Tuesday, June 30

Finding it all in the neighborhood: My first dilemma now that we've moved into the new apt!

I read the Omnivores Dilemma about a year and a half ago. I thought it was a really interesting account of the way food policies have shaped eating in the US..in ways that most people don’t realize or consider. Since then I’ve tried to buy most of our produce from local sources (farmers market, co op grocery stores etc). I also buy local free-range eggs, and free-range meat/seafood when possible.

Now that we’ve moved to a new apt, I’m faced with a little bit of a dilemma. There is a Trader Joe’s visible from our living room window, plus several Middle Eastern bakeries, at least 2 Yemeni restaurants, a Lebanese restaurant and several specialty grocery stores. I love supporting local businesses (OK, TJ’s is not a local business..but everything else on the list definitely counts!), but supporting nearby stores/restaurants does not necessarily mean I’m buying local goods.

The Middle Eastern bakeries and grocery stores are definitely shipping products internationally, which kind of defeats the purpose of using produce and food items that are both healthy and eco-friendly. If you buy fruit from your area, it doesn’t take nearly as much gas/oil etc to transport it to the store or market. So buying specialty dates also means overlooking the fact that they’ve been shipped @ great environmental cost half-way around the world.

I don’t think I’m ready to pull a Barbara Kingsolver (re Animal, Vegetable, Miracle) but I wish I could resolve this dilemma. I’d settle for partially resolving the dilemma. Or finding some type of compromise! Or just not feeling bad either way!

Monday, June 29

Keith Olbermann has it right..he just jumped on the Cynthia Davis bandwagon a few years late

Keith Olbermann declared Rep. Cynthia Davis “Worst Person in the World” during his show several nights ago.

I don’t watch Olbermann on a regular basis, but I think he’s generally pretty funny and on point.

When I saw he had talked about Cynthia Davis, I knew I had to track down the clip.

Seems that the esteemed MO legislator recently spoke against funding free meals for low-income children in Missouri.

Her rationale?
“Hunger can be a positive motivator.”

So apparently, she believes that young low-income children need more motivation? Perhaps if they miss a few meals they’ll be motivated enough to break child-labor laws, secure employment, and help lift their struggling families out of poverty!

One of http://www.huffingtonpost.com/joel-berg/missouri-child-hunger-den_b_219606.html commented on her stance, by noting that Davis is ‘ironically, one of Missouri's leading pro-life activists.’

As someone who lived and worked in Missouri, there’s really nothing ironic about the situation.

Rep. Davis represents the worst type of politician. She’s uninformed, bombastic, and incredibly narrow minded.

The problem is not that she’s anti-choice. The problem is that she uses rhetoric and fear mongering to legislate her point of view.

She claims that abortion is murder, yet refuses to fund programs that would teach comprehensive sexual education in the schools (thus preventing unintentional pregnancies and reducing the need for abortion).

She has made statements about sex education that are blatantly false (no one is suggesting we teach condom usage in kindergarten lady!), and has compared health educators from Planned Parenthood and other organization to sexual deviants and child molesters.

The children of St. Charles, MO would be better served if she spent her time funding free meals and providing for their education, instead of shaming low-income families and advocating for the rights of fetuses.

Saturday, June 27

And even more pictures!

This is our bedroom (please ignore the bags of clothing off to the side)!

The bathroom. It's very blue..and if any of you visit, you'll have to share. But we're OK with that!

And bedroom #2! It's cozy, but hey..we now have a 2nd bedroom! Big improvement over having a screen to separate the bedroom from the living room/kitchen/bathroom/entry.

Oh and that? That's our skylight. It makes things bright and happy!

As requested.. some more pics of the new apt!

My parents were really nice and came up today from PA to help clean the new apt.

Little S (young sibling, sister, and first initial S too) even helped by swiffering all of the floors.

We also moved all of the clothing, almost all of the food and some assorted items into the new space. B and I hired movers for the furniture, but we didn't want to leave everything for tomorrow.

