October 31, 2010

Eating Animals

I kind of have a hard time eating guys like this.

As you may have noticed to the left, I'm reading a book called Eating Animals. Eating Animals is a book I've wanted to read for a long time now for it's frank journalistic look at what eating animals means for us, for animals, and for the planet. The author has had a on-again off-again relationship with eating meat, often being a vegetarian who had bacon on Sundays and on burgers. The book is not, so far at least, an evangelical vegetarian piece. It proposes an honest look at our meat industries, doing research too involved to do on a smaller scale and too unbiased for Peta or other animal welfare groups. The author, Jonathan Safran Foer, is someone who really likes the idea of vegetarianism but also really likes how meat tastes. When his first son was born he realized that he would have to make decisions about food for him, and he decided he couldn't do that without knowing what that meant.

The first few chapters talked almost exclusively about tuna. I read those chapters while eating a tuna melt. The second time I sat down to read I was eating a banana with peanut butter. The third time I ate black bean and corn tacos. I feel I'm going to find it more difficult to eat meat as I read this book, an issue Safran Foer discusses. He points out that the automatic assumption we make when reading about meat, even when we see the title Eating Animals, is that it must be against the meat industry for its inhumane practices, and if that's the automatic assumption made by the majority of the people, what does that tell us? It tells us that we already know the meat industry is wrong, that even if eating meat isn't wrong in itself, that how we treat and kill the animals we do eat is wrong.

One of the reasons I like Safran Foer (so far) is his inquisitive manner and understanding way of writing. He likes meat. It tastes good. He gets that. He just also gets the importance of not supporting the way we obtain our meat. To him, supporting something he believes in is worth ignoring his cravings. He's not out there to convert you- just to provide any reader with the information they need to make a decision 3 times a day. If you make the decision to eat meat, fine. But here are the facts anyway.

Peta, take note. The whole "chickens are people, too" campaign doesn't work. Mostly because chickens aren't people.

October 28, 2010

Why I Hate The McDonalds Smoothie Commercial

Why so serious?

I already don't like McDonalds, but having to listen to crappy radio commercials makes me like it less. Their fruit smoothie commercial, however, is the worst in a while. Here's why:

The ticking: I get it's meant to simulate how a working mother might feel going through her rushed and hectic day, but all it does is make me anxious, like I'm late for something. Since it's a radio commercial, I'm probably listening to it in the car, which means I'm probably at work, which means I'm already anxious. Thanks for adding to my stress, McDonalds.

The voice: The woman's voice was chosen perfectly. It sounds like it belongs to a woman who is not only raising a family but working full-time, and doing it with a perky and upbeat attitude, no less. Bite me, perky perfect housewife. I'm not raising a family or even working full-time and I'm not perky or upbeat half the time. So this woman is superwoman, doing everything she's expected to and with a happy face. And if you drink McDonalds fruit smoothies you can be too!

The boss: She has to compliment her boss's haircut as soon as she gets to the office. So her boss is a woman, which conveys a progressive America. However, the commercial also conveys she must compliment her female boss's new haircut if she wants to get anywhere, just like she'd need to blow her male boss if she wants to get anywhere. Or maybe this woman thinks that by complimenting her boss's haircut she'll have an edge over the men in the office, who likely won't notice or compliment it if they did. Either way, way to work for progression in America, McDonalds.

The job: So the woman gets in to work and barely checks her e-mail before she starts to slow down. Really? Was the haircut complimenting a little tiring, dear? I get she's supposed to be a busy working mother (she spent all morning making sure Janie has her book report, after all) but she should be able to get past 10am without a pick me up.

The pitch: The woman acts like getting a new fruit smoothie from McDonalds is the smartest thing she's done all day. She's not just reenergized, she's HAPPY! OMG IT HAS REAL FRUIT THIS IS SO EXCITING!

The return to work: The rest of her work day is all fun time play now that she's had a smoothie from McDonalds. She's sitting at her desk, giggling like an idiot and e-mailing ridiculous photos and youtube videos on company time and equipment. Oh, and if you're ROTFLOL at work you'll probably attract attention, and then all that hair complimenting you did earlier will go right out the door. And if you're not ROTFLOL then you shouldn't say you're ROTFLOL.

The couch: It's 5pm, no one bug mommy on the couch after a hard day at work. So, lady, all your time with your children was in the morning? Now you're not making dinner or helping them with their book reports or spending quality time with them? You've had a rough day getting the kids to school, sipping a smoothie and e-mailing pictures so now you deserve to veg out on the couch? Some supermom.

The text message: Oh wait, you were going to veg out on the couch all night (after all, you deserve it for being a hard working mom!) but Rachel texted you for girls night out. At fucking McDonalds. So, girls night out is now when you spontaneously leave your kids at home to go sit on tiny uncomfortable red and yellow plastic chairs and watch other people's kids run around like animals and play in the ball pit? Really? You don't go to, I don't know, maybe a relaxed wine bar? Or coffee shop? You'd really rather go to McDonalds for girls night out and watch other people's kids run amok? Do you also go to a cubicle farm on your vacations from work?

