November 27, 2012

What Thanksgiving Used To Mean

For a client, I wrote a blog post on fatty Thanksgiving foods after being inspired by one of the most disgusting food videos I've ever seen. (Blog post is here. :) )

I thought it'd be a great topic for the week before Thanksgiving, but when I was doing my research on the fattiest Thanksgiving foods, the only things showing up in search was low-cal Thanksgiving recipes. My searches for "fattiest Thanksgiving recipes" and "high calorie Thanksgiving foods" turned up articles on a lighter Thanksgiving, a low-cal Thanksgiving, and advice on how to not overdo it during the holiday. 

What happened? Why are we now obsessed with making lighter dishes on Thanksgiving, the one day of the year we celebrate our abundance of food? It's because Thanksgiving is no longer the one day of the year we have more food than we know what to do with. We regularly over-indulge, regularly eat beyond being full, and regularly feel sick from too much food. 

Now, the internet is full of Thanksgiving recipes that teach cooks how to make the same dishes with fewer calories. Now, we're told to not put marshmallows on our sweet potatoes, skip the cream of mushroom and fried onions on the green beans, bake potatoes rather than mash them with butter and cream, and skip the bread and rolls. 

I know I'm being a bit of a hypocrite when I say this, especially since running a blog called We Should Be Fat, but I wouldn't mind going back to when giant meals were a special occasion. I wouldn't mind us, as a country, enjoying our meals for what they are, and knowing what they are. We should put some butter and cream in our mashed potatoes at Thanksgiving and enjoy them without worrying about how many miles we'll have to run to work it off, but we should be far more sensible about how we eat on a more regular basis. 

Louis C.K. says the meal is not over when he's full, it's over when he hates himself. And it's funny because it's true for a lot of us. (He also says he runs 5 miles every other day to keep up "this shitty body.") We eat, and then we keep eating until our bodies tell us we're full, and then we feel like absolute shit 20 minutes later, when those last few helpings have settled in. And it's not like we're shoveling in vegetables... we're eating meat at every meal, often with bread, followed up with sweets. And we wonder why there's an obesity crisis.

I was a supporter of Prop 37 that would have required the labeling of genetically modified foods because I saw it as a step in the right direction. We have no idea what we're eating, partially because we don't read the nutrition labels to know what actually comprises those frozen chicken nuggets and partially because a simple ingredient like corn (which is in fucking everything - go look) is comprised of a number of new chemicals that aren't listed. We're eating more, enjoying food less, and suffering because of our over abundance. Our farm animals get the vast, vast majority of our antibiotics (not because they're sick, either), we're polluting our country and other countries laugh at us because of our food habits.

If we don't go full steam ahead with every meal and regret the vast majority of what we eat, we can enjoy what we eat more and worry about it less. We can let Thanksgiving go back to what it used to be - a day to be thankful for what we have, which in this country is more often than not an abundance.

November 26, 2012

Living Alone... Kinda

I seem to end up in the 4th apartment...

About a month ago my roommate moved out. Well, kind of. Her bed is still here, as is her dresser and shelf, and a lot of bathroom stuff, and her fiance's table is in the kitchen. But other than that, I'm pretty much living by myself. Well, with the cat.

Back in August, my roommate got engaged. (Yay!) They'd already talked about moving in together and decided she'd move to Fullerton, so I knew it was coming (actually, she even knew the proposal was coming because he'd let something slip a few months earlier). While all this was happening, my roommate was also trying to buy a place.

So, we talked about it and came up with one of the strangest agreements. My roommate placed an offer on a condo in August, which was approved by the owners  in October. But it would have to gain the approval of the bank (short sale), which could take time. My roommate would still stick to her plan to move out to start her new job in November. I agreed to pay a little bit more rent and we'd keep our apartment while she waited to hear if she got the condo. If she gets the condo, I tentatively agreed to move in and be her tenant, leaving one room open for them to visit. If she doesn't get the condo, I offered to find another, smaller, cheaper 2 bedroom and she'd rent out the small room.

Why? Even though she moved to Fullerton, she still has lots of connections in San Diego to bring her (and her fiance) back on a regular basis. So far she's been here almost every weekend since moving out, and if we didn't have our place still they'd have had already spend a good amount on a hotel. So having a place in San Diego that they can come to makes sense for them, especially while they're planning their wedding. And she's been wanting to buy a place since I met her (and as much as she denies it I'm convinced they'll eventually move to San Diego permanently).