I'm pretty much ready for bed (it's 9:25 pm) after all of the cleaning, and furniture buying (IKEA needs to hire more staff) but I received a request for more pictures..so here they are!

<--This is a view of the living room from the front door

Here's the kitchen again-->
(the bakers rack will go in that weird space)

Friday, June 26

Why schools are failing children.. I have evidence!

I debated about posting this here.
I really did.

I’ll take you through my thought process.

“Ooh, an email.”
“Ooh, a rather frightening email”
“This explains so much about our school system”
“I should share this. It’s funny and sad. Mostly sad”
“Hm, email is kind of a private forum”
“Not really though. I think email is actually known to be kind of public”
“Hm. I should make it really anonymous though”“It might be bad since it is from work”
“I think it will be ok. I’ll make it very vague”

That all went through my head.

So here’s the deal. I’m posting a line from an email I received this morning.
I’m not going to tell you who sent it to me for obvious reasons.
I will just say that I am currently working for a large gov’t organization in NYC.
The person who sent this is ostensibly in charge of educating young minds.
Also, I would like to point out that typos happen.
This is not a typo.
When in doubt, spell-check EVERYTHING before you hit send.

Enough said.

The email snippet:

Have a great week-end. I here the possibility of SUN.

My immediate mental response?
Oy vey.

Wednesday, June 24

Apartment living in NY

I've now rented:
2 apartments in St Louis, Missouri
1 apartment in Baltimore, MD and
1.5 apartments in New York (Ben rented, I stayed..hence the 1/2)

The most I paid in St Louis was around $600, and a little less in Baltimore.

I won't share how much B was paying for a studio in Brooklyn, NY..but it was way more than $600! And the apartment was teeny tiny. Like around 250 square feet..which is the size of a very large closet.

I saw was..because we're moving on Sunday!

When I moved here a few weeks ago we knew we wanted more space.
B's lease was until Sept 1, but we started looking at places 2 weeks ago thinking we could sublet or pray if we found something we liked.

Anyway, we found a place..and 12 hours later we got an email saying someone wanted his apartment for a July 1 move-in.
So we're off to bigger (much much bigger) and better things with around 4 days notice!
<--This is a picture of our new kitchen! It's actually rather spacious for a NYC galley..

We've hired movers and we're hoping that everything makes it the mile or so in 1 piece!

Having some minor blog issues..but getting back on track

Overall, I'm pleased with the new look.

I'm not sure why the header looks so different though in firefox.

I might have mmmmaybe created it and uploaded it while @ work.

In my defense, most of creating/uploading occurred during my lunch hour.
Anyway, we don't have firefox at work, just explorer.

It's such an old version you can't even open tabs.
If I was going to be there longer than August, I would probably have a minor meltdown.

And I can't just download and run firefox.
Working at a big gov't organization means that all the computers are locked for personal preferences.
If I try to change anything it tells me I don't have admin privileges.
Very irritating.
And if you want to change anything, you have to actually call the IT guy and have him do the work.

Seems silly, but I guess they don't want people downloading anything and everything on their work computer.
They probably also don't want me to write blog posts.
Oh well.

Tuesday, June 23

Whoa...world collide! Newsweek article about Perez Hilton & domestic violence (?!)

For a long time I thought Perez Hilton was the same person as Paris Hilton.
I think that was probably the whole point, as Perez’s real name is Mario something or other.

At some point I figured out the difference and started perusing the sit.
I even admit that I occasionally (ok, daily) still peruse Perez.
It’s shallow and I probably need help, but I enjoy my daily dose of pop culture.

While he writes mean things about a lot of celebrities, Perez seems to really hate Fergie. I think she’s OK mostly because she managed to look reasonably scared in her small role in the remake of Poseidon..but that’s neither here nor there.

Perez is pretty vicious when he writes about her, and frequently refers to some sort of peeing incident that occurred several years ago (?) while she was performing with the Black Eyed Peas.

