Friday, January 29, 2010
There IS a crisis in our country regarding food, availability, health, etc. Food banks are empty, some are closing, people are having to make hard choices about what bills to pay and how to keep their families fed.
That being said - with more and more bloggers, reporters, heck governmental figures getting in on the fun - all outlining their extraordinary extremes they have to go to manage on "tiny sums" to feed themselves for a week (I suppose one week of eating lentils is supposed to translate to becoming the common man)... I'm left a little confused.
The Prime Geek and I eat quite a bit of local food. Lots of fresh. Almost 75% of our meat is local AND grassfed. Heck - we also eat gluten free now, since my diagnosis of celiac. We're not hungry, we're not lacking, and we certainly don't suffer from any lack of variety or even treats - and our weekly grocery budget?
$50 a week.
For both of us.
All meals - I even pack the Prime Geek's lunch.
Now. I'm lucky. I work from home. I don't have kids (and the resulting crazy scheduling that comes with). I can take the time to source the best prices/quality, shop multiple stores, and have pretty varied and adventurous tastes when it comes to food. I also live in Northern Ohio - which while I'll crab about the weather (we looking at negative degrees with the wind today. It's a fair crab.) has a GREAT cost of living going for it. Lots of farms, lots of food. Low prices, jobs rebuilding... so I can understand a large amount of lucky happenstance (or rather, extremely detailed planning - according to the PG.) coming into play.
But there seems a severe disconnect somewhere. Eating on "just" xx a day keeps hitting the news... but that isn't how we eat/live. Today is connected to choices made last week, plans made for next month. I understand the emergency minded "What do we do to eat NOW" line of thinking. Really, I do. But I am left wondering if by pushing the far more sensational (and therefore sexier to our media eye) and extreme... we're building generations who WILL continue to suffer and be hungry because we never talk about the more prosaic "what can we do today... to eat next week?"
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
I'm not sure if I AM restarting this blog, if it will stay in the same vein or take an entirely new track through the morass of my back brain. I DO know that writing is becoming rather important to me again - so there is that.
It's... been a hard year. A really hard year. What started out as a bit of an annoyance, soon turned into a cluster###@. And if the language implied seems a bit much, well - 6 months of dying without realizing it, the sudden "Oh. So THAT'S why I feel like crap. Huh." and the last several months of trying to crawl my way back out makes for a less than stellar year.
Started a bit simply, as these things often do. After years of various "stomach issues", I finally got an answer. Celiac. Yup... no more whole wheat rolls, real pizza, or beer for this gal. (The loss beer I can survive. I'm more of a whiskey sipper than a beer drinker, anway.) Years of playing in the kitchen - and I suddenly am right back to beginner status as I try to relearn how to feed myself AND the Prime Geek.
Not too bad, really. A new diet - which helped pull about 50+ pounds off my 6'2 frame, so, bonus really - isn't the end of the world.
But than... well. It all went pear shaped. As folks might remember, we heat Casa de Nerd with a woodburning soapstone stove. Woodburner = need for wood = spending vast amounts of time tromping in the forest.
Which would be where I got chewed upon most thoroughly by several brown recluse spiders. That went septic. And than caused shingles. (I've broken things, ripped things, stepped on sharp things, even live pretty easily with a heart issue that means it occasionally gets bored and stops for a moment. Car accidents, physical attacks, and other fun times. Shingles is the first thing in my life that made me rock back and forth sobbing in pain as the primate in the back of my brain realized that nope, sorry, it would appear the Oxy isn't actually going to do anything. So as a side note from your friendly Nerd? Get thy assets to the doctor and ask nicely but firmly to be jabbed in the butt with the shingles vaccine. Now. Unless you like the feeling of being burned alive while beaten with electrical wires.)
Beat that back finally - a few scars that will take a while to fade, a tendency to panic if I happen upon an 8-legged critter (I now react rather like a 1950's sitcom housewife when she discovers a mouse in the kitchen. There is screaming, flailing, and a general need to vacate NOW! Extreme? Perhaps. But the two fingers on my right hand that are still a bit numb and weak and the quarter sized scars say its also extremely understandable.*) and I was still sick. Round after round of fevers following round after round of antibiotics. No clue as to where the misery was coming from - just sick.
Until my head exploded. Popped right off my spine and rolled under the table.