What's in it for me? The potential ability to live "alone" for a lot less money than I'd have to pay otherwise. The upside is a pretty significant savings and the potential ability to live in a nicely remodeled condo, have a dedicated parking space and laundry room, and it'd be a few miles closer to the boyfriend. The downside is it's not in my neighborhood, which means no more walk to work, walk to bars, walk to restaurants, walk to grocery stores. And it's not in the safest of neighborhoods so I wouldn't feel comfortable going for a run, which would mean either a lot more gym time or a lot more driving to a better place to run (or changing at work and running from the office). 

So I'm undecided. There are appealing parts and there are things I wouldn't like about it. I won't have to decide until we know if she gets the place, and I'm really hoping we know this week so we can give our 30 day notice in December... not having to pay for another month in our current apartment would be awesome.

November 25, 2012

Farewell, Foundry

One of my most favorite places in North Park, The Foundry, closed its doors this week. It's the closest bar to my house, and one I really loved walking to. They had amazingly delicious hot pho, which I ordered every single time I went there. Unless they were out. Then I got super sad.

It turns out the owner had to make a decision between participating in and touring with his band and running a bar. And he picked the band. He sold The Foundry to someone who wants to open a sports bar. *shudder*

The last bowl of shrimp pho ever.

Not a fan of sports bars. But I'll more than likely at least stop by and check it out, at least to see what they did with it and what kind of beers they have. Who knows, maybe it really will be the less-douchey sports bar in North Park.

Farewell, Foundry. I did enjoy thee.

November 12, 2012

Growing Up

Divorce at 1:10

To the surprise of exactly everyone, two of the boyfriend's friends announced they're getting a divorce. And just like that, this stuff is in my generation.

I have certainly not been in the picture long enough to get a good idea of the type of relationship this couple had, but I have been around long enough to be completely shocked. This couple was known among the group of friends for having the most fun wedding- with a nacho bar (oh yeah, stealing that). The boyfriend has a photo of their friends' faces after they realized there was a nacho bar at the wedding. It's amazing.

And just to be a total cliche, they seemed so happy. Granted, when I did see them it was always the two of them together, and they both were upbeat, smiling and generally... happy. I didn't hang out with either of them one on one and obviously I have no idea how their private relationship was.

But all of their friends are just as surprised.

It's a really unsettling prospect. The husband is a little older but still in his thirties and his wife is just a year or two older than me. She just moved to Seattle for a better job, where he was going to follow at the end of the semester, when he dropped the ax. The super unsettling part? Apparently even she was blindsided.

Now, if that's not something to make you question relationships in general I don't know what is. When I was younger I usually assumed my relationship was about to end when couple-friends would break up. When The Ex's best friends broke up I thought for sure we were on the chopping block. As if break ups are contagious. A few months ago the boyfriend's BFF and his girlfriend broke up, and that didn't affect me or my relationship with my boyfriend at all (for one, I don't still worry that my boyfriend's friend's relationships will have much of an impact on ours, and for another the boyfriend has made me feel very secure about our relationship). But a divorce is different. A divorce isn't just a break up.

I was told that once I turned 26 it would be all weddings and babies and grown up stuff. That kind of happened - Facebook has far more weddings and babies than it did even a year ago, and my new friend requests are in long term committed relationships, if not engaged. I'm even going to be in a wedding. It's weird. People have been telling me this part would come but it's still surprising to actually see it. The other day I got my haircut and the woman asked me if I had kids. Because I look old enough.

And now people my age are getting divorced.

People are still making the same mistakes our parents made, still not talking to each other, still letting problems sit until they're ready to explode. Did we learn nothing? Am I that naive to think we actually would?

The good news for me is that I don't let things stew. If I have an issue that bugs me I bring it up -  for better or for worse. I don't like going to bed mad, really don't like waking up mad, and want things to be resolved as quickly as possible. The down side is this tendency has caused a few sleepless nights, and not in the good way.

Louis C.K. once chastised his audience for "awwww"ing when he announced his divorce, saying "no happy marriage has ever ended in divorce." The man has a good point: happy marriages last - unhappy marriages sometimes don't. I guess the only thing you can do is try to make your partner happy and hope for the best.

November 5, 2012

In Which I Kill A Fish

These guys will always be around.

I killed my pet fish.

It was a mercy kill, putting my fish out of her (pretty sure it was a girl) misery. She'd been sick, not eating, puffed up to more than twice her size, and was so bloated her scales stuck out. It was disgusting, and I imagine not comfortable for her. Possibly even painful. So I ended it for her.