Apparently he had the misfortune to run into Fergie’s manager sometime recently..and emerged from the encounter with enough bruises/injuries to warrant a call to police.

None of this is would normally be worth blogging about, except that Newsweek blogger Kate Dailey wrote a really interesting article comparing this situation to relationship/domestic violence situations.

Seems like a stretch. Perez Hilton getting beat up=domestic violence?
But the article makes a really interesting point.

Namely, that violence is simply not an acceptable reaction.

While women are often blamed for ‘provoking’ their partner or for being complicit in the abuse, we do not pay nearly enough attention to the people (usually their male partners) who believe that hitting, kicking, or physically attacking someone is a justifiable response to frustration, anger or any other reactive emotion.

Dailey writes:
“Many victims of violence—and especially domestic violence—will tell you that the slaps, punches, and shoves perpetrated upon them didn't happen when they were just sitting their minding their own business. It came during some sort of disagreement. Maybe she snapped at him out of frustration. Maybe she hit on a particularly sore subject. These are all things that happen during the course of an argument—we're never at our best when tempers are inflamed. But that doesn't make it right, ever, to take the fight from cutting remarks to physical violence.”

The Perez connection?
Sure he’s kind of smarmy, and says mean things about a lot of celebrities.
Dailey points out that his claim to fame is publishing gossip and photoshopping pictures of genitalia onto photos.

Sounds pretty provoking if it happens to be your outfit he’s making fun of in a very public forum, or your picture that has a penis superimposed rather graphically near your face.
But ultimately, being annoying, or graphic or provoking does not make a violent reaction acceptable.

So really, a rather creative example and a very important message..

And I feel much better now that Perez has been used to send a legit message about intimate partner violence.

My unusual name..

I really like having an unusual name.
Really, I’m a fan like 99.8% of the time.
That little fraction of a percentage when I’m not a fan…?
Usually that occurs when someone butchers my name repeatedly.
Despite the fact that:
1. It’s really not hard to pronounce. It’s even pronounced EXACTLY the way it’s spelled. For some reason people like to add superfluous h’s.
2. See 1. It’s really not that hard to pronounce.

I also find it a little frustrating when I’m considering a blog revamp.
One thing I’ve been considering is becoming more anonymous.
This is semi-silly as I currently have my blog linked directly to my facebook account, which is anything but anonymous.
But anyone who gets to my blog from facebook is already on my friend list.
Someone who gets to my blog from anywhere else is not nearly as likely to know me personally, or heck even that likely to like me given my chosen topics.

This leads me back to the name quandary.
I’m currently using my nickname & middle initial as a sort of punny username (SasZ=sassy)..get it?

But I feel like that’s too close to my actual name.
But if I pick another name, anyone from facebook already knows my name..and then they’ll know that I’m using a totally fake name.
Which seems silly (yet again).

See the problem?

My poor sad blog. Revamp coming up?

My blog has been a little sad lately.
I listed a few excuses earlier.
I finished a year of graduate school.
I moved to a new city.
I went on vacation outside of the country.
But really, those aren’t very good excuses.
I haven’t run out of disaster movies.
Although, living with the boy has made it more difficult to watch them.
He’s not a big fan.
In his defense, he also has good taste in TV shows.
So we’re watching all 3 seasons of Deadwood right now.
It’s a little violent (I know..I know..I like mass carnage, but not when people get into bloody/messy fistfights) but pretty fabulous.

Anyway, I have been thinking that my blog might need some type of revamp.
Not a total change.
Maybe just a widening of the lens.
I already write about a weird mix of stuff..
Maybe I should just embrace and post about whatever I want, whenever I want.
We shall see.

Wednesday, June 17

I feel shamed by a tv show!

I think I’ve now mentioned several times that I really enjoy watching MI-5.
It’s not a disaster movie, but it is television series that deals with ongoing potential disasters.
I’ve decided that it counts for both enjoyment and blogging purposes.

One thing I’ve noticed about the show (I’m on season 6) is that it relies heavily upon stereotypes for its ‘bad guys’ roster.