Alright. Fine. I exaggerate. It just felt like it had. And possibly would have been preferable. Alien Possession? Brain tumor? Nope. Just my THIRD set of wisdom teeth coming in - having been damaged by the incompetent idiot who frelled up my SECOND set when he yanked them - and rotting where no one could see them. Freaked the emergency care oral surgeon RIGHT out.**
Rather surreal to be told by a gray faced dentist that if you hadn't started hurting, that if it had fallen the other way and simply killed the nerves so nothing was felt... the next thing to happen (and quickly) would have been systemic organ failure. Which a body that had been battling infection for 8 months really wouldn't have had much of a shot at fighting off. So, yeah. On the up side, I finally stopped beating myself up for being so lazy and out of shape that just getting dressed made me tired enough to nap. I suppose I should be grateful that my sense of humor is odd enough that my first reaction was laughter (only mildly hysteric) when I contemplated the possible epitaph of "Here lies The Nerd - Done Wrong by a Dentist". Death by wisdom teeth. Just... doesn't seem that smart really.
Which brings us to now. Better - but whomped. Pretty completely. Have to take things slow... which is making me nuts. But at least I'm here. Mostly. Perhaps. We'll see. I suppose the question is two fold: Do I still have things to say here? And maybe more importantly... is there anyone else out there who wants to hear it?
* As a slight warning to my friends who may think it funny to yell "spider!" and watch me twitch? Please do remember... when I panic, I tend to punch. And no, I won't feel bad about it after.
** One of these days I'm going to have to write up that encounter... I'm not sure who was more upset - me or the dentist. As it was an emergency squeeze in, he couldn't do his standard procedure - iv sedatives and a quiet job. To have an Amazon keep insisting he do the job with just novacaine seemed to put him off his game a tad. FOURTEEN shots in the mouth, and he kept insisting we didn't have to do this. Really. Honest. No one would think badly of me - they'd give me scripts for painkillers and we could do it in two days. Please. I just wanted it DONE - but I think he must have thought I was a hardcore case.
Saturday, March 7, 2009
Today's plans have gone a little bit askew, originally this nerd was going to head out with her geek and see a movie that he's been waiting less than patiently for. Now that Star Wars is over, and it will be a while before the next Batman wanders down the path – his big movie moment is the new flick Watchmen, based on the graphic novels of the same name.
I'll grant you as a nerd, my tastes tend to run more towards the elven and trollish rather than the spandex-clad mask wearing heroes of the comics. I know most of the story lines - at least the broad strokes, but it isn't really my “thang”. I enjoyed X-men (hello nurse... I mean Wolverine), Hellboy tickled my fancy – no doubt due to the large element of fantasy within – but Batman and Superman never really grabbed my attention. But, the Prime Geek DOES love the dark-hero genre... and as I love him, well. I resign myself to the odd overly brooding masked avenger and amuse myself with popcorn and the odd snicker over a overly emphasized set of silicon pecs.
But – I don't like going into movies blind, either. So, a bit of my afternoon was spent trawling the internet for spoilers and info about what I was about to blow 2 hours of my life watching (and if I should pack my light-at-the-tips knitting needles... just in case). Rather to my shock and growing horror... one thing kept popping out of review after review. One... word, in fact.
Rape. Over and over. Apparently a graphic flashback of two of the main characters are included in the movie – a rape (or attempted, views vary), followed in time by a child and the eventual consensual sex between the victim and her attacker. Well. That makes it alright then. The attack must have just been a misunderstanding. Perhaps just a bad first date...
I'm sorry. No. This isn't okay, its not “dramatic tension” its not “plot development”. It isn't a “pivotal character movement”. It's rape. Its brutal. Its terrible. Its painful. Its scarring...
I should know.
I'm getting so sick and tired of this same old tired piece of creative laziness – you have to break a character down? Fine. Prove you are enough of a writer that you don't have to go for the easy nut-shot in a fight. Its a cheat. And... its dangerous. There is no “happily ever after” in rape. There is no “redemption and friendship – perhaps even love...” between a rape victim and their attacker. Don't tell me how the “savageness of his act, and the shock of how far he's fallen” forces a character to grow. Bullshit.
The only growth I'm interested in is that of the tree growing out of his grave.
Harsh? Yeah. And in all honesty – a pretty mild version of the foaming out of the mouth, profanity laden initial reaction. We're living in a world where a young performer is beaten without mercy by her boyfriend... and the world lines up to list all the ways “she had it coming.” And “yeah... he was wrong, but she probably provoked it.” The kind of mentality that can accept this type of “entertainment” baffles me. This is so far beyond... I'm sorry. Its simple what it is. It's evil. It's wrong. You don't get to be a hero and you don't get sympathy.
Can a rapist be forgiven? Perhaps. I try. But they don't get play time in their walk to right the wrongs they did. And they definitely shouldn't get an action figure.
This type of nonsense just makes the perpetrator the victim and the victim a harsh lesson they needed to grow.
If the only way you can make a plot point is this.... you're a pretty pitiful writer.
