other people. That's because you prefer thinking concretely rather than creatively, and you'd rather follow what your mind tells you than your heart— people respect this, but it can make them mad when their appeals to love and kindness fall on deaf, deaf ears. Try to have a heart sometimes.

15% in Love!

Is it a bird? A plane? Is it a boy? A girl? Is it love, or is it lust? Ah, you. You are that rare mix of sensitive and sensual, romantic and randy, pride and prejudice, etc. When you see your crush, you waffle like a Belgian, unsure of whether you'd rather paint their toes or suck on their toes. Poets have long been puzzled by your kind. You'll never fall for robots or nymphos, but you will suffer longs bouts of marriage.

It all adds up... we feel 24% certain that you are...
A Woman!
Compared to others...
85% more male than you4% like you11% more female than you
How do we know? Well, deep down, your gender affects everything about you, from your favorite number to your views on Canada. Many women who took the test think and act just like you, as you can see from the graph above.
Statistically speaking, you are a woman—whether you know it or not.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Fun with AIM Away Messages

(22:48:56) aaronhurd: HOLD IT RIGHT THERE!!!!! HANDS TO THE SKY!!!!!
(22:49:03) victim_grl2000 : you'll have to speak up, I'm wearing a towel
(22:49:11) aaronhurd: . . . not anymore
(22:49:13) aaronhurd: :-P

(22:52:16) aaronhurd: 0xBAAAAAAA
(22:49:03) tux9483 : counting digital sheep
(22:52:34) aaronhurd: 0xBAAAAAAB
(22:52:38) aaronhurd: 0xBAAAAAAC
(22:52:42) aaronhurd: 0xBAAAAAAD
(22:52:47) aaronhurd: 0xBAAAAAAE
(22:52:53) aaronhurd: 0xBAAAAAAF
(22:52:58) aaronhurd: 0xBAAAAAB0
(22:53:05) aaronhurd: 0xBAAAAAB1
(22:53:11) aaronhurd: 0xBAAAAAB2
(22:53:14) aaronhurd: 0xBAAAAAB3

Monday, June 25, 2007

The Launch

Well, I've decided to launch a new blog. This time, I'm going to use Blogger as my platform of choice? Why? Google is taking over the world, aren't they? Well, yes, but I don't want to fight that fight with my blogging software; I have many more important things to do.

Tonight, I decided to spend some "me time" at Lion's Park in Urbandale.

Honestly, I didn't plan on venturing out to Lion's Park; I was on my way to the Urbandale Library, intent on finishing my first "heavy" book of the summer, "The God Delusion" by Richard Dawkins. As I drove by the Starbucks near Merle Hay Mall, my suburban instincts called out to me, the green glow beckoned and the taste of coffee was on my lips. I ordered a chai over ice, which is a deviation from my usual Cafe Mocha. Then, I realized . . . I couldn't go to the Urbandale Library with my drink. So, where to? After driving around for a while, I settled on Lion's Park.

Lion's Park is a place of great significance to almost anyone who has grown up in Urbandale . . . the 4th of July parade, hanging out after school, the playground, random tennis matches, getting sick on the merry-go-round (which, sadly, has been removed) and that handicapped swing which you weren't supposed to play on, but which nonetheless made a very compelling pirate ship . . . everyone has their own memory of this place.

I sat down to read my book on a park bench, the laughter of children to the south and the sound of a community band playing swing music in the west and started to devour the pages of my book. One chapter away from my goal, I took a moment to look around. I saw children and their parents playing on the swing set. I put down my book and ventured over.

When I was younger, one of my favorite memories of the playground was the swings. I could swing for hours and hours . . . and I did just that. It's amazing what a sense of enjoyment sitting at the bottom of what is nothing more than a pendulum can provide. I stared up at the moon and thought about how funny it was that I once believed that the thing was made of green cheese . . . when it wasn't really green to begin with. Watching the moon bob up and down over the tree at the other end of the playground was most amusing. I let all of the stresses of life go . . . work, money, women, family, future academic plans . . . I can honestly say that I spent a while hour without worrying about a thing. Tonight, I discovered a new level of inner peace and I left the playground a better person.

That said, take some time this week to hop on a swing. You'll be glad you did.