Thing is, the other fish in the tank (same species, same sex), might have also been sick because she hadn't eaten in a couple of days. But the morning after I killed her companion she was as lively and hungry as ever. Could it be she hated the other fish and was finally happy to be alone? Could she have recognized what I do to fish that are dying and made a change? Probably neither, but it is a pretty big coincidence.

Because there doesn't seem to be too much information on how to actually kill a pet fish on the internet, I'm going to go through what I read and what I did, so if you don't want to know how people kill their pet fish maybe this just isn't the post for you (but seriously, do you not read titles?).

The internet thinks that the best and most humane way to euthanize a fish is to separate it into another bowl, and mix the water with drops of clove oil. The clove oil puts the fish to sleep, literally. Much like euthanizing animals, it's the overdose that's the lethal part. First, you put just a few drops of oil in to calm the fish and put it into a sleep- it'll go belly up but still be alive (don't mistake the belly up to be death...). Then, once it can't feel anything and isn't stressing, you give it the lethal overdose and in time it dies. It's supposed to take a while, but at least it doesn't feel anything, which is different from freezing it (some fish can survive in cold temperatures, so they're very much alive when they slowly die).

Since it was late on a Friday night and I did not have any clove oil on hand when I noticed my bloated fish was belly up but living, I could not use that method. There are other methods online, which fish enthusiasts use, but none seemed like a quick or sure death (Alka Seltzer being one of them, garbage disposal being another). But I did have other tools on hand, which I figured would be faster and possibly more humane anyway, if only I had the stomach for it. That... that was hard. I know it's only a fish, and I know I've had pets euthanized before due to illness, but being the hand that deliberately killed an animal was new to me.

I set up a plastic cutting board and a steak knife (meant to cut meat but not so sharp as to cut the plastic bag I wanted to use and without ridges) on the counter in the kitchen, next to the sink. I gathered my nerves and made the decision that this was the only option and I was not going to panic or hesitate. I scooped the fish into a plastic bag with just enough water to carry her through the apartment. Back in the kitchen, I emptied most of the water into the sink, sealed the bag, laid it on the cutting board, took a breath, and sliced the head off.

My fish was a platy, and other than being bloated was a very small fish. I don't know if it would have been as easy on other species, certainly not larger fish, but this fish was big enough to get a grip on but small enough to be easily decapitated by a steak knife. Once it was over, and it was very clear she was out of any pain or suffering she might have experienced, I felt relieved. I took out the trash, cleaned my tools, and put them in the dishwasher (for good measure). 

I didn't hesitate and it was all over within a minute from plastic bag to death, so the suffering at my hand was very minimal. And I felt good that I'd been able to take control and speed nature along when possible pain was being felt. But afterwards I couldn't just go to bed. I stayed up late surfing the happiest parts of Reddit to make myself feel better, or at least flood my mind with cuteness so I wouldn't go to bed with the image of my fish fresh in my mind. It helped- at least to the point that I didn't have a nightmare. 

I'm really hoping I won't have to do that again, though. The other fish is doing really well- swimming enthusiastically, eating voraciously, picking on the snails, pretty much being a happy fish. Which is good. I'm a little nervous she won't survive the move, whenever that ends up happening, but at least I'm a little more prepared now.

November 4, 2012

The Furthest Call


The US election is two days away and the media has been predicting it will be a very close call for the presidency.

I just don't buy it.

I honestly think President Obama will not only be re-elected, but possibly even by a landslide. And if not by a total landslide (like it pretty much was in 2008) but not the close call news outlets keep predicting. I don't see how that's actually true.

Things have been looking good for the president the last couple of months and even more so this last week, the time when the most Americans pay attention to the election. And perhaps more to the point, the contender has been looking pretty sorry during that same time period. Hurricane Sandy hasn't done much to help that image, either. 

Obviously, those who hate President Obama for one reason or another and want anyone else in will vote for Romney. As will probably most of the people in the country to have loads of money (an itty bitty percentage of the country). But it baffles my mind that any pre-menopausal woman would vote Republican this year and I'm sure the Republican party has already written off anyone of color.

There are less publicized predictions of Obama winning the presidency by a massive landslide, attributing a 6% chance that Romney will win the Electoral College vote. If that's the case, I can't see how Romney would win either the Electoral College or the popular vote. (However, if either candidate wins the Electoral College but not the popular vote, that will not be good for the country.)

