Monthly Archives: March 2007

I stand corrected.

There are now 3 (THREE!!!) comments from people I don’t even know. And two of them are from the UK (woo, Ireland!! My “heritage” is UK [mostly Irish] too!!! Although I’m fairly certain that Brad’s dutchness is rubbing off on me – I really like black licorice, stroop waffles, and sprinkles on my toast =).

I want to apologize in advance for what will likely be an un-post-heavy few weeks. I’m finishing up with all of my final assignments (and evaluations – gag), and of course working, so I’m a bit busy for the next bit. I will say, though, that I’m reading a book entitled, “Our Media, Not Theirs” and it’s quite interesting. Expect a book review on that one soon. (By soon, I mean not in the next few weeks.)

Ummmm … what else is up with me? Brad and I just watched ‘Babel’ – what an interesting film. For those of you who have not seen it, I would definitely recommend it to the discerning viewer. My mom hit it on the nail when she described it to me as having a Crash- or American Beauty-esque nature. I completely concur, mom!

So, that said, I’ve decided that I’m awfully silly when on the weekend I go to bed later than normal and then complain about feeling tired. Normally I go to bed around 10:30 and get up at 5:45. On Saturdays, I tend to go to bed no earlier than midnight (normally later) and get up at 8:00. If you do the math, I’m not actually getting any more sleep than normal – but the later time makes me *think* I’m sleeping in. So I’ve decided to go to bed at 10:30 tonight, as I have to get up at 7:30 tomorrow. I’m going with Brad’s little sister to a GEMS event tomorrow morning (9AM – honestly people, why?!?). I’m looking forward to going =) So that means that it’s bedtime for me. Goodnight all!

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So! Excited!

Two people that I don’t even know commented on my blog =) How crazy is that? (And one’s from the UK, nonetheless!!!)

So …. drumroll please …. I bring you …. the hat.

I finished in on Wednesday night after work, but haven’t had the opportunity to take a pic of it or post about it, since I’ve been crazy busy. So yeah. It ended up being 104 stiches, 3 inches of k1p1 ribbing, and then about 4.5 – 5 inches of straight stockinette. The best part? It was actually really easy =) Brad says that it’s super comfy and keeps his head toasty warm. I’m looking forward to buying some of the same wool (in a fun colour, of course) and knitting myself the same one. I really enjoyed this project! And I think that it’s my favourite finished object so far.

And a view from the top – see how the decreasing worked it in a spiral? How cool is that??

My thanks to Laurie at Crazy Aunt Purl for helping me choose a “shoe number” =)

And here’s a token random picture. Taken of our toaster after I noticed that I had put our electric griddle a teensy bit too close to it’s plastic self. Sigh.

Bad news: it’s ugly now =( Good news: both the toaster and the knobs still work!!

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"There is shit in the meat": A Book Review

(Schlosser, 2002, p.197)

I just finished reading ‘Fast Food Nation’ by Eric Schlosser. I am pretty sure that I will never eat at a fast food establishment again, and if I do, I sure as heck won’t enjoy it. And that’s a strong statement coming from me, who was fine eating at McDonald’s after she worked there. After reading the book, I’m not concerned about the restaurants themselves – as I said, I worked in one, their cleanliness doesn’t bother me – and neither does what goes on your burger.

It’s what goes on behind the scenes.

It’s the industry that advertises to our children – hoping to create brand loyalty by as early as age 2. The industry that pairs with governments and school systems to advertise to our children in their schools and promote a high-fat, high-sugar diet.

It’s the entire fast-food industry that relies on transient, minimum wage workers to work at its counters and in its kitchens. The industry that strives to keep their workers part-time so that they needn’t pay benefits. That exploits teens and fires workers who are involved in union-organizing activities.

It’s the industry that puts chemicals in our food to make them taste. The industry that, without changing the look or (un)nutrition of its food, could make it taste just as easily of fresh-cut grass as it does like a french fry or a hamburger. The industry in which it costs 1/2 of a penny to flavour a can of coke for which we pay at least $1.00 (+ tax).

It’s the industry that has led progressively to the ‘agribusiness’ world in which we live. The world where the independent potato farmer and rancher can no longer support his family on the land that has been inherited down through the generations. The average poultry-house owner who gives up after only 3 years, having invested hundreds of thousands.

It’s the industry that drives into Mexico to recruit men and women to work at its meat packing plants and slaughterhouses, then pays them less than minimum wage and doesn’t give them health benefits – and yet asks them to work long shifts in cramped spaces, wielding large knives and cutting up raw cow halves. The corporations that seek out the states that have no workers compensation or workplace safety boards. The companies that ask their cleaning staff to spray scalding hot water and bleach throughout the plant at night – without proper safety equipment or supervision. The industry that gave Kenny Dobbins two herniated discs, two chlorine-burned lungs, a shattered ankle, and a heart attack. They also gave him a pink-slip while he recovered. “They used me to the point where I had no body parts left to give,” he is quoted as saying (Schlosser, 2002).

It’s the industry that has killed thousands of children because of poorly regulated health standards with its meat and its high levels of E. coli O157:H7 – one of the most potentially lethal and virulent pathogens known to man. It killed one boy, Alex, in roughly 5 days – after eating one hamburger. And how does E. coli get into the meat? Fecal contamination. Hence the title of the post. And it’s hard to kill – there are no antibiotics which are effective against it.

What are Schlosser’s recommendations after all this disturbing information?

1. Ask our governments to ban the advertising of unhealthy foods to children under 8 – this would help discourage bad eating habits and encourage fast food chains to change their kids meals (reducing carbs and fats).