Arabs/Muslims (used rather indiscriminately) are often trying to kill everyone in England, as are corrupt Americans.

As I am neither Arab nor Muslim, I can’t speak to that aspect of the show..although I must note that it must be rather tiring to be portrayed on such a popular BBC production as bomb-toting crazies.

As an American, I can note that it’s been a rather humbling experience. Apparently, Americans are loud, pushy, and lacking greatly in brains.

Although I’m not particularly patriotic, it is a little depressing to see how another country sees my own.

I’m just hoping that things will turn around with the new administration. The first 6 seasons have made ongoing thinly veiled references to Bush (you can guess @ their tone), but the current season is now showing on BBC.

Maybe season 7 will include Americans suddenly becoming much better allies..and I will be able to stop feeling slightly shamed!

Wednesday, June 10

The first entry that I have had to tag "tragedy"..and hopefully the last

Although Dr. Tiller was murdered a few days ago, I have waited to post a response. It seems strange to write a review about a Sylvester Stallone movie in one post, and the cold-blooded execution of a medical professional in the foyer of his church in the next. Yet my blog posts often range greatly across topics, and I don’t want to wait any longer before responding semi-publicly to this tragedy.

I do not personally know anyone who visited Dr. Tiller for a late-term abortion. I also never met him in person—although I did speak to him on the phone several times on behalf of Faith Aloud. So while his death does not affect me any more so than the violent death of any acquaintance, his murder means so much more for the reproductive justice community as well as the women and families he served for so many years.

It can be very uncomfortable to talk about later-term abortions, even for people who consider themselves staunchly pro-choice. The question of viability becomes potentially distressing, and there is something more tangible about a visibly pregnant woman seeking an abortion.

The few times I spoke to Dr. Tiller he seemed pleasant and rather funny. I can only imagine how much courage and compassion it must have taken to spend his days performing these abortions; abortions for women and their families who came to terminate often much-anticipated pregnancies due to serious complications. Dr. Tiller performed abortions that few others would do to save the lives of women and/or to allow them a measure of peace when they knew that their fetus would not survive outside of the womb. I literally can not imagine how difficult it must be to seek an abortion for a wanted pregnancy, knowing that the decision will preserve your own life or prevent undue suffering and pain for a potential child.

This type of situation is unbelievably tragic, and now women in the U.S. have one less place to turn when they need compassionate and medically indicated care.

Monday, June 8

Emergency medical service guys are just like ninjas! Aka, my return to blogging

I lost a little of my movie watching mojo over the past few weeks.

I finished my 1st year of grad school (woohoo), went to Italy, moved to NY and started a new job. Somehow blogging just fell by the wayside.

Luckily, Netflix knows me and kept the movies coming.

After catching up on some MI-5, I returned to disaster movies with a classic (kind of..it's from '96): Daylight.

I think it might be the only Sylvester Stallone movie I've ever intentionally watched.

Before you ask, no, have not seen Rocky and I have little to no interest in movies that involve fists to the face.

Anyway, Daylight is the perfect disaster movie for a recent NY transplant..because now I NEVER EVER want to leave the city. If I do, a totally implausible explosion might trap me in the tunnel as the water rushes in and noxious fumes fill the air.

Eek! Scary!

If I'm lucky, Viggo Mortensen might be around (A-list alert!) to try and save the day. Or, a pre-botox Amy Brenneman could hold my hand if I'm scared (B lister with A list name recognition!).

Anyway, I learned a few important things from Daylight.

1. Emergency medical service guys are just like ninjas . Or something like that..they definitely have crazy skills that run the gambit from rappelling to firefighting to blowing things up.

2. Amy Brenneman has become more botoxed, but far less shrill with age. I think I prefer her not being able to move her face. The hyperventilating in this movie was a little annoying.

3. Any disaster movie that involves an older adult couple with inevitably steal from a true classic like Poseidon (ie the feisty older woman dies unexpectedly..leaving the wimpier husband all alone).

4. Tunnels are scary.