There are only two things I could see getting in the way of an Obama landslide: complacent or cocky Obama supporters not voting and voter fraud/rigged polls. The Obama supporters not voting is not something I see happening because of their nature. They came out in droves last time around because they believed they could make a difference, and they did - Obama finished his acceptance speech before the polls even closed in California. The voter fraud/rigged machines may be an issue, but I hope they aren't wide spread enough to matter, and if they can be found out it will just cast a nasty shadow on the falsely elected president.

Two days away, I'm gonna go ahead and say it'll happen that way again. I seriously don't think all the worry over it being too close to call and all the absentee and undocumented votes actually come into play. So there. And if I eat my words Tuesday night (or whenever the final tally is agreed upon) so be it.

November 3, 2012

I Haz An iPhone

Pretty much my face on my birthday.

I finally joined the iPhone club. I've been a part of the Mac club for many a year, starting out with the pride and joy that was my very first, plastic-encased PowerBook (I loved that thing), and part of the iPod club a few times over with my iPod Nano (Christmas present), iPod touch (freebie) and now my iPod shuffle (for running). And now I have an Apple phone. 


I've wanted one of these almost since it first came out (the first one was ex-pen-sive, and an unnecessarily high price tag makes things less attractive). When I found out that the iPhone 5 was only $200 I was sold. (For clarification, yes, $200 is still a ton of money for a phone, but the cheapest phone I wanted was $150, so "only" is accurate.) I was interested in the iPhone 4 but by then 4G had already come out and I wasn't willing to invest in a phone system that was already on its way out. And I'd just bought a phone I thought wasn't going to be as shitty as it turned out to be.

And because the boyfriend is awesome and has a paycheck that makes him want to spoil the girlfriend, he got me the shiniest, newest phone for my birthday. Eeeee!

It comes, however, with somewhat of a caveat: AT&T. I swore up and down when I left AT&T/Cingular that I'd never go back. But you do things for love. I didn't want the iPhone 5 badly enough to leave T-Mobile on my own, but getting a family plan with the boyfriend did the trick. We agreed that at the end of two years if AT&T sucked we'd look into other carriers, an agreement that works for us both. And T-Mobile was kind of pissing me off.

My shiny new phone did come with a little hiccup: like I do any time I get a new electronic, I let the battery run out completely the first use. It took more than two days, a very impressive feat. But when I went to plug the thing in to give it a good, full, first charge, nothing. I left it plugged in overnight and it got about a 15% charge, and leaving it plugged in at work kept that charge but didn't seem to do much in the way of adding to it.  A quick trip to the Apple Store (as quick as a trip to Fashion Valley can be) fixed it and I walked out a few minutes later with a working cable. Yay! Gotta hand it to those guys: no paperwork, didn't have to sign anything, didn't have to "check out" or verify the registration of my phone. That's nice.

I'm obviously still learning my new phone, but there are some clear differences I already see between the iPhone and my old Android. The camera, for one, is fantastic. Not only does it have a flash, but it has a front facing camera, which is a pretty sweet little tool. Not surprisingly, the first photo I took was of food and my first two Instagram photos (yep, on there now) were pets. Being able to talk to my phone and tell it to dial a number is also a cool trick. It synching with my computer and my Google account to keep everything up to date? Convenient. The 4G LTE is worlds faster than my shitty phone on a 3G network, and checking Facebook isn't a pain in the ass anymore.

The keyboard is spot on, though auto-correct isn't as intuitive, but that may be because it doesn't know my style yet. It's also a hell of a lot larger than my old phone, but still a hell of a lot smaller than the boyfriend's new phone (HTC One X, partially because he can't rely on a shitty maps app), and way smaller than the other phone I was considering, the Samsung Galaxy S3, which might as well be a tablet as far as my little fingers are concerned. I have yet to use the maps app, but I'm not really concerned about it: I don't use maps very often and we jokingly decided that he'll be the navigator since I'm usually the driver. 

All in all, I'm really happy to have an Apple phone to go with my Apple computer, and to have a phone that I can still fit in my hand. Not to mention, I'm the only one I know with this phone, the only one with the newest phone on the block, something that's never happened. I feel so hip. Plus, I got it a pretty orange case, so it's extra hip and less prone to damage from the accidents I seem to have and to prevent the soft aluminum from scratching (did it need to be so light that you swapped steel for aluminum?). Even so, it feels really sturdy, like it'd live if I drop it. Not that I intend on dropping it... but it's something I do.