Monday, April 27, 2009

Fat in the USA

disclaimer: By writing this I am not saying I am fat. Please don't say "oh, your not fat". Cuz I'm PHAT.

On my way home from work everyday I drive by a bill board (drove, I think its finally gone) of a disgustingly thin woman - just her mid section - with a midriff baring shirt with a measuring tape around her middle. It was some ad for weight loss. "You can be this thin!" But, why would I want to? I whole heartily believe that real women have curves (even though I haven't seen that movie yet). Um, also, to those naturally skinny women out there - you can't help it, I still think you're real women. But, you are meant to be that way. What I'm saying is, I have naturally slender friends - and they are beautiful that way.

Ok, disclaimers out the way - back to talking about people who have some junk in their trunk. The point is, its hard having curves in America. We have very few curvalicious roll models. Starting from a young age we are impressed by the notorious Barbie who was impossibly tall, skinny and big breasted. Not to mention video game and comic book characters and Shera. Do you know how hard it is trying to live up to that?
Women on TV, billboards and posters are all skinny and big breasted. And, if celebrities do get pleasantly plump, they are so talked about that they quickly loose it. So, it is hard for many women to accept themselves as they are because society is constantly telling them that they are not thin enough nor big boobed enough.

What I want is a slightly shorter barbie with less perky boobs and a little bit of a belly and a bit of a butt. Actually, I don't have a Barbie around, so I'm not sure how her butt looks - but I am definitely not going to google it.

On the other hand, we are definitely a country of fat people. I think people in the Middle East console themselves by saying "Sure, those Americans bomb us and sure are making a mess around here - but man, they sure are fat! And stupid! Most of them don't even know where the Middle East is!" "Oh, its funny..." Actually, I think that quote applies to a lot of other countries (except you substitute bomb with whatever). And yes, I know that they bomb each other, but they probably have to make other generalizations about their neighbors who bomb them.

There's not a lot else to say about the whole fat thing. We are a lazy, misinformed people (the preservatives are making me fat!). Now, I'm not saying we are the only fat nation, I am saying we are the fattest. (see poll).
Maybe this propensity towards fatness is another thing that makes it difficult for people to be a little curvy - fear of going too far in the wrong direction.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Individual (healthy?) lasagna rolls

Lasagna roll-ups!

I adapted my lasagna roll-ups from I heart food 4 thought and she got it from coconut and lime. I've simplified it by using a jar of pasta sauce instead of making my own, and sprinkling the whole thing with chopped garlic instead of putting shallots in the rolls. I also used part-skim ricotta (possibly I should have looked further for less fat - don't grocery shop on the phone) and wheat noodles. Oh, and I didn't use basil.

I have made this before and it got rave reviews but this time I am making it today with the intent of baking it tomorrow. Also, since it makes more than my rectangular pyrex dish can hold, I put a small amount in a 4 cut pyrex round container which I froze. I don't know how that will turn out. But, if it works, I think I will start making my own frozen foods!

I think perhaps they are fairly healthy, as long as you only eat a few - I'm planning on having it with broccoli to increase the health factor.

Verdict: It was pretty easy to make, especially since I used premade sauce - the only difficulty was in rolling up the lasagna, the squiggly parts tend to come off (that's why they're piled on top) and its a bit messy. The odd thing is that last time I ran out of filling and this time I had almost too much - perhaps because in the beginning I was very sparring. Oh, it turns out I used 15oz ricotta... Making my own sauce sometime might be fun though, it would probably up the yum factor, just take a bit longer - and that in the picture, thats my whole kitchen work space. It gets crowded fast.
I'll post this after I've cooked it.
Turned out good - except, more sauce would have been better. And I need a good old fashioned vegetable steamer. And thats mozerella pieces on the top, not a gob of butter. Oh, and the slivers of garlic were still very intense.. My burps taste like garlic.
As to the frozen part, how am I going to cook that?

Saturday, April 11, 2009

The only thing we have to Fear....

I love to walk in the woods. I like to go alone, or I like to go with a friend. Its fun to take a friend and enjoy it together, or be alone and enjoy the quiet. But, when I tell some of my "cityfied" friends, their response is often "you better be careful, some girl was eaten by an alligator/had her throat cut open somewhere last week in the woods/on a bike path/etc."

Now, as to animals in Florida, I have very little fear. (Of course, the water is the exception, I cannot see through the water, and sharks can swim fast....) I have a healthy respect for alligators snakes and spiders, but I don't think I fear them. With a little outdoor sense and caution, unfortunate run-ins with animals can be avoided. Besides the fact that in Florida snakes and spider bites are rarely deadly. Australia of course is another matter, the venom in animals there can kill you before you can get to the hospital. Alligator mishaps can be avoided by knowing when they're more likely to be aggressive - like mating season (which lasts from May until June). Apparently jogging along the water's edge with your dog or chicken (what??? I read that here) is also not a good idea - I guess thats like swimming in the ocean with your dog. Apparently taking your dog out with you is like tying a worm to a fishing hook.