Lame. And beyond irritating.

October 17, 2010

Love Songs

Love may lift us up where we belong, but it can also drag us down. Sometimes way down. And after listening to rock radio stations for the last decade I know it's not just girls whose hearts are in the gutter- love and heartache is the stuff of all-dude bands, too.

Either way, my heart fucking aches.

I'd been feeling somewhat abandoned by various males lately and my dad's sudden and complete abandonment was the icing on shit cake. Plus, it's hard to find someone to talk to about it: a couple of close friends know, but it's so unbelievable that I almost feel like anyone would think I'm making it up, even though I'm obviously not, and I don't want to talk their ears off, which I've been doing for years, thanks to my overly dramatic family. If I talk about it with friends who are less close or don't know the full story that is my family it's like I'm searching for condolences, which I'm not. But I do need to talk about it with someone, so, world, here you are.

I'm having a hard time dealing with rejection, real and perceived. I feel rejected by a friend who talks about nothing but the goodness of positive people in your life; I valued him highly but now I'm questioning his role in my life... maybe it wasn't as positive as I thought. I feel rejected by a friend I had romantic feelings for, which were rejected, and now I'm feeling rejected as a friend (which may or may not be related and which may or may not be real). I feel rejected by yet another friend (geeze, these are all male friends...) who talked a big game about friendship and staying in touch but who now seems to have forgotten I existed. I think what hurts the most about these rejections is they lead to realizations that these people I once thought so highly of end up disappointing me once they stop being the amazing souls I saw and start being real people.
Also, it's getting harder and harder to tactfully handle the "why don't you have a boyfriend" questions when the askers just can't believe that I don't. True, I've done more rejecting than being rejected, but it would be nice, just once, to have my crush turn into a relationship, rather than be someone else's crush-turned-girlfriend. Maybe the problem with that is I don't get those butterflies very often and when I do finally get those feelings it's because we've become friends, and then it's just awkward.

But to have your own father abandon you as his child is the ultimate form of rejection. But it happens: listening to the radio made me realize also how many songs are about fathers leaving. At least I'm an adult, not a little kid. But your parents are supposed to love you unconditionally. My relatives tell me he'll always love us and I try to remind myself that they're right, but it doesn't feel like it at all. If you love someone you call them on their birthday. If you love someone you make yourself available, even if you disagree sometimes. If you love someone you don't tell them you love your girlfriend more. If you love someone you don't tell them you never wanted them around. I'm sure deep down he feels a little guilty, deep down he still does love us... but he's trying to make us think he doesn't. My sisters and I discussed some of the things going on with our aunt and uncle who brought up another point: we may blame our dad's girlfriend for doing these terrible things and convincing our father that we're awful people who don't deserve his love, but he is an adult and is making these decisions on his own, knowing full well what he's doing. And that's the disgusting part: he's doing this on purpose. To his own kids. And that's what's so painful.

So, I was already kind of feeling a little down and out regarding my relationships with the rest of human kind when my dad dropped that bomb, but it seems things all happen together. Maybe it's best that way. Things can only go up from here, right? And maybe some of those romantic love songs I hear on the radio will have some meaning in my life again.

October 10, 2010


I found out - on my birthday - that my sisters and I have no place in our dad's life anymore. I knew that he had asked my youngest sister to leave, I knew that he had kept her dog and took her key back, I knew he refused to see our middle sister in order to give back mail, and I knew he had no contact with them since. And my birthday came and went without so much as a card, phone call or even text message. Both sister's called, I texted back and forth with my mom all night long, friends called and texted throughout the day and my godmother texted and sent a card. Nothing from my dad.

Thing was, though, I figured that would happen. After he cut off contact with my sisters why should he call me on my birthday? As bad as I felt the next morning when I woke up and realized he really ignored me, it was also a small relief. He's made his feelings and intentions clear: the only company he cares about is his girlfriend. Other than her he has no family and that's the way he prefers it.

It's almost funny. My dad has been such a shit to us, even going to far as to spread lies and exaggerations about us (his kids!) to our extended family, telling me to my face he never wanted kids, telling my sister to her face that he would choose his girlfriend over us any day, and now has fully disowned us, abandoning his daughters for a manipulative woman, doing (to his pathetic credit) exactly what he said he wanted to do. At least he's consistent. And at least holidays will be a little bit simpler: no hurt feelings over whose house we go to for which meal, no trying to split the time evenly between parents, no fighting because we were a half hour late or had a big meal at one house and weren't hungry for the next.

But this abandonment, even though I knew it was inevitable, is a bit of a hurdle. Part of me hopes when they break up he'll see the error of his ways and go back to being a dad to us, but even if he does how could I forgive him? Being abandoned by a parent, no matter how old you are, is something you'll never forget. And as much as maybe I shouldn't feel this way because I know my dad and know how he is once a vagina decides to stick around, it fucking hurts.