2. Lobby to fast food restaurants about the nutrition in their food, where they get it from, and what you would like them to do about it – since the fast food chains are the largest purchasers of beef, they have the ability to change what happens in slaughterhouses and meatpacking plants. If they demand that the standards change, the plants must change or go out of business.

3. Ask our governments to protect the independent farmers and ranchers – ask them to open up the meat market and make it more competitive.

4. Most of all, use your consumer power (which is quite considerable if we all work together) to make meaningful change. Schlosser explains below:

“Pull open the glass door, feel the rush of cool air, walk inside, get in line, and look around you, look at the kids working in the kitchen, at the customers in their seats, at the ads for the latest toys, study the backlit colour photographs above the counter, think about where it is the food came from, about how and where it was made, about what is set in motion by every single fast food purchase, the ripple effect near and far, think about it. Then place your order. Or turn and walk out the door.” (p.270)

This book gets five stars from me. I would highly recommend it to anyone. It’s graphic and disturbing at times, and it makes you think. It makes you think about what you’re eating and what you’re supporting when you do so. As I said, I’ll never enjoy fast food again.

Schlosser, E. (2002). Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal. New York, NY: HarperCollins Publishers Inc.

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Why, Wireton Willie, Why?

Actually, the title should be more like, “Why, (insert name of captive rodent who supposedly predicts the weather here), why?” in order to make it applicable to different geographic areas.

I had a recent epiphany at work along with some coworkers. (No, I didn’t eat the epiphany and coworkers, the epiphany occurred WITH them.) Anyways. So. Wireton Willie (or your rodent of choice) comes out on Groundhog Day. He either sees his shadow or doesn’t, and it means there’s either 6 more weeks of winter, or an early spring (and no, I’m not sure which is which).

Come along with me now.

So. When does spring normally come? April-ish, you say? Right-o.

Still with me?

So. The rodent of choice says 6 more weeks of winter. That would put winter lasting until … mid-March (February 2 + 6 weeks = mid-march). The rodent of choice says early spring. That means … mid-March?

Wait a second, you say. Either way he’s conservatively forecasting spring coming in mid-March?

That’s right. It’s all a hoax. *sigh* Why, Willie, why?

———————————————————————————

So. I’ve got news – I didn’t get into the summer program at my school. Which means I don’t get to graduate in December, I have to wait until April. Which means …

A big, red glass of self-pity, which, by the way, was simply delicious. It was meant to go with a movie (read: either ‘The Notebook’ – because I want to cry – or a high school movie such as ‘Ten Things I Hate About You’ or ‘Bring It On’ – because I want a pick-me-up). In the end, it went with a game of Settlers of Catan with some friends and NO movie, because one friend showed up late and by the time they left (about 15 minutes ago), it was too late for me to watch a movie. Cuz I work 12 hours tomorrow (starting at 0630). This glass of self-pity was also going to accompany some hard-core knitting on Brad’s hat. But, obviously, I’m not doing that, either. BUUUTT, I did take pics for you!!

Hat nestled in it’s little box (or rather, draping over it’s box, longing to be knit upon:

And a close up. It’s got about 3 inches of k1p1 ribbing and the rest is good ole’ stockinette. I’ve probably got one or two more inches to go before I start decreasing. Please forgive the bad lighting. There’s only so much my camera and apartment lighting can do. They apologize profusely.

P.S. If I’m not blogging, it’s because Facebook is vying for my attention. I can’t help it, really! People I’ve not seen for years upon years. It’s great.

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Dear Table Charm,

You may remember my husband and I from a few months ago. We attended one of your information meetings with the intent of not buying anything and coming away with a free vacation anyway.

First, I’d like to thank you for the very enjoyable night my husband and I had laughing at your advertising. It still provides us great entertainment to giggle about the terms “special alloys” and “semi-vacuum”.

Second, I’d like to thank you for alerting us to the evils of non-stick cookware and PFAOs. We have been fortunate to be able to eliminate their use in our home, and were also fortunate enough to be able to do that without having to buy your cookware. This is fortunate as we would not have been able to afford rent, groceries, bus tickets, and tuition had we done so.

Third, I’d like to thank you for the great cooking tips! Although you assured us that we would be unable to achieve the same results in ‘inferior’ cooking systems, we are grateful that we did not take your word for it. We now only cook our meats using you ‘semi-vacuum’ technique. It’s quite incredible – we get the exact same results with our current cookware! We are also using the ‘stack cooking’ method and it works just the same with our pots and pans.

Fourth, thanks for the free vacation! We’re really looking forward to using our gift certificate in the near future.

Sincerely, a satisfied non-customer,

Kim

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Dear Tutor,

Can you please just agree with something I say ONCE this term? Really, I’d just be happy if you didn’t openly disagree with everything I say. Perhaps just a silent disagreement without necessarily voicing it? *sigh*

I’m so ready for school to be done. This is my … *counts in head* 5th year of school, which, in my humble opinion, is 3-ish years too long already. I’m trying to keep my eyes on the prize though. Must. Make it. Must. Get. Degree.

On a brighter note, I got the yarn for Brad’s hat on Monday evening and I’m hoping to get back at it tonight at some point. I’ve got a test tomorrow and a 5% paper due, but I’m pretty well done the paper, and I’m not too concerned about the test, although I should go over some of it tonight. Maybe I can get in even a half hour of knitting. It’s bizzare – I actually miss it!

Here’s a pic my dad just sent me: snorkelling (snorkeling?) at Xpu Ha in Mexico (pronounced Shpoo-ha, not ex-poo-ha). I’m the one sitting down. No, not the man putting on the flipper, the one with her feet in the water. Brad’s standing behind me. We snorkelled (snorkeled?) at this cool place where an underground fresh-water river meets the salt water of the ocean. It was still really salty though. And cold.

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