The people thing is a little funny, I have a friend in living in New York city and I worry about her in the big city. Having something slipped into her drink at a bar, getting mugged or worse coming home late or getting robbed. There has to be a higher concentration of people with evil intent in a big city than scattered in the woods. Sure, there could be some crazy guy in my well lit but relatively uninhabited woods well away from habitation, but what are the chances? I could have been caught in a tornado in Texas (there was once downtown while I was working there) or in a hurricane in Florida. I want to move north someday, and while there I could loose my power during a blizzard. There are lots of things in the ocean that could hurt me - medium sharks, jellyfish, red tide, but... oh, I do fear the ocean. Its too big, and the water is too murky. Damn!

So, where does this fear get me? I do not swim or go out far into the ocean - and I love the ocean, I love to walk and play around in it. Fear only cripples you. Today while I was walking in the woods I thought about everyone's worries and started to get jumpy at every little noise - and there are a lot of noisy scurrying lizards in the woods around here. Another noisy animal in the woods of Florida?
If I let fear get a hold of me I could not enjoy going out in the woods. It is unreasonable to think I should not go there, or not go alone. Sometimes I tell people where I am going, so, as I say, "they can find the body". What else can I do? I don't go out to the woods when its dark, and I've got my phone with me "help! arghhhhh _______"

Yes, I could get attacked, or I could crash next time I fly, and I could stay home and never do anything that has any associated risks, but would that be living?

Saturday, April 4, 2009


I have been forced to reevaluate my stance on graffiti. I was completely against graffiti - I don't like "tags" on buildings that are ugly and lower the property value or make the neighborhood seem less nice. I had a friend who for some reason seemed pro-graffiti, but I'm still not sure why. I guess he understood why they did it, but that still does not excuse trashing someone else's property. Three artists (or 2 1/2) have convinced me to really rethink my view.

work is incredible, thought provoking, and although I guess this is a matter of opinion - makes the area it is painted on look better, at least a lot of the time (and not just because his work is so sought after). His style is so cool, but there is also a deeper meaning behind it. Its not just saying "hey, this is mine". Simply, they are murals that may offend some because they may not like the message they convey. Its also interesting because it often stenciled on to the surface creating a unique end product.

Julian Beever is another artist (very different from the first) whose work would be considered graffiti by some. What differentiates his work from typical graffiti is its transience. If you do not like it, you don't have to worry because it will be gone as soon as it rains or the streets are washed.

The .5 artists is Shepherd Fairy. I'm not saying he's not a full artist, but there is a lot of controversy right now on whether his Obama poster (or other posters) are truly his, or whether he's just really good at tinkering with other people's work. I was looking him up once and found a site comparing his work to other posters etc. Whether its true or not, I do like a lot of his work and it has caused me to think about "poster art/sticker" art/graffiti. Its a neat way displaying and distributing the artwork.

Although these artists have very different styles techniques and messages, they have succeeded in making me think. Their art has caused me to consider "what is art and what is graffiti?" and it has also introduced me to some cool techniques for making art or graffiti.

A few years ago I took a tour of Philadelphia. One thing that has stood out about that tour were the murals painted on buildings throughout the town. They were all very different, but they all accentuated the European/cool feel of Philly. The really cool thing about the murals was that according to the tour guide, they punished graffiti artists by making them paint a mural (ironic punishment?). Supposedly someone will not graffiti over someone else's art/work. Whether or not that was true, they definitely looked cool. The murals in Philly and elsewhere have made me wonder, perhaps some people just need an outlet. Maybe more cities need a place where people can legally express themselves (in an appropriate manner). In Orlando at Pho 88 one wall of the building is covered in ever changing graffiti/street art. I'm fairly certain the restaurant owner allows it, and (however it is set up) the artist gets to advertise (there is often a name or number). Of course, this wouldn't work for delinquents who just want to tag buildings and join a gang and feel cool, I think they'll have to look elsewhere for help (family planning perhaps).

I once saw a picture of an awesome mural somewhere in South America of evolution, but I can't find it right now or I'd post it.
I know this post is rather rambly, but its past my bedtime and I think I'm going to find out whether my laptop is capable of creating 3rd degree burns (one day a decade from now I'll end up in a fertility clinic and I'll find out all of my eggs have been hardboiled.. ooh, easy birth control...).
Um, so yes... my brain is asleep. I could wait and add to this later, but maybe I'll just add on later... in comments....

Talk amongst yourselves.

which is more important? i.e. which would you choose at the exclusion of the other?