And a bit of a pathetic human being as well.
Sunday, February 15, 2009
Happy Valentine's Day from Your Natural Nerd, the Prime Geek, and two outta four of the troubles.
Hope you had a great day and remembered to tell at least one loved one how you feel.
I'm just getting up this Sunday on at 12:45pm. How do you THINK my holiday went?
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
Fine. Right then. Over the weekend, the New York Times decided to shed a little light to all us unfeeling peons out in the world who don't understand that the current economy is hard for every... but maybe just a teeny tiny bit harder for the wealthy amongst us to bear without some serious handouts.
For either a chuckle... or an urge to bash a head (yours, or someone else's, the choice is your own) take a moment and head over to their webpage and read the article regarding the perils of attempting to survive on a mere $500,000.
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/08/fashion/08halfmill.html?_r=2 Go ahead... I'll be here. Take your time... I'm still rocketing between giggles and incredulity.
You back? Well? What do you think? Time to run a tellathon to keep those brave lads and lasses in Brooks Brothers and Chanel? I'm torn over the article really (as the fact I've talked about it to – my mother, my husband, 7 forums I belong to, several friends, the mailman, and a guy just trying to pick out grapefruit at the grocery can attest.... its sticking in my head and will not dislodge) I can't decide if the NYT has a secret cabal of writers who are huge French Revolution buffs and they are attempting a sociological experiment to see exactly what it takes to work the common man into a frenzy and start sharpening their guillotines.... or we're just really that far outta touch with the reality of our world's situation. You have to have $16,000 vacations – or you can't keep your head up at work? That $32,000 spent each year on your fourth grader's schooling really isn't enough to help them pass, they need another $3,000+ to make it through the multiplication table?
$450 every 10 days on groceries.
And here I've been making do on $250. A month.
Don't get me wrong – I'm a fan of capitalism. I like to buy my goodies... I have my little luxuries and treats, I've got bills to pay and debts to honor. You work hard and make the money – you've earned the right to buy what you want when you want, HOW you want. I truly believe that.
People in our country are wondering if they are going to be able to feed their kids tonight... and you wanna whine about how you have to keep up appearances?
You don't have to care about other people. You don't have to volunteer, give back, or even give a flipping tinker's damn about the rest of the world.
Don't be tacky about it. Don't tell me I can't understand the issues you have and expect me to keep a straight face. Don't whine and whinge that it's a hard life being rich and powerful. Come on folks... at this exact moment in history – I really don't want to view the corporate heads of our economy as Paris Hilton with a combover.
Now if you'll pardon me, I'll just be over here in the corner googling how to build a guillotines.
I plant things! (And get far too excited about the prospect of seeing green things again.)
Friday, January 30, 2009
No matter a person's politics... I'm finding I'm not alone in this. Whether you voted for our new president or not, there IS something rather special about knowing our country has its first black president – and that's a HUGE reason to hope, and a giant step for change... but as the weeks have rolled by, I'm tired of the slogan. I'm tired of what I see it beginning to represent.
Hope is great. Change is needed... but its time to stop patting yourself on the back and congratulating yourself with platitudes and a repetitive sound bite.
I don't want to hope for change. I don't want my LEADERS to hope for change. There seems to be this feeling amongst voters now the election is over and the new man is settling into the White House that the work is now done. Time to have President Obama click his heels and settle us into the new world we have dreamed of.
It doesn't work that way.... and while the President seems to be a natty dresser, my brain tends to blink at the thought of him wearing ruby slippers. The time for hoping it will all be better in the morning is over. The time now... is to BE the change. Everyday, every step. Do the work that will END in changes becoming a new reality. Step chanting a rather annoying catchphrase, and let's get to work.
As for me? I'm sliding my winter weary brain back into my writing shoes and will be seeing where I want to take this blog, my life... and my own reality. I'll confess to feeling a tad stagnant and stupefied, penned in by weather and worries... but I'm ready for a change. More to the point – I'm ready to Work to the Change. Wanna come along?
PS – Could someone please whisper in our commander and chief's ear that if he really want to grow a garden, dig one outside the White House and plant some spinach. Leave the orchid raising for Hawaii... and turn down the heat. Mocking the fair weather nature of schools in your district over a little snow while wandering around in a huge building with the heat ratcheted up makes you look a wee bit outta touch with your own platform. Just sayin.....
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Thanks so much for the kind thoughts and well-wishes for our furry child.
Off to dive back into the Christmas Crazy - is it almost over?
All I can say is, I'm glad we're doing a tiny Christmas this year - people are just NUTS when it comes to the holidays. It's enough to make the jolliest elf throw up their hands and yell Bah Humbug!